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Posts Tagged ‘Messianic Judaism’

How Does Premillennial Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology Interpret The Parable of the Tenants In The Vineyard Matthew 21:33-44?

Posted by Job on August 26, 2009

The parable of the tenants of the vineyard of Jesus Christ is as follows.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

The Word of God for the people of God, praise be to God.

Now, this is a parable that should cause trouble to both covenant theology and premillennial dispensationalism. First, regarding covenant theology “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” has to point to a clear distinction, a clear demarcation between Israel and the church. Further, the fact that there were 12 apostles does so as well. The 12 apostles clearly supplant the original 12 tribes of Israel. It is the apostles and prophets that are called the foundation of the church, not the patriarchs of the 12 tribes, and even Moses is only included in the church’s foundation inasmuch as he is a prophet. Further, when Jesus Christ stated that he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist, whom Jesus Christ called the greatest of prophets (meaning greater than Moses) then the church age prophets would have been greater than the Old Testament prophets. Now, it is true that there is one people of God; one elect people, and further that everyone in this elect group was justified by the work of Jesus Christ. However, this group does not only include Israel and the church. It also includes Seth, Enoch, Noah, Job, Melchizedek, Jethro/Reuel, the Queen of Sheba, and many others that cannot be called “Israel” in any sense. Just as Job and the Queen of Sheba were most certainly not Israelites, having no part in the Sinai covenant or Abraham’s lineage, the Israelites are certainly not part of the church. Also: the Bible makes it clear that everyone who is in the universal, invisible church, the actual body of Christ, is born again and thus heaven bound. It is self-evident from scripture that every Israelite was not and is not heaven bound. Yet, covenant theology maintains that “Israel was the church of the Old Testament” because covenant theology was created to support the concept of the state-church where everyone in a given jurisdiction was initiated into by paedobaptism (infant baptism) as opposed to a confession of faith and subsequent believer’s baptism (which is the method that the Bible actually commands and gives examples of whereas there is not a single instance of paedobaptism recorded or commanded in scripture despite the best attempts of paedobaptists to claim that the command “believe and be baptized and you will be saved, you and your house” to the Philippian jailer justifies this doctrine, ignoring the critical “believe” portion of the formula which precludes sprinkling babies) and state church advocates openly acknowledged that not everyone in these churches was born again, that only the ecclesiola within the ecclesia (the hidden invisible smaller subset within the larger church) was going to heaven. Keep in mind: there was never any denial that the state church was one where people were joined to by compulsion (with death or banishment to those who refused) and was maintained not for political purposes but because of the belief that a single religion was necessary for political and cultural unity and stability, not for religious reasons. So, with the need to maintain such political-religious institutions, the notion that baptizing unregenerate and non-elect infants into the church was the same as circumcising non-elect Jews under the old covenant was a natural progression. However, once one actually obeys James 4, Romans 12:1-2, John 14-17 and learns from the typology of the sacrificial system (where it wasn’t even lawful to use tools to cut the stones for the altar or else the altar would be rendered ritually impure by the tools and the hands that used them … the seed of the “by the gracious work of God and not the works of men” doctrine) and removes the holy sanctified church from the unholy and defiled state and larger society, the whole “Israel is the church of the Old Testament” idea falls apart, and the concept of the theocracized government and culture with it.

Now for premillennial dispensationalism. The first servant rejected by the tenants was Moses, which happened when Israel refused to enter Canaan, choosing to believe the evil report over the good report of Joshua and Caleb. The second servant rejected by the tenants was Samuel when Israel asked for a king. Then Israel – or at least the northern kingdom – rejected the line of David. The subsequent servants rejected were the prophets who warned Israel of their apostasy and called them to repent, but ultimately were not heeded. And finally, Israel rejected the Son Jesus Christ. Now a key here is this portion: “When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” Please note that while Jesus Christ did not emphasize their interpretation, He did not deny it either. Rather, He assented to it, and moved on to the main point that He was trying to make. Yet the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to recall and include this answer – which was in no way wrong – for a reason. The destruction of the wicked men who rejected the Son of God was a reference to the destruction of the Jewish temple and the nation in 70 A.D., a topic that Jesus Christ gave more detailed attention to in the Olivet discourse. (While I am not a preterist – whether partial or full – this is the portion of “this generation” of Matthew 24:34 and similar that was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Of the range of meanings of “genea”, it cannot mean “nation or race” for the Jewish nation will never be destroyed, and whether it means “age” or “generation” is of no consequence, as the Jewish age did come to an end at 70 A.D., and it happened within that generation, the people living in that time.)

And this brings us back to “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” What of the premillennial dispensationalists calling “replacement theology” an evil, anti-Semitic heresy? Who was the kingdom of God taken from but the Jews? Who was it given to but the church? In particular, this is a problem for the premillennial dispensational “Jewish millennium” doctrines, which states that after the church age ends, a newer, better Jewish age will begin with Jesus Christ ruling from the Jewish temple, the sacrificial system and priesthood reinstituted (which completely rejects or ignores virtually everything in the book of Hebrews), and all nations and people serving Israel. If the kingdom of God was taken from Israel, then the millennium will not be Jewish but Christian, and Jews will participate only inasmuch as they become Christians and join the church.

Premillennial dispensationalism, however, rejects this and states that the millennium will be one of Messianic Judaism (or what Messianic Judaism is fast becoming, see exhibit 1 and exhibit A, exhibit B and exhibit C and exhibit D and many more!) and not Christianity hence the true Messianic age. In that case, what does that make the church age? A type or foreshadowing of the Messianic dispensation? If that is true, what does that make Old Testament Israel? Premillennial dispensationalism makes Israel the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, and the church goes from the mystery planned but kept secret from the foundation of the world that the prophets spoke of whose true nature will not be revealed until the seventh trump sounds in Revelation to being a “make-work keep busy project” between the two Israel ages, and Christianity becomes an inferior and temporary – though suitable for Gentile purposes – form of the true eternal revelation and religion, which is Judaism. This rejects even the Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah, which states that rather than Israel being the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, the purpose and role of Israel in redemption was transferred to the Son of Israel Jesus Christ, which in these days is accomplished by the Body of Jesus Christ, which is the church.

Now of course, Paul the Benjamite did say that God has not cast aside His people and that all Israel will be saved after the times of the Gentiles are done. However, a contextual reading of Romans (and everything else that Paul wrote, not to mention everything else that Peter, James, John, Luke, Jude, the writer of Hebrews etc. wrote) makes it clear that all Israel will be saved by virtue of hearing the gospel, which means that all Israel joins the Gentiles in the church to form one new man. Premillennial dispensationalism does give a plausible explanation for why the millennium will be a Jewish one: the church will have been raptured. This allows premillennial dispensationalism to interpret the Kingdom of Heaven parables to refer to the Jewish nation during the millennium as opposed to the church age. (Seriously, that is what this system teaches. So, “the pearl of great price” under this system does not refer to either a man giving up everything – his old nature – to become saved or Jesus Christ’s lowering Himself and going to the cross to redeem the church, but rather the Jewish remnant during the great tribulation.) So, while it is possible that Paul’s prophecy “all Israel will be saved” will occur during the millennium, the idea that it will happen with the restoration of the Jewish kingdom directly conflicts with Jesus Christ’s statement that the kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to another nation (the church) and its fruits. Indeed, “all Israel shall be saved” will be counted as the fruits of the church.

The bottom line: Jesus Christ specifically stated that the kingdom was transferred from the Jews to the church, and this message was modeled by His choosing 12 apostles to replace the original 12 patriarchs of Israel, and it was repeated by the writers of the New Testament. Though the Bible does say “all Israel will be saved”, at no point does it say that the kingdom (meaning the focus of God’s economy, the people of God, the people that give God prayer, worship and praise that He accepts, and the people that God works through to carry out His purposes) would be transferred back to Israel. No scripture text that can be interpreted as claiming that the kingdom would revert from the church back to Israel can be found in either the Old or the New Testament, and no doctrine based on scripture can be formed to even explain why this will have to take place. Now the kingdom was taken from Israel first for their breaking the Sinai covenant terms in Deuteronomy (read first where Deuteronomy predicts that this will happen, and second where Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets state that the old covenant was broken and will be replaced) and second for their rejecting Jesus Christ. The new covenant will not be broken and the church will not and cannot reject Jesus Christ because of A) the promises of the new covenant and B) the church is Jesus Christ’s own Body and as such is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and God the Father, and no part of the Godhead can reject or be divided against Himself. So, the only way that the kingdom of God can revert back from the church to the Jews is the rapture of the church. With the church out of the picture (meaning out of the way) things can simply revert back to how they were in the Old Testament, right? Pardon me, but that would mean rejecting the cosmic effects of the incarnation, the cross of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection. Like time itself, salvation history only goes forward, it cannot go back. Moreover, the book of Hebrews describes the ultimate relevation of God to be through Jesus Christ by way of His incarnation, cross work, resurrection, and return. Premillennial dispensationalism makes the salvation of Israel during a second age of grace the ultimate revelation of God, and removes Jesus Christ’s own Body in order to facilitate it!

It really is no surprise that premillennial dispensationalism is so attractive to Messianic Jews who want to retain the essentials of their old system. It treats the church age as just an interstitial intermediary between the first Jewish age and the second Jewish age, and further one that happened not because it was God’s plan and the climax of His salvation plan all along, but only as punishment for the Jews for first failing to keep the Torah and second for failing to accept Jesus Christ. Once these errors are atoned for, things go right back to where they should have been all along! Further, premillennial dispensationalism re-instates the wrongheaded ideas about the millennium/Messianic age that Jesus Christ corrected! This is probably the one good point that the amillennialists do make: that the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ were expecting a political liberator and ruler who would usher in the Messianic age and institute a global Jewish theocracy and a time primarily for the benefit of Jews, not the God-man Saviour who would usher in an age of grace for the benefit of all nations. The Jewish religion still teaches the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees to this day, and premillennial dispensationalism – which includes most strands of Messianic Judaism – tells them that they are right about everything save the timing.

The core of premillennial dispensationalism is that God ceases dealing with His temporary vehicle the church and begins dealing with the Jews anew. However, unless premillennial dispensationalists can identify a part two of the parable of the tenants that describes when this will happen (and more importantly, how and why such a thing will happen in a manner that makes it consistent with New Testament doctrines and promises) this area of their doctrine is Biblically unjustified. Premillennial dispensationalism teaches that their doctrines concerning the millennium allows for the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham, David and Israel under the old covenant. However, in order to accomplish this, their doctrines require breaking the promises made to the church under the new covenant!

So, just as the parable of the tenants is very problematic for covenant theology by declaring an explicit distinction between the church and Israel, it is even more so for premillennial dispensationalism by explicitly proclaiming that with regards to their place in God’s economy, just as the the second temple could not match the glory of the first (for it did not include the ark of the covenant with the rod that budded or the tablets of the law), for the Jews the former things are no more, and their only place in the latter things (which are greater than the former because the latter is founded on better promises, bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ and hence incorruptible) will be inasmuch as their place is found alongside the redeemed and grafted in Gentiles in the church.

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Christian Persecution Alert: Messianic Jews Arrested In Israel!

Posted by Job on December 16, 2008

Messianic Jews detained at Ben-Gurion

A director of the US Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and his wife were detained Sunday at Ben-Gurion Airport by Interior Ministry officials amid allegations he is involved in illegal Christian missionary activity.
Ben Gurion Airport …

It is illegal in Israel to proselytize among minors. It is also prohibited to engage in missionary activities among adults when economic incentives are offered.

After over eight hours of detention, Jamie Cowen, a former president of the union, and his wife, Stacy, were permitted to enter Israel only after they agreed to sign a document that they would not engage in missionary activities during their stay.

The Cowens are in Israel to visit their two daughters, one of whom is an Israeli citizen. The other is in the process of obtaining citizenship after she and a group of other Messianic Jews won a Supreme Court case against the state.

The Cowens and their daughters all identify as Jews but believe that Jesus is the messiah.

“This type of religious discrimination would be expected of Iran, not Israel,” said Jamie Cowen, a US immigration lawyer, a few hours after he was released by immigration police.

“In the US we imprison individuals suspected of terrorism. Here apparently one can be jailed for his religious convictions. This is a case of blatant discrimination against basic rights. It is a story of a bureaucracy run amok. Someone has to crack down and bring in people of integrity.”

Cowen said he had visited Israel about 10 times, and had been active in social causes via the Knesset Social Lobby.

“I’ve brought $100,000 in humanitarian aid to Israel. We’ve provided lone IDF soldiers with about $50,000 in aid. This is unbelievable,” he said.

The Interior Ministry, which directed the police to arrest the Cowens, said they had classified information regarding missionary activity.

“The Immigration and Population Authority has reliable information that the Cowens were involved in missionary activity prohibited by Israeli criminal law during their last visit to Israel,” a ministry spokesman said.

“This is the reason they were detained. As soon as they agreed to refrain from any missionary activity they were allowed in.”

The Cowens arrived in Israel on a flight from Frankfurt at 3 a.m. They were arrested at passport inspection and placed in detention at the airport.

“As an immigration lawyer I have visited many detention facilities for illegal immigrants. This one was particularly dirty, smelly and overcrowded,” Cowen said.

According to Cowen, the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations has 90 member congregations with membership ranging between 50 and 400 per congregation.

Calev Myers, founder and chief counsel of The Jerusalem Institute, which provides legal advice and representation to messianic Jews, said the Interior Ministry was filled will clerks who identified with a strictly Orthodox definition of who is a Jew.

“During the years that Shas controlled the ministry they made sure to appoint clerks who were willing to carry out their policies,” Myers said.

“As a result, Israel is the only Western country where basic freedom of religion is denied. Today those who being discriminated against are messianic Jews. Tomorrow it will be Conservative and Reform Jews.”

Myers said anti-missionary organizations such as Yad Le’achim often tipped off Interior Ministry officials regarding messianic Jews attempting to enter the country.

However, Meir Cohen, a Yad Le’Achim activist, said that while it was true that his organization did provide the ministry with information, they were not involved in the Cowens’ case.

Cohen said the ministry had its own intelligence unit that gathered information on missionaries and on messianic Jews who were ineligible for Israeli citizenship due to their religious convictions.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Jews who embraced Christianity are not eligible for Israeli citizenship. However, the court has also ruled that people who are not Jews according to Orthodox standards, but who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return do not forfeit this right if they adopt Christian beliefs.

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Birthright Taglit Screening Out Messianic Jews

Posted by Job on November 28, 2008

Taglit screening out Messianic Jews

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The Meaning Of The Song Of Solomon For Christians

Posted by Job on November 26, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1516870&dest=29421]

Want to know the meaning of the Song of Solomon for Christians? Well here is part 1 of a teaching from Messianic Perspectives, a Messianic Jewish Ministry, that teaches what this book means for Christians!

Messianic Perspectives – http://www.cjfm.org/

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Messianic Jews Who Are Five Point Calvinists!

Posted by Job on September 9, 2008

 Resources for Learning

Reformed World View
The True Jew
Remembering the Holocaust with our Russian Jewish Friends
Celebrating the Jewish Holidays and God’s Plan for Salvation
Towards a Reformed Israelology
To the Jew First: A Reformed Perspective
Do You Believe in Satan?
Chronological Storying: A Powerful Way to Teach the Gospel
Advancing the Kingdom of God
“The Missing Chapter: What part of the Jewish Bible will not be read on September 6, 2003?”

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Should Protestants Use The Hebrew Calendar Rather Than The Roman Catholic One?

Posted by Job on August 21, 2008

Now it is commonly believed that the modern Hebrew calendar used today by rabbinic Judaism is not the same calendar used in the Old Testament, as alterations were made to it at various points in history. This issue also may not have much utility when it comes to practical living in obedience to Jesus Christ. Still, I found this to be intriguing reading as well as thought – provoking.
Why Do We Use the Hebrew Calendar? by Ronald Dart

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14-19).

Nothing God gave to man has been used so consistently for the purpose He intended. Every civilization of man has used the sun, the moon, or both for the demarcation of time. They had no choice. Even a hunting society had to take notice of the passage of seasons. When would the animals migrate to the north and when would they return? How soon would the antlered animals make their move down from the high country? No people dependent upon the land could fail to notice that there was a time to plant and a time to harvest. Their problem was the prediction of that time, and that required the observation of the sun. It required a calendar, and some form of calendar has always been a mark of civilization.

A calendar is more than a pretty picture with the days of the month laid out below. A calendar is a system of determining the beginning and ending of the year and dividing it up into seasons, months, weeks, and days. To be of any use at all, it has to be done in advance. A calendar from the past is no more than a diary. By its very nature, a calendar is predictive, and this is why the sun and the moon are so very useful-they are the most predictable elements in the environment of man.

We have no record of when man first noticed this, but it was a very long time ago. Even if he lost everything else God gave him, it is inconceivable that intelligent man–in the space of a lifetime living and working in the out of doors–would not come to know intimately the cycles of the sun, moon, and stars. He would be able to pass on to his children and grandchildren the exact location of sunset on the longest and shortest days of the year. Early on he would have figured out that the sun made that cycle regardless of what his priest said or did–his observations of the sun were not mere superstition.

This was quite a simple task for a man and his family. It became a bit more complicated with clans, communities, and ultimately, civilizations. Consider the problem. How would you go about setting up a calendar-a predictable calendar–for a small community? One of the simplest approaches is simply to count the moons. The American Indians did it this way.

But there is a problem with determining the year. The Islamic calendar is based solely on the moon with no corrections for the movement of the sun. It may not matter much in the desert that the seasons shift slowly forward through the calendar year, but it matters very much to a society dependent on grain and fruit crops. Most ancient calendars took account of the moon, but the problem they had to solve was the movement of the sun. It was not a particularly difficult problem, but it required some thought.

If we were to tackle this problem, we would first have to choose a place to make our observations. We would soon learn that moving about would lead to inaccurate observations. We could put a stick in the ground at the observation point, and then place another stick in the ground on a direct line with the sun when it rises. We could do this every day, and in the space of one year, we would have an arc of sticks that shows the exact point of sunrise on every day of the year. The northernmost stick would designate the day of the summer solstice, and the southernmost stick the winter solstice. The stick in the middle of the line would designate the equinox.

So far, this is a piece of cake. If someone asks, “What day is this?” all we have to do is run out to our line of sticks the next morning and check it out.

Naturally, there are problems. What if an animal or a rainstorm dislodge some of our sticks? What if some prankster from a neighboring clan rearranges them? The people of Stonehenge found a drastic, but effective solution to that problem.

No one knows who they were. Every vestige of the civilization of Stonehenge is gone except one–a circle of giant stones on a piece of level high ground in southwestern England. It is plain that they were taking great pains to observe and predict the movement of the sun and moon. Stonehenge may or may not have been a place of worship, but it was certainly an observatory from which a calendar was devised.

It depends on which archaeologist you consult, but between the death of Noah (about 2,000 B.C.) And the death of Abraham (about 1,800 B.C.), a people moved into the Salisbury plain in southeastern England and proceeded to tackle the problem of constructing a calendar. We cannot be certain as to why they did some of the things they did, or even in what order; but there was a logic that we could follow today with the same results.

One of the first things they did was to dig 56 pits arranged in a circle some 240 feet in diameter. This might have resulted from going out at sunrise every 13 days and digging a pit on a line with sunrise and sunset. Having no doubt noticed the north star never moved, they oriented the circle by building two mounds on the north and south axis of the circle.

By means of careful observation, they determined the point on the horizon where the sun rose at its northernmost point. This was the summer solstice-the longest day of the year. Outside their circle of stones, on a direct line with the sunrise they placed a stone. This was not just any stone. Taking no chances on having animals, elements, or man alter the arrangement, they set up a 35 ton block of sarsen sandstone-brought from 20 miles away. It is still in place nearly 4,000 years later.

Whoever these people were, they proceeded to mark other points of the compass–the winter solstice, the equinoxes–with stones, and to build earthworks around their observatory. It would have been a remarkable project in any age, but it is nothing short of astonishing for the time in which it was done. Plainly, the calendar was of great importance to these people.

Stonehenge was modified occasionally over succeeding generations. Bluestones weighing up to 50 tons were brought from southwest Wales, and set up in concentric circles, once again aligned with the heavens. Two circles created in the earliest time contained 29 and 30 stones respectively. The lunar month is about 29 ½ days, so it seems they made their months 29 and 30 days long.

There are two very important observations about Stonehenge. One is that a calendar based on the sun and the moon was one of the earliest achievements of civilized man. The other is the heroic efforts these people made to create and preserve their calendar. Of all the things that they might have done, all that is left is a circle of stones that has lasted for over 4,000 years-their calendar.

The people of Mesopotamia faced a different problem. Living in an alluvial plain, high ground was scarce and large stones nonexistent. They solved the problem by building their own “high ground.” The land is dotted with the remains of ancient towers. From the tops of these towers, the horizon could be marked with the location of the winter and summer solstice.

The Bible describes a tower like this, including the building material and the reason for building it. The tower is the infamous Tower of Babel: “And they said, Go to let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4). The words “may reach” are not in the Hebrew text. They did not build the tower to reach heaven, but rather to observe the heavens. One source observed that there are frequent winter ground fogs along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and the towers enabled them to get above the fog for calendar observations.

We do know that the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians observed the heavens, and there is evidence that they oriented at least some of their towers to the heavens. We also know that they based their calendar systems on the movement of sun and moon. The people of Erech in Mesopotamia invented writing, and evidence of calendars was found in the ruins along with the earliest writings of man.

The Bible tells us that Noah settled in this region after the great Flood, and we know that he brought a calendar with him. The years of Noah’s calendar were reckoned from his birth: “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). There are several calendar references in the account of the Flood, including a seventh month, a tenth month, and the first and second months of Noah’s 601st year. There is one curious footnote-a period of five months is numbered at 150 days. It seems that Noah used 30 day months. A true lunar month would have alternated between 29 and 30 days, but there is probably no special significance in this. During this period of time, Noah may simply have been unable to observe the moon, and adopted a 30 day month. This would have required some adjustment once they left the ark and were once again able to see the moon, but then only Noah’s family had reason to concern themselves with it. (There is no evidence to suggest that the lunar orbit was that different in Noah’s day–rather the contrary.)

It was also from Mesopotamia that Abraham and his descendants came. There is no reason to doubt that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had a 12-month lunar calendar that was periodically adjusted for the movement of the seasons. They came from a civilization with a calendar like that.

So when God later spoke to the children of Israel and said, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months” (Exodus 12:2), they did not have to ask, “Lord, what is a month?” Their people had used a calendar system from time immemorial.

But when God gave this instruction, He did not say “month,” or even “moon.” He used the Hebrew word for “new moon.” Used throughout the Old Testament, it identifies the starting point for the Hebrew month. In fact, nearly all the ancient civilizations used the new moon rather than the full moon for the beginning of the month.

But in deciding to use the new moon, they still had questions to answer. What, for example, constituted the “new moon”? Logic falls out quickly in favor of the observation of the first sliver of the crescent moon, but what if we can’t see it? It could be overcast, or there might be other conditions that prevent accurate observation. We usually think of seeing the new moon right after sunset, but it can occur at any time of the day. By one definition, the moon is “new” immediately after the conjunction, whether we can see it or not.

The ancients learned very early how to calculate the conjunction (that is, the precise moment when the moon drops behind the sun as they both pass through the heavens). The Hebrews called this moment the “molad.” Having this piece of information, what were they to do about the “new moon”? Was it the day when the conjunction took place, or the day after? Sometimes they could see the first crescent of the moon on the day of the conjunction, and sometimes not–even in clear weather. It varied with the weather, the time of day of the conjunction, the time of sunset, the relative position of the sun and moon, and the location of the observer.

It would not be very difficult to design a system for determining the new moons. All we need is a set of rules. The first rule could be that the day of the new moon is the first day of the new crescent is visible right after sunset. This has a lot of appeal. But we do have to allow for problems. What do we do if it is cloudy? That is not terribly difficult. Since months can only be 29 or thirty days long, we can simply alternate when we can’t see the moon. If last month was 30 days long, we’ll just make this one 29. This will work fine most of the time–providing that we are all in the same location. If it is cloudy here and clear a thousand miles from here, we might often declare the new moon on different days. I suppose this could be acceptable if we don’t all have to be together on everything.

If I could calculate the conjunction, and if it were up to me, I might simply declare that the day of the conjunction was the day of the new moon-no adjustments, no confusion. My problem is that I have no authority for one system over the other. The rules are easy to write–the problem is, who writes the rules?

Naturally, we would expect to turn to the Bible to see what the law told Israel to do. The problem is that the law didn’t tell them. While there are plenty of indirect calendar references in the law, instructions about the calendar itself are almost nonexistent. In fact the only explicit instruction about the calendar is Exodus 12:2, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”

It may be hard to believe, but everything else we know about the calendar, we know from inference or from tradition. For example, how can you tell from the text just quoted which month was the first month? What time of year was it? Jewish tradition tells us it was in the spring, but the only help we get from the Bible is the name of the month: “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month Abib” (Exodus 13:3, 4).

And so we know the Hebrew name of the month–Abib. And we know that Abib means, “green ears.” From other scriptures we learn that the green ears in question were barley, so we infer that the month Abib is the month when there are green ears of barley in the field.

All this is very clever of us, but it is curious that something so important was left to inference instead of being stated. Instructions for sacrifices are laid out in excruciating detail. Why were the instructions for the calendar not done the same way? Naming a month after green ears of barley is better than nothing, but it leaves a lot of unanswered questions. What if the ears are not green until the last day of the month? How would you have known to make that month Abib? Okay, we can decide that the month following the onset of green ears is Abib. But what if the ears turn green on the second day of the new moon? Will they still be green the following month? The ears will often be green in two consecutive months. Which is Abib?

The Bible does not explain, and we seem to be left to figure out for ourselves how to do it. And yet this decision is critical, because the month of Abib is the beginning of the religious year (the civil year seems to have begun in the autumn).

The calendar of the Hebrews was not simply lunar, and it was not exactly lunisolar. The sun only indirectly affected their calendar. The Israelites did not merely observe the sun to calculate their calendar. They observed the crops and the weather.

The problem was that a 12 month lunar year fell some 11 days short of the solar year. So, when the lunar year had fallen about 30 days short, they simply added a 13th month to keep the Passover in the spring. Talmudic sources tell us that the calendar committee did not rely solely on calculation, but on observation as well. They added a 13th month “when the barley in the fields had not yet ripened, when the fruit on the trees had not grown properly, when the winter rains had not stopped, when the roads for Passover pilgrims had not dried up, and when the young pigeons had not become fledged” (Arthur Spier, The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, p.1).

The leap years were reasonably predictable. If they had just added a 13th month, they could be sure they would not have to for the next two years. Early on they noticed a 19-year cycle in which the leap years occurred on a repeating basis. Reasons suggest that they rarely had to fall back on observation to announce a leap year. Observation could confirm, but it came too late to predict. If they could not predict, how could pilgrims know when to leave home to arrive in time for the festival season. The determination of the calendar had serious practical considerations as well as religious implications.

Where did they find all this in the law? They didn’t. In fact, they found nothing at all about calendar adjustments, leap years, 13th months, conjunctions and new crescents. The children of Israel found in the law a presumption of a calendar and the sanctification of certain days in that calendar. We do not know whether God revealed it to them, or whether they had to figure it out for themselves. All we have is the calendar tradition they have preserved for us along with the sacred Scriptures.

Paul may have been talking about this sort of thing when he spoke of the “oracles” of God. In writing about the Jews and their relationship with God, he asked, “What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:1-2). The word for “oracles” is the Greek logion which means, literally, “sayings.” The Jews retained an oral law besides the written law we find in the Bible, and that oral law included a complex calendar system into which God placed all the holy days of the sacred year.

The modern Hebrew calendar is sometimes challenged because the “new moon” may be postponed one or two days based on a complex set of rules. Actually, these rules are applied only once in the year–on the first day of the seventh month–the Feast of Trumpets. This particular moon (the beginning of the civil year) is determined and then all the others are established by it. Since a cycle of the moon is about 29 ½ days (plus 44 minutes), the first seven months of the religious year (in which all the holy days occur) simply alternate between 29 and 30 days. The extra 44 minutes creates an extra day at predictable intervals, and that is handled by having two consecutive 30 day months from time to time. In order to keep confusion to a minimum, those months are always in the second half of the year.

The objections to the Jewish custom come in two forms: one argues that any postponement from the conjunction is wrong, and the other argues that only the observed new crescent can start a month. But we recall at this point that the Bible does not define a new moon either way. If it did, I suppose there would be no argument.

In calculating the new moon of the Feast of Trumpets, the pivotal point of the Jewish year, the rules proclaim the new moon on the day of the conjunction with some exceptions. For example if the conjunction occurs after noon, the new moon is “postponed” to the following day. In fact, the first new crescent will almost certainly be observed the following day.

This rule generally satisfies those who want the month to begin with the observed new crescent. But there is another rule they find more troubling. When the conjunction occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, the official new moon (and the Feast of Trumpets) is postponed to the following day for religious reasons. The religious requirements are that the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) must not fall on the day before or after a Sabbath, and the day before the Last Great Day of the autumn feast cannot fall on a Sabbath. (There are other postponements required because of mathematical consequences of the first two.)

But can “religious requirements” take precedence over the law? In some cases, yes. When the Pharisees challenged Jesus and His disciples over Sabbath observance, he asked them, “Have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?” (Matthew 12:5). In other words, the priest had to carry on the work of the sacrificial system even on the Sabbath day. This created a conflict between the sacrificial law (which required sacrifices every day) and the Sabbath (which required that no work be done).

We would normally assume that when laws come into conflict the lesser law would give way to the greater. There can be no greater law than the Ten Commandments, and yet the sacrificial law superseded even the Sabbath. The priesthood had special responsibilities on the holy days and the new moons, so it would not be surprising if they should take those duties into account when working out their calendar rules–especially when the law gave them no specific instructions to the contrary. They had a modest requirement to make a morning and evening sacrifice (each one lamb) every day of the year. In addition, each Sabbath day they sacrificed two more lambs with meal, oil, and drink offerings (Numbers 28:9). All this work increased dramatically on the day of the new moon. On the first of every month, they were required to sacrifice ten animals-two young bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs-plus the other offerings (Numbers 28:11). It is easy to see the importance of predictability when there is this much work to be done.

Each of the annual holy days also had special offerings. On the Day of Atonement, for example, the prescribed offering was one bullock, one ram, seven lambs, plus any prescribed meal, oil, and drink offerings, and a special goat for a sin offering. Since the Day of Atonement is a fast day, it should not be surprising if steps were taken to avoid it falling before or after a Sabbath day. One can, of course, argue to the contrary, but there is no biblical authority that prevents the rules of the calendar from being written this way.

We don’t know with any precision when the rules for postponements came to be. They seem to have coalesced in their present form in the 10th century, but the principles underlying them are much older. There is evidence dating from much earlier that the authorities “adjusted” their observations to avoid having Yom Kippur fall just before or just after a Sabbath. It was no great trick. They just changed the observation point (See the Encyclopedia Judaica, article, “Calendar”).

Does all this seem confusing to you? Never mind, it seems confusing to a lot of people. The reason most calendar calculations seem complex is because they are trying to give the illusion of precision. The truth is that the solar system is not precise. The moon is not always the same distance from the earth, and there are subtle variations in the time of it’s orbit. In the nature of things, a calendar is only a rough measure of time.

But suppose it was not God’s intent to impose a new calendar system, but to reveal to Israel where, in their calendar system, His holy days were to fall? He does not tell them what constitutes a new moon, how many days there are in a month, how many months in a year, or how to adapt the lunar calendar to the solar year. Presumably, they already knew how to do that. Other peoples of the time knew, so there is no reason to suppose the Hebrews did not.

This may be a good place to deal with the concept of “holy time.” The idea is that from creation there were certain segments of time set apart and designated as holy. The Sabbath day is said to be “holy time” as are all the annual holy days.

The problem with this lies in our concept of time. Suppose that just after sunset when the Sabbath has begun, you decide to telephone your mother, who lives a continent away from you. It is three hours earlier there, yet both still converse in the same moment in time. For you, it is the Sabbath, but not for her. She may be trying to get you off the phone so she can finish her housework before the Sabbath.

Since the Sabbath day begins at sunset, it does not begin at all places at the same time. How, then, can the Sabbath be “holy time”? In truth, the Sabbath is not holy time, it is a holy day. There is a difference. We in the United States keep the same Sabbath day as the Jews in Jerusalem, but we don’t keep the same window of time.

Therefore the concept of “holy time” is probably misleading, especially pertaining to the annual holy days. The presumption is that the time when the earth reaches a certain point in its orbit around the sun is holy. The astronomer will see an immediate problem. The earth is not always at sunset when it reaches this special place. For the time to be holy, the rotation of the earth on its axis and the revolution of the earth around the sun would have to be synchronous. That is, the sun should always be setting as the earth comes to the place in its orbit that corresponds to the beginning of holy time. It is not.

What does it take to make a day holy? When Moses encountered the burning bush, God told him to take off his shoes for the ground he stood on was holy. The ground was not holy of itself; it was holy because God was there. The tabernacle was not holy until God entered it and filled it with His presence. The spot where the temple was built was only a threshing floor until Solomon built a temple on the spot and God entered it.

Both the tabernacle and the temple were built by human hands. True, God gave them specifications, but it was left to them to build. We know that God inspired the craftsmen, but we still have to guess what certain parts of it looked like. As long as the temple was a building built by craftsmen, it was only a building. It was when God entered it that it became holy.

In the same way, the rules of the calendar were written by men. The days of the year were not holy until selected by God. They are, in a sense, made holy by His presence. He told Israel what days in their calendar He would be present-what days He would meet with them (the old expression “tabernacle of the congregation” actually means “tent of meeting”).

Did God give specifications for the calendar like He gave specifications for the temple? We don’t know. We do know that the Israelites got more from God than the book we call the Bible. The writer of the book of Hebrews opens his account by telling us that God spoke to the fathers in time past at “sundry times and in diverse manners.” The Old Testament contains much, but not all of that communication. The leaders of God’s people commonly consulted God about questions and judgments, and they got answers that are sometimes recorded for us–sometimes not.

We don’t know whether Israel’s calendar was an old calendar appropriated by God, or a new calendar revealed by God. What we do know is that the calendar became authoritative when God proclaimed certain days in it as His festivals. The days were not intrinsically holy–they were made holy.

We also know that God established an administration to go with the law. It may come as a surprise to learn that the law did not answer all questions pertaining to human relationships–not even of man’s relationship with God. When Moses complained to God about the burden of leading the people of Israel, God gave him a solution:

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone…And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease” (Numbers 11:16-24).

This is the origin of the “seventy elders” of Israel–the basis of the later Sanhedrin–charged with the responsibility of administering the law of God. We don’t know what they did about the calendar, but we do know that the rules and observations of the calendar were, in the days of Jesus’ ministry, in the hands of the Sanhedrin. We also know that in spite of all the issues where Jesus opposed the Jewish leadership, He never argued with them about the calendar.

It is important for us to understand that, from the beginning, there was an authoritative judiciary in Israel charged with the responsibility of deciding points of law for the people. This system is described in Deuteronomy 17:8-13. When one of these courts rendered a decision, it was as binding as any law given by God Himself-even to the extent of exacting the death penalty. What they bound on earth, was bound in heaven.

This is not to say that their authority extended into the established church of Jesus Christ. That authority, Jesus explicitly granted to the apostles:

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:18-20).

Like the Sanhedrin, the apostles were granted the authority to make decisions within the law. They did not have the authority to go beyond the law. Like the Sanhedrin, they received the Holy Spirit to guide them:

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:22, 23).

That spirit was poured out upon them at Pentecost that year, and they prophesied, just as Moses’ Sanhedrin had done.

From ancient times, the Sanhedrin had the authority to make the rules and observations that sanctified the Hebrew calendar. Jesus and the apostles seem to have accepted their authority in this area. While there is ample evidence that the early Christians kept the holy days, there is no hint in the New Testament that they ever attempted to sanctify a calendar apart from the Jewish calendar.

The Sanhedrin had always kept the rules for the calendar secret–perhaps with some wisdom. There will always be someone ready to argue with the rules, and the calendar could have been a source of endless bickering. In the fourth century, the patriarch of the Jewish religion published the hitherto secret rules and set up a system whereby the calendar could be predicted far into the future. Prediction, in the final analysis, is the work of the calendar. Most Christian groups that observe the biblical festivals, with a few exceptions, have accepted that calendar as the basis for their religious year.

Among those Christians who observe the annual holy days of the Bible, the question is often raised as to whether they should, in some way, observe the new moons. At present, there is nothing to do on the new moons. The holy days are declared to be Sabbath days–work is prohibited except for the preparation of food. There is also a commanded assembly on each of the annual holy days. There are no such requirements connected with the new moons.

There were, however, specific requirements of the priest on these days. Trumpets were to be blown, and large numbers of sacrifices were required (Numbers 10:10; 28:11). The killing of sacrifices created a lot of meat to be eaten, so the new moon was a feast of sorts (see I Samuel 20). Beyond the work of the priests, though, there were no statutory requirements of the people. We can infer, nevertheless, that the new moons became an important part of the system of festival and worship, and that they will be again. Looking ahead to the Kingdom of God, Isaiah says, “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23).

When the temple was there, the new moons became days of special worship even though there was no command to do so. The activity of the priests, the special sacrifices and the festive air made it so. They will again when a temple is rebuilt.

The ministry of the majority of festival observing churches decided long ago to accept the published Hebrew calendar as the basis for our sacred year. The calendar is published by various Jewish sources, notably The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, by Spier. Methods of calculation are discussed there as well as in The Jewish Encyclopedia. A card with the dates for the next few years may be obtained by writing this office.

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Third Wave Pentecostalism And Why Miracles And Signs Exist

Posted by Job on August 11, 2008

I cannot say that I am surprised, because he also endorsed the Pensacola and Brownsville revivals and the Toronto Airport Christian fellowship, but Sid Roth is fully aligned with the third wave pentecostal movement in his endorsement of Todd Bentley. See this link on his website. Yep, Sid Roth is yet another one of the prosperity/Word of Faith teachers that I used to watch religiously and send money to. I continued to support Roth even after I began to turn away from the likes of the Crouch family, T. D. Jakes, etc. because I did not see where any of the discernment or apologetics ministries had addressed him. Also, I must admit that I hesitated because I personally believed in Roth’s ministry and especially his powerful testimony because it was so similar to my own! But I have to follow God rather than man, and that includes the desires of my own heart! Looking below, it appears that Roth has been supporting Bentley ever since at least 2007, because the fellow has at least 16 articles authored by Bentley on his website.

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 1 (Bentley)

Building Dreams and Visions, Part 2 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 1 (Bentley)

Discerning the Call of God, Part 2 (Bentley)

Encounter With Heaven Part 1

Encounter With Heaven Part 2

Encounter With Heaven Part 3

Healing and God’s Sovereignty (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 1 (Bentley)

Open Heavens, Part 2 (Bentley

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 1 (Bentley)

Reigning and Resurrection, Part 2 (Bentley)

Restoring the Voice of Healing (Bentley)

The Gifts of Healing and Miracles

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 1 (Bentley)

The Spirit of Infirmity, Part 2 (Bentley)

What is the third wave? Here is a fundamental Christian viewpoint:

1. Its History

In the early 1980s the Vineyard Christian Fellowship movement began with the ministry of John Wimber in California. He believed that people would become convinced of the genuineness of Christianity by seeing miraculous signs and wonders from God more than by being convinced doctrinally. He not only practiced this belief in the church he pastored, but he also teamed up with missions professor Peter Wagner to teach and encourage its practice in the Signs and Wonders class at Fuller Seminary. Others who emphasized these signs and wonders include Christian psychologist and speaker John White, former Dallas Seminary professor Jack Deere, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty member Wayne Grudem. Support for this emphasis has also come from the ministries of such recognized Christian leaders as John Piper.

2. Distinctive Views

The movement’s supporters come from various evangelical backgrounds and do not necessarily want to be identified with traditional man-centered Pentecostal views. Some, in fact, have strong Calvinistic convictions. But all stress the presence of genuine signs and wonders from God today. Tongues-speaking is not emphasized as much as in the more traditional Pentecostal groups, but healings and especially the gift of prophecy are very prominent.

D. Other Contemporary Charismatic Emphases

Also present in more recent years are the ministries of several others who have a strongly charismatic approach and emphasis. These include those who emphasize a “health and wealth” gospel; the ministries of charismatic teachers such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, and Kenneth Copeland; and the current ministries of Oral and Richard Roberts, John Arnott and the Toronto Blessing, Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets, and Rodney Howard-Browne and John Kilpatrick of the Brownsville Assembly of God Church and the Pensacola Outpouring Revival.

For more, please see George Houghton’s part 1 and part 2 on the topic of Pentecostalism in general. I am aware that some have accused me of being opposed to the supernatural, of miracles. To answer those charges, read my testimonies part 1 and part 2 of miraculous faith healing from asthma, addiction, and a lung infection that doctors could not cure, killed several other people around the same time (including the actress that played the bride in “Meet The Parents”), and had stopped my breathing (I was minutes away from dying people). Also search my archives and take notice of how LEGITIMATE faith healing, miracles, and deliverance from evil spirits is a major area of attention of mine (regrettably I have gotten away from those topics in these past months and need to get back into them). 

But I must say that I was motivated to finally deal with Sid Roth after seeing him promote a pastor who claims that during his worship services, angel feathers, gold dust, and precious jewels would appear out of thin air. The pastor was also selling a book – with companion DVD – claiming to have discovered in scripture the secret for unlocking the power of God in your life that he was using to bring forth these manifestations (it is humility). Let me first state that Christianity IS NOT a secret religion. It is based on revelation from the Bible that is freely available to all. People speaking of finding secrets and unlocking spiritual keys are actually practicing gnosticism, which is based on using gnosis (secret knowledge) to advance spiritually and attain salvation. Gnostics were syncretists who assimilated elements of virtually every religion and belief system of the time that suited them in order to create their own abominations. And no, the gnostics did not invent the notion of secret or magical spiritual keys or codes embedded in religious texts. That idea long predated them, coming from the ancient near east mystery religions and cults. Basically, gnosticism was a mixture of Christianity, Judaism, and western (especially Greek) mythology and philosophy, and who knows what else. So, the third wavers that are convinced that they are finding some new – or rediscovering some lost – way of reading the Bible and worshiping God through Jesus Christ under the Holy Spirit are actually just rehashing the same vile dark deceptions that John, Jude, Paul, etc. took up most of the New Testament contending against. So much of what we know about Christian doctrine and practice in the New Testament was not information volunteered at the author’s initiative, but rather came from an apostle writing an epistle to oppose some lie that people claiming to have secret knowledge or special revelation was passing around! 

But the primary issue that must be dealt with is the erroneous fascination of third wave pentecostals on signs and wonders: miracles and revelation. The reason is that it is BACKWARDS. This fascination is due to faithlessness by the alleged faithful. If you truly believe nothing else in the Bible but Genesis 1:1, the idea that God can work a miracle should be presupposed, basic, nothing to get excited over. Why? Because it is merely God changing something in the natural realm that He created in the first place … very often things that would change anyway without a miracle! Further, not everyone who witnesses a miracle responds with faith. Case in point: the Pharisees. Despite all that Jesus Christ did, they kept telling Him “OK, just do one more miracle or give us one more sign and THEN we will believe that you are the Messiah.” The Pharisees were simply the spiritual descendants of the children of Israel who refused to enter Canaan after seeing God work the greatest miracles that the world had ever seen to crush the greatest empire of the world AND miraculously sustain them with food and water AND the glory of God on Sinai AND the rock that followed them AND the pillar of fire by night/cloud by day that guided them. What was the problem with those Israelites? Well the least favorite book of this movement, the Book of Hebrews (which says that revelation was completed and ended with Jesus Christ in its opening verses … or maybe 1 Corinthians with its denunciations of confusion and disorder in the church are the least favorite!) it is FAITHLESSNESS. If the basis of your Christian doctrine and affiliation is miracles and signs, trust me, it is never going to be enough, because just like a glutton with a piece of pie or a fornicator and sex partners or a greedy man and dollar bills, you will never be satisfied, you will always seek JUST ONE MORE no matter how much you have already had! 

So, the FAITHFUL who know well and good that God can perform miracles on the natural order … we praise and glorify God over those things true, but those are not the things that we focus on, not the least because evil spirits can emulate those. Do not be offended! Evil spirits emulated several of the signs and wonders of YHWH in Egypt during their contest with Moses. People follow false religions for a reason! And the Bible itself says that the anti-Christ will deceive the whole world with his evil fantastic works, and that but for the grace of God even the very elect would be deceived by him also! 

So no, those who truly believe in God are not after by angel feathers, gold dust, and jewels popping up out of thin air! We are not after new visions, revelations, and secrets. Why? The reason is that those things, while impressive to behold, have no lasting value. They are not the things that the kingdom of heaven is built on. So what true believers love to see and hear about are CHANGED HEARTS as evidenced by CHANGED BEHAVIOR. Unbelievers hearing the gospel and getting saved. People confessing their sins and turning from them rather than using their works, church membership, background, or “anointing” to justify remaining in them. People overcoming the grief of losing a loved one. People forgiving those that have done them grievously wrong. The fearful becoming bold, the haters becoming lovers. THAT is what Christians should seek after and try to participate in. And those are what we Christians should be after. For it is a certainty that demons can motivate tongues and private prayer languages. That goes on in Hindu temples all the time! I have no doubt that a demon can cure – or at least temporarily alleviate – physical ailments. Were that not the case witch doctors, rootworkers, medicine men and women, etc. would go out of business tomorrow. The same with the diviners, necromancers, fortune tellers, etc. People have been seeking out mighty wonders, strange works, new revelations, etc. ever since man rejected the knowledge of God as Paul told us in Romans 1:18-32 for a reason! Not a few missionaries can relate dark spiritual happenings involving the demons that work through those false religions that would curl your hair even if you were bald! Check out “And The Word Came With Power” by missionary Jo Anne Shetler if you doubt. But an evil spirit cannot save someone’s soul or change their heart! So why put all the emphasis on the things that Satan can imitate while ignoring the things that he cannot? I don’t know about you, but while hearing testimonies about people delivered from asthma personally touch me because I was healed of the same, what I really love hearing about is testimonies of God delivering them from selfishness, hate, pride, lying, meanness, sloth, lust, and irresponsibility, for those character flaws and many more I had them, and let me tell you they were much more destructive to me and those around me than my asthma was! 

So then, why DO miracles and revelation occur? Why does God work them? Let me start with my own personal testimony and go from there: God healed my body as part of His plan to draw me to Him and save me from my sins. And that corresponds to the Biblical record. God was not some two bit Las Vegas entertainer performing tricks for the ooohs and aaahs of alcoholics, adulterers, and gamblers. Some say every miracle, every revelation, every prophecy regarded in the Bible played a part in salvation – redemption history, a rough English translation for the German term Heilsgeschichte, God’s plan to redeem mankind from His sin. Others take a broader view and say that it was part of God’s plan to reveal Himself to mankind, with the ultimate and final revelation being His Son Jesus Christ. So, God parting the Red Sea was a salvation – historic act to deliver Israel, His elect nation that He planned to use to be a light to all nations and use to incarnate Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s healing the Gentile woman’s daughter in Matthew 15:21-28 was an act of revealing both God’s love and mercy to mankind. Peter’s vision while on the tanner’s rooftop was God letting the Jews know that Jesus Christ came to bring salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. You want to know about the importance of the floating axhead? Well try this link. Ultimately, God had a higher purpose for every miracle, every prophecy, every vision in the Bible. They were not done because people like to see visions. They were done to reveal Himself to sinful men living in a sinful world so that His chosen among them would turn to Him. 

The main thing to remember, third wave charismatics, is that the Bible makes it clear that everyone who works mighty works even in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved. See Matthew 7:21-23! The Bible even makes it clear that everyone who receives a miracle in the Name of Jesus Christ will be saved! Remember the ten lepers! They all had faith to be healed by Jesus Christ. They were all healed by Jesus Christ. BUT ONLY ONE LEPER BOTHERED TO FALL AT THE FEET OF GOD AND GIVE HIM THANKS! Are you going to allege that a person who is not thankful for the work and person of Jesus Christ is going to be saved by Him? And let me tell you about the one … HE WAS A GENTILE! Let me tell you about the nine … THEY WERE JEWS! Do not misunderstand me, I am not going anti – Semite on you here. Just let me put it into the context. The Jews were in it for the miracle, the Gentile was in it for the God who worked the miracle! So, the Jews in it for the miracle in this story represent church folk who continually need to see signs and wonders to have some semblance of outward faith. In other words: THIRD WAVE CHARISMATICS AND ALL LIKE THEM WHO WILL ABANDON TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF SOUND DOCTRINE BASED ON THE BIBLE TO FOLLOW EMMA THE ANGEL AND SOME MAN WHO KICKS A STOMACH CANCER PATIENT IN THE GUT AND THE GUY DOES NOT EVEN GET HEALED! But Gentile in this story represents the person not in the church who repents and follows Jesus Christ not because they were looking for a miracle, but because they were seeking the God that works the miracle!

And guess what? At the beginning of the leper story, all ten were unsaved. Both groups were all in the same boat. But by the end of the story, only one group was saved, and the other group was unsaved. Can you guess based not on my words but on your knowledge of the Bible which group was saved and which group wasn’t? And after you do that, apply that Sunday school Bible story to your own life situation and ask yourself which group YOU are in!

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Dispensational Pre – Tribulation Rapture Christians Will You Go To The Third Temple In Jerusalem And Pray?

Posted by Job on July 21, 2008

Pre – tribulation rapture dispensationalists are not only anticipating, but in many cases actually actively working to bring about the construction of the third Jewish temple, the recreation of the Levitical Aaronic priesthood, and the re – institution of the sacrifices to take away people’s sins. In this temple, Jews – reflecting the religious pluralism of modern rabbinical or synagogue Judaism – will make sacrifices and prayer intercessions for all people of all faiths, and will invite representatives of all faiths to come pray and worship on their outer court, the court of the Gentiles, which in their view will fulfill the Old Testament prophecies and help establish the Messianic age (paving the way for the coming of their Messiah) by getting more Gentiles to pray to their god and consent to becoming Noachide Gentiles.

Now it is no shock that liberal Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, etc. who accept the “many paths to heaven” falsehood of religious pluralism will flock there, and yes this includes the Roman Catholic Church. But the issue is whether dispensational pre – tribulation Christians will as well? Quite frankly, I see no reason why not. The current mindset as exhibited by said Christians that operate in the religious sphere (see popular televangelists), the entertainment sphere (see the books and films which are by no means limited to “Left Behind”, “The Omega Code”, “The Late Great Planet Earth”, etc.), and the political sphere (not just John Hagee and Pat Robertson but Ann Coulter) has basically accepted the idea that Jews and Christians worship the same God. I picked Hagee, Robertson, and Coulter because the former publicly advertises his refusal to proselytize Jews and the latter two told Jewish men on national television that they could get to heaven by faithfully practicing Judaism without accepting Jesus Christ. (Ironically, these very people have no problem consigning liberal Democrat Christians who publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ to the lake of fire, but open up heaven to Jews that reject and revile Jesus Christ.)

Now this is not to say that all or even most of these sorts agree with Hagee, Robertson, and Coulter, and the other fellows who must publicly espouse such beliefs to protect their political and financial interests. Still, if pre – tribulation rapture dispensationalism teaches that Jews and Christians worship the same God and that there is still great spiritual value in Jewish rituals and traditions, and that Christians should take seriously a lot of the things written in the Talmud and such, then why not go to the third temple and pray? Now again, it is one thing to believe that God will never break His promise to Abraham, and to believe the writings of the Benjamite Saul (Paul) in Romans when he stated that God had not cast Israel off. However, it is another thing to totally reject everything else that the New Testament writers (including this same Saul) said about Jews – and everyone else – that reject Jesus Christ.

In other words, it is one thing for God to keep His promises to the biological descendants of Abraham. It is another thing to sit around and pretend that the Jewish religion still has spiritual efficacy, is still pleasing to the sight of God, when the same New Testament that speaks of Jesus Christ called it a shadow of things to come. When even the Old Testament – the book of Jeremiah – spoke of a new and better covenant with the old passing away. Holding that God is honoring two religions according to separate lines of revelation and conflicting truth claims is asserting that God is double – minded, unstable, unreliable, indeed a liar and a charlatan. But that is precisely what supporting the construction of the third temple is claiming. It is based on the notion that Jews and Christians worship the same God, but that the worship of Jews is merely flawed and incomplete. Still, despite their flawed, incomplete worship God still honors it, and will honor their temple as God’s house. And since it is God’s house, it will be perfectly acceptable for Christians to go pray at the Jewish temple. And quite unlike the Benjamite Saul, who suffered great personal sacrifice to visit with and raise and give an offering to the suffering Jerusalem Christians (leading directly to his being arrested I might add!) in the process of going to the Jewish temple to pray the Left Behind folks will ignore all of the impoverished and oppressed Christians – especially the Messianic Jews – in Israel for fear of offending the temple rabbis. Of course, slighting the Jerusalem Christians in this manner would be perfectly fine because they will be raptured up and we will all be together again in heaven, right? So that will make disobeying the book of James all fine and dandy. 

Now maybe I am wrong, but when I hear the Left Behind advocates preach, they really do seem to seldom deal with the epistle to the Hebrews. Take this passage from chapter 7:

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?  12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.  15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.  18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.  19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.  20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)  22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.  23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:  24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;  27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.  28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”

Summary? The Aaronic priesthood is dead, and has been replaced by the priesthood of Jesus Christ. It and things pertaining to it are dead and have no spiritual value, including the rituals and the temple. You might ask why the Jerusalem Jewish Christians still went to the temple to pray. Well, THAT temple was God’s house because GOD told the Jews to build it during the time that God was still dealing with the Jews as His unique people that He was using to accomplish His purposes in the world and revealing things to them through His prophets. So not only did the Jewish Christians worship in that temple, but Jesus Christ did Himself for that temple was God’s house built by God’s people. Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” … it was in times past that He through the prophets told His people to build the second temple. But the new temple will be constructed by people that have REJECTED GOD when He came in the flesh as Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:2 “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.

Look, even if you could show me where Jesus Christ ever told the Jews to rebuild the temple in scripture – and you cannot – making the claim that their rebuilding the temple has anything to do with the person that they REJECTED as their Messiah and God is ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous to claim that their building the temple has anything to do with Revelation, the eschatological writings of Paul, or the CHRISTIAN interpretations of the writings of the Jewish prophets. No, their rebuilding the temple HAS NOTHING TO DO with anything that Jesus Christ said or that followers of Jesus Christ believe. We must remember that while it is true that these people have not been cast away, but they are still – as Saul stated – spiritually blind, and as such are doing not the things of God but rather following the contents of their own hearts. As a result, the new temple will not be a place fit for a Christian to go pray and worship. Why? Because this temple will be an abomination produced by those determined to defy and reject Jesus Christ. So how can Christians participate in this worship or support it in any way without being participants in the desolation of abomination? 

Further, let us go back to Hebrews, which was a warning to Jewish Christians in danger of reverting to Judaism and rejecting the uniqueness and exclusivity of Jesus Christ as expressed in Hebrews 6:1-8. 

1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,  2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  3And this will we do, if God permit.  4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Interpretation: for a Christian to pretend that there is spiritual value in the Aaronic priesthood and things pertaining to it is for a Christian to run the risk of an apostasy for which there is no coming back; a sin unto death. My position has been and is that Christians who are going after these prosperity doctrines trying to receive blessings under the old covenant and making no effort to understand or mature in what is available to them under the new covenant are playing with hell fire. The book of Hebrews is all about enduring to the end. Take 3:12-19, which reads “12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

The doctrine of perseverance of the saints promises that the born again will endure to the end. However, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this area is hindered in Christians that insist on forsaking the new covenant – the covenant under which terms the Holy Spirit is operating at present – in order to go try to practice Judaism, of people who are trying to mix the priesthood of Jesus Christ with the priesthood of Aaron in their doctrine and practice. Hebrews says that people who do this never learn through sound Christian living right from wrong, and as such never attain spiritual maturity, but instead remain spiritual babies. Why? Because it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that matures a Christian, and resisting the Holy Spirit by going back to the old covenant resists that ministry. And again, since it is the mature Christians that will endure to the end, again Christians that are content to play games in this area are playing with hell fire. This is true whether you are a prosperity doctrine Christian or a Christian that is conferring righteousness on the practices and institutions of those that have rejected the Jesus Christ priesthood in order to keep the dead Aaronic priesthood going because of your own endtimes doctrines and hopes. 

If chasing after old covenant blessings with the prosperity doctrine is playing with hell fire, I cannot see how going to the third temple to pray does not violate Hebrews 3:12-19. That is why I have real problems with what some Messianic Jews are advocating. It is one thing for them to advocate that Christians keep Passover, the Sabbath, the feasts, etc. in full view of how these observances typologically represent Jesus Christ, were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and are only being done in remembrance of and in worship of Jesus Christ. In other words, so long as they know and teach that doing these things apart from Jesus Christ is not only meaningless but evil and spiritually harmful, and also teach that if a person has Jesus Christ then he has no need to do these things but should only practice them if he wants to (again, the message of Saul the Jew in Colossians 2:16) then that person is fine. But I often see Messianic Jews referring to and promoting teachings from the Talmud and other books written after the period of revelation to non – Christian Jews had ended by hard – hearted people that rejected the Holy Spirit. Some of the things in the Talmud are 100% true. But some of it is only 50% true (or more or less), and some of it is 100% lie. How can we tell which is which? The answer: we cannot. So why use it? Mixing Jewish tradition with the Bible really is no different from mixing Roman Catholic tradition with the Bible. If it is not infallible, the final authority, inspired, unchanging, and without contradiction or inconsistency, what good is it for use in instruction and doctrine? Claiming that 2 Timothy 3:16 only acts to give authority to scripture while not also invalidating the traditions and doctrines of men is the same trick that Roman Catholics use. If we are not going to accept that nonsense from Roman Catholics who at least PRETEND to accept Jesus Christ, why would we pay respect to the interpretations and doctrines of people who are brazen and open in their rejection of Him? 

Just yesterday on a Christian television network, I saw a Messianic Jewish program showing devout people kissing, crying, and praying at the wailing wall. What is the wailing wall? It is alleged to be the last surviving remains of the Jewish temple. (Yes, I do say ALLEGED because the synoptic gospels assert Jesus Christ’s prophecy that nothing of the temple would be left standing in Matthew 24:2Mark 13:2Luke 21:6). By showing AND PROMOTING Christians and Messianic Jews worshiping not with each other in churches, homes, prisons, and Messianic synagogues but with rabbinic Jews at the alleged remains of what Jesus Christ said would be destroyed according to the provident will of the Father … I cannot see how many Christians would NOT be influenced to take a sojourn to Jerusalem and pray at the third temple and thereby risk apostasy. It is good to know that not all Messianic Jews support this madness: this is a post from a Messianic Jew that takes Hebrews seriously. But sadly, fellows like this are not among the ones that you see represented on Christian television.

Make no mistake, I do believe that there will be a literal third temple, and that a literal anti – Christ will enter into it halfway through the great tribulation, and an abomination of desolation will take place in the temple when the anti – Christ declares himself to be God. But Christians should realize that the third temple will be an abomination in and of itself; the last and greatest attempt by mankind to deny the existence of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and erect a false human priesthood in its place. As a result, unlike the people that defiled and desecrated the first two temples in the past, the anti – Christ will feel right at home in the third temple made by the L’oammi (not my people, see Hosea). Really, the third temple will be nothing more than A SECOND TOWER OF BABEL! So, pre – tribulation rapture Christian, if you think that you can go pray at the tower of Babel without committing apostasy, you had better think again. Or better yet, go home and read your book of Hebrews.

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Third Temple preparations: Rabbis Bring Out Priestly Garments For First Time Since 70 AD

Posted by Job on July 2, 2008

Third Temple preparations begin with priestly garb

Wearing a turban and a light blue tunic threaded with silver, a man stands in a workshop in Jerusalem’s Old City beside spools of white thread affixed to sewing machines. A painting of high priests performing an animal sacrifice beside the First Temple illustrates the function of the room.

A workshop for making... 

A workshop for making priestly garments is inaugurated in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday.  Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

On Monday, the Temple Institute started preparing to build a Third Temple on Jerusalem’s Mount Moriah, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Aksa mosque, by inaugurating a workshop that manufactures priestly garments.

After Efrat Chief Rabbi Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a Kohen himself, gets measured for his own set of Kohanim garments, Aviad Jeruffi, the clothing’s designer, strums “To Ascend to the Temple Mount” on his guitar in celebration.

Priestly garments have not been worn since the destruction of the Second Temple by Rome in 70 AD and cannot be functional until a Third Temple is constructed.

Kohanim, priests directly descended from Moses’s brother Aaron, are recognized by the Institute as such if their paternal grandfather observed the tradition. Today, they have special religious responsibilities; in days of yore they performed the most significant duties within the Temple.

Approximately one-third of the commandments in the Torah cannot be accomplished without a temple, including the obligations of the Kohanim.

But a Third Temple seems a flighty dream with nightmarish political implications to many, as both a shrine, the Dome of the Rock, and the Aksa mosque, Islam’s third holiest structure, currently stand on the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, director of the Temple Institute, says he assumes Muslims will be supportive when the Temple is ready to be built: “We already have some Muslims who are secretly in touch with us,” he says.

When the Temple is rebuilt, Kohanim must wear the proper outfit to perform their obligations, Glick continues. Each set has a turban, tunic pants and belt and is individually tailored at a cost of NIS 2,500.

“If it were a bathrobe for watching SNL [Saturday Night Live], it would not be worth it. But we’re talking about people who have a very strong yearning for working in the Beit Hamikdash [Temple],” says Glick.

Years of diligent research was needed to create the garments in conformance with Jewish law.

Special flaxen thread was imported from India and overseas travel was necessary to obtain the correct colors for the clothes, including to Istanbul, to purchase mountain worms from which the correct shade of crimson is derived.

The secret of the correct shade of blue has been lost since the destruction of the Second Temple, as the identity of chilazon, the snail from which it was extracted, was uncertain until the Ptil Tekhelet nonprofit organization identified it as the murex trunculus, aka hexaplex trunculus, the banded dye-murex found near the Mediterranean Sea.

“The Temple is not a message [just for] the Jewish people. It reunites the world all around one central prayer house. All the prophets say that at the End Times all the nations will be coming to Jerusalem and take part of building [the Temple],” Glick says.

(I wonder if Messianic Jews are going to participate in this, especially if they are of the dispensational pre – tribulation rapture sort? We already know that dispensational pre – tribulation rapture Gentile Christians are doing things like trying to breed red heifers to use in sacrifices as well as providing these people with a ton of financial and organizational support. So, they may as well be bringing burnt offerings and burning bullock and goat kidneys and liver cauls themselves. So what justification is there for supporting this if you are not also going to participate? I will grant you: Paul, who should be considered a Messianic Jew in certain contexts, continued to worship at the temple, as did Peter and many of the other Jerusalem Jewish Christians, and they did so despite the fact that the high priesthood was being held by and the temple was being run by Roman – appointed Sadducees that rejected most of the Old Testament in order to accommodate their embrace of Greek paganism. So my personal opinion of MESSIANIC JEWS STAY AWAY is not as cut – and – dried as I would like it to be. But still: my position is MESSIANIC JEWS AND GENTILE CHRISTIANS, STAY AWAY. Please recall: God told the Jews, whom He was still dealing with to accomplish His purposes in the world through His prophets, to build the second temple. God told them to build it, so that made it appropriate and proper for a person of God to worship there. Now did God tell Jews to build a third temple? If so, when? Instructions to do so were not in the Old Testament. Even better … HOW? Do Jews still have prophets? If so … then why do they need to convert to Christianity? Even more to the point … why does Christianity exist t all? Do not assume that it was the unconditional will of God for there to always be a Jewish temple. Keep in mind: God did not even tell the Jews to build THE FIRST TEMPLE. God merely blessed the decision of DAVID to build it. For more general information on this topic, please see A Better Replacement Theology For Christians And Jews)

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A Better Replacement Theology For Christians And Jews

Posted by Job on April 26, 2008

In response to Soli Deo Gloria’s THE ISRAEL OF GOD: a consideration of so-called “Replacement Theology”

I think that we have to come up with a “better replacement theology” than that of the anti – Semitic Gentile church which seems to have had more sympathy for Greek paganism than for their Jewish brothers in Christ Jesus. We have to look at Body of Christ in terms of A) Old Testament Judaism and B) national Israel.

A). Christianity incontrovertibly fulfilled Old Testament Judaism. Romans and Hebrews makes that fact clear. We should point out further that the apostles – which includes Paul – never imagined themselves to having created a new religion. Instead, they considered themselves to be following Judaism as it had been fulfilled, revealed, completed, etc. in Christ. For them, there was no “Jews on one hand, the church on the other.” Quite the contrary, the church WAS the Jews, and the Jews WERE the church, and both the Jews AND the church were practicing the Judaism of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), called “the way.” Realize that in those days, Jewish Christians even continued going to the synagogues with the other Jews until the creation of the abomination rabbinic Judaism, which led to the expulsion of Jewish Christians the synagogues. So actually, there was never a “Gentile church”, but rather the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 and the teachings of Paul in Romans and Galatians were established to create accommodations for Gentiles WITHIN JUDAISM. That is right, at that stage, Gentile Christians were considered to be practicioners of Judaism, followers of “the way”, which was considered to be a Jewish sect akin to the Essenes and the Pharisees, and the Bible records that Pharisees had Gentile adherents known as “God – fearers.”

Realizing this places some of the disputes of the New Testament concerning Gentiles into context. The Pharisees had already been allowing Gentiles to practice a limited set of their religion without having to be circumcised or follow the 613, and telling them that they would receive eternal life based on it. So, it was absolutely ridiculous for the Jewish Christians to tell Gentiles that they had to fully convert to Judaism in order to join their sect and be saved, because when they were Pharisees – which the vast majority of early Jewish Christians either were or generally followed – they did not require those things of Gentiles. Basically, all the Jerusalem council and Paul did was to tell Gentile Christians that pretty much the same regulations that Pharisees had given to their God – fearers was fine for Gentile Christians!

So initially, the Christians – both Jewish and Gentile – were considered to be followers of the Jewish sect the Nazarenes. Nazarenes were first called Christians at Antioch, and it took quite awhile for the name to spread from there. The whole notion that Christianity was a separate entity from Judaism that required Jews to leave their old religion to join a new one was a totally unscriptural development that came about when the movement was dominated by Gentiles, and more importantly after the apostles departed the scene and  their authority with it. Immediately thereafter the church started to reflect Hellenistic thought, and that includes the HUGE ANTI – SEMITISM inherent to Hellenism.

So, in religious terms, we are not Christians but Jews. If you are a Messianic Jew, you are practicing the Judaism of Peter and Paul, if you are a Gentile you are practicing the Judaism that the Jerusalem Council and the letters of Paul stated was suitable for Gentile believers. But you are still a Jew. But make no mistake, Messianic Judaism, GENTILE JUDAISM, incontrovertibly replaced Old Testament or old covenant Judaism. The best evidence of this is the fact that Old Testament Judaism is no longer being practiced. What purports to be Judaism today was the creation of a single rabbi who created what actually was a new religion in response to the destruction of the temple and nation at 70 AD. So, when the rabbinic expelled the Messianic Jews from their synagogues, it was the people that were following the new religion expelling those that insisted on remaining faithful to the old one.

And yes, the Gentile Christians slowly over time created a new religion. The takeover of Christianity within the Roman Empire by Constantine merely served to make it official, but the religion had long become syncretized with pagan philosophy, local myths and mystery religions, etc. The Gentile Christians wanted to claim a new religion while still preserving some of their prior pagan abominations and go on a completely new direction, and kicking the Messianic Jews out facilitated it. So, the origins of doctrines and practices like veneration and perpetual virginity of Mary, sainthood, praying to the dead, purgatory, etc. actually preceded Roman Catholicism. The resulting truth is that “modern Christianity” did not replace “rabbinic Judaism” because both paradoxically have nothing to do with each other while also being strangely similar. It is no accident that modern Christians and rabbinic Jews work so well together to promote common political, economic, religious, and social agendas, whether the “Christians” and “Jews” in question are liberal, secular, conservative, or pietist. “Judeo – Christianity”, then, is a combination of the false Christianity of the Hellenists and false rabbinic Judaism. In reality, there was nothing to replace because they are one and the same: both reject the true Jesus Christ. But did true, or rather apostolic, biblical Christianity replace true, Sinaitic Judaism? Of course. Although I suppose that saying that Sinai Judaism BECAME Nazarene Judaism is more accurate. So if you are a “born again Christian, what you truthfully are is either a Nazarene Jew if you are a Messianic Jew or Nazarene God – fearer if you are Gentile. And if you are “Judeo – Christian”, you are an apostate, and there will be no profit to being on the “Judeo” side or the “Christian” side on judgment day. 

B) Did the church replace national Israel, the nation and people? As far as the people go, Jesus Christ Himself stated that Jews should not think so much of themselves for being the children – meaning genetic seed – of Abraham, because God could raise up children of Abraham (and by direct inference children of God) from stones. Well, if you are Gentile God – fearing Nazarene Jew, then you are one of the stones of which Jesus Christ spoke. If you are a Messianic Jew, then you are what you were before: a member of the people of Israel. If you are a genetic descendant of Abraham that rejects Jesus Christ, then you are what Paul says you are: someone that God has not cast aside but is still involved with on account of your lineage and the covenant with Abraham, but your eyes are blinded to the truth until the fulness of the Gentiles have come in. When the fulness of the Gentiles come in, you (if it happens in this day) or your progeny (if it happens in the future) will acknowledge Jesus Christ and mourn bitterly for whom you rejected and pierced. So the benefits of being a natural child of Abraham after the flesh is having a future for your people and your city Jerusalem explicitly given in scripture, but apart from that you are no different from and no better off than a Gentile that has rejected Jesus Christ. So did the church replace Abraham’s genetic stock? No. But did they replace Abraham’s genetic stock’s role of being God’s elect people used to carry out His purposes in the world? Declaring otherwise is tantamount to denying that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead. If the church – Nazarene Jews – are not the people of God doing God’s Will, then why did Jesus Christ come? Why did He die? Why did He rise from the dead? Why is there a New Testament? Why is there a gospel? I know people have hang – ups acknowledging this for some legitimate reasons, but at some point we have to deal with the fact that the alleged Judaism being practiced by the natural seed of Abraham that has rejected Jesus Christ is not Old Testament old covenant Sinai Judaism as given to Moses, but was the creation of Yochanan ben Zakkai after the destruction of the Temple. Evangelical dispensationalists from John Hagee on down operate on the presumption that there is any difference between ben Zakkai’s religion – which wrongly and illegitimately usurped the name of Judaism – and Islam, Hinduism, Scientology, Mormonism, or anything else that was never given by God. They do so by withholding from their charges the huge differences in mindset and purpose of rabbinic Judaism and Sinai Judaism, and also the fact that where most Bible – believing Christians have always been trying to return to and recapture the early church, the overwhelming majority of rabbinic Jews despise Sinai Judaism, viewing it is backwards, barbaric, and an embarrassment. 

And please do not take the truth that God is honoring His Abrahamic covenant with Abraham’s natural descendants too far, to claim some basis of spiritual importance or significance on the part of Jews that have rejected Jesus Christ. Why? Because doing so ignores the inconvenient fact that God told Hagar that He would bless the seed of Ishmael for Abraham’s sake as well! That is right: the Ishmaelites are the natural seed of Abraham just like rabbinic Jews. This proves that possessing genetic material from Abraham does not automatically place you in covenant relationship with God as a member of God’s people fulfilling God’s purpose in this world.

So then, did the church replace national Israel? That only makes sense if you view Judaism and Christianity as two separate religions with two different bodies of people, and particularly if you draw a hard line of demarcation between yourself and old covenant Sinai Judaism. If that is your worldview, then fine, but just know that the Bible does not support it. Virtually everything in the New Testament – from Matthew to Revelation – is a restatement, clarification, or fulfillment of material previously given in the Old Testament, and this certainly includes the very Jesus Christ and church that the law, prophets, and writings spoke of. A specific example: the so – called Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11. Realize that God’s Hall of Fame CONTAINS NOT A SINGLE MEMBER OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. So, if you are drawing that line, you are drawing a line between yourself and the universal covenant people of God that cannot be supported by scripture. What does that mean for national Israel?

I answer that question with a question: does national Israel exist truly? Some say Israel ceased to exist as a nation in 70 AD with the destruction of the second temple. I say that Israel ceased to exist as a nation in 586 AD with the destruction of the FIRST TEMPLE. Why? The key issue of sovereignty. It is stated in Exodus and reflected in scripture and in Jewish thought thereafter that Israel became a nation when God, in an act of the national salvation of His elect people, brought them out of Egypt. Even though they had huge numbers in Egypt, they were not a nation. Why? Because they were not free. They were in bondage. As such, they had no freedom to serve God as God saw fit, which at that time included creating the priesthood, the tabernacle (whose function was transferred to the temple), the sacrifices, and observances. As a matter of fact, Egypt would not so much as allow Israel to go into the wilderness to sacrifice to YHWH. Why were those things required by God of His people at that time but have not been required of God’s people since? BECAUSE THOSE THINGS PREFIGURED AND POINTED TO JESUS CHRIST, AND CHRISTIANS – again Nazarene Jews – HAVE THOSE THINGS IN HIM. So if you have Jesus Christ, then you are national Israel, a sovereign spiritual nation. But of Israel, when they were in bondage to the Babylonians, Medo – Persians, Greeks, and Romans, there were only brief periods where they were actually allowed to practice Sinai Judaism to the best of their ability. The Romans, for instance, appointed both the high priest (always Sadducees) and the secular rulers of the area (the Herods) just as Constantine and other Roman emperors would go on to appoint bishops in the Roman imperial church. 

So then, what of the recreated state of Israel in 1948 that fueled so much speculation that Jesus Christ would return “within this generation”, which caused evangelical Christians to discard the centuries of endtimes doctrines created before then in favor of things like “The Late Great Planet Earth” (whose author is currently on his fourth wife) and “Left Behind” (whose author is allied with cult leader Sun Myung Moon)? Well I am going to let you in on a little secret: this “independent free state of Israel whose re – establishment is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy” is not sovereign. It is true that they are not practicing Sinai Judaism as well, but that is not the key fact, for there were long periods of apostasy in national Israel when they did not practice Sinai Judaism. As a matter of fact, Judges tells us that the tribe of Dan was ALWAYS apostate – which explains why it is not listed among the 144,000 in Revelation – and the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom of Ephraim – had only wicked kings and practiced idolatry and the bull worship of Jeroboam (1 Kings 12) until they were destroyed by the Assyrians. But the point is that they were free to do as they choose, and the fact that they continually chose wrong in the northern kingdom and chose wrong over half the time in the southern kingdom of Judah is a fact to ponder.

But modern Israel does not have any such right. Modern Israel is nothing more than a vassal state of the global imperialists – led by the United Nations and the United States – just as was Judaea of Rome. As such, Israel is ruled by a western parliamentary democracy – a form of government given to the world by the Greek and Roman pagans, which means that it may not even be “secular – just as are the other nations in this thing called “the west” that includes Muslim Kosovo and will soon include Muslim Turkey, what we went to war to establish another in Iraq (with the support of so many Christians who value Greco – Roman pagan governmental institutions over the gospel of Jesus Christ … how many Christians have joined in the government’s claim that “we are constructing a free democratic Iraq and that makes the war worthwhile”!), and if either Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack HUSSEIN Obama become president is a form of government that will spread even further in the Muslim and third world one way or another. Please keep in mind that even the Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist group started by a homosexual Muslim Yasser Arafat, has been given many millions of dollars by America and the globalists merely for making the pretense of forming itself into a Greco – Roman pagan parliamentary organization. Were Hamas, the rival of the PLO, now called the Palestinian Authority, to do the same, they would receive the same. It looks like good old Jimmy Carter, the former Southern Baptist peanut farmer from rural Georgia, has just about convinced Hamas of the benefits of going in that direction. So, were this “free sovereign Israel” to dump their Greco – Roman pagan government in favor of either a monarchy after the manner of King David or a theocracy after the Judges – Samuel period, what would the globalist rulers do? Well, as even now Israel does not even have the right to determine its own borders or even make major internal political, economic, legal, or military actions without international approval, one can guess: the globalist pharaohs would not so much as suffer them to go into the wilderness to sacrifice.

The end result is that the church could not have replaced national Israel, because a sovereign national Israel has not existed since 586 BC, which incidentally was when the ark of the covenant that represented the covenant between God and national Israel was either destroyed or lost, never to be found or replaced on this earth save how it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The true people of God, hence, are a diaspora. Just as there is no such thing as a Christian nation, there is no such thing as a Jewish nation in this time, whether it be of true Nazarene Judaism, or false rabbinic Judaism. Instead, we are a people with no homeland wandering, sojourning in our booths in this life waiting until the Messiah returns to restore us, to ingather us, into New Jerusalem. Ronald Reagan deceived a lot of Christians into viewing America as the new “shining city on a hill”, and Reagan was just one deceiver among many. 

Some legitimate Christian ministries out there are discussing the implications of the Feast of Booths, or the Feast of Tabernacles, to Christianity; I urge you to research them. But the covenant people of God are in the world, not of it, and awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. In that respect, we are to be no different from Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, or the apostles wandering the highways and byways of the Roman Empire spreading the gospel. Understand that and know that we did not so much replace national Israel and Judaism, but rather that we are true diaspora Israel and true Judaism: the mystery that the prophets spoke of. But know that when the seventh angel begins to sound, this mystery of God shall be finished (Revelation 10:7)!

When shall this happen? My current theory is that one day, maybe very soon or maybe not, Israel is going to be offered true sovereignty, and take it. However, the one making that offer will be the beast, the man of sin, commonly called the anti – Christ. At that point the time of sorrows, the great tribulation, will be upon the world, and soon after Jesus Christ will return, and the church will be caught up in the air to meet Him. That will be the day that the whole world, including the remnant of the natural seed of Abraham, will acknowledge that replacement theology was true after all.  

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Judeo – Christianity Does Not Include Jesus Christ Or Messianic Jews!

Posted by Job on April 25, 2008

Banning Jesus: What a “Judeo-Christian” Prayer Service Looks Like from Slice of Laodicea:

I had emailed you awhile back about an event similar to this one, co-sponsored by my previous church. It was to pray for Israel, and Jewish folks were invited as well. The problem began when I found out just a day before the event, from the church we were partnered with to do this, that in order not to be offensive they had to remove their crosses that were out in the open, banners with the name of Jesus on them, the speakers were only to read from the Old Testament, and no songs of Jesus were to be sung. They said that we had to agree to this ahead of time or the Jewish participants would not come. Also, Messianic Jews were not allowed to participate as speakers, and if they attended, they had to sit in a special place in the back as to not offend the Jewish folks who think they are traitors to Judaism…

I have stated in the past that these incidents are not by accident. It is part of an ongoing effort on a religion based on rejecting Jesus Christ – rabbinic Judaism – to cause Christians to do the same. Jews claim that it is done to remove the “threat” of proselytization. Nonsense. The biggest threat to Judaism is not proselytization, but of Jews becoming for all practical purpose atheists or marrying non – Jews (also almost always atheists in practice) and not raising their children in Judaism. The threat of persecution is also given as another reason, and I agree that there is a history of such behavior by Christians. Yet Muslims also have persecuted Jews, and Jews do not respond by trying to get nonviolent Muslims to alter and deny their faith. (Quite the contrary, Jews promote the notion that Jews and Muslims were living together in peace before the Christians came and taught the Muslims to hate.)

No, this is all about their being offended at the claims of Jesus Christ being their God and Messiah through whose Name alone can salvation can be granted. So, Jews have been successful in getting liberal “Christians” to deny Jesus Christ because liberal Christianity was basically already there to begin with, so anti – Semitism and the memory of the Holocaust gave them yet another excuse to not only deny fundamentalism within themselves, but to attack Christians that insisted on adhering to it as bigoted and dangerous. It is not that such liberal Christians sincerely care about Jews suffering bigotry and harm as they are offended by fundamentalist Christians continuing to hold onto their doctrines and as such exposing them as the apostate frauds that they are.

But evangelical Christians were a tougher case, because in order to retain influence among those that have rejected theological liberalism and universalism, there remained the need to assert fidelity to scripture. So to them, the way was right wing politics, with dispensational pre – tribulation rapture doctrines added to it. The older Christians probably know within their heart that it is primarily a secular activity for cultural and political reasons, but younger Christians raised on this HONESTLY DO NOT KNOW BETTER.

You have two groups of concern here. First, there are the younger Christians, folks 30, 35, even 40 and younger who were raised in an evangelical church, and for whom the views and activities of Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, etc. have always been part of their religious mindset. The amazing thing that a lot of these people have grown up reading newspaper columns and listening to radio shows produced by people that they presume to be evangelical Christians (and by this I do not mean the likes of Dobson but actually secular figures like Rush Limbaugh) and have their religious views influenced by them, not to mention by politicians like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. And then there is the second group, which is people that have been converted into political evangelicalism during this time. Counting their children, it may actually be larger. Both groups would be absolutely shocked to find out that before the rise of the religious right, not only was the practice of joining hands with people that explicitly reject Jesus Christ as do rabbinic Jews in spiritual gatherings not done, but similar gatherings between even Roman Catholics and Christians were rare!

And of course, I am going to play the hypocrisy card. Let us say that it were MUSLIMS rather than Jews! THESE SAME PEOPLE WOULD INSIST ON PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST IN THEIR PRESENCE AND DENOUNCE AS AN APOSTATE HERETIC ANYONE WHO REFUSED! Why? Well, Muslims are on the other side politically and represent a different political alignment and worldview, for one thing. That is one of the reasons why so many conservatives are so willing to accept the notion that Barack HUSSEIN Obama may secretly be Muslim. Never mind the fact that radical Islam is not only much more socially conservative than not only the left wing of the Democratic Party but also most evangelical Christian Republicans, since neither Obama or Usama are on their side politically and culturally one is as good as the other.

And that brings us to the really troubling part: the theological one. These folks went delusional with rage when Keith Ellison took the oath of office on a Koran, WHICH WAS HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. Let me repeat: WE HAVE SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION, SO IT WAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF KEITH ELLISON TO TAKE HIS OATH OF OFFICE ON A KORAN. Yet these same people are willing to allow Jews that reject the New Testament to come sit in their church, and to join them in making meaningless prayers. Now keep in mind: it is very possible for a Muslim to swear himself to a religious right agenda based on the Koran.

But the reason why it has to be Judeo – Christian values (and increasingly Judeo – Christian – Mormon values) is THEOLOGY. Religious right Christians have absolutely no problem proclaiming that Muslims are going to burn in the lake of fire unless they accept Jesus Christ. But Jews? Well, that is when we get into the equivocating. It really does appear that the political and cultural interests of the religious right has affected the theology, especially for those that were not Christians (or alive) before the formation of the religious right. While some – many – most are unwilling to explicitly commit to dual covenant theology, they nonetheless see Jews as having some special place with God – some special spiritual status – that every other person that rejects Jesus Christ does not have. Were that not the case, THERE IS NO WAY THAT THEY WOULD CONSENT TO A RELIGIOUS SERVICE THAT SPECIFICALLY OMITS JESUS CHRIST AND FORCES THEIR FELLOW BELIEVERS – MESSIANIC JEWS – TO GO TO BE SEGREGATED INTO THEIR OWN SECTIONS JUST AS BLACKS WERE DURING JIM CROW! That is right folks, segregation and discrimination against Jews in a matter that would never be tolerated in the politically correct evangelical church against blacks, Hispanics, or even increasingly homosexuals is being perpetrated against Jews that believe in Jesus Christ. AND IF THAT IS NOT ANTI – SEMITISM AND ANTI – JUDAISM, WHAT IS?

I have to tell you, the only way that Christians would allow not only our Messianic Jewish brethren but the Name of Jesus Christ to suffer such ill treatment would be doctrinal confusion that causes them to believe that conservative Jews are “kinda sorta born again, or will be accepted by God in some way even if they aren’t.” Otherwise, what is the reason? What is the justification? The irony is that some of these same people were criticizing Rick Warren for allowing Barack HUSSEIN Obama and Hillary Clinton to speak at his TOTALLY SECULAR conference on AIDS are participating in this day of prayer. So what more proof do we need that the anti – Christ spirit is acting through and using the religious right in America? And why aren’t more of us rending our clothes over it?

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To All Jews: Why You Should Consider Reformed And Calvinist Christianity!

Posted by Job on April 24, 2008

Please read links below. Allow me to to Messianic Jews in particular, according to my limited readings on the topic the notion that Israel’s national election by a sovereign God has always been a part of the historic Old Testament and rabbinic Jewish tradition. It is only in modern times that Messianic Jews have adapted to free will soteriology from popular Protestantism, and rabbinic Jews have conformed to similar thinking because of the liberal influences of Conservative and Reform Judaism. 

To The Jew First

Chaim: A Reformed Ministry To Jewish People

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Messianic Jews Granted Full Right Of Return Privileges By Israeli Supreme Court!

Posted by Job on April 24, 2008

“The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that Messianic Jews have the same rights regarding automatic citizenship as Jews who do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah. The case was brought by 12 applicants who had been denied citizenship primarily because they were Jewish believers in Jesus. Most of them had received letters saying they would not receive citizenship because they “commit missionary activity,” according to an e-mail circulated by Calev Myers, founder and chief counsel of The Jerusalem Institute of Justice.”  For the rest of the article see link below. 

Israeli Supreme Court sides with Messianic Jews

And though Messianic Judaism is commonly associated with Southern Baptist and charismatic free will evangelical Christianity, it happens that there are some Reformed and Calvinist Messianic Jewish Congregations! Now I am certain that there are some that are going to assert that this decision happening at this particular time is a fulfillment of prophecy that brings us that much closer to the endtimes. There would have been a time when I myself would have asserted so, but where I am in my walk with Jesus Christ right now, I shall refrain! However, those who wish to propose such information, please feel free to in the comments below!

Also, please view a news video on Messianic Jews in Israel below.

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