Judah, Tamar and Perez

Judah’s Sons,Tamar, and The Messianic Line

 

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder cir. 1681

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder cir. 1681

Genesis 38: 1-11

1And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. And he took her, and went in unto her. 3And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 4And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 5And she yet again bare a son, and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. 6And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. 7And Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. And Jehovah slew him. 8And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9And Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. 10And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and he slew him also. 11Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house (ASV 1901).

Judah, who was aligned with Reuben in steering the other sons of Jacob away from killing Joseph left them and travelled to Adullam. This was a town in the Judean lowlands southwest of Bethlehem. It later in the invasion under general Joshua was made a part of the tribal inheritance of Judah and it was also associated with the life of David (I Samuel 22: 1-2 etc.). Judah must have had a disagreement with his siblings regarding the disposition of Joseph because he chose not to stay with them. This account will span a time frame of approximately twenty-three years.

In Adullam Judah meets and befriends a man named Hirah. Through Hirah he is introduced to Shua who has a marriageable daughter. So he marries this unnamed Canaanite woman and ends up having three children with her. Interestingly, both Abraham and Isaac went to great lengths to prevent their children from marrying Canaanite women. Esau of course violated that and intermarried with the Canaanites and the Ishmaelites. Judah who was of the chosen family line began the intermarriages into the Canaanites. The text simply says that he took her, and went in unto her. He then had three sons by her: Er (עֵר), Onan, and Shelah. Judah named Er and his wife named Onan and Shelah since he was away in the nearby town of Chezib. Hebrew naming shows the parents wish to commemorate some meaningful event through the child’s name. Er means forsaken or lonely. Onan means sorrow and Shelah means deception. This seems to indicate that Judah was quite remorseful over the events that brought Joseph into slavery into Egypt.

When Er was grown he was married to a woman named Tamar. The text further tells us that he was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. The Hebrew word for wicked is ra רַע. It is a designation of a degree of wickedness that merits divine retribution. And in this case his death was the result of Jehovah God taking his life in some undisclosed manner. Jehovah who knows all things was keeping Tamar from this evil man. As a result of his death Judah instructs the second born son Onan to do his duty and “Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother.” This concept is called the law of levirate marriage. It was codified into the Mosaic Law and became a standard practice (Deuteronomy 25: 5-6, Ruth 4: 5-6; Matthew 22: 24). The idea was to keep the name of the individual who died through his son. This would also preserve an in family transfer of land and material wealth. The first-born son would be the heir and would also have an obligation along with the new husband to care for the widow. Widows in ancient Israel would be forced to beg without this law. So in this way the widow was protected from becoming destitute. Finally, the son would keep the family name alive even though the father was not alive to propagate. One clear example of this is the marriage of Ruth to Boaz

Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64

Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64

 Levirate Marriage

Deuteronomy 25: 5-6

5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. 6And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel (ASV 1901).

Onan seemed to have no qualms against marrying Tamar Er’s widow. He seemed to accept the easy part of having sexual intercourse with her and accepting his inheritance. Er was first born so he would have gotten Judah’s estate when he passed. Er realized this and complied with Judah’s instructions. However, Onan realized that the children would not be his per se but that of Er’s so during intercourse with Tamar he continually withdrew from her before he deposited his semen into her. Thus, she was not allowed to become pregnant. Some mistakenly teach through this example here that God prohibits contraception. The sin here was, Onan did not want to obey his father and honor his brother by taking up the responsibility that was given to him. Because his sin was in the same category of wickedness of his brother Er the Lord executed His divine will and caused him to die too. Tamar was now a widow again and Judah instructed her to “Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren.” Judah was certainly considering Tamar to have some major issue that both her husbands received divine executions. So he told her that when his third son Shelah was of age she could have him in levirate because he feared that Jehovah would take him too. Judah had no intention of letting Tamar marry Shelah because of the curse he thought she had. She trusted Judah and went to her father’s home to live and wait for Shelah to come of age and marry her.

The Strange Case of Tamar and Judah

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667

Genesis 38: 12-26

12And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep-shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father-in-law goeth up to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face. 16And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand. And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19And she arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. 21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside? And they said, There hath been no prostitute here. 22And he returned to Judah, and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There hath been no prostitute here. 23And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be put to shame: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. 24And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and moreover, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 25When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff. 26And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. (ASV 1901)

So time passed and Judah was making no effort to arrange another levirate marriage between Shelah and Tamar who desired children and not wanting to make a career of widowhood. She was still a young woman. Judah’s wife died and he went through a period of ritual mourning as the text says that and Judah was comforted. Later he and his friend Hirah went up to the sheep-shearers. This was a festive time for them and Judah now done with mourning was going to join in the party atmosphere.

Tamar became aware of Judah’s travel to the party with the sheep shearers with Hirah and she devised a plan to force him into a role of a levir for her. In her contrivance she planned to entrap him. She changed out of her widow’s clothes and made herself appear as an adherent of Astarte, which was a sacred prostitute. She then put on a veil, which had several connotations of that day. Brides principally wore them on their wedding night and so did prostitutes wanting to appear as a wholesome bride. So a veiled woman in public gave off the message that she was a prostitute available for sexual intercourse. She had essentially dressed herself as a cult prostitute and waited for Judah to appear at the city gate of Enaim. Her actions while retaliatory for not getting Shelah put her into a doubly sinful situation. She was legally betrothed to Shelah regardless of what Judah was preventing and she was planning on an incestuous relationship with Judah.

When Judah saw her he was enticed by her. She played the role of seductress and lured him into a sexual union. It was Judah who suggested the sex when he said to her, ”Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law.” He was coming off a period of mourning and was exceptionally vulnerable to temptation of this sort and didn’t realize that this was his daughter-in-law in disguise. Tamar who played the role of a prostitute asked for payment for gratifying his sexual desires. This was a normal request from a prostitute. She says, “What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” He promised her a kid of the goats of the flock at a later time for sexual favors now, but she did not trust him and wanted something of more significance as a promissory to pay. She was actually looking for something to provide as evidence proving him to be the father of the child who would come from the union. So Judah asks, “What pledge shall I give thee? She being very savvy says to him in response, “Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand.” These three items had identifying significance for her to later prove who the father’s child was. The signet was used to seal documents, the cord was a necklace that the ring was kept on, and the staff in his hand established his profession. So she received them and she had sex with him, after which she became pregnant. She then left, removed the veil and put back on the widow’s clothes.

Judah then tried to make good on the promise to give her a goat kid. He sent Hirah to her with the payment. He of course wanted his personal items back, which she was holding as a deposit. When Hirah was unable to find her he begins asking the men of her place, saying,” Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside?” they just said, “There hath been no prostitute here.” Hirah tried to honor Judah’s commitment to pay her and when that failed he returned to Judah with the kid. Judah decided to forget the entire incident.

Now comes the revelation to Judah of what actually happened. After three months when Tamar is just entering her second trimester a report was given to Judah that Tamar had become a harlot and she is pregnant as a result of her prostitute activities. So Judah still not knowing that he impregnated her says in response to learning what she did, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” He was the patriarch of the clan and had a right to do this since she was guilty of prostitution. During the trial she pleaded, “By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff.” Judah then had to confess when he was exposed and simply admitted his guilt by saying, “She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.”

 

Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown

Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown

Twins are Born to Judah and Tamar

Genesis 38: 27-30

28And it came to pass, when she travailed, that one put out a hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. 29And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? Therefore his name was called Perez. 30And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerah. (ASV 1901)

This section of Scripture regarding the story of Judah and Tamar ends with the birth of twin sons. When they were about to be born one put his hand out of the womb and the midwife tied a scarlet thread on his hand to indicate he was the first born. However he drew his hand back in and returned into the womb. So the second one was born first. This caused the midwife to say, “Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself?” This is a Hebrew play on words, which means you breached a breach or you forged through. This is the meaning of the name Perez who was the first-born. He became a seed son of the Messianic line (Ruth 4: 12, 18-22; Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33). The second son then came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand and he was named Zerah meaning the shining one probably due to the scarlet thread. This account while seemingly out of place in the story of Joseph traces the Messianic line. It also shows that they were intermarrying into the Canaanites. This is one of the reasons God took Judah and the rest of the family into Egypt. Finally there is a strong contrast illustrated here between Judah and Joseph. One brother was resisting temptation and the other caving in to it.

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

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Select Departures From Biblical Orthodoxy in Christianity

Deception in Christianity

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Matthew 24: 4-5

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many (KJV). 

 

II John 7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

 

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

 

2Peter 2:1-22  

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false word

 

I Timothy 1: 18-19

18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

 

Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

 

We are to Go out and Teach Regardless of the Environment!

 

Matthew 10: 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;

 

II Timothy 3: 5

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.

 

Proverbs 9: 7-9

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more (NLT).

 

2 Corinthians 11:14


No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 Know Them By Their Fruit:

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

One of the tactics of anti-Christian, religious based cults is their ability to “spin” negative incidents to give the target plausible deniability of various biblical doctrines. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine a subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, worldview, emotional control, and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her Christian history and adopt a new version of belief. This seemed to be especially true when it came to the leaders of most of these new religions who are most often characterized as “prophets and apostles”. The cults make a person re-evaluate the most central aspects of their Biblical Christian beliefs, with a focus on their negative experiences in the Church.

The foundation of any cult is to make it difficult for a target to leave. They convey hurdles to leaving which are either real or imagined downfalls of exiting the cult. The cult’s goal is to increase the “leaving cost” of real or imagined downfalls one will incur if they leave the cult. For example, you can say once you become a “Genuine Christian” (their version), you are one for life. If you stray from their version of “Christ”, you are doomed to a Lake of Fire. The “leaving cost” is easy to see: Leave us and you will suffer. Since most churches do not teach the Bible as authoritative, the cult’s missionaries have a wide range of targets to aim at to destabilize a believer. Therefore when a local congregation or denomination removes the Bible as authoritative they enable the cult to prevail and make it politically difficult for people to leave: BEWARE!

One unbiblical tactic is where the preacher tells the congregation what they expect to hear. By continually appealing to their ego, boosting their pride, and self-esteem, as well as simply reassuring them that they are correct in what they believe; they lull the listener into believing their version of the “correct” ideology to accept. This results in a “GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT INSTEAD OF WHAT THEY NEED” mantra. Another tactic is to appeal to people’s laziness and intellectual complacency. They do not wish to be challenged and want to live according to what is important to them. Some who call themselves “Christian” prefer intellectual laziness, and even hide from learning anything about the Bible. As long as they know nothing about the Scripture they are happy with the skewed view the cult church teaches them because it seems correct even though they are swayed away from the truth.

Examples of Anti Christian Cultic Beliefs

Liberalism:

Liberalism in theology is similar to liberalism in politics. Both want to secularize their respective societies to match the Humanist tenets. They put their faith in evolution, historical relativism, progress through science, the “benevolent” state, and getting someone else’s money. To do this they must quiet the Bible fundamentalist and their revealed truth. The liberal refuses to believe the miracles of the Bible regardless of the evidence for them. Liberalism promotes Christianity without the Spirit or the power of God.

Modernism:

Modernism is a more subtle and increasingly popular idea to reframe the Bible in a way that makes Biblical writers present God according to their own superstitious world view.  The most prominent is the “Bible contains the Word of God, but is not the World of God.” This means that man wrote it and therefore it has no authority.  Modernists say “Glean the good stuff and don’t worry about the negative”.  For example, the Israelite’s tribal god was Jehovah, who is no different from the Canaanite’s tribal gods such as Moloch, Baal and others.  Of course at the time of Christ, paganism abounded with a firm belief in what we call mythology.  Relatively few pagans exist today that still worship Zeus, Ares and the other “titans”, however modern thinkers point to the fact that all deities of the day interacted with humans and produced half-god, half-human offspring.  So, they say Jesus is no different, he is just another myth that hung on long after the others fell pray to modernism.  they say people today no longer believe the old fairy tails and archaic religion of a mean God with a half-human son.   Jesus was about love, not judgment so let’s just forget all the “righteousness stuff” and accept anything that makes others happy.

Secularism:

According to secularists, Christianity and God should be forced out of everyday life and be kept behind the closed doors of the home or church where it belongs.  We see this attitude in our schools and now in our governments.  Secularism puts pressure on people to keep religion private and out of the public eye.  It is anti-evangelism and as a religion, has its own doctrine.

Universalism

Popular books like The Shack and other similar fictitious “Christian” books are promoting a theology called Universalism.  Universalism basically says since Jesus died for everyone, everyone will be saved.  The extreme brand of Universalism, called Ultimate Reconciliation, teaches that even Satan will be reconciled to God in the end.  Universalism’s appeal is that God loves everyone.  After all who doesn’t want a loving God?  Forgiveness comes without repentance and the Christian relationship with God is without discipline or strength of character.  If we all make it to heaven in the end, why bother living a Christian life?  This doctrine is more insidious than it seems and is affecting many people today – even if they do not know it by its theological name.

Politicalism:

Politicalism seeks to enforce certain religious viewpoints through political power, either in a church or secular government.  Those with this viewpoint cringe in fear when they hear a news story about Islamic fundamentalists wanting to force a country and its entire population to adopt Islamic religious law as the law of the land.  Yet they will do the exact same thing in America.   It is the idea that America is like Old Testament Israel and if we can just make enough Christian “laws”, God will bless us.  The problem is that there are no Christian nations – only Christian people.  If America was birthed with Christianity it was because she had Christians, not Christian laws.  When will the church learn that political power will not save a soul?  Yet if we save a soul, we will probably get that person to follow in the moral lifestyle we promoted in the first place. The Church- that is individual Christians – will have to deal with these issues more and more in the coming days.  If there ever was a time to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,” it is today.

Americanism:

This subject can be much misunderstood. We love America and are blessed that the Lord saw fit to place us here. We have the most freedoms of any nation on earth but we must be cautious to not place Americanism before our Christianity. Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14: 6). He did not say that any country on this earth is to replace Him. Many that claim Christ as their savior seem to think that our salvation comes from the United States of America. For example, they believe that since the first amendment to the US Constitution provides religious freedom, all religions are equal. That is not what it says, here is what it says:

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 Cults That Promote Themselves as Genuine Christian

 

Anti-Christian Cults stealthily attack Christianity from a doctrinal viewpoint. So, those cults that are nearest to Christianity are viewed as just another denomination with some differences but are not considered destructive. We are led into believing that it is inappropriate to speak out against them because it causes division in the Body. We simply do not know enough about these different groups to adequately prepare to speak out against them and prevent others from embracing these corrupt theologies. We fall for the lies because we do not know the truth of the Bible and therefore the false doctrines of the Christian Cults. Dr. Donald Campbell expressed the problem very succinctly when he said, “When the gospel message is corrupted, the way of salvation is confused and people are in danger of being eternally lost.” [1]We must realize this and strive to warn of the dangers of the Christian Cult’s doctrine.

Mormonism:

Joseph Smith the founder was greatly influenced by his father, who searched for buried treasure using occult methods. His life changed in 1820 when he supposedly received a vision from God the Father and the Son, who told him that all other religions were an abomination, but that he was the prophet to bring restoration.

In 1823 another vision from the angel Moroni convinced Smith that God was calling him. Moroni said he would find some golden plates requiring translating. Smith discovered these plates, inscribed with what he called “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics,” outside Palmyra, New York. He was able to translate them with a huge pair of spectacles that he called the “Urim and Thummim.” According to his story, between 1827 and 1829, he “translated” the plates, and in 1830 published The Book of Mormon. The plates were purportedly taken to heaven by Moroni.[2]

Many people flocked to Joseph Smith’s new theology. Within a decade he had thousands of followers. A principle reason for this rapid rise in popularity was Mormonism’s startling and distinct contrast with the beliefs of the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and various other Christian denominations. To begin with, Smith taught that most of the beliefs of Christianity were hopelessly corrupted, including the Bible, and this had been supernaturally revealed to him in order to restore “God’s truth”. The main attraction, however, was theological novelty. Today the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church has taken a different tactic involving new name preferences (play down “Mormonism,” play up “Church of Jesus Christ”) and other strategies (create an image of being a part of mainstream Christianity through advertising campaigns). It’s working. After Islam, Mormonism is now the fastest growing religion in the world, although little has changed doctrinally from it’s novel beginnings.

  • Mormonism teaches that God has a physical body and lives on a planet near a star called Kolob.
  • He is but one of an infinite number of gods, each ruling over his own world located somewhere in the universe. Supposedly, each god has untold numbers of goddess wives who produce millions of spirit children. Amazingly, these spiritual offspring of god and his goddesses must then be birthed through physical beings (non-gods) on earth. This obtains for them the physical bodies necessary to become gods and goddesses, who create and rule over their own worlds.
  • Polygamy was a major part of Mormonism. It met the need for producing bodies for the spirit babies birthed by multiple mother goddesses. It is still practiced among some Mormon sects today. The Latter Day Saints’ focus on the family has more to do with the Church’s biblically unorthodox theology than with domestic well-being.
  • According to LDS teaching, Jesus was one of those spirit babies (as was his spirit brother Lucifer, who became Satan).
  • The conception of Jesus was unique but not virginal; God, who is physical, had intercourse with Mary.
  • Since producing children is critical to a Mormon male’s progression to godhood, Jesus had children through the women (the sisters Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene) who accompanied him. Supposedly, he married them at the wedding feast of Cana.
  • Mormonism’s salvation accommodates nearly everyone in one “heaven” or another. The death of Jesus on the cross was redemptive only in that it provided physical resurrection (bodies) for all.
  • Obeying the commandments and performing Church duties and rituals are necessary in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom.
  • Those who fall short of such requirements may still enter in as Celestial servants, and, if not, they can abide in the Terrestrial Kingdom.
  • Moral non-Mormons may spend eternity in the Telestial Kingdom.
  • Hell is a purgatory-like place and is eternal only for those few who commit an “unpardonable sin,” such as apostasy. Nearly everyone has a chance to improve his eternal status after death.

We have opinion leaders and high-level politicians who are Mormons and as 1st Amendment Americans we accept them as just another denomination teaching the truth. Anyway there are many ways to heaven, aren’t there?

Christian Science:

Christian Science is not Christian in terms of biblical doctrine. Only the name itself is Christian. The idea of Christian Science came in 1866 when Mary Baker Eddy said she discovered the “Science of metaphysical healing”. She organized it in 1879 and it was founded on her book, “Science and Health (with Key to the Scriptures)” the last part of the title was added later.

  • They believe there is no such thing as sin, it is an illusion.
  • They believe there is no such thing as sickness, it also is an illusion.
  • They believe that sick people must be convinced that they are not sick, then they will get well, since sickness is an illusion and does not really exist.
  • There is no such thing as death, a person gets old and dies because they believe that is what is supposed to happen. This stems from the fact that they believe that the whole universe is an illusion.
  • Their god is not the personal God of the Bible. Everything is god and god is good. Therefore, there is no sin, disease, or death because all is god and god is good. The whole universe is falsehood – an illusion.
  • They claim that there is healing from Christian Science. Their method of healing is denying the disease itself, e.g., “I am not sick. I do not have cancer.” This is not prayer but simply talking out loud to yourself. In fact, Christian Science says that prayer to a personal God is a hindrance.
  • They believe women can become pregnant by a supreme effort of their own minds, a man is not needed for procreation.
  • Man is not made of the dust of the earth as in Genesis 2 because matter does not exist, therefore Eddy calls Genesis 2 “a lie”. They take her word over the Bible.
  • They believe that Jesus is not God, he was the highest human concept of the perfect man, but not to be worshipped.
  • They believe that Jesus was never tempted by the devil. Eddy says, “He was tempted by the false beliefs in His own mind.”
  • They believe that Jesus never died because death does not exist; He just thought He was dead.
  • They believe the blood of Jesus has no atoning value and since sin is an illusion we are not guilty.
  • They believe that salvation is deliverance from delusion and entrance into Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy claimed that her teachings guaranteed health; however, she suffered considerably at the end of her life, requiring large doses of morphine to cope with her pain.   [3]

Jehovah Witness:

Charles Taze Russell officially founded Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), also known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York), in 1884. Originally called the Zion’s Watch Tower and Tract Society, or the Zion’s Watch Tower (1879), they officially adopted the name of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. In 1870, Russell originally denied the doctrine of Hell, and would go on to reject nearly every other Christian doctrine, as well as add many physically and spiritually dangerous doctrines of his own making. Many of these unique and bizarre teachings were to be found in his six volume series titled, Studies in the Scriptures.[4]

  • Source of Authority. JWs claim the Bible as their final authority, but Russell’s writings, especially Studies in the Scriptures,are considered “the light of the Scriptures.” JWs have their own translation of the Scriptures (New World Translation, published in 1961), which reflects the binding interpretations of the group’s leaders.
  • JWs believe that God is not a triune God, but only “Jehovah God” (Let God Be True, pp. 100-101); they teach that Trinitarianism is a belief in three gods, and thereby, Satan-inspired polytheism.Joseph Rutherford, the JW’s second president wrote: “… sincere persons who want to know the true God and serve him find it a bit difficult to love and worship a complicated, freakish-looking, three-headed God.” [5]
  • Jesus Christ.Since JWs do not believe in the Trinity, they also do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They add the word “other” four times to Colossians 1:16,17, teaching that Christ was God’s first creation, i.e., the reincarnation of Michael the archangel created by Jehovah, rather than the Creator. The “Watchtower” teaches that Jehovah God created Michael the Archangel before the foundation of the world; Michael was His only begotten son by virtue of the fact that he was the only creature directly created by Jehovah. It was this created Michael who became the JW Jesus (i.e., a denial of the eternality of Christ). JWs say that “Since actual conception took place, it appears that Jehovah God caused an ovum or egg in Mary’s womb to become fertile, accomplishing this by the transfer of the life of his first born son (Michael) from the spirit realm to the earth”[6] Marvelously, Jehovah transferred the life-force and the personality pattern of his first born heavenly son (Michael) to the womb of Mary. God’s own active force, his holy spirit, safeguarded the development of the child in Mary’s womb so that what was born was a perfect human” [7] JWs also add an “a” in John 1:1, making the verse read, “the Word was a god” (which in essence, makes the JWs guilty of the same polytheism of which they accuse Trinitarians).
  • Use of Name Jehovah.JWs use the name “Jehovah” only for God (in order to distinguish between God and Jesus Christ), while failing to recognize that Jesus is the fulfillment of “Jehovah” in Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3.
  • Resurrection of Christ. JWs deny the bodily resurrection of Christ through their teaching that the body of Christ was annihilated by God — not risen — but rather a new one was createdthree days after His death. This they call the “resurrection” of Christ. Thus, Jesus was “resurrected” as a “glorious spirit creature” and does not now have a glorified physical body. Instead, they claim Jesus arose spiritually and only “materialized” at various times after His resurrection so He could be seen alive.

Seventh Day Adventism:

Ellen G. White plays a central role in the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church. One of the “27 Fundamental Beliefs” of the SDA Church is that Ellen White manifested the gift of prophecy and her writings are “authoritative” for the Adventist Church They say:

The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth that provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.

According to Adventist leaders, the writings of Ellen G. White are “inspired” by the Holy Spirit in the same way as the Biblical authors were inspired. Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today. And the same as the messages of the prophets were received in old days, so her messages should be received at present times. The Following quote is directly from the Seventh Day Adventist Review and Herald October 4, 1928.

“Seventh Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White performed the work of a true prophet during the 70 years of her public ministry. As Samuel was a prophet, as Jeremiah was a prophet, as John the Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today.”[8] Here are four practices that are divergent from the genuine teachings of Scripture:

  • Add to the BibleEllen Gould White is credited to have written 25 million words that are quoted by Adventists just like Bible Scripture. Adventists that have grown up in the church have familiar quotes that come to mind, but they often do not know if the imbedded information is from the Bible or Ellen Gould White.  Adventists have also taken to printing their own Bibles with the messages of Ellen Gould White hidden in the verses of Scripture.
  • Subtract from the person of Jesus Christ or His Deity. Ellen Gould White claimed Jesus did not come in the flesh when he walked the earth some 2000 years ago, as the Bible warns some evil people would do. Ellen Gould White also claimed Jesus was an Angel from Heaven.
  • Multiply the requirements for SalvationAdventists have published many hundreds of books that contain what they call “Testimonies”, which are full of thousands of commandments directed toward their members. If you do not follow these commandments, you are not following the counsels of God, the Adventists claim.  These books contain over 25 million words of Ellen Gould White, and it would take a lifetime to read them all. SDA members are expected to purchase and read as many of these books as possible, and they teach from these books in their Churches like most denominations teach from the Bible. One of the teachings of the Church is to not eat meat, in order to obtain Salvation Other doctrines they hide from new members are: eating pork causes leprosy. Wearing wigs damages the brain. Wearing bonnets indicates satanic control. Drinking coffee, tea or some soft drinks is a sin Having butter, eggs, or meat on your table keeps your prayers from reaching heaven
  • Divide the loyalty of the follower between God and other Christians.  Adventists claim all other churches are “Babylon” and will be lost when Jesus comes back to earth.  Adventists are taught to convert as many people to Adventism as they can, and quickly, because the people in other churches are lost. Adventists spend little time converting the truly lost because they spend most of their effort debating people in other churches, telling them they are in a fallen church and not in the true church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Ellen Gould White also worked at separating people inside her church, teaching that church members should not pray for each other when they are sick if those sick people are not loyal tithe payers to their church.

Daniel Woodhead

End Notes:

[1] Campbell, D. K. (1985). Galatians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.pg 591

[2] Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. pp. 98–99

[3] Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. pg. 388

[4] Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. Pg. 600

[5] Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Let God Be True, Second Edition, Published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Brooklyn, NY USA 1946, pgs. 100-101

[6] JW Organization Web Site accessed February 20, 2015 http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/who-is-michael-the-archangel/#?insight[search_id]=7251be95-903f-4bb1-818b-96eebd27beae&insight[search_result_index]=0

[7] Ibid. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102005134?q=Jesus+born+a+perfect+human&p=par

[8] Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college (p. 129). Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

 

Referenced Works:

 

Berry, Harold J. (1990) What They Believe, BTTB: pp. 51-70

Branch, Rick, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,” (accessed February 20, 2015) (Watchman Fellowship Profile, 1993)

Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 870). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives (p. 4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia,

Grolier’s 1995 Multimedia Encyclopedia,

Lowery, K. (2007). Numbers in the Bible. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. xxxiv). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Martin, Walter, (1985) The Kingdom of the Cults. Published by Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 55438

Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

Morey, R. A. (1980). How to answer a Jehovah’s Witness. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship.

Sin, Jack, Examining & Exposing Cultic & Occultic Movements. , “Focus on JWs,” April 2000, pp. 16-20.

Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history (p. 600). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

Watchtower Online Library, Research tool for publications in various languages produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses accessed February 20, 2015

http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/h/r1/lp-e

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The Sons of Israel Receive Blessings

The Assembly

 

jacob Blessing His 12 sons by Harry Anderson

jacob Blessing His 12 sons by Harry Anderson

Genesis 49: 1-2

Jacob assembled his sons together as he lay on his deathbed to confer upon each of them their prophetic futures. He, being driven by God’s Spirit, would speak to each of them, and this was not going to be any ordinary conversation. The order in which he presents their individual prophecies is different than the order of the list of the twelve sons that was given in Genesis 30-31. The term “Latter Days” makes reference to an end time period for each of the twelve tribes. The term “Latter Days” is found thirteen times in the Old Testament (Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30, 31:29; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20, 30:24, 48:47, 49:39; Ezekiel 38:16; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1;Daniel 10:14). The prophesied outcome of each tribe will have its final fulfillment in the Messianic Kingdom, which will follow the Great Tribulation. This prophecy that Jacob gave here is similar to the one Moses gave in Deuteronomy 33. It is used here in reference to the full measure, or completion of their near and far distant prophetic future. Rabbinic tradition tells us that Jacob wanted to tell them when the Messiah would come. They write that just as suddenly as Jacob started to prophecy, the Shekinah Glory left him so he did not have the deity expressing Himself through him and he altered the prophecies. Scripture does not support the rabbinic teachings. What they show us is that the Jews did expect their Messiah and knew His prophetic appearance was given in these prophecies that Jacob gave to his sons. Read more

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ZECHARIAH’S VISION OF THE HORNS AND THE SMITHS

ZECHARIAH’S VISION OF THE HORNS AND THE SMITHS

This prophecy is one of the first eight visions given in succession to Zechariah during one night. Significantly these eight visions are followed by the symbolic crowning of the high priest Joshua, the son of Josedech in Jerusalem. The prophet Daniel describes what the Gentile nations will do over the period of history up to the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom. This book describes God’s program and what He will do during the same time period, known as the Times of the Gentiles. The unity between conservative Christian and Jewish commentators regarding most of the images attests to the validity of the interpretation of the visions.

The Prophet Zechariah by Michelangelo for the Sistine Chapel Cir 1512

The Prophet Zechariah by Michelangelo for the Sistine Chapel Cir 1512

Read more

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SATAN MUST DESTROY ISRAEL

WHY SATAN BELIEVES HE MUST DESTROY ISRAEL

By Tom McCall, Th.D.

Satan

Why does Satan believe he must destroy Israel from off the face of the earth? For thousands of years Satan has demonstrated an insane and insatiable drive to wipe out the Jewish people, but so far has not been able to fully accomplish his goal. Let’s review some of his major attempts:

When Abraham went to Egypt and lied about Sarah, nearly causing Pharaoh to violate her.

When Abraham had Ishmael with Hagar, bypassing Sarah.

When Ishmael ridiculed Isaac, attempting to usurp Isaac’s position.

When Esau attempted to gain Jacob’s blessing from Isaac.

Esau Sells his Birthright to Jacob by Rembrandt Cir 1648-50

Esau Sells his Birthright to Jacob by Rembrandt Cir 1648-50

When Pharaoh ordered all male Hebrew infants to be murdered.

When Pharaoh attempted to destroy Israel backed up against the Red Sea.

When Israel decided to worship the Golden Calf at Mt. Sinai.

When Israel decided to stay in the wilderness rather than go into Canaan.

When Moab tried to destroy Israel and stop them from entering Canaan.

When the Canaanites amassed all their armies to destroy the invading Israelites.

When the surrounding nations tried to destroy Israel during the time of the Judges.

When the surrounding nations tried to destroy Israel during the time of the kings.

When the Assyrian army destroyed Israel and much of Judah.

When the Babylonian army destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem.

When the refugees from Babylon and Persia were restoring the Temple and Jerusalem

When Haman attempted to destroy all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire.

 

Modecai's Triumph by Pieter Eastman Cir 1617

Modecai’s Triumph by Pieter Eastman Cir 1617

 

When the Greco-Syrian forces tried to Hellenize Judea under Antiochus Epiphanes

When the Roman army destroyed Judea and Jerusalem twice (70 AD and 135 AD)

When the Jewish people were scattered and persecuted throughout the world for 2,000 years.

When Hitler organized the Holocaust and destroyed over Six million Jews.

Photo from Dachau Concentration Camp from the Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachaumartins.html

Photo from Dachau Concentration Camp from the Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachaumartins.html

When the Jews attempted to return to Israel against extensive international opposition.

When Israel declared its independence in 1947 and was invaded by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

When Israel was invaded in 1967 and 1973 by its surrounding neighbors

When Israel was disrupted by numerous intifadas from Palestinians and Jihadists.

When Hamas hurled thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel in 2014.

So we see, for 4,000 years the Jewish people have faced relentless persecution, opposition and attempts to annihilate and destroy them. If it were any of other people, it would seem totally irrational and insane. However, with Israel, there appears to be a certain rational, though Satanic, strategy behind this animosity. Read more

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Factors About The Modern State of Israel’s Existence

SOME FACTORS SURROUNDING THE CREATION OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL

By Daniel E. Woodhead

As a direct result of the Nazi persecutions, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted thirty-three to thirteen, with ten abstentions, in favor of a Partition Plan that created the State of Israel. On the same day, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted with a two-thirds majority to partition western Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.[1] Over seventy five percent of the land allocated to the Jews was desert. Desperate to find a haven for the remnants of European Jewry after the Holocaust, the Jewish population accepted the plan, which accorded them a diminished state. The Arabs, intent on preventing any Jewish entity in Palestine, rejected it.

Photo from Dachau Concentration Camp from the Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachaumartins.html

Photo from Dachau Concentration Camp from the Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/dachaumartins.html

On May 14, 1948, the last British forces left Haifa, and the Jewish Agency, led by Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, declared the creation of the State of Israel, in accordance with the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. United States President Harry S. Truman immediately recognized the new state, followed hours later by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin. Arab League members Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq declared war and announced their rejection of the United Nations partition decision. Saudi-Arabia and Yemen also sent forces to participate in the invasion. The latest segment in the anti Jewish persecution was starting. This was not the first time that Muslims have persecuted Jews. In fact because of the Muslims persecuting Jews from the beginning of the long history of Islam they have never had a true Golden Age. [2] Read more

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Jesus Arrived in the Fullness of Time

Divine Intervention into Time and Space

 

ADORATION OF THE LAMB BY JAN VAN EYCK CIR 1432

ADORATION OF THE LAMB BY JAN VAN EYCK CIR 1432

Divine Intervention

 

Galatians 4:3-7

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ (NKJV).

The world’s population is locked into the sinful ways of this world (elements of the world). Prior to the advent of Jesus the Jews were like slaves to sin. That is, they were children in spiritual immaturity driven by the urges that entered their minds. This is still the state of the unsaved. The Jews were and still are locked into the basic principles of the Mosaic Law. This has run its course since the Jewish Messiah has come and fulfilled its requirements for all to take advantage of. The Gentiles are in bondage too but under the miserable principles of the various heathen religions of the world. Both Jews and Gentiles are locked into life guidance principles best described as slavery (bondage) to some set of rules for life that are not what God intends for the human race. Since the Fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden God set up the redemption of mankind (Genesis 3:15). He would send His Messiah to this earth to emancipate the earth through His teaching, death and resurrection.

God Himself stepped forth in Divine Intervention to bring hope and freedom to mankind. Just like a father has chosen a time for his child to be designated as an adult (e.g. Roman elevation of a son to an adult; Jewish bar mitzvah of a boy to manhood) so too did our Heavenly Father choose the time to bring Christ His Son to earth. He designated the perfect time in all of world history to send Himself in the body of a human to make provision for the people’s transition from bondage under the Law or pagan cults to spiritual sonship. He prepared the world in several ways that are apparent. Read more

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He is Risen – Jesus Did Really Rise From The Dead

 

It Is a Historical Fact that Jesus Rose from the Dead

 

Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio Cir 1602-03

Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio Cir 1602-03

On Easter (Resurrection Day) we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus the Christ from the dead. In the resurrection we see that Jehovah God sent Himself, a suffering servant (Isaiah 49-57), in the body of a man to atone for the sins of the world. His suffering reached a level of pain before and during the crucifixion that we cannot imagine as He bore the sins of the world and the cosmic realm as well. He met with the powers of darkness in the cosmic realm, which He battled and won the war (Luke 22: 53). Satan tried all he could to prevent Christ’s crucifixion. The death He experienced cleansed the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 9: 23-26), which Lucifer polluted with his sin and fall, as well as providing for the salvation of all who would believe the gospel of Christ (II Corinthians 5: 21). Paul describes a situation that still exists today–doubt about the resurrection. Read more

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Who is Our Neighbor?

WHO IS OUR NEIGHBOR?

Frequently we see the word neighbor in Scripture. Just as frequently it seems there is some confusion as to exactly who this word refers to when it appears. Some teach that neighbor is narrowly defined as another believer. Others teach that it is broadened to include all of humanity that are in close proximity to believers. The issue can be clarified with an examination of the various contexts that the word appears as well as the different forms.

Jesus Healing the Mother of Simon by Peter John Bridges Cir 1818-1954

Jesus Healing the Mother of Simon by Peter John Bridges Cir 1818-1954

 

In the Old Testament the word appears in four different Hebrew forms. They are Strong’s #’s 5997; 7138; 7934; 7453; 7468. In the New Testament there is only one form in the Greek. It is Strong’s # 4139. Generally, the various Hebrew forms refer to someone that is extremely close to you. The Jewish usage of the term neighbor always means any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth. That is, another Israelite. It can refer to a brother, lover, companion, friend, or husband. Some forms include a general member of the human family, a person that lives in close proximity or even an enemy. The Greek usage is similar but with only one word it does not have the subtle individual usages found in the Old Testament Hebrew.

Perhaps the verses which exemplifies its usage the most is  Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew. In this section of Scripture the Lord is responding to a challenging question from one of the lawyers trying to trap Him in a theological issue related to the Law.

Matthew 23:38-39

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ‘All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (KJV).

Christ in His teaching here is referring them back to the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 19:18 where the neighbor is narrowly defined as another Jew.

Leviticus 19:18

” ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD (KJV).

The New Testament was written by and first given to the Jews. In fact Christ made the declaration early in His ministry that He had come only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24). Paul tells us that the Gospel is to go to the Jew first and then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16). It is important to consider the Jewish roots of Christianity in order to properly understand the Biblical text. Stephen in his dissertation to the High Priest in Acts presents the term neighbor as a fellow Hebrew.

Acts 7:24-25 And seeing one [of them] suffer wrong, he defended [him], and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not (KJV).

Here Stephen speaking of Moses’ issue attempting to defend another Jew against an Egyptian calls the Jew a neighbor (brethren). Fellow Christians are referred to as neighbors in the New Testament (Romans 15:2; Eph. 4:25; James 4:11-12). This is consistent with the context of which Jesus referenced Leviticus 19 talking about fellow Christians. He means other Christians are neighbors. Christ in the same passage of Matthew told the lawyers that we must love God first and then love our neighbors the same way we love ourselves. We must consider the context also of Christ’s commandment to love one another as related in John’s gospel.

John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (KJV).

As Christians we are commanded to have a love for one another. This is consistent with Christ’s usage of loving our neighbors in Matthew 22:39.  Here He narrowly defines the love we are to have for others is to be first directly to others in the Body of Christ. Others being those outside the Christian community will see our special relationship to God. The apostle John captures this subject in his first epistle. He demonstrates that a true believer loves the brethren (other believers) otherwise stated as our neighbors.

1John 3:14

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren (KJV).

This follows directly from the Matthew passage in that Christ said the first commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second as mentioned is to love your neighbor the same way you love yourself. This is not a commandment to engage in loving oneself. He knows that with the sin nature still in us we already love ourselves. The sin nature obviates the need for this commandment.

These passages do not refer to us loving, in a humanistic sense, the whole world’s population. The love Christians have for each other is to mark us as Christ’s disciples. If the commandment to love others were to the general population then there would be nothing significant about the passage in John 13. We are commanded to love other believers. That is real believers, not pretenders or those that hate us. They that hate us are depicted as being non-believers in the 1 John passage. Notice that we are not commanded to hate back. In fact Christ tells the listeners of His sermon on the mount to love those that hate and curse you. (Matthew 5:43-44) What does that mean? It is important to realize the nature of Christ’s statement so as not to confuse it with the passages commanding us to love other believers.

The Sermon on the Mount is Christ’s interpretation of the standard of righteousness, which the Law demanded, put in contrast with the Pharisaic interpretation of the kind of righteousness, which the Law demanded. The Pharisees interpretation was treating the Levitical passage as license to hate everyone that was not a Jew and particularly not a Pharisee. The Mosaic Law never intended this commandment to be carte blanche to hate any enemy. Rather, the Mosaic Law was given in the sense that one must love God and love those whom God loves and conversely hate those who God hates. As an example God hated the Canaanites because of their extreme wickedness and He commanded the Jews to exterminate them. Therefore the O.T. commandment was never meant to hate individuals through personal animosity or enmity. The proper interpretation is to hate what God hates and love what God loves. We must first love God and hate what God hates.  God hates sin and we must hate sin. As far as loving our neighbor we must first love other believers. We are not commanded to hate those that harm us or do not believe. Then we are to extend our love to the unbelieving community in that we would like to see them become children of God as we have become. All people are made in the image of God and a have worth. We should treat them with respect and concern. The love Christians have for each other is unique and a special living testimony to our connection to the Lord Jesus and the salvation that He has given to us. Our first love must be for God then to other believers. Finally we should not hate the rest of the world and extend the love of God to them given the opportunity. Jesus  provided and example of this with the story of the good Samaritan. We should extend God’s love and help to all those near to us. The term neighbor however is narrowly defined though as other believers.

The sequencing of our love is:

  1. Firstly, realizing that other Believers (Christians) are our neighbors.
  2. Our primary love is to be directed to God.
  3. Secondarily our love is directed to other believers.
  4. Lastly our love is directed to those outside the church that need our assistance.
  5. We are to love those people first that God loves.
  6. We are to hate sin.
  7. We are to offer God’s love to sinners in hope that God will choose to save them. This stage is only after we have offered love and assistance to other believers. We are not commanded to first offer God’s love to those outside the church.

FINALLY

The Greatest Love is:

John 15:13

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (KJV)

He did it for the entire world. Most of which either hate, deny or ignore Him. He did it anyway…..

View From The Cross by James Tissot Cir.1886-94

View From The Cross by James Tissot Cir.1886-94

Daniel E Woodhead

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Jesus The Messiah in the Passover

Jesus The Messiah in the Passover

 

The resurrected Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene by Alexander Ivanov 1806-1858

The resurrected Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene by Alexander Ivanov 1806-1858

Introduction

Abraham, the first Hebrew named in the Bible, received a covenant from the Lord God in approximately 2040 B.C. One of the components of that covenant was that at some time in the future his progeny would be enslaved by another nation.

Genesis 15:13-14

13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance (KJV)

Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel, went from the land of Canaan to live in Egypt due to the famine in Canaan (Genesis 32:28). He and his family totaling seventy souls went to Egypt in approximately 1844 B.C. They would stay in Egypt for four hundred years. By the time God was ready to have them leave and start the journey back to Canaan, they had grown to a population numbering more than two million people (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 1: 46; 26: 51). Moses, their leader, petitioned Pharaoh to let them go and he refused. The Lord God sent ten plagues in succession into Egypt to force Pharaoh to release them. The first nine had no effect upon Pharaoh but the tenth finally caused him to release the Hebrews.  They fled the country along with many riches given by the Egyptians to send them off (Exodus 12:35-36). The prophecy that God gave Abraham was unfolding exactly as it was given. It is the last plague “The Death of the Firstborn” that begins our discussion of the Passover.

The Passover

Exodus 11:4-7

4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. 6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. 7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel (KJV)

God promised Moses that He would not harm any of the Israelites, but in order for them to be protected they had to follow a very specific process during the tenth plague in which all the first-born of animals and people would be put to death. If the Jews followed the Lord’s instruction explicitly they would delivered from the death that all the first-born would experience:

Exodus 12:21-28

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they (KJV)

The story continues explaining that the Children of Israel were “saved” from the death of the destroyer when he would “pass over” their homes. They were told to “observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.” Further they were told “when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”

This ritual is rich with meaning for Christians, and shows that the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the central figure in this ancient Jewish feast. Christianity is actually a continuation and fulfillment of God’s plan for mankind. 
He elected the Nation Israel to would bring forth the Messiah. When Christ appeared and started His ministry the Jewish population flocked to Him. All the early Church believers were Jewish. Most of the Jewish leaders rejected Him not wanting to accept who He because they feared losing the benefits of the profitable charade that they imposed on the people. They persuaded most of the people not to follow Him claiming their superiority as official leaders of the Jewish community (Acts 4:2). So for approximately 1980 years the non-Christian Jews have been trying to follow the Mosaic Law because they did not believe that Jesus is their Messiah. Even though Jesus is clearly the central figure in the Passover, most Jews follow the ritual without ever realizing this. God told them that this was to be a perpetual celebration and that they were to carefully explain to their children.

Stained Glass of Jesus as the Paschal Lamb-Artist Unknown

Stained Glass of Jesus as the Paschal Lamb-Artist Unknown

 

The Passover became the first of the seven festivals of the nation Israel (see a brief description of the seven festivals and how they relate to Christ at the end of this article). The Passover occurs during the month of Nisan. The 10th day of Nisan is when they single out the lambs and the 14th is the Passover. Their day started at sunset. This festival also begins their religious calendar in the spring.

The Passover is a key event in the history of Israel and becomes an underlying current throughout the entire Old Testament. It is interesting that by tradition, in the orthodox Hebrew culture, almost every major event in Israel’s history is regarded as having occurred in Passover or seems to surface at historically significant Passover dates. These include:

  • The Covenant with Abraham is regarded as occurring on Passover in Genesis 15.
  • Abraham is regarded has having entertained his heavenly guests by the oaks of Mamre on Passover.
  • Sodom is regarded as being destroyed following Passover.
  • Jericho is regarded to have fallen on Passover.
  • The handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5 is regarded to have been on Passover.

The first place in Scripture this event occurs, which is a type of the Passover, is Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve clothe themselves with handmade fig leaves. God then covers them with a coat of skins. This is the first shedding of innocent blood by God as a covering after their sins. The Levitical system can actually be traced to Genesis 3. This gives us more insight into story of Cain and Abel because the sacrifices were instituted in the Garden of Eden and prophetically point to the Redeemer. Abel, by faith, observed the system and presented a blood sacrifice to God. Cain did not observe the system and presented what he wanted to offer, the fruits of his own hands, a non-blood sacrifice in contrast to Abel’s offering.

Perhaps the most dramatic prophecy of a type of the Passover was when Abraham was instructed by God to offer up Isaac (Genesis 22). They traveled three days and they went up the hill known as Mount Moriah. When Isaac asks where is the lamb for offering, Abraham says the “God will provide Himself, a Lamb (underlined added). And He did there and 2,000 years later on the wooden cross at Calvary He provided Himself as a sacrifice to redeem us by His blood. Throughout these chapters the word “Lamb” never appears in the plural, it is always singular which makes it very personal. This feast is not a Levitical feast; it is very different than the other feasts. It is much more than that. The High Priest slaughtered the lambs for the rabbinical feasts. In contrast, the lamb for this festival is slaughtered for every household by the head of the household. It is also partaken of and eaten personally by the entire family.

“The Blood of The Lamb”

Exodus 12:3-5

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth [day] of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of [their] fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take [it] according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take [it] out from the sheep, or from the goats (underlining added, KJV).

Note the sequence of steps from “a lamb” to “the lamb” to “your lamb”. It is very personal. Each person’s redemption is only achieved by his own belief, not by a minister or priest or family member. It has to be done by each person in relationship with Christ.

Every detail in the Scriptures about The Passover points to Jesus Christ.  “Your lamb shall be without blemish” (Leviticus 22:18-20; 1 Peter 1:19). Psalm 34:20 “He keepeth all his bones: Not one of them is broken” and Exodus 12:46neither shall ye break a bone thereof” both speak of not breaking a bone of the Passover Lamb. Jesus’ bones were not broken while the other two crucified with Him had their broken to hasten their death as described in John 19:31-37:

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced (KJV).

Passover represents the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world for us. We essentially become “covered by the blood” once we accept the Lord into our lives. It is our decision just as it was the ancient Israelite’s decision to mark the doorposts and the lentil with the blood of the lamb. Once we choose this we are “Justified.” God provides several actions, which occur at the moment of belief. We call this being “born again”. It is easy to understand Nicodemus’ inability to comprehend this, since he was not yet born again at the time of his conversation with Jesus in John chapter 3. Here is the sequence of actions that happens to a believer as he is covered by the “blood of the Lamb”, and born again:

  • We are justified, and we make peace with God.
  • We receive the peace of God.
  • We are sanctified and begin to grow more Christ –like which lasts our whole lives.
  • We receive the Holy Spirit as an earnest deposit to be redeemed by God at either the rapture or the moment of our death, whichever happens first.
  • We are endowed with Spiritual Gifts.

If the ancient Israelites chose not to accept God’s atonement provision the destroyer would kill them.  God did not do the destroying. It is important to note this as He provided the salvation. If we choose not to accept Christ, upon death we go straight to hell. There is no redemption after that for the unbeliever.

Romans 15:4

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (KJV)

Amos 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets (KJV).

 Exodus 12:14

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever (KJV).

Note that the Lord instituted this for all times. It was not to end. The Jews still keep the Passover. The Messianic Jews do not slay the Lamb (Jesus) since the Lamb was slain once for all. Most of them still keep the feast and they call it the Haggadah or the Seder.

THE MODERN PASSOVER SEDER (Order of Service)

The Instituted Passover that God ordained as a memorial relationship and a prophetic relationship for His children is the modern Passover is held in homes, and is presided over by the head of the house, the grandfather or father. The ceremony is performed on the 14th and 15th of Nisan, with the 14th being optional and the 15th being mandatory.

The woman of the house also has an important part. The first preparation is a thorough house cleaning by the hostess, and a ceremonial search (the Bedikat Chametz) for leaven by the host. He uses a lighted candle, a wooden spoon, a feather and a napkin. When he finds the last bits of leavened bread, he wraps it in the napkin and says the Kal Hamira – “Now I have rid my house of leaven.” The napkin and its crumbs are burned. This service is a type of the Last Supper of Jesus.

The normal dishes are all packed away, and a special set that’s used only once a year is brought out. The hostess cooks a festive meal, but doesn’t set it on the table until later in the service. The hostess begins the actual Seder by lighting the candles and chanting a blessing. The table is set with several prescribed items, as follows:

The Seder Plate, a blue-enameled brass dish that has six compartments for the following foods:

  • The zeroah, or shank bone of a lamb (no meat). For the first 1500 years, they actually sacrificed a lamb, and then ate its meat in the Passover meal. But in A.D. 70 when the Roman, Titus, destroyed the Jerusalem Temple proper sacrifices became impossible. Thus, the bone is now placed on the plate as a memorial.
  • The bytzah or haggigah, a hard-boiled egg roasted brown. The egg was not there originally; it is a Babylonian symbol of fertility and may have started during their Babylonian captivity during the 6th century B.C.
  • Three kinds of “bitter herbs” are the chazereth (whole horseradish root), the maror (freshly ground horseradish), and the karpas (lettuce, parsley or celery). 
The bitter herbs were to remind them of the misery their ancestors suffered.
  • The charoseth, a sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, raisins, cinnamon and wine. The charoseth represents the mortar they used in making bricks in Egypt.
  • A bowl of salt water. The salt water is a reminder of the water of the Red Sea and also of their tears.
  • There are also three matzohs (unleavened cracker-like wafers of bread, pierced and striped during baking). These are in a matzo tash, a square white silk bag having three sections.
  • The host has four wine goblets. Sometimes the other celebrants also have four, or sometimes, instead their goblets are refilled several times. The four goblets represent the four verbs in Exodus 6:6-7, “I will bring you out; … I will deliver you; … I will redeem you; … I will take you to be my people.”
  • There is also an ornate book, the Haggadah, describing the service and containing the prayers. This was compiled in the 13th century A.D., from much earlier fragments.
  • Each chair has a pillow, and guests recline or sit comfortably (to show that they’re not slaves).
  • The host wears a kitel, a long white robe-like outer garment, and symbol of purity. On his head is the miter, a white silk crown-shaped headress. He chants the prayer of sanctification, or Kiddush, “Blessed are thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.”
  • Everyone drinks from the first wine-goblet, the “cup of sanctification.”

The hostess brings in a small towel and bowl of water used several times in the service for ceremonial hand washing.  (Jesus washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper.)

The leader passes out bits of karpas to each person. They all chant, “Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the earth.”
  • Everyone dips the karpas into salt water and eats it.
  • Now the leader takes the matzoh tash with its unity (the three matzohs). He removes the middle matzoh, breaks it in half, and hides or buries one half by wrapping it in a white napkin and placing it under a pillow, or under the table. The other half is replaced in the matzoh tash. The buried wafer is called the aphikomen. He doesn’t explain why he does this.  (There’s a great deal of significance in this “burial,” and its later “resurrection,” especially for Christians. Its meaning can be understood as “that which is coming”, for example dessert, yet it can be seen as “He who is coming.” According to Jewish tradition, Messiah will come at Passover to bring redemption like the redemption brought through Moses. This is why a place is left at the table for Elijah, the forerunner of Messiah as stated in Malachi 4:5.)

Now it’s time for the traditional questions, chanted by the youngest child. Basically these ask:

  1. Why is this night different from all others?
  2. Why do we eat matzohs?
  3. Why must we have bitter herbs?
  4. Why do we dip greens into salt water?
  5. Why do we recline on pillows?

The leader then recites the history of the Hebrew nation, from Abraham to Moses. He tells about the slavery in Egypt, and God’s deliverance. When he lists the ten plagues, everyone spills a drop of wine into a cup — one for each plague. When the description is over, they all sing and clap a happy song, praising God. They recite Psalms 113 and 114 (the Hallel). Then they drink from the second wine-goblet (the cup of praise). 

There’s more ceremonial washing and eating matzoh, bitter herbs and sweet charoseth. Now the hostess clears the table of the ceremonial items (but leaves the wine-goblets), and brings out the main dinner. When the meal is finished, the hostess clears the dishes. Now it’s time for the search for the aphikomen (the buried half- matzoh). The children, who make it a game, do this. Adults call out clues, “You’re getting close,” and so on (of course, they all saw the host hide it, so the contest is only ritual). The youngest is usually allowed to find it, and receives a gift. The host breaks off olive-size pieces of matzoh from the aphikomen and distributes them to all. They each eat it, in a reverent manner. Sometimes there is a blessing, “In memory of the Passover sacrifice, eaten after one is sated.” 

(This is the point during the Last Supper at which Jesus broke the bread and passed bits to His disciples; however, Jesus added the significant words given in Luke 22:19, 

“This is my body which is given for you.”)

The host now takes the third cup of wine, “the cup of redemption,” or “the cup of blessing,” and offers the main table grace blessing. (In Jewish tradition, the main blessing comes after the meal.) Then they all drink from the third cup. 

At the Last Supper, this is the place referred to in Luke 22:20, 
”Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you’.”

There is a fourth wine-goblet at the table, that hasn’t been used until now. This is called “the cup of Elijah.” There is also an empty chair, waiting for Elijah to come. This is done because of the promise contained at the end of the Old Testament:

Malachi 4:5-6

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (KJV)

Messianic expectations run very high among the Jewish people and especially at Passover time. The children of the house then make a ritual of going and looking closely at the cup, to see if Elijah has come and sipped some. One of the children goes to the door, opens it, and looks for Elijah. Everyone says, “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the LORD!”

The host then leads in the recitation of the second part of the Hallel — Psalms 115-118, then the Great Hallel, Psalm 136. Everyone drinks from the fourth cup of wine. After one more prayer of blessing (that contains the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem”) the Passover celebration is finished.

The seven festivals of Israel

The seven festivals are:

Spring Festivals                   Mid Year Festival     Fall Festivals

Passover                                  Pentecost                                Trumpets
Unleavened Bread                                                                   Day of Atonement

First Fruits                                                                              Tabernacle

Three of the seven feasts of Israel occur in the month of Nisan. The first three deal with Christ’s first coming, and Passover became the first of the seven festivals. The feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for seven days, starts on the 14th of Nisan, the end of The Passover:

Exodus 12:15

15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel (KJV).

In 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 leaven is shown to be in Bible typology an example of sin.

The First Fruits represents The Resurrection and it is the day following the Sabbath of the Passover. Jesus died on Passover, Unleavened Bread starts on Saturday and First Fruits (Resurrection) is on the first day of the week or the day after the Sabbath.

The middle one, Pentecost, is fifty (50) days after First Fruits and represents the Church age since the Church was born on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

The three main fall festivals are: Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. They represent Christ’s second coming.

Here is a chart connecting the festivals and the events of Christ’s death and resurrection:

 

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

 

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The Star of Christmas – A Special Sign in Heaven

 

The Star

 

 

God spoke to the Magi through the prophet Daniel to let them know 600 years earlier that His Messiah would be coming. Daniel was the prime minister of Babylon during two successive administrations; the Babylonians and Media-Persia. God wants us to know Him and enjoy His glory. The intent of the physical universe is to declare and display the majesty and glory of its Creator. This discussion will reveal a portion of His will in this regard.

Matthew 2:1–12 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him. And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet,  

(From Micah 5:2)“And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel. “  

Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word, that I also may come and worship him. And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The star they saw guided them to Jerusalem (east to west) and then on to Bethlehem (north to south). This was a special star identified as “His Star.”  This star appeared to them while they were in the east and they knew that it signified the Christ or Messiah had arrived. God uses the stars in the heavens to bring messages to the world about Himself. In this study we will explore how God uses the stars to communicate to us and then we will conclude with a discussion of the special star of Bethlehem. We must always remember that Satan has corrupted God’s message to us and the message in the stars is typical of that corruption. Nevertheless Christ told us to search the Scriptures (John 5: 39). This we must do to understand what God wants us to know.

 On the fourth day of creation God made the stars in the heavens.

Genesis 1: 14-18 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.  

One of the reasons for making the stars in the heavens was for a sign. A sign signifies or represents something. One dictionary defines a sign as: An object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the presence or occurrence of something else.  Signs therefore, are meant to lead one to something else. The sign itself is not the end meaning. It is the method employed to direct our attention to something else. In the stars God is the direct object the signs point to. We should realize that His entire creation which theologians call “general revelation,” speak to Him and coming from Him. In fact God charges all mankind to know Him through the ‘signs” He has provided.

Romans 1: 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

God is trying to tell us things about Himself through the stars in the heavens. The heavens declare His creative output.

Psalm 19: 1-6
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them he has made a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run it’s race. It’s rising is from one end of heaven, and it’s circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from it’s heat thereof.

This psalm of David announces that the heavens declare the glory (splendor) of God’s handiwork. Verse one is a summary statement: the majestic Creation is evidence of the even more majestic Creator-God. The heavens continually (every day and every night) display the fact that there is a Creator.

Even though Creation does not speak audibly as humans do, its message goes out for all the earth to witness. The message from nature about the glory of God reaches all nations, and is equally intelligible to them all. It is a universal language.

The stars in the heavens move around a circular path. The band of stars on both sides of this path (circuit), which is known today as the Zodiac, is called the Mazzaroth in Hebrew. The names of these stars, Virgo, Pisces, Capricorn, Leo etc., are familiar to us today, because astronomers and navigators designate various areas of the sky with them. Satan has corrupted them for occultic purposes, which are very far from the original truth. The 12 signs have NOTHING to say about man, however they do have a great deal to say about God’s plan of redemption for mankind – from the virgin birth (Virgo) to the triumph of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Leo). The stories He is trying to tell us about are directed straight at Himself. He wants us to know and acknowledge Him through these “signs.”

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking.

God wants us to see Him through these stars. He is not in the stars, as some would believe. He created them. He wants us to realize just how powerful He is. God, who cannot be compared to anyone or anything knows everything about His Creation and sustains it. In His strength He created and also controls and sustains millions upon millions of stars, each one of which He, amazingly, has named.

In Isaiah chapters 40-66, God is revealed as the Creator and Maker. He does not want us to worship the stars, as in astrology (Isaiah 47: 13-14; Deut. 4: 19; 17: 2-5; Isaiah 47: 13-14). He wants us to worship Him.

Amos 5:8  [Seek him] that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name:

The psalmist also tells us that God has provided names for the stars as well as knowing exactly how many there are. He is clearly demonstrating His sovereign control over His creation.

Psalm 147:4 He counteth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.

Isaiah 40: 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking.

Since God has created the heavens and the stars as signs pointing to Him and His message for us it should not be surprising that Satan has corrupted it along with the rest of God’s creation. The specific signs that the stars told have been obscured with satanic corruption.

Mazzaroth or Constellations

The Jewish historian, Josephus, attributes the origin of astronomy to Seth, the third male offspring of Adam after Able and Cain. (Antiquities of the Jews, Chapter 2:3). Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old. He further refers to Seth as virtuous and of excellent character, and reports that his descendants invented the wisdom of the heavenly bodies (astronomy). The Hebrew word for the constellations is Mazzaroth. We see this word in the plain text of Scripture. The first appearance of the word is in Job chapter thirty-eight. God is having a discussion with Job. In order to demonstrate Job’s weakness as a man compared to the power of God He uses the constellations as an example.

Job 38: 31-33 Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth?  

Job 9: 7-9 That commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, And sealeth up the stars; That alone stretcheth out the heavens, And treadeth upon the waves of the sea; That maketh the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;

Job is the oldest book in the world. It was written during the period of the patriarchs who lived at the time of events of the book of Genesis. It clearly shows that God had named the constellations by that time. The Zodiac of astrology was originally the Mazzeroth of Job 38. It got corrupted like all things beginning with the fall. Then the worldwide communication disruption at the tower of Babel caused all human communication to become corrupt. Satan will use any circumstance to corrupt what God is doing. He had willful servants in Nimrod and his followers attempting to reach for heaven. The signs of the Mazzeroth are not figures in the sky. They are actually a set of stars with names that mean the figure that they describe. We are not to follow the Zodiac and its perverse soothsaying however, we are instructed to be neither afraid of the message of the stars.

Jeremiah 10: 1-6 Hear ye the word which Jehovah speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: thus saith Jehovah, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are like a palm-tree, of turned work, and speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. There is none like unto thee, O Jehovah; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.  

The signs of the Mazzeroth are not figures in the sky. They are actually a set of stars with names that mean the figure that they describe. If you look at the pictures that astrology says the stars depict you will require a vivid imagination to see the pictures they allegedly describe. This is the corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the message that God created for a sign in the heaven with the Mazzaroth. There are twelve constellations in the Mazzaroth. Each of them has three sub-constellations called decans. There are a total of forty-eight sets of stars bringing forth God’s message to us. Each constellation has a message and so do each of the decans. It is the names of these stars and star groupings through which He communicates His message. The problem we have discerning the message is that it has been corrupt for so long that we don’t have accurate information regarding its nature.

Virgo Drawn Connecting The Stars

In Hebrew Virgo is Bethulah = Virgin who bears Names in the sign:

Hebrew Tsemech = Branch Hebrew Zavijaveh = Gloriously Beautiful

1st decan: Hebrew Coma = The Desired One

2nd decan: Hebrew Centaurus= The Despised

3rd decan: Hebrew Bootes = The Coming One

The corruption causes some of the Hebrew words to be unavailable to us.  The constellation in Virgo explains that this coming “Branch” will be a child, and that He should be the “Desire of all nations.” The ancient name of this constellation is Coma, the desired, or the longed for. We have the word used by God in in Haggai 2:7 “The Desire of all nations shall come.”

The ancient Zodiacs pictured this constellation as a woman with a child in her arms. Albumazar, an Arabian astronomer of the eighth century, says, “There arises in the first decan, as the Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, and the two Hermes and Ascalius teach, a young woman whose Persian name denotes a pure virgin, sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy having a Hebrew name, by some nations called Ihesu, with the signification Ieza, which in Greek is called Christos.” Blessed One, “the Desire of all Nations.”

The ancient Egyptian name for this constellation was Shes-nu, the desired son!  Some view the constellation of Coma in which “the Star of Bethlehem” appeared. There was a traditional prophecy, well known in the East, carefully preserved and handed down, that a new star would appear in this sign when He whom it foretold should be born (Numbers 24:17).

The Star that Appeared to the Magi

 German astronomer, mathematician and writer, Johannes Kepler in 1607 believed he identified the Christmas star that guided the Magi or “Wise Men” to where Jesus was born, and with precise event and date. To Kepler the “Star of Bethlehem” was a planetary conjunction of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in the evening sky, described to mean a close approach of planets in the sky. Many others have struggled to find natural explanations for the star. The fact that God controls all things in all times and all places leads us to look to Him for an explanation. Therefore it must be an appearance of the Shekinah Glory.

The Shechinah Glory is a visible manifestation of the presence of God in time and space. In the Old Testament most of these manifestations took the form of light, fire or a cloud including some combination of these. He appears in the Old Testament in the following manners:

  1. The Garden of Eden as fellowshipping with Adam and Eve
  2. Meeting with Abraham as a smoking furnace.
  3. To Moses as a burning bush.
  4. During the Exodus as a pillar of fire and a cloud.
  5. On Mount Sinai as a cloud, thunder and lightening as well as a trumpet.
  6. A kind of visible manifestation to Moses said to be His back.
  7. Dwelling within the Tabernacle and Temple and lighting the brazen altar in the Temple as fire coming down from Heaven.
  8. Departing from the Temple.

In the New Testament He appeared:

  1. To the shepherds and the Magi as the Christmas Star.
  2. He also came as flesh (John 1: 1-14) in the body of Jesus.
  3. At the Transfiguration as a white lit Jesus.
  4. Tongues of fire to the apostles.
  5. Bright light on the Damascus road to Saul.
  6. Smoke in the Tribulation Temple from Revelation 15:8.
  7. At the Second Coming as Matthew 24:30.
  8. In the Millennium as the Risen Jesus ruling the world (Ezekiel 43: 1-7a).
  9. In the Eternal Order as seen in revelation 21: 1-3; 10-11 and 23-24.

After the Shechinah Glory appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus the Messiah it next appeared to the Magi. The star led them to Israel. It appeared to them on at least two occasions. It led them from the east to the west and from the north to the south. It finally stood over the very house where the child Jesus was; and was unique to Jesus and no other. Coming in the form of special light this was a physical manifestation of the Shechinah Glory announcing the birth of the Messiah to a group of Gentiles from Babylonia.

SEE THE COROLLARY STORY OF THE MAGI

 

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.

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Jesus Claims to be The Messiah

Jesus Reveals His True Nature and Mission to an Inferior Samaritan Woman

The Samaritan Woman at the Well by Annibale Carracci Cir 1560-1609

The Samaritan Woman at the Well by Annibale Carracci Cir 1560-1609

Some of the Bible’s and the Lord Jesus’ detractors say that He never claimed to be the Christ. Well He did and revealed himself to a lowly Samaritan woman not to the arrogant religious authorities of His day.

John 4:1-4

1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 And he must needs go through Samaria (KJV).

The Lord Jesus needed to go through Samaria on His way back to Galilee. He had previously told His disciples not to go the way of the Gentiles or to enter into any city of the Samaritans. (Matthew 10:5) His first mission on earth was to present Himself to National Israel. (Matthew 10:6; 15:24) He wanted Israel to have the first chance at the gospel and He did not want the disciples time diluted with trying to reach the Gentiles along with the Jews. Even now the gospel is to go to the Jews first then the Gentiles. (Romans 1:16; 2:10) The Lord did not create foreign missions and domestic missions. He simply said “go to the Jew first and then the Gentiles.”

When the Israelites divided into two kingdoms, because of the civil war after the death of King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was established in the northern section of the Promised Land, in accordance with the lands allotted to the ten tribes in that area.

Shechem was the original capital, until Jeroboam moved it to Tirzah. Later, in approximately 880 B.C., Omri, the sixth king of Israel, established the capital at Samaria, a new town built on a hilltop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northwest of Shechem.

“Samaria” came to be used interchangeably for both the city, and the region. After the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom in 722 B.C., the region then known as Samaria was reduced in size. The Assyrians in their conquest raped women and repopulated the area with other people groups causing the next generation to become half-breeds. This group of Samaritans worshipped Jehovah the same as the Jews and followed the Torah. Because of their arrogance the Jews would not talk or deal with the Samaritans in any way except to sell to them.

By the time of Jesus Christ, Samaria was bounded by Galilee to the north, The Mediterranean Sea to the west, Judea to the south (in which Jerusalem was located), and the Jordan River to the east. Today, it is in the so-called “West Bank” area.

Map of Samaria from Daily Bible study. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/samaria.htm

Map of Samaria from Daily Bible study. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/samaria.htm

John 4:5-6

5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour (KJV).

Picture the Lord in His humanity resting by this special and providential well. He makes an opportunity to begin to reach the Samaritans with His message about who He actually is. He waited for a fallen poor woman whose story He knew well. This is one example of His divine grace reaching out to sinners with compassion. The greater the sin in our lives the greater then is the value of the forgiveness, which He offers. Only God can truly forgive sins. (Luke 5:21) For it is to Him that all sin is directed, whether we realize it or not. (II Samuel 2:13)

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Jacob van Oost cir 1668

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Jacob van Oost cir 1668

Samaritan woman

John 4:7-9

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans (KJV).

She realized that He was Jewish and astonished at the same time that He would have anything to do with her. He simply asks her for some water. It was just she and He alone. He realizes that she is ignorant and exhibits much patience with her in His desire to reach her with the truth of who He is. This is a much different way He treats her than He does with the Jewish religious rulers. For them, he had little patience and heaped upon them much condemnation. (Matthew 23) They should have known better. She was an innocent bystander so to speak on religious matters.

John 4:10-13

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again (KJV).

Now she is perplexed. Jesus begins to bring up water that she is not aware of, for she is thinking of actual water. But Jesus is speaking of a much greater water that that. He is speaking of the Holy Spirit, which is known as the water. (John 7:37-38) Jesus is always answering a different question than what was asked. In this instance Jesus is telling the woman that the water He brings will not quench thirst but would provide eternal satisfaction.

John 4:14-15

14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw (KJV). 

She was probably still thinking of actual water and not realizing the spiritual lesson He is teaching her. Never thirsting is a description of the fulfillment that saving grace knowledge of Christ brings to a human being. It provides purpose to our lives and gives us certainty of life eternal and allows us to endure the hopelessness that many on this earth are saddled with. This Christ satisfies the inner longing that each person on this earth has for significance and inner peace. Many try to find it through money, sex, intoxicants, work etc. But until we accept Christ and are filled with His Spirit we are continually longing for something that we can’t quite define.

John 4:16-19

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet (KJV).

 Jesus now enters a phase of the conversation where He is going to uncover her sin. This is a self-realization that one must make. We are sinners by our very nature. When the Jews came to the Tabernacle and the Temple the very first step in that ancient worship process was the brazen altar. This was where the sacrifice took place. They were required to offer sacrifice to God so as to admit their sin and receive the temporary atonement. The same is true today. We must admit our sins in front of God to Him alone so we can draw close to Him.

John 4:20

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (KJV).

The new worship is going to be introduced in the next verse. She was thinking He was going to tell her that the Temple in Jerusalem was where she should worship. The Samaritans worshipped on Mt Gerizim. She was pointing to that mountain as the place where their fathers had worshipped. This was the mountain where Sanballat had built a temple that was eventually destroyed by John Hyrcanus in 129 B.C. Sanballat was one of the chief opponents of Nehemiah when he was building the walls of Jerusalem and carrying out his reforms among the Jews. “Sanballat,” is connected with the Assyrian “Sinballidh,” and means, “Sin has vivified.” He was called also “the Horonite,” and was associated with Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arabian (Nehemiah 2:19, 4: 7). But his home was at Samaria. When the Jews threw off the yoke of the Greeks under John Hyrcanus that temple was destroyed.

John 4:21-24

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (KJV).

Jesus now begins to tell her of the dawning of the Christian era. Now we have no need for a Temple. Our bodies are now the holy Temple. This is where the Spirit takes up residence after a person accepts Christ and becomes “saved.” He is telling her that she will not have to worship the Father on any mountain or in Jerusalem. This only pertains to “true” worshippers. That is, those that love God and have accepted His salvation that He offers through Christ alone (John 14:6) Since God is spirit we worship Him in spirit too. We don’t have to go to some particular location to worship God. Anywhere will do so to speak.

Salvation comes through the Jews. It was given at the time of the Abrahamic Covenant. This is one of the unconditional covenants that God made with Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant promised a seed, land, and blessings. The three major promises of this covenant were personal promises to Abraham, national promises to Israel and universal promises to all the people of the earth. God promised that He would bless him and make him a blessing to others, to make his name great, to give him many descendants, to make him the father of a multitude of nations, to give him the land of Canaan for always and to bless them that blessed Abraham and to curse them that cursed him. (Genesis 12; 13; 15 & 17) God also made national promises concerning Israel. They are: to make a great nation of his descendants; to give land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates to his descendants forever; and to give the Abrahamic covenant to his descendants for ever. Finally, God made universal covenants to Abraham that would affect everybody on the earth; it would affect all families of the earth who would be blessed. This promise is intended to be applicable to Israel regarding the blessing and cursing effects. Parts of the covenant have already been fulfilled. For example God did bless him with wealth. His name is great and Israel is a great nation. The blessings to all have been given to all through the oracles of God they received and they brought forth the Messiah. The promise of the land has not been completely fulfilled yet. His descendants are in the land but, in unbelief and do not have the boundaries set forth in Scripture as of yet.

Appearance of the Messiah by Alexandr Ivanov Cir.1806-1858

Appearance of the Messiah by Alexandr Ivanov Cir.1806-1858

John 4:25-26

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he (KJV).

Jesus answers her about this Messiah that she knew was coming. The Jewish writings were rife with a God-Man that would appear on the planet some day and remove all of Israel’s problems. In Hebrew the word for this God-man is Mashiach which Anglicized is Messiah. It is the same as the Greek Christos or Christ.  Jesus tells her that He is the long awaited Jewish Messiah.

Some of the prophetic writings about Him are in the Old Testament, which is the Jewish Bible at the time of Christ. They have been fulfilled in Jesus just as He told this Samaritan woman.

Some OT Messianic Prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment:

  1. Born in Bethlehem:                 Micah 5:2 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:1
  2. The Son of God:                     Psalm 2:7 Fulfilled in John 3:16-17
  3. Of the tribe of Judah:              Genesis 49:10 Fulfilled in Hebrews 7:14
  4. Of a virgin:                              Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-22
  5. A prophet like Moses:           Deuteronomy 18:15 Fulfilled in John 7:15-17
  6. The King of Israel:                  Zechariah 9:9 Fulfilled in John 12:12-15
  7. Rejected:                                 Isaiah 53:3 Fulfilled in John 1:11
  8. Beaten:                                    Micah 5:1 Fulfilled in Mark 15:19
  9. Silent:                                      Isaiah 53:7 Fulfilled in Matt 27:12-14
  10. Betrayed:                                Psalm 41:9 Fulfilled in Mark 14:17-20’
  11. Tried and condemned:             Isa 53:8 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:1-2
  12. Crucified:                                Psalm 22:16 Fulfilled in John 19:17-18
  13. His garments divided:             Psalm 22:18 Fulfilled in John 19:23-24
  14. Given vinegar and gall:            Psalm 69:21 Fulfilled in John 19:31-36
  15. His bones not broken:             Exodus 12:46 Fulfilled John 19:31-36
  16. He is our sacrifice:                  Isaiah 53:5-6 Fulfilled in 1 Peter 2:24-25
  17. And raised from death:           Psalm 16:10 Fulfilled in Luke 24:1-7, 47

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

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