As in The Days of Noah Were -Corruption and Demonic Activity Part I

The Demonic Interruption of The Messianic Seed Line

 

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854

Genesis 6: 1-8 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose. And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh: yet shall his days be a hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them: the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah (ASV 1901).

The apostle Paul recognized the demonic warfare-taking place in the spirit world and warned us that we were the objects of their wrath (Ephesians 6: 10-13). One of earliest (after Satan’s success in the Garden of Eden) attacks to prevent to coming of the messiah was the series of events recorded here in Genesis chapter six. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples that similar events would transpire when He was about to make His second advent to the earth in time and space (Matthew 24: 37). He also told them/us not to be deceived (Matthew 24: 4).

There are those who believe that the passage in Genesis Six refers to an unholy union of those from the line of Cain and the holy line of Seth. Proper exegesis of the Hebrew text does not yield this understanding.

Verse 1 emphasized an over multiplication of humanity before the flood. The Hebrew word for men, Adomah here is generic and refers to humanity in general. The word as such cannot be limited to the sons of Cain. It includes both Sethites and Cainites and both of these groups died in the flood. Another key word found in Verse 1 is “daughter”, a Hebrew word that means “females.” “Benoth” This refers to the female portion of humanity. Again, the expression cannot be limited to the female descendants of Cain. Man (humanity) multiplied and daughters (females) were born unto them.” Therefore the distinction in verse one is not between male Sethites and female Cainites, but the emphasis is on the female portion of humanity in general which would include both Cainites and Sethites.

   Angels and Demons or Angel of Light     © George Grie,  March 2008

 The Intermarriage – Genesis 6:2

 Verse 2 describes and intermarriage. The first phrase is “sons of God.

בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙  (Bene HaElohim)” The term is a general term that means to be brought into existence by God’s creative act.  Because the term carries this meaning, it is used selectively. Throughout the Old Testament the term Bene HaElohim is always used of angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). There is no reason to assign a different meaning in Genesis six for the sons of God then all the other Old Testament Hebrew usages.

In the N.T. the term Sons of God is expanded. Adam is called the Son of God (Luke 3:38) because he was brought into existence by creation. Believers are called sons of God (John 1:12) because believers are considered to be a new creation (Galatians 6:15). But, in Genesis the text is dealing with a specific Hebrew expression, Bene HaElohim and as it is used in the Old Testament it is always used of Angels.  The distinction in this passage then is not between Sethites and Cainites, but between humanity and angels. The word “men” emphasizes humanity and “sons of God” emphasize angels.

The second key expression in verse two is “daughters of men. (Benoth Adam)” This is a generic term for women, which includes females of both Sethites and Cainites. What the verse is saying is “the sons of God” saw the daughters of men.” There is no clear justification for this verse to be interpreted to mean godly males” intermarried with ‘ungodly females.”

Would truly all godly men marry ungodly females? Some perhaps would but it stretches credibility to state that all did. If the meaning of the passage is kept consistent with its usage elsewhere in the Old Testament, the passage is clearly speaking of fallen angels intermarrying with human women. This is apparent in two ways. First it is a one-way marriage the sons of God take the daughters of men. In human society intermarrying occurs two ways. Today saved males sometimes marry unsaved females and saved females sometimes marry unsaved males.  Second the context clearly speaks of a cohabitation that is unusual and unnatural which caused the worldwide flood. The loose morals on the earth at that time gave rise to sexual promiscuity and the women were willing to engage the fallen angels, which had taken on human form. Verses 1-4 deals with the angelic cause of the worldwide flood and Verses 5-6 deal with the human cause. Cohabitation between Sethites and Cainites would not be unusual and unnatural, but the same with angels and humans would be.

 The Books of Enoch’s Discussion

The Book of Enoch is a non-canonical book within the family of writings known as the Pseudepigrapha. As the designation, Pseudepigrapha suggests they are thought to be falsely attributed to the named author. Enoch lived before the Flood and was the great great grandfather of Noah. He was taken up by God at the age of 365 (Genesis 5:24). Today, some scholars believe that the books of Enoch were not written by him but by somebody else in the first four centuries before Jesus was born.[1] They state that the earliest known extant fragmentary copies of Enoch were composed in Aramaic with complete copies in Greek from the fifth to sixth century AD known as the Ethiopic books. This does not mean that Enoch did not write the book. It just means that the earliest known copies were written by authors who lived in the 300-200 BC time range. The Lord’s brother Jude’s book in chapter 1:14 clearly believed the book of Enoch to be written by Enoch. Finally, many early Church fathers accepted the book of Enoch as authoritative, such as Tertullian (Cir. 210 AD) and Origen (Cir. 225 AD). All but one of the five major components of the Ethiopic anthology have been found at Qumran in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). The find at Qumran revealed some little known or unknown texts about Enoch. The most important of these is The Book of Giants, a retelling of the story of the giants on the earth. [2]

The Nephilim-Artist Unknown

The Nephilim-Artist Unknown

The Book of Enoch affirms the text of Genesis 6:1-2 as sexual relations between fallen angels and human women producing the Nephilim.  It expands on this evil demonic invasion into the earth. One aspect of this in presenting the sexual intercourse idea attributes it to Shemyaz, the leader of the evil fallen angels, who lured 200 others to cohabit with women. They are called the “Watchers” in the Enoch account. [3] The offspring of these unnatural unions were giants 450 feet high. The wicked angels and the giants began to oppress the human population and to encourage them in the practice of evil behavior. As a result God imprisoned the angels until the final judgment and decided to destroy the earth with Flood. Enoch’s efforts to intercede with heaven for the fallen angels were unsuccessful (1 Enoch 6-16). They have been imprisoned in Tartarus (II Peter 2:2-4; Jude 1:6) with no hope of getting out until the judgment of the great day (Great White Throne Judgment Revelation 20:13). Some have been temporarily cast into the Abyss, which is a section of Hades also known as Sheol who will be released for God’s use in the Tribulation (Luke 8:31, Revelation 9:1-2, 11,11:7-8, 20:1,3 etc.)

 Jesus discussion on this

Matthew 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven (KJV).

Some believe that Jesus’ quote in Matthew 22:30 speaks of angels being sexless and therefore being incapable of having sexual intercourse. The angels that Jesus was speaking of are angels in heaven. The comparison is not with angels in general but with angels in heaven. Jesus is comparing a human situation in heaven after we will receive our eternal resurrected bodies when He says that the humans don’t marry in Heaven. There is no need for procreation in Heaven.

Matthew 22:30 also teaches that angels do not procreate after their kind. Angels also are never declared to be sexless. Whenever they appear on earth they are always are young men and never women.  (Genesis 18:1-19:22; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-7; Acts 1:10-11)

 The Product of the Intermarriage

 To get a clearer concept of what Genesis 6:4 is saying as a whole, the individual parts need to be discussed first.

First is the name Nephilim. In some translations the word Nephilim has been translated with the word giant (gigentes).  People reading it picture huge human beings. But, the word does not mean giants; rather it means fallen ones. The word does not refer to giants in the sense of huge human beings, but to a race of fallen ones. The reason it was translated as giants is because of the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the O.T. around 250 B.C. Our know extant copies of the book of Enoch are from this time period too. They could have taken Enoch’s account and used the reference to the giants.[4] The Jewish scholars who translated the Septuagint from Hebrew into Greek, used giants. They did this because of the usage of the Greek word gigentes, which means Titans in Greek. Our English word giant comes from this Greek word gigentes. Who were the Titans in Greek mythology? They were part men and part God. Homer’s Iliad is a classic example.  The Jewish scholars clearly understood this passage to be a union of angels and humans and therefore they sought to characterize it in that way with a commonly understood Greek word.

The second word to note in this verse is giborim, which is translated as the mighty men or men of renown. Notice that there is no mention of women of renown. If this were a natural union then there would be female as well as male offspring. The angelic/human commingling is also the only way to make II Peter two, and Jude 1:6-7 make sense.

Therefore the purpose of the Flood was to destroy the product of the fallen angels with the human women.  The demonical combination of the seed line of Cain with their self centered anti-God practices and the intermarriage of fallen angels with human women produced a civilization that were monsters which caused God to render His justice on the earth. The New Testament supports the exegetical reading of the Old Testament in that the passage is not speaking of Sethites intermarrying with Canaanites. It is inappropriate to read into the text meaning that is not there. We call this eisegesis.

God’s Repentance over This

Genesis 6: 5-8 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah (ASV 1901).

First it is important for us to make two observations.

  1. Wickedness of man was great on the earth
  2. Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually

The wickedness from the line of Cain as well as the progeny (Nephilim) of the fallen angels (Watchers) and promiscuous women produced people who were unrestrained in their wickedness. This is a description of their outward sinful behavior. Since our thoughts drive our behavior the second observation was descriptive regarding the degree of evil they were thinking. The Hebrew word for imagination is yatzar. It is the same word used in describing God’s formation of man. God formed mankind by design but humanity took its God-given abilities (design) and devised evil continuously.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh within himself, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee (ASV 1901).

Every thought was always evil. This statement is not hyperbole. The world was ultra sick. It is getting that way now too. The unsaved people of this world are driven to do evil. In the days of Noah there was no restraining influence to restrict their behavior. Today we have government and social protocol, which acts as a restrainer. So too is the Holy Spirit who is called the restrainer (II Thessalonians 2: 7). The influence of Christianity is strong on this earth since the Holy Spirit lives inside the genuine believers and this causes society to be restrained from doing evil continually. Today, evil is increasing in these last times. Government is increasingly corrupt and immoral. Social protocol in society is gradually loosening to accept homosexuality, pedophilia as well as adultery, and abolishing the natural marriage between a man and a woman and other abominations.

The Scripture says that God repented that He had made man on the earth. Repentance as it is used of God requires some understanding of the nature of God. It generally means to change in the objects of His actions. Other Scripture says that God repented that He made Saul king (I Samuel 15: 11). Then we see in I Samuel 15: 29 that God does not repent. This can’t be a contradiction. The resolution to this seemingly contradictory set of verses is one of perspective. That is, the perspective of a human and our God. God may seem to change His mind when man has changed his attitude toward Him. God’s attitude is conditioned by man’s attitude. That is, God responds to man one way when man is obedient and another way when man is disobedient. From the human perspective it seems that God has changed His mind. From God’s perspective he simply deals with each situation in a different manner. The Hebrew word for repent is nacham which has the same root letters as Noah. The meaning for this word is  “comforted” and it means that God was comforted or justified in His decision. In the sixth verse we see God grieved in his heart. God was painfully and deeply hurt that His creation was so sinful. The degree of pain was like that of a young person getting a spanking and weeping with gasping breaths over the abrupt administration of a physical correction. God was genuinely pained over the earth’s sin as surely as He is today too.

God then issued an oracle regarding the destruction of the human race from off the earth as well as all living things except those he chose to save with Noah and the sea life. This section of Scripture ends on a positive statement that one person (with his family) found favor in the eyes of God. This is a fine example of God’s grace wherein Noah did nothing to earn or win God’s grace. God gave it to him.

Genesis 6: 9-13 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generations: Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth (ASV 1901).

 Life on the Preflood Earth

Genesis 6: 9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, and perfect in his generations: Noah walked with God (ASV 1901).

The perfection discussed here is from the Hebrew word tamiym or without blemish, sound, healthful, without spot, unimpaired. This means that 1) his gene pool had not been corrupted and 2) he was spiritually obedient to God’s Word. Noah was well aware of God and was following Him in that he obeyed God’s commands. Righteous in Hebrew is tzaddik and when coupled with tamiym it means wholly righteous and He was unlike all the others in his generation.

Genesis 6: 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

It is important to see that these three men and their families will populate the earth after the Flood.

Genesis 6: 11-13 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth (ASV 1901).

Parthian Warriors Artist Unknown

Parthian Warriors Artist Unknown

What is important to see in this passage is the affirmation of the degree of corruption and violence in the earth at that time. God uses the term filled with violence and all flesh being corrupt. This is not an exaggeration. It is an accurate depiction of the state of the earth at that time. It is rapidly becoming that way now too, just as Jesus said.

Matthew 24: 37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (KJV).

In the first instance God destroyed the earth by a flood. When Christ returns the destructive means will be a fire with nuclear weapons contributing to it. But the sin on the earth during both instances had degraded to the point where violence was rampant and all flesh corrupted. The earth will continue to degenerate to the point that the Lord will rapture us off the face of the earth to be will Him leaving only the unsaved and a massively sinful population. The Great Tribulation will follow this. Adam wrote parts of Genesis and we had his prediction of both the flood and the fire destructions of the earth.

Josephus affirmed Adam writing of which evidence was extant in his day (Cir.A.D.68).

“Adam’s prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars; the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, (71) that in case the pillar or brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day.[5].” (The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1 Chapter 2 para. 71)

Some Characteristics of the Earth Before Divine Judgment.

  1. Preoccupation with physical appetites (Luke 17: 27)
  2. Rapid advances in technology (Genesis 4: 22)
  3. Grossly materialistic attitudes and interests (Luke17: 28)
  4. Uniformitarian philosophies (Hebrews 11: 7)
  5. Inordinate devotion to pleasure and comfort (Genesis 4: 21)
  6. No concern for God in thought or deed (II Peter 2: 5; Jude 15)
  7. Disregard for the sanctity of marriage (Matthew 24: 38)
  8. Rejection of God’s Word (I Peter 3: 19)
  9. Population explosion (Genesis 6: 1, 11)
  10. Widespread violence (Genesis 6: 11, 13)
  11. Corruption throughout society (Genesis 6: 12)
  12. Preoccupation with illicit sexual activity (Genesis 4: 19; 6: 2)
  13. Widespread words and thoughts of blasphemy (Jude 15)
  14. Organized Satanic activity (Genesis 6: 1-4)
  15. Promulgation of abnormal depravity (Genesis 6: 5, 12) [6]

Soon there will be another appearance of fallen angels in the earth seeking to again destroy mankind with their corruption and bring the Antichrist on the earth.



[1] Nickelsburg, George W.E.  I Enoch I, A commentary on the book of I Enoch Chapters 1-36; 81-108, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN, pg. 1.

[2] Michael Wise, Martin Abegg Jr., and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, (Harper, San Francisco, 1996) pg. 246-250.

[3] Charlesworth, James H. Ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Apocalyptic Literature & Testaments, I Enoch, Doubleday, Ney York NY 100103, Chapter 1:5 pg. 13.

[4] Ibid, Chapter 7:3 pg. 16

[5] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson.

[6] Morris, Henry, M. 176, The Genesis Record, A Scientific & Devotional Commentary on The Book of Beginnings, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49516 pgs. 174-175

More in Part II

 

Daniel E Woodhead

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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. Jesus taught through the parable of the good Samaritan that those people we encounter outside the body of believers that need our help in essence become temporarily “our neighbor.” 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. First: Our primary love is to be directed to God. We are to love those people that God loves first. We are to hate sin.
  1. Second: Our love is directed to other believers. We are to offer love and assistance to them.
  1. Third: Our love is directed to those outside the church that need our assistance. We are to offer God’s love to sinners in hope that God will choose to save them. We are not commanded to first offer God’s love to those outside the church. Those we encounter in need also become temporarily our brother.

Do not get this concept out of sequence because you will end up removing power from the Church for effective evangelism.

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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Someday All Israel Will be Saved

All Israel will Be Saved

Romans 11:25-26

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (KJV): 

Their Salvation Will Come After The Great Tribulation

All Nations Will Come Against Jerusalem

 

Zechariah 12:1-8 actually describes a battle that is the fifth of eight stages that comprise the Campaign of Armageddon. This takes place in the future and begins with the sixth bowl judgment during the middle of The Great Tribulation (Revelation 16:12-16).

Jerusalem Will be a Cup of Reeling

Zechariah 12:1-3

1 The burden of the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. Thus saith Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him: 2behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. 3And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it (ASV, 1901).

 

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

God begins this oracle by stating that this particular message that is about to be delivered is heavy, or a “burden” (in Hebrew massa). That is, it is important and burdensome to be given, and to be heard. It is not pleasant but must be heeded in the same seriousness in which it was given. This is the second such massa in this book. The first encompassed chapter 9:1 through chapter 11:17. The first one graphically depicted Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and the rise of the worthless shepherd, which will be the Antichrist. His rise to power must precede Israel’s deliverance. God will use him to plunge the Nation Israel into its most severe time of testing foreseen by the prophet Jeremiah as the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” (Jeremiah 30:5-7). The prophet Daniel was given a revelation regarding this time as well; he recorded, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). Daniel finished this verse by stating that the Jews will be delivered.

God then goes on to describe the attitude of Jerusalem’s enemies. Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel and will be the future capital of the world in Christ’s Millennial reign. The characterization of Jerusalem as the Nation Israel seems to align with the grammatical technique of “merism”, where one name stands for all of a particular subject. In this case it is the capital city representing all of Israel. In Zechariah 11:2 God says Jerusalem will become “a cup of reeling.” (It is called a “cup of trembling” in the King James translation.)A cup of reeling” means a cup filled with an intoxicating drink that will cause anyone who drinks it to reel or stagger. This particular siege takes place in the future when all nations come against Jerusalem in battle. Further He uses the term “burdensome stone” in His description of Jerusalem to give the reader the sense of lifting a very heavy stone. It will cause grievous injuries to those who try and lift it. The divine penalty for the nations that try and lift this stone (Jerusalem) is that they will suffer sprains or dislocation and tear themselves to pieces.

 God Confounds The Invaders

Belshazzar's Feast  by Rembrandt cir. 1635

Belshazzar’s Feast by Rembrandt cir. 1635

 

Zechariah 12:4

4In that day, saith Jehovah, I will smite every horse with terror, and his rider with madness; and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness (ASV, 1901).

All this will happen as the text says “in that day” (Hebrew bayyom hahu). “In that day” refers to the particular time period called the “latter days” or “end of days”. This is the same as the “Day of the Lord” or the “Great Tribulation”. It is important to note that the text says, “and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.” Bearing in mind this prophecy was given in 485 B.C., it was inconceivable that there could be a conflict that engaged the entire world. 135 countries took part in World War I, and more than 15,000,000 people died in the war.[1] World War II, which began shortly after on September 1, 1939, was the second time a large number of nations gathered to battle and this time more that 80,000,000 perished or about 2.5 % of the world’s population.[2] Now that these massive conflicts have occurred it is no longer difficult to accept God’s Word stating that, “and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.”

During the invasion of Jerusalem God will cause the all the military forces coming against Jerusalem to be filled with terror and blindness. His love for the Jewish people is evident as He says, “and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah.” Their enemies will be rendered useless for achieving their goal, which is the destruction of Israel and particularly Jerusalem. The normally brave enemies will suffer chaotic frenzy and they will not be able to see out of their vehicles.

The Jewish Leaders and The People React

Zechariah 12:5-7

5And the chieftains of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in Jehovah of hosts their God. 6In that day will I make the chieftains of Judah like a pan of fire among wood, and like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and they of Jerusalem shall yet again dwell in their own place, even in Jerusalem. 7Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah (ASV, 1901).

This verse verifies the change of heart the Jewish leaders will have toward God as the battle rages against Jerusalem. For once they will see what He has done to the invaders for them and they begin to turn to Him. The true strength of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is the Lord of the armies, their God. In verse 6 the unique imagery of a strong fire is used by God when He says, the “chieftains of Judah like a pan of fire among wood, and like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about”. God will now use them to defeat their foes because of their faith. Finally God says that He will save the Jews who live outside the walls of Jerusalem. He separates them out for special protection first when He says, “Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first,” Then He will protect those inside the walls so that two segments of the population will receive equal protection and blessing.

Inhabitants of Jerusalem Receive Supernatural Strength

 Zechariah 12:8

8In that day shall Jehovah defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah before them (ASV, 1901).

God now describes the level of protection He will give to the Jews living in Jerusalem during this battle. He is the defender of Jerusalem to be sure but the strength He will impart to the Jews is supernatural. The Jews will have a marvelous strength to fight the invaders. The weakest of the population will become as strong as their warrior King David. The strong ones, designated as “the house of David” or the household or family of David, are to be like God meaning they will be superhuman beings. They will be like the angel of Jehovah who goes before Israel. The point in making this comparison is that all of Israel will receive supernatural strength from the weakest members to the strongest of the population.

 Destruction of All Nations That Come Against Israel

Zechariah 12:9

9And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (ASV, 1901).

The national regeneration of the Nation Israel is tied to the destruction of Babylon, which will be the world headquarters of the Antichrist (Jeremiah 50:43). Every Jew will become strengthened to fight the enemy as the Lord is incapacitating the foes with blindness and mental panic, and the Nation Israel will prevail.

 The National Mourning Begins

Zechariah 12:10

10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born (ASV, 1901).

Then the Lord pours out His “spirit of grace and of supplication” which causes the Jews to realize that it was them who persecuted Jesus and had Him nailed to the cross at Calvary. The Lord in the first person (“me”) begins to describe the mourning process the Jews will go through when they finally realize that it was God Himself who died for them as Jesus the Messiah. He uses the analogy of losing a child to express the degree of mourning that will be felt. This degree of mourning is unparalleled in the lives of humans because the loss of a child is one of the greatest pains one can experience. He says not only is it the loss of a child, but it is as if it is the parent’s only male child and further defines the situation as losing a son who is their first-born child. Our first-born children are the ones with whom we learn parenting and spend the most time and effort attending to their care. We usually invest more of ourselves into the first-born child than any other child. A loss of this child will give us an immense amount of pain that will never leave us while we are still on this earth. This is the extent of pain the Nation Israel will experience when they finally realize what they have done to their Messiah Jesus.

 Example of Previous Mourning

 

Nazi Yellow Star Pined on Jews

Nazi Yellow Star Pined on Jews

 

 Zechariah 12:11

11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon (ASV, 1901).

The extent of the mourning that the Jews will have over their treatment of Jesus is likened to the mourning the nation had when Josiah died. “Hadadrimmon” was a city near Jezreel. It was in the plains of Megiddon where Pharaoh Necho II fatally wounded the good king Josiah, one of the few kings of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) that honored God. He started to reign when he was only eight years old and reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. At the age of sixteen he began to pray earnestly seeking the Lord God. As a result of his relationship with God he began to remove the occultist’s symbols from Jerusalem and forbade their sexual sins. At the age of twenty-six he sent several of his advisors and confidants to repair the Temple. During the repair work, the books of Moses (first five books of the Bible) were found, and taken to the king. When Josiah read them he expressed deep sorrow and realized how angry God was with the Nation Israel for not keeping His Word. He then started worship services again in the Temple. Josiah removed all the abominations in the kingdom and caused all the children to turn to their God. His death and the national mourning are recorded in II Chronicles:

 II Chronicles 35:20-25

20After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war; and God hath commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 22Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Neco from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24So his servants took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had, and brought him to Jerusalem; and he died, and was buried in the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations unto this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations (ASV 1901, emphasis added).

 Israel Mourns for Jesus

Zechariah 12:12-14

12And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart (ASV, 1901).

These verses describe the extent of the mourning in every family from the leaders of the government and the Temple down to the general population. All will mourn in national repentance for the way they rejected the Lord Jesus when He came the first time.

 The Cleansing of Sin from Israel

Zechariah 13:1-6

1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness (ASV, 1901).

In that day” means this is a revelation from the God about the events during Israel’s future salvation as a nation. Israel had been guilty of the rejection of their Savior and had been suffering a substantial amount of guilt over this. Their hardness of heart was keeping them from national belief in the truth of Jesus. Earlier in the text of chapter twelve Israel, as an entire nation from the highest elected officials and the Temple guardians down to the common citizens, realized that their ancestors had caused the death of their Messiah Jesus. They are also guilty of perpetuating this lie. All at once, in one day, those whom the Lord has chosen will be “born again” together. As the text says, “there shall be a fountain opened.” The Hebrew word used here for “fountain” is maqor. Here it is referring to a substantial amount of blessing, which God Himself will pour out on “the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. His blessing will essentially gush forth to all Israel (Romans 11:26). We see the same usage of “fountain” used in Psalm 36:9: “For with Thee is the fountain of life”; and in Jeremiah 2:13 and 17:13 it is used as the figure of Jehovah Himself, “the Fountain of living waters.”

It is clearly used here to illustrate the abundance of God’s blessings pouring out to remove sin and impurity from the nation Israel. Not only will the purification cover bodily defilement from abominable practices (such as drug and sexual abuse) but moral and the spiritual defilement of idolatry as well. The blessed fountain is none other that our Lord the Jewish Messiah Jesus. On

the day that our Lord was crucified, God’s fountain was opened for all to see and receive it’s blessing. At the Second Coming of Christ the Nation Israel will finally partake in that fountain and finally all Israel’s spiritual regeneration will occur (Jeremiah 31:31–37; Ezekiel 36:25–32; Romans 11:26–27).

Removing Idolatry and False Prophets from Israel

 

Idolatry Artist Unknown

Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicholas Poussin Cir.1594-1665

Zechariah 13:2

2And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land (ASV, 1901).

When God pours out His Spirit upon the Israelites they will immediately realize that the false prophets and their idols are an anathema and God will cause them to be removed from Israel. False prophets lie, and typically promised peace when there was no peace to be had (Jeremiah 6:13-14; 8:11; 14:3; 23:17; 27:14 28:2, 11; Ezekiel 13:10; Zechariah 13:3; Micah 3:5). They deceive the people with their dreams and their visions were drawn out of their own demonically fed hearts (Jeremiah 14:14; 23:16; 29:8; Ezekiel 13:2-3 ; 22:28 ). They prophesy by the alleged authority of pagan gods such as Baal, and threaten the lives of the true prophets (Jeremiah 2:8; 23:13; 26:7). The false prophets gave the people what they wanted to hear and “whitewashed” over every situation, no matter how perverse it appeared (Ezekiel 13:10-12,14-15; 22:28).

The Foundation for False Prophecy

 

Some false prophets used magic others appeared to use divination, soothsaying, witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery, which were all forbidden arts and practices in the Mosaic Law (Ezekiel 13:17-23). Deuteronomy says:

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

1 If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, 2and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams: for Jehovah your God proveth (is testing) you, to know whether ye love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4Ye shall walk after Jehovah your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him (ASV, 1901).

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

15Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16according to all that thou desiredst of Jehovah thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17And Jehovah said unto me, They have well said that which they have spoken. 18I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. 21And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? 22when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him (ASV, 1901).

These two sections from Deuteronomy contain at least seven commands regarding prophets:

  • Israelites must leave a prophet quickly if he does a sign or a wonder that actually occurs, and at the same time he encourages a belief in other gods.
  • Israelites must realize God tests us as to whether we love Him or act according to false prophets.
  • Israelites must serve the true God (called here “Jehovah”).
  • Israelites must believe that there was a succession of God’s prophets after Moses, then Lord God will rise up a prophet in the midst of Israel that will be as He is, and this will be Jesus the Messiah.
  • Israelites must believe the prophets of God will be speaking God’s Word.
  • Israelites are not to be afraid of a false prophet if he rose in the midst of the Israelites.
  • Israelites must put false prophets to death.

In the Church Age we do not have the legal ability to rid ourselves of false prophets through death. This is because Christianity is not a nation as Israel is; Christians live in every nation on earth. However, we can test what they say by comparing it to Scripture. If what they tell us to do is not Scriptural, we must not listen to them. We are to call them out as false prophets, and do not fear them. If they are the leaders in a particular fellowship we are in, then we must leave it. It is a test of obedience to God. We have the example of the Bereans of Acts 17:11 to provide us with guidance, which says to always test what a prophet, pastor, or teacher says against Scripture. Make sure they live their life in accordance with their teaching (Matthew 7:15-16). Some examples of modern day false prophets are those who:

  • Engage in legalism, which is making non-biblical rules binding for salvation and or sanctification.
  • Set dates for Christ’s return.
  • Encourage immoral behavior, including abortion and sexual deviancy.
  • Encourage fellowship with religious groups that do not hold to the inerrancy of Scripture.
  • Follow after the occult and occultic groups.
  • Deny the deity of Christ.
  • Deny the Second Coming.
  • Deny the virgin birth.
  • Deny the authority of the Bible.
  • Deny the substitionary atonement.

We must not be unequally yoked together with them and we must separate from them (II Corinthians 6:14). Separation is not an optional part of Christianity; it is a commandment (Romans 16:17-18; II Cor. 6:14-17; I Timothy 6:5; II Timothy 2:16-18; 3:5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 7-11; Revelation 18:4). Separation is not mean or unloving; it is obedience to God. Look at the verbs used in these passages:

 

  • “Mark them . . . avoid them” (Romans 16:17, KJV)
  • “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…” (II

Corinthians 6:14, KJV)

  • “Come out from among” (II Corinthians 6:17, KJV)
  • “Have no fellowship with” (Ephesians 5:11, KJV)
  • “Withdraw yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly” (II Thessalonians 3:6, KJV)
  • “Withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:5, KJV)
  • “Shun” (II Timothy 2:16, KJV)
  • “Purge himself from” (II Timothy 2:21, KJV)
  • “From such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5, KJV)
  • “Reject” (Titus 3:10, KJV)
  • “Receive them not into your house neither bid them God speed” (II John 1:10 KJV)

Separation provides a wall of protection against spiritual danger. Failure to separate as commanded leaves one open to the influence of error (I Corinthians 15:33). The reason a shepherd separates the sheep from wolves is to protect them. Likewise, a faithful and godly Bible teacher will seek to separate his flock from spiritual dangers that are even more destructive than wolves.

 God Deals With the False Prophets of Israel

Zechariah 13:3-4

3And it shall come to pass that, when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of Jehovah; and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4And it shall come to pass in that day that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he prophesieth; neither shall they wear a hairy mantle to deceive: (ASV, 1901).

During the Great Tribulation, and even leading up to it, there will be a seven-fold increase in false prophets due to the intense demonic prevalence of this era (Matthew 12:43-45). The greatest evidence will be the world’s worship of the Antichrist and the False Prophet culminating with Israel’s treaty with him (Daniel 9:27). At the time of Israel’s national salvation, which rejects any connection to the Antichrist, God will be starting the Millennial Kingdom, which is a Theocracy, and will have His will enacted into Law (see Appendix 4). One of these will be the elimination of false prophets by death. In this verse it is quite clear that even parents who find a false prophet among their children will kill him with a spear-like object at the point. Therefore they, “shall no more be remembered” as stated in verse 2 of this chapter and their parents will not mourn these demonically controlled children.

As a result of this divine pouring out of God’s Spirit many false prophets will feign righteousness, claiming to be ashamed for “every one of his vision”. They will even take off the attire of a righteous prophet, which they wore and described as the “hairy mantle to deceive.” Elijah wore such a mantle of rough sheep or goatskin called an addereth meaning to be “wide or great”. Elijah cast his off and gave it to his successor Elisha (II Kings 19:13, 19). The false prophets of future Israel will act ashamed that they put on the genuine prophet’s clothes as part of their deception, and they will be exposed as the wolf under the sheep’s clothing!

 False Prophets Avoid Detection

Zechariah 13:5-6

5 but he shall say, I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondman from my youth. 6And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds between thine arms? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends (ASV, 1901)

When the false prophet is confronted with his deception he will claim to be a “tiller of the ground”, or a farmer. He will even claim to have been bound to another as a servant since he was a boy (“made a bondman from my youth”). Because of the laws of the Theocracy that will be set up in Israel, they will do anything to avoid execution. Execution will be the only way to deal with them to end their pollution. The Mosaic Law of the Old Testament described how false teaching is to be dealt with, and only death will eliminate it. The only difference between the Mosaic Law and the Theocracy’s dealing with a false prophet is the manner of execution. The Mosaic Law called for a false prophet to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 13:5-11). The Theocracy will have them thrust through with a spear.

Those confronting the false prophet will view the scars on his arms and chest as evidence that he is indeed a false prophet (“What are these wounds between thine arms?”). He will only be able to put forth a feeble lie saying he got them from his friends (“Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends”). Incisions on the body were characteristic of pagan cultures in ancient Canaan. In response to this sign of paganism, God warned the priest, prophets and people of Israel to not do such things in the interests of maintaining pure faith (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1). The purpose of these self-lacerations associated with pagan rituals was to induce certain actions by their gods. Consider the contest between Elijah and the Baal prophets at Carmel described in 1 Kings chapter 18. After those false prophets had prayed and pleaded for Baal to ignite their sacrifices, with no success, they became frenzied and began to cut themselves until the blood poured from their veins and arteries (I Kings 18:28). In the latter days of the Church Age, and with the rise of neo paganism, we see an abundance of body markings including the cutting and scaring of skin to make symbols. This is additional evidence of drawing closer to the practices of the pagan cultures that are removed from God.

 

Daniel E Woodhead

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/casualties.htm accessed November 16, 2013

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties accessed on November 16, 2013

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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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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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