Tag Archives: Church

The Real Meaning Behind the Jewish Feasts

September 2015

There has been a lot of interest lately in the coming harvest feasts celebrated by the Jews and whether or not it has any implications for us as Christians and Americans. There have been many attempts to answer and decipher its meaning. America has seen tragedy during this time of year and some people have determined it was judgment from God. Because we as Christians have not come into a clear understanding of God’s ways, His movements have often eluded us.

It was during these seasons that I received salvation and pursued a deeper understanding of God and events that occurred during these seasons. The untimely death of a loved one got my attention as I wondered why. I became angry with a God I did not know. God did not have to vindicate Himself to me but He did because He is just that kind of God. He wants us to know that He is always righteous and good. With God’s help I was able understand death and work through the grief process. I began to observe a pattern in deaths around the end and beginning of a year. As a new Christian, the Jewish feasts were unfamiliar to me until much later so it was attributed to some phenomenal related to the end of the year. For years I observed these times of unusual blessings and loss and sought to understand. This mystery was opened up further and further as I grew in Christian knowledge and searched out the ways of God.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He established patterns in the earth and patterns for His interactions with mankind. God’s laws are universal but His ways are to be understood by His people. There are those that can break down the Jewish feasts in ways that I would not even attempt. My intent is only to understand what God wants from us and how we are to give it. Recently I wrote out a paper of my own research in this area entitled “The Offering God Wants When He Comes to Meet With Us.” Through this research I found my answer and maybe my summary will suffice others as well.

The History of the Feast Times

To understand God, we always have to go back to what He originally instructed us and see the progression of this truth through the scripture. Because God does not change. What He originally wanted, He still wants. It is our sin that has changed the equation. God originally came to meet with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on a regular basis (Gen 3:8). We saw in Genesis where the sons, Cain and Abel, prepared offerings for God (Gen 4:3). We are not told how these offerings began, just that they occurred. God was pleased with one offering and rejected the other. This story reveals that God expects to meet with His people at set times and that He wants us to offer up something of value to Him at His coming.

In the wilderness, we saw that Moses instructed the Children of Israel in the ways of God and how to please Him. The Israelites were told that several specific times during the year God would meet with them, how they would present their offerings, and that these would be times of a great celebration.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Deu16:16

The Israelites worked the land and were shepherds so their offerings to God were related to their labor during the year. God expected His people to recognize and bless Him at the end of their season of work where He had prospered them to have success. The combination of their work and God’s favor produced a crop or blessing of which God expected His credit, respect and reverence.

Man’s response to God’s expectation to be remembered at this time would show man’s appreciation and thankfulness for a good and gracious God. Cain, of course, did not show proper respect or appreciation and God was not pleased. What about us? Are we thankful? God has blessed America greatly. Are we showing thankfulness? God no longer expects animal sacrifice, but He does expect from His children thankfulness and reverence.

This coming season is about a tradition of God coming to meet with His children and bringing and receiving something of value in a time of thankfulness for all He has done for us. Will we have an acceptable offering? Certainly there will be praises and worship going up to God as we carry on church services but let us not forget other behavior.

America has recently thumbed its nose to God. The White House was lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate a practice that God hates. Our legislative branch is at war with each other. The Supreme Court has validated and made legal a homosexual life style that God specifically forbade. The nation has removed prayer and the Ten Commandments from public arenas, shunned the stranger, murdered millions of babies while the rich have decried the portion for the poor and many churches have rejected God’s truth and deceived believers. America that loves money and that has made money its god is now poised to elect a new president who appears to worship money. Shall God be pleased with what America has to offer Him when He comes to be celebrated in this season? I think not. America’s present state can be found in the book of Judges where the people were willing to say to anyone: “Come and be lord over us and take this mess under your hand.”

“Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you – Jdg 8:22-23.” (Read the rest of this chapter.)

“When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand…” Isa 3:6.

Perversion of the Season

Many false religious leaders have made a mockery of this time and required of God’s people a substantial money offering during these feasts. People looking for a blessing from God have been taken advantage of and some fallen into unbelief because of it. While God does expect us to give finances to the church that upholds His name and does His work, it is in the normal process of church obedience, not in a lottery to get future blessings. We must remember too, that there were some offering as mentioned by Isaiah that God did not want.

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” Isa 1:11-14  

These verses were followed up with the truth of what God really wanted: Isa 1:17 – “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” God is more concerned about our heart and right behavior (New Testament Commandments) than our offering up vain offerings in an attempt to appease Him. So, like with Cain, an offering from impure or insincere hearts will not be acceptable to God. Malachi 3 helps us to see also that God will not be pleased with our refusal to give godly pastors the portion that is rightly due for the work of the Lord. The New Commandments that Jesus gave us refer to a changed heart. A right heart leads us to do right with our money.

The Expectation of God’s Coming

This upcoming season is about God coming to see what we have prepared as an offering for Him. Will it be good works, a heart of love, fellowship with Him and our brethren, an appreciation and thanks for His truth and blessings or will it be our disrespect? God will come to some in blessings for their good done toward His name but He will appear as a judge to others for their disrespect of His Word and Person. How will we meet our God?

Jewish Traditions Applied to Christians

The Jewish feast of Rosh HaShanah is September 13-15, 2015. It is the Jewish New Year and marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self examination and repentance. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. It is a time of judgment for mankind and reconciliation with God.

The next significant feast is Yom Kippur – Atonement celebrated on September 22-23, 2015. This feast begins at sunset of one day and ends at nightfall of the next. During Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur and in the days leading up to them, the Jews begin to examine their lives and repent for any wrong doings committed the previous year. This repentance is called teshuvah. Yom Kippur is when the high priest went into the Holy of Holies each year to make an offering for the sins of Israel. The Jews during this time would make amends with those they have wronged and make plans for improving their lives during the upcoming year. Many Americans follow this custom but observe it at our New Year’s Day which starts in January. Where our calendar has gone through worldly changes the Jewish calendar is more exact. Yom Kippur is the deadline for making things right and by its end, God’s “Book of Life” is said to be closed until the next year. It is a time of fasting, repenting and cleansing to renew our relationship with God.

Even though some Christians may have difficulty with these holidays because they represent Jewish traditions, we must realize that our Savior and Christian blessings come through the lineage of Jews and that we must understand both the past and the present to get a full understanding of our God. These practices that we saw exercised in the Garden of Eden were evidently established long before Abraham. Though we do not follow the laws of the Jews, we do obey the spirit of the law and some principles are timeless as are some commands God gave to the Jews, i.e. honoring God and putting Him first. We are admonished through the word:

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Pro 4:7

“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” 1Jn 2:20

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Joh 8:32

God can move at any time in the life of a person but we are told specifically about His expectations at this time.  Whether for blessing or judging, we would do well to be ready for God’s presence in love and preparedness. Christians are not Jews but we serve the same God and we have been brought into a better relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. Christ actually taught His disciples about divine visitations and how to be ready for them (Mt 24-44). This is a time when we should reach out to and pray for all souls. While God comes to bless and fellowship with the obedient, the ungodly will find His judgment of sin. There are yet deeper meanings to the season for the believer in fellowship with the Lord and they should diligently seek God for His purposes. We have a standing appointment with the Righteous God over the earth and it is always a good idea to take some time to examine our lives and prepare it to be a time of celebration.

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Why White America Does Not Repent

August 2015

The Christian faith requires a confession of sins and commitment to the doctrine and practices of Christ. Those that circumvent these requirements, therefore, cannot be authentic Christians. The early apostles and Christ warned believers against following teachings contrary to what they taught (Mt. 16:11-12). However, many churches teach a derivative of the gospel that does not model what Christ practiced. Some professing Christians may not be indeed true disciples of Christ. Lack of understanding of the gospel explains why some religious people may not see the need to repent in a season where God is dealing with all hearts.

Christian Progress Incomplete

A study of Christian history reveals many phases of the Christian journey in the western world. It will reveal many wars and executions resulting from those who believed their religious method or practice was supreme to others they considered heretics. Christian history also reveals extreme and unnecessary practices that some were willing to endure to perfect their faith. Like them, many of our churches believe they have found the true ways of Christ and have set out to perfect that standard among their members. But are they more right than believers of prior centuries who risked life and limb to sustain their practice of faith? The present deterioration of Christianity in the western world argues that something is awry in our practice of Christianity.   Even as the Old Testament Jews never reached perfection through their religious practices, nor have many of us who have not rend the heart to find Christ. Christ walked out the faith that pleased God to show us the right pattern and yet it has escaped the understanding of many seekers.

Conflict with the Blueprint of America

When we examine the difference between the power structure of America and that of other democratic nations, we discover the uniqueness of this nation and gain further enlightenment on this question. This nation was formed by people who wanted to escape the tyrannical rule of religion and government. They wanted to lift up the voice of ordinary people to significantly impact what happened in their lives. With the help of God, the nation was formed to allow citizens religious freedom and exercise of a strong voice in the lawmaking process that ruled their lives. These systems have been in place for over 200 years but the nation has fallen into decline because people have disengaged their participation in governing and given rise to groups willing to reign over them. So America has not succeeded in its well organized system to evolve into the great democratic republic whose governing would be of the people, by the people and for the people, with liberty and justice for all.

Every organization, people or system is patterned after something that it has seen or envisioned for itself. America did not favor the old patterns of England and sought to find a new system that would be more just. They envisioned a governing system that would largely involve the common people in decision making. But more importantly this system was formed mostly by people with faith in God and who incorporated biblical ideals into this new system. What all of them may not have realized at the time was that God had a major role in setting up this new government. As the Master of the Universe, it was God who was guiding man to a system of government where all the people He created as equals, having equal value would have equal opportunities as well in the earth. The many forms of Christianity that united in the beginning of the nation later chose to divide by state; but the heart of the bible envisions a people who would follow biblical principles and arrive at a destination of heart that flows with love and compassion for all people.

The nation of America has never reached that destination of love and compassion for all people in its religious community. Having fought the Civil War and against civil rights for black people, America has been forced to accept the legal rights of all people by law, rather than by heart. The Law (Ten Commandments) was established to show people their sin and need of a Savior; and that Savior has come. Law never perfected the hearts or performance of any people. So what the Ten Commandments failed to do in man’s heart, the law of man cannot do. But God is still willing to work with America if America is willing to work with God.

Christianity’s Goal of Love

With the failure of religion to perfect the hearts of America and bring it into the plan of God for the people, it has left many seeking some other pattern to follow. We have seen America’s social engagement with the royals of England and a developing affection for the monarchal ways. The love affair with and lost of England’s Princess Diana (America’s Princess) broke the heart of America. The nation of America still flirts with the ideas of past European ways, travelling to foreign nations as royalty, establishing homes on several continents and developing an infatuation with foreign personalities and their speaking accents. We still see American elites trying to live the life of European aristocrats, some who maintain their status by oppressing commoners.

The nation of America must have a vision to imitate and a pattern to follow. If not Christianity, what? Ideals formed from Christianity and a pursuit of equal rights for all people is what made America different from other nations of the world. If it does not continue in this vein, it really does not have a purpose or destiny to fulfill. That is the reason why we see factions of its citizens trying to remake America into some other image. Some that were successful in removing the Ten Commandments from the courtyard recently positioned a demon statue in the courtyard in its stead. Because Christians and political leaders have lost their way, ad hoc groups are establishing their own control, i.e. the gay rights movement, the wealthy, media, conglomerates, and religious sects. All of these groups and their lobbying efforts that are also represented in other developed nations just add to the confusion of governing.

Backward Drift into Darkness

We are seeing America drift backward because it refuses to continue on a godly path. Legalization of hallucinogenic drugs and sexual appetites, breakout of violence and discord, confusion about moral values, as well as the breakdown of the family are all signs of the backward drift. As America condones the newly uncovered atrocities in the abortion industry and choosing instead to protest killing of sanctioned wild life, it does not seem to realize that this same type of hardened heart that endorsed slavery, killed the Jews, and thought it okay is the public heart of America today on display. Irony would have America to consider its deviant behavior that is being uncovered while it is busy judging the deviant behavior of other uncivilized nations and immoral groups. While some are cutting off heads to reach their goal, America condones cutting up babies for financial goals. While uncivilized and unprogressive nations are protecting the family, America is busy destroying the family. It is indeed a time for serious soul searching! But there seem to be no strong component to turn the nation in the right way because the right way has been rejected and the trumpet blowers are not alarmed.

Why is it that America will not continue in a righteous path? Churches have been content to have unregenerate pastors and congregations who follow religious paths leading down a road whose end does not resemble Christ. They have valued their social unity above relationship with Christ. Jesus met many people on this path in His earthy ministry and appealed to their hearts to change. America has arrived at a place where she must repent of past sins that she does not want to acknowledge. And yet she can precede no further until she deals with it in broken hearted repentance. The nation cannot deny its Christian founding, biblical foundation or past Christian leaders but it must continue its journey. It is fine to call oneself a Christian, but true Christianity requires one to accept the truth and repent of sins. White America, like during slavery, has been fine with having a form of Christianity that does not invade personal pleasures or privileges. True Christianity requires acceptance of every nationality of God’s people and bringing them into the commonality that is the Kingdom of God. White Christians have had their reign over all the affairs of the nation and refuse to release their control. But even the gay community has refused hypocritical religion and decided to guide its own way into politics and religion. America’s Christian white community has also established a gospel of prosperity that allows them to have elite rule from a different platform of privilege and self-righteousness, where commoners support their lifestyle with their dollars. It is no different than the British royals, except for the propagation of a perverted gospel.   We even saw recently the white political body of the right wing and Christian organizations rise up into a powerful political force to set up their own candidates for the office of president of the United States in hope of gaining more control toward hierarchy and aristocracy. This would have been America’s own religious controlled government with a bias against blacks and other minorities. Sovereignty prevailed though and the move was crushed to the amazement of its organizers. White Christians in America were willing to compromise or give up their God in order to increase their rule. We have already seen this modeled in South Africa and it failed.

The founding fathers and first settlers of America had had enough of monarchal rule and religious oppression. They were ready for a reversal of that path. But new Americans, accustomed to privilege and liberties, have no appreciation for the hardship and fear the founders had suffered under English rule. Nor has America learned the lesson from the Civil War: oppression is wrong. Slavery was wrong, but America has never fully repented or atonement for this sin. Repentance calls for confession of sin and reversal of the old direction. Some Americans are trying to move forward through that backward direction because the hatred and racial prejudice of America’s past has not been resolved. It has always continued in some other guise such as unjust laws or discriminatory acts that boils over from time to time. Healing never took place because it has never been properly confronted. The height of Christianity obtained to the present day in America has not inspired the white church to lead the charge of resolving inequalities toward to blacks in particular and other nationalities. The insidious nature of the prejudice that ruled in America over past centuries was a hatred that told whites their skin color made them superior to those of darker skin. This deception can be traced back to the prejudice of its author, the German philosopher Christoph Meiners (1747-1810) who coined the term “Caucasian” for the white race; denoting people he thought were more morally virtuous and attractive than others due to their pale skin color. And even the world’s condemnation of this belief, demonstrated through German Adolf Hitler’s prejudice and atrocities carried out against the Jews, has not alleviated this venom. White Christians have failed to learn this lesson from past mistakes and to avoid making the same errors in the future. Christ demands a love for man’s neighbor that looks beyond physical attributes, one that proactively seeks to show love to neighbors and strangers and that will not participate in stoning of sin, even the sexual sins of homosexuality.

America was founded at a time when Britain was denouncing slavery and yet the new nation of America launched head first into it, ignoring British evangelists who brought their message across the waters with great power and authority compelling the end of slavery. America’s white population, and especially white Christians, still must come to grips with the lie of racial superiority that science refutes with the resulting embedded prejudice of soul; and come to a place where they denounce this hatred before it destroys the nation of America. It is unconscionable that Christian love, racial prejudice and a spirit of superiority could reside in the same soul; and some that are looking for revival will not acknowledge this major hindrance in their hearts. Apostle John denounced this hypocrisy in his gospel message:

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1Jn 1:6

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1Jn 3:11

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 1Jn 3:14

America must remember its past where many religious people, professing Christians, preachers and even the founders of the nation bought and sold black people as slaves, brutally handled and killed them, believing it was God’s will and that they themselves were righteous and followers of God. How was that possible except that they were unregenerate or churchgoers with consciences seared through hatred? This same hatred is blinding America from the ability to solve urgent issues pertaining to immigration, racial discord, homosexual demands and internal/external terrorism. Refusing to deal with the root of these issues in the heart only exacerbate the problems. The very definition of Christianity is a heart of love because God is love. This fact should cause every white professing Christian to search his own soul to see if his salvation is merely professed rather than possessed. They should ponder how it is possible to have racial hatred, a spirit of superiority and yet call oneself a follower of the very Christ who forbade these practices and Who taught a doctrine of love and humility.

Christian Churches Should Set the Example

Individual believers of Christ should inquire from spiritual leaders the soul-searching questions of the day and follow only those that truly follow Christ. True Christianity will save the soul and America. True Christians in the white communities must deal with diehards that refuse to obey man and God’s law for sharing this nation. If Arab nations can realize their responsibility why cannot white America and especially Christians? This is a conversation that white America must have with itself and with their religious leaders before America can move forward. Many white Americans, rather than looking inward, are spending their time dissecting other issues such as gun control, immigration, motivation for crimes, and the president’s action. They have concluded that the cause of the problems must be those other people. How can black Americans be the problem when they have been beat down, oppressed and discriminated against at every turn while whites have had the advantage of majority rule and liberty in America that comes through a history of over two thousand years of Christianity? Imagine parents who would claim their children are destroying the family when it’s the parents who are in charge of the house and who control the purse strings. How foolish! Everyone knows this would be the parents fault! White America must search its own soul. Their sovereign rule over the lives of others has not given them a peace that satisfies and they continue to search for it in other places instead of in true relationship with God. But the Word of God declares:

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Luk12:48

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2Ch 7:14

Note in these scriptures God put the responsibility of change on those who say they are His. What has always been at issue in America is how the white elites can control the wealth of the nation for themselves. Greed is the issue behind racial prejudice as it was behind the issue of slavery. The love of money is still the root of all evil…in church…in government. But these issues are all settled in the heart of a true Christian who has learned to love his neighbor as himself. So where white America and the Christian community have failed to succeed in God’s vision for America, they must decide if they will now pursue God’s way. The power to change is the mighty power of God that He gives abundantly and freely. The power to change has been provided and the alternative is devastating. Wisdom would advise America and white Christians in particular, to consider its own wicked ways, repent, and follow the nation’s founders and God’s plan for allowing the nation to grow into a united body, which enjoys equally God’s bounty in liberty. Reversal into the confusion of past mistakes will not help and God forbids that course!