Did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross? (Questions and answers: Question #4)

From The Fellowship’s ‘Question and Answer’ series: The Question: Did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross?

Q: Did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross?  He is God but He was also subject to the will of the Father.  If He wanted to, could He have opted not to be crucified?

A: Well, the cross as the means of death? The answer is yes and no.

No, because they (The Godhead) could have chosen any means/method that they wished, Yes, because that is the means that they chose, and had the Prophets foretell it as such. There is a Much longer list of prophecies that pertain to the Messiah, but here is a short list:

Isaiah: I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;  I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting (Isaiah 50:6).

Matthew records that when the soldiers were humiliating the blindfolded Jesus, ‘they spat in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”‘ (Matthew 26:67-68).

Isaiah: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth  (Isaiah 53:7).

Pilate tried to browbeat Jesus into convicting himself. ‘But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed’ (Matthew 27:14).

Isaiah also prophesies of the Messiah that he was to be ‘numbered with the transgressors’ (Isaiah 53:12). Matthew records of Jesus that ‘two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left’ (Matthew 27:38).

In one of his psalms, David has the Messiah crying: All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:  ‘He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him’ – (Psalm 22:7-8, NIV).

Matthew records the Jewish religious rulers mocking Jesus as he hung on the cross and crying, ‘Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him’ (Matthew 27:42-43).

In another psalm, David prophesies, ‘He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken’ (Psalm 34:20). After the three men had been crucified, soldiers came to ensure that they were dead by breaking their legs. ‘But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs’ (John 19:33).

Zechariah sees the Messiah crying, ‘They look on me, on him whom they have pierced’ (Zechariah 12:10). John tells us that to make sure Jesus was dead, a soldier ‘pierced his side with a spear’ (John 19:34).

And of course, here is the song that Jesus sang on the Cross: Psalm 22:1 (HCSB) My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? 

Q: Could he have exercised the “free will” man has? Or did He have to die because the Father told Him to?

A: Let’s look at the scriptures: Psalm 8:4-9 (HCSB) 

what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him? You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him lord over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet: all the sheep and oxen, as well as the animals in the wild, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea that pass through the currents of the seas.
Yahweh, our Lord, how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!

Hebrews 2:5-9 (HCSB) For He has not subjected to angels the world to come that we are talking about. But one has somewhere testified: What is man that You remember him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him lower than the angels for a short time; You crowned him with glory and honor and subjected everything under his feet. For in subjecting everything to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him.
But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering in death.

The cross was an act of the will. It was an act of obedience and Love, from Jesus to His Father

Luke 22:39-44 (HCSB) 
39 He went out and made His way as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him.
40 When He reached the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray,
42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.
44 Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

It was an act of obedience and a mindset that we are to emulate/follow

Philippians 2:5-11 (HCSB) 

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So, his vicarious death on the Cross, was an act of Love From the son to the Father, as well as a Bride-Price paid, to purchase His Bride (the Church)

For more about that , please check this link. It is excellent:

http://www.godonthe.net/evidence/marriage.htm

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Should Christians Celebrate Kwanzaa?

A 2017 update to Pastor Jermin’s original 2008 blogpost …

So, what exactly is this ‘Holiday’ known as Kwanzaa? This post seeks to uncover/reveal that, and take a look  at it in light of the scriptures?

Why?

1) Because there are Christian churches, that display the symbols of this celebration within their walls, and knowing full well what The Lord has proclaimed as it pertains to idols and other gods, we must be careful, and be clear.

2) I have become over the years, increasingly alarmed by our seeming need, as African Americans, to ‘culturalize’ everything, even bringing that need to, and imposing it upon, ‘The Faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.’ As Jude admonishes, A Faith that MUST be contended for earnestly. It is in this spirit that I write this piece…

Who is its founder? Who invented it?

Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga (born Ronald McKinley Everett on July 14, 1941) is the creator of Kwanzaa.

In the late 1960’s he started and led an organization (a black nationalist cult) known as the ‘United Slaves’. Interestingly, as Kwanzaa caught on, Mr. Karenga was sitting in a California prison for torturing two black women who were members of the United Slaves.

Originally known as Ron N. Everett, he went by (and eventually legally took on)  the name Karenga, meaning “keeper of tradition”, and in the 60’s took upon himself the title “maulana,” which means “master teacher” in Swahili. He was born on a poultry farm in Maryland, the fourteenth child of a Baptist minister.

Mr. Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment. He was sentenced on Sept. 17, 1971 to serve one to ten years in prison. After being released from prison in 1975, he remade himself as Maulana Ron Karenga, went into academics, and by 1979 was running the Black Studies Department at California State University in Long Beach and converted to Marxism.

The Crime:

On May 9, 1970 he initiated the torture session that led to his imprisonment. The torture session was described in the L.A. Times on May 14, 1971.

“The victims said they were living at Karenga’s home when Karenga accused them of trying to kill him by placing crystals in his food and water and in various areas of his house. When they denied it, allegedly they were beaten with an electrical cord and a hot soldering iron was put in Miss Davis’ mouth and against her face.

Police were told that one of Miss Jones’ toes was placed in a small vise, which then was tightened by the men and one woman. The following day Karenga told the women that ‘Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.” Miss Tamao put detergent in their mouths; Smith turned a water hose full force on their faces, and Karenga, holding a gun, threatened to shoot both of them. The victims Deborah Jones and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothing.”

Karenga was convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment.

More information can be found here:http://www.nathanielturner.com/karenga2.htm 

At Karenga’s trial, the question of his sanity arose. A psychiatrist’s report stated the following: “This man now represents a picture which can be considered both paranoid and schizophrenic with hallucinations and illusions, inappropriate affect, disorganization, and impaired contact with the environment.” The psychiatrist reportedly observed that Karenga talked to his blanket and imaginary persons, and believed he’d been attacked by dive-bombers.

Jones and Brenda Karenga testified that Karenga believed the women were conspiring to poison him, which Davis has attributed to a combination of ongoing police pressure and his own drug abuse.

Karenga denied any involvement in the torture, and argued that the prosecution was political in nature. He was imprisoned at the California Men’s Colony, where he studied and wrote on feminism, Pan-Africanism and other subjects. The US organization fell into disarray during his absence and was disbanded in 1974. After he petitioned several black state officials to support his parole on fair sentencing grounds, it was granted in 1975.

Karenga has declined to discuss the convictions with reporters and does not mention them in biographical materials.[17] During a 2007 appearance at Wabash College he again denied the charges and described himself as a former political prisoner. The convictions nonetheless continue to generate controversy during Kwanzaa celebrations.  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maulana_Karenga

Origins of Kwanzaa:

What is it, how and why did he put it together?

On December 25th 1965, three months after the founding of the Us (United slaves) organization, Samuel Carr-Damu, one of the original members visited Karenga’s home to present his daughter with a black doll for Christmas. Karenga rejected the gift, stating that Us members should not celebrate Christmas. Since the entire rank-and-file recognized some form of Christianity and were life-long celebrants of Christmas, the potential elimination of the holiday posed a serious problem for the organization, especially those with young children….. Karenga spent much of the following year researching African cultural practices, trying to find a suitable alternative for Christmas 1966….. Excerpted From:

The Black Power Movement: Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era by Peniel E. Joseph (2006) Pages 342-343 You can read it in more detail here: http://books.google.com/

Note that “ Karenga spent much of the following year researching African cultural practices, trying to find a suitable alternative for Christmas…’

The word “Kwanzaa”

The word “Kwanzaa” itself is man made. It is derived from the swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means first fruits. Karenga’s history has it that the extra “a” was added to represent the seven children that were a part of his organization, (US Organization) as each child wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa.

From: ‘Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture’ pg. 108.

The Nguzo Saba or ‘Seven Principles’

The Kwanzaa celebration consists of seven days to celebrate seven principles (the Nguzo Saba), with emphasis on one principle a day. The seventh day culminates in a feast, patterned much like the first-fruits celebrations of ancient Africa. There are activities such as the pouring the libation for ancestors, lighting of candles, raising names of ancestors (also referred to by many as “ancestor worship” – discussed more in detail later), and gift-giving.

http://www.believersweb.org

Not coincidentally, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the very same seven principles of the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1974, Patricia Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snake head stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa. For those of you who do not know or remember the SLA or its history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbionese_Liberation_Army

This is interesting in light of the claim that the seven principles were ‘Developed by Dr. Karenga’ (http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/7principles.shtml)

 The Kinara

 Kinara

The Kinara is a candle stand used in the celebration of Kwanzaa. There are seven candles in the Kinara one black candle, three red and three green candles. These are the mshumaa saba (the seven candles) and they represent the seven principles. The black candle represents the first principle Umoja (unity) and is placed in the center of the kinara. Looking at the picture it is clear to see that the kinara looks much like another religious symbol, namely The Menorah

The Menorah

temple menorah

YHWH gave instructions to His people when constructing the implements of Worship, among them, the Menorah…

Exodus 25:31 . . . “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece” . . .

Exodus 25:32 . . . “And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.”

 The Menorah with its seven branches is a perfect picture of the Seven Spirits of YHWH, as shown in the following scripture:

Isaiah 11:2-3: “The Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Chochmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding), the Spirit of Atzah (Counsel) and Gevurah (Might), the Spirit of Da’at (Knowledge) and of the Yirah (Fear) of YHWH.”

 

What is the purpose of Kwanzaa?

Dr. Karenga, 1977: “… it was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.  

Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice – Karenga (Maulana.) 1977 Kawaida Publications, – pg. 21,

Why is this a problem for Christians?

Because Kwanzaa is a RELIGION! Hence it is the Worship of another god…

 “Kwanzaa has definite principles, practices and symbols which are geared to the social and spiritual needs of Afro-America.” – Kwanzaa: origin, concepts, practice – Karenga (Maulana.) 1977 Kawaida Publications, – pg. 14.

The Nguzo Saba are seven principles clearly set apart for the Black American and not for others. It is also an attempt by Dr. Karenga to introduce humanistic principles for improving life without God. Kwanzaa is not just a cultural celebration, but an attempt to establish a way of life with man as the center of worship and reverence.

If anything, many are accepting these principles as SPIRITUAL principles and a guide for their lives. A disturbing fact for the Christian who believes that all spiritual principles begin with the Bible and not with man.

Frequently, spirituality is mentioned and the Nguzo Saba is said to be a standard by which to live for moral guidance and instruction within the community. The Nguzo Saba (seven principles) is given so much emphasis in character development that it is also said in Dr. Karenga’s book, to make one a “new man, woman and child.” (The African American Holiday of Kwanzaa, p44.) Very similar to what is said in the Bible regarding the newness of man:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  – 2 Cor 5:17 (NIV)

So here we have a celebration that emphasizes a code of ethics (the Nguzo Saba) for moral instruction to bring about a spiritually developed character. Thus far, Kwanzaa has a few things in common with Christianity and other religions. Moral instruction, spirituality and a purpose — becoming a new person!

Karenga Lists The Nguzo Saba as a Religion

Dr. Karenga even recognizes the “religion” of Kwanzaa when in his book, Kawaida Theory, p. 25, he says of the seven principles (The Nguzo Saba) as coming “from African religion” and lists it among other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism in his section on positive functions of religion. In light of that writing, it then becomes difficult to explain his statement that “Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday,” especially when the Nguzo Saba is considered the centerpiece of Kwanzaa.

“The primary conflict that the Christian should have with Kwanzaa is that it is a way of life. It is even being encouraged by many to celebrate it not just during the holiday season, but all year round! Why is that so? Because it is promised to be build character, to change one’s life spiritually. This can be seen on the Melanet’s Kwanzaa Information Center web site under the Goals of Kwanzaa topic. It says: “To develop self and facilitate a positive Black self-esteem by exposing individuals to ‘Kwanzaa’, a culturally desirable pattern of principles, to help them live their lives and to encourage the highest level of positive Black self-esteem and spiritual development. — To establish a culturally oriented ‘WAY OF LIFE.”

There are several dangers that present themselves when the Christian attempts to combine their “religion” of Christianity with that of the “religion” of Kwanzaa. 1) They take upon the assumption that the Bible is not enough to spiritually feed us a a people… 2) That we MUST define ourselves in the context of culture 3) Unity is possible without Christ, by simply uniting with those of the same color, i.e. culture. Our self-worth only comes from knowing Christ as Lord and Savior, so we can’t really do both.”

– Carlotta Murrow, a San Diego computer technician who runs the website – http://christocentric.com/Kwanzaa/ – which is a fantastic and comprehensive website dealing with the history, contradictions, ancestral worship and other problematic issues inherent in this ‘holiday’

A little more background from the Dartmouth Review:

Initially, Kwanzaa proceeded from Karenga’s hostility toward Western religion, which, he wrote in his 1980 book, Kawaida Theory, ‘denies and diminishes human worth, capacity, potential and achievement. In Christian and Jewish mythology, humans are born in sin, cursed with mythical ancestors who’ve sinned and brought the wrath of an angry God on every generation’s head.’ He similarly opposed belief in God and other ‘spooks who threaten us if we don’t worship them and demand we turn over our destiny and daily lives.’

Thus, Karenga explained in his 1977 Kwanzaa: Origin, Concepts, Practice, ‘Kwanzaa is not an imitation, but an alternative, in fact, an oppositional alternative to the spookism, mysticism and non-earth based practices which plague us as a people and encourage our withdrawal from social life rather than our bold confrontation with it.’ The holiday ‘was chosen to give a Black alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.’

Since then, the holiday has gained mainstream adherents, and Karenga has altered its justification so as not to alienate practicing Christians: ‘Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday,’ he writes in Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, published in 1997. –J. Lawrence Scholar from the Dartmouth review

So dear reader,

Having significant information at your disposal now, you must ask yourself: Can the celebration, even the acknowledgment of Kwanzaa in the house of God, or by the people of God be justified, except to condemn it?

I daresay not.

God is possessive of the worship and service that belong to Him. It is a sin (as God points out in Exodus 20:4-5) to worship or serve anything other than Him. God is jealous for what belongs to Him; worship and service belong to Him alone, and are to be given to Him alone. As 1 Samuel 5 clearly examples, YHWH does not ‘play well’ with other ‘gods’…

That said, clearly, at its root, Kwanzaa was designed and presented as an alternative to Christianity. This is of course, a violation of the first commandment.

 

Please note that I am anxious to hear/share/discuss your thoughts/opinions, etc, as they relate to this issue, and look forward to hearing from you

Blessings to all,

Pastor CTJ

 

From The Archives: ‘Prayer: Plain, Purposed and Powerful…’

For the next few weeks, leading up to our 10th anniversary as a church, we’re going to look back on (and post here) some of the more significant things that we’ve studied…

Many of the posts (like the one that follows) is directly from Pastor Jermin’s notes.

RFBC Meeting Notes: 07/27/2008

Our topic this week is Prayer: Plain, Purposed and Powerful

Part One: We will be studying specific Prayers of Jesus

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus – John 17
The Model Prayer of Jesus (which we call the Lord’s Prayer)  – Matthew 6:9-13, and Luke 11:2-4.

Analysis of the Lord’s Prayer:

9-After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

9) The acknowledgement of God’s Power, Authority, Position & Holiness

10-Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

10) Let your Kingdom (Righteousness, Peace & Joy in the Holy Ghost as described in Romans 14:17) come upon me, so that I can do your will here on earth

11-Give us this day our daily bread.

11) Provide for my day to day needs. (This so I can concentrate on you)

12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

12) The tightrope walk: The balance of repentance and forgiveness is where we must stand in order to stay in right relationship with God

13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

13) The first part is perhaps a reference to Psalm 23, in that the Shepherd leads and protects the sheep, and the second points again to the authority and eternal power of the Father

 

How did Jesus Pray?

John 11:41-43 – Lazarus (Confidence)

41  They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes, said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. 42  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43  When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.

 

John 12:27-30 – Glorify your name (Meekness/Temperance)

27  Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. 28  Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.

Luke 22:31-32
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Could Jesus simply have rebuked the devil for Peter’s sake?
Yes, obviously. Then why didn’t he?

v.32 the word translated as for is: περί  / peri /  per-ee’

which means properly: through (all over), that is, around; figuratively with respect to;

Reading that verse again it says: 32 But I have prayed through, all over, and around;  you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.

What did he pray FOR?: That Peter’s Faith not fail…
How did Peter benefit? How did the rest benefit?
The Word converted there is the greek word: ἐπιστρέφω / epistrepho / ep-ee-stref’-o

meaning; to revert (literally, figuratively or morally): – come (go) again, convert, (re-) turn (about, again).

And the word strengthen in the greek is: στηρίζω / stērizo / stay-rid’-zo

To set fast, that is, (literally) to turn resolutely in a certain direction, or (figuratively) to confirm: – fix, (e-) stablish, stedfastly set, strengthen.

What do we glean from this?

What does it mean to be sifted as wheat?

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.” (22:31)

Has asked, desires to is the Word ἐξαιτέομαι / exaiteomai   / ex-ahee-teh’-om-ahee  which means; to demand (for trial): – desire.

We sift processed flour to fluff it up before baking, but that isn’t the analogy here.

The word “sift” is the Greek word σινιάζω / siniazo / sin-ee-ad’-zo, which means “to sift by shaking in a sieve.” Here, grains of wheat are being sifted, holding back large pieces of foreign matter while letting the wheat through. The ideas of shaking and separating the grain from rubbish are at the forefront of Jesus’ description.

David Allan Hubbard explains, “The figure of sifting was an agricultural one, and its interpretation hinged on a knowledge of how grain was threshed. The sieve … must have been used to separate the kernels of grain from the trash they had mingled with in the threshing: pebbles, twigs, etc. With its large mesh the sieve would allow the farmer to sift the useful kernels into a pot or sack while the strings of the sieve retained the unwanted trash.”

 

Could it be that Jesus let Satan’s plan happen so that instead of destroying Peter, it would in fact purify him?

And what was the trial he had to endure? Could it have been this:  

Luk 22:33-34   – 33 But Peter said to him, “Lord, I’m ready to go to prison with you and to die with you.” 34  Jesus replied, “Peter, I can guarantee that the rooster won’t crow tonight until you say three times that you don’t know me.”

Luk 22:55-62  – 55  And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them. 56  Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him. 57  But he denied him, saying: Woman, I know him not. 58  And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not. 59  And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth, this man was also with him: for he is also a Galilean. 60  And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew. 61  And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny thrice. 62  And Peter going out, wept bitterly.

Imagine not only the conviction, the shame, the guilt, the pain that Peter felt, but then Satan (the accuser) comes in, and there is condemnation and fear…

How did denying Jesus shape him?

Who did he become as a result?  – Read Acts 3

How have your trials shaped you? – Could it be that this is the way that the LORD answers your prayers at times?

 

Hebrews 12: 25-29 – Things that can be shaken…

Heb 12:25  See that you refuse him not that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke upon earth, much more shall not we that turn away from him that speaketh to us from heaven.

26 Whose voice then moved the earth; but now he promiseth, saying: Yet once more: and I will move, not only the earth, but heaven also. 27  And in that he saith: Yet once more, he signifieth the translation of the moveable things as made, that those things may remain which are immoveable. 28  Therefore, receiving an immoveable kingdom, we have grace: whereby let us serve, pleasing God, with fear and reverence. 29  For our God is a consuming fire.

Deut. 4:24 – For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God


Part Two: What I would like you to consider and share this Sunday are the following:

What are the most important aspects of prayer?

What types of prayers do you pray?

The Prayers I’ve prayed are:

The I’m sorry (prayer of repentance)

The Gimme, you know, the “Lord I NEED” and the “Lord, You Promised in your Word that”

The Bargainer/Let’s make a deal “Lord if you would do XYZ, I promise I’ll Never…”

The Thank You

A: By faith for what we want ( kind of like the gimme)

B:  The aftermath of the gimme

What types of prayers do you pray?

What are the most important aspects of prayer?
The object – Who are you praying to?
The subject – What are you praying about?

The Attitude – The way in which we approach God (ie boldly, confidently, etc)
Honesty – Pray honestly, pray sincerely
Listen- Prayer is after all, a 2 way endeavor

How has your prayer life changed over the past 5 years (if at all)?
What are the benefits/challenges of prayer for you?
Any suggestions that work for you re: your ritual (yes we all have them) that would benefit the fellowship
 

The Bible in 10 Sentences

1) In the beginning YAHWEH created… – Genesis 1:1
2) And YAHWEH said “Let there be”, and it was
3) and YAHWEH said to Adam
4) and the Serpent said unto Eve
5) and YAHWEH said to Abram
6) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God – John 1:1
7) And Yahshuah said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
8) And Yahshuah said “It is finished”
9) If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
10) And His Kingdom shall have no end.

© CT Jermin 2008

There is Rest in Release

From the Repairer’s Fellowship Service Notes from 2011, seems pertinent right now:

One of the reasons that the people of His day missed/couldn’t receive Jesus was that they didn’t know where the Battlefield was, or who the real enemy was.  They were looking at Rome, they were looking at their freedom from Rome as true liberation.

Much like today, people are looking for whatever nonsense is forefront in the media, when the real battlefield is elsewhere.

But we know where the real battlefield is:

Ephesians 6:10-18 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:10-18)

A Jewish colleague of mine asked me this week, how it could be that the people of Israel for the most part stayed together during the Exodus. I explained the concept of the ‘galvanizing them’ or ‘galvanizing other’

Often what unites a people is having a common enemy, a ‘them’. One of the reasons that our country is in such turmoil is that there is no galvanizing ‘them’. The pressure exerted from without, forces the compressed to become stronger, closer, more resilient, and unified. We see this in the natural with diamonds, in the Flesh with wars. We see this played out in our various arenas, (sports, politics, religion, family)

What do we understand? We have a ‘galvanizing them’.

I – Satan

1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 12: 10-11 – And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (The blood is the substitutionary atonement, which makes us not guilty in the eyes of the Father, the sacrificial love, and word of our testimony is what identifies to one another and to the world)

(see John 13:34-35, Acts 2:42-47, etc)

II – Sin – Romans 7 (whole Chapter)

How do we overcome?

  1. The blood of the Lamb
  2. The word of our testimony
  3. The whole armor of God
  4. Putting the things of God above the things that we prize the most.

But the Bible is full of paradoxes like this:

*lose to gain*

Luke 9:18-27 – And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

*I live, yet not I *

1st Corinthians 15: 9-10 –  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  (10)  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Galatians 2:19-21 – For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  (20)  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  (21)  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

*The things which we do, which we believe are for the bettering of our lives,, often in actuality, are a waste of time and energy, and are spending our lives…

Luke 12:16-34

*When pain can’t be released it is shared and if it is not shared, it is spread.*

Romans 15:1-2 – We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

*We are to share (bear one another’s burdens)*

Galatians 6:1-10 –  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  (2)  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  (3)  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  (4)  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (5)  For every man shall bear his own burden.  (6)  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  (7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  (8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  (9)  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (10)  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

This is after all, the example of Christ

Isaiah 53:4-6 – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  (5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We have to let go, if we’re going to grow – and we cannot be the body of Christ until we are ready/willing to let go…

Fulfillment in life comes from the letting go, not the grabbing. 

In Closing, this:

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

The Cure for Anxiety

25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Jesus The Christ

A conversation with a brother about healing (and other issues)

I found a conversation between a brother and I which took place in 2011. I found it useful, and I pray that you will too.

SDG

  • Sun, May 15, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Subject: Just following up…

Hey Bro
As you asked, M and I did indeed pray for you and yours. We also lifted up your church search..
A suggestion that I can make is EPC, I am not sure if you have heard of them. (redacted) is the Pastor there.
I only know of them that they are Reformed, and he is an Author that I like. The church’s website is here:
(redacted) and Please know that you are ALWAYS welcome to join us via Skype or by phone for our time of Fellowship…
We start at 2:30 Every Sunday, and we also do a Bible Study by Phone
Mon-Wed at 9 pm
Much Love
C

 

  • Sun, May 15, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Thanks C. I did try EPC and while I loved the people, I did not join because they do not believe that healing is for all believers and they perceive natural disasters as punishment / judgment from God.
Thanks as well for your invite for church and Bible study. I am interested in the Bible study. Can I call in or do I need Skype?
Thanks

  •  Sun, May 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Hey Bro
I did not know that they flowed that way. I have a question for you…
How are they wrong? Is (physical) healing in fact for all believers?
Where is this in the scripture? Not trying at all to give you a hard time, but I would sincerely like to know.
re: The Bible Study, You do not need Skype,  the phone line is sufficient,
Peace
C

 

  • Sun, May 15, 2011 at 9:19 PM

C – You already know that the broken body is for our healing and the shed blood is for the remission of sins. We often part and parcel God’s promise because we don’t see it in our own lives. I may call in to a Bible study.
Thanks Bro
Love you

  • Sun, May 15, 2011 at 9:57 PM

J
I am asking a specific question, because I have a lady who is a part of our group who is quite ill, and she is ‘believing God’ for her healing. The trouble is that she is not getting better, and as such her faith has begun to wane. She now thinks that God has forsaken her, because she is not getting better, and that He no longer hears her prayers. What do I tell her, brother? That healing is promised to everyone but her? Or perhaps that she does not have enough faith to be healed? What do I say?

Personally, I am of the belief that Isaiah 53 is about the reconciliation between God and man, that is the healing that he writes of. It is not about physical healing.
I understand that the prevailing thought is that we are to ‘walk in divine health’ but the reality is that we die, Pastor JK. We get sick, we sometimes suffer and we all die.

Why would Paul say that God told him no? Why would He do that? Is it perhaps that His sovereignty is the main thing? He told him that his GRACE was sufficient for him…
Why would He tell Moses that He chooses who He will have mercy on? If healing is for EVERY believer?
There are those whom He heals instantly, those whom it is given to after a time of illness, and others for whom it is not His will that they be healed.
Romans 8 is clear that we are promised God’s presence in the midst of sickness and all other manner of trial. His presence, brother. He does not promise to take it away, He promises never to Leave us…
I have told her this, but she will not hear.

So I am asking you to provide for me scriptural proof that God promises physical healing to EVERY Christian.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – (Rom 8:35-39)

I appreciate your thoughts on this, man. If I have it wrong, please correct your brother.
Thanks
C

 

  • Mon, May 16, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Hi C,

I perceive the pressure you feel as a shepherd to your flock. (I prayed for our Father to comfort and lead you in all truth).

Whenever I face questions like this I usually go back to the Gospels to look at what Christ modeled since Christ is ultimately what God wants us to become. Jesus has never turned anyone away who wanted healing but rather healed them all. Jesus said He did only what He saw the Father doing therefore we can conclude the Father is in the healing ministry. Also in the book of Deuteronomy sickness is a curse and health is a blessing. We also know that sickness is a result of sin and so is death. Well, Christ bore the sin and sickness since he was the last Adam and therefore we are free from the consequence of sin which is sickness and death. We know that we will experience the final victory over death upon His return.

I urge you to use this situation to press into the throne room of God and experience His face. If Jesus was there among you and your church members would she be still sick?….no! Therefore press into worship. You and the elders must lay hands on her and speak to the mountain to be removed and do it over and over and over and over and over again (like Elijah). Also tell this woman to speak to her mountain consistently and rebuke it and cast it out. Also there must not be any unforgiveness, jealousy, slander, bitterness or malice among you. Confess your sins to one another!

Heavenly Father, your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we know Father that there are no wheel chairs, medicine, or doctors in heaven because Jesus paid it  ALL. We thank you that we are healed by your stripes and we give you ALL the glory and ALL the honor. I know Lord that C’s heart is moved with compassion for Your flock just like You are. I pray that you anoint him with more power from on high to give You more glory in this earth. Holy Spirit help this local body to press in even more in worship for You delight in it and when presence is here there is healing in Your wings. Spur us on Holy Spirit…..
In the matchless name of Jesus we pray.

Amen

 

  • Tue, May 17, 2011 at 12:54 AM

J
First off, thank you for taking the time to write me back. I really appreciate it, and I appreciate your going to the throne on our behalf.

Regarding you comment that, “Christ is ultimately what God wants us to become”. I agree that we shall ultimately be like Him. The scripture is plain…

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  – (1John 3:1-2)

Notice that it is future tense; we shall be, when He shall appear. Shall be, is not now.

I would also ask that you read John Chapter 5 in context, re: the comment that Jesus only did what He saw His Father do. You may come away with a different understanding as to what He was talking about. It wasn’t the healing, it was the perceived transgression of the Law. The Father transcends the Law, so does the Son, and I believe that was His point…

I looked up your assertion that according to Deuteronomy sickness is a curse. I found that according to Deuteronomy 28, it is indeed a curse, and it is YHWH that is letting Israel know that should they disobey him, they will be cursed by HIM with sickness, and a host of other calamities.
It begins with verse 15 which says:

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:  – (Deu 28:15 KJV)

And it ends with this:

And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.  – (Deu 28:64-68 KJV)

Here is where I have a problem, bro. Actually a couple of problems

1) The curses described here are God’s promise to that people, and were quite specific. How do we handle then, verses 64-68 in context? Is this happening now? In fact, I would ask that you read the entire Chapter (and the preceding one) in context, and tell me if you can still draw the same conclusion..

2) If you can, then I must ask this: Using this reference then, and by extension the logic, I must glean from this that I am to tell this woman that she is in sin, and God is cursing her. This is the cause of her affliction unto death. How can she therefore ‘rebuke and cast out’ the very illness that YHWH Himself has afflicted her with because of her sin?
I should also tell my cousin who is in her 3rd bout with breast cancer, (which has also affected both lungs and her brain) that the God she loves, serves and worships faithfully is in fact afflicting her because of sin…
And what of Zac, whose video I have linked below, who went to be with the LORD a year ago today, leaving a young widow, and 3 young children… He is dead because he sinned.
http://www.godvine.com/Man-Dying-of-Cancer-Leaves-Behind-an-Unforgettable-Video-258.html

How then is this any different than EPC saying that natural disasters are punishment/judgment? It seems much the same to me…

3) Additionally, are you saying that God curses people, but we can, by obeying the Law get Him to lift the curse that HE has placed on us? That must be what you are saying, because if our cursing and disease and are the result of sin, then we must also accept the fact that it is our works of obedience that heal us. After all, verse 1 of the same Chapter says this:  And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:  – (Deu 28:1) A list of blessings follows.
If this is true, then there was no need for Jesus to come, because we can obey and keep the Law ourselves…

4) Why do believers die then brother? If sickness is the result of a curse from God, yet Jesus came to make us all well, then does it not make God a trifle arbitrary and capricious?

5) On that note, using Deut 28 as a launching pad, can we not also then make the assumption that Jesus was healing people to in fact, prove Himself to be the antidote, to in effect, reverse the curse? Could it be that the purpose of His healings was to prove His deity, Prove his power and His authority to the ones to whom He was sent? To show them that as He said, the Son of man was the Lord of the Sabbath and the Law (Matthew 12:8-13),
When He spoke to the people during the sermon on the mount and said this:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).
On the excellent website www.gotquestions.org we find this re: the fulfillment of the law:
“Christ fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law, which called for perfect obedience under threat of a “curse” (see Galatians 3:10, 13). In this sense, the law’s divine design will ever have an abiding effect. It will always accomplish the purpose for which it was given. If, however, the law of Moses bears the same relationship to men today, in terms of its binding status, then it was not fulfilled, and Jesus failed at what He came to do.”
Keep in mind bro, that EVERY one of the people that Jesus healed, died. I say that with almost complete certainty. Even Lazarus, and the little girl raised from the dead, died again. So unless Jesus failed in His mission, (and we know that He did not) , the death that He went to the cross to save us from was the Eternal death of separation from God. And the stripes that whereby we are healed were for our permanent (Spiritual) not temporary (temporal) healing.

6) Is not physical death the natural ordered result of physical life? Am I not to expect that no matter how I pray, praise, and worship, I will  (unless the rapture comes) have to experience physical death in order to experience eternal life?

7) Do I believe that God heals? Of Course. I am aware however, that it is not my prayers, decrees or declaration, but his will, and His Mercy. Paul who asked and was told no, says this in his letter to the church at Phillippi: Phil 2:  25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 

Paul says that  God had mercy on him, brother

8) I have to reiterate, bro, that by your logic, there is no need for Romans 8:35-39. In theory we should all live in perfect health forever. We both know that this is not the case. We age, we change, this mortal coil wears down, and we go. But maybe I see it a little more clearly than you do, as I can see 50  just few months away, and am discovering new aches and pains as I go… LOL!

Please read Romans 8 completely bro, and notice that Paul is writing to believers, and he is not speaking of sin, or to sinners. Remember that the chapter begins with this wonderful declaration:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  – (Rom 8:1-4 KJV)    

So since this is true, if sickness is a curse, and a curse from God because of sin and disobedience, why can this promise be made?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – (Rom 8:35-39)

I am most happy for this discussion, and look forward to your reply.
Peace & Love
C

The conversation ended there… Your thoughts/opinions are welcomed, fam.

What sayest thou?

The Tithe: For Christians or not?

Blessings to you dear reader.

Thank you for taking the time to read the following. It is my prayer that it will edify, and bring clarity, and provoke thought and a closer walk with our Savior. Please note that wherever scripture is quoted, it is taken from the American Standard Version (ASV)

In His service,

Pastor.ctj

 

A debated doctrine:

One of the most heavily debated doctrines of the modern church is the doctrine of the tithe.

Many Christians generally accept that the Jewish law, (as part of the Old Covenant) was abolished upon Jesus’ crucifixion, when he fulfilled it. As such, for the most part, Christians do not follow Jewish community laws such as the extensive dietary restrictions in the Old Testament, for example, and tithing was part of that group of laws.

Others believe that because Jesus spoke about tithing, he was instructing his followers to continue the practice, and for many, not only is the tithe still an active doctrine, it is proof of one’s commitment to God.

What is ‘Tithing’?

The doctrine is a simple one: The believer is required to give 1/10th of their earnings/wages to their home church. The word ‘tithe’ means simply ‘a tenth’.

The doctrine is based on the following passages of scripture:

 

The first is Malachi 3: 8-11 which states:

Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation. Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah of hosts. – (Malachi 3:8-11 ASV)

 

The second is found in Genesis 14, specifically verses 14-20:

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King’s Vale). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth of all. – (Genesis 14:14-20 ASV)

 

While these passages are indeed admonition and example, two questions must be asked;

1) For whom? And

2) Do these passages constitute a doctrine that should be in effect for the church?

 

Specific Points re: the tithe

There are different tithes mentioned in the Bible, let’s take a look at a couple of them:

Section a: Abraham’s tithe

While Genesis 14, (and its reference in Hebrews 7) is commonly used to bolster the claim that we (Christians) should tithe, I think that we should take a closer look:

Please take a moment to read the ENTIRE 14th Chapter of Genesis… After you’ve read it, please consider the following:

  1. That Abraham’s tithe was a ONE TIME event. (There is no other Biblical record of Abram/Abraham EVER tithing again)
  2. Abraham’s tithe WAS NOT on his personal possessions; rather it was only on the war plunder that resulted from his rescue mission for Lot, his nephew. . (Note: In Numbers 31:31-41, God only required 1% of spoils of war.)
  3. There is NO evidence that Abraham tithed on his personal possessions to anyone at any time. 4. As it was from the spoils of war, and pre-dated the law, Abram’s gift was NOT a holy tithe from God’s holy land gathered by God’s holy people under God’s holy Old Covenant. For this reason alone, this example should not be used in conjunction of Malachi 3.
  4. Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave everything back. Genesis 14, verse 21-23, is the key text.
  5. Abraham’s tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible to endorse tithing to Israel or to the church. If Abraham is an example for Christians to give 10% to God, then he should also be an example for Christians to give the other 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom! (Thanks to Russell E. Kelly PhD for that one)

(Please note that I am purposefully not dealing with the identity of Melchizedek. That discussion is for another time, and will only serve as a distraction from our central theme)

Section b: Malachi 3, and the Mosaic Law

  1. The Mosaic tithes were always edible and came from the crops and flocks.

Malachi 3 says to  “bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be Meat/Food in my house.” Meat/Food is a very specific thing, in that it means something edible. In the Hebrew, the word is: טרף ṭereph (teh’-ref)

Meaning: From H2963; something torn, that is, a fragment, for example a fresh leaf, prey, food: – leaf, meat, prey, spoil.

  1. The teaching which states that everybody in the Old Testament was required to begin their giving to God at the ten per cent level is false.

The poor were not required to tithe at all! Neither did the tithe come from the results of man’s craft, hands and skill. Only farmers and herdsmen gathered what God produced as tithe increase.

Note: Please note the implication here, beloved: Jesus was a carpenter; Paul was a tentmaker and Peter was a fisherman. None of these occupations qualified as tithe-payers because they did not farm or herd animals for a living. It is, therefore, incorrect to teach that everybody paid a required minimum of a tithe and, therefore, incorrect to teach that in keeping with the law, New Covenant Christians should be required to at least begin at the same minimum as Old Covenant Israelites.

This common false assumption is very often repeated and completely ignores the very plain definition of tithe as food gathered from farm increase or herd increase. The easy argument to make here, is that being that we are no longer in a primarily agricultural society, we give money instead of food, but if we are honest with the text, how do we decide who is to tithe?

  1. There are three Different Tithes Described in the Bible.

The first religious tithe, called the “Levitical tithe,” had two parts. Again, the whole first tithe was given to the Levites who were only servants to the priests (Numbers 18:21-24; Nehemiah10:37). The Levites, in turn, gave one tenth of the whole tithe to the priests (Numbers 18:25-28; Nehemiah10:38]. According to Deuteronomy 12 and 14,

The second religious tithe, called the “feast tithe,” was eaten by worshipers in the streets of Jerusalem during the three yearly festivals (Deut. 12:1-19; 14:22-26).

The third tithe, according to Deuteronomy 14 and 26, called the “poor tithe,” was kept in the homes every third year to feed the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13).

 

Here is some more info re: the tithes discussed in Deut 14:

Occasionally, the discussion of Deut 14:22 comes up. This verse is often taken out of context, because if one reads verses 22-29 in context, the passage puts the tithing doctrine to bed once and for all: Here is it (continuing in the ASV)

22 Thou shalt surely tithe all the increase of thy seed, that which cometh forth from the field year by year.

23 And thou shalt eat before Jehovah thy God, in the place which he shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, the tithe of thy grain, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herd and of thy flock; that thou mayest learn to fear Jehovah thy God always.

24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it, because the place is too far from thee, which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to set his name there, when Jehovah thy God shall bless thee;

25 then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thy hand, and shalt go unto the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose:

26 and thou shalt bestow the money for whatsoever thy soul desireth, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul asketh of thee; and thou shalt eat there before Jehovah thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.

27 And the Levite that is within thy gates, thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no portion nor inheritance with thee.

28 At the end of every three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase in the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:

29 and the Levite, because he hath no portion nor inheritance with thee, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hand which thou doest.

So, in short:

— Here’s One Tithe—

v.25 exchange your livestock and/or crops for money if you have to travel too far,

v.26 Spend the money however you see fit

v.27 Don’t forget the Levites, because THEY CAN OWN NOTHING (Some of you who attend traditional or megachurches may wish to ask your Pastor about that one)

 

—And another Tithe—-

v.28 Bring the tithe every three years

v.29 so that the Levites (who could not own anything) , the travelers, the orphans and the widows may have food. THAT was the reason for the tithe… Clearly, this is NOT a New Covenant practice or doctrine…

Also, according to First Samuel 8:14-17, the ruler collected the first and best ten per cent for political use. During Jesus’ time Rome collected the first ten per cent (10%) of most food and twenty per cent (20%) of fruit crops as its spoils of war.

Conclusion: The current tithe teaching ignores all other tithes and focuses on an incorrect interpretation of the first religious tithe.

 

  1. What does the phrase ‘windows of heaven’ mean in context?

No other Scripture has had greater mileage than Malachi 3:10

“Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3 has been greatly misused for God’s blessing to come to his people.

A closer look of this verse in the context shows that it has nothing to do with wealth or material blessings. The term ‘windows of heaven occurs 3 times in the scriptures: We first find this same term used by God back in Genesis 7:11 the windows of heaven were open and rain contributed to the flood, as the fountains of the deep were broken open.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11-12)

In Genesis 8:2 it says the windows of heaven were stopped and the rain from heaven was restrained.

And God remembered Noah, and all the beasts, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; and the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. (Genesis 8:1-3)

 

Clearly this phrase is consistently used for water. In Genesis it was a judgment. In Malachi 3 it was to be a blessing on their crops. The nation lived by their agriculture (Husbandry) and depended upon the rain. God’s blessing had to do with his provision of water; no rain and they would starve. If they did not give God their tithes which was part of the blessing in the Mosaic covenant God would bring a curse on them, the ground would not yield food because he would not allow it to rain.

 

The Jew vs The Christian

Let’s take a side by side look at the life of the Mosaic Law abiding Jew, and the Christian:

The Jew:

God’s Mt. Sinai legislation regarding tithing is spelled out in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. As we discussed earlier, there are as many as three separate tithes that can be distinguished:

1) The annual tithe for the support of the Levites, the tabernacle/temple workers Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-24). This was the only visible means of support for them, since they inherited no land when Canaan was conquered under Joshua. The Levites, in turn, passed along a tithe of this tithe to the priests, the highest echelon of worship leaders (Numbers 18:26).

2) An annual feast tithe, which apparently went for the support of the house of God and its services (Deut 14:22-27).

3) A “social ministry” or ‘poor’ tithe, received every third year, for helping the poor and needy (Deut 14:28; 26:12).

4) A further examination of point 1: According to Deuteronomy 18, and Numbers 18, the priests and Levites were not allowed to own anything. Please consider that carefully, beloved. The priests and Levites could not own anything.

The priests, the Levites, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, and His inheritance. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brothers. Jehovah is their inheritance, as He has said to them. (Deuteronomy 18:1-2 ASV)

And Jehovah said to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any part among them. I am your part and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. And behold, I have given the sons of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 18:20-21 ASV)

5) Also remember that the Old Testament tithing code specified the bare minimum amount to be contributed; it commanded the starting point for giving, not a goal toward which the worshipper should strive. The tithing code presupposed an agricultural existence, targeting the offering of grain, wine, oil, and livestock.

The Christian:

1) Keeping in mind that several things happened After Christ died on the cross for our sins:

  1. He rose from death on the third day,
  2. Ascended into heaven to rule all things, and
  3. He sent his Spirit on all flesh.

As a result, the New Testament church is under a new (and better) covenant, of which Jesus is the surety of, and the Old Testament had been fulfilled. This means that the ceremonial laws which pointed to Christ have served their purpose, and are now no longer in effect. From the day of Pentecost onward the rite of circumcision, the temple sacrifices, and other observances have lost their Spiritual importance. Clearly, the early church knew this, which is why the practice of tithing seems to have fallen by the wayside in those days. The Jewish historian Josephus states that all three tithes listed above were firmly in place in first century A.D. Judaism, but nevertheless tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament’s description of the first century church.

If tithing was to be practiced by and in the church, I would think that it would have been mentioned in the Epistles, especially to the church at Galatia, because they were primarily a gentile congregation.

2) All three tithes became obsolete.

  1. The tithe for the Levites became unnecessary when the Levites were replaced by the apostolic ministry. Concerning the material support of ministers of the Gospel, all the New Testament says is that they should eat what is set before them (Matt. 10:10) and that the church should take care of them (Gal 6:6).
  2. Secondly, the tithe for the support of the temple services outlived its usefulness: the sacrifices of the temple, soon to be leveled in AD. 70, gave place to the one Sacrifice for all sin.
  3. Thirdly, the “social ministry” tithe was no longer needed because Christian brothers and sisters helped one another by way of special collections, as was the case with the famine-stricken Christians in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16). While giving for the Lord’s work obviously continued in the church, no amounts or percentages are prescribed in the New Testament. All that is said is that early Christians had everything in common (Acts 2:44 – this is not a tithe, it is 100%!), that they gave sacrificially (2 Cor 8:1-3), and that they gave as God had prospered them (1 Cor 16:2)

 

3) Jesus’ comments in Matt 23:23 were directed at those still under the Mosaic Covenant.

Clearly this is so, and the proofs of this are many, so I will not go into detail… Additionally, many things Jesus did and commanded would be sinful to bind on Christians.

– Jesus commanded animal sacrifice, in accordance with the Law. Once HE, the perfect sacrifice was given, there was no longer any need for animal sacrifice (Matt 8:4)

– Jesus observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) although he rejected their man made up regulations concerning the Sabbath.

– Jesus observed the Passover (Matt 26:18)

– Jesus commanded JEWS (Matt 23:23) to tithe their crops and flocks to support the Levitical priests, but such would not work well as the support system for the work of the Church.

 

4) The early church DID NOT TITHE!

According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of The Bible, P. 758

“For several centuries in the early Church there was no support of the clergy by a systematic giving of a tithe…rather freedom in Christian giving was emphasized.”

Conclusion:

So what then do we say dear reader? Is tithing for the church? For the believer?

No, but GIVING is! Give freely, abundantly, and with Joy!

May God richly bless you!

Pastor.ctj

 

Sources and Resources:

 

Pastor George Greene – In Your Bible Ministries

http://www.inyourbible.com/video.html

 

Dr. Russell Earl Kelly – Should the Church teach tithing?

http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/

 

Gary Amirault  – The tithe is illegal

http://www.tentmaker.org/books/TheTitheisIllegal.html

 

The ‘Let us reason’ website – Are you giving to God with a Cheerful Heart, or Tithing by law to Benefit Yourself?

http://www.letusreason.org/Wf34.htm

 

Dr. James Bollhagen – Tithing: The 10% Rule and the Church: A Topical Summary for “Issues, Etc.”

http://www.mtio.com/articles/bissar56.htm

 

Pastor CT Jermin – The Repairer’s Fellowship

http://www.rfbconline.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheRepFel/