Archive for October, 2016

Integral component of the Lord’s Sabbaths (part 4)

110914-153407 The seventh integral component of the Lord’s Sabbath is; “You shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord”

This is the most critical and most beneficial component of the Lord’s Sabbaths, but unfortunately, it has been the most neglected and under estimated component of the Lord’s Sabbaths, even by those who profess to be staunch believers and observers of the Sabbath.
This component of the Lord’s Sabbaths, is the main objective of gathering together to have a holy convocation. For it is written; “These are the feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day.”
This offering as one can see is besides (or in addition to), the Sabbaths of the LORD, besides our gifts, beside all our vows, and besides all our freewill offerings which we give to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:37-38).

This offering is of such intrinsic importance, that the Lord cautioned Moses and said to him; “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.” The appointed time is extended beyond the Sabbaths to include the regular daily offering and every New moon, which is the beginning of every month (Numbers 28:2).

It is the presentation of this offering that constitute the church in true perspective as clearly explained by the apostle Paul who wrote; “For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you” (1Corinthins 11:17-22).

The apostle Paul’s condemnation of the church at Corinth, was the manner in which they partook of the Lord’s supper when they met together as a church, but after explaining to them the sacredness of the occasion, he then said to them, “Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come” (1Corinthians 11:33-34).
The reason for the possibility of coming together for judgment, is by not properly discerning the Lord’s body, eating and drinking in an unworthy manner, causing many to be weak, sick, and many fallen asleep(dead).

It is said that, “ For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many” (1Corinthins 12:13-14).
But it is when we come together to break bread that we have fellowship with one another, this was clarified by the apostle Paul who wrote; “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1Corinthians 10:14-17).

So then, what is this burnt offering, a grain offering and drink offering, that we are to offer to the Lord at all the appointed times?
In our New Testament dispensation, the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the burnt offering, “Who also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
Most people are very familiar with scripture which quotes Jesus Christ as saying; “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” It is through the presentation of this offering that Jesus becomes the way, which is through His flesh, the truth, which is through Himself our High Priest and the word of God, and the life, which is through His blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and the Lord has given it to us upon the altar to make atonement for our souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’
The apostle Paul confirmed this mechanism by which we can draw near to the Father by stating; “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

This offering is our four cornerstone of salvation to present us holy, blameless and irreproachable in the presence of God the Father.

1. It is the wisdom of God

The hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Corinthians 2:7-8).

2. It is our righteousness

Who is Jesus Christ our Righteous Judge, our High Priest, Who mediates and intercedes on behalf of our sins.

3. It is our Sanctification

For it is written; “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It is through His body, which is represented by the unleavened bread, that we become sanctified, and set apart. (Hebrews 10:9-10).

4. It is our Redemption

Which is through the blood of Jesus Christ, because God the Father, “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

So important is this component of the Lord’s Sabbath, yet it is unfortunately the most neglected, and misconstrued element of the entire process. Without this offering, one has no access to the inner court, where the throne of God is. Therefore we have been admonished saying, “Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth” (1Chronicles 16:28-30; Palms 96:7-9).

But God has overlooked these times of ignorance, and now commands all men everywhere to repent. The choice is ours.

Copyright © 2016 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

Integral component of the Lord’s Sabbaths (part three)

5. A Holy Convocation

The fifth integral component of the Sabbath, is to have a holy convocation. Now what is a holy convocation? A holy convocation is a formal gathering of sanctified people who have been summoned to come together. Now the one who has issued the summons is the Lord Himself who said, “These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times”.
One interesting thing to note is the word holy, which always precedes the word convocation. The word holy denotes, sanctified, set apart for the service of God. It refers to the divine, which has its sanctity directly from God or is connected to Him. It is something consecrated to God.
Therefore, the instructions given, in order to have a holy convocation are as follows; “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ” I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore ” Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty” (2Corinthians 6:14-18).
Holiness of the congregation is also the reason why the apostle Paul admonished the church and said to them, “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” Because when it comes to the worship of the Lord, we are required to worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness, in an environment where sin does not exist. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13; Psalms 96:9).

6. Do no customary work on it

One important component of the Sabbaths is that of, no customary work to be done on them. Beginning with the weekly Sabbath where from creation, we have been instructed saying, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).

From the giving of the law, where we have been instructed saying; “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).

And now in our New testament dispensation, we have been instructed saying; “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:8-10).
Therefore, doing no customary work on the Sabbaths, is part of the equation that makes up the Lord’s Sabbaths.
Copyright © 2014 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

Integral Components of the Lord’s Sabbaths (part 2)

admin-ajax1 2. The second integral component of the Lord’s Sabbaths is, An appointed time. The Lord’s Sabbaths are specific times which the Lord has ordained to have fellowship with His subjects, for thus He says; “These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times” (Leviticus 23:4).
An appointed time is the time ordained by the Lord, for Him to have an audience, a banquet with His people, and when appears before Him at a time different to what He has ordained is profanity. For thus He says; “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:12-15).

And again He says; “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).

Let us not forget that the Sabbaths, the Lord’s appointed times is what that identifies the One and only true Lord from all others lords which are many. For thus says the Lord; “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them” (Ezekiel 20:12).
Remember also that observing the Sabbath is a perpetual covenant. For thus says the Lord; “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16-17).
Therefore, the Sabbaths testify when an individual is worshiping the On and only true Lord of the universe and when he is worshiping a false God.

3. A Sabbath-rest

A close examination at the instructions given concerning the observance of the feast of Trumpets, one will observe that the Sabbath-rest, is a separate component from that of the other components that make up the Sabbath. It is a separate component by itself, and therefore, it is ludicrous to ignore all the other components of the Sabbath, and try to confine everything to this one single component. The Sabbath-rest is one which is based on belief, for it is written; “For we who have believed do enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:3).

This belief is to have complete trust and confidence, in the saving work of Jesus Christ. It signifies humbling oneself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us in due time, casting all our care upon Him, for He cares for us. Therefore, it necessitates that we be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It necessitates liberating oneself from all mental, emotional and spiritual burdens, and so the admonition is, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24).

Then the Lord issued an invitation to us saying; “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:27-30).

The Sabbath-rest is only one of seven integral components that make up the Sabbath, and therefore, it is unable to make the rest of the integral components null and void. The absence of any of the other components is a reason for the dilemma of vain worship

4. The Sabbath is a memorial

Every Sabbath is a memorial of what the Lord did for humanity on that particular day. For example;
The seven day Sabbath is a memorial of creation.
The Passover/Days of Unleavened Bread, is a memorial of the Lord’s death, and our deliverance from sin.
Wave sheaf offering, is a memorial of the Lord’s ascension to heaven after His resurrection, to present Himself to the Father on our behalf.
Pentecost, which is fifty days after the wave sheaf offering, is a memorial of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the beginning of the New Testament church.
Feast of trumpets, is a memorial of the blowing of trumpets, a time to warn the nations of impending disasters, until the seventh trumpet is sound.
Day of Atonement, a memorial of Jesus Christ, Who is our sin-bearer, and High Priest Who continues to intercede on our behalf and make atonement for our sins.
Feast of Tabernacles, a memorial of the birth of Jesus Christ, our spiritual tabernacle in whom we have our permanent dwelling, and the time He was inaugurated as the King of kings and Lord of lords. For when asked by Pilate; “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).
And in the future we are told that, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).
Punishment will be mete on all those who will refuse to obey this command, for it is written; “And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:17-19).
The Eighth Day is a memorial of the Circumcision of Jesus Christ, the medium through which we all can now become co-heirs with Jesus Christ of the covenants of promises which God made to Abraham. As stated by the apostle Paul who wrote; “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcised by those of the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands, that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13).
I therefore beg to ask the question, considering all the worldly memorials that we commemorate and give so much attention to, why are the majority of professing believers observing these memorials in commemoration of what the Lord has done for us? And is not Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever?
To be continued.
Copyright © 2016 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

The Seven integral Components of the Lord’s Sabbath/s

.110914-153407During the recent observance of the Feast of Trumpets, I realized that in my recent publication, of a book entitled “The dilemma of vain worship” I made mention of the constitution of the Lord’s Sabbaths, and compacted and minimized what constitute the Lord’s Sabbath in four components, instead of addressing every seven components individually. Therefore, in this article I have decided to note every single component of the Lord’s Sabbath to highlight the intrinsic significance of every aspect of the Sabbath.

The irony of truth is, whether anyone wants to disregard, dishonor or profane the Lord’s Sabbath/s, it is the sign which the Lord has given to His people to prove to them that He is the Lord, and that they are His people. The Lord in no uncertain terms spoke to Moses and asked him to speak to the children of Israel and say to them; “You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:30; 26:2).

When the elders of Israel came to the prophet Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord, the Lord spoke to the prophet Ezekiel and asked him to speak to the elders of Israel and say to them; “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.” And after warning them not to walk in the statutes of their fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile themselves with their idols”. The Lord said to them, “I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:12; 19-20).

We are all free moral agents and have the freedom or liberty to believe and choose who and what we want to believe, but the crux of the matter is, the choices are very limited, it is either we believe the truth or the lie. The choice or the option of every man walking after the imagination of their own heart, is only applicable when one has rejected the truth and is living the lie.

Therefore the Sabbath/s is an integral part of man’s relationship with His Creator, but how we observe it is of utmost importance, because although the children of Israel kept the Sabbath all through their journey in the wilderness, they nevertheless did not enter the promised rest. So then what are the basic principles of Godly living that are associated with the Lord’s Sabbath/s ?

There are seven integral components that constitute the Lord’s Sabbath/s and they are;-

1. It is a Feast of the Lord

With regard to the Sabbaths, the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2).

Now since the LORD who spoke these words to Moses was Jesus Christ of yesterday, Who is also the same today, and forever, these feast will forever remain the feasts of the LORD. Because, Jesus Christ of today, which refers to when He was living in the flesh said, “ The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

And even though the annual Sabbaths, were pointing to what He came to perform on behalf of man whilst living in the flesh, He nevertheless observed them. For example, the Lord observed the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. And with regards to the future, the same Lord of yesterday and today says; “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles” (Zechariah 14:16).
“And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23).

Therefore, the Sabbaths are and will always be, the feasts of the Lord. Now what is the rationale for having a feast? According to wise king Solomon, “A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; But money answers everything” (Ecclesiastes 10:19).
Since money answers everything, is this therefore the reason why we have been instructed saying; “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.’
“But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household” (Deuteronomy 14:22-26).

The rationale for the tithe is for the Lord’s people to appear before Him, on His feast days and to rejoice before Him. Paying tithe to an institution is every three years, for it is written; “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do” (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
As a matter of fact, it is every three years that is the year of tithing, for it is written; “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year — the year of tithing — and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the LORD your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them” (Deuteronomy 26:12-13).

Otherwise, what is paid to an institution apart from freewill offerings, is a heave offering, which is 10% of the tithe, which was used to support the Levites who had no inheritance. For this is what the Lord spoke to Aaron saying; “For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance” (Numbers 18: 24).

The feasts of the Lord were designed for His people to come before Him and rejoice, and so we have been admonished saying; “ Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength” (Psalms 96: 1-7).
It is ordained for everything that has breath to praise the Lord.

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