The church, the spiritual body of Jesus Christ has been urged by the apostle Paul saying, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1Corinthians 1:10).
Therefore, to everyone who profess to be a member of the body of Christ, we should make it our aim to walk in the unity of the Spirit as admonished by the apostle Paul saying, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
It is the Lord`s earnest desire that all believers may be one, as stated in His prayer to the Father stating, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:21-23).
Now the rationale for this call for unity, is due to the fact that, “There is one body of which we are all members, one Spirit, in whom we were all baptized, called in one hope of our calling; there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all.
One cannot deny the fact that the churches which supposed to be representing the body of Christ are not in one accord, they are divided and are not perfectly joined together as the Lord intended, so the main concern is how can we all fulfill the Lord`s desire to have His church perfectly joined together?
To be able to help in the process of assuring unity in the body of Christ I think that it is imperative that every member learn how to use his/her gift for the overall development of the church, because Christ Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
The reason for that is that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).
To be able to help resolve the differences that exist in the body of Christ I have come up with a formula that will help me personally deal with this issue of disunity in the body of Christ. The formula I came up with is as follows:-
1. Try to identify the root cause of the disagreement
It is almost impossible to solve a problem without knowing the root cause of it. A problem cannot be solved by dealing with the effects, neither by compromising.
2. Seek the right solution in dealing with the particular issue
The truth of the word should not be compromised in order to attain unity, instead we are to strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:12-14).
3. Learning to shod the feet with the gospel of peace
In essence that means shunning profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness, but instead pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
4. Approach the situation in humility
For it is required of a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Note that the forces behind the wrangling and arguments is a snare of the devil, Therefore, we have been admonished to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”.
The irony of truth is, for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when our obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:2-6).
5. Establish the truth
In any discussion which pertains to the believer`s way of life, the truth must be established, and the way we establish the truth is by following the procedure by which biblical knowledge can be attained which is stated as follows; ” Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28: 9-10).
Therefore, to establish the truth one should not take one verse of scripture in isolation to the rest of the scriptures and knowledge is revealed to those who are mature and partaking of solid food.
6. Uphold the laws of nature
Nature is a sure way of teaching us even the invisible things of God, for we have been admonished saying; “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).
Therefore, if there is anything that seems hard and difficult to understand, see how the natural laws of nature deal with the particular issue.
Category Archive for Spirituality
The church, the spiritual body of Jesus Christ has been urged by the apostle Paul saying, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1Corinthians 1:10).
This second compartment of the Tabernacle is called the Holiest of All, and similarly to the first compartment, whatever occupies this compartment verifies the activities that are being conducted therein. What is of primary importance is that no one is allowed to enter this compartment without blood: This compartment is furnished with:-
a. The golden altar of incense
This is figurative to approved services of worship. Jesus Christ has already given Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma, which we are to take heed to offer to God at their appointed time. (Ephesians 5:2; Numbers 28:2).
• The incense
The incense is figurative to worship, prayer and praise; For it is written, “Let my prayer be set before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalms 141:2).
With regards to prayer it is stated, “Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
‘Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4).
And with regards to praise it is written; “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the nations says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:11).
b. The Ark of the Covenant overlaid on all sides with gold
This symbolizes God’s visible presence and power. As it is written; “Whenever the ark set out Moses said; “Rise up, O Lord! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.’ And when the ark rested he said; “Return. O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel (Numbers11:35-36).
With regards to the ark David prayed saying; “Now therefore, arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place. You and the ark of Your strength, let your priests O Lord God be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in goodness” (2Chronicles 6:41).
c. The golden pot that had the manna
This is figurative to Jesus Christ as the true bread from heaven. When asked by the crowd, “What miraculous sign then will You give that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the dessert; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven: For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:30-32).
d. Aaron’s rod that budded
This is figurative to the Jesus Christ the High Priest Whom God has chosen, as Aaron was chosen. For it is testified; “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Numbers 17:1-10; Hebrews 7:17, 21).
e. Tablets of the covenant
This is descriptive of the Ten Commandments, the principles established by God by which man should live. Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law this way, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” The law is not of faith, “But the man who does them shall live by them” (Leviticus 18:5; Ezekiel 20:11; Nehemiah 9:29; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12).
f. Cherubim of glory:
This is figurative to the two witnesses witnessing the testimony which is placed in the ark when brought to the presence of God. As it is written, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” For it is by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” And it is also written in the law that the testimony of two men is true” (1Timothy 5:19; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17).
g. The Mercy Seat
This is figurative to Jesus Christ our merciful and faithful High Priest whose duty is to plead and intercede on behalf of His saints. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” For according to the scriptures, the accuser of the brethren Satan the devil, accuses them before our God day and night (1Peter 4:17; Revelation 12:10).
Therefore, there is a huge difference between what takes place in the outer court, and what takes place in the inner court. In the inner court only the redeemed should be allowed to appear before the presence of God to worship and glorify Him, by partaking of the bread from heaven in fellowship with the Father and His Son, to answer charges levelled against them by the accuser, and to receive forgiveness and requital for charges brought against them; and to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The inner Court is synonymous to, “coming to Mount Zion and to city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven.’ When in the inner Court, “we have come to God, the Judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24).
According to the laws of the temple which by the way was a shadow or copy of the true Tabernacle in heaven, because remember, when Moses was about to build the Tabernacle he was divinely instructed saying; “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” (Hebrews 8:5).
There are laws which govern those who are admitted in the Temple. The law with regard to those who should enter the new temple was disclosed to the prophet Ezekiel by the Lord saying; “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations regarding the temple of the Lord. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.’
“Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘thus says the Lord God: “O house of Israel let us have no more of all your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it – My house – and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke my covenant because of all your abominations.’
“And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you. Thus says the Lord God: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel” (Ezekiel 44: 5-9).
Allowing the uncircumcised in heart, and spiritually unclean to enter the temple, not the one made with hands, but the true tabernacle in heaven, is a violation of the laws of the temple, and profanes the holy things of God. For thus says the Lord to Ezekiel concerning the leaders of Israel; “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 I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).
Now the principal objective for observing the Sabbaths is to offer the Lord His food for His offerings. Like the shadow of the reality we are told that, “into the second part (the inner court) the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance” (Hebrews 9:7).
Today, we can daily come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, but not without the blood of the new covenant. As clearly stated by the apostle Paul who wrote saying; “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).
It is only when these prerequisites are in place should we “…consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Contrary to this we are told, “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).
My prayer is that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory will give us the spirit of wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of him, and that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, so that we may know how to have access to His throne of grace with confidence, in order to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, and not spending our time only in the outer court of the tabernacle, or profaning the inner court with abominable things.
Our call of duty is not to bring or invite the world into the church, but rather to preach the gospel to the world, and those who believe and are baptized, will the Lord adds to the church. Remember that, a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and the church can only have fellowship with one another, and with the Father and Son, when we are all walking in the light, because the Father has absolutely no fellowship with darkness which is synonymous to sin and lies.
This I know may not be the popular teaching and concept of many churches, but as a nation of priests and a holy nation the main objective is to be holy and righteous in order to be in a constant fellowship with the Father.
So instead of having an earthy tabernacle made with men’s hands, we now have the true eternal Tabernacle in heaven, instead of having weak and temporary high priest, we now have the Eternal High Priest, and instead of having offerings which could not present the worshipper perfect and holy in the presence of the Most High, we now have the perfect offering which can present the worshipper perfect, holy and irreproachable in the presence of the Most High.
In performing the services of God as priests one should consider the fact that there are two compartments in the Tabernacle of meeting in which the work has to be performed, one is the outer court and the other is the inner court, and there are specific functions that are to be carried out in both courts.
1. THE OUTER COURT
This first compartment called the outer court or the sanctuary is where the priests enter regularly to carry out their ministry, and what occupied this compartment verified the activities that were being conducted therein, and they consist of:-
a. The lamp stand
This was figurative to the church as clearly illustrated in scriptures which state; “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp-stands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands which you saw are the seven churches” (Revelation1:13, 20).
b. The Table
This is figurative to the heart, and fellowship for it is written; “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” And, “You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not of tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, the heart” (Proverbs 3:3; 2Corinthians 3:3).
With regards to fellowship, it coincides with Jesus Christ’s statement when He said; “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:30).
c. The showbread
This is figurative to Christ and the church. In relation to Christ, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” And concerning the church the scripture states, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (John 6:48; 1Corinthians 10:17).
The outer court demonstrates the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to His church. He never leaves them nor forsakes them. Even if we are faithless or unfaithful, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. He is ever present to empower, teach and guide them to perform their work of service.
The outer Court is where the church evangelizes, reaching out to others with the gospel, through bible study, lectures, crusades going out into the world, preaching the gospel and reaping the harvest of souls, with Christ in their midst upholding and supporting it.
But the inner court requires a compltely different service which will be discussed in the next article.
The Christian calling is a calling we have received from the Father in His Son Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the world in order that; “We should be holy and blameless before Him in love” (Ephessians 1:4).
For, “God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1: 9-10).
Therefore, we are not to turn away from holiness, because it is a non return flight onward bound to eternity. And in addition to this, “No one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back is fit for the kingdom” (Luke 9: 62).
This plowing that believers are occupied in, is the perfecting of holiness in the fear of the Lord, and for this reason, “We are to prepare our minds for action; be self controlled; set our hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, not conforming ourselves to the former lusts, we had when we lived in ignorance. But just as He who called us is holy, so we are to be holy in all that we do; for it is written. “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter1:13-16).
God’s eternal purpose for man was accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
This boldness and access with confidence before the presence of the Father is made accessible through the offering of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Before the advent of Jesus Christ, the law of sacrifices was ordained as a substitute to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but could not present the worshiper holy and blameless before God.
And so it is written; “But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.
It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience — concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9: 8-14; 10: 1-4).
Because animal sacrifices could not present the worshiper perfect before God, when Christ came into the world, He said, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me, in burnt offering and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God.
Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “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” (Hebrews 10:5-10).
Jesus Christ accomplished the Father’s eternal purpose for man by offering His body on the cross for our Sanctification and Redemption. He did not enter the perfect spiritual tabernacle by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
Now consider this for a moment, “If the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance– now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:13-15).
The death of Jesus Christ redeemed us from sins committed under the old covenant. We have been freely justified by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God presented as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.
He did this to demonstrate His justice because in His forbearance He left the sins committed beforehand unpunished (Romans 3:25). We were called to receive the promise of eternal inheritance, that is, our “Immortal Body or Everlasting life,” which comes as a result of holy and righteous living. For having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, we have our fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
We are told that, “The love of Christ compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, so that, those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again from the dead” (2Corinthians 5: 14-15),
We owe all praise and glory to, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, in His great mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for us, until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1: 3-4).
At the resurrection of Jesus Christ man became also the offspring of God: created in righteousness and true holiness. Christ accomplished the Father’s eternal purpose for man by paying the penalty of sin in man’s stead and instituting the ordinance of communion.
The ordinance of Communion which was instituted on the night before Christ was crucified, is the representative of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which replaced the daily regular (often) offering whose objective is to present the worshiper holy, and blameless before God, at the appointed times of worship, and as a sweet aroma pleasing to God
The sweet aroma, God’s offering, which is pleasing to Him consist of the following;-
• The burnt offering
This represents the sacrificial body of Jesus Christ, who is now immortal, and now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf as our faithful and merciful High Priest.
• Grain/Meal Offering
Which is flour mixed with olive oil and salt, representing the broken body of Christ as the new and living way to the Father.
• Drink Offering
Which is wine, representing the blood of Jesus Christ as the means by which our sins are cleansed and forguven.
This is the protocol by which God’s eternal purpose for man was accomplished in Christ, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
We are therefore admonished to, “Be followers of God as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
We are not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, but instead, we are to give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
We are to be as living stones that are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. The regular offering of this spiritual sacrifice is the way by which one is cleansed from sin, and is presented holy and blameless before God.
• A word of caution
One has to examine him/herself before partaking of this ordinance, not as a deterrent, but rather to be reminded of the consequences for partaking of it in an unworthy manner, which is weakness, sickness and death.
Nevertheless, it is better that we judge ourselves. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, and if we endure chastening, God deals with us as with sons. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the father of spirit and live? His chastisement is for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
But if we turn back from pursuing holiness and sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation will devour the adversaries.
Hopefully, we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His death, His resurrection, the ordinance of Holy Communion and His position as High Priest, to the saving of the soul.
God made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.
Also in Christ Jesus we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will that we, who first trusted in Christ, should be to the praise of His glory. In Him we also trusted, after we heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation; in whom also, having believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
• The weekly Sabbath
The question is who changed the weekly Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week? When from the very beginning of creation we are told that, “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).
In ordaining the law by which man should live the Lord spoke to Moses 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 209-11).
Concerning the Sabbath law the Lord further spoke to Moses saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.’
“Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 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 31:13-17).
Even in the New Testament the Lord said to the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” And when He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up, as was His custom, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. (Mark 2:27-28, Luke 4:16).
The same can also be said about the apostle Paul who upon arriving at Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas” (Acts 17:1-4).
The irony of truth is with such a heavy cloud of deception hovering over the earth, it is imperative for one to know who changed the seventh day Sabbath to the first day of the week and call it the Christian Sabbath. By whose authority was that decision taken! One thing for sure, this change did not come from Jesus Christ neither the apostles.
One should also be aware of the delusion that is hovering over the earth as to the rationale for changing the Lord’s Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The main reason they say is that Jesus Christ was resurrected on a Sunday. But was Jesus Christ resurrected on a Sunday?
I earlier explained how a new day begins at sunrise and not at midnight or sunset as being promulgated, therefore, concerning the time of Christ’s resurrection the scripture states plainly that, “after the Sabbath (which ends at sunset on Saturday), as the first day of the week began to dawn (while it was still dark before day light on Sunday morning), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.”
What was told to them by the angel who rolled the stone from the tomb and sat on it was “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen as He said: Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word” (Matthew 28:1-8).
So how could the resurrection of Jesus Christ be a justifiable reason for changing the Lord’s Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday the day of the sun, on the premise that Jesus Christ was resurrected on a Sunday, when the scripture clearly states that before the dawn of the first day of the week (Sunday), Jesus Christ was no longer in the tomb for He had already risen and was no longer in the tomb.What a dilemma of vain worship.
To be continued
Satan’s subtle way of deceiving the whole world is by having the fourth beast to change times and laws.
2. Change of times
One of the ways which Satan has succeeded in deceiving the whole world is by giving his power, his throne and great authority to the fourth beast, which is the Roman Empire as predicted by the apostle John who wrote saying, “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.’
“Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon (Satan) gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon (Satan) who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:1-4).
Note carefully that the predictions says that all the world marveled and followed the beast, and because they all followed the beast, they are automatically worshiping the dragon (Satan) who gave his power and authority to the beast. Now to those who may not be familiar with the biblical term “Beast” in the book of revelation, this is what it signifies, “Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.” And, “The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces” (Daniel 7:17, 23).
History has proven that the four beasts are synonymous to the image which the king Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream and later interpreted by Daniel who said to him; “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay” (Daniel 2:31-33).
Then Daniel further said to the king, “You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all — you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay” (Daniel 2:37-43).
So then, according to history, the first beast or kingdom represented by the head of gold was the Chaldean or Babylonian Empire ruled by king Nebuchadnezzar, around 605-506 BC, then came the second beast or kingdom which was the Persian Empire around 509 BC, then the third beast was the Grecian Empire, known as the golden age around 461-431 BC, and the fourth beast or kingdom was the Roman Empire, around 200 BC, and became divided in 395 AD, with the West collapsing in AD 476, and the East around 1453.
Therefore, according to biblical history the Roman Empire is the beast or kingdom to whom Satan the dragon has given his power, his throne, and great authority, and inadvertently the whole world is worshiping the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” and these are some of the ways the whole world has been deceived in worshiping the beast and the dragon.
• Beginning of a new day
It is stated quite clearly that, when God re-created the earth for man’s existence, that the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. The earth at this point was in complete oblivion, time was not in existence, then, the Lord God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night” (Genesis 1:3-5).
Therefore, the advent of time began with the light which God called day, and God further endorsed this rule by saying, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.’
“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:14-18).
When Jesus the Lord God who created the heavens and the earth walked on the earth as the Son of Man He said, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him” (John 11:9-10).
From the creation of time we see that a complete day consist of two periods, a period of light which is called day, and a period of darkness, which is called night, therefore, how logical, sensible, practical and truthful it is to believe that, the period between midnight and six O’clock in the morning be referred to as morning and the beginning of a new day! Where did this idea originate? And how did we all come to accept and adopt this rule?
The way the world reckons time today is not the way time was originally reckoned: For example, on the Jesus Christ’s was crucified, it is stated that, “from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).
So what time exactly is the sixth to the ninth hour the day? The sixth to the ninth hour of the day is from twelve O’clock to three O’clock in the afternoon. Today under the delusive system from the sixth to the ninth hour is between 6 am to 9 am. So the question is which one that is right?
There is also another biblical example of how time should be correctly reckoned. It was on the day of Pentecost when the crowed marveled saying, “we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:11-13).
But the apostle Peter, standing up with the eleven apostles, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day” (Acts 2:14-15).
So again I beg to ask the question, what time is the third hour of the day? According to the time which God ordained for man to follow, the third hour of the day is nine O’clock in the morning.
It is amazing to see how a world with such brilliant minds accepting and endorsing such a plane, hideous lie, this could not have been feasible except that the majority of the people of this world have been deceived; remember, a deceived person is one who has been led to believe a lie as truth, and so the one who has deceived the whole world is the great dragon, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, he has deceives the whole world, and the beast to whom he has given his power, throne and great authority has been promulgating his lies.
Disciples of Jesus Christ have been forewarned by Him saying; “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).
The sad state of affairs is that a deceive person does not know that he/she is deceived, because they have made to believe as true, something that is totally false or misleading, and to compound the whole issue, the falsehood is being taught to us by the very majority who come saying that Jesus is the Christ.
This may come as a big surprise to many who are professing Christianity, but the Christian religion is the chief culprit in deceiving the masses. They are those who supposedly bearing the name of Christ calling themselves Christians, but their teachings are contrary to sound doctrines, and unfortunately, the majority of people have embraced these falsehoods as blind sheep that are being led to the slaughter, like dead fishes flowing with the tide, but remember, it takes a live fish to swim against the tide.
What then are the falsehoods that the Christian religion teaches that are deceiving the people who sincerely and genuinely desire to follow Jesus Christ? The things which the Christian religion teaches that caused many to be deceived, may seem rather trivial and inconsequential especially to those who do not know or understand the root cause of the problem. But those who are bold enough and are willing to swim against the tide will be able to comprehend the profoundness and the magnitude of this deception which I am about to explain.
To understand the profoundness of this deception one will have to begin from the very beginning and understand that there is a rivalry in the spiritual realm which is the root cause of all the lies, subtleties and deceptions that are affecting the whole world presumable in the name of Christ.
The first and foremost thing one should be mindful of, is the fact that there are two masters, as we have been duly admonished by Jesus Christ saying; “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
Therefore, whatever we are doing, we must be cognizance of the fact that whatever we do we either do it to serve God or the devil. Also, there are two spiritual kingdoms, one is the kingdom of light under the ruler-ship of Jesus Christ, and there is the kingdom of darkness under the ruler-ship of the ruler of the kingdom of darkness, who is the devil. Our citizenship and loyalty therefore can either be to that of the kingdom of darkness, or to the kingdom of light.
The sad reality however, is that we were all born in the kingdom of darkness, and it is only when one accepts Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior, that God the Father to whom we are to give thanks, qualifies us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He then delivers us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:12-13),
So the big question is, how did this rivalry between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light come about! And what are the subtle deceptions that have blanketed the whole world which most people seem to be unaware of, or viewing them as merely trivial and inconsequential matters?
1. How did the rivalry come about
This rivalry came about because of Satan’s rebellion against the authority of God. In a discussion with Job the Lord said to him, “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:3-7).
When God laid the foundations of the earth it was so beautiful that all the sons of God sang together and shouted for joy, but later we found that, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2).
So what could have caused the earth that was so beautifully created and formed to be inhabited, to be in such a chaotic state? For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: ” I am the LORD, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:18).
The known reason why the earth became without form, and void; and darkness covered the face of the deep was as the result of Lucifer`s rebellion who was the light bringer, and due to his rebellion lost his splendor and became darkness. As it is written, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘ I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
In the book of Ezekiel, a lamentation was given to the prophet Ezekiel to the king of Tyre who was a personification of Satan the devil saying: “Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.’
“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.’
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings that they might gaze at you. You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; Therefore, I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you: All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror and shall be no more forever” (Ezekiel 28:11-19).
For one to be able to grasp the profoundness of the deception that hovers over the whole world, it is imperative that one understands the main objective or the rationale behind Satan’s downfall which is to be worshiped just as God is worshiped. For this is what he said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars (angels) of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north (where the throne of God is); I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
So then despite his downfall, how does Satan seek to receive the glory, the worship and the honor that is due to God for himself? He does that through subtle deceptions by changing times and law which the Lord has ordained for His honor and glory.
To be continued
Another important reason why believers should not celebrate Christmas it is because Whosoever worships God must worship Him in spirit and truth, and there is absolutely no truth in Jesus Christ having anything to do with Christmas.
The scripture states quite emphatically, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:22-24).
Now there is no veracity of Christ having anything to do with the festival of Christmas, and the worse indictment that has been indicted against believers is that of worshiping God according to the customs and traditions of men.
For thus says the Lord; “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men … the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9).
Talking about Satan counterfeiting everything which God has ordained for His glory, see how Satan has counterfeited the idea of family reunion which the Lord ordained for families during His festivals. The Lord said, “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates” (Deuteronomy 16:13-14).
People choose to disregard this simple command from the Lord, at the time which truly commemorates the date of Christ’s birth and substitute it with a day established by the Roman Empire, the beast, to whom Satan has given his power, his throne and great authority. Thus, laying aside the commandment of God, and holding to the tradition of men.
4. The date of Christ’s birth has never been a secret
The popular teaching to support the Christmas theory is that, “no one knows the exact date of Christ’s birth.” But the crux of the matter is, if the date of Christ’s birth is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
If the date of Christ’s birth is unknown as most deceivers have led others to believe, how do we reconcile the following incidents that took place on the very day on which Jesus Christ was born!
• The visitation from the heavenly hosts
Bear in mind that on the very day on which Christ was born an angel appeared to the shepherds and said to them; ”Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.”
• Heavenly Chorus
Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:10-14)!
• The shepherds witness
For as soon as the angels had gone away from them into heaven that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” It is stated that, “they (the shepherds) came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger, exactly how the angel told them.
• The shepherds proclamation
When the shepherds witnessed exactly what the angel told them, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds (Luke 2:10-18).
• The circumcision of Jesus Christ
It is clearly stated that; ”And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).
• Christ’s presentation to the Lord
It is written; ”Now when the days of her (Mary) purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him (Christ) to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”).
• The beginning of Christ’s Ministry
Jesus Christ began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli.
• His denial and rejection by those who knew Him
For it is written; “Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? Look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? We know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”
Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me” (John 7:25-29).
To be continued.
Copyright © 2013 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
What is the primary lesson that we should all learn from natural phenomena that are affecting our planet? Is it simply having better building codes and building stronger structures! Is it less carbon emission in the atmosphere to reduce global warming? And be resilient in recovering from whatever Mother Nature throws at us?
Regardless of how sensible and practical these trends of thought seem to be, they are not the primary lesson that one should learn from these natural phenomena. The primary lesson that one should learn is learning to stand in awe of God`s awesome majesty, because, “as for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart” (Job 37:23-24).
Because the irony of truth is, it is by the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy” (Job 37:10-13).
There is absolutely nothing that happens without the express permission of the Almighty. For example the question is asked. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30).
Therefore, the primary lesson that we all should learn from the natural phenomena that are affecting the earth, is learning to fear God, because what is happening is as a result of man`s wickedness, and the fairness of God`s judgment. For thus says the Lord, “As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die O house of Israel?
God`s warning to everyone is as follows: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’
“When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”
“None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways” (Ezekiel 33:11-20).
There is a definite way of life called the statutes of life by which we all should live, and whenever we violate these statutes the consequences are automatic. Our best security is to always abide in the presence of the Almighty. For we have His promise saying;
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day, or of the pestilence that walks in darkness, or of the destructions that lay waste at noonday: A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.”
“Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, or shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalms 91:1-12)
.The irony of truth is the LORD says: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19).
Basically, there are only two ways of life, one is the way which God has ordained by which man should live, and the other is living contrary to the ordained way, and each man is at liberty to walk after the imagination of his/her evil heart, doing what seems right in their own heart. One has the prerogative to either be a citizen in the kingdom of light, and living and walking in the Spirit, or being a citizen in the kingdom of darkness, and living and walking in accordance to the flesh, there are no middle grounds.
Copyright © 2017 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
Is there a root cause and a lesson to be learnt from the effects of the natural phenomena such as lightning, thunders, hurricane, earthquakes, roaring seas, drying or receding of seas, hail, draught, natural disasters which have been affecting the earth since time immemorial?
There is a common slogan which states that, “the worst of Mother nature brings about the best of human nature.” From this perspective it tends to suggest that Mother Nature is in complete control of itself, and regardless what it throws at human beings, they will exercise resilience and rebuilt whatever that has been destroyed.
But the question is, are natural disasters simply the work of Mother Nature? Or are there root causes and a higher authority who oversees the whereabouts and activities of all the natural phenomena that are affecting planet earth?
History shows that from time immemorial the earth has suffered from many major disasters and a root cause has always been attributed to them, and the reason for causing them, For example:-
• Noah’s flood
With regards to the flood we see that the root cause of the flood was due to man`s wickedness, and it was as a form of judgment, for it is stated that, “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7)
In ordering the building of the ark the Lord said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth…And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:13, 17).
With regards to Noah´s flood, it is without a shadow of doubt that the root cause for the destruction of the earth was man’s wickedness which filled the earth with violence, and it was the Lord Himself who brought the flood waters on the earth. But what about now! With the passage of so many destructive hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, draughts, roaring seas, drying or receding of seas, hail, lightning bolts, thunders, do the same hold true today? Who or what is the root cause of these natural phenomena, and who is responsible? And why are they being administered?
The irony of truth is, there are three (3) players that are directly or indirectly responsible for all natural phenomena that are affecting the earth and they are-
Man is the chief culprit or the root cause of all the calamities that the earth is experiencing, whether in a positive or in a negative way. Naturally, man`s way of life is diametrically opposite to that of the Creator, because his carnal mind is enmity against God, and it is not subject to the law of God, and neither can it ever be. Man’s way seems naturally right to him, but it ultimately leads to death. His human wisdom therefore does things which are contrary to the laws of nature, and having a heart which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and so inadvertently, man transgresses the law of nature and when they boomerang such as climate change will cause innumerable damages .
Satan, the devil is another player in the catastrophic events that affects the earth. He is known as, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” To have a better understanding on how Satan sometimes has a role to play, let us look at the example of Job.
It is stated that, “there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it. “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:6-12).
One of the ways that Satan attacked Job was by destroying his children through a storm. For it is stated that while Job was being notified of the lost of his property, a servant came to him saying; “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:18-19).
Satan is known to be the accuser of the brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, and technically, he has the legal right to claim or seek compensation when the laws of God have been violated, because the wages of sin is death, and he who sins is of the devil, so it is within his jurisdiction to make requests to God.
Satan is also very wrathful because he knows that his time is short. For it is written: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12)
Satan is the god of this world and the whole world lies under his sway. He and his demons are the ones ruling this earth, and so we have been reminded saying; “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan has given to the rulers of this world his power, his throne and great authority, he has the power to inflict punishment on evil doers if God grants him the permission to, and so we have been cautioned saying; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1Peter5: 8-9).
The other player who is involved in the natural phenomena is God the Almighty, who is in full control of everything that happens because He is the Maker, the Possessor, the Redeemer and the Judge of this world and nothing takes place without His express permission. The irony of truth is, the earth and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein belongs to the LORD: For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.
Our LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind out of His treasuries.
Here are a few examples of how our Lord is in full control of the natural phenomena, disasters that are affecting the earth.
In a dialogue with Job the LORD said to him, “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are!’? (Job 38:33-35).
The prophet Jeremiah wrote; “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding. When He utters His voice — There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries” (Jeremiah 51:15-16).
At the leashing of the seventh plague in Egypt, Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s” (Exodus 9:27-29).
God uses thunder and other natural phenomena as a way of expressing His displeasure. “Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes: Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves.” So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel” (2 Samuel 12:16-18).
It is stated that, “From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy” (Job 37:9-13).
To the foolish prophets the Lord said, “My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
“Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace — and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with un-tempered mortar —say to those who plaster it with un-tempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down. Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?’ “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “I will cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it” (Ezekiel 13:9-13).
• Drying/receding of seas
This phenomenon is an outward sign of God`s wrath, for it is written, “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.
“He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, and the flower of Lebanon wilts. The mountains quake before Him, the hills melt, and the earth heaves at His presence, yes, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him” (Nahum 1:2-6).
To His servant Israel the Lord said, “Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink because there is no water, and die of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering” (Isaiah 50:2-3).
God manifest His presence and power in the form of earthquakes, for example, the Lord said to Ariel, the city where David dwelt, “You will be punished by the LORD of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire” (Isaiah 29:6).
It is a way God executes judgments upon the wicked, as it is written. “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground” (Ezekiel 38:18-20).
It is also a sign that God used to demonstrate His power at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the saints who had fallen asleep, and in the future, the resurrection of the two witnesses, as it is written:” In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13).
We can also make mention of fire and hail, snow and clouds, waves of the ocean all fulfilling His word. Because these are all the works of the LORD: “For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still” (Psalms 107:25-29).
Since everything is under the divine control and guidance of the Lord, how are we to respond to all the calamities that are affecting the earth! What lesson is there for us to learn?