Should Christians observe Christmas Festivities?
Christmas as we all know is the most celebrated festival in the whole world, it is known to be the happiest and busiest time of the year for millions of Christians throughout the world, and traditionally known as the holiday season.
Christmas celebrations have a long history dating back to the 300’s as recoded in the “World Book Encyclopedia” stating; “The first mention of the celebration of Christmas occurred in A.D. 336 in an early Roman calendar, which indicates December 25 as the day of observance.”
It further states that; “This celebration was probably influenced by pagan (unchristian) festivals held at that time. The ancient Romans held year-end celebrations to honor Saturn, their harvest god; and Mithras, the god of light.”
Having cited these quotations, I again ask the question, “Should Christians observe Christmas festivals?” Read my book “the dilemma of vain worship“.
I know how difficult it is to depart from old family and religious traditions, and especially from something that has been imbedded in human society for thousands of years, and so the first reaction or feedback one receives when trying to bring changes to any old tradition is, “Are you trying to change the world.” And since it is impossible to change the world, the concept of many is that, if you cannot change something, you join it and go along with the system.
But the irony of truth is, no one can change this evil world, it is going to be progressively evil, and so we are not to go along with it because we cannot change it, but instead follow the admonition which says, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins, have reached to heaven and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4-5).
And remember, Jesus in His prayer on behalf of His disciples said; “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:14-17).
Stay tuned for five (5) logical reasons why Christians should not observe Christmas.
Should Christians observe Christmas Festivities?
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
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
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
.During 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 re designed to come before Him and rejoice, and so we have been admonished saying;n “ 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.
We have been duly instructed by the apostle Paul saying; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
The paramount question here is, how do we define that liberty by which Christ has made us free? Many people unfortunately have the wrong perception of this liberty, and are doing quite the opposite to what this liberty intended.
The liberty which we have been granted by Jesus Christ is not the sort of liberty or freedom which gives one the right or power to do as one pleases, but rather a condition of being free from captivity and oppression.
This liberty was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah, and confirmed and fulfilled by Jesus Christ when He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read, and He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah which reads; “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’
“Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him, and He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”(Isaiah 61:1, Luk4 4:18-21).
Our liberty therefore is one of freedom from captivity and oppression, and our captor and oppressor has never been, nor will it ever be the law of God which is eternal, holy, just and good. Our captor and oppressor has always been the devil, and the law of sin and death.
The liberty by which Christ has made us free is interpreted this way; “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
The spiritual law has never been a form of bondage as we have been clearly instructed saying; “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5:3).
Therefore, the way Jesus Christ destroyed the devil, and liberated those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage is by condemning sin in the flesh (suppressing the law of sin and death), and so it is written; “ There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.’
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).
And therefore, we have been admonished saying; “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
The negative aspect of the law is simply that, a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. And, we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Those who are obedient to the law are not under the penalty of the law, because “we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:8-10).
And, therefore, believers have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another … to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet” (Galatians 2:16, Romans 7:4-7).
Our liberty therefore is not from the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, but from the bondage of the law of sin and death
Many people express belief in Jesus Christ but when it comes to demonstrating this belief, we see something quite contrary to what they profess to believe.
We have a typical example of the New Covenant instituted by Jesus Christ on the night before He was led to be crucified. It is stated quite explicitly that as Jesus Christ and His disciples were eating, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26: 26-28).
The question is do most professing Christians believe this new covenant! And are we keeping our part of the Covenant? The two worse indictments that are indicted on the Christian community that of vain worship, and calling the Lord, Lord! Lord! And do not do the things that He says.
In order for Christians not to worship the Lord in vain, and worship Him in the manner which He desires to be worshiped, which is, in spirit and in truth, it is imperative that we know and understand the terms and conditions of the New Covenant.
First of all, a covenant is a solemn and formal agreement that is legal, especially one under seal. It involves three (3) parties, and all parties must fulfill their part of the covenant in order for it to become effective. A covenant involves a Covenanter who in the case of the New Covenant is Jesus Christ, the Covenantee who are His disciples, and the terms of the covenant, which is to,”Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
What is of intrinsic importance for every believer to establish in our hearts with regards to the New Covenant are:-
1. Why should a new covenant be established when there was an existing covenant?
It was imperative that a new covenant be established whilst the old covenant was in existence as a replacement, because it is written; “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness” And it is further stated that; “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”
Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD” (Hebrews 7:18-19; 8:7-8).
Remember, a covenant involves three (3) parties, The covenanter, the covenantee, and the terms of the covenant. Now since the Covenanter who is the Lord is perfect, faithful, and is the same yesterday, today and forever, the fault in the first covenant was not with the Covenanter, but with the covenantee and the terms of the covenant. For thus says the Lord; “Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah .“
Therefore, what was the fault of the terms of the covenant, and that of the covenantee? The fault of the terms of the old covenant was that 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.” And, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 9:8-10; 10:4).
And with regards to the covenantee, they could not be presented to the Father in the perfect, blameless state as they were required to be presented. The main objective of the covenant whether old or new is to present the worshiper perfect and blameless before God, as it is clearly written; “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:18-19).
Now apart for the old covenant being weak and unprofitable, it was also symbolic and not the reality. For thus it is written; “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10: 1-4).
The second important thing one needs to established is;-
2. Why was the covenant established in the blood of Christ! What is the rationale?
The rationale for the covenant to be established in the blood of Christ signifies that the New Covenant is sealed and ratified with the blood of Christ, and this is the agreement which the Lord has made with His followers with regards to fulfilling the will of the Father for His people, which is the state of holiness. For thus says the Lord; “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 11:7).
The fact that the New Covenant was established on Christ’s blood should also be of great importance to the believer, because it is stated that; “According to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
Therefore, I beg to ask the question, what is the rationale for the new covenant in Christ’s blood? The rationale from all indications is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. Therefore, when Jesus came into the world 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 10:9-10).
Therefore, the once and for all which most people have misconstrued to mean that we no longer have to offer sacrifices and offerings to God on behalf of our sins, because this He did once and for all, in reality means, once and for all we now have a perfect offering by which we can now draw near to God, and thus fulfilling the will of God.
And of course, the new covenant only became effective after the death of Jesus Christ for it is written; “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives” (Hebrews 9:16-17).
And of course it is said that; “For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One (Jesus Christ) also have something to offer” (Hebrews 8:3).
The unfortunate thing is that, the majority of people who profess to believe in Jesus Christ do not fulfill their part of the New Covenant, although Jesus Christ ever lives to make intercessions for us. What a pity!
But truly, these times of ignorance God has overlooked, and now commands all men everywhere to repent.
Copyright © 2012 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
God’s plan for man was foreordained in Christ before the foundation of the world, as it is written; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.’
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His gracewhich He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,having 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 — in Him”.
“In Him also 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” (Ephesians 1:3-12).
The plan which God has for man and was foreordained before the foundation of the world, is the covenant He made with Jesus Christ, for man’s restoration and holiness. For “Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: I, the LORD, have called You (Jesus Christ) in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images” (Isaiah 42:5-8).
“Thus says the LORD:” Again, ” In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages” (Isaiah 49:8).
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
God the Father gave Jesus Christ as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth. This covenant was ratified with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, when He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” This covenant became effective after the death of Jesus Christ since it is stated that, “Where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives” (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:16-17).
The sad thing is that, the majority of people do not see this covenant which became effective only after the death of Jesus Christ, going beyond the cross, they believe that the once and for all necessitates no more offerings to be made on behalf of sins. But the irony of truth is, the once and for all signifies that , once and for all there is an offering that can present the worshiper perfect and sinless before God, and thus fulfilling the will of God. And so Jesus 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.
So the question is, are we offering the Lord the food for His offering when we present ourselves before Him! Or are we so self righteous to believe that we can with all our limitations, with all our sinfulness, and with all our unworthiness present ourselves before the Father?
Going to the Father through Jesus Christ who intercedes on our behalf as our High Priest without presenting His body and blood is incomplete, because one is incomplete without the other. For it is stated quite clearly that; “There are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit (Jesus Christ), the water (His flesh), and the blood; and these three agree as one” (1John 5:8).
The testimony which God has given us regarding His Son is simply this; “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Now with regards to this life the Son said quite emphatically; “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.This is the bread which came down from heaven — not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6: 53-58).
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life
It is the offering of the body and blood of Jesus Christ with Jesus Christ interceding as our High Priest that grant us access to the Father, as clearly stated by the apostle Paul who wrote; “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.’
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.And let us 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 10:19-25).
The bottom line is, “ This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘ By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified ” (Leviticus 10:3).
To regard the Lord as holy, one must be holy themselves, and the way one becomes holy is by eating of those things with which the atonement was made. Truly these times of ignorance God has overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.
Copyright © 2013 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
I do not believe that many people have truly conceptualized the magnitude, the profoundness, and the gravity of what actually transpired at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, even though it is stated so explicitly that; If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The question is, when did this new creation take place? And who is part and parcel of this new creation! Having a true perspective of this new creation will alter dramatically the way one lives his/her life. But the sad state of affairs is that mankind since the advent of Jesus Christ do not really know who they are, the majority of us still perceive ourselves as the humanity who existed before the advent of Jesus Christ. Consider for a moment the following passage of scriptures; Jesus said quite emphatically for example; “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
He also admonished us saying; “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 10:10; 6:27).
I am the Resurrection and the life.
The apostle Paul also made some very interesting statements when he said for example to the men of Athens that; “He (God) gives to all life, breath, and all things.” What could this possibly means? Because the word life denotes the absence of death, one which is spiritual and eternal while the word breath on the other hand denotes a temporary physical existence.
What can be derived from the statements made by both Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul is that man is the recipient of both a physical and a spiritual life.
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).
What has eluded the minds of many people is the fact that mankind is the offspring of two Adams. From the first Adam man inherited life in the flesh which is temporary and physical, and from the last Adam man inherited life in the Spirit which is spiritual and eternal.
Every tree bears its own fruit
We have been instructed saying; “For in Him (Christ) we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.” (Acts 17:28-29).
The new creation which is Life in the Spirit, is the life that we all received from Jesus Christ at His resurrection. For it is stated quite clearly; “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
Since we all died with Christ at His death, we were also resurrected with Him at His resurrection, demonstrating God’s everlasting love, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it isthe gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9).
It is because of this duality that exists in the new creation that we have been admonished by the apostle Paul saying; I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:16-17).
It is imperative therefore, that we believe and accept the new life which was given to us at the resurrection of Jesus Christ because it is, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
Now the irony of truth is, each life, the old and the new are compared to trees which bear their own fruit, and which are sustained from two diametrically opposite sources of life for their sustenance and growth.
For example the old man or the life in the flesh which we inherited from the first Adam, draws its source of life from the breath of air, and requires water and food to sustain its growth, physical exercises to keep it strong and healthy, rest and sleep to be rejuvenated, and entertainment to make it merry.
In like manner, the new man or the life in the Spirit which we inherited from the last Adam, the Spirit Man from heaven, draws its source of life from Jesus Christ the life-giving Spirit, and requires the real drink and the real food, which is the blood and body of Jesus Christ for its sustenance, bible study to keep it strong and healthy, prayer and fasting for its rejuvination, and the observance of the Lord’s festivals to make it joyous.
We therefore have the prerogative to choose to use the members of our body as instruments to live either in accordance to the flesh, or in accordance to the Spirit, and therefore the apostle Paul warns us saying; “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6: 7-8).
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.
Copyright © 2012 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved
God has issued a stern warning through His messengers to all His people warning them saying; Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelations 18:2-5).
To ascertain that we understand the seriousness of this warning and to take heed, so as not to share in the sins of Babylon and receive of her plagues, it is imperative that we identify who this mystery Babylon is. It is also imperative that we understand the meaning of all the symbols and terminologies that are associated with this Babylon., so as not to be misled.
The important symbols or terminologies which are associated with this mystery Babylon, that will help us identify it and help us flee from her are;-
Beasts according to the scriptures referred to kingdoms, as alluded to by the prophet Daniel who wrote saying; Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth” (Daniel 7:17).
This refers to power or ruler-ship in a given period, so where seven heads are mentioned, it denotes that this beast or kingdom had seven revivals. For example when the apostle John saw this vision he said, “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains (kingdoms) on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings (kingdoms). Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” (Revelation 17:9-10).
These are lesser kings or kingdoms who rule con temporarily with the beast or kingdom, as confirmed by the prophet Daniel who wrote saying; “The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings” (Daniel 7:24).
d. Bottomless pit
This is an Abyss, a prison, the domain or the kingdom of Satan as alluded to by the following scriptures stating; “And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon”. And, “When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.” And, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 9:11; 11:7; 20:1-3).
This is figurative to the doctrine, the gospel, the good news of salvation as alluded to by the prophet Isaiah who wrote; “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — The sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people” (Isaiah 55: 1-4).
To drink is figurative to being indoctrinated, to imbibe and take into one’s mind the doctrines promulgated by this mystery Babylon the mother of harlots. It is to socialize and have unholy alliances with her, and forsaking the right way. For thus says the Lord; “ For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns — broken cisterns that can hold no water. …Have you not brought this on yourself, in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, To drink the waters of the River?” (Jeremiah 2: 13, 17, 18).
To be drunk is figurative to being deceived, spiritually blinded, or being erroneously indoctrinated, as alluded to by the prophet Isaiah who wrote; “ But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”
And, “Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the LORD has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed” (Isaiah 28:7; 29:9-11).
h. Many waters
This is figurative to nations, peoples and languages as explained by the apostle John who wrote; “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15).
A woman is figurative to a church. The true church according to the apostle Paul is depicted as a chaste virgin, for he wrote; “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2).
On the other hand he false church is depicted as a harlot, and since Babylon the great is the mother of harlots, this implies that this mystery Babylon is a parent church with many other false churches.
Having established these important factors it is imperative that we now analyze carefully the warning given to us by the messengers of God.
Copyright © 2013 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved