Why Did Jesus Come? 2/27/17

Most believers who have been to Sunday school can quote John 3: 16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Likewise John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ who came to prepare the way for the Messiah (Mal 3:1) encouraged sinners to repent and be baptized in water. But, upon seeing Jesus approach him for water baptism John declared publicly to his followers something different from typical Christian rhetoric involving repentance, faith, water baptism and eternal life. Instead he announces “I verily baptize you with water, but He who comes after me whose shoes I am not worthy to unlatch (Jn 1:27), He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire ( Mt 3:11).” John had made water baptism and repentance easy to understand. Baptisms in the Holy Ghost and Fire were without a doubt mystical and mysterious to the average mind. Indeed, they probably still are.

An understanding of these strange concepts remained mysterious throughout the 3½ years that Jesus was engaged in active ministry. This mysterious mission of Jesus only became apparent 50 days after his crucifixion. That is, after he rose from the dead he remained with his disciples for 40 days (Acts 1:3). He gave instruction that they should remain in Jerusalem, praying continuously for power from on high (Acts 1:14). Only after they received the Holy Ghost would they have power to evangelize or become “witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Ten days after his ascension, and while these 120 disciples were praying we read that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost simultaneously. First there was the sound of a mighty rushing wind followed by something that appeared like cloven tongues of fire that sat upon their heads. (Incidentally, this is a perfect description of the manifested Shekinah glory.) And while worshiping they began speaking in tongues. Finally, upon leaving the upper room it is written that the crowds that were gathered in Jerusalem considered these 120 individuals to be drunk (Acts 2:1-4 &13).

Then we read that Peter preached to the multitudes gathered for this Feast of Pentecost and that 3000 souls believed and were added to the newly born church (Acts 2:41). However, what is strange about his preaching is that he speaks about the end of the world and events that would lead up to the second coming of Christ. He mentions that there would be signs in the heavens and he referenced the Old Testament prophet, Joel who also spoke about the end of the world (Acts 2:14-20). Later he quoted from the Psalms and spoke directly of the ancient prophecies that confirmed the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Moreover, though he encourages all hearers that they and generations to come could likewise be filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:39), he makes no mention of this FIRE that sat upon their heads which might also accompany future believers. Are we to believe that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost was for the 120 disciples as well as others that would follow, but the BAPTISM OF FIRE was not to be repeated?

Though it seems that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues has been hidden from Christians for centuries it has now become increasingly mainstream in communities throughout the United States and on public TV since the late 1940s. Originally participants were called holy-rollers but today, scarcely an American Christian alive can say that they are unaware of the charismatic movement. Indeed, many are personally acquainted with the experience or know someone who claims to have had this experience. But still, the enigmatic Baptism of Fire that occurred simultaneously with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost that occurred on the day of Pentecost remains unexplained. Perhaps Peter was trying to tell us in what started out to be an “end-time message” that Christ would baptize his followers in a kind of spiritual fire prior to his return.

I think there are aspects from the Greek that can also help to explain this mystery. In the Book of Acts when the followers received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost or the power of the Holy Ghost to become witnesses, the word used for power is “dunamis” from which we derrive the word “dynamite.” Later in the Book of Revelation chapter 11, Jesus says I will give power to my two witnesses. That is, more, or a different kind of power to those who have already received dumanis-power. Here the Greek word for “additional power” is “exousia,” which is more accurately translated “authority.” So we read that there is a double portion awaiting Christians who have been filled with the Holy Ghost. It’s unfortunate but understandable why believers think that the two witnesses is a reference to the return of Moses and Elijah. For example, these two witnesses “turn the water to blood”or cause it “that it rained not” etc. (things that Moses and Elijah did). But fortunately we are provided with rules for interpreting Revelation: “to him that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7,2:29, 3:22, etc). Hence any understanding of this book necessitates a spiritual interpretation (like a metaphor) and not a literal interpretation.

Instead of Moses and Elijah, envision the Jewish-menorah, a hollow candlestick, made of solid gold-with seven extensions. It looks something like a candelabra. I’m fact the angel even reveals that the two witnesses are the two candlesticks that stand before God. Also keep in mind the book begins by speaking to the seven churches in Asia Minor. Hence this vessel is symbolic of a group of purified or sanctified believers who, in the Lord’s eyes, are chosen vessels kept within the temple for the Lord himself. But why TWO candlesticks and TWO olive branches? Perhaps the author is referring to 1) individuals from natural Israel who has been converted to Christ (Messianic Jews) and 2) the spiritual Israelites or those from the Gentile world who have become Christians. Is there evidence for this? Romans 11, and specifically versus 25 & 26 suggest that one day the natural Jews will acknowledge Christ as their Messiah, they will be converted. I am also compelled to ask myself if I ever remember a time in my life when there were so many Messianic Jews on television preaching the gospel? No I cannot. This is a first. The idea of a natural as well as a spiritual Israel is reiterated in Ephesians 2:12-16. Again it seems to be validated with God’s promise to Abraham’s seed (Heb 11:12): “so many as the stars of the sky in multitude (spiritual Israel) and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable” (natural Israel).

Moving on, the two olive branches here are, no doubt, a reference to olive oil that is poured into the candlesticks, the fuel so to speak. In this case the oil represents the Holy Ghost. Actually this is a consistent metaphor maintained throughout Scripture. For example, when David was anointed king over Israel and the Prophet Samuel poured oil on his head we read that the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that point on (I Sam 16:13). David even refers to this event in the 23rd Psalm, “thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.”

But what good is a lamp with oil in it unless it is set ablaze. It’s like a lamp with the dead light bulb or a lamp with a good light bulb that someone forgot to plug into an electric socket. Hence the need for fire, or in the words of John the Baptist: a Baptism of Fire. The purpose of this second baptism is not just to give power so that believers can boldly witness but to give believers authority, much like the authority described by the ministries of Moses and Elijah. Recall that God introduced himself to Moses in the wilderness and spoke to him from a Burning Bush that was not consumed (Ex 3:2). After leaving Egypt, Moses and the children of Israel were led out of the wilderness and to the promised land by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The cloud by day is a foreshadowing of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit while the pillar of fire by night is a foreshadowing of the Baptism of Fire. In other words, while there has been “heavenly sunshine” the Lord has visited his people with showers of blessing resulting in the gifts of and the fruits of the Spirit. However, as the midnight hour approaches this earth, believers will need to be possessed by our “God who is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29).

On Mount Carmel Elijah told the followers of Baal “the God that answers by fire, let him be God” (1 Kg 18:24). Later we read that Elijah was carried to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kg 2:11). Other examples from the Old Testament come to mind where God uses fire to demonstrate his power and authority. Ironic that many Christians are not aware that Fire fell from the sky and consumed 144,000 sacrifices when Solomon’s Temple was dedicated (1 Kg 8: 64-65). But most believers remember how Nebuchadnezzar threw the 3 Hebrew children into a fiery furnace and they were not burned, scorched nor singed (Dan 3:24-25). This story is comforting to the believer who reads in 2 Peter 3:10 that “day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are there in shall be burned up.” Why is this thought comforting? Because, if the believer is already baptized in the Fire of the Holy Ghost he or she would be unaffected, like the three Hebrew children thrown into the fiery furnace.

Also remember Gideon, who was called by God to drive out the Midianites from Israel. Once an army was assembled Gideon, prompted by the Lord, requested that all of the Hebrews who were gathered for battle go home if they were fearful; 22,000 left (Judges 7:3). Gideon then eliminated from the Army another 10,000 because they drank water from the brook like a dog. Finally, Gideon had only 300 men left to war against an army of thousands of Midianites (Judges 7:6). The first group that went home can be likened to Christians who mind the things of this world. The second group are easily compared to Christians who lap up the water of the Word like a dog. Whatever the preacher says they swallow it hook, line and sinker. But “You need that no man should teach you for you have an unction from the Holy One”(1 Jn 2:27). Instead Gideon kept only 300 men. These 300 circled the enemy at night on the hills above the enemy camp. They blew their trumpets, yelled out loud a shout of victory, smashed their vessels of clay so that the light burning inside could shine. Whereupon, the Midianites woke from their slumber and in total darkness kill each other.

Incidentally, 300 square cubits are the dimensions of the temple, the Holy Place combined with the Holy of Holies after the “veil was rent in twain.” But this measurement does not include outer court. Moreover, this number “300” is spiritually significant when we return to Revelation 11. John is commanded by an angel “to rise and measure the temple and them that worship therein but the outer court, leave it out, measure it not, for is given and to the Gentiles to be trodden underfoot for 42 months.” In other words, those involved in outer court ministry (animal sacrifice and water lavor) – don’t measure them. Or more simply put, those who know only of the saving work of Christ’s shed blood and water baptism should not be measured at this time. But measured for what? Ephesians 4: 13, “until we all come… Unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Hence, the angel has revealed to John that there will come a time when those who are the Temple of God will be released on the earth because they have come to the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.They have received both the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the baptism of Fire. At the same time there will be other believers who are not considered the temple but are consumed with outer court ministry.

Indeed this fire-concept has captured the imagination of many popular charismatic ministers today. However, though they pray for individuals to receive the Fire of the Holy Ghost they describe the purpose of this experience as one that causes the believer to become more fervent in their faith. That is, they equate this fiery experience to a renewed passion for Christ, for improved soul winning, for a deeper and more fervent prayer life. Essentially, many of these ministers have merely defined the Baptism of Fire with a secular definition associated with the phrase “a burning passion.” The problem with this anemic, co-opted, secular definition is that it hardly mirrors the authority associated with Moses and Elijah. Their ministries were not simply a burning passion. No doubt a burning passion existed with both of these individuals but their ministries encompassed far more. They were empowered with a divine authority that superseded the kingdoms of this world.

Are you totally confused, or are you beginning to get what I’m writing about? Peter referenced the end of the age and the coming of Christ when he spoke of these two baptisms. Since the baptism of the Holy Ghost has been available en masse for some 70 years, Christ is now pouring out on believers who desire more of him the Baptism of Fire. Please understand I am not opposed to a believer acquiring a burning passion for Jesus. Indeed, this may be a prelude to the promised fiery baptism. What I am simply sharing with you is that we are indeed at the end of the “Age of the Gentiles” and the Baptism of Fire is no longer just available to a few medieval saints. The Fire of the Holy Ghost is being poured out to all who ask, seek and knock. In Malachi 3:2-3 we read, “But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord and offering in righteousness.” He will indeed “do a quick work unto righteousness” (Rom 9:28). During the earth’s darkest hour, soon to be upon us, he will give authority to his two witnesses. I guarantee you that you will see in the very, very near future many Christians who are walking in incredible authority. (Of course they will be accused of being false Christ’s.) Even now God is leading many a spirit filled believer to declare with authority many things in the name of Jesus. In fact, these believers are at first shocked themselves at the immediacy of God’s response.

Re-read the Book of Acts. I suspect that what was recorded in that book will be seen as minor compared to what is right around the corner. Remember how Christians like Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead because they lied to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:1-10). Or how Peters shadow heals the sick and delivers the possessed (Acts 5:15-17). Or do you remember reading how Stephen, while being stoned to death, fell asleep and was unaffected by pain (Acts 7:60). Prior to his death we read that Stephen did great wonders and miracles among the people (Acts 6:8) and when he spoke to the Sanhedrin “his face shone bright as an angel” (Acts 6:15). Remember Peter was jailed by Herod but led out of a well-guarded prison by an angel, and he thought he was dreaming the whole time. Immediately after that miraculous escape from prison Herod was eaten of worms (Acts 12). Remember Paul and Silas who were imprisoned for casting a demon out of a woman in the marketplace who made money for her captors by telling fortunes. They were later released from their bonds by an earthquake that shook the jail. And immediately afterwards their jail keeper who thought to end his life because he believed prisoners had escaped, instead was gloriously saved and Paul and Silas were set free (Acts 16: 23-34). Later we read Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons healed all who touch the pieces of cloth that had been touched by Paul (Acts 19:12). Remember how Paul was unaffected by a venomous snake bite (Acts 28:3-5) following a shipwreck where no one died because he prophesied it so (Acts 27:22). Also recall Jesus said this gospel shall be preached in all the world and then shall the end come (Mt 24:14). Coincidentally, this gospel has been preached in the entire world beginning in the late 1940s and cocluding with the charismatic renewal. So basically, we should be expecting the end to come.

Now back to the original question, “Why did Jesus come?” Answer: to the sinner he offers salvation and eternal life. To those who have received salvation and eternal life and are awaiting his return, he offers to baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with Fire. The Holy Ghost is needed to give us boldness to witness to a dying world. You are that Temple of the Holy Ghost if you have been filled by his Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). The middle wall of partition was ripped in half when Jesus died on the cross so that you and He are ONE (Jn 17:21). The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies constitute one room now or “ONE NEW MAN.”

Like Gideon’s army God is sounding his trumpet in this hour so that believers can and will also receive the Fire of God. Like Gideon’s shattered vessels yield yourself totally to him so that his light can shine through you. Run into the Fire of God so that he can give you His authority. When this simultaneously occurs at the midnight hour, the wise virgins who have kept their lamps trimmed (Matt 25:4) will be seen as “lightning that shines from the East to the West” (Matt 24:27) and “all eyes shall see him” (Rev 1:7) For “He shall come to be glorified in his saints” (2 Thes 1:10). In this way the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa 40:5). The worldly systems on the earth will be burned up and melt away (2 Pet 3:10-12) but we who who are joint heirs and constitute the corporate Body of Christ will be unaffected like the 3 Hebrew children. All creation will be set free (Rom 8: 17-19). On that day “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5).

May God give you eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Receive him in his fullness as he pours out the abundance of his love upon all those who are ready to receive his Spirit without measure. All blessings in Jesus name be unto you now and in the glorious days ahead.

Brother Jerry Turk

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Wandering in the Wilderness – 2/21/17

After David slew Goliath one would naturally think that David would be instantly recognized as the anointed of the Lord and established as God’s chosen vessel of authority.  Not so!  Instead, the remainder of the book of I Samuel gives a detailed account of how King Saul, like a driven mad-man, hunted David down like an animal.  He chased him in the wilderness, on mountain tops, in caves and in towns.  Despite the fact that the Philistines had regrouped and re-attacked Israel, Saul disregarded these, the true enemies of his people and sought with all his might to kill David.  Likewise, we should not be surprised today when ministries go on the war path against Spirit filled believers.  As long as they keep quiet, warm a pew and pass the plate, they’re okay.  But let them heal the sick, prophesy or speak in tongues and “out the door they go.”  While the sheep are taught to view these charismatics as heretics and fanatics the devil continues to destroy with depravity, disease, despair and death.

These spirit filled believers, called charismatics are labeled Cruise-o-matics as they fellowship like David, “from pillar to post.”  Yet for some this wandering in the wilderness without a church home is too wearisome.  And so they return to programs, preachers and familiar forms of fundamentalism.  Rather than worship God in Spirit and in Truth, they abandon their new experience and seek the comfort of church games and politics.  Even Saul’s daughter, Michal, David’s beloved wife thought cave life too treacherous.  In her heart she must have reasoned that the life of an outcast would never lead to an anointing of authority. And so it was, she deserted her husband’s side and stayed in her father’s court. Likewise, Jonathan, Saul’s son, though he loved David and counted him his blood brother, would not go with him in the wilderness for his loyalties lie with the madness of his father, the King.  Instead, David’s only companions were cut-throats, vagabonds, thieves and undesirables by most standards.  In the natural, David was labeled a rebel, a pirate, an adulterer; someone so brazen that when he and his men were hungry, he stormed into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle and dared eat and distribute the shew bread reserved as an offering for the Lord. But God looked not on the outward.

Occasions were even given to David by the Lord’s design where he could have easily taken Saul’s life.  But as the young shepherd boy had refused the King’s armour to fight Goliath, so too did he refuse to usurp the throne of Israel by assassination.  Saul’s methods of fighting were useless to David.  Instead he was anointed and empowered by the Spirit of the Lord to slay Goliath.  And if he were to reign as king, again it would be because of an anointing, and not by the methods used by his predecessor.  Unfortunately, all too often charismatics are enticed into positions of leadership using carnal or even natural methods to achieve that end.  How sad it is to see these Spirit filled believers fitted into the armour of advertising and politics to fight the spiritual forces of darkness.  They call this battle “evangelism”…then when all is said and done, wonder why their goals are not achieved.

Even sadder still are the methods used by many a Spirit filled believer to obtain a position of leadership or authority.  Like their King Saul prototypes they ignore the Spirit’s ability to teach them “all truth” and recklessly purse a Bible College degree.  Upon completion and with a sense of accomplishment they field resumes and obtain interviews.  This is so they can be chosen to lead through natural selection.  But it is God’s desire to empower through a SUPERNATURAL ELECTION.

If you intend to walk in your calling and become that Son of God that rules and reigns with Him, you will in all probability find yourself like David, wandering in the wilderness somewhere with no place to call home.  In addition, like David you will probably be despised and rejected most by those who you identify as your family, brothers and sisters or friends.  It will not be unusual for you to be persecuted by church leaders and your only earthly comforters will be those who you would not otherwise seek company with.  Not a pleasant life for anyone and yet this is exactly where David found himself.  So too were Joseph, Moses, Elijah, the Apostle Paul and yes – Jesus.  All of these had extensive, intense wilderness experiences because their own brethren rejected them and wanted them dead! But they, like David were all called and anointed with authority to fulfill God’s purpose.

But when David received news of Saul’s suicide, he didn’t jump at the opportunity and declare himself “Big Cheese.”  Instead he lamented, rent his clothing, cried in anguish and mourned almost inexhaustibly though his tormentor’s life was ended.  Why?  Because David took no pleasure seeing King Saul, God’s first anointed King of Israel, wasted.  He not only had accepted the wilderness as his lot in life, but had learned to rejoice and glory in his suffering. But there was no glory in the death and suffering of Saul.  By learning to rejoice in tribulation God had truly created the heart of a servant in David.  He accepted both good and bad as from the hand of the Lord and knew that despite the circumstances, God was faithful to His promises.  By rejoicing in adversity, David’s heart was transformed such that the Lord commented of him that he had a heart after His own heart. (I Sam. 13:14)

Over and over David wrote in the Psalms, “His mercy (or love) endureth forever.” By glorying in suffering David not only received true humility of soul, but could write experientially of God’s love.  It was this love that dominated his prayers for Saul, his king, his father-in-law, the once mighty man of God.  The Apostle Paul describes this type of love.  It, “suffers long, is kind, is not boastful nor puffed up.”  This love does not behave selfishly, is not easily provoked an does not think evil of others. (I Cor. 13)  Most important, David the praiser knew that love did not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoiced in the truth.  No wonder David could not rejoice in Saul’s death since he was once used as the anointed servant of God. Likewise, David’s example of brokenness, sorrow and loss should speak to us about how we should view the current crumbling, criticism and collapse of charismatic ministries once blessed by God.

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Fasting and the Season of Lent – 2/19/17

According to the Roman Catholic calendar, Lent for 1 billion Christians worldwide begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017 and ends Saturday, April 15, 2017, the day before Easter. Traditionally Lent is supposed to be a 40 day period in which Christians prepare themselves for the celebration of Easter. It is intended to be a time marked with prayer and fasting, a time of reflection, repentance and a time to draw closer to Christ. Though the observance of this season is not found in Scripture it is a tradition which has evolved and is based Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, when he was tempted by Satan (Matt.4:2 ).

Fasting from food can be interpreted in many different ways. In the medical field it can be interpreted across a broad spectrum. For example, fasting can be mandated by treatment providers as a course of healing or it might be necessary prior to certain diagnostic tests. But excessive fasting for no apparent reason can also be seen as anorexia, a pathological condition. As a religious observance it can be welcomed or dreaded. Sometimes believers and nonbelievers alike are willing to go along with the Lenten season. I’ve even heard it said that fasting is a good way to justify a change in dietary habits, to improve one’s figure or just shed a few pounds.

But in Matthew 17:21 Jesus made a specific reference to the need for fasting. Recall his disciples returned to him complaining that there were certain spirits that they could not cast out. Jesus responded “this kind comes out not but by prayer and fasting.” Moreover, this passage has NOT gone unnoticed among many in the Christian world. In some circles where exorcism is a public spectacle the need for dietary fasting is often stressed, presumably so that the intercessor can successfully exercise the evil spirit. I know of one well-known Christian minister who openly boasts that she fasts at least one day a week. She alludes to this calling so that she can be prepared to do battle against the devil.

But the practice of fasting is not just found in the New Testament or among a minority of religious groups or individuals today. Jehoshaphat called for a solemn fast in 2 Chronicles 20 when it seemed that the kingdom of Judah would be destroyed by invaders. Again a solemn fast was proclaimed by Nehemiah and Joel to call God’s people to repentance and to invoke God’s blessing around specific events.

However, in Acts 19:15 we read one of the strangest episodes of demonic activity recorded in the Bible. Apparently there were these 7 sons of Sceva who considered themselves exorcists but were not necessarily believers in Christ. It seems that they attempted to cast out an evil spirits using the name of Jesus, believing , I suppose, that his name alone carried with it some type of magical power. In any event these 7 brothers were far from successful. For In this passage it is recorded that the evil spirit leaped onto them, and overcame them. The result was that these brothers fled out of the house naked and wounded. Given the previous exhortation mentioned in Matthew’s gospel one might conclude that perhaps these 7 brothers had not properly prepared themselves through sufficient prayer and fasting? But this assumption was clearly not the case. Reading from Scripture we discover that the evil spirit spoke to the 7 brothers and explained, “Jesus I know and Paul I know but who are you?” So here we see that a personal relationship with Christ is imperative when casting out demons. Indeed, abstinence from food or “fasting” was not even mentioned. So what exactly did Jesus mean when he said “this kind comes out not but by prayer and fasting?”

But perhaps before we offer an alternative explanation for fasting as a prerequisite to exorcism let us consider carefully the words of the evil spirit. Indeed, the evil spirit’s response is quite revealing. That is, the evil spirit suggests that even the demons of hell were terrified of Paul because his “knowing Christ” had brought him into complete union and intimacy with our Lord. Essentially, to this evil spirit Jesus and Paul were synonymous or one in the same. If fasting from food was sufficient, a Lenten season should produce enough champions in the faith who are well-equipped to rid the planet of all evil.

Instead, let us examine an altogether different fast that is mentioned in Isaiah 58:9-10. It’s a fast that has nothing to do with food whatsoever. We read:
“If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity and the darkness be as the noon day.” In fact verse 6 of the same chapter reads: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen to lose the bands of wickedness, and to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”

Essentially this fast which is called THE FAST OF THE LORD has nothing to do with food and everything to do with prejudice and a judgmental posture towards others. Of course fasting from food can be valid especially when led by the Holy Ghost. But, without the leading of the Holy Ghost fasting can be nothing more than a ritual and a work of the flesh.

Consider for a moment Jesus and fasting. Aside from his 40-day wilderness experience we read nothing of Jesus observing ritual fasting prescribed by Jewish law. In fact his enemies even falsely referred to him as a glutton and a winebibber (Luke 7:34).  Instead consider Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4:4-26).  Recall how his disciples criticized him, complaining that the Jews were to have nothing to do with Samaritans.  Indeed, his disciples tried to scold Jesus for his LACK OF BIGOTRY.  And recall his words to the woman who is caught in the act of adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more” (John 8:1-11). Despite every opportunity to do so Jesus offered no prejudice, no bigotry, and no judgmentalism.  When feasting at the home of a rich man a prostitute came in unannounced, washed the Master’s feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  Of course this DID NOT GO UNNOTICED and Jesus was criticized for not judging this “disreputable woman” (Luke 7:36-47).  Fellow believers, the lists of individuals that Jesus could have rightfully judged according to the law are seemingly endless, but instead we read that He repeatedly demonstrated compassion and mercy everywhere instead of judgment.

If you are a believer that acknowledges the season of Lent consider the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12) which are more meaningful to God than the outward activities of fasting from food or going to church for ashes.  “Man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart” 1 Sam 16:7.  As the corporate Body of Christ let us together examine our hearts and see if there yet remains some form of prejudice, judgmentalism, or a critical spirit that looks down on others.  If you call yourself a Christian and feel the need to criticize Communists, Muslims, homosexuals, child molesters, heroin addicts, prostitutes, those filled with lust or greed, those you think are involved in the cult, or even those who say they worship Satan, I urge you, do not argue or contend with them.  Love them even if you despise their behaviors or beliefs, “for against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).  It is not for us to judge (Matt 7:1).  Even the Archangel Michael when contending with Satan over the bones of Moses “Durst not bring railing accusation against him but said only the Lord rebuke you” (Jude 1:9).

Beloved, let us resolve as his Body to “take away from the midst, …the putting forth of the finger.” In other words, we should not be pointing fingers at others, we should not judge others, but we should keep our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2).  As his Body let us walk in love and fast from judging others.  Leave judgment to God. Join with me in the FAST OF THE LORD not just for this Lenten season but for all time.

Lord Jesus, Fill us with your Spirit.  Empower us to walk in love toward our fellow man.  We confess our pride, arrogance and our bigotry.  We place these beliefs and attitudes at the foot of the cross and look to you for healing and deliverance.  We desire to be the expression of your will and instruments of your love.  All this is committed to you in the matchless name of Jesus, Amen and Amen.  Thank you Jesus that your word does not return void.

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Going On To Perfection – 2/17/17

In the Bible we read “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Ph.2:12). This apparently means that when we have questions concerning spiritual growth it is important that we come humbly before God and ask Him to lead us. In humility we are to ask him what we should believe and how we should behave. And yet within this spirit of humility we are also encouraged to “come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb.4:16). For “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide us into all truth” (Jn.16:13). And finally we read that we “have an unction (or anointing) from the Holy One… and we need that no man should teach us” (1Jn.2:20&27).

Unfortunately, many Christians find it much easier to be told how to think, what to believe and how to behave. The result is that the believer often becomes vulnerable to highly dogmatic and religious individuals who all too often are like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. These so-called “Teachers of the Word” can come across presumptuous and even quite offensive. They are typically argumentative and contentious. To the Christian they will say, “I need to straighten you out.” Flee from those you meet with this spirit (Ep.5:6-11). In all likelihood this is not just some kind of personality trait you are encountering. When around individuals who are behaving in an argumentative and contentious manner be aware that you are probably dealing with demonic forces.

But if we have to be cautious regarding Bible teachers how are we to invite the Holy Spirit to teach us all things as he promised? If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that there are aspects of Christian growth that can appear confusing or can seemingly complicate the believer’s desire for a closer walk with Christ. Some seem to just give up and remain stagnant in Fundamental-Evangelicalism. Certainly, there can be no doubt that God wants us to move on to higher ground, to press towards the mark of the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus. Without a doubt it is His desire that we all become involved in a spiritual journey that takes us out of the worldliness associated with spiritual “Egypt” and into the “Promised Land.”

Now most Christians have no problem correlating the 1st celebration out of Egypt, known as the FEAST OF PASSOVER, with their salvation experience. The blood of the Lamb was applied to the horizontal and vertical “cross-beams” of the household door and the Death Angel “Passed-over.” Or, in spiritual terms, when you repent and accept Christ as Savior the blood of Jesus that was shed on the horizontal and vertical beams of the cross is spiritually applied and you receive the promise of eternal life. Moreover, most Christians agree with Paul and acknowledge that water baptism was foretold in type and shadow when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea (1Cor.10:2). In this case more could easily be said to correlate this experience with the 2nd and 3rd FEASTS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD AND FIRSTFRUITS. But we will defer the detail of these feasts that speak of commitment and dedication to the get to the heart of the matter, Christian perfection.

And so, moving on we now come to the 4th and highly controversial Pentecostal Feast, which is called FEAST OF WEEKS in Exodus 34:22 and, which was celebrated in the wilderness. It was initiated by God to commemorate the giving of the 10 Commandments or the WORD OF GOD, literally written on tablets of stone. Likewise, the New Testament Pentecostal experience described in Acts 2:4 was a celebration of the WORD OF GOD given spiritually; “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Paul describes this experience as a foretaste of the glory to come, or “the earnest of our inheritance” (Ep.1:13-14). That the “giving of the word of God on tablets of stone” was a foreshadowing of the events that occurred in the 2nd Chapter of Acts, there can be no doubt.

But what is also apparent is that both are wilderness experiences. That is, in the same way the 10 Commandments were given to the people of God while they were in the wilderness, this Pentecostal experience (associated with gifts) is a wilderness experience. All too often Christians are led to believe that the gifts of the spirit equate to the Promised Land. Many ultimately reject this experience altogether and claim that this Pentecostal feast was intended only for the “apostolic dispensation.” But we know this is not true since “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb.13:8). And yet to others on the opposite end of the spectrum these gifts have become the endpoint in spiritual growth. Though the lame walk, the blind see, and the dead may be raised, this does not necessarily mean that the individual is possessed by Christ. Beloved, the goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rm.8:29). “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn.17:21). If there be tongues, healings or miracles, these will eventually cease (1Cor.13:8). Many who call themselves Pentecostal have decided to end their journey with the gifts. But God seeks not just to fill us but to possess us fully. Indeed, many Pentecostals have even heard this and reject it outright. Nor is the great call of God on our life simply evangelism, but it is “to be conformed to His image” (Rm.8:29). “And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ep.3:19).

So we look to him not for one or two experiences and call it quits. Look at Hebrews 6: “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment, LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION (τελειό-τητα). And this will we do, if God permit.” Please know the author is not simply talking about maturity in the human sense as many new compromised and anemic translations insist. How do we know this? Because in Matthew 5:48 Jesus said, “be ye PERFECT (τέλειοι) as my Father in heaven is perfect.” Notice the same Greek word is used in both verses. Hence, he is not calling us to “Christian maturity” any more than he is calling his Father mature. Instead the author is writing about “coming to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ep.4:13). So there is much more beyond the Pentecostal experience that has been hidden from the spirit filled believer. And yet some Pentecostals are content to remain in the wilderness, while others actually want to “go back to Egypt and enjoy the leeks and garlic” so to speak (Nu.11:5).

Instead, let us be determined to go on to perfection. Numerous other feasts are clearly outlined in Scripture that take us beyond Pentecost and point not only to the Promised Land but to the “glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rm.8:18). These feasts are like a roadmap described in the Old Testament in type and shadow, providing for us direction for our journey from beginning to end. Now I am painfully aware that the more I write the less likely these posts are read. So in the interest of time I will simply share the remaining feasts as the Lord has revealed them to me and suggest their meanings without detail. In no way am I offended if you disagree with me. I only share these with you and pray that perhaps you might come to an understanding regarding some Christian experiences that remain unclear. Certainly I encourage you to pray about any and all of this information that I share with you. I have utmost faith that the Holy Ghost will not mislead you.

THE 5TH IS THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS, which refers to “the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation” (Ep.1:17).
THE 6TH IS THE DAY OF ATONEMENT and equates to Trials, Tribulations and Deliverance (James).
THE 7TH IS THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. In Christian circles it is often called the Kingdom Walk since it correlates to the crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land. Some call this “Preparation for Ministry.”
THE 8TH IS THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE. (If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chr.7:14). Some call this the “Ministry.”
THE 9TH IS THAT FEAST OF PURIM which speaks of the Ministry of Intercession, introduced in type and shadow in the book of Esther but revealed by Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
THE 10TH IS THE SABBOTH, which speaks of a day of rest, a work of Holiness or Baptism of Fire.
THE 11TH IS THE SABBATICAL, or the 7th year of rest: the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
THE 12TH IS THE YEAR OF JUBILEE’S speaks of Restoration or Total Possession by God: Sonship.

The Lord Jesus is calling a remnant, the Joshua’s and Caleb’s onto the PROMISED LAND, into KINGDOM LIVING in this lifetime (Josh.1:3-5). Yes indeed, this Jesus of Nazareth is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col.1:27). “It is no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me” (Gal.2:20). Commit yourself this day to press “toward the mark of the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph.3:14). “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God” (1Jn.3:1). Be blessed in Jesus name.

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The Name of Our GOD is JESUS – 2/15/17

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Mt.28:19).

If that’s the case then why did they baptize IN THE NAME OF JESUS throughout the Book of Acts? For example…

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Ac.2:38).

Because obviously the name of the Father is Jesus, the name of the Son is Jesus, and the name of the Holy Ghost is Jesus.

Yes, it’s true. His name is not Father. His name is not Son. His name is not Holy Ghost.

Regarding Jesus… there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved (Ac.4:12). Do all things in the name of Jesus (Col.3:17). The Son that is given to us is the Everlasting Father (Isa.9:6). The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus Christ (1Pet.1:11).

If you don’t know that Jesus is God then you don’t know God (Jn.14:9 & 20:28). Cry out to Jesus. You can even personally know JESUS, the ONE and only true God.

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The Glory of the LORD Revealed – 2/15/17

Now consider this man Melchizedek. Abraham met him returning from battle and gave tithe unto him (Gen. 14:18). He was without father, without mother, having neither beginning of day nor end of life (Heb. 7:3). His walk with God had ushered him into timelessness. He was called the King of Salem (Heb. 7:2). Salem means peace, hence he was the “King of Peace.” His successor would therefore be called the “Prince of Peace” over Jeru-Salem, the City of Peace.

But Melchizedek was much more than a king. He is also called “Priest of the Most High God.” No one before him had been king and priest. The Levitical order of Moses and Abraham that was initiated on Mount Moriah and was later established produced no one who was both king and priest. Kings were kings and priests were priests. How could anyone govern God’s people and yet truly minister to the Lord. Not only minister to Him but be a High Priest. That means God’s closest confidant and friend is also established as king over God’s people.

The most renown men of all history have laid claim to this; the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Caesars of Rome, Emperors of China and Japan. Even individuals like Nebuchadnezzar claimed to be God’s man of faith and power for the hour. But they all died in time, thus proving their claim counterfeit. No one could be both unless they were sinless and immortal. By setting the Ark of the Covenant to rest on Mount Zion, the highest peak in Jerusalem, David has once and for all enthroned the Lord God Himself as both King and Priest over His people, “after the order of Melchizedek.” From this unveiled temple on Zion the indescribable brilliant glory of the Lord that emanated above the mercy seat of the Ark could be seen by all the nations on Earth. David describes this supernatural phenomenon in a multitude of Psalms. A few are listed below.

Great is the Lord…in the mountains of His holiness…The joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great king. God is known in her palaces as a refuge…The kings were assembled, they passed by together…They saw it and so they marveled…They were troubled and hasted away (Ps. 48: 1-5). Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shinned (Ps. 50:2). In Salem also is his tabernacle and his dwelling place in Zion…thou art more glorious than the mountains (Ps. 76:2 & 4). The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion; rule thou in the midst of thine enemies…Thou art forever after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:2 & 4). The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen (Ps. 98:2). The Lord reigneth…he sitteth between the cherubim…the Lord is great in Zion (Ps. 99:1 & 2). When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in glory (Ps. 102:16). O Lord thou art great…who coverest thyself with Light as with a garment (Ps. 104:1 & 2). The Lord reigneth, a fire goeth before Him and burneth up His enemies round about. His lightning enlighteneth the world, the earth saw and trembled…all the people see His glory. Zion heard and was glad. Light is sown for righteousness (Ps. 97).

These and ALL 150 Psalms were written for and sung to the Lord God as He ruled out of Zion. The glory the Lord shinned out of Zion all 33 years David was king of Israel. Likewise, Jesus was the expressed glory of God on earth for 33 years. As David re-established the king-priest ministry by enthroning the LORD, so too is Christ the King of Kings and a High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:5 & 6).

After David’s death, his son Solomon reigned as king. But Solomon built the Lord’s temple on Mount Moriah, the second highest peak, removed the ark from Zion to his temple and strengthened the Levitical order prescribed by the Law of Moses. Once again the glory of the Lord was veiled – out of sight. The Lord no longer reigned supreme.

Succeeding generations began to stray from God’s purpose and plan. Civil war left the nation divided into Judah and Israel again. Worldly influences from other nations gradually and ultimately resulted in a corrupted people. Untold kings and priests struggled to retain their power and it seemed each succeeding generation grew increasingly wicked. Finally two great kings, Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon and Sennacherib from Assyria took for themselves captives of these two nations. The glory of the Lord had long since departed as these great kings lay waste Judah and Israel, burned the temple and destroyed the ark.

But throughout these times of judgment, God was not without a voice. In every generation He raised up someone, a remnant whose loyalties lay exclusively to Him. Their message was a cry to return to the God of David. Over and over they prophesied that God would return and rebuild the tabernacle of David and Mount Zion. Obadiah, prophesied: “Saviors shall come upon Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Esau (Gentiles), and the kingdom shall be the Lords” (Ob. 21).

Amos also prophesied of the coming Babylonian captivity but ended: “I will raise up again the fallen tabernacle of David…that they may possess the remnant of Edom (the descendants of Esau) and all the heathen which are called by my name saith the Lord that doeth this” (Amos 9:11 & 12). The tabernacle of David will be rebuilt. Zion’s glory will possess, as Amos describes, those called by HIS NAME. These are, of course, Christians for they bear the name of Christ Himself. In fact these shall come forth as Saviors.

The prophet Zechariah returned from Babylon with a great company of Jews to rebuild the temple and believe for a return of glory of the tabernacle of David. But Zechariah was given a vision and a strong word to share with his fellow laborers. The Lord told him and showed him that He would rebuild the temple Himself. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).

Since that time there have been many captivities and many returns to rebuild the temple. But no glory has or ever will return to a man-made temple. The glory shall possess the remnant and the heathen called by His name (as Amos said). No wonder the Apostle James declared in Acts 15:16 that the prophecy of Amos was being fulfilled when the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Gentiles.

We are that temple of the Holy Ghost (I Cor. 3:16) in whom and upon whom the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. (Isa. 60:2) God has called every blood-bought, born-again, Spirit filled believer to come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). That you go in and out no more but be a pillar in the temple of your God (Rev. 3:12). He has called and chosen you and I to be Kings and Priests unto Him (Rev. 1:6). He has chosen us to be the revealing of the Lord in our life time (I Thes. 1:10). “The Lord shall arise upon thee and His glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isa. 60:1, 2). In this, beloved, “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa. 40:5).

Like Melchizedek, we are called the walk in resurrection life power, in the here and now; to enter into eternal life now, to receive the power of an endless life; not just the promise, by faith, some day in the great by and by – but HERE and NOW. Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (Jn. 11:25) But pay careful attention here. Jesus continues in verse 26, “And whoseoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” So it is clear that this promise of eternal life is for “he that believeth” and not just for “he that believeth yet is dead.”

Jesus walked in this Resurrection life. Speaking of His life, He said, “I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again.” (Jn. 10:18) No one killed, murdered or assassinated Jesus. He laid his life down willingly. His blood wasn’t spilled, it was shed! His resurrection from the dead was proof that He had entered into “the power of an endless life” after the order of Melchizedek.

Even Paul walked in resurrection life for he says he was in deaths oft or died many times. (2 Cor. 11:23) To the Philippians he even confessed that he was caught in indecision. He said he wanted to go home to be with the Lord, he wanted to die. But because they had need of him, of his mighty working as an apostle, he decided to stay for their sakes. If he was executed, stoned (2 Cor. 11:25), or thrown to ferocious beasts (I Cor. 15:22), he just got up after it was all over and went about his business preaching and teaching the Good News of the “Resurrection Life” in Christ.

This life of being possessed by Christ is the “Rest” spoken by the writer of Hebrews. He explains, “there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9) For “We are come unto Mount Zion and unto the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…and to God, the judge of all and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Heb. 12:22 & 23) Thus we, “are built up (to) a spiritual house,…in Zion, a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood (kings and priests), a holy nation that we should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous Light!” (I Pet. 2:5-9)

God is calling forth a people in this hour to return to Zion. The power, the authority and the glory of the Lord will be revealed in them, through them and upon them. These shall walk in resurrection life, eternal life, in the here and now. Like Jesus and Paul, they shall walk in timelessness for they shall inherit immortality in their life time. The fire of God’s glory shall purge the dross of their sinful natures and they shall receive the divine nature. This is the righteous remnant, the redeemed of the Lord that shall return unto Zion. These shall possess the fullness of God to be revealed at the end of this present age. These are the Sons of God. These are kings and priests to the Most High, a Royal Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. This is the Body of Christ, God’s expression on earth. This Body is to come forth to be revealed in glory as the ark was when returned to Zion. These shall rule the nations with a rod of iron. These shall walk in oneness with God Himself. He who “fills all in all” shall rule and reign supreme on the earth, for He shall rule in them and through them.

Beloved, you have been called to walk in this promise. Press in to receive all that God has for you “that your joy may be full.” The hour is short and this present day draws to a close. “He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Seek Him for the abundance. See Him for “Life Abundantly.” “He will do exceedingly above all that you ask or think.” He is your portion, your inheritance, your life. He is come to be glorified IN HIS SAINTS.(2Thes 1:10)

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