Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Law - Obsolete and Vanished Away

In Paul's day the question of whether or not to keep Moses' Law was a valid question, and it was crucial that it be answered - but in our day the very question itself is really null and void.

In Paul's day it was still logistically possible for someone to keep the Law if he wished to - but in our day it's a logistic impossibility even if you wish to.

I don't mean it's merely a MORAL impossibility today: it was already a moral impossibility even while the Law still stood. I mean, it's just plain impossible even if you had perfect moral strength - because THE INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRED FOR KEEPING THE LAW DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE.

In Paul's day they still had the obligatory altar, Temple and Levitical priesthood in Jerusalem - today they don't exist.

Even if a replica temple gets rebuilt in Jerusalem in future and a priesthood instituted, it still won't be possible to keep the Law - because the Law required genealogies showing descent from Levi, in order to legitimise the priests - but such genealogies don't exist anymore. It's impossible to have a legitimate Levitical priesthood today!

Paul explained why it was no longer necessary to keep the Law, on COVENANTAL grounds - but in our day it's also self-evident that keeping the Law is not even a possibility, on mere grounds that the Law's own requirements are no longer a PRACTICAL feasibility.

Selective observance of the Law was never something allowed by the Law. The Law had to be kept completely as written, exactly as written, and only in the place that was written - or else a person was guilty of the Law. If a person was negligent of one point of the Law - even the least point of the Law - a mere jot or tittle - he was deemed by the Law to have been guilty of the whole Law.

Any version of observing the works of the Law today necessarily involves adding, changing or omitting more than just a mere jot or tittle of the Law! It involves attempting to observe the Law in ways and places which the Law itself never commanded, ways which the Law, if it was still in force today, would condemn. Therefore modern Judaism of whatever form can't really be called keeping the Law at all.

So, while Paul explained that the Old Covenant, which had already been made obsolete in his day, was ready to vanish away - today we can say not only that the Law is obsolete, but that it has also already long ago vanished away.

What we have instead of the Law is of something of more excellent glory!

No longer slaves, but sons. Joint-heirs with Christ.

Brought FREELY to glory - brought to GOD - for all eternity, through the blood of His Son - the BLOOD of the New Covenant.

Walking in the life which God predestined for us before the Law was ever given, before the world even began.

The hand of the Lord - the Holy Spirit - came upon us and made us into Christ's own image - it was His own doing, not our own effort under the Law.

"For CHRIST also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might BRING US TO GOD..." (I Peter 3:18)

God has borne witness of all these things both with signs and wonders, and with different miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will. He is with you. Perhaps in your home-meeting tonight! Ask and receive from His hand!

And prosperity. Receive it.

Forgiveness. If you've troubled anyone, be reconciled.

You are His garden. He waters and tends you.

Hope in JESUS!

God's Law

In mentioning God's moral law, I think it's important to distinguish it from Moses' Law.

Some people hold that although we're no longer under Moses' ceremonial laws, we're still under Moses' moral laws. The problem with that though is it requires us to be absolutely certain about what points of the Law were only ceremonial and what parts were actually moral.

And people can't seem to agree on that. Some consider the Feasts and associated sabbaths were only ceremonial - others consider them to be an everlasting moral duty.

So, dividing Moses' Law up into two parts - parts that don't apply and parts that still apply - can be problematic.

On one extreme it can result in believers feeling obligated to observe facets of Judaism, and on the other hand it can result in believers being worldly in ways that aren't appropriate.

Paul's approach seemed to be to say we're not under Moses' Law at all, without distinguishing between ceremonial and moral - because he treated the Law as a whole - as a package deal. To be guilty of part of the Law made a person guilty of the whole Law, he said. A person either kept all of it or he didn't keep it at all.

So God brought something entirely new - the grace of God - a New Covenant.

Moses' Law was a package deal which attempted to model God's unchanging laws, given temporarily to the Jews. The Gentiles also had God's unchanging laws written on their heart. But the Gospel actually empowers us to follow it - made us sharers in God's own nature - love and righteousness.

Just Judgment

 Unbelievers won't be judged against Moses' Law - as the package deal that it was. For example, an unbeliever in Japan won't be judged for not having been circumcised in accordance with Moses' Law. 

And if he'd never heard of Christ, then he won't be j
udged for not having believed in someone he'd never heard about.

But he will be judged by "the" Law. (Paul said that the Gentiles who didn't have "The Law" (Moses' Law, complete with all its symbols and rituals) still had "the" Law (God's eternal righteous requirement) written in their hearts. Everyone does.

The purpose of my recent Posts is therefore upheld: believers are not obliged to observe Judaism.

When Keeping the Law Wasn't Keeping the Law

The Law authorised its own supersession by a new and better Covenant; and included its own sunset clause.

The transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant was therefore executed not in breach of the Law but in fulfilment of it. 

Israel's persistence in the Law instead of embracing the New Covenant, made the very Law which they purported to keep a witness against them. 

The only way to fulfil the Law was therefore not to persist in adhering to the Law, but to instead embrace the New Covenant.

All Israel

Paul's statements about Israel weren't an eschatological forecast - but an explanation of a first-century reality (the way the Gospel fulfilled prophecy). Because he used his own conversion as a case in point.  

Gog and Magog

It's awkward to place Ezekiel's prophecy about and Gog and Magog in the future, because:

1. It describes horses, swords, bows and arrows - not modern weapons; and

2. The defeat of Gog and Magog was to make a statement about Israel's captivity - and that captivity was to Babylon, hundreds of years BC. (It was to make the nations know that Israel's captivity was because they'd forsaken the Lord.)

3. The prophecy mentions confederate nations by name - nations which existed in BC years, but which don't exist by those names at present.

Replacement Theology, Post-Millennialism, Dispensationalism, A-Millennialism

The Gentile church is not the fulfilment of Israel’s hope; neither does Israel’s hope await a future fulfilment – Israel’s hope was fulfilled in Jews who believed.

"Nightfall" - by Ewald (Woody) Rische

"Nightfall" by Ewald (Woody) Rische

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Gospel Revelation

I got saved nearly 35 years ago - simply by calling on the Name of JESUS. God confirmed it by giving me His Holy Spirit. I was baptised in the Name of JESUS. I experienced righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. In an instant God put love in my heart.

God immediately began working through me - with His help I testified everywhere I could that JESUS saves. In Ipswich at High School; in Brisbane at work; travelling along the East Coast of Australia, and out West; over to South East Asian nations; in Pacific island countries; in cities and indigenous tribes that had never heard the Gospel before.

I observed that everyone who received the message experienced exactly the same thing as me - that JESUS saves. We saw the Holy Spirit poured out. Believers everywhere cast out demons using JESUS' Name, they spoke with new tongues, young people saw visions and prophesied, they laid hands on the sick and they recovered.

We knew we were onto something real: JESUS. The way, the truth, and the life. We would even have gladly suffered for His Name, if it came to that! Through Him we experienced reconciliation to GOD the FATHER. With JESUS we felt that we lacked NOTHING.

Now there's a fad going around teaching that God expects us to pray in the Hebrew name Yeshua, not in JESUS' Name; that in order to please God we must obey Moses' ancient Law - with its circumcision, dietary laws, sabbaths, new moons, numerous regular ceremonies (called Feasts, which awkwardly for us were synced to Northern Hemisphere seasons), and many more details such as blowing trumpets and living outdoors at certain times every year.

The fad has spread to affect the consciences of so many believers, to the extent that many have already left their churches to join or start groups dedicated to such practices.

So for my own conscience' sake, even though I'd already been experiencing God's favour for many years, I asked the Lord not too long ago whether we're really obligated to observe any or all of those things. And He gave me a GREAT REVELATION!

That revelation has inspired many of my Facebook Posts and Blog Posts.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Curtains for the Law

Once Jesus went to the cross, it was curtains for the Law.

Did Jesus Command Believers to Keep the Law?

It's true Jesus told the Jews that He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it. He said that whoever broke one of the least commandments, and taught men so, would be called least in the kingdom of heaven, while whoever would do and teach them, would be called great in the kingdom of heaven. And it's true Jesus commissioned the apostles to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them.

But that didn't mean Jesus intended for His disciples to continue observing the Law after the New Covenant was made.

God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so they could receive God's new program of being BORN AGAIN in order to see the hoped-for Kingdom.

Jesus was sent to Israel at a time when Israel was still under the Law. Through His death and resurrection He made a NEW COVENANT with them - but it was necessary that the New Covenant be inaugurated through Him fulfilling the Law - not by breaking it. Had the transition occurred through breaking the Law - then the New Covenant would have been rendered illegitimate by the terms of the first Covenant's Law. The transition from Law to Grace was therefore accomplished seamlessly, without any point of the Law being broken in the process. The bringing-in of a New Covenant itself fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, seeing the Law and the Prophets themselves spoke of this happening. Once that transition was accomplished, it was no longer necessary for the disciples to observe the Law. Matthew's Gospel records other statements by Jesus which bear all this out.

The background to Jesus' statement was that His lifestyle and teachings were so different to that of the scribes, Pharisees and doctors of the Law, that some of Jesus' critics may have assumed He utterly disregarded the Law. But in reality it was the Jewish leaders whose misrepresentations of the Law had made the true requirement of the Law almost unrecognisable. Jesus on the other hand asserted the Law's true meaning, and confronted the Jewish leaders' attitude towards it.

But as lofty as Jesus' regard for the Law was, it did not mean that His disciples, once they were on the other side of the cross and in the Kingdom of God, were to continue observing Moses' Law. Because later on, also in Matthew's own Gospel, plenty of other statements by Jesus were recorded which revealed that the Law was being superseded by a New Covenant.

Imagine if in the process of introducing a New Covenant, Jesus had run roughshod over the Law - no Jew could likely have ever accepted that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah -  because the Jews knew what the prophet had said of the Messiah: "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, THY LAW IS WITHIN MY HEART" (Psalm 40:7,8).

Since Matthew's Gospel was aimed at such Jewish readers, he didn't miss a chance to record examples of Jesus faithfully upholding the Law - something Jesus did consistently, since He Himself, along with all Israel at that time, was under the Law. Matthew knew that obedience to the Law was an important criteria for the Messiah in the minds of his Jewish readers. So he carefully recorded the incident where Jesus corrected the misconception that He somehow condoned disdain for the Law - this was an important point in Matthew's objective, and to his readers. Matthew was presenting Jesus' credentials as the Jewish Messiah.

But in presenting Jesus credentials as the Messiah, Matthew went further than just recording the high regard with which Jesus held the Law: Matthew also recorded Jesus saying, at the last Passover: "For this is my blood of THE NEW TESTAMENT, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). That was a declaration by Jesus that the Old Covenant was at that moment transitioning into something New.

Early on in his Gospel, Matthew recorded Jesus initially instructing the Apostles not to go to the Gentiles but to go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; he also recorded Jesus asserting that He Himself was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel - but later on in his Gospel, Matthew recorded Jesus, after His resurrection, commissioning: "Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONS". Going into all nations had never been a program of the Law. Such a commission therefore presupposed that the Law had by then been superseded and a new program introduced.

A number of Jesus' parables, also recorded in Matthew, illustrated the coming change, with statements like: "The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof". That couldn't happen without there first being a change of the Law, because Moses' Law was exclusively Jewish and excluded Gentiles.

Thus Matthew's Gospel takes the reader on a journey with Jesus - beginning with Jesus' perfect obedience to the Law, on to His perfectly fulfilling of the Law and the Prophets on the cross, then to His perfectly superseding the Law by the New Covenant in His blood, followed by His new commission and new program which was not only for Jews but for all nations - and all of this was accomplished in perfect accord with every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets.

Therefore by the time the reader of Matthew's Gospel reaches the part at the end where Jesus is recorded commissioning His apostles to teach all nations to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you", the reader has come to understand that what was meant by that was not that the Law was to be taught, as some are saying it means - it is understood rather to have meant that the apostles were to teach the nations the overall purpose and accomplishment of Jesus' life and teachings. And His purpose was: to redeem us from the Law not through breaking the Law but through fulfilling it and the Prophets.

Jesus' statements don't establish a precedent for the claim that Christians should observe modern Judaism. Even if Jesus' commission to referred instead back to His earlier statement that not one jot nor tittle of the Law would pass 'til all be fulfilled, modern Judaism fails to carry that out anyway. All forms of modern Judaism including so-called Messianic Judaism carry out their customs in ways which alter far more than a mere jot or tittle of the Law. They have to because compliance with Moses' Law was forever rendered logistically impossible, after the destruction of the Temple and the loss of Levitical genealogies in the first century AD.

John's Gospel, unlike Matthew's, was written for Gentile readers rather than for Jews, and therefore makes little point about Jesus' obedience to the Law, but instead misses no chance to record conversations where Jesus conflicted with the Jews. This emphasis was because John wasn't willing for his Gentile converts to succumb to the mistaken idea that the Gospel meant to become Jewish. It was also because John knew that in the minds of his Gentile readers, obedience to the Law would not necessarily have been considered a priority-credential which they would have looked for if someone truly was the Son of God as claimed.

John's Gospel included no genealogy - Matthew's Gospel started with one. Because Gentiles, unlike the Jews, wouldn't have been overly picky about Jesus' identity as a legitimate descendant of David and of Abraham - for them it was life-changing enough just to learn of Jesus' identity simply as the Son of God.

In fact every time John's narrative had to mention the name of a particular Feast which Jesus had participated in, John needed to actually explain to his readers that the feast was in fact a Jewish feast. Wouldn't you think, if the apostles had been busily going around teaching the Gentile churches to keep the Feasts and the Law, as some are saying they did, that John would hardly have needed to explain to his readers something as basic as what a Feast was? They evidently had not been taught that, and John's Gospel made no attempt to teach it.

There is no conflict between Matthew's and John's Gospels. If the apostles had understood Jesus' commission, recorded in Matthew, to mean that they should teach the nations to observe the Law, they would have done so. But rather than going about teaching the Law, it is recorded in the Book of Acts that the apostles and elders instead were decisive about NOT requiring the Gentiles to observe the Law nor any such custom. What they instead taught everywhere - to Jews and Gentiles without distinction - was not the Feasts and the Law, but the GOOD NEWS of complete salvation by God's grace, simply through BELIEVING in JESUS. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Zechariah's Prophecies

In apocalyptic style, Zechariah declared that God's feet will stand upon the mount of Olives, split it in half, fight against all Israel's enemies, then the survivors of all the nations will be required to go up to Jerusalem yearly to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, or be cursed.

This can't refer to a still-future event, because we're in a New Covenant now - keeping the Feast of Tabernacles is not a requirement.

It can't refer to the second coming of Christ, because Christ isn't coming to a single geographical location, such as Jerusalem, where people can say, Lo here, or lo there. He will be seen by all.

The second coming is the end of the world. But Zechariah's prophecy describes life going on after the event - and an Old Covenant lifestyle at that.

Physical Jerusalem wasn't the ultimate object of the patriarchal Promises. What the Promise foresaw was the heavenly city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God. The blessing described saw beyond physical blessings to spiritual and eternal. The Promise looked beyond the Law; it saw wider than the physical nation of Israel which was later constituted by that Law, to all nations. The Law was only an interim thing, and only for the Jews while they waited for the Promise, the promise which their nation was gifted and called to be the custodians of.

So, the return of Christ doesn't need to be to physical Jerusalem specifically: it will be for all the world to see. Every eye seeing Him won't be possible unless there is a suspension - or end - of the current physical order of things. There isn't anything remaining which must happen in Israel in order to fulfil prophecy. Therefore the return of Christ doesn't need to literally be to the mount of Olives.

But there was a time when Jerusalem was the focal point of God's concerns, and that was when Israel was still under the Old Covenant. There was a time when the Feast of Tabernacles was a requirement, and that was under the Old Covenant.

Zechariah was prophesying to a nation in captivity, whose imminent concern was getting back to their land. In light of that, and all of the above, and in consideration of the Apocalyptic-genre of Zechariah's writings, the most likely scenario is that Zechariah was prophesying about the return from Babylonian captivity.

It's dramatic language, certainly - but the return from captivity was an event in Israel's history second in magnitude only to the exodus from Egypt. It was powerful!

In the context of those prophecies are Messianic prophecies such as: They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced; and, Smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered - which the Gospels assert were fulfilled by Christ's first coming, they don't await future fulfilment at His second coming.

Where does this leave us? and Israel. It leaves us fair and square in the Gospel. In the New Covenant. The message for today is the message of the cross. 

Focus on Heavenly not Earthly Jerusalem

Abraham's Promise looked beyond the Law to Jesus, wider than Israel to all nations, and extends further than this world into the next.

Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

The Promised-blessing which Abraham saw was made accessible through Jesus, to all nations - and extends to etenity. Although the blessing is received in this life, its ultimate experience will come at the return of Christ.

The focus of the Promise was not earthly Jerusalem, but the heavenly. The constituents of the heavenly Kingdom would be not only the physical descendants of Abraham only, but all nations. The source of this blessing would not be Abraham's seeds, plural, but his seed, singular, which is Christ.

The Promise presupposes the prior removal out of the way, of the Law - for the Law had been a barrier to the Gentiles, and also the condemning disqualifier of the Jews.

The Promise eliminates any need for the continuing practise of the Law, and especially of modern Judaism.

The Promise makes it unneccesary for a literal, physical Kingdom in earthly Jerusalem to become the future focus in order to fulfil Bible-Prophecy, not even during some future millennium.

The blessed hope which all of Scripture points to is the resurrection of the dead, the appearing of the Kingdom of God, the coming of Christ - and it includes all nations without distinction - and it's accessible in-principle now, only through Jesus Christ.

The kingdom-now-but-not-yet dilemma

Futurists and preterists propose their solutions. One says the relevant prophecies are future, the other says they're past.

But what I seem to be seeing is a concept which differs from both, yet has some elements of both. I'm still considering it - but it's looking good so far.

What I seem to be seeing is that the Gospel always seems to be described in terms of it having a future-and-now-is position, or a present-and-still-future position.

Jesus used the following expression a couple of times: "the time is coming and now is." One time He used it, He was talking about the resurrection. The time of the resurrection is coming, and through the Gospel it now is. 

Paul's explanation of the Gospel bore the same stance:

God has saved us, yet will save us.

Jesus Christ has abolished death, and the last enemy still to be destroyed is death.

He brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, and we wait patiently for that blessed hope.

We are in the Kingdom, and we have the promise of His appearing and Kingdom.

We are already blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, and the blessings are reserved in heaven for us.

The sense is that the Gospel so thoroughly procures for us the future, eternal blessings of the Kingdom that nothing additional to the Gospel will ever be needed in history in order to procure our entrance into it - and therefore through the Gospel our entrance into the Kingdom can be said to be as good as done.  

The Law, in juxtaposition to that, could only have a future-but-not-yet stance, in regard to the Kingdom. Under the Law there was always tension between what was and what was still needed to come. What was and what was not yet were two very different realities. One had to pass before the other could come. Once the other came, what previously was ceased to be.

But that's not the case with the Gospel, with the New Covenant. Nothing more is needed now to follow it, in order for entrance into the Kingdom to be procured. The Gospel, unlike the Law, is intrinsically linked with, and is one and the same spiritually as the future Kingdom. 

The Law only foreshadowed spiritual and heavenly realities - the Gospel gives real, present and future access to it.

The Law and the Prophets could only look forward to these realities - but the Gospel both promises and is the fulfilment of it, of prophecy.

Although the coming Kingdom and ultimate blessings and salvation are yet to appear in future, still the Gospel has already opened it to us to such an extent that nothing more will ever be needed in order for us to have it. This could not be said of the Law.

Men will enter the Kingdom, and even now men are entering it.

But not even the Son of Man knew how much time would span between the two. The timespan is not of the essence.

There was a distinct difference between the Law and their future. The Prophets under the Law even gave a timeframe for the fulfilment of their Messianic and kingdom prophecies (e.g., Daniel's 70 weeks). But the Gospel gives no timeframe for the coming kingdom. It speaks of it as a present reality as much as a future event. It's because any timespan before that event is not of the essence. The Gospel already now is the essence of the Kingdom, in the hearts of believers, seeing the Gospel is sufficient to procure the assurance of entering it. The length of time over which the Gospel will be preached is not of the essence. And only the Father knows the time.

Abraham's Promise of "all nations shall be blessed" looked beyond the Law-era, looked wider than Israel to all nations, to JESUS, and is experienced now by believers everywhere through the Gospel - but the Promise also looked beyond this world to the next. "Abraham looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God". Again, any time that spans between a believer's present, inner, spiritual experience of the blessing and the ultimate appearing of it, are not of the essence. 

Seeing the Gospel and the coming Kingdom are the same in essence, it wasn't always pertinent to God's purpose to iterate the distinction. He didn't need to explain the time-distinction every time He mentioned the broader promise, the broader scheme. Not every symbolic vision about the Kingdom needed to include that point. But if we want to look for statements about the time-distinction, it is also there in the Scriptures. It's there in the Old Testament, it's in Jesus' speeches, and it's as plain as day in the Epistles - although none knew how long. Only the Father knows.

So that is not classic Preterism. It's not post-millennialism, Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology, which Drew seems to espouse. It's not classic futurism.

I like to use this illustration: In a movie, after the screen shows a sudden explosion, sometimes a slow-motion repeat of the explosion is shown. In realtime the explosion looked like a sudden, single event. And for all intents and purposes in the plot, the explosion was as good as a single event. But in slow-motion the event is shown to actually have different components unfolding at a different moments. The fuse light running. The initial explosion. Parts flying everywhere. The aftershock. All part of what looked like - and in a sense really was, in essence - a single event.

Another illustration: some home units are currently being built; units are now being sold off the plans, before construction is complete; you sign a contract to purchase one of the units. It's signed, sealed and delivered. The fact that it will take some time before the date comes in which you can actually move in is not of the essence. You can say the unit is already yours, in comparison to ten years ago when the units weren't anywhere near even being available for sale yet. 

From God's eternal viewpoint, the timespan between the beginning of the Gospel and the coming Kingdom to which the Gospel opens the door, was not of the essence. What mattered is that once the Gospel came, that door was now opened.

For all intents and purposes, the timespan between the two wouldn't have mattered to Jews either while they were still under the Law. All they needed to know was that it was coming, so when the time came and it began to be preached, they would believe. Perhaps that's why some visions in Old Testament prophecies which were written in the Apocalyptic-genre, described symbols which for their time and purpose didn't need to make a point about a non-essential timespan. 

Once the Promise came, it superseded any need for anything else, including the Old Covenant Law. The way into the Kingdom was at last revealed, and now is. 

Abraham's Promise in Perspective

God promised Abraham that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. Not seeds, plural - but seed, singular - which was Christ. In Christ all nations would be blessed - forgiven, saved. All nations. From the start it was God's intended purpose that the Promise would be for all nations. Without distinction.

God then chose the lineage of Jacob (Israel) to be the custodians of that Promise. He gave them a Law - a Covenant - until the time of the Promise should come. The Law pronounced promises for obedience and curses for disobedience. The Law was exclusively for the Jews and categorically excluded Gentiles.

The Law only proved to disqualify the Jews, as sinners - and also continued to place a barrier of exclusion against the Gentiles. Despite sending them prophets, purging them through captivity, and restoring them to their land, and to their Temple and their Law in fulfilment of prophecy, Israel returned again and again to folly. Through the Law, Jews and Gentiles alike were reduced to the same common denominator morally - both convicted sinners, in need of a Redeemer.

God however did not revoke Israel's privilege of being the custodians of the Promise. By His own sovereign prerogative, He preserved the nation alive for His own purpose.

In the fulness of time God sent forth His Son, sent to those who were under the Law, to redeem them from the curse of the Law. By His death and resurrection JESUS fulfilled the Law, then inaugurated a New Covenant in His blood, abolishing the Law, and took away the sin of the whole world, and brought in the gift of everlasting Righteousness, fulfilling prophecies and the Promise.

The spoken Promise - which was for all nations - presupposed the removal of the Law, because the Law became a barrier to the nations and also disqualified the Jews. It was necessary therefore that the Law, which was added later, be taken out of the way - so the Promise could be made sure to all. Abraham's Promise saw beyond the Law to a post-Law time. Wider than Israel to all nations.

Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).

Through the sacrifice of His Son once-for-all, the Law (with its sabbaths, food laws, sacrifices, feast days, Levitical priesthood, its requirement to worship exclusively in Jerusalem, it's condemnation of the Jews, and its barrier against the Gentiles) were all completely and permanently moved out of the way, and Jesus Christ brought-in everlasting righteousness through His own blood, so that all nations - Jews and Gentiles alike - could receive the blessing.

We are now living in that post-Law time. The time of the Promise which Abraham saw. This is the time of blessing! Of salvation. The remnant of Jews obtained it. And the Gentiles are also embraced. Both without the works of the Law.

This is the good news which is for all people - the message of forgiveness of sins, through JESUS - without obligation to the works of the Law - and certainly without obligation to modern Judaism.

Only JESUS blesses and saves!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Levitical-Style Worship in Jerusalem?

I've never felt deeply excited about rumoured plans to reinstate a Levitical-style priesthood in Jerusalem. The only spiritual plan God had for Israel once He made a New Covenant with them was to draw all men unto JESUS - because except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

I think one reason some get excited about such rumours, is because they believe it has been prophesied in the Bible that such a thing must happen before Jesus can come.

I've always considered it odd though, to think that God could require Israel to reinstate Old Covenant-style worship, which was only a shadow, at any time after the New Covenant, which is the real thing, has already come.

Some answer, Well God won't require it, but Israel will do it anyway. But I've always felt that still overlooked the way the Prophecies were actually worded. Wherever the Bible prophesied about Levitical-style worship being restored in Israel, I couldn't help noticing that it spoke of it in terms of God inspiring it and God requiring it. I always instinctively knew that can never again apply, seeing the New Covenant has already come.

The obvious meaning then is that those prophecies must have been fulfilled at a time when the Old Covenant was still in force - such as when God restored Israel to their land from captivity, and the Temple was rebuilt, and the Levitical priesthood was restored. God Himself was into such things at that time.

And another consideration is that at that time it was still possible to reinstate a legitimate priesthood under Moses' Law, because the genealogies proving a priest's descent from Levi, which were required in order to authenticate one's priesthood, were still in tact - but those genealogies are not in tact any more, so it isn't possible to reinstate a legitimate Levitical priesthood anymore.

It's true that Rabbinic Judaism might try to do it anyway - and if so, probably earlier than Karaite Jews who are holding-out on their loyalty to the Law's requirement that priests be authenticated by genealogy. But even if they attempt it, that wouldn't mean it has anything to do with Bible-Prophecy. Neither would it mean Christians must join in the rituals. And it certainly doesn't mean there is any salvation-benefit in Judaism. Only JESUS saves.

Regarding the Millennium

I believe that whatever meaning is intended by the thousand year reign, in the Book of Revelation, is true. It's the popular futurist dispensational model of it that I have questions about. For example:

The rest of the Bible seems to teach that the second coming is the end of the world - not the beginning of another thousand years of life on earth.

The rest of the Bible seems to teach that no-one who isn't ready when Jesus comes, can get saved once they see His coming - it doesn't teach that all Israel can get saved after they see His coming.

The rest of the Bible says that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of heaven - it doesn't say unsaved people can exist in His thousand-year kingdom.

The Bible teaches that Mosaic rituals have been superseded by the Gospel - it doesn't teach that Israel and the nations must revert again under the Law during a future millennium.

I don't understand how people can still be again deceived by Satan, after seeing the visible reign of Christ.

It seems to be in conflict with the rest of the Bible, to say people can still be born, get saved or fall away, after the second coming of Christ, and once they are in His Kingdom.

I don't understand how it can be called a reign of peace, when the popular model also has God cursing the nations who don't keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Prophetic Systems and Israel

Even if a replica temple gets rebuilt in Jerusalem in future, still Feast offerings could not legitimately be offered there, seeing no-one today has a genealogy proving his descent from Levi, as required by God's Law in order to authenticate one's priesthood and to officiate at the altar.

Which means: it was never God's intention that anyone, anywhere continued, resumes, nor begins keeping the Feasts as Moses's Law required, ever again, after Jesus came. The Feasts were only a shadow of the real thing: which is Jesus.

Therefore any doctrine, prophetic system or eschatology which requires anyone, including Israel, to keep the Feasts as Moses' Law instructed, either now or in the future, is a misinterpretation of the Prophets and a misapplication of the Law to our day.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is by itself the perfect fulfilment of the Prophets, the perfect application of the Law that was intended for our day, and for any future day, in any place and by any people. Just the glorious Gospel of Christ!

Resurrection and Kingdom

Someone suggested:

"What is to be resurrected? I have been created an eternal (created by GOD in eternity) and was separated from GOD at conception, so now I am a spirit living in an earthly body having a soul(mind will emotions) which has allowed GOD'S SPIRIT back to reconnect me to GOD. Now living in GOD'S kingdom, Resurrected?, awaiting the final destruction of a corrupt body, which turns to "dust". Still working on these concepts.So I may be saying that my "second coming" relationship with CHRIST will happen when I leave this earth body behind. Hmmm."

My thoughts:

If that is all the Bible meant by our resurrection, would Paul have said that the dead in Christ were yet to rise at the last trumpet? and would he have taken issue with those who claimed the resurrection was already past.

The Apostles talked about living in the Kingdom now, and at the same time they also talked about looking forward to His Kingdom coming, when Jesus comes the second time, when the dead in Christ shall rise.

The fact that the Apostles considered the second coming, the resurrection, and the appearing of the Kingdom as still still future, did not however mean that they considered the prophecies concerning Israel as unfulfilled. Rather, they asserted that it was precisely because the promises had been fulfilled, that God had brought near the means by which all men could now believe and receive the Kingdom within them - the indwelling assurance from the Spirit that they shall enter the Kingdom when He appears the second time.

Israel Were Custodians

Israel's calling and election was to be the custodians of the promises which would be for all nations. The Law was also given to them as an interim thing.

By the time the Promise came, God had faithfully fulfilled many of His promises literally, on time, on location, in Israel. The stage was set.

Then the Promise came. Jews were the first to experience it, and then the Gentiles. All came to pass.

Therefore there's no need to spiritualise the prophecies, to make them refer to something else, someone else, somewhere else.

Nor is there any need for a future, literal, fulfilment in Israel.

Every promise came to pass appropriately and precisely.

The promise, which was for all, and which was given before the Law, could then be experienced by all nations.

Since Bible-Promises and Prophecies have been fulfilled, all anyone need do now is hear it, desire it, ask for it, believe he receives it, say it - and he shall have it.

About Replacement Theology

If Replacement Theology simply means that the Gospel has superseded Moses' Law, then I agree with it.

If it means God doesn't have two separate plans of salvation - one for Gentiles, and another for Jews - but only one plan for all, then I agree with it.

If it means there is no moral and spiritual distinction between unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles; and if it means that only people who have been born again shall see the Kingdom of God, then it's true.

If it means the time to get saved is now and it will be too late for anyone - including Israel - to get saved once they have seen the second coming of Christ, then I agree with it.

If it means the majority of the Promises and Prophecies regarding Israel were fulfilled by the time of Christ, and by Christ, and by the Gospel, without any need for a future, special era in which Israel must resume Old Covenant-style worship, as Dispensationalism holds, then it sounds good. I'm quite sure Mosaic-style worship isn't intended by God for Israel's future - or for anyone's - ever. Jesus is everything!

I just don't think it's necessary, in order to establish those truths, to allegorise or spiritualise Bible-Prophecies which were about Israel, and make them instead to refer to someone else or something else somewhere else. If treating Bible-Prophecy that way is what is meant by Replacement Theology, then I think it's unnecessary. That would be almost as much a misapplication of Prophecy as Dispensationalism is.

The Apostles' Gospel couldn't have gained much traction in first-century Israel if their Gospel could be established only by either spiritualising Old Testament Prophecy concerning Israel - or by relegating the prophecies to a still-future time. The Apostle's Gospel gained believers precisely because it was established wholly upon the premise that it directly fulfilled Bible-Promises and Prophecy. And aside from teaching this logically, the Apostles also demonstrated it powerfully through the Holy Spirit as they gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

If Prophecy was not by-and-large fulfilled by the time Jesus Christ came, then Judaism is intended by God for Israel's future - because a major theme of the prophecies showed Israel carrying-out the Law. But that's not Gospel, because if Judaism is a potent pathway to salvation, then Jesus Christ died needlessly.

But understanding prophecy as fulfilled, and literally so, confirms Jesus as the Messiah; it puts Israel and the Gentiles on an equal footing morally - both in need of a Saviour independent of the works of the Law; and gives believers one and the same blessed hope - the coming and Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

There's no other hope, and no other lifestyle is required. Just Jesus Christ. He is everything and He is in everyone who believes. Without this message, people are lost - whether they're Gentile or Jew.

Prophecies Literally Fulfilled

Regarding Bible-Prophecies which predicted that Israel would be restored to their land, resume Levitical worship, keep the feasts, and offer animal sacrifices again:

Some say the fulfilment of such prophecies has been postponed until a future time when they will finally be fulfilled literally in Israel.

Others spiritualise such prophecies to the extent that they are considered to have never really been about Israel at all, and see the prophecies as being fulfilled already, though in a non-literal sense, through believers offering spiritual sacrifices.

But my understanding concerning such prophecies differs from both those views. My understanding is that such prophecies were fulfilled literally, and in Israel, after the return from captivity in Babylon - without any need for a future fulfilment in Israel, and without any need to spiritualise their meaning. They were fulfilled literally, in Israel. And in that historical context, Jesus the Messiah came, just as was prophesied.

The importance of understanding that such Bible-Prophecies had been literally fulfilled in Israel by the time of Jesus is twofold: one, it supports our witness that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, and two, it eliminates any need for Judaism in future.

God's Fulfilled and Unrevoked Promises for Israel

After literally fulfilling His Promises to Israel THROUGH THE GOSPEL, God did not explicitly revoke Israel's calling and election, despite widespread unbelief amongst the Jews at that time. Any Jew could still at any time claim the fulfilled-promise and be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul's conversion was an example of that.

The blessing and salvation of Jews today - and we hope, of many more Jews in the future - will not mean the first-time fulfilment of Bible-Promises and Prophecies - rather, their salvation and blessing is possible precisely BECAUSE the Bible-Promises and prophecies, having already been fulfilled (through the Gospel of Jesus Christ), were never revoked. There is a difference, and the difference is important.

If Bible-Prophecies concerning Israel are only now being fulfilled - or are only yet to be fulfilled in future - then it implies that Israel must return again under the Old Covenant and carry-out sacrifices - because the carrying-out of sacrifices was a major theme of the Prophecies.

If the Bible-Prophecies are still future, then it weakens our witness that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah - because the prophecies concerning the Messiah were to be fulfilled within the historical context of Israel carrying out the Law. If the carrying-out of the Law is still future, then the first coming of Messiah might still be future too.

But if we understand that Bible-Prophecies concerning Israel were fulfilled in Israel by the time of Jesus, then it supports our witness that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah; it also eliminates any need for Israel to revert again to Old Covenant practices in future in order to fulfil Prophecy. This puts the focus fair and square back where it ought to be: on Jesus Christ, and on the Gospel.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Millennium Queries

I've looked at all of the Old Testament passages referenced in the AOG's official statement about the Millennium, but it feels awkward to me to place those passages in the future, because:

If the passages are future, then for we Christians to claim that certain Messianic prophecies contained in those passages were fulfilled by Jesus' first coming, would be to pull a verse out of its context - pulling it forward thousands of years from the passage's future context.

If we've got to pull a verse out of its context in order to make our point, then our case for asserting that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah is somewhat weakened, no matter what hermeneutic we create to justify our method.

Making the passages about the future also implies that God will require us to revert to Old Covenant practices even after the New Covenant has already come. The passages paint a picture of Israel and the nations on annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, bringing animal sacrifices to the Levite priests - or being cursed. That concept doesn't seem to fit with Paul's Gospel.

If the Millennium is to "bring the salvation of national Israel" as stated in the AOG's official statement of Fundamental Truths, that implies that Jews can get saved after the second coming of Christ. But the parables of Jesus seem to teach that it will be too late for anyone who isn't ready when He comes.

If it's possible to get saved after Jesus' return has been seen, then it's possible to get saved through another means besides faith - because faith that is seen is no more faith.

If it's possible to get saved through a means other than faith, then Jesus died in vain.

Many claim all Israel will be saved after they "look upon him who they pierced", at His coming, and realise He was their Messiah. But John said that verse was fulfilled at Christ's first coming, at the cross.

I'm therefore exploring the possibility that: Every Old Testament prophecy which was about Old Covenant distinctives, such as sacrifices, incense, feasts and Jerusalem-centric worship, must have been fulfilled at a time when the Old Covenant was still in force - most of them literally (especially where  the prophecy is written in prose); and some of them as the fulfilment of a symbol (where the prophecy is written in the Apocalyptic genre).

If that's indeed the case, then it would strengthen our case for asserting that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies which were included in that historical context.

It would also eliminate the need for a return to Judaism in future.

Paul didn't respond to the seeming discrepancy between what had been Promised to Israel and what had actually come to pass in Israel by saying that the promises had been postponed. Rather, he explained the manner in which the Prophecies had been fulfilled exactly, through the Gospel, without any failure or postponement.

And I'm considering if the symbolism of the Book of Revelation can be made to fit that scenario.

With regard to that, a friend of mine said that "One thousand" appears to him to be the highest specific number in OT Greek; after that he said the word "murios" is used (although he's not sure of the spelling), or "expressions such as "a thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands".

"I'm sure that God owns not only 'the cattle on a thousand hills, but on all other hills as well! he quipped.

But I also know that many more spiritually mature AOG minds would already have thought about many of the issues in regard to all this.

So we'll see how it goes.

70 Full Weeks?

70 weeks were determined for the Jewish people.

I wonder whether that necessarily had to mean 70 full weeks, or just that the 70th week had to have at least started.

If it had to mean 70 full weeks, can the second half of the 70th week really happen thousands of years after the first half, and it still be said that 70 weeks were determined for the Jews?

Alternatively, if the second half of the 70th week had to follow-on straight after the first half, does Bible history record the fulfilment in the second half of the 70th week, of any events which were required?

On the Importance of Distinguishing Between the Gospel and Judaism

Thank you John Edwards for your enlightenment on the Jewish feastivals. In PNG a lot is being taught on sabbatical days. I believed Jesus Christ is the reality in all things. What are your thoughts?
- New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea

You're onto it John. God is good. Keep em coming bro.
- Queensland, Australia

I like that! I'm being encouraged and strengthened.
- New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea

Hey John. Just want to encourage you. I always like reading you posts. They are always down to earth and real. Something the body needs. I have a couple friends who have become so religious Torah/law/feast keeping captives, that sadly it is hard to see Christ in them anymore. Such deception. One of them has even tried to look Jewish. Once on fire believers, fallen away from grace.. This is sad and seems to be sweeping through the church. Bless you bro.
- Queensland, Australia

Monday, 13 October 2014

Thoughts About Sabbath

A thought about the seventh day sabbath.

God's seventh-day rest was mentioned before the Law was given. The instinct to get married was also placed into mankind at creation.

If the details of the Law's requirements concerning the seventh-day sabbath had been made as instinctive to mankind at creation as marriage had been, would the Law have needed to restate those details? The idea of getting married didn't need to be re-stated when the Law was given!

So it seems that the idea of keeping the seventh-day sabbath, in the details that the Law later demanded, had not been instituted at creation in the same way that marriage had been.

We don't read of any of the godly men and patriarchs keeping the sabbath at all, before the Law was given.

And Paul stated that he who has entered into God's rest (through faith in Jesus) has ceased from his own works (works of the Law) as God also ceased from his. God's seventh-day rest was a permanent rest - He didn't resume His work of creation on the first day of the next week. So Paul seemed to use the seventh-day sabbath mentioned in Genesis as a symbol of the permanent rest believers enter into, rather than mention that a regular cycle of stringently observing every seventh day should be part of our life as believers.

It could be that Paul didn't need to mention it, seeing he was addressing Hebrews who already had the custom. But if that was something Paul felt was a moral requirement, then one would think we would have a record of Paul requiring it of the Gentiles, but we have none. What we have is in fact the opposite: Paul delivered to the Gentiles the decree if the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem that no such burden should be imposed upon them.

How could Paul have refrained from requiring seventh-day sabbath keeping of the Gentiles, if keeping it had been made a moral requirement of mankind at creation? Evidently Paul, and the Apostles and Elders, seemed to regard the stringent observation of the seventh-day sabbath as more of an institution of Moses' Law than as an instinctive moral instituted at creation.

The Law's stringent requirements regarding the sabbath did however appeal to God's rest on the seventh day as the reason for their existence. Could that mean it was already instinctive and moral to rest every seventh day, though perhaps not with all of the stringency which the Law later attached to it?

If the sabbath was instinctive and considered a moral requirement before the Law was given, we don't see any indication in Genesis that it was regarded as such by anyone. Neither do we see any indication in the Acts of the Apostles nor in the Epistles that it should have continued to have been regarded as such by the Jews nor begun to have been regarded as such by the Gentiles.

Perhaps Moses' statement that God sanctified the seventh day refers to God sanctifying it later, when the Law was given, rather than at creation. The meaning in that case would be that since God entered a state of permanent rest on the seventh day, God was now temporarily requiring the Jews to rest every seventh day in commemoration of God's state of permanent rest, and foreshadowing the rest which remained for God's people while they were still under the Law - a rest which we who believe in Jesus have now entered into.

Jesus did appeal to what was done in the beginning, at God's institution, as a better guide for morals than even Moses' Law, a Law which included compromises allowed by God because of the hardness of men's hearts. But even so, if the record of the patriarchs' practices is definitive, then it isn't certain that seventh-day sabbath keeping was instituted by God at creation at all. All we could know is that God Himself entered a permanent state of rest on the seventh day. But He did later institute a regular seventh-day sabbath observance by Jews, when He gave the Law through Moses.

By then man had fallen short of the glory of God. They could only commemorate God's rest and the rest that would later be made available through Jesus. Once that rest came, believers ceased from their work. Not their physical work, but their works under the Law. 

Morality, immorality, and a-morality

Evil is overcome with Good - not with an opposite evil.

So where Capitalism (which is defined as the FREEDOM to control one's own property, industry, produce and distribution) has been abused by an evil (such as the evil of theft, or exploitation), the solution is not to introduce an opposite evil where the people or the State forces the loss of control of your property, industry, produce and distribution, to the power of the people or the State (which is Socialism/Communism/and government Budgets emphasising Welfare ).

The solution is simply to outlaw the theft and exploitation. Outlaw the evil which was abusing the freedom.

Don't outlaw Freedom itself, because freedom is not the evil. The right to control one's own property, industry, production and distribution is not an evil.

Theft and exploitation are evil - but forcing money out of someone else so it can be redistributed the way you wish is also an evil, an opposite evil. Doing so through legislation, through an alternative political ideology, or through an alternative emphasis in the government Budget, doesn't make it right. Saying that's okay is to redefine morality. It blurs morality.

The love of money is certainly the root of all evil. But legislating to deny someone control over the distribution of his own money (as Socialism/Communism, and a big-spending Welfare Budget does) is an expression of the love of money, and is a-moral, just as much as theft and exploitation are a love of money and are immoral.

Covetousness (wanting something that belongs to someone else) doesn't cease to be covetousness just because it's done within a legislative framework.

Theft (taking and redistributing someone else's money) doesn't cease to be theft just because it's an ideology of a political party and done in the name of 'compassion'.

After taking the backward step of accepting blurred morality and 'compassion' with regard to finances, it's not such a big step further back to accept blurred morals and compassion with regard to say abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, multi-religious multi-culturalism, and the criminalisation of anyone who protests it. Which is why we often see more of a tendency towards such things in Australian Labor and amongst the Greens than by the more conservative parties.

Moral Relativism - the New Ideology of the West

A problem with the West is, moral relativism has been replacing moral absolutes - and some political and economic ideologies reflect this more than others.

My brother put it something like this: Without understanding how absolute God's Law is [God's spiritual and civil law], we can't be absolute about sin; and if we aren't absolute about sin, we can't be absolute about our God-given Righteousness; and if we aren't absolute about our God-given Righteousness, how can we be absolute about God's other promises in our lives [and in our families, and in our nation].

The True Roots of Christianity

Gentiles were grafted into GOD - they weren't grafted into Judaism.

The root isn't Judaism - the root is God.

The nourishing sap is received by being joined to the source, the root - there is no nourishment to be sourced by being joined to a broken-off branch.

God's Calendar Notes for Us

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving: a day of celebrating the end of the Northern Hemisphere's harvest season.

Like Thanksgiving, the ancient Jewish Feasts too were involved with and synced with the Northern Hemisphere agricultural seasons.  But they wouldn't have been in sync with Southern Hemisphere seasons.

Therefore the ancient Jewish Feasts were never intended for Southern Hemisphere observance.

For us in the Southern Hemisphere, getting in sync with 'God's calendar', like some teachers are saying we must do, cannot involve trying to get in sync with ancient Jewish Feast dates and their Northern Hemisphere agricultural seasons, because that would require getting out of sync with our own region's God-given agricultural seasons.

For everyone in the New Covenant - even those in the Northern Hemisphere - even in Israel - getting in sync with 'God's calendar' simply involves acknowledging that today is the acceptable time, behold today is the day of salvation.

It does not involve trying to observe ancient Jewish Feasts.

This is the work of God: that we believe on Him whom He sent - Jesus.

Today, if you will hear His voice. While it is called today. Harden not your heart - but keep believing, in the Gospel.

You shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost shall come upon you. And this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, and then the end shall come.

That is God's New Covenant calendar!

It isn't earthly Jerusalem-centred.

It isn't locked-in with Northern Hemisphere agricultural seasons.

It's synced with both Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

The calendar-notes which God wants us to know, are the same for every day until Jesus comes. And those are the only calendar-notes God requires us to know for now.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Joel's Prophecy and the Eclipse

You can't have a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse on the same day.

So if Joel's prophecy of the sun going dark and the moon turning to blood was to happen together, then the cause couldn't be an eclipse.

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Modern 'feast'-keeping isn't truly Feast-keeping as the Torah described it.

The Torah was very specific about how the Feasts should be kept, in every detail.

Furthermore the Torah condemned keeping the Feasts any other way.

But it's no longer possible to keep the Feasts the way the Torah demanded.

(For example some of the Feasts required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and the offering of animal sacrifices on the altar in the Temple, with Levite priests officiating. Those weren't optional components of the Feasts - they were demanded - and alternatives were condemned.)

Therefore the Torah can't be construed to mean that modern 'feast'-keeping is truly Feast-keeping at all.

Modern customs popularly carried out around the globe might be throw-backs - they might replicate and re-enact some parts of the Torah-Feasts - but it isn't truly 'keeping' the Feasts in terms of the Torah.

Yes the Feasts were said to be ordinances forever in Israel, but so was the Levitical priesthood - yet we know that's ended;

so was the Levitical High Priestly garments and priestly garments - but those are no longer applicable;

so were the demands to offer sweet incense, the continual shewbread, and burnt offerings morning and evening - but each of those have been fulfilled;

so was the demand to offer a blood-sacrifice on the Day of Atonement on the seventh month every year - but that's been done away with.

All of those points of the Torah were also said to be an ordinance 'forever' in Israel, yet they have now been superseded by the New Covenant - a fact which even the Torah itself bears witness to.

Similarly, keeping the Feasts was also intended to be an ordinance in Israel only for as long as the Old Covenant still stood.

With the inauguration of the New Covenant, keeping the Feasts were superseded.

And a very short time after that, keeping the Feasts was also rendered impossible (when the Temple and Levitical priesthood were destroyed circa AD70). Even Orthodox Jews realised that 'keeping' the Feasts was rendered impossible, and therefore new customs had to be developed. But developing a custom which looks a little bit like a Torah-Feast, and labelling it a feast, doesn't make it a Torah-Feast. That's why Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism have been at odds with each other for centuries.

But even if a precedent could be found in the Torah which could somehow authorise the varying customs which are carried out in Israel and around the globe, still wouldn't you expect that the blood moon would be visible in Israel if the blood moon was intended as a sign about Israel and about its ancient calendar?

Certainly it can be enriching to learn about the ancient Torah-Feasts of Israel.

But the danger in thinking that Feast-Keeping is still valid today is two-fold:

One, it can make Christians feel bound by conscience to start 'keeping' the 'feasts';

Two, it can obscure the urgency that only the Gospel can save Jews.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


It's not an obligation to keep Sukkot. Enjoy your day

Monday, 6 October 2014

I'm Being Facetious

Can't wait for the pre-trib rapture! 

After Jesus has come to take us away, Israel finally gets to go back under Moses' Law while we're away - woohooh! 

Then we get to leave heaven's beauty to return to a pummelled planet, at the 3rd coming kind of - so we too can keep Moses' Feast of Tabernacles for a thousand years, or be cursed. 

The whole world is then gonna turn against us again in battle. All of this AFTER the Blessed Hope. But not to worry: a kind of 4th 'coming' will save the day. 

Then finally we'll get to see 'the end' again, for real.

Can this current, unexpected Gentile Age of Grace hurry up and end already! 

Bring on the Temple! Bring back the Levitical priests and animal sacrifices! 

So glad I've got Sukkot this week. Dress-up rehearsals for our future are important - wouldn't wanna incur one of those pesky curses during the Millennium! 

Speaking of pesky - really glad those uncircumcised Canaanites won't be allowed, too. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

God's Calendar

"...lest...your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Cor.11:3)

The Glorious Gospel

Jewish Feasts were not in sync with Southern Hemisphere seasons; plus God's Law forbade offering the seasonal Feast offerings any place besides the altar which was in the Temple at Jerusalem. Moral of the story: Jesus is the real thing, He is everything and He is enough.

Even if a replica temple gets rebuilt in Jerusalem in future, still Feast offerings could not legitimately be offered in it, seeing no-one today can produce a genealogy proving his descent from Levi, as required by God's Law in order to authenticate one's priesthood and to officiate at the altar. Which means: it was never God's intention that anyone, anywhere continued, resumes, nor begins keeping the Feasts as Moses's Law required, ever again, after Jesus came. The Feasts were only a shadow of the real thing: which is Jesus.

Therefore any doctrine, prophetic system or eschatology which requires anyone, including Israel, to keep the Feasts as Moses' Law instructed - either now or in the future - is a misinterpretation of the Prophets and a misapplication of the Law to our day. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is by itself the perfect fulfilment of the Prophets and the perfect application of the Law that was intended for our day, and for any future day, in any place and by any people. Just the glorious Gospel of Christ!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Saved by Faith

It wasn't mere coincidence that the Jewish Feasts coincided with the Northern Hemisphere's seasons. The Feasts' synchronisation with the seasons was deliberate and an intrinsic part of the Feasts' performance and meaning.

For example the Feast of Passover involved bringing an offering of the season's first barley; the Feast of Pentecost involved bringing an offering of the season's first wheat; and the Feast of Trumpets commemorated the end of one harvest-year and the beginning of another.

They couldn't keep the Feasts six months later and still do the same things: it would make it seasonally impossible. It would also destroy the symbolism.

Christ's resurrection couldn't be understood as a forerunner of our future resurrection, if the Feast which symbolised it didn't coincide with the firstfruits of the barley harvest.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a marker of the beginning of the worldwide harvest couldn't have been symbolised by the Feast of Pentecost if the Feast didn't coincide with the beginning of the wheat harvest.

The coming of Christ at the end of the world couldn't be symbolised by the Feast of Trumpets if the Feast didn't coincide with the end of the agricultural year.

God dwelling with His people forever in new heavens and a new earth after the former earth has passed away couldn't have been symbolised by the Feast of Tabernacles if the Feast didn't coincide with the beginning of a new agricultural year.

Obviously then the Feasts were never intended for Southern Hemisphere observation - only for the Northern.

Furthermore the seasonal offerings were required to be offered exclusively at the holy Temple in Jerusalem - nowhere else was allowed. But that Temple doesn't exist any more.

Even if a temple is rebuilt in future, no-one could serve legitimately as a priest since the genealogies required to authenticate the priests' lineage from Levi have been lost.

No detail was ever allowed to be omitted, added or altered.

So that means the Feasts cannot and never again can be kept legitimately by anyone, anywhere at any time. And it means God didn't intend for us to - because God wouldn't require anything which is impossible.

He doesn't intend us to, because Christ fulfilled them, and since Christ fulfilled them, it is not God's intention that anyone anywhere at any time continue, resume or begin keeping the Feasts, that the promise made to Abraham, made before Israel was born and before the Law was given, to save all nations through his seed (singular) which is Christ, through faith, might be fulfilled.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pastors' Credentialling

ACC regional pastors' meeting, at Glow Church, Reedy Creek, QLD, October 1, 2014