Reformation & Revival of the Church

Articles on reformers, reformations, and revivals of the church.

Zombie or Dragon Slayer

Related imageWhich one are you; a zombie or a dragon slayer? Right now you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. I’m using this rather stark contrast to illustrate the difference between what the average Christian’s reality is, to what it could be. From what I’ve seen, many church goers look a little bit like ‘zombies’ as they sit motionless, blankly staring at the minister as he preaches, never uttering a peep except for an occasional ‘Amen’ when prompted.

Not all churches are so restrained but many are, for reasons which may be similar to those which caused the Jewish high priests in Jesus’s day to do all they could to stop the message of the Cross from being preached, the dead from being raised, the sick from being healed and delivered of demons. Why weren’t they glad to see men set free from Satan’s dark domain, instead of opposing those good works? What motivated them to do so; was it envy, something else? For starters, they wanted to be the ones who people looked to for spiritual guidance, not some itinerant minister who just appeared on the scene one day – enter Jesus of Nazareth.

Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Mat 26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,

Mat 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

Mat 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

Mat 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Mar 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. *In other words, they feared losing their influence over the people by whose tithes and offerings they lived. They felt Jesus was usurping their authority which they felt rightly belonged to them, their being ‘children of Abraham,’ which they weren’t! [John 8:39-44]

Luk 19:39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

Luk 19:40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Luk 20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,

Luk 22:2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. *Perhaps they feared mob violence, or at least a loss of esteem in the people’s eyes if they didn’t find a good excuse for killing Him, as the people believed Jesus to be a prophet sent from God [Matthew 21:46].

Luk 22:66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,

Jhn 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.

Jhn 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place (power and position) and nation.

This last verse is very telling. The Roman authorities were comfortable allowing the Jews to have their RELIGION, so long as they bowed to the will of the ROMAN EMPEROR AND HIS LAWS! To the Romans, there was but one god, and that was the Emperor. State powers are no different today from those in the past; they still demand obeisance from their subjects! They believe that we exist to serve them, not they us. Corruption of power has infected every governing body since Babylon arose as the very first empire on earth.

How does this apply to the Church today? Whenever a Pastor ‘fears’ the authorities of the state more than God, he’ll do the State’s bidding, not God’s. In such a case, the pastor will severely limit what can take place in his church. He’ll restrain the Holy Spirit and forbid miracles, healing, and especially deliverance from demons. He’ll suppress God’s authority causing men to come under the State’s authority instead of God’s. You ask, “How could that happen?” It can happen when a church becomes 501c3 status —-

When a church accepts the 501c3 status, that church:

  • Waives its freedom of speech.
  • Waives its freedom of religion.
  • Waives its right to influence legislators and the legislation they craft.
  • Waives its constitutionally guaranteed rights.
  • Is no longer free to speak to the vital issues of the day.
  • Becomes controlled by a spirit of fear that if it doesn’t toe the line with the IRS it will lose its tax-exempt status.
  • Becomes a State-Church.

The church in America today is, by and large, not speaking to the vital issues of the day. The church has been effectively silenced. There has been a chilling effect upon the church’s freedom of speech for fear of IRS retribution should the church get out of line. The inevitable result is a moral downward spiral in the culture as the church stands mute. [1]

In a church I attended some years back, during worship I started praying for my disabled son standing near me. Suddenly, I felt my arms waving in and out around him, but it wasn’t ME moving them! I knew God himself was moving my arms so I went with it. It felt like a ‘force field’ or ‘energy field’ was being created through the movements that grew stronger and stronger. I heard one of the pastors say to the head pastor: “Look over there, see what she’s doing, you had better put a stop to it.” Sure enough, the head pastor abruptly stopped the music and worship leaders right in the middle of what GOD was doing in the Spirit! His abrupt interruption brought the whole beautiful experience to a halt and what God was trying to do was left unfinished. That pastor (so called) not only robbed my son of a healing and me of the joy of being God’s partner in a miracle, he robbed that whole congregation of a chance to see God’s miracle working power in action! And that wasn’t the first time. Some weeks later, this same pastor told the congregation that it wasn’t ready for miracles of healing, as too many people would come because of the miracles, and they weren’t ready to handle it! The moment he said that, I saw a picture of a large pitcher or bucket filled with ice water and a hand pouring it over the members, putting out the fire of their FAITH for healing! Immediately, I felt the Spirit within me “grieve.” I had known beforehand through the Spirit (a Word of Knowledge) that the congregants had FAITH for healing, and there were several people there with disabilities whom I felt God wanted to heal, but that pastor put it out with his faith-robbing words! Consequently, no one ever got healed in that church. 

Men naturally seek to be led by someone, having sought for kings to rule over them since the dawn of time. The Israelite’s begged God to give them a man to rule over them, which God agreed to do, even though He desired to rule over them Himself. They wanted to be “like the other nations” who had kings! [1 Samuel 8:1-22] So, God gave them Solomon, which means ‘peace.’ In the beginning of king Solomon’s reign, the nation did have peace and prosperity for as long as Solomon followed God. In time Solomon abandoned the true God for a slew of pagan deities, an action which caused him to fall away from God, and lose his kingdom to another [1 Kings 11:1-11]. Though the Israelite’s didn’t need an earthly king to rule over them, as Yahweh was their God, Solomon was allowed to be their king that they might learn to 1) not desire to be like the world around them, and 2) not put their trust or hope in anyone but God alone. Man is fallible but God is perfect in all His ways.

Jesus Christ is the rightful Head of His Church, not any man, be he a pastor, prophet, apostle, or king [Eph 5:23, Col 1:18]. Seems there are pastors who “fear the people” more than they fear almighty God! They fear the disapproval of those who would object to having ‘miracles’ happen in the Church, and seeing demons cast out. Yet Jesus performed miracles of healing and deliverance, setting Satan’s captives free wherever He found them. Should Christ’s Body be doing less? Didn’t Jesus commission His Church to “heal the sick, raise the dead, and to cast out demons?” [Mt 10:8]

So, what’s stopping the Church from doing these works? I believe there are several major hindrances – Unbelief due to wrong teachings about spiritual gifts such as the erroneous doctrine of ‘Cessationism’ [2] which teaches that the gifts ceased when Christ’s ministry was over, Passivism: [3] members of His Body are conditioned to be ‘passive’ in their faith by being expected to quietly listen in church and not be active participants which only the pastor and musicians are allowed to be, contrary to the teaching of Scripture [4], Fear of Man: worrying more about what man thinks than what God thinks, and worrying about looking foolish in the eyes of the world. Allowing men’s opinions to sway our beliefs and weaken our resolve to do the works which Jesus commissioned us to do. One other major hindrance is Religious Tradition: beliefs passed down from generation to generation; the pastor is the boss, don’t question what he says/does, keep quiet and do what you’re told. The pastors and priests know the bible because they studied many years (not always the case), lay persons don’t know it, and aren’t expected to know it (wrong!), so just trust whatever the minister says. If you question his words or actions, you might get told that you have a “rebellious spirit,” “Jezebel spirit,” “critical spirit,” or some other “demon!”

Religious spirits and Legalistic spirits flock to churches steeped in tradition, binding both priest and layperson from flowing in the Holy Spirit; no tongues, prophecies, healing, etc. will be seen in them. These demon spirits bind the minds of believers so they can’t perceive that there’s more than liturgy. They try to induce (false) guilt in those walking by the Spirit and not by their man-made rules. These demons can cause a great deal of havoc in the Church for they often attack believers who are filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. I know because I’ve been in their cross hairs many times. So as to avoid confusion, obeying God’s word is not Legalism! Legalists MAKE UP THEIR OWN RULES which they claim come straight out of the Bible but a close examination proves that they’ve misinterpreted what’s there. Sometimes well-meaning believers teach their PRIVATE CONVICTIONS as God’s commands, but they’re wrong. You need not come under their condemnation, another thing they try to put you under – don’t let them! I’ve come across many Religious and Legalistic demon spirits in churches, as that’s where they hang out. 

Jesus called His Church to do the works which He did when He walked among us —

Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 

Act 5:13  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 

Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 

Act 5:15  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 

Act 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 

The Apostles Arrested and Freed

Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 

Act 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 

Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 

Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 

Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 

Act 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 

Act 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 

Act 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 

Act 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 

Act 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 

Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 

Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 

Act 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 

Did you hear that Church of Christ? Who then will you obey, God or man? Will you work the works which Jesus did, or will you prefer staying in your comfort zone, taking no risks while hoping someone else will do them? Do you fear what others will think? Fear you might get thrown in prison for preaching the truth, like the first apostles? Well the fact is, you might, but are we to just sit back and wait for the Rapture while the world around us perishes? What does Jesus our Lord expect of us?

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

Luk 9:24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

Luk 9:25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 

Luk 9:26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 

Part of picking up your cross daily and dying to your self-life, is worrying more what people think of Jesus, than what they think about you. Dying to self is obeying Christ, no matter what it costs. It’s forsaking everything to follow Him and do the works He did. It’s being willing to look foolish in the world’s eyes.

1Co 4:9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake…..

Let us therefore be fools for His sake and work the works of Christ. If we suffer for it, may we do so manfully, knowing that to this we’ve also been called, and faithfully take up the full armor of God as we march into battle with the banner of His Grace going before us!

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Luk 10:19  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

We’ve been empowered to be Dragon Slayers! 

Debra R. Stout © July 14, 2017

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] http://hushmoney.org/501c3-problems.htm

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessationism

[3] a passive attitude, behavior, or way of life https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passivism

[4] Co 14:26  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. When kept silent in the service, believers are conditioned to be ‘passive,’ which affects their ability to witness and minister outside the confines of the church walls. Thus, they become “hearers only” instead of active doers, Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. If members never get a chance to use their gifts and callings inside the Church, how are they going to receive correction and direction regarding them?

(Woman on horse is a depiction of Joan of Arc)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUE VS. FALSE WORSHIP

Image result for photos of someone clanging cymbals

1Co 13:1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
1Co 13:2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 
1Co 13:3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

Is the ‘love’ spoken of here, love for fellow men, or ‘love’ for God, or both? I should think we have to love God first, before we can properly love our fellow man. Thus, everything we do, if it is to bring forth good and proper fruit, must be founded in true LOVE of God first. Everything we say and preach must emanate from a sincere LOVE of God or else we’re simply making noise!

It’s the same with our worship. Much of what’s called worship in the Church today is nothing more than empty noise, devoid of Holy Spirit anointing, and therefore, devoid of His fruit. I’ve attended quite a few churches over the years, and have seen very little true worship. True worship draws attention to God alone, not the talent of choir members or worship leaders. You can tell the difference between true and false worship if you’re sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit. Those who aren’t sensitive to Him can’t tell the difference, which is one reason very little true worship happens in most churches. There are other reasons as well. Believe it or not, the head minister and worship leader don’t always have enough sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, often preferring their prearranged programs to the Holy Ghost’s moods, movements, and desires. Sadly, I’ve seen and experienced this quenching of the Holy Spirit in nearly every church I’ve attended. As I grew in the knowledge of the Scriptures through my own research and study primarily, and after receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I became extremely sensitive to this phenomenon. It got to the point where I could no longer stand the church’s quenching of God’s Spirit; it was simply too painful for me so I stopped going to church.

Many sincere church members are led to believe they’re worshiping God when all they’re doing is merely mouthing words to the music while their minds wander from their personal concerns to the minister’s new home, to how lovely so-and-so looks in her new dress. Many choir member’s think about how well they’re singing, which isn’t singing unto the Lord, but for men. When worship is about US, it isn’t about Him!

When true worship occurs, a person’s FULL attention is on God alone, and no one else in the room matters! You don’t think or care about who’s watching YOU! You don’t worry about, or care about, the TIME! You don’t care whether you’re hungry, thirsty, or tired! Fact is when you truly worship God, you won’t notice any of these things or other people in the room because all is overshadowed and subdued by God’s holy Presence! When His awesome Presence floods your soul, you want to keep on worshiping Him, as your needs don’t exist in Him. He truly ‘fills all in all’ when allowed and/or invited to do so.

I feel badly for those who have never experienced this kind of worship because it’s the most wonderful spiritual experience one can have this side of Heaven. Once you experience true worship, you’ll never be satisfied with anything less. Much, dare I say most, of what passes for worship these days, is not true worship, but mere ‘noise’ like that of  ‘sounding brass’ and ‘clanging cymbals.’ That type of worship is often just ‘loud’ and DEVOID of true DEVOTION, with an emphasis on SELF (see how great a voice I have; notice ME) not on God and His Holiness. It isn’t given in God’s honor, but to make a ‘show’ for others to admire. Such so called worship is shallow, empty, and a stench in God’s nostrils! ~ Mat 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. **Listen to this powerful sermon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-Ewozh-cGc

I’m so grateful for the church where I first experienced true worship, wherein the chief pastor coached its members on HOW to truly worship God. It was an experience I’ll never forget and one by which I judge all other worship, or should I say, attempts at worship. Worship is very important to God and He seeks true worshipers. Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

If true worship returned to the Church, Revival would come as the Spirit of God subdues the flesh along with its fleshly works. We would see men saved, filled with the Spirit, delivered from sin, and healed of diseases. The Holy Spirit can and will work miracles and wonders through us, if we allow Him to! Whenever a minister or church member quenches (stops, interrupts, hinders) the Holy Spirit’s workings, be it in the form of verbal gifts like tongues and prophecies, or in the form of deliverance from evil spirits and miraculous healing – he or she SINS against God. Quenching God’s Spirit is a SIN of which the Church at large needs to REPENT. Now is the time for the Church to repent of this sin and turn back to letting God be God and Master over His own HOUSE! Who’s the rightful Head and owner of the Church? Is surely isn’t any man; not the Bishop, not the minister, not the priest, not even the Pope! Let me reiterate, NO MAN ‘stands in the place of God on earth!’ Christ is present with us on earth now through His Holy Spirit and He alone stands in God’s place until Christ returns. There is but ONE MEDIATOR between God and man and that’s the Man Christ Jesus – 1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 

Thus, no mortal man stands in God’s or Christ’s place on earth since Christ is the sole mediator between God and men. This is God’s Word, believe it or not, the choice is yours but if you choose men’s words over God’s, you’ll pay a heavy price, the loss of your soul. 1Th 2:13  For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, 1Jn 5:9  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: Luk 11:28  blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Truth is, the Priesthood was transferred from the Levites (temporary priesthood) to Melchisedek, the eternal priesthood of Christ. Thus, Christ became our High Priest, REPLACING ALL OTHERS. We now have no need of priests to be mediators between God and men. Christ is the new High Priest and sole Mediator between God and men. To all Catholics I say, Stop blindly accepting church doctrines (teachings) which say that priests, bishops, and the Pope, take the place of Christ on earth – and start reading/studying the Bible (God’s Word) for yourselves. Stop believing and start questioning everything you’re told. Search the holy Scriptures for yourselves and compare what you’ve been told to what’s written in them. If anyone tells you that the Pope or any other man’s teachings supercede the Bible’s writings, that man (whoever he be) is a LIAR and a traitor to Christ. These statements don’t originate with me, they weren’t birthed in my mind, but are the teachings of the Bible. If the Pope tells you something contrary to God’s Word, who should you believe? You who say you believe the Bible is God’s word, why don’t you do what it tells you to do? The Bible tells us to obey God not men ~

Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 
Act 5:13  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 
Act 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 
Act 5:15  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 
Act 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 
Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 
Act 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 
Act 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 
Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 
Act 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 
Act 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 
Act 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. 
Act 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 
Act 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 
Act 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 
Act 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 
Act 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 
Act 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 

Be forewarned, they who don’t do God’s will, won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven ~ Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

My comments won’t please everyone I realize, but I’m not here to pander to men’s opinions and beliefs. I’m here to tell the TRUTH. Stop worshiping the Pope, priests, ministers, angels, prophets, apostles, etc. Worship the living God and OBEY His words only! Render the fruit of your lips in true worship from a pure heart of love for, and obedience to His Words, adoring only Him. Let’s forget what makes us feel comfortable and start the New Year right by worshiping God the way He wants to be worshiped instead of how we think He wants to be worshiped. Then will the GLORY of God be seen again as it was in the desert of Sinai when He led Israel out of Egypt, and as was seen at Pentecost and in various revivals since. May the Glory of God fall mightily upon His Church again and ignite it with renewed desire to see His glory fill all the earth! 

Debra R. Stout, December 25, 2016

Repairing the Breach/ God’s Perpetual Sabbath

REPAIRER OF THE BREACH
Debra Stout, July 2010

Today, Yehovah is restoring His 7th Day Sabbath which has been neglected (lain in “ruins”) for “many generations,” but He is raising up those called to “repair the breach,” just like He did in Nehemiah’s day when He raised certain people to “rebuild” a wall that had been broken down – Neh 2:17, 6:1 & 15. Contrary to what’s written in the Bible and what the early church practiced, most churches whether Catholic or Protestant, observe Sunday as the Sabbath since emperor Constantine changed the observance of it from the 7th Day to Sunday in 321 A.D. [1] Just as there were those who violently OPPOSED Nehemiah’s restoring the wall, there are those who oppose the “restoration” of the observance of the 7th Day as the Sabbath, based on human reasoning more than on the Bible.  

Isa 58:12 Then the places that have ever been waste, shall be builded of thee: there shalt thou lay a foundation for many kindreds. Thou shalt be called the maker-up of hedges, and the builder-again of the way of the Sabbath. (Tyndale/Coverdale Ver)

Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. (KJV)

Isa 58:13 Yea, if thou turn thy feet from the Sabbath, so that thou do not the thing which pleaseth thyself in my holy day: then shalt thou becalled unto the pleasant, holy, and glorious Sabbath of the LORD, where thou shalt be in honor – so that thou do not after thine own imagination, neither seek thine own will, nor speak thine own words. (Tyndale/Coverdale Ver)

Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (KJV)

turn away – H7725 שׁוּב shûb shoob
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again: – ([break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep]) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call [to mind], carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back) X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get [oneself] (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), [go] out, hinder, let, [see] more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), X repent, requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.

from – H4480 מנּי מנּי מן min minnîy minnêy min, min-nee’, min-nay’ For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses: – above, after, among, at, because of, by (reason of), from (among), in, X neither, X nor, (out) of, over, since, X then, through, X whether, with.

In the JPS (Jewish Publication Society Bible) it reads:

Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot because of the sabbath, from pursuing thy business on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, and the holy of the LORD honourable; and shalt honour it, not doing thy wonted ways, nor pursuing thy business, nor speaking thereof;

Matthew Henry makes sense of it: “We must turn away our foot from the sabbath, from trampling upon it, as profane atheistical people do, from travelling on that day (so some); we must turn away our foot from doing our pleasure on that holy day, that is, from living at large, and taking a liberty to do what we please on sabbath days, without the control and restraint of conscience, or from indulging ourselves in the pleasures of sense. Great stress was always laid upon the due observance of the sabbath day, and it was particularly required from the Jews when they were captives in Babylon, because by keeping that day, in honour of the Creator, they distinguished themselves from the worshippers of the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth. See Isa_56:1, Isa_56:2, where keeping the sabbath is joined, as here, with keeping judgment and doing justice. Some, indeed, understand this of the day of atonement, which they think is the fast spoken of in the former part of the chapter, and which is called a sabbath of rest, Lev_23:32. But, as the fasts before spoken of seem to be those that were occasional, so this sabbath is doubtless the weekly sabbath, that great sign between God and his professing people – his appointing it a sign of his favour to them and their observing it a sign of their obedience to him. (bolding mine)

Here’s what Jamieson, Fausset & Brown have to say:

Isa 58:13
(Isa_56:2; Neh_13:15-22). The Sabbath, even under the new dispensation, was to be obligatory (Isa_66:23).

foot — the instrument of motion (compare Pro_4:27); men are not to travel for mere pleasure on the Sabbath (Act_1:12). The Jews were forbidden to travel on it farther than the tabernacle or temple. If thou keep thy foot from going on thy own ways and “doing thy pleasure,” etc. (Exo_20:10, Exo_20:11).
my holy day — God claims it as His day; to take it for our pleasure is to rob Him of His own. This is the very way in which the Sabbath is mostly broken; it is made a day of carnal pleasure instead of spiritual “delight.”
holy of the Lord — not the predicate, but the subject; “if thou call the holy (day) of Jehovah honorable”; if thou treat it as a day to be honored.
him — or else, it, the Sabbath.
not doing … own way — answering to, “turn away thy foot from the Sabbath.”
nor finding … pleasure — answering to, “doing thy pleasure.” “To keep the Sabbath in an idle manner is the sabbath of oxen and asses; to pass it in a jovial manner is the sabbath of the golden calf, when the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose again to play; to keep it in surfeiting and wantonness is the sabbath of Satan, the devil’s holiday” [Bishop Andrewes].
nor speaking … words — answering to, “call Sabbath a delight … honorable.” Man’s “own words” would “call” it a “weariness”; it is the spiritual nature given from above which “calls it a delight” (Amo_8:5; Mal_1:13).

WASTE (places) – H2723 חרבּה chorbâh
khor-baw’ Feminine of H2721; properly drought, that is, (by implication) a desolation: – decayed place, desolate (place, -tion), destruction, (laid) waste (place).

BUILD – H1129 בּנה bânâh baw-naw’
A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively): – (begin to) build (-er), obtain children, make, repair, set (up), X surely.

OLD – H5769 עלם עולם ‛ôlâm ‛ôlâm o-lawm’, o-lawm’ From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always: – always (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). Compare H5331, H5703.

RAISE UP – H6965 קוּם qûm koom
A primitive root; to rise (in various applications, literally, figuratively, intensively and causatively): – abide, accomplish, X be clearer, confirm, continue, decree, X be dim, endure, X enemy, enjoin, get up, make good, help, hold, (help to) lift up (again), make, X but newly, ordain, perform, pitch, raise (up), rear (up), remain, (a-) rise (up) (again, against), rouse up, set (up), (e-) stablish, (make to) stand (up), stir up, strengthen, succeed, (as-, make) sure (-ly), (be) up (-hold, -rising).

MANY GENERATIONS – H1755 דּר דּור dôr dôr dore, dore From H1752; properly a revolution of time, that is, an age or generation; also a dwelling: – age, X evermore, generation, [n-]ever, posterity.

REPAIRER – H1443 גּדר gâdar gaw-dar’
A primitive root; to wall in or around: – close up, fence up, hedge, inclose, make up [a wall], mason, repairer.

BREACH – H6556 פּרץ perets peh’-rets
From H6555; a break (literally or figuratively): – breach, breaking forth (in), X forth, gap.

RESTORER – H7725 שׁוּב shûb shoob
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again: – ([break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep]) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call [to mind], carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back) X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get [oneself] (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), [go] out, hinder, let, [see] more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), X repent, requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.

PATHS – H5410 נתבה נתיבה נתיב nâthîyb nethîybâh nethibâh naw-theeb’, neth-ee-baw’, neth-ee-baw’ From an unused root meaning to tramp; a (beaten) track: – path ([-way]), X travel [-er], way.

DWELL IN – H3427 ישׁב yâshab yaw-shab’
A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: – (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.

ARE WE FINISHED WITH THE SABBATH?

Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD.

Here’s Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown’s take: Isa 66:23 Literally, “As often as the new moon (shall be) in its own new moon,” that is, every month (Zec_14:16). sabbath — which is therefore perpetually obligatory on earth.

Albert Barne’s Notes on the Bible states:

II. From the closing portion of this chapter Isa_58:13-14, we may derive the following important inferences respecting the Sabbath:
    1. It is to be of perpetual obligation. The whole chapter occurs in the midst of statements that relate to the times of the Messiah. There is no intimation that the Sabbath was to be abolished, but it is fairly implied that its observance was to be attended with most happy results in those future times. At all events, Isaiah regarded it as of binding obligation, and felt that its proper observance was identified with the national welfare.
    2. We may see the manner in which the Sabbath is to be observed. In no place in the Bible is there a more full account of the proper mode of keeping that holy day. We are to refrain from ordinary traveling and employments; we are not to engage in doing our own pleasure; we are to regard it with delight, and to esteem it a day worthy to be honored; and we are to show respect to it by not performing our own ordinary works, or pursuing pleasures, or engaging in the common topics of conversation. In this description there occurs nothing of unique Jewish ceremony, and nothing which indicates that it is not to be observed in this manner at all times. Under the gospel, assuredly, it is as proper to celebrate the Sabbath in this way, as it was in the times of Isaiah, and God doubtless intended that it should be perpetually observed in this manner.
    3. Important benefits result from the right observance of the Sabbath. In the passage before us, these are said to be, that they who thus observed it would find pleasure in Yahweh, and would be signally prospered and be safe. But those benefits are by no means confined to the Jewish people. It is as true now as it was then, that they who observe the Sabbath in a proper manner find happiness in the Lord – in his existence, perfections, promises, law, and in communion with him – which is to be found nowhere else. Of this fact there are abundant witnesses now in every Christian church, and they will continue to be multiplied in every coming age. And it is as true that the proper observance of the Sabbath contributes to the prosperity and safety of a nation now, as it ever did among the Jewish people. It is not merely from the fact that God promises to bless the people who keep his holy day; though this is of more value to a nation than all its armies and fleets; but it is, that there is in the institution itself much that tends to the welfare and prosperity of a country.

It is a time when worldliness is broken in upon by a periodical season of rest, and when the thoughts are left free to contemplate higher and purer objects. It is a time when more instruction is imparted on moral and religious subjects, than on all the other days of the week put together. The public worship of God tends to enlarge the intellect, and purify the heart. No institution has ever been originated that has contributed so much to elevate the common mind; to diffuse order, peace, neatness, decency among people, and thus to perpetuate and extend all that is valuable in society, as the Sabbath. Anyone may be convinced of this, who will be at the pains to compare a neighborhood, a village, or a city where the Sabbath is not observed with one where it is; and the difference will convince him at once, that society owes more to the Sabbath than to any single institution besides, and that in no way possible can one-seventh portion of the time be so well employed as in the manner contemplated by the Christian day of rest.

THE RESTORATION! —

Isa 51:3 For the LORD hath compassion on Zion and hath compassion on all that is decayed therein, and will make her wilderness as paradise, and her desert as the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, with thanksgiving and the voice of praise.

Isa 61:4 They shall build the long rough wildernesses, and set up the old desert. They shall repair the waste places, and such as have been void throughout many generations.

Eze 36:10 I will send you much people, which shall be all of the house of Israel: the cities shall be inhabited, and the decayed places shall be repaired again.

Eze 36:33 Moreover, thus sayeth the LORD God: What time as I shall cleanse you from all your offenses, then will I make the cities to be occupied again, and will repair the places that be decayed.

Eze 36:34 The desolate land shall be builded again, which afore time lay waste in the sight of all them that went by.

Eze 36:35 Then shall it be said, ‘This wasteland is become like a garden of pleasure, and the void, desolate and broken down cities are now strong, and fenced again.’

Neh 4:7 But when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that they had begun to stop up the gaps, they were very wroth;

Dan 9:25 Understand this then, and mark it well: That from the time it shall be concluded to go and repair Jerusalem again, unto Christ, the anointed Prince: there shall be seven weeks. Then shall the streets and walls be builded again sixty two weeks, but with hard troublous time. (Italics & bolding mine)

Amo 9:11 “At that time will I build again the tabernacle of David, that is fallen down, and hedge up his gaps. And look: what is broken, I shall repair it. Yea, I shall build it again, as it was a fore time,

Act 15:16 ‘After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and that which is fallen in decay of it will I build again and I will set it up,

The main idea is to restore or return Zion to keeping God’s Laws which have laid in ruin and decay (been neglected) for many generations!!! This would be the Ten Commandments, including the 7th Day Sabbath! See Isa 58:12, which many ministers say is just speaking of a ‘spiritual rest’ which doesn’t square with what the Scriptures say. The book of Hebrews speaks of a rest which is a spiritual rest, but Isaiah is talking about an actual, physical day.  

OUR REWARD FOR KEEPING GOD’S SABBATH —

From Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown:
Isa 58:14 delight … in … Lord — God rewards in kind, as He punishes in kind. As we “delight” in keeping God’s “Sabbath,” so God will give us “delight” in Himself (Gen_15:1; Job_22:21-26; Psa_37:4).
ride upon … high places — I will make thee supreme lord of the land; the phrase is taken from a conqueror riding in his chariot, and occupying the hills and fastnesses of a country [Vitringa], (Deu_32:13; Mic_1:3; Hab_3:19). Judea was a land of hills; the idea thus is, “I will restore thee to thine own land” [Calvin]. The parallel words, “heritage of Jacob,” confirm this (Gen_27:28, Gen_27:29; Gen_28:13-15).
mouth of … Lord … spoken it — a formula to assure men of the fulfillment of any solemn promise which God has made (Isa_40:5).

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary:
And feed thee with the heritage of Jacob, i.e. thou shalt enjoy the good of the land of Canaan, which God had promised as a heritage of Jacob and his seed, Gen_35:12, and feed on the fruits of it.

Question: Why doth he say of the heritage of Jacob, and not of Abraham or Isaac?

Answer: Because the whole posterity of Jacob was within the covenant, but Ishmael and Esau, one the seed of Isaac, the other the seed of Abraham, were both excluded.

ENDNOTES: 

[1] http://www.sabbathtruth.com/free-resources/article-library/id/916/catholic-church-admits-they-made-the-change

 

THE ENDTIMES SODOMITE SPIRIT; PROUD, BOASTFUL, ANTICHRIST, AND ‘GAY’

H1341 ge^ gay’ For H1343; haughty: – proud.

Interesting isn’t it? The Hebrew term for ‘haughty or proud’ is GAY, the very term the homosexuals use to designate their sexual preference and life style! Is this just some strange coincidence?

Most ‘gays’ I’ve met are very ‘haughty’ and BOAST of their sexual perversions whenever possible.

NYC PrideThe word “gay” seems to have its origins around the 12th century in England, derived from the Old French word ‘gai’, which in turn was probably derived from a Germanic word, though that isn’t completely known. The word’s original meaning meant something to the effect of “joyful”, “carefree”, “full of mirth”, or “bright and showy”.

However, around the early parts of the 17th century, the word began to be associated with immorality. By the mid 17th century, according to an Oxford dictionary definition at the time, the meaning of the word had changed to mean “addicted to pleasures and dissipations. Often euphemistically: Of loose and immoral life”. This is an extension of one of the original meanings of “carefree”, meaning more or less uninhibited.

Fast-forward to the 19th century and the word gay referred to a woman who was a prostitute and a gay man was someone who slept with a lot of women (ironically enough), often prostitutes. Also at this time, the phrase “gay it” meant to have sex.

With these new definitions, the original meanings of “carefree”, “joyful”, and “bright and showy” were still around; so the word was not exclusively used to refer to prostitutes or a promiscuous man. Those were just accepted definitions, along with the other meanings of the word.

Around the 1920’s and 1930’s, however, the word started to have a new meaning. In terms of the sexual meaning of the word, a “gay man” no longer just meant a man who had sex with a lot of women, but now started to refer to men who had sex with other men. There was also another word “gey cat” at this time which meant a homosexual boy.

By 1955, the word gay now officially acquired the new added definition of meaning homosexual males. [1]

How I arrived here was by looking up the definition of ‘Barabbas’ in Luke 23:18 — the meaning of his name is of Chaldee [2] origin H1347 and Gk (G5 Strong’s). When you go to H1347 in Strong’s Concordance, you also see another term from where ‘geh’ (pronounced ‘gay-eh’) is taken! The Gk ‘gay-eh’ also means; LOFTY, arrogant, and PROUD!

In the Greek, Barabbas is only rendered as “son of Abba” meaning, son of a father or master [3]. Could that master be Satan in his case? Could it be that Barabbas was a TYPE of the AntiChrist, or the Son of Satan? While there have been and are now MANY antichrists in the World, there may be ONE final, major Antichrist, who will be none other than the Incarnation of the Devil in human form who inhabits a human body – alluded to as The AntiChrist, whom the Lord will destroy supernaturally with the Spirit of His mouth when He comes [4]. This same AntiChrist will set himself up as god in the last Jewish Temple built, and will speak vain words against the one, true GOD and His people, and will lead the disbelieving multitudes into perdition along with him and the fallen angels [5].

Barabbas was a thief and a murderer [6] and one ‘who stirred up trouble’ – a trouble maker, a rabble rouser. Read Luke 23:13-25 for the full account. All terms easily identified with any antichrist, or the AntiChrist whom Scripture defines as “a man of lawlessness,” “proud,” “arrogant,” and maybe GAY? There’s a bit of an enigmatic verse in the book of Daniel about his attitude towards women – Daniel 11:37, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the DESIRE OF WOMEN, nor…..”

“regard” H995 – understand, attend, consider, perceive, regard, feel, etc.
“desire” H2532 – delight: desire, goodly, pleasant, precious; that which is desirable.

What this seems to be saying is that he won’t have regard for women’s needs and feelings – he won’t be ‘attentive’ to them. Thus, he’ll treat them harshly being insensitive to their needs and desires. He’ll be seriously lacking in ‘understanding’ of their delicate natures. It may be saying that the Antichrist will greatly disrespect women just as the adherents of Islam behave today towards them. Many Islamic women are treated like slaves, denied of basic human rights. The United Nations should be outraged, but is it?

According to biblical scholar Stephen Miller in his commentary on Daniel, the phrase has never had consensus in its interpretation even as early as Montgomery in his 2nd century commentary on Daniel. Miller states that the phrase could be interpreted in either of four ways:

“the one desired by women”
“the desire of women”
“that desired by women”
“the desire for women”

If we consult a Hebrew lexicon, the word that is translated “desire” in 11:37 is “hemdah” (transliterated). Of course, as with many words in Hebrew, the interpretation is made difficult because the same Hebrew word can have varied meanings, and often context is the primary determining factor for the translator. In none of its varied meanings, however, does “hemdah” refer to sexual desire. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words states:

hemdah is a noun found twenty-five times, with the primary sense of “that which is pleasant, or valuable.”

“If it was God’s intent to so hide the beauty of woman, He would have given Eve her “eye covering” burqa on her way out the door. It seems that Islam has found a way to veil what God never intended to cover.

Islam fits the profile. It has no regard for the desires, the precious things, of woman.” [7]

….the grammatical construction disallows changing “desire of women” to “desire for women” (13). In parallel instances, such as Haggai 2:7 and 1 Samuel 9:20, the noun following “desire of” is the source and not the object. What the prophecy is clearly saying is that the Antichrist will disregard something that women desire.

At last we come to the only convincing interpretation. It recognizes that since “the desire of women” appears in a list of deities spurned by the Antichrist, the name must refer to another object of worship that he refuses to honor. To be precise, the name might signify either a god (or gods) that women desire or the desire of women to be gods. Of these two possibilities, the second is a better fit both to the context and to modern reality. It is the desire of women to be gods that the Antichrist will slight.

The context. The angelic messenger has just predicted that the Antichrist will speak marvelous things against the God of gods (verse 36). As we argued, he was alluding to the tragedy in the Garden, where Satan used the same lies to corrupt Eve. He succeeded by exploiting the woman’s desire to be godlike in her knowledge of good and evil. Although the result was downfall of the human race, that desire has never been extinguished. The fire of self-worship still burns in the hearts of all women who refuse to worship the true God.

Yet while recognizing the pride of women, we should not minimize the pride of men. The male heart is also prone to divine aspirations. After all, the future pretender to supreme deity will be a man, not a woman. But the Book of Daniel is concerned not to leave the wrong impression. To avoid suggesting that men are worse than women, the book adds a little reminder that apart from the grace of God, every woman is also an incorrigible egotist with a lurking desire to take over command of the universe.

Modern reality. In recent times, the desire of women to be gods has resurfaced in an especially pronounced form: the drive for so-called women’s liberation. At issue between feminists and Christians is not whether women are equal to men. The Bible says that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28). At issue rather is whether a woman ought to be like a man, whether she should be seeking to exchange a woman’s God-ordained role in the home and church for a man’s role.

Imagine what feminists will think when the Antichrist sets himself up as the supreme god and denies equal billing to any goddess! They will regard the exclusion of women from the highest flights of conceit as discrimination. Whatever hope he offers them of attaining a lesser degree of godhood will hardly satisfy their ambition. Yet he will ignore their objections. That is, as the oracle says, he will not regard the desire of women. [8]

Some have interpreted that scripture as, ‘he will not understand nor have regard for the delight which a woman can give a man from having relations with a woman. A homosexual would have no desire for a woman, nor take pleasure in having sexual relations with a woman. Still others say Daniel 11:31, has nothing at all to do with the sexual preference of the AntiChrist. Another opinion is that the phrase, “desire of women” is speaking of Jesus Christ since all women wanted to be His mother, the vessel through which Christ would be born into the world, but where this fanciful interpretation came from I can’t tell, since I’ve not found one scriptural reference that supports it.

The traditional interpretation is that he will not be married, or be a homosexual. Even if we were to understand its application in this manner there are other alternatives to consider. For example: He will have no regard for women, practically speaking can mean to allow abortion. This certainly makes one have no regard for woman. He will disrespect the most basic function of woman, not caring for the unborn or the scars he will leave on young women. To not regard woman may mean he is against her role in marriage and childbearing (promoting abortion) denying the function God gave to women. He will divide the family unit and the woman’s role in it, reverse the roles of men and woman. Thus, No regard for women does not necessarily mean he must be homosexual or unmarried. He may promote same sex partnership other than traditional marriage. Many have pointed out that in the religion of Islam men have no regard for women, which will be of no consequence since it also says, “he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers.” So even if he is a Muslim he will not have the respect of the religion he was brought up in. [9]

When you put the Greek definition along with its Chaldee origin, you have the incarnated son of Satan – a proud, arrogant, boastful man speaking vain words against the true God; defiant of all laws and gods, who might also be ‘gay’ or sexually perverted in some manner. He may not be specifically homosexual, but may lead a sexually immoral life style, or promote it in general.

The Greek ‘diastrepho’ From G1223 and G4762; means to distort, that is, (figuratively) misinterpret, or (morally) corrupt: – perverse (-rt), turn away. G4762 means ‘to twist, turn around, or reverse.’ This is interesting since the general plan of Satan for the World is to twist, reverse, pervert, and turn upsidedown, God’s ORDER of all created things. Men become as women and vice versa is one example where God’s natural ORDER of things is being REVERSED and perverted!

A phrase often applied to the AntiChrist, “son of perdition,” is a curious one. The term, “son of perdition” isn’t limited to a MALE person! Look at the following Scriptures and definitions —

G5207 uihos; Apparently a primary word; a “son” (sometimes of animals), used very widely of immediate, remote or figurative kinship: – child, foal, son.

Just as the phrase, “sons of God” [10] is not gender specific but used to refer to all who’ve been Born Again of God’s Spirit and thus are children, or “sons of God.”

“sons” G5043 teknon; means offspring, children, child, male child, or daughter. See both Strong’s and Thayer’s Definitions.

Perdition means utter destruction, perishing, ruin, and eternal misery in hell.

Whether or not the final AntiChrist will be homosexual, what we know for certain is that Yahweh our God, will eventually pour out His judgment and wrath upon any nation which indulges in filthy sexual perversions, as He has done throughout history. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with sulfur and fire because of its sexual perversions – Genesis 19:1-28.

In Leviticus 18, God identifies incest, homosexuality and bestiality as the sins which cause the land to “vomit out its inhabitants” (v25). Even in this dark context homosexuality is singled out for special condemnation as “an abomination” (v.22).

In what is probably the most challenging Biblical passage of all, Deuteronomy 20:16-18, God tells the Hebrew people to completely wipe out the Canaanite inhabitants of the Holy Land. His explanation why is detailed in Leviticus 18:24-30.

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.’”

It is certainly not within our right to judge God. We can only rest in the assurance that, by definition, whatever God does is justified. Importantly, however, his use of genocide to punish sexual perversion is instructive as to His perspective of the relative gravity of human sins, as is His admonition not to tolerate these forms of sexual conduct by any persons in the society, even “the sojourner among you.”

Of course, this does not condone hatred or violence against homosexuals. [11]

God brought about the fall of the Roman and Greek empires; both known for their sexual excesses and perversions. “The Greek “gymnasium,” where young men engaged in sporting events in the nude, was a center of homosexuality and one of the reasons sodomy became known throughout the entire western world as “Greek love.” In his article, Homosexuality & the Maccabean Revolt, Catholic scholar Patrick G.D. Riley notes:

“The all-male athletic club known as the gymnasium was notorious in the ancient world as a nestingplace for pederasty. Socrates himself was susceptible to it, as we learn in the Charmides. The lovers of boys came to the gymnasium in crowds, as Plato notes in that dialogue and in the Euthydemus. Plutarch mentions it in the Erotikos. Hence the gymnasium, with its sexual seductions, was bound to arouse alarm when it arrived in Jerusalem and “attracted the noblest young men” of Israel (2 Macc. 4:12). What follows that phrase bears this out. The original Greek of the text of 2 Maccabees continues with a pun: hypotasson hypo petason, which literally means “subduing [these noble young Jews] under the petason,” the broad-brimmed hat of Hermes worn by naked Greek athletes. But in the Church’s traditional Latin translation, known as the Vulgate, St. Jerome renders this in lupanaribus ponere, that is, ‘to put in brothels’

…Joined themselves to the Gentiles. In the Greek, this has a strong connotation of sexual union. The verb, zeugizein, means “to yoke in pairs,” a graphic metaphor for sexual union. It is used in a love-passage from second-century B.C. Alexandria, hence contemporary with the Maccabees, in a context implying copulation. Since the Greek gymnasium was traditionally exclusive to males, and since the histories present the Jerusalem gymnasium as male-only, the sexual union can only be homosexual. (New Oxford Review, September 1997). [12]

Will America, who is currently passing all kinds of legislation protecting the imaginary rights of gays, lesbians, transvestites, and transsexuals’ to aggressively oppress religious institutions by causing them to embrace the ‘gay’ life-style; marry gays/lesbians against their religious beliefs, and so on – not be judged for its immorality and sexual perversions as have other nations before her? When the state makes it a crime to worship according to one’s faith, isn’t that the quintessence of religious oppression? The Secularists are forever trumpeting the “Separation of Church and State” clause while hypocritically making LAWS and REGULATIONS regarding religious institutions. The original intent of that clause, penned by our nation’s forefathers, was to keep the state OUT OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS and from MAKING LAWS which oppress religious freedoms; ie., to worship as they please without government interference! For the history of how the ‘Separation of Church and State’ clause came to be, see [13].

According to God’s Word, the Bible, Christians are not to agree with, work with, or promote the “works of darkness” (which would include sexual perversions) – but rather “expose them” – Eph 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [14]

This goes especially for all the ‘affirmative churches’ who not only welcome but endorse the ‘gay’ life style as normative, who assure gays that they’re OK the way they are (they don’t need to repent) for God won’t judge their sin, and who ordain gay and lesbian ministers. While we should not hate gays/lesbians, nor engage in violence against them, we don’t have to endorse their vile acts. Deu 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Deu 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God. sodomite” H6945 qâdêsh; BDB Definition 1) male temple prostitute

Yeshua is soon to return, wouldn’t it be wise to be ready and be sure you’re not on the wrong side of the issues?

Debra R. Stout, March 25, 2016

 

END NOTES:

[1] http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/02/how-gay-came-to-mean-homosexual/

[2] Chaldee Language —

Employed by the sacred writers in certain portions of the Old Testament, viz., Dan_2:4-7, Dan_2:28; Ezra 4:8-6:18; Ezr_7:12-26; Gen_31:46; Jer_10:11. It is the Aramaic dialect, as it is sometimes called, as distinguished from the Hebrew dialect. It was the language of commerce and of social intercourse in Western Asia, and after the Exile gradually came to be the popular language of Palestine. It is called “Syrian” in 2Ki_18:26. Some isolated words in this language are preserved in the New Testament (Mat_5:22; Mat_6:24; Mat_16:17; Mat_27:46; Mar_3:17; Mar_5:41; Mar_7:34; Mar_14:36; Act_1:19; 1Co_16:22). These are specimens of the vernacular language of Palestine at that period. The term “Hebrew” was also sometimes applied to the Chaldee because it had become the language of the Hebrews (Joh_5:2; Joh_19:20).

[3] Barabbas – G912 a aßßa
Thayer Definition:
Barabbas = “son of a father or master”
1) the captive robber whom the Jews begged Pilate to release instead of Christ

[4] 2 Thess 2:8 -12; Rev 19:21

[5] Daniel 11:31-45, Rev 19:20

[6] Luke 23:19 & 25, John 18:40

[7] http://www.jacksmithprophecy.org/2012/10/09/no-regard-for-the-desire-of-women-islam-fits-the-profile/

[8] http://www.themoorings.org/Bible_prophecy/Antichrist/religion_and_name.html

[9] http://www.letusreason.org/proph34.htm

[10] Jn 1:12, Rm 8:14, Rm 8:19, Gal 4:6, Phil 2:15, 1 Jn 3:1 &2

[11] http://www.scottlively.net/2014/12/26/the-forgotten-last-days-warning-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

[12] http://www.scottlively.net/2014/12/26/the-forgotten-last-days-warning-about-homosexuality-in-the-bible/

[13] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

[14] G1651 ἐλέγχω elegchō
Thayer Definition:
1) to convict, refute, confute
1a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted
1b) by conviction to bring to the light, to expose
2) to find fault with, correct
2a) by word
2a1) to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove
2a2) to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation
2b) by deed
2b1) to chasten, to punish

SUFFERING & THE CHURCH

jesus_empty cross on blu bkgr So much has been written about the Rapture of the Church, but little about suffering for Christ. Don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly gotten the impression that most believers today do not expect to suffer persecution or hardship for their faith – ever. Most have been lulled to sleep by what I call ‘an easy street gospel,’ which is that since Christ bore our sins, griefs and sorrows, all they have to do now is sit back and live their little self-centric lives while waiting for His return and/or, their rapture off the earth. The focus of this study isn’t the Rapture or its timing, but suffering for Christ, which every saint is called to do, 1Pe 2:21 For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps:

I believe the Church has succumbed to the fantasy, taught by hireling shepherds who preach prosperity and the ‘ear-tickling’ message, that she’ll never have to suffer persecution for the cause of Christ. Those shepherds conveniently leave out the unpalitable reality that all true believers will suffer on account of the Faith. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12. How many believers take it to heart though? My guess is not many. Makes me wonder if the twenty-first century, western, Church has the ‘grit’ or fortitude of its fathers in the faith, men like William Tyndale [1] (murdered for printing the bible in English) along with thousands of other martyrs who were tortured and/or murdered for their faith. A good resource detailing these events is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs [2]. Torture devices were very common in Roman Catholic medieval Catholic tortureChurch dungeons. Is the Church willing to suffer intense persecution, torture or even death, as did the first century Church, or has it succumbed to the fairytale that it will never have to face such suffering?foxe-s-book-of-martyrs-c1780-hand-col-print.-burning-at-newbury-guernsey-[2]-27473-p

Since the Scriptures are peppered with examples of the sufferings, persecutions, and hardships of the church from the beginning and continuing throughout the ages – how can we in this church age, expect to escape these things just because we’re in the ‘age of grace?’ What about the millions who suffered burning at the stake, beheading, deboweling, and dipping in molten oil, by the monstrous Catholic Crusaders throughout the Middle Ages and beyond? Here’s a partial time line of these historic facts:

1096 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter half the Jews in Worms, Germany.

1098 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter almost all of the inhabitants of the city of Antioch.

1099 Roman Catholic crusaders massacre 70,000 Muslims and Jews when they capture Jerusalem.

1208 – 1226 The Albigensian Crusades in southern France. Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter approximately 20,000 citizens of Beziers, France, on July 22, 1209. Albigensian Christians and Catholics were slain. By the time the Roman Catholic armies finished their “crusade,” almost the entire population of southern France (mostly Albigensian Christians) has been exterminated. During the six centuries of papal Inquisition that began in the 13th century, up to 50 million people were killed. Read what J. A. Wylie’s The History of Protestantism has to say about the Crusades against the Abigenses.

1236 Roman Catholic crusaders slaughter Jews in the Anjou and Poitou regions of western France. The Catholic crusaders trample to death under their horses 3000 Jews who refuse baptism.

1243 Roman Catholic mobs burn alive all the Jews in Berlitz, Germany (near Berlin).

1298 Roman Catholic mobs burn alive all Jews in Rottingen, Germany.

April 26, 1349 Roman Catholic mobs burn to death all Jews in Germersheim, Germany.

1348 – 1349 The Jews are blamed for the bubonic plague. Author Dave Hunt tells us, “Accused of causing the ‘Black Death’ Jews were rounded up [by Roman Catholic mobs] and hanged, burned, and drowned by the thousands in revenge.”

1389 Roman Catholic mobs murder 3000 Jews in Prague when they refuse to be baptized.

1481 – 1483 At the direction of the Roman Catholic inquisitors, authorities burn at the stake at least 2000 people during the first two years of the Spanish Inquisition.

1540 – 1570 Roman Catholic armies butcher at least 900,000 Waldensian Christians of all ages during this 30-year period.

1550 – 1560 Roman Catholic troops slaughter at least 250,000 Dutch Protestants via torture, hanging, and burning during this ten-year period.

Apostle Paul’s sufferings alone are enough to make our heads spin, our hands shake, and our knees quake! Paul suffered stonings, whippings, hardships, and imprisonment for Christ. If any one of us today were called upon to suffer what he did, we would probably faint (fall away from the faith).

Last but not least, Jesus Christ suffered beating, scourging, mocking, and crucifixion unto death for Man’s sin. Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you;

“There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution.” – Corrie Ten Boom, born April 15, 1892 in Haarland Netherlands, near Amsterdam. Corrie was a born again believer who’s family hid Jews during the Nazi takeover of her country. Betrayed by a Dutch citizen, her whole family was imprisoned in a Nazi death camp and murdered, but she survived and shared her story in a book titled The Hiding Place. She ministered to concentration camp survivors after the war ended, and began a worldwide ministry. She died on her birthday in 1983. [3]

Does the Church have what it takes to endure suffering for Christ? The Church needs to ‘gird up its loins,’ and brace itself for persecution and suffering which is surely coming. It’s inevitable if you’re a true believer and follower of Christ – “Truly, I say unto you, If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you….” The ‘easy street’ gospel, as I call it, isn’t the TRUE gospel of Christ, and is misleading many believers, lulling them into a deep slumber. We want to believe that we’re exempt from the kinds of suffering and torture that Christians have undergone in times past, but it isn’t true. It’s time for us to put away our ‘rose-tinted glasses’ and pray for the keen vision of an eagle, so that we might see that our true destiny in Christ is to suffer as He suffered, walk as He walked, and love as He loved! Anything less is an empty profession of faith; a mirage without substance and unacceptable to God!

“It would be years later at The Voice of The Martyrs conference that I would come face to face with my distorted understanding. I heard stories from all over the world of suffering happening to Christians. The first evening I listened as a man from Pakistan explained the hardships the Pakistani church endures, and then described the torture and eventual murder of a young Christian boy. This young man died at the hands of his torturers simply because he was a Christian. For the first time in my life I contemplated the possibility that God does not intervene in every situation and take the suffering away from His people.” Suffering – the Mark of the Church [4]

The true Church of jesus Christ is called to suffer hardships and persecution for their allegience to Him and to His Truth! The true Church of Jesus Christ is called to endure hardness like a soldier and endure sound doctrine versus the false ‘prosperity and easy street’ doctrines which compromising, hireling shepherds teach and preach to their flocks. Woe to those who compromise the truth or who teach only the palitable parts of it. Our Lord Christ doesn’t sanction teaching only part of the truth or half truths. It behooves every believer in Christ to study the Bible for themselves, to dig out the truth buried sometimes deeply in its pages. We must learn how to feed ourselves and quit being lazily content to eat left-overs and regurgitated food! Real faith makes certain demands on us, like ‘studying to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed…’ 2 Tim 2:15. We’re to study the words of God for ourselves, and prove whether the things we’ve been taught, line up with His words or not – Act 17:10 & 11.

We need to OPEN our spiritual EYES. If you can’t see these things, then pray and ask God to open your eyes so that you may. The times we live in are dark and we need the Light of God’s wisdom and truth more than ever before; far more than material wealth and possessions. Most of Christ’s disciples lived in poverty or had only their basic needs met; most weren’t wealthy and yet they thrived on what’s more important. They lived not by (physical) bread alone, but by every word (rhema) which came from the mouth of God – Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4, and they had the LOVE of God and the love of His whole counsel (truth) BURNING IN THEIR HEARTS! – Luke 24:32

THAT, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, IS WHERE WE NEED TO BE AGAIN! We need to get back to a place where THE most important thing in our lives is following Christ, bearing His truth to the world, winning souls, and living HOLY lives before Him in HUMILITY (not in pride and arrogance).

So, therefore, let us HUMBLE ourselves in these dark days, SEEK His face in prayer and supplications with many FASTINGS – and WALK IN OBEDIENCE to ALL His instructions, not just the ones we like. If we ‘purify our hands and our hearts’ – “Purify your hands ye sinners, and sanctify your hearts…” maybe we’ll escape the dark schemes of the wicked to deceive and lead us into disbelief coming upon the whole world, and ”stand before the Son of Man WITHOUT SPOT, WRINKLE OR ANY SUCH THING….” James 4:8, Lk 21:36, Eph 5:27

Since we’ve all been called to SUFFER for Christ, walking in His footsteps, then it makes sense that we PREPARE our hearts and minds beforehand to endure to the end when it comes.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11

Debra R. Stout, March 10, 2016  *[caps, bold, and italics are mine].

Endnotes:

1] http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1501-1600/translator-william-tyndale-strangled-and-burned-11629961.html
2] http://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html (book is online to read for free)
3] http://www.biography.com/people/corrie-ten-boom-21358155#synopsis
4] http://www.persecutionblog.com/2014/09/suffering-the-mark-of-the-church.html

BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF THE LEGALISTS

pharisee1

Legalism may be summed up in a word – TRADITION! Legalists are traditionalists. They adhere to religious traditions regardless of their source (not all religious traditions are of God), and they expect everyone else to do the same, or suffer the slings and arrows of their scorn. They’re secretly envious of the true Christian’s liberty in Christ, not having that freedom themselves (Gals 2:4). They seek to lay traps for those who follow Christ and his words instead of tradition, as did the Scribes and Pharisees to Jesus, hoping to catch him in some violation of the law (theirs or God’s) so they could condemn him. They accused Jesus of ‘breaking the Sabbath’ when he and a few of his disciples picked some ears of corn on a Sabbath because they were traveling and were very hungry (Luke 6:1-5). 

They accused him of being a ‘winebibber’ and ‘glutton,’ because he ate and drank with heathen (Gentile unbelievers) – Mt 9:10-11, 11:19. They said he broke the law by not ‘washing his hands’ before eating, Mt 15:2. They accused him of breaking the law for healing a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath (Luke 6:6-11) and of having a ‘devil,’ because he went about healing people! (Mark 3:22, 30)

This is but a partial list of the false accusations the Pharisees and Sadducees flung at Jesus, and of their attempts to discredit his mission and ministry. In our day, the legalist operates much the same way using the same tactics. They look for opportunities to discredit your ministry and or induce a sense of guilt in you for doing things God’s Word doesn’t prohibit. They’ll severely criticize and chastise you for doing the works of God outside the city gate (church walls) by demanding to know where you attend church, who your covering is, and/or who gave you authority to do such things! Legalists teach the ‘letter only,’ while Jesus brought the “spirit (or intent) of the Word.” Legalism leaves no room for ‘mercy,’ you break a law or command you pay the penalty. God the Father had ‘mercy’ on mankind when he sent his son Jesus to be the propitiation (to pay the penalty) for sin. God is merciful, legalists are not. Legalists ‘add’ their own rules and codes of conduct to God’s Word, and condemn you if you break one of them. Mat 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mar 7:13  making void the word of God by your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things ye do. An example of a man-made doctrine is, “You can’t hang pictures of Christ, people, or anything in Nature (animals, angels, heavenly bodies, etc.) in your home, because the 2nd Commandment says that’s IDOLATRY.”  

Sometimes well-meaning believers apply allegory where they shouldn’t, and or, read into Scripture what isn’t there; which renders ‘private interpretations’ (2 Pet 1:20). We avoid these mistakes by ‘comparing scripture to scripture,’ interpreting it in its proper context. 

Here’s the exact wording of the 2nd Commandment – Exo 20:4  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: If taken OUT of the CONTEXT of its preceding and following verses, one could conclude that making a likeness of anything, is prohibited. When taken in the context of Exo 20:3 & 5 –  Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: we see that what God is prohibiting is the making of IDOLS, and “bowing down to, and serving them.” To merely have a picture hanging on a wall in your home, doesn’t make it an idol or a thing of worship, unless you do bow to, and or, pray to it.  Same with Lev 26:1  Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it:

The operative phrases in each of these four verses are, BOW DOWN TO THEM, and SERVE THEM. It’s the making of, or setting up of images for the purpose of WORSHIPING them that’s prohibited, not the mere displaying of them for the purpose of decorating and adorning your home. So, if and when someone tries to place guilt and condemnation on you for simply decorating your home, you can choose not to receive it. If God convicts you of sin, he almost always (unless you’re hard headed and have consistently ignored his correction) does it with a large dose of love and gentleness, without condemnation! If you know Christ, and you’re feeling condemned, it’s not him speaking to you. 

Let’s look at this issue from another angle. If the mere displaying of works of art and photographs of people, places, and things was forbidden by the 2nd Commandment, then God is himself GUILTY of breaking his own commandment when he directed King Solomon to ADORN the Temple with all manner of workmanship and artistry; gold filigree, a pair of gold angelic figuresangels on top of Ark of the Covenant which sat atop the Ark of the Covenant. The temple walls were carved with figures of cherubim (angels), flowers, and palm trees.  Aren’t those ‘things in heaven above and on earth below?’ Read about the building of the first temple in 1 Kings chapters 6 – 9. It has been argued that this ornate decoration of the temple was allowed by God one time only, for this special purpose. I disagree because God wouldn’t direct something he considers a ‘sin’ or ‘sinful,’ to be used in his house or temple!

Some examples of the legalistic doctrines added to God’s law by the Scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day —

Legalism says, You can’t eat without first washing your hands, because the dirt clinging to your hands will defile you. Jesus rebuked that man-made legalistic doctrine when he said, Mat 15:11  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Mat 15:17  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. Mat 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Mat 15:20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Blind leaders of the blind, Jesus called them (Mt 15:14) Legalists major in minors, and minor in majors. They nitpick at you for small, usually insignificant faults and offenses but ignore serious ones. Mat 23:23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. Mat 23:24  Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel! Mat 23:4  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. Jesus does the opposite, Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Some are heartless and relentless in their pronouncements of judgment on those who don’t follow their man-made, religious traditions, while ironically labeling ‘legalistic’ those who obey and teach the commandments of Yahweh. Jesus said, Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5: 17-19) Legalism is obeying and teaching them from wrong motives, ie., for the sake of elevating oneself above one’s brothers, or as a requirement for salvation. When love for God and one’s brethren is the motive, it isn’t legalistic to obey and to teach them.

Legalism is the strict enforcing or perversion of a law. Legalism is not equal to the Law (except in the mind of the Church). If you’re driving 61 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone and a policeman gives you a ticket, that’s legalism—but the law is good. The Law was given so there won’t be chaos and accidents on the Highway of Life.” ~ http://seedofabraham.net/The-Lifting-of-the-Veil.pdf

Legalists know nothing of the love and mercy of God, and in fact, turn men AWAY from God – Mt 23:13  “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. They do it by putting stumbling blocks in the way of those trying to enter the kingdom, like telling them they must observe certain holy days and rituals which aren’t commanded by God – Rms 14:10-13.  All religions have rituals, rites, and holy days, and rules about how to observe them, and how to worship. The Christian walk (or life) isn’t a dead, dry observance of endless rules about food, drink, and holy days! (Rms 14:17). It’s an exciting adventure of walking with the Living Word (Jesus), allowing him to fully immerse you in the Holy Spirit, and freely (without hindrance) flow through you any way he chooses (Luke 3:16). It’s only by the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit, that true and lasting works can be accomplished, for without him we can do nothing! (Jn 15:5)

The problem with legalists, is that they won’t allow the Holy Spirit to do what he wants to do (heal people, perform miracles, prophesy, deliver men from demons), because they want to be in control of the church, of its functions and its members. In many houses of worship, the Holy Spirit is quenched – not allowed to move in church services where very little time is allowed for praise and worship, certainly not enough for him to move upon people’s hearts and minds to prepare them to receive what he wants to do among them.  So they leave still hungry and thirsty, sensing something is lacking or missing but don’t know what.  Some are totally unaware of the deficiencies, having become used to a state of spiritual starvation! The typical church structure today is unlike that of the first century church where church elders and bishops were chosen by the other members, not by their papers, or some board. It was the Holy Spirit who called and appointed men and women to various positions and qualified them for service; not PhD’s or minister licenses. By his moving and flowing through various members, the Holy Spirit revealed what their giftings and callings were. That was possible because the Holy Spirit was ALLOWED to MOVE (work, function) in the assemblies and to FLOW through ALL the members, not just ONE! In the New Testament it is written that when Christians gathered together they were ALL expected to contribute to the service, not just the choir, bishop or pastor! (1 Cor 14:26) It was never God’s intent for the congregation to sit passively, like lifeless statues, until the pastor gives them permission to pray, sing, or speak. Where in that controlling structure is there room for the Holy Spirit to ‘speak’ through the other members? Fact is, God has already given ALL his Body members permission to speak or sing out what he has spoken to them in their PRAYER CLOSETS, and shown them in his Word. It would then seem that those in high positions in the Church are either ignorant of these facts (though I don’t see how, if they have read the Bible), or don’t want to lose control of the Church, so they keep a tight lid on the Holy Spirit and congregants. woman with ducktape on mouth

Generally speaking, congregants are trained to be PASSIVE OBSERVERS rather than ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in God’s program! That’s partly why they don’t go out into the whole world making disciples of all men, preaching the Gospel to every creature. Their idea of fulfilling the Great Commission, is giving money to a missionary or an evangelistic organization. The time is coming when Jesus will replace every aberrant thing, and restore true, spiritual worship to his house forever when he ‘builds again the tabernacle of David,’ Acts 15:16.

We don’t see God’s spiritual gifts (tongue-speaking, prophesying, miracles, healing, etc.) today like in Jesus’ day because of erroneous teachings that those ‘gifts’ ended in the first century AD, and were only given to the Apostles so they could start the Church. Cessationists, base their conclusion upon a few verses – 1Co 13:8  Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 1Co 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 1Co 13:10  but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

I call that a ‘fly-by interpretation,’ meaning the interpreter doesn’t bother to think about what’s actually being stated, nor bothers to look up any of the key words in a bible dictionary to see what they mean. The unlearned remain ignorant of the truths in the Bible because they don’t take the time required to study and truly understand them. A real student of the Bible, ‘compares scripture with scripture,’ in order to find the truth. A thorough search of the scriptures shows that the charismatic gifts haven’t passed away and are still in effect.

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

We may deduce that the charismatic gifts are still needed, since that which is PERFECT hasn’t yet come. That which is perfect is when every believer has reached the state of full maturity in Christ, “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Since we don’t presently see every believer in that state of perfection, we can safely conclude that the gifts have not passed away. Furthermore, Paul wrote that he “wished they ALL would speak in tongues, but more that they would prophesy” 1 Cor 14:5. He wrote at length concerning spiritual gifts and their usage in 1 Cor 1:14-39, Acts 21:9, and Rms 12:6. “The doctrine of Cessationism did not originate from a careful study of the scriptures … [but] … originated in experience. A cessationist may say something like this: “The fact that at some point in history the church stopped speaking in tongues, is testament that the gifts were not meant to be permanent.” For further information on this false doctrine, go to http://www.bibleissues.org/gifts1.html and read, Are the Spiritual Gifts for the Church Today

All the words in the Bible are ‘God-breathed,’ meaning that God’s Spirit inspired and over-shadowed men’s minds to write down what God wanted written (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21). Holy Prophets of God spoke and prophesied by the power of God’s Spirit speaking through them, and Christians today may do the same. Many sincere believers are being led astray by irresponsible interpretations and false teachings. One way to distinguish truth from error, is to become thoroughly familiar with the Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Psa 119:165  Great peace have they that love thy law; And they have no occasion of stumbling. “stumbling” – H4383 mikshôl; Masculine from H3782; a stumblingblock, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple): – caused to fall, offence, X [no-] thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block. H3782 kâshal; A primitive root; to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle); by implication to falter, stumble, faint or fall: – bereave [from the margin], cast down, be decayed, (cause to) fail, (cause, make to) fall (down, -ing), feeble, be (the) ruin (-ed, of), (be) overthrown, (cause to) stumble, X utterly, be weak. 

Another reason the Holy Spirit doesn’t often move in services, is that men don’t pursue or wait on him long enough in their prayer closets (hearts, private devotions) to receive from him. Worldly church members weighed down with the cares of this life (Lk 8:14), have become the norm. Rev 3:16  So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Many don’t seem to have a desire for the return of Jesus, they’re ‘living their best lives NOW!’ Jesus didn’t tell us to live our best lives now, but to PICK UP OUR CROSSES AND FOLLOW HIM – Lk 9:23, Mk 10:21, Gals 2:20, 5:24! Our BEST LIFE is in the hereafter – Rom 8:17  and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

Yet another reason for the Spirit’s aloofness in the Church, is sin in the camp; dissention, divisions, striving for position, power, and titles (1 Cor 3:3, 11:18; Jms 4:1-3, 11). Many are spiritually DEAD – “Ichabod” (1 Sam 4:21) from whom God’s Spirit has departed, as it had from king Saul (1 Sam 16:14, 1 Sam 28:15). If your church doesn’t allow speaking in tongues, prophesying, and other works of the Holy Spirit in its services, and you never feel his presence there, seek God for direction.

Legalists love to burden you with a load of man-made rules and obligations, like blessing one’s self with ‘holy water,’ and ‘crossing one’s self with the sign of the Cross’ before entering the sanctuary and before eating, ‘bowing down on one knee’ in the aisle before entering a pew, repetition of prayers (Rosary and others), praying to deceased saints, wearing of talismans (medals and Scapulars), venerating a wafer as Christ’s body (as in Transubstantiation) and many more. Protestants have their own, yet similar set of religious works and rules by which they seduce men into a false piety, or outward show of righteousness. Some regard only ‘traditional forms of worship’ as viable; if you don’t attend church and do what they do there, you can’t possibly be a devout, faithful Christian, if one at all. Holiness and Pentecostal groups often have a list of do’s and don’ts like, “Don’t cuss, smoke, drink alcohol, play cards, go to movies, watch TV, wear makeup or jewelry, etc., and so long as you keep that list, you’re OK. Most of these things aren’t sinful per say; smoking in my opinion is since it defiles the body. Some may partake of them in moderation without defiling their souls, others may not. This is where God’s “permissible will” comes into play. When there’s no law against doing something which could become a stumbling block or temptation for oneself or someone else, one must follow his conscience or better, ask God if a thing is good for him or not, and accept his verdict on it. The point is, abstaining from outward, obvious sins alone doesn’t make one holy. God sees the heart, and his Word judges the sinful thoughts and intentions of one’s heart – like hatred, lust, greed, envy, and murder (Luke 5:22, Mt 15:19). Harboring hateful thoughts towards one’s neighbor, is tantamount to murder Jesus said (Mt 5:21-22), and is far worse than cussing for example. The legalist judges according to his own standards, not according to God’s, and often doesn’t even realize it (Mt 23:23). Tithing and going to church on Sunday doesn’t make anyone a Christian; one must be “born again” (by God’s Spirit) or he isn’t a Christian (John 3:3, 7; 1 Pet 1:23). Legalism may gain a stronghold in those who walk by the flesh and not by the Holy Spirit. When we walk by the Spirit (live through his leading), we won’t fulfill the desires of our flesh (nature) – Gal 5:16, 25. Also, when we ‘put on Christ,’ we won’t walk by our flesh – Col 2:6; 1 Jn 2:6. The Christian life requires constant vigilance (watching, checking one’s true spiritual condition) – Rev 3:3, 16:15; 1 Cor 16:13; 1 Th 5:6.

Legalists love to exalt themselves, seeking the top positions in church or synagogue so as to gain the admiration of their fellows.

Mat 23:5  They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, (priests and pastors often wear long, ornate robes to distinguish themselves from the rest of the congregants) Mat 23:6  and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues (or churches) Mat 23:7  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (or father, pastor, etc.) Mat 23:8  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

But be not ye called Rabbi,…. Do not be ambitious of any such title, fond of it, or affect it, or be elated with it, should it be given you; nor look upon yourselves as men of power and authority over others; as having the dominion over men’s faith, a power to make laws for others, impose them in a magisterial way, and bind and loose men’s consciences at pleasure, as these men do. – John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Mat 23:9  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Mat 23:10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. Mat 23:11  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Mat 23:12  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Jesus was ‘humble’ and never sought praise from men. Mat 21:5  Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, Meek, and riding upon an ass, And upon a colt the foal of an ass. Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Jesus was exalted for his humble obedience to his father’s will and now sits at his father’s right hand – Eph 1:20, Rm 8:34.

Legalists are more concerned with outward appearances than with inward holiness.

Mat 23:26  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also. Mat 23:27  white-washed-tombsWoe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Mat 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Not much has changed since Jesus’ day, there are many in houses of worship today who only appear to be righteous, but God knows all men’s hearts, and judges accordingly. It is written, Jas 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

“to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction;”and not only to see them, and speak a word of comfort to them, but to communicate to them, and supply their wants, as they may require, and according to the ability God has given: where there is true religion in the heart, there is love to God; and where there is love to God, there is love to the saints; and this will show itself to them, in times of affliction and distress; and where this is wanting, religion itself is not pure and undefiled – John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.

“keep oneself unspotted from the world” – will keep us from the maxims, vices, and corruptions which prevail in the world, and make us holy. Compare Rom 12:2  Jam 4:4 1 Jo 2:15-17. Albert Barne’s Notes on the Bible

“pure, undefiled religion” – (G283 amiantos) Thayer Definition: 1) not defiled, unsoiled; 1a) free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigour impaired.

One way the force or vigour of pure religion is weakened and impaired, is to turn it into a legalistic observance only, while abandoning the spirit (intent) of the law – Mt 5:22-44. Another, is to make the observance of outward religious rites and dogmas the locus of righteousness, which Christ and all the Writings decry. During his earthly ministry Jesus corrected the false teachings of legalism.

Legalists persecute the righteous, and you’ll find them everywhere!

Mat 23:34  Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall ye kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, (or churches) and persecute from city to city: 

don't be a PhariseeThese are some of the tactics of legalists in every religion. The spirit of legalism seeks to discredit if not destroy, the ministry of true men and women of God doing the true works of God. For where there is the true, there is also the false; where there is ‘wheat’ there is also the ‘tare’ (Mt 13:24-39). If you think you might be a legalist, don’t despair, God forgives when we sincerely repent and ask for his help. At times, we have all been legalistic, usually without being aware of it. An unholy ‘spirit’ caught from being part of a legalistic church may be one cause. There are other causes as well, errant teachings, and of course pride – wanting to appear more ‘holy’ and righteous than one really is. 

I realize that some things written here may offend a few people, which is never my intent or desire, but it can’t always be helped. Know that I take no pleasure in offending anyone, but the truth must be told. I’ll be held accountable, having been commissioned to “preach” and prophesy to the Church – Isa 58:1  Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Therefore, I will fear God and not worry about men’s opinions of me.

Debra R. Stout © May 24, 2015

No Cross, No Tears, No Power!

“A BURDEN”
-Michael Carl.

Empty Cross of Christ_sunsetHave you ever wondered how we can have million dollar church buildings and pack in huge crowds on Sunday, but have no power in our witness? Do you wonder how about half of the people in this country claim to have had a born again experience, and how the churches are having so little of an impact? Have you been amazed at the fact that American society is becoming increasingly antagonistic to the church?

How can this be?

The answer seems to be that it’s because the pastors in the pulpits have sold out to the ‘Seeker Sensitive’ movement. We’ve opted for programs, lights, smoke machines, stage props, and the prosperity Gospel.

Pastors preach the Gospel of Self-Fulfillment and talk about how we’re destined to reign. Our pulpits echo with: ‘God wants you to be happy’ and ‘You can have your best life now’. We have major tele-preachers holding ‘camp meetings’ where the ‘preacher’ shouts, ‘Let’s celebrate you!’

I heard a preacher say once that if you have trials in your life, then you don’t have enough faith. What a ludicrous statement and how utterly non-Biblical!

Paul had more faith than most of us and he never stopped going through trials. We talk faith and prosperity while the church around the world grows in not merely number, but in depth and maturity. They see miracles and God’s power; they sense His presence.

How? They’ve learned to persevere through trials. A Charismatic Episcopal Church Bishop in Pakistan had a Muslim slit his throat, throw him off of a bus and leave him for dead just because the Bishop was a Christian. But the Bishop’s ministry grows and he sees the fruit.

Christians in other parts of the world weep for revival in the American church. What does that say about us?

It means that we are weak and self-absorbed.

I heard another television preacher turn the tables and suggest that a preacher who focused on subjects like F. F. Bruce’s, The Hard Sayings of Jesus, was not preaching the Gospel and ignoring the truth of the Word! ‘They didn’t want to hear that’ he claimed!

What utter disregard for the truth! Jesus said, ‘”The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head,”‘ and told His followers of His coming arrest, trial, torture and crucifixion.

This means we’re deceived and taken with greed.

There are no tears for revival and the only One weeping is Jesus. He bled and died for us and we proclaim that the Gospel is a means to prosperity, power and influence. Church services look more like pop concerts and the preaching is only a babbling collection of self-absorbed slogans and how God wants us to be happy!

No, God wants us to be holy!

Where is the message of repentance? Where is the ‘”If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me”‘?

Folks, the message of the cross is foolishness and offensive to the world. Paul told us that 19 1/2 centuries ago.

Paul also told us that if he wanted to please the world, he would not be a follower of Christ.

Can you imagine Elijah having a chat with the wicked King Ahab about how we can ‘Coexist’? Or, do you think John the Baptist should have opened a dialogue with Herod about tolerance?

No, those mighty men of God were sent to confront the leaders of their time about the sin in the society! Why is it that our evangelicals spend their time trying to cozy up and make nice with our politicians while there are souls perishing hourly and going into a Christ-less eternity?

This is the message that will transform this culture and turn this country around.

Take Off Your Shoes!

HOLY GROUND – The Only Way To Become Holy
by David Wilkerson

moses_burning_bush_bysantine_mosaicGod can´t use a man until He gets him on holy ground. A holy God must have a holy man on holy ground.

Holy ground is not a physical place, but a spiritual one. When God commanded Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, He was not referring to a two-by-four piece of real estate. He was talking about a spiritual state.

God called Moses from the burning bush, commanding him: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. . .” (Exodus 3:5).

The place was holy! What place? The spiritual condition he had finally come to. Moses had arrived at a place in his growth where God could get through to him. He was now at the place of reception, ready to listen. He was mature and ready to be dealt with by a holy God.

Please don´t think for a moment that Moses alone was on holy ground. So was all of Israel, even though they were at the end of their hope. I have never believed God would keep an entire nation under slavery just to give Moses time to mature into a gracious leader. Our Lord is no respecter of persons. God, in those 40 trying years, was preparing Israel as well as Moses. By way of loving judgment, the Lord was driving Israel back to holy ground – back to a hunger for Jehovah.

While Moses was on the mountain being stripped of all his rights – because that is what was meant by the removal of his shoes – Israel was in the valley being stripped of all human strength. Moses would have no rights; Israel, no strength. God could prove Himself strong on their behalf in no other way. The great “I AM” was being revealed!

Why We Don’t Have Revival

WHY WE DON'T HAVE REVIVAL
by Leonard Ravenhill
                            
praying hands w open bibleIn an old town in Ireland they'll show you
with reverence a place where four young men
met night after night after night praying 
for revival. In Wales,there's a place in 
the hills where three or four young men 
only 18 or 19 years old met and prayed 
night after night. They wouldn't let God
go; they would not take no for an answer. 
As far as humanly possible they prayed a 
revival into birth. If you're thinking of revival at your church without any
inconvenience, forget it. Revival costs a lot. 

   I can give you one simple reason why we don't have revival in America. 
Because we're content to live without it. We're not seeking God - we're seeking
miracles, we're seeking big crusades, we're seeking blessings. In Numbers 11, 
Moses said to God, "You're asking me to carry a burden I can't handle. Do some-
thing or kill me!" Do you love America enough to say, "God, send revival or 
kill me"? Do you think it's time we changed Patrick Henry's prayer from, 
"Give me liberty or give me death," to "Give me revival or let me die"? 

   In the 30th chapter of Genesis, Rachael goes to Jacob and throws herself
down in despair. She says, "Give me children or else I die." Are you willing 
to throw yourself down before God to seek the spiritual birth of spiritual 
children in our country? 

   People say, "I'm filled with the Holy Spirit." If the coming of the Spirit
didn't revolutionize your prayer life, you'd better check on it. I'm not so 
sure you got what God wanted you to get. 

   We've said that prayer changes things. No! Prayer doesn't change things. 
Prayer changes people and they change things. We all want Gabriel to do the
job. God says do it yourself - with My sufficiency and My strength. 

We need to get like this woman, Hannah. What did she do? She wept, she was 
grieved, she said she had a complaint, she fasted - and she prayed. 

   Jesus, the anointed of God, made prayer His custom. Paul, with his back-
ground and intellect, depended on prayer because he said he was weak. David,
the king, called himself a poor man and cried to the Lord. Hannah prayed for
a son and gave birth to a prophet. The prayers of a handful of young men 
sparked revival. 

There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer. 

Copyright (C)1995 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale, Texas.

Set A Place For Elijah

Elisha_looking_at_Prophet_Elijah_on_Chariot_of_FireSET A PLACE AT THE END OF THE TABLE FOR ELIJAH; LISTEN WELL TO HIM, FOR HE’S COMING SOON ~ Feb. 26, 2003

Every year during the Feast of Passover an extra place is set at the table for the prophet Elijah in expectation of his return. In the Bible it is written, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Yehovah).” – Malachi 4:5 

Those who set a place for Elijah; who welcome him, heed his message, support his mission, or operate in his spirit, will be provided for, even in drought and famine. The drought and famine which came upon Israel in Elijah’s time was a type or figure of an endtime spiritual famine.

1Ki 17:1  And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
1Ki 17:7  And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
1Ki 17:8  And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
1Ki 17:9  Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
1Ki 17:10  So he arose and went to Zarephath.  And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
1Ki 17:11  And as she was goingto fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
1Ki 17:12  And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have no a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
1Ki 17:13  And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
1Ki 17:14  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
1Ki 17:15  And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
1Ki 17:16  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.

The famine came about because Elijah gave a decree to “shut up the heavens” so that no rain fell for a period of three and one half years.  Three and one half years is mentioned in Revelation 11:3, 12:6 &14, & Dan 7:25.  In 1 Ki 17:1, the exact number of years isn’t specified, however, Luke tells us the rain was shut up by Elijah at Zarephath which belongs to Zidon (Gk. Sidon), for 3 1/2 years.  —

Luk 4:25  But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
Luk 4:26  But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. A ‘widow’ in the Bible is an apostate ‘church’ from whom God’s Spirit has departed!  Isa. 47:7-9 & Rev. 18:7

Elijah went to only one of the many widows in Israel because God directed him to go to a certain place (Zidon) where He had appointed a widow there (a Gentile) to sustain him.  She was preparing her last meal when Elijah found her, 1 Ki 17:12. Why did Yahweh choose a poor, starving widow to sustain Elijah? She and her son were near death from starvation, yet she gave her last portion of bread and oil to the prophet! Most of us give out of our abundance, not out of our need. For her act of kindness, God rewarded her with abundant supply; Sidon (H6718) means provision, food. After she fed Elijah, God miraculously caused her cruse of oil and barrel of meal to stay full! When we show mercy, God returns the favor – Lk. 6:36 & 38. Those who aid God’s prophets will receive a prophet’s reward (Mt 10:41), but woe to those who harm them (1 Chron. 16:22 and Psalm 105:15).

To “SET A PLACE AT THE END OF THE TABLE FOR ELIJAH” means to make room for him; welcome him, his message, and his mission. It also means to show him respect because he’s one of God’s messengers. As dignitaries of a city, country, or kingdom are seated at the end (or head) of a table to honor them, so should we treat God’s messenger.

“LISTEN WELL TO HIM” means listening attentively so you can carry out his instructions with precision and diligence.  Giving him your full attention is also a way of honoring him.  Heeding Elijah during the last days is vital to obtaining God’s provision through it.

* The Rhema, Set A Place For Elijah.… was given to me on Feb. 26, 2003.  At that time I believed it to be a personal word for myself alone, but now believe it’s also for the corporate Body of Christ for the end time tribulation.  I believe this because when a cross reference led me to Lk 4:24, my my eyes fell upon verses 25 – 27 where several things stood out to me; the 3 1/2 year period, the drought and famine, and that Elijah went to only one widow though there were many.  After praying and meditating on that passage and the one which Luke was referring to, there seemed to be a connection between Elijah, the end time, and the provision of God.  The King James Version of the Bible gives 1 Ki 1:17 as a cross reference for Jms 5:17.

Elijah was a man subject to like passions as as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months – James 5:17 and Luke 4:25.  During the end time there will be great tribulation (Mt 24:21), drought and famine, the type of which occured in the days of Elijah.  Those who come in the spirit of Elijah, like that prophet, have the power to shut heaven, THAT IT RAIN NOT IN THE DAYS OF THEIR PROPHECY (Rev 11:6).

Rain is a metaphor for the doctrine or teachings of the Word of God – Deu 32:2, My doctrine shall drop as the rain; My speech shall distil as the dew, As the small rain upon the tender grass, And as the showers upon the herb.  Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater; Isa 55:11  so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: Jas 5:7 Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain.  Latter Rain (G3797) literally means the ‘spring rain’ of March and April, but figuratively means the latter, or end time, outpouring of God’s Spirit and revelation of His Word —

Hos 6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Act 2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and you daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Act 2:18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: (Joel 2:28)

We have yet to receive the fullness of the Latter Rain; the heavens have been shut up because men’s hearts have grown callous to the Truth, and have turned aside from it and their Maker, to follow other gods; SELF, pleasure, mammon, fame, material possessions, status, and power –

Amo 8:11  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.
Amo 8:12  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Amo 8:13  In that day shall the fair virgins and the young men faint for thirst.

Isa 5:4  What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
Isa 5:5  And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be1 eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
Isa 5:6  And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
Isa 5:7  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Isa 5:8  Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!
Isa 5:9  In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.
Isa 5:11  Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
Isa 5:12  And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.
Isa 5:13  Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Isa 5:14  Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
Isa 5:15  And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:

Since the LORD (Yahweh) is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, His truth is applicable to every Age, ours included (2 Tim 3:16, Rms 15:4, Lk 4:4).  Though the Isaiah 5 chapter was written to Israel, it’s principles apply also to us in this present Age.  From examples of how God dealt with backsliding Israel, we see that He doesn’t wink at those who go whoring after other gods in any form.  Nothing and no one is to take His place in our hearts; Yahweh is always to be first in our thoughts and deeds.  We often fall short of this standard and when we do, we need to confess our sin (G266 hamartia) to God and repent (G3340; change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins) Mt 4:17, Lk 13:3.  When we do, He immediately forgives and cleanses us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9), but repentance, or at least a sincere resolve to turn away from sinning and back to God, must follow our confession or else we deceived ourselves (James 1:22-24, 1 Cor 6:9, Gal 6:7) and, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

In the end time many of God’s people will ‘fall away’ or ‘apostasize’ from the faith (2 Thess. 2:3).  Many have substituted worship of the Creator with worship of fleshly, earthly pleasures, lusts, and pursuits; which Yahweh calls IDOLATRY!  All who worship these things, even those among God’s people, are guilty of idolatry, and unless they REPENT (Rev 2:22), will continue to suffer severe lack of spiritual nourishment.  That’s the punishment or natural consequence of apostasy and turning away from God and His Word —

Pro 1:24  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
Pro 1:25  But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
Pro 1:26  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

Like the widow of Zarephath, God’s people are extremely thirsty and hungry for spiritual nourishment during this end time famine of the hearing of his words.  We desperately need a revival of hearing the true words of God, and of a mighty outpouring of his Spirit – like rain upon parched soil!

We need reviving not only that we may be sustained, but that we may have power to witness to the nations, and preach the Gospel to every creature under heaven.  Let’s fast and pray that we may be revived again, and fulfill the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth!  We are called to be His Witnesses, may we not fail our gracious Savior and Lord who paid for our Redemption by the shedding of His precious, sinless Blood.

When there’s no rain, what shall we do?

Repent!  If there’s unconfessed sin in our lives, we need to confess it so we can be cleansed, then repent or turn back to the Lord and keep His Word.  Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have  mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Pro 1:23  Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words  unto you.

Act 3:19  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

‘times of refreshing’ means REVIVAL!  G403 anapsuxis, From G404; a recovery of breath [Strong].
‘converted’ – G1994 epistrephō; to turn to the worship of the true God; turn back, return, come back [Thayer]. Compare to Pr 1:23 ‘turn’ H7725; turn back, return, repent!

Make music!  Praise and worship Yahweh with instruments and singing.  Through music, the power, means, and direction of the Lord may be bestowed —

2Ki 3:15  But now bring me a minstrel.  And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
2Ki 3:16  And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.
2Ki 3:17  For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.
2Ki 3:18  And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD:
2Ki 3:20  And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

In this passage we see Elisha, Elijah’s successor, getting direction from God through music.  The YAD H3027, or ‘open hand’ of God, bestows His power, means (provision), and direction.

God provided because the prophet Elisha heard and heeded the direction God gave him, “Make this valley full of ditches,” and because the men heard and heeded that word through Elisha.  The valley was possibly a wadi, or brook which had dried up and with no rain in sight, it didn’t look good for the men and their beasts.  What appears hopeless or impossible to us, is “a light thing” (H7043 qâlal; small, easy, trifling) for the LORD.  God can make water appear out of nowhere, even from a rock (Exo. 17:6).

Dig ditches!  If your wadi is dried up, start digging!  Make trenches to contain the water so that when it comes, it won’t run off into the desert and evaporate in the heat of the scorching sun (trials and tribulations). In other words, PREPARE yourself, get ready to receive the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When we acknowledge our emptiness, God can then come and fill us! If we insist we have need of nothing (Rev. 3:17), nothing is all we’ll have.

Their digging ditches before they saw clouds or felt any raindrops, showed their faith. Likewise, we show our faith when we take steps to prepare ourselves for what God has promised to do in our lives, long before we see any signs of it’s fulfillment.  

During the end time, which began in Jesus’ day (1 Jn 2:18, Heb 1:2, 1 Pet 1:20), there’s a great famine of the hearing the Words of God because of which, God sends his prophets to “prepare his way, and make ready a people for their God.” We need to depend upon the LORD for our sustenance; he will provide. – Malachi 3:1, Mt 3:3, Isa 62:10

May all who hear (shama H8085) His Voice pay heed (qashab H7181), now and forever, Amen.

Debra R. Stout © Feb. 28, 2015

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