Christianity, current events, God, religion, Uncategorized

From Rome to Corinth, and Back Again: Reclaiming What Was Taken from Us

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10: 16, NASB Update)

When Paul wrote to the Roman church, its congregation was composed of Jews and Gentiles. It was no doubt Roman Jews in Jerusalem during Pentecost that carried the Gospel back to Rome and was a factor in starting this church. It would be nice if the Gospel message of unity was in full effect in the Roman church, but there was rivalry between Jews and Gentiles. The birth pangs of division were starting to sprout to be felt, so Paul had to remind the Roman church that “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him” (Rom 10: 12, NASB Update).

 
If the Roman church was experiencing the birth pangs of division, the Corinthian church had delivered the baby. Paul writes:

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Cor 1: 11-13, NASB Update)

This persuasion did not come from the Lord or the word of God, but from man-made doctrines that cause division and contention. We still see this division today. If you visit a Baptist church, you find a congregation of Baptists. The same holds true for Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc. Most of the time, the only people who are not of the same persuasion are visitors. But let me ask you this, when was the last time you saw a Jewish believer in your congregation? In all of my days in church, I can honestly say I have never seen it, and this ought not to be.

 
Where are the Jews?

 
After the Holy Spirit filled believers on Pentecost and Peter gave his sermon, the believers returned home taking the word with them, but they only spoke to Jews. Later God gave Peter a revelation about the Gentiles; they were to be fellow heirs of salvation! This was confirmed when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just like He did in Jerusalem with the Jews (Acts 10: 1-48). God’s will is to tear down the wall between Jew and Gentile and so create one flock, as His word said. Unity is something the Adversary doesn’t like, and soon he was fanning the flames of rivalry between believing Jews and Gentiles. The split became a chasm when church leadership argued that because the Jews rebelled against the Savior and had Him killed, therefore God transferred the covenants and promises from the Jews to the Church; they also changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday to make a clear distinction between Jews and Gentiles. This is part of replacement theology, and it is a sickness that still affects the Church today. It has a terrible legacy; Church leadership used this man-made doctrine to justify persecuting the Jews instead of loving them as the Lord commanded. Martin Luther did try to reconcile the Church with the Jews in his early writings, but later he became anti-Semitic and argued for synagogues to be destroyed and Jewish wealth to be confiscated. His latter writings were so poisonous that they were used by Hitler’s Third Reich to justify the “final solution,” which was the extermination of the Jews. Centuries of oppression and persecution by those who called themselves Christians has caused Jews to turn away the Gospel message. Even mentioning the name of Jesus can provoke a strong reaction with some people.

 
The word of God tells us that there will always be a believing remnant, and so there has always been a believing Jewish remnant: “The Messianic Jews.” I believe what God wants in these last days is to depart from the Corinthian church and its many divisions (Baptists, Pentecostals, Nazarenes, et al.) and again become one flock in which Jews and Gentiles worship the Savior together as they did in Rome (minus the rivalry, of course).

 
What you have been missing

 
Replacement theology has done a lot of damage, one of which was causing the Church to disregard the Feasts of the Lord. It’s been argued that since we are under grace, and not the Law, we don’t need to be concerned about such things. “That would be legalistic” is something I have heard. May I say to you friend, you’ve been misled and missed a great blessing. It’s premature to dismiss the feasts as something we don’t need to worry about anymore. Here’s what I mean.

 
It was written in the Torah that the men of Israel were to assemble in Jerusalem three times a year for the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Two thousand years ago the Jews saw the Passover fulfilled when Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. On Pentecost the Jews saw Joel’s prophecy fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers. The Feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled, and one day when the people gather in Jerusalem, the Lord will fulfill it before their eyes just like He did on Passover and Pentecost. Wouldn’t you like to be on hand when that happens? Until the Lord returns, each time the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) is celebrated, it’s like a dress rehearsal for the real event. With that in mind, here is my recommendation.

 
You are invited!

 
I know this will be short notice for many of you, but I feel it strongly to make you aware of the upcoming holy days. Most of us have never been to these celebrations and they have passed unnoticed, but I hope that will be different after this year because I am inviting you. Rosh Hashanah (New Year) will begin at sundown October 2 and end on the evening of October 4. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) will begin at sundown on October 11 and end

the sukkah

Celebrating Tabernacles

on the evening of October 12, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) begins at sundown on October 16 and ends the evening of October 23. I would strongly encourage everyone to find a Messianic congregation and observe these events this year and see what you have been missing out on. These events are part of our heritage as believers, but replacement theology has caused the Church to disregard them. Let’s reclaim them and experience them first hand, and in so doing we help restore the unity of the one flock that the Lord established. If you are able to participate, please share your experience with others (and I would like to hear about it too!). Be blessed!

 

edited_1444013971579

Rewinding the Torah scroll

Elul 23, 5776

 
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3: 27-28, NASB Update)

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Completing the Reformation: Restoring the things lost by replacement theology

 

14 Nov 2014

21 Cheshvan 5775

“Let the Lion Roar” made a great start in alerting us to the damage caused by replacement theology (RT) so we can make the necessary changes and return to the original condition of the Church. There are some additional things not mentioned in the movie we can all do that will help mend the damaged caused by RT. These things may not seem profound in themselves, but they are all things we can do on an individual level that can help complete the Reformation.

Restore the Sabbath. Many Christians are surprised when I say this because they believe they are already observing the Sabbath on Sunday. Even some major businesses like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby close on Sunday so their employees can attend services and be with their families, so why would I ask my readers to restore the Sabbath? I say this because Sunday is not the Sabbath. The actual day of rest that God gave us falls on Saturday, not Sunday. In the course of church history, men influenced by RT changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. One of the reasons the early Church gave for this change was the fact that the Lord was raised on Sunday, and Sunday was also the day God began the work of creation, not Saturday. The attitude of the early Church to the Sabbath can be seen as follows:

The sabbath symbolizes Moses, and Christians hope not in Moses but in Christ; the Christian does not think himself pious for keeping one day idle, but for keeping a continual sabbath. The sabbath was given for the hardness of the Jews’ hearts—(Dictionary of Christian Biography)

The fathers did not regard the Christian Sunday as a continuation of, but as a substitute for, the Jewish Sabbath, and based it not so much on the fourth commandment, and the primitive rest of God in creation, to which the commandment expressly refers, as upon the resurrection of Christ and the apostolic tradition. There was a disposition to disparage the Jewish law in the zeal to prove the independent originality of Christian institutions. The same polemic interest against Judaism ruled in the paschal controversies, and made Christian Easter a moveable feast. Nevertheless, Sunday was always regarded in the ancient church as a divine institution, at least in the secondary sense, as distinct from divine ordinances in the primary sense, which were directly and positively commanded by Christ, as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Regular public worship absolutely requires a stated day of worship.—(The History of the Christian Church)

It is a fact of history that men changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, but there is no Divine mandate for this change. God never changed the day the Sabbath falls on. If the Lord of the Sabbath never made the change, who are we to change God’s calendar on our own authority? As we can see from the second quote, this change resists the Jewish law since it sought to “prove the independent originality of Christian institutions.” It’s time to end this travesty and restore the Sabbath to Saturday, but this won’t be easy.

Restoring the Sabbath to Saturday may make many people uncomfortable. Saturday has a special place in our hearts, but not as a day of rest and worship. For some, Saturday has become a day of recovering from the excesses of Friday night. Others occupy Saturday with Little League practice, soccer games, shopping, and generally doing whatever we want. The original intention of God to make this as a day of rest and devotion to God has clearly been effaced. In order to restore the Sabbath (and also help complete the Reformation) we must be willing to set these things aside and make Saturday the Sabbath again. This has many advantages for those who will pursue it and no disadvantages, unless you count missing out on your former Saturday activities as a disadvantage. When we observe the original Sabbath, we are really obeying the command of God to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20: 8-11). And the testimony of Scripture is clear about this; obedience brings blessing. Obedience also brings us closer to Him, can there be any higher reward than that? As we approach Yeshua’s return, God is realigning the misshapen and deformed beliefs the church has embraced in RT to its original defaults.

This course of action may not be accepted by all my readers. Many people may be loath to make this change because they want their Saturday for themselves. Some may hide under RT’s argument that this change would be counted as legalism, which is something we shouldn’t do since we are under grace. Some may just say “Saturday or Sunday, what’s the difference?” To all these objections I ask this: What’s really in your heart? Is your heart devoted to God and doing the things that please Him, or following the flawed doctrines of men who arbitrarily changed the day of rest to Sunday? Without Divine sanction, how can we ever say that changing the Sabbath day is acceptable? When we honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, it is a witness to the world of our covenant with God, marks us as a peculiar people, brings honor to God, and it allows the world to see the Father’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven. Where is the disadvantage in any of this?

Restore the name Yeshua to the Son of God. Some people may argue that this is just splitting hairs. After all, what does it matter if we call the Son of God Jesus or Yeshua as long as we know who we are talking about? Some may argue that the name Jesus was wrongfully appropriated by unenlightened people in the past, and that it should be our job to reclaim the name and restore it to its proper place of veneration. Whatever your conviction, I won’t be dogmatic about this, but I would like to explain why I believe this has merit. The names of Yeshua and Jesus have different origins. According to Derek Frank, the trend to replace Israel:

had even gone so far as replacing meaningful Hebrew names with Gentile ones. We can only speculate about the extent of the demonic strategy that lay behind the stripping of these names. Especially because there is power in honoring the name of Yeshua, Jesus real name, which means “God is salvation.” (Escaping the Great Deception, p. 18)

The first reason we ought to restore Yeshua as the name of the Son of God because we need to end the work of RT and complete the Reformation. “Yeshua” is our Savior with His Jewish identity intact, but He became “Jesus,” who was a Savior who did not have a clear Jewish identity, which was something RT wanted. If RT had influenced Martin Luther to believe the Church now possessed the covenants and promises, he may have had this non-Jewish Messiah in mind when he believed that the Jews would “come over to us” when they heard the good news of the Gospel. On the other hand, “Yeshua” reminds us that the Son of God was Jewish, and so when we are saved, it becomes clear that we are in communion with Him, and that we are grafted into the tree of the people of Israel. In other words, it helps remind us that we go over to the Jews when we become believers, they do not come over to us.

The second reason we should consider this is because “Jesus” has become associated with many bad things in the Jewish community. RT has so altered the teachings and perception of Jesus that the Jews have now come to associate persecution and violent aggression with the name of Jesus and the church. It has hardened many Jewish hearts against the Gospel and caused them to turn away from the truth. Referring to Yeshua as the Son of God allows us to break with the past and move away from the bad things that have been associated with the RT’s version of Jesus. In this sense, Yeshua and Jesus couldn’t be more different. RT’s version of Jesus created by the church demanded forced conversions and total repudiation of Jewish identity. On the other hand, Yeshua humbly knocks at the door of our heart and allows us to decide whether we will open the door. When I use the name Yeshua, I mean the authentic Messiah of Scripture who knocks at the door; the same Yeshua who makes Jews and Gentiles into one flock. I also prefer Yeshua because it is more faithful to the original. I encourage everyone who finds value in this to begin using Yeshua as the way to refer to our Savior. Let us work together to end RT, complete the Reformation, and introduce Yeshua to the Jewish community and the world.

The sins of RT are a matter of historical record; therefore part of completing the Reformation and healing our relations with the Jewish community must take this into consideration. Even a cursory reading of history shows how the visible church mistreated, demonized, and persecuted the Jews in the name of Jesus through the centuries. The sins and errors of our ancestors are clearly part of this problem; sins committed in the past leave a legacy that can still have detrimental effects on us today and keep us from reaching our full potential. Confessing the sins of the fathers must not be confused with our personal confession when we first believed. Our initial confession forgave the sins we committed, but the entanglements of the sins of our ancestors remains in force until they are confessed and their power is broken. Don’t take this lightly; the sins of the past can be powerful influences in life as this portion of Scripture shows:

In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

2 Kings 15:8-9 (ESV)

If you read about the kings of Israel, you cannot help but notice that the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat are constantly mentioned as their downfall. The sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat still had an adverse effect long after he died. Not only that, it appears that unresolved sins of the past can also increase in intensity:

And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.

1 Kings 14:22 (ESV)

The only way to stop the effects of sins committed in the past is to confess the sins of our ancestors. Confessing the sins of the past is the first step to departing from them and breaking the power they have to affect us today and our posterity. The Scriptures tells us:

But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.

Lev 26:40-42 (ESV)

When the Babylonian captives returned to the land of Israel, Nehemiah and the people confessed and broke with the sins of the fathers (Nehemiah 9: 1-38). They did not want to repeat history; they wanted to be free from the entanglements of sins in the past so they could be a holy and righteous people for the Lord. Derek Frank includes a testimony on page 106 about this also in his book “Escaping the Great Deception.” We need to confess these sins so our walk will not be affected by past sins. When we are free from the power of past sins, we can walk before the Lord and be perfect. This good witness provokes the Jews to jealousy so that they will want what we have (unlike the fruit of RT, which dives the Jews away). This helps complete the Reformation because it reunites Jews and Gentiles again in one flock, which was the original condition of the church Yeshua established (John 10: 16).

Having said all this, everything I have mentioned is within the power of every reader to perform. You must decide whether the true Sabbath will be honored in your home, whether you use the name Yeshua to refer to our Savior, and whether you will confess the sins of your ancestors and break their power. If you would like to craft a prayer to confess the sins of your ancestors, you can use the prayer of Nehemiah 9: 1-38 as a template which you can customize for your own circumstances. Pray about these things, and if Yeshua leads you, pursue these things fully.

May the Lord Yeshua bless you, my beloved.

Messianic Jewish Symbol

Standard
Uncategorized

Build your sukkah: Reports of the Old Testament’s demise are greatly exaggerated

This post is a continuation of my review of the movie “Let the Lion Roar,” and I want to elaborate more on replacement theology’s error of New Testament (NT) primacy, which is to prefer the NT over the Old Testament (OT). Although Derek Frank does not specifically address this aspect of replacement theology in the “Let the Lion Roar” movie, he almost sounds like he alludes to it in this quote from the accompanying book “Escaping the Great Deception.” In this book, Derek Frank says:

The father of lies has misrepresented the gospel by luring the body of believers away from its Jewish roots. Bending the truth as he did in Eden, he has managed to convince Gentile believers that the original Hebraic context was irrelevant. Restoring the Gospel from the Great Deception will leave us dissatisfied with partial truth and make us hungry for it as a whole. (p. 63)

It would have been wonderful if he was addressing replacement theology’s NT primacy error, but the context makes this impossible. Nevertheless it remains true that replacement theology prefers the NT over the OT, and just like Derek Frank says about the Great Deception, NT primacy also “has managed to convince Gentile believers that the original Hebraic context was irrelevant.” Consequently, many Christians and the Christian culture in general have become unwitting adherents to this error. Consider this experience I recently had.

Yesterday I visited a local Christian bookstore to ask about books and/or audio/visual resources to help people become more knowledgeable about the feasts of the Bible. This store had plentiful resources for apologetics, church history, sermon helps, marriage, personal finance, Christian living, witnessing, etc., but only one wall poster and one DVD for the feasts. I then pulled a handbook for Christian living off the shelf to see if it had anything to say about celebrating the feasts of the Bible. There was no mention of celebrating the feasts at all, and I could not help but see the preference for the NT at work. It’s like the OT is not as worthy of our attention and observance as the NT, and that is wrong.

Those who prefer the NT over the OT argue that we are no longer under the law, but under grace. It is true that Yeshua came to deliver us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal 3: 13), but does that mean we can disregard the OT as a guide for the believer today? Absolutely not!

The OT has much that we need to know in order to live a life that is pleasing to God, but when we use the terms OT and NT, we inadvertently help perpetuate the error that the shelf life of the OT has somehow expired. Scripture is Scripture, and that is how we ought to regard all of it without preferring one portion of it over another. Paul wrote that “All [emphasis added] Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” 2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV). We should remember that when Paul wrote those words, the NT canon was incomplete. He included all of Scripture in this pronouncement (e.g. the Law and the Prophets). If Paul tells us that there is profit in all of Scripture, do replacement theology adherents have greater revelation than Paul? That cannot be true. But can replacement theology be in error? Yes indeed.

The OT was the guide that Yeshua had when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Far from disregarding it, Yeshua perfectly fulfilled the law. If He can live a life that is pleasing to God based on the OT, then there must be vital information we also need to mine from this source. I have heard it said that the OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed. This is true. The NT and OT are one Word of God woven together in a seamless fashion. Yeshua guided His life by the Scriptures, and He did it in the way that was acceptable to God, not like the scribes and Pharisees who followed manmade doctrines. He understood the things that God freely gave Him. As an obedient Son, Yeshua was in Jerusalem at the appointed feast times. If He honored and reverenced the feasts of the Lord in the OT, are we better? Didn’t He say we would do the same works as He did?

Think about this; Yeshua was able to properly understand the Law and the Prophets. He saw the NT in the OT, but that is only possible with the right teacher. Yeshua was not taught by man; He was taught by the Father. Yeshua was one with the Father, so He had the same spirit with God. This allowed Him to understand the Word of God. We must remember that the Law is spiritual (Rom 7: 14), therefore it can only be understood when we have the same spirit that Yeshua had. As Paul wrote:

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

1 Cor 2:11-13 (ESV)

The Scriptures contain His thoughts toward us; we need His spirit to understand them.  Having the mind of Christ gives us understanding the world will never arrive at. This was why Simeon and Anna knew who the baby Yeshua really was (Luke 2: 25-38). This is why Yeshua commended Simon for knowing who He really was (Matt 16:16-17). It allows us to see the NT in the OT. Yeshua’s preaching was in demonstration of the spirit and power because He had God’s spirit. This was why Yeshua was able to teach with authority, and not as the scribes.

Let’s also ask ourselves this: Can we really prefer the NT over the OT if the OT still has “unfinished business?” The OT contains prophecies and events that have yet to be fulfilled just like the NT (e.g. Revelation), so it seems dangerous and unreasonable to disregard the OT if its business has not been completed.

The one who prefers the NT over the OT may ask “does the OT have “continuing application and relevance” for today’s believer?” Yes it does, and this can be easily shown when Yeshua was asked about the greatest commandment:

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matt 22:35-40 (ESV)

Now notice this: These commandments are in the Law (Duet 6: 4 and Lev 19: 18). If the we are no longer under the Law because of grace, and consequently it has nothing to say to a believer under grace, does that mean that since these two commandments are also found in the Law, that they are not to be regarded as guides for our lives today? That doesn’t agree with the words of the Lord or the writings of the Apostles. For example, John exhorts his audience “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” 1 John 3:11 (ESV). The Lord Yeshua affirmed these commandments and the Apostles echoed it. Since this is so, it can be stated with confidence that the OT still has continuing application and relevance for today’s believer. This is where the feasts come in, and why they are still relevant to believers today.

All the males in Israel were required to appear before the Lord three times a year (Exodus 23: 17): The appointed times were for Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. When the Jews assembled in Jerusalem some two thousand years age, they witnessed the fulfillment of the Passover when Yeshua was crucified; they witnessed the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that the Lord would pour out His spirit on all flesh during Pentecost; but Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled. You may ask, what’s so special about the Feast of Tabernacles? The Feast of Tabernacles is a dress rehearsal for the return of the Messiah! At some future Feast of Tabernacles, the assembled Jews will witness the Lord return to the Mount of Olives and begin His thousand year rule among us. Not only that, the Feast of Tabernacles will happen at its appointed times during Yeshua’s millennial reign with international participation with Jews and Gentiles:

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles]. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

Zech 14:16-19 (ESV)

This “unfinished business” ought to be high on our minds, but the nefarious work of replacement theology has convinced many people that the feasts of the OT are expired and consequently they pay them no mind. This is so wrong, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with the feasts and what they were about. This is especially true since we are in the midst of four blood moons. The first has already occurred during Passover 2014, the next will be 8 October 2014 during the Feast of Tabernacles, with the final two blood moons will occur on Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in 2015. The last blood moon will be a super moon visible over Jerusalem. It’s no accident that these blood moons appear on Jewish feast days; serious events are about to occur that point to the coming Tribulation. We need to be like the wise virgins and prepare beforehand for these things (Matt 25:1-13).

The only sure refuge we will have in the coming Tribulation will be in the Lord Yeshua Himself. This is the time to draw close to God and be about His business. If you have not received God’s forgiveness for your sins, I would strongly urge my reader to repent and be reconciled to God while there is still time. We have this precious promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (ESV). Give Him your whole life and everything it contains; don’t hold anything back from Him. Confess your sins and failures, and He will give you forgiveness, love, mercy, and make you into a new person. Believe in Him, and you will live forever. Come to the Lord and see that He is good! And then tell me about your experience so I can rejoice with you.

Completing the Reformation must also include doing away with the preference for the NT and regarding all of Scripture as valid for us today. Every jot and tittle in God’s word is there by design; it has a purpose, and does not return to God void. Focusing on only part of the Scriptures leaves a believer spiritually anemic and frustrates the purpose of God to fully equip every believer. The Lord does not want believers who are spiritually weak and sickly; He wants strong, mature believers who eat solid food, and this happens when we avail ourselves of all the Scriptures.

To give you a taste of the Feast of Tabernacles, I recommend visiting with a Messianic Fellowship and participating in the feast with them. When I started going to the feasts, it was like I was going home after a long absence. These have been wonderful experiences, and I encourage every reader to also experience the feasts for themselves. You are going to do it in the millennium anyway, why not get started now?

Here are some resources that will help get you started:

Leviticus 23: Passover, First-fruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles.

Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz (also in DVD)

Information about the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot):

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/4126/jewish/Sukkot.htm

How to build your tabernacle (sukkah):

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/420823/jewish/How-to-Build-a-Sukkah.htm

Keep calm and build your sukkah the sukkah

Standard
Uncategorized

Let the Lion Roar: Ending the damage of Replacement Theology

 

I have recently viewed the new movie “Let the Lion Roar,” and I thought it might be helpful to share some observations about it. The cast includes some big names in the Christian community such as Chuck Pierce, Dani Johnson, Jaci Velasquez, Sid Roth, and Mark Biltz, and this cast was one of the things that attracted me to this production in the first place. I would also like to make some additional inferences that were not directly mentioned in the movie.

The story centers on a vision that Derek Frank received about the church years ago. In this vision, he saw a building with Greek columns and heard the words “finish the reformation.” According to Derek Frank, it took some twenty years before the interpretation of these words became manifest. In the course of time God brought him to the very church building he saw in his vision, which turned out to be the church John Calvin preached from in Geneva during the Reformation.

The Protestant Reformation identified many egregious errors that were commonplace in the visible church of Martin Luther’s day. The Bible was in Latin, which restricted its audience to those who could understand it. This made it unavailable to the general public, and since the people couldn’t read the Bible for themselves, they couldn’t identify or challenge church practices that varied from the Scriptures. The church also used the doctrine of indulgences as a way to raise money. History records that that John Tetzel would tell the people that “as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” It made a mockery of grace and infuriated Martin Luther. He nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door to invite discussion about these abuses, but instead it mushroomed into a full blown revolt against the excesses of the Catholic Church. One of the most powerful things Martin Luther did to bring reform was to translate the Bible into the everyday language of the people. Now the common people could read the word of God for themselves, and it liberated them from the tyranny of the Catholic Church which sought to keep it for itself. It sounds like we are off to a great start, but as Derek Frank points out, a deception remained unchallenged that has brought all kinds of harm to the Jewish people and weakened the influence of the Gospel.

The problems Derek Frank identifies are anti-Semitism and replacement theology as its origin. Not many people are aware of the anti-Semitic writings of leaders of Martin Luther and John Calvin, but they are out there. Martin Luther’s writings against the Jews were especially tragic because Luther initially welcomed the Jews and wrote favorably about them. Later in life Luther became disillusioned with the Jews because “they didn’t come over to us” as he hoped they would, and so he denounced the Jews in public and in his writings. Hitler would later cite these very writings to justify the actions he took against the Jews. The man who did so much to challenge the abuses and excesses of the Catholic Church ended up advocating replacement theology and reviling God’s chosen people.

The key is “they didn’t come over to us;” Derek Frank points this out as the problem. Should the Jews come over to us at all? Or should we go over to them? Enter the doctrine of replacement theology (or supersessionism); this doctrine maintains that the church has replaced the nation of Israel (because the Jews rejected the Messiah) and that the covenants and promises were also transferred to the church. It also holds the primacy of the New Testament. This doctrine has helped make what should be good fruit on the tree bad.

Derek Frank makes a solid case for the damage caused by replacement theology and for refuting its tenets.  I agree that we must rid ourselves of any vestiges of this errant theology, and this production is a good start on that cure, but there is more damage that I would like to discuss that was not mentioned in this production. This is especially needful given the hour we are in.

We are about to witness the second of four blood moons (called a tetrad). The next blood moon will be visible during the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) on 8 October 2014. The next two blood moons will be visible during Passover and Feast of Tabernacles in 2015. These events signify that some very serious events are about to take place, but most people do not have any clue about the significance of these blood moons. I believe that the blame for this must be laid at the doorstep of replacement theology. When replacement theology establishes the primacy of the New Testament over the Old Testament, it has essentially put the cart in front of the horse. Let me explain.

The Old Testament is like a compass; it functions like a compass because it points us to the Savior of all mankind, the Lord Yeshua (Jesus). It is like a guide book that contains all the information we need to identify the Savior. Consider God’s instructions to Noah when he was constructing the Ark: it was to have one door (Gen 6: 16). There was only one entrance to the safety of the Ark. If we go to the New Testament, we read that the Lord describes Himself as a door and the only way to the Father (John 10: 7, 14: 6). One may argue, if we have found the Savior, what do we need the compass to find Him with anymore? That’s an interesting and flawed perspective. The fact is that the Old Testament is still a valuable guide to us and helps us understand the New Testament and things to come. The New Testament is woven into the fabric of the Old Testament, and vice versa. Yeshua and the Apostles constantly referred to Scriptures in the Old Testament, and if they needed to reference them, are we so much better that we can get along without the Old Testament? Among the many things the Old Testament tells us are the three times a year God has appointed to meet with us (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). If we read the New Testament with replacement theology glasses on, we regard these feasts of the Lord with nostalgia for something that no longer applies. That is more damage caused by errant replacement theology, and it needs to be rooted out of our thinking.

The feasts of the Lord are still important, and it is no accident that the blood moons will be visible during feasts when the Jews were to assemble in Jerusalem. When the Jews gathered in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, they witnessed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God during Passover. Later they witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost. At a future gathering of the Jews in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles, Yeshua will return and make His dwelling among us. This is why the Lord God brought the Jews back to their homeland, so that the Jews could gather again in Jerusalem for this future feast of Tabernacles to be fulfilled. Replacement theology dismisses any further relevance of the feasts, but that is not the case. It is unfortunate that many Christians who have unwittingly accepted the tenets of replacement theology (in whole or in part) don’t know anything about the significance of the feasts to the end times. They have neglected to make any serious study of the feasts or the Old Testament because they accept the primacy of the New Testament and regard its predecessor as over and done with.

There is not much time left, and if you are a Christian who has neglected the Old Testament, there is still time to catch up. I recommend the book “Blood Moons: Decoding the Immanent Heavenly Signs” by Mark Biltz (also available as a DVD) as a quick way to understand the feasts and the significance of the four blood moons. Don’t let the day of the Lord come upon you as a thief in the night; I encourage you to be like a wise virgin who properly prepares for  the coming of the Lord (Matt 25: 1-13).

Blood Moons by Mark Biltz Lion pride on a mission

Standard