Light on the Rock Blogs
Jesus began the model prayer he gave his disciples (Matthew 6:9–13), with the words “Our Father…” and some Christians feel this is a clear teaching that we should pray only to God the Father. This understanding does not doubt the divinity of Christ as the Son of God, but sees him as our intermediary or authority for prayer (Ephesians 2:18) which, it is presumed, should be addressed only to the Father himself. But the New Testament does not contain any prohibition against prayer to Jesus, and we should look carefully at what it does show.
The Teaching of Jesus
First, we should remember that the Lord’s Prayer is doubtless primarily a guide to prayer and not a prayer to be followed verbatim. For example, there is no thanksgiving mentioned within the prayer outline, though we know that giving thanks is an important part of prayer often stressed in the Bible (Ps. 100:4), by Jesus (Matthew 11:25) and by his apostles (1 Thessalonians 5:17–18). In the same way, the Lord’s Prayer does not include the words “in Jesus’ Name,” though we know from other scriptures they are right and proper to include in prayer. So the prayer outline need not be seen as limiting or exclusive. It was natural that Jesus himself prayed to the Father, and taught his disciples to do so, but that fact does not tell us whether prayer to Jesus is, or is not, acceptable.
We must also remember that Jesus received and accepted divine prerogatives such as worship and prayer during his lifetime (Matthew 2:11, 8:2, 14:33, 28:9, etc.). He specifically said we should honor him as we honor the Father (John 5:23), and he instructed his disciples not only to petition the Father in his name (John 15:16), but also said: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
The Example of Stephen
There are numerous apparent examples of prayers to Jesus in the words and writings of the apostles (Acts 1:24, James 1: 5-7, etc.), and one of the clearest examples of such prayer is found in the words of Stephen at his martyrdom. The Book of Acts tells us that “While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59-60). This verse not only records the prayer Stephen made to Jesus, but makes it explicit that it was a prayer and not a “statement” or any other form of speech, as is sometimes claimed. Stephen’s prayer is certainly not criticized by Luke – his direct prayer to Jesus as Lord is recorded as the final righteous act of a righteous servant of God.
The Writings of Paul
In writing to the church at Corinth the apostle Paul spoke of “… those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:1–2), indicating that at least on occasion these Christians prayed directly to Christ.
Paul also gives us an example of his own prayers to Jesus in saying he “besought the Lord” to remove his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:8). Not only does the title “Lord” usually signify Jesus in Paul’s writings, but also he specifically tells us that it was Jesus who replied to this prayer: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In some of his epistles Paul offers prayers for those to whom he is writing which specifically ask the blessing of both the Father and the Son on his readers (1 Thessalonians 3:11–14, 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17, etc.), and we find other glimpses of this same approach of addressing Jesus as well as the Father. To the Ephesians Paul wrote that believers should speak “… to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). It would surely be futile to suggest that we can sing praises to Jesus, but are not to address him in other ways.
In 1 Corinthians 16:22 Paul ends the verse with two Aramaic words that are almost certainly a simple prayer to Jesus: “Come Lord.” This is the wording followed by virtually all modern translations (NIV, ESV, HCSB, NKJ, NRSV, NAB, etc.).
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life" (John 3:16, Coulter Bible).
...oh, you're still here? I have experienced a number of people actually offended by the use of that scripture because of its perceived over-use within mainstream Christianity. Watch most any football game, NASCAR race, or any other major sports event on TV, and you are likely to see a "John 3:16" banner held by a fan within the stands. It is perhaps, the most used bible verse or most quoted bible verse, definitely the most publically displayed.
Does the frequency of its use, or of its public display, diminish its value and importance? Have you and I become jaded by that verse and so it’s lost its power with us?
In that one verse, do we recognize the power ("God so loved", "He gave", "His only begotten Son"), the hope ("everyone who believes in Him"), the promise ("not perish"), and the reward ("everlasting life")? It reveals the entire plan of God ... the begotten Son given as a sacrifice, after living a perfect human life, to pay a penalty of death to account for every sin committed by every human so that ultimately, every human has an opportunity to choose not to perish, but have eternal life. Wow! Incredible!
If we were to choose just one single verse to give us reason to live a life committed to following His example ("believes in Him"}, to keeping His commandments, His Holydays, His Passover, and receiving His promised reward, I would offer the opening verse: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life" (John 3:16, Coulter Bible).
If I were to ask to name one verse within the entirety of the bible that addresses the plan of God, I am sure a number of suggestions would be named. But is there a single verse that can succinctly define the plan any better than John 3:16? Let's take a look at two more:
1 John 4:9-11 “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” NKJV
Romans 5:8-9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” NKJV
Two more WOW verses that offer such hope from the death penalty that we have earned...but with, perhaps, not the distinct promise of eternal life we see stated in John 3:16.
Suffice it to say that those reading this are dedicated to a lifestyle that would lead toward the reward, "everlasting life", commonly referred to as "eternal life". In approximately five weeks, those dedicated will partake in THE MOST IMPORTANT OBSERVANCE of the entire year...every year...the Christian Passover. Observing the true Passover is not only commanded by Jesus Christ (Yeshua), but its participation is fundamental to salvation and eternal life.
John 14:6 "...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." NKJV
John 6:53-54 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. NKJV
Partakers of the Passover observance realize that the taking in of unleavened bread and a sip of wine are symbols of the New Covenant administered on the night of His (Yeshua's) last Passover. However, previous to the bread and wine, an event took place that is another important symbol to participate in during the Passover observance.
Click on “Continue Reading” to discover what else happened on that eventful Passover night and conclusions we might draw from all of this.
I was never in business, so the ways of the business world are often news to me. Take, for example, when I found out that some businesses have a direct private line to the CEO that is made available to the most important clients.
Not to the rest of us, of course. We have to go through the recording with a raft of choices only to hear “There are twelve people ahead of you” then perhaps eventually be transferred a couple of times and perhaps put on hold for several minutes before we finally get an answering machine. All this to call companies with only a few thousand callers. Can you imagine what it would be like if we had to reach our Heavenly Father by phone? “There are four million, three hundred and twenty-five thousand, seven hundred and fifty-six callers ahead of you.”
The truth is we all have a direct private line that is always there. It’s humbling to think that we are each, individually, important enough to Him to have a direct line to the CEO of the universe. We don’t have to wait on hold in order to get through eventually – the line we are given is direct and instant. At any time. There isn’t even a weekend plan where we have to wait to call because we are low on minutes. It’s really a wonderful thing that we so often take for granted. No downed or bad lines, no poor satellite signal, no answering machine or dropped calls – ever. We can actually reach our heavenly CEO faster than we can get through to our doctor’s office or the manager of the local grocery store. Have you ever given thanks for that?
The fact that we have direct access to our Heavenly Father is truly a great gift – and it is sad that many do not understand that the access is there, but believe they can only call on God through various intercessors. Jesus’ words are clear on this, however, that although we ask in His name (John 16:23) and are only able to approach through His sacrifice (John 14:6), we do not need any intercessor, but may pray directly to the Father (John 16:26, Matthew 6:9).
Another thing to remember is that our calls are always answered. Although we talk about answered prayer and unanswered prayer, I find it helps to remember that prayer is like a phone call that’s always answered. God is always there and the “phone” is always on. He may not give us what we ask for, or as quickly as we ask for it, for our own good, but we should remember the sincerely made call is always answered (Psalms 86:7, Jeremiah 33:3). Something else for which we should be constantly thankful.
There’s only one catch to the direct private line package, and it’s a relatively small one. We have to use it regularly for maximum effectiveness. It’s not like that legendary “hot line” between the leaders of the US and the old Soviet Union – there to be used if circumstances become desperate enough that it is needed. Remember Paul shows we should pray in all things. But it’s not hard to do. In fact, we don’t even need a reason to call. God is always desirous to hear from us and happy to take our call. So if you haven’t done that recently, why not make the call and give thanks for your direct private line!
R. Herbert (a pen name) served as an ordained minister and church pastor for a number of years. He holds a Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern and Biblical studies and writes for a number of Christian venues as well as for his websites at LivingWithFaith.org and TacticalChristianity.org.
Recent statistics suggest that as many as 40% to 50% of marriages in some developed countries end in divorce. The divorce statistics for second and third marriages are even higher (practice evidently does not improve performance), and these sad statistics underline the even more unfortunate truth that many of these divorces were undoubtedly preventable.
While some marriage splits are, of course, the result of adultery, drugs, alcohol, spousal abuse and other problems, the great majority of divorces claim “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for dissolution of the marriage bond. This is where the aspect of preventability enters into the picture. “Irreconcilable differences” is really just an expensive way of saying “incompatibility,” and at the heart of many divorces – and of problem marriages which somehow stay together – it is incompatibility that is so often cited as the underlying problem.
Now in most all cases where incompatibility is cited as an issue, it was not present at the beginning of the relationship (we doubt many couples who always considered themselves incompatible get married) – it is something the marriage partners feel “happened” as time progressed. But the truth is, incompatibility between a man and a woman usually never just “happens” – it is present, under the surface, all the time. It is simply that marriages begin to falter when couples begin to focus on their incompatibility. A century ago, in his bookWhat’s Wrong with the World, G.K. Chesterton put it this way:
“I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.”
These may be among the wisest words ever written on marriage problems. They are based on the undeniable fact that most marriages occur because “opposites attract.” But when marriage begins we are focusing on the “attract.” As marriages progress, if we are not careful, the focus switches to looking at, and dwelling on, the “opposites.” Our point of view shifts and we begin to see our relationship differently – and as we do, the problems develop.
Simple as it may sound, the quality of every marriage, and every day within every marriage, depends on how we look at our partner. We must remember it is not that beneath the attraction there are differences we must somehow try to suppress, but that the differences between us are so often the root and cause of the attraction itself – and we mean not just the sexual aspect, but the full range of psychological, spiritual and physical attraction.
A happy marriage is, then, always one of managed incompatibility. We can certainly do what we can to make it easier for our mates to deal with our differences where they are problematic (Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”), but each mate must concentrate on how he or she sees the other – we must continue to look at the attractive things about him or her. There is perhaps no more helpful scripture on this fact than the words of the apostle Paul:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
We render this wonderful advice useless by consigning it to nice thoughts about pleasant ethereal things. But this approach is a potent marriage problem solver. If we apply these words in the sphere of our relationship with our mate – in constantly looking for, affirming, complimenting the good things we appreciate about each other on every level – the matter of incompatibility usually becomes increasingly a non-issue.
Incompatibility is not the destroyer of marriage; it is the healthy tension that forms the basis of meaningful marriage relationships. The more we begin to see each other in a positive way and keep our focus there, the more we see attraction and the less we see opposites. In fact, we become more and more able to celebrate our incompatibility – and good things happen when we do. In the words of Genesis: “He created them male and female and blessed them….” (Genesis 5:2). We see God blessed the marriage relationships not generically as unisex, unithought, uniform pairs of mankind, but blessed us as male and female – blessed us in our differences.
COMMENT from Philip Shields, host of this website:
I couldn’t agree more. Please allow me to comment. My wife and I couldn’t be two more different people. I married my exact opposite. And so have many of you. This caused for many opportunities of seeing incompatibility, but it took us a long time to realize, as R Herbert explains, that this could be healthy. I also realize there truly are cases where couples are in a dangerous and toxic relationship – and I don’t refer to those – but even then, see what the Spirit can do before bolting from the marriage.
I have the highest respect for R. Herbert and have known him for decades. I believe too many marriages “give up” too soon when they hit the turbulent waters caused by two rivers (lives) coming together. Work through those incompatible turbulent times and smooth waters lie ahead when the 2 rivers value what each brings to the flow.
If my wife and I, married almost 42 years now, left every time we had a huge disagreement (OK – a fight) – of which there have been many – we’d have divorced long ago. But instead, we pray over our marriage, and we realize each brings qualities to the marriage the other does not have. If my wife was exactly like me in all perspectives and thoughts, why would I need her? And if I was exactly like her, why would she need me? It’s when we both grew up enough to VALUE the other’s viewpoint and request it, and when we learned to apologize more quickly and express our undying commitment to the marriage – that we grew in our marriage. I have given my wife cause to leave, but she felt she could trust the Holy Spirit to convict me and change me and that is what she saw happening, so we worked things out. Praise our King and God in heaven. Healthy incompatibility. I like it. It’s all in how you look at what you have in front of you. Thank you, R Herbert, for letting the Spirit of God speak through your pen. It’s worth a second reading, and a third.
R. Herbert (a pen name) served as an ordained minister and church pastor for a number of years. He holds a Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern and Biblical studies and writes for a number of Christian venues as well as for his websites at LivingWithFaith.org and TacticalChristianity.org.
We all know what God says about sexual acts of any kind outside of male-female marriage. They’re all ungodly. That includes adultery between heterosexuals, bestiality, or sexual activity between same-sex partners, fornication – any sexual activity before marriage, and a host of other sexual sins.
The marriage bed of a man and woman are undefiled before God (Hebrews 13:4) and HE will judge fornicators and adulterers. He doesn’t need our help in “judging” sexual sinners. And I dare say that if we were all being 100% honest, an awful lot of us reading this would have to admit that at some point in our lives some of us have been fornicators and even adulterers in the past – and certainly so if you include the standards set by our King of what constitutes adultery.
So with that in mind, it’s amazing how many believing zealots go on a tirade against the sexual horrors we see going on today. But again don’t forget – the adulterer is as sinful in God’s eyes as the other sexual sinners.
In the light of all of this, here’s the question I have: if you had lived in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, and you learn that Almighty God is about to obliterate Sodom and four other cities nearby from the face of the earth for their many sins, would you have smiled and muttered “It’s about time!” – Or would you have fervently interceded for God to have mercy on them? Be deeply honest to yourself about this.
Would you have ever prayed for Sodom? Do you know anyone who did pray for Sodom?
I think this could be a very timely topic in light of what’s happened in my adopted hometown of Orlando recently at the Pulse nightclub.
Click on “Continue reading” to ponder the possibility of interceding for Sodom – whether ancient Sodom or modern Sodom. Why on earth would the people of God want to do that? Read on. It might make you think.
“What should I do? Which expert should I follow?” I’m hearing this question a lot lately, especially THIS year.
You may or may not have heard of the huge recent decision by many who do not follow the rabbinic calendar to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavens (or Unleavened Bread) a whole month early. Therefore, this year, many are planning to keep Passover day on March 24, and most of those will keep the bread/wine Passover service the evening of March 23. And the first holyday of Unleavened Bread for these folks will be Friday, March 25. Those on the rabbinic calendar will be keeping those days near the end of April on the appointed days.
This year, this discussion about keeping it a month earlier than the rest has nothing to do with the Equinox. So don’t jump to that conclusion. It’s a different issue this year.
You know perhaps already about the debate that has raged for decades between the rabbinic orthodox Jewish calendar that most Jews follow, and most Church of God groups follow – and the one that goes by visual sighting of the new moon in Jerusalem. Usually the latter group ends up keeping the holydays one or two days later than the first group. But this year, there’s a whole MONTH difference between some of these groups.
What happened? Why the change? In this blog I hope to simplify what’s happening and what your role is and how to help you feel about your decision.
It boils down to this. The first month was originally called the month of Abib (or Aviv) by God himself. Nisan was the new Babylonian name they accepted years later. If you check the context and find that Yahweh is the one speaking, you’ll see that HE himself calls it “the month of Abib” (on your own time read Exodus 23:14-15; Ex. 34:17-18; Deut 16:1 –and notice if you go back, that it is Yahweh who is speaking).
When they Jews came back from Babylon, they had renamed some of the months by the pagan Babylonian names including the first month – to Nisan. And there’s the great new name Tammuz (ever hear of that name?), and so on. But it was originally called Abib in the Bible.
Abib refers to a stage in the first grains to be harvested – the lowly barley. The first of the firstfruits of barley pictured the Messiah who would be raised (waved) to heaven to be “accepted in our behalf” (just as Christ did for us), as Leviticus 23:9-11. Then the real barley harvest could begin.
Those who are keeping the Passover a month early will also be remembering Wavesheaf day on March 27, which coincidentally is also Easter Sunday, for whatever that is worth. The fact that the first month is called Abib points to that stage of barley harvest when the barley is green but at a certain stage of being able to be harvested, dried and then eventually milled into very fine flour. I’m keeping the discussion basic. There are many websites that go into far more depth.
MY point is to figure out what to do about it and how to deal with one another because of all these differences of viewpoint.
Now – why are some keeping the Passover in March instead of April? Click on “Continue reading” to get the overview and what you need to do about it.
This blog may surprise, maybe even dismay, some of you. For others, you’ve known this for years. But it’s a topic I’ve never heard preached in church services or on TV or on the radio. Maybe I’ve just missed them all. It’s this title – that though Yeshua (Jesus) is the Son of God, and therefore is God – scripture clearly also tells us that Yeshua HAS a God, like you and I have a God.
Have you thought of that a lot before? Nowhere in scripture are we told that the One we call “God the Father”, or “God Most High” – has a God. He is God. He is IT. Yeshua called his Father (and our Father) – “The only true God” (John 17:2-3), whatever you want to make of that. Maybe we’ll cover that another time.
But having said that, John 1:1-3 and many other verses clearly tell us that in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God -- and was God. The Word became flesh (John 1:14). So we know the “Word” refers to Jesus Christ, or Yeshua (his Hebrew name). Yeshua, the King of Kings is also referred to as the Word of God in Revelation 19:13. As GOD in the flesh, He allowed people like the healed blind man of John 9 to worship him. Angels, shepherds and magi all worshiped him also, even as a baby or small child.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
OK, are you with me so far? Yeshua (Jesus) is, was and always will be – God, as His father is God. In fact he sometimes said he and his father are one.
Nowhere are we told that God the Father – or God Most High – has a God. HE is it! There is no other. In praying to His heavenly Father, here’s something Yeshua said at Passover:
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”.
SO God the Father does not have any God. HE IS God.
But did you know Jesus has a God?
Click on “Continue reading” to see the clear verses that show Yeshua HAS a God!
Yeshua certainly acknowledges God the Father as HIS GOD, while He was a man of flesh here on the earth:
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
But what about after his resurrection? Would He still refer to God the Father as His God?
Jesus said to her (Mary Magdalene), "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
You see the doctrine that God the Father and Yeshua are co-equal parts of the godhead, is not borne out in scripture. Yeshua always taught that his Father was greater than he. (Clearly stated in John 14:28.) He always referred to himself as the One whom the Father had sent, and he made it clear in numerous passages that the one being sent is not as great as the one sending!
So though Father and Son somehow make up ONE GOD, the Father is the greater of the two. Scripture says YHVH is ONE (Deut 6:4) – and the Hebrew word for “one” is “echad”. But that same word is used of Adam and Eve, or man/wife – who also become echad, one flesh, in their union (Genesis 2:24). So in the same way, God the Father and God the Son (Yeshua) can also be echad – one – ONE God. Let me know if you’d like me to expound on that later. Let’s stick to Yeshua having a God for now.
See John 10:28-29 – “Father is greater than all; My Father and I are one.”
Are you ready for more scriptures showing Yeshua has a God?
“Blessed be the GOD and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…”
“….that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…”
Revelation 3:12 (Jesus speaking):
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”
Paul quotes Psalm 45 in Hebrews 1:8 to refer to Yeshua:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; (referring to Christ!)
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
Are you ready for a few more? Some of you will probably wonder how you could have just read over these verses before without soaking in the richness of what’s included here: that Yeshua HAS a God. He’s not just God – but he HAS a God.
“…that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”
2 Corinthians 11:31
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.”
We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – and I hope this blog has helped add another layer to the richness of knowing more and more about Yeshua, our Messiah, His majesty the Son of God.
Would Christ want that? Would YOU really want that?
During this time of the year it is not unusual to see Facebook postings urging us all to put Christ back into Christmas, and to say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy holidays”. We’re reminded that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. I’m sure you’ve seen those.
I love my Savior. I love the story of his birth that is given in two of the gospel accounts, though two other gospels don’t mention his birth at all. Were you aware of that? But what I don’t like, and will have no part in, is proclaiming our Savior’s birth and Christmas are synonymous. They’re not. Nor is this just a little thing. Either Christ always was in Christmas or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, then associating a pagan-originated celebration with our holy Savior – is simply a lie. And remember: Christ said to worship in spirit and TRUTH.
Any of you who have come to our website for any length of time know we have proven that our Savior was born in the autumn, certainly nowhere near December 25. We also know beyond any doubt that Dec 25 was a well-established day of celebrating the returning sun after the winter solstice. In fact many religions celebrated it also as the day of birth of their own pagan god – but not the son of God. That’s for sure. Just do your own searches. Start with a Google search of “Pagan origins of Christmas” and see what you find.
I’ve discussed these things in previous sermons. Just write “Christmas” into the search bar of this site and my teachings and blogs will pop up.
The truth is, Yeshua’s (Jesus’) actual birth had nothing to do with Saturnalia or Christmas celebrations. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly when it is, though we know it was in the Fall. Some identify it with the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Tabernacles – both falling in our Sept-October. I have a sermon about the true story of the Messiah’s birth. And a blog about the likely SPOT where he was born. The links to those are listed at the end of this blog.
Our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, or you probably call him by his Greek name Jesus Christ, was never in the pagan winter Saturnalia celebrations. And of course he wouldn’t be. Of course he would hate associating his name with that. Our God condemns pagan holidays and commands his children to have nothing to do with them. It is not OK to paste God’s name on to those pagan-rooted celebrations. In fact, as we’ll see, Yah can get angry at that.
So how does God see it?
"These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which YHVH God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God with such things.”
"When YHVH your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
“When you come into the land which YHVH your Elohim (God) is giving you, you shall NOT learn to follow the abominations of those nations.
Here, Yahweh describes an idol, but it can also sure sound like a Christmas tree.
Thus says YHVH:
"Do NOT learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
So what do our “Christian” nations do? We label the days of the week and the months of the year and the names of the planets after pagan gods and goddesses! And then we copied their pagan celebrations, put God’s name on them and pronounced them Christian!
Folks, Yah really does despise having HIS holy name be attached to the Saturnalia, cloaked now in “Christian” garb. It makes it WORSE to put his holy name on to pagan celebrations and revelries he tells us to have nothing to do with – regardless of how beautiful the songs are (and they do have lovely melodies), no matter how colorful and beautiful the Christmas trees are, regardless if we’re singing songs to HIM – in a pagan-based celebrations – it all just becomes more repulsive to our King. I assure you of that. God says he hates it.
Do you remember the story of the gold calf in the Wilderness (see Exodus 32)? Aaron, brother of Moses and High Priest of Israel, made that awful sinful conclusion of thinking if he could just put God’s name on to a pagan worship celebration, maybe doing so would make it alright. It doesn’t. It didn’t. Aaron almost lost his life over it and in fact 3,000 people did die due to the gold calf sin.
Don’t be the frog in the heating pot of water
Wow, what can I say? I just hope everyone who believes in our Messiah coming soon and looks for that day – can look past the horrible news of the last few days and months and look to our Redemption appearing in the clouds above us.
You all know the story of the frog in the pot of water that is gradually heating up. Because the water doesn’t immediately start boiling, the frog gets used to the ever warmer water – until it finally is boiled alive. Sometimes I feel too many Christians are like that frog. Prophetic world events are clearly heating up but I don’t see/hear many believers talking about it much. A few minutes on their Facebook pages show they’re much more interested in a thousand other things rather than on the return of the King of kings.
Look at some of what’s been happening:
- Our president refuses to follow strategies that would protect the nation. Instead he and his surrogates decide to empower ancient Persia with 100 billion dollars and an open path to their own nuclear bomb, plus the ballistic missile means to deliver them. So much for supporting our real ally Israel – and for that matter, the Arab states who also oppose the agreement we made with Iran. Remember, Iran is not Arab, though they are Shia Muslim. There will be a race for more Mid-East states to own their own Bomb as well. Our President has just put the world into a much more dangerous situation.
- Five black-robed lawyers decide that marriage can include same-sex couples, when the Almighty made them male and female in the beginning and very clearly disapproves of what we see going on today. Yeshua told us that the last days would be as the days of Lot and Noah.
- The descendants of Edom and Ishmael – traditional enemies of their relative Israel – continue to cause and spread unprecedented terror and horror throughout the Middle East. We will see more and more of that same kind of terrorism right here in our country in the coming months and years.
- Anyone professing belief in Yeshua (Jesus) in the Muslim middle-east stands a high risk of being imprisoned (and abandoned by our President), beheaded, crucified, burned, tortured, sold into slavery, raped and killed. Many continue to profess their belief in Yeshua - anyway. Even if they believe differently than I do doctrinally, I salute them and pray for their strength and courage. Would you and I profess Him on pain of our own death?
- We’re seeing God, the Bible and the 10 commandments being kicked out of the public eye, out of the government, out of the schools and out of the military – while we give Korans and prayer mats to Muslims in our jails. We are no longer “one nation under God”. Surely Yahweh will not continue to bless a nation that insults Him, his Word, and his law.
- We’ve lost the “pride of your power” as we try to “lead from the rear”. Whaaat? Nations are no longer afraid to thumb their noses at us. The world has become much more dangerous under our present leadership.
Click at the bottom right -- “Continue reading” – to learn a few more of the things we see happening as we come to end time leading to Christ’s return. How close are we? What should we be doing?
Just a quick thought for you to ponder, but a very important one.
If you’ve watched the news at all, you’ve heard some of the atrocities going on when ISIL Islamic terrorist butchers take over cities in Iraq and Syria. I get daily reports of men and children being tortured and killed, beheaded, crucified and everything else imaginable. Teenage girls and young women are sold into slavery – yes, in 2014, human slavery is going on. And there are people buying girls for sex slaves.
In the recent past, residents of Mosul in Iraq,who were Christians, were given 4 choices: convert to their version of Islam, leave and forfeit everything they owned, or pay a huge tax – or be killed. Just so everyone knows which homes are housing Christians, an Arabic letter “N” (or the Arabic equivalent) is spray-painted on their house walls. The Arabic “N” looks like a 2/3 finished circle with a little dot at the top. Sometimes they spray paint a complete circle around that – making it strangely look like a smiley face. You may find it interesting to note that Mosul is the modern city where ancient Nineveh once stood.
Click on “Continue reading” to learn all about this and how it applies so profoundly to you.