WHAT HAPPENED TO HOLINESS?

CHRISTIANS SAY THEY WANT A NEW REVIVAL, A NEW OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, but many of them are not willing to leave their sinful behaviors behind and to begin seeking deep intimacy with God and to walk in His holiness in their daily lives.  Think about it, if you have no intention of changing your life and to begin walking in holiness, then why should God baptize you in His Holy Spirit?  God doesn’t just give His Spirit to be giving His Spirit.  He does things for a reason.  God is a Holy God, and He needs a Holy environment in which to freely move and dwell.

A DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH

But there are those who preach in our churches today that we are hidden in Christ, so God does not see our sins. This is a deception, a half-truth.   Yes, our lives are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3), but not our sins.  Don’t you see that something that is only half-true is also half a lie, and is in reality a DECEPTION.  And there are many Christians in the world today who are being DECEIVED.

This doctrine is just one of many examples of people taking the Scriptures out of context. Because just two verses later, we are commanded to

consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, [lustful] passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is on account on these things that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also ONCE WALKED, when you WERE living in them.  But now you also, put them ALL aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you LAID ASIDE THE OLD SELF with its EVIL PRACTICES. (Colossians 3:5-9)

Think about this: If we and our life of sin is hidden in Christ, as these ministers erroneously teach, then why are we commanded to “consider the members of our earthly” bodies “dead” to these things? The fact is that our sins are not hidden from God. He can see them in ALL their SINFUL UGLINESS.

Also notice that Paul said, that this was what they WERE (past tense) like when they “ONCE WALKED” in them. This was no longer their lifestyle.   They quit living this way, and started pursuing intimacy with God and a life of holiness.

WE NEED HOLINESS TO PREPARE FOR CHRIST’S RETURN!

Jesus is coming back for His church, a “spotless” Holy Bride. Therefore, we need to return to a message of Holiness. Our apathy towards sin has opened the door for the current situation in America. We’ve opened the door of the church to sin, abominations, all in the name of “tolerance,” “diversity,” and “love.” But biblical love is being faithful and true to God and ALL HIS WORD.  It does not try to “do away with,” “annul” or even re-write or re-explain passages of the Bible because it contradicts the morals or “Political Correctness” of the Day.   The Church was supposed to change the culture, but instead, in today’s world, the culture is changing the Church.  And God is NOT Happy or Pleased.

GOD’S CALLING ON ALL HIS PEOPLE

From the beginning, the calling of God upon all those who are His people is that they be “a nation of priests and a HOLY nation” (Exodus 19:6; I Peter 1:15, 16; I Peter 2:5, 9). But today, there are many who call themselves “God’s people,” but they are not walking in this Divine calling.  God did not call us to a life of extravagance, materialism, moral compromise, or to embrace the ways of the world, but He called us to be a holy people who walks and lives in holiness.  Holiness, according to God’s definition, not our own.

ASA MAHANN & CHARLES FINNEY

It was the Holiness movement of the 19th century that emerged out of the Methodist church.  It was during this movement that Asa Mahan, the President of Oberlin College, for example, experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1836.   Many people may say, “I’ve never heard of Asa Mahann,” well, neither had I until I came across this account doing some research about the Holiness Movement.  But Mahan believed that it was this experience that cleansed him from the desire and inclination to sin.  Charles Finney also believed that this experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit would provide the solution to those who claimed to experience conversion, but then slipped back into their old ways of living.  This occurred during what became known as the Oberlin-Holiness Revival.

This Holiness Movement was spreading across America, but it came to a temporary lull as a result of the American Civil War (1861-1865).  But it was also because of this movement that many people joined the fight against slavery and became abolitionists. And it was also this movement that set the stage for the later Pentecostal movement.

ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF THE PENTECOSTAL MOVEMENT

We need a return back to the message of Holiness that set the stage for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that happened to Asa Mann in 1836, and at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas, on Jan. 1, 1901, when Agnes Nevada Ozman, a 30-year-old student of Charles F. Parham, was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance (like in Acts 2:1-4). It was shortly after this when others there at the Bible College, including Charles F. Parham, was likewise baptized in the Holy Spirit.  It was Charles Parham who formulated “the theological definition of Pentecostalism by linking tongues with the Holy Spirit’s baptism” (Larry Martin, The Topeka Outpouring of 1901, p. 8).
Charles Parham later took a group down to Houston, Texas, with His “Apostolic Faith” message, and it was while they were there that William Joseph Seymour, an African American Holiness evangelist, heard this message about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, believed it, and then after accepting a pastoral position in California, but then didn’t work out, opened instead a mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. From there, this new “Pentecostal experience” happened again, and then spread quickly across the country.  And it was in the beginnings of the Pentecostal movement that Holiness again was preached and taught.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “HOLY”?

Now I’ve heard Christians say that no one can be holy, but that is because they don’t understand what holiness is.   They think the word “holy” means “pure,” but the word “holy” means to “be distinct, different, other than.” God is “holy,” because He is “distinct, different, other than” anything that we know or have experienced within this world.  And as His people, we are called to be “holy,” to be “distinct, different, other than” the people that are around us.
If we are living by the same standards, morals, and beliefs as unsaved people in America, then how are we being “holy”? We should be reflecting God in our lives to others, not reflecting ourselves or the American culture.  And just because “holiness” was abused by people in America during the 1930s-1960s, thinking that it just meant dressing a certain way, women not wearing pants or having their hair a mile-high in a bun on their head, or even just mentally agreeing with a certain list of do’s and don’ts, it doesn’t mean that holiness is wrong or bad; instead, it just means that people didn’t understand what it is, just like today.
Holiness does not begin by us not doing certain things.  It begins the moment His Holy Presence comes to live within us.  It is His Holy Presence in us that should result in changing who we are, how we think, how we speak, and how we act.  Holiness is a condition of the heart.  God says in His Word, “BE HOLY,” It does not say, “DO HOLY.” Holiness begins with God coming to live in us and transforming us.  It begins on the inside of us and then moves outward; it does not start on the outside and move inward.  This was the problem with the Pharisees.  They thought as long as they did certain things and didn’t do other things, then that is what made them “holy.”  But Jesus told them, “You blind Pharisee, first clean the INSIDE of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26; Emphasis Mine).
Think about the Burning Bush in Exodus 3. Moses saw the burning bush and went aside to check it out. When he got there, God spoke to him and told him to “take off your sandals, for the ground you are standing on is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).  Ask yourself, what did the ground do to become “holy”? Obviously, it could not do anything, because it is dirt. But one moment it was ordinary dirt, and then the next moment, it’s “holy ground.” What made the difference? God did. The ground was holy because when God showed up and was there on that piece of ground, the ground became something “distinct, separate, other than” the other ground around it.
And the same is true of everyone who is a true believer of Jesus Christ.  Before being transformed by Christ and the power of God’s Spirit, we were like everyone else.  But now, afterwards, we are a “holy people,” because we have God living in us.  It is His Presence in us that makes us “holy.” For example, in Exodus 33:16, Moses is interceding for the people of Israel after the golden calf incident (Exodus 32:1-10), and Moses is asking God to reveal “His ways” to him, “that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight” (Exodus 33:13).  Moses is desiring intimacy with God.  The word “know” here doesn’t mean “know about,” but to “know intimately,” “to be close.”  God responds by saying that He’ll be close to Moses, but not to the people.  Moses then says,

 If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people?  Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, MAY BE DISTINGUISHED FROM ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE who are upon the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16; Emphasis Mine)

 What is it that distinguishes us today as “God’s people”?  Is it that we meet in churches?  Is it that we call ourselves “Christians”?  No, none of these things distinguish us as “God’s people.”  What distinguishes today, as it did during the Exodus, is the Presence of God in our lives.  Without His Presence, we are no different than any one else.

And just like the tabernacle of old, we have to provide Him with a “holy place” to dwell and a “holy environment” to move and flow through.   That’s right, we have a role to play in our holiness.  Didn’t Jesus tell the Pharisees, “to clean the inside of the cup and of the dish”?  Notice, He didn’t say, God would clean it for you, but He told them to “clean it.”  I was told by a Pentecostal minister, that God is the “super” and we are the “natural,” and it is only when we work together with God that we experience the “supernatural.”  If we don’t join in the process, then ultimately we will “grieve the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30), and even worse “quench the Spirit” within us (2 Thessalonians 5:20).

Remember, ALL of God’s word, including God’s laws and commandments, are needed to teach us God’s definition of holiness and how to live that holiness out in our day-to-day life. The book of Hebrews tells us that “without holiness, no one shall see the LORD” (Hebrews 12:14).  I pray that all those who call themselves “Christians” will repent and seek God, and return to a lifestyle of Holiness before it’s too late.

 

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MESSAGES FROM GOD TO HIS PEOPLE

The following are a sample of the messages that God has spoken to my wife, Karen, over the past couple of years.  God has verified His words to me through my own research and study of the Bible, and other ways as well.  Many have looked at our teachings and wondered where we are getting our ideas.  Most of it has come from what God has told us and from my study of the Scriptures.  I have placed here some of God’s thoughts regarding His Torah, His Word, and His commandments.  So rather than hearing my own study and research, you can read what we were told by God Himself.   If you would like to read more about what God has told us, you can go to my wife’s blog at KarensShofar.wordpress.com.

YOU NEED TO BE HOLY

“Just remember I tell you the truth.  You cannot, and won’t, be one of My disciples, if you keep carrying on the way that you do.  For I am telling you the truth.  Because I cannot, and will not lie, because I am God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this day and for all of eternity and forever.  I am a Great Big God, and I can and will love you always, but even I have My limits.  Because I am God, I need for you to be holy as I am holy, for a vessel that’s not purified and cleansed in water and My blood can not ever come into My Presence or My Father’s Presence.”

WHY DO YOU PROFANE MY NAME?

“My heart breaks to see My creation treat Us the way that you do.  You take what we have made Holy, and profane and blaspheme Our name by doing and eating what We have told you in Our Word that which is not kosher and not fit to eat nor consume with your mouth.  Why is it that you don’t care, My children?  You say you love Me, but you’re very far from Me, says God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  I ripped My heart in My Holy of Holies place that day, because My Son had just died for you.  My heart hurt so much for what I saw My only begotten Son go through.”

I DID NOT BRING THE TEMPLE SYSTEM TO AN END

“How ludicrous you think that I have done away with My sacrifices and offerings.  I did what any good Jewish father would’ve done if one of their children would’ve died.  My people knew exactly what happened.  They weren’t in the dark.  Why do you think they wanted to have My tomb guarded?  They realized I was their true Messiah and they didn’t want Me to get away.  But little did they know that death couldn’t hold Me down.  For if they really truly believed who I has said I was, they would’ve known that, but they didn’t want to believe because they loved living in sin and taking from My true followers all that they could, in order to make their lives miserable and as hard as they could.”

I WANT TO BRING MY TORAH BACK TO MY CHURCH

“I do want a close relationship with all My people from all around the world.  How is it to be done, if My people who are called by My name don’t follow the call that I God have called and shown them to do?  Be strong.  I do not wish to bring harm or disharmony among My children, but what I do wish to do is to bring back to My church what they have robbed from Me and took from My heart, says God Almighty.”

“I want for all My children to walk in Torah [God’s Law] and to be led by My Spirit, and to delight in all of My Torah and precepts, says God Almighty. Yes, and I’ll say it again, My child, I, who am King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I change not. I love all of you, My children.  Trust Me and your Father to have your best interest at heart. I am not trying to be mean or harsh, but I am a holy God, and I will not, nor cannot, be amongst unholy detestable things.”

“Why does this hurt you so much?  Why do you not care about My heart, says God?  Why doesn’t it bother you or make you sick to your guts to follow such heathenistic ways that are detestable in My eyes, says God Almighty.  I will say this again, because you, My children, are a bunch of proud, prideful, stubborn people, who choose to obey man over God.  I do not want My name on anything that is unholy or that comes from an unholy background or custom, says God Almighty.  Just like the Seleucid Greeks fought the battle against Judah, and they profaned My very Temple and Holy Place with unkosher pigs.  I hate that you don’t care about My heart and would rather please men and your bellies, says God Almighty.”

“If My so-called children would just listen up and observe My Sabbaths and My Feasts/ Festivals, I would just love to lavish My love upon them and show them My mercies that are new every morning to the setting of the sun at night.  Oh, how I love My Church, My so-called Church of today.”

I AM THE LIVING TORAH

“Choose life over death, My children.  My church is dying because of their disobedience to the Torah, which is Me.  I am the very life and breath.  I am the Living Torah that My Father has set Me to be.  I walk with you every day, says God, if you would just dare to open Me up and draw life from My very pages.  Why do you not see this?  I kept telling you if you believe what Moses has written down about Me, you will know and understand Me, and know that I am the very One you are looking for.”

I HAVE NOT CHANGED

“Reach for Me, seek Me, and know that I have not changed anything I have written down in My Torah.  Believe Me not because I say this, but believe Me because I have the proof in My Torah/words to back up what I have spoken, says God Almighty.  Keep My words, keep My sayings, keep everything, jot and tittle.  Don’t take away, don’t add, not one yodh (letter) or dot, says your Lord God and Savior.  Amen.”

“Trust Me, Obey Me, Follow Me, Keep my Commandments , Keep My Torah , Keep my whole Torah/Scriptures for they are life and breath and food to all that are hungry and starving for more of Me, says the Lord God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  I said I come quickly and very soon.  Are you gonna be ready for My soon arrival or are you gonna be left behind, says God Almighty?  I say this again and again, DO NOT take away from My Words nor add to them .  If you do, My children, My creation, there will be no place for you in Heaven where I have been preparing for you since the time that I have left you.”

“How many times do I keep repeating Myself to you, My people, My children, who say they are walking in My ways but are acting like the one I kicked out of heaven over 6,000 years ago because he thought he could be greater and replace Me, His Creator and Lord of Lords and King of Kings, says your Almighty God.  How dumb he was to think that My creation could one day rule the world.  How ridiculous you all are today, living your lives and taking Me for granted, assuming you can do whatever you want and won’t lose your free gift of salvation.”

MY WORD AND I ARE ONE

“Drink of Me, says God, and you will never thirst again or lack for any good thing.  Trust Me, says God, and know that all things will work out for good to those who seek Me, My Torah, and has My words, says God Almighty, because My words, My Torah, and I are one and the same.  You take away My Torah, My Holy Scriptures, and you have taken Me away.  You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe.  All of My words are “Yes” and “Amen.”  Not one of them is better than the rest.  They all, I say, have an importance to them.  I say, Do not take anything from the beginning or the middle away.  It is all valid and important for you today, My children.  The Old Testament is just as valid as the Newer Testament.”

ABOUT THE SABBATH

“I want you to tell My children that this is My Sabbath and that is My day, says God, and that it is My very heart and soul; it is who I am.  It is My very heart and soul and breath of who I am wanting you to walk in and study My Torah and to proclaim it amongst My people, says God.  I love you all, and I so desire that you love Me also, says God.”

“Yes, My Sabbath is one of My holy days that I have set up from the very beginning, and how dare any one of you to throw it to the curb because you think it isn’t important any longer.  How foolish some of you are today and have been for such a long time.”

I AM A HOLY GOD, QUIT TESTING ME

“I love you, My children, with a love that’s so very perfect, but like I said before, I am a holy God and cannot, and will not, live amongst an unholy and wicked people.  Don’t keep testing Me, says God Almighty, because I can, and will, remove you from Me, says God.  If I can remove My people Israel from amongst the tree which they were birthed into, how much easier will it be for Me and My Father to uproot and cut you off My Church, who has been grafted into it, by and through Me, who had bled, died and arose and ascended back to My Father in Heaven once and for all.”

THE MEANING OF THE TEARING OF THE TEMPLE VEIL

“My Son has accomplished what I had set for Him to do, and it is finished.  He has opened the gateway, so that Jews and gentiles can both come to Me because of the rent and split of My robe and tallit (prayer shawl) in My very Holy Tabernacle.  That very moment when My Son took His last breath, My heart also took its last breath, and it pained Me so hard that I split My very heart of who I am from the top to the bottom to show you how much that I love you, My people.  The veil, My heart, the very source of who I am, who I was with your fathers, which I was a fire by day and a cloud of smoke by night in the wilderness.  This is Me, says the LORD God Almighty, I change not and can’t change because I am that I am, says God.”

“I ripped the veil from top to bottom because that was My sign for My people Israel.  They knew exactly who My Son was and what an evil and perverse people they had become by crucifying the One and Only Lamb of God who came to bring light and love into a sick and dying world.  They tried to kill the One they proclaimed to be seeking after, but when I did come and I didn’t look like they had perceived Me, they called Me cruel and vicious names, and also called Me, “a son of Beelzebub.”  They were caught up in so many legalistic doctrines of their father, the devil, that they who thought they were doing right had become blind and could not see.”

“They were so blinded by their doctrines of men, just like you, My Church, is today.  Don’t keep continuing in your self-righteousness and unholiness, says God Almighty, because I love you so very much and desire My Church, both Jew and Gentile, to become One as I am to My Father is One.  My very heart yearns for you, My children.  Don’t stay lost in your sins.  Repent and do your first works over again, so that our hearts can relight that once relationship I hungered so very long ago to have with Adam and Eve in My Garden.”

THE COMMANDMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN DONE AWAY

“You say, My Church, that they [My commandments] have been done away with, but I say, ‘No, how can that be because I am still here.  You do away with My Torah, My commandments, then I do not exist,’ says God.  I love My people, but you are so lost to Me, not lost to where you aren’t Mine, but lost to where I’m about to spit you out in disgust.  Remember, My Church/people, I do not like sin or can live where it is, so choose you this day if you are going to serve God or manna.”

“My dying on the cross didn’t do away with My Torah or any of the things you so think that it did. I came to bring you life and life more abundantly.  I did this so you could have a place and a home with Me and My Father for all of eternity because we love you so very much and want for you and your families to have a relationship with Us.  I made a promise with your father, Abraham, when I walked through the pieces while I put him in a deep sleep, and I kept My end of the bargain, like I keep all My promises to a thousand generations.  I took care of the sin issue on the cross.  I did not do away with My very own words I spoke at the very beginning of creation which was and is Myself, and I didn’t do away with the words I spoke to Moses up on the mountaintop and had written on the tablets of stone with My very own finger.  How stupid such nonsense you people have become.”

THE CHURCH’S BLINDNESS TO GOD’S TORAH

“Believe that I am with you and that I will never leave you alone.  I come quickly, says the Lord, and many that say that they are Mine will be turned away because of their misconceptions of Me and My Torah.  Keep following Me and keep following My Torah.  Keep My words and follow them because they are life and breath to those that do.”

“I have not come to demolish any one of My sayings in the Torah.  They are Me.  Why would I destroy Myself?  That is nonsense.  They have Me so confused.  They don’t have ears to hear or eyes to see because they are blinded by their own foolishness.  If they would only pray to Me and ask Me to give them wisdom to know what is right and true and lasting and to have good judgment and self-control, I would be so happy to give them the understanding so that none should perish but have everlasting life.”

“The problem is that they are too much into themselves and what they can gain, ‘the name it and claim it’ message, that they have become so blinded and cannot see where they have gone astray.  In the meantime, they are leading millions away from Me, and My heart aches.  I have given each and every one free choice to decide what they want to believe, so this is out of My hands.”

I AM NOT YOUR GENIE IN A BOTTLE

“For I am a jealous God, and I choose to be served by you as you call out to Me for daily help and survival.  You ask Me for things on a regular basis like I’m some genie in a bottle at your beckoning call.  I don’t mind you asking Me for things as long as your are doing what My Torah, My very word, is telling and showing you what to do.”

“The problem is that most of you are just ‘naming it and claiming it,’ and that angers Me, and I am fed up to the top with all of you, to tell you the truth.  Just follow Me, and you will not fall to the wayside or curb, and you will find My gift of everlasting life and the fountain that will never run dry, says the Lord God Almighty.”

ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO DESTROY MY TORAH

“A lot of folks are trying so hard to do away with My Torah and My commandments.  They are blinded by Satan, so that they won’t see what I have for them.  Because as soon as the blinders come off My people’s eyes, they will come running back to Me, seeking My face like never before.”

“I tell you the truth, My words do not, and will not, be destroyed by people who do not, and will not, covet My Torah, which gave them life everlasting through believing in Jesus My Son.”

“I am sick and tired of the church today and all of these TV evangelists who spread such lies about Me, says God.  They take My word and use it to benefit their pockets, and it will benefit them for a time, but there is coming a day that this will be a BIG eye opener for many millions.”

YOU NEED TO STUDY MY TORAH, MY WORD

“But remember, you have to be reading My Manual, the Torah, My Scriptures, and studying it too, says God, because this is the one clause that is necessary for My Holy Spirit to have.  He will be your Helper, not your genie in a bottle.  You have to do your part and then He will do His part.  Come on, don’t be lazy people and want everyone, including God Almighty, to do everything for you.”

CHOOSE ME AND MY WAYS

“The world likes to replace Me with every whim and doctrine, but that doesn’t please Me, says God Almighty.  Choose Me, says God Almighty.  Choose Me, says God, and don’t abuse Me either, says God.  I am not like a child’s story that you get from one of your unholy days that you set up to replace some detestable pagan holiday, and try to attach My name to the front of it, and think I will be okay with it.  Not so, My people.  I would rather you to be hot or cold, rather than lukewarm because this makes Me sick and want to puke you up and vomit you out of My mouth, says God.”

“My children, if that is what you say you are to Me, shape up and start acting that way.  Stop listening to everything that everyone is telling and teaching you and listen to My servants today.  They are not lying to you like you have been told.  They are My children who I have raised up for such a time as this to proclaim My truths that the church and religious leaders have been lying to you, for such a very long time.  Oh, there are others, but you think they are false teachers because they go against the flow of your own doctrines taught to you from your religious leaders and your religious zealots of times past.  The Roman Catholic church is a very big part of it, and they don’t even deny it.  You say, it is fine; after all, we are building God’s Church, but that is just another lie from the enemy.  You just keep teaching and preaching fallacies.  You put My name amongst the heathen gods and bring the Easter bunny and Santa Clause, and think it is so cute to take pictures of them with your children as they bounce them upon their knee and tell lies to them while you watch and smile.”

“MY PEOPLE ARE PROFANING MY NAME”

This message was given to my wife from the Lord on Saturday, October 31, 2015, Halloween night.  In order to understand the Lord’s feeling about the holidays celebrated by the Church, I felt you should read the entire message that He gave to her.  The information on the holidays He likewise confirmed to me through various means, including my own study and research.

This message begins with the impressions and thoughts that the Lord was giving to her.

“God expects for us, and desires for us, to humble ourselves and to cleanse ourselves from all unrighteousness and to be holy and anointed, set apart from the likenesses of the world.”

Then the message shifts.  It was after this that the Lord began to speak to her through the Holy Spirit.

“I do not want My people to be dabbling in the things which I have said were unclean and unholy.  How can I, a Holy God, be among the things that are unholy?  My people, you are profaning My name and causing Me to want to take you and remove you from My Holy Presence.  I cannot, and will not, I say keep dwelling among a people who do NOT covet the same holy things that I covet.

“Yes, I have in My commandments which I gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai, which says to not covet what is not yours, says God Almighty.  These wicked holidays that you are claiming to be yours are detestable in My eyes, says God Almighty.  How can you not see this in the Word of God that I have given you as a manual to understand the very heart of Me, says God.  I DO NOT WISH for anyone of My children to have anything to do with the things of this world.  I will go farther than this, I can’t continue in a relationship with you because you are grieving the very Holy Spirit that has come to be your Helper and to be your Guide.

“Don’t profane My name and say you are trying to take something bad and turn it into something good for the sake of the church.  That is not true! says God.  You are doing it because you don’t care about hurting Me, says God.  If you cared about Me, you would see that I detest all the things that you’re trying to push Me into.  I do NOT accept what you have done, and I don’t want anything any more to be involved or put My name to that which is unholy and unacceptable to what My word teaches.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Aleph and the Tav, and last but not least, the Bright and the Morning Star, says God Almighty.  Why can’t you get this?  Why is this so difficult for you?  My word is so clear a baby can get it and understand it.  Why don’t you care?  Why don’t you want to know Me?  Why am I just an escape for you?  Don’t you love Me?  Why don’t you love Me?  I am your Father, the Bridegroom, I have done only good things for you, My dearly beloved children.  I want to call you Mine, but you are growing so cold, and I can hardly sense your presence anymore.  I long for you.  Yes, I am God, but you are the ones who need Me, and how is that going to happen if you are so lost and hard of hearing to where our relationship falls apart?

“You have not sought Me in a very long time.  You are becoming, or should I say are, so cold.  If you were lukewarm, it would be better because then I would spur you out of My mouth and be done with you, says God Almighty.  My Spirit is a very good thing.  I, your God, only gives good gifts to His children who seek for Me.  I love My children who do not hide from Me, but who delight in Me and do all that I tell them to do.

“My words are life to those who find Me and seek Me with their whole hearts, says God.  But such words can also be death, My people, if you do not heed My word / Torah / commandments.  I desire for you to search your hearts, minds, and souls and set forth on a new path, says God, and show Me your fruit that you say you have gotten by following Me.  You are always saying that you trust Me, but now I am throwing it back in your face.  You show Me and prove yourselves to Me, says God!  Because I am so fed up with a wishy-washy people who are just trying to fit in with this world of pukiness and unrighteousness, says God Almighty, your soon coming King.

“Get your bags and pack, My true believers of My Torah, because I love you, says God.  My true believers know what I mean by ‘get your bags packed’.  Yes, do I have to tell you too?  I’m talking about getting your hearts and minds set on the very life that I spoke to you from the beginning of time in the book of Genesis.  I’ve spoken the world into existence with words, the very Word that I AM.  It was Me from the very beginning until the very end.  I change not.  I remain the same today as I did then.

“Why is this so hard for you, My Church, to see this?  I have sent a life boat and a Savior to your rescue.  Reach out, grab ahold of Me.  Trust Me, Obey Me, Teach what I have given to you, My holy commandments.  I have not changed My mind, My children.  You have decided for yourselves to change My mind for Me.  I say stop profaning Me, stop trying to change Me.  I have chosen you, not you Me.  You need all of Me, says God Almighty.  I need for you to be holy, set apart, because you say you are My Bride, and the only way possible for that to be is if you start searching your hearts today and repent from all of your wickedness towards Me, My children.

“Time is short, and I am not pleased with how our relationship is doing.  You, My people, so-called children, have already turned your backs on Me and profaned My holy name.  You have prostituted yourselves to many other gods and still you say you are Mine.  Don’t you get what this does to a relationship when a partner cheats on the other?  It brings such bitterness and resentment, which ends in hate and then to death, which is DIVORCE.  The word I hate, says God.  I have only allowed it because of the hardness of your hearts.  I permitted it, but not because it was what I wanted for you.  Amen.”

 

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DID JESUS NAIL THE LAW OF GOD TO THE CROSS? (Part 1 of 3)

DID JESUS NAIL THE LAW OF GOD TO THE CROSS AND BRING IT TO THE END?  The traditional Christian interpretation of two passages, Colossians 2:14 and Ephesians 2:15, is used to prove that the law of God was nailed to the cross with Christ at His death; therefore, none of the laws in the Old Testament are valid, we are taught,  anymore for any Christian.  However, when we look at these passages in context, as well as take them back to the original Greek, we discover that the traditional interpretation and understanding of these verses are, in fact, a misreading and a misinterpretation of these texts.  In this first part of this study, we will examine Colossians 2:14.

 

EXAMINING COLOSSIANS 2:14

>>WHO WAS THE AUDIENCE?

The book of Colossians was written to the Christian congregation at Colosse.

>>WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?

Epaphras, a native of Colosse, came to Paul in prison with the news of how things were going in the area, but also news of a heretical group who had gained a foothold within the church.  This heretical group was GnosticsGnosticism is a word derived from the Greek word gnosis (or “knowledge”).  Gnosticism was a religion of syncretism with Hinduism as its root core.   Syncretism often takes place when foreign beliefs are introduced to an already existent belief system and the teachings are blended. The new, mixed religion then takes a life of its own. “What is Religious Syncretism?” Gotquestions.org).

Gnostics would search different religions to mix with their already growing mixture.  But at its ultimate core is basic Hinduism.  For example, basic Hindu teaching is that Brahman (the Supreme Spirit in Hinduism) is all things, and all things are part of Brahman.  Ultimately, with the right teacher (think “guru”), and enough “insight” (or special teaching) and ascetic practice, the person can discover and experience the form of Brahman within them (called atman), and in that discovery, the person can finally experience “freedom” or “liberation” from the continuous wheel of reincarnation (or what Hindus call moksha).

Gnosticism, much like Hinduism, teaches that within each individual is “god,” but people don’t know it, so with the right teaching or instruction, including asceticism, we can come to know and experience the “god” within ourselves, but rather than experiencing “freedom from reincarnation” (as Hinduism teaches), Gnostics teach that one will experience “salvation.”  In essence, then, Gnostics believed that salvation is not found outside of ourselves in God and Jesus Christ, but it’s found within each individual.   And this syncretic belief system, Gnosticism, was a problem for the Jews and for the early Christians.

Consequently, then, the Christians at Colosse were NOT struggling with a sect of Jews who were trying to convert them to their form of Judaism, but they were struggling with a group of NON-JEWS (or GENTILES) who were very heavily involved in GNOSTICISM.

 

BURIED & RISEN WITH CHRIST

To properly understand Colossians 2:14, we need to examine it within context, so I want to examine Colossians 2:12 – 23.  Beginning with Colossians 2:12, we read,

Buried with Him in [water] baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead.

In this verse, Paul again reminds these believers that their old life died with Christ and has been “buried with Him in [water] baptism.”  The sins that once controlled them no longer has any hold or control over them.  But not only did their old life “die” with Him, but “you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead.”  Just as the Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead, so He raised them as “new creations” in Christ when they came up from the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life.

Paul then continues this same idea in the next verse.

And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He quickened [made alive] together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Colossians 2:13)

We’ve not only been raised in newness of life, but God has also forgiven us from all of our trespasses of sin.

WHAT WAS “BLOTTED OUT” AND “NAILED”?

It is here in verse 14, we come across one of the passages that’s traditionally been used to prove that Christians are no longer required to obey God’s Laws.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.

Now it is important to remember that verse 14 is a continuation of verse 13.  In verse 13, it was our “sins” and “the uncircumcision of [our] flesh” that was “forgiven.”  So logically, since verse 14 is a continuation of verse 13, then what is being “blotted out” is “our sins” and “the uncircumcision of [our] flesh,” not something different.

THE HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES

The phrase “handwriting of ordinances” is the English translation of the Greek phrase cheirographon tois dogmasin.   The first word cheirographon is a compound word made up of two parts, cheiro (hand) and graphon (to write), or as it is translated here, in its simplest sense, “handwriting,” or more accurately, “a handwritten document.” However, other than Colossians 2:14, the Greek word cheirographon does not appear in the Bible, nor is it used anywhere in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint.  Consequently, we cannot use the Bible to interpret the Bible in this case.

However, when we move outside of Scripture, we discover that the word cheirographon is used in extra-biblical Greek documents.  From these documents, we learn that the term is a legal term that’s used to refer “to the written evidence of a person’s guilt in a courtroom.  It is the written record of a person’s crimes – the laws he has broken and the penalty he owes for his law-breaking.” (Botkin).   Using Dr. Daniel Botkin’s explanation, we could imagine the scene in this way.

John X has committed several crimes.  He has been arrested and brought to trial.  He is now standing in the courtroom, and in the middle of the courtroom, called tou mesou in Greek, there is the space where the prosecuting attorney stands and reads the cheirographon, the document with John’s crimes, the day and times he committed them, the locations of the crimes, and even the witnesses and evidence that the prosecutor has to prove that John, in fact, undeniably did commit these crimes.  In addition, this document is recognized as a valid legal document both by the judge and John’s own attorney as being valid, accurate and true.   Therefore, there’s absolutely no doubt that John X is, in fact, guilty and deserves the penalty for those crimes.

Each of us is “John X.”  We have transgressed the laws of God, and one day we will stand in the courtroom of God, to stand trial for our sins [or crimes] against God and His Kingdom.  In our culture, when we break the law, it is called “a crime,” but in God’s Kingdom, when we break one of God’s laws, it is called “a sin.”  So “crime”and “sin” are really synonymous terms.  In our culture, when we commit a “crime,” we would be called “a criminal,” but in God’s kingdom, when we break one or more of His laws, rather than using the word “criminal,” the Bible uses the word “sinner.” Therefore, a “sinner” is a “criminal” in the eyes of the Judicial system of God and His Kingdom.

The prosecuting attorney, “the accuser of the brethren,” Satan, will stand in the tou mesou (“the middle”) of the heavenly courtroom, and he will present his cheirographon to God, our Judge.  Everyone there will know that this is a legal, accurate and valid list of every sin (or crime) against God we have ever done during the course of our life.  And that we are indeed guilty of each and every one that’s being listed, and that we deserve the penalty demanded for each of these sins, which is “the Lake of Fire” and eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:11-15).

However, if we have placed our trust and faith in Christ, and have continued to faithfully serve Him during our lives, then Jesus Christ, who is our Advocate, Mediator, and High Priest, will stand up, and say, “But the sins (or crimes) that ‘John X’ has committed, I have all ready paid for by My death upon the cross and by My resurrection.”  And because the penalty has been fully paid, God, who is our Judge, will dismiss the case and tell the Prosecutor, the Adversary Satan, that his cheirographon that was “against us,” and “which was contrary to us” is now inadmissible and can no longer be used.   It will be removed from the hands of Satan, for it was “nailed to the cross,” proclaiming Christ’s victory over sin and Satan.

The article “Colossians 2:14 and the ‘Handwriting of Requirements’,” by Grace Communion International Church adds to this understanding of Cheirographon by noting,

The meaning becomes more clear if we notice that cheirographon is singular and dogmasin is plural.  It is the cheirographon, the note of debt [the list of our sins], that was [singular] against us, which was [singular] contrary to us.  And He has taken it [singular] out of the way, having nailed it [singular] to the cross.”

So what was “nailed to the cross” was the cheirographon, the singular note [or document] that contained the list of our SINS and the JUST PENALTY OF OUR SINS, which Jesus took upon Himself for us, AND NOT GOD’S LAW, which follows naturally from what Paul states in verse 13.

The author of another website, fogwhistle.ca, however, makes a rather interesting point about the word “ordinances” (Greek dogmasin):

God’s laws, ordinances, instructions, and commandments are mentioned many, many times in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) that was used by Greek-speaking people of Paul’s day.  But how many times does the Septuagint use the word dogma (or any of its forms) when referring to God’s laws or instructions?  Never.  Every occurrence of dogma in the Old Testament refers to man-made decrees or rulings.  Usually it’s the decrees of pagan rulers.

Was Paul ignorant of the Greek Scriptures?  If Paul was referring to God’s law, he could have easily used one of the same Greek words that is frequently used in the Greek Old Testament to refer to God’s law such as nomos, entole, krima, dikaioma, or rhema.  But Paul didn’t use any of these words.  Instead Paul used dogma, a word that was never used in the Greek Old Testament to refer to any of God’s laws or instructions.

I think the question here is an interesting one.  If Paul was using the word “ordinances” to refer to God’s law, then why didn’t he use one of the multiple terms he could have used from the Greek translation of the Scriptures.  Why did he use a word which is not found in the Bible?  My guess, at this point, would be that none of these other words are used in a courtroom scenario; however, again, this would be a guess.

The author of the commentary written for BibleTools.org, Earl L. Henn (1934-1997), also believed that it was the “written document” that was nailed to the cross, not “the ordinances.”  He gives the following historical example,

only two objects were nailed to the stake of crucifixion: 1) the condemned person and 2) an inscription naming the crimes for which he was being punished.  Thus, when Jesus was crucified, only His body and Pilate’s inscription (“This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”; see Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19) were nailed to the cross.”

Pilate’s inscription, “the writing that was against Jesus,” in this case was written in three languages, “Hebrew, Greek, and Latin” (John 19:20), and it was nailed above His head while He hung there upon the cross.  Interestingly, the author of the article “Colossians 2:14 – What was Nailed to the Cross?” on the website fogwhistle.ca, likewise goes back to the example of the cross.

If we allow Scripture to interpret Scripture as we should, Col 2:14 would be interpreted to say that it was some man-made handwritten document that was nailed to the cross.  We can confirm this in the story of Christ’s death as recorded in the New Testament Gospels.  There we find that a man-made handwritten document actually was nailed to the cross.  It was the placard written in three languages that stated the “crime” of which Jesus was accused and that was placed on the cross by Pilate’s order.

That kind of placard is what Paul was evidently referring to in Col 2:14 – the personal placard listing my crimes that belongs above my head on my cross at my own execution.  Jesus took that placard of mine and put it on his cross.  Jesus paid the penalty for the crimes listed on my placard.  I have been redeemed.  Justice has been served and the law has been satisfied (not abolished).  Jesus took your placard too.

 

Whether the “written document,” “placard” or “sign” that was supposed to be upon our own cross listing all of the crimes against God we have committed, Christ has removed it from us by placing it upon His own cross, and paying the debt of sin and the penalty of sin for us as our substitutionary atonement.  And it is for this reason that Paul then writes in verse 15,

And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Jesus triumphed over all the “principalities and powers” through His death on the cross for our sins and the penalty of our sins.

LET NO MAN JUDGE YOU

Notice that the very next verse then states,

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (Colossians 2:16)

This verse has traditionally been interpreted to mean the exact opposite of what this verse actually states.  The traditional church has used this verse to say that people cannot judge us for not doing these things, but that is not what this verse says.

Remember that the Christians at Colosse were dealing with Gnostics who were criticizing them for not living an ascetic lifestyle.  The word “therefore” means that they are to obey this command because of what Paul has just told them. They are new men and women of God, their old lives of sin have been forgiven by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross and through their identification with Him in the waters of baptism.

OPPOSING GNOSTICISM

Therefore,” Paul writes, “let no man judge you in eating and drinking.”  Gnosticism promoted asceticism, sometimes severe asceticism, and indulging in “eating and drinking” would have been highly criticized by such a group.  Consequently, they are not being “judged” for what they are NOT doing, but for what they ARE doing.   A better understanding of this verse would be,

Therefore, let no man judge you for eating or drinking, or in respecting of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (Colossians 2:16)

So rather than being judged for NOT keeping these things, they are being judged by the Gnostics because they are keeping them.  This interpretation is in keeping with what we know of early church history.  The early believers, both Jew and non-Jew, were considered to be “a sect of Judaism” (Acts 24:5), although a “heretical group” (Acts 24:14), and they still continued to live their lives in obedience to the commandments handed down by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai.  And this the non-Jewish believers in Jesus did up until the 4th century, A.D.  It was the Roman Catholic Church who eventually stomped out obedience to any of the practices listed in the first five books of the Bible.  The Jewish believers never stopped obeying them.  Therefore, at this point in history, in which Paul was writing, the criticism and judgment would’ve been coming from the non-Jewish world for doing these things, particularly from the Gnostics.

Notice verse 17, “Which ARE a shadow of things TO COME; but the body is of Christ.”  There’s three important things to note here.

  1. Paul writes that these things in the law “ARE” – A PRESENT TENSE VERB, NOT PAST TENSE – this is important because it demonstrates that Paul did NOT see the Law as something ended, contrary to traditional Christian teaching, but as something that was still continuing.  Also, notice that these things are “a shadow of things TO COME” – FUTURE TENSE, NOT PAST TENSE – stating that the full meaning of these things are YET FUTURE, they were not completely fulfilled or completed by Christ in His first coming.  Again, this is contrary to what traditional Christianity teaches.You have to watch modern translations here, because they will use past tense verbs when, in fact, the Greek verbs are PRESENT and FUTURE TENSE, not PAST TENSE.
  2.   After “sabbath days” in the King James is a colon and then after “to come” is a
    semi-colon.  This clause, “Which are a shadow of things to come” is an appositive
    clause.  Its function is to provide added information to the word it is modifying, or
    telling us more about, which are these various things listed.  It is not part of the
    core statement.
  3.   The word “is” at the end of this verse, “but the body is of Christ,” is italicized,
    meaning that it is not in the original Greek text, but some later editor inserted it.
    Therefore, these two verses, as Ray Foucher, in the third part of his article
    “Colossians 2” could be better seen to mean,

Let no [individual] man judge you….. but the body of Christ.
Let no [individual] man judge you….. but rather the body of Christ.
Let no [individual] man judge you….. except the body of Christ.

In the book of Acts, we can see that instead of Paul allowing “individuals” to judge his presentation of the gospel, he returns to Jerusalem, and he presents his message to James and the other elders there, that his message may be “judged” by “the body of Christ.”  Therefore demonstrating that Paul followed his own teachings.   Consequently, the teaching that “the body of Christ” has replaced these practices from God’s law is, in fact, a misreading and misinterpretation of the text.

But in looking at more modern translations, look at how the modern translation has altered the text from what we’ve just seen:

Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.  (Colossians 2:16-17, NASB)

Notice that the indication the Colossian Christians are being judged FOR DOING these things has been removed.  In addition, notice the inclusion of the word “mere” which is not in the Greek text in order to demean or decrease the importance of these “shadows,” as well as changing the word “body” to “substance,” and the added editorial word “is” to “to.”  Thereby, completely changing the meaning of verse 17 from the original Greek.

Finally, I should add, that the word “shadows” was as close as Paul could get to the idea of an “image” or picture without violating God’s commandment about using any “images” with God.  In today’s world, we would say that these various elements from the law actually present us with “pictures” (rather than “shadows”) of Christ, who He is, about what He is like, and about His ministry (in His first coming, now in heaven, and in His return).

LET NO MAN BEGUILE YOU

Right after making this statement, Paul writes,

Let no man beguile [deceive] you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (Colossians 2:18)

Again, we see another deception based on human opinions, not based on Scripture, since Paul these things came from their “fleshly mind,” not their “spiritual mind.”  He then continues by saying,

And not holding the Head [Christ], from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God.  (Colossians 2:19)

AVOID GNOSTIC LEGALISM

And then he ends this chapter by asking why there are getting tangled up with the non-Jewish (Gentile) legalism of Gnostic asceticism.  He is not discussing the commandments of God at all here.  We know this because in verse 22, he even refers to them as “the commandments and doctrines of MEN,” not God.

Wherefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the COMMANDMENTS AND DOCTRINES OF MEN? (Colossians 2:20-22)

Obviously, if we are dealing with “the world, and the “ordinances” are “the commandments and doctrines of men,” then we are not discussing God’s law at any point here.  But I find it sad that most Christians will use this passage as proof why they do not have to obey the commandments of God, even though they are not even being discussed here.  But interestingly, Paul does acknowledge one fact about Gnostic asceticism,

Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship [as opposed to the worship of the Spirit], and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.

Much of the benefits that come from this type of life is superficial, and are not of any eternal value at all.

CONCLUSION

Does Colossians 2 argue that the Law of God was indeed nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ, and that Christians are no longer responsible for keeping any of God’s commandments.  Absolutely NOT!!  Such an interpretation and application of this chapter is a complete and total misuse of Scripture to try and prove a point which this chapter does not make at all.  Rather than abusing the word of God for our own benefit, we should be learning how to properly interpret and apply its teachings to our lives.

 

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