The 11 Commandments

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

MosesGod started His legal system when He gave Moses the 10 commandments.

From Exodus 20 – with our commentary:

Commandment 1:

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

This commandment comes into sharper focus when we understand that Jesus is God who became flesh and dwelt amongst us.

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

See The Trinity Doctrine is NOT in the Bible.

Commandment 2:

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Many Christians take this commandment as if God forbade the sculpture or painting of His likeness. That’s not the intent of the 2nd commandment at all. What God was saying was that we must not take the sculptures or paintings of things in heaven, like the sun many once revered, or the earth beneath, like the calf the Hebrews worshiped in the wilderness, or in the waters below, like Dagon the fish-god the Amorites adored, and bow down to them.

By the same token, we must not take the painting or sculpture of the likeness of Jesus and bow down to it either, as if that sculpture or painting were Jesus Himself.

Still, God did not forbid the depictions of Himself or angels or things on earth or in the waters as art. God Himself asked for sculptures of cherubim to be placed not only on the ark of the covenant, but on the walls of the Temple (Old Testament) as well.

“You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.” Exodus 25: 21-22

“On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers.” 2 Chronicles 3:11

God is everything: a scientist, an engineer, a musician, an artist, etc.  He has freely distributed these gifts of His to all under heaven with the express purpose that we use them.

“In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” Exodus 31: 6

Commandment 3:

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

The way people take God’s name in vain or misuse it is by:

1) attributing to Him things He neither said nor commanded – like the erroneous tenets of church tithing and church services, and the mistaken belief that modern-day Israel is the fulfillment of God’s prophetic word in the bible;

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37

2) swearing by God when mere mortals are generally skittish and fickle, not to mention sinful and definitely not omniscient or omnipotent; that’s why Jesus reiterated the 3rd commandment in the following manner:

“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes ‘ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” Matthew 5: 34-37

See Pray for the Peace of which Jerusalem?

Commandment 4:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

The Sabbath is for man and not man for the Sabbath. In other words, God gave the Sabbath to man as a gift so he can rest. Jesus Himself had to put this in perspective.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?’ Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’ ” Mark 2: 25-27

The Sabbath might be a day of rest, but if there’s a need that we must take care of, the Sabbath is not to be worshiped to the point of ignoring that need.

However, employers are not gods and therefore must respect the fact that their employees have the God-given right to their day of rest, whenever that day may be following the six days of work.

In general – as a society, not necessarily as a biblical rule – we have come to establish that our 6 days of work are broken down thus: 5 days dedicated to satisfy the demands of our employers or our own businesses and 1 day to satiate the obligations of our households, or if in financial strait or seasonally busy that 6th day is instead geared towards our employers or our businesses.

Commandment 5:

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Commandments 1 to 3 focus on God. Commandment 4 focuses on the individual.  Commandment 5 focuses on fathers and mothers. Commandments 6 to 10 focus on others. That’s the order God chose. As can be clearly seen, government and religious “leaders” did not even make it.

See The Family is God’s Plan.

Commandment 6:

13 “You shall not murder.”

This is another commandment that is pretty straightforward, one that Jesus reiterated with a warning to all – Christians or not:

” ‘You shall not murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ ” Matthew 5:21

Murder is usually the result of a hatred so powerful it can’t be controlled.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matthew 5: 43-46

See All Wars are evil. Period.

Commandment 7:

14 “You shall not commit adultery.”

Preachers” have messed up the meaning of adultery, and the catastrophic result has been that many Christians are now living in adulterous relationships.

See Of Fornication, Divorce, and Adultery.

Commandment 8:

15 “You shall not steal.”

And yet so many “Christians” are helping modern-day Israel steal land that does not belong to them, especially since Jews are not even the Israelites of the Bible.

“Do not trust in oppression and do not vainly hope in robbery…” Psalm 62:10

See How the Ashkenazi Jews conquered the West.

Commandment 9:

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

False testimony is not only forbidden in a court of law, but in gossips and rumors as well.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

See The Heart Adjustment.

Commandment 10:

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

If you catch yourself noticing that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, beware.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 11-13

See Has God Planned BIG Things for our Lives?

ADDITIONALLY

The above 10 commandments were given to Moses by God, but when God became flesh and dwelt amongst us He added another one.

Commandment 11:

Jesus and the poor“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

If we live our lives truly loving one another – Commandment 11 – we actually end up fulfilling commandments 4 to 10. Furthermore, by loving one another we actually love God Himself because in following His command to love one another we show that we love Him, the one true God, and thus fulfill Commandments 1 to 3. Consequently, we fulfill all 11 commandments when we genuinely love one another. That’s why Jesus summarized the laws thus:

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 34-40

The Apostle Paul understood how these two commandments fuse together as one and put it this way:

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Galatians 5:14

The Apostle John summarized it thus:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20

It is so much more difficult to love our siblings and those within our family. It’s been thus from the very beginning since Cain killed his brother Abel. We expect them to conform to our disposition when God actually expects us to conform to theirs by making allowance for their faults.

“Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ ” Matthew 18: 21,22

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

No genuine need in our family is to be rejected.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” 1 John 3:17

Let us make sure our hearts are conditioned to accept and not reject those who are in need.

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5: 42

Beware lest we camouflage our hardheartedness with excuses and unforgivingness. God will not be mocked.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6: 7

Love is not a goosebumpsy feeling or emotion. To love is to actually do the things we’ve been commanded to do, no matter how hard they may be.

See Who Should Christians Give their Money to?

CONCLUSION

God gave us the laws so we can obey them. Those who ignore them do so to their own detriment. See Of Legalism and Christians.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

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The Heart Adjustment

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By Biblicism Institute

The very essence of Christianity is Service.

Jesus serving the disciples

Jesus washes the disciples’ feet.

Unfortunately, the word “service” has been somewhat corrupted by its liberal use in the labeling of the erroneous principle of “Church Service”. See Church Services are NOT biblical.

TRUE SERVICE

Service implies that Christians become Servants.

There are a great many bible verses about becoming a servant, but here Jesus spells out the most important one.

“…whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26

To be a servant is to be of use.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

From a Ministry standpoint, Service is understood by most to be within the confines of the five-fold Ministry – explored at length in Understanding the Duties of Ministry.

However, there is the forgotten Everyday Life Ministry. The very one that Jesus lived and practiced constantly. The one where every instant becomes an opportunity to serve.

With these everyday moments God catches us unaware and pushes us to walk in the kind of service He has prepared for us.

There are myriads of them. They usually go unnoticed because they are simply needs. But just like Jesus, we only have to look around to find them.

“He [Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet…” John 13:4,5

Feet washing is a service. The disciples’ feet were dirty and needed to be washed. So Jesus, without complaining and lecturing, took care of it. Mary Magdalene who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears also performed said service. (Luke 7:38)

Now all we have to do is look for similar opportunities, and we too will be in the Service Business – sorry, Ministry. 😉

Examples:

1. take out the trash;

2. don’t leave the shopping cart in the parking lot, take it back;

3. visit a sick friend or relative (read The Miracle of Healing before you go);

4. be courteous and responsible while driving;

5. pick up your boss’s clothes at the cleaners if he asks, or volunteer if the need arises;

6. cook dinner once in a while for someone who’s always busy;

7. babysit your siblings’ kids so they can have a night off;

8. bake your mother-in-law her favorite cake even if she hates you, or do your mother’s nails, or cut your father’s or brother’s hair;

9. serve the clients/customers in your business by going the extra mile;

10. mend broken family relationships;

11. help a family member or a trustworthy friend jump start his career;

12. give some money away. See Who Should Christians give their money to?

And the list goes on and on.

There is no need to fuss about how we can be of service, it bobs up incessantly. Let us catch the opportunities and run with them.

Whether our acts of service are acknowledged or reciprocated and whether gratefulness is expressed or not are irrelevant.

Peter reacted arrogantly and poorly to Jesus washing his feet, and yet Jesus kept at it.

“ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ ” John 13:9

However, when we serve we must not complain. Here’s what happens when we complain.

“The people started to complain about their problems. The LORD heard them. He became very angry. He sent fire. The fire burned among them and it destroyed the edges of the camp.” Numbers 11:1

God is none too happy with such an attitude. All it does is create fiery conflicts. If we are griping and grumbling, it means that the disposition of our hearts is not that of servants but that of arrogant sinners with entitlement issues.

If such is the case, a heart adjustment is sorely needed.

THE RIGHT HEART

When our hearts are not right (and they usually aren’t), God has no choice but to fix them. Just remember that He has a very strange way of regulating them.

He uses something that we do not plan for. Something that doesn’t fit neatly into our preconceived idea of what Service or Ministry should be. Something that at first glance seems like nothing God would ever resort to. Something like this:

“As the Midianite merchants were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for eight ounces of silver. The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt.” Genesis 37:28

Well, how would we have reacted in a similar circumstance?

Many Christians in Joseph’s stead would have performed the binding-and-casting-out-the-Devil routine, and they would have prayed mountain-moving words of faith in order to pry themselves out of such a predicament. Unfortunately, it would have been to no avail.

Something more profound was in the works: the making of the right heart, of the obedient and grateful heart.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:18

Joseph was sold into slavery in order to turn him into an obedient and faithful servant.

“Potiphar liked Joseph so much that he made him his trusted servant.” Genesis 39:4

A true servant nurtures within the core of his soul the virtue of obedience. And no egregiously unfair circumstance will turn him against the will of his God.

So when Potiphar’s wife made a sexual advance, the fruit of said virtue, buried deep within Joseph’s soul, showed its true color.

“… you’re his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 39:9

To adjust our hearts, God has to instill in us the true spirit of obedience. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the way He goes about it is by placing us between a rock and a hard place, where He squeezes out the impurities.

“Although He was a Son, He [Jesus] learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

If Jesus, who did no wrong, had to suffer in order to learn obedience, how much more we who are all sinners.

None of us is perfect and everyone needs a heart adjustment. Without said adjustment no plan or dream of ours will bring forth fruits worthy of God’s Kingdom.

OUR PLANS

Joseph had a dream, a great dream. It was his dream. Or so he thought.

“Joseph had a dream and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more… Then his brothers asked him, “Are you going to be our king or rule us?” They hated him even more for his dreams and his words. Genesis 37:5,8

No matter the size of a dream or plan or goal, if it is from God it will meet opposition and face great hardship. But fear not!

The purpose of adversity is to mold us into Christ’s perfect image before God can make our goal a reality.

By dream or plan or goal we are not talking about marriage and such. Different situations require different biblical approaches. Let wisdom be our guide. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint and Of Authority and Christians.

What we’re talking about is the plan or goal that will cause us to deal with the world outside our own little world, like Joseph’s unexpected new environment as pertained to his destiny which was set in motion by his God-given dream.

When we execute such life-changing plans or goals, different scenarios might take place.

1) If a plan is not of God, we may still meet hardship. In turn, we will get discouraged and abandon it, or it will quickly succeed and then crash.

2) If it is from God, it will materialize. But if adversity causes us to abandon it, somehow it will, in spite of ourselves, become a success, especially after having put a lot of hard work into it. Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t fail later on.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” Ecclesiastes 7:14

The vicissitudes of life and the pressures thereof are God’s tools to constantly adjust our hearts. A grateful heart welcomes them like David did.

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119:71

Is it any wonder that God loved David?

CONCLUSION

No plan or goal is bigger than a regular act of service. In reality, God’s plan for our lives, once implemented, is itself also an act of service.

Joseph’s dream was not for his benefit. It was to be his opportunity to serve by saving the lives of others, including his family’s.

“I am Joseph, the brother you sold into slavery in Egypt! Now, don’t be sad or angry with yourselves that you sold me. God sent me ahead of you to save lives.” Genesis 45:4,5

Every plan or goal must be looked at from the angle of serving others, lest we’ve concocted it just to satisfy our own greed and ambition.

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3

By taking real stock of how we plan to serve, we come to understand that the riches of God’s Kingdom and of our inheritance can only be measured by how much love we have one for another.

“A new command I give you: Love one another.” John 13:34

Love is not a feeling. It is an act of service, a sacrificial deed, a heart adjustment.

“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:18

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Is Christmas Pagan?

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Christmas Nativity

Awesome Painting: Anno Domini by Edwin Longsden Long. Christ came to subjugate Paganism.

“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

Christmas is not pagan.

However, many Christians have bought into the satanic propaganda that it is. How Christmas, which means “a celebration of Christ or a mass for Christ”, can be pagan (i.e., not Christian) is ridiculous, to say the least.

But why do so many believe so?

ANTI-CHRISTIAN PROPAGANDA

Anti-Christian propaganda has maliciously focused on the following aspects of Christmas and convoluted them to confuse the weak-minded.

1)Christmas Celebration Early Christians chose December instead of September, the month of Jesus’s birth, to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

They did so in order to subjugate and squash Saturnalia,  a week-long period of lawlessness and bloodshed that took place in Ancient Rome – the then capital city of the world – from December 17th to the 25th.

“During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose ‘an enemy of the Roman people’ to represent the ‘Lord of Misrule.’ Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman,” explained author Lawrence Kelemen.

In essence, to better their society as well as impacting the world, early Christians replaced the barbarism that was Saturnalia with a celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Love, and Forgiveness.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2: 14

Christmas Tree2) Early Christians, in order to further subjugate additional ungodly practices in many parts of the world, subdued various objects of worship such as the evergreen tree.

That tree was worshiped in many pagan cultures and symbolized resurrection and life. The reason the pagans bowed down to it was because the evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year and is always green. And guess how that concept found its way to them?

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by the water… its leaves are always green.” Jeremiah 17:7,8

True, they distorted it, but that’s how God’s prophecies echoed in pagan religions. Nonetheless, Christians used the evergreen tree to guide these non-believers to Christ, the only genuine resurrection and life.

“I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25

Basically, they did what the Apostle Paul did:

“Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ ” Acts 17: 22,23

Paul latched onto their UNKNOWN GOD and developed a presentation that led to Jesus being that God whom they did not yet know. In other words, Paul subdued that part of the Greek culture for the glory of Christ. Likewise, early Christians subdued the evergreen tree into the Christmas celebration and caused it to point to Christ instead.

“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I might save some of them.” 1 Corinthians 9: 22

Another decorative item that originated in Europe is the mistletoe. It was used in Druid rituals to poison their human sacrificial victim. Christians stepped in once more and subjugated that barbaric practice by providing an antidote to the mistletoe poison: kiss under the mistletoe instead of using it to kill.

“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Romans 16:16

In other words, let brotherly love reign!

Christmas Night3) Christians give each other gifts during Christmas.

In reality, it is a way of bestowing presents unto our Lord Jesus for His birthday, just like the Magi did. That’s why gifts are placed under the tree where a Nativity scene is usually erected.

“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

When it’s someone’s birthday, it is customary that he/she be given gifts to commemorate the happy occasion. And as can be clearly seen, we humans got that tradition from the Bible and the Magi.

No one ever says that said gift-giving gesture on someone’s birthday is pagan. However, when the Lord is being celebrated on His birthday and bestowed gifts (by Christians giving them to one another in the stead of the Lord), suddenly it is pagan.

“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40

So what’s the excuse of the enemies of Christ to paint gift-giving during Christmas as pagan (when ironically they’re the pagans)?

In Ancient Rome, during Saturnalia, the Roman Emperor demanded that the most despised citizens brought him gifts, so their stigma could be removed – today we call it bribing state officials for favors.

So what did early Christians do?

They subjugated that foul idea by proclaiming the immutable truth of the Gospel or the Good News: that the Emperor of the World/Universe, who resides in Heaven, came down to bring us the greatest gift imaginable, and that no one is despised in His eyes.

That gift is Jesus Christ in our lives. A gift that fills all the cracks of our human frailty: the emptiness, the hurts, the regrets, and the failures. A gift that in the end will take us from this earthly life to the eternal one. Make sure you claim that gift right here, if you have not already done so.

In other words, early Christians replaced the Roman Emperor’s horrid gift-giving idea with the biblical one, which in and of itself unequivocally transformed human traditions. But the Satanists are not happy with the positive influence Christians have had on the world, so they try their pitiful best to stain it.

Santa ClausFurthermore, gift-giving is symbolized during Christmastime by the Santa Claus figure, which represents Nicolas of Myra, born in Parara, Turkey in 270 AD, a bishop who was instrumental in giving us the gift of the New Testament during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

Said gift is truly the gift that keeps on giving as it is the most important tool in the life of a Christian.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3: 16

Therefore, Nicholas of Myra as Santa Claus has become the quintessential symbol of the Christmas gift-giving tradition, which God Himself started when He gifted us His son.

Still, no Christian parent should fool his children into believing the lie that Santa Claus is the one who brings them presents. Be upfront with the little ones and explain all the symbolism, as well as regarding all Christmas paraphernalia for what they really are. Ornaments. Nothing more.

GOD SET UP THE PAGANS

Let’s consider the following.

Are all Christians born Christians? Nope. They become Christians. What were most of them before? Pagans. Meaning they did not worship the true God in Heaven, Jesus.

So what’s the difference between former pagan humans who now worship Jesus and some former pagan customs that now point to Jesus as a sign of their subjugation?

Besides, what if Christ Himself, from the very beginning of time, wanted these customs for Christmas? After all, nothing happens without His consent.

“[There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21

Thus the expression of His wish became prophetic and echoed in then pagan customs. Read When Prophecies Echo to truly understand this point.

Christmas Evergreen TreeOtherwise, how else can one explain the representation of the evergreen tree as symbolic of resurrection and life in ancient pagan customs, when Christianity alone contains the only true resurrection to ever materialize in history? How did the heathens come up with that?  See When Prophecies Echo.

With all these ancient customs God was preparing the ground for Christians to overtake and subjugate paganism everywhere. He inserted in these cultures the right angles, so that in turn His followers could use them to inject the Gospel in a way that made it palatable to the pagans.

Someone will ask then, “What if a former Voodoo or Santeria priest were to sacrifice a goat for Jesus, would that be Christianity as well?” Answer: “No, it would be paganism.” Because Christ was the only sacrifice for our sins. By sacrificing an animal he’d be telling God that Jesus’s sacrifice was not enough. Besides, Jesus already conquered and subjugated that sort of sacrifice with His own. Context, please.

And what about the Satanic Hexagram, otherwise known as the Star of David, that is often combined with the Cross of our Lord? First, David never had a “star”. See The Star of David? Second, the Hexagram has been used in occult practices for millennia, and it is still an object of Satanism. Third, it was Jews – not Christians – who, wanting to curse Jesus, combined the Hex (or curse) with the Cross and propagated it in order to fool gullible Christians into believing that Christianity is an extension of Judaism (previously called Pharisaism or Rabbinism, a Babylonian satanic cult).

TO CELEBRATE OR NOT TO CELEBRATE

The Apostle Paul said the following:

“Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.” Romans 14:6

If you’re a Christian and do not wish to celebrate Christmas, don’t. There is no directive in the bible to do so. It is just the wish of most Christians to throw a worldwide party to commemorate the birth of our common Savior. So don’t ruin it for them.

If some don’t want to celebrate it with all the paraphernalia, fine. If others don’t want to observe it in December, do it then in September, the true month of Jesus’s birth, and on the 11th to boot.

Evil Face - 911No wonder underground Satanists (otherwise known as Jewish neocons), in cahoots with their bought-and-paid-for politicians in the US Government, chose to perpetrate their act of terrorism on that date. Then they conveniently blamed it on Muslims so as to give the apartheid satanic state of Israel a green light to destroy the Middle East with a view to creating Greater Israel. It’s like they meant to say, “Hey Jesus, you took away our week of bloodshed and lawlessness (Saturnalia), we’re taking the day of your birth, and we’ll use it to spread bloodshed and lawlessness all over.” At least that’s their diabolic plan, but the blowback will not be late in coming.

“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

Remember, something is pagan only when it does not fully acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior in all its essence.

Further, most of the decorative aspects of Christmas, like the evergreen tree and the mistletoe, are things that God Himself created in nature. He didn’t craft them so pagans could worship them or use them for evil. He created them so we could find good use for them.

But if you regard them as “evil” and “pagan”, somehow that proves 1) you are afraid of them because pagans who knew no better used them in idiotic fashions, and 2) you are contradicting God Himself who looked upon everything He’s created and declared them “very good”.

“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” Genesis 1:31

Besides, Christmas celebrants do not consider them “special” or “holy” the way ancient pagans did. All the Christmas accouterments are used only as symbolic ornaments, reflective of the festivities, much like confetti are used at a party, while the reason for the celebration remains 100% Jesus.

Christmas TimeTherefore, if a Christian puts up a tree and believes that it represents the death and resurrection of Christ, and that the decorative lights represent the billions of souls saved throughout the earth because of Jesus’s sacrifice, then he’s doing it for God. Hence it’s not paganism.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ ” Galatians 3:13

“You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5: 14

However, if a pagan puts up a tree for winter solstice and bows down to it, that’s not Christmas. That’s paganism.

“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”  Luke 4:8

Likewise, if someone uses candles as sources of light in his house, that doesn’t mean he’s a pagan or a voodooist just because candles are also used in voodoo magic ceremonies.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7

CONCLUSION

The Christmas StarThere’s one thing about traditional Christmas that the enemies of Christ cannot refute. The proof is in the proverbial pudding.

Where are all those pagan religions today?

Nowhere to be found.

Simply put, they were subjugated by the earthly army of Christ, Christians, armed with only God’s truth.

So, to all the satanic anti-Christian propagandists, we say:My God beat your god, deal with it.”

And leave Christmas alone.

“Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

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Who should Christians give their Money to?

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Money is the reward for your hard work, therefore be judicious how you spend it.

It is foremost to satisfy your needs and the needs of your family – today, in bad times, and in your later years – while not forgetting those less fortunate.

DON’T BE LIKE THE UNRIGHTEOUS STEWARD

“In a wise man’s dwelling, precious treasures and oils are stored.” Proverbs 21: 20

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22

You are just a steward of the money you earn, therefore learn to control it before it controls you. In other words, get in the habit of using and bequeathing it properly:

a. meet your family’s needs (vacation included);

b. don’t waste money on frivolous things;

c. save for bad times;

d. invest in your retirement;

e. lay away for your children’s future;

f. take eternity into account and apply Jesus’s parable of The Unrighteous Steward from Luke 16:

1 AND he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods.

2 And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship: for now you can’t be steward no longer.

3And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord takes away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed.

4 I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.

5 Therefore calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord?

6 But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take your bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

7 Then he said to another: And how much do you owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take your bill, and write eighty.

8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, for as much as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.

9 And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when you die, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

With that parable, Jesus delineated a two-prong position.

1) Salvation. The unrighteous steward gave away commercial goods to those who could give back to him in return. Scratch my back, I scratch yours. That’s the way of the world, and for the world it is a smart way to deal. However, you, as a disciple of Christ, have something better to give. The Gospel of Salvation. And it is not to be exchanged for filthy lucre like many “preachers” do today. It is to be given to all, expecting nothing in return. That’s why Jesus said right after:

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16: 13

Many will argue that “preachers” don’t preach the Gospel for money. But how come they always find a way to ask for that unrighteous mammon? And how come they draw a salary as compensation? See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.

Jesus never asked for money and neither did the Apostles. Whenever the Apostles picked up a collection, it was always to give to the poor.

2) Money. You must not only give the Gospel away for free, you must also bestow money on those who can’t give back to you. That way they can see Christ in you, as well as getting a taste of the goodness of the Lord through your giving.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.” Psalm 34: 8

“If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” Luke 6: 33

When you give it is as if God Himself is giving. Said gesture affords you the opportunity to share Christ. It is also a seed impregnated with Christian love that later on could yield the fruit of change in marginal “Christians”, or salvation in the souls of those who do not know ChristThat’s why Jesus said to “make friends using unrighteous mammon”.

Thereupon, those at the receiving end of your gift, once saved, will be able to partake with you of the everlasting life, which is the real dividend or the true riches that God Himself will assign to you as your own.

Unfortunately, many are in the habit of telling those who are in need that they’ll “pray” for them. But of what use are these prayers?

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James 2: 15-17

If God brings someone in need to YOU, or you hear of someone in need, and YOU do nothing to actually help, how will his plight be mitigated? God is not going to “personally” alleviate his suffering. He commanded YOU – His steward – to do so.

Instead, many have no qualms writing big checks for “preachers” in “ministry” who use their hard-earned money to live the high life. See Of Leaders and Servants in the Church.

In so doing they set in motion the exact opposite of what Jesus talked about in the parable. They reward these “preachers” for teaching the word, and in return these “preachers” keep preaching to get more checks.

Consequently, the whole lot become unrighteous stewards, especially as Jesus never meant for his church assembly to be a 501c3 corporation nor for it to run on money.

THE GIFT OF GIVING

Before you give make sure you take care of your family first. Then whatever you purpose in your heart to donate, do so 1) to those in your extended family or household who are in need, and 2) to those outside your family who are poor, needy, or struggling, Christians firstly and others next. See The Family is God’s Plan.

“But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, whatever I have that would help you has been given to God, he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Matthew 15:5,6

“But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” 1 Tim 5:8

“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:7

” ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ” Matthew 25: 37-40

“…let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Eph. 4:28

That’s how God blessed the latter days of Job.  He multiplied – through Job’s hard work – the money his brothers, sisters, and friends gifted him in order to afford him a fresh new start.

“Then came there unto him all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” Job 42:11,12

In other words, give to those you personally know and to those God puts in your path. If everyone did that, the world would be a better place.

GIVING ABOVE AND BEYOND

You’ll find that even after doing all of the above, the cacophony of those vying for your money is still unmistakably loud:

a) the local church; see Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie

b) other ministries and secular charities.

When it comes to giving above and beyond what is required (especially if you have plenty to spare), let Jesus Himself tone down the noise.

“Jesus said unto him, If you will be perfect, go and sell all that you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: then come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21

First, let’s make it clear that what Jesus told that man was for that man. He told him to sell everything and give it all away. As for you, you must listen to what Jesus has to tell you. The scope of His order for you might be quite different. And how do you hear Him? He tugs your heart gently and repeatedly until His will permeates your spirit – that is if you’re truly open to hearing Him.

Second, when Jesus told the man to give all his money to the poor, He didn’t demand that the money be given to “His ministry” or “His organization”. He told the man to personally go and distribute it.

The idea is to bless others one on one. Again, that way they can see Jesus working through you as it is an occasion to share the love of Christ – not to shove it down their throats.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:5

Crying Boy

Crying Boy

However, for a tiny minority it might be logistically difficult to personally give away a large amount of money to a lot of different individuals. Still, nothing is impossible, and you’ll never know until you try.

Some alternative solutions might be to start your own foundation/ministry, or to give in-kind contributions instead of cash to existing ministries/organizations that cater to the needy.

In these instances, ministries that cater to the needy can 1) incorporate to help raise money and legally protect themselves, and 2) hire employees or contractors, if Christian volunteers cannot be found. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.

However, if you feel strongly inclined to financially help one or various of those outside organizations or ministries, make sure you (or your accountant) personally examine how they’re handling (or mishandling) their finances, as well as keeping in mind that many of them are just fronts for unscrupulous individuals to draw hefty salaries. Again Please See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.

CONCLUSION

In God’s Kingdom on earth we Christians don’t give to get back. We give freely just the way God gives because we want to emulate Him.

“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “Acts 20:35

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Therefore, God doesn’t bless us because of what we give or do.

“When you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which was our duty to do.'” Luke 17:10

He blesses us because of who He is.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1

Gifted money should almost always go to those who are in need, whether they’re in want for food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, bible, etc.

Consequently, follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and apply due diligence. In the end, you have to make the call.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
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Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Abraham tithes to Melchizedek

Abraham and Melchizedek

Most church ministries depend heavily on the tithe to keep them afloat. So it is no wonder that the law of the tithe was dusted off from the Old Covenant shelf, and arbitrarily repackaged by mortal men for the consumption of New Covenant Christians.

We’ll examine the first tithe, the law of the tithe, and the standing of said law within the New Covenant. As we conclude, it should be clear that no Christian has been commanded to tithe, and that all ministry money should go to the poor and needy. Continue reading

Understanding the Duties of Ministry

C H U R C H   R E F O R M    S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

God in His wisdom has not given anyone in the Church any title whatsoever.

“But you are not to be called ‘Teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,’  [like today when a catholic priest is called ‘Father’] for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called Leaders (or Masters), for you have one Leader (or Master), the Messiah.” Matthew 23:8-10

We are only servants.

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Jesus walks on water

As servants we have duties to perform. It’s just that we do not call a person doing his duty by the duty he does. Whatever a Christian does, he does it as an extension of Christ. Therefore, Christ is the One who needs to be recognized, not the duty.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

God simplifies the duties thus:

“And he gave the apostles; and the prophets; and the evangelists; and the shepherds and teachers.” Ephesians 4: 11

And the reasons He did are:

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ..” Ephesians 4:12

Let’s delve into each function or duty, and see how they all apply within the body of Christ.

APOSTLES

There were twelve Apostles, personally chosen by Christ Himself. One of them betrayed Him, and eleven remained. Jesus then appeared personally to Paul, and chose him to replace Judas Iscariot.

But some will say that the Apostles voted to replace Judas with Matthias (Acts 1: 12-26). Yes, they did, but they shouldn’t have. At that time they still had not received the Holy Spirit. They were acting very Old-Testament-like. They cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. That’s how the prophet Jonah was discovered to be the one God was mad at when he hid on the ship. The lot fell on him.

Unfortunately, God no longer was working that way. The eleven had not yet figured that out. It is no wonder that after Matthias was chosen there is absolutely no mention of him again in the bible. However, Paul is a different story.

An Apostle must have seen Jesus, and Jesus must have personally chosen him.

“Am I not an Apostle?… Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” 1 Corinthians 8:9

Signs, wonders, and miracles followed an Apostle.

“I am not in the least inferior to the  most eminent apostles, even though I am nothing. I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” 2 Corinthians 12: 11,12

“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…” Acts 5: 12

However, if the Apostles had chosen certain individuals and had laid hands on them, those individuals could perform signs and wonders. But said individuals could not in turn do the same for others. The buck stopped with the Apostles.

“They chose… Stephen a man full of God’s grace and power, (who) performed great wonders and signs among the people.”  Acts 6: 5, 8

Today there are no more Apostles and therefore no more signs, wonders, and supernatural miracles.

Only these signs follow all true believers:

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17,18

We believers can pray for the sick, and with a true prayer of faith they will recover or be healed (in time) that the Son of God might be glorified. See The Miracle of Healing.

Nonetheless, no prayer of ours will produce instantaneous miracles. The power source of supernatural wonders and miracles was reserved for Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the church, and for the 12 Apostles, the foundation of the Church.

“You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone…” Ephesians 2:20

“And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:14

“And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1

Furthermore, whatever perks did apply to the Apostles don’t apply to anyone else in ministry today – perks such as concentration on prayer and ministry of the word and preaching to believers without applying biblical gathering commands.

“It’s not appropriate for us to forsake the word of God and serve tables… we apostles will continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1,4

“Paul spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Acts 20:7

The Apostles were also the only ones who could receive financial help. But the Apostle Paul chose not to use that perk because he knew no one else in ministry could. Therefore, he wanted to be an example to future servants. See Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie.

“Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.” Acts 18:3

“…nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. This we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 8-10

They were also the only ones if one were to lie to them one could end up dead.

“Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’ And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last…” Acts 5: 3-5

And finally, the Apostles were the only ones who could withhold forgiveness.

“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23

If anyone today calls himself an Apostle or says he is performing the duties of an Apostle, run quickly away from that person.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:13

The Apostles were personally chosen by Jesus to change the world through the gospel and their God-given powers. And they did.

“These that have turned the world upside down…” Acts 17:6

PROPHETS

The ministry of Prophets have a much different scope under the New Covenant than under the Old.

With the Old Covenant there were very few Prophets. The reason they were Prophets in the first place was because God would speak to them. But originally God did not want it that way. He did not want intermediaries between Him and His people. It was the Ancient Hebrews who chose it thus – they were afraid of hearing God’s voice.

“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’ ” Exodus 20: 18, 19

Therefore, these Old Testament prophets were singled out as being able to hear from God, and the Word they heard was either a Word of Remembrance of God’s promises and commandments from the past, a Word of Instruction or Commandment for the present, or a Word of Foresight for the future.

But with the New Covenant and the advent of the Holy Spirit who is given as a gift to all, such distinction between Prophets and believers is no more.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…” Joel 2: 28

Jesus - disciples boat

Now every true Christian is a prophet because every true Christian possesses the Holy Spirit who’s constantly at work changing his life as a testimony to the glory of Jesus Christ.

“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10

That’s exactly what we Christians do. We testify through various spiritual gifts of the reality and of the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another mighty works, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of languages, and to still another the interpretation of languages. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11

The Holy Spirit is hard at work transforming us into the perfect image of Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul said the following:

“For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” 1 Corinthians 14:31

Therefore, it makes sense that immediately after the Apostles are mentioned, God singles out the Prophets in Ephesians 4:11. The Prophets are all of us Christians. No one else can be above us except Christ Himself.

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

Even when the Apostles were alive they couldn’t lord it over their fellow Christians.

“Not that we have dominion over your faith…” 2 Corinthians 1: 24

All of us Christians are the Prophets standing on the Foundation of the Apostles and of Jesus the Cornerstone.

EVANGELISTS

“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4: 5

Don’t you just love the way Paul phrased that? He didn’t tell Timothy to be an Evangelist. He told him to do the work of an Evangelist. He was avoiding dolling out titles as mentioned earlier.

The work of an Evangelist is to take the Gospel to the unbelievers and teach them the doctrine of Christ. Here’s how Jesus sent them out.

“…the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” Luke 10: 1

God is a stickler when it comes to follow procedures. No Evangelist should go out on his own. Continue reading