An elderly neighbour, speaking about the new houses that are being built on what was open land nearby, said to me, “If nothing changed, everything would stay the same.”  A younger man in conversation with me spoke about his father in France.  He explained that he argues with his father telling him that families don’t care about one another now; those days are long gone, he said.  Those days that some might have thought would never end, have come and gone.  There will be an end to this age when all things will be made new.  Indeed, even now for those who are in Christ, “…old things are passed away; behold, all things are made new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  In Revelation 21:5, God says, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  The first heaven and the first earth will pass away: “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Revelation 21:1).  It is this, and the return of Messiah that we look forward to in great anticipation, particularly as we see and experience the darkness closing in as a spiritual winter approaches

Gender Trends

Dark changes are occurring.  The “gender fluid” lifestyle is on the world agenda to bring in cultural change, and to create a new humanity, one that does not reflect the image and likeness of God.  You can choose whatever gender or no gender you like, nothing is set in stone.  Gender fluid is a gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time.  A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities.  The Church has developed its own version – “Doctrinally fluid foundation”.  That is, doctrine that varies and changes over time with the prevailing trends; evolving in these enlightened times when man, in his maturity can choose his own truth, change truth, control truth, and create his own truth.  We can see this process in both the world and the Church.  In the world for instance, Russian leader Vladimir Putin appears to believe that he controls the truth, and that he can create his own reality, control by deceit.

What was sin in New Testament times is not sin today.  You can choose which version of interpretation of Scripture best fits you; or you can develop your own line and belief.  There are churches that teach LGBT relationships are ‘loving’ and are of God – because God is love and love is of God.  It is a confusion to confuse God’s truth, as they exchange the truth for a lie (Romans 1:25).  By British and EU law, homosexuals and lesbians can marry and be husband and wife.  You can also choose to be whatever gender you like.  Why?  It is to poke God in the eye.  Man is now god, making his own laws.  It is to confuse and to throw doubt on the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 3).

The approaching attack on Scripture could include – “An overseer should be someone that has one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2).  In the eyes of the LGBT, and through changes in the law and society, they can now fulfil that Scripture.  It is a blatant attack upon the truth.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Timothy 4:3).   The Church is referred to as a building in Ephesians 2:22, a building which is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).  If you mess with the foundation of a building, the building will collapse.  That is what is being attempted in the attack on the Church and teachings of Scripture.  It is rather like Jael when she grabbed hold of the tents foundations – the tent peg.  Using, in a sense, the foundations as a weapon she killed the man that had taken refuge there, by driving the tent peg through the temple of the unsuspecting, sleeping, Sisera. (Judges 4:18-22).  The verb used to speak of Jael’s striking of Sisera, plays on the verb for pitching a tent.   Jael destroys the tent with the same verb that is normally used to erect it.  This is not a perfect fit because Sisera is the villain and Jael the heroin; but the enemy of the Church is seeking to destroy the Church by wielding the doctrinally fluid foundations against it.  We can give thanks and praise to God that it is Jesus Christ that is building His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18).  Were the Church awake, it would be the Church driving the tent peg to put to death false teaching and practice.  The Church would be victorious over the enemy wherever he arises.  We would give no opportunity to sin and Satan. (Ephesians 4:27).  Instead, the State Church is honouring the atheist Professor Richard Hawking with his own permanent resting place, near the grave of believer, Sir Isaac Newton, in the heart of Westminster Abbey![i]  Hawking “…was an atheist who said that belief in the afterlife was nothing more than a fairy story for people afraid of death.”  Charles Darwin is buried in the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey, not far from Sir Isaac Newton.[ii]

Confusion reigns in the world in preparation for the god of this world to reign.  The spirit of antichrist is already in the world (1 John 4:3).  “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).  It was the serpent that deceived the first humans.  It is the Antichrist that will deceive the last humans.  We must hold fast to the truth so that we do not succumb to deception – 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14-18. 

Being offspring of God, we think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone.  We form an image of Him that suits our standards; we think God still winks at sin as He did in earlier times. (Acts 17:29-30).  We are exhorted to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  “For it is God who works in you…” (Philippians 2:12-13).  Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17).  We should not condemn either; but the Church must return to teaching biblical truth. 

Groomed for Giving

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it 'a den of robbers’” (Matthew21;13; Luke 19:46; Jeremiah 7:11).

A young woman told me how she had responded to the TV broadcast of a well-known ministry in America.  People were encouraged to contact them about things that worried them.  The young woman told them about a situation in her life.  The ministry said they would pray for her.  During the following days they kept in contact saying how God loved her.  Gradually the conversation turned to giving financially, and how she could give to the ministry.  It sounded to me a copycat system of grooming for sex.  The difference was simply that they were grooming a vulnerable person to give financially.  The Church has strayed from the ways of God in so many different areas of life.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.…” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

The Bride

The Bride should be in the process of making herself ready for the Groom, and so she will; but many who think they will be included, might not be.  The “once saved always saved” message has done great damage.  It has caused carelessness in living and understanding, as we shall see in a moment.  “But whoever lacks these traits is near-sighted to the point of blindness, having forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  Therefore, brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you practice these things you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:9-10).  Many in the Church have stumbled because of disobedience.  They have not walked in God’s truth.

The Removal of Chametz

At the end of March, Jews began the celebration of Passover.  They celebrate Passover as though they were actually present during the event in Exodus.  This year Passover started on Saturday, the 31st of March (31/3/2018) and continued for seven days until Friday, the 6th of April.[iii]

No leavened bread may be eaten during all seven days of Passover.  The leaven has to be removed entirely from homes, according to Exodus 12:15.  All the chametz (leavened products) are removed; even one’s clothing has to be free from chametz before sitting down to the Passover meal, teaching us the need to separate ourselves from corrupting influences in our lives.

Exodus 12:8

They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

Exodus 12:19

Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.

Note the seriousness of this situation: “whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel

Exodus 13:7

"Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders.

Deuteronomy 16:3

"You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.

2 Corinthians 2:17

For we are not like so many others, who peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as men sent from God.

Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me.”

At the end of March, Christians celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the period where: “You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there” (Psalm 68:18; Ephesians 4:8).  Through the Cross, the death and resurrection of Jesus, we “have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).  Just as we used to offer the parts of our bodies in slavery to impurity and to escalating wickedness, we should now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.… (Romans 6:19).  We should keep short accounts with God, keeping our lives free from sin.

Jesus’ Warning

And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6, 11; Luke 12:1; cf. Mark 8:15).

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

(1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9).

Using the Passover celebrations as an allegory, Paul urges the casting out of the leaven of malice and wickedness and the substitution of sincerity and truth as an appropriate means of keeping the feast.

If God, in His Word, instructs us to keep our lives, (our homes – households) clean from leaven, won’t He do the same with His own household?  Doesn’t Scripture say that judgement begins with the household of God? (1 Peter 4:17).

God’s spring clean

God is longsuffering, but it seems to me that He is preparing to cleanse His House, His Church.  Jesus took action to cleanse the Temple courts of the corrupting influences that He discovered there – Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:12-13).  Those in the Church that point the finger at the Jews should look closer to home.  Today, we are making God’s house a den of iniquity!  These people are like those in Jeremiah Ch.7 and Matthew Ch.21; they believe themselves to be safe.  They put their trust in the Temple but practice abominations, breaking at least half of the Ten Commandments.  Hosea spells it out for us: “There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed” (Hosea 4:2).  See also Matthew 7:22-23. God sees, and God will cleanse His Church, because He loves His people.

Christ is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1).  If He were not so, we would fail dismally; but Jesus will build His Church.  The Bride will be made ready and the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place.  It is written!

“Let us rejoice and celebrate and give Him the glory.  For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.  She was given clothing of fine linen, linen bright and pure.  For the fine linen she wears is the righteous acts of the saints.…” (Revelation 19:7-8).

Blessings and shalom,

Malcolm [21.03.2018]

 


[iii] Passover or Pesach commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Passover lasts for either:

 

Seven days Passover – in Israel and for Reform Jews and other progressive Jews around the world who adhere to the Biblical commandment

 

Eight days Passover – for Orthodox, Hasidic, and most Conservative Jews in the diaspora.

 

So, For Orthodox, Hasidic, and most Conservative Jews in the diaspora, Passover in 2018 will end on Saturday, the 7th of April.

 

Note that in the Jewish calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews will celebrate Passover on the sunset of Friday, the 30th of March.

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