Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rewards of Discipleship and Real Abundance

         When we think of rewards we usually think of prizes or gifts based on a good deed: Lost Dog—$20 Reward.

         In the Old West, bounty posters were tacked up in various places announcing rewards associated with catching bad guys. Bounty hunters made a living off such rewards.

         If you were punching cattle, though, you didn’t get a reward—you got your pay. You received wages.

         The distinction between these two—rewards and wages—was based in the former sense on the difference between being an independent contractor and being an employee. Hiring on with a ranching outfit usually meant working for an indefinite amount of time for a set wage within that time, be it a certain amount per day, per week, or per month. If a man wanted steady work it would be for comparably lower pay, and often very low pay.

         An independent contractor, on the other hand, took on the risk of solely providing for himself. The reward, if he got it, was not based on an hourly wage or weekly rate, but on whatever the contract had stipulated. An experienced man could earn more money in less time. For the most part, the reward contract was non-negotiable.

         The Lord Jesus told many stories about such non-negotiable rewards, though they are often thought of as being mere wages.

THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD

         The parable of The Laborers in the Vineyard comes to mind (Matthew 20:1-16). Each worker was given the same pay regardless of how much time each actually worked. It appeared to be a daily rate at first and was specifically identified as one denarius. However, it became less of a daily rate as the day went on. Also, the pay was not identified when the second and third groups were hired as the day advanced. Later, the pay could be characterized as an hourly wage, but only by the last group—those “eleventh hour” workers who toiled only during the last hour of the day.

         Which was it? Was the pay wages or reward? The landowner mentioned something later about being generous. The first group that worked all day got pretty ticked off since they worked all day and the others who received the exact pay did not, even though the denarius they had agreed upon that morning when hired was a daily wage at that time. Why did the landowner pay the same mount to all regardless of time worked?

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

         There are also rewards based on specific conditions. One may think of The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In this story, three men were entrusted with large amounts of money upfront with the provision to use it to make more. This financial arrangement was not only the promise of a reward, but the reward would be decided upon by the grantees that did the work. The contract was non-negotiable but also open-ended and conditional.

         The initial amount given to each was based on their respective ability:

         To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. [Matthew 25:15]

         Though the word used here—ability—is used by the majority of Bible translations, it is not necessarily the best translation. The Greek word is dunamis. This word is primarily translated as power, but is also translated as miracle, miracles, and miraculous powers. It is an indication of personal strength.

         Each of the men was invested with an amount of money based on their personal strength and potential. The first man was given five talents because he possessed more strength, ability, and power than the others. At first glance this may seem unfair, but the master expected more from those who had more, since such people had greater potential for greater productivity and fruitfulness:

         “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” [Luke 12:48]

         We notice in this story, however, that the two men who did a good job by doubling their money gave what they made right back to their master and received—you guessed it—even greater rewards:

(1) Since they were faithful in a few things, they would each be given charge over many things, and

(2) They were blessed with entering into the joy (delight, gladness) of their master.

         It is obvious that the money these men made was not mere wages but reward with the possibility of greater reward. They invested wisely in such a way that there were ongoing dividends, or fruit. It is also clear that wages are their own reward, and once one cashes his paycheck and spends it the transaction is complete, unless one uses some of the money as financial seed.

         But there is another very important component of this message. All three men had great respect for their master. They understood they were given a great opportunity they would likely never receive again. They took it very seriously. However, the focus of the two who were successful was not on personal gain, but on their master’s gain. The third man with the least ability who was given one talent was focused on himself, and because of that he gave in to fear and buried his talent. His talent was thus unfruitful, and though he returned the money fully intact to the master, its potential was never realized. As a result, he was fired (literally).

ATTITUDE TRUMPS ABILITY

         As the man given one talent, some people may think, to begin with, that they are not quite so blessed in this life or that they have few talents or abilities. But the parable says such is not true at all. Concerning the man who was fired and why he was not successful, it was not his abilities that were deficient but his attitude. Everyone has the required abilities to be successful, but only a few make the choice to have the right attitude.

         The correct attitude is one of respect, humility, determination, and resoluteness. The master was looking for people who would never give up, who would show courage and tenacity, who would get the job done come hell or high water, who would always overcome their fear or anything else that may hinder success, and work as hard as it took to achieve the objective.

         In short, he wanted people who would simply not be denied and who lived by great faith—he wanted winners.

         Winners are people who never give up until they win.

         They do not have to be greatly gifted. They may be marginally gifted. But they must use whatever they have no matter how small. (Think seed.) The intent is to take whatever one has been given by God and increase it, whether given a large amount equivalent to several years wages (a talent), or less.

         Remember the story of the widow’s mites (small copper coins—see Mark 12:42-44). That poor woman only had two barely valuable coins but gave both into the Lord’s treasury. It was not the monetary amount that impressed the Lord Jesus, but that she gave her all. She gave everything she had, and hence, more than any of those more successful people who only gave a token easily affordable amount from their increase.

         The Master wants people who give their entire heart.

         How many true stories have we heard of people starting out very small and making it big? We must first submit ourselves to the Master, use whatever we may have been given, use it correctly, and produce the fruit thereof. We know from the parable that the guy who did nothing received nothing. He returned nothing more to his master than what he received. He was unprofitable and thus received no pay, no wages, and no reward.

         Those who consistently give their whole heart according to the will of God in obedience to Him, however, are forever fruitful. They will bring forth abundance.

REWARDS OF DISCIPLESHIP

         “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.” [Matthew 29:25]

         Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:11-12]

         “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:1]

         “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:2-4]

         “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:5-6]

         “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:16-18]

         “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21]

         “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” [Matthew 10:40-42]

         “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.

         “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

         “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

         “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

         “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” [Luke 6:31-38] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

LIGHT in the Midst of Darkness: From Repentance to Joy

         People blame God for a lot of things though He is never to blame for anything. Some blame Him for everything. But we certainly cannot blame Him for not warning us.

         We are living in a time characterized on many fronts as the quick approach of a point of no return. Correction is no longer merely suggested but demanded. The actions of rebellious sinful humanity on this planet can no longer be sustained. Sinful people have gotten away with so much sin for so long it remains incredible that the Lord has not yet brought great judgment to some.

ABORTION—THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (IN THE NATION)

         As I’ve said many times before, one can gauge the incredible sin content in America by merely taking a look at abortion statistics. The heart of America as a country has grown so cold and so weak that only a relative handful of folks acknowledge the incredible evil regarding over 50 million innocent lives murdered in cold blood with no refrain and little remorse.

         The vast majority of those in elected or appointed office in Washington DC—the people with all the power—never does anything about ending abortion on demand and haven’t in 42 years. A few talk about it but that’s as far as it gets. And the people who elect them obviously don’t care because they keep electing them.

         The vast majority of “Christians” don’t care either. And rather than get the required number doing the right thing to fix this incredible evil, many Christians spend their quality time instead doing things like wondering if they should vote for pro-abortion candidates who mean business and keep the killing going, or voting for liars—those who merely talk but never do and are just as complicit in the evil.

         The Lord may say at the judgment, “Why did you keep voting for baby killers?”

         Abortion not only kills innocent lives, it panders to the raw lust of people who can’t control themselves and use abortion as their main method of contraception. It creates dark selfish hearts with righteous exteriors, and as such people gain the majority, they exhibit less resistance toward applying the necessary corrective.

         The point here is that any nation who routinely kills its innocents in vast quantities with no remorse is worse—WAY WORSE—than the pure evil of mass murderers like Mao (40 million), Stalin (30 million), and Hitler (untold millions).

         And the people of such a nation will keep not correcting a very clear gigantic obvious wrong because they simply do not see the problem in it, will not do what it takes to fix it, or are benefitting from it.

         Think about that. The babies cannot defend themselves in any way and the babies’ defenders are seen by the majority as deviant idiots. The babies are classified as non-persons and thus have no rights. These multiple murders are NEVER broadcast on the news which results in an “out of sight out of mind” scenario. The majority in America prefers this head-in-the-sand status quo and unless proper change is affected in this society by the comparative few the whole thing will continue on until seconds before going completely off the cliff.

         Many people know better but are emboldened in their sin because there is no current reaction to their illicit action.

         Yet.

         It is always a matter of time for things to get sorted out. Payment will always be made. It is a sad thing, therefore, to see people allowing themselves to be lifted up in pride and taking on a bulletproof attitude. They incorrectly discern that nothing bad will ever happen to them as a result of their sin since nothing bad has happened to them so far. The only reason they appear to be bulletproof, though, is simply because there are no karma blowback bullets heading in their direction.

         Yet.

         History tells us what always happens.

         But beyond that, and much more importantly, God always warns us what will happen if we take the wrong road.

THE ANSWER ACCORDING TO EZEKIEL

         The following passage from the prophet Ezekiel, who lived in the sixth century BC, teaches us that some things never change. The Lord used this man and spoke through him not only to warn His people of what will happen to them because of their wicked actions, but also to differentiate between right and wrong, and reveal that blessings will follow righteousness.

         He warned His people as a way to correct them and get them on the right road. The last thing God wants to do is bring judgment. He is loving, kind, and extremely patient.

         Read the following carefully. It contains much truth and many answers that can be applied to our present situation:

         And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

         “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,

         and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,

         then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.

         ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

         ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

         “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

         “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.

         “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

         “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have spoken, saying, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?”’

         “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’

         “And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’

         “When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die.

         “But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness,

         if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

         “None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live.

         “Yet your fellow citizens say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right,’ when it is their own way that is not right.

         “When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it.

         “But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them.

         “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.” [Ezekiel 33:1-20]

SEEK, AND YE SHALL FIND

         We are in a sense living in the best of times and the worst of times. Bad things are piling up because of so much sin and rebellion. All of this stuff will have to be paid for. Judgment has come and must continue, and more is certainly on the way.

         But at the same time many millions of real Christians in America are doing the right thing and blessings follow them. They have favor with God. They are blessed with grace. They love the Lord Jesus and obey Him. It does not mean that God spoils them or indulges them, but that He loves them, protects them, and strengthens them

         If you find yourself in a place where you feel you just don’t have the strength or the faith to get beyond not so pleasant circumstances even though you have tried and continue trying, it does not necessarily mean you cannot. It could be a timing issue. It could be that you are making progress but you don’t see it or are not satisfied with the progress you have made.

         Be strong. Seek the Lord. Stand in faith. Continue to pray. You will either successfully climb over the mountain, journey around the mountain, or possibly tunnel right through the mountain. All of this takes much effort and time. It might take a while. But one thing is always true:

         So He told them this parable, saying,

         “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’

         “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

         “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’

         “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” [Luke 15:3-10] [1]

         Notice that finding the lost sheep and the lost coin took effort. It took unending effort until the discovery was made. The operative phrase from the preceding passage is “until he/she finds it.”

         The effort must be extended until the objective is achieved.

         It begins with repentance.

         It ends in great JOY.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Judge Not: The Upshot of Carrying One’s Cross

         Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24]

.

         Real Christians, like their Lord, always end up getting crucified. Let Him explain:

         “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

         Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

         Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” [Matthew 5:10-12]

         According to these difficult teachings of the Lord, the following are the real credentials of real believers:

(1) Real Christians will be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

(2) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be insulted.

(3) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be persecuted.

(4) Real Christians, because they have committed to the Lord Jesus and follow Him, will be falsely accused of all kinds of evil.

         The Lord then taught that real believers are not to strike back in kind, but take the shots that come their way.

         This means that when one is insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused for being a real Christian, one is to take the insults, persecution, and false accusations without returning insults, persecution, and false accusations in kind. One must not throw another log on the fire, thus escalating the war of words, but pour water on it instead.

         This is certainly a form of crucifixion.

         Keep in mind that the Lord was even being insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused while He hung on the cross:

THE MATTHEW ACCOUNT:

         And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

         In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

         The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. [Matthew 27:39-44]

THE LUKE ACCOUNT:

         And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”

         The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

         Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

         One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”

         But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” [Luke 23:35-41]

         And there’s the point.

         If the Lord took all of that abuse while hanging on a rough wooden cross with spike nails in His hands and feet and suffering excruciating pain most of us will never know and still managed to say, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), then it is certainly possible to obey His teachings regarding insults and false accusations.

LIKE ONE FROM WHOM MEN HIDE THEIR FACE

         We must know that He was insulted repeatedly all the live long day throughout His entire life and especially during His ministry. He had ample reason to strike back in kind but never did, not even from the cross.

         Did He have the ability? Most certainly. Could He have climbed down off the cross? Without doubt. Could He have whipped any of those accusing pansies in a fist fight? I have no doubt He could have.

         But He didn’t. And it takes a MUCH bigger man to take abuse without returning it. He took it all and never struck back because He had a MUCH higher goal than simply winning stupid arguments or defending one’s “honor” or reputation:

         He wanted to ransom the souls of humanity.

         “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? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:44-48]

         The Lord Jesus not only taught this truth, He lived it. And He commanded all of His followers to do exactly the same.

ANTI-DISCIPLES

         Yet, “Christians” are some of the most easily offended people on the planet. It does not take much for certain “Christians” to become extremely angry. There are those who insist they are Christians but are as judgmental and condemning as the day is long. Some will betray another in a heartbeat.

         For many of these there is simply no impulse control whatsoever. The devil can play them like a drum whenever he feels like it. They are ready to fight in a split second. What is more, such people are proud of their desire and ability to insult and accuse in kind, not knowing or apparently caring that they are doing the devil’s work, especially if they engage in the inevitable maiming and murdering that results from being offended.

         Others may exhibit great impulse control and give forth the appearance of godliness. That is, until they feel slighted in some way and then all hell breaks loose. As long as they are never challenged there is no reaction, though many such perceived “challenges” are never personal and have no bad intent.

        They may think they are defending the truth, but they are actually egregiously violating the Lord’s commands, especially the love commandment.

         But for the real Christian, when one is insulted and falsely accused, often by other Christians of course, one does not strike back in kind though one may certainly want to, and though one may certainly do so very effectively.

         Instead, one must allow himself or herself to be crucified.

         It is the picture of a crazed little runt poking a giant hibernating grizzly bear with a stick and continuing to do so since he is getting away with it. In time he grows ever more bold. But the day will come when the bear will wake up. At that point the little man better have an exit plan.

JUDGMENT LOOMS

         All those who rejected and insulted and made fun of the Messiah when He came found out forty years later that crucifying Him actually meant they were destroying themselves, and the same thing eventually happens to all who persecute the Lord’s children. It’s what happens when the cure is rejected.

         Better to judge ourselves than judge others:

         Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5]

         Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

         But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

         But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

         There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

         For there is no partiality with God. [Romans 2:1-11]

.

         “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” [John 12:47] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 4)

EXCERPT FROM PART 4:

         Proper sacrifice was the answer. Repentance is the first part of the equation. The circumcision of the heart is at the heart of the New Testament. The preaching of the cross is core, foundational, at the nucleus thereof, and points directly to what salvation entails. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness… [Hebrews 9:22]”

Link to Part 4:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 4)

.

Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 3)

EXCERPT FROM PART 3:

         “In Part 2 we learned that Jerusalem was not prepared for the manifest presence of God, any more than many Christian congregations and groups in America are ready. David’s original plan was well-intentioned but not even close to the Lord’s protocol. It seems that in our many and varied attempts to do something for God, we fail to inquire of God, either whether we should do a particular thing, or regarding the method we employ in doing it…”

Link to Part 3:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 3)

.

Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 2)

EXCERPT FROM PART 2:

         “At present, God is still waiting for us to get our act together. He is waiting for a full expression of honor toward Him. Traditional American Christianity may have credentialed clergy, many schools and seminaries, about a million church buildings (some incredibly state of the art), television studios, stations, and networks, a powerful radio presence, hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth, and the vast majority who profess Christianity.

         But all we do has made little difference in the overall scheme of things. The only hope for America is the Lord Jesus. Because we still lack the desired presence of God, it proves our collective irreverence and lack of respect for Him. We are content without Him in His full strength and power. This proves an absence of general servanthood and proper worship…”

Link to Part 2:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 2)

.

Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 1)

         In May of 2011, about two weeks after I started this site, I wrote a 4-part series entitled “Here Comes the Ark.” It was written in part to both prepare for the coming Great Awakening in America and become knowledgeable of it.

         Before the Lord can bring someone to full salvation there must be repentance. And before that He must prepare a person’s heart.

         It is no different when He desires to bring an awakening. All great movements of God include a preparation time before the outer movement is seen. Sometimes the time of preparation takes decades or more. It is no different at present.

         Though several great movements of God have taken place in America, the first was the Great Awakening of the 1730s-40s. It helped prepare the nation for the American Revolution, which led to the creation of a country with the greatest spiritual freedom in history.

         As you read the following article, which remains just as topical and relevant, consider what must be achieved, how long the Lord has been working on it, and your own personal role.

         Please feel free to add to the discussion.

         Here’s the link to Part 1:

         Here Comes the Ark (Part 1) 

.

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 3)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

PHARISAICAL FAKERY

         In began in ancient Sumer at the dawn of civilization.

         The Egyptians mastered the craft.

         It extended through the major cultures and empires of the world, culminating with the Romans in a purely pagan, non-Biblical sense.

         The Romans built upon the prior foundations of Greece and Egypt primarily, and confiscated from those and other prior cultures the highly defined pagan image-making art of ancient times.

         The nation of Israel had also long since succumbed to the practice of idolatry over a thousand years before, but it was the highly developed religious image-making and pretension of the first-century Pharisees who formed a false syncretic hybrid of Torah-ism and demon worship to the degree that the Lord Jesus called them “of their father the devil.”

         This Phariseeism was later used in Christian forms, one principally which still exists today, and formed the basis of the Christian image-making of the present. And rather than only forming idols of wood, metal, or stone, these fakers have followed the devil’s lead by also creating fully evolved human idols worshipped and followed every Sunday morning and on televisions nationwide.

         Indeed, television has become the perfect medium for such idolatry, though outside of television there has existed for many centuries an ultra-religious ceremonial and liturgical pageantry within particular denominations that has captured the minds of millions and deceived them away from the full expression and knowledge of the Lord.

         The entire effort of these false Christian forms and formats, as related to the Lord’s original, results in nothing more than shallow religious “showtime” using well-compensated religious actors, exactly as did the Pharisees, whom the Lord referred to as hypocrites (devious religious stage players).

         The Pharisees were fakes. They were not concerned with growing spiritually closer to God but about gaining earthly power and wealth. So are many “Christian” leaders and celebrities. If anyone actually believes that such “ministers” one sees up front and center are real, and that they are just like their stage (platform, pulpit) persona behind the scenes in regular life, such people are grossly deceived, and it illustrates how easy it is to manipulate and lead around by the nose those who refuse to fully surrender to the Lord Jesus.

“IT IS THE SPIRIT WHO GIVES LIFE; THE FLESH PROFITS NOTHING.” [John 6:63]

         Of course, there is nothing whatsoever fake or disingenuous about the Lord. And His rejection and death was in part because He obeyed the Torah commandments against idolatry and that He rejected false image-making. In essence, He appeared to be much less than whom He really was to a people well-conditioned to submit to religious masqueraders. To the majority, the God of the Universe simply did not look the part unlike so many religious fakers who did.

         …For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness… [2Corinthians 11:14-15]

         Christian religious image-making of the present has certainly gone mainstream but also mandatory if one is to receive market share, popularity, and reach the primary highly-coveted fundamental goals, which remain the same:

(1) An outlet for one’s vanity, narcissism, and pride,

(2) Greater advantage and influence, and

(3) Wealth.

         Therefore, Christians in particular must always remember that—

One’s eyes can certainly be deceived (and often are)

One’s perceived correct Biblical beliefs can certainly be inaccurate (and often are) through the power of a false gospel, and

One can certainly become a dupe. It has happened to millions, and such millions are growing exponentially. Those without spiritual eyes to see who have no love for the truth cannot help but be fooled. [See 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12]

         These are victims of higher powers masquerading as something real—false lights of shining fakery and carefully-crafted graven images of the human kind.

         One thing such victims all have in common is they don’t know they are deceived, are often willingly deceived, and strangely, stubbornly insist on supporting the unreal rather than the real, even if it costs them their eternal souls. It is pure idolatry, and the antithesis of the purity and reality of the Lord Jesus.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

         The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

         I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

         He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

CULTURAL CONFORMITY

         The historical and American culture-changing Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 (see video at end of Part 1) proved that what once was, was no more. A great transformation had taken place. Life got “modern.” The organic became the cosmetic. The country shifted dramatically from the spiritual to the material. Depth gave way to shallowness. Image-making became a priority.

         Keep in mind, however, that this was also the beginning of the Holy Spirit outpouring throughout denominational Christianity. Pentecost was pouring into places where it had previously been blocked. Thousands of denominational Christians were being filled with the Spirit like hundreds of thousands of Pentecostals before them. This outpouring also eventually reached the American Catholic Church. Many priests and nuns were becoming Pentecostal. It began the great Catholic Charismatic movement.

         But, of course, almost all of this wonderful spiritual history was not being reported by the few major news outlets that had succumbed to the phony dog and pony political show before them. It became obvious to anyone with spiritual eyes and ears that the major media became nothing more than a corporate entity doing the bidding of elites deceiving the country. As the dominance of the television medium increased, so did the power to use it for the sinister purposes of swaying the country toward a hidden agenda for the personal gain of those in power.

         Cultural conformity was forced and enforced, even more than in the 1950s. For a typical example, over half a century ago, IBM mandated a black pants, white shirt, black tie image for all workers as a statement of corporate uniformity. Professional dress became the model for emerging corporatism. Any and all forms of dissent were perceived as anti-American though the country was founded upon dissent and revolution.

         But suddenly, unbelievably, the perfect created image was destroyed. Naïve, idyllic America became an all too real nightmare. An American president had been savagely murdered under mysterious circumstances. Militarism and the destructive Vietnam War were in full swing. The ridiculous attitude of “my country right or wrong” became a compulsory slogan as an end-all be-all instead of doing the right thing to correct gross wrongs. Race riots were breaking out.

         Such coercion toward a regimented “follow-orders” populace created what was then known as the generation gap in that young people, still very much American at heart, rebelled against the fakery, the overbearing political correctness, religious redneckism, and the emerging military/political/corporate glom being forced upon the populace.

         Amidst all this, most Americans had no idea what was causing all the change or that they were being played. They did not see the actors behind the curtain. All anyone knew was that it seemed like the country was exploding.

         For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. [Hosea 8:7][1]

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

         It had been almost another half century since the dawn of public relations imaging and methods, and American individualism took a hit. It was a time of “Keeping up with the Joneses,” a popular expression of the day, when the middle class expanded and most were concerned with doing whatever they must to appear as solid, successful citizens and within a higher social strata.

         Bucking the system was opposed by the majority as something inherently wrong without noticing that “the system” had gone terribly wrong. “Keeping up appearances” was preferable to taking on the persona of the early American patriots to fix the country, and such image-consciousness was no longer only for the wealthy but for everyone who wanted to be well thought of.

         One’s presented image took precedence over one’s spiritual stature.

         Therefore, much of what happened in the counter-cultural 1960s was an immoral over-reaction against the heavy-handed authoritarianism of the day, in which those in charge were often terribly wrong though they insisted they must be honored, respected, and obeyed anyway. Most Americans did obey only to discover years later they were wrong to do that. Their outer redneckism of the time veiled a yellow, selfish heart. They bought into the lie.

         Image-making was so pervasive it became unconscious.

         Yet, centuries before the changes of the last one hundred years, there was a group of people who had mastered the craft of image-making and became extremely successful in its use. And it seems that whenever we reach points in history in which false imagery reaches its zenith, all hell breaks loose.

         In Part 3 we will look at the greatest manipulators of all and the sinister methods they use so well.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

  

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)

         It is fairly easy for the non-deceived to spot faux religious leaders.

         Such are the ones with perfect outer images who have mastered the art of staying in character.

         They also dress very well for the part.

         “‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’” [Deuteronomy 27:15] [1]

         I remember hearing a message by a man principally involved in marriage ministry who also pastors a large congregation. This man was talking about how God created men to be wired visually regarding their attraction toward a mate.

         He then began talking about how enhanced photography and facial makeup allow some women to look much better than they actually do. When such methods create an image, it is simply not real. He said married men often fall into temptation comparing such pretty faces to their wives, who feel they cant compete.

         Regarding even the best looking professional super models he said, “Don’t be concerned about not looking like that. They don’t look like that…”

         Now, it is certainly okay to want to look our best, but some strive to vastly improve on the Creator’s handiwork and attempt to look not just their best but better than the rest, even if it means cosmetically transforming in the extreme their actual, God-given appearance. And the ultra use of cosmetics, plastic surgery, and photographic tricks to assist in that process is no longer necessarily an option for many, though it is a relatively recent innovation.

 CONTEMPORARY IMAGE-MAKING

         The first crude camera photograph was created circa 1826-27, going on two centuries ago, and the vast majority of ladies in developed nations never wore makeup until maybe 50-60 years ago. Now, of course, the percentage of women who wear makeup to some degree or another has advanced dramatically, and photography has advanced to ultra high definition video. By comparing the oldest photographs from the 1800s and portrait paintings centuries older, one can see the great advances made both in mechanical media and also culturally accepted (demanded) cosmetics.

         Technology has presently improved to the extent that a person’s image can be dramatically changed, and it can generate quite a shock when such people are seen outside their usual doctored images. This often happens with celebrities who spend a lot of time behind a camera, but this is not always the case.

         For instance, there is the true story from a few years ago of a longtime pastor who, during the middle of a big Sunday church service while preaching, suddenly ripped off the hairpiece from atop his head.

         The entire congregation was blown away. He had been wearing hairpieces for so long most of the people there had never known he was bald. It probably took a while to get used to the “new guy.”

         Because there are currently so many false images in the world, and because people become so used to seeing created images, the actual person underneath is often unrecognizable and by comparison obviously inferior.

         This has caused two things: (1) Very high artificial self-esteem based on the use of excellent effects to enhance one’s natural appearance, and (2) Very low self-esteem for those who cannot compete for whatever reason.

         It is most likely that such a wide divergence of image did not exist in the days when all women wore no makeup, save for a tiny percentage of royals and the wealthy. This provided for a level playing field though some had greater natural beauty than others.

         Today, if people choose to transform their image using whatever means, the outer image thus created is obviously different than what their actual natural image would be otherwise.

         If some of these people also dress very well, learn how to present themselves very well, say all the right words and phrases, and effect fake smiles and attitudes that appear real, outside observers will certainly be faked out, especially if they’ve never seen such people sans their carefully crafted image.

         What’s going on here? Why do people want to engage in such image-making?

         It usually boils down to three things: (1) Vanity, (2) Advantage, and (3) Money.

CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND

         It is a matter of social acceptance. It is a matter of dispelling any doubts concerning one’s character and motives. It is a matter of putting forth the look of success and proper reputation.

         It is also a matter of competition. The better one looks and the more one is accepted, the more one rises in one’s society (gains in popularity) and the better one feels (an ongoing endorphin rush), both of which results in greater pleasure and high self-esteem, though the danger of creating great pride exists based simply on a less than honest outer image. Also, more doors will open. More open doors mean receiving more opportunities, earning more money, and even attracting a better mate (or multiple mates).

         Of course, Hollywood figured this out going on a century ago. The creation of “movie stars” was not possible without stage lighting, makeup, superior costumes, camera tricks, and etc. And once such stars were created, the movie-going public attended theaters all over the country in droves which made for an interesting phenomenon regarding people worshipping people.

         As the medium grew more sophisticated and color film was invented, image-making went through the roof. Nice looking people became extremely good-looking people. The eventual fake image of these people became the standard image, since so few were seen in the real world under normal conditions. When they were seen for how they really looked, however, the contrast was obvious and often scandalous.

         Many mainline Christian denominations preached against makeup and what they might term “unholy clothing” for decades in a vain attempt to keep Hollywood from invading the church. But after World War I, the advent of moving pictures, and the comparatively decadent “Roaring Twenties” when greater wealth and material goods became available, the cat was out of the bag.

         It would take another quarter century, another World War (including the immoral influence of other cultures), and television before America became transformed forever into an amoral image-based society.

         The Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates, the first televised debates, proved this transformation in 1960. The visual contrast between these two men was stark in that John Kennedy presented a much greater televised image than Richard Nixon, though many who only listened on radio thought Nixon had won.

         It was primarily John Kennedy’s carefully crafted superior image that eventually won him the presidency.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

“Kennedy and his people were the master manipulators of television:”

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 2)

Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 3)

The Worst Violators of the Golden Rule

         God is LOVE, and love is what makes the whole thing work. His entire kingdom is based on love and on His people loving one another.

         Love must be expressed. It must be shown. The Lord Jesus commanded us to love.

         Yet, there remains a giant disconnect regarding this clear command and it stems from the false teachings of those who falsely represent the Lord.

         John said it this way:

         If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. [1John 4:20-21]

         We know, though, that God showed up among us, and did His best to teach us all to love, and did love. But this world exposed itself for what it really is by what it did to Him. He was murdered, as was Abel, by His own.

         By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. [1John 3:10-12]

         There are thus two different types of people in this world: Those who love and those who hate—those whose deeds are righteous and those whose deeds are evil. And much of the evil perpetrated upon the righteous is done in a backhanded manner by any number of duplicitous Cains and Judases, exactly as it happened to Abel and the Lord.

         Thus, if one cannot handle multiple knives in the back traveling the Christian way, one will never make it to heaven.

         Though the expression “backstabbing” originates much later in history, the proverbial illustration of betrayal by “loved ones” might presently be seen as certainly one of the wounds suffered by the Lord, as those suffered during His crucifixion. The Lord Jesus was not only betrayed by His people in general, but specifically by one of His own men—a disciple He selected—and it is not necessarily true that Judas was personally destined to betray Him.

         Someone would, of course. Such was prophesied in holy writ long before. And Judas Iscariot became that man. And the Lord warned us that such vile two-faced betrayal would also happen to His disciples.

         The apostle Paul was betrayed. And though it is not necessarily recorded, all of the original eleven were undoubtedly betrayed in some way by other “Christians.”

         Indeed, “Christianity” in general has certainly betrayed the Lord Jesus. His pure and complete teachings are most often picked over and particular parts here and there are selected as appropriate while much of his curriculum is rejected as unpleasant and non-applicable.

         Denominations make their own distinct choices and build up unique “statements of belief” to make sure everyone knows just what it is they choose and what they reject. In other words, instead of simply stating that “We believe the full teachings of the Lord Jesus, support them, and apply them to the best of our ability,” they actually only support what they deem supportable.

         Excuses are made for all they reject, citing various explanations and flawed reasoning, and when such is done over a few centuries, their man-made doctrines become etched in stone. And when the inevitable revisions come, they always remove more of the Lord’s pure teachings and adopt more man-made teachings.

         And incredibly, most Christians not only end up believing and supporting false doctrines, they effectively insist that it is not they who are wrong, but the Lord Jesus. Or the Bible. Or people who do not believe as they do.

         This is the mark of closed-minded religious exclusivism. Such belief systems create hardened, hateful hearts regardless of outward expression. And such hearts routinely violate the Golden Rule.

         How ironic is it then, that the worst violators of the Golden Rule on the planet are “Christians?” And how strange is it that the most likely individual to engage in backstabbing a Christian is another Christian?

         Now, for all those who have never been betrayed, you might want to recheck your beliefs, because the Word of God says that two things will certainly follow real believers: The first is signs, wonders, and miraculous evidence of the real Gospel when properly presented and lived out, and the second is persecution, highlighted by the enemy’s favorite method employed well by Judas.

         Concerning the evidential conduct of real Christians, the Lord said:

         “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]

         The above was an addendum to the following:

         “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

         And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

         “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40]

         And to make sure everyone fully understands the concept and that a Christian’s love for others must be universal, He taught:

         “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? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:43-48] [1]

         In all of this, we see that there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for disobeying the Golden Rule, and that it must be extended even to one’s enemies who engage in persecution, especially if the persecutor is a former trusted one who took advantage of a lack of defense by the one who loved and shot his or her friend in the back.

         And to show how incredibly vile this practice is—this violation of the love commandment—and that it is most often found in the realm of religion, “Christians” who make personal attacks (anti-love) on fellow believers, acting as if they have somehow garnered the spiritual high ground and that those they attack and condemn are worthy of such, often have no remorse whatsoever for their actions and never repent.

         Indeed, they believe they are fully justified to lash out at whoever does not believe according to their “different gospel.” In this, they are more evil than Judas Iscariot.

         At least he went out and hung himself.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Happy New Year? 2015

 

         Today is the day we celebrate the beginning of a brand new year. In that regard, may 2015 be a blessed year for all.

.

         In reality, though, this particular day is essentially meaningless regarding actual new beginnings.

         Even though the civil calendar we presently use (the Gregorian), contains 365 days, it otherwise has little cyclical bearing on celestial events. Nevertheless, it begins today, January 1.

         Ancient calendars were originally based on such celestial events, primarily the time it takes planet Earth to travel around the Sun. Yet within that cycle was an earlier calendar—smaller cycles regarding the time it takes the Moon to travel around the Earth.

         The former is referred to as a solar calendar and the latter a lunar calendar. Their significance is that one can actually refer to something tangible, and in the above cases, something very powerfully tangible, to order the passing of time.

         Though our current calendar is divided into twelve months and fifty-two weeks, it remains a mere abstract construct in relation to the actual celestial cycles. Hence, January 1 is largely meaningless from a celestial perspective.

         Regarding the actual first day of the calendar, common sense tells us that the year, divided up into four seasons, would naturally begin with the season of new life, the spring. The end of winter and the beginning of spring constitutes the actual beginning of a new solar cycle from our perspective, though this differs regarding on which side of the equator one lives.

         The ancients had figured out that a year lasted 365 days. They figured out that lunar cycles, or months, lasted 29-30 days. We now know that such cycles can be calculated further to 365.2422 days and 29.53 days respectively.

         The late Sumerians and later Babylonians managed to combine both of these cycles into a single calendar, a lunisolar calendar. This calendar was later adopted by the Hebrews during their Babylonian exile after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586BC.

         It was discovered that 235 lunar cycles fit almost perfectly into 19 solar cycles. This results in 12 years of 12 months, and 7 years of thirteen months. By installing an additional month every third year or so during the 19 years, one arrives at an overall cycle (19 years) encompassing both the solar and lunar cycles and what is essentially a perfect calendar based on celestial events, in which one can mark time by the actual movements of the sun and moon.

         For example, the actual current lunar cycle or month began with the new moon of December 21, 2014 at 8:36pm EST. There will be a full moon on January 4 which constitutes the exact middle of the lunar cycle. Therefore, like the solar cycle, one can see that January 1 also has no bearing on the lunar cycle.

         The present Hebrew calendar is lunisolar, but does not actually line up perfectly with exact lunar cycles since it is calculated based on when a new moon is sighted with respect to “evening and morning.”

         For example, today, January 1, is represented on the Hebrew calendar as the 10th day of Tevet. Tevet is the fourth month, since the Hebrew calendar begins in the autumn of the year. And rather than the full moon of January 4, 2015 (11:53pm EST) falling correctly on the 15th day of the lunar cycle, it is shown as falling on the 14th of the month on the official Hebrew calendar (after sunset).

         Calendars based specifically on celestial cycles used to matter very much. They were necessary for the right times regarding planting and harvesting.

         Spiritually speaking, could it be the same? Remember, pure astronomy is not astrology. God created celestial events and cycles. The Universe in this sense runs like clockwork. The more one studies such cycles, the more one discovers an absolutely perfect system which demands an extremely brilliant intelligence. These are not just random cycles, but cycles within cycles to the effective infinite degree.

         Also, because we know that God, in His Word, makes thousands of references to time and cycles, as well as numbers, He no doubt has a reason for it. But if that reason is to be discovered, it can only be discovered by using His actual calendar rather than a man-made abstract.

         Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth;” and it was so.

         God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. [Genesis 1:14-18] [1]

            © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.