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PROPER PREPARATION FOR PENTECOST: A PERFECT SACRIFICE

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         Pentecost required the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. It was the only way He could share His Holy Spirit with us.

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         God not only had to become a human being, He also had to live a perfect life, die without sin, rise from the dead, and be glorified. God had to become a Man in order to then give His Spirit to mankind. There was no other way this could ever happen, and is the actual purpose and meaning of Pentecost.

         He explained it this way:

         Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” [John 7:37-39]

A PERFECT LIFE 

         No one had ever lived a perfect life before. No one had ever obeyed God to the fullest and fully walked out the given plan. The Lord Jesus never missed a step. He became last in all things through complete humility and unselfishness in order to become first in all things. He became last on our behalf as a suffering Servant and became first on our behalf to be our conquering King. Through this process He defeated all evil and the powers thereof. The world, the flesh, and the devil no longer had the upper hand over humanity. He thus gained greater power than any other existing entity as a human being.

        He had always been God but not as a Man. Humanity had been rid of God’s full dominion since the fall of Adam. Humanity had been defeated by evil and had fallen from innocent glory. God would have to restore it. The only way to do that was to become one of us. No one else could possibly qualify. There must be another Adam, a Last Adam:

         So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. [1Corinthians 15:42-47]

A PERFECT SACRIFICE

         The New Covenant definition of perfect is complete. God demands a perfect, or complete, sacrifice. Nothing else will work. You can’t give the Lord a mere portion of your heart even if you give most of it. It works the same way in marriage. It is the main reason so many marriages fail. One member is being deceptive. Sometimes both are. A less than full-hearted effort with God will never work either.

         When the perfect sacrifice was made, sin was paid for in total and a closed door was opened unto spiritual life. The open door later manifested in the miracle of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord. The first sacrifice was made by the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus, when He offered Himself. After that the 120 disciples in the Upper Room had to make a full and complete sacrifice of themselves. They had to become clean vessels, first through total faith in the Lord, and second through total repentance for their sins.

         During the ten days after the Lord ascended to heaven until Pentecost they all prayed, fasted, repented, and prepared. They were also immersed in water in the Name of Jesus. By the time the ten days were up all those remaining in the Upper Room for the duration had made the proper sacrifice. While waiting according to the Lord’s command “for what the Father had promised,” they emptied themselves completely so they could be brand new vessels filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.

THE PROMISE IS FOR YOU

         Thursday, June 1st is the Day of Pentecost. Pentecost means “fiftieth” day. It always takes place on the fiftieth day from the Feast of First Fruits. The Lord Jesus rose from the dead on First Fruits. In that year, it was also the first day of the week, the equivalent of our Sunday. Pentecost was on the first day of the week then as well.

         On the Hebrew calendar, the day of First Fruits is the 17th day of the month of Nisan. The Day of Pentecost is the 7th day of Sivan. The equivalents this year on our calendar are as follows:

         Nisan 17, First Fruits: Thursday, April 13, 2017 (Began Wednesday at sunset)

         Sivan 7, Pentecost:      Thursday, June 1, 2017 (Begins today at sunset)

         How do we know these dates are correct? Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar-solar. The months begin with the actual new moon. The new moon prior to Nisan 17 began on Nisan 1, which was March 28th on our calendar. The new moon took place the day before on March 27 at 9:57PM CDT. This marked the exact beginning of the month of Nisan and from that we can calculate the Day of Pentecost, which begins at sunset tonight.

THE PROPER PREPARATION

         There are stirrings in the Spirit. The Lord is bringing something forth. Well-known Christian figures are now confirming what I have been saying for almost seven years. They are reporting the stirrings of revival in various locations. Let us all continue to be properly prepared. The Great Awakening and Pentecost go together.

         And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

        Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. [Hebrews 12:26-29] [1]

         © 2017 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.

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Everybody Must Get Stoned: Reaping the Reward of Spiritual Attack

         I remember in my late teens I became a big fan of Walt Whitman, the 19th century poet. The man pretty much invented what became known as “free verse.” He called his poems songs. Some were very long, as if he were writing poems as prose. I am currently writing from memory, as something is telling me not to spoil it by looking up the actual poems, etc, and to simply write what I recall. Maybe it will give this post a closer and more intimate feel.

         But there was a poem he wrote called something like When I Heard the Learned Astronomer. Walt Whitman was at a lecture. Remember, this was about 150 years ago. The gist of the poem was about this astute scientist droning on about the intricacies of the Universe and his calculations and a bunch of intellectual claptrap, while Whitman finally had enough and was thinking, “Man, how can you take all the beauty and wonder of the crystal clear night skies, and the bright stars, and planets, and the moon…

         There is a big and bright full moon hanging in the sky as I write this, and it defies intellectual introspection, and I think the Creator wants us to just appreciate it, and wonder, and not have our simple minds all clouded over and crammed with relatively useless mathematical garbage about the moon, and simply appreciate the celestial glory…

         This is what Whitman ended up saying in that particular poem he wrote so long ago. Again, I haven’t read it in what must be decades, but I saw the full moon tonight. I went outside for a while a few minutes ago and was bathed in its light. And I saw the clear sky, and the stars. And I thought about what Whitman was trying to say…

         We do the same things as Christians in preaching or teaching the Lord’s Gospel, or whatever it is that we do. We have a tendency, and I am certainly guilty, of focusing on the intellectual, and the spiritual math, and the exact word studies. Now, all of this is quite necessary and the Lord blessed me with the anointing to do this many moons ago, and I do it, and I love it. But I am trying to reach a balance with this post…

         You see, spiritual things often cannot be diagrammed and spelled out and made sense of, and are often the epitome of the counterintuitive. This is especially true of spiritual warfare and attacks which many times come by complete surprise and out of the blue. Would that we could set up war plans like military planners and know our enemy to the point that we know what’s coming, but this is rarely the case. Spiritual attacks usually come out of nowhere and the only real defense is staying as close as possible to the Lord so we will at least be strong enough to take the hit.

         The point here is that sometimes the devil’s a snake. At other times he smells blood like a shark and rushes in for the kill. Often, after having to undergo this kind of stuff, it makes you think, “What the hell?” Then we remember the Lord, and his original twelve, and all the other disciples from that time, and the early community of the Lord in Jerusalem and throughout an evil world and the undeserved pain they all had to suffer. And we can relate. We’re therefore fortunate to be able to relate.

         [Incidentally, the Last Days plan is beginning to accelerate, and a relatively quick rise of great hatred for real Christians in America is starting. Be prepared. As I wrote in Real Christianity twenty years ago, bloody persecution is coming to this country. Most did not believe it then. Most Christians are still so out of touch they still don’t believe it, or perceive it. But again, be prepared.]

         As James wrote (pretty sure it was James, or John—remember, I’m not doing my usual checking and ultra-editing and whatnot, I’m just writing my thoughts as they occur), he wrote something about real Christians getting blamed for things they are not guilty of, and suffering undeservedly, and saying it is a good thing. He taught that it was spiritually good for us to get slammed for no good reason, but only because a devil got stirred up and saw an opening and attacked. In other words, the very essence of persecution is being hated without a cause.

         The Lord said this about Himself. He taught it, that it was something His disciples would go through. He also taught that there would be times when such slamming happens when no one who should will back you, or come to your rescue, or fight back for you on your behalf, but just kind of stay uninvolved. I know there are some of you reading this who can relate. Sometimes the spiritual attack is so severe and so unwarranted our brothers and sisters and friends keep their distance. Again, it happened to the Lord many times. In His greatest time of need His friends were nowhere to be found. Most people had decided He was guilty and was merely getting what He deserved.

         One time, after a particular teaching, many of His followers walked out on Him, and He said to those who remained, “Will you leave Me too?”

         Imagine that. This is God we’re talking about. Again, I know some of you reading this can relate. You know what it’s like to be left on your own, wounded, to fend for yourself. Of course, we’re not alone. We’re never alone. The Lord is there, especially in those kinds of times. But it’s still hard. It’s the kind of thing that drives one to the ground.

         I remember a former pastor, long ago, preaching about this. He was talking about a pain so great but you can’t confront anybody. You can’t fight back. The devil is pouring it on. He was talking about falling to the floor in prayer in his bedroom, and managing to crawl into the closet, and crawling way back there in the back, all the way back to the hunting boots, and crying out to God.

         It happens. It’s the nature of spiritual battle. But joy comes in the morning. Or maybe a few days later. Or something. But if we handle it right the Lord always works it out. It makes no sense in the natural, just like some egghead drawing circles and mathematical formulas on a chalkboard does absolutely no justice to the wonders of the night sky.

         By the way, though the great masses of traditional Christianity have already celebrated their “Easter” almost a month ago, we are presently on the eve of Passover. We crossed over the Jordan River on Monday. It is also Nisan 14, the time on the Lord’s calendar of His passion—His undeserved suffering—and His crucifixion. He paid the price. He never retaliated. He let them slam Him.

         And this year He is once again doing it alone, since, as I said, the vast majority of Christians jumped the gun last month because they’re following a meaningless Gregorian calendar invented by an egghead theologian who ironically invented an anti-celestial calendar that has no bearing on what’s going on in the sky or the Spirit.

         The Lord’s undeserved suffering puts things in proper spiritual perspective. Everything He did He did for our benefit, even for the times when we must share in His suffering with suffering of our own. Such times are great opportunities for gaining spiritual ground and reaping rewards. His own death proves this. There could be no glorious resurrection otherwise.

         And because He rose again to new life so will you, and so will I, and so will we all—those of us who count ourselves as His real disciples and live to tell about it, even if we die in the process.        

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church

Easter Idolatry (and Something About a Resurrection) 2016

          Notwithstanding the fact that the majority of “Christians” would rather dispense with any and all work regarding study toward truth, it still boggles the mind at least somewhat that so many can be so fooled so willingly, and be so stubborn in insisting upon the embrace of what should be clear idolatry.

          When the apostle Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, in whom he had a strong hand in placing in ministry, he stressed upon him the necessity of staying on top of things spiritually. He taught him exactly how the devil liked to muddy the waters and confuse people with false concepts and dumb traditions whose desired effect was the same, in that “Christians” would end up confused and ignorant. Thus, he told him,

          Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2Timothy 2:15]

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

          The enemy of our souls is very crafty in that way, especially when it comes to religious traditions, and none more so than the purely traditional religious holiday of “Easter.”

          The strange combination of fertility symbols—bunny rabbits and chicken eggs—is pure testimony to the fact that traditions can get really weird and should give people an idea of just how weird the devil is and how weird people can get.

          People color, decorate, and hide Easter eggs for later finding every year and no one really knows why they do it. Few really care about this weird combination anymore and refuse to do anything about it, even after the tradition became weird to the point that the Easter Bunny laid the eggs. But when so-called Christians not only accept it en masse but combine it further with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it gives further proof that the minds of religious people are not so different from the minds of drug users.

          It was back in 1966, when a different Timothy, the LSD guru Timothy Leary, first advised his young charges to “Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out.” Leary claimed he got this expression from another man of the times, the expression guru Marshall McLuhan, a man way ahead of his time who also coined other terms such as “the medium is the message.”

          Of course, the devil was aware of this little factoid for a tad while longer than Mr. McLuhan and used it well in every religion he ever created. The idea that the actual message is not at all a message but the delivery system itself is what makes false religions so diabolical.

          It is obviously apparent that the proponents of and believers in false religions do not understand that they have become part of the sinister plot by voluntarily engaging in the stage play—the spiritually meaningless religious participation pageant—that makes them guilty of not only completely missing the real message but making the medium the message.

         What is this medium? And what is it specifically when it comes to false forms of Christianity? As I explain in defining a real Christian, I will also explain by defining Unreal Christianity:

          A real Christian is anyone whose spirit becomes fused with the Spirit of God:

          But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. [1Corinthians 6:17]

          Every real Christian follows and obeys the Lord Jesus as His Master, Lord, Shepherd, and Teacher.

          Therefore, Unreal Christianity is composed of all other “Christians” of varying stripes who merely claim the name without fulfilling the above requirements. As a result, Unreal Christians are obsessed with the medium, the expression, the pageant, the stage production, the repeat-after-me rote repetitions, the formal geographic gatherings, and the religious routine.

          This cannot help but make them part of an idolatrous practice, though benign in appearance, in that they worship the higher Christian class with all the brass and the shallow and meaningless routine of religion.

          This is actually no different whatsoever from the incredible influence Timothy Leary gained over hundreds of thousands who obeyed his pronouncements and actually did turn on, tune in, and drop out. Religious “Christians,” however, had already been doing that very thing for centuries. Untold millions remain turned-on to surreal counterfeits of the Lord’s original, tuned-in to the religious gurus thereof, and have effectively dropped-out, by their own choosing, of the Lord’s real community.

          It is for this reason that we still have this false idea of a large rabbit laying Easter eggs and why no kid in America sees anything aberrant about it, and also why grown up “Christians” see nothing aberrant about mixing this weird stuff with the Lord’s resurrection.

“EASTER SUNDAY”

          “Churches” all over America will not be celebrating the day of the Lord’s Resurrection Sunday but will instead be celebrating “Easter.” Some will celebrate “Resurrection Sunday.” This is good terminology though the majority has fought its acceptance now to the point that few ever try to use it as before. No, Easter is the overwhelmingly insisted-upon approved term for this day, for without it there is no pageant, and without the pageant there is no medium, and without the medium there is nothing, since there is no actual message beyond the medium.

          Though only a few care, the origin of this term should nevertheless be looked into.

          Longtime readers of this blog know that there is much to gained from the Lord’s actual calendar. I have written extensively on the topic. Our current Gregorian Calendar is worthless from a celestial viewpoint since its months and years have nothing to do with the actual movements of the sun and moon. From where did it originate? It actually originated from the same people who gave us the “Easter Holiday” (Latin: Pascha)—Both were invented by the Roman Catholic Church.

          With all the other changes from truth 17 centuries ago, this was yet another. In creating his new hybrid syncretic religion, Constantine I simply appropriated a very well known and practiced springtime pagan festival that had been around for many centuries in many cultures for his own purposes.

          It was the consistent modus operandi of the Catholic religion to appropriate local customs of religiously subjugated people, change the names of said customs but keep the dates and culturally significant aspects, and then adopt them as official. In this way the people still had all their pagan holidays, though renamed. They were forced to adopt the Catholic religion and honor its magistrates, but otherwise felt comfortable by maintaining their pagan religious traditions.

          It was a perfect compromise. The Catholic Church, like the Roman Empire, subjugated cultures through religious force, whereas Rome had previously done the same through military force. Rome never cared about what anyone believed in detail or what they practiced. All they cared about was that the people they subjugated and enslaved honored the Roman emperor as God, obeyed Roman laws, and paid all tributes and taxes. The Catholic Church did the same: The Pope must be honored as Supreme Pontiff and Vicar (substitute) of Christ, all Roman Catholic religious practices must be honored, and all tribute must be paid.

          None of this, of course, had anything to do with the actual teachings of the Lord Jesus or worship of Him. It was all about religious control. And this is the origin of a pagan festival with “Christianity.”

          Easter was the Anglo-Saxon name of an ancient pagan goddess of fertility who was worshipped in the spring of the year and was also related to the sunrise, like many various sun gods of the ancient world. The pagan festival had a common origin and purpose, though many later cultures had various names for it. The exact term is traced from the Middle English estre, from the Old English eastre. Going further back in time, eastre is related to a common female goddess known to all ancient cultures by different names.

          The Lord Jesus and the original community of believers never practiced such a pagan holiday or any other, and all calendar events were based on the Hebrew lunar-solar calendar. The Lord was actually crucified on a Thursday, on the Hebrew date of Nisan 14, and rose again on a Sunday, on Nisan 17. Due to the moveable feast decrees of the early Catholic Church at Nicea, the actual dates no longer applied and a false structure was adopted so every year would involve the same days. This was all done for the sake of religious control since so many millions of coerced converts had to be adapted to a systemized annual structure.

          Hence, the days in questioned had to be condensed. The Wednesday evening “Last Supper,” which actually also fell on Nisan 14 (the Hebrew day date began every sunset), was moved to Thursday, the Thursday death of the Lord was moved to Friday (Good Friday), the Hebrew Sabbath became “Holy Saturday,” and Nisan 17, the day of the Lord’s resurrection, became “Easter Sunday.” These days remain the same every year though the dates change annually on the actual celestial calendar.

         This year, Nisan 17, the actual date of the Lord’s resurrection, does not occur for another month! Nisan 17 falls on April 25, 2016!

         This proves how far off the Gregorian calendar is with regard to the actual original dates as decreed by the Lord’s calendar. It proves how wrong the moveable feast decrees of the Catholic Church are, and what’s more, it proves how almost all of Protestant Christianity still follows the lead of the Catholic Church.

         Just because everybodys doing it doesn’t make it right.

EASTER TRADITION OR RESURRECTION POWER?

          Even though we have all of this historical background readily available, it is a clear testimony to the power of pagan tradition, religious rote, and clergy control that the idolatry of Easter continues to coexist with the Lord’s resurrection. Mere pagan religious rituals and customs continue edging out the reality of the resurrection and what it must mean directly to each and every person, in that every real Christian will also experience the same resurrection as that of the Lord one day.

          The early believers associated the spiritual power of the Gospel they preached with resurrection. It is to the same degree that the Easter Christians have little or no spiritual power since they honor the Lord’s resurrection from death in name only and rarely or never identify with it personally. These people generally do not believe in being born again, even though the Lord said it was a must, and what is new birth but a resurrection?

          Since the raising from physical death by the Lord Jesus is the greatest event in human history and proves everything about real Christianity, it should not be forced to coexist with anything. Like everything else practiced by our original forebears taught directly by the Lord, we should all return to the simpler, honest, and much powerful spiritual practices they engaged in for His sake and for the sake of the truth.

          Regarding the subject of this article, we are left with two choices:

          (1) “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:8-9]

          (2) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11: 25-26] [1]

          © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[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.

When Real Christians Die: Proving the Existence of the Unseen Spiritual World (2)

         For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. [1Peter 1:20-21]

         Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19]

         Non-believers often ask about proof. They must be reminded of living by faith. They don’t want to live by faith. They would rather live according to that tiny fraction of the light spectrum they can relate to with mere human senses.

         I remind them that the vast majority of all that exists cannot be perceived with the five senses. It is beyond what they see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. Scientists have proven this over and over. Yet, every time some new discovery is made the people thereof get all arrogant and full of themselves even though they must quickly admit they still have no clue about the majority that exists beyond the senses.

         They know it’s out there. Regarding the composition of the Universe, they know Dark Energy exists. They know Dark Matter exists. Dark Energy makes up 68% of the Universe. Dark Matter comprises 27% of the Universe.

         That leaves 5%. This 5% is what can be perceived with the five senses.

         “The rest—everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter—adds up to less than 5% of the Universe. Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn’t be called “normal” matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the Universe.” [1]

         THE GREATEST SCIENTISTS AND MENTAL GENIUSES ON THE PLANET STILL DO NOT HAVE A CLUE WHAT DARK ENERGY IS OR WHAT DARK MATTER IS, BUT ONLY THAT IT EXISTS. THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT MAKES UP 95% OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

         They know it exists because of the way it affects what they know does exist.

         Yet, most of these people refuse to even speculate upon the possibility of the existence of the spiritual world.

PRAYER WORKS

         Millions of people know prayer works. They have personal proof. Many people have even kept records. I have seen the Lord Jesus answer my prayers so many times and sometimes in the most spectacular fashion. If any unbelieving egghead wants to challenge me on this he or she will get an earful.

         Yet, I understand that people living outside the kingdom of God have no clue. It is impossible for them to understand. They can either be smart about it and admit this or they can be not so smart about it and believe the only things that exist are those things picked up by the senses.

         At least the science boys and girls are intelligent enough to admit they know there is stuff out there even though they don’t know what it is.

         Much of this scientific knowledge is very recent. If you want to gain some understanding in this field you can go to NASA for a brief introduction here: Dark Energy, Dark Matter .

         The point of this article and the previous one is to reveal the fact that we all need salvation or will lose our souls. It is to illustrate that salvation is only possible through the Lord Jesus. It is to illustrate that a few, in the Lord’s own words, will actually accept the fact that they are sinners in need of salvation and will accept the Lord’s great sacrifice on their behalf and will in turn LIVE and then LIVE FOR ALL ETERNITY.

         These articles also reveal, however, that the vast majority of humanity will reject the only cure for the sin disease and lose their souls. Their existence will be limited to this earth and a short time after physical death while awaiting trial, and will thus fall short of eternal life. They will never gain eternal life because they decided to live only according to what they can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Anything beyond the five senses and the 5% they reject as that which does not exist.

         They will discover their error too late to do anything about it.

LIVING IN THE SPIRIT

         Those who believe in, follow, and obey the Lord Jesus—His real followers, not including all the fakers—are not left with purely blind faith and no proof. As I said, I have seen the Lord Jesus do incredible, amazing, miraculous things over the years. I know He is very real, and I know everything He said is true because it all works. There are things we cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell but we know for a certainty that they exist, just as we know Dark Energy and Dark Matter exist.

         The Lord Jesus, however, has decided to speak in parabolic form in order to hide truth from non-believers who refuse to exercise any faith. Truth is a vibrant and very special commodity and must not be wasted on those who have no respect for it. As a result, one must work very hard to discover truth. One must do much research and study. One must receive revelation. ONE MUST PRAY A LOT AND SPEND MUCH TIME ALONE WITH THE LORD. The hidden things of God are hidden for a reason.

         The gaining of truth and salvation because of that truth does not come easy and never has. It is obvious then, that real salvation only comes to those who put everything on the line and dedicate their entire lives to the Lord Jesus and the pursuit of achieving real discipleship.

         The majority of people never do this. The majority of “Christians” never do this. They do work hard and some work very hard at other pursuits. They do seek to have good lives. The problem is that they dedicate themselves to merely temporary things that will never be translated into eternity. They dedicate themselves to believing false theories and narratives. In essence, they dedicate themselves to running with the crowd. Even if they believe there are things out there they do not understand they never try to gain any understanding. They plant their feet firmly in the here and now.

FOREKNOWN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

         Each of us has existed in the mind of God from before the foundation of the world. But the Lord has granted a free will. Most choose wrongly. The few who choose correctly enter into a secret kingdom that no one else knows about (or cares about). The Lord Jesus revealed this.

         It exists exactly as does Dark Energy and Dark Matter. It is real. Just because the majority rejects it does not mean it does not exist. It only means they are wrong to reject it. It means they have no faith or love for the truth.

THE RESURRECTION IS THE PROOF

         The Lord Jesus arose from the dead. For those not fully clear on the concept—those who cannot see spiritual things so well—it was God or God the Father who did the resurrecting. While this is certainly true and scriptural, it is also just as true and scriptural that the Lord Jesus resurrected Himself. He even said He would before He did. It was one of the main points brought up against Him at His trial. Those people were such spiritual idiots they didn’t understand He was not talking about Herod’s Temple. The ignorance of some people certainly boggles the mind.

         But these people were not ignorant so much as they were spiritually blind. They were great religionists and knew the Bible extremely well. But they had no clue whatsoever of spiritual things and thus judged everything by what they could see, hear, touch, taste, or smell.

         They did not know the Lord Jesus was YHWH. They did not know that the very God they professed had arrived among them as one of them. They murdered their own God, the only God, the ONE GOD.

         Of course, because there IS a secret kingdom and there IS a hidden spiritual world, they actually only murdered the human body of God—HIS TEMPLE. That is precisely why the Lord Jesus stated:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

         The resurrection is the proof. It is also the proof for every individual real Christian when he or she is resurrected to new eternal life.

         But for every real Christian, there is also a pre-proof. The pre-proof is a real born again experience that comprises all the basic elements of the final resurrection. One’s born again experience prior to physical death is the proof that everything the Lord said is true.

         The Lord Jesus raised me from spiritual death several years ago. I have since discovered through much prayer, research, study, work, trials, tough times, VERY tough times, and many, many revelations that He is very, very real, that there is a secret kingdom, and that there is a whole lot of stuff going on beyond the five senses. That which one can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell is a mere fraction of what actually exists.

         Regarding the entire Universe, as stated previously, 95% of it is completely unknown. We know it’s there, however, but we don’t know what it is.

         It is the same regarding the spiritual world. It could very well be that 95% of our realm on Planet Earth is comprised of the spiritual and only 5% makes up the sensory. 

         Remember, the Lord could see the spiritual world as well as the sensory world. He revealed it through His life, teachings, and ministry.

          As proof, there are untold millions of examples of answered prayer, born again experiences, miracles, healings, and other proven works that prove it exists. Real Christians know this. They have accepted the atoning death of the Sacrifice Lamb on their behalf. They know that just as He raised Himself from the dead He will raise them from the dead, especially since He has already raised them from the dead spiritually.

         Millions of real Christians worldwide are proof by their own new birth that much exists beyond the surface. They exist in what is essentially seed form awaiting their new creation in eternity. The time will come when each will bloom forth, completing a great resurrection that began with a single seed brought forth by the Sacrifice Lamb.

            Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. [1Peter 1:22-23] [2]

        © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] NASA: Dark Energy, Dark Matter. Last Updated: June 5, 2015 http://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/focus-areas/what-is-dark-energy/

[2] 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.

When Sinners Die: Rejecting the Sacrifice Lamb (1)

         If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;

         Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. [1Peter 1:17-19]

         “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” [1John 1:29]

THE SIN DISEASE

         The Lord always warns us. He warns us repeatedly. He has warned us all from the very beginning. His is a heart of mercy.

         He tries to explain to us the nature of sin. He attempts to explain how and why sin works, and why every human being is stricken with the disease from birth, though one must reach an age of accountability before personal responsibility for sin kicks in.

         Most sinners do not necessarily have an agenda against God, I don’t think, but are rebels against Him nonetheless. Yet, there are people on this planet who certainly have an agenda against Him and His pure teachings, who hate Him, and who fight against Him every day.

         Their focus, like the focus of all sinners in general, is SELF. Hence, the reason for sin is nothing more than pure selfishness and what can be gained for self through any means, including the violation of any and all moral restraints. Moral restraints, however, are not simply the result of what many people see as arbitrary rules created out of thin air.

THE CONSCIENCE

         Regardless of the various forms of moral restraints and statutes in this world, and chosen or accepted guidelines by which to live, there is one very personal, genuine, legitimate warning mechanism given to each and every human being designed to alert us and govern personal conduct.

         We call it the Conscience.

         For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

         For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. [Romans 2:12-16]

         Therefore, we have no excuse, and will never have any excuse, and all those who die as sinners in an unrepentant state will have a record of sin when they go before the Lord at the judgment.

         Each individual record of sin could have been expunged prior to physical death.

         Everyone is given that opportunity. Even those who have never heard of the Lord Jesus or heard the Gospel have an opportunity to repent due to their convicting conscience that warns of sin and reveals good and evil.

         Therefore, when sinners die they will be judged appropriately. There will be a clear, exhaustive record of everything ever done in one’s life including the committing of every single sin—a multitude of sins, and the record will show that they liked it—they enjoyed their sin or at least certainly made compromises toward it instead of standing against it.

         Would that it could be that all unrepentant sinners sinned only against themselves and never harmed another. But it is obvious that sin affects other people, and some sins greatly affect other people, and some sins affect great numbers of people.

         None of this had to be. None of it was written in stone. All sin is due to wrong choices. We learn, then, if we are to advance in life and grow morally, to cease from wrong choices. This is what childhood and pre-adulthood is for.

         Whoever goes down the path toward moral righteousness, however, eventually figures out that human strength and human will alone will not get the job done. We need a higher power. Temptation is too strong. The power of sin has too great a hold on us. There must also be a way to clear our existing sin record and give us our release. This is why the search for truth always ends successfully when one chooses the Lord Jesus. The human conscience helps us in this process. Those who never grow up, however, who never seek to overcome sin and temptation, never cease from sinning.

         They have decided to bypass their conscience.

REJECTING THE SACRIFICE LAMB

         Human beings do have an amazing capacity for sin and keeping stone-faced about it, and refusing to do something about it, even though their individual consciences are warning them loudly and continuously. But the reason they refuse to address it is because they have rejected the only cure—they refuse to surrender to the Lord Jesus so He can help them. They have thus learned that their chosen cures don’t work so they quit trying and give in to being what they are.

         What a conundrum this is, that a perfect cure is always available but for most it is always rejected. Why? —Selfishness—which returns us once again to the reason for sin:

         Their focus, like the focus of all sinners in general, is SELF. Hence, the reason for sin is nothing more than pure selfishness and what can be gained for self through any means, including the violation of any and all moral restraints.

         If one builds one’s life on sin and constructs a framework of sin that keeps one’s life together, it is only a matter of time before such a weak and ridiculous foundation and structure is revealed.

         What to do?

ATTACKING SIN AS ONE’S MORTAL ENEMY

         The best thing to do about sin is deal with it… NOW. The Lord told us how. If one’s conscience is doing its convicting work, it is a great sign. It means one’s conscience is alive and well.

         Sinning is bad, but refusing to repent for sin is worse. Again, the best thing to do is simply surrender to the Lord Jesus, admit that one is a sinner, that one is stricken with the sin disease (the worst of all diseases), that one is tired of fighting against conviction, that one is tired of feeling spiritually dirty, that one wants to be whole again, and healthy, and happy, and FREE, and begin attacking sin as one’s mortal enemy.

         It is obviously better to do it now than attempt it after death, when it will be absolutely impossible. One cannot repent after death. Those who say one can are not telling the truth. The Lord Jesus never taught such a lie. The time to repent is NOW.

         So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [Philippians 2:12-13]

         At this very moment there are uncounted millions of souls in the unknown geographic location of dead unrepentant sinners who are waiting for trial, tormented each second by what could have been.

         Though they had the incredible opportunity of a wonderful and loving defense attorney while alive, they rejected His counsel.

         They died in sin. They know it. They knew it then. They have no chance. They will be found guilty. Each of them, and all those who are added to them as time goes on, wasted their life. They traded eternal life with the Lord Jesus in heaven for this temporary world and for very temporary self-rule.

         “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

         For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:36-38]

         They are as much alive and conscious at this moment, though in a different state, as they always were. However, their fates are sealed. Repentance and getting right with God is no longer an option.

         You know what else? Even if the option existed, because they had repeatedly rejected the Sacrifice Lamb during their earthly sojourn, it appears readily apparent that NOT A SINGLE ONE WOULD EVER REPENT IF GIVEN ONE FINAL CHANCE.

         Their desire is not to get right with God.

         It is only to escape the restriction of their incarceration.

         Focusing on SELF promotes sin and destruction.

      Focusing on the Lord Jesus and others promotes love, salvation, and spiritual freedom.  

         For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

         For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” [Galatians 5:13-14] [1]

            © 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.

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

         See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

         For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ… [Colossians 2:8-11]

.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT       

         Circumcision is a circle cut which removes the foreskin. It was a vital and necessary part of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was a type of heart circumcision in human flesh.

         “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations…” [Genesis 17:12]

         Eight is the Biblical number of resurrection and regeneration.

THE NEW COVENANT

         It is the same with spiritual (heart) circumcision. Heart circumcision is a spiritual cut around the human heart (spirit) removing the natural, sinful flesh (foreskin). It is a vital and necessary part of the New Covenant instituted by the Lord Jesus—the Blood Covenant. It is the new birth. There is no new birth without a spiritual circumcision of the heart.

         But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. [Romans 2:29]

THE NEW SPIRITUAL MIND

         Scripture tells us that this heart “circle cut” also removes the lower human mind and renews it with a  new spiritual mind. All real Christians (real disciples of the Lord Jesus) have this mind. It goes along with the new spiritual heart. The renewed mind brings forth renewed thinking. An entirely brand new thinking process develops. It is a thought pattern based on the pure Word of God. It is in agreement with the thought pattern of the Lord Jesus.

         Prior to an actual new spiritual birth, the human thought process is in clear opposition to God. It is a thought process based on the selfish desires of human flesh. It is impossible for this thought process to bring forth anything of spiritual worth or good. This lower human nature is the result of the original rebellion of Adam and Eve. There is nothing to do about this lower nature—there is no escape from it—there is no higher nature to be achieved—unless one is born again from above as taught by the Lord Jesus.

THE ONE WAY TO LIFE

         There is only one new birth. There is only one way to God. There is only one way to the Father.

         The Lord Jesus is the Father.

         He is also the Way to the Father. It is through the humanity of the Lord Jesus that a person finds his or her way to God.

         This is why God—YHWH—the one God of the Hebrews, became a human being. He came among us as one of us to show us the Way to Life. As part of His great love it required a perfect blood sacrifice from within humanity to pay for the sin of mankind. Only one Man qualified. This perfect sacrifice could only have taken place through a perfect, sinless, and spotless human being. This is what and who the Lord Jesus was and is. He is Immanuel—God with us. He is also the Sacrifice Lamb. He became one of us as a Son in whom dwelt the Father (YHWH).

COUNTER CIRCUMCISION: THE MENTAL MARK

         The devil’s answer for the powerful new birth which creates millions of Holy Spirit-filled sons of God is to counterfeit the process. The only option he has is to capture minds. Once he captures minds he changes the thought process even beyond that of generic human rebellion against God and spiritual purity. He creates his own disciples.

         He brands a “mark” upon such minds which serves as more than a stronghold within it. His mark changes a person’s thinking and thought process to one in agreement with the devil’s thinking and thought process. It is a thought process of hate in the guise of love.

         Of course, every individual who undergoes this process is deceived by it. The majority of the devil’s disciples do not know they are serving him. Though they have become haters they are convinced they are lovers. They are blinded to spiritual reality. They have willingly accepted this mark, or branding. Their mind becomes controlled by evil in the guise of good.

         Paul described the devil’s circumcision of the human mind and one’s elimination of it as thus:

         …With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. [2Timothy 2:25-26]

         Paul also speaks of Christians who quit on the Lord (apostasy) and give themselves over to counterfeit forms of Christianity:

         But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2]

         Thus, we can see that no person without the Lord is immune from the great deception of demonic forces. The only chance one has to be freed from deception is through the Lord Jesus, and this is done by repenting of sin and surrendering to Him so He can begin the process of the new birth. He can deliver the captives from spiritual death and free their minds from the devil’s control.

WHAT IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

         The word “mark” is found seven times in the Book of Revelation. It is translated into English from the Greek word charagma. It is defined as a stamp or impress, or imprinted mark. This particular mark has to do with the economic system of who the Book of Revelation refers to as the Beast.

         The Beast of Revelation is described as a bestial man—brutal, savage, and ferocious. Merriam-Webster defines the word bestial as “marked by base or inhuman instincts or desires.” This lines up perfectly with one who has taken the devil’s mark upon his mind.

         The Beast is the epitome of the aforesaid evil human being in total opposition and rebellion toward God. He is a man of brute force, epitomized by all the brutal dictators of history who had no care or concern for human beings, but used all and abused all to their own ends. His economic system will demand that everyone participate by first buying into the system entirely. Whoever does not will be excluded entirely. Such a system is further implied to be purely demonic and will be used as the method to gain souls through the selling of their souls. People will be forced to choose between God and mammon, one or the other, and nothing in-between.

         For those who choose the Mark of the Beast, it will be a furthering of the existing circumcised mark upon their minds, and will prove one’s total worship of the Beast and his kingdom from which retreat will be impossible.

         Do not be deceived. All who take the mark will do so because they have rejected the Lord Jesus and accepted the Beast. All of these will be unable to see him for who he really is and will love the Beast and believe him to be the greatest and most wonderful leader in history. Externally, he will possess an extremely likeable and charismatic personality. He will look good, dress good, sound good, and seemingly have an answer for every human heart.

         As a leader, he will satisfy every desire of every person on the planet, except, however, for real Christians, who will perceive him clearly, not hindered by the massive fog of deception made possible by a purely exterior masquerade. Only those born of the Spirit of God will see through the sham.

         In order to stay above the fray of dismay we must be born again. Our entire thought process must be renewed by the Spirit of God.

         Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]

THE MIND OF CHRIST

         …But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

         For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

         Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

         But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

         For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. [1Corinthians 2:7-16] [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.

Easter Idolatry (and Something About a Resurrection) 2015

         Notwithstanding the fact that the majority of “Christians” would rather dispense with any and all work regarding study toward truth, it still boggles the mind at least somewhat that so many can be so fooled so willingly, and be so stubborn in insisting upon the embrace of what should be clear idolatry.

         When the apostle Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, in whom he had a strong hand in placing in ministry, he stressed upon him the necessity of staying on top of things spiritually. He taught him exactly how the devil liked to muddy the waters and confuse people with false concepts and dumb traditions whose desired effect was the same, in that “Christians” would end up confused and ignorant. Thus, he told him,

         Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2Timothy 2:15]

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

         The enemy of our souls is very crafty in that way, especially when it comes to religious traditions, and none more so than the purely traditional religious holiday of “Easter.”

         The strange combination of fertility symbols—bunny rabbits and chicken eggs—is pure testimony to the fact that traditions can get really weird and should give people an idea of just how weird the devil is and how weird people can get.

         People color, decorate, and hide Easter eggs for later finding every year and no one really knows why they do it. Few really care about this weird combination anymore and refuse to do anything about it, even after the tradition became weird to the point that the Easter Bunny laid the eggs. But when so-called Christians not only accept it en masse but combine it further with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it gives further proof that the minds of religious people are not so different from the minds of drug users.

         It was back in 1966, when a different Timothy, the LSD guru Timothy Leary, first advised his young charges to “Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out.” Leary claimed he got this expression from another man of the times, the expression guru Marshall McLuhan, a man way ahead of his time who also coined other terms such as “the medium is the message.”

         Of course, the devil was aware of this little factoid for a tad while longer than Mr. McLuhan and used it well in every religion he ever created. The idea that the actual message is not at all a message but the delivery system itself is what makes false religions so diabolical.

         It is obviously apparent that the proponents of and believers in false religions do not understand that they have become part of the sinister plot by voluntarily engaging in the stage play—the spiritually meaningless religious participation pageant—that makes them guilty of not only completely missing the real message but making the medium the message.

         What is this medium? And what is it specifically when it comes to false forms of Christianity? As I explain in defining a real Christian, I will also explain by defining Unreal Christianity:

         A real Christian is anyone whose spirit becomes fused with the Spirit of God:

         But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. [1Corinthians 6:17]

         Every real Christian follows and obeys the Lord Jesus as His Master, Lord, Shepherd, and Teacher.

         Therefore, Unreal Christianity is composed of all other “Christians” of varying stripes who merely claim the name without fulfilling the above requirements. As a result, Unreal Christians are obsessed with the medium, the expression, the pageant, the stage production, the repeat-after-me rote repetitions, the formal geographic gatherings, and the religious routine.

         This cannot help but make them part of an idolatrous practice, though benign in appearance, in that they worship the higher Christian class with all the brass and the shallow and meaningless routine of religion.

         This is actually no different whatsoever from the incredible influence Timothy Leary gained over hundreds of thousands who obeyed his pronouncements and actually did turn on, tune in, and drop out. Religious “Christians,” however, had already been doing that very thing for centuries. Untold millions remain turned-on to surreal counterfeits of the Lord’s original, tuned-in to the religious gurus thereof, and have effectively dropped-out, by their own choosing, of the Lord’s real community.

         It is for this reason that we still have this false idea of a large rabbit laying Easter eggs and why no kid in America sees anything aberrant about it, and also why grown up “Christians” see nothing aberrant about mixing this weird stuff with the Lord’s resurrection.

“EASTER SUNDAY”

         “Churches” all over America will not be celebrating the day of the Lord’s Resurrection Sunday but will instead be celebrating “Easter.” Some will celebrate “Resurrection Sunday.” This is good terminology though the majority has fought its acceptance now to the point that few ever try to use it as before. No, Easter is the overwhelmingly insisted-upon approved term for this day, for without it there is no pageant, and without the pageant there is no medium, and without the medium there is nothing, since there is no actual message beyond the medium.

         Though only a few care, the origin of this term should nevertheless be looked into.

         Longtime readers of this blog know that there is much to gained from the Lord’s actual calendar. I have written extensively on the topic. Our current Gregorian Calendar is worthless from a celestial viewpoint since its months and years have nothing to do with the actual movements of the sun and moon. From where did it originate? It actually originated from the same people who gave us the “Easter Holiday” (Latin: Pascha)—Both were invented by the Roman Catholic Church.

         With all the other changes from truth 17 centuries ago, this was yet another. In creating his new hybrid syncretic religion, Constantine I simply appropriated a very well known and practiced springtime pagan festival that had been around for many centuries in many cultures for his own purposes.

         It was the consistent modus operandi of the Catholic religion to appropriate local customs of religiously subjugated people, change the names of said customs but keep the dates and culturally significant aspects, and then adopt them as official. In this way the people still had all their pagan holidays, though renamed. They were forced to adopt the Catholic religion and honor its magistrates, but otherwise felt comfortable by maintaining their pagan religious traditions.

         It was a perfect compromise. The Catholic Church, like the Roman Empire, subjugated cultures through religious force, whereas Rome had previously done the same through military force. Rome never cared about what anyone believed in detail or what they practiced. All they cared about was that the people they subjugated and enslaved honored the Roman emperor as God, obeyed Roman laws, and paid all tributes and taxes. The Catholic Church did the same: The Pope must be honored as Supreme Pontiff and Vicar (substitute) of Christ, all Roman Catholic religious practices must be honored, and all tribute must be paid.

         None of this, of course, had anything to do with the actual teachings of the Lord Jesus or worship of Him. It was all about religious control. And this is the origin of a pagan festival with “Christianity.”

         Easter was the Anglo-Saxon name of an ancient pagan goddess of fertility who was worshipped in the spring of the year and was also related to the sunrise, like many various sun gods of the ancient world. The pagan festival had a common origin and purpose, though many later cultures had various names for it. The exact term is traced from the Middle English estre, from the Old English eastre. Going further back in time, eastre is related to a common female goddess known to all ancient cultures by different names.

         The Lord Jesus and the original community of believers never practiced such a pagan holiday or any other, and all calendar events were based on the Hebrew lunar-solar calendar. The Lord was actually crucified on a Thursday, on the Hebrew date of Nisan 14, and rose again on a Sunday, on Nisan 17. Due to the moveable feast decrees of the early Catholic Church at Nicea, the actual dates no longer applied and a false structure was adopted so every year would involve the same days. This was all done for the sake of religious control since so many millions of coerced converts had to be adapted to a systemized annual structure.

         Hence, the days in questioned had to be condensed. The Wednesday evening “Last Supper,” which actually also fell on Nisan 14 (the Hebrew day date began every sunset), was moved to Thursday, the Thursday death of the Lord was moved to Friday (Good Friday), the Hebrew Sabbath became “Holy Saturday,” and Nisan 17, the day of the Lord’s resurrection, became “Easter Sunday.” These days remain the same every year though the dates change annually on the actual celestial calendar.

         For example, the official full moon took place this morning (April 4) at 7:05am CDT which marks the exact middle of the lunar cycle. Today is Nisan 15 on the Hebrew calendar. Sunday is Nisan 16. Nisan 17, the actual anniversary of the Lord’s resurrection, is Monday.

EASTER TRADITION OR RESURRECTION POWER?

         Even though we have all of this historical background readily available, it is a clear testimony to the power of pagan tradition, religious rote, and clergy control that the idolatry of Easter continues to coexist with the Lord’s resurrection. Mere pagan religious rituals and customs continue edging out the reality of the resurrection and what it must mean directly to each and every person, in that every real Christian will also experience the same resurrection as that of the Lord one day.

         The early believers associated the spiritual power of the Gospel they preached with resurrection. It is to the same degree that the Easter Christians have little or no spiritual power since they honor the Lord’s resurrection from death in name only and rarely or never identify with it personally. These people generally do not believe in being born again, even though the Lord said it was a must, and what is new birth but a resurrection?

         Since the raising from physical death by the Lord Jesus is the greatest event in human history and proves everything about real Christianity, it should not be forced to coexist with anything. Like everything else practiced by our original forebears taught directly by the Lord, we should all return to the simpler, honest, and much powerful spiritual practices they engaged in for His sake and for the sake of the truth.

         Regarding the subject of this article, we are left with two choices:

         (1) “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” [Mark 7:8-9]

         (2) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11: 25-26] [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.

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]

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         “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.

Rejecting The Lord’s Sacrificial Death: Why Are Christians Supporting a Third Temple?

         And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.

         And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

         At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.

         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 27:33-43]

         This abuse has continued unabated for almost 2000 years. The Lord Jesus made a perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind but a particular camp has rejected His salvation from day one. It had always been their desire to continue with business as usual, which involved an endless succession of sacrificial animals.

         Many do not take the time to consider what serious blood-letting this animal sacrifice system entailed. Over the course of 1500 years during the sacrificial system, perhaps millions of animals were killed to seemingly pay for the sins of the Hebrew people. Of course, it is taught that these sacrifices were not the actual payment for sins, yet the sacrifices had become legal necessities. It ceased being a moral question and became a legal requirement.

         It is generally taught in Christian circles that the sins of the world were actually “rolled forward” by these sacrifices. It is taught that these sacrifices were “types and shadows” of the real sacrifice.

         Regardless, all of these sacrificial victims were living, breathing creatures that were routinely slaughtered for religious purposes. After a while, there was no more feeling for these victims. The killings had become so routine and quotidian, it provoked no further feeling of remorse or meaning. Rather than understanding that these animals were somehow paying the price for human sins, which should have provoked great remorse in the benefactors, hearts grew very cold instead, and as the dead animals piled up toward heaven, the nation of Israel was not in the least bit affected.

         Christians also seem totally unaffected. Not only are Christians just as cold-hearted regarding this blood-letting practice, they are also quite confused, and there is good reason for it.

         On the one hand the Levites were continually pushing the sacrificial system as mandatory and binding. They had no reservations whatsoever regarding the ongoing process and considered it vital and absolutely indispensible.

         On the other hand we have this:

         “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies—I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.” [Isaiah 1:11-14]

         There seems to be a difference of opinion between the priestly and prophetic voices.

         The prophets were telling the priests and the nation that God has no pleasure in the routine religious sacrificing of animals, in that it no longer had any meaning. Of course, no one listened but no one ever listens to prophets, at least not for long. It appears that the prophetic voice does not necessarily exist to bring about the proper change of heart but to merely provide a witness.

         The Lord Jesus was telling this story often. In fact, His life was this story.

         He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. [John 1:11]

         So many of His parables were on this theme. He came to shed light and right the course of His people and all He got from them as a national entity was shame and rejection. He warned them what would happen as a result, and in 70AD the nation, the city of Jerusalem, and the great glorious temple of which they could never do without were all utterly destroyed. The destruction that Israel had often wished upon all its neighbors had suddenly come upon them. It is estimated that over a million Jews were killed in the battle against Rome which they provoked.

         It did not have to be that way.

         “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

         “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!

         “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:37-39]

         To the end, He taught and practiced a message of love for all, as did all His real disciples. Those who opposed Him, however, practiced a pure doctrine of hatred toward all but their own tiny group.

         What kind of people do this? How far from God can a people be who would continually kill the voice of God, even unto killing the Word of God Himself? The answer is apparently pretty far, as far as distance can be, and the spiritual equivalent of from one end of a continuously expanding universe to the other. There was absolutely no agreement whatsoever with anything the Lord Jesus did by the religious rulers of the nation at that time. Nor was there any acknowledgement or love for Him.

         Who were these people? Why did they possess so much hatred? Why did the nation of millions allow themselves to be led by these despicable, cruel, and ruthless leaders?

         We know that a great many of those who followed the teachings of Moses and the prophets later believed in the Lord Jesus and saw Him as their Messiah. They gave their lives to Him and obeyed His teachings. Some authorities even believe that more Jews believed than disbelieved. All through the Book of Acts we see this playing out—those who refused to believe in the Lord but sticking with their religion, and those who accepted Him wholeheartedly.

         By accepting the Lord they never surrendered their status as Jews or Hebrews. The Lord Jesus was a Jew and claimed to the Samaritan woman at the well that salvation is of the Jews. All the original apostles were Jews or Hebrews, be they Galilean or Judean, as was the entire community of the Lord for the first seven to ten years of its existence.

         Therefore this is not a Jewish question. The Jewish people did not kill the Lord, but those who DID claimed to be Jews. Peter said the Jews killed the Lord but he himself was a Jew.

         After the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, why did these Jews/Hebrews who joined up with the Lord Jesus have no problem with the fact that there was no longer any temple?

         For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. [Hebrews 9:24-26]

         Can it be more clear? How about the following?

         For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.

         For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

         Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’”

         After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.

         By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. [Hebrews 10:1-10]

         This obviously means there was no longer any need for the temple and the temple sacrifices.

         But guess what? A seeming majority of Christians have somehow come to believe in the necessity of a new temple! Christians are out there preaching that we need to have a new temple and restart the temple sacrifices!

         Many Christians have the same mindset as those in the first century who wanted to hasten the Messiah’s arrival by making things happen. Thus, they are in full agreement with non-believing Jews that a new temple must be constructed on the site of the former ones.

         They also believe that this must happen because prophecy says it must happen! They even believe that the Lord cannot possibly return until the Third Temple is built!

         Now, let me make this as perfectly clear as possible: The Lord Jesus is not in agreement with this as is clearly shown in the previous Scriptural passages. Isaiah and Jeremiah had also prophesied against the entire sacrificial system over 2500 years ago! The author of Hebrews spelled it out perfectly. One must reject a good portion of the New Testament to accept the need for another temple.

         Yet, the purveyors of this contrary religious belief will do it anyway. They are doing it anyway. A seeming majority of Christians are fully on board to support the non-believing Jews in building a new temple, and they don’t care a whit if it means starting WWIII in the process!

         The New Covenant teaches that the real temple is composed of people, not stone. Christians read these passages all the time but their meaning must continually fly right over their heads. Some other element has entered in which renders ineffective the pure Word of God. This in turn has allowed for a complete contradiction which many Christians have fully accepted with no understanding of why or having the ability to explain it.

         Could this be the strong deception the Lord Jesus warned us about?

         It is no wonder then that such Christians are often completely confused, and doing things and believing in things that make no sense. They are supporting those who oppose the Lord. They have lost all sense of reference to the events of the first century, or never had any reference to begin with, or have rejected it outright though it has been presented.

         For the Lord and His people, there is no need for another temple, because they are the temple.

         For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost. [1 Thessalonians 2:14-16] [1]

         © 2014 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.

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         PLEASE NOTE NEW ARTICLE AT ABOVE HEADER TAB: “BLOOD MOON DECEPTION”

The Greatest Love

        If a real Christian has anything at all, he or she has a backbone, and will never back down.

         Why would a person surrender their very life in exchange for a belief? Why is a belief more important than one’s life? The law of self-preservation dictates that above all things we must protect and defend our greatest possession—our life—against any attack or threat of attack. Yet, real Christians have historically chosen to choose death rather than choose to discard something they believe in.

         There must be something more to Christian belief.

         If a parent is given a choice to lay down his life or substitute the life of his child, what should be the proper choice? Is it somehow more moral or socially acceptable to choose one over the other? The answer exists in the simple fact that many parents (I would hope every parent), would choose to die and allow their child to live because it is both the obviously correct choice and they would not be able to live with themselves if they chose otherwise. Even though they could protect their life, their life afterwards would no longer be worth living.

         And this is the crux of the distinction: One’s life can be devalued and even greatly devalued by making such incorrect choices. Why? Because healthy, sane people have a conscience, and one’s conscience will put forth a prompt reminder than one has chosen incorrectly.

         Otherwise, human beings could do whatever sinister thing they may wish and never be bothered by the choice they made. In the natural world, for example, animals make choices that often have bad consequences according to the moral beliefs of humans, but the animals that make the choices don’t seem to be bothered by them. If a wild animal, for example, attacks and injures a child, the wild animal probably has no moral conscience regarding the act, does not get depressed by the act, and will likely repeat the act. This can possibly be attributed to instinct or hunger, but the animal’s choice nevertheless causes an injury to a helpless child, and this cannot be construed as a good thing. So we often deem animals as innocent, in that they don’t know any better, but human animals are a different story.

         Therefore, for those who have a conscience in good working order, it will override mere self-preservation, especially when it comes to one’s offspring. Using the natural world as an example once again, even wild animals will protect their offspring with their lives. Many an animal mother will protect her young using whatever extreme measures she deems necessary, and becomes decidedly ferocious in those instances.

         But what is in the conscience of a real Christian that causes him to give up his life rather than surrender his beliefs? It is not so much about giving up his beliefs as it is turning his back on his best friend. The Lord Jesus claimed,

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]

         The word “friends” in this usage indicates the most dearly beloved in one’s life. But the absolute most dearly beloved of all people in the life of a real Christian is His Lord and Savior—the One who purchased his life—and the One who first gave His own life to save the ones He considered His most beloved. This is why a real Christian could never surrender his beliefs, because it also means betraying the One who loves him the most.

         What good is life without the One who made life possible? For example, the person who betrayed the Lord to those religious authorities who intended to murder Him had been deceived into thinking he was doing the right thing. He did not know his act of betrayal would result in the Lord’s death. In fact, Satan had possessed this man and essentially blinded him and animated him to act against his conscience. And even though we know Judas was a thief, he still had a conscience in good working order, because after his diabolical act, after the devil went out from him, after clear thinking returned, and after he saw what he caused, he immediately killed himself. There was no way he could live with the knowledge on his conscience of what he had done. His life was no longer worth living. It had become greatly cheapened by his terrible choice. Self-preservation went out the window and the only salve for his horror was the opposite.

         This knowledge should cause a person to immediately reflect on the great love of the Lord, in that though our conscience does the same thing to us when we sin, and though we deserve all that Judas got in the end, 

         THE LORD FORGIVES US AND SILENCES OUR CONSCIENCE—OUR CONSCIENCE IS APPEASED BECAUSE A SACRIFICE HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE.

         We don’t have to run out and find a tree and a rope, because the Lord had already appropriated a cross!

         The Lord Jesus allowed to have happen to Himself what Judas did to himself, and what we should each receive for ourselves. Our conscience convicts us as guilty, but through an act of legitimate repentance on our part, we display a contrite heart and express sorrow for our sin. We hate what we did and never want to do it again. And through this act of knowing we did wrong and being remorseful for it, and because God will not despise a broken and contrite heart, [1] our sin can be washed away by the miraculous cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb.

         Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:25]

         The Lamb of God, through His incredible love and forgiveness, actually acts as a defense attorney on our behalf!

         What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. [Romans 8:31-34] [2]

         This is why so many persecuted Christians the world over always choose to die rather than surrender their beliefs. They know they are loved by God, and they love Him—with all of their heart. He proved His love by giving His life. They prove their love by doing the same.

         And it is not as if they are purposely trying to prove their love, as if they had an agenda to display to the world. No, it is simply because Jesus first showed His greatest love for them while they were yet sinners, and He pursued them, and gave His heart to them, and won their hearts, and they loved Him in return with the greatest love and gave their hearts to Him also, and could not possibly do otherwise.

         Real Christians would never recant in a million years. They would never turn away from their faith because they would never turn away from their Lord. His life is infinitely more important than their own and they always choose to lay down their own life for His.

         The greatest love is funny that way.  

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Psalm 51:17

[2] 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.

He Steadfastly Set His Face To Go To Jerusalem

Mount Everest from Kalapatthar.

Mount Everest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         There are times in our lives when we have to make tough decisions.

         We must decide to obey God.

         I remember hearing a relatively well known preacher several years ago make a statement regarding such tough decisions. In all honesty he said, “I’ve rebuked the Holy Ghost so many times…”

         What he meant, of course, is that there was no way what he was hearing was from God. It was too hard. Too difficult. Impossible, even. No way could it be God. He would never ask (command) me to do such a thing.

         But, of course,  it actually WAS the voice of God…

         Not only does the Lord have “hard sayings,” He also has very hard things for us to do at times. And this portends the theme of this article, that God, in all His grace and love, commands us to do impossible things that put our lives in peril and sometimes destroy our comfort zones.

         A lazy, lolling river suddenly becomes fast and filled with white water and giant boulders. But instead of simply getting over to the bank ASAP, the Lord directs us to enter headlong into the churning, violent rapids and commands us to ride the wave of the future.

         Right.

         These are some of the stepping off points in one’s walk with God. How many Christians are there in this world who are no longer real Christians because they refused such commands? How many are merely playing games, fooling themselves and almost everyone else in an attempt to live for God in disobedience?

         It can’t happen, you know. Would that you were hot or cold…

         You get the picture. Refusing God’s commands while claiming to be right makes one a veritable dab of spit at best and pool of vomit at worst.

         Yes, the Word of God actually says that. As Yogi Berra would say, “You could look it up.”

         The title of this post illustrates such tough obedient choices. The Lord knew all along He would make that fateful trip to Jerusalem one day and enter into the mouth of the dragon. He would drop His defenses, lose all protection, and become the object of not only the wrath of mankind, but the wrath of God.

         But how is that possible? Jesus IS God.

         And again, that’s the point. The strong must support the weak. The strong must do very difficult things on behalf of the weak. The strong must carry the day.

         Now, in English, the phrase Set His Face To Go makes no sense. We think it makes sense but only because we have discovered what it means. This phrase is an obvious example of a Hebrew idiom that found its way into the literal translation. It comes to us from the KJV translators and is over 400 years old. However, it is based on the earlier English translation of William Tyndale which is going on 500 years old. I do not think those people had any clear understanding of Hebrew idioms. Later translations give a clearer understanding in English. The following is from the NASV:

         He was determined to go to Jerusalem… [1] 

         Young’s Literal Translation states, that he fixed his face to go on to Jerusalem.

         The Hebrew idiom, from an original Hebrew Gospel, means that the Lord Jesus could not possibly be swayed from facing His fate. He was resolutely determined to complete His mission. He set His face like a flinty rock to enter the belly of the beast. This was not only sheer determination and willpower to do the job He was called to do; it was also the determination to face the greatest physical, emotional, and mental torture ever suffered by anyone in taking on the massive burden of our sins, and actually become sin on our behalf.

         He had every reason, in the natural, to reject such a trip. How could it be God’s will for me to face such a horrible fate? Anyone else would have found a way out, and would have justified his disobedient behavior.

         But not the Lord Jesus.

         He wasn’t thinking of Himself.

         He was thinking of you.

         So, we must set our minds at ease in that whatever difficult circumstances He is commanding us to undertake, He will never ask us to go to the cross the way He went to the cross.

         But we must go to the cross. We must be crucified. We must destroy our sinful and selfish human nature through real repentance and allow His life to course through our born again veins and arteries, and allow our hearts of stone to be transformed into living hearts of spiritual love and mercy.

         He made it relatively easy for us, you know. There is a place in each of us reserved for His Holy Living Spirit. The key to being like Christ, therefore, is not to engage in some ascetic attempt to be “holy” and Christlike through our own power and religious methods, but to unlock the door of our hearts, open the door wide, greet the Lord who waits patiently on our doorstep with a gracious smile and a loving hug, invite Him in, and give Him the best room in the house.

         Whatever price we must pay to get us to the point of accepting such a visitation is worth it, don’t you think? And so is anything else He asks us to do, no matter how scary or difficult.

         We must all Set Our Face to do the will of God. We must go to our own version of Jerusalem. We must swim across the ocean and ford every stream and climb every mountain (including Everest) and dream the impossible dream.

         We must sacrifice our lives in the greatest act of giving for the sake of His abundant life.

         It’s what people do when they’re in love.

         © 2012 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.

The Hebrew Month of Nisan 2012: Atonement and Resurrection (Part 3)

Nisan 14 / April 6, 2012 (Began at sunset on April 5):

         Four days after crossing the Jordan River, and exactly forty years after the first Passover in Egypt, the nation of Israel celebrated its first Passover in their new land:

         While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. [Joshua 5:10]

         They had received this teaching from Moses:

         “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” [Exodus 12:5-6]

         Also on this date, the Lord Jesus became our Sacrifice Lamb:

         So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” [John 19:16-19]

         We know that the Lord Jesus died on the cross at some point after the ninth hour[1]—about 3:30PM. The time was according to the Hebrew manner of reckoning the hours in the day, which began at sunrise. On that particular day, there were actually about 12.5 hours between sunrise and sunset, and sunrise took place sometime between 6:00 and 6:30AM. However, the gospel accounts do not say the Lord died at exactly the ninth hour, because other events took place after the ninth hour and before His death. It is safe to say He died somewhere between just after the ninth hour and with enough time remaining to bury His body before sunset.

         Also, this particular Nisan 14 was a Thursday, not a Friday. It was the fifth day of the week. Five is the Biblical number of Grace. The Lord did not die on a Friday. He died on a Thursday.  

         On the equivalent of Wednesday evening, the Lord and His disciples ate the Passover meal. He then suffered the trauma of Gethsemane. After being up all night, shuttled around to various false trials, and beaten severely, our Lord Jesus had been stripped of His clothes and nailed to the cross at the exact time of the Temple morning sacrifice, which was at the third hour of the day. This was somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30AM.

         Over six hours of excruciating pain and suffering later, the Lord died. His body continued hanging on the cross until it was taken down at the request of Joseph of Arimathea.[2]

         If the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, it meant the sacrificial lambs were slaughtered a day before the Sacrifice Lamb. The Lord must have partaken of the Passover since it was commanded in the Torah, and it was during which that He instituted the New Covenant by introducing His broken body and shed blood as a memorial.

         Could it be that the Lord’s death was progressive? It certainly appears that the “death angel” passed over the Garden of Gethsemane the night the Lord made His final surrender. At some point the sins of the world were placed upon Him. This was a legitimate form of death. There was no protection for the Sacrifice Lamb. It would have cancelled out His purpose. Once sin was placed upon Him, the spotless Lamb became sin on our behalf.[3] He continued “dying” until the next late afternoon when He breathed His last, when full payment was made, and when all was finished.

         Theoriginal Passover in Egypt took place in the middle of the night, when the death angel “Passed Over” each house while looking for the shed blood of lambs upon the door posts and lintels of the dwellings. Whichever family’s house did not display the blood of a perfect lamb suffered the loss of its firstborn son.

         Those families whose houses displayed the blood were representative of having the blood of Jesus displayed on their hearts as a substitute sacrificial firstborn Son, who died in place of their actual firstborns, and thus suffered no loss.

Nisan 15 / April 7, 2012 (Begins at sunset on April 6):

         After crossing the Jordan, the nation of Israel ate the produce of the Promised Land for the very first time:

         On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. [Joshua 5:11]

         This was the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pesach 1, a day of holy assembly, which concluded with Pesach 7, another high holy day on Nisan 21.[4] It was the day after the Lord was slain, the sixth day of the week, and equivalent to our Friday.

Nisan 16 / April 8, 2012 (Begins at sunset on April 7):

         It was on this day that the manna which God provided for forty years during the wilderness wanderings ceased. From that point forward, Israel would only eat the food of their new land.

         The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year. [Joshua 5:12]

         This was a Sabbath day. Manna never fell on a Sabbath, but a double portion always fell on the day before—the sixth day of the week (Friday morning). Therefore, there was still manna left over from Friday to eat on this day, but it never fell again. In the week of the Lord’s passion and death, this day was also the seventh day Sabbath, which always fell on a Saturday.

Nisan 17 / April 9, 2012 (Begins at sunset on April 8):

         The Captain of the Lord’s host appeared to Joshua:

         Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. [Joshua 5:13-15]

         It was also on Nisan 17 that the events of the week culminated in the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus.

         Scripture says that the Lord was resurrected on the first day of the week, which would have been equivalent to our Sunday. This means He was actually crucified, as stated previously, on Thursday, Nisan 14. That evening at sunset, after Joseph and the others had taken the Lord’s body off the cross, prepared His body for burial, and encased Him in the tomb, it become Nisan 15. This was not only the high holy day of Pesach 1, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it was also the day before the Sabbath.

         Then, after the Sabbath was over and the night had passed, Sunday morning dawned. This was Nisan 17, or the day of First Fruits, which took place after the Passover Sabbath each year.[5] On the agricultural calendar, it was the beginning of the barley harvest, and our Lord Jesus was the first fruits, the choicest portion. Imagine the scene, then, as all these days and prophetic events played out perfectly, and imagine the shock and delight of Mary Magdalene at the tomb that morning: 

         But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

         When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

         Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” [John 20:11-16]

         He had been physically dead, just as He said He would be, for three days and three nights:

         “For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” [Matthew 12:40]

         But on that resurrection morning of Nisan 17, also in keeping with another prophecy, a new Temple was raised by the Lord Jesus Himself that will never be destroyed again:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19][6]

         This is the hope that every real Christian has, that one day he or she will also be resurrected bodily just as the Lord was, to spend eternity with Him and one another forever!

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3 of 3]


[1] Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:33-37, Luke 23:44-46

[2] Mark 15:42-47

[3] 2 Corinthians 5:21

[4] Exodus 12:18

[5] Leviticus 23:11, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

[6] 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.

The Cleansing Blood of God (Part 2)

         It was through the sacrificial death of the spotless Lamb that God’s cleansing blood was shed to atone for all the sins of humanity. The author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to establish the fact that the blood of sacrificial animals could never atone for sin, but that these things were mere types of the only real blood sacrifice offered once by Messiah.

         But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

         For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. [Hebrews 9:11-16]

         For the Jews who did not believe that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, their “salvation” could only come through the perfect keeping of the Mosaic Code, an actual impossibility. The Torah is perfect, of course, but impossible to keep properly without faith and the introduction of God’s Spirit. Besides, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the requisite animal sacrifices have not been administered since, going on 2,000 years. How then can one be cleansed without the Lamb of God? Within forty years of the Blood Covenant, those who rejected the Sacrifice Lamb lost everything as a result. Everything. Those who believed and signed on gained everything (See Mark 10:29-30). 

         Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. [Hebrews 10:19-22]

         The apostle Peter had been instructed of all this by the Lord Jesus, and it is why he delivered a message on the Day of Pentecost featuring these very ideas:

1. Faith in God

2. Repentance (Death)

3. Water Baptism (Burial)

4. The infilling of the Holy Spirit (Resurrection)

         “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:36-39]

         The Jews hearing this message knew exactly what Peter was saying. God had been manifest in flesh. He had dwelt among them. YHWH showed up on the scene as per all the many prophecies of their ancient scrolls, and in their ignorance they killed Him. Why do so many Christians continue to do the same by not recognizing who the Lord Jesus really is? He is not merely a “second” Person of a Roman Triad, but our great God and Savior who willingly shed His blood for our salvation. He has fulfilled perfectly His half of the New Covenant, and awaits all those who would fulfill their half by accepting and honoring Him for who He really is, by submitting to heart circumcision, and by obeying Him unto life.

         “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” [Revelation 22:12-16] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 2]


[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.

RELATED POSTS:

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 1)

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 2)

The Cleansing Blood of God (Part 1)

Jesus

The NAME Above Every Name

         Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. [Acts 20:28]   

         In his message at Miletus, while on his fateful way to Jerusalem, the apostle Paul clearly states that the Lord Jesus is YHWH, the God of the Old Testament. It is a hard concept to grasp. The apostle John also explained this very well in his Gospel. Being monotheistic Jews, as were (1) All the apostles, (2) All the 120 gathered on Pentecost, and (3) The entire community of saints for about the first seven to ten years of its existence, both Paul and John clearly revealed the fact that God became a Man.

         There was absolutely no thought or concept among Jews that God was a multiplicity of divine persons, and the very idea was heresy. This was one of the main reasons why so many Jews had such a hard time believing in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. As the world’s only monotheists, they knew there was only one God. Therefore, they knew the apostles were claiming their one God YHWH had become one of them—a very hard concept to grasp, though the Old Testament Scriptures were filled with such prophetic fact, most notably perhaps, in the scroll of Isaiah:

         For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6]  

         A great, great number of Jews did believe that Jesus was the One mentioned above, however, because their hearts were right, and because they were not looking upon their God through the philosophical prism of Greco-Roman mindbenders.

         Acts 20:28 clearly states that it is God’s very blood that He used to purchase His community. God takes possession of each and every real believer through His blood. This is why the New Covenant is the ultimate blood covenant. Not only does God’s pure and perfect blood cleanse us from all sin, it is essentially the currency He uses to rightfully and legally obtain us.

         Paul referred to the Lord Jesus as YHWH many times, as seen in the following verses. Though he states a clear distinction between Father and Son, he distinguishes neither from the God of the Old Testament Himself. This is not simply a matter of semantics, and our Lord Jesus is not merely a mythical, theological “eternal Son.”

         He is God:

         For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. [Romans 9:3-5]

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s [1] good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. [Colossians 1:15-20]

         Regarding theological concepts of the Person of God, Paul knew well that intellectuals and purveyors of cold rationality would attempt to form a god of their own understanding rendered through pure mental reasoning and head knowledge, and bypassing the heart:     

         See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. [Colossians 2:8-12]

         Speaking of water baptism, there was no such thing as “title” baptism (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in the original community of saints throughout the entire Book of Acts and New Testament epistles. All baptism was by full immersion in the Name above all names—the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul reflected this fact in the passage above after claiming that YHWH came to earth and dwelt among us in human form, that our Lord Jesus is the supreme head over all authority and rule, that all real believers undergo the circumcision of Christ, and that all Scriptural water baptism is done in His Name. He also said God resurrected His own dead human body, which is exactly what the Lord Jesus said He would do:

         “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” [John 2:19] [2]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 2]


[1] Italicized words in the NASV95 New Testament are not in the original Greek text. Hence the word “Father” does not appear at this place in this passage.

[2] 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.