Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Church Bells All Were Broken

Joseph Herrin (02-24-2011)

I want to mention a singular phenomena that occurred when the earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand this week. In instance after instance, the  bell towers collapsed on prominent churches, some of which were historic landmarks.

St. John’s Anglican Church Bell Tower Destroyed

Christchurch Basilica (Roman Catholic) - Both Bell Towers Destroyed

Christ Church Cathedral - Bell Tower Destroyed

While meditating upon this event, I was reminded of the song American Pie, which the Father has been speaking much through recently. In this song there is mention of the church bells all being broken. Following is an excerpt.

American Pie
Don McLean (1971)

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

This song had some very poignant prophetic references from its very first release. The record label it was released on contained the words “Yahweh Tunes,” and “Mayday Music.”

Close-up of Record Label

Mayday is the internationally recognized distress code. This song was released 40 years ago, in the month of November.

Forty is a number denoting trials and testing, as well as the judgment of Yahweh. During the flood of Noah it rained 40 days and nights. Readers of this blog know that the Father has been speaking to me, as well as many others, about preparing an ark in preparation for the judgment to come. I have referred to the bus I recently renovated as an ark. It is a mobile habitation for use in days of judgment.

American Pie was released in November which is the 11th month of the year. 11 signifies disintegration, and disorder. Look again at the images of the churches after the earthquake. Do you see disintegration and disorder? This year, forty years after the song was released, the world will experience a very unusual date. The date is 11/11/11.

In an earlier post I wrote of the significance of the song American Pie being performed at Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Why choose a song whose chorus repeats “This will be the day that I die,” for what was supposed to be a festive and merry event?

I believe the Father is testifying through these events that judgment is at hand. A great shaking is coming to the nations. The shaking will test all that the church has built. Much will crumble. Many lives will be tragically lost. The faith of multitudes will fail, for it is not sufficient to carry them through coming days.

I was gripped by a photo I came across yesterday as I was researching the aftermath of the Christchurch quake. It was a picture of a man and his two children grieving right after police informed them that there was no longer any possibility of finding anyone alive under the rubble of a collapsed building. The children’s mother was in the building, and the grief and pain is evident upon their faces.

My heart is very heavy when I consider the grief, the sorrow, and pain that this family is enduring. It is also heavy as I consider that this same grief will be multiplied astronomically in coming days as judgment falls upon the nations, and especially upon the house of God

I Peter 4:17-18
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

A sister wrote to me this morning to share with me an update on the news out of Christchurch. It was reported that 22 people who were inside Christchurch Cathedral when the quake struck were all thought to be dead. The number 22 stood out to this sister, as it does to me, for it denotes flesh cutting. The Spirit is crying out:

Revelation 18:4-8
"Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' Therefore her plagues will come in one day - death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

People of God, the body of Christ has lived sensuously. Rather than following the pattern of Christ and the early disciples, the church has made many accommodations for the flesh. Rather than crucifying the flesh, the flesh has been pampered, petted and pleased. The Spirit is entreating the people of God to come out of this Babylonian religious system, this harlot with all her loves that compete with the love of Christ.

Those who remain inside, will not escape when the judgment strikes. Surrender your life now to the direction of the Spirit of Christ. Lay aside worldly pursuit and set your affection squarely upon Christ. Depart from sin. Embrace a life of faith where you hear the voice of God and obey. May we all avail ourselves of the grace of God while we have the opportunity.

Note: Peter Boag, a brother from Christchurch notified me that the picture I had labeled as “Unidentified Church Destroyed” was in actuality a municipal building called the Early Provincial Chambers.

Peter also gave me the following report the day after the quake.

Dear Brother Joseph,

The aftershock that hit our city yesterday was the exact 'Polar Opposite' to the September 4th quake of last year, as our Prime Minister said today. Although it was registered as  6.3 magnitude as against the 7.1 registered in September last year, the force yesterday was far greater, due to the 10 kilometers distance from the epicentre, as against 40 kms last year, and the depth yesterday was 5kms as against 10 last year.

As a consequence, the violence, though of much shorter duration, caused a tremendous amount of damage in comparison to the big one last year. Coming at a different time of day, the lunch hour, on a working day, with schools open, and tourists and shoppers about, many were caught up in the horror of the event, and many have been injured or killed, and at the moment hundreds are still missing, trapped under fallen buildings. Emergency services have been working around the clock since it happened to find and rescue those trapped and to treat the injured. Many are without homes and many many more are in shock. There have been about a hundred aftershocks in the last 24 hours, many very strong and unnerving  to an already nervous population, from the more than 4000 aftershocks recorded up till yesterday from the September shake last year. Last year there were no deaths and we had about a month of fine weather to clean up. Last night it rained, as it is again doing tonight as I write, and there is a mounting death toll.

We had all thought that our situation had settled down pretty much since last year, and the city was just getting back to a normality of sorts, when yesterdays' nightmare shake put us back way beyond the situation existing after the 7.1 magnitude quake of September.

The city is just devastated. Some modern buildings have pancaked. Church buildings have been completely brought down to the ground, and the Anglican Cathedral probably destroyed. The Roman Catholic Basilica has also been very badly damaged. One of the tallest buildings in town, the Grand Chancellor hotel is sinking into the ground, and is expected to fall anytime. Bridges are broken and causing massive disruption to transport, buildings have fallen and blocked streets, and liquefaction has again reared its ugly head causing much water and mud damage.

Probably most of the inner city will have to be rebuilt, as the stresses of so many shakes have taken their toll on many buildings, and consequently their futures are suspect.. Infrastructure is severely damaged and much of the city is still with out power and water and sewer services. My heart goes out to those who are having to deal with this appalling situation and also for the businesses and workers whose lives have been so dramatically affected by this act of God.

I'm sure that you are aware that the aftershock occurred on the 22-2-2011 as we record it in New Zealand. You would say in the USA, 2-22-2011.

Our side of town was not as affected as the city centre was, no doubt because of being more distant from the epicentre. Personally, I didn't expect to experience another major quake in my lifetime such as we had yesterday, after experiencing the big one last year. However the experts tell us that we can expect the occasional big aftershock for some time to come!

It has been and is a momentous event in the life of our nation, and I am sure is a further sign for God's Watchmen at this time to interpret, building on the sign given in September last year to those with ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to respond.

Blessings to you my Brother and to all who follow your writings,

In His Love,

Peter Boag, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shaking Christ’s Church

Joseph Herrin (02-23-2011)

Hebrews 12:26-27
"Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven."  Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Yesterday, February 22, 2011, a major earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand. The damage and loss of life far exceeded the 7.0 magnitude quake that struck the city five months earlier. Significantly, many churches that had survived the previous earthquake with limited damage were destroyed, or damaged beyond repair in yesterday’s temblor.

Christchurch Cathedral - Tower Destroyed and Building Damaged
(Click on any image to view larger)

You may want to review the posts on the 2010 earthquake as an accompaniment to this article.

I want to repeat a short portion of the first post on the 2010 Christchurch earthquake. I cited a prophetic word by Phil Buck that was delivered shortly after the Haiti quake, and nine months before the one in New Zealand.

-by Phil Buck.

January 27, 2010 - Prayer time for the Church, at our home.

I heard a word in my mind saying, There’s coming an earthquake of the magnitude 7.0 that was experienced in Haiti, only it is coming to the Church. I have sent many warnings down through the portals of time, that this day was coming, and now is here, even at the door. The earthquake will start from outside the Church, and then will permeate the Church from within. Prepare, prepare, there will be destruction as would never have been imagined.

The rubble of the buildings of man will crumble to the ground. The teachings of man will have come full circle. There will be people that have bought into the man system and will be destroyed in the rubble of the collapse, some spiritually and others both spiritually and physically. For they have believed a lie and will suffer the consequences of their doing.

[End Excerpt]

Consider the ways in which this prophetic word parallel the events in Christchurch. The 2010 earthquake was centered 40 km outside of the city. The prophetic word declared “the earthquake will start outside the church.” Yesterday’s earthquake was centered 10 km outside the city and was also much closer to the surface, making its impact much more severe.

During the September 2010 earthquake, not a single person’s life was lost, and although 2300 homes were condemned, and numerous buildings damaged, the absence of more dire consequences was hailed as extremely unusual. Some who have faith in God attributed the absence of more grievous consequences to His grace. It has been five months since the September quake. Five is the Biblical number for grace.

The prophetic word said “Prepare! Prepare!” In what ways are the people of God to prepare for the shaking that is at hand? The prophetic word specifically mentioned two areas that would be tested in this shaking; the teachings (doctrines), and the works of the church.

Yahweh will judge the teachings and the works of His people. Those who have embraced error will suffer loss due to their having built upon the teachings of man, rather than the truths of God.

In considering this matter, I have been led to reflect upon the Spirit’s guidance in my life beginning back in 1999. At that time, Yahweh impressed upon me the necessity to surrender the direction of my life into His hands. Up until this time I had been raised up in the churches. I had a sincere devotion to God, and was judged to be more dedicated to the Father than most. Yet, my life was one of contradiction. I called Christ “Lord,” but most of my life’s decisions were decided by my soul. I was doing many things of my own initiative, often presenting to God a sacrifice of my choosing rather than the obedience He required.

The Father spoke to me at the time, revealing that He could take me no further apart from a complete surrender to go where He directed me to go, and a willingness to obey whatever He required of me. My soul was terrified of what I might encounter if I gave my life into the Father’s hands. I knew there would be a cross appointed to me, and I did not like the thought of suffering.

The Spirit persisted by indicating to me that I would actually begin to lose what I had previously gained, and I would forfeit the good things God had planned for my life, if I did not accept the call to “take up my cross and follow Christ.”

The church today has heaped up to themselves teachers to tell them what the soul of man wants to hear. The doctrines of the church permit men to remain in control of their own lives, rather than surrendering all they are and all they possess unto God.

The recent teaching series I have posted on the Law provides one example of how the teachings of the church have deviated from the message of Christ and His apostles. The church would prefer to adopt a body of laws to guide them, than to yield the control of their lives to the Spirit. By adopting a code of conduct, the church retains control of the major portion of their life’s decisions. Consequently, men can make a good showing in the flesh while avoiding the cross God has appointed to every disciple of Christ.

How does a person prepare for God’s shaking? They invite the Father to reveal to them the quality of the foundation they have been building upon. They entreat the Father to reveal the deficiencies in their doctrines and works. When God points out an area that is false, they must tear down that which is defective and begin to build anew according to the plan of the Father.

In my own life, this process included great changes both in my teachings and in my circumstances. Those who are unwilling to have their present lives interrupted, their current manner of existence radically altered, will find themselves clinging futilely to that which cannot stand.

After the Christchurch earthquake last year, the prevailing response of the churches was to re-build that which had fallen using the same pattern as before. There was no consideration of abandoning an unsafe design. Most of the danger lay in the great towers and soaring cathedral ceilings of the buildings. The pride of man would not permit consideration of a more lowly, and humble, yet practical and safe building design. The cry throughout the city was to re-build what was shaken and make it stronger than before. It did not matter to men that God had not initiated these proud works. It did, however matter to God.

Among the largest and proudest church buildings in Christchurch are those constructed by the Roman Catholic diocese. The mother church of the Roman Catholic diocese is Christchurch Basilica, also called the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The towers of the Basilica had been damaged last year in the main earthquake and its aftershocks, especially the one that occurred on Boxing Day.

The inside of the Cathedral was closed off to public use until repairs could be made. At the beginning of this month, a contract was signed to commence repair work on the towers that were damaged from the earlier quake. The assessment at the beginning of this month was that “they are definitely fixable.”

Article Link

Christchurch Basilica Before Earthquake

Christchurch Basilica After Yesterday’s Earthquake

Preliminary reports indicate that the Basilica cannot be repaired.

The two bell towers at the front of the building collapsed, bringing much of the front fa├žade down with them, with large blocks of masonry destroying vehicles in front of the building. There was also major cracking evident around the cathedral's main dome. Stained glass windows, which had survived the September 4 earthquake and some 4,000 aftershocks, were also "in ruins."

It is not just the Catholic Church that God is judging. He is judging ALL His people. Perhaps the grandest building in town, and most prominent landmark was the Anglican Church’s Cathedral.

Anglican Cathedral Before and After Earthquake 2-22-2011

Those familiar with the teachings on this blog know that the number 22 denotes flesh cutting, and judgment on wickedness. The date of this recent, destructive earthquake, as written in New Zealand’s format, is 22-2-2011.

The year 2011 is defined by the number 11. According to E.W. Bullinger in the book Number in Scripture, 11 bears the following significance.

If ten is the number which marks the perfection of Divine order, then eleven is an addition to it, subversive of and undoing that order. If twelve is the number which marks the perfection of Divine government, then eleven falls short of it. So that whether we regard it as being 10 + 1, or 12 - 1, it is the number which marks, disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.

Did Yahweh appoint the shaking of Christchurch to occur on this specific date to reveal something through the date? I believe He did. God is signifying that a double portion of judgment upon the flesh and wickedness of the body of Christ is at hand. The immediate result will be disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration. In truth, this is already the spiritual condition of the church.

The church lacks God’s order and organization. Christ is to be Head of the body. He is to guide and direct His people. Instead, the church has raised men to this position, while looking to the soul of man to guide and direct. The church is imperfect. Christ said, “If you would be perfect... take up your cross and follow Me.” This the church has refused to do. Dis-integration, a lack of oneness among the body, and an absence of union with God, are the result of these things.

We are entering a time when the world will experience a tremendous shaking. This shaking in the world economies, governments, and social structures will serve to expose the apostate condition of the church. Many who have embraced doctrines of prosperity, ease and comfort will experience a shattering of their lives as the world economy begins to shake violently. The affluent lives of millions will be turned to poverty with great suddenness. Those who have equated worldly blessing with spiritual success will find that they have erred greatly.

Such errors are not the domain of one particular church or denomination. They are nearly universal. Yahweh will expose the defects in His church, exposing every work of man. All that the heart of man has devised will not stand.

St. John’s Anglican Church After Quake

Knox Church - Presbyterian - Before and After

Oxford Street Baptist Church After Quake

Unidentified Church - Destroyed by Quake

People of God, it is evident that the world has been going through upheavals in the past few years, particularly beginning with the financial crisis of 2008. Here in America, millions are now unemployed. Millions have lost their homes to foreclosure. Many lives are in upheaval.

The response of most, in and out of the church, has been to try to hold things together as long as possible. Few have been willing to make true, foundational changes in their lives. How then will they be ready for the much more intense shaking that the Spirit is indicating is near at hand?

One website reported that on Saturday February 19, just 3 days before this most recent quake, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker held a summit meeting of all the parties involved in the recovery operation from the 2010 quake. They were laying out plans to restore the city to its former glory.

Article Link

Those who met had no idea that a far greater destruction would be visited upon their city in just a few short days. God has provided this spectacular sign to warn His people that upheaval is coming. He knows that most of the doctrines and works of the church are wood, hay and stubble. They will not stand. The faith of multitudes will collapse, for they have not the strength to stand. Multitudes will experience great loss in both spiritual and natural realms. This loss could have been mitigated, and perhaps it still might if people will surrender immediately to be led of the Spirit.

An End of Playing Games

The attitude here in America is characterized by the events of Christchurch. The Mayor and citizens of Christchurch have been applying themselves to getting the city back in order from last year’s quake. Part of their motive is that Christchurch was slated to host seven games for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Article Link

The church has sought to shrug off the economic disturbances of the past couple years as quickly as possible that she might also return to a pursuit of fun and games. They do not see the judgment at their very doorstep.

I Peter 4:17
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God...

The Spirit has been testifying that it is time for all saints to get their houses in order. Those who do not will certainly suffer loss.

Collapse in Christchurch

Heart4God Website:  

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Laying Down the Law - Understanding Difficult Scriptures

Many saints who have adopted the view that the Law continues as the guardian and tutor to the saints today arrive at this view due to a misapprehension of various Scriptures. Although their conviction may be sincere, error will always result in undesirable consequences.

If you have patiently considered all the preceding material in this teaching series, you should now definitely know that the Law was not made for spiritual men and women. You should clearly perceive that those who are in Christ have died to the Law in order to be joined to another. The Law with its shadows, its weakness, and its inability to make any man perfect, has been replaced by that which is substantial, powerful and able to present men perfect.

What then, are we to make of various Scriptures that are often cited by men to advocate the continuance of the Law? Many of these Scriptures come from the life of Christ. They are His own words.

It must be understood precisely where the Law was ended. The Law still retained its authority when Christ was born.

Galatians 4:4
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law...

The covenant of the Law continued throughout the years of Christ’s ministry. The Son of God declared that He came to fulfill the Law.

Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Many saints do a cursory reading of this passage from Matthew’s gospel and conclude that Christ said the Law will remain as long as the heavens and earth exist. This is not what He said. Yahshua declared that the Law would not pass away “till all is fulfilled.” Immediately before this He declared that He came to fulfill the Law.

The saint must answer the question, “Did Yahshua accomplish what He said He came to do? Did He fulfill the Law?” The testimony of the Scriptures is a resounding “Yes!”

Matthew 3:13-15
 Then Yahshua came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" But Yahshua answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.

Luke 24:44
Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

The Son of God not only fulfilled every prophecy of the Messiah, but He satisfied all the righteous requirements of the Law.

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Yahshua did what the Father sent Him to do. He fulfilled the Law. The Law could not pass away until all was fulfilled. The Law ended as the Son of God hung on the cross. It ended much as it began, with darkness, and terror, and the rocks being split.

Exodus 19:16-19
Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because Yahweh descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.

Matthew 27:50-54
And Yahshua cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split..., So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Yahshua, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

The ministry of the Law was terrifying to the soul of man from its beginning until the very end. The Law was a minister of condemnation and death. Its beginning terrified all who observed it, as did its ending.

Who could observe the judgment of the Law upon the Son of God and not be shaken to their depths? The Law did not slay Christ for His sins, but for the sins of mankind. Those who observed the crucifixion witnessed the Law’s righteous judgment on man. We should all stand with trembling to understand that it should have been us on the cross. Yahshua accepted the full judgment of the Law on our behalf, and with this judgment the Law ended.

Galatians 2:19-20
For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ...

As long as the Adamic man lived, the Law had jurisdiction over him. The covenant could only be ended by death. Those who are in Christ have died. When He was crucified, they were crucified. When Yahshua died, they died. When the Messiah rose again to newness of life, so too did all who are partakers of His life.

Romans 6:3-8
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Yahshua were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him...

For Christ, the Law ended when He died. For the Christian, the Law ends the moment they become a partaker of the life of Christ. It is with this understanding that all the words of Christ must be discerned. The Son of God’s life serves as the transition point from Law to Grace; from legal prohibition to liberty; from a written code to life in the Spirit. On the cross the Law’s claim over mankind was satisfied.

Colossians 2:13-14
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Before the eyes of the Father stand the charges of the Law. With the blood of His Son it is stamped “Paid in Full.” The Law condemned man and caused enmity to exist between God and man. Christ removed the enmity, thereby opening the door for man to become a partaker of the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of Christ residing in man that makes known the will of Christ in the heart of the believer. Those who are Christ’s are called to heed every instruction Christ discloses to them.

John 14:21-24
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Yahshua answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.”

John 15:10-12
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My

Some have erred in correlating Christ’s commandments with the commands of Moses. Similarly, some have misconstrued John’s words, believing him to be speaking of the Law of Moses in the following passage:

I John 5:2-3
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. or this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

John has elsewhere spoken of Christ’s commandments.

I John 2:3-5
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.

The commands of Christ that John refers to are the same as the commands of God mentioned later on in the same epistle. Christ also testified that His commands are one and the same with the Father’s commands.

John 14:24
He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.

What are the words and commandments of Christ?

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

Christ delivered to His disciples the perfect law of liberty, the law of love. Against such things there is no Law. Furthermore, Christ reveals His desire for His disciples through the Spirit who was sent to indwell them. Whatever the Spirit reveals to be the will of Christ for our lives becomes the commandment of Yahshua to us. As the saints of God walk in the Spirit they will find themselves keeping the commandments of Christ.

Remember what we have previously learned. When Christ appeared as the High Priest of a new covenant, there was necessarily a change of the Law (Hebrews 7:12). Yahshua’s commandments are not the commandments of Moses. Yahshua has delivered a new commandment. For the saints in Christ, the will of God is revealed through a new and living way.

I Corinthians 2:12
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...

John 16:14
He (the Holy Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

I John 4:13
By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

By sending forth the Spirit of His Father to dwell in the hearts of man, Christ irrevocably changed the manner in which men would relate to God.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Galatians 5:16
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

People of God, although these Scriptures are familiar to the saints, few comprehend what a radical change they imply. Man had never been a dwelling place for the Spirit of God until Christ sent forth His Spirit. Beginning at the first Pentecost of the body of Christ, the saints have had the Word of God abiding within them.

Seeing that the Spirit was sent to displace the Law in its role of making known the will of the Father, what did Paul mean when he wrote the following:

Romans 3:31
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

This is a passage that many cite when they advocate a continuance of the Law. In this book we have looked at dozens of statements from the apostle Paul. These declarations plainly proclaim that the Law has no jurisdiction over those who are in Christ that we have died to the Law, that the Law was “until Christ.” Therefore, Paul’s words here cannot be interpreted to mean just the opposite. Yahweh is not a God of confusion.

Paul declares that the Law is not made void by faith. Christ said He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Faith recognizes that the Law had to be fulfilled. Faith declares that it was fulfilled in Christ. Faith furthermore instructs us that we were in Christ, and through our union with Him we have also fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law. Finally, faith tells us that when Christ died, we died, setting us free from the Law that we might walk in newness of the Spirit.

Paul did not invalidate the Law. He did, however, reveal its proper place and application.

I Timothy 1:8-9
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless...

Praise God, our faith informs us that we are righteous.

II Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Philippians 3:8-9
That I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith...

Believing these things to be true, those who perceive themselves to be righteous before God are not under the Law. These ones are empowered and directed by the Spirit. It truly is a new day for those who are a new creation in Christ.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Laying Down the Law - Toward a Perfect Man

Matthew 5:48
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Colossians 1:28
[Christ] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Yahshua.

Hebrews 7:18-19
For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect...

Both Christ and His apostles stated that the goal of their labor was to present men perfect before Yahweh. The time had arrived for man to move past childhood into maturity. In pursuit of this goal, a new, far more capable, instrument needed to be employed. The Law could make no man perfect. At its best, it contained only a shadow of the righteousness of God and His plan for mankind. The Law needed to be replaced by that which was perfect, and which had the power to present man perfect.

Christ appeared at a time when the people of God had experienced only an imperfect revelation of the Father. They had never seen God in the flesh. They had only the shadow of the Law, and it was subject to misinterpretation. When Christ appeared, mankind had revealed before them for the first time a perfect representation of God.

Hebrews 1:3
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

The Law did not contain “the exact representation of [God’s] nature.” Neither did the Law contain the power to make men perfect. The Law was weak. It was necessary for Yahweh to replace the Law with that which was perfect and powerful, for the time had come for men to progress past childhood to perfection.

Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

God the Father was looking for the mature fruit of sons in His own image and likeness. The Law could not produce this fruit. Therefore, at the precise moment ordained by God, mankind was joined to the One who could make men perfect.

Christ, in His person, is the perfect image of the Father. Because Yahshua is an “an exact representation of [God’s] nature,” He is able to show the Father’s nature fully, and perfectly to man. When Christ sent forth His Spirit to indwell man, the power to become perfect was given to men. The Spirit of Christ residing in man provides the power to accomplish God’s purpose.

Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yahshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Yahweh’s purpose is to have mature, perfected sons. His instrument to produce these sons is the Spirit of Christ. That which was weak and a mere shadow, has been replaced by that which is powerful and an exact representation of God’s nature.

In their infancy, the people of God were given a tutor and schoolmaster to guide them. The tutor was not capable of making men perfect. It could only guard men during their infancy until the time came to deliver them into the hands of the One who could make them perfect.

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

“The adoption as sons” is a reference to being judged as mature, having the character of the Father formed in the child. When the Father’s character is observed to be replicated in the child, the child is adopted. He rises from the rank of a child under tutors, to a son who is given authority and liberty.

Paul is declaring that “when the fulness of the time came,” for mature sons of Yahweh to be manifested, He sent forth His Son. Yahshua was “born of a woman, born under the Law” which signifies that He is the transitional point. He arose among those who were children, but He progressed onto maturity that He might lead others to this same maturity. Christ had to learn obedience and be perfected as a son (Hebrews 5:8). He grew up among a people who were disobedient and forever stuck in adolescence. Yahshua was the first to receive the commendation from Yahweh that He was a well pleasing son.

Matthew 3:17
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Throughout the course of His ministry on earth Yahshua never did any work, or spoke any word, of His own initiative. He was a perfect Son, with a perfect heart. He was always observing the Father and doing precisely what He saw the Father doing.

John 5:19-20
Then Yahshua answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does...”

If mankind is to also walk perfectly before the Father, he must have the same guide that Yahshua had. The Law cannot reveal to us what the Father’s will is for every action and word, but the Spirit can. It was the Spirit of God that guided Christ, and all who would be perfect must be guided by the same Spirit.

From the moment of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, we read that He was led of the Spirit.

Luke 4:1
Then Yahshua, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit...

Luke 4:14
Then Yahshua returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee...

The Spirit both guided and empowered Christ, and He is given to perform the same functions for all those who are “in Christ.”

John 16:7-13
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you... I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth...

In these words, Yahshua discloses that the Spirit will perform the role of communicator and guide. Although Christ disclosed many things to His disciples during His ministry years, there was much they were not yet prepared to receive. The Spirit to be sent would disclose to them every thought of God at the appropriate time. Rather than having the Law as their guide, with priests, scribes and legions of lawyers as its administrators, Christ’s disciples would be taught directly by God through the Spirit.

I John 2:27
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

In this role of communicator of the mind of God, the Spirit and the Law are seen in parallel roles. Indeed, what was seen in type and shadow in Moses and the Law is fulfilled in antitype and substance in Christ and the Spirit. Consider the following parallels.

During the ministry of Moses, when the Israelites wanted to know the mind of Yahweh, they would come and inquire of Moses.

Exodus 18:15-16
And Moses said to his father-in-law, "The people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws."

This same Moses, could not remain forever with the people in this role. Yahweh had Moses ascend Mount Sinai to meet with Him. Moses brought the Law down the mountain, leaving it with the people to serve as their instructor and guide for the next 1,500 years.

A parallel fulfillment is observed in the life of Christ. When Yahshua walked the earth, His disciples looked to Him much as the Israelites looked to Moses. Christ’s disciples approached Him that He might declare to them the mind of God and serve as their instructor.

Matthew 13:36
Then Yahshua sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."

Matthew 15:15
Then Peter answered and said to Him, "Explain this parable to us."

Mark 4:10
But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

Christ also could not remain with His disciples in this role forever. It was better that He go away. So, even as Moses ascended the mountain and brought back the Law, Christ ascended to the Father and sent back the Spirit.

We have already seen the parallels and contrasts between these two events. When Moses brought back the Law 3,000 men died. When the Spirit was received on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 men were saved. In every way, the Spirit which has been given to indwell man is superior to the Law that Moses brought down from the mountain. The former work points to the latter which is far more substantial, able to make men perfect.

The Spirit of Christ goes far beyond instruction. The Spirit does more than serving as the voice of God to the saints. He is the source of all power. By virtue of the Spirit of Christ residing in man, the power that is needed to obey the Father and live a life as a pleasing son is finally realized.

Luke 24:49
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us...

People of God, it was necessary that the Law be instituted for a time until that perfect Tutor and Helper should come. We must be released from the former to be joined to the latter. The teacher and guide of man’s childhood must give way to the One who can present all men perfect in Christ.

The Law was given to restrain men who were slaves to sin and to point them to their Redeemer and Savior. Those who have been born of the Spirit of Christ are no longer slaves to sin. They were formerly dead spiritually, but in Christ they have been made alive. It is inappropriate for a spiritual man to be ruled by the tutor to the carnal man. The spiritual man needs a Helper that can bring him to perfection. The Law makes nothing perfect.

Having begun your life as a son of God by the Spirit, it is folly to believe that a return to a Law of fleshly ordinances will make one perfect.

Galatians 3:3
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

Hebrews 9:9-10
For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies - physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
[New Living Translation]

The King James Bible calls the physical regulations of the Law “carnal ordinances.” The New King James and New American Standard describe them as “fleshly ordinances.” It is these regulations of the Law that Paul is referring to when he asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Paul declares that these fleshly ordinances were in effect, only “until a better system could be established.”

The King James speaks of these carnal ordinances being in effect until the “time of reformation.” The Darby Bible describes this time as “the time of setting things right.” The Douay-Rheims Bible similarly describes this occasion as “the time of correction.”

When Christ came, He set things right between God and man. He removed the enmity that existed between them, “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us...,having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Christ brought “re-formation” to man by giving him a new heart and a new spirit. Men who experience the spirit birth truly become “new creatures” in Christ. Thus, the period of man’s probation under the Law is brought to a close, and a new era of life in the Spirit is initiated.

Although every member of Christ’s flock has the ability to hear His voice, and John has testified that the anointing (the Holy Spirit) teaches them all things, Yahshua has given ministers to the flock to help shepherd them.

Ephesians 4:11-14
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ...

If the ministers are not equipping and edifying the saints, leading them “to a perfect man,” then they are not fulfilling their calling. Ministers who are leading people back to the Law are unwittingly leading them away from the Spirit who alone can make them perfect. A minister should emphasize the need of every saint to hear the voice of God themselves. He must impress upon those who are partakers of the Spirit their daily need to be surrendered to the direction of the Spirit in all their actions and words.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

The tragic effect of embracing the Law as one’s guide and instructor to know what the Father would have men to do, is that the saints fail to seek the mind of the Spirit. Believing the mind of God can be ascertained in the Law, they see no need to look for it elsewhere. Those who look to the Law as their guide will remain in perpetual childhood. If we would be perfect, we must walk as Christ walked.

Matthew 19:21
Yahshua said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

There is no other path to perfection as a son of God than to be led and empowered by the Spirit of Christ. The saints must accept no substitute for the Spirit led life. Moses and the Law could make no man perfect. Being led by one’s soul will not lead to the Father’s will. Only a Spirit led life can bring the saint to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Christ.

All who would be perfect must lay aside the Law and be joined to another, even to He who was raised from the dead.

Romans 7:6
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Laying Down the Law - When God Changed the Menu

The question often arises as to whether Christians are to observe the shadows of the Old Covenant. Should Christians keep the feasts of Yahweh? Should they rest on the Sabbath day? Is it the Father’s will for those in Christ to eat only those foods the Law of Moses declared to be clean? In this post, I want to look specifically at the dietary regulations contained in the Law of Moses.

There are entire denominations, such as Seventh Day Adventists, and The Worldwide Church of God, who proclaim that the dietary laws of the Old Testament are still in effect. Those who are Torah Observant make the dietary laws a key part of their instructions to the saints. What did Christ’s apostles’ teach? Is the body of Christ still subject to the dietary regulations found in the Law?

For those who have understood and received the things written thus far in this series, the answer should be obvious. The Law of Moses has no jurisdiction over those who are in Christ. By virtue of union with Christ, believers have died to the Law that they might be joined to another. There is a new priesthood, a new law, a new manner of living in the Spirit. “Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” Shadows have given way to substance.

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

As we look at the entire counsel of Christ’s apostles, we find that observing the shadows relating to food, feast days, new moons, and Sabbaths is not required. On the other hand, observance of the shadows is not forbidden, or condemned. The counsel of the apostles is that every man should strive to maintain a pure conscience before God. All Christians should seek to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Christians have varying degrees of knowledge of the mind and ways of God. One whose knowledge is mature may realize that nothing is unclean in itself, and all things can be eaten with thanksgiving. One who does not have this knowledge, believes he can only eat that which Moses permitted.

There are those who argue that since God is eternal, and He changes not, that His laws do not change. On the surface, this sounds reasonable. However, it does not stand up under scrutiny. The Bible is filled with examples of the unchanging God changing the manner in which He relates to men. Yahweh has frequently altered His instructions to mankind. We saw this in a previous chapter where we looked at Christ’s oft repeated phrase, “You have heard..., but I say...”

The arguments for the continuance of the dietary laws appeal to the natural man’s sense of justice, but they are not supported by Scriptures. If the argument were true that God’s instructions (Torah) to man do not change, for He Himself does not change, then we must find corroborating evidence of this declaration in the Bible. What then, are we to make of the fact that Yahweh has repeatedly changed His instructions to man regarding what He can eat, and He is prophesied to do it again during the Millennial reign of Christ?

Let us examine the Biblical evidence. When God first created Adam and Eve, He gave them only fruits and vegetables and the produce of the earth for their food.

Genesis 1:29
And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”

Even the animals ate a vegan diet. There were no carnivores when the earth was fashioned.

Genesis 1:30
Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so.

Are these instructions Yahweh delivered to the first man and woman identical to those given to Moses? Absolutely not! Moses permitted men to eat animal flesh. Animal flesh was prohibited to Adam and Eve. We see then that God’s Torah (instruction) does change.

The first menu God gave to man lasted for approximately 1,700 years. From Adam unto Noah man had only plants to eat. After the flood Yahweh declared that man could eat meat.

Genesis 9:1-5
 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth... Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

We see that Noah and his descendants were permitted to eat “every moving thing that lives.” If a pig moved it could be eaten. Crabs and shrimp moved, so they could be eaten. “Every moving thing...” was the only criteria listed in Yahweh’s instruction to Noah. The ONLY prohibition was against eating blood, for the life (literally “soul”) of the animal is in the blood.

Noah understood that certain animals were considered clean, and some unclean, for he had made a distinction among them when bringing them on the ark. Of every clean animal, he took them by sevens onto the ark, a male with his female. Of every unclean animal he took by twos onto the ark.

After the flood subsided, we read that Noah offered to Yahweh a sacrifice of every clean animal that had been brought onto the ark. However, Yahweh made no distinction between clean and unclean when telling Noah what he could eat. Rather, the instruction is “If it moves, it can be eaten.”

This dietary instruction was in force from Noah to Moses, a span of approximately 800 years. For 430 years of this span, the descendants of Abraham were under the Noahide laws, for the Mosaic Law had not been given. Abraham’s descendants were permitted to eat pigs, and shellfish, and everything that moved on the earth. There was no prohibition given to them regarding these things UNTIL the Law was delivered to Moses. The Law came 430 years after Yahweh made a covenant of promise to Abraham, and 2,500 years after Adam.

Paul declared, “where there is no law there is no transgression.” Seeing that there was no law against eating certain types of meat UNTIL the Mosaic Law was given, those who ate unclean animals did not transgress.

Those who argue that “God changeth not,” therefore the laws He gives to men do not change, are failing to rightly divide the word of God. Do you perceive that prior to the flood it was a transgression of the will of God for a man to eat animal flesh? After the flood he could do so and not transgress. From Noah until Moses, man could eat anything that moved. A man could eat a hog from hoof to snout, including the fat. The only thing forbidden was the blood. There was no transgression.

Why is it so incredible then to conceive that the instructions (Torah) Yahweh gave to Moses were also for a limited duration? Yahweh intended for the Law of Moses to be in force UNTIL the promised Seed should come.

Galatians 3:19
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

There was a period of 1,500 years from Moses to Christ (the Seed of God). During this time the people of God had many prohibitions relating to food. No longer could God’s people eat anything that moved. Now, they were limited to those land creatures that had a split hoof and chewed the cud. Pertaining to that which dwelt in the sea, the rivers and lakes, it was no longer everything that moved, but that which had fins and scales. Even the birds and the insects were divided into what could be eaten, and what could not.

Beyond these restrictions, there were further limits placed on man’s consumption. Under the Mosaic Law man could not eat fat, not even fat found on animals declared to be clean. The fat and the blood were to be offered to Yahweh. It was forbidden to boil a kid in its mother’s milk. During the week of Passover, no leaven could be used in cooking.

The regulations found in the Law all serve as parables. In each one some spiritual truth is being foreshadowed. Time does not permit me to write of what these dietary regulations signified. I have posted writings on some of them.

When Christ came, the time of mankind’s probation, being guarded and ruled by the Law of Moses, ended. Consequently, the instruction God gave to mankind regarding what was to be eaten changed.

Acts 15:28-29
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Once more man could eat all that moved, but the ancient prohibition against eating blood remained. When an animal is strangled, the blood remains in the meat. The instruction to abstain “from blood” and “from things strangled,” are the only recorded instructions relating to food for those who are in Christ.

It did not seem “good to the Holy Spirit” “to lay upon” those turning to Christ from among the Gentiles all the “burden” of the Law. Of the myriad of dietary regulations in the Law, “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit” to burden these new creatures in Christ only with the dietary prohibition to abstain from eating blood. The apostles and leaders of the Jewish believers in Messiah, met in Jerusalem to consider the specific question of whether new Gentile converts should be instructed to keep the Law of Moses. Peter summed up the conclusion of the elders with these words:

Acts 15:10
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The yoke Peter spoke of was a yoke of slavery. The Law treated men as slaves. God seeing that man was a slave to sin, treated him like a slave by placing him under the Law. Those who are in Christ are free from bondage to sin. Therefore, Yahweh treats them as free men. The new creation man is given liberty.

Galatians 5:1-2
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

The elders and apostles carefully considered this matter and concluded that, of the 613 laws delivered to Moses, only three needed to be passed on to the Gentile Christians (I am combining the two dealing with blood.) No instructions regarding fins and scales, cloven hoofs and chewing cuds were placed upon the Gentile’s necks. They were taught to walk by the Spirit. An excessive list of carnal ordinances would take their eyes away from the Spirit of Christ as their guide.

We see then that from Adam to Noah man ate only a diet of plant matter. From Noah to Moses, man ate plant matter and anything that moved. From Moses to Christ, the people of God ate that which the Law declared to be clean. From Christ until today, the people of God are instructed to not eat blood, but have no other law of prohibition.

The words of the elders and apostles are not Yahweh’s final instruction regarding diet. It will change again. The Scriptures declare that during the Millennial reign of Christ those animals that are carnivores will become herbivores.

Isaiah 11:6-7
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

These words of the prophet Isaiah describe a return to the conditions of Eden. In Eden the animals were given every green herb for food. Man also was given every green herb, and every fruit tree, from which to eat. This will be the condition of the earth once more.

Can you imagine the arguments of the Torah devotee who makes it into the Millennial period? “What do you mean I can’t kill that cow and cook its flesh? Moses said I could do so. Why can’t I wring that chicken’s neck? Don’t you know the Law doesn’t change.” Although such a hypothetical argument appears silly, it demonstrates the error of those who suppose that the Law is an eternal ordinance. Every work of God has a time and season allotted to it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...

As we look back at the history of Yahweh’s dealings with man, we see that great changes occurred during the life of Noah. Further great alterations occurred during the life of Moses. Yet, the greatest change of all in the way Yahweh relates to man occurred during the earthly life of His Son. Seeing that Yahweh’s instructions to mankind were altered with Noah and Moses, it is no stretch to conceive of them changing once more with Christ.

While I have your attention turned to the Millennial period, let me share the following. The saints should not suppose that they can hasten on toward a more perfect and Edenic state by adopting a vegetarian diet now. Christ walked perfectly before the Father while on the earth, and He ate meat. Numerous times it is recorded that He ate fish, as well as feeding it to His disciples. He is even recorded as having eaten fish twice after His resurrection.

Those who choose to eat vegetables only are not prohibited from doing so, but their food choices are no more righteous than those of the man who chooses to eat meat. Christ declared that it is not what enters man’s mouth that defiles him. It is what comes out of man’s mouth that defiles.

Mark 7:18-23
And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" Thus He declared all foods clean. And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."

Yahweh’s focus has always been upon creating a clean heart (soul) in man. Foods do not defile the soul of man. They affect only the body. The Law’s regulations pertaining to food were not given with the thought of making the man righteous. They were given as types and shadows of spiritual truth. Through His Son, God made clean that which was formerly unclean.

Acts 10:9-16
 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything unholy or unclean." And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call unholy." This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

I realize this experience of Peter’s served as a message to declare that the Gentiles had been declared clean by God. Yet, other Scriptures reveal that foods that were unclean under the Law were made clean as well. The apostle Paul declares this to be so in several letters to different groups of people.

I Timothy 4:3-5
Men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Speaking specifically of foods, (see verse 13) Paul declares the following:

Romans 14:14-15
I know and am convinced by the Lord Yahshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

I Corinthians 8:8
But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.

In these last words of Paul, we find an echo of the verse we looked at in the previous post. “Neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision availeth anything, but a new creation.” We are neither the worse if we do not eat (circumcision, keeping the Law), nor the better if we do eat (uncircumcision, free from the Law). As Yahshua declared, what enters the mouth does not defile the man. On the other hand, eating “holy” foods does not make the man righteous.

This chapter would not be complete unless I spoke of the role of the Spirit as it pertains to diet. If man is freed from the Law, but fails to come under the rule of the Spirit of Christ, he is lawless. The fact that God has given only the prohibition against eating blood to those who are in Christ, does not imply that man is to be self-directed in what he eats.

The very beginning of Christ’s ministry began with His Father, through the indwelling Spirit, giving His Son instructions relating to food consumption. The Father told His Son that He was to fast from all food for forty days. If Christ were led of the Law of Moses, He could have argued that Moses permitted a man to eat food daily. As long as clean foods were chosen, there was no necessity for Him to fast. Christ was not led by the Law, but by the Spirit. His Father revealed His will to be that Christ fast for forty days, so obedience required submission to this revelation.

As sons of God, we too will find the Father giving us specific instructions regarding our diet. Sometimes He will lead us to fast. Other times He will direct us to avoid certain foods, or add certain foods to our diet. Some years ago when I was very much overweight, the Father instructed me to cut out the fats and sugars from my diet. The Law of Moses says nothing regarding sugar, but the Spirit is able to speak to us specifically, guiding each individual perfectly.

The Father has disciplined me much in the area of eating, for I had appetites that were unrestrained most of my life. I know that my Father has an interest in what I eat. He has an opinion in the matter, and I do well to seek to know His thoughts and to abide by them.

Just because the saint has no written code today to instruct him in what to eat, does not imply that Yahweh has no instruction to give in the matter. Our instruction comes from a different channel. We are instructed by the Spirit who was given to indwell us. The following principle is given to the body of Christ.

I Corinthians 10:31
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 
That is the conclusion of the matter.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Laying Down the Law - A New Creation

Galatians 6:15
For in Christ Yahshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

In these words of the apostle Paul we come to the heart of what is truly important. Paul says that neither keeping the Law (circumcision), or not keeping the Law (uncircumcision), avails anything. That is to say, neither Law-keeping, or freedom from the Law, can bring any man to that perfect and mature state that the Father desires for His sons. Being under the Law will not bring you to conformity to Christ. Freedom from the Law will not either. Becoming a new creation will. Man must be born again.

One night a ruler of the Jews came to visit Yahshua. This man’s name was Nicodemus. He was well versed in the Law, being an instructor of all that Moses had written. For 1,500 years the Israelites had been under the tutelage of the Law. It served as their guardian and school-master. Yet, the Jews, like all men, had hard hearts. The main message of the Law had not been perceived, or received. The message of the Law is that man, apart from Christ, is spiritually dead. The natural man cannot please God. Man must receive a new heart and spirit. He must be born again.

When Christ met with Nicodemus that night, He went straight to the heart of what mattered most.

John 3:1-3
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Yahshua by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Yahshua answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

For many years, the abruptness of Christ’s answer has grabbed my attention. There is no chit chat. There is no response to the comments of Nicodemus. It is as if Christ begins an entirely new conversation, for He understands that Nicodemus is a blind leader of blind men. He will never find the answers he needs on his own. Christ must take Nicodemus by the hand and lead him to the truth.

John 3:4-8
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Yahshua answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Nicodemus struggled to comprehend what the Messiah was declaring to him. 1,500 years of the Law’s instruction had not led God’s people to a knowledge of the truth. It was very difficult for this man, in one brief moment, to hear spiritual truth spoken and grasp it.

John 3:9-13
Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?" Yahshua answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

Nicodemus was no less intelligent than other men. His failure to comprehend the truth Christ presented to him was caused by his spiritual condition. Spiritually, Nicodemus was dead. Therefore, the words of Christ, which were spirit and life, sounded like foolishness to his ears.

I Corinthians 2:12-14
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.

In these words, the apostle describes an important difference between men who have been born of the Spirit and those who have not. A spiritual man is able to receive the thoughts of God. What the Spirit speaks to a spiritual man is comprehensible. The same message is nonsense to one who has not been born again. Nicodemus’ problem was that he was a natural man.

Although the Law had served as Yahweh’s appointed school-master and instructor to the Jews for 1,500 years, its lessons were not learned. The reason is disclosed in the following Scripture.

Romans 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Over the course of fifteen centuries the Law had acted as tutor to the people of God. As mentioned previously, Torah means “instruction.” The Law was continually presenting its lessons. Some of the lessons, such as those contained in the feast days, were repeated every year. Other lessons, such as that contained in the shadow of the Sabbath, were repeated every week. Some lessons were given on a daily basis.

Despite the continual, repetitive presence of all this instruction, the people of God were not perceiving the lessons contained in the Law. They did not understood that the Passover celebrated annually was pointing them toward the Lamb of God who would be slain for the sins of the world. They did not perceive that Pentecost, which was celebrated fifty days later, was forecasting that day when the Spirit would be given to indwell man, setting the Instruction of God on man’s hearts. They did not comprehend the profound lesson contained in the weekly Sabbath; that Yahweh longed for men to cease from their own works in the same way that He rested from His. This rest was not to be one day a week, but an every day cessation from works of personal initiative that man might live instead to always do the will of the Father.

Tragically, many Christians continue to look at the Law as a body of ordinances that are to be understood in a strictly literal sense. They do not perceive the “spirit” present in these instructions. Like the Jews before them under the tutelage of the Law, they are “ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). Until the spiritual substance of the Law is understood and applied in a person’s life, the saint will not make any progress toward maturity in Christ.

Hebrews 10:1
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never... make perfect those who draw near.

Nicodemus had been focused upon the Law to a greater degree than most, for he was a teacher of the Law. Yet, he did not perceive its lessons. Nicodemus thought it would profit a man to be circumcised. He did not see that what was truly needed was for man to become a new creation. The natural man must become a spiritual man. Those who are of the earth, earthy, must become heavenly creatures. Man needed a new heart, a new spirit. He had been born once, but he needed to be born a second time.

Many Christians have the mistaken concept that their identity as a member of the body of Christ is determined in a similar way as those who became Jews under the Old Covenant. They believe that if they accept a certain body of teaching, and if they bring their conduct in alignment with the rules of this belief system, then they are a Christian. Depending upon what denomination, or body of teaching a person embraces, some will find themselves keeping the Law (circumcision), while others do not (uncircumcision). Neither position makes one a child of God. Something else is required.

Romans 8:9
But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

This is what is truly important. Have you been born of the Spirit? Are you a partaker of the Spirit of Christ? Do you hear the voice of the Father and understand what He is speaking to you? Have you received a new heart that longs to do that which is pleasing to Yahweh? Has God placed His Spirit, His own divine nature, within you? These are the things that avail much!

Nicodemus, like many men before and since, believed that devotion to the Law would satisfy the Father. He did not understand that the sons Yahweh sought were those who had His nature. Many men believe they are born with the nature of God. They believe if they simply apply themselves to good works that they can produce something God will find acceptable. This was the error of the Jews. It is an error as old as Cain.

Cain brought to Yahweh an offering from the fruit of the ground. This is symbolic of man bringing forth an offering to God from his flesh nature. Man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth. I am convinced that the offering Cain brought to Yahweh was magnificent to behold. It would put the best produce of a farmer’s market to shame. Yahweh had no regard for Cain’s offering, not because it was inferior as some suppose, being a half-hearted offering to the Father, but because of what it represented.

The very best that the natural man can produce is of no value in God’s sight. This is what provoked Cain. He had labored to bring to God an offering that was the very best he could produce. Cain was persuaded that the offering was worthy of God, that it should elicit Yahweh’s praise and approval. When God showed no regard for it, Cain was angry.

Many men and women today look at the Law as a means to offer to God an offering acceptable unto Him. They believe if they manifest a devotion to it, making their lives align with it as far as they are able, even going to great lengths and sacrifice, then surely God will look upon what they are offering with satisfaction and praise. The truth is, Yahweh has no regard for what they offer to Him, for it is an offering that arises from the flesh of man. It is man giving something he has produced through the sweat of his own labor to God.

Men react violently, and with great anger, when they are told that their very best efforts are despised by God. Nevertheless, the testimony of God is that only what His Spirit accomplishes is satisfying.

John 6:63
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.

From the body of Christ’s beginning, there have been men who begin in the Spirit, but then turn back again to the Law as a means to offer to Yahweh an acceptable sacrifice. Having begun in faith, they turn again to vain works of the flesh.

Galatians 3:1-4
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Yahshua Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain - if indeed it was in vain?

Perhaps you are sensing that something very profound is being spoken in these words, but you are having a difficult time grasping what it is and how to apply it to your life. This would be an excellent time to practice the counsel of James.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

What Paul is declaring is not natural wisdom, but spiritual. It can only be comprehended through the exercise of spiritual senses. Even as Christ opened the eyes of blind men, and unstopped the hearing of the deaf, so too is He able to give spiritual sight and hearing to the people of God. I understand that my teaching is a vain thing if not attended by the quickening presence of the Spirit. May Yahweh grant sight and hearing to His people!

Consider the questions poised by the apostle Paul. “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” How does a man become a partaker of Yahweh’s divine nature through the indwelling Spirit? We cannot work ourselves into divinity. We must hear the message that Christ has reconciled God and man through His atoning sacrifice, and that He has sent forth His Spirit to indwell man. If we believe these things, then we will by faith petition the Father that He might give us His Spirit to indwell us.

Luke 11:9-13
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

This is how we receive the Spirit. We ask for it, believing our Father will give us His Spirit. Our Father knows we cannot live one day pleasing to Him apart from being born spiritually. If natural men will give their sons what they need for life, how much more with our heavenly Father do so?

Paul then asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Becoming perfect men, spiritual men, is the Father’s desire for us. This process toward spiritual perfection is begun when we receive that incorruptible seed of the Father. We cannot work for it. We cannot produce incorruptible seed on our own. We must simply believe that the Father desires to impart this seed to us, ask Him for it, and receive it.

Having done so, what folly it is to think that our progress toward spiritual maturity will be accomplished by any other method than the one by which we began. Even as we believed that God would give us His Spirit, we must now believe that He will daily give us all things we need to walk in godliness.

II Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness...

We must see ourselves as partakers of the divine nature, and believe that we can live a victorious life as a spiritual creation in the midst of a dark and sinful world. This overcoming life is lived out in the Spirit. We have our communion daily with the Father by the Spirit. We hear His voice, and believe that He has given us the power to obey all He asks of us.

To turn back to the Law as our instructor and guide is to turn away from the Spirit. The Law was the instructor of men who were spiritually dead. The Law too was dead. It was written on stone, not flesh. It had no ability to impart life. The Spirit is life.

II Corinthians 3:6
[It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive.
[Amplified Bible]

If we will set our focus upon the Spirit, listening to His voice, we will find ourselves led into the perfect will of God. Satan knows this to be true, and has waged unceasing warfare upon the saints. He has convinced multitudes that God no longer speaks to man. Such a conclusion is incomprehensible to those who know the Father. What Father would cease speaking to His sons the moment they receive His Spirit? If Yahweh spoke to natural men in abundance in the days prior to the Spirit being given, it is unthinkable to believe that He will not speak to those who have received His Spirit.

I Corinthians 2:12-14
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

People often argue that the Law was Spirit breathed, so it must apply to them. People of God, the Law truly was Spirit breathed, but it was made for the unrighteous. The Law was not made for the righteous.

It is like a man who argues that he should take his wife’s medical prescriptions because they go to the same doctor and he has found the doctor’s counsel to be sound. Will the man take the medicine prescribed for his wife’s menopause and be benefitted? Do you not perceive that the Spirit can speak something that is true, and apply it to a certain group, but it was never intended for another? The Law was made for the unrighteous, not the righteous. The Law is Spirit breathed, but if you are a spiritual man it was never prescribed for you!

What has Yahweh prescribed for the spiritual man? He has prescribed a life led of the Spirit!

Galatians 5:25
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

This is the prescribed course of living for the spiritual man. The natural man was led of the Law, but the spiritual man is led by the Spirit.

Heart4God Website:  

Parables Blog:  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063