MY DIET, MY SALVATION (PART 1)


MY DIET, MY SALVATION 

“What has diet got to do with my salvation?” Someone might ask, “Is there any link between my dietary life and where I will finally end up when christ comes again? Is diet a salvation issue or just a personal choice?”

This short study is not to tell you what to eat or what not to eat, rather it is to show us the link between diet and our salvation. I want my reader to note this before reading further: We are not justified (saved) or made righteous by what we eat, but we shall be judged and rewarded (saved) by our works and how we treat our bodily temple. When christ comes the second time, those who have not defiled their body temple with unclean foods and those who have overcome intemperate appetite shall experience the salvation of Jesus. While those who have defiled their body temples with unclean foods and have not overcome intemperate appetite shall be lost.

BEFORE CHRIST’S SECOND COMING

How did christ describe those that will be living on earth before his second coming? Take note of the Italized words in every text presented.

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37-39

Jesus said the antediluvian is a type of what will happen before his second coming. One of the characteristics of these people is that they were busy eating and drinking. For this reason they knew not when the flood came. They were preoccupied with fullness of food and drink to the point of not recognising the coming flood of God’s wrath.

One may ask, is it then a sin to eat and drink? To this I will reply no. But these people were eating and drinking in such a manner that made them unprepared for the coming flood. Commenting on the above passage, Mrs white wrote:

“The same sins that brought judgments upon the world in the days of Noah, exist in our day. Men and women now carry their eating and drinking so far that it ends in gluttony and drunkenness. This prevailing sin, the indulgence of perverted appetite, inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah, and led to wide-spread corruption.”– [Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p.11, par. 1]

Christ is also warning us, who are living in these last days, to take heed of what we eat, how we eat and when we eat them lest we are taken unaware of his second coming.

“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:34-36

What is surfeiting and drunkenness? Surfeiting is eating or drinking in excess to the point of having headache or being unable to walk or stand up. This means gluttony. Drunkenness apparently means to be intoxicated by an alcoholic drink. It also could mean eating different types of food at the same time in such a way that it leads to intoxication when it ferments in the body system. An example of this is when milk is eaten together with sugar. This mixture causes fermentation in the stomach leading to intoxication in the body system which also weakens the mind. Mrs white has this to say in respect to milk and sugar eaten together:

“Some use milk and a large amount of sugar on mush, thinking that they are carrying out health reform. But the sugar and the milk combined are liable to cause fermentation in the stomach, and are thus harmful.“—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, p. 56, par. 4]

Christ is saying, gluttons and drunkards will be taken unaware of his second coming.

The other reason many people will be taken unaware of his coming is because they would not be watching unto prayer to escape what is coming upon the world as an overwhelming surprise. The reason they are not watching unto prayer is as a result of overfeeding and drunkenness. This is the reality of our time. Let us ask ourselves a question: Can one who over feeds himself or get drunk watch unto prayer? Your guess is as good as mine. The answer is no. Those who are temperate in what they eat and drink will be able to have a clear mind to understand the sign of the times. Paul also gave the same principle as christ did:

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. . . But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:25, 27.

That means those who are intemperate will be cast away because their body is not subject to self control. Their “end is destruction” for their “God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” Philippians 3:19

These intemperate people eat anything, at anytime and anyhow. God is concerned about our health as much as he is concerned about our spirituality. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2. We need to strive to live a life pleasing to God in all areas of our lives.

INIQUITY SEPARATES US FROM GOD

Iniquity is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-3, Jeremiah 5:25). What was one of sodom’s iniquity that made God to destroy them?

“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” Ezekiel 16:48-50

It’s very interesting to note that fullness of bread leads to abundance of idleness. This, the Lord says, is the iniquity of Sodom. That means the fullness of bread is the iniquity of Sodom which separated them from God. One is prone to forget God when they are fully feed or when their is abundance of food at their disposal. Jeshurun, another name for Israel, forsook God when he waxed fat.

“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” Deuteronomy 32:15

This means the people of God, if not careful, can forsake God when they are comfortable and have abundance of food. In the “day of trouble [little time of trouble to great time of trouble], and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts” (Isaiah 22:5) those who have rejected God and have followed their own passion and appetite by “slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine” will say, “let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.” Isaiah 22:13. What did the Lord of host reply these people? The answer is revealed in the next verse:

“And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Isaiah 22:14.

I want us to take note of God’s reply. He said “surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die.” Which iniquity is he referring to? The iniquity mentioned in verse 13, the iniquity of eating and drinking as they wish. This iniquity shall not be purged. This means their iniquity can no longer be forgiven because the time of their probation has closed, they have already entered the time of trouble which Daniel spoke about in Daniel 12:1. When Michael [christ] stands up, this means he has ended his high priestly role of purging the sins of Israel. Though this prophecy of Isaiah was directed to ancient Israel, the southern kingdom of Judah, it is also applicable to spiritual Israel living at the end of the world. But those mentioned in verse 12, 13 are not the true Israelites of God but the apostate Israel of God that have rejected the health reform. This prophecy is for those living at this time and age of earth history.

EATING ABOMINABLE THINGS

Jesus said, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15

Many in the world today justify their act of eating those things the bible regard as abominations. These things to my best of knowledge are highly esteemed among men but in the sight of God are reckoned to be abominations. What ever the bible regard as abomination in the past is still abomination today. A quick search of the word abomination in the KJV bible and you will have 142 hits. God is concerned about all that he identifies as abomination and he has promised to destroy any man that partake in these abominations if they refuse to repent.

“For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. 17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 66:15-17.

The Lord shall consume those that eat swine’s (pig) flesh, mouse and the abomination. Why did he added “the abomination” to the list? I believe the Lord is directing us to read Leviticus 11 Deuteronomy 14 for the whole list of the abominable foods he has warned us not to eat. Therefore, there was no need for repeating in Isaiah 66:15-17 what had already been established in the bible [the 5 books of Moses] of their time.

In Isaiah 65:1-10, the prophet of the Lord also speaks of those that eat these abominations and the Lord promised to reward them for their iniquity. In fact in vs 4, 7 the Lord associated their iniquity and the iniquity of their father with the eating of swine’s flesh and the eating of every abominable things. This reveals to us today that earing unclean food is an abomination and a sin whose end is destruction.

In the next study, we shall seek to answer the questions of: How can one defile him or herself by what they eat? I will invite us to come here again to read “My diet, MY salvation [part 2].” Don’t forget to leave a comment below.

 

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THE MISSION OF HOLLYWOOD



If i may ask, “DO YOU KNOW THE MISSION OF HOLLYWOOD?”

I came across some mind boggling and startling statements today written by Bertrand Russell in his book which I downloaded today titled, “The Scientific Outlook” published 1931, page 158. According to Bertrand, the mission of the cinema, media, hollywood and entertainment industry is to achieve uniformity in the world. Through the media the world will unconsciously and consciously wonder after the beast, make an image to the beast and readily receive the mark of the beast as prophesied in Revelation 13:11-16.

Take time to read what this great philosopher wrote over 86 years ago about the media.

He wrote:

“Perhaps the most important of all the modern agents of propaganda is the cinema. Where the cinema is concerned, the technical reasons for large-scale organizations leading to almost world-wide uniformity are overwhelming. . . . The great majority of young people in almost all civilized countries derive their ideas of love, of honour, of the way to make money, and of the importance of good clothes, from the evenings spent in seeing what Hollywood thinks good of them.”

Here comes the most startling statement from this great philosopher. It is imperative to note that this not Ellen White speaking through her inspired writings, this is not a quote from the Bible, rather this is a philosopher and a Nobel prize winner who little or not to deep relationship with God, although he believed in God.

He said:

“I doubt whether all the schools and churches combined have as much influence as the cinema upon the opinions of the young in regard to such intimate matters as love and marriage and money making. The producers of Hollywood are the high-priests of a new religion”

No wonder we were told that Daniel 3 will repeat itself to the letter. It was the music and entertainment that brought unity to all men in the world which made it easy for them to worship the the golden image to the beast and to receive the mark of the beast. It was the also the false prophets or lamb-like beast of Rev 13:11,12 which is a Protestant America that will seek to use spiritualism and all the abominations of the world to deceive people to make an image to the beast and to receive the mark of aliegence. Rev 16: 13, 14; Rev 19:20.

The battle field is the mind

The mind is the battle field and from it proceed all the issues of life. This is what Mrs. Ellen G. White wrote over 117 years ago about the media and entertainment of her time:
“I feel alarmed as I witness everywhere the frivolity of young men and young women who profess to believe the truth. God does not seem to be in their thoughts. Their minds are filled with nonsense. Their conversation is only empty, vain talk. They have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired. The spiritual longings of the soul for divine knowledge, for a growth in grace, are wanting.
I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand and make the word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find only at the throne of grace while humbly making known his wants and, with strong cries and tears, pleading for heavenly strength to be fortified against the powerful temptations of the evil one. Satan is leading the young captive. Oh, what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer luring them on to perdition.” Adventist Home, 407.
“All should guard the senses, lest Satan gain victory over them; for these are the avenues of the soul.” Adevntist Home, p. 401.
“Satan and his angels are busy creating a paralyzed condition of the senses so that cautions, warnings, and reproofs shall not be heard; or, if heard, that they shall not take effect upon the heart and reform the life. My brethren, God calls upon you as His followers to walk in the light. You need to be alarmed. Sin is among us, and it is not seen to be exceedingly sinful. The senses of many are benumbed by the indulgence of appetite and by familiarity with sin.We need to advance nearer heaven.” Adventist Home, p. 401.
The Question we all need to ask ourselves is, what is in my heart? Is christ abiding or satan through the nonsense of hollywood?
I live you with this questions and with this quote:
“If Christ is not abiding in us, the Satanic will appear in our words or actions.” Review and Herald, Dec. 22, 1885.

Grace: The Power to Overcome All Sin (Part 1)


Let me start by asking: Who is a Christian?

I know some will quickly give an answer by saying, “A Christian is one who is Christlike.”

This is definitely true. In fact Mrs. White wrote clearly that “to be a Christian is to be Christlike.”— Adventist Home, 427. But when we take time to study those who profess to be Christians in our environment and in the Church of God, this question lead us to ask another question: “Did Christ sin in thought and deed?”

The answer to this question is an emphatic No. He didn’t sin in any form. It was written of Christ:

“For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us [humanity], who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21 (emphasis supplied).

“And ye know that he [Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5 (emphasis supplied).

Who then is a Christian?

A Christian is one who have experienced deliverance from the power of sin, Satan and the world. Therefore, Christianity is a religion that teaches deliverance from the power of sin, Satan and the world and practical godliness. A life that has not experience deliverance from the power of sin is not a Christian life in truth. He may profess to be a Christian but in reality he is not; he is still in bondage to the power of sin, Satan and the world. “A Christian has victory over his besetments, over his passions.”— White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 158. Christ is not a minister of sin and His followers should not be the minister of sin like wise (Gal. 2:17). It was written of Christ that He hate sin but loves righteousness. “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity” Heb 1:9.

It is also written of the true Christian that, “He hates sin . . . The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which have heretofore been preferred before Christ, are now turned from, and Christ is the charm of his life, the crown of his rejoicing.”— White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 294.

The primary purpose Christ came into this world is to save His people from their sin. Angel Gabriel told Joseph the mission of Christ when he appeared to him in a dream. He said, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matt 1:21.

It is imperative to note that the Angel didn’t say, “He shall save his people in their sins.” Christ does not save in sin, but out from sin. John gave a similar record. He wrote that Christ “was manifested [revealed] to take away our sins” 1 John 3:5 (emphasis supplied). Christ was revealed to take away our sins. when he take sit away it becomes His and we become the righteousness of God in Christ. Satan seeks to present to professing Christians another gospel which is false. He wants them to believe that Christ will save them in their sin. Sin is powerful and until we understand this fact we cannot understand the power of grace. The failure to overcome sin daily lies in the failure to understand this fact that sin is powerful and controlling. Overcoming sin of any kind is not about trying, it is by the indwelling grace of Christ in the life. Overcoming sin lies in a power stronger than sin and outside of us. This is where grace comes in. The embodiment of grace is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

Forgiving Grace

Grace is popularly defined as unmerited favor of Christ towards a repentant sinner. This is right and true. This definition steam from some Biblical accounts such as the flood account when “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” despite living amidst a corrupt world that is “filled with violence”. (Gen. 6:8, 11). Or when Lot found grace in the sight of God before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 19:19). Jacob, Joseph, Moses also found unmerited favor in the sight of God (Gen 33:10, 39:4, Ex. 33:12). These account and many more proves that when a soul finds grace in the sight of God, he or she finds unmerited favor. This unmerited favor is what Christ gave, as a gift, to humanity that they might be saved from sin, Satan and the world.

Paul wrote that, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph 2:8-9. It is by grace, the unmerited favor, of Christ extended to sinners like us that delivers us from the power of sin. But this grace, being a gift, must be received by faith. The hand that receives this precious gift of grace is faith. Faith is not the power that saves. Grace is what saves. Faith is the invisible hand that receives from the omnipotent God that saves. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:8-9. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” 1 John 3:1. Such grace is called forgiving grace. This grace justifies the sinner who believes in the atoning death of Jesus Christ and receives it by the hand of faith. This grace cleanses the soul that is defiled with sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. This grace reclaims the sinner from the garb and stronghold of sin.

What is your habit? Is it anger? Is it addiction to fornication, adultery, pornography, masturbation, gambling, lying, stealing? Do you indulge in drinking alcohol, smoking and gluttony? Are you struggling with sinful passions? You need the forgiving grace that delivers from any manner of sin. This grace does not just forgive, it removes sin of the heart. John rightfully said, it also “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. To cleanse means to take away or remove sin out of the heart in such a way that the stains and filthiness of sin will not be seen by God the Father anymore because of the antoning blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, has made it so. Some may say, how is this possible? All you need do is have faith and it is so.

Despite the aforementioned definition of grace being an unmerited favor of Christ toward the repentant sinner. This grace is called FORGIVING GRACE. But this grace has a second part. Grace is not just forgiveness of sin, reclaiming or deliverance from its power. Grace is also the power and strength given to those who have experienced the new birth; those who have experienced the forgiving grace that they may daily overcome through the strength and power of Christ that works in them. This is what I call, the OVERCOMING GRACE. Many receive the forgiving grace and went on to rely on their strength in overcoming sin. They end up falling and rising, falling and rising believing this to be a true Christian experience. This is false.

If we are Christians, bearing the mark and stamp of Christ’s name upon our forehead, did Jesus Christ, sin, repent, sin, repent while he was here on earth? A true Christian should daily overcome every known sin, that the spirit of Christ reveals to him or her through the Law, by the power of Christ that Christ is willing to give them daily.

In our next article, we shall study carefully this OVERCOMING GRACE and see from the scripture how it can be obtained NOW.

 

 

 

 

PART-TIME CHRISTIANS VS FULL-TIME SATAN


Someone once said, “part-time Christians can not defeat full-time Satan.” Who will deny this truth? Satan have a perfect understanding of our spiritual state and he will do all in his might to prevent us from knowing our spiritual condition. We are in a Laodicean state which is characterized by blindness, nakedness, poverty and lukewarmness.

“Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect PRAYER and the searching of the SCRIPTURES, will be OVERCOME by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind.”– The Great Controversy, p.519

Let me explain what i mean. Out of 24 hours of our lives, YOU and I spend 3 hours a day, atleast, with our phones.

2 hours talking nonsense with people whom you should be leading to Christ.

2 hours watching soap operas, hollywood, nollywood, bollywood, gollyhood, robinhood, “porn-hood” and all the woods in the forest of worldliness.

We spend 6 hours atleast in sleeping and naps. Definitely this good to do.

10 hours working for our daily bread, some in banks, consulting firms, oil companies, schools, market place, shops etc.

We then spend less than 10 minutes with GOD and we expect to be overcomers!

Do you think Satan is a FOOL? He is perfectly studying our weak point? Like an hurricane or whirlwind, he will come in like a flood to sweep us away.

“Satan is constantly at work; but few [Christians] have any idea of his activity and subtlety. The people of God must be prepared to withstand the wily foe. It is this resistance that Satan dreads. He knows better than we do the limit of his power and how easily he can be overcome if we resist and face him.”–Maranatha, p.60.

Leave all that you are doing NOW.

Spend just 10minutes with God NOW, asking him for grace and strength to be a full-time Christian. Confess to him your sins and acknowledge your sinfulness and weakness. Tell him about your struggles to overcome SIN, SATAN, and the WORLD.

Satan is watching you and he seeks to overcome you in your weakest point.

It is perfectly true that Satan is stronger than you. Infact who are we without Christ? If Satan could tempt Jesus, the Son of God, with the fiercest temptations man can never bear, he is able to tempt and harass us.

But read this, it is the promise from God to weak and fallen humanity:

“Through divine strength the weakest saint is more than a match for him (Satan) and all his angels, and if brought to the test he would be able to prove his superior power.”– Maranatha, p. 60.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

BE SERIOUS WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE, JUST AS MUCH AS SATAN IS SERIOUS WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE TO SIFT YOU AWAY.

WHAT SHALL I DO ON THIS VALENTINE’S DAY?


For those who personally know me, I don’t believe in the Celebration of any pagan Holidays such as Christmas, New years, Easters, Sunday sacredness, even VALENTINE etc. But i have recently noticed the great importance of these pagan holidays to us as Christians.

Someone might rashly ask: “Why don’t you celebrate these holidays Mr Seyi?”

As I have humbly replied in the past, I reply again: “They are pagan and has satanic roots.”

But I have personally noticed over the years and also believe that God has allowed these pagan practices creep into the church for certain reasons:

1. To awaken the sleeping Laodicea Christians to the subtleness of Satan, the serpent of old, in making a shipwreck of our faith.

2. To give us opportunities in reaching out to the world but not to be partakers of its practices.

3. To make it a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted by reaching out to them with foods, clothings, and Christian literatures.

4. To help family and friends keep their relationship burning as they live in the midst of this busy and occupied world where they often and tirelessly seek to make money and neglect quality time with each other.

Most professed Christians, like me, have not fully utilized the great opportunities of these PAGAN HOLIDAYS. All we rather see is Satan, negativity and how we can rashly teach others the satanic root behind them forgetting that this is a great avenue to win souls to Christ if properly done in the spirit of christ.

We can reach out to souls in a greater degree through this means than any other evangelistic method if we prepare our mind to do so through the help of Christ.

DO YOU KNOW?

Do you know that without the existence of these pagan holidays most Christians in nations, like my belove Nigeria, might not have days off at work. Many of us would be so preoccupied with ourself that we forget to have some days off from work for relaxation and to have precious time with families and friends?

Someone might say: “But we have the Sabbath as the day of rest.”

And I reply: “Yes it is true that the Sabbath is a day of rest if kept by the grace of christ. But who among us are actually keeping the sabbath as God ordained it in Eden?”

As an Adventist it is on the Sabbath day that the departments of the church fix all their meetings such as AYM, AMO, AWM, Singles ministries, sabbath school council meetings, and all other meetings that burdens the sabbath. Most times we do not find time to spend with our friends and family in nature as inspiration has instructed us to do, but we are often busy with church activities like Martha.

These holidays, though Pagan, have been given to us as an avenue to reach out to souls and tell them about Christ.

But it is unfortunate that many of us use this period of time only to condemn those practicing it without using this period to lead them to christ.

Don’t get me wrong.

It is good we tell the world the pagan link of all these holidays and teach them not to celebrate them as the world does.

But do you also know that the birthdays we celebrate in churches and in our houses have pagan origin? Nevertheless we all thank God on this day because our attention is not on self but on God for keeping us alive.

Therefore in like manner, we all can divert the attention of those who celebrates this pagan holidays from self to God by a determined effort to witness for Christ on this day.

PAUL USED THIS METHOD OF WITNESSING

Acts 17

22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

The Bible gave us the result of Paul using this method:

Acts 17

32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. . .

34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

ELLEN G. WHITE COUNSEL

“When you have a holiday, make it a pleasant and happy day for your children, and make it also a pleasant day for the poor and the afflicted. Do not let the day pass without bringing thanksgiving and thank offerings to Jesus.”– counsels on stewardship, 297.

“I saw that our holidays should not be spent in patterning after the world, yet they should not be passed by unnoticed, for this will bring dissatisfaction to our children.”– Adventist Home, 472.

“Would it not be well for us to observe holidays unto God, when we could revive in our minds the memory of His dealing with us? Would it not be well to consider His past blessings, to remember the impressive warnings that have come home to our souls so that we shall not forget God?. . .

The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse races, with gambling, smoking, and drunkenness….

Shall not the people of God more frequently have holy convocations in which to thank God for His rich blessings?”– Adventist Home, 476.

The holidays are approaching. In view of this fact, it will be well to consider how much money is expended yearly in making presents to those who have no need of them. The habits of custom are so strong that to withhold gifts from our friends on these occasions would seem to us almost a neglect of them. But let us remember that our kind heavenly Benefactor has claims upon us far superior to those of any earthly friends. Shall we not, during the coming holidays, present our offerings to God? Even the children may participate in this work. Clothing and other useful articles may be given to the worthy poor, and thus a work may be done for the Master.”– Messages to Young People, 311

In conclusion:

Let us avoid following the traditions and abominations of the world but let us use all opportunities in our disposal, even opportunities like this VALENTINE DAY, to tell someone about the sacrificial Love of Christ for the dying sinful world.

IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 3)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 and Part 2 before moving further.

In part 1 we identified the Priestly order among the 24 courses ordained by King David and we also saw from the Bible the various  months in the Jewish calendar. It would be advisable to study part 1 before studying part 2. The two tables in Part 2 summarizes part 1.

Also in part 1, we  clearly said that, “To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

Apostle John also wrote about John the Baptist:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:6-8.

John was to bear witness of Jesus and we could see in part 1 and part 2 that his birth bore witness of Christ birth as well. We concluded that Jesus must have been given birth during the 7th month of Tishri (September-October) not the generally accepted month of December 25th which from our study could likely be the month of His conception not birth. But let us see other evidences from Scripture and History.

Q: Why was Jesus named Immanuel?

The various evidences we saw in part 1 and part 2 has destroyed December 25th theory of Christ birth but we have other evidences to prove that this December 25th theory is totally wrong.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel means “God with us” Matt 1:23. Jesus Christ is the son of God and in Him was the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). Therefore Christ was God in verity. He came to dwell or Tabernacle with us by partaking of the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16) and of our flesh and blood (Heb 2:14) and did not take the nature of Angels.

John wrote that Jesus Christ, “dwelt among us.” John 1:14. The very word “dwelt” in Greek is skenoo which means “to make tent or encamp. To Tabernacle among us.” We have identified the likely date of Christ birth as 15th Tishri which is the beginning of the feast of Tabernacle. The feast of Tabernacle was celebrated because of the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian bondage.

“Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Lev 23:42-43.

There is no coincidence with the Lord. He is a master planner. He sent his Son right on time to tabernacle with His people during the time of the feast of Tabernacle to become “God with us.”

Q: Why was there no room in the inn for Jesus earthly parents?

Luke 2:7-11 gives another strong evidence that the feast of Tabernacle was celebrated during Christ birth.

“And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:7-11.

Why was there no room in the inn for Jesus earthly parents? The reason being that all the men in Israel has come to Temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacle/ booths that was required by the Law of Moses. All the rooms had been occupied.

“Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” Ex 23:17

“And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. 23 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.” Ex 34:22-23.

Q: What were the Israelite to do when they attend the feast of in-gathering or tabernacle?

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD . . .  Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” Lev 23:33-34, 42-43.

During this feast of ingathering, everyone was to live in a temporary Booths (Tents or Sukkoth) as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt.

Jesus birth typify the coming deliverance of God’s people out of the Slavery of Sin and worldliness because Jesus dwelt in a temporary place called a manger.

The feast of Tabernacle is an eight day feast (Lev 23:36, 39). If Jesus was born on the 15th day of the month of Tishri (September – October) which was the day the feast began, then this might be the reason why the Child Jesus was dedicated by performing circumcision on the 8th day. The 8th day was also the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, which falls on a Sabbath Day

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21.

Q: What about the shepherd?

I hope we enjoyed the fascinating Bible facts and evidences. Am sure many have not taken their time to look into this prior to this time. The Old Testament is the key in understanding the New Testament, we cannot ignore the Old Testament. Let us now move to some other facts and this time we would look at the season during that period.

“It is well-know among Biblical scholars that Jesus was not born in December, because the shepherds were never out in the fields with their sheep at that time.”[1] “The Gospels do not indicate when Christ was born. That the shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields at night (Luke 2:8), eliminates December. Because of cold weather and chilling rains at that time, sheep would not be unsheltered in the open at night.”[2]

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11.

Adam Clark has this to say:

The reason why they watched them in the field appears to have been, either to preserve the sheep from beasts of prey, such as wolves, foxes, etc., or from freebooting banditti, with which all the land of Judea was at that time much infested. It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As the passover occurred in the spring [March-April], and the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan [or Bul], which answers to part of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point. See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”[3]

Charles J. Ellicott also commented on Luke 2:8 as follows:

“The fact has been thought, on the supposition that sheep were commonly folded during the winter months, to have a bearing adverse to the common traditional view which fixes December 25 as the day of the Nativity. At that season, it has been urged, the weather was commonly too inclement for shepherds and sheep to pass the night in the open air, and there was too little grass for pasturage. In summer, on the other hand, the grass on the hills is rapidly burnt up. The season at which the grass is greenest is that just before the Passover (Mark 6:39; John 6:10); and, on the whole, this appears the most probable date. The traditional season, which does not appear as such till the fourth century, may have been chosen for quite other reasons—possibly to displace the old Saturnalia, which coincided with the winter solstice. It is noticeable that the earliest Latin hymns connected with the festival of Christmas dwell on the birth as the rising of the Sun of Righteousness on the world’s wintry darkness.”[4]

To be continued in Part 4 . . .

 

 

 

[1] Vance Ferrell, The real story behind: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, p. 4.

[2] Gerhard Pfandl, Seventh-Day Adventist and Christmas, Newsletter.

[3] Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Luke 2:4”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-2.html. 1832.

[4] Ellicott, Charles John. “Commentary on Luke 2:4”. “Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-2.html. 1905.

 

IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 2)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 before moving further.

In part 1 we identified the Priestly order among the 24 courses ordained by King David and we also saw from the Bible the various  months in the Jewish calendar. It would be advisable to study part 1 before studying part 2. The two tables below in this present article summarizes part 1.

Also in part 1, we  clearly said that, “To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

John was the lesser light that was to shed light on God’s word for people of God in relation to Jesus ministry. Therefore, in God’s infinite wisdom, John’s birth will shed light on Christ birth.”

Again, i will encourage us to study the two tables below and part 1 before we continue the study. Therefore we will pick up from where we stop yesterday.

Q: When was John the Baptist conceived by Elizabeth? That is, when did Elizabeth became pregnant?

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia . . .” Luke 1:5.

“And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his [Zachariah’s] ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying” Luke 1:23-24.

Following the Jewish calendar, Zachariah’s schedule of courses will fall on the 10th week of the month of Sivan because he is from the course of Abia (also called Abijah, 1 Chron 24:10). Sivan is the 3rd month in the Jewish calendar year which falls from mid of May to mid of June (May-June). Abijah is the 8th course which means two of the three major feast most have occurred before the 8th course, that is, the feast of unleavened bread (15-21 Nisan) and the feast of weeks or Pentecost (6 Sivan). Infact the course of Abijah (Abia) begins immediately after the Pentecost because the feast of Pentecost begins first week of the month of Sivan (May-June).

Zachariah’s duty in the temple must then begin on the second Sabbath of the third month (Sivan); this is Sabbath evening because the Pentecost will be ending to the evening of the Sabbath in the third week in the same month of Sivan.

We were told Zachariah ended his duty in the temple on the 3rd Sabbath in the month of Sivan after which he returned home “and after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five month.” Luke 1:23.

Therefore, John undoubtedly must have been conceived by Elisabeth in the month of Sivan (May-June) but the exact day is not known. But we are convinced without doubt, from scriptural evidence that Elizabeth conceived or became pregnant in the month of Sivan.

Q: When was Jesus conceived? Or when did Mary became pregnant with Jesus?

“And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” Luke 1:24-25

Take note: Elizabeth hid herself for 5 months after conception. This is very important in order to understand Christ birth.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:26-27

The same Angel that appeared to Zachariah now appeared to Mary, a virgin in the city of Galilee in the Sixth month. This sixth month is also the sixth month of Elizabeth conception.

“And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” Luke 1:36.

Notice the Angel explaining to us that the 6th month of Elizabeth pregnancy is the first month of Mary’s conception. Now let us carefully do the calculation:

The 6th month spoken of here is not 6th month of the Jewish calendar which is called Elul (August-September). The 6th month Angel Gabriel is talking about is the month of Kislev. Kislev is the 9th month in the Jewish calendar (Nov-Dec). When we count 6 months from the month when Elizabeth conceived (became pregnant) which is the month of Sivan (May-June) we will arrive late in the 9th month of Kislev (Nov-Dec).

Mary conceived Christ 6 months after Elizabeth conceived John.

Elizabeth conceived in the month of Sivan (May-June) which is the 3rd month of the Jewish calendar.

Mary conceived 6 months after in the month of Kislev (Nov-Dec) which is the 9th month of the Jewish calendar.

It is imperative to note also that the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah which is also called the feast of Light or rededication of temples falls on the 25th day of December.

“The other postexilic holiday was Hanukkah, a festival which began on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (Dec.) and lasted eight days. Josephus referred to it as the Feast of Lights because a candle was lighted each successive day until a total of eight was reached. The festival commemorates the victories of Judas Maccabeus in 167 B.C. At that time, when Temple worship was reinstituted, after an interruption of three years, a celebration of eight days took place. The modern celebration does not greatly affect the routine duties of everyday life. This feast is referred to in John 10:22, where it is called the feast of dedication.”—Holman Bible Dictionary.

This feast of light lasted for 8 days. Jesus certainly must have been conceived in the womb of Mary during this period because Jesus is the light of the world.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. (see also John 9:15, 12:46)

Q: When was John the Baptist given birth?

Thank God for His word. Through His Apostles and Prophets, God have revealed enough to us that we might not err. We were told by Apostle Luke that Mary stayed with Elizabeth in her house for 3 months after she heard Elizabeth was pregnant.

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Luke 1:56-57.

This means that Mary was already pregnant for 3 months when she went visiting Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had been pregnant for 6 months in addition to the 3 months of Mary’s stay making it 9 months of Elizabeth pregnancy. No wonder vs 57 says, “Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Her full time came when Mary returned to her own house after she had stayed with her for 3 months.

To recap, Elizabeth conceived on the 3rd month of Sivan (May-June), when we project forward 6 months of her pregnancy plus the 3 months of Mary stay making 9 months, we will arrive at the month of Nisan (March-April).

This proves that John the Baptist must have been born in the middle of the month of Nisan probably around the feast of unleavened bread which begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan/Abib.

Q: What about Jesus? When was He given birth?

We can now clearly see that answering this question would not be difficult given the conception month of John the Baptist. We have previously identified that Jesus was conceived six months after John the Baptist was conceived. We have also established the likely date of John’s birth was 15th Nisan (or Abib). Also we know Mary had been in pregnancy for 3 month when John was given birth. All we need do is to project 6 months forward from the 15th of Nisan to arrive at a likely date of 15th day of the 7th month of Tishri or Ethanim (September-October).

What happened on the 15th of Tishri?

The feast of Tabernacles or the feast of ingatherings or the feast of booths.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” Lev 23:33-34.

The feast began on the fifteenth day of Tishri (the seventh month), which was five days after the day of atonement. It lasted for seven days (Leviticus 23:36 ; Deuteronomy 16:13 ; Ezekiel 45:25 ).[1]

The Feast of Booths took place on Tishri 15, five days after the Day of Atonement, in what is now mid-October.[2] 

The feast of Tabernacles was the last of the feast to which all men of Israel were to gather in Jerusalem for temple services (Lev 23:34). It is also the 3rd of the major feast in the Jewish calendar year.

At this point, it would be imperative for us to study the tables below for more understanding. This two tables give us a better understanding of what we are discussion. Table 1 below gives the weekly schedule of priest. On the 3rd week all the priest will have to gather in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This will also be done for the feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacle (ingathering) which falls on the 7th month of Tishri as we can see in Table 2.

Table 1

 

 

1st Month 2nd Month 3rd Month 4th Month
Abib – Nisan
(March – April)
Zif – Iyyar
(April – May)
Sivan
(May – June)
Tammuz

(June – July)

First Week Jehoiarib (1) Seorim (4) All Priests
(Pentecost)
Eliashib (11)
Second Week Jedaiah (2) Malchijah (5) Abijah (8) Jakim (12)
Third Week All Priests
(Feast of Unleavened Bread)
Mijamin (6) Jeshuah (9) Huppah (13)
Fourth Week Harim (3) Hakkoz (7) Shecaniah (10) Jeshebeab (14)

 

Table 2

Jewish month Begins the
New moon of
John the Baptist Jesus christ
1. Abib / Nisan March-April

(Feast of Unleavened bread)

Birth of John
15 Nisan
  4
2. Zif / Iyyar April-May   5
3. Sivan May-June

(Feast of Pentecost)

Conception of John
after 3rd Sabbath
  6
4. Tammuz June-July 1   7
5. Ab / Av July-August 2   8
6. Elul August-September 3   9
7. Ethanim / Tishri September-October

(Feast of Tabernacle)

4 Birth of Jesus
15 Tishri
8. Bul / Marheshvan / Heshvan October-November 5
9. Chisleu / Chislev / Kislev November-December 6 Conception of Jesus
25 Kislev ?
10. Tebeth / Tevet December-January 7   1
11. Shebat / Shevat January-February 8   2

Courtesy:  Michael Scheifler

 

 

 

 

[1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for ‘Festivals’. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/f/festivals.html. 1991.

[2] Elwell, Walter A. Entry for ‘Feasts And Festivals of Israel’. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bed/f/feasts-and-festivals-of-israel.html. 1996.