Wine in the Bible

MYSTERY OF THE TWO WINES

No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new ...

Intro ... Discerning the wine:

We are not talking about sampling here: Tasting. Coveting. Looking upon the wine when it is red. Or sparkling. Swishing and swashing. Sipping and spitting ... with style that is. Being civilized, culturalized, mature, moderate human beings. Distinguishing the quality of the vintage, with its seasoned content, and richness of texture. Groping over a glass of processed liquid, containing modified poison. A liquor for class, and socialites of distinction. A modish mood altering drug. Professionally packaged, labeled, and presented. Sold as a beverage of measured affluence and respectability ... Ladies and Gentlemen, Seduced and Seducers, Saints and Aints!!! ... please hear ye this: Booze of any type (whether the refined attractively presented variety, or back ally moonshine); at it's best ... a stumbling block!! At it's worst ... a destructive substance!! Is there any other way to look at it? If we are deceived there is!! And deceive it does:

Pro. 21:1. Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. What does one glass of wine say: "go on ... another one wont hurt!!" Then again ... I could have a blind spot? Or then again ... maybe you could have!? Drinking tends to do that! Is this the doctrine of devils I'm pushing? ... Nope!! The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking! Meaning ... a glass of wine is not going to damn you from entering Heaven. Salvation is not a matter of what you eat or you don't eat. Being a moderate drinker will not stop you from being saved. Neither will the odd ciggy. But it will hinder God's blessing. And drinking wine could be the first step into being deceived. It will certainly be the next step! It will certainly ruin your witness! And it will certainly bring confusion to the unbelieving.
(Urrrrrp ! * # ! *... will it ... really!!??)

Again: The alcoholic, booze, grog, plonk, variety: At it's best ... a stumbling block!! At it's worst ... a destructive substance!!

Did you know that there is a similarity, even an allegory, between the two wines in the Bible, differentiating religion from the bonafide. The mystery is beginning to unfold. Keep reading please!

First the natural:

An expose on Modern Wine

Cutting asunder:

If anything on The Radical Pilgrim has caused much controversy, it has been on the subject of wine. One reason has been due to our religious education. There has been a general reluctance to let the sword of God's word cut asunder the root cause of the present mixture of the religious and the authentic in our lives, and in the Body in general. If we could see clearly here a mystery hidden in the wisdom of God, to make wise the foolish in Christ, and foolish the wisdom of man, then our adversary Religion (for what it is) would be exposed, and dealt a major blow. Possibly it's biggest defeat to date. But then again ... we've always got our own little precious pet opinions to hang onto.

Secondly, the on going wine debate could be due to an existing bad habit from the past that may now be lying low in ones life, hidden in the midst of religious flurry, undetected, and therefore not dealt with. As Isaiah 28:7 declares: ... they also have erred through wine ...

The third reason for the controversy of wine has been through a simple genuine misunderstanding in the use of words. In this age of superficiality (possibly the most synthetic of all time) has language (particularly English) been devalued and cheapened, whereby words have lost their original meaning, or been added with another meaning, even to the point of being corrupted.

You see our Bible was giving to us in it's complete unadulterated English form in 1611, when it's language had not been cheapened with shallow meanings. If we take a passage of scripture to apply to our lives, we first need to be confident that each word means what it was meant back then (400 years ago), when the translators were penning them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Actually, this is not a difficult task, as the Author has left us with relevant record today, if we are prepared to search out a matter, and let His word prove itself.

The comparison:

Let's take a look at a few passages in the Bible for instance:

Deut. 23:2. A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD ...

Is. 36:12. ... that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

James 2:3. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing ...

So here we have three random misconstrued words today, taken from the holy scriptures:

  • bastard ... a word which became an insinuation; is now a foul, vulgar word.

  • p--s ... a word used so coarsely and vulgarly (crudely slang for booze) it can now only be used in bad taste.

  • gay ... a once pleasant word which has largely lost it's true expressful meaning now aligned with the word queer.

There are other words we could use that have recently lost their value or changed their meaning, such as awesome for example, as the word awe is used a lot in scripture. Here's another more common one this time:

  • merry ... which once usually meant happy and cheerful, now usually meaning tipsy.

Lastly, we will add one more (obvious) word to our exercise:

  • wine ... extract from the grape, now largely known only as alcoholic beverage.

Do you get it? Once-upon-a-time wine was known as juice from the crushed grape, the fruit's liquor, whether fermented or unfermented, rotten or sweet. Therefore, the original meaning of wine back in 1611 when the Bible went public (and therefore God's intended meaning for all time) was the juice extracted from grapes whether it was preserved in this condition, or gone-off (gone rotten) as fermented juice.

This argument has been challenged by the notion grape juice is always fermenting, and is harder to preserve than ferment. Not so!! Before pasteurization was invented late last century wine actually took more work to alcoholise than preserve because of the lack of technology for the fermentation process, so the vintage would not become spoiled. In regards to producing the pure stuff, it's just a matter of boiling (just one of a few methods) then sealing. We've done it ourselves, and a year later ... still wonderful, pleasant to the taste buds, appetizing juice. Have you tried it?

More proof? ... Easy:

If you find a dictionary printed forty years ago, or so, you will see clearly wine quite often had a dual meaning ... fermented or unfermented fruit juice. If you go back further in time you will see the dual meaning was more prevalent, until you reach a time last century and before, where this was the accepted and general meaning. So what was meant by wine then, may not necessarily mean what wine is today, on late twentieth century understanding that is:

  • Platutus, BC 200: even mustum signified both wine and sweet wine.

  • Aristotle says of sweet wine, glueukos, that it would not intoxicate.

  • Homer, in the Odyssey, tells us that Ulysses took in his boat "goat-skin of sweet black wine, a divine drink, which Marion, the priest of Apollo, had given him - it was sweet honey - it was imperishable, or would keep forever; that when it was drunk, it was diluted with twenty parts water, and that from it a sweet and divine odour exhaled."

  • Hippocrates: "Sweet kinds of wines (oinos) do not make the head heavy."

  • Polybius: "among the Romans the women were allowed to drink wine which ... very much resembled Aegosthenian and Cretan gleukos (sweet wine), and which men use for the purpose of allaying excessive thirst."

  • Dr. Ure, Dictionary of Arts: "Juice when newly expressed, and before it has begun to ferment, is called 'must', and in common language 'new wine'."

  • Littleton, Latin Dictionary (1678): "Must (gleukos), new wine, close shut up and not permitted to work."

  • Chamber's Cyclopoedia 6th edition (1750): "Sweet wine is that which has not yet fermented."

  • Charles Anthon, LL.D., Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, article Vinum: "The sweet unfermented juice of the grape was termed gleukos."

  • Mandelso, c. 1640, speaking of palm wine: "To get out the juice, they go to the top of the tree, where they make an incision in the bark, and fasten it under an earthen pot, which they leave there all night, in which time it is filled with a certain sweet liquor very pleasant to the taste. They get out some also in the day-time, but that (owing to the great heat) corrupts immediately; it is good only for vinegar."

  • Augustine Calmet, Dictionary of the Bible, born 1672: "The ancients possessed the secret of preserving wines sweet throughout the whole year."

  • Parkinson, Theatrum Botanicum: "The juice or liquor pressed out of the ripe grapes is called vinum (wine)."

  • Captain Treat, in 1845, Dr. Lee's Works: "When on the south coast of Italy last Christmas, I enquired particularly about the wines in common use, and found that those esteemed the best were sweet and unintoxicating ... The Calabrians keeps their intoxicating and unintoxicating wines in separate apartments ... I found that the unfermented wines were esteemed the most. Great pains were taken in the vintage season to have a good stock of it laid by."

  • Pliny, when speaking of a wine called Aigleuces that is always sweet: "That wine is produced by care. They plunge the casks, immediately after they are filled from the vat, into the water, until winter is passed away and the wine has acquired the habit of being cold." Being kept below 45o F, the gluten settled to the bottom, thus fermentation was prevented. People of Excellence Vol. 7/10 Nov. '98. Used by Permission.

God no longer winking:

If you have come thus far with this article, and been willing to lay aside your pre-conceived views, checking out what wine originally meant when the Bible was written, with all the links and documentation provided, then I would find it hard to believe why a normal, God pleasing, individual could not see this. It is not hard or obscure. An excuse could be ... the original Hebrew in the Old Testament, and the Greek in the New Testament, had more than one word for the word wine, as the same original word can be associated with drunkardness or blessing. Therefore (partially) justifying the 'moderation only' stance.

However, this reasoning will still not stack up. For instance, the word dog always has a derogatory meaning in scripture (to do with what is scum and filthy), with two Greek words in the New testament, one akin to a hound (kuon), the other to a small dog (kunarion). In many third world countries this is still the case. Whereas today, a dog, depending on breed (blend!!) and up-bringing (treatment!!), can be a blessing (a warm, loving, faithful, pet and friend) or a curse (a ravaging, dangerous, potential killer). Just like the blend of fruit today, depending on its treatment (preserved or fermented), can be a blessing or a curse.

To the simplistic and childlike, the Lord providing us with the one word wine in the English Bible (covering all the Hebrew and Greek expositions - just like the word 'cleave' or 'hell' or 'spirit'), is very clear and precise ... one type of wine is unspoiled and good for you (a blessing), the other rotten and bad for you (a curse).

To the (overly) wise, who don't see this clearly, they have to arrange a complicated doctrine, presenting all wine in scripture as being a fermented alcoholic beverage (the modern contemporary meaning), but blessed if drunken in moderation. Unfortunately, this modern way of thinking now contradicts the latest medical and scientific research, and leaves big holes in scripture, along with too many unanswered questions. Worst of all ... it calls God a liar, as He is portrayed (obviously not deliberately) as a God who can't make up His mind ... saying one thing and meaning another. However, with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, who says what He means, and backs up what He says. If He chooses to use one word for two or more meanings, then it would be safer and prudent to ask Him why, instead of correcting Him!

However, there is one scripture in the Old Testament that cannot be ignored and does incorporate alcoholic beverage (apart from wine) into what Israel (except the Levite priests ) could partake off with the money of their tithe:

Duet. 14:26. And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household ...

Also, it must not be over looked how the Lord looked over certain things outside the Priesthood in Old Testament times; for instance men having more than one wife, which is now a 'no no' for elders in the New Testament era as is drinking wine:

1 Tim. 3: 2- 3. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine ...

Grog and just juice:

Getting back to both the 'fire water' and the sweet juice varieties, let's compare the dual meanings of wine in the bible below.

The intoxicating version:

  • Pro. 31:4. ... it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

This verse couldn't be any clearer could it!? Living in the New Testament time we are kings and priests in Christ are we not!? And as kings and priests we are commanded by scripture not to drink wine.

Ezk. 44:21. Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court (the Lord's presence - which we should always be in, as living under the New Covenant).

A believer reigning in heavenly places in Christ Jesus is a king spiritually speaking. Therefore, a young believer (novice / babe) enters in as a prince until they learn by revelation their complete rights through the finished work of the cross. As a prince they may not be condemned for drinking wine in moderation, or smoking, or the odd raffle ticket, whereas noxious strong drink (spirits) is an obvious 'no no'. Likewise, a prince (an administrator) could also be likened as a deacon in the New Testament ... not to be given to much wine.

We must remember any fruit juice kept for a period of time, especially in warm conditions, will go-off. Therefore, where does one draw the line when it comes to replacing it with fresh beverage? Just the same way if a person from a different cultural background came to the Lord who had more than one wife, quite clearly there would be a place of drawing the line. This is why a deacon in New Testament times was admonished not to be given to much wine, whereas an elder (who had greater responsibility) was admonished to total abstinence ... not given to wine.

Although leniency is accommodated, both deacons and elders were admonished to be the husbands of one wife in contrast.

However, in our day and age where there is better refrigeration, a stricter control of standard and presentation, where beverage is well labeled and categorized, and alcohol consumption does not contribute to society as a whole in any way, is there no profit (spiritually speaking) or excuse (practically speaking) for a bible believer to be preoccupied with the consumption of alcoholic beverage.

"What about Mark 7:18 ... that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him?" some may exclaim!

Jesus was referring to food here as verse 19 reveals; into the belly* ... purging all meats, keeping in with the context of the chapter. Because this scripture has been largely misconstrued in Evangelical circles, has it been an occasion for all sorts of license from smoking pot to pigging-out on fast trash foods.

Repeating the words of Jesus ... Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive? And what is there to perceive? Verse 19 again: Because it (the grub) entereth not into his heart.

Do you see ... Jesus was talking about the heart not the body? Just the same way as when He was talking about the Temple (John 2: 19-21) people misunderstood the building from His body. Same today; hence building projects.

Therefore, what we eat does not defile (spoil, corrupt) the heart. Quite clear eh!? However, if you believe in apologetics, scientific facts, and plain common sense, what we eat can spoil, or corrupt the body. If you don't believe this because it goes against your doctrine (or emotional grain) could you please do me a favour? Drink four or five chocolate thick shakes a day for four or five years and see what happens? One man did, and died, as his arteries corrupted, starving his heart (the organ that is) of the vital oxygen flow.

If what I'm saying is not true then there would be no authority in the words of Paul:

Philippians 3:19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly*, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

And what has this got to do with alcohol consumption? Nothing! That's what I have been trying to say ... so let's read on!

Now comparing the just juice version:

  • Gen. 27:28. Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

Here we see that wine is a gift from God, and all gifts from God are good and perfect. Therefore, as a gift, wine can be partaken and enjoyed.

We could write pages on comparing the apparent contradiction of wine in scripture, however, the example above is adequate to get the point across ... one scripture condemning drinking wine and the other approving it. The answer found only by rightly dividing the word of truth, as ... the first scripture is referring to alcoholic wine, whereas the other is referring to non-alcoholic wine.

Okay, just one more:

  • Pro. 23: 29-30. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

Again, scripture is condemning wine and it's use. Because here it is alcoholic and addictive, unlike the following verse:

  • Amos 9:14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

Here wine is a shared blessing accompanied by eating the fruit of the land. Because here it is pure liquefied fruit from the vine. This is why Jesus referred to good wine as the fruit of the vine:

Luke. 22:18 (also Mark 14:25). For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine (juice), until the kingdom of God shall come.

If the juice had gone off, would He not have used a different expression for wine? Within this context here is another verse from the Old Testament:

Deut. 32:14 ... thou didst drink the pure blood (juice) of the grape.

Couldn't be any clearer could it? Here's another one:

Gen. 49:11 ... the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood (juice) of grapes:

So the wine here was in no doubt the produce straight of the vine, and not from the vat. Crushed, not processed. When sojourning in the wilderness the Lord provided the children of Israel the choicest of vines, so a refreshing drink could be made by simply crushing a bunch of grapes in a cup, and drinking the extracted blood ... as fresh juice.

"What about when the believers on the day of Pentecost were accused of being drunk on new wine," you might say!

On more than one occasion when my wife and I have been out at a meal, or function, with friends celebrating or just having a good time, have we been made fun of ... accused of being drunk on grape juice or lemonade. Sounds reminiscent of Acts 2: 12-13 to me:

Here ... timid folk all of a sudden become bold! Uneducated ... authoritative! Those that lacked ... assertive! There was a commotion in town. Unlearnt people miraculously preaching and proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth, heard in languages common to those who were visiting from abroad. How could guilty, unbelieving sceptics react to this? ... Some saying, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. "Ha! Ha! Ha!! They're drunk on grape juice!!"

Think about it!? New Testament scripture is stacked with verses commanding abstinence from drunkenness. If this event in Acts Two can be proven as believers acting disorderly, in a drunken state, because they were drunk with the Holy Spirit of God (again making God into a liar) then this would open up a can of worms to all proportions, where anything would "go" when we gathered together.

This is why many of the elect have been deceived in our day. They have influenced themselves with the doctrine of the Nicolaitans instead of the Bereans, and not checked things out. Hence, gross spiritual delusion, (un)holy madness and bedlam, on a unprecedented scale in Christian gatherings, in the name of revival and spiritual renewal.

The verse in Ephesians 5:18: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; is not a sanction as claimed by the 'moderation only' party, but is actually an indictment against the use of alcoholic wine by scripture. Even though Paul was not deliberately making a direct case against wine here, but excess ... divorcing the Holy Spirit from anything fanatical or extreme.

"What about 1 Tim 5:23?" ...

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.

This scripture, probably the most common to support the 'moderation only' stance, is the most unreasonable argument of all!

First, for argument sake, say this is intoxicating wine! What does it say? ... use a little wine!! Did you get that? ... use a little ... !? For what purpose? ... As a medicine!! Not as a beverage!! It does not say with a friend, to 'round off' a meal, or on a special occasion! But for health reasons!!

Recently (for medical reasons) I did a fifteen day fast. This is not a big deal, but the fact I continued on with my full employment (which is a physically demanding job) for the duration of my fast, with no drop in production, or slow down due to fatigue. My fast ... total abstinence from all food except water, with a little portion (about fifteen percent) of grape juice. And boy; was this small portion of juice a luxury!? Point: My life continued in a healthy, uninterrupted way, (as already mentioned) with increased sharpness.

Paul was telling us here in the book of Timothy to use a little bit of grape juice (unfermented wine) with our water (it was a beverage by the way!), for the sake of our health. A bit more practical advice from Paul!

Brats and godly order:

In regards to 1 Cor. 11:21, another misquoted reference:

For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

This verse must be taken in context with verse 33- 34:

And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

These passages are to do with the Corinthians being a disorderly 'problem riddled' bunch. When they came together to eat and honour the Lord, some were hungry and some were drunk. The hungry would 'pig-out', whereas others would arrive drunk and disorderly, not discerning this was Christ's body to be cherished and respected, when they gathered at someone's particular home.

As Christians conform to the world of instant gratification, fast foods and on-the-spot convenience, let alone give into Toronto and Pensacola type experiences, instead of conforming to the Word ... what more can you expect today?

A few years ago we were invited (along with other guests) to a couples home for 'a meal come evening'. Due to circumstances beyond our control we were running a little behind schedule, so upon arrival we asked them to wait ten minutes or so, while we went and picked up our take-a-ways. The idea was to share and partake together. On arriving back, we found everyone had eaten and appeared to look a little uncomfortable. We were a little taken back. They couldn't wait! And this occasion was not one out of the ordinary, as I must confess we had been guilty in similar manners, until I read Paul's command:

Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 1 Cor. 11:33 ...
(Let all things be done decently and in order. 1 Cor. 14:40)

Why did Paul exhort the Corinthians to eat at home first?:

If it is the decent and orderly thing for folk to wait for others (better for the character), then of course there might be a few mild hunger pangs. Especially with those with young toddlers. We learnt this one when we decided our wee bairns weren't going to confine us to home from the time they were nappy bearers. So we made sure they had a wee snack before we left home. On some occasions, we still accommodate the whole family (My wife and myself included) with a hot cuppa and wee snack before heading off. No problem waiting for the snatch'n grab free-for-all after we arrive.

Sobriety, watchfulness, vigilance, temperance, good behaviour, self control, chastity, and a sound mind (all New testament words), can only come about by abstinence. Abstinence from impulsiveness, license, greediness, and of coarse ... alcoholic beverage! The modern term for wine.

Jesus and wine:

After all the facts, some would still insist Jesus provided the grog at the party. Amazingly, some of these folk would say Jesus was against drunkenness contrary to Him encouraging it (on their terms) by producing booze in bulk.

It is now a scientific fact that alcohol effects (generally speaking) men different from that of women. On average it usually takes considerably more quantity of alcohol to effect a mans judgement due to his larger build, size of the pancreas, and hormonal make-up. And it has a different effect ... a man loses his virility, whereas a woman is aroused. Hence, the common appearance of evil ... setting the mood of the evening with wining and dinning, then taking the Lady home to dim lighting, light music, accompanied with a bottle of bubbly. Fooling yourself, but not the neighbour's.

The scriptures say in Hosea 4:11:

Whoredom and wine (the intoxicating version) and new wine (sweet juice) take away the heart.

Mixing drinks to make them more presentable, respectable, and acceptable. A concoction. A fabricated mixture. Like mixing romance with burning desire, truth with error, or the bonafide with religion.

I was introduced to this at the age of four by being poured shandies (mixing beer with lemonade) at booze-ups at our home.

The wedding function at Cana would've started out okay, but what is feasting without good wine. Usually, the pure sweet variety with the feasting first. Then as the day progressed into the night, as the good stuff started to delete, it would have been mixed with the old carousing stuff, setting off a new tone for the evening. As intoxication took over, the old would be considered better (they call it, "drowning ones sorrows"; or if you have problems socializing, "Dutch courage"), sometimes ending the party in drunken revelry.

However, Jesus provided the best for last, ending the celebration on a bright note ... no downers, or agro. No hangovers, or memory loss. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.

"What about those who can handle their drink and know how to control themselves in an orderly civilized way?" someone may protest!

I've meet and worked with people who are calm and collected about the way they handle their dope smoking lifestyle. Some; just like some clean shaven, Professional, "respectable" alcoholics, have held down good jobs for years, without departing from their one and only spouse. Then their are others who once succumbing to the temptation of the dreaded drug (whether beverage or another substance) have hit rock bottom virtually over night, becoming a social right-off.

Again, if Jesus did provide the plonk at the party, would we have difficulty in receiving the plain language of Proverbs 23: 19-20:

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among winebibbers (excess drinkers); among riotous eaters of flesh ...

Notice it doesn't say drunkards but winebibbers. People who may not necessary be drunk but occupy a lot of their time drinking. Just as drunkardness and gluttony are considered equal sins in scripture, so is socializing with both winebibbers and gluttons.

"But Jesus mixed with winebibbers, tax sharks, and loose women!!" you might say.

Jesus spent three years of His thirty three years on earth going to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, even to the rabble and the riffraff, with the sole intent of demonstrating and bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to the them. There is no record He pursued fellowship in the circle of brats, losers and bodgies prior to this. Although He would certainly not have snubbed or snobbed them. Again, can you rule out certain passages of conflicting scripture to prove others standing alone?

With the absence of Joseph after He was twelve years of age, most of Jesus' time would have been spent minding His own business (as a carpenter) and His own affairs ... as Head and provider of the home; looking after His Mum bring up a family of younger siblings. And because He was faithful in the small things (in the natural), His Dad in Heaven gave Him the big things (in the spiritual) to handle.

Revelling, banqueting, and our walk:

Is. 5:12. And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe (music and celebration), and wine (carousing), are in their feasts (partying): but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands (God is not in the picture).

I spent a big part (about five years) of my Pilgrimage trapped in the City of Murphy's Law (compromising - by being there, and justifying - to pay the bills and feed the family) by being a casual tour driver around the local wineries (our district is the booze capital of New Zealand), and playing in a ("Christian"?) band in the company of winebibbers. Then coming back from an overseas trip, stone broke after buying a motor vehicle, with a mortgage and constantly being in overdraft, scraping the bottom of the barrow by laboring on a vineyard, to be mucked around by a boss who got awkward when it came to pay-day (not that all vineyard bosses are mean).

Therefore it came time to shake off the dust, and to shake off Murphy (the one who robs us of our anointing and of our blessing in God), ruthlessly, vehemently, and without mercy.

I must say little fruit came out of this escapade. It was virtually impossible to witness in the commotion of these houses of godlessness by accommodating their lifestyles. All because somewhere in my walk I took a wrong turn. And because I justified a small thing ... going into the world (of booze) to be a witness (even though drinking was out of the question) it was as if the Lord handed me over, where I couldn't get away from the stuff.

Since then we have managed through the blessing of God, to become totally debt free, and don't struggle when one of our vehicles break down, or our computer crashes, or one of our boys needs a new school uniform.

Conclusion: Just as the old and the new don't mix, neither does the booze scene and Christians!

In Jeremiah Thirty Five, we find a good parallel of being a true spiritual pilgrim in the New Testament era: "while in Rome, don't do as the Romans do!!"

The major one (verses 5- 6) was abstaining from alcoholic wine. Do you want to be a real Rechabite? Do you want to be a real Pilgrim? Do you want to be a true Priest ministering in the true sanctuary of God? Then it's time for the 'old' heave ho treatment.

Relating to fermentation:

Jesus would've also used unfermented grape juice at the last supper (is it the wisdom of God the word wine is absent here?) in accordance with the law of Moses, which required abstaining from all fermented substances during the Passover feast.

The law forbade the partaking and presence of fermented substances in Jewish homes. Which means leaven, yeast, or any other substance capable of producing fermentation:

Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: Ex 12:19.

Leaven (figuratively speaking) is pervasive, subtle, and fragrant. It acts as the added ingredient by man, for zest, stimulation, a religious touch, in all things pertaining to life, faith and practice. Does God need an added boost?

Matt. 16:6. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (the religious devotees who will spoil you with their smooth speech and eloquent oration).

What is of God is unspoilt, with no added touch or flare. It is base, raw, open and plain. Nothing showy or sophisticated. The "fair dinkum" goods. To be valued! Treasured! Counted as dear!

Non addictive and pleasant.

What is of man is spoilt, because it has added appeal, added flavor. It is leavened with polished, spiced up, religiosity. Being nothing more than a showy, sophisticated, outward presentation. To be ravished! Indulged upon! Intoxicated with!

Addictive, with a sting on the end of its tail.

Therefore the bread unfermented, and the wine unfermented, in relation to the Lord's Table, are the bare essentials in supping with our Lord. No party poppers here! Nor streamers, balloons, or confetti for that matter! As God takes us "as is, where is". Therefore, the only way to take God ... is for what He is, and Who He is. Our attraction to our Maker is for no other reason. No fancy dressers, Santa costumes, or cosmetic makeup. As Dad, our Creator, sits us on His knee, without pretence and without guile.

Leaven stands for corruption:

1 Cor. 5:6. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven (corruption) leaveneth (corrupts) the whole lump?

The Lord wants it booted out of our lives:

1 Cor. 5:7. Purge out therefore the old leaven (corruption), that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened (uncorrupted). For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Our feasting in God should be absent of any injected / infected fermentation from man.

1 Cor. 5:8. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened (uncorrupted) bread of sincerity and truth.

Conclusion:

We have looked at wine in the natural, how the Bible presents it as two opposing beverages ... one natural and pleasant, the other potent and harmful. Either as a substance standing by itself, or as a substance with a supper (meal).

Of course, one can go over board here! Yes, it's true ... one can get hung-up on the taste not / touch not thing. Of course there are many around who only drink socially and moderately, in innocence or ignorance. True; it is better to drink in moderation and have your house in order, than to not drink at all and your house be in disorder! But if it is a stumbling block then we must ... Abstain from all appearance of evil ... purging out every bit of leaven. And not giving a weak brother any excuse.

How does it go? ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Now we will look at wine as a biblical metaphor, and hopefully see the picture unfold.

Jesus paints the picture in Luke 5: 37- 39. If light can be shed here through this allegory, then hopefully a whole area of religious conditioning will come under scrutiny, as we compare and dissect the Old from the New ...

Next the spiritual:

An exposé's on Modern Religion

The old and new don't mix:

And no man putteth new wine (the new life) into old bottles (old structures); else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles (new containers - reborn people); and both are preserved.

In order for new wine to be kept as unspoiled juice, it was necessary to seal them in fresh new skins for preservation. If the fresh blood of the grape was to be placed in old moldy structures, it would contaminate, fermenting the juice in the process, causing both the damage of the structure and the loss of the wine. By incorporating the new together, both would be kept and so fulfill their functions.

No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

In practice, this was another story of those who had become accustomed and hooked on the old substance, preferring to stay with the old due to their dependency on it. Little wonder multitudes are affixiated by religion.

Rejecting the new wine from above:

The rigid structures of the old were finished and done away with. The new wine from Heaven was being poured out into the new flexible vessels as Jesus had fulfilled the law and the prophets, and was ushering in a new and living way.

Unlike Moses who died, we don't have to veil our faces; hiding from others a temporary fading glory ... of uppers and downers, a momentary experience gone sour, and fleshly failures. Under the New Covenant the veil is rent away. The glory of God is no longer concealed, but is on going! Forever! He is no longer left on a mountain, being unattainable, because we now have complete, unhindered access to Him. Where He no longer is limited to a physical temple, in one fixed abode. Because we become the Lord's abode on earth, where He can set-up home (the kingdom of God is within you), filling the new vessel with His very being.

The tragedy is ... many would prefer old wine, the drug version. You see, religion (as mentioned) is zestful, intoxicating, and addictive. Takes you away from what's real. It stupefies. It deceives. Each glass you drink will say the old is better. It sets up a pseudo experience. A counterfeit. A get buy / make- do feeling. Something you become dependable on, rather than the presence of God.

If we reuse what is old, rigid, and obsolete, the wine will contaminate, burst out, leaving the structure dry and empty. With no Holy Spirit. No glory of God. No blessing. Only what man can conjure up to replace the blessing with! ... A (cheap) equivalent. An (easy) alternative. A (gloss) exchange.

The two extremes:

Religion is very convenient, as it comes in many varieties, under many labels. It can be very brash, or it can be very subtle. It can be well meaning and very level headed. Or it can be extravagant and in excess.

If the old wine bottle is intact; you have a rigid, legal, disciplined, variety; producing formalism and regimentation. Hence, the Dark Age version. The stuff that comes out of Abbeys.

If the stiff old structure has burst, you get a spiced up "fancy free", loose variety, producing excess and liberalism. Hence, "happy clappy" Charismania, counterfeit revival, and New Age substitutes.

Picture Paul on the island of Malta collecting firewood in Acts Chapter Twenty Eight (a very practical fellow this Paul). Suddenly a snake latches onto his hand. The seemingly warm hospitable Islanders react in horror accusing him of being a foreign villain, reading the situation as divine judgement against Paul. When nothing happens to him (obviously through divine intervention) they then come to the conclusion Paul must be divine, to have survived such an ideal like this.

You see this was a real (pre) dark age mentality, veering off into superstitious extremes. You were either scum or divine (The same way the Jews are generally treated today ... persecuted or over-elevated). Ignorant, fickle and unbalanced thinking. Today, it comes in a more refined, marketable package. Let's first read John 1:17:

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

If the devil can't get you by the law ' thing' then he'll swing you right over to the other extreme ... either grace; the "luv gospel", producing license. Or truth; the correct procedure, producing legalism.

License:

Generally found in parallel with a revival situation. Because where there is a genuine sovereign move of God the enemy (Satan) will pull every trick in his book to thwart it, because it will mean genuine conversion and souls being won into the Kingdom of God. Something he hates above all things.

Persecution sometimes is too obvious. It will help blow the devils cover. Setting up a duplicate revival, in hidden opposition, running parallel to the real thing, is far more effective. Especially if the move of God lacks mature word based leaders who will exercise discernment and expose deception. Many innocent moves of God have fizzled due to being corrupted with a mixture, allowing false teachers 'in' who have taken the Move of God over into excess and fanaticism. Catch the phrase:

"To get a touch from the Lord is so real!" "catch the fire!" "feel the Spirit's touch!" "spread the fire!" "soak up the Spirit!" "scoop up the Spirit!" "holy laughter madness!" "holy shaking!" "holy drunkenness!" "God wanting to bark or howl!" "uncontrollable frolicking" "the best is yet to come!" And more!!

Fanaticism is not of God. I can think of two great revivals this century that have commenced in innocence and simplicity (a regular pattern actually), and ended up going down the gurgler:

The Welsh Revival early this century ... Commenced with a little miner called Evan Roberts who spent most of his spare time agonizing over his fellow Welshmen in prayer. According to him and his friend Jessie Penn-Lewis, her husband and associates, the revival lasted only one incredible year. According to the impostor preachers and their associates, who hi-jacked the Move and exploited the hungry masses ... it lasted three years. For the last two years were full of froth, bubble, and false wind; along with excess, emotionalism, and fanaticism. Before fizzling then fading into the past. And what were the Welsh left with? ... Desolation! Empty songs of nationalism! Empty chapels all over the country! And the prime of the Lads who could have 'been', returning home in boxes from the Great War!

In our time was the Jesus Movement of the late sixties. Its beginnings ... phenomenal and sovereign. All over the United States young people were dropping out, and turning onto the drug induced counter culture, and heading for a big black hole on the West Coast. God intervened and dope ridden Hippies were finding the reality of Jesus outside organized religion. "Drop in" houses replaced "free love" houses, as godly discipline was established, and the King James Bible upheld.

Like all revivals, many incredible miracles took place, and the signs followed the believers, not the other way round. Then came the hucksters, and the "Johnny come lately's", jumping on the band wagon and turning something innocent into something "cool", "groovy", and "hip". Followed by the "change of heart" and now "open minded" established churches "looking-in" for that "injection of life", and liquidating what looked like the shallow remains of a passing fad.

Mighty America (who had just dropped the Bible and 'talking to God' in the education system) was given her chance. Instead she reaped a humiliating defeat from a third world peasant army. Followed by Watergate. The Iranian Hostage Crisis. Beirut. Now the moral collapse of a great nation. Soon desolation.

The most effective way the enemy can keep the Spirit of God in check is luring the Saints into excessive liberty and non restraint, allowing the purity of the gospel to be confused with a mixture of outward sensationalism and fanatical behaviour.

Legalism:

If believers can be kept in the straight jacket of rules and regulations without the freedom of choice for individuals, then revival will not even have a chance from the word "go"! A good illustration is using a domineering husband who uses all the verses in the Book about wives being in subjection to their husbands. I know a so-called man of God who controlled his wife so much, to the point she was not even allowed to think for herself, that she took a gun then took her life too. How tragic! ... and this man had the audacity to take the funeral service as a worthy servant of the most High.

To enforce rules and standards on others without God's grace, is self conceit and arrogance, hiding behind a cloak of spiritual piousness. To put your own requirements and conditions on people, with or without moral content, is manipulation and control.

I remember many years ago my wife (as a young woman) sharing right out of the blue, how she was going to let her pierced ears grow over, as she felt it was wrong for a child of God to mutilate His temple. This was her own decision, made from an inner conviction, not because she was compelled from outside sources like a church doctrine. Nothing to do with a club's rulebook.

It is scriptural for a man to have short hair and for a woman to have long hair (her God given covering, not a manmade veil). But who is to say when long hair starts or short hair finishes. Do we rely on mans "set standard", or do we allow God to reveal to us direct to the inner man through His word.

Many have made doctrines about music. Quite often just theories based on opinion, prejudice, or biasness. However, if one is maturing in God, ridding himself of guile, and has the Spirit of the living God living within; then will he witness to what is foul, sensual, rebellious, and anarchic. On the other hand, if someone wants to get hooked on rock 'n roll, rap, death metal, or whatever, (even if it is considered sanctified) and wear all the pagan paraphernalia that goes with it, that's up to them, they pay the consequences!! ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

In 1st. Cor. 11:16. Paul said in regards to outward appearance:

... if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

In other words, if wrangling about small points that have nothing to do with one's salvation is going to cause division, don't worry about it, get on with the things that are for building one another up. Sure, there has to be open rebuke and disciplinary measures taken when a brother or sister is being blatantly unruly or into immorality. However, putting legalistic requirements on people makes the church, or the eldership, a substitute for the Spirit of Truth, and stifles the life, joy and the blessing from the Lord.

Man plays the Holy Ghost by getting in the way. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

More on grace and truth:

"Some preach the truth and don't have love. Some preach love and don't have the truth. Get the mixture right. The truth will keep you from dissolving into sentimentality; love will keep you from hardening into severity." Vance Havner.

Take for example there are twenty scriptures in the bible relating both mercy and truth together.

For example, Ps. 25:10: All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

The two must go hand in hand ... as a just weight is his delight.

Error is basically a truth taken to extreme. For instance, take the word obedience to extreme! Then you would be of no practical use. You wouldn't be able to make decisions because God had not spoken. You might not take a job (even in a desperate situation) because you never heard from the Lord ... didn't have a specific word for a specific occasion. God called Abraham. Right! But how many times did the Lord speak to Abraham direct, in specific detail? Very few times in all his life! Abraham spent most of his life making his own decisions (some good, others reckless), learning, being practical, every day. This is how we increase in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

If you over emphasis a scripture (a truth); take for instance "praising the Lord in all and every situation". Without balancing them with other parts of scripture, you end up in a place where you can't relate on a rational level anymore, and find you are unable to respond in a compassionate way when you are placed in awkward situations, like say ... at the scene of a bad accident. Or when someone has been seriously beaten up. Imagine the certain Samaritan when coming across the badly beaten man and saying, " praise the Lord", then walking on!

They call it "the power of praise". If you want to scare the devil in a situation, just keep singing a praise song over and over again. So the notion goes. Of course this doesn't scare the devil but may feed, or even soothe him. Religious spirits thrive on religious "praise and worship". Soothes the whole (religious) atmosphere. Opening peoples minds to emotional manipulation through the apparent "gifts" and "leading of the Spirit". After all, Lucifer is a musical Being.

Today, we have "the power of praise" "the power of luv (if love was just another attribute of God - God is love)" "the power of prayer (yes, talking to God can be institutionalized)" "the power of positive thinking" "the hour of power" plus many more new age phrases, sung and celebrated in "Christian" organizations. Our power (or His power) is completely dependant on the finished work of Calvary experienced through our frailties and weaknesses.

Back in the Victorian era, Mother England was busy establishing truth under a firm British stiff upper lip, treading on a few toes in the process, due to the absence of a bit of 'humble' mercy. The Counter Culture of the late sixties was the last straw in rebelling against this out moded era, ushering in the 'free love' new morality. Look where the rot has taken us now. By spilling into the Church, we now have gross immorality in our midst, permeating from the leadership down to grassroots. This is what happens when we get hooked on love without truth. When we place mercy on a pedestal above integrity ...

The wishy-washy variety that's always easy to sell:

God luvs you - so nothing else matters!

Prosperity teaching and seed faith:

God wants the best for me!

The 'speak it into being' industry:

Blab it and grab it! Claim it and frame it!

Materialism under the banner of "luv", hiding behind a facade of spirituality. Usually truths from the bible taken way over board.

Ps. 85:10. Mercy and truth are met together; (there we have it) ... righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Another area where we can be taken over board is what we do with righteousness and peace. By generally being self-centred creatures, we humans love to embrace peace but usually shun righteousness. We even try to invent another meaning to replace righteousness using well established words like justice or rightness. Anything to avoid the cross.

Today, words like peace, safety, and security, are key words in political correctness. They fit the tab. Promote peace and you're "cool", "green and clean", "up with the play". People aren't stupid ... mention the word righteousness and they'll see you, or accuse you, of being some holier-than-thou up- yourself geek!

Point to the biblical Jesus, that's the Lord's righteousness, then they are without excuse!

"Peace", "the dove", "the olive leaf", "the rainbow", are very effective new age slogans and banners. Remember, false prophets are good ambassadors of peace:

Is. 33:7. Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.

Micah 3:5. Thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.

Remember Anti-christ will use peace to destroy many, as the world is morally and socially disarmed in the name of peace.

True peace (that surpasses human understanding) can only be found at the cross by accepting the Lord's righteousness. We can either brush it off, or end 'up the Kyber' by establishing our own.

Here's another happily married couple:

Ps. 89:14. Justice and judgement are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face (can't escape these two).

It's so easy to justify anything. In this age we have become masters and experts of it. It's been said that Sodom had no bibles. The old world only had one preacher namely Noah. Up until Jesus' day they had the law and the prophets. Today, we have both the old and the new testaments, along with the record of history, and look where we are? How we love justice, but how we loath judgement. How it is now considered "inappropriate" to judge, to weigh things up, to make correction, to use absolutes, to call a spade a spade, to name things for what they are ... "murder", "adultery", "treason", "sin"!

Relying on justice without judgement breeds contempt, divides communities, and promotes politics and prejudice!

Religion doesn't satisfy ... But godliness with contentment is great gain ... when experienced together.

And sincerity is not enough! It must always be coupled with truth:

Jos. 24:14. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth ...

Meaning, being genuine is good, but it is not enough. It's what we do with Jesus (the scriptural Jesus that is) that counts.

Many churches are sincere. Many churchites are sincere. Judas Iscariot was sincere. He genuinely believed Jesus was wrong. It's what he did with the truth that was to his detriment. He even repented with remorse after betraying Jesus to the point of making retribution by returning the loot. But in the end ... what did he do with Jesus? What did Pilate do with Jesus? This is the issue! What are they doing with Jesus which is called Christ?

Do they give Him the brush-off, or do they fall at His feet with tears and adoration.

True worship:

True worship is not outward, but from the heart. Not within human bounds, but in spirit and in truth:

John. 4:23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

The Jews had the truth of God's word but were bound by their tradition in worshiping God. The Samaritans didn't have God's word (no restrictions) and were therefore free to worship outside of structure, in spirit. Christ reconciles both under the New Covenant.

Therefore the Lord is now seeking out a people who can come to Him beyond the bounds of time and locality, beyond the restrictions of man-made dogmas and structure; in sincerity and truth, twenty four hours a day. When true service would not be limited to a human boundary, but found in the heart, the life, and the very breath of the genuine believer.

Phil. 3: 2-3 ... beware of the concision (Gk. the mutilators - who destroy the truth). For we are the circumcision (of heart), which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

This means worship cannot be conjured up, psyched up, pumped up, or organized. Music can be nice, but it's got absolutely nothing to do with it. People cannot be manipulated to give true worship. They will not rely on vibes, feelings or emotions to turn their heart toward Heaven. There's no such thing as "worship" leaders under the New Covenant. The presence of God is a twenty four hour a day assurance.

The two Israel's:

Rom. 2: 28-29. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly (Israel in the flesh); neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly (Israel of the Spirit); and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter ...

There is much confusion in regards to the interpretation of Israel in Christian circles. Again, we need to see this as a mystery just like the two wines, in order to avoid extremes. The Lord in His wisdom is presenting one word (same name) for two types, to be spiritually discerned by the spiritually discerning.

From scripture their is obviously two (types of) circumcisions. The natural one being inferior and a mere shadow of the latter spiritual one. As in all aspects of typology in scripture ... for example:

Two countries (Israelis):

Mal. 4:4. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Natural Israel.

Gal. 6:16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. Spiritual Israel.

Two cities (Jerusalem's):

Gal. 1:17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Natural Jerusalem, capital city of natural Israel.

Heb. 12:22. But ye are come unto mount Sion (obviously two Zion's), and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem... Spiritual Jerusalem, capital city of spiritual Israel.

As we are on the theme of exposing extremes it takes little discernment to see the extremes in Christendom towards Israel and the Jews. One lot go all gooey and lovey dovey over the nation of Israel and it's people, as if the Israelis can do nothing wrong and are elevated to some level of impeccability. Their love affair is so affixiated they can't see (although most religions acknowledge Jesus in some way or another, whether He was a prophet, or a good moral teacher) at the heart of the Jewish religion they wont even acknowledge Jesus at all. If someone converts to Jesus the Messiah, their particular family will sometimes even hold a funeral service for them. As far as they are concerned, their particular son or daughter who claims to have found their Messiah no longer exists. They are out in the cold!

Then there is the other bunch who claim the people of Israel are not Jews at all but impostors. In this particular case the question asked should be ... why do these people who claim to be Jews want to learn Hebrew and are bananas on making Israel their homeland? Also, why is the Torah (which has preserved their identity for centuries) so important to many of them in regards to life and culture?

The other accusation against the Jews is they are guilty of murdering Jesus. Like the first ideology just mentioned, this view taken to extreme can be used against the Jews making them scapegoats to cover a multitude of sins. Hence, the papal crusades, the inquisition, and the holocaust. In fact, there is a curse reserved for peoples or nations who persecute the Jews:

Gen. 12:3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee...

Look at the decline of mighty Great Britain when they did a U-turn on the State of Israel just after the Second World War. Now America is in for a hiding as they have just officially denounced

Jerusalem as

Israel's capital.

Who is guilty of murdering the Son of God? Answer:

Acts 4: 27-28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles (the Romans and the non Jewish world), and the people of Israel (the Jews), were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Both Gentiles and Jews alike (the whole world) is guilty before God for what was done to Jesus!

Please take note of the word counsel. Nothing good ever comes out of religious or political counsel. This is the organization of man and his methods. Uniting together, whether it is Church and State, or ecumenical wingdings, is always man making counsel against the Lord and His anointed. As it was at the commencement of the Grace period ... Rome (now as the Vatican) counselling with the Church, (again, with the Jewish Hierarchy), so shall it be at the conclusion of the Grace period ... a united council against Jesus Christ and His remnant.

This time God's elect will be the scapegoats.

In as much as we love Jerusalem, as any other Christ rejecting city or people, without prejudice; our affection is to be set on the Jerusalem above, the eternal celestial city of God. That's why Paul wanted to put everything into perspective with the Judaized bewitched Galatians:

Gal 4:25-26. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is (the geographical natural city), and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

John also drove home this truth:

Rev. 11:8. And their dead bodies (the two end time prophets) shall lie in the street this time (notice, not like dogs outside the camp this time, but abominably inside the gate before the whole world) of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

There is so much focus on this great city, capital of the tiny great nation that lies at the centre of the world. The only place which connects the three continents ... Europe, Asia and Africa. A city which is politically, culturally, and spiritually important to the three great faiths of the world ... Judaism, Islam, and Apostate Christianity. A city of compromise. A city which rejected the prophets and slew them outside her gate. A city which rejected Messias, the anointed one sent from God, and slew Him outside her gate. A city which will reject God's last two prophets before the final close of this age. And in the very words of Jesus:

... if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. John 5:43.

Coming soon! ... The False Prophet, the False Messiah ... winning his way by treaty settlement; to make His point clear in Jerusalem.

The city Jesus prophesied over:

Luke 13:34. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

A city admired, and coveted. A city of grandeur, intrigue and culture. Of tourism destination and many attractions. Of blood and terror. Of controversy and confusion.

Paul spiritualized her as a mother, as Hagar (the Arab question), of Mount Sinai (breaking the law), of being in bondage with her children (blinded from the gospel of true deliverance).

John spiritualized her as Sodom (given over to sin), as Egypt (being of the world and not for God), reminding us where the promised Redeemer was despised and tortured to death. A city which shares the gross guilt and blame with the rest of the world, in conspiring against the Lord and His Anointed.

Soon she will be brought to her knees because of her compromise:

... they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zec. 12:10.

Jesus, after dealing with this city and throwing the false messiah into the bottomless pit, will set up his headquarters here, ruling the world from it's capital and centre, in righteousness and peace.

In the mean time, we are all (both Jewish and Gentile) unless we repent, in the same boat:

... without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (spiritual Israel), and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world ... Eph 2:12.

Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Two sets of commandments given (testaments, covenants):

Although these were two types they only differed in presentation: The former were written on stone, and were an inferior shadow, presented coldly as a letter of God's immutable code to one (chosen) physical nation. Dry, without living breath. Basically to prove a point ... we couldn't make it with God and needed His outside intervention.

The ten commandments of old. The law of Moses.

The latter ... God's eternal code written within, on the believers heart, where the Spirit of God lives to put sinews of life on. Where man could respond from a desire within and help from above.

A new commandment. The royal law (according to scripture). The perfect law. The law of liberty. The law of faith.

Two churches (two peoples called out):

One group called out of Egypt (bondage) to be a wilderness people dependant on their God. Instead, they wanted an earthly pastor (king), set up an elaborate fixed church (the Temple), with an elaborate set of rules and traditions added on. Who compromised with other nations, taking on their methods of worship and false gods. A picture of God's people today, called out of the world to simplicity in Him. Instead, settling down to the status quo, establishing their own empire, under a ruler with their own rules, and compromising with other faiths along with their range of methods and images of God.

1 Cor. 10:6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

However, out of both people groups, God is setting up His own remnant, who will stick to doing things His way, and for Him only.

Rom. 11:5. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Not by might, nor by power, nor by the methodology of man. But by His Spirit ... saith the Lord!

The church of God ... a people, both Jew and Gentile, called out.

Religion - a false balance:

Pr. 11:1. A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

The bible does not say an imbalance is an abomination to the Lord, but a false balance.

Being a loving Dad our heavenly Father makes much allowance for spiritual babes and novices of the faith. This is called growing in grace. He knows that once we begin our pilgrimage in Him, we are going to make mistakes, probably plenty, if you are like me. Personally, I found it absolutely amazing how things just seemed to fall into place when I first came to the Lord. As the months and years passed by, I got away with less, as I had to learn to stand on my own two feet, make my own decisions, and become responsible. The Lord refuses to think for us. It's Satan who wants to intrude into our minds and take over. He will use his "spiritual " heavies, and theological bullies, to achieve this, along with taking us into excess.

Now that I'm older (and hopefully a little wiser) I can choose my friends, what I allow into my home, and set my own lifestyle.

For instance, if I choose to not allow alcohol into our house, that's my privilege. I wont set rules for you in your home. If its okay to drink then don't hide it when I come round to visit. In fact, if drinking is scriptural, then you should be out in the open with it, supplying it as a part of your supper, giving people the option along with other goodies when being hospitable. And please don't quote me that "stumbling block" rubbish!! What about the content on your TV? Your videos? The music you openly listen to?

There's no point teaching it, if you are not openly practicing it. Why be ashamed!?

We don't eat pork, animal fat, or shell fish in our home, and avoid refined food. Like Daniel, we avoid the morsels of Babylon ... junk foods, quick and easy substitutes etc., and try to stick to a biblically centred lifestyle as much as we can. I've got no choice (genetically that is) ... it's either shape up, or block up (arteries that is) and go home (upwards that is) pre-maturely.

How we choose to live is our privilege. And business. Isn't it prudent and less expensive trying to avoid visits to the doctor if you can? Isn't it wise refusing indifference of any sort? Isn't it common sense trying to avoid an unmotivated, lax, attitude, and accomplish more through absorbing higher energy intake? Don't worry! We certainly wont put it on you, or make a doctrine out of it.

Let's re-examine Romans 12: 1- 6:

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

While we tread the pilgrims path down here on planet earth, we have been taught that one is free to eat meat while another is not. One man is free to see there are no special days while another will still see a day as special in honoring the Lord.

Now this certainly does sound sweet and scrumptious, but is it just another way to keep us on milk and prevent us from the meat of the scriptures like 2 Tim. 2:15?:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth??

For instance ... who was Paul addressing when he made this notion in Romans Twelve? ... Him that is weak in the faith!

For what purpose? ... to receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations!

In other words, Paul was urging older more mature believers in the Lord to accept a new comers opinion. He was telling the more experienced to make allowance for the brother who was weaker in the faith, and not for the purpose of passing judgement on his views, but for who he was in Christ. And granting him space to grow, as he would in time (through abiding in the word) realize by revelation ...

  • he is free (to make choices) to eat animal flesh or other foods ...

1 Tim. 4: 1- 5. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry (good news for Priests), and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer (received by revelation).

  • and free (to make choices) not to be bound by any holy day this side of grace ...

Gal. 4:9-10. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

The whole point was allowing grace to work in a young (disadvantaged??) believer, who was pressing forward, and learning the freedom to make his own choices by the word, and not through the compulsion of church dogma. If this was an older more experienced brother endorsing these things, then obviously he would be considered going backwards into bondage in need of instant reproof.

Paul was hang-up free:

1 Cor. 10:23. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

In other words; we don't force our opinions of food and holydays on others who are being established in the faith, or (nicely) imply it to them. We must allow them to come to this understanding on their own, by revelation; as by relationship and growing in grace are we free every day in worship, in making our own choices in what we take in, wisely taking into account not all things are good for you.

Keeping ordinances:

In regards to a holy day ... in the New testament Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, who said: The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27-28). It was never intended to be a drudgery. The Israelites had slaved seven days a week, for hundreds of years, under their masters in the land of Egypt. Now God was giving them a break, a day off once a week, where they would be (or at least, should have been) continually grateful and mindful of their Maker.

For a few months we as a family tried to keep Saturday as a family day of rest, from all forms of labor that is. The idea was to honour the Lord together as a family. Even though we tried to keep it low key and non compulsive, we still found it an impossibility to keep. Somewhere along the line you still had to commit yourself to labor and fit in with each others plans. The only way for it to work would be to make it a complete law thing. Even then you would not be able to clean your teeth or change the loo paper. What about if you forgot to fill your car up with petrol and Granny was having a heart attack on the other side of town? You can't just get technical about one thing and leave everything else undone! Yip!! ... the law is impossible to keep.

Did Jesus scrap the law? ... The ceremonial (ritualistic) law He did! The law as contained in the ten commandments ... nope!! One was to get ourselves right with God (the set ordinances) because we couldn't keep the other (the moral law - the ten commandments). He didn't come to do away with the moral set but to fulfill them. To put the Spirit in them:

This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: Acts 7:38.

How could He have done away with the ten commandments (as many try to tell us) if He has given them unto us (the true church) as living oracles? In fact, as we examine the commandments, we will see how the New Covenant even takes them further giving them new impetus:

Comparing the Old Ten Commandments with the spiritually superior New:

2 Cor. 3:6. Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Yes, Jesus didn't come to do away with the law as already mentioned (nor the message of the prophets for that matter), but fulfill them. By adding a new measure of spiritual dimension the commandments actually go beyond the rigid letter dealing with the nitty gritty of life's situations, and with the inner most thoughts and intents of the human heart.

By examining Exodus Twenty we find the letter of the law inscribed on cold stone, as an outward, external, set of rules to fellow, absent of the power and unction of the Holy Ghost. Following, we will see how every one of these ten are fulfilled in the New and taken further that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter:

1. And God spake all these words (living, spiritual), saying,

2. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt (we are called and set apart from the world), out of the house of bondage (saved from sin).

3. Commandment 1

Thou shalt have no other gods before me

... fulfilled in the new when Jesus said,

he that hath seen me hath seen the Father ... John 14:9.

Jesus (the scriptural one that is) is now our standard in everything. We know no other God but Him:

1 Cor. 8:6. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Jesus is our focal point. Our beginning. Our continuation. Our end. Our pre-eminence. Our everything. Jesus is God.

4. Commandment 2

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven (carved) image

... fulfilled in the new:

Rom. 1:21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

The new goes further than just considering worshiping external material objects as wrong, as an image set up one's heart is idolatry. Even to this degree:

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 2 Cor. 5:16.

Therefore, we do not receive or discern Christ as coming from a photo, a painting (let alone a statue), a mental image, a dream, or a vision, as some human figurehead, or at some geographical locality (like a pilgrimage to Pensacola or some trendy Christian commune); but by faith, through revelation in the heart, according to the word of God.

... or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above (spiritual creatures), or that is in the earth beneath (spiritual creatures), or that is in the water under the earth (spiritual creatures): Nothing about the natural creation on earth.

5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:
for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

This part had to be spelt out to the children of Israel as they could have used the excuse that even though they may have created the object for ornamental (or artful) purposes, they were not bowing down, or worshiping it. The Roman Catholic Church use this excuse about Mary by saying their don't worship her, just give her special veneration.

I could use this excuse to honour my Celtic ancestry by using Celtic icons in my home for decoration purposes, just as a Maori brother, or an Asian brother, or any other brother for that matter, could with their custom. However, nowhere could this type of reasoning be justified by the word of God. Although many (because of the influence and present ecumenical flirtation with Catholics) are now putting their bibles on an equal basis along side of custom, instead of it's rightful place above all these things.

Of course the biggest deception of all is found in our evangelical bookshops ... in the form of a "cross", "dove", "fish", "star of David" junk jewellery, etc. Changing the gospel into merchandise and making God's sanctuary (His people) into a den of "respectable" thieves.

7. Commandment 3

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain

Using the Lord's Name to back-up your "honesty" (decency, integrity, and name in question)

This is nothing to do with blasphemy (rejecting or watering down Jesus' divinity). But doing things in Jesus name which aren't scriptural. Like going to war in His Name.

Wars are for the carnal man, the worldly minded. They are always for religious or political reasons, with covert and clandestine motives. Prove to me they aren't? How can one honour God when he is caught with the predicament of being on the battle front, under the command of a General, who is bound to decisions made by ambiguous politicians, commanding legitimate slaughter and destruction.

They say this is a conscience choice!? Incredible!! And what happens if you say no? In our "free" country nicknamed "God's Own" or Godszone, during the last world war, you were thrown in a concentration camp without rights, and sometimes beaten. Sounds like persecution to me!

There are many pop bands, justifying their music / appearance / ministry by performing in the Lord's name. Many are actually worse off judgement wise than their secular contemporaries, because they are less honest. At lease some bands aren't trying to hide the fact they are rebellious and vain. And worse ... they don't use the Lord's name to hide it, or justify their unruly lifestyle.

Then there is the temptation to use the Lord's Name officially to prove your reputation:

"I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God" ...

Fulfilled in the new when Jesus said, But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matt. 5:37.

... for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8. Commandment 4

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

We have already covered this one being fulfilled in the new when Jesus said:

The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. Mark 2:27- 28.

As Jesus has now become our rest to enter into:

Heb. 4:8-9. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

The following verses again had to be spelled out to Israel in the flesh as they were limited to time and place in labor, worship, and devotion to the Lord.

9. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:

10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

During the Church age (the hallowed day of salvation ... grace) when someone is born again, he is translated (spiritually) from this present world system into the Kingdom of God. He now has left one sequence of conduct and mode to live under a new one in the Kingdom where Christ is King and His word is settled forever. Nothing else matters except the Lordship of Christ.

However, because we are still physically in the world, we temporary live here as pilgrims and strangers. And because we want to live as His blameless representatives during our sojourning here we can still respect and obey the worlds rules (without getting hung-up on their rule book thing) when they don't conflict with God's.

Therefore, because our citizenship is in Heaven, the physical shadow of God's law (like keeping a natural day) no longer applies. It can't ... there are too many technicalities and discrepancies! In fact, a part from not being able to keep the physical law alone, you run into real problems with sabbath keeping, due to society being governed by a catholic calendar, leap years, the international date line, and so forth. For instance ... is Saturday really Saturday? Will the first of January year 2,000 or 2,001 accurately be the new millennium? If we are leaving day six (six thousand years since creation) then when does day seven (the millennium sabbath) commence for the thousand year rest with Christ on earth? Very soon! But when?

Matt. 24:36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

To be precise ... as believers (likened to our heavenly position in Christ Jesus) there is a similarity, like going back before the sun was created. Spinny? ... Not really! We are talking about not being governed by time here:

Lets go back to Genesis chapter one, when God said, "let there be light". Here, time came into being. We had light and darkness dividing the day. Day one, day two ... etc. However, we still did not have weeks, months, or years. But we did have light, even though the sun had not been created at this stage. Then what caused the light to shine?

2 Cor. 4:6. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness (Genesis), hath shined in our hearts (New Covenant), to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Here we see God's light was Christ. When we turn to the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we see this light is the light that lights up heaven, just as it was before the sun was created.

Rev. 21:23. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Rev. 22:5. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

No sun in Heaven! Therefore no time, no weeks!

What do you mean here ... no weeks in Heaven?

You see on the fourth day God did create the sun plus the rest of the universe ... and for what purpose?

Gen. 1: 14 ... to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

(Verse 15 to 16): And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light (the sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (the sun reflecting of the moon) to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night ...

The Divine Light (verse 3 & 4) was now superseded with the created light (the sun) carrying on time ... days, and seasons divided into years. However, we still did not have weeks. Why? Because creation was not complete until seven days! Make sense?

By division of the day time started to role on day one. Was divided up into day, years and seasons (governed by months) on day four. On day six man was created. Then day seven (the sabbath, after man's day) the week became a completed reality.

Therefore, when someone is born again into Christ's Kingdom where there is light, but no sun or time as we have known it, he is no longer governed by days, and months, and times, and years. Spiritually, there is no natural seventh day. Because we enter that day ... where Christ becomes our completion, our sabbath day rest.

In other words ... we were born on day six into Adam. Then on day seven (the completion) we were reborn into the second Adam no longer governed by time:

This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell ...

You can now say, "hallelujah!!"

12. Commandment 5

Honour thy father and thy mother

... fulfilled in the new; Eph 6:2:

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise)

Just like all the other commandments is still just as valid but again goes further:

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37.

... that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

The above line was specific for Israel after the flesh, but for the children of God in the Spirit there is a change in metaphor as there is no longer a guarantee for a long life (in this life) due to persecution and martyrdom:

Matt. 19:29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Therefore ... that thy days may be long upon the land, becomes a spiritual reality.

13. Commandment 6

Thou shalt not kill (do no murder, Matt. 19:18. Killing animals is not murder!)

... fulfilled under the new with the command going further by Jesus exposing murder in the heart:

Matt. 5:21- 22. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement ...

Therefore, anger against another not submitted to the blood of Christ is murder.

Lets move on:

14. Commandment 7

Thou shalt not commit adultery

... fulfilled in the new:

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. Luke 16:18.

Again Jesus goes further:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matt. 5:28.

Why has adultery of recent years become so rampant in the established church? Just prior to World War Two a movie master piece was released in colour. It's title ... "Gone with the wind". What was it about? In short ... glamorized adultery!

During the new morality of the late sixties another block buster master piece was released. Title ... "Doctor Zhivargo". Content in brief!? ... again glorifying adultery! And what did "main stream evangelaco" think? Superb movie! As many went and viewed it. Therefore, what did that particular generation inherit from the next generation they brought up ... every second Christian marriage in the States now ending in divorce.

Then there is spiritual adultery ... being unfaithful stewards with the gospel (compromising the truth), worse than the fleshly lust thing:

2 Cor. 11:2. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

The big question is ... which one comes first; physical or spiritual adultery?

Hard to tell really! Except one thing is sure ... they both pre-condition one another.

15. Commandment 8

Thou shalt not steal

... again fulfilled in the new:

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Eph. 4:28.

Going further by saying a person who doesn't intentionally work but relies on others for sustenance, is stealing. That's why Paul said:

2 Thes. 3:10 ... if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Of course you don't have to be working for wages as the Lord could be using other channels to supply your needs; like a benefit or charity. The bottom line is ... are you working (occupying till He comes), or are you a couch potato? Are you diligent in all good works, or are you idle? Cause idleness is sin!

16. Commandment 9

Thou shalt not bear false witness (lie) against thy neighbour

... fulfilled in the new:

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds ... Col 3:9.

And no liar shall inherit the Kingdom. Which goes further when one lies to (or lies about?) the Holy Spirit:

... why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost ... Acts 5:3- 5.

Many people we have tried to warn about the false "signs and wonders" movement have sometimes counter reacted by warning us that we could be in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit ourselves, by questioning such nonsensical unbiblical behaviour. However, I would like to personally re-warn these people as to the seriousness of attributing what is of the devil, to being of the Holy Spirit.

Not that I don't have at times a whacking big struggle with sin myself (as I am sure every honest blood bought saint would have), and know with assurance their is mercy found in breaking commandment number three (or any other commandment) by the blood of Jesus, through genuine (remorseful) repentance towards God. However, when it comes to lying about the manifestations and attributes of the Spirit (divorcing them from the Word of God), I see this as being on very dangerous ground.

17. Commandment 10

Thou shalt not covet

... again fulfilled in the new:

Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 1 Cor. 5:10.

Once again goes further by relating it to idolatry of the heart and blocking out heaven to the unrepentant:

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Eph. 5:5.

... thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Again the above is warning about the outward things to Israel, and is not dealing with such things as ... coveting after fame, glory, prominence, a calling, a ministry. Or someone else's ministry, or someone else's talents. As does the New Covenant, because it is always dealing with the heart.

Summary: The law itself was good and righteous. If we could all keep it then we'd have a perfect society. But we couldn't, and it proved we were damned. That's why we needed Jesus. In Him the damnation of the law is removed, as we allow Him, the lawful one, to live in and through us.

Tithing:

Tithing is first mentioned in scripture with Abraham when he gave a tenth to the Lord. Later it was incorporated into the law system of Israel as there became different tithes for different things. The main tithe was given to the Levites, the priesthood, whereas they in turn were to give a tenth of the peoples tenth (gets quite involved eh!) as an offering to the Lord. Num. 18:26.

Tithing was generally produce, not money. Today it is taught by many churches as a New Testament requirement, and is always to do with money as it is used for paying the minister's wages, even though there is no scriptural back-up whatsoever for tithing in the New Testament.

Yes, Jesus tithed before going to the cross as he was fulfilling the Old before He ushered in the New (Heb. 10:9). Yes, in regards to Abraham, along with Israel, tithing is mentioned in Hebrews. But Abraham also circumcised. Which by the way, was also practiced before the ceremonial law was introduced. Therefore is circumcision a requirement today? No (Gal. 5:6)!! Abraham was our father according to the Promise, not circumcision (Rom. 4:14-16)! Just the same way as Abraham is also our father according to the Promise, not tithing!

Also, when the letter was written by the Jewish Apostles for the Gentile Believers in Acts 15: 20, 29, it was to do with not placing heavy burdens on them. Not bringing them back under the yoke of the Old. This by the way, was their big moment when tithing could have been doctrinized by the apostles. When tithing, circumcision, Sabbath or Sunday keeping, and so fort, could have been reinforced if they were still valid.

However, only four things were required to abstain from:

meats offered to idols (you don't have to be a vegetarian),and from blood (goodbye black pudding and rear steak),and from things strangled (there's still a problem with blood),and from fornication (tough on the New Wave trend).

"Taking our advise, you'll do well. Have a nice day!!" Signed: The Apostles.

When it comes to the New Covenant the Lord requires all, just like the illustration of the Widow with a couple of coins ( Luke 21: 2-3). However, when it comes to giving, the balls in our court. The freedom of choice can be exercised. Dad does not want us to respond like a robot, or give out of compulsion, for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

Attaining the impossible:

You see the word Babylon and Religion are virtually one and the same. One is presented as a position, whereas the other is presented as a condition, or practice.

Babylon derived from Babel (many voices / confusion) means the gate of God. Therefore, it signifies many ways to God resulting in confusion. A great thing to exploit if you want to smokescreen the truth.

Religion means finding God through externalism. Relying on our own effort, or righteousness, to make it. A great way to keep people busy so they don't really get time to think. A great way to give them a sense of adulation and elation.

Therefore, according to James, perfect religion could be achieved when one could master his own tongue on a consistent basis (1:26). Without one iota of gossip, malice, or guile, spilling out. Because this would reflect perfection of the heart:

... for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matt. 12:34.

How on earth could one achieve this? How on earth could one change his or her own heart?

Impossible? ... Of course!!

Pure religion would become a reality when one would visit the widow and orphan, and stay uncorrupted from the world (James 1:27). Being much more than a Princes Di (how was her private life?). Or even a Mother Teresa, who was great PR for the Vatican and its propaganda machine.

Again, how can one stay continually pure, even for one day, and remain a total "Goodie goodie"?

Impossible? ... Yes!!

How could one measure up before a Holy God, when He says:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matt. 5:48.

Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Pet. 1:16.

Impossible? ... Yes!!

Jesus said in Mark 9: 42- 47:

... if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: (Origin, and others, have taken this literally).

If we are inadequate to meet God's holy demands, yet desperate to be acceptable to God, then we would have to take drastic steps as Jesus suggested; for it would be better to enter Heaven with nothing, or severely handicapped, than entering hell with everything.

This is just what God's law exposes:

Fix! Predicament! Hopeless situation! Catch '22! Dilemma! Human puniness! The frailty of man!

Is it possible to become holy? Is it possible to become perfect?

Answer: Luke 1:37 ... For with God nothing shall be impossible.

His name is Jesus! He has paid the complete price, at the cross. The impossible has become possible, in Him. For He has granted us His righteousness, as a free gift, even though we never deserved it. When we receive Christ's finished work on the cross the Lord no longer sees our sinful state, but the righteousness of His Son. Simple. Totally efficient. Which cannot be added to, or watered down.

The 'fig rig' continues:

However, man is clever ... He sets up a substitute. It goes back to the beginning of time, to the great cover-up in the Garden. Man provides his own means, rejecting God's way ... the shedding of blood:

Religion is all about making short cuts, by-passing the cross by providing substitutes for God's plan of salvation. Good works. Self-effort. Anything but the blood of Jesus. Oh, it will include the cross as an additive, like an Easter recital. It will include the gospel as a lovely oration. It will make a good story. A moving piece of drama. A brand of music. A delightful movie. But it will not make the cross everything. It's job (position) is to promote Babylon (confusion). This way the heathen can't find it, and Christians loose it. And everybody is happy, because everyone is still in the same boat, unaccountable to God.

However, contrary to the doctrine of Universal Salvation, and contrary to the gospel of the Neoevangicals, Charismatics and New Wave "firm believers" ... no repentance, then no forgiveness.

Dream based or Word based:

No wonder there is such a market for teachers and scribes in spiritual Babylon. No wonder there are so many self professed prophets and vision caters.

Do you know what a false prophet is?

Someone who says, " all is well", when all is not well:

Is. 30:10. Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

Or someone who piggy backs on the success of others, who exploits the mood of the moment:

Jer. 23:30. Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

How do you discern them?

They may use God's word but they are dream or vision based rather than word based. Will conjure up a good excuse when it does not come to pass. Just like a hot TV soap; they will make it sound like a running commentary, so the story can change with the times, keeping the ratings alive:

"Our prophecy set off alarm bells, so the intercessors prayed and broke through, then God heard and changed His mind."

Jer. 5:13. And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them ...

If you profess to be a Christian and do not become a Berean in these hours ahead, you're gonna be a goner. It is inevitable! There is no middle ground! The sword is about to fall. We will either be an end time Elijah or a prophet of Baal! It will either be the fire of God or waist!

Jer. 5:31. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

As we scripturally concluded on a gutsy wee track we handed out at the "Life of Brian" and "God spell" many years ago;

"Better to cry now and laugh later, than laugh now and cry later."

Prophets, Dreamers, Opportunists, and the word of God:

Jer. 23:28. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, lethim speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

As things begin to intensify around us (as our Lord said everything shall be shaken that can be shaken) it doesn't take a prophet to analyze and sum up the evil that is besetting our community, nation, and life as we have known it; whether you are outside with the remnant, or stationed within the structured church.

Band wagons are band wagons, whether you are a 'one-man-band', or part of a 'band of mercenaries'. If the heat is coming on there are always peddlers and exploiters waiting on the horizon for the grand occasion. The dice rolls as the Titanic fills up with ocean. Think of Saigon before it fell!! Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, before the Japanese marched in!! The closing hour of Belshazzar's kingdom. And Jesus said there would be buying, selling, building, until the end of the age. As the walls crumble ... the band plays on!

Then there is the spiritual merchandise of spiritual Babylon! Who is ready to buy it? There's always a big "buck", or some form of success with religion. Buy the truth, and sell it not, has been violated. Freely ye have received, freely give, has been eroded. But he who has Gods word ... "let him speak my word faithfully":

I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal (The lord). The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD. Jer. 23: 25- 32.

The word of God is a hammer! It smashes to pieces our clever concepts, our pre-conceived ideas, our notions, the imaginations of our heart. It is a fire! It burns out the dross of false doctrine, deceit and ulterior motives. Dreams come cheap. There's no cost involved. They're user friendly. They can be shared around and make us feel spiritually appeased. We're talking about the ear tickling industry here. Just like "Christian" music, "Christian" entertainment, "Christian" culture, can justify our posture, our position, our stance, how we outwardly look; so too can beautifully portrayed mental images. These things can be so over emphasized, and cleverly engineered, that attention is taken away from the solid rock of God's proven word. Therefore, the Lord takes drastic steps:

... as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house. Jer. 23:34

Are you ready for the hammer ... the fire? Or do you want to continue in the dribble, and cultivation of the variety of shared dreams and visions that are being bandied around at the moment? Even biblically 'adorned', scripturally 'rounded off', dreams. There's plenty around to pull out of the hat. It's easy to manufacture the latest apparent burden of the LORD. The Lord calls this simply dreaming. And by the way, dreamers are associated with the word filthy in scripture (Jude 8)!

Scriptural Dreams:

Check out the scriptures through the Bible right into the New Testament, and you will see what a dream is in the true sense of the word ... just that, a dream! When one has visions in his or her sleep. Something everyone has. As common as a two bob watch! A mystery even modern science can't unravel. Like an evaporating mist ... here for the moment, then gone forever!

Job 33:15. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed ...

... (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!)

The incredible thing about dreams is that they can be from God. I personally (like others) have had dreams (on the very odd occasion) which have given direction and confirmation for a situation, and have bared fruit as an end result. But these have been personal experiences between the Lord and myself, which I may not be quick to share with anyone else. Again, on the very odd occasion (probably twice in my walk), someone has shared a dream with me and the Lord has given me the interpretation for a specific reason.

Usually a dream is from yourself. But the devil can also inspire a dream, from unconjured fear (the common nightmare), to a majestic counterfeit. In fact, he is able to give you plenty if you go looking for them. And the tragedy is ... dreams have now become such a popular fad, linking both New Age and Christian circles as a common preoccupation, from 'wishful thinkers' to 'would-be prophets', on a self-promotion trip, hiding behind a facade of "spirituality". And the World Wide Web, in the tradition of the tele-evangelists, has become the ideal launching pad for these Masqueraders.

Dreams like anything need to be treated as suspect until scrutinized by the word of God. Majoring on dreams, especially building a ministry solely on one, should be avoided on all fronts! Then again ... this is the difference between whether one is self-appointed, or Holy Ghost appointed:

The Ministry of Self-importance:

How do we know whether a minister is self-appointed or appointed from on high? Following are some safe checks (For many shall come in my name ... let no man deceive you):

  • Is the minister full of self-importance? Do they esteem themselves above others as being "spiritually" superior to others? Having higher revelation! Deeper insight! More sensitive to the Spirit!

  • Are they teachable? Or are they focused solely on correcting others without considering what others have got to say about themselves? Beware of people who claim their ministry is one of correction, or rebuke.

  • Can you reason with them, minister with them, or is their ministry one way?

  • Do they defend their patch (are they possessive with their 'thing', their call) ... with the attitude they have a bigger right to the latest revelation, or the area of debate than yourself, because they were first on the scene, or were first saying it before anyone else? Ignore people who try to centralize the power of God, who try to control the move of the Spirit, or claim the anointing for themselves?

  • Do they have a scheming, calculating, controlling, manipulative spirit?

  • Are they into the plus and minus philosophy? Justifying something as being divine because the benefits out weigh the "negatives"! Does opportunism always carry favour?

  • How do they present themselves? How do they come across? Are they showmen? Are they slick, smooth, overly nice, charming, dripping with gold, with an arrogant twinge?

  • Are they an accessible person? Or hedgy, evasive, elusive, flippant, facile, and glib? What are they like off duty? Does the off duty character match the on duty character?

  • Do they play with the power of God, do they have an impetuous approach, or are they (as the scriptures encourage) humble and cautiously conservative?

  • What do they emanate (promote and ooze) ... character or personality? Biblical fruit or just charisma?

  • Does this match the picture? ... Can't speak plainly or clearly. Beat around the bush. Use great "spiritual" rhetoric, with lofty and eloquent speech. Make a waffle sound plausible, even comprehensible. Skilled at expounding, quoting, painting a lovely verbal picture, but seldom, or ever get to the point. Plays down absolutes and makes things complicated, saying one thing and meaning another, speaking in half-truths. Would make a wonderful statesman, diplomat, or politician.

Bottom line ... uses the word as an adornment, not as a sword.

In 2nd Corinthians 11:6 Paul said: But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge ...

1 Cor. 2:4. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Beware of self-styled final authorities:

Ourselves, and most of the ministries we support (still waiting for some of the others), believe the Lord has given us His word in written tangible form (namely the Holy Bible) which we can trust emphatically, because God does not lie, play games, or contradict. And because (unlike the occult) He doesn't play in riddles, we believe He is both smart enough and wise enough to present us with His word in plain, unadulterated, preserved, written language. In other words, if we have His Holy Spirit, we don't have to go any further than the Bible to find the truth. Could it be any simpler?

Unfortunately, there are still those who cannot give up their opinion in full (even if it means denying their education or credentials), and have to complicate things, even to the point where they blindly correct God's word.

The Alexandrian Movement:
( the smart Gentile's version of hath God said?)

This movement is headed up by overly educated/qualified Bible Scholars, who believe their ministry is so important they have the special credentials from God to reveal to us common lay folk, what God intended when the original autographs in the Bible were first penned. The story they have invented is that one must go to bible college, or get special training from these theological experts, to short-cut the missing manuscripts, and mistranslation's that have occurred over the centuries.

Because they are "trust worthy", "highly regarded", specimens "sent from God", we can learn from their "superior skilled knowledge", "research", and "insight" of what God could (??) have meant from the time of Moses to Paul. In other words ... due to historical accounts, translation problems, social and cultural change, God was not wise enough to preserve His word, but lost it and is now providing us with the intellectual know-how to restore His word unto the common unqualified person in the street.

This type of reasoning was borrowed from the 'deep' intellectual schools of Alexandria during the time of Origin, who mutilated himself, along with the scriptures, to suit his own theology ... that Jesus was not God in the flesh. It is now promoted in order for men to defend their ecclesiastical platform, position, and livelihood, lording over the ill informed lay people of the pews. Because if Jesus was who He said He was, then they would be in serious trouble.

Simplistic, bible believing fundies are their greatest threat. Especially if they know a wee bit of (uncensored) history. The plain truth is ... nobody has the right to act as go-between, between our Maker and the individual human being on planet earth, except the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matt. 23:13. But woe unto you, scribes (bible interpreters) and Pharisees (religious pious leaders), hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

The Hebrew Roots Movement:
(the smart Jewish version of hath God said?)

Another clever movement which substitutes the Holy Spirit for interpreting the written word.

Now before you accuse me of being anti-Semite, let me make it very clear I am not anti Jewishness, nor am I anti Israel. I also believe the Church does not replace Israel in God's plan for Christ to rule from Jerusalem on earth during His 1,000 years reign, and believe Replacement Theology is a heresy. For years have we fellowshipped with my wife's cousins who are Jewish believers (although they don't make "a thing" about it). May I also say... everything scriptural in Christianity is written by Jewish believers, whereas, everything Roman in Christianity is pagan .

However, today, everything Jewish is not necessary Jewish, because like Christendom, lots of things have been paganised.

For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Rom. 9:6.

Sure, we can learn from Jewish believers, especially from a historic view point and how their culture can confirm the bible. But let's not get carried away. Just like other cultures, things have been corrupted over time. Therefore, the foundation we build upon is none other than Jesus Christ, not on any culture (how biblical it may have been), nor on someone's interpretation of history.

Also, let me make this very clear ... no one (and I mean no one) has the right to claim a higher revelation to anyone else due to race preference or credentials. Paul (a Jewish believer who said we are all equal, Gal. 2: 2,6) got it by revelation, as did the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Lollards, the Hussites, the United Brethren, the Anabaptists, the Nonconformists, some of the Reformists, some of the Protestants, and so forth! And nothing has changed:

... it shall come to pass in the last days ... I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:

No longer would God's favour be for one selected race, but would be poured out in equal measure to both Jews and Gentiles alike in these last days of grace:

Eph. 2:15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain (both peoples, Jews and Gentiles) one new man, so making peace ...

Col. 3:11. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Today, there are some men who believe because they are Jewish, are highly educated, and know Hebrew, do they have a higher calling in God ... the right to give us the original Hebrew meaning in regards to scripture the way God intended it to be interpreted. However, my bible says it is not for any private interpretation (2 Pet. 1:20), but is revealed unto babes (Matt. 11:25). The Lord gives grace to the humble. There are no rabbis under the New Covenant:

Matt. 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

Just like its peer the "Alexandrian School of Thought", the HRM adulates itself in a similar form of spiritual arrogance, intellectualizing the word of God away from the common folk, so they have to rely on paid professionals to show them the way.

Why are so many Gentile believers calling Jesus Yeshua now? Why has Christ been renamed Messiah, or Ha Mashiach, in many evangelical circles? Why has one Australian brother I know and love and sat under, rewritten the whole bible replacing all the names relating to God with apparent Hebrew meanings? And why do many Gentile believers who correspond with myself write God as G-d? I don't see this as a New Testament in any way! At its best (if there is a best) ... this is a digression into a modern form of Judaism. At its worst ... some Christians are bordering on Cabbalism (Jewish occultism). Did you know the Hebrew name Elohiym (title of God or gods) puts the Lord in a open-ended position, supporting the New Agers concept of God. Look at some of the web sites promoting this name and you will see them steeped in Cabbalism.

I can understand Jewish believers calling the Lord, Yeshua Ha Mashiach as they find Him. The Bible also refers to Messiah in its correct context, Dan. 9: 25- 26:

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. John 4:25.

However, when these ethnic titles begin to replace the name of the Lord Jesus Christ do we run into danger, as this gives license to tamper with the scripturally Name above all names. We must remember biblically Messiah is transposed to Christ as the final name of authority ... Messias cometh, which is called Christ:

Using the name Yeshua Ha Mashiach is okay if it points to the scriptural Jesus. It becomes deception when it replaces Jesus which is Christ.

We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. John 4:41. Not the other way round.

But many Gentile Christians have fallen prey to the modern Judaizers of our day as the Galatians did in the first century:

Gal. 3:1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

And have been seduced by their teaching:

Titus 1:14. Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

It is very clear from scripture that Jewish fables, along with commandments of men, can turn the unsuspecting away from the truth of God's word.

Culturalfying Jesus:

1 Tim. 1:4. Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Many ethnic groups who have feared losing their identity in society are now inventing a Jesus to suit their culture. Back in the dark ages Jesus was portrayed as a blond long haired, blue eyed, effeminate European Messiah. During the youth counter culture of the late 60's, He was a hippie. In struggling Third World Marxist countries He was a political liberator. Today, through the United Nations NGO, He is being promoted as a black or brown, or whatever suits your group, common denominator. All these images of course totally destroy the power of the gospel as the biblical Jesus was indeed Jewish, and had to be Jewish, from the line of King David back to Abraham, the unspoiled promised seed.

The 'multicultural' Jesus type of thinking is again anti scripture, as nowhere in the Book are we encouraged to defend, restore, promote our culture, but to contend for the faith.

I recently heard a prominent brother on Christian radio say when he first came to the Lord his culture was irrelevant . However, the Lord has since showed him his culture to be very relevant (!!??). Does the Lord change His mind or something? I guess if the Lord was a contemporary lord like some contemporary Christians profess the gospel to be, we could justify He changes with the times.

Paul, a very religious / zealous Jew before he was converted, said in regards to his culture and religion in Phil. 3: 5- 8:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. And ... do count them but dung, that I may win Christ ...

What has brainwashed believers in recent years to have made such U-turns in their faith?

By observing some of these New Age "Christian" multicultural celebration "get-togethers", it is now becoming apparent they are now using their Christianity to justify and sell their culture. Don't misunderstand me here, as I am not against culture or customs, and do delight in diversities. Though it is obvious large portions of our cultures are based on heathen and paganistic practices (paying homage to foreign deities and nature or ancestral worship) which can easy be incorporated into the New Age Movement, but always diametrically opposed to the Gospel.

To summarize, following is a second letter I wrote to a internationally prominent Brother pointing out some of these errors he is promoting, as I felt he was bordering on many of the things we have mentioned. I have never heard back from this Brother. Please pray for him:

Discerning the true and false:

(Some spelling and grammar may have been corrected whereas the context is still the same)

"Hi there ( ........ )

I never did hear back from you in regards to me warning you against building your (or a part of your) ministry on music ... One of the main deceptions in the Conventional Church. I see that you are still promoting this as a part of an end time revival. Firstly, revival means ... bringing back to its original existence or activity. I cannot see in my New Testament where music was the activity used for evangelism in any sense of the word. The only thing I can see was used was that which is foolishness to man, the preaching of the gospel. Nowhere does it mention the the clever things of the world which man celebrates, which is foolishness to God.

Titus 1:3. But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour ...

Some other things which concern me about your ministry Brother ... firstly: God using "sanctified gangs" in these last days. Praise Him for individual gang members who are coming to the grace of God. But to exchange gang paraphernalia for Christian paraphernalia, like chapters and patches for Jesus etc., is not for the spiritual man. I have seen photos in our own local newspaper of Bodgie types who have apparently been saved, and are now virtually cool "Bodgies" for Jesus. Meaning, they now have tats (tattoos) inscribed on them like "Jesus saves", and wear all the same (crazy) apparel they wore before, but with Christian symbols (and mottos) on, a long with their crazy hair duze.

Zep. 1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.

Didn't Keith Green call this "Jesus" junk. I heard the other day someone ringing up our local Christian radio station justifying their brother getting a pierced tongue, saying they had no problem with this as God knew his heart. These sickened things shouldn't even be discussed in Christian circles, as the word of God is clear about marking and mutilating the temple.

I'm not saying you advocate all these things Brother, but this is where all this stuff leads when the word of God is not drawing the line. These people do not know the scriptures and do not want to know the scriptures. They have turned to another Jesus ... a convenient Jesus, a trendy Jesus. The bible talks about a new life after rebirth. Not turning over a new leaf, or being reformed. Of course, I'm sure you will agree with me here ... there are no "Bodgies" for Jesus, just children of God who have been translated out of darkness.

And lastly, this vision about a Woman in dirty white clothes representing Christ's Body. Where is the scripture and verse backing up this claim? That's like saying Christ needs to present a new robe for the Bride again. You are very quick to flick over many letters by many "prophets", with many wonderful visions and words, for end time guidance, but where is God's final authority in all of this ... His written word? Do you not prayerfully scrutinize all the material that passes before you. I have also read some very good articles you present, from people like Art Katz, Leonard Ravenhill, and David Wilkerson. Maybe if you sent about a third (at least) of what you send, biblically and prayerfully scrutinized, would it make more of an impact, and not clutter up my Inbox? But who am I ... just one of many voices in the wilderness! And who are you?"

Your Brother in Christ.

The Two Gospels in the Closing Hours:

One of the main proofs today that we are at the end of the last days is the "great falling away" delusion which has become predominately rampant in the organized church, permeating out into the secular world, as the salt looses its savour. In Second Thessalonians Two we read how this movement paves the way for the Man of Sin (anti-christ) to make his entry into the world scene.

This is why the Word of God is so divisive and discerning:

... we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ... Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience ... Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The devil has been so effective infiltrating and working in the midst of God's elect, Christians have lost the plot by allowing their eyes to be taken away from the Word of God onto other preoccupations. One bunch are busy chasing signs instead of letting signs confirm the Word. Others have become dream and vision based instead of word based. While others have fallen prey to the "Hath God said" cults like the Alexandrian Movement and the Hebraic Roots Movement. William Booth, at the turn of this century, prophesied that a day was coming when forgiveness would be preached without repentance. This day is now upon us ... the Gospel of Luv!

Moses did come with the law. However, Jesus Christ not only came with grace but truth also. Thy word is truth! It's no good just preaching love without truth. The hippies did this back in the 60's and ended up in a mess. Now the church is doing the same and ending up in a bigger mess because ... For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.

With the advent of my wife's second cousin (a Christian) ending her life tragically a couple of years ago, and friends of ours loosing their daughter (a Christian) the same way recently, I'm compelled to share my heart in the midst of such tragedy and doctrinal dispute:

Firstly, leave the judging to the Lord. This area is His business not ours. Whether they made it or not is not ours to say, as we do not know for sure. Do we make hard and fast rules when we do not know what was going on in the mind and heart of an offender? Or do we abandon truth to let grace win the day when they are both inseparable? Or throw judgement out for making concession with justice:

Ps. 89:14. Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Just as it would be wrong to write them off, would it be equally as wrong to rejoice and make celebration of them making it into the Eternal City.

Secondly, situations like this should always be pointed back to ourselves ... How do I measure up? What is in my heart?

Especially due to the fact their is no scriptural guarantee where the offender went beyond the incident. Which should spiritually keep us on our toes (instead of treading on others) and keep us with the same sober attitude of Paul:

2 Cor. 5:10-11. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men ...

Falling away from the faith starts first by the whittling down of small things, like for instance ... placing the emphasis on our present comfort before our eternal comfort in the Life to come. A little leaven needs to be dealt with at the offshoots, before the whole thing becomes leavened.

In regards to this watering down process ... a couple of evenings ago, just before I went out and shared at a meeting, I wrote down the following to present as a question at the conclusion of my message. I will conclude this letter by putting the same question to you:

Gospel A says ...

We have been saved by grace, not of works should any man boast. Nothing can redeem us outside of Christ. Salvation is a free gift. Nothing can attain this gift. We don't deserve it or earn it in any way. And nothing that exists can take this gift away.

Therefore, it doesn't matter what we do, as we cannot loose the gift. Although it would be in our best interests to do something with it, if we are to obtain crowns in the next life.

Gospel B says ...

We have been saved by grace, not of works should any man boast. Nothing can redeem us outside of Christ. Salvation is a free gift. Nothing can attain this gift. We don't deserve it or earn it in any way. And nothing that exists can take this gift away.

However, because the Lord has given us another chance, we are responsible to make the most of this chance, by being good and faithful stewards with this gift. Because just as we have been grafted in, can we be cut off. Therefore, we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

Which Gospel is Heaven's intended one to embrace?

One is based merely on the fact that God loves us. The other is based solely on the scriptural context of: We love him (by obeying His word), because he first loved us. There is a vast difference. One is of man whereas the other is of God. One is mere counterfeit whereas the other is from above. One is based on emotionalism and human sentiment. Whereas the other is based on discernment, which can only be applied by the cutting edge of God's word.

A hearer or doer:

When religion is not flurry and activity then it manifests itself as passive and docile, without sustenance and without fruit.

James 1: 22-24. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

In a word religion is hearing, whereas the true faith is doing!

A hearer can still be a busy bee, or a busy body, but generally will not be applying the word of truth to their life. Have you ever had the experience of visiting a Sunday Fellowship? Looking in from outside the perimeter that is? Some, that appear moderate and still on the rails, can be hard to pin point what is wrong, when everything inside you is ringing with alarm bells. The singing is scriptural, the atmosphere is lifelike. Everyone is apparently loving one another. There is order and poise. The Pastor comes and brings a biblical message to a seemingly eagerly poised congregation. He is not stiff and starchy, and free to throw in a joke or two, even out of personal experience.

But what is wrong? The whole Sunday event ... It is a lie! Not so much outwardly, but inwardly. Because the whole performance has just been that ... a performance! An entertainment, and a contradiction!

A contradiction ... because the truth was only spoken outwardly, whereas the spirit of the event (from the Pastor to the general attitude of everyone participating) was saying:

"I know the bible can be hard, even a little cutting, a little uncomfortable perhaps, but please don't take it to heart, after all, the Lord knows we are only human! He knows we try our best. God's allowance depends on circumstances, our behavioral responses in certain events and time stages. How we do things."

An entertainment ... because it made the sermon interesting, it kept peoples attention, made them go away feeling good about their Pastor, their Church, themselves. Ended the week on a positive note. After all ... life is not that serious!

Religiously, the meeting was successful. Biblically, it was a sham. Because the Spirit of truth was not present verifying the spoken word of truth. Truth was absent in the inward parts. The Pastor was a man pleaser. The sermon was for the ear and not the heart. The presence of God had only been atmosphere. The word of God had only been part of the decor, along with other evangelical trappings and trimmings. All because the Pastor and the congregation were an assembly of hearers only, thereby deceiving themselves.

How were they deceived? By not biblically, ruthlessly, and radically applying the Word of God to their lives. This is the beginning of Religion ... responding with the ear, without following it up from the heart. Speaking it! Hearing it! Knowing it! Adorning it! Even being entertained by it! But not obeying it! Not doing it!

To obey is better than sacrifice:

We've touched on many words portraying double meanings throughout this article. Words like wine, testament, covenant, law, a city, a nation, a woman, a people. Always the same word with dual meanings (one inferior and obsolete, giving way to the better and lasting) with the same goal ... that God's mystery may be made manifest to the hungry and those desperate for the truth. But hidden and sealed to those conceited. Although some times the truth can be revealed in part, responding proportionally to the same degree of the hearers openness, teachableness, and humility of heart.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:

The best is kept for last ... The Lord's wine poured in this Day is sweet and good. And free.

The wine poured on the Lord's Day will be bitter and nasty.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Today, is the day of tasting! Today, is the day of heeding! Now is the acceptable time!