Featured post

If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

The text, for those who have trouble with a rather individual cursive, reads as follows: Scandal after Scandal. No institution safe....

Friday, 28 June 2013

Fear, Guilt and Shame: which one drives you?

Whilst catching up with some online reading I came across a link to the following article: Marching for Allah: How should we respond to the Muslim protests?

It has some excellent insights into the difficulty of dialogue with Islam and the very different ways in which cultures think. It is well worth reading for anyone who has to deal with Muslims.

The West tends to be guilt based, until recently. We need to be right. The East is generally shame based, hence the need for honour and to be seen to win. Some tribal groups are fear based and hence their hostility as threats must be eliminated.

Having said that, I know plenty of people who are eaten up with all three. I believe that Love casts out fear, Hope answers guilt and Trust (Faith) replaces shame. 

Jesus is the answer to all of this.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

God's Power and Compassion; Our Weakness and Mission

This PowerPoint presentation was the core of a sermon based on 1Kings 19: 1 - 18 and the gospel of Luke 8: 26 - 39. It shows how God works in the Tenach and in the New Testament. It shows how God works today and the challenge we have to pray and obey.

Gospel Partners Movement are a Church of South India evangelical mission working in the North-east of India.  

The PowerPoint has been modified for general use and now reads 'Our Church' when the sermon reaches the point of application.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Gentle reader, some apologies

I've not been a very good scholar with the previous post. I've cut and pasted from other work of mine and I realise that I've left too much unclear and in need of explanation. I've been trying to do too much and took a short cut just to put something up.
The conclusions could easily be misunderstood. This is only one piece of a much bigger picture. Context is everything and there is not enough context.
It's meant to part of a series examining various prophetic interpretations and how they affect and effect relations between Christians and Israel. 
I will endeavour to clarify some points in the near future. Please bear with me. I think it will be of interest.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Your exile is over. The end of the Wandering Jew?

Why the Jewish diaspora has lasted so long and why there is no longer any Divine opposition to the Return of the exiles to the Land. (There's plenty of other opposition, but that's for another day.) The Ezekiel-Moses Clock is the clock of the Dispersion.
I first preached what follows on the 3rd April 2005. Exactly 1972 years since Jesus rose from the dead. At the time I knew that 2005 would be significant prophetically, but I had no idea how. It was some time later that I found out what had taken place. I'll keep you waiting a little while for the answer.
What follows is of importance to Jew and to Christian. As it was first preached to Christians, any Jewish readers will have to be patient with explanations of stuff that you are all too familiar with. Likewise, Christians will have to patient with the reverse.
The Exiles of the Dispersion

1 Peter 1 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, chosen and destined by God the Father, and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.  May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

These are the first two verses of Peter’s first letter.  Some commentators have said that this letter was written to the Gentiles, or to a mixture of Jews and Gentiles, in what is now Turkey and what used to be called Asia Minor.  However, if you look at Acts 2, and particularly at verses 9 and 10, you find that Peter is speaking to Jews from many countries and, in particular, countries mentioned are Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia.  A number of other countries are mentioned but those are the ones that overlap with 1 Peter chapter 1, and in looking at a map of the ancient world we find that all of these places are what we would now call Turkey.  In short, the whole of 1 Peter is written to some of the Jews that Peter first spoke on the day of Pentecost.  They have now returned to Turkey and he is writing to them and possibly to their Gentile converts as well.  They are called, in the RSV, “the exiles of the dispersion”.  In other versions of the Bible that is translated slightly differently, but when you check with the Greek there is no question that they are sojourners of the Diaspora. ‘Diaspora’ is the Greek word for ‘dispersion’.  These are the Jews that have been scattered to the world according to the Old Testament scriptures.  These are those who have been separated, to some degree, from God, from the Holy Land and from the Temple.  In addition to them, we have the Gentiles who have been scattered across the world and who have been separated God for a lot longer time, but in essence this letter is addressed to the Jews of the dispersion, to the Jews in exile.
There is another interesting comparison to be made between Peter’s letter to the people of Turkey and what he said on that day of Pentecost, because in both his speech on the day of Pentecost and his letter, he emphasises that Jesus has come according to the scriptures and particularly he emphasises the work of the Prophets.  On the day of Pentecost he mentions King David and the Prophet Joel.  In the letter of Peter he quotes from a great many prophets.  He quotes from Isaiah, from Psalms, from Hosea and he quotes from Leviticus.  He even alludes to some of Paul’s writing, which he says are difficult to understand. This latter sentiment has been echoed over the centuries. 

The reason for and length of the exile

However, the key thing we need to look at is why the Jews are in dispersion anyway.  The Jews have been scattered from their land to because of the nation’s sins against God.  They had been warned by Moses and, indeed, by prophets since Moses that, if they continued to disobey God they would be scattered from the land.

Now we need to take a look at Ezekiel chapter 4.  Ezekiel was describing siege conditions.  The city of Jerusalem is surrounded by an army, and they are in deep trouble. This has happened on more than one occasion and prophetic scriptures concerning Jerusalem being surrounded by armies are very interesting.  Jesus himself commented on this and predicted this. His prophecy was fulfilled in AD70 on occasion, and the terrible thing is that it will be fulfilled again, and possibly even in our own lifetimes.  If it does happen in our own lifetimes, however, we can expect the return of Christ.  Leaving that aside for the moment and going back to Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was told to lie on one side for a certain number of days and then to lie on the other side for another number of days.  He is told in chapter 4, verse 5, that he will lie on his left side for 390 days, each day equalling a year, and that is the punishment of the house of Israel and he is to bear it, to carry it in some way.  Then he shall lie down again a second time on his right side for 40 days, again a day for each year, a punishment for the house of Judah.  Ezekiel, whose name means my God is righteous, is here, to some extent, acting out not only the punishment on Israel, but the role of Jesus. Jesus himself, of course, will take not only the punishment laid upon Israel, but the punishment laid upon the whole world. 

However, Ezekiel is to do a total of 430 days, each day equalling a year, 430 years.  This is the punishment of Israel for its disobedience, of the Jews, of Judah and of Israel for their disobedience. 

They served 70 of these years in Babylon in exile, from which came the scriptures of Daniel, some of the Psalms, though not all, but including the well known Psalm (By the waters of Babylon, we lay down and wept) which has spawned pop songs. Don McLean and Hot Chocolate have both done versions and it goes right back to those times of exile in Babylon over 2,500 years ago. 

If we take those 70 years away from the 430, that leaves us 360 years to serve.  The exile in Babylon last from 586 BC to 516 BC, so if we follow another 360 years from 516 BC, the punishment is over by 156 BC (some 150 plus years before the birth of Jesus) and that is it, finished.  But there is a problem with this.  It was not finished.  The people of Israel did not all return at the end of the exile, by any means, neither was there repentance by 516 BC, certainly not a thorough repentance.  They had not returned to a pure, unadulterated worship of the Lord, and there were still plenty of Jews scattered around the world.  So, 360 years after the exile we can safely say they had not really learned their lesson. (I should point out that nobody else is very good at learning lessons, but the Jews are God's chosen Nation.)

What happens now?  This is where a significant set of scriptures in Leviticus, chapter 26, needs to be taken into account.  In Leviticus 26, Moses tells the people of Israel that if they do not repent then God says, “if after this you will not listen to me (me being God) I will punish you for all your sins seven times over. This is mentioned four times, in verses 18, 21, 24 and 28 - four times.  God is not joking.  Not only is He not joking, He is not just emphasising this; He is beating them around the head with a warning.  Four times; this is complete, this is perfect, this will happen. 

The conditions in Leviticus 26 are very similar to those in Ezekiel.  They are siege conditions, they are scattered amongst the nations.  The cities are desolate, the land laid waste, and in fact, for a very long time the land of Israel has indeed been laid waste.  Let us multiply those 360 years remaining by that factor of 7, and we get a total of 2,520 years, which is a long time. (Now at this stage I want to say that I am indebted for this insight to George T. Curle of New Zealand.)   2,520 years, a number which resonates with the Book of Revelation and some of the numbers in there and in Daniel.  The reason for this is that the Babylonians had a 360 day year, and that is why we have 360o in a circle, 12 hours in our clock, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes to the hour and 60 seconds to the minutes. It all goes back to the Babylonians. 

360 years times 7, this is a profound, deep and complete punishment, during which Israel will never be in complete control of its own land and many Jews will never live in the Promised Land.  It was partially in the control of Israel for periods of time, though never quite in total control. The authority, the sceptre, passed from Israel, with the death of Herod the Great. The sceptre is the power to execute judgement to the point of capital punishment. It began to move away, this was after Jesus was born, and during his lifetime the Romans took over it completely.  This, again, was according to prophecy that the Messiah would come (Abraham prophesied this) that the sceptre would not depart from Judah before Shiloh, that is the Messiah, came.  And that is exactly what happened, Jesus was born while Herod the Great was still king.

However, back to the exiles in the dispersion and the period of the dispersion which is 2,520 years.  The question is, of course, are these Babylonian years of 360 days or our solar years of 365.24 days?  Over 2,500 years this makes a difference.  So - a sum. We have the 70 years of punishment, plus 360 x 7 = 2,520, a total of 2,590 years of exile, of never really being in charge of their own land, always in fear of somebody else and eventually, in fact, totally removed from it. Some Jews remained or returned to the land over the centuries, but they had no form of governmental control over it until 1948.

What are we to do with these 2,590 years? If we treat them as 360 day years, we have to multiply them by 360 and divide them by 365.24. A simple calculator will suffice for those who do not like long division and multiplication. This gives us 2,552. To this we add 1, because there is no year zero between BC and AD, and then we take away from it, not the number we first thought of, but 586BC, the beginning of the exile.  The answer we will get is 1,967.84. In other words, 1967 and a bit. 

The beginning of the end of Exile

We are looking at 1967.  What happened in 1967?  Well, in that year Israel recaptured the whole of the Jerusalem and the Temple area, and for a while had total sovereignty over the whole of the city of Jerusalem.  The Temple Mount was given back to the Muslim Waqf and since then Israel has not exercised complete sovereignty over Jerusalem and, of course, there are chunks of the Promised Land which are not under Israel’s rule at all. (The Waqf is the Muslim authority which is supposed to look after the Temple Mount, because the Mosque of Omar, sometimes called the Al-Aqsa mosque was built on that site as a symbol of Islamic victory over the Crusaders and the Jews. Not surprisingly, they have no interest in archaeological investigation of the site.)

1967 is the answer we get only if we do the calculation based on the Babylonian year.  If we just stick with a simpler calculation of solar years we don’t have to do this complicated multiplication sum. We take our 2,590 years, we subtract 586BC from them, we add 1 because there is no year zero, and we get - do the sum - 2005, this very year.  This is a year of immense significance.  We are living in a period which appears to have been predicted, indeed, fixed, partly in the time of Ezekiel and partly in the time of Moses.  Something God foresaw and planned for and hid in the scriptures for our times.  This calculation not only explains and illuminates the times in which we are living; it also explains why there is such a massive gap in another calculation between the death of Jesus and other events predicted in the book of Daniel.

Two men in particular have done a great deal scholarly research on the dates of the Bible:  Dr Harold W Hoehner in his book Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, looks particularly at the dating of the life of Jesus; Dr Edwin Thiele has looked at the dating of the Old Testament and their figures are generally the ones on which much of this prophetic work is based.

In his book Daniel predicts a total of 70 weeks of years that Israel has been given to fulfil all righteousness, to fulfil its mission, to do what God has called it to do.  They are also told that after 69 of those weeks of years, the Messiah would be cut off.  When that calculation is done for the first 69 weeks of years it accurately predicts the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  It comes in shortly before the Crucifixion. It starts in 444BC and finishes predicting accurately the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. If you want to see the calculation and the historical arguments surrounding it, etc, then I would recommend the book Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ.

It is possible from that information and other information in the book of Daniel, to show that the wise men not only knew when Jesus would die, but when he would be born and indeed even the date of his resurrection.  All of that is in the Book of Daniel, but between the death of Jesus and the remaining seven years there is a gap.  Daniel’s clock stops with the rejection of the Messiah.  Ezekiel’s clock, however, has been multiplied by seven.  It is a lot longer than originally thought and it takes over.  That clock continues ticking.   That is the clock of exile and the Jews are scattered the world over and in recent years, particularly since 1967, we have seen them coming from all over the world, including some surprise ones from Africa, from China, from India, groups of people, who have been able to show that they are descended from Jews who migrated after the scattering of the Ten Tribes in the Old Testament, let alone what happened to the Jews after AD70 and the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple.  Bit by bit, all of these people are coming back just as prophesied and the ones who are hardest to move are the ones who are doing very nicely, thank you, in Britain and America.  They are comfortable and see very little reason, as yet, to move to Israel.  That, I believe, will change.  

That's as far as I got in 2005 in understanding the prophecy. Anti-Semitism is getting worse all over the world, even in the USA.

So now for the bit I learned later. I had to do some research before I discovered what had happened and I think that it will have passed a lot of Jews and nearly all Christians by as well.

In 2004 the Sanhedrin was re-established and in 2005 they called for specific plans to rebuild the Temple.

Many Jewish  scholars and rabbis are not at all sure of the Sanhedrin's validity. Consider this, the Temple Mount was re-taken according to prophecy (1967) and the call for Temple plans occurred according to prophecy (2005).

As I understand it, there is no Divine prohibition in force preventing Jews from returning to the Land or from re-building the Temple.

Many Christians will go apoplectic. For the sake of clarity; the Temple is not necessary if you believe in Jesus the Messiah. There is no more need for sacrifice. However, there is a prophetic need for the Temple and anyone not believing in Jesus as Messiah needs the Temple. Basically, rebuilding the Temple is not down to Christians or Messianic Jews, it's down to devout Jews who have not yet recognised the Messiah. Brothers and sisters, it's not our decision.

There now exist two powers. The recognised political power (the Knesset) and the partially recognised religious power (the Sanhedrin). 

It's all about the Messiah.

This is the really Christian bit - but it's very Jewish.

On the way to the Cross, Jesus prophesied as follows:

He was quoting from Psalm 118: 26

This would seem to imply that an official recognition, from the Temple, by the Knesset and the Sanhedrin is required to bring about His Return.  

It was always Israel's responsibility to bring in the Messiah. The Church (the Bride) will go to the Groom (Yeshua). This is why He will never return at the Bride's behest. It's really that simple.



Monday, 17 June 2013

Prophecy, prediction and psychics

One of the subjects that I will be returning to, on occasion, is Biblical prophecy and current events. Before I start blogging on specifics, I want to include a post on definitions - and spelling.This latter, because I used to be a school-teacher and I became very familiar with the common mistakes.

Spelling first.

PropheCy is the noun. It is the thing itself.
PropheSy is the verb. It is the act of making a prophecy.

US visitors, please take note. The above confusion is rather common on US sites

Prophet, a noun. The person making the prophecy.

Phrophet - a spelling mistake.  

Profit - a confusion and nothing to do with our subject. See the end of the post for a definition.

In the Old Testament/Tenach, a prophet was generally a person of high moral character and devotion to YHWH who, when filled with the Spirit of God, would speak and/or write on behalf of God. What he, or she, said, was held to be as good as God speaking directly to the hearer/reader. Exceptions to the high moral standard of prophets were Balaam, Saul and David. All prophets were human and did, on occasion, sin. 

Some prophetic ministries were associated with miracles, such as Moses and Elijah .

In the New Testament, prophecy was more common, all the Apostles were prophets as well as others who dealt solely in the ministry of a prophet. The high moral standard was and is essential.

In many ways, a prophet has the same standing with respect to God as an Ambassador does with respect to the Head of State.

Again, miracles can be associated with the prophetic ministry, but not always. 

Prophecy may or may not include prediction, but when it does it is a major test of legitimacy.

The Church, as a whole, has a continuing prophetic role when it obeys God as does Israel in a different way, but also when obedient.

False prophets. 

Prophets of false gods, see also psychics. People claiming to be prophets of God usually for status and/or financial gain. Money is nearly always the giveaway. Also the failure of their more significant predictions.

A prophet can be rich independently of his or her ministry but if prophecy becomes the path to riches there is something wrong.

Psychics are a subset of false prophets. They do not always worship any particular god and some will even claim to be Christian or devout Jews. They lay claim to powers that generally mimic the ministry of a prophet or apostle. Again, money is the giveaway. If psychics do have any power it is either that they are exceptionally intelligent and observant, as in the TV series 'The Mentalist', or their abilities come from a source other than God i.e. demonic in nature.


Not everyone who makes a prediction is a prophet or psychic. Meteorologists, seismologists, futurologists etc. etc. all make a living from making predictions. It's all perfectly lawful as long as it is done honestly and scientifically. Honest mistakes will happen as aell as foolish and even dishonest ones.

Interpreting prophetic scriptures in the light of current events other wise known as the signs of the times is also lawful. However, different schemes of interpretation do produce different results. This can be very significant in one's attitude to some current events. I will examine this aspect in a future post. (A prediction!!)

Jesus compared prophetic interpretation to weather-forecasting.  This is worth bearing in mind. He expected understanding as the events were closing in on them. The closer the path of a hurricane gets, the easier it is is to predict its future path.

Interpreters can get things wrong. As long as they do not say, 'Thus says the Lord' there is not a problem. A mistaken interpreter is NOT a false prophet. They may or may not be a false teacher.

It is also foolish to set dates where the Church is concerned. I will deal with this aspect in a later post. Setting dates where Israel is concerned is another matter. The Bible is full of examples and in my next post I will look at some of these. In particular, I will examine the "Moses-Ezekiel clock" which is very interesting and explains a great many things for Jews and Christians.


1a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something:record pre-tax profits [mass noun]:his eyes brightened at the prospect of profit
  • 2 [mass noun] advantage; benefit:there’s no profit in screaming at referees from the bench

verb (profits, profiting, profited)

[no object]
  • obtain a financial advantage or benefit:the only people to profit from the episode were the lawyers
  • obtain an advantage or benefit:not all children would profit from this kind of schooling
  • [with object] be beneficial to:it would profit us to change our plans

Saturday, 15 June 2013

1984 or the fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

In  Part Four of Developing Christian Zionism I referred to the ability to reach the world with the gospel. It's part of the Great Commission given by Jesus to the Church.

There is also prophecy that every eye will see the return of Christ. We thought that meant television. We never thought about the internet or the Web. No-one dreamed of YouTube, camera-phones and the like. And now there's this: Internet Balloons. Google's plan to get the internet everywhere. Is this the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy or 1984? If the Obamabots and the No Such Agency have anything to do with it it will be a delayed 1984.

Thank the Lord, He laughs at the plans of men as He says in Psalm 2.


We have been given a marvellous opportunity to reach the world with the gospel.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Agricultural Jihad. The ongoing war against Israel.

Daphne Anson sent me an interesting link. It led to the video below. You can find more from Erick Stakelbeck here and here. There's a stack of interesting subjects to peruse and all of them relevant to Christians and Jews.

Deuteronomy 20: 19 - 20 ESV

It's what they don't say that tells you what you need to know.

I should read the vicar's blog more often. Mea culpa. Over at Transforming Grace, he has posted on the bowdlerisation of Scripture with particular reference to a psalm/canticle in Ezekiel.

"The canticle has five verses, but the bible reference shows that verses 27 and 28a are missing. When I notice this sort of omission I turn to my bible to see what the naughty liturgical committee has cut out and here it is (omissions in bold)":

I will take you from the nations
and gather you from all the countries
and bring you into your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness-es,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
26 And I will give you a new heart,
and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit within you,
and cause you to walk in my statutes
and be careful to obey my rules.
28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers,

and you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36:24-28

This is Rev. Neil's comment on what he saw:

Do you notice what different effects reading the two readings, or singing the canticles, have on you as the reader? The first reading from Common Worship omits the purpose of God’s work in his people. The reader is left with the effect of a warm glow of God’s ability to change the hard human heart. Sure, it’s nice to have a new heart of flesh, but what is this new heart for? The full reading of scripture discloses God’s purposes; to turn the hearts of his people from idols and to give them the desire to obey him.

The cumulative effect of this sort of distortion of scripture might explain why our denomination is as it is. People aren’t stupid but we are all shaped by what we read in devotion. If our liturgy shapes us to talk about worshipping the God of love who changes hearts whilst those who read the whole of scripture have a much fuller and rounded view of God (which includes having a heart for God which turns away from the worship of created things and is willing to obey God’s statutes, amongst other aspects of God’s character revealed in scripture but are judicially removed from our liturgy and our diet of bible readings) then of course we’ll be at odds with one another.

I do not dispute any of this. I added a comment, which I trust will be published, as follows:

They’ve removed the destination so that there is no future Hope for the Christian or the Jew. They’ve removed the removal of idols and so made it multi-faith which removes the Heart of our faith which is Jesus.
They’ve removed the Holy Spirit and so removed the Help of the believer as well as putting their own souls in peril.
Finally, it’s anti-Semitic as well.
No future, no faith and no fruit. No hope. No faith . No love. It’s a pretty comprehensive attack, but it forms the basis of a good sermon!

It's anti-Semitic and it's anti-Messiah/Christ, which is no coincidence. No wonder we're in trouble.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Say Shibboleth. Sibboleth.

Sibboleth . Or if you're from Eire (Southern Ireland) say 'Three'. Tree.

A shibboleth in English has come to mean a test to see if you are one of us.
The reason for this little lesson in language and accent is that the South tend to see the Israel/Palestine conflict as Brits/Irish and in the same order. It may come as no surprise that, in the North, Protestant Christians support Israel as they see the conflict the other way round. This is a generalisation as the following remarkable video will demonstrate. 

The speaker hits all the issues with unerring accuracy. Well worth listening to.

Another excellent video from Top Israel Videos.

If Jesus was so Jewish, why do Christians worship on a Sunday?

Actually, it's not anti-Semitism; although it became a distinguishing mark in the same way as the Sabbath was for Jews. 

Did you know that "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is not repeated in the New Testament? That should keep some Christians busy for a little while. I have put the references below this post but without links.

And don't take this out of context, Jew or Gentile, and use this to have ago.

Nevertheless, it does seem strange that a faith that is certain that the Jew Jesus is the Christ (Yeshua ha Moschiach) doesn't worship on a Saturday. What happened to change things; when and why did this happen?

I will explain, but firstly, I want to deal with the Christian variations on this issue.


This has got to seem offensive to Jews, but it is about our attitude to God's Law and not about having a dig at Jewish custom and practice. It refers to those Christians, Jewish and Gentile, who are convinced that it is necessary for Christians/Messianic Jews to observe the Sabbath with varying degrees of strictness and, in some case, rivalling the ultra-orthodox.

The Seventh Day Adventists are the best known example of this, but recently there have been those who have made Sabbath Day observance a condition of salvation. They are no longer saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone but also by the addition of earning your place in Heaven through Sabbath day observance.

If we could perfectly keep the Law we could enter heaven freely and without hindrance. We cannot. In the Old Testament, God provides a whole system of sacrifices to deal with our sin and failure. In the New Testament, the Perfect Sacrifice has arrived. But we still need the sacrifice because we cannot keep the Law in this fallen body of ours. We still need the Grace of God, a true faith (read the prophets) and the Messiah.

They have forgotten that the Sabbath seems to be strangely missing from the New Testament.  

Some Sabbatarians focus on Sunday as the Sabbath! Yes, really.

Lord's Day Observance Society

The LDOS are not as misguided as the Adventists and others. When they argue for the blessings and benefits of observing a day for worship, rest, family and fellowship they do well. When they move towards a requirement of faith, albeit for Sunday, they are mistaken.

Keep Sunday Special  (Not an aberration)

Keep Sunday Special are arguing for a special day of worship, by custom and practice, Sunday. They are not legalists but advocate a practical application of Christian understanding and witness. They are witnessing to the need for worship, rest , family and fellowship. Many atheists and agnostics can support most of the aims of KSS - apart from the religious stuff.

Christians recognise that it is practical and godly to have one day in seven set aside for worship, rest, family and fellowship. 

So what happened to Saturday?

Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. It was the barley harvest on the 16th Nisan. Being a good Jew he rested on the Sabbath and began the New Creation on the same day as the old creation began. Sunday. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost/Shavuot; again, a Sunday. These are days of New Creation.

As He was the Perfect Sacrifice, all those who put their faith in Him, a believing and transforming faith, enter into the Sabbath rest. The New Creation is the ultimate fulfillment of ALL the promises and covenants in the Tenach. However, it is not yet fully realised. God has begun the process of forming His New and Perfect Creation from the Remnants of the Old. This is not to say that the Church is perfect, far from it. It is to say that the greater Sabbath Rest of which the Sabbath is picture, has been obtained for us by faith in Jesus, the Perfect and acceptable sacrifice Who rose from the dead.

Sunday is NOT the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath day looks forward to the perfect  Sabbath Rest which is given to those who put their faith in God's Messiah. Sunday celebrates the new creation and the achievement of that rest by Jesus. All days are part of the Great Sabbath, but while we wait for the full establishment of the Kingdom, Sunday is a good day for worship, rest , family and fellowship.

There was also a practical matter for the nascent gentile church. A lot of its members were found among the poor, the outcast and the slaves.A day of rest on any day was never going to be easy. The churches met before or after work, sometimes in secret and in hiding, whenever they could.

How we got the weekend.

Over the course of time, as the number of Jews who were followers of Jesus dwindled, then Sunday turned into a quasi-Sabbath for the Church. It then served as a distinguishing mark and a means of separation from the very nation whose Messiah had won salvation for us and brought the light of the gospel to the gentile world. 

Sunday became a day of rest for the Christian world. 

Usury laws applied to the Christian as much as to the Jew. The work-around for this was to encourage the Jews to lend to the Christians, by fair means or foul. This form of casuistry worked for a Church that had lost sight of the gospel as well as for the Jew - at least some of the time. This gave rise to the banking houses such as the Rothschilds and others, as well as to the myth that the Jews ran everything. Of course, it didn't stay that way, but the banks closed on Saturday and that tradition continued until, eventually, we had a weekend for the upper classes which slowly, very slowly, percolated down to the masses, partly through the influence of schools. Of course, there were many other factors as well but this is where it all started.

This unwitting collusion by Jew and Christian gave us the great blessing of the weekend. How much greater would the blessing be if we could actively work together? It would mean life from the dead, according to Paul.

Where to find the Commandments in the New Testament.

The truth is 9 of the 10 commandments Ex.20:3-4 are repeated and incorporated in the New Testament epistles but the 4th one is not.

The 1st and 2nd commandment- which prohibit the worship of other Gods (50 times) and idols are repeated (12 times) Acts 15:29, 17:16: Rom.1:25; 1 Cor.6:9-10, 10:14: 1 Jn.5:21: Rev.21:8, 22:15.
The 3rd commandment of reverencing his name not to take it in vain (4 times ) Ex.20:7 is also repeated in the New Testament  Mt.5:33;  James 5:12.
The 4th commandment- ? Where do the apostles teach to keep the Sabbath? Its missing even for the Gentiles who had no concept of the Jewish laws would need to be instructed.
The 5th commandment- to respect your parents is also repeated (6 times) Mt.15:4-9: Eph.6:1-3 and Rom.13:1-7.
The 6th commandment- of forbidding murder Ex.20:13 is in the New Testament (4 times). Rom.13:9; Mt.19:18 and the true intent is explained in Mt.5:21-22
The 7th commandment- prohibiting adultery and any sexual sin Ex.20:14 is also found ( 12 times) in Acts.15:20; Rom.2:22, 13:13: 1 Cor.5:11, 6:9, 13,15, 18: 10:8: Eph.5:3,11-12.
The 8th commandment- forbids one to be dishonest, stealing,Ex.20:15 is found in the New Testament (6 times) Rom. 2:21 Eph. 4:28: 1Thess.4:6: Jms.5:4; Mk.10:19; Lk.18:20.
The 9th commandment- condemning a false witness, to lie Ex.20:16 is found in the New Testament (4 times) Mt.15:19,19:18; Lk.3:14 and 1 Tim.1:9-10.
The 10th commandment- tells us not to covet Ex.20:17 is repeated (9 times) in Mk.7:21-23; Lk.12:15,33-34; Rom.1:29, 13:9 1 Cor.5:11; 6:10; Eph.5:3.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Part 4. Developing Christian Zionism, my next steps. Between the wars, '67 - '73.

In 1967, I was a young Christian who had much to learn about the scriptures and even more to learn about Israel and Zionism. I would not have used that term then, but as I have already indicated here , the basics were already in place. I still had to survive school, a gap-year, discover what I really wanted to do and get into college. It would be misleading to say that Israel was at the forefront of my thinking.

For me, as for many, it is only when those years were looked at in retrospect that we realised what had been happening. What seemed like an intensely personal journey, which it was, turned out to be road on which many others were also travelling. Sometimes called 'The Jesus Movement' what had happened was actually a unique form of revival. In the past, Christian revivals have always been associated with places and spread from there. This time it took place across a generation. Roughly between the Israeli wars, a generation came to faith in Jesus Christ in a radical (proper sense - not political), evangelical and charismatic way. Denominational barriers came crashing down, and were viewed by many as irrelevant. 

In 1967 a great many Christians were looking at their Bibles and wondering what is was they were witnessing. For me, as for many, these words of Jesus were taking on a new significance: “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 

Now there are many who argue that is nothing to do with current day Israel and some of them are conservative evangelical Christians. But there were and are a great many Christians who looked at the state of the world and began to wonder if these were truly the end-times.

(Before anyone posts saying the last days started with Pentecost, I know that. The question is are we reaching the end of the last days?)

We had only just begun to emerge from the shadow of WW2, the Korean War had ground to a halt, the Vietnam war was rumbling on and we had survived the Cuba crisis. Most people of my age were too young to understand the Cuba crisis, but everyone a few years older and paying attention was scared witless.

The vast armies and massive devastation of the apocalyptic books of the Bible began to look a lot less symbolic.

We were beginning to realise that we were looking at a series of 'firsts'. For the first time in history we had the capability of destroying not only ourselves but everything else as well. The end of the world was suddenly nigher than we wanted it to be. For the first time we had the ability to translate the scriptures into every language on the planet and for the first time the gospel could be preached to every nation even without going there by Radio and TV.  (The internet was in its infancy so very few knew about it and the Web was decades away.) 

And of course, the big first, the clincher for many bible-believing Christians, was the emergence of the Nation of Israel in the Land and it kept on surviving wars where human reason expected that it would be destroyed. Not only that, Israel was gaining territory!

Then, we began to hear of Jews coming to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. I know that Jewish readers will have their own opinions about this last one and I will have to examine it another time.  Suffice it to say, for the moment, that the Early Christians (all Jews) decided that Gentiles did not have to become Jews in order to join the Church. Similarly, there is no reason why a Jew should magically cease to be a Jew when joining the Church. After all, Jesus is a Jewish Messiah.

Of course, it didn't work out like that historically and there are knotty issues even today. I will explore these in other posts.  

Finally, those Christians who take an interest in such matters began to realise that devout Jews were beginning to look for the coming of the Messiah. We were beginning to see some sort of understanding, a lessening of hostility and a common hope. The only difference was over one word. Christians are also looking for the (second) coming of the Messiah. 

Unpacking that one word should be interesting.

Post Script 

Shortly after the '67 conflict, I read Obadiah as part of my daily devotions. As a result, I concluded that some sort of conflict in Lebanon was to be expected. That one is still working itself out! I still think that Israel will have to create some sort of protected zone for the Lebanese people who want to live in peace and are also in danger from Israel's enemies, rather like the Kurds were given in Saddam's Iraq.

Part 1; Part 2, Part 3,