Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)
No Notes Tonight
Saturday, October 28, 2006
taking a breather... literally...
As you all probably already assumed, I did not go out for our usual Friday night evangelism tonight. I figured it was wisest to let my body heal itself from the nasty lung infection I've been fighting the last few weeks. I'm still coughing, but I am noticing some improvement; I was warned that it would take a few days for the antibiotics to get the job done.
Please remember me in your prayers, dear saints, as I will be preaching the evening service on the Lord's Day. I need the Lord to give me utterance, a sound mind and the overall guidance of His Holy Spirit.
Have a good weekend,
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I apologize for the lack of blogging, dear readers, but things have gone pretty crazy in Rand-world. I have had to contend with a death in the family and it's resulting problems with various family members (we've actually been out of town for the last few days)
. Also, remember that "cold
" I have been fighting of late? Well, turns out it was a category II lung infection!
So, to make a long story short, Rand needs a bit of down time. I'll get back to blogging as soon as I can. See you soon.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, October 21, 2006
so much wickedness, so much error...
Louis Armstrong sang: "What a wonderful world". Ernest Hemingway said: "The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for." Tonight, after careful observation, Rand says: "What a mess this world is." I was in the market for a less than an hour and I saw:
-a deranged woman talking to herself with an abundance of curses and profanity.
-two men scheming/planning or perhaps even, concluding some sort of shady exchange (more than likely, a drug deal)
-another two men angrily pushing each other around outside one of the pubs (both men were obviously drunk)
-young women, barely old enough to vote, walking around in freezing temperatures with a minimum of clothing (and I mean M-I-N-I-M-U-M)
These ungodly spectacles underscored for me the importance of our night of street preaching. Not only were the few souls I was observing dying in sin and trespass, but for the most part, the whole marketplace was a sea of lost souls; souls that were doing nothing else but destroying themselves in wickedness. Except for a handful of preachers and evangelists, the market was populated by people who were ignorant of God's Person and His Law; and most, willfully ignorant. I thought:"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14)
I was going to be their preacher. Whether they wanted it or not. All around me, sin ruled, and the oppressive effects of sin were manifest. The cure was and will forever be the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and just like I sometimes force medicine down the throats of my children to cure them from sickness, tonight, I gave the unconverted a good taste of the Truth that is in Christ Jesus. The Lord use my efforts as He sees fit.
Here are a few echoes from our evangelistic effort:1- Two Baptist Brothers, Getting Serious:
Two young men came by when I was preaching the Gospel and thanked me for my service. Such words of encouragement are pretty rare so I kind of guessed they were brothers in Christ. We had a short conversation and it was then that I found out that they were from a Baptist church from the east end of the city.
I was quite pleased to find out that both men were distributing little cards with a Gospel message on them. Now mind you, the message was pretty wishy-washy, but at least they were doing something for the Lord! I encouraged both of them to continue serving the Lord by spreading the Gospel. Let us remember to pray for John and his friend.2- The Romanist Woman:
Oh boy, what a conversation! Both my pastor and I have had a few exchanges, over the last few weeks with a Romanist woman; the conversations were quite civil and she has been quite open to our reasonings. Now this woman is NOT a Romanist hypocrite (like: "I'm catholic, but I haven't been to mass in 3 years...")
, this woman knows her stuff. She's a serious Romanist.
My pastor spent a good hour speaking with this woman tonight, reasoning with her from the Scriptures. The woman would often defend her positions by citing Romanist "sacred traditions
", but Scripture just didn't figure in much of her arguments. On several subjects tonight, we clearly exposed some Romanist practices that contradict the Word of God, and on a few occasions, she was completely dumbfounded. Sadly though, her heart remained closed to the Gospel.
It was truly frustrating to watch her ignore the Scripture when it didn't suit her, but then quote from it when she remembered a verse that seemed to support her arguments. Ultimately, she wasn't using the Scriptures as THE STANDARD by which to judge everything else; for her, Romanism was the standard, and the teachings of the Bible just had to fit in.
We will no doubt see this woman again in the future. Please pray that the Lord give my pastor and I wisdom as to how to best deal with her, and if the Lord wills, that He might show her grace and mercy to the salvation of her soul.3- Karl:
A couple walked up to me as I was preaching and offered some protests over my 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
sign. I tried to give them answers but they both just rolled their eyes at me and walked away.
What I didn't know was that while all this was happening, a restaurant cook, who was on break, having a cigarette, was leaning against the parking garage behind me. He observed the whole exchange and when the couple left, he walked up to me and said:
"It's good what you're doing, man. Don't let them bother you. They'll regret not listening to you one day."
At first I thought the man, whose name was Karl, was a saint, but he admitted that he wasn't born again. Without saying it outright, he made it pretty clear that he was a nominal Romanist. I perceived in our conversation that Karl had a measure of the fear of the Lord in him and that he had a high regard for the Bible. He said he owned a Bible, so I encouraged him to start reading it, consistently. He said he would.
Let us pray that Karl will seek God by reading the Word, and if God wills, that He would direct him to church on the Lord's Day.4- I'm Too Old To Be Hitting Puberty Again:
On a humourous note, my final half hour of preaching was quite the embarrassment. I've been stricken with a very persistent cold over the last few weeks; the coughs just aren't letting up. Anyway, as I was preaching my voice started giving way. I sounded EXACTLY like a teenager whose voice was changing. I tried to make my voice graver and deeper, but almost every time, by the end of a sentence, my voice would go wild.
My pastor got a good laugh.
There were plenty of other events tonight that are still floating in my brain, but it's 2 am, and I'm terribly tired, so that will be the notes for tonight. I will ask all my brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray that I not lose my voice for too long, and that the Lord would finally heal me from this most irritating cold.
Have a great weekend, dear readers.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
why every Christian should distribute them...
Here is a short (10 minutes)
testimony to encourage you all, my dear brothers and sisters, to get serious about mass evangelism. It is from the ministry "Living Waters"
. It's quite the story.Click here!
Now get out there.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, October 14, 2006
60% chance... what a joke!!!
It didn't look good early in the evening. The clouds were dark and a cold, light rain could be felt falling. I wondered if we were going to be rained out from our night of street evangelism, so I checked with Environment Canada to get the weather forecast. 60% chances of precipitation, it read. Right then and there, I was aggravated. 60%... what does that mean? If we go out for preaching and it starts raining heavily, the weather man can declare: "Well, I told you it was going to rain!" If we stay home and it doesn't rain, then the same guy can say: "I said 60%, that's not very high probability you know!"
So, we interpreted the forecast like this: "Who knows?!?" With that conclusion, we headed out for our night of street preaching. And then it rained. LOL! I rained for a good 2 hours. We toughed it out though; we found shelter in the entrance of a parking garage and we started preaching the Gospel.
The number of people walking the streets was pretty small, which isn't too surprising on a cold, rainy October night. That being said, there were some lost souls in the marketplace, and we did our best to show them the way.
Here are tonight's highlights:1- Choosing Homosexuality Over God:
Four young ladies stopped in front of me and started reading my 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
sign. Everything seemed alright until they got to the "nor homosexual...". At that point I got the same old nonsense that some people are born homosexual and can't help themselves; and then the classic:
"What if your son came to you and told you he was gay? Wouldn't you accept him?"
"If my son did that, I would tell him EXACTLY what I would tell a homosexual on the street: REPENT AND BE CONVERTED UNTO GOD, BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS."
I don't think my answer was to their satisfaction. Actually, I know it wasn't.
"This really makes me mad," one of the ladies said.
"Tough," I answered. "This is God's Word, so you'll have to deal with it."
Then all of them rejected that the Bible was God's Word, though I strongly doubt any of them have ever read the Book, and then the mockery and insults started. I payed them no mind and finally took off.2- A New Security Guard:
As I have already mentioned, we did our preaching tonight in front (well, sort of at the entrance)
of a parking garage with is right in the middle of the marketplace. We had a good relationship with a security guard that worked in that garage, but apparently, he was transferred. Anyway, the new security guard came by me as I was preaching. I was afraid he'd give me trouble for preaching so close to the building, so before he could say anything, I said:
"I hope we're not bothering you here, my friend. We just want to stay out of the rain."
The security guard told me that he didn't have a problem with our preaching and that we were no bother at all. He even asked me a few questions about the Faith. Praise God.3- A More Subdued Nick, But Still A Lost Nick:
A young man came by when I was preaching the Gospel, and I'll admit, I was praying that the Lord just keep him away. You see, I recognized the young man. His name is Nick and he doesn't like our preaching one bit; and after a few beers at nearby bar, he really despises our preaching. I once followed me around for half an hour just to jeer and insult me with every possible curse and harsh word.
"Long time no see," I began.
"Yeah, I know," he answered. "Don't worry though, I'm not going to bother you no more. I've come to realize that we are both serving God, just in different ways."
It took every ounce of strength in my little body to not roll my eyes at that statement as Nick was drunk as a skunk when he said this. I didn't want to argue with him though; I knew such action would be completely fruitless. So I just looked at him completely expressionless.
"Nick, my faith in the Living God. The God of the Bible, and the Bible is the Way, and there is no other."
Well, Nick would have none of that, but he wasn't angry or aggressive. He went on a rant about "the-only-thing-that's-important-is-love" (the John Lennon gospel)
, and that as long as we both showed love and compassion, we would, one day, be reunited in Heaven. Not wanting this nonsense to drag on too long, I concluded my time with Nick by saying:
"I hope we will be reunited in Heaven, Nick. I'll pray for you. Goodnight."
Let us pray that the Lord will convict Nick of the gravity of his sin, so that he may run to the Saviour.4- Mickey, the Evangelist:
I ran into (not literally)
a street preacher who used to labour in my city. I never knew the man, he laboured before I ever started street preaching but my pastor knew him well. We all had a nice chat about what the Lord was doing in our lives and encouraged one another in the Lord. It was a refreshing break from all the ungodliness around us.
"Different faces here tonight," Mickey said, "same wickedness though."
And that's the notes for tonight, dear readers. I'm going off to bed now, and praise God Almighty, when I wake up tomorrow, the Lord my God will still be with me."...when I awake, I am still with thee." (Psalm 139:18b)
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
revelations from God???
For the first two years, there were no prophecies being uttered at the Pentecostal church my family and I were attending. The practice was a complete mystery to me until a so-called prophet moved to our town. He joined our assembly and became a regular at "speaking for the Lord". Right in the height of the emotionalistic tempest that was our worship service, he would speak on everything from advice on nutrition to admonishments to faithfulness; all of it, of course, was from the Lord Himself.
"Thus saith the Lord..."
At first, I thought this gift was quite amazing. It was far more tangible and constructive as far as I was concerned. I really had a hard time, from day one, in seeing the profitability and blessing of "speaking-in-tongues" and "falling-in-the-spirit", but prophecies, that was something! I mean, think about it: God... speaking... specifically to us! Wow!
My wonder at this gift though, didn't last too long. After a few months, I was just as suspicious of this gift as "the tongues" and "the spirit-drops". The reasons? There are a few:1- Just like the other charismatic gifts, prophecies only came amidst "worship" euphoria:
While this didn't seem to be an issue with anyone in my assembly, I saw this pattern as bit suspicious. "Is God a fair-weather friend," I thought, "He only speaks when the worship is really 'hot'?" It became pretty obvious that just like the "falling-in-the-spirit" nonsense, the emotional state of the audience directly impacted the utterance, the tone and even the volume of prophecy.2- Prophecy, or Word of Knowledge, or Word of Wisdom?
These terms, which can all be found in 1 Corinthians 12
, are used in a most confused fashion in charismatic circles. The "words of knowledge" and "words of wisdom" were used interchangeably and were basically prophecies without the "thus saith the Lord" at the beginning. These "words" were usually directed at a specific person about a specific issues: it's kind of like Christians playing psychics.
The problem is that ultimately, with or without the "thus saith the Lord", the messages are all pretty much the same.3- Prophecies from God, or Fortune Cookie Proverbs?
In every charismatic assembly I have attended, 80-90% of all prophecies are pure platitudes like:
"Oh my son... remain close to Me, and I will bless you..."
"Oh my child... I know you are suffering... and I want you to know that I love you..."
Cute. Comforting. Completely unverifiable. And that's the point. I can count on my fingers the number of times I have heard of specific, verifiable prophecy; and let me tell you, the accuracy rate is even below the "blind guess" probability.
So, fearing being found out as liars, the charismatic prophets keep their prophecies nice and vague. Now read carefully: I have seen and heard of assemblies, assemblies with prophets, where there have been cases of pedophilia, theft, adultery and all manner of abominable sin. How many times did the "Lord" use "His prophets" to warn "His children" about these grave sins?
ZERO.4- The Makings of a Prophet:
This really disturbed me. The man who joined our charismatic assembly... the so-called prophet... well... he and my father had become friends, so we got to know him pretty well. You would think that a man who the Lord uses to speak for Him would be a holy, upright man. Well, so much for that. The man frequently told dirty jokes, he wasn't well rooted in the Word of God, and get this, when we asked him about how he knew his prophecies were from the Lord, his response was:
"Well, I hope they are from Him."5- Why Isn't Anyone Writing These Prophecies Down?Revelation 22
makes clear that the Bible is God's Book of Prophecy. It doesn't say that it is the Book "Special" Prophecy, or even the "Book of Written Prophecy". Yet, that's how my charismatic friends viewed the Bible. They made a clear distinction between prophecies uttered in their worship services, and the written prophecies of Scripture; the worship ones being somehow "sub-prophecy". They did this because none of them felt comfortable with the idea of adding pages to their Bibles, literally or figuratively.
The problem is, of course, there is no biblical standard for this. Prophecy, in the Bible, is not divided into class of importance. "If the Bible is a revelation from God," I thought, "and these prophecies are also, then they are equal both in value and importance." This made me cringe, as it made most of my charismatic friends cringe (the saved ones anyway)
, but ultimately, it is the only logical and Scriptural end of their position.
They argued (and this is but one example)
: "What about Philip's daughters in Acts 21? They prophesied and we have no account of their words!" The answer to this foolish argument is that Philip's daughters, like countless others in NT times prophesied the instructions of God (see 1 Corinthians 14
), which can now be found in our New Testaments. The prophesies of Philip's daughters weren't of less value... they were God's revelation to His people prior to the Book of Prophecy's completion.6- The Bible, Ultimately, Just Wasn't Enough:
This realization, which came to me only after I had left the charismatic movement, was the one that really shook me. I had spent 7-8 years in an assembly which proclaimed itself as being Bible-only, except everyone in the house were poor stewards of the Word, including me! Oh! Everyone were experts at defending, with Scripture, why the "sign gifts" were still in operation today, but theologically... whoa! what a mess!
I remember, clearly, singing hymns that had a very "covenant theology" theme to them, only to sing about God's promises to Israel soon after! One Sunday, we would have a sermon that was 110% Arminian, and the following Sunday, God was sovereign in the affairs of men. How could this happen? I-G-N-O-R-A-N-C-E! They simply don't devote themselves to the Word enough to come to any solid conclusion on any given doctrine. The Bible speaks of such in Ephesians 4:14
How much light... how much wisdom did the charismatic "prophecies" bring? None. You see, instead of studying hard and devoting themselves to Word and its teachings, charismatics seek emotionalistic experiences; that's the focus. And you don't get too emotional sitting at a desk and spending a couple of hours in God's Word, looking up the Hebrew of Greek lexicons and various commentaries from godly, learned men. Reading God's prophecies and studying them just doesn't feel good to them; they need the music, the sounds of "spiritual babbling", and they need for God to speak to them directly. The Scriptures, in the end, simply isn't enough. I even remember a charismatic telling me that spending a lot of time in Scripture isn't necessarily good, because "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
In the space of two years in a Baptist church, I had surpassed 1000-fold the knowledge I had accumulated at the Pentecostal assembly; and not only that, I was forced to cough out all the man-centered theology that I had been fed for so long. God was no longer a genie that would make me happy and bless me with all sorts of gifts that would make me "feel good". God was, and will forever be the great I AM! One that is to be feared, served and worshipped.
These six observations (there may have been more, but I have since forgotten)
were enough for me to seriously question the veracity of these prophecies which were being uttered at the various charismatic assemblies I attended. You'll notice that I didn't require a huge theological analysis of 1 Corinthians 12
to come to this conclusion. All I needed was Matthew 7:17-18
:"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
The fruits of my Pentecostal assembly (the prophecies)
were corrupt. The assembly, therefore, was corrupt. That being said, I did work at understanding the two chapters of 1 Corinthians, in order to have an answer for my charismatic friends, and also, to be well grounded in the Truth. I plan to share this research with you all, dear readers, soon.
Labels: Charismatic Movement
Sunday, October 08, 2006
(Before reading this post, be sure to read "My Charismatic Experience - Part I
" and "My Charismatic Experience - Part II
As I mentioned in my last post on this subject, my analytical and scientific mind went to work on these "spiritual gifts" that were practiced in my Pentecostal church. I HAD TO KNOW! Was God really working these miracles and great sign gifts and somehow, my family wasn't being fully blessed because of sin, or was the whole thing a complete fabrication. It took about two years. That's how long in took me to observe enough events at our Pentecostal church (as well as other charismatic churches we visited)
, to start getting a clear picture of what was going on.
That was my number one observation. If the level of emotionalism wasn't high, the manifestation of charismatic gifts were barely visible. The "worship team's" music had to be spot on! The Holy Spirit didn't seem to like our church piano or organ, because every time we had worship using only the piano or organ with the old hymnal, there were rarely any charismatic gifts. But when the guitars, bass, and synthesizers came out with the modern choruses... watch out! You'd have "speaking-in-tongues", "prophecies", people "falling-in-the-spirit"... etc... etc.
"Falling-in-the-spirit" was the epitome of the charismatic experience, which, of course, required the highest level of emotionalism. From the very beginning I had strong doubts about this practice because unlike "speaking-in-tongues" and "prophecies", "falling-in-the-spirit" had absolutely no biblical foundation. Nowhere in Scripture are we told of a saint falling flat in some sort of blissful state. There are examples of saints falling flat in fear, but not blissfully "in-the-spirit" (see Daniel 10
; Acts 9
It wasn't long before I made the association between "falling-in-the-spirit" at one of our "church's" worship services and the sight of teenage girls passing out at boy-band concerts. It's all about emotionalism and crowd manipulation. I still remember seeing my father's song sheets: they would ALWAYS start with children's songs and more traditional songs to start with (which, consequently, were the most biblically based songs)
, and then they would progressively work towards more contemporary ballads which would have everyone either tapping their feet or "moving-to-the-beat". The musicians would always play these songs with such fervor, their singing so heartfelt, you could feel the emotional pressure building. The longer they played these songs (which were always repeated multiple times), the more intense the "sign gifts".
Not being a particularly emotional guy, I saw right through this practice. I knew, without any question, that the "falling-in-the-spirit" sign was an emotionalistic invention and that the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with it. But questions remained. There was mention of "speaking-in-tongues" and "speaking prophecies" in the Bible, so I couldn't so easily dismiss the manifestation of these gifts at our Pentecostal church.
It would take me another two years to conclude that these two other gifts were also complete fabrications, and another three on top of that to understand, from the Scriptures why all these gifts were no longer in operation today.
To be continued...
Labels: Charismatic Movement
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, October 07, 2006
a good night, all and all... Well, it was still cold out there tonight, but this time, I was prepared. As you can see (thanks to my new handy-dandy cellphone with built-in digital camera), I had my winter jacket on for our night of street preaching.
We (my pastor and I)
had a pretty good night, all things considered. I mean, we didn't see mass conversions, but we did have a number of conversations, we distributed a fair amount of Bible tracts, and those who would disturb us or persecute us were few in number. There definitely were more people in the marketplace tonight than last week, but still, far less than the summertime crowds (again, not that I'm complaining
). And hey! small crowds or big crowds, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was preached, and God was glorified!
A number of good things happened tonight, and some bad; all and all though, we have hope that the Lord will work something wonderful out of tonight's endeavour. Without any further delay, here are some echoes from tonight's evangelistic effort:The two JWs:
As I write this, I'm irritated. I'm irritated because I never seem to know, on the street, when I've indulged false teachers too much. In this case I think I should have ended our conversation much sooner than I did.
It all started with the two men asking me what my "religion" was. I answered:
"I'm a Baptist by denomination, but I prefer just being called a Bible Christian."
I explained (and this is before I knew they were JWs)
that I had to define my Faith in other terms than just "Christian" because (get this)
even JWs call themselves Christians. One of the men quickly answered:
"But we're Jehovah's Witnesses."
"Well, you're not Christians," I immediately replied.
I tried to encourage them to turn to the original manuscripts of the Bible and test their wicked New World Translation; a test that would surely reveal that their translation isn't faithful. I tried hard to impress upon them that their rejection of the deity of Christ was what made it manifest that they weren't Christians. I argued a few points from Scripture but I was met with scoffing and a bit of mockery. One of the men said:
"I don't know... I mean I don't think I've been drinking that much... but I just don't understand this Trinity thing..."
This was said in a mocking tone, but it revealed something that I had noticed from my days in the "kingdom hall": JWs are extremely worldly. You see, these guys were out in the exact same bars and pubs as the wicked and unbelieving. They were out partying in the market, just like the worldly. I mentioned this to the men and was greeted with more scoffing.
The Lord have mercy.The Jamaican:
I had a good one-on-one conversation with a Jamaican fellow who wanted to know more about my faith. He walked up to me and said:
"What's that on your sign, man."
"It's a Bible verse, my friend," I replied.
"Ah! I knew it! I knew you were probably a Christian man," he answered.
He then asked me some questions, mostly doctrinal matters, and I answered him to the best of my abilities. He claimed to be born-again, but I kind of doubt he was. I think he had a genuine interest in the Bible, but there wasn't much by way of knowledge of the Truth; I mean the man wasn't sure what to make of Benny Hinn! I made it clear that old Benny was a liar and an extortioner! A man that the Lord would severely deal with one day.
He took my words very well and he thanked me for speaking with him. He took one of my Bible tracts and said goodbye. The Lord give this man the ability to both seek and find the Way.Apparently, I met God tonight:
One of the newest panhandlers, a young lad (he couldn't be older than 18) walked up to me and said in a very grave tone:
"I'm god... I'll make everything alright 'cause I'm the king."
"Man... I'm disappointed," I replied.The Not-So-Convinced Atheist:
A young Mexican walked up to me as I was preaching and said:
"I don't believe in God!"
"You will," I replied.
I didn't pursue the matter with him any further since I perceived he just wanted to mock, and I didn't want to waste time with that kind of nonsense. He walked away scoffing.
Well, a couple of minutes later, the young Mexican met up with my pastor, and he gave my pastor the same song and dance:
"I don't believe in God!"
But this time, as he started to walk away, he said:
"But then, I think of eternity..."
The young man walked right back to my pastor and explained that though he would like to just leave it at "he doesn't believe", he KNOWS that there is more to it than that. By the end of their conversation, the Mexican was practically begging my pastor for Bible tracts.
My pastor invited him to our Lord's Day service; let us hope the Lord leads him to visit us Sunday morning.Remember Darren?
A few months ago, in this Friday Night Notes
, I mentioned a young panhandler named Darren. This young man wasn't a big fan of our preaching at first, but the Holy Spirit really helped us deal with him in a gentle and patient manner, and Darren responded rather well to our reasoning.
Well Darren was around again tonight, which sadly, means that the Lord hasn't done anything with him yet, but there is some good news: Darren recognized me. Not only did he recognize me, he spoke to me as a friend. He asked me for a Bible tract, and then he asked for two more for his buddies that he was going to meet up with in a few minutes. He also requested that I continue praying for him, for he was still struggling through life.
Let us keep Darren in our prayers, dear saints. The seeds of life are there, let us hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord
And that'll be the notes for tonight, dear readers. It's been a long week, a long day and now it's time for rest. This is Thanksgiving weekend for us Canadians, so I plan to take it easy this weekend, and have plenty of turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians, and goodnight dear readers.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
where's the Atonement???
So yesterday was Yom Kippur, or translated into English, the Day of Atonement. This Jewish holiday actually has a holy origin; the day was instituted by God."Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it (the altar) once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD." (Exodus 30:10)"On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." (Leviticus 23:27-32)"Ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein: but ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD for a sweet savour; one young bullock, one ram, and seven lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish: and their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals to a bullock, and two tenth deals to one ram, a several tenth deal for one lamb, throughout the seven lambs: one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering, and the meat offering of it, and their drink offerings." (Numbers 29:7-11)
Now Christians don't celebrate Yom Kippur. We don't have an annual ritual for the atonement of sin. Our atonement, or more precisely, our reconciliation to God is a fait accomplie
in the sacrifice of the Cross. The Day of Atonement, according to New Testament teaching, was but a type, a picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ was going to accomplish at His first coming."Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Colossians 2:16-17)"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Hebrews 10:1-4)
Now to get the whole picture of just how Christians view the Day of Atonement, one must really read Hebrews 9
and Hebrews 10
in their entirety. Actually, reading the whole book of Hebrews
would be profitable.
So what's my point? The Jews believe in observing the Day of Atonement, and Christians do not. So what?
Question: Where's the atonement?
Christians profess that Jesus provided a perfect, complete and eternal reconciliation to all His saints. He provided this by offering Himself, through the eternal Spirit, without spot to God (Hebrew 9:14). This was done as His blood was shed on the Cross of Calvary. The Lamb of God was sacrificed for God's people. Past, present and future.
Where is the Atonement for the Jews? There is no sacrifice, there is no temple (there is actually an abominable mosque on the temple mount), there is no high priest... nothing. What do the Jews do on Yom Kippur? They go to the synagogue, they pray a bit, some may actually fast, some will wear religious garments, and many will read portions of Old Testament scripture. All very nice and sweet stuff, but NO ATONEMENT."He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:6-9)
This rebuke, which the Lord Jesus directed at the unbelieveing Jews, is still quite applicable to the unbelieveing Jews of our day. You see, Yom Kippur is no longer the biblical "Day of Atonement", it is a vain religious day in which the unbelieving follow the vain words of men (the Talmud
). That's how it is in false religion. Whether it be Romanism, Judaism, Mormonism or any other "-ism" which replaces the plain and clear teachings of God, which can be found in the pages of the Bible, for the deceitful and vain words of men.
Friends, don't run after false religions. They are empty and they are wicked. Open your Bibles, read the sacred pages, and prosper."Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him." (Deuteronomy 13:4)