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Posts Tagged ‘passover’

Just wanted to say hello to all the Canadian readers and congratulate you for the fact that in the last seven days, you have exceeded the number of readers from the United States!  I have no idea what’s going on up there that might precipitate this honor, but so glad to have you.  

Holidays do spark more information seeking into the topics here.  Christmas and Easter can be stressful times for those in the Torah observant lifestyle, and more so for all those around them who are not.  I can remember not knowing how to deal with family who didn’t understand our convictions about obedience to God.  And now I can only imagine what we put them through.  I get a little taste of it from listening to other people’s stories.

Our last Passover Seder was 2007, if I remember correctly.  Shortly after this, we broke the news to our fellowship that we were leaving.  Those were agonizing weeks.  I wish that we could have somehow remained in community with our dear friends – but we were drastically delivered and could no longer walk down that road at all.  Our fellowship was based on a lifestyle and specific days on a calendar.  I hate that this wall of separation came between us and Jesus was not enough to hold us all together.  I take equal fault and blame no one.  

Looking back I do wish we had been able to maintain better connections – but we were in such a drastic state of change and renewal ourselves our heads were spinning.  The best counsel I can give to anyone dealing with Observant friends or family is to love them with as much love as you can.  We wanted to please God, and we started down that road with a sincere heart.  We later became polluted with blinding pride, but so many in this movement are at the core – hungry for God’s love.  Our group was named “Know Him” (in Hebrew) and we often spoke of “drawing near”.  We wanted so badly to be pleasing to God and be special to Him.  So many who do not receive a nurturing father love in their lives, believe this is how they must approach their heavenly Father as well.  We have found this pattern to be extremely consistent.  Our deliverance came shortly after a huge emotional breakthrough and working through some forgiveness issues.  Of course every story is different, but we have seen this very common pattern both while in the Movement, and in talking to others since leaving.  Love hunger drives people to many addictions and obsessions.  Religion (as opposed to Life in Faith) suffices well in this case, and attempts to fill those core bankruptcies. But there never seem to be enough books, videos, or finding that level of obedience that gives you the feeling of acceptance or having “arrived”.  We see 101 ways we fall short every day.  I struggle not to live there, bound to my unique brand of legalism in my own expectations.

We so easily become bogged down in theological arguments (and yes – that was the motivating factor in even starting this blog) that we miss the Life in the Promise.  Our hearts are so easily distracted from this and drawn away into pursuits that excite the senses yet dull the spiritual connection with our Creator.  We love a secret, hidden meanings, thinking we have re-discovered suppressed truth, and having a unique message.  People get so obsessive, even about orthodox theological positions, let alone “heretical” ones.  What is it about human opinions and knowledge that we find so much more satisfying than being with Jesus?  I still struggle with these things that want to draw me away.  

This Resurrection Season – and 8th Day – I pray to be less distracted and stressed, and to become more aware of the Life that is in me, and around me.  We have before us two choices every day to walk in – that which pertains to Life, and those things which are already dead and passing away.  Choosing Life is so much more than the right vote at the ballot box.  I find more and more it means my death.  So He can live.  

He is Risen!  May it be so in my life too.

 

 

 

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by Kenneth Bodine

Being raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church, I had always thought of the number 7 as being the most important digit in the Bible.  This thought is carried proudly within the church, for God created for 6 days, but on the 7th, He rested and sanctified the day.  The Sabbath was established and was a sign between God and Israel (Deut 5:2) and is called a “perpetual” or “everlasting” covenant.

A thorough study of this number will show that the number 7 represents a completed cycle.  It is from here that I saw my theology, and interpreted everything by this concept.  The Sabbath was the defining “mark” for true believers, and we believed all other scripture and thought must be interpreted through it – a litmus test of truth.

I have now come to realize that this approach gave me a spiritual near-sightedness, and it kept me from seeing some beautiful and amazing things that were right in front of my eyes all these years.

First of all, I don’t wish to discount the value of seven.  There is no doubt that the number seven has significance in scripture, and I have already identified 7 as a representation of completion.  However, I do want to offer a fresh perspective for the idea that other numbers hold substantial value as well.  Specifically, I want to focus on the significance of the number 8, and how I have come to see it as the number of New Beginnings.

To show that we already have some understanding of numbers being significant in scripture, and that there are indeed numbers other than seven which carry significance in scripture, consider what comes to mind when you think of the number 3:

  • Father, Son, Holy Spirit
  • Three feasts in the OT that called for attendance in Jerusalem
  • Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
  • Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
  • Peter, James and John
  • Jesus raised on the third day
  • Peter’s vision given 3 times
  • The Spirit, the water, and the blood (I Jn 5:7)

This is a sampling of how we readily accept these numbers from a factual standpoint, but may not always see the significance.

So what do we know about the number 8 in scripture?  I have written condensed lists of the things found in scripture which correspond to the number eight, and a few thoughts about each.  I do not believe that this list is complete, but a good start for those who are interested in this idea.

1. Eight people were saved on Noah’s Ark (Gen 7:13)

Though I believe this was the literal number of people who boarded the ark, it is interesting that the new beginning for man was based on 8.

2. The sign of the promise given to Abraham occurred on the eighth day (Gen 17:12).    All males were required to take on the sign of the covenant by being circumcised.  The shedding of blood symbolized entering into the promise – that of being a king and priest.  Those entering the covenant given to Moses had to first take on this sign before being allowed to partake in the Sinaitic covenant.

3. First-born was to be given to the Lord on the eighth day (Ex 22:29-30)     These first-borns were allowed to stay with their mothers for seven days, but given to God on day 8.  Interestingly, Jesus was returned to God in the sense that His life on earth was completed – on the eighth day – at His resurrection.

4. Lepers who are pronounced clean are presented on the eighth day (Lev 14:10)  The symbols of his gift to be given when pronounced clean are apparent – it is a symbol of first-fruits, or of rebirth.

5. Feast of First-fruits (Wave Offering) is to be given the day after the Sabbath (Lev 23:11) The wave offering is a first-fruit, and it points to the resurrection of Jesus – and I believe also to the resurrection of the second coming.

Jesus is called the first-fruits from the dead, and James calls us the firstfruits from God – all symbols of being born again or raised from the dead.

6. Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) takes place on the day after 7 Sabbaths (50 days) (Lev 23:15-16) – hence the 8th week of Sabbaths.  Jews celebrate this as the day they received the Torah.  Christians see this as the day the Holy Spirit was given.  I see this as a sign of new beginnings – the Spirit superseding the Law of Moses – and the New Covenant established..

7. Year of Jubilee takes place in the 50th year – after 7 years of Sabbaths (Lev 25:8-12) – hence the 8th year of Sabbaths.  The Jubilee was a release from the life a person was living.  It was a return to what was originally theirs.  This was a “do-over” for Jews, and I see it as a symbol of restoration, of rebirth – everything being made like it was before it was lost.  Consider the parallel with what was to take place at Jubilee for Jews, then apply this to humanity.

8. Feast of Tabernacles was a seven day feast, with a sacred assembly on the eighth day – a closing assembly. (Lev 23:36)

9. David was the eighth son of Jesse, and it was he whom God chose as the heir of his promise (I Sam 16: 6-13)  The people had chosen Saul as their king, but God chose David – and it was through David that Israel received its freedom from the Philistines.  This signaled the rebirth of Israel.

10. Eight resurrections recorded (other than the Lord Himself and the ones that came from the graves at His crucifixion) in the Bible.  There are three OT resurrections with 3 corresponding NT Gospel resurrections performed by Christ.  There are 2 NT resurrections in Acts.  They are as follows:

A. The Widow’s Son

  • Zarephath (I Kings 17:17-25)
  • Nain (Luke 7:11-18)

B. Rich Man’s Child

  • Son of Shunemite (II Kings 4:32-37)
  • Daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:35-43)

C. Grown Men After Burial

  • Elisha’s tomb (II Kings 13:20-21)
  • Lazurus (John 11:1-44)

D. The Other Two Resurrections

  • Tabitha (Acts 9:36-42)
  • Eutycus ( Acts 20:9-12)

The first six resurrections I see as symbols of Jesus and His ministry.  The widow is to me a symbol of the church, who lost their first husband (God) and is now mourning the death of their son.  The Rich man’s son is an obvious reference to Jesus.  The last are believers and their promise of new birth.  Don’t you think you would see life in a different way if you were dead and were reborn?  The last two found in Acts seem to refer to the power of the Holy Spirit to produce life out of death – as each of those were people in service to the Lord.

11. There are 8 miracles which Elijah performed

  • Causing rain to stop (1 Kings 17:1)
  • Multiplying the widow’s meal (1 Kings 17:14-16)
  • Resurrecting the widow’s son (I Kings 17:21-23)
  • Calling fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18:37-38)
  • Calling rain down (1 Kings 18:41-45)
  • Calling fire down on 1st 50 soldiers (2 Kings 1:10)
  • Calling fire down on 2nd 50 soldiers (2 Kings 1:12)
  • Dividing the Jordan (2 Kings 2:8)

12.  There are 16 miracles which Elisha performed (a double-portion 2 Kings 2:9)

  • Dividing the Jordan (2Ki 2:14)
  • Healing of the waters (2Ki 2:21)
  • Calling of the bears (2Ki 2:24)
  • Filling the valley with water (2Ki 3:17-19)
  • The widow’s vessels of oil (2Ki 4:4-6)
  • Blessing of a son for Shunammite woman (2 Ki 4:15)
  • Resurrection of the Shunammite’s son (2Ki 4:34)
  • Cleansing of gourds (2Ki 4:41)
  • Feeding of the hundred (2Ki 4:43)
  • Healing of Naaman (2Ki 5:14)
  • Cursing Gehazi with leprosy (2Ki 5:27)
  • Floating of the axe head (2Ki 6:6)
  • Smiting/Restoring sight of the Syrian army (2Ki 6:18-20)
  • Deception of the Syrians with the sound of chariots (2Ki 7:6)

13.   Jesus spoke on the last and greatest day of the feast of Tabernacles (Jn 7:37-38)  He told all those who thirst to come to Him and He would give them streams of living water – a promise of the Holy Spirit – the born again rebirth spoken of in scripture.

14. Jesus was resurrected on the day after Passover Sabbath – the eighth day.  It is interesting to note that when you read about this resurrection in the original Greek, it does not call the day of Jesus’ resurrection Sunday, it actually calls it the “first of the Sabbaths”.  Literally, it reads, “At the end of the Sabbath, at the beginning of light of the first of Sabbath(s), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stared at his tomb.” The death of Jesus brought about a new rest, and a new beginning.  Jesus tells us in Matt 11:28 to come unto Him and He will give us rest.  Is it possible that He was referring to this event?

I feel confident in saying that the number 8 is definitely a worthy number for humanity.  Though the number 7 has been important to me in the past, the new beginning that 8 offers is surely worthy my time.  I don’t see 8 having all the things that were attached to 7 transferred to it, but I do see it as 1 better than 7.  Why is it better?  Because it is more than just rest, it is rebirth!  I hope that you have been blessed by this study, and that it leads you to an ever-increasing understanding of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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I don’t have time to blog this morning, but here I am.  My devotional time today landed in Luke 1, (reading through the gospels again).  I never cease to be amazed at the things God reveals in His Word every time you go through it.  New treasures every day.

This morning I was reading the prophetic passage Zechariah spoke after he regained his speech, telling of the work that his son John would do, and also of the coming Messiah.  One passage caught my eye.  (apologies for not formatting – this is straight from e-sword.  Like I say.. short on time! )

Luk 1:68  “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
Luk 1:69  and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,
Luk 1:70  as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
Luk 1:71  that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
Luk 1:72  to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
Luk 1:73  the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
Luk 1:74  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,
Luk 1:75  in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

The italicized part here jumped out at me because it’s not the part of the Abrahamic Covenant you hear referred to often.  The only part of the Covenant to Abraham I can remember (or find) that resembles this statement is the prophecy of Israel being delivered from Egypt.

Gen 15:13  Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.
Gen 15:14  But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Reading the story of Moses and Pharaoh, God speaks through Moses repeatedly to “Let my people go that they may SERVE ME.”   No one needed an explanation of what that meant because even Pharaoh understands.   He tells Moses mid-way through the ordeal to “go ahead and sacrifice to your God here in the land of Egypt.”  Moses explains that the worship their God demands is an abomination to the Egyptians and they would be stoned.   They must go into the wilderness; man, woman, child, and all their livestock, which is the deliverance story that Passover recounts.

So why would Zechariah refer to this promise of deliverance if it had already been fulfilled with Moses?  Did he see, by revelation from the Holy Spirit (passage here says he was filled with the Spirit) that even this deliverance was not an end in itself, but a foreshadow of a greater one to come?

Zechariah was a priest, who knew the fear of the Lord.  He knew what would happen to him if he had gone in to minister in a wrong manner, as had happened to some before him who had disobeyed.  For him to say that we might serve God, without fear, in holiness and righteousness indicates that a far greater deliverance and holiness was coming than had previously been made available through the Levitical priesthood.

He goes on to speak of the One who was coming:

Luk 1:76  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

Luk 1:77  to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,

Luk 1:78  because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

Luk 1:79  to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

As one of my friends brought to my attention recently, John the Baptist not only called sin out for what it was so boldly he lost his head for it, he simultaneously offered a radical grace.  At what point in time did anyone preach repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  No temple?  No sacrifice?  Could it really be that simple to just turn to God with your heart and go down into the water?  He proclaimed Jesus as “The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!”   Yet no one understood a God Man as a Passover lamb.  And what about the rules?  John commanded them to do the same things Jesus did – walk in LOVE, justice and generosity.  No mention of rituals or observances.  Luke says, “With this and many exhortations he preached GOOD NEWS to the people.  Jesus told his followers to preach the GOOD NEWS of the Kingdom to all of Creation.

In Jesus, our Passover Lamb, we have reconciliation with a Holy God.  The most vivid picture of this reconciliation in my mind is the veil shrouding the Most Holy Place in the temple tearing from top to bottom at the moment of His death.  At the time of the second temple, the Ark of the Covenant was already gone, lost in the last exile. (or hidden by Jeremiah as some believe, who ares till searching for it.)  The tearing of the veil revealed two things.  First and foremost, the New and Living Way had been opened through the veil of the tearing of the flesh of Jesus.  Secondly, that the Temple made with hands no longer contained the Covenant, the Presence, or the Mercy Seat.  Israel had already lost this Covenant long before Jesus came to make His in flesh and blood.  Through Jesus we are delivered from our “body of death” to serve Him “without fear in holiness and righteousness all of our days.”  We may come BOLDLY before the Throne of Grace.  What an amazing privilege!!  Have we stopped to consider it or do we rather trample on the blood of  Christ by considering it a common thing, either through living in the lesser shadow, or by ingratitude as we live for the flesh?  I believe we can gain a great deal from understanding the shadow, but only that it continues to validate and glorify Jesus as God, Messiah, Redeemer, fulfillment of all prophecies, parables, and promises.  Jesus did not come to point us back to the shadow but to be the Light.  Walk in the Light.

There is more….    but I’m out of time.

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When giving our own testimony about leaving Torah Observance for Jesus alone and His Covenant,  I have always tried to make a distinction between the Hebrew Roots Movement (comprised almost completely of Gentiles) and Messianic Judaism, which I had no direct experience with.  Watching it from a distance I assumed this was culturally relevant for Jewish people having these customs as their background.

When I came to meet the brother who has shared this booklet I’m passing on to you, my theory was turned on its head.  I am so thankful that God has led him to write and freely share the wisdom he has learned from God’s Word.  He has blessed our lives incredibly with his words and I pray it blesses many others.

Judaism has beautiful elements in its practice and can be extremely alluring to those who mistakenly think they can learn to  “do what Jesus did.”   This is just the beginning of many distractions and deceptions, leading people to flirt with practices and philosophies of Judaism.   To draw from this well, as a believer, whether Jewish or Gentile is to drink from a broken cistern, guaranteed to run dry on you, most certainly NOT the Living Water that leads to everlasting life.

This booklet entitled “What Went Wrnog With the Messianic Movement” is a Jewish believer’s plea to reject the futility of false religion and inherited lies in favor of the One saving truth of Jesus Christ in a powerful, honest, heart-felt manner.  I praise God for the deliverance He has so graciously given so many of us who were once blinded, but now the veil has been taken away as we turned to Christ.  Here is an excerpt and a link to read the PDF copy.

“Judaism appears to be righteous and godly, but anything that turns away from or hates Jesus and His wonderful work also turns away from, i.e. hates, God as well. Therefore, because the spirit of Judaism is so virulently set against Jesus and His work on the Cross, the God of Judaism cannot be the God of Mt. Sinai, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets or any god at all. That Judaism and practitioners of Judaism hate Jesus reveals something much deeper in the character of the religion and the practitioners thereof. He who hates Jesus, hates God and cannot be said to be in any way godly.

But there is a redeeming characteristic to normative Judaism. Zeal. The day will come when “all Israel will be saved”, and when that day comes it will be with great zeal. The knowledge of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets will be added to zeal, to the eagerness to serve God. Lying, legal (and other) fictions and manipulative mental gymnastics of the mind of man will be put aside. The eagerness to seek God — the readiness on the tongue to discuss Godly matters —will be added to the clear vision of the eyes of faith. But it is dishonest to say that that day has come. Normative Judaism is not a beautiful religion for those who mean to seek the very face of God as described in the New Testament.

This booklet is not written for Jews who have never known Jesus. They should enjoy their religion in good health. However, for believers in the shed blood of the Messiah, normative Judaism is nothing short of spiritual adultery. In Romans we are told that we were made to die to the Law in order to be joined to (married to) the Messiah.”  p. 10

“Our heritage is beautifully described in the sixteenth Psalm:

“The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” Psalm
16:5, 6 (emphasis supplied)

When David the psalmist says, “my heritage is beautiful to me” we should know that our heritage as believers in Jesus is not our culture; our heritage as believers is God Himself in diametric contradistinction to what has been handed down to us from our fathers. “Thou wilt make known to me the paths of life. In Thy presence is fullness of joy. In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” These three amazing things (knowing the paths of life, fullness of joy and pleasures forever) are not obtainable from
our fleshly fathers; not from rabbis and not from books or lectures. Only the inheritance that we have as sons of God through Jesus (John 1) can bring us this inheritance.”  p. 42

Click below for full version

What Went Wrnog with the Messianic Movement

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I cannot let this Easter slip by without a discussion on what this day means to me now.  The name of my blog comes from this, so of course I have to talk about it!  Every Sunday is a mini Easter, a time to remember the LIFE we have in Christ.  I do prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday (just because it explains the meaning), but I don’t get up tight about names of things anymore!:0)  It’s the reality of a thing or person that matters, not what it’s called.  I want to begin with the truth as the Word of God proclaims it.  Paul testified from one Roman official to another that this was the key point for which he was being hunted down by his Jewish brothers.

1Co 15:14  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.

1Co 15:17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Eph 1:19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
Eph 1:20  that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Rom 6:4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Col 2:12  having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Rom 10:9  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I don’t think I ever saw this element until just now.  This last verse says believing in the resurrection is part of saving faith, just as we are instructed to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  This is not something I often hear, but shows how vital the resurrection is in the gospel message.

To understand where I am now, here is some background.  Growing up as an Adventist, the actual day of Easter was never recognized.  The Sabbath before Easter would sometimes have a sermon with some reference to the resurrection (depending on the church or pastor – some ignored it completely).  Most often the emphasis was on the fact that since Christ rested in the tomb on Sabbath, we were encouraged in our own observance of this day.  We never quite got past the quiet tomb to the empty tomb.

On Easter we went about our business as if nothing significant had ever occurred on this day in the history of the world.  To corporately gather and honor the resurrection of Christ would have been to participate in “Sunday worship” – an evil and pagan practice.

I recently was given a sermon by an SDA pastor entitled “Who is Jesus”.  He began his presentation with a video of people on the street being asked who Jesus is, and getting every answer but the Biblical one.  He went on to explain who Jesus is, (as if he was answering these people with no knowledge of Him.)  I kept waiting for him to cover the resurrection and what that means for all who believe in Him.  He left this part of the gospel out completely, an oversight difficult to understand in light of the above verses.

The entire subject has many problems in Adventist belief.  Here is how Ellen White describes the resurrection of Christ, via an ANGEL!

“…The face they look upon is not the face of mortal warrior; it is the face of the mightiest of the Lord’s host. This messenger is he who fills the position from which Satan fell. It is he who on the hills of Bethlehem proclaimed Christ’s birth. The earth trembles at his approach, the hosts of darkness flee, and as he rolls away the stone, heaven seems to come down to the earth. The soldiers see him removing the stone as he would a pebble, and hear him cry, Son of God, come forth; Thy Father calls Thee. They see Jesus come forth from the grave, and hear Him proclaim over the rent sepulcher, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” As He comes forth in majesty and glory, the angel host bow low in adoration before the Redeemer, and welcome Him with songs of praise. {DA 779, 780}

Jesus proclaimed, “I AM the resurrection and the life.”  If He is the embodiment of these things, why was an angel involved?   In John 2:19 Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” – speaking there of His own body.  The scripture speaks in many places of God the Father who raised the Son, but in the understanding of the Eternal Godhead, we know Jesus to be in the Father and the Father in Him.  In another verse it speaks of the Spirit – so all three aspects of the Godhead were present and working together as They are in all things.  (Thank you to some of my friends who helped expand my perspective on this recently!)

But there is yet another even more damaging doctrine of the SDA religion in connection with Easter, that of  “soul sleep”.  The death which Christ died, they call the “second death”, is the final annihilation they believe the wicked will experience at the final judgment.  Not believing in hell or any spirit that lives on after the death of the body, this death means a person completely ceases to exist.  They distinguish this from the state of unconscious  “sleep” they see as the current state death of all men until the final resurrection.  While it is not clear what this distinction is, the resulting problem is in the death of Christ,  you are left with only a dead physical body of God in the tomb.  Part of the Trinity ceases to be.  This destroys the Christian understanding of the Triune God and the absolute Deity of Christ.

But in order to maintain an Investigative Judgment, you must have the doctrine of ” soul sleep”.  How can we have our reward in Christ if the judgment of our souls did not begin until 1844?  In having the absence of a “spirit”, we are left with a God that passes in and out of existence.  The dominoes topple a very long way from the original falsehood.  But when you understand the first Adventists believed that Jesus was a created being, just as Satan was, then all of this nonsense becomes easier to fit together.  They have left the initial Arian belief behind, but are laden with many remnants of this horrible heresy, including the teaching that Jesus is represented in scripture also as Michael the Archangel.  (Without believing in a human spirit, it is also impossible to understand what it means to be “born again.” – which is more the essence of what I will cover toward the end.)

As a Hebrew Roots follower, we also dismissed the resurrection, even though it had a place within the Israelite holy days!!  Three days after Passover we had the Feast of Firstfruits, with the obvious symbolism.  But did we acknowledge it?  Not as a group, and not in any of the various groups we attended.  I knew some individuals who had a quiet recognition of it at home (reading some rabbinic blessings) but the huge production of the season centered around Passover.   Not until we were delivered and saw the New Covenant did we realize this Firstfruits nearly always falls on the “Christian” Easter, unless it was a leap year on the Jewish calendar.  We could have honored it all along, but we didn’t.  Just as SDA’s hated Sunday and saw it as a symbol of false worship, likewise the HRM saw every Christian holiday as a thing to be avoided, even if it meant denying an Israelite festival we were claiming to observe!  (Our entire story is here on this blog starting with the page “There and Back Again.”)

Seeing the HUGE significance of the resurrection it becomes obvious why the enemy’s deceptions target this day for the  maximum minimization possible, not just through false beliefs, but more widely through secular, commercial distraction.  All these lessen the Person and work of Jesus Christ,  the aim of nearly every deception.  His resurrection is the proof for everything He claimed and performed in the past, and the hope for everything we have in Him for the future.

Very early in our new perspective of the covenants, I realized the significance of Sunday.  I saw that it was not the 1st day of the week, but the 8th day!  Woven throughout many of the Torah festivals and requirements you can see an 8th day motif.  It symbolized new birth, renewal, new life.  For Christ to rise from the dead on this day was the mark of the new order of things and the guarantee to every promise we have in our relationship to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.  From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

The old order proved you cannot change the heart from external mandates.  The old life must die and the new life must be put on, the very Life of Christ.  “Let this mind be IN you, which was in Christ Jesus…  ”  Unless we understand that from the moment of our new birth we are fundamentally different and made alive in Christ, we have no idea who we are or what is available to us.   Many who have experienced this as a spiritual reality are still trying to come to God under the old system of the outward methods to achieve holiness in their present walk.  In Christ, true transformation comes with laying down the dead self and putting on the risen Christ.   It’s a cycle of submission and renewal, not striving and failure.  In the areas where we are compelled to strive, we will be guaranteed to fail.  We all fall into this trap without even realizing it.  It’s our old man thinking it can help and do something in its own strength.  Even if our willpower musters up enough strength in some cases, the victory is still not in Christ, and we will take the credit.

Rom 7:6  But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

So often I hear people quote Paul’s discussion immediately following the above verse.  He goes on to describe the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit; how we don’t do what we want to and do what we don’t want to.  But so many people stop there!  Paul answers his struggle with a solution!  Chapter 8 is a continuation of this thought.  Read this whole discussion together and see the awesome truth we have through our resurrection with Christ.

Romans 7:24-8:11   Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.   If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Not only do we have a future hope, but a present deliverance!  Of course we fall, and of course we will not manifest this perfectly here in this life, but we are no longer slaves!!  We have a path to victory and a way out of addiction, shame, and the injury we often inflict on others through the service of our “self”.  We cannot use the old man as our excuse as so many do.  The flesh is a reason, but not an excuse.

We have our future hope, our present total justification and forgiveness, and thank God we now have the privilege of showing Jesus to others through our own lives, to the extent that we behold Him and become changed.

2 Corinthians 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

This Easter let the reality of the resurrection move beyond an apologetic for the Christian faith and sink deep into our hearts and minds as a Living Faith for the here and now, as well as for the glorified life we will have with Him in the future.  Let us remember He is Risen Indeed, and He dwells with us and in us.  We do not have just the truth, we have the Person, and we are all in Him.

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