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Friday, March 29, 2013

The phrase "Good Friday" does NOT appear in the Bible

Question: Why is the Friday before Easter Sunday called GOOD FRIDAY? What is so GOOD about our Savior suffering?
Answer: The Friday you mention is also called in various countries Holy Friday, Black Friday, Great Friday, Long Friday, and Silent Friday.
The phrase "Good Friday" does NOT appear in the Bible and neither does the word "Friday." The ONLY day called by a given name in the Bible is the seventh day, which is the Sabbath. The names of the other days are first, second, third and so on.
Good Friday is a fast day created by the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century A.D. (long after Jesus died). Its purpose is to commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The following is the Catholic Church's explanation:
"Good Friday is the English designation of Friday in Holy Week -- that is, the Friday on which the Church keeps the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
"From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day; and the obvious reasons for those usages explain why Easter is the Sunday par excellence, and why the Friday which marks the anniversary of Christ's death came to be called the Great or the Holy or the Good Friday. The origin of the termGood is not clear. Some say it is from "God's Friday" (Gottes Freitag); others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag, and not specially English." (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI, 1909)
Another source clarifies why the Catholics called for a Good Friday fast, how someone might observe it, and when the death of Jesus is actually celebrated:
"The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day, which in the Latin Rite of the Church is understood as having only one full meal (but smaller than a regular meal) and two collations (a smaller repast, two of which together do not equal one full meal) and on which the faithful abstain from eating meat. In countries where Good Friday is not a day of rest from work, the afternoon liturgical service is usually put off until a few hours after the recommended time of 3 p.m.
"The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord takes place in the afternoon, ideally at three o'clock, but for pastoral reasons a later hour may be chosen. The vestments used (by Roman Catholic priests) are red (more commonly) or black (more traditionally)." (Wikipedia, article 'Good Friday')
According to Catholic dogma, which has largely been carried over into the Protestant churches, Jesus was killed on Friday and resurrected Sunday morning (in 33 A.D. usually), with the anniversaries of those dates observed as part of the Easter celebration.
A little research shows that the origin of what is called Easter has NO Biblical basis whatsoever! The Early New Testament church neither taught nor observed an Easter holiday. In order to move people away from celebrating the Biblical Christian Passover, the Catholic Church adopted and Christianized a pagan holiday that celebrated the false goddess Ishtar (Astarte). The Babylonians and Assyrians worshiped this goddess. She symbolized fertility, love, war, and sex. The holiday in her honor occurred around the spring equinox.
According to the BIBLE, Jesus was crucified and died at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday (in 30 A.D.), spent three full days and nights in a tomb (72 hours total), then was resurrected back to life by God just before sunset Saturday. In order to fulfill prophecy Jesus could not have died on "Good Friday!"

Appreciation and thanks to:
Written by:  Clay Willis
additions by

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carrying Our Cross

  Last evening I saw the love and dedication of examples of Christ's servant-hood.Dear friends were invited as guinea pigs for a beat-version of a vision that God has challenged me with to teach and share the meaning of the "Passover" to followers of Jesus.
 My desire was to honor God and Jesus, and I was willing to do it all with my family in order to complete that task. What we experienced was the sacrifice of time, rest and strength (and so much more) at the end of the Seder (the meal depicting the Passover events). My brothers and sisters in Christ stayed and helped clean and do so much that I never expected or even desired for them to do. To say it simply, my family "felt the love". In my time to explore and study I came across this poignant excerpt from on of my favorite resources which goes beyond the sacrificing of the daily events, tasks and choices into the sacrificing a way of life. Needless to say, the following is a humbling dose of medicine from God's pharmacy.
These days, "rights" are on everyone's lips. Society urges us to demand our rights in any given situation. Certainly, there is a time and place to claim a right, but more often we should be willing to "deny ourselves" and let someone else indulge in his "rights." This takes a willingness to "carry our cross," to sacrifice, to relinquish, to forgo our rights.
If we want to become a more effective sacrifice, we would greatly benefit by studying and meditating on this topic. It is so extensive that a whole series of articles could be written on "sacrificing the self." We can give up our lives inch by inch perhaps even more effectively than all at once. For example, some claim to be willing to die for Christ, but are not prepared to sacrifice a parking spot so the more elderly can park closer to the door. Are we willing to be a cheerful giver in all kinds of situations, even when no one notices? Nobody but God, that is!
We often think about sacrificing in the big ways and omit our day-by-day opportunities. Who sacrifices or serves the most in the home? Who is most willing to be inconvenienced—and serves cheerfully? Great is his or her reward. Do we practice this idea moment by moment in the privacy of our homes, as an example to our children?
The best opportunities to sacrifice our time and money come when it is a burden to do so! Think about that! These opportunities are never convenient, nor do they set appointments. They just pop up, and we may have to sacrifice something important to fulfill them. As one writer said, too often the problem with living sacrifices is that they have a habit of crawling off the altar at the last second, just when they are needed!
Many of us have already sacrificed a close family because of our "strange" beliefs. Some have given up choice jobs over the Sabbath and Feast of Tabernacles. We have all "sacrificed" money that could have gone for vacations or retirement investments in order to obey God's tithing laws. At least that is what a financial planner would say!
Sacrificing entails giving up something we want or need for the common good. It is a sacrifice to keep our mouths shut when we feel like giving someone a piece of our mind. Are we willing to make these kinds of sacrifices—or do we indulge our human nature?
It is a sacrifice to defeat temptations of all kinds, when our nature cries out for instant gratification, be it for alcohol, illicit sex, materialism, too much food, "saving face," gossip, etc. The apostle Peter reminds us that, when we really understand what godly suffering is all about, we will lose interest in sin—and will cease from it, no longer pursuing our former lusts (I Peter 4:1-3).
Paul perhaps says it most eloquently in Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Are we willing to give up the "self" and all its rights, if need be? Can we dare say with Paul, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me"? Incredible! But that is our goal.
Later in the same book he adds: "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14). Are we really willing to give up what the world has to offer us? Are we willing to give up the world's values, entertainment, approbation and esteem? To many, it is a sacrifice, but we cannot simultaneously befriend this world's values and God (I John 2:15James 4:4).
Suffice it to say, that "bearing our cross" deals with willingly sacrificing ourselves, our wants, desires and needs, for others and the things of God. It is being willing to lose our lives for His sake (Luke 9:24).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Exile and Repentance

I wanted to share a very good, thought provoking resource: here's the link...

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As in all things I submit, YOU discern if it right for you. I personally have found that this author articulates many of the thoughts and perspectives (of what I have read so far) which I have in a concise and clear way.
Here is a sample of today's reading.

Exile is a form of punishment that God has used from the very beginning. Here in Genesis 3, in the book of beginnings, we have the first instance of exile imposed by God Himself. It was exile from the Garden of Eden, from all that was wonderful and good that God had created, the perfect environment in which He had placed Adam and Eve. They could never go back. God placed an angel with a flaming sword that would turn whichever way any man juked to get back. If it were still there, it would deny us "paradise" even now.
This context shows three reasons we can glean to determine why God uses exile. The first one is evident—it was punishment for their sins. Adam and Eve took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when God said they should not take of it. That is sin, breaking a direct command of God. Exile was the punishment.
What else can we glean? What did their exile do? It separated them from access to Him. So, secondly, exile separates man from God. He does not want to be separated from us, but because of sin, it happens. It must happen because He does not like sin in the least. So this is a kind of corollary to the first point. Sin brings exile, and sin causes separation from God.
The third point must be read into it, but it is obvious from God's intent and the way God is. God imposes exile to spur repentance because it should be the natural inclination of men who have known God and all the glorious things that we can have in His presence to return to His good graces.
In summary, the first point is exile occurs because of sin. The second point is exile happens because sinners must be separated from God. And the third point is God uses exile as a goad to motivate sinners to repent.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh 

Biblical farm-life 101

In the Bible many symbolic relationships show evidence validating what God is wanting us to learn.We all know how Jesus and the Bible throughout uses the picture of a field and the harvest when referencing the spreading of the gospel. Consider this my thoughts on a deeper evidence of that picture.

Oxen/Bulls represent priest like figures. They plow the field and prepare it. The break the hard crust and pull the plow (the Law).

Donkeys are the carriers of the seed. They bring the good news to the fields. When you think of Mary and Joseph and coming to Bethlehem, Balaam, and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem by Jesus...are you getting the picture. Jesus asked for the Donkey and its colt...could that be that the colt will be a symbol that there are two parts to this gospel, and one yet to be fulfilled it hasn't matured yet. One that signifies the end of the exile from God, and the other of His authority as Lord over all creation through the resurrection.

Barley and Wheat represent the the two types of bread that comes from the earth. The bread represents the life and our witness of who we are. The seeds are distinguished as Jew and Gentile...can you guess which is which? The wheat represents the the harvest that comes second in the late fall. It is the message to and through the Jewish people of Israel. The Barley is the early spring harvest, the crop that signifies the beginning of the feasts. The barley when ripe and the new moon are two keys to the timing of events to come. The barley must turn white, signifying its readiness to be harvested. The wheat ties its significance the the Jews and the barley into gentiles in its application through out the Bible.

The other significant harvest is that of the grapes and olives...I will share that in the next blog post. as well as the fig tree and its fruit symbolism.

The livestock consume the harvest. Did you ever notice that the sheep eat selectively, yet goats will eat everything (thorns, briers, kudzu, poison ivy, etc). The oxen are validated to eat from the fields that the work.

Also consider that the bulls/oxen were denoted sacrifices for the priests, and rams for the people's sins. The bread and grain offerings, the wine for the drink offering. The olive oil and the frankincense are also harvested.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweet-n Salty?

Salt and the references to salt in the Bible refers to a spirit of conviction and condemnation.

I believe that salt represents the conviction that comes though acknowledging sinfulness and the fear  of that condemnation of the law.

Consider that instances where salt is mentioned. Jesus mentioned salt as an element that when it loses its saltiness-that the only thing that can be done with it is to be "trampled by men" because the condemnation of the law will have lost its effectiveness with the salvation of Jesus.

Those who are still condemning according to the old covenant laws are those who dwell in the sea of salt. The salt water fish (as in the giant fish of Jonah's three day incarceration). We are to have salt within us in our relationship and acknowledgement before God, however we are not to "a-salt" others by condemning them.

The offerings that required salt  were for acknowledgement of the sin in there lives. Salt within us is the reminder of our sin. Loaves of bread represent one's life . (we will get into that topic later) 

In the instances where salt healed the waters, it was that the water poisoned with apathy and complacency of Satan.

Think of how excessive salt effects our blood "pressure"…hmmmm?
Consider how salt dries and makes one thirsty. Thirsty for what…Mercy.

Salt is in all the fluid that expel from our bodies, a constant catalyst for purification of the water in us.

Saltiness in foods in counteracted with sweetness (i.e. Honey) 
Honey gives a boost of energy. Honey ironically is not man-made (as it is with milk).
How does salt feel on a cut or wound? Try honey which is a well established "healing" agent for infections and wounds. ( are you thinking about all the references to honey in the bible and seeing a pattern?)

Think about that sting…and about the thoughts I have presented for us to consider.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is Gold?

I have been interested in the symbolic essence of "Gold" in the Bible. One interesting aspect that gold, symbolizing the incorruptible always covered a corruptible material, such as wood. In some cases, items were to be pure solid gold. So what does gold represent? Gold  is sometimes associated with wisdom. I also find many instances that gold can be representative of mercy. The "Golden gate" in Jerusalem is also known as the "Gate of mercy" and is such a powerful location of significance that it is sealed by the Palestinians. The gate is where the messiah is to re-enter Jerusalem when he returns. It is where Jesus entered on Palm Sunday. It is where the priests would enter for their temple duties.
I subscribe that Love is the single most important aspect that we are to reflect in the character of God. It might even be said that the highest action or demonstration of love is mercy. Mercy and Gold? Search wisdom and in its core is love, and to love without mercy is to show that we do not understand the will of God or His character, thus is it possible that without the former we would be without wisdom?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

God is life and life is love...

God is eternal, godly love is eternal...thus when we are are reconciled by 'truth and faith' and God's grace (His love for you and me) we receive a restored relationship with...
God=Love=Eternal life.
Above I mentioned 'truth' and 'faith', let me explain a little deeper.
Truth-is the spiritual understanding beyond the physical.
Faith-is trusting in the spiritual, the essence of God himself.
So if to have a godly love is life, and you can't love if you don't in essence to not care is to not love.
So if love is life, then to not love is to inflict death.(murder?) So it could be said that when you don't care about someone you a committing spiritual murder.

I know that is heavy, but Jesus took our boundaries of what was acceptable to God and took them to a much more refined level. If we know that God is love...then how could Jesus diminish the essence of the cost of not caring in God's eyes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jewish Roots -A look at Paul’s letter to Messianic Hebrews

v  Hebrews as the other letters of the bible had NO chapters. They were just one long letter (think about how you read a letter vs. a book of the Bible) The only way to comprehend the depth of Hebrews is to read the entire First Testament (aka Torah) Hebrews written by Paul / during the 40 years between the crucifixion and the physical temple being destroyed. [28 A.D. – 68 A.D.]  Emphasizing to the Jewish/Messiah believing people that their way of honoring God [Yahweh] was only a ritual to continually remind them of their sin debt to Him. (also see 2 Peter 1:20)
v  First covenant topic starts at Hebrews Chapter 8:7 “For if that (refers to the first covenant)
v  (Hebrews 9) Not being faultless = not adequate (an unequal picture or image of the original)
o   The “fault was with “THEM” not the covenant.
o   The priesthood was a terminal position (see Psalm 110)
v  That God required propitiation for the “death sentence” He ordained for rebelling against Him. The continued sacrificial system was no longer needed that they were witnessing.
v  Consider the ending of the miracle Scapegoat and the scarlet ribbon. Rabbis attest that the miracle that occurred since its in-statement  in which the goat’s red ribbon turned white after its release into the wilderness, that immediately after  Messiah’s crucifixion, the ribbon never changed to white anymore.
v  When I make a “RENEWED” covenant – same word used in Jeremiah 31 [Greek conversion of the text attributed “NEW” in lieu of understanding the original text]
v  Carnal-pertaining to the physical, worldly earthly world vs. the spiritual or heavenly world in which we were created to dwell.
v  Tabernacle system purified carnal (temporary) flesh as a reminder that it was the Messiah that would come and purify our hearts and spirit (eternal).
o   *Bulls/Owen for Priests and Prophets
o   *Goat/Rams for all people
o   *Sheep for followers of Messiah? (*still pondering this correlation)
Frankincense for spiritual offering
o    (Interesting Side Note: Frankincense is tapped from the small drought-hardy Boswellia trees by slashing the bark,(Trials) which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out (Physical Response) and harden. These hardened resins are called tears (Spiritual Response). There are several species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity of the resin, even within the same species. Boswellia Sacra trees (Disciples and Missionaries) are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of almost solid rock. Attachment to the rock is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk. This feature is slight or absent in trees grown in rocky soil or gravel. The tears from trees growing on rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma. [need citation where] The trees start producing resin when they are about 8 to 10 years old (just prior to age of accountability?) Tapping is done 3 times a year (Deuteronomy 16) with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpene, sesquiterpene and diterpene content.
v  LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT-of the testator differs from a covenant or oath. (see Genesis 24-An oath is between the two who are alive, the ”will” of the testator is only affective, and can be adjusted and changed until his death)
v  Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25) was a fore shadow of the future need for a second renewed covenant and set of commandments. Moses given the commandments, saw the rebellion, destroyed the tablets he scribed, he then received a renewed set just like the other, however-God wrote this set Himself. As on our heart, He has written them with the blood of Jesus if we receive Him as Lord (He is our Savior regardless-(Deuteronomy 18) it is in honoring the Lordship we will be judged).

Hebrews 9-10
o   Judgment for sentence of death penalty-“ Will giving you my pet dog be O.K. to fulfill my sentence of murder?”
o   Law (Carnal) replaced by Faith (Spiritual)-both “Law and Order” existed from the beginning of creation. We required physical pictures and examples in order to grasp the truth of the relationship that was purely spiritual before the separation by sin.