This has nothing to do with those outside the Church. This is only directed at those inside the Church-those who profess to be followers of Jesus.

 
A pastor by the name of John Pavlovitz recently wrote an article on his blog entitled, “If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent”.  http://johnpavlovitz.com/2014/09/17/if-i-have-gay-children-four-promises-from-a-christian-pastorparent/

In the article he suggests that as Christian parents, we should accept our homosexual children as “okay”. This is what is wrong with the PC church today! If my kids told me that they thought that they were gay- yes, I would still love them as I always will, no matter what. But I would be honest and tell them that it is sin. I would pray for my children as they struggled with this, but I would NEVER accept it as being okay any more than I would accept adultery, lust or pedophilia as okay. That not only goes against God’s Law, but would give my children a false sense of salvation!

One cannot live as an unrepentant homosexual and be a follower of Jesus any more than an unrepentant pedophile can. Many have been taught that repentance means to “turn from sin”. Others believe that repentance means to be “sorry for your sins”. But neither is completely accurate. The full biblical definition of repentance is to change our heart and mind about sin that results in a change of action.

Repentance and faith are very closely related. Trying to separate the two is like trying to separate water and oil.  It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who he is and what he has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance, it is still a change of heart and mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejecting God and His commandments to faith in Jesus our Messiah.

Sexual sin has become rampant in our world and is glorified in movies and television. Sadly, the Church is not immune from its temptations. But  Jesus and the apostles were never politically correct when it came to addressing sin in the Church. Read how the Apostle Paul dealt with sexual sin within the Church: “I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother… It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1Cor. 5:1; 12-13 NLT) As Christians, our lives should be a reflection of Jesus himself. And with so many in the world watching us we should be even more careful to watch what we’re doing.

 

“When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19)

Some argue that 1 Samuel 28 is proof that there was an occasion where God allowed a medium to contact the dead for a word from God and thereby contradicting God’s own law.

A wicked King Saul finds that he is no longer hearing from God. So he, who had earlier killed many of the mediums and spiritists, contacts the witch at Endor and asks her to raise the recently deceased prophet Samuel from the dead. But the witch, fearing that this is a trap by Saul, at first refuses. But Saul swears an oath to the Lord that she will not be harmed. She succeeds in raising the dead prophet and shrieks when the spirit of Samuel actually appears and begins speaking to her. Samuel expresses annoyance at being disturbed and reiterates his own prophetic announcements that Saul has been rejected and that the kingdom has been transferred to David, as far as God is concerned.

It is important that to note that the king never saw or heard the prophet Samuel himself, but relied upon the witch to translate to him what she saw and heard:
The king said to her, “What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.” “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. (1Sam 28:13-14)

The rest of 1 Samuel 28 is actually the conversation between the witch and Saul as the witch translated; not directly between Samuel and Saul. Similar to how mediums today speak to the dead on behalf of their living loved ones.
It’s true that God allowed the witch of Endor to communicate with Samuel. However, this is not an indication of God’s approval of occultism. Rather, it was permitted by God as part of the process of pronouncing judgment against Saul and stripping him of his rule.Saul receives no words of comfort and no blessing. Within a very short while he will be dead on Mt. Gilboa and David will be king.Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance instead of the Lord. And he paid for his mistake with his life. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

Other supporters of spiritism cite Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16, which portrays a conversation between two people in the afterlife-Abraham in glory and the Rich Man in hades, as proof that conversations with the dead are sanctioned by God. But the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man is just that-A PARABLE! When the Rich Man pleads that Abraham allow Lazarus to go back among the living and warn his brothers, Abraham refuses because… ”They have Moses and the prophets…let them listen to them.”

Now, even knowing the truth from the Scriptures warning us not to have anything to do with mediums or speaking to the dead, some may still wonder how something that gives people hope and sets their hearts and minds at peace could be harmful.

Because it gives people a false peace and a false hope: A false peace that their loved one, (who may or may not be saved) is in a better place. Similarly, it will also give false hope that regardless of how they live; they too will end up in a better place when they die.

If our loved ones constantly watch over us from heaven when they die, then can they also see the sins and short-comings of those they love on earth? Will they have to helplessly watch as their relatives are beaten, shot and raped? Will they have to watch them die without Jesus? How can they enjoy their eternity while they witness such things?

I know this may upset some people reading this, but other than Elijah and Enoch, the Bible does not even hint that there is anyone else living in heaven except God, Jesus and the angels. Every description of heaven seems to focus only on God and his throne.

It is only natural that we, with our earthbound self-centered perspective, would prefer to comfort ourselves by believing that we can still communicate with loved ones who have since passed away. My own son was killed in an auto accident nearly 18 years ago. I too would love to be able to talk with him and share with him all that God has done for me since he died; but that is impossible; because my son is dead and I won’t see him again until the Resurrection. You see, as a Bible believing Christian, I have God’s promise that one day I will be reunited with my son again!

“But your dead will live, LORD; their bodies will rise– let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy– your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)

“Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 37:12)

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

And anyone who has surrendered their lives to Jesus has these same promises from God.

Whether we are alive or dead at the Resurrection, the time we spend waiting for that Day will seem like but a moment compared to eternity!

So if you haven’t already done so, repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you and surrender your life to Him. Please do it now!

While there’s still time:

“It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.” (1Cor. 15:52)

There seems to be a growing fascination with idea of people contacting loved ones who have “passed on”. On shows like ‘Crossing Over with John Edwards’, or the TLC series, ‘Long Island Medium’ featuring Psychic Theresa Caputo. On Sunday night, TLC debuted yet a new series, ‘Angels Among Us,’ featuring Rosie Cepero, who claims she can speak with guardian angels. But is she actually communicating with angels? Or is she communicating with some other type of spiritual beings?

Cepero spoke with The Christian Post about an ability she claims to have that allows her to speak with unseen beings, which she said began when she was just three-years-old. Her mother and grandmother also claimed to be able to communicate with angels. Cepero was raised as a Catholic, however, she no longer identifies as such.

“I always believe that all are born with a guardian angel – it’s a God-given gift for everyone – I would love for everyone to know this; not everyone knows this. Do I believe that everyone can talk to their guardian angels? Yes,” Cepero told CP. “What they need to do is relax and learn to watch for the signs, whether it’s a feather or a smell, they have their own signs of communication.” She also claims that what she believes to be guardian angels will appear once humans attempt to communicate with them and that humans become angels after they die and go to heaven.

But what does the Bible have to say about it?
Scripture teaches us to be wary of believing in and blindly trusting spirits because it can lead to harm rather than good and can often lead people away from God instead of drawing them closer.
“Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.” (Col 2:18)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,” (1 John 4:1)

As theologian and pastor John Calvin pointed out, “As God does not make [the angels] ministers of his power and goodness to share his glory with them, so he does not promise us help through ministry in order that we should divide our trust between them and him. [Angels] do lead us away unless they lead us by the hand straight to Him, that we may look upon Him, call upon Him, and proclaim Him as our sole helper.”

Laying On of Hands
While watching shows featuring mediums and psychics, I have noticed that at the end of their reading, the medium almost always hugs the person they speak to on behalf of a dead loved one. I believe that this is more than just a simple act of affection.

In Christian circles the act of the “laying on of hands” demonstrates the transference of the Holy Spirit. (As in Acts 8:17) But it could also be used by one either knowingly or unknowingly transferring demonic spirits to another through touch. It might surprise you, but cults and cultists also believe in the laying on of hands. Yes, there is another spirit-world of the supernatural, and following this demonstration some really strange things can begin to happen.

We see so many men and women “laying hands” upon others, but do we know the spirit of that individual whom we allow to place their hands upon us? What spirit do they transfer to others? You might think about this the next time someone wants to pray over you. Personally, I believe one should never allow another to lay hands upon them unless they first know by what spirit inhabits or drives that individual. (The main reason I don’t allow strangers to hug me in a church service) What is their belief? To whom or what have they submitted their life to? And most importantly, what is their motive? Is it power, control and self-glorification? Or is it to comfort, love and to bring glory to God? It is important to know the difference. I don’t believe that a true Christian can be possessed by a demon-since a Christian is already possessed by God’s Spirit. But I do believe that if not careful, a Christian can open the door to be oppressed by demonic forces.

That is why the Bible warns us:
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

And again: “… for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Cor. 11:13-15)

The Bible is very clear that attempting to contact the dead through occult channels is forbidden and spiritually dangerous:
“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:31)

“‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.” (Lev. 20:6)

Remember we are God’s children and our minds are mental greenhouses where unlawful thoughts, once planted, are nurtured and watered before being transplanted into the real world of unlawful actions.

 

(To be continued)

I sympathize with the children who have made the long and dangerous trek across our borders from Mexico and Central America. If I were a child surrounded by gang violence and drug cartels I don’t know that I wouldn’t illegally cross a border in order to be safe. But since President Obama has opened the flood gates for these children there has been many documented cases of communicable diseases brought over our borders.

Why not treat these children BEFORE shipping them to various parts of our country knowingly exposing them to other children in our schools as well as other  undocumented children?   I would think that Michelle Obama would be all over this, considering her stance on improving children’s health.

The link below describes what I’ve been wondering since news of the outbreak of entrovirus in many schools…

http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/obama-responsible-for-spread-of-enterovirus-and-other-diseases-by-illegal-alien-children-from-central-america-obama-ignored-warnings-from-prominent-health-officials-obama-more-concerned-about-electi/

As a young man in my 20s, I turned to Jesus and became a Christian. As a singer/songwriter myself, one of the biggest encouragements I had was the Christian music of the 70s and 80s. Christian artists back then shared strong views of Christian values and recorded direct, uncompromising music that confronted the world (And the Church) with the message of the Scriptures.

Larry Norman, who is considered to be the godfather of Contemporary Christian Music, became a Christian at the age of five. In 1969, Capitol Records released Larry’s first solo album, ‘Upon This Rock’. Because Larry and his music was denounced by various television evangelists and Christian radio stations, Capitol deemed the album a commercial flop and soon dropped him from their label. So in 1970, Larry established his own record label, One Way Records. He released two of his own albums, ‘Street Level’ and ‘Bootleg’ on the label as well as Randy Stonehill’s first album, ‘Born Twice’.

Throughout his career, Larry had a contentious relationship with the mainstream Christian church and with the Christian music industry in general. He wrote in September 2007, “I love God and I follow Jesus but I just don’t have much affinity for the organized folderol of the churches in the Western World.” Larry Norman’s music addressed a wide range of social issues, such as politics, free love, the occult, the passive commercialism of wartime journalists, and religious hypocrisy, that were outside the scope of his contemporaries. He often complained that Christian music generally meant “sloppy thinking, dishonest metaphors and bad poetry.” He also criticized what he saw as the “commercialization of Christian music in America”. In 2008, Christian rock historian John J. Thompson wrote, “It is certainly no overstatement to say that Larry Norman is to Christian music what John Lennon is to rock & roll or Bob Dylan is to folk music.” Larry Norman died at 60 years old on Feb 24, 2008 of heart failure.

Steve Camp was well-known for his strong views that Christian musicians are called to make direct, uncompromising music that confronts the world with the message of the Scriptures. He is well-known for his strong views that Christian musicians are called to make direct, uncompromising music that confronts the world with the message of the Scriptures. In 1998 following Martin Luther’s 95 theses, he sent out his own ‘107 Theses’ calling for a reformation in contemporary Christian music. Steve Camp has been the pastor at The Cross Church in Palm City, Florida since June 2009.

Keith Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same. Often considered controversial for his frequently confrontational lyrics and spoken messages, among his most notable songs were, ‘Asleep in the Light’, ‘So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt’ and ‘To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice’.
In 1979 Keith negotiated a release from his contract with Sparrow Records and initiated a new policy of refusing to charge money for concerts or albums. His album, ‘So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt’ was offered through mail-order and at concerts for a price determined by the purchaser for whatever they could afford. By May 1982, Keith had shipped out more than 200,000 units of his album – 61,000 for free.

Rich Mullins and his work with the group Zion were first noticed by Christian music superstar Amy Grant. The inclusion of his song ‘Sing Your Praise to the Lord’ on Grant’s ‘Age to Age’ album in 1982 soon lead to deals with Reunion Records and the start of a successful career as a songwriter and singer. The profits from his tours and the sale of each album were entrusted to his church, which divided it up, paid Mullins the average salary in the U.S. for that year, and gave the rest to charity. Mullins was also a major supporter of Compassion International and Compassion USA.

His faith can be understood by a quote he gave at a concert shortly before his death. He stated that: “Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken-hearted.” Rich had numerous hit songs to his credit including, ‘Hold Me Jesus’, ‘Step By Step’, and ‘Awesome God’. Sadly, Rich’s career was cut short by an automobile accident that took his life on September 19, 1997, in Illinois.

Christian Music Today
Music itself, apart from lyrics, is neither good nor evil. It is how it is used that makes it good or evil; much like a kitchen knife. In the hands of a cook it is a useful and necessary tool, but in the hands of a murderer it becomes a weapon that kills. Music is the medium that mirrors the heart of the composer, singer, instrumentalist, or listener. Therefore, if the heart is sensual then the music will reflect the same. If the heart is rebellious then the music will reflect rebelliousness. But if the heart is spiritually minded then the music will reflect Godliness.

Christian music used to teach the doctrine of Christ as revealed in God’s Word. Its lyrics echoed the attributes of God. It was characterized by the Godly presentation of musicians’ lives in public appearances in concerts as well as their private lives. Christian musicians used to emulate true Godly attributes as defined in God’s Word.

So what happened to Christian music?
Why has it departed from following its true form? No longer does Christian music attempt to characterize Godly attributes, but more often it characterizes worldly feelings through sensual rhythms and vocals. Most Christian artists today spew out a mix-mash of pseudo-religious, moral platitudes and vague, pious feelings in their lyrics on stage.

Sadly, young Christians today have become enamored with this pseudo-Christian music because of its sensual fleshly appeal, and defend its “spirituality” with great vigor and apparent offense. As music mirrors the heart of an individual, so does this pseudo-Christian music reflect the carnal condition of the hearts and minds of such persons.

The Bible teaches, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Gal. 5:17)
The fleshly music used in many Christian songs today and are absorbed daily by many Christians is contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29)

One only has to scroll through the posts of Christian artists on Face Book, Twitter, or the numerous other social media sites to see that most Christian musicians are more concerned in promoting themselves than they are in promoting godly desires. Recognition of the fact that such corrupted use of Christian music is displeasing to God and will demand repentance from the usage of it as well as repentance from the carnal condition of the soul. Then replacement must follow-replacement of corrupted music with true Christian music.

God chose me to show the world that He’s not impressed with our talents or intellect. When we see ourselves in the light of His glory, we can only fall down in grateful thanksgiving and praise.

I pray that God will raise up more Christian musicians who live uncompromising lives committed to God and the ministry of Jesus; with songs from the Spirit and making music from their hearts to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19)

Illegal immigration has become a controversial hot button issue in the United States today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory. Others claim that the lack of enforcement of immigration laws give individuals justification to immigrate here illegally.

Some Christian critics of illegal immigration often quote Romans 13:1–7 to justify massive deportation of illegal immigrants. Yes, God expects us to obey the laws of the government, but He also gives us an exception to this is whenever a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God. (Acts 5:29) Yes, illegal immigration is the breaking of a governmental law, but does God give us an exception to this law?

Leviticus 19:33-34 states: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

And in Deuteronomy 10:18 we read: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”

Jesus himself said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come for the purpose of having a better life, providing for their families, and escaping from poverty and violence.

Why should the immigrant or the “foreigner who resides among you” be such a concern to the Jewish and Christian faiths and what bearing does it have on the current immigration debate in our country?

God didn’t want the ancient Hebrews to forget where they had come from, or how they had gotten where they were. They had come from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. They knew what it was like to be exploited and taken advantage of. Now that they had land and wealth God didn’t want them to forget that that hadn’t always been the case.

Most Americans are the descendants of immigrants.
When European settlers arrived on the North American continent at the end of the fifteenth century, they encountered diverse Native American cultures—as many as 900,000 inhabitants with over 300 different languages. These indigenous people welcomed the new visitors with open arms and were willing to share the bounty of their land. But years later they were virtually destroyed by the subsequent immigration that created the United States. This tragedy is the direct result of ‘governmental laws’ enforced through broken treaties, warfare with the Native Americans, and of through forced assimilation.

For Native Americans, the world after 1492 marked the beginning of the long road of persecution and genocide of Native Americans. Genocide was an important cause of the decline for many tribes. By conservative estimates, the population of the United States prior to European contact was greater than 12 million. Four centuries later, the count was reduced by 95% to 237 thousand! The Removal Act of 1830 set into motion a series of events which led to the “Trail of Tears” in 1838, a forced march of the Cherokees, resulting in the destruction of most of the Cherokee population.

I must confess that until recently I was strongly opposed to allowing illegal immigrants into our country. But God has shown me that as Christians, we have to separate our attitude toward the act of entering the country illegally from our attitude toward the illegals themselves. The first obligation of a Christian is to express godliness in all our thoughts and deeds. There is no room for hatred toward those who come into the country, (Even when it’s done illegally) desperately seeking work, refuge from danger and persecution, or a better life for themselves and their families. We are to show Christian compassion toward those who would risk their lives in a dangerous, and often fatal, attempt to cross a border. Acts of hatred or violence toward illegal aliens is never to be considered or tolerated by those who profess to be followers of Jesus.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Mat 25:37-40)

God has given us some wonderful laws that tell us what makes life work and what doesn’t. They are full of great wisdom and if practiced in our society today there would be much more peace, happiness and prosperity. Now these laws are often described in the Bible by three divisions.

Deuteronomy 7:11  describes these three divisions.  “Therefore you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.” This three-fold division of the laws of God is mentioned at least 10 times in the Bible.

So what’s the difference between the commandments, the statutes and the judgments? First of all, what are the commandments? Well, that’s an easy one for most of us. When Jesus told the rich young ruler to keep the commandments the young man asked Him which ones? Jesus quoted some of the Ten Commandments that God gave us in Exodus 20.

The Ten Commandments give the broad principles of how to obey God and show love to Him and to our neighbors. The statutes are secondary laws that go further and expand upon the commandments. Life is complex and so God, in His love and infinite wisdom, gave Israel further details and specifics as to how to show love for Him and others through the statutes.

Having said that, what’s the difference between statutes and judgments? Now, statutes are secondary laws that are made by lawmakers. Judgments, on the other hand, refer to judicial decisions made by a judge based upon the principles behind those laws to come up with a decision as to how best to apply those laws.

So how do we go about determining whether a law in the Old Testament is a statute or a judgment? Well, first of all, we need to understand why the particular law was made.

For our first example let’s look at a judgment from Deuteronomy 22:8 where we read, “When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it.” Why was this law given? Well, in ancient times people had flat roofs and people used to spend a fair bit of time on the top of their roofs for various reasons and so there was the danger of people falling off a roof. So a parapet was used as guard rails and to prevent people from falling off the roof. This was a basic safety law like so many of the safety laws that governments pass today.

The next question we have to ask is whether that law can be applied for all cultures for all time. Well, today very few people have flat roofs and putting a parapet on some of our steep roofs might pose more of a problem than not having one. And since the principle here is to preserve the health and safety of those who might venture onto the roof the principle cannot be applied to all roofs.

 
Let’s look at the laws that cover the sacrifices and offerings. In Jeremiah 7:22 God says “For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.” We see that God didn’t originally give Israel these laws when they came out of Egypt. They’re not found in the book of Exodus but in the latter books written AFTER the time when they sinned by worshipping the golden calf.

The sacrifices and offerings were but types of the greater sacrifice of Christ to come. They taught Israel of the need for Christ’s sacrifice to come later on and, are no longer required because of Christ’s sacrifice. They were judgments made by God, because of their sins at Mount Sinai, to help impress on a carnal, rebellious people the need for a greater sacrifice to come.

We’ve looked at judgments. Now let’s look at a couple of statutes. A good example of a statute is the Holy Days. While many think that Christ’s sacrifice did away with the need to keep these “Jewish Holy Days” they are ignorant of the fact that the Holy Days teach us a lot about the great plan of God to harvest all souls and save all mankind. And by keeping the Holy Days we learn so much about God’s plan.

This principle behind these Holy Day laws can be applied for all people, for all time and are thus statutes. We read of Egypt having to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the New Kingdom on earth in Zechariah 14. Leviticus 23:31 makes it clear that the Holy Days are statutes. About the Day of Atonement it says, “You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”

The dietary laws can also be applied for all people, for all time. Most of the animals that are unclean in Leviticus 11 were designed by God to be scavengers and are not fit for human consumption. Christ’s sacrifice does nothing to change that basic fact of God’s creation. Thus, the dietary laws are statutes, as opposed to judgments.

The judges of Israel also made judgments on issues not specifically mentioned by God in the law. This is spoken of in Deuteronomy 17. In Deuteronomy 17:8-10 we read, “If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge…you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment. You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the LORD chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you.”

They didn’t have to go to the judges if they felt that they could work out their problem. But if they felt the problem was too hard to work out they had the option to bring it to the judges and they would make a judgment based upon determining why the laws were made and applying those principles to the matter brought before them. As long as the judgments don’t directly violate the laws and the word of God, the Church has the power of judgment in ecclesiastical matters. In 1 Corinthians chapter 6 Paul chastised the Corinthians for going to unconverted judges of the world instead of the Church to decide upon matters between brethren.

Members don’t have to go to the ministry to sort out their problems with their brethren but if it is too hard to sort out Paul admonishes us to take it to the Church and abide by the decision rather than go to court against our brother. The obvious exceptions to this are over criminal matters and for civil matters that the church has no authority over, for example, finalizing a divorce.

One good example of a church judgment was when some churches made a judgment that drinking alcohol is a sin based upon 1 Corinthians 6:20 which says we are to glorify God in our body. They interpreted that every drink of alcohol (no matter how small) does us harm and that the body was not designed for taking in the dangerous chemicals that are in alcohol.

What does the Bible say about alcohol or wine? Is it a sin to drink? Jesus made some very interesting comments about the criticism leveled at him and John the Baptist related to their behavior and drinking habits. “For John came neither eating nor drinking (alcohol), and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ “(Matthew 11:16 – 19)

John’s Nazarite vow prevented him from having not only wine or alcohol but also grape juice. In fact, he couldn’t even eat any grapes! The primary location in the Scriptures that discusses the Nazarite vow and drinking is in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6.

Jesus drank wine, but he did not sin; therefore, it is not wrong or bad if we do a little bit of drinking ourselves. In fact, Jesus’ own mother, Mary, asked her son to make more of it at the marriage feast in Cana. (see John chapter 2) He obeyed His mother even though his time to perform miracles had not yet arrived. He made more wine (And much better wine) than they could drink! Imbibing the ‘fruit of the vine’ is not a sin in the eyes of God. In fact, drinking wine is used as a representation that Christ died for our sins. ( See I Corinthians 11:23-26)

Some teach that “oinos” (Strong’s Concordance G3631) means non-alcoholic grape juice in the Bible; and that’s what Jesus and his disciples were drinking on Passover. This simply could not be the case, because what they were drinking represented his blood. The Greek word, ‘oinos’ is derived from the Hebrew word, ‘yayin’. (H3196) They are both described as fermented grape juice that could lead to intoxication. Wine is fermented grape juice which is active or “living” just as our blood. (See Lev. 17:11) The Apostle Paul did not think drinking alcoholic beverages was wrong. He tells Timothy, who was having stomach trouble, that he should drink some of it for his stomach’s sake. (See 1Timothy 5:23) The latest scientific findings show that taking a moderate amount of wine may be helpful for our heart and lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Of course, the Bible does condemn drunkenness. Paul’s letter to Titus states that a minister of God should not be given to drinking too much wine or be an alcoholic (Titus 1:7). Drunkenness is clearly not acceptable in God’s word. (1Timothy 3:8) Paul warns us a second time that we should not be taking in intoxicating drinks until we are drunk. (Ephesians 5:18) As long as we drink wine or alcohol in moderation the Bible states that it is good for us. But drunkenness is definitely a sin and should not to be a part of a Christian’s life.

The same questions about drinking wine could be asked about drinking beer or smoking cigarettes. The fact remains that moderation in all things is a Godly attribute. Smoking is obviously not healthy and the believer should try to quit, but what is there in this world that isn’t good for you? I love to go to fast food restaurants but don’t go very often because I know the menu carries high fat volumes in their foods. The fact is, there are no perfect Christians. The Apostle Paul said, “I have the right to do anything, you say—but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything—but not everything is constructive.” (1Cor. 10:23)

Jesus is more concerned with what comes out of our mouths than what goes into it saying in Matthew 15:11, “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” It is what comes out of our mouth (our words) that defiles believers, because it is by our words that our heart is revealed.

Now the Church is not perfect and so we have seen Christians hold different positions on the very same issues at different times. A couple of examples of this are church judgments on makeup and interracial marriage. Prohibitions that were made on these two issues were not based upon a specific statute in the Bible that forbid them but were judgments based upon principles which a certain church interpreted and then made a decision upon.

Orthodox Jews have another judgment that teaches not to eat dairy products and meat at the same time. This rabbinic rule came about through a misinterpretation of Exodus 23:19. “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God. Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” (The same verse being repeated in Ex. 34:26 and Deut. 14:21) The proper understanding of this verse deals with the ancient Egyptian and Canaanite idolatrous fertility rite. The liquid milk was sprinkled over the fields by the pagans, after the fall harvest to ensure a bountiful harvest from their god or goddess, for next year.

Exodus 23:19 has nothing to do with eating meat and dairy products together. The Lord was declaring to His people that after the harvest season was over and when the pagan people around them would practice idolatry and witchcraft to insure a good harvest for themselves for the next year that they were not to imitate the pagans. Israel was instead to trust God for next year’s bountiful harvest.

We cannot find one Scripture where God commands that we abstain from eating dairy and meat together. Not one. The Rabbis have perverted the Scriptures when they declare that it is a sin to eat meat and dairy together. Biblically  there is no problem with eating meat and dairy together. We see that Abraham and the angels did it: “And he (Abraham) took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them (The angels) and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” (Genesis 18:8)

The Bible gives us the proper definition of sin. It does not come from human beings or human opinions. Because human opinions can deviate from the Word of God; therefore a biblical definition of sin is accurate since it is a definition from God Himself.

In First John 3:4, the apostle gives us the proper definition of sin, “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” This means that every human being has sinned and continues to sin. So we are all in big trouble since we all will continue to sin in this life. Jesus is the only human who never sinned. This is why Jesus made the perfect sacrifice because he was without blemish and the only perfect human that ever lived. His death reconciled humans to God. But only those who believe on him are the ones reconciled to God. (Acts16:30-31; Rom 5:10; 2Co 5:18)

For our final scripture let’s look at Ezekiel 36:16-27. He tells Ezekiel that after the end of this age He will restore all Israelites that He dispersed among the nations and says, “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep my judgments and do them.”

If we are to be the ones who will walk in these laws in God’s kingdom, then it behooves all of us to be good students and learn all we can about them now.