“With trumpets and the blast of the horn shout for joy before the LORD, the King.” —Psalm 98:6 

“When you enter into battle in your land against an adversary who attacks you, sound short blasts on the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God and saved from your enemies. And on your joyous occasions, your appointed feasts, and the beginning of each month, you are to blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will serve as a reminder for you before your God. I am the LORD your God.” —Numbers 10:9-10 

“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” —1 Corinthians 15:51-52

In next the few weeks I will be writing a series of articles about God’s Fall Feast Days. No, this is not another article about how we are commanded by God to observe His Feast Days. I have written enough on that subject. Besides, there enough books to fill libraries across the world on what the Bible says what we should and should not do. No, this is about the instructions on how we observe His Feasts and ask the question, “Why do Christians think it’s so bad to observe God’s Feast Days?” 

To many, the fall is their favorite time of year—the cool, crips air, the beauty  of the turning of the leaves, harvesting apples and savoring the flavors of fall. But my favorite part of fall are the Fall Feast Days ordained by God in the Bible. These Feasts Days also point to Messiah. But unlike the Spring Feasts Days that represent Jesus’ first coming, It is generally believed that the Fall Feasts refer to his return, or the Second Coming. Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) this year begins at sunset, September 18th and ends at nightfall, September 20th. 

On the first day of the seventh month (Tishri) the Hebrews were instructed to have a special solemn Sabbath followed by a ten-day period of repentance known as the High Holy Days. (Leviticus 23:23-25) The new year of the civil calendar began on this day. (Nisan was the beginning of the religious calendar) 

I know I’m in the minority of Christians who observe these holy days, but I delight in the opportunity to proclaim what God has done for me and those around me. Unlike ancient Israel, I am not bound by the law for God’s favor and forgiveness, but it is my joy and privilege to reflect upon Gods faithfulness throughout the course of history. 

During Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the harvest and God’s faithfulness in providing for us. When we blow the shofar, we remember how He has shown up over and over again to defend us in our battles and we celebrate His victories with praise. The trumpet (or shofar) sounded a battle call (Numbers 10) so when we blow the shofar, we are both declaring war on our enemy, the devil, and remembering the source of our strength—our God. 

Rosh Hashanah has become very special to my heart. A lot of time is spent around the table tasting and savoring God’s goodness. In my home, we invite friends to gather with us in celebration and praise to God for all the good things He has given us and for His promise of a good year to come. We even take turns  sounding the shofar to proclaim God’s goodness. We spend hours planning a special meal filled with the traditional, sweet foods of Rosh Hashanah. We dip a special round Challah bread and apples in honey as a way to remember God’s goodness. It is a festive celebration of God’s goodness. It’s not something we have to do, it’s something we get to do. 

Setting aside these Feast Days, helps me put a grounding and purpose to my life. Celebrating God’s Feasts also puts structure in my life. When our time is our own, we’re often prone to wander from God’s commandments. But when we surrender our life and our time around God’s works, our thoughts are taken captive to the obedience of  Messiah. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Above all, by observing God’s Feast days we show God how much we love Him in return. (1 John 5:3) 

So this Feast of Trumpets, I’ll stop and remember the goodness of God in my life. I will thank Him for His faithfulness in the past year and pray for the upcoming year to be sweet. 

Our table will be opened to friends and family, so together, we will partake in celebrating God’s Feast and His goodness. I think of it as practice for when every tribe and every nation will gather around the Lord’s table for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

So I ask, “What’s so bad about that?”

William Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army with his wife Catherine, embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.

Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people on the street. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings.

Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth’s first converts to Christianity. To congregations who were desperately poor, he preached hope and salvation. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance. His renown as a religious leader spread throughout London, and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women. 

William Booth was a remarkable man, who had a passion to save men’s souls. He was a man born into poverty and who worked in the midst of poverty his whole life. He was given the title “The Prophet of the Poor.” His life could be summed up in his own statement, “Some men’s passion is for gold. Some men’s passion is for art. Some men’s passion is for fame. My passion is for souls.” 

I believe that William Booth would be very disappointed if he could see how the Salvation Army and many church members have changed. The Salvation Army has become more of a social services center, concerned only with meeting people’s physical needs, more than their spiritual needs. And churches today are not much different.

It’s been reported from people who attended the evangelistic meetings of William Booth that many in attendance would begin to shake so at his preaching that they would tear at the hymnals in their laps! Where is that type of preaching today?

When Charles Finney, a revivalist preacher during the Second Great Awakening during the 1830s, preached at his meetings, whole communities would be converted! Taverns and theaters were turned into places of worship! When he would visit factories, people, would fall to their knees weeping in repentance by the power of the Holy Spirit, without Finney even speaking a word! Where is that spirit in the churches today? Where is the fire of God’s word?   

The following is a poem written by Howard Clinebell, a former professor of pastoral psychology and counseling at the School of Theology in Claremont, California. It describes perfectly the state of the church today:

The Little Lifesaving Station 

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occurred, there was once a crude lifesaving station. The building wasn’t much more than a small hut, and there was only one boat. But the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought of themselves, went out night and day tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station. So much so that it became famous for its rescue efforts. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money for the support of its work. New boats were purchased and donated to the station and crews were trained to improve the rescue operations of the station.

As the little lifesaving station grew some of the members were unhappy that the building itself was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided for those who were rescued from the sea. So the members raised funds for the station and replaced the emergency cots with beds and placed better furniture in an enlarged building.

Soon the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members. They decorated it beautifully and furnished it so exquisitely that it became sort of a club. The lifesaving station’s logo still prevailed on the wall above the fireplace and its name was still used to raise funds,  but  fewer members were now interested in going out to sea on lifesaving missions. They even hired lifeboat crews to do the work that they used to do themselves.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. These people were dirty and sick. And some of them were foreigners who couldn’t speak English. The beautiful club was thrown into chaos. The property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club building with an attached closet filled with clean clothes so that the victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up and dressed properly before coming inside.

At the next club meeting there was a split in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social structure of the club. Some members insisted that the lifesaving operations were the primary reason for them being there and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. The latter were finally voted down and were told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters they could start their own lifesaving station further down the coast. That’s exactly what they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old one. It evolved into a club and later another lifesaving station was founded.

History continues to repeat itself and if you visit that seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along its shores.  Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but sadly, most of the people there drown.

We have all witnessed the angry protests and riots in cities throughout our country after people of color were unlawfully detained and even killed by police officers. We have all read accounts of children being abused, neglected and killed by those who were supposed to love and care for them. And we have also seen how social media has blown up with hateful comments from both sides of political issues.

And yet, so many professing Christians continue to live their lives as if this is a type of “new normal”. THIS IS NOT A NEW NORMAL! This is not normal at all! Don’t you see that God has been trying to get our attention for years now? He has been trying to get us to repent. But you refuse to listen! How can people study God’s word for so many years and still not understand it or obey what it says?

Churches today are preaching a convenient gospel. One that teaches that all you have to do is confess your sins, accept Jesus in your heart, and you’ll be saved. But without repentance—a change of heart and lifestyle, there is no true conversion and thus, no real salvation. When someone truly repents they become a totally new creature. Their old life is dead and buried with Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Acts 3:19)

Our salvation cost Jesus his life! So how can we expect it to cost us any less? How can we take it so lightly? This is not the gospel that Jesus or the early Church preached. They preached a gospel of repentance and a gospel that brought real change to people’s lives! But if you preach a gospel of convenience—a gospel that makes people comfortable—you will be loved by the world and make yourself an enemy of God! (James 4:4) One of the primary purposes of the gospel is to make people uncomfortable so that they will repent and turn to God. 

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, said: “But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Jesus prophesied that “lawlessness will abound” in the end times. (Matthew 24:12) That people will overwhelmingly reject God’s laws, and that this lawlessness, unrestrained by the laws of God, will bring this earth to the point of almost complete destruction.

But the Bible also predicts that there will be a very small group—a remnant, who will not embrace lawlessness. In fact, these people will be defined by the how they live their lives by God’s laws, (Isaiah 10:20-21;1 John 5:2-3) and reject the traditions of man taught in the churches, which will make them stand in stark contrast to the world (and worldly Christians) around them. While people’s love grows cold, God’s faithful will hold to the law that teaches love, care and concern for others. (1 John 5:3) But they won’t be honored and respected for their way of life. Jesus said they will be “…hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9) 

Today there are over 2 billion professing Christians in the world—making up the world’s single largest religious group. And about 60 percent of the world’s nations have a majority Christian population. That means that the remnant—those who live their lives according to God’s word—is a minority among those calling themselves Christians. The people of “all nations” who hate and persecute God’s people will include billions of people who claim Christianity as their religion. 

But why will God’s remnant be so violently hated? What could they possibly do to receive such scorn? Because just like the prophet Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Stephen and the apostles who were persecuted for boldly proclaiming the need to repent of sin, God’s remnant will preach the truth that those around them won’t want to hear. Particularly the portion of the gospel message that calls on people to repent, change and align their lives with God’s law. Sadly, most people in churches today stubbornly refuse to repent and obey God’s laws. And because of that, true Christians will be hated—by the world and other Christians. 

I understand that not everyone will agree with everything, but I have read more civil language on social media by professing atheists than from professing Christians! I myself have been a target of hateful rhetoric by professing Christians after posting comments about repentance or obeying God. Why would this be offensive to a true Christian? How can you say that you love God and continue to use hateful speech toward your brothers and sisters? (1 John 4:20-21)

   

Right now, we are experiencing a time when God’s people aren’t facing violent persecution in most places. In fact, in much of the world this may be the safest time in all of human history to be a true follower of God. But as the days get closer to the end, that will change radically—maybe in the next few years. As deception and lawlessness increase, hatred against true Christians will surge. The good news is that God will shorten those days “for the elect’s sake.” (Matthew 24:22) Jesus Christ will come to save His people from those who violently hate them. 

Christian! Don’t you realize how the hate of the world has become like a cancer and has infiltrated and affected your walk with God? As Christians, we are to be the light of the world for all to see but, the Bible tells us we must “put aside all such things as these: anger, rage,  malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) 

The apostle James wrote, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be!” (James 3:9-10) And yet here we are. 

If the unbelievers in this world can’t tell the difference between you and sinners then your religion is worthless!  Are you comfortable living like the world?  (1 Corinthians 3: 1-3) Do you preach a gospel of convenience? A gospel that does not offend? Then I beseech you, repent now! And be true to God and His word! Ask Him to lead you by His spirit into His truth and live your life according to His word. Remember Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21 NLT)

It is time for believers to stop following the traditions of man and dive into what God’s word says.

This is a song I wrote with my brother Mick Byers. Listen to it here: https://www.reverbnation.com/jonahreubenmusic/song/12837080-tears-of-god

My prayer is that this song will speak to your heart and encourage you to repent and turn back again to God.

Tears of God

You don’t call my name except when you swear

Hours for TV and no time for prayer

Your promises are empty while your pockets are full

Your shield has grown rusty and your sword’s become dull

Your lips sing my praises while your heart’s far away

Going through the motions with your worn out cliches

Oh the tears that nobody sees

You think cause I’m God that I don’t have to weep

But I cry but nobody sees

The heartache this world gives to me 

Behold I am standing at your door and I knock

But your lights are turned down and you’ve bolted the lock

You’re bound up with hatred and you’re bound up with fear

Too blind to see and too scared to hear

Oh the tears that nobody sees

You think cuz I’m God that I don’t have to weep

But I cry but nobody sees

The heartache this world gives to me 

The heartache My church…gives to me

Christians! Wake up from your slumber! Repent of your sins and return to God! Begin to again live according to God’s word…

“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) 

“But now you must put aside all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8) 

“The night is nearly over; the day has drawn near. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:12-14)

God is our ONLY hope to become a great nation again. Turn and live for God…Before it’s too late! 

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18) 

 

90% of Christian church doctrines today are not even in the Bible. In fact, most Christians today get more of their theology from greeting cards, movies and TV specials than they do from reading Scripture! And most of their beliefs taught in their churches come from pagan practices and traditions of man!

Of course, most Christians will vehemently deny that their beliefs are based on pagan origins or that they are man-made. And they have become quite proficient at disguising them under layers of complicated theology and church tradition. Unconvinced that many of their beliefs and practices are unbiblical, they continue to deceive and be deceived—in spite of the fact that Scripture proves just the opposite. (2 Timothy 3:12-14) That’s not to say that they are evil, or unsaved, just that they have been deceived.

So where did these false doctrines and beliefs get started?

The Roman Catholic church contends that its origin began with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ in approximately AD 30. It also proclaims itself to be the true church that Jesus Christ died for, the church that was established and built by the apostles. But is that the true origin of the early Catholic church?

On the contrary—Even a cursory reading of the New Testament will reveal that the Catholic church does not have its origin in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles. 

Most Christians today associated with the mainline Protestant denominations are aware that in the New Testament there is no mention of the infallibility of the papacy, or the worship of Mary, praying to the saints in heaven, infant baptism, or being forgiven of sin by confessing to a priest. They also know that the Catholic sacrament of Transubstantiation (The idea that bread and wine are miraculously transformed into the literal body and blood of Jesus) is not taught in the Bible.

But there are other beliefs practiced in the Christian churches that are just as unbiblical. 

For the first 280 years of Christian history, Christianity was banned by the Roman Empire, and Christians were terribly persecuted unless they abandoned their Christian faith and worshipped the pagan gods of Rome. This changed after the  so called “conversion” of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine provided religious tolerance with the Edict of Milan in AD 313, effectively lifting the ban on Christianity. Later, in AD 325, Constantine called for the Council of Nicea in an attempt to unify Christianity by blending the Christian Church with the pagan practices of Rome. The result was that many of Constantine’s pagan beliefs and practices eventually became a mixture of true Christianity and Roman paganism. As it remains to this day. 

Here are just a few of the false teachings that have been accepted by modern Christian churches as biblical truth: 

1. Natural immortality of the soul

The majority of professing Christians today believe that when we die, we have a separate “soul” that continues to live on. Those who are lost will immediately be ushered into “hell” where they will be tormented forever, and the saved will immediately be ushered into to the arms of Jesus in heaven. Did you know that Christians were not the first people to believe in the immortal soul? No, this belief came from the pagan world and perpetrated through the Catholic church. It was a way for the Catholic church to control the common people. “Do what we say or you will burn in the eternal fires of hell.” 

Believing that our loved ones who have passed are watching over us from heaven is a romantic notion, but think about this logically. (For God is a logical God) How could our loved ones who have died before us enjoy their eternity in heaven if they have to watch as their loved ones on earth are beaten, robbed, raped or murdered?  

All throughout the Bible you will not see one verse where God, Jesus or the apostles proclaimed that we have an immortal soul. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) Can you see the clear truth of this? We are made out of the dirt of the ground. And it is only the breath of God that keeps us alive and makes us “living souls”. But without that breath of God in us, we become dust again! We were not given an immortal soul, we are living souls, but only while we are alive. “…the body without the spirit is dead…” (James 2:26)

All throughout the Old Testament we are taught that after death we know nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10; Psalm 115:17). Psalm 146:4 tells us, “When his spirit (life or breath) departs, he returns to the ground; on that very day his plans perish.” 

And in Isaiah, we are given a remarkable prophecy concerning the second coming of Christ Jesus and what happens when we die:

“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19)

Where does Scripture tell us where we will dwell until the second coming of Jesus? In the grave! Awaiting our resurrection. Friends, this is the Bible truth. Jesus himself taught that when we die, we sleep (Matthew 9:24; John 11:11-14). And this falls in line with the Old Testament teaching that we “wait” in the grave until the resurrection. When we die, we return to dust and await the second coming of Jesus when He will resurrect us and only then will he give us immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53) 

There are two primary Bible verses that Christians use to try to prove the doctrine of immortality of the soul. The most popular one is the often misquoted Bible verse of 2 Corinthians 5:8—“To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” I have even heard evangelists and preachers whom I admire and respect who constantly misquote this verse. But those who have actually read that verse know it actually says: “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”  I too would rather be away from my body and be present with the Lord. But Scripture teaches that that won’t happen until after I’m resurrected by Jesus. 

The other Bible verse used is the description of the thief crucified alongside Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) But again this verse is misunderstood. The Greek language has no punctuation marks. So Jesus could actually be saying: “Truly I say to you today…you will be with me in paradise.” Or better translated: “I’m telling you the truth today. After the resurrection you will live with me in paradise.”

2. Hell is a real place reserved of the unsaved where they will be tormented with fire forever.

If the Bible doesn’t teach immortality of the soul, then the doctrine of an everlasting, burning hell is false as well. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The most well known Bible verse in the whole world. And yet so few people actually know what it is saying! 

There are only two options for us: One is to follow Jesus and gain eternal life at the resurrection. The other is to reject Jesus and ‘perish’. Perish means to be completely and eternally destroyed with nothing left! And when you learn the truth that we don’t have an immortal soul, then a forever burning hell really doesn’t makes sense. 

Now don’t misunderstand. At the resurrection the lost will be punished for their rejection of God and Jesus with “hell fire”, which Revelation chapters 19 and 20 describes as the “lake of fire”. But that fire will “burn them up” (Malachi 4:1) and they will die the “second death. (Revelation 21:8) And this agrees with what the prophet Daniel foretold long ago: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

3. We will always be sinners saved by grace

This doctrine of Satan has been the ruin of many in the Christian church. It teaches that we have no choice but to sin every day in thought, word, and deed—that it is impossible for us not to sin. They teach that Paul in the seventh chapter of Romans is describing the normal Christian experience. But those who understand what Jesus and the apostles taught about sin believe that Paul would be horrified at such misinterpreting of his words! 

In the sixth chapter the apostle points out the absolute necessity of holy living: “Let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness, unto God.” (vs. 11-13) We are not sinners saved by grace. When we become saved we are no longer sinners at all, but saints. And the Holy Sprit gives us the power to overcome sin. There is nowhere in any of the apostle Paul’s writings that he refers to converted believers as sinners. Paul clarifies this in Romans 6:14-15 when he writes: “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not!” 

And what do we do with 1 John 3:9? “Anyone born of God refuses to practice sin, because God’s seed abides in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”  Or 1 John 5:18? “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning…” That’s not to say that we won’t make bad decisions or make mistakes. I have made more than my share of bad decisions and mistakes, but it was always when I was making plans based on my own feelings and understanding, and not on what Scripture and God’s spirit was telling me.

The Holy Spirit, at conversion begins a cleansing process to clean up selfish motives that have been inspired by Satan. Thus the spirit of God leads the convert to hate and turn from all sin. A sincere and careful study of all Scriptures related to the “new birth” reveals that the spirit of God, by divine persuasion, produces the change known as the “new birth” whereby a sinner becomes a saint—a child of the devil becomes a child of God and chooses to no longer sin. 

4. Because we are now under grace we no longer need to obey the commandments in the Old Testament 

One of the most absurd of all false teachings that the Christian church adapted from the Catholic church is to teach that we are no longer required to keep God’s commandments. Jesus himself said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

Many teach that Jesus “accomplished everything” at his resurrection and so did away with the Old Testament Law, but the only thing that Jesus accomplished at his death and resurrection was to do away with the sacrificial and ceremonial laws and make a way for God to forgive us of our sin and have eternal life with him. Everything will not be “accomplished” until Jesus returns and sets up God’s kingdom on earth. 

Jews only?

Many are taught that all of the Old Testament laws are for the Jews only. And that the Feast Days commanded by God are “Jewish only” holidays. But are they? Anyone who reads Leviticus 23 will see that all of the Feast Days are “God’s appointed feasts”—not Jewish only holidays. In fact when God instructed Moses about His Feast Days and Sabbaths, there were no Jews yet! There was also a mixed multitude (people other than the Hebrews) that left Egypt with them. So everyone who is descended from that original “mixed multitude” are still obligated to fulfill God’s commands. “The same law shall apply to both the native and the foreigner who resides among you.” (Exodus 12:49) And if that wasn’t clear enough for you: “The assembly is to have the same statute for both you and the foreign resident; it is a permanent statute for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the LORD.” (Numbers 15:15) 

Only God could arrange things so that all of the generations scattered throughout all the nations who love Him would obey His commandments!

So who changed things?

In the early days of the Catholic church some priests decided to do away with God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths and replace them with traditional holidays of man. And the Christian church blindly followed along. Those who refused the edict of the Catholic church were tortured, burned at the stake or skinned alive! 

Many today use Amos 5:21 and Galatians 4:10 as proof that God did away with observing Feast Days. But Galatians 4:10 is about people who were observing the Feast Days as a legalistic requirement for salvation. And Amos 5:21 is referring to pagan feasts that God’s people were involved with. Note that God does not call them “My” feasts, as in Leviticus 23, but calls them “your” feasts. 

These same people will quote Acts 15:19-21 to try to prove that we don’t need to observe God’s laws anymore: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not cause trouble for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood. For Moses has been proclaimed in every city from ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

But Christians misunderstand the apostles reasoning. The apostles suggested these limited rules because they knew that the non-Jewish converts would hear God’s laws and precepts discussed every Sabbath in the synagogues. Just as a new convert to Christianity is not expected to follow all of the rules and doctrines of churches immediately after conversion, the four prohibitions seem to have been a temporary arrangement. The Jew was not to require his non-Jewish brothers the yoke of all of God’s laws immediately, but to come to learn that which was acceptable to God in the synagog every Sabbath. 

The New Testament shows that the first-century Christian Church continued to observe God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths. Jesus Himself observed them, and we, as His followers, are told to walk as He walked—to live as He lived. (John 7:8-14; 1 John 2:6) The apostle Paul reminded the early Church believers to “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6) The apostles in Acts 2:1-4 miraculously began their ministry on one of these annual festivals—the day of Pentecost or Shavuot, is God’s command to count 50 days from Passover. (Leviticus 23:15-16) And the apostles and disciples of the early Church continued to observe these festivals long after Jesus’ death and resurrection because they knew that Messiah was represented in every one of God’s Feast days. (See Acts 18:21; Acts 20:16; Acts 27:9; 1 Corinthians 5:8) 

Many Christians teach that Jesus gave us a new commandment: that we love one another. (John 13:34) But that didn’t mean it replaced God’s commandments. It wasn’t a new commandment as much as it expounded on  God’s original commandment from the beginning. (Leviticus 19:18; 2 John 1:6) 

Our Constitution is very much like God’s commandments in that they were both written in such a way so that they can never be changed. And like God’s commandments, although there can be additions to the Constitution, they will never change the original laws of the Constitution that afford us our freedom.

Listen, God has never changed. Neither has His commandments ever changed. (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 54:10; Psalm 89:34; Hebrews 1:12) So why is it that most churchgoers have never observed these things? Why don’t today’s Christian churches teach them? Because they all been deceived by the edicts of the Catholic church. For it was the early Catholic church who rejected God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths and replaced them with their own traditional holidays: Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc. And the Christian churches blindly went along with it.

Even though Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation had the intent of returning to the Christianity of the New Testament, (And succeeded in restoring some biblical concepts) it continued in much of Roman ideology and even introduced new problems. For all the talk of following Scripture alone, faith alone and grace alone, it certainly did not return to the faith and practice of the early Christians. 

Christian, the hour is getting late! It is time for us to repent, turn back to God and obey His commandments! Do not reject the holy words of God. Why would God give us commandments that He knew we couldn’t obey? He wouldn’t! “For this commandment I give you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…” (Deuteronomy 30:1) 

“By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” ( 1 John 5:2-3) 

I used to believe the same way that other Christians do. And as long as stayed in their lane and believed in the church’s teachings and man’s traditional holidays I enjoyed the fellowship of other Christians. But as soon as I got out of their lane and spoke what God revealed to me through Scripture and by His spirit, I was considered a legalist, a heretic, and even a racist by professing Christians—Simply because I spoke God’s truth from Scripture. And now those same Christian “friends” no longer want anything to do with me. And they refuse to even examine the Scriptures to see if I’m wrong. Do not misunderstand me, as so many others have. This is not about working to gain salvation through the Law. This is about obeying God because we love Him. 

But many Christians today do not see this because they have been deceived and therefore don’t know the truth. (And don’t want to know the truth) They have become worldly. That’s not to say that they are not saved. But just as the apostle Paul wrote: “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly—as infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still worldly,(Living with jealousies, dissensions, and hatefulness)  See: 1 Corinthians 3:1-15

When my children were young they obeyed my rules. Not because they thought that I would love them more if they obeyed, or that they thought that I would love them less if they disobeyed. But because they loved me, they obeyed my rules. It’s the same with God. We don’t obey His commandments because we think He will love us more if we obey Him, or afraid that He will love us less if we disobey, but because we love Him we obey His commandments.  (2 John 1:6) 

Throughout Scripture we see that God’s prophets, Jesus, the apostles and the believers of the early Church were all despised by the religious people of their day. Why? Because they obeyed God and His commandments, and taught others to do the same. So I guess I’m in good company. 

The question that I constantly ask, but never get an answer to is, “If Jesus’ death and resurrection did away with  keeping the Sabbath and observing God’s Feast Days, were the apostles and the early Church wrong?” 

I challenge everyone reading this to prayerfully search the Scriptures and see for yourselves.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them…Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5) 

Remember: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? And, if it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18) 

Warning! This may be offensive to some.

John Hyde, Willam Booth, John Knox, Sam Shoemaker, Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, Keith Green. These were all men of God who were concerned with people’s souls and the sins within the Church. They all preached boldly on the subject of repentance and revival in the Church. 

They were drastic, radical and at times offensive. They shocked some and frightened and alienated others. Many considered them too extreme or legalistic and at times even heretical. But each one of them knew what God had called them to do. 

John Hyde prayed more than 400 people into God’s kingdom. One of his biographers spoke of the holy power generated in Hyde’s prayer closet. He said that to be near Hyde when he prayed was to hear the sighing and the groaning, and to see tears coursing down his dear face, to see his frame weakened by food-less days and sleepless nights, shaken by sobs as he pleaded, “O God give me souls or I die.”

John Knox is known for his prayer “Give me Scotland, or I die.” Knox’s prayer was not an arrogant demand, but the passionate plea of a man willing to die for the sake of the pure preaching of the gospel and the salvation of his countrymen. 

The apostle Paul wrote: “I have deep sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Israel…” (Romans 9: 3-4) 

William Booth was a remarkable man, who was given the title “The Prophet of the Poor.” He had a passion to save men’s souls. He was a man born into poverty and who worked in the midst of poverty his whole life. His life could be summed up in his own statement, “Some men’s passion is for gold. Some men’s passion is for art. Some men’s passion is for fame. My passion is for souls.” 

What is to become of us now that their voices have been silenced in the grave and there is no one willing to take up their mantle? We owe it to these men to seek the truth from God’s Word—not the preacher’s truth, not the evangelist’s truth, nor the truth of the best selling Christian author, but God’s truth found in the Bible! 

Where are the bold men of God today? Why is there no real spiritual growth in the Church today? Why is there no true revival in the Church today? Because most Christians today don’t want it! There is no travailing over the lost. No crying out to God to send revival. 

What kind of salvation do you have when you go out dancing, drinking and sinning like the people of the world on Friday and Saturday night and then go to a church service on Sunday morning, holding up hands and singing praises to God?  As believers and followers of Christ we are to be set apart from the world and its activities. If we act and speak the same way the world does, how will they know that we are different?  

What do the Scriptures say? “As obedient children, do not conform to the passions of your former ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do…” (1 Peter 1:14-15) We are not to conform to the world, (Romans 12:2) but we are to encourage the world to conform to God’s will. But how can we teach them what we don’t know ourselves?

Christian, you have been deceived into believing the lies told to you from the pulpit, from Christian radio, and from your favorite televangelist—What the apostle Paul calls teachers who will tell you whatever your itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)

The Bible makes clear what is true and what God requires of His followers. Here are just a few things that the Church has mistakenly (or purposely) taught as Bible truth and what the Bible actually teaches. Please note that these have nothing to do with salvation. Only what the Bible teaches is our obligation to God’s truths.

Natural immortality

The belief that the moment a person dies their souls are immediately ushered into heaven to live in eternity with Jesus and God, or immediately ushered into a burning hell to be tortured for all eternity.

Every mention of the word ‘hell’ in Scripture refers to “the ground’ or “the grave’. The only exception is when the Bible refers to the “Lake of Fire”. This is not to be confused with “Gehenna”, which is an actual valley in the city of Jerusalem. In Israel’s past, it was used as a place of child sacrifice to pagan gods. From the reign of Josiah onward, it was used only as a garbage dump where the fires burned the refuse continuously. Jesus used it only as an illustration of the final judgment of the wicked.  

There is no one in a burning hell. There is no Lake of fire burning…yet. And the only ones living in heaven right now is God, Jesus, the angels, and possibly Elijah and Enoch. In apostle Peter’s dissertation in Acts 2 he said, “Brothers, I can tell you with confidence that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” Now king David was a prophet who was a “man after God’s own heart.” So if he didn’t go to heaven when he died, where did he go? Nowhere! He’s still in his grave. Along with everyone else who has died since. 

I have heard many people—even evangelists that I respect, misquote 2 Corinthians 5:8 in order to prove their belief in natural immortality. They misquote it as: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” What the apostle actually said was: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Some version read, “prefer to be with the Lord.” I too would prefer to be with the Lord. Unfortunately that will not happen until the resurrection. 

I understand that it’s a romantic notion that our loved ones who have passed away are looking down from heaven and watching over us. But how could they be able to enjoy their eternity if they have to constantly witness their loved ones being beaten, murdered, robbed or raped? The Bible clearly teaches that we who have died will remain in our graves until God resurrects us on the Last Day. (Daniel 12:1-2)

We no longer have to obey Old Testament Law

I have heard so many Christians tell me that Jesus’ sacrifice did away with God’s Laws and we are no longer under the Law but under grace. Matthew 5:17 is the scripture that most Christians quote in order to show that Jesus did away with the Law. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” They say, “See? Jesus fulfilled the Law when he died on the cross.”

But does this make any sense? Why would Jesus destroy the Law and still command the apostles to keep them? We need to read verse 18 where Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” 

Was everything accomplished? Does heaven and earth still exist? Yes! Has everything in God’s plan been accomplished? No! That won’t happen until Jesus returns and sets up his kingdom on the new earth. So then is the Law of God still in effect? Yes! Jesus says it is. Jesus continues to explain God’s laws and commandments in verse 19: “Anyone who breaks one of  the  least of these commandments and  teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” 

What Jesus fulfilled by sacrificing himself on the execution stake was to make a way for humanity to be saved by grace. God took His judgment against us and placed it onto His son. That’s why Jesus is called the Sacrificial Lamb of God. The only Laws that Jesus did away with was the Ceremonial and Sacrificial Laws. And he did this before the destruction of the Temple.

Think about it; if Jesus did away with all of God’s Laws, was the apostles and the early Church wrong to continue to observe them? (Acts 18:21; Acts 20:16) Many Christians today use Colossians 2:16-17 to support their belief that we should not observe the “Jewish” Holy Days: “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Paul was not saying not to observe these things. He was saying don’t let others pass judgement on you when you do them. 

Christians also mistakingly believe that in Galatians 4:10 Paul was referring to God’s Feast Days. No! He referring to pagan practices and astrological superstitions, which are also condemned in Deuteronomy 18:10-14.

Many Christians today believe and teach that the Sabbaths and Feast Days are for only the Jews. But several times in Leviticus 23 God told Moses that they are God’s Sabbaths and God’s Feast Days. In fact, God went so far as to say that the same law for the Hebrews applied to the foreigner who resided with them. God was referring to the mixed multitude that traveled with them from Egypt. 

God gave us His Laws because He loves us and wants us to be set apart for Him. And we can show Him how much we love Him by obeying His commandments. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves those born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, because everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.” (1 John 5: 1-4) “By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. If anyone says, “I know Him,” but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” (1 John 2: 3-6) God gave us 613 commandments but sadly, most refuse to obey even 10, or 5 or 2!

The Rapture

This is another belief that is taught that could have detrimental consequences for uninformed Christians who don’t study God’s Word. The apostle Paul wrote: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must be clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15: 51-53)  

This will not occur until the last trumpet sounds. So then what happens during the first six trumpets? The answer is in Revelation 8 through 11. And during this time all believers are still on earth! We will not be changed or resurrected until the last trumpet is sounded. 

So when will the end come? “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NKG) Some versions read; “…until the apostasy shall have come first…” or “the great rebellion”. 

We need to ask ourselves, “What would make so many believers turn from the faith?” Is it possible it’s because many Christians used the “Rapture” as one of the cornerstones of their faith? And when it didn’t happen they turned against God? In Matthew 24 Jesus warns us ahead of time that in the last days false prophets and false Messiahs will arise and deceive even the elect. And if those days were not shortened no one would be saved. But for our sake those days will be shortened.

I write all of these things not to frighten you or upset you. But simply to warn you and encourage you—No, challenge you; to seek God now with all your heart, soul, mind and strength while you still can. Search diligently through the Scriptures, asking God to reveal His truths by His spirit so that you may “present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Most importantly pray. Pray that God will send true revival to His Church. We are living in dark times. And our only hope for our country and this world is if God sends us a great awakening—A true spirit sent revival. We must pray and fast, and weep and mourn for the Church to repent of its wickedness. Only then can God hear from heaven and heal our land.

Whenever we enter into communion with God, we should have a sense of the infinite distance between us and the holy God. How shall we, that are but dust and ashes, speak to the Lord of glory? Nothing is more likely, nothing more effectual to revive the drooping spirits of the saints, than to be assured of God’s love to them. From the very first day we begin to look to God, He is ready to meet us in the way of mercy. Thus God is ready and willing to hear our prayers. While Satan and his angels, and his evil counsellors, excite princes in high places to do mischief against the Church, we can rejoice and trust that God will answer our prayer from the moment we pray—but just like the prophet Daniel, all of God’s mighty angels battle against our enemies from the first day we pray. 

Lord God, teach us to pray and be faithful to your word. And send us revival now! 

Amen!

The apostle Paul said to follow (imitate) him as he follows Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 3:17) This is the only safe example; and if we follow this, we can never go astray. 

And yet most Christians today follow unbiblical preachers, evangelists, authors and such, rather than follow the the apostle Paul or the Lord. In fact most Christians today are able to more readily quote from some book that was written by (spiritually) dead men than they can quote God’s word! And this to the Church’s shame! 

And why doesn’t the Church follow the way of the apostles and Christ? Because of selfishness. We want to live our lives OUR own way. But Jesus told his disciples, “…If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16: 24-25) 

The Church today has become an abomination to God! Everyone does what is right in their own mind. The house of God has become a den of thieves, a nest of vipers! And its preachers have become blind guides deceiving and being deceived! We have become like the Church in Laodicea—lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—and Jesus is about to vomit you out of his mouth! (Revelation 3: 14-22) 

Notice that verse 20 is speaking to the Church, not to the unsaved, as many Christians would have you believe. Jesus is knocking on the doors of Christians, asking us—pleading with us— to open up to him that he might come in and fellowship with us. But we will not. Because we believe that we are rich and in need of nothing from him. But until we realize that we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, we will never reach our full potential in Christ. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 

“What we need today more than anything else, more even than victory in the war against aggression, are weapons, manpower and strategy to win the war against selfishness.” —Sam Shoemaker, Pastor, author and original founder of AA

God gave us 613 commandments to obey. And most Christians today refuse to obey even 10, or 5, or two! “So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them, will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:19 NLT)  

If the Church today does not live godly lives, if they refuse to obey God’s word, if they continue to follow traditions of men rather than the commandments of God, and teach others to do the same, then all is lost! 

Lord God, I confess that I have not been faithful to seek the lost as I should. I have shed no tears for them. But Lord, I pray that today you give me a great burden for the lost and for your people who are called by your name. Help me to travail in prayer for them. Give me tears for them. Let my heart be broken for them. And I pray that you will raise up mighty men and women of God who are willing to follow Paul’s example of following Christ. And I pray that, like Paul, I will not only be known in heaven, but that I will also be known by the devil and his demons as it was documented of Paul in Acts 19: 13-19. I pray Lord God, that you give me the strength and grace to die daily of self so that many will be saved for your glory. Lord send a revival to your Church now! And let it begin with me.

Amen! 

Spare the rod spoil the child?

The term, “spare the rod, spoil the child” is not actually in the Bible. This phrase is taken out of context and a misinterpretation of Proverbs 13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he who loves him chasteneth him betimes.” (KJV)

A better translation is:Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (NLT)

In any translation, the intent is disciplining children in order to guide them in the way they should go. To put it simply, it is to instill in our children right from wrong. Much in the same way that shepherds use a staff to guide sheep who begin to splinter away from the flock back to safety, the rod of discipline can be used to keep our children safe from outside influences that will lead them down a dangerous and destructive path. 

The most common misinterpretation of this scripture views this as direction to physically punish children as the best—or only, form of discipline, and is the inspiration for other disciplinary tools like wooden spoons, switches or belts. Children never learn discipline from physical punishment—only fear.

There is a big difference between a rod—a physical object, and the rod, which is used metaphorically. In each scripture that describes disciplining a child, the rod is used, not a rod:

Proverbs 13:24 – “Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them.”

Proverbs 22:15 – “Foolishness is bound in the heart of the child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”

Proverbs 23:13 – “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” 

There are many who were abused by one or both of their parents and they don’t even realize that they were abused. Some even brag about how they were beaten by their parent and how they were better for it. Sadly, they end up doing the same thing to their own children. 

It’s understandable for a parent to to become frustrated with a rebellious child, but when you allow that frustration turn to physical action against a child, your parenting will eventually render your efforts to raise godly, well adjusted children ineffective. 

Here’s why: The idea of punishment implies repaying someone with what he or she deserves. Physical punishment produces a child laden with guilt and determined to get out from under it, and raising kind, loving, well adjusted children are never the result. An effective parent has to learn the difference between punishment and discipline—and also learn the importance of grace.

God’s grace amid discipline

We love the gospel of grace when we come to God and our sins. None of us wants justice in the sense of God giving us what we deserve. But as much as we love God’s mercy when applied to us, we have a really hard time applying it to others—especially when the “other” is someone who can frustrate us as much as our children can. 

This is grace

I like to retell the story of how God used my son to explain grace to both of us. My son, Sean, who was around 9 or 10 at the time, was playing outside with friends when I told him it was time to come inside. After ignoring me for several minutes I again called him to come inside. After refusing to obey me a third time I yelled, “Sean! Get inside! Now!” He finally came inside in a huff, slamming the door and flailing his arms in anger. In doing so, he knocked over my guitar. (My prized possession) We both watched in horror as the neck of my guitar snapped as it hit the floor.

I looked angrily at my son and in a soft, but firm voice I said, “Go to your room, I’m gonna hurt you.” Flying up the stairs to his room, he was already blubbering, thinking I was going to kill him. Later, after I cooled down, I went up to my son’s room to find him hyperventilating from crying so hard. I said, “Sean, do you know what judgement is?” He answered between his breaths, “N-n-no.” I said, “Judgement is getting what you deserve.” At that moment he broke into his sobs again completely convinced that I was going to beat him. After calming him down once more I then asked him, “Sean, do you know what grace is?” He shook his head, no. I said this is grace. And I put him on my lap and just held him.

That is exactly what God does with us. Although we all deserve God’s judgement, if we trust in the saving power of Jesus, God has mercy on us, forgives us of our sins, and wraps His arms around us and loves us.

Effective discipline starts with us being healthy ourselves. If you had a rough childhood with questionable punishments, you hold the power to change the environment for your own children. You are in charge of them having a better upbringing than you had and a better future. 

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19) 

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath; instead, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

Many of us watched in horror as George Floyd’s life was drained from his body by a police officer as he cried, “I can’t breathe.” Police officers are supposed to protect us, but some have become our enemy out to kill us. Many were outraged at the death of George Floyd and others and have taken to the streets across the globe in protest chanting, “I can’t breathe!” and “Say their name!” Some of the protests have become violent, destroying businesses and other buildings.

I understand the outrage. I understand the protests. I even understand the violence. (Although I do not condone it)

What I don’t understand is how people can remain silent when so many young children are being abused and neglected in their own homes by the very ones who were supposed to protect them. No outrage; no marches; no protests; no media coverage. 

I would even suspect that some of the BLM protesters are guilty of abusing their own children at home. 

Maybe we should begin chanting the names of children who have died from abuse: 

2-year-old Jakobe Chaffin 

2-year-old Ja’hir Gibbons 

8-year old Rica Rountree 

11-year old Heaven Watkins 

3-year old Janiyah Armanie Brooks 

All of them died from blunt force trauma by their caretaker or parent(s)

https://www.localmemphis.com/article/news/investigations/i-team/father-charged-with-murder-child-abuse-neglect-in-death-of-2-year-old-son/522-b34b548f-65e2-4eb3-9f1c-6d20af619eab

https://wgntv.com/news/still-no-charges-in-death-of-2-year-old-boy/ 

https://week.com/2019/05/10/murdered-8-year-old-normal-girl-was-afraid-to-go-home-watchdog-says/  

https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/this-could-have-prevented-the-tragic-death-of-heaven-watkins-virginia-girls-child-abuse-case-prompts-nationwide-legislation/65-c8d210da-3c0c-4966-a88f-2bc921a73c49 

https://www.walb.com/2019/05/19/ga-toddler-dies-after-heinous-child-abuse/

And these are only a few cases that were investigated!

Child fatalities due to abuse or neglect remain a serious problem in the United States. Fatalities due to child maltreatment and neglect disproportionately affect young children under 8 years old and most often are caused by one or both of the child’s parents.There was an estimated 4,136,000 referrals to CPS for investigation in 2017. Out of those referrals an estimated 1,720 children died from abuse and neglect! 

A new report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services counts 123 children who died within a year of family contact with DCFS. In some cases a state worker, a neighbor or a professional required by law to report suspected child abuse didn’t adequately respond and vulnerable children remained in mortal danger. 

The cruel realization that parents and caretakers can kill their own children is difficult to imagine and accept. And yet, the reality is, is that five children die from abuse or neglect every day at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect them!

And children of color tend to be especially high risk to die from maltreatment. African American and Hispanic children who die from abuse continues to be higher than any other ethnicity. In fact, a new report confirmed that “the risk for maltreatment is particularly high for black children, who had cumulative risk of confirmed maltreatment in excess of 25 percent for many years, and never less-than 20 percent,” the report states. 

Official 2011 data from child protective service agencies puts the overall child abuse figure at 1 in 100 children. But the new research places the figure at 1 in 8, with most of it taking place in the child’s early years. The new study, which appears online in JAMA Pediatrics, uses the same protective services data of the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, NCANDS, but measures it cumulatively, including all children under 18 who have been victimized, up to and including the given year. 

Researchers found that by 4 years old, Black children had a 1 in 10 chance of being maltreated. By 10 years old, the risk was 4 in 25. Put another way, that’s at least four students in every fifth-grade class. By 15 years old, Black youth had a 1 in 5 chance of having a CPS file. (https://www.firststar.org/black-children-have-highest-abuse-rates/)

Physical abuse fatalities most commonly involved blunt force trauma or intentional trauma inflicted by a father, a mother or both. Another great percentage of child maltreatment fatalities involved a child with special needs. (ADD/ADHD, Autism, Developmental disability, Downs Syndrome, Drug or alcohol in utero)

The national estimate is influenced by which States report data as well as by the U.S. Census Bureau’s child population estimates. Many researchers and practitioners believe that child fatalities due to abuse and neglect are underreported. Some of the data could be faulty because: 

  • The length of time (up to a year in some cases) it may take to establish abuse or neglect as the cause of death. 
  • Inaccurate determination of the manner and cause of death. 
  • Miscoding of death certificates labeled as accidents, sudden infant death syndrome, or undetermined that would have been attributed to abuse or neglect if more comprehensive investigations had been conducted. 
  • The ease with which the circumstances surrounding many child maltreatment deaths can be concealed or rendered unclear. 
  • Lack of coordination or cooperation among different agencies and jurisdictions. 

A study of child fatalities in three States found that combining at least two

data sources resulted in the identification of more than 90 percent of child fatalities ascertained as being due to child maltreatment.

And yet, those in charge of such data within CPS and DHHS have said:

“We appreciate the partnership and work state and tribal child welfare programs do every day to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect cases in their area. The report shows us that we are making strides in reducing victimization and deaths due to maltreatment, however, the numbers of victims and deaths are still higher than they were five years ago, which is significantly concerning.” — Lynn Johnson, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families

“We are experiencing increases in the number of children referred to CPS at the same time that there is a decrease in the number of children determined to be victims of abuse and neglect.” — Jerry Milner, Acting Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families and Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau

Almost three-quarters (71.8 percent) of child fatalities in 2017 involved children younger than 3 years old! And children younger than 1 year old accounted for 49.6 percent of all fatalities! 

So what can be done?

Improved training for child welfare workers. Researchers have noted the need for better training for child welfare workers in identifying potentially fatal situations. Current child welfare training curricula do not always address child maltreatment fatalities. A recent study of preservice child welfare training curricula in 20 States found that only 10 States even mentioned child maltreatment fatalities and that only 1 State included a full section on the topic! 

Too many times child welfare workers are overworked and underpaid. So it is much easier for them to underreport abuse or neglect or overreact and place a child in foster care, where the child is more likely to suffer even more abuse and neglect. 

Get help

I know how frustrating it can be when you have a child who is demanding of your time. It can be particularly frustrating when you have a baby with colic that won’t stop crying no matter what you do. We are fostering a baby that at times no matter what we do, she will cry continuously sometime four to five hours at a time and sleep no more than ten or fifteen minutes. If you’re in a situation like this walk away or reach out for help. Call a friend, a relative or contact a 24 hour parent support line. Just remember that getting physical with a baby will not calm them down and only make things worse—For them and for you. 

These vulnerable cannot speak up for themselves so it’s up to us adults to speak for them. Write to your legislators in your state and have them implement changes. Volunteer at one of the organizations that deal with child abuse. Most importantly, when you suspect a child is being abused, say something and do something. A child’s life may depend on it.

 

Resources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/child-abuse-statistics-2633350

https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse/ 

https://www.d2l.org

https://americanspcc.org/child-abuse-statistics/

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/media/press/2020/child-abuse-neglect-data-released

https://www.parentshelpingparents.org/copy-of-parental-stress-line

https://www.boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.al.com/news/2019/05/one-of-the-worst-abusers-an-alabama-case-highlights-the-states-physical-child-abuse-problem.html

My wife and I had the privilege of sharing Passover with our granddaughter last night. 

Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) commemorates the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt after suffering over 400 years of slavery. Passover is regarded by many  Christians as a “Jewish only” celebration. Some even claim that Yeshua (Jesus) and his disciples didn’t observe the Passover—even though it states in Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:8, and John 13:1 that they did! 

So why should Christians observe the biblical feasts? My answer has always been this: We don’t HAVE to observe the feasts—we GET to observe them. But the most important reason for us to observe Passover and all the feasts is that God told us to. We show our love for God by doing what He says. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” (1 John 5:2)  

In Exodus 12:38 we read that there was also a “mixed multitude” that left Egypt with the Hebrews. They were possibly Egyptians who followed them because of the miracles they witnessed, or were from other countries that the Egyptians conquered and forced some of the people into slavery.

We also need to remember that there were many members of  the 12 different tribes of Israel that left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Not just Jews. (or the tribe of Judah) You see, every Jew is an Israelite, but not every Israelite is a Jew. And every one of us are descendants of those who belonged to one of the mixed multitude that God told Moses that, “The same law shall apply to the native ‘Hebrew’ as to the stranger.” (or non-Jew) And in Exodus 12:48-49 we read that “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger (or non-Jew) who sojourns among you.” 

Yeshua said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, (The smallest letter in the Hebrew language) will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5: 17-20) Many Christians claim that everything was accomplished when Yeshua  was crucified and raised from the dead and that all the Old Testament laws were done away with. The only thing that Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection did away with was the sacrificial and ceremonial laws—since he was the ultimate sacrificial Lamb of God. But EVERYTHING will not be accomplished until AFTER Yeshua returns and sets up God’s kingdom and government on earth. 

Yeshua also said “If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5:46) Why would we want to miss out on something that Yeshua said points to him? Besides, throughout the Scriptures we are told that the Passover and other Feast Days and Sabbaths are not Jewish Feast Days and Sabbaths. They are GOD’S. And God said that they are a  permanent statute wherever we live for the generations to come. ( See Exodus 12:14-28; Leviticus 16:29) 

I am amazed that so many Christian pastors and Bible teachers can spend years and years studying in Bible colleges and seminaries and STILL refuse to see this in the Scriptures. And worse yet, refuse to teach God’s truth to their followers! Not only have they rejected God’s Feats Days, but they have replaced them with traditional holy days of man such as Good Friday, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter and Christmas—which none of Yeshua’s disciples, the apostles, or any of the early Church ever observed.  

Remember Yeshua, in verse 20 of Matthew 5 said, “…So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” All my life I have been considered to be least here on earth. I don’t know about you, but I want to be considered great in kingdom of heaven.

The special foods we eat on Passover not only reminds us of the Exodus, but also helps us to focus on God’s love for us. But what many don’t recognize is that every thing in the Passover Seder, and in fact, all of God’s feasts, points to Messiah.  

Remember the words of the apostle John: “By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments. If anyone says, I know Him, but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” (1 John 2:3-6) 

“By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome…” (1 John 5: 2-3)

Observing God’s Feast Days and Sabbaths and obeying God’s commandments has nothing to do with salvation. It has to do with obedience to God out of our love for Him. When my children were young they obeyed my rules. Not because they thought I would love them more if they obeyed me, or afraid that I would love them less if they disobeyed. But BECAUSE they loved me, they obeyed my rules. 

And in the same way, we don’t obey God’s commandments because we think He will love us more or that we can work our way into salvation. But BECAUSE we love Him we obey His commandments.

At the end of our Passover seder we pray this blessing: 

“Blessed are You Lord G-d king of the universe, for the produce of the field, and for the precious, good and spacious land, to eat of its fruit and be satisfied by its goodness. Have mercy, Lord our G-d, on your people, Send us your New Jerusalem, your holy city, in our days, and we will rejoice in it and bless you in holiness and purity. And remember us for good on this day of the Festival of Matzot. 

And we all end by saying: NEXT YEAR IN NEW JERUSALEM! AMEN!