Charles Finney Letter 3 – conversion

LETTER 3

A CAUSE OF SPURIOUS CONVERSIONS

I have already intimated that pains enough had not been taken to search the heart and thoroughly detect and expose the sinner’s depravity, so as to make him see the need of the gospel remedy. If I am not mistaken, there has been, in many cases, an error committed in urging sinners to submission before they are prepared to understand what true submission is. They have been urged to repent, before they have really understood the nature and desert of sin; to believe, before they have understood their need of Christ; to resolve to serve God, before they have at all understood what the service of God is. They have been pressed to make up their minds to enter immediately upon the service of God, and have been taught that they needed only to make a resolution to obey the Lord. Hence their religion, after all, has been only a religion of resolutions, instead of a religion of faith, and love, and of a broken heart. In short, it appears to me that, in many instances, the true idea of what constitutes pure religion has not been developed in the mind, and that consequently spurious conversions have been distressingly numerous. I have been more and more surprised from year to year, to find how very numerous those professors of religion are who manifestly have not the true ideal of pure religion before their minds. It seems that, in many instances, the idea that love is the essence and the whole of religion, is left almost, if not entirely, out of view.

There seem to be two extremes toward which different classes of persons have been continually verging. These extremes are Antinomianism on the one hand, and legality on the other — both manifestly at an equal remove from the true idea of religion.

The religion of the legalist is one of resolutions. He resolves to serve the Lord. He makes up his mind, as he says. He gets the idea that to serve the Lord is to go to work; to pray in his family; to attend meetings; to visit, to talk, and bustle about, and do the work of the Lord, as he calls it, and this with a perfectly legal spirit, with none of that love, gentleness, meekness, long-suffering, and those fruits of the Spirit, which characterize true Christianity. He easily works himself into an excitement; but, after all, has not the root of the matter in him, and makes out to keep up what he calls his working for God only during a protracted meeting. Probably three months of the year is the utmost extent of his piety; in many instances, probably, it does not amount to even half that. Now the difficulty in this case is, that the individual has not the root of the matter in him. The fountain of the great deep of selfishness has not been broken up. He has never been thoroughly convicted of sin by the Holy Ghost. His convictions of sin have been little more than those natural and necessary affirmations of his own mind, under a clear exhibition of truth by the preacher, without any supernatural illumination by the Spirit of God.

Consequently all his ideas of God, of sin, of his own guilt and desert of punishment, his need of a Savior, the necessity of his being saved from his sins — in short, every fundamental idea of the Christian religion is apprehended by him with very little clearness. His mind is dark; his heart is hard.

He has never been stripped of his self-dependence and self-righteousness; consequently, he has never known Christ, “the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings,” nor the “being made conformable to His death”; nor has he even an idea of what these things mean. He knows little of Christ more than the name, and an obscure idea of His mediatorial work and relations. He has never been slain by the law, and found himself a dead, condemned, and lost sinner; and, consequently, dead to all tendency toward God. He has no deep consciousness of sustaining the relation of an outlaw and a condemned criminal to the government of God, and being dead to all hope in himself or in any other creature. In short, instead of seeing his necessities, his true character and relations, his views of all these things are so exceedingly superficial, that he has not apprehended, and does not apprehend, the necessity and nature of gospel salvation. He goes about, working for God, just as he would serve a man for wages, and in the same sense. His religion is not that of disinterested and universal benevolence; but he makes up his mind to serve God, just as he would make up his mind in any matter of barter, or to render a piece of service to any body else, for value received or to be received.

This class of converts may generally be distinguished by the following, among other characteristics:

  1. There is a manifest want of meekness, humility, and lowliness of mind in their religion. The fact is, they never have been humbled and broken down, and consequently they do not exhibit this state of mind. Their deportment, conversation, bearing, their prayers and exhortations, all savor of a self-righteous spirit.
  2. There is a manifest want of love in their religion, in other words, their religion is not love. The manner in which they speak of old professors of religion, of Christians and ministers, and indeed of all classes, demonstrates that the law of kindness and love is not in their hearts, and consequently is not on their tongues. They are not tender of the reputation of others, regardful of their feelings, alive to their interests, gentle, kind, and courteous, as those that are actuated by love. Observe them and you will see that their religion wants the attributes laid down by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. It has not that charity which suffereth long and is kind, which envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, which thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. This religion, which beareth, believeth, hopeth, endureth all, is not theirs.
  3. Another obvious characteristic in this class of converts is, that there is very little of Christ in their religion. They will manifest in their conversion, prayers, and in many ways, that they have not been emptied of themselves and filled with Christ.
  4. Another characteristic will be, they are not Bible students. They do not, after all, relish and deeply search the Bible. The fact is, they understand it but very slightly. They have not been so subdued that the language of the inspired writers is the natural language of their own experience. This is the secret of their not understanding, loving, and searching it. No person really understands and loves his Bible, until he has such an experience as accords with the language of the Bible; and no further than his experience accords with the inspired writers, does the Bible become intelligible and deeply interesting to him. Now I have observed that there are a great many professors who neither know nor care much about their Bibles. There are even some young preachers, or professed preachers, who know almost nothing about their Bibles. and who, in fact, read other things ten times as much as they read the Book of God. A vast number of professed converts know full well, and those who are well acquainted with them must also know, that they are but little interested in their Bibles. Now all this shows conclusively that their religion is not Bible religion; that they are not “on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone.”

“And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” 1 Corinthians 13:13) (R.V.).

Righteousness of Jesus – The new covenant

 

A new theology I bring to you

A new theology I bring to you. An age old theology based on a covenant with Abraham, of Jesus and of righteousness. This may sound like a dichotomy, but please bear with me as I will try and explain this dilemma.

I have spent the last twenty or so years trying to find a theology that I believe is the real message of hope from the Bible. This has taken me from the typical Calvinist churches, to Pentecostal, charismatic, and even home churches. Some of these churches I attended as a member, some as a visitor, some as a pastor and yet others by visiting their websites.

What did I find?

I believe in a LORD whose word is consistent throughout the ages. I believe in an age old covenant with Abraham, the fulfilment in Jesus Christ His son who showed the way to a covenant of righteousness.

The LORD took me on a trip through the Old Testament and that is one of the reasons you will find a lot of quotations from the Old Testament throughout this document.  But there is a specific reason for this. Most times when Jesus spoke to people He used parables to detail what His Kingdom looks like and these utterances were recorded for us in the New Testament. However, something that we hardly find mentioned in the Gospels, is what Jesus told His disciples about what Moses and the prophets of old said about Him, especially when they were alone. We find in Luke 24 three different references where Jesus refers to these times.

“”Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”(Luke 24:24-27). “When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32). “Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44-47)

The final part that I would like to use concerning this, is what Paul wrote to the people of Corinth : “Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2Co 3:12-17)

What does this covenant entail?

For me, we have to start with Abraham, the father of all believers. We also have to remember that Abraham had eight sons in total. The eldest was Ishmael, then Isaac, and later on six more sons. “Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah.” (Gen 25:1-2) The Bible teaches us about the life of the one son He had a special covenant with, Isaac. “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.” (Gen 17:21) The Bible does not teach us anything about the lives of the other sons including Ishmael even though they were sons of Abraham.

Is Israel the only nation of the LORD? No. “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.”No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.”I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. (Gen 17:4-9)

Ephesians chapter 2 teaches the following: “Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands– remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:11-22)

In Genesis 14 we learn of someone else. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.” (Gen 14:18-20). So even before Isaac, there were peoples from other nations that served the LORD. Israel is given to us as an example as confirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 verse 11. “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

Here we find that the first covenant was celebrated with communion between Abraham and Melchizedek, where Melchizedek brought the wine and bread. If we look at the book of Hebrews in chapter 5 from verse 5 we find the following scripture: “So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek”. (Heb 5:5-10)

What does this scripture mean? Melchizedek was a priest and was appointed by the LORD himself. He was not a priest appointed because of his heritage, and also not related to Abraham. Jesus was appointed as a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, in other words, by the Father himself. That is the reason he instituted communion again the night before He was crucified with wine and bread. He had to show the world he was not a priest according to the tradition of the Levites, but appointed again by the Father, and also made King of God’s people as Melchizedek was also a king.

But what did the covenant with Israel entail? The first point I want to emphasize is that there are always two sides to a covenant. There is a positive side telling us what the benefits are, and a negative side that tells us what the detrimental effects would be if we do not keep the rules governing the covenant. If we look at Deuteronomy chapter 30 we find the rules of both sides of the covenant: “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.”But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deut 30:15-20)

The last part of the passage is extremely important to me. I have to choose to keep my side of the covenant, and then the LORD will keep His side. The ability to choose between right and wrong was given to us and recorded for us in Genesis 3:22 “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”. This confirms that because of Adam and Eve’s sin, they knew what was right and what was wrong. So my whole life is about choices I make, some that are beneficial to me and some detrimental.

Steps to follow in this covenant

The second point I want to investigate is the steps required in a covenant relationship. This is clearly described to us during the exodus of Israel from Egypt. Israel had to get to Canaan, the Promised Land, and they had to confirm all the steps of the covenant during this time. That is what Israel had to do physically, and what we have to do to inherit our Canaan, our destination as Gods people. That is what the LORD has in store for us. I will look at what Israel had to do and then explain what we as Christians should do.

But firstly, why did the LORD decide that it was time for Israel to leave Egypt? “Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.” (Exo 2:23-25) “The LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. “Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.” (Exo 3:7-9)

1. Circumcision

  • Covenant before Christ: Circumcision, as they had to have a physical sign that they belonged to the LORD. : “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; but every man’s slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it. “A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it.” It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. “All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this.” But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.” The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exo 12:43-49)
  • Covenant with Christ as the Lamb: Our hearts have to be circumcised. All people are born in Egypt, a life separate from the LORD, a life in bondage to Satan (Pharaoh). Just like Israel cried out to the LORD for mercy and for Him to lead them out of Israel, I have to call out to the LORD to lead me to His land, Canaan. I have to change my ways and leave my sinful life behind me. I have to come to the realisation that I cannot do anything to save myself. I have to believe that Jesus did everything required to put me in a right relationship with the LORD. I have to realise that I am a sinner and that I will perish if I continue with my life on my own. I have to start living a life of love as explained in 1 John 3. I have to start showing in my daily life that I am forgiven. “So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”(Mal 3:18) “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people”. Jer 31:33.

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. “But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I will bring their conduct down on their heads,” declares the Lord GOD. (Eze 11:19-21)

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”(Col 2:9-12)

What does Paul say about this? “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” (Rom 3:29-31) “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God”. (Rom 2:29)

2. Bread

  • Covenant before Christ: They had to eat unleavened bread, as yeast has the same effect as sin, it makes you puffed up. Eating unleavened bread indicates that you have received forgiveness of sin.
  • Covenant with Christ as the Lamb: Jesus is the bread of life. He was sinless as He is also God. “”Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. “This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:49-51) While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” (Mat 26:26)

3. Slaughter a lamb

  • Covenant before Christ: They had to slaughter a lamb as the blood would bring forgiveness of sin. “”Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. ‘Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbour nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. ‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight”. (Exo 12:3-6)
  • Covenant with Christ as Lamb: And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.” (Rev 5:6-12)

4. Blood of the Lamb

  • Covenant before Christ: They had to put some of the blood on the doorposts and lintels. “’For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments–I am the LORD. ‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exo 12:12-13)
  • Covenant with Christ as Lamb: We have to place ourselves under His blood. “And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Mat 26:27-28) This confirms to us that when we share communion death has no hold on me as I have received everlasting life.

5. Where was the law?

  • Covenant before Christ: on stone tablets. Exodus 20. Moses also highlights another aspect: “’Moreover, the LORD showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ “So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.” It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.”(Deu 6:22-25) So their righteousness was obtained through keeping of the law.
  • Covenant with Christ as the Lamb: Written on our hearts. “And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer 31:33) “”Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’” (Jer 23:5-6). Our righteousness will be through Christ alone.

 6. Who was the covenant applicable to?

  • Covenant before Jesus: Both Israel and foreigners. “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exo 12:49) “A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.”(Exo 12:38) This scripture confirms that strangers became part of the covenant nation during the exodus of Egypt. This is a confirmation of what the LORD promised Abraham. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” (Gen 17:5)
  • Covenant with Christ as Lamb: There is no change as it does not need to change. The rules governing the covenant already made provision for everyone to become part of God’s people, His nation. Jesus did not need to change any provisions as He had to come and take the sins of the world and die in order for everyone, Jew and gentile, to be saved by His blood only. This covenant is for everyone that believes that Jesus is the Lamb, both Jew and gentile. “’In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness.’ (Jer 33:16) We can now live in righteousness, as Jesus is our righteousness.Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. “(Heb 4:16)

Righteousness

Paul writes the following to the Romans: “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation”. (Rom 10:3-10)

When do I become a member of this covenant? The first time I share communion, when I make that public announcement that I share in His blood and His body. This also means that no uncircumcised person may share in communion, as communion shows that I have submitted myself to the lordship and obedience of the LORD.

What does the New Testament teach about this? When do I become an overcomer, and how do I overcome? “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Rev 12:11)

What are the similarities with the covenant before Christ?

  • overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb (Blood on the door posts)
  • because of the word of their testimony (Circumcision)
  • they did not love their life even when faced with death. We have to take up our cross daily and die of our own will. “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”(Luk 9:23-24)

This then is a quick explanation of the covenant. We all become partakers of this covenant when we find that we need to receive forgiveness of our sins, and decide to follow Christ and lay down our lives at the cross. Everyone that knows the Bible has to follow Israel and their example of how to get to Canaan, in our case, that which the LORD has prepared for us. When we die, that is all people who became part of the covenant with Abraham; we will learn to know who the LORD really is in order to live forever in the New Jerusalem.  “And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isa 2:3, Micah 4:2)

The Holy Spirit is the one who will work in us and in every human being on earth to get us to this point in our lives. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:7-11)

This clearly shows that all people have the ability to choose as the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit came to earth to convict all people of their sin, and then to teach them the way of righteousness. “”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Joh 3:16-18)

We have to believe that Christ was the perfect offering for sin, and that only through what He did, we can receive forgiveness and everlasting life.

If you decide that this “religion thing” is not for you even though you heard about it, you will not see the thousand year rule of Christ, and will be found guilty at the final judgement. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev 20:11-15)

What then is the true meaning of the covenant of righteousness?

I believe the following is an apt definition.

The right to enter into the presence of the LORD, without guilt, condemnation or inferiority. It is to be in the right relationship with Him the Creator. This can only be achieved when we have received an overwhelming gift of righteousness.

What happens after I become part of the covenant with the LORD?

We have to leave Egypt, by getting baptised. That is the place where the might of Satan, in Israel’s time the Pharaoh, is broken in your life and you will live a life totally devoted to the LORD. That is the time when you find out that you longer have to make bricks to expand Satan’s empire, but you can now work on expanding the LORD’s empire. That is the time when you find out that sin no longer has a hold on you. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Rom 6:11-16)

Then, like Israel we have to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again. But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp. So a young man ran and told Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num 11:25-29)

How did Jesus put it? “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

Once we reach Sinai we will spend time to learn the LORD’s ways. That is when we will receive the law written on our hearts, where we will learn to distinguish between right and wrong. That is what our local congregation is supposed to teach us, as that is what happened to Israel at Sinai. During this time in the dessert the LORD will take us under His wings and provide for us like He did for Israel by providing manna and quails.

As soon as our training is completed, we will be told by the Holy Spirit what our ministry will entail in Canaan. That is when we move on from the sixth day to the seventh day of the LORD, when we realise that nothing that we can do will save us from damnation. We can only get there through faith in Jesus Christ. This is what we learn in the book of Hebrews: Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Heb 4:1-11)

Remember that we cannot wait to enter into the rest of the LORD, as each day is today. We cannot delay this calling in saying we can do it later, as the Bible clearly says that today when you hear My voice. We all have a calling on our lives, and that is to make disciples of people, to show people what true love is. That is the difference between the sixth day and the seventh day. If you do not believe that you have a calling to make disciples of all people, you will die like most of the people in the dessert even though they were baptised as the seventh day is the day of rest, and that is what the LORD wants from us.

Most of the people who enter into Canaan will believe that they have to serve a king like Israel did. (A king is someone that will rule over you and could be a spiritual father or your church grouping.) The first book of Samuel recorded it as follows: “But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day–in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also. “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.” (1Sa 8:6-9)

The majority of these people that enter into Canaan will die whilst serving this king, while a remnant will be called to go into captivity. “You shall also say to this people, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” He who dwells in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence; but he who goes out and falls away to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and he will have his own life as booty.” (Jer 21:8-9)

But what does it mean to go into exile, or captivity?

Let us examine a number of scriptures on this subject. The first scripture is about the physical captivity. During the Biblical times it was custom for the loser of a war to be taken captive as slaves and to be taken to the captors land. The loser lost all his physical assets and became a slave to his captor. This meant that when someone went into captivity, he had to bring out all of his moveable assets, his furniture, his shoes, his rod, etc., outside of his home and then went into captivity. The only thing he left behind was his house. But what does this mean to us today? We have to lose the war against God in order to become his slave and to be taken away to His Land, His Canaan. I have to place my full trust in Him in order to become completely dependent on Him for all my needs. Just like in the Biblical times He will have to provide for shelter and food, but it means that I have to do His work. He already won the war and paid the price for me. He purchased us with His blood, as He overcame death and can now free us from all our sins. I cannot go into exile by myself; I have to surrender to the LORD.

The second scripture which describes our spiritual captivity, comes from Jeremiah 48 verse 11: “Moab has been at ease since his youth; He has also been undisturbed, like wine on its dregs, And he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor, And his aroma has not changed”  What the LORD is trying to tell us is that we cannot continue saying that I am clean, but as soon as someone disturbs me, all the murkiness in my life shows. I have to allow the LORD to empty me from vessel to vessel, meaning that He will change my life by getting rid of the lees or dregs in my life. This can only be done after giving my life over to the LORD. If I do not allow Him to empty me from vessel to vessel, then I will take on the taste of the lees or dregs. I must therefore allow Him to separate me from my lees, which is contaminating my life.

This cleansing process is also something that does not happen overnight. I have to allow time in between sessions for the lees to settle at the bottom again before being emptied from vessel to vessel. The LORD explains to them here that they must decide to go into captivity, in order to live. It was not a forceful removal, no; it was a decision that each inhabitant of Jerusalem had to take. Only once they decided to go, could the LORD free them from their lees, that which they depended on.

We found people then that said they will stay put in Jerusalem and that they will not go into captivity, much like people today that says that they are all right, they do not have to be separated from their lees. The answer that the LORD had to them was that should they stay in Jerusalem, they would either die by the sword, or the famine, or the pestilence. There are two questions we can ask to see if we fall into this category. The first question is if you still get taught at your congregation. Can you take a new convert and teach him what the life of a Christian comprises of? Do you know exactly what the doctrine of laying on of hands mean, how it should be used, and if it is still applicable today? This is what happens when we get comfortable as Christians. We stop learning. The moment this happens, we will die of starvation, because if anything in life stops growing, it is either dying or already dead. Have you learned anything this year?

The second question, and that is the reason that Jeremiah gave to the people, is that they will die of the pestilence. How do I know if I have the pestilence? As soon as I declare that my group of people, be it a congregation, church group, or followers of a specific doctrine, have eternal life and that all of them will be saved, I have the pestilence. Why? Because we do not like introspection, as it means that I have to examine my life, and have to eye ball and change the areas I find that I am not sure is from the LORD. It also means that I have to look at every principal in my life to ensure that it is from the LORD, and can be Biblically explained. How many habits do you have that is not from the LORD? Another symptom of having the pestilence is when I declare that people can continue with their calls for repentance and debating all the issues of the Bible, as they will someday find out that it doesn’t matter at all. My life is all right, and we shouldn’t over exaggerate these issues. This is the group that Jeremiah declares will die of the pestilence.

The third reason why people will die if they stay in Jerusalem is that they will die by the sword. That is the group that decide that they will separate themselves from the others, and thus remove themselves from other Christians and their congregation. They want to go out to the neighbouring areas around Jerusalem, and hence will not have anything to do with those in Jerusalem. Ezekiel also declares in his prophecies the same punishment to those that leave Christianity; that they will die by the sword. We cannot survive without other Christians. It is this group that will get a hold of a passage and build a complete doctrine around it, just to justify them. The Word of God will be the sword that will judge us.

We find that some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem insisted that they wanted to return to Egypt. They took Jeremiah with them to Egypt, but none of these people ever returned to Jerusalem. “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to set My face against you for woe, even to cut off all Judah. ‘And I will take away the remnant of Judah who have set their mind on entering the land of Egypt to reside there, and they will all meet their end in the land of Egypt; they will fall by the sword and meet their end by famine. Both small and great will die by the sword and famine; and they will become a curse, an object of horror, an imprecation and a reproach. ‘And I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine and with pestilence. ‘So there will be no refugees or survivors for the remnant of Judah who have entered the land of Egypt to reside there and then to return to the land of Judah, to which they are longing to return and live; for none will return except a few refugees.'” (Jer 44:11-14) The few refugees that did return to Jerusalem were the family members of Jeremiah and Baruch who were taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar took over Egypt, as they were forcefully taken to Egypt. This means I cannot return to my previous life in Egypt, as I will then face the second death we read of in Revelation. This is what we read in the book of Hebrews about the same subject: “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Heb 6:4-6)

The reason for this is that the LORD wants us to come out from under the ruling of our earthly king, be it our local congregation or even our church grouping, and put our trust in Him alone. We have to separate ourselves from the idea that our membership of our congregation ensures our everlasting life. We have to declare that we belong to the Church that the LORD is building. You see He is not preparing many brides, no He is preparing His bride, and She has to be perfect and without blemish. This does not mean that you have to end your membership of your congregation and now become a “churchless member” of the Church of Jesus Christ. No, I have to put my trust in Jesus alone. This will invariably mean that we would be willing to take a stand for God, even like Daniel did when told that he could not pray to the LORD.

This group of believers not only asks for revival, but for true reformation. What is the difference? To me revival means that I have to find the method that brings life to something that was alive before, and proclaim this. If there was life before, this message will then bring this person back to life again. Reformation on the other hand means that I will rid myself of everything that is not from the LORD, and start anew. That is the reason the LORD uses the term of captivity or exile, as one has to be separated from that which is not from Him.

How do I know this is true? The same question is asked to the believers in Revelation. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4).

This subject tells us that if we do not go into captivity, we are busy with religion, and religion is the same sin as adultery, leaving us as members of the whore of Revelation 18. I know I want to be, and I am sure that you want to be part of the Bride of Christ, and hence will go into captivity.

As soon as these people have served their time in captivity they will return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem, the real church.

This then the short explanation of the everlasting covenant, and what it means to us as Christians.

What are the consequences of this covenant on our common theological viewpoints?

Consequences of the covenant of righteousness on Israel

What about Israel as nation and country today? They also have to become partakers of the covenant with Jesus. As we have noted earlier there is one law for Jew and Gentile. The nation of Israel and the country of Israel have NOTHING in common with the Israel of the Bible. How did Jesus put them? ““Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. “When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.”The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. “Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.”But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ “They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.”Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?”Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. “And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.” (Mat 21:33-46)

Luke documented another saying of Jesus: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. (Luke 19:41-44)

This shows us that Israel and its inhabitants and all people who practice the Jewish faith world wide, have to become partakers of the covenant with Jesus to receive everlasting life. Jesus is the only way, the life, He alone. That was the message that Paul Barnabas and all the other Apostles preached. They did not have one message for the Jews and a different message for the gentiles.

In fact, when we look at the book of Acts, we find that both Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue every time they arrived in a city. Many people believe that they only preached to the gentiles, but the book of Acts gives us a different story.

Acts 13:14  “But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.”

Acts 13:42 “As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. Acts 13:43  Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.”

Acts 14:1  “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.

Act 17:1  “Now when they had travelled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Acts 17:2  And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, Acts 17:3  explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”

Acts 17:10  “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.”

Acts 17:16  “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. Acts 17:17  So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

Acts 18:1  “After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth Acts 18:4  And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”

Act 18:19  They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.”

Act 11:25  “And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; Act 11:26  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

So, if we say that Paul knew a mystery and that mystery is that there is a difference between the Church (Christians as from the passage above) and the Jews and use that as an argument why there would be a rapture of the saints in order for Christ to come back to earth and become the physical king of the Jews, his ministry was in vain as he always went to the Jewish synagogues to convince the Jews and others that Jesus is the Christ. They were already known as Christians and the church.

These were also the same Jews, the unbelieving ones, that left Paul for dead after stoning him, and which we read of in the Acts of Barnabas: “And having bound him to take him away to the governor, and a pious Jebusite, a kinsman of Nero, having count to Cyprus, the Jews, learning this, took Barnabas by night, and bound him with a rope by the neck; and having dragged him to the hippodrome from the synagogue, and having gone out of the city, standing round him, they burned him with fire, so that even his bones became dust.” To now try and convince people that Christ has to come to earth again to save these people, who have exactly the same status as any other non believer, is utter rubbish and insane and in direct conflict with events in, and the message of, the Bible.

Concequences of the covenant of righteousness on Calvinism

Then what about Calvin and his doctrine of election? My own viewpoint is that it finds acceptance by people who likes philosophy. They can think and write about subjects from all sides and enjoy coming to conclusions that ask questions from their readers. These results most of the time cannot be substantiated by the real message of the Bible. And then, like so many other people before and after him, they do not want to look at Israel as an example for us to follow, as they are worried that the LORD will reject them as He did Israel. I remember a service I attended years ago where the preacher used Israel as an example in his sermon, and he was immediately confronted by the elders following his message and nearly got shunned by them for using Israel as a parallel in his sermon. So Calvin built a philosophy and doctrine only on the New Testament disregarding the covenant, or only taking parts of the covenant that will enhance his doctrine. But, that is what happens when you build your doctrine only on selected parts of the Bible, just like the Catholics, Luther and his saying, and a bunch of other groupings. Remember that Luther and Calvin both came from the Roman Catholic Church and only modified their doctrine where they disagreed with the official standpoint. The fact that the apostles and disciples only had the Old Testament to use and to preach the gospel of Jesus is apparently not important. Acts chapter 17 teaches us the following: “The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.” (Act 17:10-12) I assume the only scriptures they could check were Moses and the prophets. Something else that negates Calvin as someone to follow comes from Hebrews: “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Calvin’s own testimony is as follows: “Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.” Calvin disqualifies himself by his own admission in not only that he took someone else’s life, but encourages his followers to follow him and commit murder, and is certainly not something worth following. “These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. “These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. “But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you”. (Joh 16:1-4)

They also do not believe that you must first come to the realisation of the need for a redeemer, as you are one of the elect. That means that you do not have to come to the cross and accept what Jesus did for you to establish the covenant of righteousness, as you are fine just as you are. With the exodus of Israel from Egypt and their rebellion over the Promised Land, the LORD did not punish the children under the age of twenty years old. No, the Bible declares it is follows: Num 14:29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.” Thus the children first had to reach the age of 21 before they were treated as adults. Only then can they decide that they need to leave Egypt and take responsibility for their own lives. Only then can they be baptised. Trying to baptise infants has absolutely no effect on their lives. That is one of the reasons Calvinists give in to temptation more quickly than those who were not baptised as babies, as they still find themselves under the jurisdiction of the Pharaoh. They are still in Egypt and have to make bricks to expand his kingdom. They are members of the covenant, and that is one reason they will only learn after they die who the LORD really is. “And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.” (Zec 14:17-19) What is so special about the Feast of Booths? “It had to remind them of the time the time they left Egypt. “”Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. ‘On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. ‘These are the appointed times of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present offerings by fire to the LORD–burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each day’s matter on its own day– besides those of the sabbaths of the LORD, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive and freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. ‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. ‘Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. ‘You shall thus celebrate it as a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. ‘You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.'” (Lev 23:34-43)

Children that have not come of age yet is the responsibility of the father and he has to take responsibility for them and what they do. “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.” (Gal 4:1-2)

A further major problem I have with Calvin and his teachings is his limited atonement as Jesus only came for the elect. John recorded Jesus as saying: And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;” (John 16:8-9) So no person in the world will be able to say that they did know about sin and righteousness, as that is the work of the Holy Spirit. So that in a nutshell negates the limited atonement of his teaching.

I also have to admit that many of the doctrines of Calvin and Luther are well motivated and based on scripture. However over the ages these doctrines have been given different meanings and now differ from what both Calvin and Luther meant.

Concequences of the covenant of righteousness on Dispensationalist doctrine

They are trying so hard to make the Bible fit their doctrine that they sometimes say and do hilarious things, and off course also rejecting what Jesus himself said. On the cross Jesus said “It is finished”. But apparently not so. Jesus has to return to earth and restore the physical nation of Israel, even though He told them that He will take away their heirloom, which I quoted earlier. Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.This parable does not have an additional section telling the Jews that they will be forgiven and that the LORD will change his mind and appoint them again as heirlooms of the vineyard. If it was to happen surely Jesus would have told them so as He is God and knows everything.

That is exactly what Israel was expecting in the days of Jesus. They wanted a physical kingdom. Now these people are doing exactly the same, expecting a physical kingdom on earth.

I want to quote part of the doctrine of a local church that believes this doctrine. “Just because Daniel does not say that 2000 years will pass between two verses in Chapter 9, and that Zechariah 9 also not specify 2000 years between verses 9 and 10, and that Micah also does not mention the 2000 year gap in chapter 5 between verses 1 and 3, does not mean that these prophesies have to be continuous and have to be fulfilled during the same time. THE KEY IS THE MYSTERY.” Their attitude is that those who oppose this view, does not belong to the LORD as they do not understand the mystery. The fact that Paul spells out this mystery in many of his letters to the different congregations, does not carry any weight. “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.(Col 1:25-27)

Another belief is that they do not believe that Jesus came to do away with the difference between Israel and the Church. But the covenant shows clearly that all people who become partakers of this covenant will be His people. Paul declares that it is the mystery which the prophets did not know of, as quoted above. If these people would only accept the Bible alone as their teachings, and not those of people. The covenant teaches us that there is no difference. These people make the same mistake as the Muslims, the Mormons and so many other people in clinging to the doctrines of man. I actually want to use the quotation I used earlier just to cement this fact. Ephesians chapter 2 teaches the following: “Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands– remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:11-22)

They also teach that there will be a secret rapture of the saints when Jesus returns the first time. (According to them Jesus will return more than once, sort of like a shuttle service.) They say it will be a secret, yet they use a verse that says the opposite. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1Th 4:16-17) Now I am just wondering how nobody will know about it if it says the opposite.

“And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Apparently this verse is also not applicable to them, as they can even pray a short sinner’s prayer on behalf of someone and then that person is saved. The fact that only the LORD can add people to His nation does not worry them at all. “Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Gal 6:12-16) (See circumcision earlier in this document) The last part of the passage is very interesting. It is not the God of Israel, but the Israel of God, so not the physical Israel, but the new Israel; those who choose to serve Him and become part of the covenant.

Concequences of the covenant of righteousness on the Rapture theory

We find these people in all sorts of belief systems. They span the whole spectrum from starting at the Dispensationalists, Calvinists, Pentecostal, Israel vision, British Jews, Charismatics and a whole bunch of different people. Their prime scripture is Daniel’s prophesy in chapter 9 concerning the seventy weeks and that it will only be completed during and after the seven year tribulation. According to them we as ‘non Jews”, or Christians, will be in heaven, whilst Christ will rule on earth during the millennial age. According to them, there are still things for Christ to do on earth and that He lied on the cross when He said: “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (Joh 19:30)

This doctrine is based on the fact that we are living in a dispensation of grace, that Jesus would come to rapture the Church before, during or after the tribulation, that the Jews would be restored to their former state, and that they will be given a second chance to come to Jesus, and that Jesus would then judge the people of the earth. The advocates of this doctrine maintain that there is a difference between Israel and the Church, and then refer to a mystery that Paul says was revealed to him. These advocates then claim that only certain people have the ability to interpret certain sections of scriptures, and that Paul’s mystery is one of these scriptures as it refers to the difference between the Church and Israel and the way the LORD will deal with them. They use the prophecy of Daniel regarding the seventy weeks as their main argument that the last week of this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, and that this is part of the mystery of what Paul refers to. The fact that both Jesus and Paul tell us what the mystery is, and that the gospel will be preached all over the world, is apparently not the mystery. “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”(Col 1:25-27)

However, we have already concluded that there is no difference between Israel and the Church. How do we then interpret Daniels prophecy, and has the seventieth week been fulfilled? I know that people have written many books about the rapture and its effect, and that many people have used it as scripts for their doctorate degrees, but is this doctrine correct?

The rapture is one of those doctrines that have a very calming effect on Christians, as it gives us a sense of relief that we do not have to worry about all these nasty things that will happen during the tribulation. The tribulation is only for Israel and the unbelievers, or that is what we are taught. If we however see ourselves as the new Israel, we end up with a problem in that we have to face the tribulation, and then things get slightly out of hand.

Many people have written books concerning Daniel’s seventy weeks, and how it must be interpreted. The first 69 weeks we find that most people agree with in that it gives us the time from the return of Israel from exile, up to the coming of Jesus. And then we also have the fiction writers with their Left Behind series that many people take as the absolute truth, even though the writers themselves declare that their books are fiction. For this they have even received prizes as the best Christian fiction writers.

The last week is the week that all the fuss is about. This fuss only started about 160 years ago when a certain Darby gave a different meaning to this, and now we find that most people who are not strong in their faith, are running after him. Before Darby there was no doctrine about the rapture or someone claiming that there is a difference between the Church and the latter day Jews. This doctrine has the effect that people are spending lots of money to go to Israel and to celebrate Shabbat, to fight for Israel’s right to the temple mount, and to try and establish new sacrifices to the LORD, as Jesus did not do away with animal sacrifices. The fact that most of these Jews came from Europe are also disputed by these people. The majority of Ashkenazi Jews are descended from prehistoric European women, and are the people that occupy Israel and are known as Jews today. They have very little in common with the Jews in the time of Jesus. They are the people that Hitler murdered, and they were also the theme for Luthers book, “On the Jews and their lies”. In this book he urged the Germans to burn their synagogues and a host of things that I will not use in this document. This will also never be used in any sermon by any preacher, as it promotes anti semetism.

What a great many people do not know is that the reason the rapturers believe that we now live in a period of grace that fits in between week 69 an 70 of Daniel, is that both Jesus Christ and God the Father did not know that the Jews would reject Jesus. There are so many writings that hold on to this belief. I must admit that it is extremely difficult to find a single definition of why there will be a rapture as almost every teacher of this theory has his own interpretation.

But what does the seventieth week of Daniel actually proclaim “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  (Dan 9:27) Daniel, in this prophecy, says that in the last week, which is actually seven years, a new covenant will come in effect. When we examine our Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth, we find that He spent three and a half years trying to convince the Jews that He was the Christ, and that they had to change their ways and accept Him as the Christ. After this period, and as Daniel puts it, in the middle of the week, Jesus was crucified. We know that Jesus was the complete and perfect sacrifice and accepted by the Father, which is why the daily sacrifice seized in the middle of the week, as it was no longer required.

Let us examine this scripture chronological as Daniel wrote it. The covenant that Jesus entered into with the God the Father is the strong covenant that Daniel prophesied about, as it is the covenant between God the father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This covenant was established on our behalf. We also know that Jesus Himself said that He came to fulfil and not to establish something new. That is why He was sacrificed, and that is the reason why this is the strongest covenant that can be entered into. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Mat 5:17) This confirms then that the covenant Abraham entered into was fulfilled, which required all male persons to be circumcised, and that only those that were circumcised were treated as children of Abraham. When the LORD asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac his son, the LORD declared that He would sacrifice His Son, as one rule applied to both parties of the covenant. By asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the LORD declared that He would do the same. This first covenant had to be confirmed by continually bringing sacrifices, and by circumcising all males. In addition to this the Israelites had to bring their tithes to the Levites for their service at the temple, and all first born had to be sacrificed to the LORD. The circumcision and sacrifice of the first-born was required as the LORD cursed the entire first born in Egypt as part of the plagues in Egypt. That is another reason Jesus had to die, as he had to nullify that curse.

The following is a short from summary of the vision Daniel received and the interpretation he received from Gabriël.

“At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.” Daniel 9:23

1 – “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city” ( also see Lev 25:9 “You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years”) So the seventy weeks is actually 490 years.

2 – to finish the transgression,” That during this last week the ungodliness of the LORD’s nation will end after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, where the heart of stone is replaced by a heart of flesh. We will be purchased by Jesus as He died for our transgressions.

3 – “to make an end of sin,” That an end will be made to the time of the law, as Jesus will be the complete sacrifice for sin and the law will be abolished as measurement of our salvation.

4 – “make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness,” That was the prime reason for Jesus to come to earth as He would bring everlasting righteousness to those who believe that He was the Messiah, and the righteousness of fulfilling the law was done away with. So we are no longer seen as sinners, but are seen as a people washed by the blood of Jesus.

5 – “to seal up vision and prophecy” To bring an end to all the prophecies surrounding the first coming of the LORD Jesus Christ.

6 – “and to anoint the most holy”. Jesus also had to be anointed as King, Redeemer, and Prophet.

This is what was spoken of by Gabriël to Daniel. He then goes further and explains in detail what was going to happen during this 490 years or 70 weeks.

  • “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks”. So 49 years after their return from exile the temple will be rebuilt.
  • “and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” |So from the time of rebuilding the temple to the start of the ministry of Jesus would be 434 years. (62×7)
  • Dan 9:26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off, (so during the 70th week) and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.” So Gabriel explains to Daniel that Jesus will be cut off or killed with no benefit for Him, and then continues with what will happen to Jerusalem. The end of Jerusalem will come by the people of a prince to come, in other words someone who was not a prince in the days of Daniel, exactly as it actually happened when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. Gabriel says that it will be by a flood but we find that in Daniel 11 verses 22, 26 and 40 soldiers are said to come as a flood. The last part Gabriel says that right up to the end of time there will be wars and desolations in, around and over the jurisdiction of Jerusalem , exactly as is still the case today.
  • Dan 9:27 “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Here we learn that a new covenant will be formed during the last week of the prophecy. When we look at the ministry of Jesus we find that He went through the land of Israel for three and a half years doing wonders and preaching to the people that He is the Christ. So as Daniel puts it, in the middle of the week, thus three and a half years into the ministry of Jesus, He was crucified. We know that His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father, and that is why the sacrifices would stop, because it was no longer required, as Jesus was accepted as the complete sacrifice. That was also the start of the new covenant, or the covenant of righteousness, and was the firm covenant that Daniel wrote about. The covenant was made between God the Father and Jesus Christ His son, who took our place for our sins. Jesus declared this in Matthew 5:17:“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” This shows that Jesus did away with the laws governing the old covenant. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, He also knew that He had to give His son as a sacrifice. And that is what Jesus came to do. He also did away with the circumcision and did away with the law surrounding the first born. We also do not need any Levites as a go between us and the Lord as we now appear before the Father covered by the blood of Jesus.

Many of the advocates of the rapture says that the daily sacrifice only ended when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D., and that we cannot use this as an indicator. What they forget however, is that if we believe that Jesus was the Christ, no sacrifices were required after His death. He was the perfect sacrifice required by the Law of Moses. So no sacrifices were required anymore. So if they want to use this as an excuse, then they actually declare that Jesus was not the Christ as the LORD still accepted the sacrifices done in the temple by the Levites.

We find another reason why Jesus could be sacrificed and why He was acceptable to the LORD, and why the Father did not look favourably on the offer of the High Priest. The following events took place the day Jesus was brought before the High Priest: “And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.” (Mat 26:61-65) The clothing of the High priest had to be made of a single cloth, without any seams. “These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.” Ex 28:4-8. By tearing his clothing, the High Priest could not enter into the temple the next day for the sacrifice. The only way he could do it, was by sewing it together, but then it would have a seam, and would thus be rejected by the Father, as it did not comply with the Law of Moses. That is why the sacrifice Jesus brought was accepted, and the reason why His clothes were not torn, but the lot cast over it. “And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.” (Mar 15:24) Here we see that His clothes were not torn but given as complete clothing which complied with the Law of Moses.

We have to remember that Jesus was crucified at the time of the morning sacrifice, and that He died six hours later. He was crucified outside the town, as He also had to complete that sacrifice that had to be slain outside the town. “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” (Heb 13:10-13) As mentioned earlier He also did not bring His sacrifice in the earthly tabernacle, but in the heavenly one: “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb 9:23-28)

When the veil was rent in the temple, Jesus was accepted in the Heavenly tabernacle. That was also the end of the first half of the last week of Daniels’ prophecy.

The second half of the week was the time the apostles spent in Jerusalem to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Christ, and ended with the vision of Peter: “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Act 10:9-15) This was also about the same time that Stephen was killed by the Jews. This was the end of the last half of the week as seen by Daniel, and at this time we as believers became part of the LORDS’ nation. The one thing we have to remember is that the Jews expected a physical king to rule over them again like in the days of Saul and David, but failed to realise that these kings only ruled over them because they rejected the LORD. “And the LORD said to Samuel, Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.” (1Sa 8:7)

Daniel also declares that at the end of the week abominations will start and it will continue until the end of time. As a consequence of this, Satan is now trying to destroy all flesh, and as Daniel says, it will last till the end of the earth.

I mentioned earlier that the advocates of the rapture also refer to the mystery of Paul. These words are normally used completely out of context in order for them to deceive the people and to convince people of their doctrine.

To conclude the last week then; it started with the ministry of Jesus to the Jews, and ended when the message of the gospel came to us as gentiles. From this we can also conclude that there will not be a separate rapture of the Church, but that we as gentiles are one with all believers. Jesus himself said that we must hold on to our faith till the end, and not to think that we will not go through the tribulation. Even in Paul’s time we had people that did not understand the message of the gospel: “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” (1Ti 1:3-7)

So in summary, the covenant that Jesus made on the cross was the strong covenant of Daniel, as it removed the curse of the first born, and fulfilled all the sacrifices the Levites and high priest had to bring. Jesus also paid for all our sins in order for us to appear in righteousness before the Father without blemish or sin. So He is our righteousness, and now we can do what the writer of Hebrews says: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16) This we can only do because of what Jesus did for us.

One major problem I also have with the doctrine of the rapture and those who believe this, is that they form part of the antichrist. The apostle John gives us a very clear definition of this: “2Jn 1:7  For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. The Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Christ, and by siding with and supporting the Jews of today, they become part of the antichrist.

Summary

So my point of view is that we all live once, and then we die. Those that became partakers of the covenant will live with Christ in the millennial age to rid ourselves of how to serve the LORD, about who is saved and who is condemned. After the battle in which Gog and Magog, the Satan and all the people that did not serve the LORD, will be defeated, will we appear before the white throne. Those that lived as overcomers will live in the New Jerusalem forever.

As a closing comment I would like to stress that whoever partakes in the LORD’s supper as a sign to show his faith and to show that he enters into a covenant with the LORD, will be part of the first awakening. Exactly where we will find ourselves, is a different story.

 

Other books by the author:

  • The Book of Moses. This is a complete guide for any Christian explaining the way of a Christian, and answers most doctrinal questions, questions you have in you everyday walk with the LORD, on the end times and what heaven will look like, as well as questions about Church.

 

  • Is Egypt in Heaven? The book is based on a time in my life when I received major surgery in my fight against Carcinoid cancer, and had a near death experience. Some sections are based on the truth, and some is fiction to explain what heaven will look like.

 

  • A Wake Up Call. The book examines the doctrine of election, and then draws on the result to explain the effect on our everyday life..

 

  • Evidences of a Christian. Do I have to exhibit a different lifestyle as a non Christian, and if so, what should it be like?

 

  • DVD’s Some of the books have also been recorded as DVD’s. These DVD sets contain most of the information in the book with the same name, but some points are expanded upon and it also includes a section on my life with Carcinoid cancer and the effect on my daily life. These DVD’s are available in HD format.

 

Geregtigheid van Jesus – Die nuwe verbond

 

‘n Nuwe teologie bring ek vir julle

‘n Nuwe teologie bring ek vir julle. ‘n Eeu oue teologie van ‘n verbond met Abraham, van Jesus en van geregtigheid. Dit mag dalk vir u soos ‘n teenstrydigheid klink, maar ek wil graag die dilemma vir u verduidelik.

Ek het die afgelope twintig of meer jare spandeer om uit te vind wat die regte teologie is soos ek dit verstaan, en om uit te vind wat vir my die regte boodskap van hoop is wat die Bybel verkondig. Dit het my geneem van Calvinistiese gemeentes, na Pinksterkerke, Charismatiesekerke, huiskerke en alles tussen in. Party as lidmaat, ander as leraar, en ander as besoeker, en nog ander na hulle webtuistes.

Wat het ek gevind?

Ek glo aan ‘n HERE wat Sy woord gestand hou. Aan ‘n eeue ou verbond en belofte aan Abraham,  die vervulling deur Jesus Christus wat vir ons die baan weg na ‘n verbond van geregtigheid.

Die HERE het my op ‘n tog deur die Ou Testament geneem en daarom sal u ook agterkom dat ek baie van die Ou Testament gebruik om standpunte mee te verduidelik, maar daar is ‘n spesifieke rede daarvoor. Meeste kere wat Jesus met die mense gepraat het, en wat vir ons opgeteken is, het hy probeer verduidelik hoe die Koninkryk van God werk. Iets wat wel baie min van opgeteken is, is wat Jesus oor Homself gesê oor wat die profete en Moses oor Hom geleer het wanneer Hy en die dissipels alleen was. Tog vind ons in Lukas 24 drie gedeeltes, wat alles handel oor hierdie een waarheid wat ontsettend belangrik is, en waaruit ons baie kan leer.

Hier dan die drie gedeeltes: “En sommige van die wat saam met ons was, het na die graf gegaan en dit net so gevind soos die vroue ook gesê het; maar Hom het hulle nie gesien nie. En Hy sê vir hulle: o Onverstandiges, met harte wat traag is om te glo alles wat die profete gespreek het! Moes die Christus nie hierdie dinge ly en in sy heerlikheid ingaan nie? En Hy het begin van Moses en al die profete af en vir hulle uitgelê in al die Skrifte die dinge wat op Hom betrekking het”. (Luk 24:24-27). “En toe Hy met hulle aan tafel was, neem Hy die brood en dank; en Hy breek dit en gee dit aan hulle. Toe is hulle oë geopen en hulle het Hom herken, en Hy het uit hulle gesig verdwyn. En hulle sê vir mekaar: Was ons hart nie brandende in ons toe Hy met ons op die pad gepraat en vir ons die Skrifte uitgelê het nie?” (Luk 24:30-32). “En Hy sê vir hulle: Dit is die woorde wat Ek met julle gespreek het toe Ek nog by julle was, dat alles wat oor My geskrywe is in die wet van Moses en die profete en die psalms, vervul moet word. Toe open Hy hulle verstand om die Skrifte te verstaan. En Hy sê vir hulle: So is dit geskrywe, en so moes die Christus ly en op die derde dag uit die dode opstaan, en bekering en vergewing van sondes in sy Naam verkondig word aan al die nasies, van Jerusalem af en verder.” (Luk 24:44-47)

Die laaste gedeelte wat ek graag aanhaal is wat Paulus vir ons hieroor geskryf het, en kom uit 2 Korintiërs 3: “Terwyl ons dan sodanige hoop het, gebruik ons baie vrymoedigheid; nie soos Moses nie, wat ‘n bedekking oor sy aangesig gesit het, sodat die kinders van Israel nie die oë kon vestig op die einde van wat moes vergaan nie. Maar hulle sinne is verhard. Want tot vandag toe bly by die lesing van die Ou Testament dieselfde bedekking sonder dat dit opgelig word, die bedekking wat in Christus vernietig word. Ja, tot vandag toe, wanneer Moses gelees word, lê daar ‘n bedekking oor hulle hart; maar wanneer hulle tot die Here bekeer is, word die bedekking weggeneem. Die Here is die Gees, en waar die Gees van die Here is, daar is vryheid.” (2Co 3:12-17)

Wat behels hierdie verbond?

Vir my moet ons begin by Abraham, die vader van alle gelowiges. Ons moet onthou Abraham het agt seuns gehad. Die oudste was Ismael, daarna Isak, en daarna nog ses seuns. “En Abraham het weer ‘n vrou geneem met die naam van Ketúra. En sy het vir hom Simran en Joksan en Medan en Mídian en Jisbak en Suag gebaar” . (Gen 25:1-2) Die Bybel leer ons oor een seun se toekoms waarmee die HERE ‘n spesiale verbond mee gesluit het, die van Isak. “Maar my verbond sal Ek oprig met Isak wat Sara vir jou anderjaar op hierdie tyd sal baar.”(Gen 17:21) Ismael en die ander seuns leer ons nie van in die Bybel nie, maar tog was hulle uit die nageslag van Abraham.

Behoort net Israel as nasie dan aan die HERE? Nee. “Wat My aangaan, kyk, my verbond is met jou, en jy sal die vader van ‘n menigte van nasies word. Daarom sal hulle jou nie meer Abram noem nie, maar jou naam sal wees Abraham, want Ek maak jou ‘n vader van ‘n menigte van nasies. En Ek sal jou buitengewoon vrugbaar maak: Ek sal jou tot nasies maak, en konings sal uit jou voortkom. En Ek sal my verbond oprig tussen My en jou en jou nageslag ná jou in hulle geslagte as ‘n ewige verbond, om vir jou ‘n God te wees en vir jou nageslag ná jou. En Ek sal aan jou en jou nageslag ná jou die land van jou vreemdelingskap gee, die hele land Kanaän, as ‘n ewige besitting; en Ek sal vir hulle ‘n God wees. Verder het God aan Abraham gesê: Maar jy moet my verbond hou, jy en jou nageslag ná jou, van geslag tot geslag.” (Gen 17:4-9)

In Efesiërs 2 leer ons die volgende: “Daarom, onthou dat julle wat vroeër heidene in die vlees was en onbesnedenes genoem word deur die sogenaamde besnydenis wat in die vlees met hande verrig word, dat julle in dié tyd sonder Christus was, vervreemd van die burgerskap van Israel en vreemdelinge ten aansien van die verbonde van die belofte, sonder hoop en sonder God in die wêreld. Maar nou in Christus Jesus het julle wat vroeër ver was, naby gekom deur die bloed van Christus. Want Hy is ons vrede, Hy wat albei een gemaak en die middelmuur van skeiding afgebreek het deurdat Hy in sy vlees die vyandskap tot niet gemaak het, naamlik die wet van gebooie wat in insettinge bestaan; sodat Hy, deur vrede te maak, die twee in Homself tot een nuwe mens kon skep en albei in een liggaam met God kon versoen deur die kruis, nadat Hy daaraan die vyandskap doodgemaak het. En Hy het die evangelie van vrede kom verkondig aan julle wat ver was en aan die wat naby was; want deur Hom het ons albei die toegang deur een Gees tot die Vader. So is julle dan nie meer vreemdelinge en bywoners nie, maar medeburgers van die heiliges en huisgenote van God, gebou op die fondament van die apostels en profete, terwyl Jesus Christus self die hoeksteen is, in wie die hele gebou, goed saamgevoeg, verrys tot ‘n heilige tempel in die Here, in wie julle ook saam opgebou word tot ‘n woning van God in die Gees. (Eph 2:11-22)

In Genesis 14 leer ons ook van iemand anders. “En Melgisédek, die koning van Salem, wat ‘n priester van God, die Allerhoogste, was, het brood en wyn gebring en hom geseën en gesê: Geseënd is Abram deur God, die Allerhoogste, die Skepper van hemel en aarde. En geseënd is God, die Allerhoogste, wat u vyande in u hand gegee het. Toe gee hy hom die tiende van alles.” (Gen 14:18-20) So voor Isak was daar al ander nasies wat ook die HERE gedien het. Israel word vir ons as voorbeeld voorgehou soos in 1 Korintiërs 10 in die Bybel vir ons uitgelig word. “Maar al hierdie dinge het hulle oorgekom as voorbeelde en is opgeskrywe as ‘n waarskuwing aan ons op wie die eindes van die eeue gekom het.”(1Kor 10:11)

Die eerste verbond met Abraham, is gevier met nagmaal tussen Abraham en Melgisedek, waar Melgisedek die wyn en die brood gebring het. Nou lees ons in Hebreërs die volgende: “So het Christus ook Homself nie verheerlik om Hoëpriester te word nie, maar Hy het Hom verheerlik wat vir Hom gesê het: U is my Seun, vandag het Ek U gegenereer. Soos Hy ook op ‘n ander plek sê: U is priester vir ewig volgens die orde van Melgisédek. Hy wat in die dae van sy vlees gebede en smekinge met sterk geroep en trane aan Hóm geoffer het wat Hom uit die dood kon red, en ook verhoor is uit die angs— Hy, al was Hy die Seun, het gehoorsaamheid geleer uit wat Hy gely het; en nadat Hy volmaak is, het Hy vir almal wat Hom gehoorsaam is, ‘n bewerker van ewige saligheid geword en is deur God genoem ‘n hoëpriester volgens die orde van Melgisédek; (Heb 5:5-10)

Wat beteken dit? Melgisedek was ‘n priester van die HERE en deur die HERE self aangestel. Hy het nie uit ‘n stam gekom wat priesters was soos die Leviete nie, om die waarheid te sê was hy nie eers enigsins aan Abraham verwant nie. Nou kom Jesus en word hy weer aangestel volgens die orde van Melgisedek, met ander woorde, deur die HERE self aangestel. Daarom ook dat Jesus weer die Nagmaal instel met brood en wyn, soos dit gevier is deur Abraham en Melgisedek. Verder was Melgisedek ook koning, en so word Jesus dus ook as koning van God se volk aangestel.

Maar wat is die verbond wat die Bybel van praat wat die HERE met Abraham aangegaan het? Kom ons kyk na ‘n opsomming van die verbond. Die eerste punt wat ek wil maak is dat daar voordele en nadele in ‘n verbond is. ‘n Verbond het altyd twee kante, die een kant leer ons wat sal gebeur indien ons by die verbond hou, en dan die anderkant wat sal gebeur indien ons dit nie doen nie. Ek wil dit graag verduidelik aan die hand van Deuteronomium 30 vanaf vers 15: “Kyk, ek het jou vandag voorgehou die lewe en die geluk, en die dood en die ongeluk. Wat ek jou vandag beveel, is om die HERE jou God lief te hê, in sy weë te wandel en sy gebooie en sy insettinge en sy verordeninge te hou, sodat jy kan lewe en vermenigvuldig en die HERE jou God jou mag seën in die land waarheen jy gaan om dit in besit te neem. Maar as jou hart hom afwend en jy nie luister nie en jy jou laat verlei, sodat jy jou voor ander gode neerbuig en hulle dien, dan verkondig ek julle vandag dat julle sekerlik sal omkom; julle sal die dae nie verleng in die land waarheen jy oor die Jordaan trek om dit in besit te gaan neem nie. Ek neem vandag die hemel en die aarde as getuies teen julle; die lewe en die dood, die seën en die vloek het ek jou voorgehou. Kies dan die lewe, dat jy kan lewe, jy en jou nageslag, deur die HERE jou God lief te hê, na sy stem te luister en Hom aan te hang; want dit is jou lewe en die lengte van jou dae, sodat jy kan woon in die land wat die HERE aan jou vaders Abraham, Isak en Jakob met ‘n eed beloof het om dit aan hulle te gee. (Deu 30:15-20)

Die laaste gedeelte is vir my ontsettend belangrik. Ek moet kies om my kant van die verbond te hou, dan sal die HERE Sy kant hou. Die vermoë om te kies is al aan ons gegee in Genesis 3:22 “Toe sê die HERE God: Nou het die mens geword soos een van Ons deur goed en kwaad te ken.” Indien jou Bybel nie so sê nie, is dit omdat die vertalers dit verander het in die nuwe vertaling om by hulle dogma in te pas. En verder is dit die enigste vertaling wat dit so stel. Geen van die Engelse of ander vertalings stel dit soos dit in die nuwe verdwaling gestel is nie. Die mens het as deel van die sondeval die vermoê verkry om te weet wat is goed en wat is kwaad. So my hele lewe gaan dus oor keuses, keuses wat of goeie gevolge gaan hê, of wat kwade gevolge gaan hê.

Stappe van verbond

Nou, met die tweede punt wil ek graag kyk wat die stappe van ‘n verbond is. Dit word volledig vir ons beskryf met die uittog van Israel uit Egipte na die land Kanaän. Dit is immers wat die HERE vir Abraham beloof het waar sy nageslag hulle sal vestig. Dit is dan ook my rigtingwyser vir vandag, aangesien ek ook in Kanaän wil uitkom. Die enigste verskil is Israel het die fisiese tog gemaak, terwyl ons vandag die geestelike tog kan meemaak om by ons Kanaän uit te kom. Dit is die plek wat die HERE vir my bestem het. Ek sal eers beskryf wat Israel moes doen, en dan volg wat dit vir ons as Nuwe Verbondsgenote moet doen en wat dit beteken.

Maar hoekom het die HERE hulle uit Egipte laat trek? “En in daardie lang tyd het die koning van Egipte gesterwe. En die kinders van Israel het gesug en geweeklaag vanweë die slawerny. En hulle geroep om hulp oor hulle slawerny het opgeklim tot God. En God het hulle gekerm gehoor, en God het gedink aan sy verbond met Abraham, met Isak en met Jakob. En God het die kinders van Israel aangesien, en God het hulle geken. (Exo 2:23-25) “En die HERE sê: Ek het duidelik gesien die ellende van my volk wat in Egipte is; en Ek het hulle jammerklagte oor hulle drywers gehoor, ja, Ek ken hulle smarte. Daarom het Ek neergedaal om hulle uit die hand van die Egiptenaars te verlos en hulle te laat optrek uit daardie land na ‘n goeie en wye land, na ‘n land wat oorloop van melk en heuning, na die woonplek van die Kanaäniete en Hetiete en Amoriete en Feresiete en Hewiete en Jebusiete. En nou, kyk, die jammerklagte van die kinders van Israel het tot by My gekom. Ook het Ek die verdrukking gesien waarmee die Egiptenaars hulle verdruk.”(Exo 3:7-9)

1. Besnydenis

  • Verbond voor Christus: Besnydenis van die voorhuid. Dit moes hulle herinner dat hulle deel is van God se uitverkore volk. “Verder het die HERE aan Moses en Aäron gesê: Dit is die insetting van die pasga: Géén uitlander mag daarvan eet nie. Maar elke slaaf wat ‘n man met geld gekoop het, dié moet hy besny; dan kan hy daarvan eet. Geen vreemde inwoner of huurling mag daarvan eet nie. In een huis moet dit geëet word; jy mag niks van die vleis uit die huis buitentoe bring nie; en julle mag geen been daarvan breek nie. Die hele vergadering van Israel moet dit hou. En as ‘n vreemdeling by jou vertoef en tot eer van die HERE die pasga wil vier, moet by hom almal wat manlik is, besny word; en dan mag hy nader kom om dit te vier, en hy sal soos ‘n kind van die land wees. Maar géén onbesnedene mag daarvan eet nie. Een wet moet geld vir die kind van die land en vir die vreemdeling wat onder julle vertoef”. (Exo 12:43-49)
  • Verbond met Christus as Lam: Besnydenis van die hart. Alle mense word in Egipte gebore, ‘n lewe sonder die HERE, ‘n lewe waar ek onder die gesag van Satan(Farao) staan. Soos Israel moet ek uitroep na die HERE om my te bevry van Egipte. So my optrede moet verander. Ek moet besef dat ek niks kan doen om myself te red nie. Ek moet glo dat Jesus alles gedoen het om die verhouding tussen my en die Vader te herstel. Ek moet besef dat ek ‘n sondaar is en dat ek verlore sal gaan as ek volhou om my eie lewe te lei. Ek moet tot bekering kom. Ek moet soos ‘n kind van die HERE optree. Ek moet die liefde van die HERE volgens 1 Johannes 3 begin uitleef op aarde. My optrede moet die bewys wees dat ek kind van God is. Geen uitwendige besnydenis is nodig nie. Maleagi 3:18: “Dan sal julle weer die onderskeid sien tussen die regverdige en die goddelose, tussen die wat God dien en die wat Hom nie dien nie”. Jer 31:33:  “Maar dit is die verbond wat Ek ná dié dae met die huis van Israel sal sluit, spreek die HERE: Ek gee my wet in hulle binneste en skrywe dit op hulle hart; en Ek sal vir hulle ‘n God wees, en hulle sal vir My ‘n volk wees.

“En Ek sal hulle een hart gee, en ‘n nuwe gees in julle binneste gee; en Ek sal die hart van klip uit hulle vlees verwyder en hulle ‘n hart van vlees gee, sodat hulle in my insettinge kan wandel en my verordeninge kan hou en dit doen; en hulle sal vir my ‘n volk wees, en Ek sal vir hulle ‘n God wees. Maar hulle wie se hart agter die hart van hulle verfoeisels en hulle gruwels aan loop—hulle wandel laat Ek op hul hoof neerkom, spreek die Here HERE.” (Eze 11:19-21)

Kolossense 2:9 “Want in Hom woon al die volheid van die Godheid liggaamlik; 10 en julle het die volheid in Hom wat die Hoof is van alle owerheid en mag; 11 in wie julle ook besny is met ‘n besnydenis wat nie met hande verrig word nie, deur die liggaam van die sondige vlees af te lê in die besnydenis van Christus, 12 omdat julle saam met Hom begrawe is in die doop, waarin julle ook saam opgewek is deur die geloof in die werking van God wat Hom uit die dode opgewek het”.

Wat sê Paulus oor ons as onbesnedenis na die vlees: “Of behoort God net aan die Jode, en nie ook aan die heidene nie? Ja, ook aan die heidene, aangesien dit inderdaad een God is wat die besnedenes sal regverdig uit die geloof en die onbesnedenes deur die geloof. Maak ons dan die wet tot niet deur die geloof? Nee, stellig nie! Inteendeel, ons bevestig die wet.” (Rom 3:29-31) maar hy is ‘n Jood wat dit in die verborgene is, en besnydenis is dié van die hart, in die gees, nie na die letter nie. Sy lof is nie uit mense nie, maar uit God.” (Rom 2:29)

2. Brood

  • Verbond voor Christus: Brood sonder suurdeeg moes geëet word. Suurdeeg was ‘n teken dat jy opgepof was en dat jy sonde gehad het. So hulle brood moes wys dat daar nie sonde was nie. Ons vind die volgende skrif in Korintiërs: “Julle roem is nie mooi nie. Weet julle nie dat ‘n bietjie suurdeeg die hele deeg suur maak nie? Suiwer dan die ou suurdeeg uit, sodat julle ‘n nuwe deeg kan wees—soos julle inderdaad ongesuurd is—want ook ons paaslam is vir ons geslag, naamlik Christus. Laat ons dan feesvier, nie met die ou suurdeeg of met die suurdeeg van ondeug en boosheid nie, maar met die ongesuurde brode van reinheid en waarheid.” (1 Kor 5:6-8)
  • Verbond met Christus as Lam: Jesus is die brood van die lewe. Hy kon geen sonde hê nie, want Hy is ook God. “Julle vaders het die manna in die woestyn geëet en het gesterwe. Dít is die brood wat uit die hemel neerdaal, sodat iemand daarvan kan eet en nie sterwe nie. Ek is die lewende brood wat uit die hemel neergedaal het. As iemand van hierdie brood eet, sal hy lewe tot in ewigheid. En die brood wat Ek sal gee, is my vlees wat Ek vir die lewe van die wêreld sal gee.”(Joh 6:49-51) “En terwyl hulle eet, neem Jesus die brood, en nadat Hy gedank het, breek Hy dit en gee dit aan sy dissipels en sê: Neem, eet, dit is my liggaam.” (Mat 26:26)

3. Lam slag

  • Verbond voor Christus: Hulle moes ‘n lam slag en eet. “Spreek tot die hele vergadering van Israel en sê: Op die tiende van hierdie maand moet hulle elkeen ‘n lam neem volgens die families, ‘n lam vir ‘n huisgesin. Maar as ‘n huisgesin te klein is vir ‘n lam, dan moet hy en sy buurman wat die naaste aan sy huis is, dit neem volgens die sieletal; na wat elkeen gewoond is om te eet, moet julle die getal op die lam bereken. Julle moet ‘n lam hê sonder gebrek, ‘n jaaroud rammetjie. Van die skape of van die bokke kan julle dit neem. En julle moet dit in bewaring hou tot die veertiende dag van hierdie maand; en die hele vergadering van die gemeente van Israel moet dit slag teen die aand.” (Exo 12:3-6)
  • Verbond met Christus as Lam: “En ek het gesien, en kyk, in die middel van die troon en die vier lewende wesens en in die midde van die ouderlinge staan daar ‘n Lam asof Hy geslag is, met sewe horings en sewe oë, wat die sewe Geeste van God is wat uitgestuur is oor die hele aarde. Hy het gekom en die boek geneem uit die regterhand van Hom wat op die troon sit; en toe Hy die boek neem, val die vier lewende wesens en die vier en twintig ouderlinge voor die Lam neer, elkeen met siters en goue skale vol reukwerk, wat die gebede van die heiliges is. Toe sing hulle ‘n nuwe lied en sê: U is waardig om die boek te neem en sy seëls oop te maak, want U is geslag en het ons vir God met u bloed gekoop uit elke stam en taal en volk en nasie, en het ons konings en priesters vir onse God gemaak, en ons sal as konings op die aarde heers”. (Open 5:6-10)

4. Bloed van die Lam

  • Verbond voor Christus: Hulle moes die bloed aan die deurposte smeer. Dit het beteken dat die dood by die huis verby gegaan het. Exo 12:12-13: “Want Ek sal in hierdie nag deur Egipteland trek en al die eersgeborenes in Egipteland tref, van mense sowel as van diere. En Ek sal strafgerigte oefen aan al die gode van Egipte, Ek, die HERE. Maar die bloed sal vir julle ‘n teken wees aan die huise waarin julle is: as Ek die bloed sien, sal Ek by julle verbygaan. En daar sal geen verderflike plaag onder julle wees wanneer Ek Egipteland tref nie.”
  • Verbond met Christus as Lam: Ons moet onder die bloed van Jesus kom. “Toe neem Hy die beker, en nadat Hy gedank het, gee Hy dit aan hulle en sê: Drink almal daaruit. Want dit is my bloed, die bloed van die nuwe testament, wat vir baie uitgestort word tot vergifnis van sondes. (Mat 26:27-28) So indien ek nagmaal gebruik sal die doodsengel my nie kan aanraak nie, en verkry ek die ewige lewe.

5. Waar was die wet?

  • Verbond voor Christus: Wet op kliptafels geskryf soos opgeskrywe in Eksodus 20. Moses beskryf die gevolge ook daarvan verder: “En die HERE het groot en onheilbrengende tekens en wonders voor ons oë in Egipte aan Farao en sy hele huis gedoen. En Hy het ons daarvandaan uitgelei om ons in te bring, sodat Hy ons die land kan gee wat Hy aan ons vaders met ‘n eed beloof het. En die HERE het ons beveel om al hierdie insettinge te volbring, om die Here onse God te vrees, dat dit met ons altyd goed mag gaan, om ons in die lewe te hou soos dit vandag is. En dit sal geregtigheid vir ons wees as ons sorgvuldig al hierdie gebooie hou voor die aangesig van die HERE onse God soos Hy ons beveel het.” (Deu 6:22-25) So hul geregtigheid was uit onderhouding van die wet.
  • Verbond met Christus as Lam: Wet op die hart geskryf. Jer 31:33:  “Maar dit is die verbond wat Ek ná dié dae met die huis van Israel sal sluit, spreek die HERE: Ek gee my wet in hulle binneste en skrywe dit op hulle hart; en Ek sal vir hulle ‘n God wees, en hulle sal vir My ‘n volk wees.” Die Hebreërs skrywer druk dit as volg uit: “Want dit is die verbond wat Ek ná dié dae sal sluit met die huis van Israel, spreek die Here: Ek sal my wette in hulle verstand gee en dit op hulle hart skrywe; en Ek sal vir hulle ‘n God wees, en hulle sal vir My ‘n volk wees.” (Heb 8:10) “Kyk, daar kom dae, spreek die HERE, dat Ek vir Dawid ‘n regverdige Spruit sal verwek, en as Koning sal Hy regeer en verstandig handel en reg en geregtigheid doen in die land. In sy dae sal Juda verlos word en Israel veilig woon; en dit is sy naam waarmee Hy genoem sal word: DIE HERE ONS GEREGTIGHEID. (Jer 23:5-6) So ons geregtigheid is Jesus as verlosser.

6. Op wie was dit van toepassing?

  • Verbond voor Christus: Beide Israel en buitelanders. Eks 12:49 Een wet moet geld vir die kind van die land en vir die vreemdeling wat onder julle vertoef. Eks 12:38  En ‘n menigte mense van gemengde bloed het ook saam met hulle opgetrek, en kleinvee en beeste—’n groot hoeveelheid vee.”  So selfs in Moses se tyd was vreemdelinge deel van die verbondsvolk. Dit bevestig ook wat die HERE vir Abraham beloof het. “Daarom sal hulle jou nie meer Abram noem nie, maar jou naam sal wees Abraham, want Ek maak jou ‘n vader van ‘n menigte van nasies”.
  • Verbond met Christus as Lam: Daar is geen verandering nie. Want dit is nie nodig nie. Daar was reeds vir ons voorsiening gemaak. Jesus het net dit kom volbring wat nodig was sodat Hy dit wat op Hom gewys het gedoen het en alle sonde op Hom kon neem en ons in die regte verhouding met die Vader geplaas. Dit geld vir elke persoon wat glo dat Jesus die Lam is, Israel en vreemdeling. Nou kan ons in die geregtigheid van Jesus lewe, want Hy is ons geregtigheid. Soos Jeremia dit stel: “In dié dae sal Juda verlos word en Jerusalem veilig woon; en dit sal die naam daarvan wees: DIE HERE ONS GEREGTIGHEID. Jer 33:16 Wanneer ons Sy geregtigheid besit dan kan ons met vrymoedigheid na die HERE gaan : Laat ons dan met vrymoedigheid na die troon van die genade gaan, sodat ons barmhartigheid kan verkry en genade vind om op die regte tyd gehelp te word.” Heb 4:16.

Geregtigheid

Paulus beskryf Jesus se geregtigheid as volg: “Want omdat hulle die geregtigheid van God nie ken nie en hulle eie geregtigheid probeer oprig, het hulle hul aan die geregtigheid van God nie onderwerp nie. Want Christus is die einde van die wet tot geregtigheid vir elkeen wat glo. Want Moses beskrywe die geregtigheid wat uit die wet is: Die mens wat hierdie dinge doen, sal daardeur lewe. Maar die geregtigheid wat uit die geloof is, sê dit: Moenie in jou hart sê nie: Wie sal in die hemel opvaar, naamlik om Christus af te bring; of: Wie sal in die afgrond neerdaal, naamlik om Christus uit die dode op te bring? Maar wat sê dit? Naby jou is die woord, in jou mond en in jou hart. Dit is die woord van die geloof wat ons verkondig: As jy met jou mond die Here Jesus bely en met jou hart glo dat God Hom uit die dode opgewek het, sal jy gered word; want met die hart glo ons tot geregtigheid en met die mond bely ons tot redding.” (Rom 10:3-10)

Wanneer word ek dus deel van die Verbond met Christus as Lam? Met Nagmaal, soos in Israel se tyd met die pasga. So dit beteken ook dat geen onbesnedene mag deel hê aan die nagmaal nie, aangesien die nagmaal die bewys is dat ek my lewe prys gegee het, en ‘n lewe kies wat ek in gehoorsaamheid aan die Vader sal leef.

Wat sê die Nuwe Testament daaroor? Wanneer sal ek oorwin en hoe oorwin ons? “En hulle het hom(Satan) oorwin deur die bloed van die Lam en deur die woord van hulle getuienis, en hulle het tot die dood toe hulle lewe nie liefgehad nie”. Openbaring 12 vers 11.

Wat is die ooreenkoms met die verbond voor Christus?

  • Met die bloed van die Lam (Bloed aan die deurposte)
  • Woord van hulle getuienis (Besnyding)
  • En hulle het tot die dood hulle lewe nie liefgehad nie. Ons moet ons kruis elke dag opneem en sterf aan ons eie wil. “En Hy sê vir almal: As iemand agter My aan wil kom, moet hy homself verloën en sy kruis elke dag opneem en My volg. Want elkeen wat sy lewe wil red, sal dit verloor; maar elkeen wat sy lewe om My ontwil verloor, hy sal dit red” (Luk 9:23-24)

So is dit met ons as kinders van die HERE. Ons almal word deel van die verbond wanneer ons besluit om Hom te volg en ons lewe neer te lê. Ons almal wat die Bybel ken volg Israel en die pad wat hulle moes neem tot in Kanaän, omdat dit die voorbeeld is wat vir ons opgeskrywe is en wat ons stap vir stap kan navolg. Dit is ook die land wat aan Abraham as ‘n ewige besitting gegee is. Na ons dood gaan ons almal, al Abraham se nageslag, leer om die HERE te dien vir wie Hy is, en om eendag saam in die Nuwe Jerusalem te kan woon. “En baie volke sal heengaan en sê: Kom laat ons optrek na die berg van die HERE, na die huis van die God van Jakob, dat Hy ons sy weë kan leer en ons in sy paaie kan wandel. Want uit Sion sal die wet uitgaan en die woord van die HERE uit Jerusalem.”(Jes 2:3, Miga 4:2)

Dit is ook die eerste stap wat die Heilige Gees in elke persoon op aarde kom doen. “Maar Ek sê julle die waarheid: Dit is vir julle voordelig dat Ek weggaan; want as Ek nie weggaan nie, sal die Trooster nie na julle kom nie; maar as Ek weggaan, sal Ek Hom na julle stuur; en as Hy kom, sal Hy die wêreld oortuig van sonde en van geregtigheid en van oordeel: van sonde, omdat hulle in My nie glo nie; en van geregtigheid, omdat Ek na my Vader gaan en julle My nie meer sal sien nie; en van oordeel, omdat die owerste van hierdie wêreld geoordeel is.” (Joh 16:7-11)

So alle persone het die vermoë om te kies aangesien die Bybel onomwonde bevestig dat die Heilige Gees gekom het om die wêreld te oortuig van sonde, en te leer wat geregtigheid is. So sal almal wat die lewe kies, gered word. “Want so lief het God die wêreld gehad, dat Hy sy eniggebore Seun gegee het, sodat elkeen wat in Hom glo, nie verlore mag gaan nie, maar die ewige lewe kan hê. Want God het sy Seun in die wêreld gestuur nie om die wêreld te veroordeel nie, maar dat die wêreld deur Hom gered kan word. Hy wat in Hom glo, word nie veroordeel nie; maar hy wat nie glo nie, is alreeds veroordeel omdat hy nie geglo het in die Naam van die eniggebore Seun van God nie”(Joh 3:16-18)

Ons moet dus glo dat Jesus die volmaakte offer vir sonde was, en dat ons slegs deur dit wat Hy gedoen het vir ons, die reg het om kinders van God genoem te word.

Indien u nie die HERE kies in hierdie lewe nie, so u glo nie dat die enigste weg na die Vader Jesus is nie, sal u skuldig staan by die wit troon oordeel. “En die ander dode het nie herlewe totdat die duisend jaar voleindig was nie. Dit is die eerste opstanding.”(Open 20:5). “En ek het ‘n groot wit troon gesien en Hom wat daarop sit, voor wie se aangesig die aarde en die hemel weggevlug het; en daar is geen plek vir hulle gevind nie. En ek het die dode, klein en groot, voor God sien staan, en die boeke is geopen; en ‘n ander boek, die boek van die lewe, is geopen. En die dode is geoordeel na wat in die boeke geskryf is, volgens hulle werke. En die see het die dode gegee wat daarin was, en die dood en die doderyk het die dode gegee wat daarin was; en hulle is geoordeel, elkeen volgens sy werke. En die dood en die doderyk is in die poel van vuur gewerp. Dit is die tweede dood. En as dit bevind is dat iemand nie opgeskryf was in die boek van die lewe nie, is hy in die poel van vuur gewerp.”(Open 20:11-15)

Wat beteken Jesus se verbond van geregtigheid dus?

Die definisie wat ek daaraan wil gee is as volg:

Die reg om voor God te staan sonder skuld, veroordeling en minderwaardigheid. Dit is om in die regte verhouding voor die Skepper te staan, skepsel teenoor Skepper. Dit kan ons slegs doen wanneer ons ‘n oorvloed van die gawe van geregtigheid ontvang. En dit is wat Jesus kom doen het.

Watter stappe volg dan na die verbond?

Ons moet uit Egipte trek, deur gedoop te word. Dit is waar die krag van Satan, in Israel se tyd, die Farao, gebreek word in jou lewe, en jy jou onder die heerskappy van die Vader plaas. Hier verlaat jy die gebied waaroor die Satan heers, en hoef jy nie meer bakstene te maak om Satan se koninkryk uit te brei nie. Na die doop het die sonde nie meer mag oor jou nie. “So moet julle ook reken dat julle wel vir die sonde dood is, maar lewend is vir God in Christus Jesus, onse Here. Laat die sonde dan in julle sterflike liggaam nie heers dat julle aan sy begeerlikhede gehoorsaam sou wees nie. En moenie julle lede stel tot beskikking van die sonde as werktuie van ongeregtigheid nie, maar stel julleself tot beskikking van God as mense wat uit die dode lewend geword het, en julle lede as werktuie van geregtigheid in die diens van God. Want die sonde sal oor julle nie heers nie; want julle is nie onder die wet nie, maar onder die genade. Wat dan? Sal ons sonde doen, omdat ons nie onder die wet is nie maar onder die genade? Nee, stellig nie! Weet julle nie dat aan wie julle julself as diensknegte tot beskikking stel om hom gehoorsaam te wees, julle diensknegte is van hom aan wie julle gehoorsaam is nie òf van die sonde tot die dood, òf van die gehoorsaamheid tot geregtigheid?” (Rom 6:11-16)

Soos Israel moet ons ook die doping in die Heilige Gees ontvang. “Daarop het die HERE neergedaal in die wolk en met hom gespreek; en Hy het van die Gees wat op hom was, afgesonder en op die sewentig oudstes gelê. En terwyl die Gees op hulle rus, het hulle geprofeteer; maar daarna nie meer nie. Maar twee manne het in die laer agtergebly: die naam van die een was Eldad en die naam van die ander Medad; en die Gees het op hulle gerus—hulle het behoort by die wat opgeskrywe was, hoewel hulle nie na die tent uitgegaan het nie—en hulle het in die laer geprofeteer. Toe hardloop ‘n seun en vertel dit aan Moses en sê: Eldad en Medad profeteer in die laer. En Josua, die seun van Nun, die dienaar van Moses van sy jeug af, antwoord en sê: My heer Moses, belet hulle dit! Maar Moses sê vir hom: Ywer jy vir my? Ag, as die hele volk van die HERE maar profete was, dat die HERE sy Gees oor hulle mag gee!” (Num 11:25-29)

Hoe het Jesus dit gestel: “En op die laaste dag, die groot dag van die fees, het Jesus gestaan en uitgeroep en gesê: As iemand dors het, laat hom na My toe kom en drink! Hy wat in My glo, soos die Skrif sê: strome van lewende water sal uit sy binneste vloei. En dit het Hy gesê van die Gees wat dié sou ontvang wat in Hom glo; want die Heilige Gees was daar nog nie, omdat Jesus nog nie verheerlik was nie.” (Joh 7:37-39)

By Sinai gaan ons tyd spandeer om die wet van die HERE in ons harte te ontvang. Hierdie is die leer gedeelte van ons lewe waar ons sal uitvind wat is reg en wat is verkeerd vir die HERE, en dit is wat ons plaaslike leraar moet doen. Dit is wat met Israel by Sinai gebeur het. Gedurende die tyd sal die HERE Homself openbaar vir wie Hy is. Hy sal vir ons bonatuurlik sorg soos vir Israel van ouds met brood en vleis, kwartels en manna.

Sodra ons opleiding verby is, sal ons ‘n roeping ervaar om in Kanaan te gaan. Dit is die tyd wanneer ons oorgaan van die sesde dag na die sewende dag van die HERE, wanneer ons besef dat niks wat ons kan doen ooit sal maak dat ons in die Koninkryk van God sal kan ingaan nie, maar slegs geloof in Jesus Christus. Dit is waarvan ons in die Hebreërs boek lees in hoofstuk drie en vier: “Laat ons dan vrees dat, terwyl die belofte om in sy rus in te gaan nog standhou, dit nie miskien sal blyk dat iemand van julle agtergebly het nie. Want aan ons is die evangelie ook verkondig net soos aan hulle; maar die woord van die prediking het hulle nie gebaat nie, omdat dit by die hoorders nie met die geloof verenig was nie. Want ons wat geglo het, gaan die rus in, soos Hy gesê het: Daarom het Ek in my toorn gesweer, hulle sal in my rus nie ingaan nie—alhoewel sy werke van die grondlegging van die wêreld af volbring is. Want Hy het êrens van die sewende dag so gespreek: En God het op die sewende dag van al sy werke gerus; en nou hier weer: Hulle sal in my rus nie ingaan nie. Terwyl dit dan so is dat sommige daar ingaan, en diegene aan wie die evangelie eers verkondig is, deur ongehoorsaamheid nie ingegaan het nie, bepaal Hy weer ‘n sekere dag, naamlik vandag, as Hy soveel later deur Dawid spreek, soos gesê is: Vandag as julle sy stem hoor, verhard julle harte nie. Want as Josua aan hulle rus gegee het, sou Hy nie van ‘n ander dag daarná spreek nie. Daar bly dus ‘n sabbatsrus oor vir die volk van God; want wie in sy rus ingegaan het, rus ook self van sy werke soos God van syne. Laat ons ons dan beywer om in te gaan in dié rus, sodat niemand in dieselfde voorbeeld van ongehoorsaamheid mag val nie.” (Heb 4:1-11)

Onthou net dat ‘n persoon nie moet wag om in die HERE se rus in te gaan nie, want elke dag is vandag. Ek kan nie uitstel en sê ek sal dit more doen nie, want die Bybel sê duidelik vandag as jy My stem hoor. Ons almal het ‘n roeping, en dit is om mense dissipels te maak, om Jesus se beeld uit te straal. Sommige persone sal die oproep aanvaar en Kanaan ingaan, terwyl die res sal sterf in die woestyn. Dit is die verskil, die sesde dag is in die woestyn alhoewel jy gedoop is, maar die sewende dag is die rusdag en Kanaan, dit waar die HERE wil hê dat ek en jy moet ingaan.

Die meeste mense wat in Kanaan ingaan sal glo dat hulle ‘n koning moet dien soos Israel. (‘n Koning is iemand wat oor jou sal heers en mag ‘n geestelike vader wees of selfs jou kerkverband.) Die eerste boek van Samuel doen verslag as volg: “Toe sê die HERE vir Samuel: Luister na die volk in alles wat hulle aan jou sê, want nie jou het hulle verwerp nie, maar My het hulle verwerp om nie koning oor hulle te wees nie. Soos al die werke wat hulle gedoen het, van dié dag af dat Ek hulle uit Egipte laat optrek het tot vandag toe, dat hulle My verlaat en ander gode gedien het—so doen hulle ook met jou. Luister dan nou na hulle: jy moet hulle net ernstig waarsku en hulle die reg van die koning meedeel wat oor hulle sal regeer.” (1Sa 8:7-9)

Meeste van die mense wat in Kanaan ingaan, sal sterf terwyl hulle hierdie koning dien, terwyl ‘n oorblyfsel geroep sal word om in ballingskap te gaan. “En aan hierdie volk moet jy sê: So spreek die HERE: Kyk, Ek hou julle die weg van die lewe voor én die weg van die dood: hy wat in hierdie stad bly, sal sterwe deur die swaard of die hongersnood of die pes; maar hy wat uitgaan en oorloop na die Chaldeërs wat julle beleër, sal lewe, en sy lewe sal vir hom ‘n buit wees.”(Jer 21:8-9)

Ballingskap

Wat is dit dan met ballingskap? Kom ons kyk na ‘n paar verse en verklarings oor ballingskap. Die eerste is die fisiese ballingskap. In die Bybelse tyd is die verloorder in ‘n oorlog altyd in ballingskap weggevoer na die oorwinnaar se land toe. Die verloorder het al sy roerende bates verloor en moes die oorwinnaar se slaaf word. Wanneer iemand dus in ballingskap gegaan het, is sy hele huis se meubels, sy skoene, sy staf ensovoorts, na buite gedra en dan het die persoon vertrek. Al wat agter gebly het was sy huis. Wat is die betekenis vir ons vandag? Ek moet die oorlog teen die HERE verloor, sodat ek Sy slaaf kan word, en weggevoer kan word na Sy land, Sy Kanaän. Ek moet my hele vertroue in Hom plaas sodat ek soos ‘n slaaf ten volle van Hom afhanklik moet wees vir dit wat ek moet doen en dit wat ek nodig het om te oorleef. Hy moet soos in die tye van ouds vir my sorg vir huisvesting en vir die daaglikse voedsel. Hy het duur betaal vir my, met Sy bloed. U sien Hy het die dood wat vir my bestem was, oorwin, maar dit het Sy lewe gekos. So vir my beteken dit dat ek fisies my lewe by die kruis moet gaan neerlê, en my onderdanig aan Hom stel, sodat Hy vir my kan sorg. So sal ek dan tot die besef kom dat alles wat ek het, en alles wat ek is, net genade is en van die HERE afkomstig is.

Die tweede gedeelte, oor ons geestelike ballingskap, kom uit Jeremia 48 vanaf vers 11 : “Moab was gerus van sy jeug af en het stil gelê op sy afsaksel, sonder dat hy leeggemaak is van vat in vat: hy het nie in ballingskap gegaan nie; daarom het sy smaak in hom gebly en sy geur nie verander nie.”  Hierdie gedeelte het my vir maande gepla, aangesien ek dit regtig nie kon uitpluis nie. Wat die HERE egter hier vir ons wil leer, is dat ons die mense probeer beïndruk met hoe skoon ons is, maar sodra iemand aan ons karring, kom al die onreinheid skielik te voorskyn. Ek moet dus toelaat dat die HERE eers nadat ek Sy slaaf geword het, my van vat na vat sal skei van dit wat vuil is in my lewe. Indien ek dit nie doen nie, verander my geur aanhoudend aangesien ek die afsaksel se geur aanneem. Ek moet my dus self ledig van alles wat my lewe vuil maak en my besmet.

Hierdie skoonmaak proses is ook nie iets wat skielik kan plaasvind nie, aangesien ek tyd moet toelaat vir die afsaksel om weer op die bodem te gaan lê voordat ek weer afgegooi kan word. Dit is ook nie ‘n proses wat op jou afgedwing word nie. Jy moet self besluit om deur hierdie proses te gaan om introspeksie te hou in jou lewe sodat alles wat nie reg is in jou lewe, verwyder kan word.

Daar was wel van die Israeliete wat gesê dat hulle in Jerusalem wou bly, want dit help nie om weg te hardloop nie, al was hulle beleër. Die antwoord wat die HERE vir hulle gehad het, was dat die wat in Jerusalem sou bly, sou sterf, of deur die hongersnood, of deur die pes, of deur die swaard. So as u wil weet of u in die groep val, is daar ‘n paar vrae wat vir u ‘n antwoord sal verskaf. Die eerste vraag is of u nog iets by u gemeente leer? Kan u ‘n nuwe bekeerling  leer aangaande al die vereistes wat daar is om te verseker dat hy ‘n kind van die HERE is? Weet u presies wat die leerstelling van handoplegging behels, hoe dit gebruik moet  word en of dit nog van pas is? Dit is wat gebeur wanneer ons tevrede raak met ons stand as Christene. Ons hou op om te leer, en sodoende sal ons sterf aan hongersnood. Wat het u die afgelope jaar geleer?

Die tweede vraag, en dit is die rede wat Jeremia vir die mense gee, is dat hulle sal sterf aan die pes. Hoe weet ek of ek die pes het? Die pes hier beteken vir ons dat ons verklaar dat ons groep alles reg doen en dat ons seker is dat almal wat aan ons groep behoort, die ewige lewe sal beërwe. U sien ons hou nie van introspeksie nie, want dit beteken dat ek die goed wat ek nie mee tevrede is in my lewe, weer in die oog moet kyk. Dit beteken ook dat ek die vraag moet vra of elke beginsel wat ek aan vashou, Bybels is.Hoeveel gewoontes en beginsels het u wat dalk nie in die Bybel gevind kan word nie? Ek besit ook die pes as ek verklaar dat die mense maar kan aangaan met al hulle waarskuwings en debatte, want hulle sal ook eendag “bykom”. My lewe is mos heel goed, en ons moet ook nie ‘n “te” by alles sit nie. Dit is die groep wat Jeremia verklaar sal sterf van die pes.

Die derde rede hoekom hulle sal sterf is deur die swaard. Wie is die groep dan? Dit is die groep wat besluit dat hulle nie in die eerste twee pas nie, en hulle dus onttrek van hulle gemeente en mede Christene. Hulle wil soos in Jeremia se tyd uit Jerusalem gaan en in die naburige dele gaan woon. Maar Esegiël het ook verklaar dat hulle sal sterf deur die swaard as hulle uit die stad uitgaan. Weet u ons kan nie sonder mede Christene klaar kom nie? Indien ons dit probeer doen is dit dan dat ons na die Bybel gryp en allerhande snaakse leerstellings mee kom, wat uiteindelik ons dood beteken. Die Woord van God is die swaard wat ons sal oordeel.

Dan is daar ook die mense wat aangedring het om na Egipte terug te keer. In die geskiedenis het hulle Jeremia saam met hulle terug geneem, maar weet u, hulle het nooit weer die geleentheid gekry om terug te keer na Jerusalem nie. “Daarom, so sê die HERE van die leërskare, die God van Israel: Kyk, Ek rig my aangesig teen julle ten kwade en om die hele Juda uit te roei. En Ek sal die oorblyfsel van Juda wegneem, wat hulle aangesig gerig het om na Egipteland te trek, om daar as vreemdelinge te vertoef; en hulle sal almal in Egipteland omkom. Deur die swaard sal hulle val, deur die hongersnood sal hulle verteer word, groot sowel as klein; deur die swaard en die hongersnood sal hulle sterwe; en hulle sal ‘n voorwerp van verwensing, van verbasing en van vervloeking en smaad word. En Ek sal besoeking doen oor die wat in Egipteland woon, soos Ek besoeking gedoen het oor Jerusalem deur die swaard, die hongersnood en die pes; sodat daar geeneen sal wees wat ontvlug of vryraak vir die oorblyfsel van Juda wat in Egipteland gekom het om daar as vreemdelinge te vertoef nie, dat hulle kan teruggaan in die land Juda waar hulle siel na verlang om terug te gaan, om daar te woon; want hulle sal nie teruggaan behalwe enkele vlugtelinge nie.”(Jer 44:11-14) Die enkele vlugtelinge wat wel kon terugkeer was Jeremia en Barug se mense aangesien hulle gedwing was om na Egipte te gaan. Hulle is later deur Nebukadnésar na Babilon geneem toe hy Egipte beset het. So ek kan nie terugkeer na my vorige lewe van Egipte nie, want dan sal ek die tweede dood van Openbaring sterf. Dit is hoe ons dit in Hebreërs lees: “Want dit is onmoontlik om die wat eenmaal verlig geword het en die hemelse gawe gesmaak en die Heilige Gees deelagtig geword het, en die goeie woord van God gesmaak het en die kragte van die toekomstige wêreld, en afvallig geword het—om dié weer tot bekering te vernuwe, omdat hulle ten opsigte van hulleself die Seun van God weer kruisig en openlik tot skande maak.” (Heb 6:4-6)

U sien die HERE vra ons om uit te kom onder die heerskappy van ons aardse “koning”, of in ons geval ons gemeente of kerk groep, en dat ons nie moet vertrou op ons lidmaatskap van ‘n gemeente om sodoende die ewige lewe te beërf nie. Nee, ons moet ons losmaak van die gedagte dat lidmaatskap ons kan red, en ons skaar by die Kerk wat Jesus bou. U sien Hy is nie besig om ‘n klomp bruide voor te berei nie, nee Hy wil een bruid hê, maar sy moet skoon en heilig voor Hom kan staan. Dit beteken nie dat ek my lidmaatskap van my gemeente moet opsê en nou kerkloos rond te loop nie. Nee, ek moet my vertroue alleen op die HERE stel, dit is wat gevra word. Verder word van ons verwag om soos ‘n Daniël en sy vriende die regering tee te staan as hulle allerhande verkeerde norme op ons wil afdwing. Daniël het nie gehuiwer om in die openbaar te bid nie. Hy het geweet dat die aardse gesag nie die opperste gesag is nie, maar dat slegs die HERE enige gesag mag afdwing.

Die gelowiges van die groep verwag nie net herlewing nie, maar ware hervorming, of ballingskap. Wat is die verskil tussen die twee begrippe? Herlewing vir my beteken dat ek net moet gaan soek na dit wat lewe bring, en dit dan verkondig. Indien daar lewe was by iemand, sal dit weer die lewe laat vlam vat. Hervorming aan die ander kant beteken dat ek ontslae raak van dit wat nie van die HERE is nie, en ‘n nuwe lewe begin. Dit is dan ook hoekom die HERE die term van ballingskap gebruik, want ek moet van my afsaksel geskei word.

Hoe weet ek dit is waar? Dieselfde vraag as die een in Jeremia word in Openbaring gevra. Openbaring 18:4 “En ek het ‘n ander stem uit die hemel hoor sê: Gaan uit haar uit, my volk, sodat julle nie gemeenskap met haar sondes mag hê en van haar plae ontvang nie”.

U sien as u nie in ballingskap gaan nie, is u besig met godsdiens. En godsdiens is dieselfde as hoerery, en dan is ons deel van die hoer van Openbaring 18. Ek weet ek wil, en ek is seker u wil, deel wees van die Bruid van Christus, daarom moet ek in ballingskap gaan.

Sodra die mense hulle tyd in ballingskap volbring het, sal hulle terugkeer na Jerusalem, die gelowiges, en die ware tempel van die HERE (die Kerk) herstel.

Dit dan ‘n kort oorsig van die eeu oue verbond en wat dit vir ons vandag beteken.

Wat is die gevolge van die verbond op ons huidige teologiese standpunte?

Gevolge van die verbond van geregtigheid vir Israel

Wat dan van Israel as nasie vandag? Hulle moet ook deel word van die verbond wat met Jesus bekragtig is. Soos ons vroeër al gesien het  moet alle mense deel word van die verbond. Die volk Israel van vandag en die land Israel van vandag het NIKS met die Bybel te doen nie. Jesus het self verklaar dat hulle verwerp is, omdat hulle Hom verwerp het. In Matteus kom die volgende gelykenis voor: “Luister na ‘n ander gelykenis: Daar was ‘n sekere huisheer wat ‘n wingerd geplant het; en hy het ‘n heining daarom gesit en ‘n parskuip daarin gegrawe en ‘n wagtoring gebou, en hy het dit aan landbouers verhuur en op reis gegaan. En toe die vrugtetyd nader kom, stuur hy sy diensknegte na die landbouers om sy vrugte te ontvang. Maar die landbouers het sy diensknegte geneem en een geslaan en ‘n ander een doodgemaak en ‘n ander een gestenig. Weer het hy ander diensknegte gestuur, meer as die eerstes, en hulle het met dié net so gemaak. Oplaas het hy sy seun na hulle gestuur en gesê: Hulle sal my seun ontsien. Maar toe die landbouers die seun sien, het hulle onder mekaar gesê: Dit is die erfgenaam; kom laat ons hom doodmaak en sy erfdeel in besit neem. En hulle het hom geneem en buitekant die wingerd uitgewerp en doodgemaak. Wanneer die eienaar van die wingerd dan kom, wat sal hy met daardie landbouers doen? Hulle antwoord Hom: Die slegte mense—hy sal hulle ‘n slegte dood laat sterwe en die wingerd verhuur aan ander landbouers wat hom die vrugte op die regte tyd sal gee. Jesus sê vir hulle: Het julle nooit in die Skrifte gelees nie: Die steen wat die bouers verwerp het, dit het ‘n hoeksteen geword. Hy het van die Here gekom en is wonderbaar in ons oë? Daarom sê Ek vir julle: Die koninkryk van God sal van julle weggeneem en aan ‘n volk gegee word wat die vrugte daarvan sal dra. En hy wat op hierdie steen val, sal verpletter word; maar elkeen op wie hy val, dié sal hy vermorsel. En toe die owerpriesters en die Fariseërs sy gelykenisse hoor, het hulle begryp dat Hy van hulle spreek. En hulle het probeer om Hom in hulle mag te kry, maar hulle was bang vir die skare, omdat dié Hom vir ‘n profeet gehou het.” (Mat 21:33-46)

Lukas het weer ‘n ander gedeelte opgeteken: “En toe Hy naby kom en die stad sien, het Hy daaroor geween en gesê: As jy tog maar geweet het, ja, ook in hierdie dag van jou, die dinge wat tot jou vrede dien! Maar nou is dit vir jou oë bedek. Want daar sal dae oor jou kom dat jou vyande ‘n skans rondom jou sal opwerp en jou omsingel en jou van alle kante insluit. En hulle sal jou en jou kinders in jou teen die grond verpletter; en hulle sal in jou nie een klip op die ander laat bly nie, omdat jy die gunstige tyd toe God jou besoek het, nie opgemerk het nie. (Luk 19:41-44)

Dit bewys weereens vir ons dat Israel en sy bewoners, en almal wat die Joodse geloof aanhang wêreldwyd, moet deel word van die verbond met Jesus, om die ewige lewe te beërf. Jesus is die weg en die lewe, Hy alleen. Dit is wat Paulus, Barnabas en al die Apostels verkondig het. Daar is nie ‘n ander plan vir hulle nie.

Wanneer ons na die boek van Handelinge kyk, vind ons dat beide Paulus en Barnabas, wat baie mense dink net die heidene bedien het, elke keer wanneer hulle in ‘n gebied aangekom het na die Joodse sinagoge toe gegaan het om daar te leer.

Hier dan ‘n verkorte lys van die gebeure:

Hand 13:14  “Maar hulle het van Perge af verder gegaan en in Antiochíë in Pisídië aangekom, en hulle het op die sabbatdag in die sinagoge gegaan en gaan sit.”

Hand 13:42 “En toe die Jode uit die sinagoge gaan, het die heidene versoek dat daardie woorde op die volgende sabbat tot hulle gespreek sou word. Hand 13:43  En toe die sinagoge uit was, het baie van die Jode en die godsdienstige Jodegenote Paulus en Bárnabas gevolg. Dié het hulle toegespreek en hulle probeer beweeg om in die genade van God te bly.”

Hand 14:1  “En op dieselfde wyse het hulle in Ikónium in die sinagoge van die Jode ingegaan en so gespreek dat ‘n groot menigte Jode sowel as Grieke gelowig geword het.”

Hand 17:1  “Toe het hulle deur Amfípolis en Apollónië gereis en in Thessaloníka gekom, waar ‘n sinagoge van die Jode was. Hand 17:2  En volgens sy gewoonte het Paulus na hulle gegaan en drie sabbatte lank met hulle gespreek uit die Skrifte  Hand 17:3  en dit uitgelê en aangetoon dat die Christus moes ly en uit die dode opstaan, en gesê: Hierdie Jesus wat ek aan julle verkondig, is die Christus.”

Hand 17:10  “Daarop het die broeders dadelik in die nag Paulus en Silas na Beréa weggestuur. En toe hulle daar kom, het hulle na die sinagoge van die Jode gegaan. ”

Hand 17:16  “En terwyl Paulus in Athéne vir hulle wag, het sy gees in hom opstandig geword toe hy sien dat die stad vol afgodsbeelde was. Hand 17:17  Hy het toe in die sinagoge met die Jode gespreek en met die godsdienstige mense, en elke dag op die mark met die wat hom teëkom. ”

Hand 18:1  “En daarna het Paulus uit Athéne vertrek en in Korinthe gekom. Hand 18:4  En hy het elke sabbat in die sinagoge gespreek en Jode sowel as Grieke oortuig. ”

Hand 18:19  “En hy het in Éfese aan kom en hulle daar laat bly, maar self in die sinagoge gegaan en met die Jode gespreek.”

Hand 11:25 “Toe vertrek Bárnabas na Tarsus om Saulus te soek, en toe hy hom kry, het hy hom na Antiochíë gebring. Hand 11:26  En hulle het ‘n hele jaar lank in die gemeente saam vergader en aan ‘n aansienlike skare onderwys gegee; en die dissipels is in Antiochíë vir die eerste keer Christene genoem.”

So indien Paulus dus ‘n geheimenis gehad het dat daar ‘n verskil tussen Israel en die Kerk (Christene) is en daar dus ‘n wegraping moet wees sodat Christus weer fisies die koning van die Jode moes word het hy mos sy tyd gemors om elke keer na die sinagoge toe te gaan en vir die Jode te probeer oortuig dat Jesus die Christus is. Hulle, die bekeerde Jode en Grieke, het dan reeds as Kerk(Christene) bekend gestaan in Paulus se tyd. Dit is ook hierdie selfde Jode wat Paulus gestenig het en gelos het vir dood, en Barnabas van ‘n tempel in Cyprus geneem het en hom aan sy nek opgehang het en terwyl hy nog lewend was, hom verbrand het. Om nou te probeer bewys dat die HERE weer vir Christus sal stuur om hierdie mense wat dieselfde stand as enige ander nie gelowige het, te kom red is waansinnigheid en in stryd met die gebeure in die Bybel.

Gevolge van die verbond van geregtigheid vir Calvinisme

En wat van Calvyn se uitverkiesings leer? My persoonlike siening is dat sy leer aanklank vind by die persone wat filosofie verkies. Dan kan hulle baie filosofeer oor die saak, en by allerhande slotsomme kom sonder om enigsins by die Bybelse antwoord uit te kom. En dan het Calvyn, soos sovele ander, die voorbeeld van Israel verwerp, want hulle is bang dat die HERE met hulle ook sal doen soos Hy met Israel gedoen het. Ek was eendag teenwoordig toe ‘n dominee juis oor Israel as voorbeeld gepreek het, en is hy onmiddelik na die diens aangevat deur van die ouderlinge wat hom summier wou skors uit die gemeente omdat hy dit durf waag het om ‘n parallel te trek tussen Israel en gelowiges. So Calvyn het sy hele filosofie en geloofstelsel gebou op slegs die Nuwe Testament en dele wat hy uit die Ou Testament kon gebruik om sy punt mee te bewys. Dit is wat gebeur as jy jou hele leerstellings bou op slegs die nuwe testament, soos die Katolieke, Luther met sy eie gesegdes en haat teenoor die Jode, en sommer ‘n hele klomp ander bewegings ook. Onthou net dat beide Luther en Calvyn uit die Rooms Katolieke kerk gekom het, en slegs die gedeeltes van hulle standpunte verander het waarmee hulle nie saamgestem het nie. Die feit dat die apostels en dissipels net die Ou Verbond gehad het om met mense te deel en onderig, is blykbaar nie belangrik nie. Handelinge 17 leer ons juis die volgende: “Daarop het die broeders dadelik in die nag Paulus en Silas na Beréa weggestuur. En toe hulle daar kom, het hulle na die sinagoge van die Jode gegaan. En hierdie mense was edelmoediger as dié in Thessaloníka; hulle het die woord met alle welwillendheid ontvang en elke dag die Skrifte ondersoek of hierdie dinge so was. Baie van hulle het dan ook gelowig geword, en van die aansienlike Grieke ‘n groot aantal, vroue en manne.(Hand 17:10-12).” Ek neem aan die enigste skrifte wat hulle kon ondersoek was die wet en die profete. Wat Calvyn se leer nog verder negeer, is dat hy persoonlik nie juis aan Hebreërs se voorskrifte voldoen nie. Heb 13:7 “Gedenk julle voorgangers wat die woord van God aan julle verkondig het; aanskou die uiteinde van hulle lewenswandel en volg hulle geloof na.” Calvyn se eie uitspraak is as volg: “Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard.” Calvyn aanvaar hier dat hy moord gepleeg het, en ek wil sekerlik nie iemand volg wat ‘n self verklaarde moordenaar is en ander aanmoedig om te moor nie. Jesus het ook oor hierdie mense gewaarsku. “Hierdie dinge het Ek vir julle gesê, sodat julle nie mag struikel nie. Hulle sal julle uit die sinagoges ban. Ja, daar kom ‘n uur dat elkeen wat julle om die lewe bring, sal dink dat hy ‘n diens aan God bewys. En dit sal hulle aan julle doen, omdat hulle die Vader nie ken nie en My ook nie. Maar hierdie dinge het Ek vir julle gesê, sodat wanneer die uur kom, julle kan onthou dat Ek julle dit gesê het. Maar Ek het julle dit nie van die begin af gesê nie, omdat Ek saam met julle was”. (Joh 16:1-4)

En dan wil hulle nie glo dat jy eers moet besef dat jy ‘n verlosser nodig het voordat kan dink om jou lewe neer te lê by die kruis en deel te word van die verbond nie. Met die uittog uit Egipte het die HERE nie die kinders gestraf omdat hulle vaders nie in die beloofde land gegaan het nie. Nee, die Bybel stel dit so: Num 14:29  Julle lyke sal in hierdie woestyn lê, naamlik al julle geteldes, volgens julle volle getal, van twintig jaar oud en daarbo, julle wat teen My gemurmureer het.” So die kinders moet eers mondig wees voordat hulle uit Egipte kan trek en self verantwoordelikheid neem vir hulle lewe. Baba doop het geen invloed op jou lewe nie en bly jy in Egipte. Dit is hoekom die Calviniste so maklik swig vir versoekings, want hulle staan nog onder die koningskap van die Farao. En omdat hulle nog onder die heerskappy van die Farao staan maak hulle bakstene vir hom, en bou hulle sy ryk uit. Hulle is wel deel van die verbond, maar dit is een rede waarom hulle nog na die dood eers sal moet leer wie die HERE werklik is. “En wie uit die geslagte van die aarde nie na Jerusalem optrek om voor die Koning, die HERE van die leërskare, te aanbid nie—hulle sal geen reën kry nie. En as die geslag van Egipte nie optrek en nie kom nie, op wie geen reën sal val nie, dan sal tog die plaag hulle tref waarmee die HERE die nasies tref wat nie opgaan om die huttefees te vier nie. Dit sal die straf van Egipte wees en die straf van al die nasies wat nie optrek om die huttefees te vier nie.”(Zec 14:17-19) Hoekom die huttefees? Want dit is die fees wat Israel moes vier om hulle te herinner aan die uittog uit Egipte. “Spreek met die kinders van Israel en sê: Op die vyftiende dag van hierdie sewende maand is dit sewe dae lank die huttefees vir die HERE. Op die eerste dag moet daar ‘n heilige vierdag wees; géén beroepswerk mag julle doen nie. Sewe dae lank moet julle aan die HERE ‘n vuuroffer bring. Op die agtste dag moet daar vir julle ‘n heilige vierdag wees, en julle moet aan die HERE ‘n vuuroffer bring. Dit is ‘n feestyd; julle mag geen beroepswerk doen nie. Dit is die feestye van die HERE wat julle moet uitroep as heilige vierdae om aan die HERE ‘n vuuroffer te bring: ‘n brandoffer en spysoffer, ‘n slagoffer en drankoffers soos vir elke dag voorgeskrywe; behalwe die sabbatte van die HERE en behalwe julle gawes en behalwe al julle geloftes en behalwe al julle vrywillige offers wat julle aan die HERE gee. Maar op die vyftiende dag van die sewende maand, as julle die opbrings van die land insamel, moet julle die fees van die HERE sewe dae lank vier; op die eerste dag is dit rusdag, en op die agtste dag is dit rusdag. En op die eerste dag moet julle vir julle vrugte neem van sierlike bome, met palmtakke en takke van digte bome en rivierwilgers, en sewe dae lank voor die aangesig van die HERE julle God vrolik wees. En julle moet dit as fees van die HERE sewe dae in die jaar vier. Dit is ‘n ewige insetting vir julle geslagte. In die sewende maand moet julle dit vier. Sewe dae lank moet julle in hutte woon; almal wat in Israel gebore is, moet in hutte woon, sodat julle geslagte kan weet dat Ek die kinders van Israel in hutte laat woon het toe Ek hulle uit Egipteland uitgelei het. Ek is die HERE julle God.” (Lev 23:34-43)

Kinders wat nog nie mondig is nie moet die vader van die huis voor verantwoordelikheid doen by die HERE. “Maar ek sê: So lank as die erfgenaam ‘n kind is, verskil hy niks van ‘n dienskneg nie, al is hy heer van alles; maar hy staan onder voogde en bestuurders tot op die tyd tevore deur die vader bepaal.” (Gal 4:1-2)

‘n Verdere probleem wat ek met Calvyn se standpunt het is dat Jesus nie vir alle mense gestref het nie, maar slegs vir die wat Hy uitverkies het. en as Hy kom, sal Hy die wêreld oortuig van sonde en van geregtigheid en van oordeel: van sonde, omdat hulle in My nie glo nie;” (Joh 16:8-9) Volgens die gedeelte is dit juis die eerste rede waarom die Heilige Gees gekom het, om die wêreld, nie net die sogenaamde “uitverkiestes”, te oortuig van sonde sodat niemand met die oordeelsdag kan kla dat hulle nie geweet het nie. So dit vir my negeer Calvyn se standpunt.

Nou moet ek ook erken dat daar tog baie van die leerstellings van die Calviniste baie goed gemotiveerd en Bybels beantwoord word. Oor die eeue heen het daar soos met enige ander begrip ook maar interpretasies gekom wat nie altyd is soos wat beide Calvyn en Luther dit bedoel het nie.

Dan wil ek ook net noem dat vanaf die 1983 vertaling van die Bybel, die teoloë en vertalers, wat ek aanneem meeste met ‘n Calvinistiese agtergrond, die begrip van en die woord geregtigheid heeltemal afgewater het of soos in die 2008 vertaling heeltemal verwyder het. Die woord geregtigheid kom 322 keer voor in 305 verse in die 1953 vertaling, en slegs 40 keer voor in die 1983 vertaling.

Gevolge van die verbond van geregtigheid vir Dispensasionelisme

Hierdie klomp mense probeer so hard om die Bybel by hulle geloof aan te pas dat hulle met baie snaakse voorbeelde kom, en dan ook uitsprake van Jesus verwerp. Aan die kruis het Jesus gesê Dit is volbring”. Maar hulle glo dat Jesus weer fisies moet kom om Israel te herstel, nadat Jesus alreeds vir hulle vertel het toe Hy op aarde was dat Hy hulle koningkryk weg geneem het. Soos ek vroeër ook aangehaal het: Daarom sê Ek vir julle: Die koninkryk van God sal van julle weggeneem en aan ‘n volk gegee word wat die vrugte daarvan sal dra. En hy wat op hierdie steen val, sal verpletter word; maar elkeen op wie hy val, dié sal hy vermorsel. En toe die owerpriesters en die Fariseërs sy gelykenisse hoor, het hulle begryp dat Hy van hulle spreek. En hulle het probeer om Hom in hulle mag te kry, maar hulle was bang vir die skare, omdat dié Hom vir ‘n profeet gehou het”. Die gelykenis gaan nie verder om te kenne te gee dat die Jode weer herstel sal word nie. En ons moet onthou dat dit Jesus is wat aan die woord is, so Hy sou sekerlik dit vir hulle gesê het as dit so beplan was, want Hy is darem God en weet alles.

Dit is juis wat Israel in Jesus se tyd verwag het, hulle het ‘n fisiese koning verwag, en nou maak hierdie mense dieselfde fout deur ‘n fisiese koninkryk te verwag op aarde.

Ek wil graag ‘n gedeelte aanhaal van wat ‘n leraar van hierdie leer op hulle webtuiste gepubliseer het na aanleiding van hulle leerstellings. “Maar om bloot op grond van die feit dat Daniël 9 nie praat van 2000 jaar tussen twee verse nie, en dat Sagaria 9 nie praat van 2000 jaar tussen vers 9 en 10 nie, en dat Jesaja 9 nie praat van 2000 jaar en Miga 5 nie praat van 2000 jaar tussen verse 1 en 3 nie, maak sekerlik en gewis nog nie dat die twee dele van die profesie in een en dieselfde tyd moet afspeel nie. Die sleutel is DIE VERBORGENHEID”. Volgens hulle is iemand wat nie die gedeelte glo nie, die behoort glo nie aan die HERE nie, want ons verstaan mos glo nie die verborgenheid nie. Die feit dat Jesus en Paulus presies vir ons vertel wat die verborgenheid is, dat die evangelie aan die ganse mensdom verkondig sal word, is glo nie die verborgenheid nie. “waarvan ek ‘n dienaar geword het volgens die bediening van God wat aan my gegee is in julle belang, om die woord van God te vervul, naamlik die verborgenheid wat van die eeue en geslagte af verborge was, maar nou geopenbaar is aan sy heiliges, aan wie God wou bekend maak wat die rykdom van die heerlikheid van hierdie verborgenheid onder die heidene is, dit is Christus onder julle, die hoop van die heerlikheid.” (Col 1:25-27)

En dan wil hulle ook nie glo dat Jesus die skeiding tussen Israel en Kerk afgebreek het nie.  Maar die verbond bewys geheel en al dat alle mense wat deel van die verbond word, Sy volk is. Paulus verklaar dat dit die geheimenis is wat wat die profete nie van geweet het nie, soos ek hierbo aangehaal het. Ai tog, as hulle maar net die Bybel en Jesus se uitsprake wil glo. As hierdie mense net die Bybel se uitsprake as die enigste leeringe aanvaar, en nie die leerstellings van mense nie. Net om die gedeelte weer te bevestig is die volgende in Eksodus vir ons opgeteken: “Eks 12:49 Een wet moet geld vir die kind van die land en vir die vreemdeling wat onder julle vertoef. Eks 12:38  En ‘n menigte mense van gemengde bloed het ook saam met hulle opgetrek, en kleinvee en beeste—’n groot hoeveelheid vee.”  So selfs in Moses se tyd is nie-Jode ook as verbondsgenote gereken. Hierdie mense maak dieselfde fout as die Moslems, Mormone en sovele ander mense deur vas te hou aan die leerstellings van mense. Ek wil graag net weer herhaal wat Paulus gesê het en wat ek vroeër aangehaal het oor die Kerk en Israel: In Efesiërs 2 leer ons die volgende: “Daarom, onthou dat julle wat vroeër heidene in die vlees was en onbesnedenes genoem word deur die sogenaamde besnydenis wat in die vlees met hande verrig word, dat julle in dié tyd sonder Christus was, vervreemd van die burgerskap van Israel en vreemdelinge ten aansien van die verbonde van die belofte, sonder hoop en sonder God in die wêreld. Maar nou in Christus Jesus het julle wat vroeër ver was, naby gekom deur die bloed van Christus. Want Hy is ons vrede, Hy wat albei een gemaak en die middelmuur van skeiding afgebreek het deurdat Hy in sy vlees die vyandskap tot niet gemaak het, naamlik die wet van gebooie wat in insettinge bestaan; sodat Hy, deur vrede te maak, die twee in Homself tot een nuwe mens kon skep en albei in een liggaam met God kon versoen deur die kruis, nadat Hy daaraan die vyandskap doodgemaak het. En Hy het die evangelie van vrede kom verkondig aan julle wat ver was en aan die wat naby was; want deur Hom het ons albei die toegang deur een Gees tot die Vader. So is julle dan nie meer vreemdelinge en bywoners nie, maar medeburgers van die heiliges en huisgenote van God, gebou op die fondament van die apostels en profete, terwyl Jesus Christus self die hoeksteen is, in wie die hele gebou, goed saamgevoeg, verrys tot ‘n heilige tempel in die Here, in wie julle ook saam opgebou word tot ‘n woning van God in die Gees. (Eph 2:11-22)

Dan leer hulle ook dat daar ‘n geheime wegraping sal plaasvind met die eerste koms van Jesus. (Volgens hulle sal Jesus nie net eenkeer terug kom aarde toe nie). Nou wonder ek net of een van hulle eie verse wat hulle aanhang om hulle leer mee te staaf, dit kan bevestig of weerlê. Dit is wat die Bybel sê: “1Th 4:16-17  Want die Here self sal van die hemel neerdaal met ‘n geroep, met die stem van ‘n aartsengel en met geklank van die basuin van God; en die wat in Christus gesterf het, sal eerste opstaan. Daarna sal ons wat in die lewe oorbly, saam met hulle in wolke weggevoer word die Here tegemoet in die lug; en so sal ons altyd by die Here wees.” Nou wonder ek net hoe dit ‘n geheim sal wees as dit met basuin geklank aangekondig gaan word?

“En die Here het daagliks by die gemeente gevoeg die wat gered is”. Skynbaar is hierdie vers ook nie op hulle van toepassing nie. Hulle kan mos sommer net ‘n kort gebedjie doen saam met iemand, of sommer namens iemand, en dan is die persoon gered. Die feit dat slegs die HERE mense in Sy koninkryk kan byvoeg dra geen gewig by hulle nie. “Almal wat ‘n mooi vertoning in die vlees wil maak, dié dwing julle om julle te laat besny net om nie ter wille van die kruis van Christus vervolg te word nie. Want ook hulle wat besny word, hou self nie die wet nie; maar hulle wil hê dat julle besny moet word, sodat hulle in julle vlees kan roem. Maar wat my betref, mag ek nooit roem nie, behalwe in die kruis van onse Here Jesus Christus, deur wie die wêreld vir my gekruisig is en ek vir die wêreld. Want in Christus Jesus het nòg die besnydenis nòg die onbesnedenheid enige krag, maar ‘n nuwe skepsel. En mag daar vrede en barmhartigheid wees oor almal wat sal wandel volgens hierdie reël, en oor die Israel van God!” (Gal 6:12-16) (Sien besnydenis vroeër in hierdie boek.) Die laaste reel is baie interesant. Dit is nie die God van Israel nie, maar die Israel van God, so nie die fisiese Israel nie, maar die nuwe Israel, die wat kies om Hom te dien en deel word van die verbond.

Gevolge van die verbond van geregtigheid op die Wegraping leerstelling

Hierdie mense kry jy onder baie verskillende teologiese opvattings, van Calviniste tot Pinkster, Israelvisie, Brits-Joods, Charismatiese lidmate en sommer ‘n hele klomp tussen in. Hulle hoofrede is dat hulle glo dat Daniel 9 se laaste verse nog nie vervul is nie, en dat dit eers in die sewejarige verdrukking en daarna vervul sal word. Volgens hulle sal ons as “nie Jode” in die hemel wees en Christus sal op aarde saam met die Jode wees vir ‘n duisend jaar. Volgens hulle is daar vyf of ses goed wat Jesus nog moet kom doen op aarde. So hulle glo nie Jesus se uitspraak aan die kruis volgens Johannes nie: “Joh 19:30 Nadat Jesus die suur wyn gekry het, het Hy gesê: “Dit is volbring!” Toe het Hy sy kop vooroor laat sak en die laaste asem uitgeblaas”.

Die leer is gegrond op die feit dat ons nou in ‘n genade tyd leef, dat Jesus sal kom om die Kerk voor, gedurende of na die verdrukking weg te vat, dat die HERE dan vir Israel sal herstel, en dat Jesus dan weer sal kom om finaal die wêreld te oordeel. Die aanhangers van die leer beweer dat daar ‘n verskil tussen die Kerk en Israel is, en dan verwys hulle na die geheimenis waarvan Paulus praat wat aan hom toevertrou is. Nou word daar beweer dat daar sekere gedeeltes in die Bybel is wat net sekere persone insae oor het, en dit handel oor die feit dat die HERE verskillend gaan optree teenoor die Kerk, as ons dit vergelyk met die Jode. Hulle grootste bewys wat gebruik word, is die gedeelte in Daniël 9 waar die 70 weke bespreek word, en word daar geleer dat die laaste week nog nie aangebreek het nie, en dat dit deel is van die geheimenis waarna Paulus verwys. Die feit dat Jesus en Paulus presies vir ons vertel dat die verborgenheid is, dat die evangelie aan die ganse mensdom verkondig sal word, is glo nie die verborgenheid nie. “waarvan ek ‘n dienaar geword het volgens die bediening van God wat aan my gegee is in julle belang, om die woord van God te vervul, naamlik die verborgenheid wat van die eeue en geslagte af verborge was, maar nou geopenbaar is aan sy heiliges, aan wie God wou bekend maak wat die rykdom van die heerlikheid van hierdie verborgenheid onder die heidene is, dit is Christus onder julle, die hoop van die heerlikheid.” (Col 1:25-27)

Maar ons het so pas bewys dat daar nie ‘n verskil tussen Israel en die Kerk is nie. So hoe bewys ek dan dat gedeeltes soos Daniël se sewentig weke reeds vervul is? Ek is bewus daarvan dat baie boeke al oor die wegraping geskryf is en dat persone al hul doktorsgrade verwerf het deur hieroor te skryf. Maar is hierdie leerstelling korrek?

Die wegraping is seker ook een van die leerstellings wat baie Christene gerus maak omdat hulle nie hoef bang te wees dat hulle deur die verdrukking hoef te gaan nie, want die verdrukking is mos net vir Israel en die ongelowiges, of dit is hoe die mense geleer word. Indien ons besef dat ons as Kerk nou Israel geword het, sit ons dus met die probleem dat ons dan ook die verdrukking sal moet deurgaan, en dan raak dinge ‘n bietjie moeilik.

Die hele leer van die wegraping is gebaseer op ’n lering dat ons nou in ‘n genade tyd leef wat inpas tussen weke 69 en 70 van Daniël. Daar is al baie boeke geskryf oor Daniel se sewentig weke, en hoe dit geïnterpreteer moet word. Oor die eerste 69 weke is almal dit min of meer een dat dit al verby is en dat dit dui op die tydperk van die terugkeer uit ballingskap tot en met die koms van Jesus. En dan is daar ook die fiksie skrywers met hulle Left Behind reeks wat baie mense as die waarheid glo, alhoewel hulle self verklaar en pryse ontvang het as fiksie skrywers.

Die laaste week is die een wat skielik so 160 jaar gelede deur ‘n sekere Darby nuwe betekenis aan gegee is, en nou hardloop almal wat nie sterk is in die geloof nie, agter hom aan. Voor hom was daar geen lering oor ‘n wegraping ooit deur die Kerk verkondig nie. Hy was ook die eerste persoon wat weer onderskeid tussen Israel en die Kerk gemaak het. Die lering het gemaak dat mense vandag duisende rande spandeer om na Israel te gaan en vir die Jode probeer namaak deur weer Shabbat te hou net sodat hulle gesien kan word dat hulle deel wil wees van die beweging om weer die tempel in Jerusalem te vestig, en weer allerhande offers in te stel aangesien Jesus nie geslaag het om diereoffers af te stel nie. Die feit dat meeste van vandag se Jode nie kan bewys dat hulle uit die oorspronklike Israel gekoppel kan word nie, word ook deur die mense ontken. Ons lees egter in die geskiedenis van Europa dat seker 90% van vandag se Jode, Ashkenazi Jode is en uit Europa afstam. So hulle is Europeërs en nie gebore Jode of Israeliete nie. Dit is ook hierdie Jode wat Hitler vermoor het, en die wat Luther in sy boek, “On the Jews and their lies”, beskryf het dat die Duitsers hulle sinagoges moet afbrand en ‘n hele klomp ander goed wat nie in hierdie dokument pas nie, en nooit deur enige teoloog aan sy gemeente sal voorhou nie.

Wat baie van die mense nie weet wat in die wegraping glo, is dat die enigste rede dat daar nou skielik 2000+ jaar as genade tyd gegee is, gebaseer is op ‘n lering dat God die Vader en Jesus Christus nie geweet het dat die Jode vir Christus sou verwerp nie. Daar is hoevele geskrifte wat hierdie standpunt huldig. Nou moet ek ook erken dat dit baie moeilik is om vas te stel wat die leer van die wegraping eintlik is, aangesien daar seker net soveel verklarings is as wat daar mense is wat die lering aanhang. Elke leraar van die leer het sy eie interpretasie, en maak baie geld daarmee.

Maar hoe lui Daniël se profesie oor die sewentigste week? “En hy sal een week lank met baie ‘n sterk verbond sluit, en gedurende die helfte van die week sal hy slagoffer en spysoffer laat ophou; en op die vleuel van gruwels sal daar ‘n verwoester wees, en wel tot aan die einde; en wat vas besluit is, sal oor wat woes is, uitgestort word.” (Dan 9:27) Hier profeteer Daniël dat in die laaste week, wat eintlik jare is, daar ‘n nuwe verbond gesluit sal word. Wanneer ons na Jesus se bediening kyk, sien ons dat Hy vir drie en ‘n halwe jaar deur Israel gegaan het om die Israeliete te oortuig dat Hy die Christus is, en dat hulle hul moes bekeer en Hom sien vir wie Hy was. Na drie en ‘n half jaar, soos Daniël dit uitdruk, in die middel van die week, is Jesus gekruisig. Ons weet ook dat Jesus die volmaakte offer was en vir die Vader aanvaarbaar was, daarom het die offer soos Daniël dit noem dus ook opgehou, want dit was nie meer nodig nie. Daarna sal Jerusalem verwoes word. Dit word verder bespreek hieronder.

Kom ons behandel die gedeeltes kronologies soos deur Daniël geskryf. Die verbond wat Jesus gesluit het met ons as Nuwe Testamentiese Christene is die sterkste verbond wat daar kan wees, want die verbond is tussen God die Vader en Jesus Sy Seun namens ons gesluit. Ons weet dat Jesus self gesê het dat Hy gekom het om die verbond te vervul, daarom is Hy self geoffer, en daarom is dit die sterkste verbond wat daar kan wees. Mat 5:17 “Moenie dink dat Ek gekom het om die wet of die profete te ontbind nie. Ek het nie gekom om te ontbind nie, maar om te vervul. So het Hy die verbond met Abraham vervul, wat bepaal het dat mans besny moes word en slegs besnydes nasate van Abraham en daarom erfgename en kinders van God genoem kon word.  Ons moet onthou dat die HERE vir Abraham gevra het om Isak te offer, maar deur hom te vra om sy seun te offer, moes die Maker van die verbond dieselfde doen, en dit is hoekom Jesus geoffer moes word. Die eerste verbond moes aanhoudend bevestig word deur offers te bring aan die HERE, en moes alle manspersone besny word op die agste dag. Verder moes die volk tiendes betaal aan die Leviete vir hulle diens by die tempel, en moes alle eerstelinge aan die HERE geoffer word. Die besnydenis en offers was nodig omrede die HERE ‘n vloek op elke eersteling geplaas het met die uittog uit Egipte. So moes Jesus dus self sterf en opstaan uit die dood om as eersteling die vloek van Egipte te verwyder.

Die volgende is ‘n kort opsomming van Daniël se gesig en profesie wat hy van Gabriël ontvang het.

“By die begin van jou smekinge het ‘n woord uitgegaan, en ek het gekom om dit mee te deel, want jy is ‘n geliefde man; gee dan ag op die woord en verstaan die gesig.” Daniël 9:23.

1 – “Sewentig sewetalle is oor jou volk en jou heilige stad bepaal,” (Sien ook Lev 25:9 “Jy moet ook sewe jaarweke tel, sewe maal sewe jaar, sodat die dae van die sewe jaarweke vir jou nege en veertig jaar is”). So die sewentig sewe talle is dus 490 weke waar een week getel word vir elke jaar.

2 – “om die goddeloosheid te voleindig” Dat gedurende die tyd die goddeloosheid van die HERE se volk sal verdwyn na die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees, waar almal wat die Heilige Gees ontvang ‘n hart van vlees ontvang sodat hulle nie meer goddeloos sal optree nie. Verder sal hulle dus deur die bloed van Jesus vrygekoop word aangesien Hy reeds vir ons sondes gesterf het.

3 – “en om die maat van die sondes vol te maak”. Dat daar ‘n einde sal kom aan die tydperk waar sonde heers oor God se kinders deur die wet, en Jesus die volmaakte offer vir sonde sal wees.

4 – “en om die ongeregtigheid te versoen en om ewige geregtigheid aan te bring” Dit is waarvoor Jesus gekom het; om versoening te bring sodat ons Sy geregtigheid kan ontvang wat ons sin word as deel van die Nuwe Verbond, waar ons nie meer gesien word deur ons sonde nie, maar onder die Bloed van Jesus, en dus sonder sonde voor die genadetroon van die Vader kan verskyn.

5 – “en om gesig en profeet te beseël” Om ‘n einde te bring aan al die profesië rondom die eerste koms van Jesus as verlosser.

6 – “en om wat hoogheilig is, te salf.” Jesus moes dus ook gedurende die tydperk gesalf word as Koning, Verlosser, en Profeet.

So dit is alles wat gedurende die 490 weke moes gebeur. Nou begin Gabriël eers met ‘n uiteensetting van wat sal gedurende watter tydperk gebeur.

  • Nou moet jy weet en verstaan: van die uitgang van die woord af om Jerusalem te herstel en op te bou tot op ‘n Gesalfde, ‘n Vors, is sewe sewetalle;” maw 49 jaar voor die tempel herstel is.
  •  “en twee en sestig sewetalle lank sal dit herstel en opgebou word, met pleine en slote, maar in tye van benoudheid”. So na die herstel tot en met Jesus sal dit dus 434 jaar wees.(62 x 7)
  • “En ná die twee en sestig sewetalle sal ‘n Gesalfde uitgeroei word”, (so gedurende die 70 ste week) “maar sonder iets vir Hom; en die volk van ‘n vors wat sal kom, sal die stad en die heiligdom verwoes, maar sy einde sal met ‘n oorstroming wees, en tot die einde toe sal dit oorlog wees, vasbeslote verwoestings” Nou gee Gabriël hier te kenne dat Jesus gedurende die sewentigste week uitgeroei sal word, soos vroeër genoem, in die middel van die week sonder dat dit enige voordeel vir Homself inhou en dan ook wat met Jerusalem sal gebeur. Jerusalem sal deur ‘n vors wat sal kom, met ander woorde ‘n vors wat nie gedurende Daniël se tyd ‘n vors was nie, verwoes word, en Jerusalem se einde sal wees soos dit gebeur het, met die leërs wat soos ‘n vloed sal inkom en Jerusalem sal verwoes. Verwys maar gerus na Daniël 11:22, 26 en 40 waar soldate na as ‘n vloed verwys word. “en tot die einde toe sal dit oorlog wees, vasbeslote verwoestings”.  Dit is vasbeslote verwoestings wat nooit sal ophou nie, dit is waarom daar tot vandag toe nog aanhoudende oorlog in, oor en om Jerusalem is.
  • Dan 9:27 “En hy sal een week lank met baie ‘n sterk verbond sluit, en gedurende die helfte van die week sal hy slagoffer en spysoffer laat ophou; en op die vleuel van gruwels sal daar ‘n verwoester wees, en wel tot aan die einde; en wat vas besluit is, sal oor wat woes is, uitgestort word.” Hier profeteer Daniël dat in die laaste week daar ‘n nuwe verbond gesluit sal word. Wanneer ons na Jesus se bediening kyk, sien ons dat Hy vir drie en ‘n halwe jaar deur Israel gegaan het om die Israeliete te oortuig dat Hy die Christus is, en dat hulle hul moes bekeer en Hom sien vir wie Hy was. Na drie en ‘n half jaar, soos Daniël dit uitdruk, in die middel van die week, is Jesus gekruisig. Ons weet ook dat Jesus die volmaakte offer was en vir die Vader aanvaarbaar was, daarom het die offer soos Daniël dit noem dus ook opgehou, want dit was nie meer nodig nie. Die verbond wat Jesus gesluit het met ons as Nuwe Testamentiese Christene is die sterkste verbond wat daar kan wees, want die verbond is tussen God die Vader en Jesus Sy Seun namens ons gesluit. Ons weet dat Jesus self gesê het dat Hy gekom het om die verbond te vervul, daarom is Hy self geoffer, en daarom is dit die sterkste verbond wat daar kan wees. Mat 5:17 “Moenie dink dat Ek gekom het om die wet of die profete te ontbind nie. Ek het nie gekom om te ontbind nie, maar om te vervul.” So is die verbond met Abraham vervul, wat bepaal het dat mans besny moes word en slegs besnydes nasate van Abraham en daarom erfgename en kinders van God genoem kon word. Ons moet onthou dat die HERE vir Abraham gevra het om Isak te offer, maar deur hom te vra om sy seun te offer, moes die Maker van die verbond dieselfde doen, en dit is hoekom Jesus geoffer moes word. Die eerste verbond moes aanhoudend bevestig word deur offers te bring aan die HERE, en moes alle manspersone besny word op die agste dag. Verder moes die volk tiendes betaal aan die Leviete vir hulle diens by die tempel, en moes alle eerstelinge aan die HERE geoffer word. Die besnydenis en offers was nodig omrede die HERE ‘n vloek op elke eersteling geplaas het met die uittog uit Egipte. So moes Jesus dus self sterf as eersteling om die vloek van Egipte te verwyder, alle offers te beëindig, en ook die wette rondom die Leviete te volbring. So ons het nie meer nodig om tiendes aan iemand te betaal om namens ons offers aan die HERE te bring nie. Soos die val deur een persoon, Adam, veroorsaak is, so moes dit deur een persoon, Jesus Christus, weer voor betaal word sodat elkeen wat glo vrygespreek kan word. Een voorbeeld wat ons reg deur die Bybel kry, is dat die eerste, of menslike besluit, altyd verwerping bewerk het, terwyl die tweede altyd die Goddelike oplossing wys. Soos genoem het, die eerste Adam het die val bewerkstellig, en Christus as die tweede Adam, die verlossing bring. So sien ons dit tussen Kain en Abel, Ismael en Isak, Esau en Jacob, die eerste tablette met die wet wat slegs vir Israel was maar deur hulle verbreek is deur afgodery, en dus die tweede tablette vir ons almal sal geld. So is Saul ook as eerste koning gesalf en aangestel omdat Israel die HERE verwerp het en het hy ook verkeerd gedoen en is deur die HERE onttroon terwyl Dawid as tweede koning gesalf en aangestel is en wat vriend van die HERE was. Al die ander konings na Dawid is deur mense aangestel en nie gesalf en nie een van die hulle is weer deur die HERE gesalf nie. So geld dit ook vir Israel en Kerk vandag, met Israel wat eersteling was en deur die HERE as Sy gesalfde volk geleef het maar Christus verwerp het, en ons as Kerk wat as die volmaakte oplossing van die Vader daar gestel is sodat elkeen wat glo in Christus, gered is en sal word. Die eerste geregtigheid was verkry deur die onderhouding van die wet (En dit sal geregtigheid vir ons wees as ons sorgvuldig al hierdie gebooie hou voor die aangesig van die HERE onse God soos Hy ons beveel het. Deut 6:25) en die tweede geregtigheid, Jesus Christus as verbondsoffer. “Want omdat hulle die geregtigheid van God nie ken nie en hulle eie geregtigheid probeer oprig, het hulle hul aan die geregtigheid van God nie onderwerp nie. Want Christus is die einde van die wet tot geregtigheid vir elkeen wat glo. Want Moses beskrywe die geregtigheid wat uit die wet is: Die mens wat hierdie dinge doen, sal daardeur lewe. (Rom 10:3-5) Jer 23:6  “In sy dae sal Juda verlos word en Israel veilig woon; en dit is sy naam waarmee Hy genoem sal word: DIE HERE ONS GEREGTIGHEID.”

Baie van die aanhangers van die leer oor die wegraping, wys daarop dat die daaglikse offer eers met die verwoesting van die tempel opgehou het, en dat ons dit eintlik nie kan gebruik as maatstaf nie. Wat hulle vergeet, is dat indien Jesus die Christus was, was dit nie meer nodig om te offer na Sy dood nie, want Hy was die volmaakte offer vir alle offers wat deur Moses voorgeskryf is. Geen offers was meer nodig daarna nie. So indien hulle die verklaring so wil gebruik, verklaar hulle dus dat Jesus nie die Christus was nie, en dat die HERE nog steeds die offers in die tempel aanvaar het.

Daar is ook ‘n ander gedeelte wat vir ons verklaar hoekom Jesus geoffer kon word, en hoekom die Vader spesifiek Jesus se offer raakgesien het en nie die offer wat deur die hoëpriester gebring is die dag van Jesus se kruisiging nie. Toe Jesus deur die hoëpriester ondervra is, het die volgende verhaal hom afgespeel. “Maar oplaas kom daar twee valse getuies en sê: Hierdie man het gesê: Ek kan die tempel van God afbreek en dit in drie dae opbou. Daarop staan die hoëpriester op en sê vir Hom: Antwoord U niks nie? Wat getuig hierdie manne teen U? Maar Jesus het stilgebly. En die hoëpriester antwoord en sê vir Hom: Ek besweer U by die lewende God dat U vir ons sê of U die Christus, die Seun van God, is? Jesus antwoord hom: U het dit gesê. Maar Ek sê vir u almal: Van nou af sal u die Seun van die mens sien sit aan die regterhand van die krag van God en kom op die wolke van die hemel. Toe verskeur die hoëpriester sy klere en sê: Hy het godslasterlik gespreek, wat het ons nog getuies nodig? Kyk, nou het julle sy godslastering gehoor!” (Mat 26:61-65) Die klere van die hoëpriester moes van een stuk materiaal gemaak word, sonder dat daar nate aan was. Die klere van die hoë priester moes van ‘n enkele stuk materiaal gemaak word. “En dit is die klere wat hulle moet maak: ‘n borstas en ‘n skouerkleed en ‘n mantel en ‘n kunstig bewerkte rok, ‘n tulband en ‘n gordel; so moet hulle dan vir Aäron, jou broer, heilige klere maak, en vir sy seuns, dat hy vir My die priesteramp kan bedien. En hulle moet die goud en die pers en purperrooi en bloedrooi stowwe en die fyn linne neem. En hulle moet die skouerkleed maak van goud, pers en purperrooi en bloedrooi stowwe en fyn dubbeldraad-linne, as kunstige werk. Dit moet twee skouerstukke hê wat aan mekaar vas is; aan die twee bo-ente moet dit saamgevoeg word. En die band wat daaraan is om dit vas te bind, moet van dieselfde werk en, daarmee saam, uit een stuk wees, van goud, pers en purperrooi en bloedrooi stowwe en fyn dubbeldraad-linne.” (Exo 28:4-8) Die hoëpriester kon dus nie met gelapte klere in die tempel gaan om te offer die volgende dag nie, want sy klere was geskeur. So daar was geen manier wat hy voor die HERE kon verskyn sonder om sy klere weer reg te maak nie, maar dit sou nog steeds nate gehad het. Dus kon die Vader nie sy offer aanneem nie omdat hy nie aan die voorskrifte van Moses voldoen het nie, en daarom is Jesus se offer aangeneem, en het die daaglikse offer opgehou. Daaroor ook dat Sy klere nie verdeel is nie, maar dat hulle die lot daaroor gewerp het.

U moet onthou dat Jesus aan die kruis gehang het van die tyd dat die oggend offer geoffer moes word, tot die tyd dat die aandoffer gedoen moes word, of van nege uur in die oggend tot drie uur die middag. Hy is ook buite die laer gekruisig, sodat Hy ook diè offer kon volbring. “Ons het ‘n altaar waarvan die wat die tabernakel bedien, geen reg het om te eet nie; want die diere waarvan die bloed vir die sonde deur die hoëpriester in die heiligdom ingedra word—hulle liggame word buitekant die laer verbrand. Daarom het Jesus ook, om die volk deur sy eie bloed te heilig, buitekant die poort gely. Laat ons dan uitgaan na Hom toe buitekant die laer en sy smaad dra” (Heb 13:10-13) So het Jesus dus ‘n einde gebring aan alle offers wat deur die hoëpriester en ander Leviete gebring moes word. Hy het dit ook nie in die aardse tempel gedoen nie maar in die hemelse tabernakel. “Dit was dus nodig dat die afbeeldinge van die dinge in die hemele deur hierdie offers gereinig moes word, maar die hemelse dinge self deur beter offers as hierdie. Want Christus het nie ingegaan in ‘n heiligdom met hande gemaak, ‘n teëbeeld van die ware nie, maar in die hemel self om nou voor die aangesig van God vir ons te verskyn; ook nie om Homself dikwels te offer, soos die hoëpriester elke jaar in die heiligdom ingaan met bloed wat nie sy eie is nie, want dan moes Hy dikwels gely het van die grondlegging van die wêreld af. Maar nou het Hy een maal in die voleinding van die eeue verskyn om die sonde deur sy offer weg te doen. En net soos die mense bestem is om een maal te sterwe en daarna die oordeel, so sal Christus ook, nadat Hy een maal geoffer is om die sondes van baie weg te neem, vir die tweede maal sonder sonde verskyn aan die wat Hom verwag tot saligheid.” (Heb 9:23-28).

Daarom ook dat die voorhangsel van die tempel geskeur het met Sy dood want ons het nou vrye toegang na die Vader. Dit was dus die einde van die eerste helfte van die sewentigste week, met Jesus se bediening op aarde wat drie en ‘n half jaar geduur het, wat in Daniël se profesie ‘n halwe week was.

Die laaste gedeelte van die week was die tydperk tot en met die gesig wat Petrus gesien het van die onrein diere wat op ‘n laken neergedaal het. “En die volgende dag, terwyl hulle op pad was en naby die stad kom, het Petrus omtrent die sesde uur op die dak geklim om te bid; en hy het baie honger geword en wou eet; en terwyl hulle besig was om klaar te maak, het daar ‘n verrukking van sinne oor hom gekom: hy sien die hemel geopend en ‘n voorwerp soos ‘n groot laken na hom afdaal, wat aan die vier hoeke vasgebind is en op die aarde neergelaat word. Daarin was al die viervoetige diere van die aarde en die wilde en kruipende diere en die voëls van die hemel. Toe kom daar ‘n stem na hom: Staan op, Petrus, slag en eet! En Petrus sê: Nooit nie, Here, want ek het nooit iets onheiligs of onreins geëet nie. En weer het die stem vir die tweede keer na hom gekom: Wat God rein gemaak het, mag jy nie onheilig ag nie.”(Hand 10:9-15) Dit was weereens drie en ‘n half jaar na Jesus se kruisiging. Gedurende die tyd het die Jode tyd gekry om hulle te bekeer en te erken dat Jesus die Christus was. Met die dood van Stephanus, het die tydperk opgehou, en het die evangelie na ons as heidene gekom. So is Daniël se profesie dus vervul, en het ons as heidene wat glo dat Jesus die Seun van God is  en deel van die verbond van geregtigheid geword het, deel van Sy verbondsvolk geword. Ons moet onthou dat die Jode ‘n fisiese koning verwag het om te regeer soos in die dae van Dawid en Saul, maar het nie onthou dat die konings oor hulle geheers het omdat hulle Hom verwerp het nie. 1Sa 8:7: “Toe sê die HERE vir Samuel: Luister na die volk in alles wat hulle aan jou sê, want nie jou het hulle verwerp nie, maar My het hulle verwerp om nie koning oor hulle te wees nie.”

Daniël wys verder dat daar ‘n verwoester sal kom op die vleuels of vlerke van gruwels, en dit sal tot die einde duur. Hier het die Satan as verwoester opgestaan om teen alle vlees oorlog te voer en sodoende te probeer om sy koningkryk uit te brei. Die werke van Satan sal duur tot die einde van die aarde toe.

So het die sewentigste week begin met Jesus se bediening op aarde, en het geëindig met die uit dra van die evangelie aan die heidene. Dit dan die interpretasie van Daniël se sewentigste week asook die bewys dat daar geen wegraping is of sal wees soos dit deur baie persone verkondig word nie. Jesus het self male sonder tal gewaarsku dat ons moet volhard tot die einde toe, en nie verwag om nie deur foltering te gaan nie. In Paulus se tyd was daar ook persone wat nie verstaan het waaroor die evangelie gaan nie. Paulus skryf aan Timótheüs die volgende: “Soos ek jou versoek het toe ek na Macedónië op reis was, moet jy in Éfese wag om sekere persone te beveel dat hulle geen ander leer moet leer nie, en hulle nie besig hou met fabels en eindelose geslagsregisters nie, wat net twisvrae bevorder meer as stigting van God wat in die geloof is. Maar die doel van die gebod is liefde uit ‘n rein hart en ‘n goeie gewete en ‘n ongeveinsde geloof waarvan sommige mense afgedwaal en hulle afgewend het na onsinnige praatjies; hulle wil leraars van die wet wees, alhoewel hulle wat hulle sê, of die dinge wat hulle beslis beweer, nie verstaan nie. (1Ti 1:3-7)

So om saam te vat. Die verbond wat Jesus kom vestig het, was die sterk verbond waarvan Daniël geskryf het, want dit het die vloek van die dood van die eerstelinge verwyder, asook alle offers wat die volk moes bring. Verder het Hy al ons sondeskuld betaal sodat ons vlekkeloos in geregtigheid voor die Vader kan verskyn. So Hy is ons geregtigheid, wat vir ons beteken die reg om voor God te staan sonder skuld, veroordeling en minderwaardigheid. Dit is om in die regte verhouding voor die Skepper te staan, skepsel teenoor Skepper. Dit kan ons slegs doen wanneer ons ‘n oorvloed van die gawe van geregtigheid ontvang. En dit is wat Jesus kom doen het.

‘n Regtige groot probleem wat ek het met die hele leer rondom die wegraping en die wat daarin glo, is dat hulle leer hulle deel maak van die antichris. Die enigste persoon in die Bybel wat direk verwys na die antichris vind ons in die briewe van Johannes. Sy definisie wat ek graag gebruik is as volg: 2Jn 1:7 Daar het baie misleiers te voorskyn gekom in die wêreld. Hulle erken nie dat Jesus die Christus is wat mens geword het nie. Dit is wat ek met “die misleier”, “die antichris”, bedoel”. Die Jode glo nie dat Jesus die Messias was nie, en dit maak hulle volgens Johannes dus deel van die antichris. Die wegrapers deur hul ondersteuning van die Jode, skaar hulle by die Jode en dus by die antichris.

Slotsom

So my standpunt is dat alle mense een maal lewe, en dan sterf. Die wat deel is van die verbond met Jesus en Sy geregtigheid besit, sal in die duisendjarige vrederyk leer hoe om die HERE te dien en ontslae te raak van ons seining van wie gered word, en wie nie. Na die oorwinning oor Satan en sy magte, Gog en Magog, vind die wit troon oordeel plaas, en sal die persone wat oorwin het, saam in die Nuwe Jerusalem lewe.

Ek wil net ter afsluiting uitwys dat alle mense wat nagmaal gebruik, wel deel word van die verbond aangesien dit die verbondsmaal is. Waar ons almal ons sal bevind na die dood, is ‘n perd van ‘n heel ander kleur.

 

Vir meer oor die onderwerp kan u na my webtuiste gaan by www.shama.org.za en van my boeke en DVD’s bestel:

Ander boeke beskikbaar op my webtuiste en by boekwinkels se webtuistes wat ek geskryf het:

  • Die boek van Moses. Die boek neem u stap vir stap deur die hele proses wat ek hier in kort verduidelik het. Verder beantwoord dit ook baie ander vrae wat ek as Christen elke dag het. So is die boek ingedeel in hoofde wat handel oor die beginsels waarop ons geloof gebaseer is, wat beteken bekering, geloof, doop, liefde ens. Verder kyk ek ook na meer algemene vrae soos hoe maak ek my kinders volgens die Bybel se standaarde en riglyne groot, oor my finansies en die Kerk, oor seksualisme, Vigs ens. Dan is daar ook ‘n gedeelte wat ek kyk na wie of wat Kerk is, hoe ek as lidmaat ‘n leraar kan beoordeel en sommer nog baie ander vrae. Die laaste gedeelte kyk ek na hoe die hemel daarna uitsien, gebaseer op dit wat ek in die boek vinnig aangeraak het.
  • Is Egipte in die Hemel? Die boek is gebaseer op my lewe, wat ek ervaar het die eerste keer wat ek ‘n baie groot operasie gehad het om kanker te verwyder, en is deels waar, en dan so ‘n bietjie fiksie om te verduidelik wat ons in die hemel kan verwag.
  • Ontwaak jy wat slaap. Die boek kyk na die uitverkiesingsleer, en dan wat die gevolge daarvan is. Dit is ook die ingesluit in die Boek van Moses as ‘n aparte gedeelte, maar is ook afsonderlik te koop.
  • Kenmerke van ‘n Christen. Hoe moet my optrede as Christen wees. Moet die wêreld kan sien dat ek ‘n Christen is? Wat is die invloed van die HERE op my daaglikse lewens wandel.
  • Die Verbond van Geregtigheid. Die boek beskryf vir ons volledig wat die verbond vir ons as Christene beteken. Jesus het gesê dat Hy gekom het om te vervul, en nie om nuwe lerings te bring nie. Die boek neem u stap vir stap deur die proses van wat Jesus kom doen het om die verbond te vervul, asook wat die uitwerking daarvan op ons huidige groeperings binne Christendom beteken. Glo my, na u die boek gelees het en besef wat Jesus kom doen het, sal u lewe nooit weer dieselfde wees nie.
  • DVD’s Daar is ook ‘n hele paar van die boeke wat ek as DVD’s opgeneem het, en wat gebaseer is op die eboek met dieselfde naam, maar waar addisionele inligting ook beskikbaar is. Die DVD’s is self opgeneem en is beskikbaar in volledige HD (high definition) formaat.

Moses 1 verse 5: What is love?

The Bible is extremely clear that the relationship between the LORD and His people are always portrayed as a love relationship between a man and his wife. Jesus himself referred to it on numerous occasions while on earth. The book Song of Solomon can be read with this in mind, and a whole new world would open up to us.

We are taught by almost everyone that we must love the LORD and our neighbour, but we still find intolerance between Christians from different groups and congregations. This same intolerance is even evident between a man and his wife, where sometimes not even a trace of love is to be seen in this relationship, and we find that they only live together because they do not know how to separate, or do not see their way clear to go their separate ways.

How does one demonstrate love?

This subject had me troubled for a number of years. John gives us the answer in 1 John 4 verse 20: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” This passage declares that we show our love to God by loving our neighbour. But how do I show my love to my neighbour? Is it by just saying to him: “I love you?” John also gave us the answer to this question in verse 10. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This scripture informs us that God proved His love to us by giving Jesus to die in our place, so that we can live. In other words, He served us with an undeserved gift. And it was the best gift he, the Father, could give. He did not skimp, but He gave His only, His everything. That is love. To do or give something to someone without being asked, or without that person deserving it.

If we look at the love of the LORD, we find that the sun rises every morning, the rains fall, and the seed brings forth its food, and so the whole of creation is maintained. The LORD does everything without us deserving it or even asking for it. He serves us with His gifts. This is what love is: To serve someone with gifts without that person asking for or deserving it.

If we decide to apply this principle between my neighbour and me I cannot turn a blind eye when I see him without food or clothes, or any other shortfall. I have to serve that person with my gift without being asked. This confirms the scripture in Matthew 25, where Jesus says that He will tell those on His right to enter into heaven because they showed their love to others, and therefor to Him, whereas those on His left is sent to receive the eternal damnation, for not showing their love.

How do I manage to show this kind of love? It happens as soon as I enter into a covenant relationship with the LORD, and not have to fear eternal damnation. John describes it as follows in verses 17 and 18: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I must realise that I can only call myself a child of God because I received His love, only because He bestowed His gift of everlasting life through the new covenant on me, without me deserving it.

There are so many people and congregations that teach their members that they only have to make a decision to serve the LORD, and then they are declared children of the most high God. In the more traditional churches a person only has to decide to follow their teaching and be confirmed as a member to become a child of God. In the more charismatic churches the person only has to pray this prayer with the pastor or the person who made the altar call, and then you are a child of God. Both of these methods leave the love of the LORD out in their approach, and hence make it impossible to live a life of love.

What do I actually mean? I can only experience the love of God when I know that I need a redeemer due to my sinful nature. I must know that only through what Jesus did can I stand in a righteous relationship with the Father. Then I will know that I do not have to fear the judgement day, and will it motivate me to show His love to my neighbour. The passage where Jesus told the disciples that we must love our neighbour will then make sense to me as I will know that I am no better than anybody else, as we all deserve death. But only through the love of Jesus can we live.

But who is my neighbour? I believe the closest neighbour we have, and one that we tend to forget about, is our spouse. That is the first person I must show my love to. You may ask if it is the same love we have to show to our spouse as the love that we have to show our neighbour. My answer is yes. The same principle still applies. I have to serve my spouse with my gifts without them having to ask for or deserve it. If I as husband want to fulfil the role as priest of the household, then I have to know that the role is not to boss everyone around, but to serve everyone. The priest in the Old Testament had to prepare the sacrifice, cook and serve it to the person who brought the sacrifice. I always have to put my spouse’s interest above my own. I have to respect my spouse and expect to serve them with my gifts.

I have seen it many times that men decide to accept the role as priest in the house, and then the trouble starts. He now has to approve everything in the household, and mommy does not move without him approving it, and as he is being held responsible, the trouble starts. Then the husband decides he is the boss, and everyone has to spark as soon as he snaps his fingers. Or even worse, he now definitely does not have to listen to his wife, as he is the boss. Even if she asks for something, she is ignored, as he has never listened to her before, so why should he do it now. Or he dominates to such an extent that she either doesn’t make any suggestions anymore, or he would do just the opposite of what she suggests. But as we have seen from the scriptures above that we must show our love by showering our gifts on them. That is true love. The same applies to the wife. How many relationships are there where the wife shouts like a real army corporal and everyone in the household has to spark. That is not love. Love means that I must bestow my gifts on my spouse at all times, even to the point of trying to outdo my spouse without keeping score. I must put the requirements of my spouse ahead of my own.

Paul states in the first letter to the Corinthians that the man is not in charge of his own body, and neither is the wife in charge of hers. That is love. When your spouse seeks affection that you will give yourself to him or her. We have to remember that there are limits. Maybe I will treat her to such an extent that she would want me to seek affection. But it requires real love. Then I will realise that I can only show my love to the LORD, by loving those that He loves.

Jesus takes this love one step further, by saying we should love our enemy. That is even more difficult than loving your family and those that love the LORD. I have to ensure that my enemy can see that I love the LORD, by showering my gifts on them.

How do I show my love to the LORD? By serving my neighbour, and my enemy with love.

Why don’t we see it today? I believe we are not told what true love is, as well as the fact that the church does not teach true love. Charles Finney wrote the following in Revival Fire: “I have already intimated that pains enough had not been taken to search the heart and thoroughly detect and expose the sinner’s depravity, so as to make him see the need of the gospel remedy. If I am not mistaken, there has been, in many cases, an error committed in urging sinners to submission before they are prepared to understand what true submission is. They have been urged to repent, before they have really understood the nature and dessert of sin; to believe, before they have understood their need of Christ; to resolve to serve God, before they have at all understood what the service of God is. They have been pressed to make up their minds to enter immediately upon the service of God, and have been taught that they needed only to make a resolution to obey the Lord. Hence their religion, after all, has been only a religion of resolutions, instead of a religion of faith, and love, and of a broken heart. In short, it appears to me that, in many instances, the true idea of what constitutes pure religion has not been developed in the mind, and that consequently spurious conversions have been distressingly numerous. I have been more and more surprised from year to year, to find how very numerous those professors of religion are who manifestly have not the true ideal of pure religion before their minds. It seems that, in many instances, the idea that love is the essence and the whole of religion, is left almost, if not entirely, out of view.”

Moses 1 verse 4: What about my children?

This might not be a problem for you as you might think you have all the answers, but when someone asked me how children fitted into the Israel experience, I could not answer the question immediately. I had to do some soul searching and eventually turned to the LORD for His answer. I always thought I answered the question as part of baptism and in Moses 1 verse 1: What does the Bible teach on how a person becomes a Christian, and thus inherits and possesses Canaan, the Promised Land, only to find that I didn’t really answer the question.

This question can also upen up a minefield if yo are not careful, depending on your own background. If you come from a traditional Roman Catholic/Luther/Calvinistic background you might think that all that has to happen is that the baby must be baptised within the first three or so months and then everyone can relax, as the child now belongs to Jesus. But what about the infant that dies within the first couple of hours? What happens to them? That is why the Roman Catholic Church baptised dead persons as they could still be saved according to them. Maybe you think that the child will belong to Satan as Jesus has no say over the child if it isn’t baptised.

If you have a Pentecostal background you believe that the child must believe in the saving grace of Jesus before being baptised. As the child was brought up in a Christian home the child will be saved, even before baptism can be administered. As soon as the child is eleven or twelve most Pentecostal and Charismatic churches will baptise the child and then everything is all right.

But where in the Bible do we find answers to this question in the Bible? I asked the LORD to answer it for me as I did not know how to overcome everyone’s objections. Even if we look to Israel’s’ example, we find that the children were baptised with their parents in the Red sea and therefore their sinful nature was removed. They were thus baptised with their parents and thus were part of Gods nation. Or are they?

Let us look at a couple of scriptures before we continue. The first scripture comes from Galatians four verses one and two. “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” (Gal 4:1-2) This scripture confirms that a child is under the authority of its tutors and governors until the time decided on by their father. Only when the father decides that the child can stand his own ground, will the child be allowed to accept responsibility for himself.

Romans 5 verses 1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5:1-2) This scripture points out that we are saved by faith only and not by baptism. This is an extremely important issue, as everyone rushes of to say that Peter said it is the baptism that saves us, but the Bible spells it out in Roman and Galatians as well as other books, that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. He is the only one that can save me from hell. If we examine the scripture referred to in the first book of Peter, he declares that it is near impossible to believe and not to be baptised. That is why he declares it is the baptism that saves you. Noah had to first believe that the LORD was going to destroy the earth through water before he built the ark. These scriptures all confirm that it is faith that will save us.

These scriptures also confirm various other parts of scripture. Both Galatians and Romans follow a set sequence, firstly repentance, then faith and then baptism. These verses in Hebrews give us the exact sequence. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” (Heb 6:1-2) Mark also uses the same sequence. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned”. (Mar 16:15-16). This scripture tells us that we would not be damned if we aren’t baptised, but we will be damned for not believing. Only once you put your faith in Christ can you be baptised.

This sequence was first given to us in Exodus. Israel had to first call out to the LORD, (repentance), then call out to the LORD to save them, (faith), and then had to have the Passover meal. They then left Egypt and were baptised in the Red Sea, and at Mara were baptised with the Holy Spirit.

If we then look at our children, we find that the LORD did not expect them to believe that they would inherit Canaan, as they were still under the jurisdiction of their parents. The same is true today. The LORD expects me to take responsibility for their lives until we can trust them never to stray of His way. But that is where the problems start. We as parents do not want to take this responsibility and hence want to get them baptised in order for them to be responsible for themselves. No, the LORD wants us to shoulder this responsibility until we can trust them to make this decision. He will judge these children according to our lifestyles. That is why Moses declared in Deuteronomy as follows: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deu 6:5-7)

How convinced am I? The first time Israel reached the Jordan river and were ready to inherit Canaan, they declared that they were scared to cross the Jordan, as their wives and children would suffer and die. “And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?” (Num 14:3) The Israelites tell the LORD that they are worried about their wives and children. We do exactly the same. We declare that we want to do what is best for the children as it is them that we are worried about. The LORD gave Israel the following answer: “Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,” (Num 14:28-29). The LORD is not interested in my arguments concerning others, no He is concerned about my relationship with Him. If I have received the baptism as a believer, He will not judge my children, but give them the ability and chance to decide for themselves.

This also tells us that nobody is born in Canaan. No, everyone is born in Egypt, in other words all have sinned and must be saved. We all must decide for ourselves to serve the LORD, or to go to Canaan. If they never decide to get out of Egypt they will be damned and die in Egypt, and receive a sinners judgement. Ezekiel puts it as follows: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Eze 18:20) “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” (Eze 18:30) I am aware of the fact that it is very harsh words, but it doesn’t help putting it any other way. I as father or guardian of the child will have to take the responsibility for my children until age twenty. Only after that will the LORD judge them according to their own life. He did that to Israel and will do the same to us.

Something else that crept out of the woodwork while working on this issue, is the covenant meal, commonly referred to today as communion. As soon as I believe that the LORD is the only one that can save me is the time I am allowed to partake of this meal. It is only a meal for believers, and hence children cannot partake of it. My children cannot share in it as they must have something to look forward to when deciding to follow Jesus. The communion must become a meal again as it was meant to be, something to go up to Jerusalem for. It must remind us that the first time we took part of it was the first time we took responsibility for our own lives and based on that death could not have a hold on me. I can now appear before the LORD without fear or anxiety as I am now clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is also the place where those that administer childhood baptism get stuck, as they never leave Egypt. This is why they have to fight against the enemy everyday; as they never get rid of their sinful desires and wants. You have to leave Egypt for that to happen, as they all die in the Red Sea.

In closing I want to mention something else. Jesus was both First born and Lamb. He had to die the death of the first-born and declare the tenth plague null and void, so that we do not have to be circumcised. He could not plead the Blood of the Lamb over Him, as He was the Lamb that had to die. This means that I no longer have to worry about the death of the first born, as Jesus paid the price for that. The only thing I have to worry about is to teach my children to walk in the ways of the LORD, and when they come of age, to lead them to Jesus, which they have to decide if they would follow Him or not. I also have to ensure that they do not decide at a young age to get baptised, as they have to understand the full consequences of their decision before being baptised. If we don’t this scripture will remind us of what would happen to them should they decide to stray or deny Him during their teenage and young adult lives. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6) We as parents have to understand the impact of this decision and then would probably agree that we cannot allow children before their teenage years or early adult life to make this decision to follow Jesus. Once they have gone through these years will they have to make the decision.

Paul tells is what the LORD felt like when He realised that Israel did not trust Him to take them into Canaan. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” (1Co 10:1-6)

Moses 1 verse 3: How do I stay in Canaan?

Another way of asking this question is to ask if I can lose my salvation. Or maybe we can phrase it as follows: What will the LORD do to ensure that I will not lose that which He promised me I will receive if I follow His commandments? It might be surprising to you that you are suffering while everyone tells you that you should be living as an overcomer in victory. I am aware of the fact that it might be difficult to provide a correct answer to this question, as correct might be influenced by your own doctrine, but I will try and give a biblically correct answer.

Earlier this morning, Hettie and myself were chatting about a case where we had to give direction to someone who was looking for answers. The one thing that stood out to both of us was the fact that people can cling to a time where they knew that they served the LORD, and does not like to be told to change their lives to fit in with what the Bible wants from them.

What do I mean? In the next article I wrote about what it is like to be an overcomer. Those are the only people that will inherit what the Bible declares. But what happens when I find myself short of those requirements? What happens to me now?

The history of Israel.

Let us look at Israel’s history again, and what messages and pointers we can gleam from their lives. Remember that the LORD chose only Israel and that we must choose to become part of His nation. This will then guide us as to how we must act, and how the LORD will respond to our actions. When Israel entered into Canaan, they were under the leadership of Joshua. Under his leadership Israel served the LORD, and did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Joshua however warned Israel that they should not turn away from the LORD, and they even built an altar to confirm their words before Joshua’s death.

After his death Israel entered into the Judges period where the LORD would raise people on an as required basis. These judges would rule over Israel for short periods while they were attacked by outside nations. This was the time of Gideon, Deborah and Samson. But why did the LORD allow Israel to be attacked by foreign nations?

We read in the second chapter of Judges that the LORD sent an angel to speak a curse over Israel, as they did not kill the local people of Canaan, as instructed by the LORD. Israel decided that the Canaanites and Azurites and other nations were not so bad and that they could be used as slaves, so why kill them. What does the Bible say? Judges 2:1 “And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.”

Many years later the elders asks Samuel, who was Judge, high priest and prophet at that time, that they wanted a king like all the neighbouring nations. The LORD warns them against getting a king, and informs Samuel that Israel did not reject Samuel, but they rejected the LORD. The LORD then declares that the kings will be hard on them and that he will take their children fro himself, their tithes he will lay claim to and that they will have to work for him. Israel still prefers this lifestyle as they do not want to be personally responsible to the LORD.

The Bible informs us that during the times of the kings, life was both good and bad for them. If the king did what the LORD wanted, like David, they were prosperous, but when the king did his own thing like Ahab, it was bad news for them. But the LORD never gave up. He sent prophets to Israel and called on them to repent from their wicked ways and turn back to Him. If they did not head to these calls, He would reject them. Some of the prophets like Isaiah and other like Jeremiah were killed, while others were jailed. During this time in history we find that only Judah still served the LORD and all the other tribes were serving their own gods. The people in Jerusalem wanted to go back to Egypt as they found that more acceptable that serving under the Babylonians. Some decided to do that and they captured Jeremiah and took him with. The one thing we read about this time is that none of those people who went to Egypt, returned to Jerusalem. What does the Bible tells us about this event? Jeremiah 44 verses 26 to 27: “Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The LORD GOD liveth. 27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.” Nobody that caused Israel to go back to Egypt ever returned to Jerusalem.

Once the people that went to Babylonia returned, Judah never had their own king again, and were they ruled over by foreign kings. That is why the Jews were expecting a real earthly king when Jesus came, as they expected Him to free them from their earthly problems. They expected Him to rise up and free them from Roman rule; they expected Him to be crowned king and not to die on a cross.

An interesting snippet of information is that during the time of the kings in Israel, David was the last person anointed as king by the LORD. All the kings after him were either self appointed or appointed by their fathers.

How do we interpret this history for today?

How does this passage in history affect what is happening today, and what should we learn from it?

Once we decide to take possession of Canaan, we must also of necessity do what the LORD stipulates. If I still have areas in my life that I need to bring under His jurisdiction, I must do it. I cannot declare that it will not have any effect on me. No, I must break with it completely or face being tormented by it. Remember Israel also thought that they did not have to kill all the other nations, but the LORD cursed them for this. Originally He would have destroyed it for you, but now you will be free from it for periods of time, but it will torment you.

These circumstances were also found in the early church. Everyone did what the apostles taught him or her. No wonder Peter had 3000 people join them on the day of Pentecost. These people lived together every day, eating together, praying together and worshipping together. This church lived the life the Israelites lived under Joshua and the early Judges. Paul and the disciples also had to warn the early church against becoming timid, and falling away. The same thing happened when Abimelech rose up and appointed himself as head of Israel. We know that in the time period 300 – 400 AD people rose up and appointed themselves as head of the Church.

Some of these, like Constantine, even paid people to get baptized, and changed pagan cathedrals and priests into “Christian” places of worship. This pointed to the introduction of the period of the kings in Israel. This will also happen in my own life if I do not break with sin completely.

This is the time when you decide that it is good to have someone as your cover, because you cannot be responsible to the LORD yourself. No, you want someone else to decide for you what is wrong and what is right. This will then allow the LORD to deal with you dependant on what your “king” will do. If he is like David, you will be blessed, but if he is sinful like Ahab, you can expect hard times. Sometimes we are born into this situation as we were born in a household where the parents were already subjected to an earthly “king”. But what did the LORD proclaim a king will be entitled to? 1 Samuel 8 verses 9 – 18: “Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”

These were not good words, but Israel accepted it. The same applies to us today. The king took that which originally was meant for the Levites, and he decided how to spend it. Even David decided that he will build a temple for the LORD, which Solomon did, but David decided how the Levites would serve in the temple, what instruments people would play etc. This is not accusing David of anything bad, but showing that David did as the LORD proclaimed through Samuel. That is why when the king served the LORD, Israel did great, but also if the king served other gods, Israel suffered.

The same applies to us today. The leadership at church will decide how and where your offer or tithe will be used. The largest part will be used to pay for the salaries of the full time staff. (See verse 15 above) You are not allowed to decide for yourself anymore, no you will have to accept what your leaders decide. You will have to subject yourself to their teachings and rules, even if it clashes with what you believe in, as you have decided to subject yourself. You gave up your freedom, and chose to subject yourself. Now the leaders will decide who they will appoint into leadership positions. They will however be from your sons and daughters, but will not be appointed by the LORD. They will work for the leader and do what he wants them to do. I am not saying that your congregation is from Satan or something. No, they are only doing as was prophesied by Samuel. I am also not saying that you won’t go to heaven if you stay there, as even in David’s time and thereafter, the LORD still maintained that each one of us has a personal responsibility, and that is what we will be judged on.

In church history we find various prophets trying to bring the church back to the LORD. These people points to people like David, Isaiah, Joel and Amos, who tried to bring Israel to follow the LORD again. Eventually in church history nobody was safe anymore and people had to flee for what they believed. Think about the French who fled to places like South Africa for what they believed.

The same applies to us today. How many people have been “killed” by the church in our day and age?  People who question what the church preaches, or does not agree with the local pastor. It happened to Isaiah, so why do we expect it to be different in our day and age? You now have to make a choice. Either you go back to Egypt, or you go to Babylonia. How do I know the difference? If I decide that it does not help at all to be a Christian, or if I decide to serve the LORD according to my own preferences, then I have decided to return to Egypt. You see the LORD has to fit in with the way I believe, with my lifestyle, as I know the difference between right and wrong. Remember one thing, and that is that those people who decided to return to Egypt never saw Jerusalem again.

People like a Charles Finney or a Wesley who called on the Church to repent and follow Jesus again portray this time to us. This is one reason why a denomination cannot make a difference in peoples lives, because if Christianity was a movement, the LORD would have used politicians or terrorist groups to do the work of the Church.  But He wants like in the days of Israel, to come and make His home amongst us. So if you break with everything that is not from the LORD, He will come and live with you.

How did it happen that Israel was captured by the Babylonians and exiled? We read the following in Jeremiah 21 verse 8 and 9: “And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he that goeth out, and passeth over to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey.” The LORD asks Israel to turn their backs on their king and follow Him. They have to join forces with the Chaldeans in order to keep their lives. Why? Because membership of a denomination will not get me to heaven. No, I have to make a choice to follow the LORD in every way even if He tells you to break with the doctrines and confessions of your church. For everyone else it looks as if you are joining forces with the devil, but if you don’t do it, you will lose your eternal life. This passage is also a confirmation of a similar passage in Revelation 18 verse 4: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

The call for today.

I believe that we are living in this timeline today. A time when people have to make a choice again to serve the LORD. If you choose not to put yourself under His jurisdiction, you will end up like the rest of Judah who never saw Jerusalem again. How do I know that for sure? There comes a day when you realise that the message you receive at church is not the message of the Bible. If you don’t agree with them, then you have to leave. One of the messages we hear today is that of mainstream clergy not believing in the virgin birth of Jesus. Those professors cannot believe that God would send His only Son to die for us. They tell us that homosexual behaviour is acceptable as even pastors are homosexual. That Mohammed was sent to save the Muslims, that we are in need of a new bible that proclaims only what we believe. We live in an era where a pastor I know declared that he saw straight through someone in church who had some uncommon business practices, but that the LORD protected him from such a person. He forgot about the passage in Ezekiel 34 where the Bible declares that the LORD holds him responsible for all the members of his flock. So the LORD has to do the calling once more, and that is for you to leave the kingdom of man, and follow Him.

The biggest sacrifice you will have to make is to leave everything behind. Like Israel had to do when they went with the Chaldeans, we have to leave everything behind, and put our trust in the LORD to provide for our every need. You cannot keep a backdoor open just in case the LORD does not come through for you, no you have to abandon everything. You have to hand over everything to Him, and trust Him to do the right thing for you. He will do it.

The time Babylonia is not an easy time. You have to hold on to the LORD only as everyone will tell you that this is not from the LORD and will confront you. You will be lonely. I know of a large number of people who are currently finding themselves in Babylonia. Like a Daniel people call on you to declare their dreams, you get glimpses of what heaven is like, but it is a lonely road. But we know from history that there will come a day when you will be called on to rebuild the temple of the LORD. A day when Jesus will call on you to build His temple following His instructions. I believe the time is coming when we will move into the era described for us in Ezra and Nehemiah where people are being raised up as leaders for His church to take possession of Israel as described in Jeremiah 30.

If you feel that you cannot make this move out from under an earthly king in Jerusalem to Babylonia, remember this was the word that the LORD gave to Israel before they had to make that choice. Isaiah 41 verse 10 to 20:  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. 12 Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. 13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. 15 “See, I will make you into a threshing-sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. 16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel. 17 “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. 19 I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, 20 so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it”.

We all expect revival, but revival did not come through a king of Israel. No, the Bible teaches us different. The book of Ezra puts it into perspective for us: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

I believe that we are living in this time where Jesus is standing with open arms, pronouncing that the time has come for us to rebuild Jerusalem. He is calling on us to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem before He can descend with the New Jerusalem. This is my wish, and I am convinced that this is what the LORD is waiting for.

After Israel returned from captivity, they were ruled over by other nations. But this was the time the LORD used to teach them to wait for Jesus to come. This was a time when they expected the Messiah. To us it is a time of preparing ourselves for the second coming of Christ. A time when we have to build up our defences, our Jerusalem walls. I know that this is what the LORD desires.

What a time to look out for. Remember just one thing, and that is to realise that you must expect a Saviour, not an earthly king as Israel expected.

I want to end of this article with Isaiah 59 and a portion of Isaiah 49.

“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 4  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. 5  They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. 6  Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. 7  Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8  The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. 9 ¶  Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. 10  We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. 11  We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. 12  For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; 13  In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14  And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 15  Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. 16 ¶  And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. 17  For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. 18  According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence. 19  So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. 20  And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21  As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” 

Isaiah 49: “8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. 12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. 13 ¶ Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.”

Moses 1 verse 2: What is an overcomer, and what does the lifestyle of an overcomer look like?

Introduction

Once I know that I am in Canaan, the next question I have is: What does this lifestyle entail? Will I follow in the footsteps of Israel and run after other gods, or will I keep my side of the covenant?

We all live in an era where everybody would rather read books about Biblical subjects rather than reading the Bible itself, and we all wait for the rapture and all the repercussions as explained in great detail by so many writers, that we forget one thing, and that is that we will overcome. Do we know what will be expected of us? Do we realise that we are not going to wander about in streets of gold all day and do nothing?

But, what is it going to be like?

This is what I am going to try and explain. This is how we, as overcomers, of which the Bible declares, “To him that overcomes”, will act like and what is going to be expected of us, when the eight day, according to Enoch will arrive. The day without time.

Overcome Canaan

Do I know exactly what is going to be required of me once I have done everything that is required of me to enter into the Kingdom of God? Do I realise that I am a new creation, and have received eternal life? Do I realise that I have been washed as white as snow, and that the Blood of the Lamb has washed away my sins? Do I realise that I have inherited the righteousness of Jesus?

But that is not where it ends. The Bible is very specific over what will happen to those that overcome. But what is the difference between the two subjects? I thought I only had to become a child of God and that is the end. Now you are telling me that there will be overcomers as well. What is the difference?

If we look to Israel as our example, we see that they went out of Egypt, spent 40 years in the dessert, and then inherited the Promised Land. Maybe that is where you find yourself today. You have done everything that is expected of you, so you must be in Canaan. You know that this is the place where you have to sow, the LORD will let grow, and you have to harvest.

But is this the way it happened in the time of the Israelites?

No. They crossed the river Jordan into Canaan, ate from its fruit and wheat, and the manna stopped. Jericho was still occupied by the locals, nothing had changed, except that they lost their supply of food. They still had to fight to obtain territory. They still had to go through all the land to take possession of each tribe’s territory.

How do I take possession of Canaan?

Deut 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you..”

It is fairly difficult to explain what it is like to take possession of something. I would like to use an everyday example in order for everybody to understand it. The example I will use, most people will hopefully experience at least once in their lives, and that is to take possession of a property, be it a house or whatever other form it might take.

But first, what does it mean to take possession of something. It is to make it your own. When a person purchases a fixed asset, it is normally accompanied by a proof of ownership document. The person whose name is on this title deed, is the lawful owner of this fixed asset. This is what the LORD expects from us when we take possession of Canaan.

A title deed always lists what limitations if any, the title deed is subjected to. This normally states things like what the property can be used for, etc. This implies that I cannot use a piece of land for a hotel if the title deed stipulates that it can only be used for a residential dwelling.

The same applies to Canaan. If we look at the title deed for Canaan it contains the following clause: “hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments which I teach you”. We can only take possession and use Canaan for the purposes ordained by God. Canaan was not meant to be used as they pleased, but only to be used as prescribed by God. Why? God declares that He will be a God to us if we will be a nation to Him. He is the one that manufactured the title deed, so He can put whatever limitations He wants on it. I cannot today even add or change clauses on a title deed without any approval from the authorities. No, I must abide by what the title deed specifies.

The same is true for Canaan. The LORD stipulates that we will have to listen to His statutes. If we don’t, we don’t have any rights to be in Canaan. Neither can we add or change any of these statutes, as they were stipulated years ago and are part of the new covenant. In the covenant He says that He will forgive our inequities and we will inherit Canaan. Anything that is not part of this, is not part of the title deed.

Now you may ask that if these provisions were stipulated so long ago, can they not be changed? Unfortunately not. For those of you who know the Cape Town area, you will know that in Fishoek no alcoholic beverages can be sold or served for money in any public area. This provision has been on the title deed for more than 300 years now, and still applies today. The same applies to Canaan. The LORD decided on the provisions when He took Israel out of Egypt, and the same applies to us today. So we have to listen to His ordinances.

I trust you want to stay in Canaan. Thus we must abide by His ordinances.

Do you also want to change the ordinances applicable to Canaan? I know this is what we all want to do. I want to sit back and tell the LORD that I have now received His commands in my heart, and therefore all the fruits explained in the Bible will now manifest in my life. Then I want to continue with my life, or maybe even return to my previous lifestyle. But this is not the way it works. If we look at nature, and we see a plant that is not growing, this normally means one of two things. Either the plant is dead, or it is dying. The same applies to us. If I don’t show any growth, I am either dead or busy dying. I have to exhibit growth. I cannot cross the river Jordan and sit down for a picnic on the grass opposite Jericho. No, the people from Jericho will take me on and kill me.

So what do I have to do? I must ask the LORD what I have to do to overcome Jericho. There will still be strongholds in your life that you must overcome. Maybe it is just my playing boss over my wife and kids. Maybe it is my game of golf on a Sunday morning. Remember one thing, you cannot be fruitful in Canaan if you don’t possess the land. The enemy will play yo-yo with you if you don’t destroy his strongholds.

What did the LORD tell Israel when the entered the Promised Land? Deut 7:1 “When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.”

When I know that I am His child, I cannot have excuses any longer for any improper deeds and actions in my life. No I have to totally break with them. If I don’t bring glory to the Name of the LORD with what I am doing, then it is not from the LORD. That is what the Bible proclaims.

Fortunately for us their follows another verse later in Deuteronomy 7 that provides us with a sort of a way out. Verse 22: “And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.”

So we don’t have to break with everything all at once, but only as the LORD points them out to us. But I cannot use this verse as an excuse for any wrong doing, because what I am trying to cover up is still sin. I have to break with everything that the LORD points out to me. This is what Jesus meant when He declared that I have to take up my cross and follow Him. He will show me daily what I have to change to be acceptable to Him. The moment He shows me something, I have to break with it. Israel also had to do the same thing. They did not avoid the towns in Canaan. No they destroyed them.

But what are all these strongholds? Fortunately for us the Apostle Paul did most of the homework for us. Gal. 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

Paul also wrote to the Ephesians the following: 4:31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 1 ¶ Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3¶ But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

Once all these strongholds have been broken in my life, I will be walking in victory, I will be an overcomer. Why? I have removed everything that was a barrier between the LORD and myself. This is why the Bible declares I have to be an overcomer. Then will I share in everything He has in store for me, a never-ending life with Jesus Christ, His Son and my saviour.

What are the characteristics of an overcomer?

The Bible declares that we are more than overcomers through Christ who loved us. What does the life of an overcomer entails? Can I share in it now, or is it only available after death?

When we look at our everyday lives, what does an overcomer or victor look like. There are many people given these titles to by the media, athletes, rugby players, cricket players, political leaders, workers, beauty queens, even lottery winners.

This principle reminds me always of a song by a local gospel singer Danie Botha called Wenners, or translated into English as Winners. This is something we all want to be. We all want to stand on the winner’s rostrum with a winner’s wreath around our neck. We all want to show others that we are something. I am not the freckled faced little boy wandering around in the street alone. No, I am a champion for my age group. I ended up as number one. Then there is still all the pizzazz that goes with being a winner.

In the world we get two types of victors. The story of the first group normally goes like this: “Mommy, do you know that Tommy is so clever at school, he is always the smartest student in his class. He is such a hard worker.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch Tommy is not even allowed to go to the toilet because he has to learn. But this is normally not what we hear. Most of these victors are victors because they are living someone else’s dream.

The second group of victors are those people who want a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They want to get the best out of life. They are normally used as an example for us to follow. They will work long hours just to get somewhere, to get acceptance from their piers and loved ones. They will always strive to even higher goals, but they never get to the point where they accept themselves for who they are. They always answer you with a “I’m really sorry but I do not have time for this right now, as the business requires all my attention”

But, this is not the victor or overcomers I want to write about. The Bible tells us that we will overcome, and that specific rewards are waiting for those that overcome. But what does the term overcome, actually mean. Luke sheds some light on it for us. Luke 11:21-22  “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.”

When we analyse these verses, we find what the Bible states an overcomer is. We have to be stronger than our enemy, and guard that I do not lose my weapons and allow it to be distributed as loot. How is this achieved? Let us look at the various parts of this scripture.

“When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:”

This is what the Bible declares. Firstly, I have to be strong. I must know where my strength comes from. I must know that through Jesus I am capable of everything. I must know that only in Him am I strong.

What does your life look like today? Are you strong in your faith? Can you take on the enemy the way Jesus did in the dessert? Are you sure of your strength? Just remember that you might appear strong, but actually you are not. Your strength can only be determined when it is tested. Now I do not want to proclaim that you have to expose yourself to situations where your faith will be tested every time. No, because I know my strength is only in Jesus. Only He is my strength. The Bible declares that we do not have to worry about what we have to say when we are confronted as Christians, as the Holy Spirit will lead us.

So I have to find my strength in Christ. Only when I know what He did for me, will I be able to overcome. Only then will I be able to stand firm.

So the first characteristic of an overcomer is someone who is strong.

The second characteristic of an overcomer is someone who is well armed. This is what this scripture proclaims. But what does my weapons look like? Where in the Bible do we get a description of what our weapons? There are three passages I would like to refer to.

The first scripture comes from Romans 13 verses 11-14 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the LORD Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”  This passage declares that I have to put on the armour of light. I am not allowed to have anything to hide. If all my works are exposed, I must be able to stay in the light. All people must be able to see that I am a child of God. I must be able to live a life where no one can bring anything against me. That is my armour. My life must witness that I am someone whose life is controlled by Christ. A life without blemish. With such a life the enemy has no hold on you.

The second scripture is from 2 Cor.6 verse 7:“By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”. If I do not know that it is only through the work of Christ that I received my righteousness, I might falter when taken on by the enemy. I must know that the covenant He prepared for me is an endless covenant, and that Christ fulfilled every aspect of it. This I must believe. This is my armour. This I can only do when I understand the message of the Bible and what the purpose was of Jesus.

The third scripture comes from 2 Cor. 10 verses 3-6: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” This scripture gives us more information concerning our weapons, in that they are spiritual weapons, and not carnal weapons. In other words it is in my soul and spirit that I have to know and act like one that has laid down his life for Christ. This will help me to eradicate every stronghold or custom that is not of Christ. It does not matter if it is a bad habit or even a unwanted action, I will be able to overcome it. That is what this scripture declares. My weapons will allow me to break with every stronghold of the enemy. I can overcome any and every area where there is a distance between the LORD and me. I will not have to doubt it at all.

But the scripture we started of in Luke also states that I have to watchful over what you have. I have to be watchful all the time. Only when I do that will I be able to overcome. Only then will I be able to keep my possessions that I inherited from the LORD, my future with Him.

I have to be watchful all the time. That is what the Bible declares. The Bible does not declare that the enemy will not confront us. No, I have to be watchful every moment of my life.

Let me give you an example. The original part of this section was written between seven and half past eight one evening. It was surprising to me that I could not get my thoughts fixed on this subject. I then decided to save everything on the computer and switch it off for the day. Just as I got up from my chair, the phone rang. The moment I answered the phone I knew something was wrong. My youngest daughter asked to speak to her mom immediately. When Hettie told her how to stop the bleeding of a wound, I knew something was horribly wrong. I heard that we would meet them at the hospital.

When the conversation ended, I heard that two persons attacked my son in law in his garden, and that he suffered a stab wound in the back. In today’s lifestyle in South Africa it is not uncommon to hear of attacks on people. What got me thinking immediately on the subject that I was writing about was that they lived in a security complex. This complex had armed guards patrolling the perimeter, and electric fences around the complete complex. They have done everything possible to ensure that they do not have to worry about security at home, but still he was attacked.

You see he was not watchful. He was convinced that it was not possible to still find criminals in the secured area. The only thing he wanted to do was to water his garden. You do not expect the enemy there. Not in your own garden.

But this is where the enemy will attack you. He knows that you won’t go to that sleazy nightclub because you would expect him there. That is why you will not go there. But I won’t expect him in my own house, let alone on the pulpit of my church. But that is where he will start sowing seeds of doubt. It is through our own people that he will take us on. He even seduced Eve in the presence of the LORD, with Him in paradise.

The enemy will not overcome someone who is watchful. It is only when I am not looking out for him that he will attack and overcome me. That is what the scripture in Luke declares. What does that scripture declare again? “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.”

So I have to be armed every moment of the day. Then my possessions will be safe. I must remember not to let my watchfulness go for a moment. What does the writer of Hebrews declare in chapter 12 verses 11 to 17? “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” This writer knew the rules of an overcomer. He knew that I couldn’t change my life at a later stage. No, I have to be watchful and do it immediately; else I could end up like Esau.

Fortunately I know this is not what we want. No, we want a life with Jesus.

What characteristics do you have to exhibit to be counted as an overcomer?

Depending on whom you ask this can have any number of answers. The answer from those that are not strong in their faith, would be that you only have to believe and leave the rest to the LORD. Then you could find those that tell you to do this and that and the next thing, that you end up totally overworked and stretched out at the end of the day. Then another group might tell you that you have to live a life as Christ would have lived. And that is only three viewpoints.

One thing that is certain is that every group of people will be well armed with their correct interpretations of scripture to warrant their views. So it does not matter what your view is, someone will undoubtedly always differ from you.

Even the Bible seems to have various viewpoints on this subject. If we look at Hebrews 4 verse 16 the Bible declares that we must go to the throne of God with boldness. A person who exhibits boldness has always meant to me that such a person knew exactly what to do and he does things without even questioning it. But, David declares that the LORD is close to those who are meek and broken hearted. This has always meant to me that such a person did not really exhibit any self-confidence, and someone who did not have a very strong viewpoint either.

My question then is: Who is right? As an added question, we might ask that if we come to a conclusion, how will we know that the conclusion is correct? The second question is fairly easy to answer, as we know what the Bible declares will be in store for such a person, but the first question is a totally different kettle of fish. I will start with the second question, as this will provide some light on the first question for us.

So where do we start?

I want to start and look at the promises the Bible has for those people who are overcomers. Revelation declares that only overcomers will receive eternal life. We have to overcome. But how do we overcome? The answer comes from Revelation 12 verse 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Three different aspects come to light from this scripture.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.

How do we overcome by the blood of the Lamb? I have to make a declaration that I do not trust in myself anymore, but that I trust in the Blood of Jesus to save me from the enemy and eternal fire. Israel had to do exactly the same thing in Egypt. They had to use a hyssop branch to mark their doorposts with the blood of the lamb that they slaughtered. This action meant that the angel of death passed them over that fearful night in Egypt. They had to confirm the covenant with the LORD.

When we look at this part of history, we find that is was subjected to certain conditions. They had to prepare the Passover meal the night before the angel of death went through Egypt. How was this done? That had to remove all yeast from their homes. The same way yeast causes bread to leaven, sin does to our lives. We become all puffed up when we have sin in our lives. So removing the yeast means that we have to break and remove all sin from ourselves. They then had to slaughter the lamb and cover their doorposts with the blood of the lamb. Why? The blood declared that they the house was cleansed, that all inequities had been removed. For us today this means that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. But I have to break with sin. I can then eat from the Lamb and drink from the cup. I have to fill myself with the Lamb. That is why Israel had to totally consume the lamb that night. Nothing could be left over. They could not still long for an Egyptian burger, no, they had to fill themselves with the lamb. For us it means that my life must be so consumed by the Lamb that I will not even think of anything else. No, Jesus must be your all in all.

This also unlocks the scripture in John 6, where Jesus declares that He is the bread of life. Our life must be totally and utterly consumed with Him. I cannot leave a backdoor open to the world. Once the Israelites had applied the blood to the doorposts, they were not allowed to leave their homes again. They had to stay under the blood of the lamb. The same rule applies to us. I cannot come out from under the Blood of the Lamb. It is my protection. If I am under the Blood of the Lamb the enemy can’t touch me.

This is what is meant by the passage in Revelation. We have to overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb. If we stay under the blood, the enemy can’t touch me. This ties in with what Peter declares that if I resist the devil, he will flee from me. He cannot fight against the Blood of the Lamb. This is what the new covenant means and does for us.

And they overcame by the word of their testimony.

What does your testimony look like? This scripture teaches us that we must be able to take a stand as Christians. Is that your witness? Remember that 80% of what you say is not spoken physically but by the way you act, while only 20% of what you say is reflected in the words you say. Verbal communications never counts for more than 20% of your communication.

So what does my testimony have to entail? Jesus declares in Matthew 23 verse 23 (b)  “for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”” Isaiah describes it in chapter 58 as follows: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8¶ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.”

From this we can see that our lives have to prove that we have done that which the Bible asks us to do, the right must be upheld, I must be merciful to everyone, and that I must not live faithlessly. In short I have to ensure that there is equality amongst all people. The LORD did not give to me so many resources that I might sit back and not worry about anybody anymore. No, He has provided for me because He wants me to share with my neighbour, with those who cannot make end ends meet. Did you decide that you should be blessed with a high intelligence? No, everything comes from the LORD, and He expects me to share it with everyone around me.

Let me give you an example. Why do we find poor people? It might be a totally useless question to you, but actually it should address a very interesting question. What did the LORD instruct Israel? Deut.15:4  “Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:”

The LORD says that if we do what is required of us, that there should not be anyone poor amongst us in Canaan. Why? Because He expects you to distribute that which is left over after paying for what you need, to the needy. But there is more. If you own your own business, it is your obligation to ensure that brothers and sisters in faith have a job. You are not allowed to provide for an unbeliever before you provide for a believer. Now you might say that the believer does not have the same qualifications as the unbeliever, or maybe the believer does not provide the same quality as the unbeliever. If the person does not have the same qualifications, what is the reason for this? Does the person not have the means to get these qualifications, or maybe he never got the opportunity.

It is your duty as the stronger and wealthier one to provide the opportunity to the less fortunate person to qualify for this qualification. If the work of the person is not at the same level as the unbeliever you should talk to the person to correct the problem. If he does not have the ability to achieve this level of education, it is your duty to supply the necessary support in what is required to have a decent life. This is what is meant when people say that they read your deeds.

I also have to be someone who can be trusted. My word and lifestyle has to be trustworthy, with no hidden agendas. If I should write something, like I do, I should not try to bring across my own doctrine. No, I should only declare what the Bible declares. This is the way the first Christians lived, and this should be our aim.

My life should not be full of little add-ons. No, people must be able to declare that my life speaks of someone who is sold out to Christ.

And they loved not their lives unto the death.

This is probably the most difficult part for any person. Are you willing to give up your life for the LORD? Will you make the same declaration as the schoolgirl in America that was killed by fellow students in the schools library that they could kill her, as she would not change her stance that there is no God? Really? Will you still do it when they start chopping you to pieces?

This is how we overcome. Overcoming is not for sissies. You must be able to stand firm. This is what the Bible declares. You will have to be able to stand up for Christ when professors and other so called clergy cast doubt on the contents of the Bible and say that some items are just stories. Maybe it is a case that they have not met Jesus yet. You must be able to declare with authority what the Bible declares, that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD. That is how we overcome. You may be ridiculed, but as I said earlier, overcoming is not for sissies.

Part of the prize that we will receive is that we will rule with Jesus Christ. So I have to learn here on earth to rule, as I cannot learn to do that in heaven. But what do I have to learn to rule over? Sin. I have to be able to rule over my own sin before being ready to rule in heaven. I must learn to break with every sin in my life. I must not allow myself to get into situations where I might sin. When I do end up in these situations I must be able to walk away from there without allowing sin to rule over me.

What is the correct attitude then?

Now that we know what an overcomers lifestyle is, we need to find out what the correct attitude of an overcomer is. I am going to be puffed up because of my lifestyle, or will I adopt a lowly lifestyle? What does the Bible declare? Will I walk over everyone in life because of who I am? Will I follow every doctrine that tells me how great I am or motivate me to be puffed up?

The Bible declares that we are more than overcomers, but there is a second part to the passage. This part says that I am more than an overcomer through Christ who loved me. I am not in an overcomer by myself, but only through Christ. The question that immediately stands out is: How do I get His attention to be loved by Him? What does the Bible teach on this subject?

The following passages will shed some light on this subject.

“Ezekiel 21:26:  Thus saith the LORD GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.”

“Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”

“Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”

From the above passages, we find two attitudes that must prevail in a person. The first is that one should be humble, and the second one is meek. When I look at these verses and many more in the Bible, I see that the LORD has a special place for those that know that they are nothing. For those that know that they are not better than anyone else. For that person who knows that they are rejected, cast outs, and those that are just rejected by society. Those are the people that get His attention. That is why Isaiah declares in chapter 61 that the good news is meant for those types of people.

Am I convinced that it is the case? Lets look at another verse in Scripture. Isaiah 57 verse 15: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones..”

This is what the Bible declares. I have to humble myself. I cannot do as I please. No, the LORD dwells with him that is humble and of a contrite spirit.

Why? When I am not humble, I am still full of myself. I am still in control. I have not yet been stripped of my own dignity. I have not yet come to the place where I know that I am totally dependant on the LORD. I still think I can look after myself. I still think that when I work hard, I will be able to support my family. But are you aware of the fact that you could have a heart attack tomorrow, or that you can find out that you have cancer, or that one of your largest clients decides not to settle their account? Or maybe even the bank manager decides to call in your overdraft facility.

What am I saying? I believe you have to get to the place where Job was. That you cannot prescribe to the LORD what He can or cannot do in your life. What does Jeremiah say on this subject? Jeremiah 13:23  “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Just as an Ethiopian has no control over the colour of his skin, I have no control over what will happen in my life. If I was born with an above average intelligence, I must realise that it is a gift from God. I cannot use this as a measure to count myself higher as the one with a below average intelligence. This is the type of person the LORD can work with, those that have been totally and utterly stripped of their own selfish beings. People that gets up in the morning and ask the LORD what He wants them to do today. If you have not yet reached this point in your life, ask the LORD to lead you in getting there. The easiest route I found was to follow Jesus.

We all think that the cross was a place where Jesus died. But do you realise that if you want to be His disciple you will have to follow Him to the cross? A disciple does what his teacher does. Have you laid down your life at the cross? Have you clothed yourself with His life afterwards? That is what you have to do. Once you have done that, you will exhibit His humbleness. That is what the Bible teaches.

All of these words and ideas can be combined in one word: Obedience. This is why Jesus came to earth, and that is why He was exalted.

Why obedience?

Deut 12:28 “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.”

1 Samuel 15:22  “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

Romans 6:16  “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

This is how we get the LORD’s attention. When I join myself to those who are obedient. Those who do what the LORD commands, those that are humble and have a contrite spirit. The moment I do this, I will get His attention. Something that will happen almost instantaneously is that the Bible will open up for you in a way never experienced before. Then I will realise that I only have a short life on earth, but the way I live my life here will define where I will spend the rest of time. And that is the prize we all long for, an eternity with the LORD.

This brings us to the next question.

What are the prizes that we will receive as overcomers?

“exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high” This is what the Bible declares. Then we will be with Him in Heavenly places. But this is not all. John described a number of things that will happen to overcomers. Let us look at these passages. Most people probably know the promises described here, as we all want to receive these blessings. But I have to remember that I can only share in the spoils if I participated in the race. This is the way Paul discussed it in Philippians 3 verse 14:”I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

What does this prize look like?

Revelation 2:7

“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

If you wonder if this is not the same tree that Adam and Eve ate from, the answer is no. There were two trees in paradise, one giving life and one leading to death. The tree described here is the tree of life, so it will feed us with life giving fruit that will bring us still closer to God.

Where is paradise? What happened to it after Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden? Is paradise still guarded by angels? Have you ever wondered about this subject? The Bible does not really give us any definitive answer, yet we know that it must still exist somewhere. Even Jesus told the person on the cross that he will be with Him in paradise.

Not only will we be in paradise, but also we will eat of the tree planted in paradise. How do I answer these types of questions?

Paradise is described for us fully in the Book of Enoch. This book was left out of our Bible in around 400 AD, as people believed we only needed one book that described the end times. People like Jesus, Peter, John, and James quoted Enoch in the Bible. Enoch is also the one person we know of together with Elijah that was taken to heaven alive. They are also the two witnesses people believe that John refers to in Revelation that will return at the end of time.

Paradise is described in Enoch chapters 24 and 25. As most people do not have their own copies of this book, it is quoted in full.

“Enoch 24:4: And amongst them was a tree such as I had never yet smelt, neither was any amongst them nor were others like it: it had a fragrance beyond all fragrance, and its leaves and blooms and wood wither not for ever: 5 and its fruit is beautiful, and its fruit resembles the dates of a palm. Then I said: ‘How beautiful is this tree, and fragrant, and its leaves are fair, and its blooms very delightful in appearance.’ 6 Then answered Michael, one of the holy and honoured angels who was with me, and was their leader.[Chapter 25]: 1 And he said unto me: ‘Enoch, why dost thou ask me regarding the fragrance of the tree, 2 and why dost thou wish to learn the truth?’ Then I answered him saying: ‘I wish to 3 know about everything, but especially about this tree.’ And he answered saying: ‘This high mountain which thou hast seen, whose summit is like the throne of God, is His throne, where the Holy Great One, the LORD of Glory, the Eternal King, will sit, when He shall come down to visit 4 the earth with goodness. And as for this fragrant tree no mortal is permitted to touch it till the great judgment, when He shall take vengeance on all and bring (everything) to its consummation 5 for ever. It shall then be given to the righteous and holy. Its fruit shall be for food to the elect: it shall be transplanted to the holy place, to the temple of the LORD, the Eternal King. 6 Then shall they rejoice with joy and be glad, And into the holy place shall they enter; And its fragrance shall be in their bones, And they shall live a long life on earth, Such as thy fathers lived: And in their days shall no sorrow or plague Or torment or calamity touch them.’ 7 Then blessed I the God of Glory, the Eternal King, who hath prepared such things for the righteous, and hath created them and promised to give to them.”

In Enoch’s second book, called The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, paradise is described. Chapter 8 from verse 1: “Of the assumption of Enoch to the third heaven 1 And those men took me thence, and led me up on to the third heaven, and placed me there; and I looked downwards, and saw the produce of these places, such as has never been known for goodness. 2 And I saw all the sweet-flowering trees and beheld their fruits, which were sweet-smelling, and all the foods borne by them bubbling with fragrant exhalation. 3 And in the midst of the trees that of life, in that place whereon the LORD rests, when he goes up into paradise; and this tree is of ineffable goodness and fragrance, and adorned more than every existing thing; and on all sides it is in form gold-looking and vermilion and fire-like and covers all, and it has produce from all fruits. 4 Its root is in the garden at the earth’s end. 5 And paradise is between corruptibility and incorruptibility. 6 And two springs come out which send forth honey and milk, and their springs send forth oil and wine, and they separate into four parts, and go round with quiet course, and go down into the PARADISE OF EDEN, between corruptibility and incorruptibility. 7 And thence they go forth along the earth, and have a revolution to their circle even as other elements. 8 And here there is no unfruitful tree, and every place is blessed. 9 And there are three hundred angels very bright, who keep the garden, and with incessant sweet singing and never-silent voices serve the LORD throughout all days and hours. 10 And I said: How very sweet is this place, and those men said to me: Chapter 9 The showing to Enoch of the place of the righteous and compassionate 1This place, O Enoch, is prepared for the righteous, who endure all manner of offence from those that exasperate their souls, who avert their eyes from iniquity, and make righteous judgment, and give bread to the hungering, and cover the naked with clothing, and raise up the fallen, and help injured orphans, and who walk without fault before the face of the LORD, and serve him alone, and for them is prepared this place for eternal inheritance.” (Different original manuscripts might refer to this as chapter 5)

I am aware that these are two fairly long quotations, but I trust that it will shed some light on what and where paradise is. It is very interesting to note that the second section ends with the same promises as what Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 25, and also prophesied in Isaiah 59.

Revelation 2:11

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

What is the second death? That is eternal death. The death from which you can never escape. A death with Satan and his army, in the everlasting pool of fire. We find the second death mentioned in Revelation 20 verses 11 to 14: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death..” Not something to be on the look out for. Fortunately as overcomers we will be free from the second death.

Revelation 2:17

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

We find two promises in this verse. The first one says that we will eat of the hidden manna. Manna was the food that the Israelites ate during their trek in the dessert. This manna was a reference to Jesus, the bread of life. So we will never ever have a shortfall of what the LORD promised, as He Himself is our everlasting manna.

The second promise says that we will receive a white stone with a new name written on or in it, that only you will know. Have you ever thought that you are worth nothing? Do you realise that you are so precious to the LORD that He will give you a name that only you and He will know. That is how much He loves you. And it will be a white stone, telling you that you will be washed white with the Blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 2:26

“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”

Can you rule over nations? That is what is expected of you. You will rule over nations that don’t know the LORD. But you must do His work till the end. That is what is expected of you. Revelation 20 verses 4 to 6 enlighten us on this intriguing subject. “4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. “

Revelation 3:5

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

This is probably the one promise that we can all quote. This is the one passage that we all want to remember. It gives me the satisfaction that I know that I will be with Jesus in heavenly places. It also provides us with the undisputed evidence that we will be with the LORD that Jesus would always confess my name with the Father, as long as I am an overcomer.

Revelation 3:12

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

The LORD is on the lookout for pillars to trust on, people He can use. People that will only proclaim His Word, not His Word interpreted by our own doctrine. People that knows what is expected from them. People He can trust through thick and thin. Were you aware that He wanted to use you in His temple? Not only does He want to use you as a pillar, but that you will be in His presence forever. Not only that, but you will be a support to Him.

Revelation 3:21

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

Jesus is looking for people to reign with Him. We will not be acting like counsellors to Him and be seated on His right or left hand side. No, we will reign with Him. We will share His throne, just as He is sharing His Fathers throne. Do you realise what it must be like to sit on a throne? That is what is expected of us, and declared by the Bible. The only proviso is that we must have shared His life.

Revelation 21:7

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

This must be the best verdict anyone could ever receive. That you would inherit all things, and that Jesus would be your God forever. That you will be counted as His son always, and that He would want to share His life with you forever and ever.

Conclusion.

What is the main characteristic required to be counted as an overcomer? Obedient. I must be willing to count myself as nothing like David pronounces in the Psalms, someone who is willing to be counted with slaves when it comes to the LORD. A broken spirit is a peace making spirit. Contentious, hard-nosed people can never be in agreement. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Isaiah 66 summarises it as follows: Verse 2 “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Moses 1 verse 1: What does the Bible teach on how a person becomes a Christian, and thus inherits and possesses Canaan, the Promised Land?

Introduction

How do I become a child of God? I believe this is one of the most pertinent questions that must be answered today. We all see the signs, and hear from various people that the end of the world is coming. Are you sure that you will be with Jesus when he returns? Many people will not be with Him, as they did not heed to what the Bible teaches us.

There are many methods used by many people, but I would like to use Israel as an example of how we can get to Canaan, and inherit what the LORD promised. This is what the LORD promised in Jeremiah 30 “and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” I know that this is what the LORD wants to do for each one of us, as this is what the Bible declares.

Why do I think that we can get the answer from Moses. The answer comes from the book of Exodus: “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” (Exo 7:1) The LORD states all through the Bible that He will talk to us through His prophets. In this passage He states that He appoints Moses as His representative and Aaron as a prophet for Moses. This means that Moses will lead the way as God, Aaron as prophet, and Pharaoh as Satan. He wants to show us how to get out from the claws of the devil and live a life in righteousness. That is the meaning of the trek out of Egypt. We as sinful creatures, must realise that we have to go to Canaan, and this we can do by following Israel’s example. As we are all born as sinners,(Egyptians), we must decide to join ourselves to Israel, and then follow them to Canaan. This also clarifies another question you might have: Have you ever thought why Moses could not enter Canaan? If he could, their was no need for Jesus to come as Moses would have been seen as a perfect example to lead us from Egypt to Canaan. Every denomination has their own verses that they cling on to in order to tell everyone why they believe the way they do, and many tracts and books have bee written explaining the process of how to become a child of God, but here we find in Exodus that the whole process is described for us. A question that is also answered here is what was Esau role in the history of the Bible? Esau was the eldest son of Isaac who would have inherited the Covenant that God made with Abraham and that Abraham passed on to Isaac; but he traded his birthright to his twin brother Jacob for a mess of pottage. The same thing happened to Israel. They were the first born of the LORD, but as they rejected Jesus, we as the Church have received the blessing of the covenant. That is why we can look at what Israel did, and learn from their mistakes. Why has nobody thought of it before? (2 Corinthians 3:14)  “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.”

Did Israel ever receive Canaan? I was under the impression always that they must have received Canaan after forty years in the dessert. However Ezekiel gives us a different view.(Ezekiel 20:6) “In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:” (Ezekiel 20:13) “But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them”. Ezekiel 20:17-18 “Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:” Ezekiel 20:22-23 “Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries;

This portion of scripture declares that they never inherited Canaan as it was in the days of the spies. This also clarifies the situation why we never again read in the Bible that Israel produced fruit the size Canaan did in the days of the spies. You see that in the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness, God changed the land to what it was when they eventually entered into it.

Canaan defined

But first, what does Canaan look like? Let us look at the following verses. Numbers 13:23 “And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs..” Numbers 13:27 “And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it”. Numbers 14:8 “If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.”  And our spiritual Canaan? Psalms 1 verses 1 to 3 give us the answer. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful .2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” So, to be in Canaan means to always bear fruit, and that one would be prosperous in everything one does.

Canaan is also the place where the LORD wants to take us to on the second coming, according to Jeremiah 30. This is the place we have to take possession of as Christians. However, we cannot go there if we do not follow the instructions on how to get there. Canaan is the place I trust you want to end up in after completing your earthly life.

How did Israel get to Canaan, and why did the LORD out of all the nations choose them?

The Bible teaches us that Joseph was taken to Egypt against his will, that the same brothers that sold him came to buy wheat from him in Egypt, and that his family was re-united again in Egypt. Over the years they became a very strong nation. This is how Israel was formed as a separate nation, and where they were chosen by the LORD as His people. We must remember that Esau was also one of Jacob’s sons, but that he did not go to Egypt with his brother. The question though is, why did the LORD chose Israel as His people?

Moses gives us the answer in Deuteronomy 7: “7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt”. Because He loved Israel, and He had a covenant with them.

I want to emphasise it that I am not for or against the doctrine of election, but rather wants to look at who were elected. The LORD chose Israel that was His decision. What about other nations? What happens to other people who are not part of Israel? Fortunately for us, other people were allowed to join them to Israel in those days. Exodus 12:48-49: “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49  One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you”. This passage shows us that even in the Old Testament times, people from other nations could join them to Israel, and become like an Israelite. This also meant that they became part of the covenant with God as the Passover was only meant for the people who were part of the covenant nation of God. The sign of the covenant was circumcision, and that is what the people from other nations had to do.

New Testament view.

We no longer live in the times of the Old Testament and covenant, but in the New Testament times where we are no longer under the law. What is the New Testament view? Acts 10:34 and 35: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Paul discusses this in Ephesians 2 as follows: Verse 11 “¶ Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; 12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. 14 ¶ For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, 15 having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; 16 and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”

In this passage we see that God extends His nation to everyone who fears Him and works righteousness. These people are acceptable to Him. So it does not matter any longer if you are Jewish or not, but it matters only if you are doing what He wants you to do. It only matters if you believe in the works that He did for us, and that you believe that He is the Christ. So you and I can also become members of His chosen nation, and we find that even in Exodus provision was made for us. This is also confirmed by Paul in Ephesians 1 verse 4: “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

While in the dessert, Moses told the Israelites that God chose them to be His people. Deut 4:37 “And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out with his presence, with his great power, out of Egypt; 38 to drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as at this day.” So for us as foreigners to Israel, we must look at what Israel had to do to get out of Egypt, what the significance is for us, and what they had to do to get to Canaan.

Where do we start?

We have to know that the Israelites were in Egypt before the exodus. This was a life where they were used as slaves, but it is also the place where the LORD came to there rescue. We also have to come to accept that the LORD did not decide by Himself to take them out of Egypt, but that they had to cry out to the LORD. Ex 2:23 “¶ And it came to pass in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God saw the children of Israel, and God took knowledge of them.” One aspect that stands out from this passage is that the Bible also declares that it took a long time. How many times have you asked the LORD to do something for you, and then you are upset when the answer is not there the next day. We read in this part of scripture that Moses was in the dessert for 40 years, and that Israel had to wait till God decided it was the right time to send Moses. Another aspect we read of in this passage is that Israel decided to follow Moses. Why Moses? Because he was sent by God and hence moved in signs and wonders. So if you are looking for someone to lead you out of Egypt, look for someone who is sent by God. This person will move in signs and wonders. Follow his example.

So what is the first step?

For me as a gentile, or stranger to Israel, I will have to come to the knowledge that I am in Egypt, and only then can I cry out to God for salvation. How do I know that I am in Egypt? What did Jesus teach to convince people that they were still sinners? How did Jesus convince the Jews that they had a sinful nature? He had a similar problem to what we have. We read in Matthew 5 verse 17 to 48 how this was handled.

Remember that Jesus was speaking to people who knew the LORDS commandments backwards. The Pharisees and Scribes divided the Law into many different sections, and everyone had to obey every part. If they did not heed to the law, they were scared that they would be taken captive again and sent to Babylon as He did in Jeremiah’s time.

So how did Jesus do it? By proving to them that it does not depend on what you do, but life depends on the state of heart. How did Jesus state it in verse 20? “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” We also find that Jesus ends this chapter with a statement that looks impossible. Verse 48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

What did Jesus teach them in this passage? That it is not possible to receive salvation by being obedient to the law only. It does not matter how hard I try to earn my salvation by not sinning and just doing right, The problem is not by not sinning anymore, as even my thoughts are sinful. No, I have to be convinced that my nature must change. But how? The prophet Ezekiel gave us the answer in chapter 11 verse 19: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh;”.  So the problem is in the heart. I have to change my heart, and that happens by being born again, as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5-6. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

So what must happen to me? I must receive a new heart, a heart from Gods nation. I must be changed from a gentile (sinner) to a Jew (chosen one). I must come to the point where I know that as a gentile I cannot receive the kingdom of God. I must become a member of His chosen nation. But how is this achieved? By believing that God has the power to change me from a gentile (sinner) to a Jew (chosen one). I must receive the cover of His blood. The angel of death cannot do anything to me when I am under the blood of Jesus. I must believe that the blood of Jesus has the power to change me from a sinner to His chosen one, and to forgive my sins and transgressions. I must believe that He has prepared the only way for me. I must believe that the covenant he prepared is the only answer.

Verse 20 of Matthew 5 gives us the key to this part of scripture: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

What is our problem then?

Righteousness. I am in the way of my own salvation. By obedience to the law I will never be able to achieve salvation. It is still what I am trying to do. I am still caught up in sin. I first have to come to the understanding that I am a sinful creature, that my whole being is not acceptable to the LORD. This I can only learn from the passage in Matthew 5. I must die, and be born again. That is the only way.

As soon as I accept the fact that I am in Egypt, I can plan on leaving it. If I don’t accept the fact that I am in Egypt, I will always long back to Egypt. If I don’t understand that I am in Egypt, the situation will always be as Charles Finney described it in Revival Fire: “I have already intimated that pains enough had not been taken to search the heart and thoroughly detect and expose the sinner’s depravity, so as to make him see the need of the gospel remedy. If I am not mistaken, there has been, in many cases, an error committed in urging sinners to submission before they are prepared to understand what true submission is. They have been urged to repent, before they have really understood the nature and dessert of sin; to believe, before they have understood their need of Christ; to resolve to serve God, before they have at all understood what the service of God is. They have been pressed to make up their minds to enter immediately upon the service of God, and have been taught that they needed only to make a resolution to obey the LORD. Hence their religion, after all, has been only a religion of resolutions, instead of a religion of faith, and love, and of a broken heart. In short, it appears to me that, in many instances, the true idea of what constitutes pure religion has not been developed in the mind, and that consequently spurious conversions have been distressingly numerous. I have been more and more surprised from year to year, to find how very numerous those professors of religion are who manifestly have not the true ideal of pure religion before their minds. It seems that, in many instances, the idea that love is the essence and the whole of religion, is left almost, if not entirely, out of view.”

Remedy for our problem.

I have to understand how deep the rift is between the LORD and myself before I can think of the remedy. Only then will I see the need for getting forgiveness, and to be born again. What then? Only then will I accept what He has done for me. Then I can empty myself before Him like David did in Psalm 51. Whenever I read this Psalm, I stand in awe of the relationship David had with the LORD. Then I can understand that the LORD is not interested in my greatness. He wants me to be stripped of myself, and to come to Him with a broken and contrite heart, to be washed clean of all unrighteousness.

How did the LORD prepare forgiveness of our sins? Through the new covenant. But what does the new covenant mean to me?

That God is man’s covenant partner. That God, through the offer of Jesus Christ on Calvary, does not hold the sins of man against him any longer, to those that believes in the covenant of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, God’s perfect gift took our place and died for our sins, in order that we can be freed from the requirements of the covenant. God took His own Son as the perfect offer for our sins, as all who sin should die. The Father dealt with Jesus according to our sins, so that we can be free. In adherence to the law, no man could ever be assured of forgiveness, but now through Jesus Christ our Saviour, we can now be washed clean from all our sins.

The righteousness that Jesus gives is the right to stand before God, without guilt or blemish.

In other words, it is to be in a favourable relationship with God. As soon as we enter into the covenant of righteousness and adhere to the rules of the covenant, we have everlasting life. This covenant also gives us the answer to the statement Jesus made in Matthew 5 where He said we have to be perfect as our Father in heaven, is perfect.

Now I can believe that Jesus has truly saved me from eternal death. Now I can believe that He is my saviour. But what is faith? We all know Hebrews 11 verse 1 that defines it as follows: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Why is faith required? Verse 6; “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The book of Hebrews is primarily a book discussing faith and covenant. The author informs me that I must believe the message of the Bible, without doubting anything. When I doubt something, it is disbelief, and I know that without faith it is impossible to please God. We also read that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. For a full discussion of faith, see the question and answer later on under the doctrines section.

We learn from the history of Israel that Egypt was hit by various plagues. This is the way the LORD wants to show us that He is in total control of everything on earth, and all we have to do is have faith in Him to take us out of Egypt. For the people in the world it is only calamities, but for us it is proof that He is in control of everything.

The Israelites had to come under the blood of the lamb. The same way we have to put ourselves under the protection of out Lamb. We have just learned what the new covenant means, and that I have to lay down my life at the cross. I can then ask Him to wash me in His Blood. Having done this, I am then a member of His flock, and the angel of death cannot touch me anymore. I can then proclaim like Paul did in Gal.2: 20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.”

What was the Passover?

The Israelites had to remove all yeast from their homes, and prepare unleavened bread. But why? If we look at the function of yeast, its main function is making bread rise. It will affect every single part of the bread. It is the same with sin. Any sin left in our lives, will affect the total being. It makes me totally unacceptable to God. It will puff me up, like yeast does to bread. So this shows us that we have to break totally and unequivocally with all sin. I cannot even leave sin in my thoughts, as it will affect my total being, and make me unacceptable to God. So every time that we share in Holy Communion, I have to remember where I was, and what the LORD did to lead me out. That is why I have to eat of the bread, fill myself with His body, and drink the cup, wash myself clean with His blood.

First fruits.

One aspect that the LORD wanted to bring home to them early in their walk with Him is that they have to remember to love Him. That is why in the same section where Moses gives them the instructions on how to prepare the Passover meal, he also give them the guidelines for first fruits. The LORD teaches them that they have to remember this night in Egypt where every first born, whether child or beast, was killed, but He passed them over. He teaches them in Exodus 13 as follows; “And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, 12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S. 13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem. 14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:”

How do we do it today? I have to do what Jesus told us to do. Jesus still wants from us our lives, as well as our first fruits. In Matthew 25 from verse 34, Jesus tells the disciples what is acceptable as an offer to Him. We read here that Jesus declares that many will ask when they clothed someone who had no clothes, or worst still, they did we not do it. Jesus tells them that it matters how we act towards our neighbour, and not if we obeyed all the laws and commandments. This is what He wants from us. To share with everybody, so that no one has a shortfall. This is what love towards our brother means, and this is what He requires.

I also have an obligation towards those that labour in the Word. I have to ensure that they receive their share. So it is our duty to ensure that the pastor, reverend, missionary, Christian worker or whatever title they might have, have sufficient to meet their daily needs. For a full description on finances, read the answer on finances in the general section.

The exodus out of Egypt begins.

The night after the Passover was the start of the exodus out of Egypt. They had to use a detour to get to where they were supposed to go. But why? The Bible declares that the LORD did not want Israel to get involved in a war, and then return to Egypt. No, He wanted to protect them. The same happens to us. The LORD doesn’t want us to go back to Egypt again. He wants to protect us from that what He took us out from. The LORD wants to protect us before we go through the baptism in water. How does the Bible declare it? Exodus 13 verse 17-18:“17 ¶ And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18 but God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea: and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.”

Why did it happen at night? It is normally when all is dark around you, when you don’t know which way to turn, that the LORD will bring you out from your Egypt. Why did they have to go through the Red Sea? Just as the LORD drowned all the Egyptians in the sea, He wants to drown all my sins and my sinful nature, in the baptism water. That is why you have to be baptised. He wants us to be clean from our sins when we rise up from the baptism water, in order for me to keep my eyes focused on Him alone. What does Paul say in Romans 6? That baptism is a funeral. Not only are my sins buried, by my sinful nature is buried. I can rise as a new creation. Just as sure as Jesus was raised from the dead, will I be raised as a new creation from the water, that I can live a new life, a life with Him. This is being born again. This scripture teaches us exactly what happens during baptism. Paul also eluded on this in Col.2: 9-12 “9 for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, 10 and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power: 11 in whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

Having been made dead to sin by baptism, I can now stand boldly before the throne of God. Why? 1 John 3 verses 8 and 9: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

As I died with Christ, I can now live with Him. As the Israelites were freed from the Egyptians, I am also freed of my sins. But we have to remember that the Israelites still sinned after passing through the Red Sea. They still longed to the meals in Egypt. But it did not mean that every time they sinned that they were back in Egypt. 1 John 1: 8-10; “8 ¶ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Having passed through the baptism water, I have to remember to break down the wall that I build up through sin between God and myself.

Something that I have to understand from this section is that I must believe the Word of God and His covenant, before I can get baptised. I first have to come to the understanding that I am in Egypt before I can start on my journey to Canaan. If I was baptised before understanding this, I basically went for a swim in the Red Sea. I have not started this journey, as I am back in Egypt after my swim. I have to understand that I have to change from being an Egyptian to becoming an Israelite. Only then can I, like Israel, call out to the LORD. Everything before that is useless. That is the same answer Peter gave to the people when they asked him what they had to do to get saved: Acts 2:38 “38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

How is Baptism administered?

By immersion. That is the way Jesus was baptised. The word in Greek for baptism is baptismo, which, if we look at what the meaning was in biblical times, was to immerse something in water, or other liquid. The best example I found was that the word baptismo was used in a recipe. In this recipe, one had to take meat and leave it overnight in a sauce, fully immersed, as the meat had to take on the flavour of the sauce. This is exactly what has to happen to us, we have to receive His flavour, His personality. We must smell and taste the same as Him. The use of dripping water on people has its origin in the Roman church, which at the same time also found that you could even baptise dead people. For a full description see the answer to baptism in the foundational doctrines section. For an answer to child baptism, see the question later in this section, called “ What about my children?”

Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The next event in the history of Israel is that they reach Mara. The water at Mara was bitter, and not acceptable for human consumption. But God had a solution. Moses had to take a tree stump and throw it into the water, in order for the water to become usable. Exodus 15:25 25  “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet”. When we take water, in our case the baptism water, and we add the cross of Jesus, a piece of wood, to it, we get water to drink. In our case living water. But what is living water? John 7:37-39: “37 ¶ Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. 39 But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified”. Jesus also referred to living water when he spoke to the Samarian woman at the well. Here he told her that whoever drinks from this water will never thirst again. To us, when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, our words and our deeds will be life giving. It will flow as streams from our inner being. It won’t be necessary to ask people to do something good; they will do it without being asked. So after baptism, I must ask the LORD to baptize me with His Spirit, in order that living water will flow from me. How do I know that I received the Holy Spirit? Acts 19 verse 4 gives us the answer. “4 And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. 5 And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the LORD Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” As Paul baptized and laid hands on these people, the LORD wants that the same will happen to you.

But how does this relate to the Israelites and what happened to them. When we read Exodus 15 from verse 27, we see that Israel camped at Elim, a place with 12 fountains and 70 palm trees. Is this a coincidence? Maybe the 12 represents the 12 tribes of Israel, and the 70 palm trees the 70 elders that Moses had to chose to receive the Holy Spirit. Num 11:24 “¶ And Moses went out, and told the people the words of Jehovah: and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the Tent. 25 And Jehovah came down in the cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and put it upon the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, but they did so no more.”

We see from this that in Israel’s time, that to prophesy was a sign of having been baptised by the Holy Spirit. This is exactly what happened to the people Paul baptised. What does Joel say in Joel 2 verse 28 “¶ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.”

But what about people who cannot speak in tongues? Jesus declared that streams of living water would flow out of you, with or without any of the two external signs. So if I act the way Jesus did, and people can see that I am giving out living water in the form of life giving life, I am baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Healing.

The LORD also declares to Israel while at Meriba that should Israel keep to what He commanded them that He will not place any of the diseases that He put on the Egyptians, on them. Ex 15:26 “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of Jehovah thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his eyes, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians: for I am Jehovah that healeth thee.” This confirms to us that the LORD wants us to be healthy, but we have to obey Him.

Were you aware of the fact that the LORD ensured that their clothes did not age, nor did get sick all the time in the wilderness? That is His will. Ex 23:25-26 “25 And ye shall serve Jehovah your God, and he will bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. 26 There shall none cast her young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.”

So in both passages we see that the LORD says that He will heal Israel. But not only will He heal them, He will not put any of our diseases we had in Egypt, on us. He declares that He will take sickness away from us, and that the number of our days will be full. But there is one proviso. “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of Jehovah thy God” The LORD demands obedience. For a full discussion on healing, look at the answer in the doctrines section.

Alone in the dessert

Many times we wonder if the LORD is still with us. This is not a strange phenomenon. The Israelites also had the same feelings. While they were travelling through the dessert named Sin, which gives us a new perception of where our own sin leaves us, they complained to Moses that the LORD was not with them, as they did not have any water. How many times have you felt like the LORD is no longer with you? But the LORD answered their pleading. Ex 16:6-7 ” 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tempted Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us, or not?” So every time you think that the LORD has left your side, do not be dismayed, He is always there.

Warfare

The LORD wants to teach us to fight the enemy. The Amelekites did not attack them, but the attacking was done by Israel. The LORD taught them here that with Him on their side, they could overcome the enemy. With Him on your side you can overcome. The interesting fact here is that Aaron and Hur had to keep Moses’ arms with the rod up in the air. The rod all the time of the exodus, was the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit, as it was always used to do the signs and wonders. So with the Holy Spirit, you can tackle all the enemies, or sin, in your life and overcome them. With the Holy Spirit the victory is yours.

Broken relationships

When Jethro visits Moses, we see that they embrace each other, and that Moses receives instruction from his father in law on how to organise the people. How many times do you find that the LORD has healed relationships that were broken? This all happens in our own time in the dessert.

Provision

As soon as you think everything is over, you suddenly realise that you are not in the Promised Land yet. You are still in the dessert. Now you only realise that the LORD wants to teach you His life. We first have to understand that we have to be dependant on Him for everything. He wants to supply us with manna and quails. He wants to provide us with water, but we have to depend on Him for this. We have to learn to be totally dependant on Him. Israel also tried to test Him. When they went out to gather manna, one would gather a lot and the other one a little. But the most remarkable fact is, that when they had to measure what they picked up, the Bible states the following Ex 16:18 “And when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.” The Bible teaches us here that the LORD kept the balance between everyone. No one had more than what he needed, and no one had less than needed.

The one problem we still face today, even in church, is that of poverty. Jesus also addressed this problem when He spoke to the Pharisees and scribes. Matt 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone”. We have to remember that the Pharisees tried so hard to be obedient to the law of Moses, that they even brought tithes of things that the LORD did not prescribe. But, Jesus says to them that they do not do the most important aspect of the law, and that is to look after the needs of their own people. So I have to learn that, that which is left over after ensuring that I have enough for myself, I must share with those that do not have enough themselves. This does not only include the physical means, but those needs of every person of having a right to exist. I cannot take from the poor, whether it be financial or morally, and enrich myself. If you do that, the LORD will call you a hypocrite.

Does the LORD still speak to me?

Three months after leaving Egypt, Israel finds themselves at Mount Sinai. This is the place where the LORD wants to instruct you personally. He does not need someone else to mediate for you. He wants to communicate personally. He wants to sit on His holy mountain and talk to you. What instructions does the LORD give to Moses? Ex 19:3-6 “3 And Moses went up unto God, and Jehovah called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: 6 and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.” As priests, the LORD wants us to communicate with Him directly, to offer to Him personally. If we do that, then we would be a holy nation unto Him.

After this event the LORD gave Moses the Ten Commandments, but do you know what Israel’s answer was to the LORD? Ex 20:18-20 “And all the people perceived the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before you, that ye sin not.” This is the same way we act. We tell the LORD that He should rather speak through someone else, through the reverend or the pastor. We cannot accept the fact that the LORD wants to speak to us directly. Why? Because then I can always use it as an excuse not to break with sin. I can always react that God did not personally tell me this, so I don’t need to break with it.

Sinai – Circumcision of the hart

Sinai was the place where the LORD gave Moses all the commandments we find in Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Moses did not only receive them at Mount Sinai, but he also had to teach them to the Israelites. They camped here for more than a year. It is also the place where they had to build the ark and the tabernacle. All the heads over ten, fifty, hundred and a thousand had to be appointed. For us today it is a place where the LORD writes his commandments on our heart. A place where the old heart of stone is forever changed to a heart of flesh. We might even experience that there is a calling on our life, but before we can walk into this ministry we have to receive the Word in our hearts. Has the LORD written His laws on you heart yet? Are there still areas that you have to submit to Him? I have seen many people stuck at this juncture because of wrong behaviour. They will tell you that the LORD has not told them yet to break this wrong habit. My answer is always the same. If you can show me the habit in the Bible, I will accept the behaviour. If not, you must break with it. We want to get to Canaan. We don’t want to spend additional time in the dessert that is not required. Don’t make Sinai your home.

Lets refresh our memories again. How does David define Canaan?  “Psalm 1: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers: 2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”. This is Canaan. This is the destiny that the LORD has for you. If you don’t want to accept it, you might have to wait another 40 years before you get to enter again. Did you know that all the Israelites of 20 and over that left Egypt never entered into Canaan? The only exceptions were Joshua and Caleb. Numbers 14:28 ” Say unto them, As I live, saith Jehovah, surely as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, that have murmured against me, 30 surely ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.” They didn’t enter into Canaan because they doubted what the LORD could do. Do everything in your power to get what the LORD wants for you, never doubting Him. Don’t build your faith on the traditions of man. Paul specialized in it. But then he met Jesus. I trust you want to get to Canaan.

One answer we get from this scripture concerning a question that a lot of people wrestle with. If a person first has to believe before being baptised, what happens to those that die without being baptised? We see that the LORD said that nobody under 20 years of age would die during the 40-year trek in the dessert. Why? He gave them a chance to choose for themselves. He wants to ensure that you get enough time to consider His Word and His ways, before giving you a choice. Only after reaching twenty, will He expect of you to have made your own decision, and will you be judged according to your decision. We see that all the Israelites that eventually entered into Canaan still had to go through the Jordan River to be baptised.

The Tabernacle.

Something else that happened while Israel was in the dessert was that the LORD instructed Moses to build the tabernacle. This was built and represented what Moses saw in the spiritual, and had to be represented in the physical. What did the tabernacle represent? It was a place where sacrifices could be brought to the LORD, a place where the priests could intercede for Israel and get repentance for their sin. There were three sections in it, and in the one section, the holiest of holies, only the high priest could enter into, where the LORD would physically manifest His presence. The high priest could only enter into this area with blood to get redemption for the sins of Israel.

What is the purpose of the tabernacle for us today?

When Jesus died on the cross for us, we read that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. This serves for us as a sign that God has removed that, which separated us from Him. Jesus entered into this once and for all to bring an acceptable sacrifice for all the sins of the world, so that we can be reconciled with God. We can now exhibit the boldness described in the book of Hebrews to enter into the courts of God Almighty, by placing us under the Blood of Jesus. We no longer need any other person to be a mediator between the Father and us as Jesus has been offered up for us as an acceptable sacrifice once and for all.  This also means that we can enter into the presence of God the Father, and never again have to wonder if we have the right to be called children of God. It also means that if I spend time in His presence, I will be like Him, that I will carry His anointing into a world that is forever searching to find the real God.

Canaan, or back to the dessert

The Israelites were very glad when they reached the end of their journey. They sent out people to look at what Canaan was like, and to report back to them. The report that they heard from some of the scouts were very negative, while only two scouts believed that the LORD will be with them and help them to destroy the existing people. The people who heard the report did not like what they heard, because they did not have faith. They did not believe that the LORD will give the enemy into their hand, and instead insisted that they elect a new leader to take them back to Egypt. How many times today do I still hear people say that they don’t believe that the LORD will do something for them? They don’t believe in signs and wonders, because they don’t have faith. We must believe, have faith. How many times have you not believed that something good will happen to you?  How many dreams of people have been shattered by unbelief? We have to believe that all His promises are yeah and amen. Not only the ones that are easy. No, every promise. If you don’t have faith, you are going to stay in the dessert. Maybe you will have to wait another 40 years, or maybe you will never enter into that which God had planned for you all along.

Canaan – Eventually!!!!!

What was the first thing Israel had to do after they crossed the Jordan? Attack and smite Jericho. Did Israel defeat all the enemies in Canaan at once? No. The Bible declares that we have to destroy these strongholds one by one; the same way Israel destroyed all the enemy cities. Why? You cannot fight everyone at the same time. As you take possession of Canaan, the LORD will take you from stronghold to stronghold, and expect of you to break with it. You have to utterly destroy it. Another aspect that we read about here is that the different tribes didn’t each go their separate ways after crossing into Canaan. No, they all moved through the land to claim each tribe’s area, destroy the enemy, and only after establishing each area, did they each go their separate ways. This is the same way the LORD expects us to function. When we lead someone to the LORD, He expects us to first teach the person in every aspect of a believer’s life, before allowing us to go back to our own inheritance.

Something else that happened when Israel crossed into Canaan was that the LORD’s provision of manna disappeared after they had their first meal from the land. Why? Now He expects us to do the planting and reaping, now He will bless whatever you do. Deut 11 verses 11-12 “11 but the land, whither ye go over to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven, 12 a land which Jehovah thy God careth for: the eyes of Jehovah thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” Now we can understand what Solomon meant in Psalm 127: “Except Jehovah build the house, They labor in vain that build it: Except Jehovah keep the city, The watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To take rest late, To eat the bread of toil; For so he giveth unto his beloved sleep.” Once inside of Canaan, the LORD will bless what I do, as long as I do what He commanded me to do, and that is not to follow other gods.

What do we have to be on the lookout for?

Once you enter in Canaan, is it possible to lose it. Is it possible to lose one’s salvation? Even in Israel’s time not everybody was saved. Everyone was circumcised as a sign or emblem of the old covenant. We find in the Bible that the LORD continually sent prophets to the Israelites asking them to repent and to change their ways. Ezekiel 18 is one of the passages where the Israelites are asked to repent, and if they don’t, that the LORD will have no option as to let them die. Death here was not a physical death, but a spiritual death, a death forever. We also learn from this passage that we cannot say that we are saved as a result of our parents’ actions, as everyone will be judged on his own way of living. Verses 20 and 30 of Ezekiel 18 gives us clarity: “20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the LORD Jehovah. Return ye, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”

As I said earlier, not all Israelites were saved. The same applies today. I cannot proclaim that because I once upon a time gave my heart to the LORD that I will be saved. No, I can lose my salvation. The above scripture proves it. It is also confirmed in Ezekiel 3 verse 20 where he writes as follows: “20 Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thy hand.” The LORD wants that everyone will be saved, but He wants you to obey Him. You can however, climb out of His hand and follow after other gods.

This always sounds to me like very strong words, so I want to end off with a question to you.

My question to you

This question comes from Deuteronomy 30 from verse 15: “¶ See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 in that I command thee this day to love Jehovah thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, that thou mayest live and multiply, and that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. 17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days in the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed; 20 to love Jehovah thy God, to obey his voice, and to cleave unto him; for he is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

My prayer for you is that you will choose this way.