My testimony and why do I write and what subjects do I write about?
Most people ask me why I quote passages from the Old Testament to confirm a point of view, and why do I not use the New Testament to do this. It was difficult for me when I started my intense walk with the LORD at age 30, and it is still difficult today even though I only started writing at age 50, and that was also the time I was ordained as a pastor. To be quite honest I mentioned to Hettie that I cannot believe that there are so many answers in the Old Testament that I never knew about. At times I felt that I did not need to use the New Testament, as everything I required to answer people and to place them in a living relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit I could do straight from the Old Testament. But I also know that most people want to refer to the New Testament to see what the Apostles and disciples said about it, and then you will find that the Pentecostal/Charismatic type churches would always try and explain Daniel and Revelation, as this is basically all that matters to them.
As a background, I need to give you some of the incidents in our family life that had a major impact on the way I live, and the road I am on. This will explain why I am on this roller coaster ride with the LORD.
Both Hettie and I always participated at our local congregation as young adults after our marriage in 1972, as well as our time as youngsters and children. We actually met at church as she just one day suddenly changed from a young girl to this amazing looking teenager. I had to make my move before anyone else did it at church, and after some years decided to get married. So our lives were centred around the local church, and later on in life I actually surprised one of our ministers when I gave him our attestation and introduced him to our family. At that stage we moved from Amanzimtoti back to the Johannesburg area. He was so used to the fact that the previous congregation would send all the documents by mail and then it was up to them to find the people, and here he found the complete opposite. I explained to him that I was the person that handled all attestations in our previous congregations, so I was aware of all the pitfalls and that was why I could bring it myself. Hettie also told me that I have a two year syndrome, as we moved just about every second year. To be honest during the time from our marriage in 1972 and the year 2000, we actually moved 14 times during those 28 years, so she was bang on. But I have to say that we sometimes only lasted six months in a place as we would move from one apartment to the next to increase space, or like on our return to Johannesburg from Amanzimtoti we rented a house for six months before we bought our own house again. Then we also moved a number of times due to working situations which required me to move to different parts of the country.
But back to the original story. I had an extreme situation that had a lasting effect on my life and relationship with the LORD during 1982. While still at high school 15 years earlier, I broke my nose in gymnastics when my nose and knee collided when I reached the ground after a double somersault. This left me with difficult breathing and I decided it was time to sort it out. They removed a section of the cartilage in the front of the nose plus some fragments of bone and it was a major success. But there was a dark side to this episode also. Hettie came to visit me the Saturday morning and left the kids with our nanny. On her return from hospital she heard that Barney, our oldest son, asked to go and play at one of his friend’s house and took his younger sister with him. Hettie told the nanny that she had to go and call them as she told the nanny not to do it in the first place. On their return Barney let go of the nanny’s hand and ran across the road, but unfortunately for him he ran straight in front of an oncoming car.
He ended up with a fractured skull, and also nearly lost his left foot as his foot was caught between the tyre and the road while the driver was trying to stop. The only thing that was left of his left foot was the sole part of his foot and the bones. It looked so bad that I fainted when they showed it to me later that day. I was discharged immediately and went with him to another hospital that specialized in head trauma as he was unconscious and he had bleeding in his brain. He ended up spending more than three months in hospital and had multiple skin grafts and pins in his feet. But the thing that I want to highlight is something that happened about 10 days after the accident. I went to the hospital every morning on my way to work, and that particular morning I prayed something that I still feel was the right thing to do, but it was also the most difficult thing to do. I prayed that morning in the car before entering the hospital that the LORD would either let him die as I could not take this any longer, or if it was His will, that Barney would wake up that morning.
When I arrived at the nurses station at ICU they told me that there was no change, and that I can go through to see him as they already changed his dressings. That was all they could do at that point as they could only start reconstruction of the foot once he regained his consciousness again. I took his hand in mine and greeted him in an audible voice, and his immediate response was to greet me and to open his eyes. I was not the only one crying that morning, but all the staff cried with me, especially when I told them what I prayed for before coming into the hospital.
That was the first life changing experience for me.
The second one was four years later when I had to have surgery to my bladder and the result was the words that nobody really wants to hear, that they found the obstruction in my bladder but that it was a malignant tumour. I asked the LORD to give me more time with my children as my youngest daughter was only 4 years old. I did not want to let them grow up without a father figure in their lives, and I am still here today, 30+ years later. Little did I know that our older daughter would only have her first child eight years after the youngest daughter’s youngest child. I was declared cancer free three years later as they could not find any other tumours in the bladder. But eight years later I was diagnosed with Carcinoid Syndrome, a slow growing cancer that I have been living with for 22 years now. I could quite easily have had this cancer before my bladder cancer, and it will also explain some of my problems as a young teenager where I would just fall down like a bag of potatoes when the bottom opens up when you lift it up. Every time I went to the doctors they could not find anything wrong, and I learned to live with it as I learned how to identify this feeling and how to avoid falling down.
After my first operation for the bladder cancer we as a family would get together in the morning in our bed where I would share a small passage of the Bible with them, and sing a song and pray together. During the winter months the kids would bring their own duvets to sit under or just lift our at the feet end of the bed and crawl in and use our duvet to escape the cold. That was also the time that I really started studying the bible in order to share something with the family every morning.
Something that I just could not understand at that time was that I would end up most times reading from the Old Testament. And it was not that it was a Psalm or something from Ecclesiastics or even some of the well known stories of David or some other well known person, that I would share, but something quite different. As the kids grew older they decided that they could do this on their own, and also got tired of singing the same old songs, as they needed to sing something newer that they enjoyed. During that time we were still members of the Reformed Church, and later changed to the Dutch Reformed Church for about two years and then joined the original Corpus Christi congregation of the AFM in Brooklyn Pretoria. Just after we joined Corpus Christi, the formed Doxa Deo with multiple campuses across Pretoria, and now even have congregations in Australia, New Zealand and England. During this time Hettie and I worked with others showing the original Jesus film and I still have my original VHS version of the film and a VHS machine in full working order.
The third time I really felt the closeness of the LORD was during August 1995. I woke up with an extremely sore place on the right-hand side of my abdomen, and was forced to see the local doctor after work that afternoon. I was sent to hospital immediately with a diagnoses of acute appendicitis and told they had to operate that night as it was about to burst. I was operated on fairly late that night, but even the surgeon told me that he believes it was meant to be, as during the operation they got more than they bargained for. Apparently the surgeon could not get a decent grip on the appendix and decided to make a larger incision and to pull out a small portion of my small intestine in order for him to be able to have space to work. While he was doing this, he was talking to the anaesthetist and then suddenly found something in his hand that was bigger in size than the rest of the small intestine. When he looked down, he found a tumour of about 100 millimetres in length and when he looked at it he recognised it as cancer. According to him he probably could have stopped earlier, but he just continued. He told me that if he did not find it that night, there was a high probability that my family would have had a funeral the next year. The appendix also ended up as malignant, also with Carcinoid. According to the medical profession it is one of the major places where this type of cancer forms its primary tumour. He told me that I had to undergo another operation eight weeks later as they had to do a thorough scan of the abdomen to ensure that there was no metastasis to the lymph nodes or even more tumours. So that was nearly 22 years ago, but I still suffer from this cancer as they found a tumour that they could not remove as that would have cost my life as it encases the main mesenteric blood vessel between the small intestine and the liver. I was told that there were two things that I could do. I had to go for chemo and as the surgeon put it, he knew that the LORD could heal me.
After the follow up operation, I ended up with a very unusual experience It was the most heavenly choir that I have ever heard in my life. I could not make out what song it was, but it really was out of this world. I was in a ward with three other people, and as they were all sleeping, I got out of bed to see if any one of them had a radio on where this music could come from. Just remember we are talking about a time before music on cell phones. In fact CD’s were new technology back then. I could not find any source of this music, and I knew I was in trouble when I asked the one nurse if she could hear the music and she gave me a look that said to me I must be off my rocker.
Then I saw this strange vision. Living in South Africa we are used to platforms when visiting a game park or game farm that you have shelters above the tree line from where you can watch the game come to their favourite drinking spots, or just observe the wild life without disturbing them at all. I was standing on top of one of these platforms, and as far as the eye could see I saw people clothed in white walking up towards a hill that was so bright that I felt I needed some sunglasses to shield this brightness. There was not a split amongst these people as they were all walking shoulder to shoulder towards this bright hill. Hettie, my wife, came to visit me but left after a while as I was not really talking to her, as all I was doing was listening to this angelic song and watching these people. I eventually got up and went to the bathroom and pressed my face against the wall, but this vision did not go away. I tried closing my eyes but it was still there. All I can remember was that there were two other persons with me on this platform, and I just knew the one person was Moses. Don’t ask me how I know, all I know was that the one person was Moses.
This vision was also one of the reasons we left our local church at that time as our minister told me to put this behind me and continue as before, as this would cause me to end up in an asylum for mentally ill patients. I actually thought he could help be as he was not just an ordinary minister, he also had a doctorate in Biblical studies.
So this is where my walk with the LORD took a dramatic turn. I wanted to know exactly what and why people ended up in heaven or hell, as I did not want to lose out on this out of world vision I had in hospital. I started spending more time listening to various other people and their views about redemption, and the one evening a very well known evangelist in South Africa looked at me and told me that he could see that I have a very high standard to differentiate between believers and non believers. He also told my wife that he knew that she had a very close relationship with the LORD. I know for someone who has never experienced this type of input in your life that it can be challenging to understand.
I know the first time something like this happened in my life I could not handle it. I was in charge of the elders at our congregation when our minister was not there, and also the guy that was supposed to ensure that a professor or some other minister would deliver two sermons on a Sunday when our minister was on annual leave. I thought I had all bases covered when the professor I organised for the Sunday gave his secretary instruction that she should inform me that he had made alternate arrangements for the weekend, and could not come to us. I asked one of my fellow elder, an ex headmaster at a local school to help me and we decided that we would each read a sermon from a book we had at church in case of emergencies. After the service the Sunday night, people asked me why I did not study to become a minister, and I told them it was difficult to go to seminary school at age 40 with three children at school, and no cash reserves to cover the seven year studies. And then I would only have 20 years before I would retire, so it was not feasible. That Wednesday evening a friend of ours asked us to come to their preschool hall as they had a couple of people that would get together in song, worship and prayer, but that they had a special host that would be playing the piano. While we were singing, this person stopped playing, turned around and looked me straight in the eyes and told me that the LORD was calling me to serve Him, and that He had a special calling for me. That gave me such a fright as I have never heard or seen something like this happen before. We attended a very orthodox church at that time and that was the first time something like this happened to me.
So back to my original story 5 years later after leaving the hospital, After the experience in the hospital, I had this urge to study the Bible, and to start writing down the explanations I found from various references. I also had this urge to share this with other people. I still have the book where I wrote down the first couple of items I felt the LORD showed me in the Bible, and still believe that He gave that to me as a calling, and I am still following that calling. The first scripture He gave me was when I asked Him what would happen to me after now having had three operations for cancer. Was it my end, or what would happen? I opened my Bible and the passage that just leaped out at me was from Jeremiah 45 “Jer 45:5 And seek you great things for yourself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil on all flesh, said the LORD: but your life will I give to you for a prey in all places where you go.”
Now for someone who was told six months earlier that I only had a couple of years before I would die. Those are words that I still cling to 22 years later.
I also know today why I did not accept all the offers for financial support to study to become a minister, as I then enrolled at a Bible school to get myself qualified and ordained as a pastor. What you learn at these places are not really what the Bible teaches, but it is more about how to preach, what the various theological views are, how to interpret Greek and Hebrew texts, and then things like how to run a successful church. I finished this and started a Bible school at a local congregation, and within months people asked me to move to another part of town and start a new church there. We did this and it was a flop. It fell apart within the first couple of months, but I knew the reason for it, as the LORD gave me a second scripture even before I started studying, and that came from Jeremiah 30 verse 2: “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write you all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.”
He did not tell me to start a new church, but He told me to write down everything that he would teach me. That taught me one major lesson in life, and that is to be obedient. During the time while studying and working, He always spoke to me about the exodus of Israel from Egypt, and how they came to Canaan, the land He promised Abraham. So He took me on a journey through the Old Testament, and then would show me confirmations in the New Testament. Sometimes I also found answers not in the Bible, but in some of the books that did not make it in our western Bible.
Fortunately I am not the only person doing this. The first person that I know that took this route was Jesus himself. We find the following in Luke 16: “But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there. Then he said, I pray you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house: For I have five brothers; that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent. And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luk 16:25-31)
The two sections I emphasized are actually extremely informative. Jesus says that we only need Moses and the Prophets to believe in Him, and He also shows them that He would die and they would still not believe in Him even after He was resurrected.
Paul also used this method. “Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized to 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. Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.” (1Co 10:1-11)
And then there is the whole book of Hebrews that we can use to find answers to our questions, as it is written to those who understand the Old Covenant, and leads us to the New Covenant. It shows us that Jesus went through the heavenly tabernacle to pay for our sins with His own blood.
So the first book I wrote was named the Book of Moses. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I use the exodus of Israel to show people how to ensure that they are serving the God of the Bible, and the second reason because of a custom we had when I was still a kid. When you had to prove a point you had to use scripture to support your argument, and if you could not find a quick answer your answer was always that it is somewhere in Moses. So Moses 3 verse 3 in our household was always: Do not worry.
The book of Moses also brought me to another book in the Bible, the Gospel according to Mark. He was the first person to actually write a Gospel, as he was the official scribe for Barnabas and Paul. He worked with them and documented everything they preached. It was also Barnabas who was the reason Paul started his ministry, and then they later parted also because of Mark. “And some days after Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brothers in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brothers to the grace of God.” (Act 15:36-40)
Mark also wrote about this instance in his Acts of Barnabas. ““And I found Paul in bed in Antioch from the toil of the journey, who also seeing me, was exceedingly grieved on account of my delaying in Pamphylia. And Barnabas coming, encouraged him, and tasted bread, and he took a little of it. And they preached the word of the Lord, and enlightened many of the Jews and Greeks. And I only attended to them, and was afraid of Paul to come near him, both because he held me as having spent much time in Pamphylia, and because he was quite enraged against me. And I gave repentance on my knees upon the earth to Paul, and he would not endure it. And when I remained for three Sabbaths in entreaty and prayer on my knees, I was unable to prevail upon him about myself; for his great grievance against me was on account of my keeping several parchments in Pamphylia.
And when it came to pass that they finished teaching in Antioch, on the first of the week they took counsel together to set out for the places of the East, and after that to go into Cyprus, and oversee all the churches in which they had spoken the word of God. And Barnabas entreated Paul to go first to Cyprus, and oversee his own in his village; and Lucius entreated him to take the oversight of his city Cyrene. And a vision was seen by Paul in sleep, that he should hasten to Jerusalem, because the brethren expected him there. But Barnabas urged that they should go to Cyprus, and pass the winter, and then that they should go to Jerusalem at the feast. Great contention, therefore, arose between them. And Barnabas urged me also to accompany them, on account of my being their servant from the beginning, and on account of my having served them in all Cyprus until they came to Perga of Pamphylia; and I there had remained many days. But Paul cried out against Barnabas, saying: It is impossible for him to go with us. And those who were with us there urged me also to accompany them, because there was a vow upon me to follow them to the end. So that Paul said to Barnabas: If you want to take John who also is surnamed Mark with you, go another road; for he shall not come with us. And Barnabas coming to himself, said: The grace of God does not desert him who has once served the Gospel and journeyed with us. If, therefore, this be agreeable to you, Father Paul, I take him and go. And he said: Go you in the grace of Christ, and we in the power of the Spirit.
Therefore, bending their knees, they prayed to God. And Paul, groaning aloud, wept, and in like manner also Barnabas, saying to one another: It would have been good for us, as at first, so also at last, to work in common among men; but since it has thus seemed good to you, Father Paul, pray for me that my labour may be made perfect to commendation: for you know how I have served you also to the grace of Christ that has been given to you. For I go to Cyprus, and hasten to be made perfect; for I know that I shall no more see your face, O Father Paul. And failing on the ground at his feet, he wept long. And Paul said to him: The Lord stood by me also this night, saying, Do not force Barnabas not to go to Cyprus, for there it has been prepared for him to enlighten many; and do you also, in the grace that has been given to you, go to Jerusalem to worship in the holy place, and there it shall be shown you where your martyrdom has been prepared. And we saluted one another, and Barnabas took me to himself. “
After this episode we never ever read anything about Barnabas and Mark, as they worked in Cyprus and never returned to Jerusalem. But why do I want to use Mark? Many people have a problem with the last section of the last chapter, as it seems that some of the early copies excluded the last verses, and because it is to us today controversial. But when I look at my own writings I find that I would make changes or even add new chapters to the book. So if I look at the various samples of the Gospel of Mark it might not include the last verses, but he was there and saw the snake bite Paul and nothing happened. So it is possible that some of the original copies did not include this section.
I also wonder at times if Mark was also the writer of the Book of Hebrews, as we still do not know who wrote it. Some say Paul, others Barnabas, and some other people. Mark knew what both Paul and Barnabas taught at the various synagogues they went to visit these Jews.
We find that Mark wrote two additional books that never made it into the Bible as they worked separately from the other Apostles and disciples. The one book is the Acts of Barnabas that describes what Barnabas did after splitting up with Paul, and tells us how Barnabas was killed by the Jews in Cyprus, and then we find the Epistle of Barnabas, a book that took the Old Testament happenings, and explained the significance in a spiritual form. It ties in with what Luke wrote down in The Acts of the Apostles, that Paul and Barnabas always first went to the Jews at the local synagogue and explained what Jesus came to do to fulfil the Old Covenant and to start the New Covenant. “And the brothers immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night to Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. “ (Act 17:10-12)
So it looks to me that I am not alone in using the Old Testament in proclaiming the Gospel message of Jesus. Here are some passages that shows that Paul and Barnabas also first tried to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
“When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; 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.” (Act 11:18-26)
Act 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.”
Act 13:42 “As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.” Act 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.”
Act 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 16:1-3 “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, (2) and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. (3) Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”
Act 17:1-3 “Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. (2) And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, (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.”
Act 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.”
Act 17:16-17 “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. (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.”
Act 18:1-4 “After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. (2) And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, (3) and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. (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 11:25-26 “And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; (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.”
Reading through the above I see that they only explained Moses and the prophets, and why Jesus came and for what purpose He came. So this is where I start differing from most other people, as I believe that there are no new theologies in the New Covenant, and hence we cannot through out the Old Testament and build a new theology on the New Testament only. If I do not find a corresponding reference in the Old Testament then I know that it is a man made doctrine. So the same theology that was embraced by Abraham, is the same theology in force today. When people rejected the LORD in the Old Testament, we do not find them featuring in any form in later on in the Bible. So that says to me that they will not be with Jesus in heaven.
Paul uses the same approach in 1 Corinthians 10: “Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized to 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)
Then we also find what happened during the time of Jeremiah when the people of Jerusalem when they thought they could go and hide in Egypt: “Therefore thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even to the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.” (Jer 44:11-14) The only people that returned from Egypt were Jeremiah and Baruch and their families. They did not choose to go back, but were forced to go back.
So what else can I say about my viewpoints. Not much except that many years after I started on this journey through the Old Covenant and started writing my first book, The Book of Moses, I found the verse following the one that told me to write everything down: “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write you all the words that I have spoken to you in a book. For, see, the days come, said the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, said the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” (Jer 30:2-3) So this scripture declares that we as Christians will end up in our Canaan, and all we have to do is follow the path that Israel followed, but without all their mistakes and sins. Most of the commentaries of this portion of scripture agrees that this has not happened yet. This is what John Gill had to say about it: “which cannot be understood of their return from the Babylonish captivity; for, as Kimchi rightly observes, only Judah and Benjamin returned from thence; and though there were some few of the other tribes that came with them, especially of the tribe of Levi, yet not sufficient to answer to so great a prophecy as this, which refers to the same time as that in Hos_3:5; as appears by comparing that with Jer_30:9; and when, as the Apostle Paul says, “all Israel shall be saved”, Rom_11:25;”
This also agrees with what we read in verse 9 of the same passage: “But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up to them.” Fortunately for myself I do not live in the times of the reformation, as I would have been burned at the stake many years ago. And this despite quoting Jeremiah and Paul. All these passages are there as examples for us in order for us not to make the same mistakes Israel made. But then we have to use these verses and the whole Bible within context. The same Jeremiah tells the people the fillowing in chapter 7; “Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust you not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; If you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, you trust in lying words, that cannot profit.” (Jer 7:3-8) He then continues in verse 21: “Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spoke not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people: and walk you in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you.” (Jer 7:21-23)This is then followed up in chapter 21: “Thus said the LORD God of Israel; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and I will assemble them into the middle of this city. And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence. And afterward, said the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy. And to this people you shall say, Thus said the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. He that stays in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goes out, and falls to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey. For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, said the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.” (Jer 21:4-10)
So this is what formed my life and my relationship with the LORD. And this is what I still write about every day. What I have found that everyday something happens in my life to either confirm that which I have written about, or something new that I never thought about pops up for me to investigate. Sometimes it is only a confirmation of what I believe the Bible is to us today, a “Workshop Manual” for Christians. I do not have to believe in all these other writings and “junk” that people believe in, as if I cannot confirm it from the Old Covenant, it does not fit in the New Covenant, and can hence be thrown away. If you look at some of the things Christians spend millions of dollars on, and it only enriches their “king”, but what he says never happens, and we continue to believe them. I have seen videos put up by some of these “big name” pastors that said the antichrist will come on 5 May 2016, and when it did not happen the title was changed to 28 August, and when that did not happen it was changed to 28 December, but people still spend millions on his books when it is obvious that he is a false prophet.
That is why my motto in life is a quote from Matthew 13:52 “Then said he to them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed to the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder, which brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”
And then probably one of the most important things we can learn from the Bible and that is to be obedient. That is also where the name of ministry, Shama Ministries in South Africa, comes from. The meaning of the word is as follows from Strong’s:
H8085 שָׁמַע shâmaʻ, shaw-mah’; a primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.):—× attentively, call (gather) together, × carefully, × certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, × diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), ×indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, × surely, tell, understand, whosoever (heareth), witness.
What challenges do I face today. I still have Carcinoid Syndrome (NET) and it is still a battle 22 years after finding it originally and at the time of writing this my wife was receiving her first chemo after a bilateral mastectomy in January 2017, and after the chemo it will be a month of radiation treatment. So this is my story and what I try and live every day of my life.