VOL.2 NO.2 ©1993INTERNET EDITION
IN THIS ISSUE:
Unity, Combined Feast This Fall
God's Holidays, Passover
If I Were Satan
UNITY, COMBINED FEAST THIS FALL
by Charles Kimbrough
We live in very troublesome times. The whole world is in much turmoil. There is the threat of war all around the world; famine and pestilence are the order of the day. It is a time that Jesus prophesied about just before the final persecution of the church; a time when the Church of God ought to be united; a time when the church should be preaching the true gospel to the world as a witness; a time when the church in America ought to be testifying to this nation about what sin is; a time of telling the leadership of America that they are not obeying GOD's WILL; a time of final witnessing and warning to America. IT IS A TIME OF CHURCH UNITY, WHICH IS ANYTHING BUT UNITED. THE CHURCH IS DIVIDED ON MANY STICKY POINTS, MOST OF WHICH WILL NOT BE ANSWERED UNTIL CHRIST RETURNS.
For instance, on Sunday evening, April 4, churches all over the world will have observed the Lord's Supper. Also on Monday, April 5, churches all over the world will have observed Passover and taking the bread and wine. These many churches agree with the Jewish calendar, but do not agree with the time of the observance of Passover. On Tuesday, April 6, other churches all over the world will have observed the Lord's Supper by the New Moon calendar; and others, on April 7, will have observed the Passover by the same New Moon Calendar. ALL WILL HAVE carried out WHAT THEY BELIEVED WAS THE CORRECT WAY TO OBSERVE THE LORD'S SUPPER OR THE PASSOVER. Whichever you choose to call it, ALL ARE SINCERE.
These churches know the truth about the Sabbath, the Holy days, the destiny of man, and so many other truths that this nation and its leaders need to hear. All know it is the church's duty and responsibility to support the final warning message to Israel. All should know that the book of Ezekiel is the WATCHMAN'S final warning message, along with many other scriptures, that has to be taught to this country. At a time when we should be united to carry it out we are anything but UNITED.
When the Bible says all have sinned and come short, we could apply this as reasons for division in the church. Because every church LEADER IN AMERICA, BY COMMISSION OR OMISSION, has taken a part in the division. All have been partly responsible for that division, ALL! CONTROL! CONTROL! WHO IS IN CONTROL? This has been the order of the day. In one town that I know of, people are not allowed to meet together, not even for a bible study if the minister is not there. How sad; I believe in order but that kind of control is ridiculous. Did you know that Aquila and Priscilla who showed Apollos a more perfect way, did not know that they were under the control of some man? (Acts 18: 24-26). We have allowed SATAN the devil to come in to DIVIDE, and ALL BUT DESTROY the most IMPORTANT WORK OF OUR TIME. SATAN has gotten us to FOCUS on our own SELFISH EGOS, and what we are doing, INSTEAD of on PREACHING about CHRIST and His MESSAGE of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD, WARNING this COUNTRY of it's IMPENDING DISASTER. We should be TRUSTING GOD to TAKE CARE of US while DOING THAT WORK... We should be on EVERY major TELEVISION STATION in America!
The new president, who claims to be a Christian, is promoting HOMOSEXUALITY, ABORTION, and the spending of GOVERNMENT FUNDS to PAY for the ABORTIONS of POOR WOMEN as a MEANS OF BIRTH CONTROL! Mark my word, THE DAY IS COMING, WHEN, if you SPEAK OUT against such GARBAGE, YOU WILL BE PUT IN JAIL. Surely, we can refocus our priorities and unite against our common enemy, SATAN.
Shortly after the inauguration of Bill Clinton as President, I saw Garner Ted Armstrong on Chicago station WGN talking about the homosexuals and abortion, and he advertised a sermon by Mr. Ronald Dart about the prayer that Billy Graham gave at the inauguration ceremony. In that prayer, Mr. Graham quoted from Daniel 9:5. "We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled even by departing from your precepts and your judgments." That program by Mr. Armstrong was right on target. We need many other such programs like it, telling America to repent and start obeying GOD's LAWS. It put me to thinking about all that has transpired within the church over the last 15 years.
The only way that I know how to help solve the problem and unify the church is to admit to one and all that I, AT TIMES, HAVE BEEN WRONG AND HAVE BEEN A PART OF THE PROBLEM. DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT YOU MIGHT ALSO BE A PART OF THE PROBLEM? HAVE WE BEEN TOO SENSITIVE TO OUR OWN FEELINGS and needs, and not had the GODLY PATIENCE THAT WE MUST HAVE TO DO THE WORK and to deal with GOD's people with godly compassion and patient, long-suffering, understanding?
Therefore, I PROPOSE THE FOLLOWING:
THE BEST WAY for me personally to SAY what I mean is this. I WILL SUPPORT Garner Ted Armstrong as long as he is doing the WORK of telling this country the REAL GOSPEL and SHOWING this NATION its SINS. However, I will not support the building of another ORGANIZATION OF YELLOW PENCILS.
I will also SUPPORT MR. JOHN PINKSTON of ATLANTA, as long as he PREACHES THE EZEKIEL MESSAGE TO THIS NATION and continues in the direction that the Congregations of God have charted.
It should be obvious that I do not agree with either of these men on all facets of scripture. NO TWO PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH AGREE ON ALL SCRIPTURE. How long is it going to TAKE for us to ADMIT WE DON'T KNOW IT ALL? There are some scholars who say that Jesus and His disciples kept Passover one day before the Jews. We know, in JESUS' day the Sadducees did not agree with the Pharisees, and neither group/sect agreed with our Savior. BUT THEY ALL MET IN THE SAME SYNAGOGUE. ALL KEPT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES IN JERUSALEM AT THE TEMPLE. WE CAN DISAGREE WITHOUT BEING DISAGREEABLE We all can meet at the General Assembly of the Congregations/ Churches of GOD and worship GOD together at the Feast of TABERNACLES, because the Feast represents the millennium when we will all be at one with GOD; then there will be no division.
COMBINED FEAST THIS FALL
Finally, this fall I will be observing the Feast of Tabernacles in Destin, Florida for 10 DAYS. This is to allow those who are observing the Jewish calendar and those who are observing the calendar by the New Moons, TO OBSERVE THE FEAST TOGETHER.
Mr. John Pinkston of Atlanta has secured a nice feast site in Destin, Florida. INDEPENDENT Congregations/ Churches from all over the country will be there. We are looking forward to seeing old friends that we have not seen for years. This is just a start. WE PRAY THAT IT CATCHES ON, and it will work if we leave our differences at home. We are also looking forward to 1994 when all the splinter churches can be at combined Feast sites all over the country. We will have more on this year's Feast in the next issue. We also hope that you all have had a wonderful PASSOVER.
GOD'S HOLIDAYS, PASSOVER
by Mark Carr
This article is the second in a series that will appear in the Sentinel. Each article will cover one of the days that God has set apart as holy. They are listed in Leviticus the 23rd chapter. When this series is completed the articles will be combined into a booklet, published & made available.
Passover is the first of three feast seasons. It is celebrated in the month of Nisan (usually April), during the barley harvest. There are three holy days contained within this season; Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. We will study the Passover in this article and see how it identifies who the Messiah is and how Jesus fulfilled its every aspect perfectly.
OLD TESTAMENT PASSOVER
The original Passover was God's delivery of Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. That freedom was purchased with a staggering price, the death of every firstborn in Egypt.
To be saved from this sentence of death required faith and obedience. God has always required the shedding of blood for the remission of our sins (Lev 17:11 Heb 9:22). Failure to provide a lamb meant certain death. On the 10th day of Nisan a male lamb without blemish, perfect in every way was selected (Exo 12:3-5). The next four days were spent checking or testing the lamb for imperfections.
Then on the 14th day of Nisan the lamb was killed, put on a wooden pole or spit and roasted. This took place in the afternoon so there was time to cook and prepare for the meal that began at sundown. In preparing the lamb, one had to make sure that none of it's bones were broken and that the entire lamb was consumed during the evening. None of it could remain till the next day.
During the Passover meal the whole family would participate. It was, and is, a learning experience for everyone present, especially the children. One of the reasons that God commanded Passover to be observed was to teach the children the role that the lamb would play. God commands us to celebrate this festival with our children, (Exo 12:26-27)
There is a ritual that has crept into the Passover meal where the father or leader takes a white bag with three compartments that has matzah written in Hebrew on it. Three loaves of matzah are inserted, one in each compartment. Before the meal, the father removes the center loaf, wraps it in white linen and hides or buries it, this is called the afikomen. There are four cups of wine during the Passover meal. During the third cup, the "cup of redemption" the afikomen is retrieved or resurfaced from it's hiding place (more about this later).
This is a simple overview of how one observed the Lord's Passover in ancient Israel. God used the blood of the lamb to atone for your sins and save you from death. It is how you sealed your covenant with Him each year. The Passover was a time of joy, praise and worship to God. It was and is a joyous celebration. The Levites would lead the people in prayers and songs from Psalms 113-118. The people would sing them one verse at a time and the Levites would reply by singing hallelujah (praise-ye-the-Lord). As the instruments were played and the people sang, it would climax with, "This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." PSA 118:24.
Each year the people would look for the Messiah to come and deliver them from their afflictions. Jewish people still await the Messiah today. They set a place at the table for Elijah so he can announce the return of Messiah.
JESUS, THE NEW TESTAMENT PASSOVER
Let's look at how Jesus was born to keep the Passover with his life, death and resurrection. He was, and is, the Messiah the people have waited 3,500 years for. John the Baptist came and announced his appearance 2,000 years ago but because Israel didn't understand the symbolism of the Passover most of them didn't recognize their savior. For a thorough understanding of how the Messiah would die, read Isaiah the 53rd chapter. Now let's look at the events that lead up to His sacrifice.
Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:36). He was chosen by the people on the 10th day of Nisan, [Palm Sunday] as their lamb (John 12:12-13). After Jesus entered the city he endured intense scrutiny for the next four days. During that time the leaders tried to find fault with or in Him (Matt 22 & 23). In a last desperate attempt they took Jesus to Pilot on Thursday morning who said, John 19:4 "...I find no fault in Him".
Eventually Jesus was crucified instead of a man named Barabbas, (John 18:39-40). Since all Hebrew names have meanings just like an Indian name, (running deer, etc.) It is a little more than interesting that Barabbas means son of papa. Jesus died for the Father's son, the unnamed man, you and me in our place. Barabbas was a condemned sinner worthy of death. Jesus was a perfect man without sin or blemish. Just like the innocent lamb, His blood was shed instead of ours.
That year there were over 250,000 lambs sacrificed in Jerusalem. They began to prepare them at 9:00 A.M. and slayed them at 3:00 P.M. At nine in the morning, exactly when the Jews were preparing their sacrifice (Mark 15:25), Jesus was nailed and bound to a tree, just like the lambs were sacrificed on a spit (1 Peter 2:24). At 3:00 in the afternoon when the lambs were killed, stretched out on a pole and fastened with wire or nails, our Savior had been sacrificed the same way. When the high priest slayed the last lamb, Jesus died (Mark 15:33-37).
When they came to break Jesus' legs so that He would die before sundown they discovered He was already dead (John 19:33). This fulfilled Exo 12:46 and Deu 21:22-23, the lamb could not remain until the next day. It really shouldn't come as a surprise to us, after all he had a feast to keep.
Do you remember the afikomen? Just like it comes from the center compartment and is tied to the cup of redemption, Jesus was sacrificed between two others (John 19:18). He IS the cup of redemption! The matzah from the afikomen represents Jesus. It is unleavened, pierced, wrapped in white linen, buried and resurrected or redeemed. Jesus said that the bread was His body, (Mark 14:22), He is the bread of life (John 6:35). His blood is our cup of redemption (Luke 22:20).
Centuries after the original Passover where Israel was freed from slavery, Jesus took the symbols of the meal and instructed the New Testament church how they represented our freedom from death. He explained that they depicted Him and, just like the sacrifice and blood of a lamb saved Israel from death, His sacrifice and blood would save us. The death of Egypt's first-born saved Israel, the death of God's firstborn saved the world. God purchased us with the life of His only Son.
God spent 1,500 years teaching Israel how to identify the Messiah, but when He came they didn't recognize Him. It shouldn't surprise us though, Jesus explained it to us 2,000 years ago and most of the world still doesn't observe or know what and when the Passover is!
14th OR 15th?
Let's understand one thing, Jesus gave this instruction for the Passover 24 hours early. He did that so His disciples could understand the true meaning of this service. There is a lot of confusion on when the correct day of observance is. We will not be 100% sure until Jesus returns and we can ask Him. As long as you are doing what you believe to be correct in your heart you will receive a blessing from God and the service will be honored. Having said that we'll proceed with what we have been convicted in our hearts to do.
Most of the misunderstanding is due to a misconception of when Israel plundered Egypt and what day they left. Some believe that after God told Israel to "eat in haste" (Exo 12:11) and be ready to leave at a moments notice, after the meal they got undressed, went to bed, lounged around until the next day (the 15th), plundered the Egyptians, went home and then waited until night on the 16th and left. This is incorrect and a simple reading of Exo 11:2-3 and 12:35 will show that the Egyptians were plundered on the day before, the 14th!
Another heresy that is catching on is the belief that Deuteronomy 16 was changed by the Jews. Those who believe this do so because they want to follow church tradition instead of the Word of God. We don't tear out parts of the Bible that don't agree with our tradition, we abandon the false ways we are following and obey God! Instead, they pretend to be Hebrew scholars and THEY change the scriptures despite solid proof that they are accurate. In their attempt to preserve tradition they perform the very act of which they falsely accuse the Jews! Deuteronomy 16 tells us the Passover begins at the end of the 14th, not the beginning. The Passover is something to be observed, not "remembered".
There is also a belief that Israel could not have journeyed from Rameses to Succoth and left the same night. Despite the fact that the Bible says they did, some think it is impossible. The Israelites were slaves and many probably made this journey every day twice; Just like the journey we make back and forth to work, they were prepared! As soon as they got the word, it took about thirty seconds to walk out the door, they didn't even have to stop and put their shoes on!
Others think that Jesus changed the night of observance. HE DID NOT, It was physically impossible for Him to observe the Passover that year on the 15th with the disciples, He would be in the tomb! Lets all realize a very important fact; if the Passover is on the 14th and not the 15th then JESUS WAS SACRIFICED ON THE WRONG DAY AND DID NOT FULFIL THE REQUIREMENTS!! If this is true then JESUS WAS NOT THE LAMB OF GOD!! Why do we always have to think we are smarter than God? The Bible says that Jesus died on the 14th and that it was the preparation day, NOT the Passover (John 19:14). That makes the 15th the Passover. Do you really think that God would plan this so carefully that Jesus died at the exact minute the lamb was sacrificed, but on the wrong day?
The disciples knew it was a day early and they understood that Jesus was teaching them something new. They understood they were not observing Passover that night. When Jesus told Judas to go so he could betray Him, the disciples thought he was going to buy supplies for the feast! (John 13:27-29). This was after the meal, bread, wine and foot washing. If Jesus was teaching a new day for Passover observance, everyone received an "F" that night.
The truth is, He did not change the day of Passover and they all knew it. He was showing them how they were to commemorate His death from then on. The purpose of this festival is to teach us how we are saved. This is how we renew our marriage vows each year with Christ. Jesus commands us to observe it and said He will keep it with us when He returns (Mat 26:29).
WHAT IS EVEN?
All of these misunderstandings can be cleared up if we simply let the Bible interpret itself. When does the Bible say Passover begins? Lev 23:5 "In the fourteenth day of the first month at EVEN is the LORD's passover." (KJV) The Passover begins at even. Is there another day that uses the same terminology to tell us when even is? Yes, lets look in the same chapter at Lev 23:27, "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls..." (KJV) When does this day begin and end? Lev 23:32 "It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at EVEN, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." (KJV) That proves it, even means the END of the day, not the beginning.
There is no disagreement when the day of atonement begins. Everyone who observes it will fast from sundown on the 9th to sundown on the 10th. The next time someone tries to tell you that Passover is to be observed on the beginning of the 14th not the end, ask them why they don't observe atonement the same way!!
You see there really is no valid reason to observe passover 24 hours early at the end of the 13th other than TRADITION. Lets follow the Bible instead of the traditions of men. Observe the Passover like Jesus and the disciples did with a meal, the symbols, and footwashing. NOT a copycat Catholic communion on one night and then a meal the next. The term "Lord's Supper" itself tells us the Passover is a meal. You can't separate the symbols from the meal, they are a part of it. Paul warned the Corinthians not to show up for the meal starving or drunk because they were profaning it. (1 Cor 11:21-22 + 33-34)
OBSERVING A CHRISTIAN PASSOVER
On the 14th of Nisan, go to the room, remove all the leavening and clean everything. Set up tables with a cloth, flowers, candles, dishes, etc. The point is to make it as beautiful as possible. You are there to celebrate Christ's victory over sin.
If you are preparing the meal, its without leavening. If it is a pot luck make sure everyone understands this. You will also need red wine or grape juice, unleavened bread or matzah, a basin and some hand towels. Don't forget the bitter herbs (Exo 12:8). You might want to purchase or make a matzah bag.
Start the meal about sundown on the beginning of the 15th. Sing songs, read a few appropriate scriptures and enjoy the fellowship. At the end of the meal have the children find the afikomen and bring it to you. Pray, break it and explain what it symbolizes. Next, bless and pass the cups of red wine and/or grape juice explaining its significance. After everyone has had the chance to take these symbols, choose a partner and wash their feet like Jesus did (John 13:4-5). When everyone is done they should go out with a song (Mat 26:30). Before you leave remember to destroy all food, wine etc. None of it can remain there the next day (Exo 12:10).
There you have it, the New Testament Passover. This is the example Jesus left for us to follow once a year. It is the marriage supper of the Lamb. Just like the Lord of the Old Testament appeared to Moses from a thorn bush and gave the instructions that began the first Passover, the Lord of the New Testament wore a crown of thorns and gave us the instructions for the Christian Passover.
IF I WERE SATAN
by Mark Carr
If I were the Devil, I would take control of the only country where the freedom to worship the true God in Heaven exists, the United States. The first place I would have to start is the churches. I would substitute teaching for preaching, psychology for religion and make science a God. I'd lure priests and pastors into abusing boys, girls and church money. I'd convince evangelists to use prostitutes and swindle millions of people out of their money.
If I were the Devil, I'd incorporate Easter eggs, bunnies and tree worship into religious services.
If I were the Devil, I'd convince Christians Jesus did away with the Commandments. I'd tell them it's OK to break the Sabbath, OK to lust after their neighbor, OK to cheat, lie and steal in business as long as you are generous to the church, OK to deal with people who are unethical and immoral.
If I were the Devil, I'd have families and churches at war with themselves. This would assure their destruction.
If I were the Devil, I'd convince the young that man created God and the Bible as a way to control them. I'd convince the old to pray "Our father-which art in Washington."
If I were the Devil, I'd have school officials evict God and Christianity, abolish discipline, encourage sex, hand out condoms and teach that being queer is not a sin but an alternative lifestyle. I'd even teach them how to do it. Before you knew it I'd have guards, metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs at every schoolhouse door. This would assure the overflowing of prisons where corrupt guards and judges can solicit sexual favors from the prisoners.
If I were the Devil, I'd convince the people to "find themselves" and do whatever feels good. I'd tell them to gossip about others; be jealous of others; be envious of the possessions of others; curse those who curse them; hate others who have a different background or education, and judge those who have sinned.
If I were the Devil, I'd sell drugs to anyone I could and run beer and cigarette ads to trap the rest in addiction. Then, I'd have the doctors tranquilize the churchgoers who object to this with prescription drugs.
If I were the Devil, I'd have my servants who work for the television and entertainment industry produce music sex videos that encourage immoral behavior, murder and suicide. I'd make cartoons and movies that convince you marriage is old-fashioned and promiscuity is more fun. I'd teach you how to kill parents, cops and children. I'd load the movies with four letter words until I had you talking like that. When I was done I'd have you thinking that a wholesome Christian life is dull and uninteresting.
If I were the Devil, I'd take from those who work and give it to the lazy who refuse to work. Then, I could tell those who are old and sick that there is nothing left for them. This would kill the incentive of the ambitious.
In other words, if I were the Devil, I'd just keep right on doing what he's doing.
The next issue will contain an article about the Waco, Texas, Branch Davidian tragedy and their leader David Koresh. We will also continue the holiday series.
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