VOL.2 NO.5 ©1993
IN THIS ISSUE:
Mat 18:18 Binding By The Church
Unity At Destin, Florida
A Sad But Holy God
The Lord And Me
by Mark Carr
As you know, this year the Feast of Tabernacles was held in the Destin, Florida Civic Center. It was a big success; there were several old friendships renewed and many new ones made. There were numerous spiritual sermons and Bible studies given; cassette tapes are available upon request (see Vol.2 No.4 issue for a speaking schedule).
This year the Feast was held for ten days to allow those who are observing the Jewish calendar and those who are observing the calendar of the Bible, TO CELEBRATE THE FEAST TOGETHER! INDEPENDENT Congregations/ Churches from all over the country were there.
Those who attended the Feast experienced a spiritual closeness, an increase of knowledge, and a stronger relationship with God. We hope that all of you are preparing for the Feast next year.
When the last day came we wiped a few tears from our eyes and gave our friends one last hug goodbye until next year. We all look forward to the return of Jesus and the setting up of His kingdom. Its hard to imagine all the things our Creator has in store for us.
We are requesting special prayers for those who were not able to be there or were absent. They were missed and we need to contact each family to offer them assistance. If there is someone in your area you would like us to contact, send us their name and address.
by Herb Solinsky
WHAT IS MOSES' SEAT AND DO THE
PHARISEES DETERMINE THE LAW?
[EDITORS NOTE: The following is an excerpt from a Bible study on the calendar given by Herb Solinsky during the Feast of Tabernacles on October 8, 1993 in Destin, Florida.]
Some people who have been keeping the holy days named in the Bible according to the modern Jewish calendar have objections to changing from this calendar on the basis of a couple of Scriptures. I think it would be worthwhile to look at these objections. The first passage is Mat 23:1-3: "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: `The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do'"
Some have applied this particular Scripture as binding to their own personal behavior so as to mean: "I don't care what the Jews have done with the calendar. This verse says `The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, and from that point on whatever they or their modern day counterparts do, that's what counts." And so this argument is one that deserves some thought.
There are a number of Biblical examples demonstrating that Jesus was accused of violating the Sabbath. John 9:13-16 states: "They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, `He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.' Some of the Pharisees said, `This man is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.' But others said, `How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?' And they were divided." The context does not classify who these "others" are. The
indication here is that they disagreed on the standing of Jesus before God; there is no clear sign in the New Testament that the Pharisees disagreed with one another in public about how the Sabbath was to be kept.
Luke 6:6-11 provides another example in which Jesus healed on the Sabbath. Here, "scribes and Pharisees" are witnesses. After the miracle, Luke 6:11 states: "But they [scribes and Pharisees] were filled with rage and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus." There is no hint of disagreement among the scribes and Pharisees about whether it was proper to heal on the Sabbath.
In the context of John 5:16-18, we do not know the identity of the Jewish leaders that were present to see the healing miracle on the Sabbath, but these verses declare: "For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, `My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.' Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath [in their eyes], but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." The fact that Jesus told the man to pick up his light portable "bed" was included in "these things" that Jesus did. Jesus and the Pharisees would certainly agree that the Sabbath was part of the law, but they would strongly disagree on how the Sabbath was to be kept. The Pharisees did take it upon themselves to try to determine for others how the laws were to be kept rather than encourage each individual to decide for oneself. Despite the fact that there were Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes in first century Judaism, Scripture indicates that in contexts where Pharisees were prominent among the people, they wanted their views to prevail and would even take measures to punish violators.
Mat 15:1-3 states: "Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, `Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.' He answered them, `And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?'" Here it is clear that Jesus accepted their accusation as true and defended the example of His disciples. In verse 6 Jesus continues: "Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition." See also Mark 7:5-13 for further corroboration of this. Mark 7:18-19 states: "He said to them, `Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever [dirt] goes into a person from the outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?' (Thus He declared all foods clean [from dirt defilement].)" We see that Mat 15 and Mark 7 show that the Pharisees correctly accused Jesus and His disciples of eating without washing their hands according to the Jewish leaders' traditional interpretation of the laws of cleanliness. The concept of avoiding what is unclean is, according to II Cor 6:17, part of the apostle Paul's teaching, but the only stated context of its use is that a Christian should not be "yoked" to a non-Christian. It seems likely that in II Cor 6 it means that an unmarried Christian should not seek to marry a non-Christian (note also I Cor 7:39), but wisdom would dictate that it may be applied to other situations.
In Mat 23:3, Jesus states: "Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do..." This statement of Jesus seems to be a general all inclusive statement without limits or qualifiers. Now if that is the case, why didn't Jesus Himself adhere to and teach their standards of keeping the Sabbath and the law of cleanliness? This appears to be a contradiction. Jesus actually taught His disciples, whether by personal example or direct teaching, to disobey some of the laws embodied in the tradition of the elders, which is especially associated with the Pharisees. I John 2:6 states: "He who says he abides in Him [Jesus] ought himself to walk just as He walked." These texts show the following:
(1) Jesus taught disobedience to some of the tradition of the elders.
(2) Jesus indicated that some of the tradition of the elders is contrary to the law of Moses, and that the scribes and Pharisees did not have the authority to annul any of the laws of Moses. Yet the Sabbath is certainly part of the law of Moses, so it seems that Jesus criticized the Jewish leaders for lacking a proper perspective on weighing the laws in terms of application (note Mat 23:23).
(3) The apostle John expected Jesus' followers to have the same position that Jesus had concerning the tradition of the elders (I John 2:6).
So the question is, how does one resolve the issue? What did Jesus mean in Mat 23:1-3? The answer to this question is really not that complicated because Moses had a function different from Aaron in ancient Israel. Whenever something was to be done by the Levitical priesthood down through history, it's typically spoken of as the sons of Aaron or the priests who do something, but never Moses. Heb 7:11 points out that it was through the Levitical priesthood that the people down through history received the law, but even this does not imply that the priesthood had the authority to alter the law. Moses was in charge of the civil government (Ex 18; Num 11:11-17; 12:8; Deut 1:9-18). Moses was not a priest, but his brother Aaron was the first high priest and was in charge of teaching the law after it was initially given through Moses (John 1:17; Ex 4:14-17; Heb 7:11). That's the distinction between Moses and Aaron.
To harmonize Mat 23:1-3 with the other Scriptures, Moses' seat must refer to the civil governmental authority permitted under the autonomy granted to the Jews by the Romans, and the scribes and Pharisees together must have had a dominating influence in matters of civil government.
The same thing is stated in a different way by the apostle Paul in Romans 13. He wrote, "... be subject to the governmental authorities". The Romans gave the Jews certain autonomy to govern themselves and Jesus indicated that the scribes and Pharisees are the ones who administered the local autonomous government. So what Jesus said is in perfect harmony with what Paul said in Romans 13.
Jesus is speaking of the authority of civil government in Mat 23:1-3, not the picky details of the law of Moses and how to apply them. Otherwise, there would be an apparent contradiction, and Matthew would have more properly called it the chair or the seat of Aaron, not of Moses. Of course, the Pharisees would have objected to referring to governmental authority as Aaron's seat because most Pharisees were not priests, that is, they were not of the lineage of Aaron.
Mat 23:1-3 does not in any way give ongoing authority to the leaders of the Jews to change the law of God however they wish. If it really did, the apostle Paul could not have written Col 2:16-17 as he did, since it says: "Therefore, let no man [which includes the leaders of the Jews] judge you ... in respect of a feast day or a new moon or of Sabbaths ..."
WHAT ARE THE ORACLES OF GOD?
The second key Scripture to be discussed is Rom 3:2. Some people use this as an objection to departing from the modern Jewish calendar. Lets start at verse 1. Rom 3:1-2 states: "What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God." Now there are some people that claim that the calendar is an oracle of God. They claim the way it is an oracle of God is this: since the Old Testament does not explain the calendar you need something outside of it to explain the calendar. And according to this sentence, that instruction was entrusted to the Jews. It is claimed: "You've got to look to the Jews to find out how the calendar works". That is the reasoning that is used to make this the basis of following the Jewish calendar.
What does Rom 3:2 mean? First of all I believe that the Old Testament does in fact give sufficient information to determine the calendar provided that you also recognize the science of astronomy, the science of agriculture, as well as recorded history to tie in with the Old Testament. Because there are several areas of proof that correlate along with the Biblical evidence, you can find out what the calendar ought to be.
In other words, you don't have to go to the Jews to find out what the calendar ought to be. Now I don't expect anyone to accept that without evidence, but time and space does not permit the details to be presented here.
What satisfied me to depart from the modern Jewish calendar is the discovery that there is a sufficient amount of evidence to correlate astronomy, agriculture, and history in terms of the calendar. If I did not have that evidence, then I would be perfectly content to follow the Jewish calendar.
Rom 3:2 mentions the word "oracles", and this is significant to understand the verse. The word oracles is Strong's number 3051. That word occurs four times in the New Testament: in Acts 7:38, here in Romans 3:2, then in Hebrews 5:12, and finally in I Peter 4:11. This Greek word for oracles occurs on page 477 of the well known Greek lexicon by Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrch. This lexicon gives as many meanings as may be found for each Greek word, and then categorizes the meanings with the Scriptures. Other ancient Greek writings are also used for evidence of the meanings. In secular ancient writings, (in other words writings outside the Bible), this Greek word for oracles is used, according to this lexicon, "mostly of short sayings originating from a divinity". In other words, in pagan literature there are pagan gods, so short sayings of pagan gods are referred to as oracles.
In Hebrews 5:12, as well as in I Peter 4:11, the expression "oracles of God" occurs, so it specifies what oracles-the oracles of God. And in the context it implies oracles from the Old Testament because that's what existed at the time the New Testament was written. In Acts 7:38, it's the revelations received by Moses, or whatever God told Moses directly, so it still comes directly from God. Hence, in all of the four contexts it is either the preserved written word of God, the Old Testament, or in the case of Acts 7:38, it's what Moses heard directly from God. This is what it is.
Jesus criticized the leaders of the Jews of His day, especially in Mat 15 and Mark 7, for teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. He said that the Jews contradicted or nullified the law of God by what they taught.
So it's clear that Jesus did not consider things that the Jews would say to be in some fashion additions or expansions of the Bible. He weighed everything they said with the Bible, and when it disagreed with the Bible, He dismissed it. And when they added extra rules to Sabbath keeping, He rejected that too. So He rejected additions that were not in the Bible as well as things that contradicted the Bible. Either way, any additions or contradictions to the Bible, Jesus rejected.
So, based upon the usage of the term "oracles", it would not be appropriate to count something about the modern Jewish calendar as an oracle of God unless you could not find the principles of the biblical calendar in the Old Testament correlated with astronomy, etc. If you didn't have enough information from the Old Testament correlated with the science of astronomy, agriculture, and so forth, that would be a different story. That is an answer to Romans 3:2.
MAT 18:18 BINDING BY THE CHURCH
by Mark Carr
Does the Church have the authority to set dates or command days of worship to God that were changed by man? In other words does the Church have the authority to bind a calendar for us to observe that is different from the one God gives us in the Bible?
There are basically three reasons that the Church leaders give for following the adulterated present day Jewish calendar. The first is Matthew 23:2-3, the second is Romans 3:2. Both of these are answered in the previous article by Herb Solinsky. The 3rd is based on the following verse: Mat 18:18, "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Does this mean that Jesus gave the Church leaders the authority to rewrite God's law? NO! only a complete novice would believe that. So what was Jesus talking about then? He was giving the Church authority to make decisions settling grievances and problems with the membership. Read the verses before this. Matthew 18:15-17 talks about going to a brother with a grievance. Verse 18 is talking about disfellowshipping, NOT the binding of an adulterated calendar that changes God's Sabbaths!
This gives the Church authority to settle grievances in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6. It also gives the Church authority to decide if they will meet in the morning or the afternoon, to rent a building or buy one, etc. Jesus never intended for us to use His statements to violate the law by observing a corrupted calendar.
The leaders who knowingly observe an erroneous system for determining God's holy days are guilty of the same sin that Jeroboam committed in 1 Kings 12:32. He ordained a counterfeit feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month at Bethel.
Next year the Jewish calendar is not off by two days like it was this year. It is off by one full month! The men that cling to the false argument that the Pharisees determine God's holy days will celebrate the fall holy days in the summer of 1994!
The Church does not bind the calendar, the Jews do not bind the calendar. God determines when we will worship Him. He did this when He created the sun and the moon to govern the seasons. For those who claim otherwise and say that the Pharisees are in charge, ask them why they don't teach that the tithes should go to the synagogues? After all that is where the Pharisees are today! If the Pharisees are in charge of the calendar, they are in charge of everything else, too.
These Church leaders are talking out of both sides of their mouths. The Catholic Church uses the argument that they have the authority to bind the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. We all know that's a lie, but what is the difference? Passover, Trumpets, Saturday, A SABBATH IS A SABBATH IS A SABBATH, if we can't change one we can't change any. The only logical solution is to observe the same calendar that Jesus did.
There are also many sincere Church leaders who are deceived and truly don't understand what they are doing. These are the ones we are trying to reach with this article. We need to pray that God will grant them understanding, and then give them the courage to abandon the false traditions they have been following. The other leaders who already know the truth but reject it will never change unless the members demand it.
Every major group that I know of that observes the holy days has been supplied information on the calendar. Many groups, once they have learned the truth, have rejected the present day Jewish calendar and have gone back to the calendar God gave Moses. Unfortunately, many Church leaders have tried to suppress this information and have tried to hide it from their members. They are afraid of change, and they are worshiping money instead of God. They won't obey God and worship Him when He commands them to because they are more interested in attracting new members and feel that this would hinder growth.
There are some people who get upset with us when this subject is brought up. They say we should keep quiet about the facts and not "rock the boat". Should we also keep quiet about the weekly Sabbath? If we did, we could all meet on Sunday in unity with our neighbors, and preach soothing doctrines that would assure the Church would be full. I DON'T THINK SO!!! We need to teach the truth and reach out to our brothers with love, NOT compromise our beliefs in an attempt to make ourselves more appealing to refugees and dissidents from other groups. I say since God is the one who created the calendar, follow it and let Him work out the problems. If the leaders refuse to accept God's truth let's educate the membership of their Churches and then they will be forced to obey God. If they don't, the members will throw them out!
If you would like more information on this subject, write for our free booklet, God's Calendar vs Roman Jewish Calendar. Or request a copy of the cassette tapes from the Bible study given this year on the calendar by Herb Solinsky.
UNITY AT DESTIN, FLORIDA
by Charles Kimbrough
From the very first service on September 30 to the last service on October 9, and from the first song to the last prayer, all those who attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Destin, Florida, will tell you this was the very best Feast ever. There were many highlights. The song services were superb; we sang from new song books which contained not only the old familiar hymns but also several new songs that were composed by the song leader NORMAN ROWE. ALL OF THE SPECIAL MUSIC WAS SUPERB. On the last day of the Feast, we were singing a song to the tune of God Speaks To Us, when suddenly from behind the audience the very musical Rowe family blasted out the trumpet roll. Everyone was surprised, not knowing what was taking place. THE SOUND WAS SO LOUD I THOUGHT ABOUT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. Chill bumps went all over me. It made each of us put our every effort into the singing, and sounded like the GREAT AMEN.
The sermons were all outstanding and filled with the spiritual food that we expected to receive. This feast was unusual in the content of several sermons. Two in particular, one by Charles Kimbrough and one by Larry Ford, both dealt with Daniel 9:24-27. Both arrived at by different methods, but SHEDDING NEW UNDERSTANDING on this very important subject of the soon return of Jesus Christ. I don't want to just pick out these two, for all the others were just as inspiring. Mark Carr's sermon on Sabbath, (our first Holy Day) as well as John Pinkston's (on their last great day), brought tears to many eyes. And who will ever forget the sermon given by Herb Solinsky on Abraham and the faith that he had and at times didn't have. It was probably the most up-lifting of all. All the sermons and sermonettes were very well given.
Yes, we did achieve unity of the spirit (as was our intent) at this Feast, more so than any Feast that I have attended. I heard NOT ONE negative comment, and that is something.
We have available audio cassette copies free of charge; all you have to do is ask. It is because of the generosity of our readers, that we have never put a price tag on tapes or literature or anything we make available.
After returning home, we heard of a minister that made the comment to another group at THEIR feast; "Do you know there is a group meeting just down the road that is CONFUSED? They are actually meeting for ten days". Mr. D___, I MUST tell you that you are the one who is confused, and it is easy to understand why. It's because you and yours still operate under the assumption that you can keep the Feast days at any time YOU choose. That is the real confusion; and it is brought on by NOT following the calendar that God gave to all of mankind in Genesis 1:14. I will hereby PREDICT that YOU will keep the Feast days in the Kingdom of God by that same NEW MOON calendar. You know as well as we do that all people are not up to the same level of understanding and never will be until Jesus Christ returns.
Therefore, we kept a beautiful Feast for 10 days for both groups until we all come in to the full knowledge of Christ. And that is not confusion! Mr. D___, we hereby invite you and Mr. A___ to have the Feast next year with us and we invite you to speak. How about a reciprocal invitation? HOW ABOUT IT?
Finally I wish to thank all of those who have asked their prayers for Nadine. She had a small stroke at the Feast, and found out after returning home that she has become diabetic. She is now doing well.
by Jim Lewis
All eyes are focused upon the little nation of Israel to see what will happen next. Not many days have passed since the peace talks over the disputed area of Israel looked hopeless to the world. Then all of a sudden, without notice, we are told that a peace agreement has been reached. The world rejoiced at this news while the TV continued to bring us stories about the miracle that had happened.
Yet, for all that was said, the real story of just what happened to make Israel change their minds and why all of a sudden the PLO became so peaceful has not been told. Yes, we have been told that the PLO changed their spots and suddenly became a lamb instead of the old leopard we had seen, but what really happened? Well, here you will read the truth of the matter. I have a dear friend in Israel, I will not reveal his name for my own concern of him; I would trust this man with my very life. In a letter written some 9 or 10 days before the peace agreement was known to the world, he told me what was happening. He said, "Jim, the PLO has offered the government of Israel an opportunity to build it's third temple side by side with the dome of the rock on the temple mount. In return the Israeli government would allow the PLO self rule."
What he wrote disturbed me greatly, but I could not have anticipated what he was to say next. His words were, "as soon as the PLO finished their meeting with our leaders, they got on a plane and flew to the Vatican and had a meeting with the Pope." These words rang in my ears with a deafening sound.
He compared this to the Romans allowing the building of Herod's temple and how they allowed the Jews to worship, yet controlled their daily lives. He states the "Pope would allow the Jews to build their house of worship, a house he considers temporal and expendable, and that it would be a small price for him and the PLO to pay to get a foothold there." The Pope looks for the payment of this to be the establishment of a Palestinian State, which will replace the Jewish State altogether.
Yes, this is the truth behind what is really happening with the peace agenda. Rabbi Lau, chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jews, met with the Pope and the Moslem leaders at the Vatican. This fact was reported in the Jerusalem Post on September 21st. Soon there will be a meeting with the Pope in Jerusalem, and the Moslem leaders will also attend. This time the discussion will be Jerusalem. This meeting could happen before this article is even printed, or soon afterward. We, as God's children, need to keep our eyes open because things are moving at such a fast pace now.
A SAD BUT HOLY GOD
Submitted by Jerry Hunnicutt
America the beautiful, or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrim's pride - I hope they never see
Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand.
Sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.
People wander aimlessly, poisoned by cocaine.
Choosing to indulge, when God said to abstain.
From sea to shining sea, our country turns away,
From the teaching of God's word, and the need to always pray.
Phoney TV pastors tell lies about our Rock,
Saying God is going broke, so they can fleece the flock.
We've voted in a government, that's rotting to the core.
Appointing Godless judges, who throw reason out the door.
Too soft to place the killer, in his well deserved tomb.
But brave enough to kill the child, before he leaves the womb.
You think God is not angry, that our land's a moral slum?
How much evil will He watch, before His Kingdom comes?
How are we to face our God, from whom we cannot hide?
What is left for us to do, to stem this evil tide?
If we who are called, would humbly turn and pray.
If we would seek His holy face, and leave our evil way.
Then God would hear from heaven, and forgive us of our sin.
He'd heal our sickly land, and those who live within.
But America the beautiful, if you don't then you will see.
A sad but holy God, withdraw His hand from thee.
THE LORD AND ME
by T.J. Walker
Lord, I wish I'd known you years ago,
But I suppose my life was meant to be this way.
Lord, now I read your Word, and it tells me the way to go.
Now before I lay down at night, I always take time to pray.
Lord, now that I am all alone, I ask myself where have my friends gone?
So now I try and write a poem, so someone else won't ever be alone.
People always said that I was so mean,
Lord, now that I know you, my soulis so clean.
And I don't know what the road ahead holds for me,
Lord, I pray every night that someday I will see you next to me.
[EDITORS NOTE: The above poem was written by a man who is on death row in the state of Tennessee for murder. After he was incarcerated he was given a Bible and began to study. He now waits for the return of Jesus.
For information on starting a prison ministry contact the local prison or jail chaplain in your area.]
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