Joseph Herrin (11-30-2010)
We are entering once again upon one of the church’s high holy seasons. Christmas and Easter have become the most pronounced and celebrated events of modern Christianity. This is in fulfillment of the words of the apostle Paul:
II Thessalonians 2:1-3
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Yahshua Christ, and our gathering together to Him… Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed…
Paul was writing over 1900 years ago, and the time for the Lord’s return had not yet arrived. The Spirit and the Scriptures both testify that the hour is now very near for the appearance of Christ. Those prerequisites declared by the apostle have also been fulfilled. Visible Christianity has fallen into apostasy. A good definition of apostasy is “divorcement from truth.” A profound lawlessness has also gripped the mass of believers.
Such a statement confounds the majority of believers, for they do not have an understanding of Yahweh’s definition of lawlessness. Christ described lawlessness in the following manner:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
Christ defines Kingdom law and Kingdom lawlessness in the following manner: Those who are doing the will of the Father are acting lawfully; Those who are not doing the Father’s will are lawless. That is to say, “They are out from under authority.”
The problem Christianity has in recognizing lawful and lawless deeds arises from their soulish judgment. They view things with the human senses and make judgments based upon what they see and hear. This is not the manner in which the Son of God, or those conformed to His image, judge matters.
And He will delight in the fear of Yahweh, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge…
How many Christians today could witness a person prophesying, casting out a demon, or performing a legitimate miracle, and resist forming a judgment based upon what they saw and heard? How many would automatically assume that such an one was pleasing to God and acting in a lawful manner? Yet Christ said “many” who do such works will be declared lawless on the day of judgment.
Christ did all the works referred to here. He cast out demons. He prophesied. He performed miracles. For Yahshua these were lawful acts because in every instance He did only what the Father showed Him to do.
Yahshua therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing…”
Christ never acted apart from a command from the Father. He never performed any action arising from His soul. He lived to do the will of the Father.
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
The hearing that Yahshua refers to here is not the natural hearing spoken of by the prophet Isaiah. It is spiritual hearing. Christ listened for the still, small voice of His Father, and He did precisely as His Father directed. He never prophesied a word of His own initiative. He never healed a person without a command from His Father. He never cast out a demon that He did not see His Father casting out.
If such an understanding is new to you, I would recommend to you the book Sabbath. In it you will find described the spiritual substance of Sabbath rest, which is for man to cease from his own labors, as God ceased from His.
For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.
Note that a failure to enter into this state of Sabbath rest is described as “disobedience.” To disobey is to practice lawlessness. This is the present condition of the majority of Christians. Rather than being submitted to the leading of the Spirit in all things, they are directed by the counsel of their soul.
Even if the soul counsels apparently good actions, like choosing a good paying occupation in order to support a family, pursuing the American dream so your family can live as comfortably and with as much worldly satisfaction as your neighbors, or participating in civic organizations that have charitable aims, they are lawless acts apart from the leading of the Father. One can even cast out demons and perform miracles and be lawless in the eyes of the Father.
This brings me to the subject of Christian holidays (holy days). The Father did give command for the twelve tribes of Israel to observe holy days. There were three main occasions for these observations every year. At the wheat harvest they celebrated the Feast of Passover. At the barley harvest they celebrated Pentecost. At the grape harvest they celebrated Tabernacles, which is also called by the Hebrew name Sukkot.
The early church was Jewish in origin. The twelve disciples which became the first 12 apostles were all Jews by natural descent. The church began in Jerusalem, and undoubtedly continued to observe these feasts of Yahweh. It took several centuries of creeping error to displace the feasts of Yahweh with the pagan feasts observed by the Sun worshipers of Rome.
Please note that I do not teach that Gentile believers today should observe the feasts of Yahweh in order to be declared righteous. There is benefit in understanding these feast days, for they are filled with symbols that serve as parables pointing to the coming of Christ (Passover), the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) and the coming fulness of union with God (Tabernacles). It is not the shadows observed in these festivals that are of utmost importance today, but the substance that is realized in Christ.
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
It is important to understand the context of the apostle’s words here. He is not speaking of pagan festivals. Paul was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin. He was trained as a Pharisee, the strictest sect of his people. He was addressing Christians who were being told by some that they had to observe the Law’s many ordinances, in addition to having faith in Christ and being led of the Spirit. He was countering this argument, declaring that those things found in the Old Testament; namely ordinances relating to food and drink, feast days, new moons, and Sabbath day observances, were all shadows pointing to some spiritual substance which is realized in Christ.
What Paul did proclaim to the people of God is that they are to be led of the Spirit in all things, following the pattern of Yahshua.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
I have often been accused of teaching lawlessness for declaring that the saints of God are not bound to keep the Law delivered to Moses. This is a false charge, for I do not teach lawlessness. I teach submission to the rule of the Spirit of God. If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law, neither are you lawless. Will the Spirit of God ever lead a man or woman to an act contrary to the will of the Father? Absolutely not. The Law contained only a shadow of the will of the Father, but the Spirit reveals the substance.
What do these things have to do with the observance of Christmas and Easter? If lawful activity is defined as doing the will of the Father as He reveals it to us by His Spirit, then we must examine how the church has arrived at the celebration of these pagan holidays that have been adopted through the practice of syncretism. Has there been a command from the Father to observe Christmas and Easter, with all their pagan symbols and mixing of the holy and the profane? Is the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifested at this season when men and women are driven to excesses of material consumption? Is the promotion of the merchandise of the world a fruit of our union with Christ? Why does the carnal world enjoy this holiday as much as the people of God if it is actually a demonstration of spiritual life?
Some people at this season have written to me to inquire if I have any writings on Christmas. I have a teaching written specifically for those interested in the origins of this celebration. It reveals why this holiday has become such a sacred cow (golden calf) to Christians today, assuring that a great many will never separate from its observance.
I recommend this writing to you. It is titled Removing the High Places.
I recently put this teaching into the form of a newsletter, making it ideal to share with other believers. Following is the cover of the issue.
This 24 page edition of the Parables Bookshelf Series is filled with images and Scriptures, as it addresses the church’s adoption of this holiday, revealing the origin of the dates, symbols, and practices associated with it. I am making this newsletter available in PDF format for any who should wish to print it out for their own viewing, or to share it with others.
Inside Pages of Newsletter
Some may ask, “Do not Christians have liberty to observe these holidays if they place the focus on Christ?” This is a question I have wrestled much with. I have desired earnestly to know the mind of the Father in these things. What I have come to understand is revealed in a prophetic utterance of Christ to Peter. This was at the third appearance of Christ after His resurrection, and shortly before He ascended to the Father.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands , and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.”
These words contain a parable. When we are young (spiritually immature) we go where we desire, and array ourselves in a manner pleasing to self. To arrive at spiritual maturity we must give up this soulish liberty, and embrace the cross. We encounter the cross as we surrender the thoughts, will, and desires of our own soul to be directed by the will of Another. This Other One is Yahweh. As we come into this place of Spirit submission, we will no longer be guided by the counsel of our own soul. Instead, we will live for the will and pleasure of another.
This change of headship, removing our own head to take Christ as Head, will always lead us into conflict with the world, and with a worldly church. We could continue to be self-directed, offering sacrifices to God of our own choosing, but He demands obedience rather than sacrifice. He does not want His sons, who are called to attain to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Christ, to remain spiritual infants. We learn obedience by the things we suffer. We are perfected (matured) through suffering. This suffering (the work of the cross) is entered into as we cease doing our own works, and surrender to be led of the Spirit who reveals to us the will of the Father.
This certainly applies to our participation, or lack of it, in the celebration of Christmas and Easter. I found my own surrender to the will of the Father in this matter eleven years ago to be quite a revelatory experience. Unsaved family members became my adversaries. Why did this occur? Why were they so adamant that I participate in a “Christian celebration” when they had never before been advocates of obedience to Christ? Why is the world so heavily invested in continuing this celebration when she has removed all Christian morality from society, and all Biblical influence from the schools and government?
The answer should be obvious. Christmas is filled with images and practices that appeal to the fallen nature of man. To copy a phrase employed by Sinclair Lewis in the book Babbit, Christmas season is “an orgy of commercial righteousness.”
Perhaps you would like to persuade yourself that this is a trivial matter and will not have any bearing upon your appearance at the judgment seat of Christ. I would counsel you against such a conclusion. It is in our willingness to walk separately from the world, and a worldly religious system, that Yahweh proves those who will stand as overcomers. Where else is persecution to arise in the life of a saint if it is not in our obedience to be led of the Spirit by walking contrary to the path of the masses.
Consider that Christ declared that the way is broad that leads to destruction, but the gate is narrow and the way is afflicted that leads to life. Few there are who find it. If you are following the herd how can you assume that you are that narrow path that ends at life? Barack Hussein Obama will be lighting the Christmas Tree at the White House this year. Will you be lighting one at your home?
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