So far in this series, we have looked at the following

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)

According to Jewish Calendar, this evening marks the beginning of  feast of the Tabernacles.  Today let us look at the feast of the Tabernacles according to the Torah of Moses. In this article we would look at the feast from the following perspective

1. The Feast And Its Purpose
2. Priestly Sacrifice And Its Role In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant
3. Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey
4. Christ Fulfilment Of The Feast

The Feast And Its Purpose

Under the Mosaic Covenant there are 3 passages in the Torah that talks about the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

Lev 23:33-43  is the most detailed explanation of the feast. Let us look at the feast in details 

1. There is a convocation (gathering) on the first day of Tabernacles (Vs 35,39)
2. For 7 days sacrifices are meant to be made to the Lord (by Priest) (Vs 36)
3. On the eight day there is another Convocation (Vs 36,39)
4. People are to rejoice using Fruit, palm, willows  (Vs 40)
5. All Native Israelites are to dwell in booths (Sukkot) (Vs 42)

God explained the need for dwelling in booth in his own words.

“that your generations may know
  that I made the children of Israel
  dwell in booths when I brought them
  out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord
  your God.’”- YHWH (Lev 23:43)

Other records of the feast is found in Deut 16:13-17 and the offering the priest ought to sacrifice in the feast are detailed in Num 29:15-40. 

There are also other commands that are given to Israelites on sabbath year (Deut 31:10-13). they are to read the Law as a nation together.

Priestly Sacrifice In All Feast under The Mosaic Covenant

While today man Christian and Karite Friends are so hyped up about constructing Sukkot. One of the most important aspect of every feast of the Lord is often ignored. The most important aspect of all feast is sacrifice. In every of the Fall and Spring Feast Of Mosaic Covenant, they were tied to special sacrifices.  When you compared the amount of sacrifices made, the Feast Of The Tabernacle tops all the feast.

When God talks about the feast, he mentioned of the sacrifices before the constructing of sukkot. The purpose of the Sukkot is to serve as a reminder of the wilderness journey while the sacrifice is for God directly. 

Here are all the feast and their sacrifice requirement as stipulated under the Mosaic Covenant

Note: This diagram did not factor freewill offering or the sacrifices of those attending the feast.

The reason why the feast of the Lord had sacramental effects came from the animal sacrifice.

Interestingly, the number  of animal sacrificed was the greatest at the feast of Tabernacles. It is the single feast with the most sacrifices is done. Have you ever wondered why is it so?  I can help remembering how Job would sanctify his children by sacrifice.

“It may be that my sons have
  sinned and cursed God in
  their hearts.”- Job  (Job 1:5)

Perhaps God is doing this to sanctify his children. For God is dwelling among unclean people.  He is using mandatory sacrifices to sanctify his people, for he know not everyone would come to offer sacrifices. The true sacramental effect of all the feast lies not constructing Sukkot or reading of he law. It is given through the sin sacrifice that is done every day during the feast.

According to part 3 .We understand that the tabernacle is sanctified during the day of atonement. For God instructed the high priest to purify the temple with blood. The feast of tabernacles happens 5 days after, you will notice that the amount of sacrificial animals was decreasing as the days goes by. the number of bulls fell from 12 on the first day to 7 on the seventh day. (Num 29:12-38)

The author of Hebrew talks about these sacrifices  
“For the law, having a shadow
  of the good things to come,
  and not the very image of the
  things, can never with these
  same sacrifices, which they
  offer continually year by year,
  make those who approach perfect.

  For then would they not have
  ceased to be offered? For the
  worshipers, once purified, would
  have had no more consciousness of
  sins. But in those sacrifices there is a
  reminder of sins every year.
For it is not possible that the blood of
  bulls and goats could take away sin”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:1-4)

Prophet Samuel also tell us that God would rather want obedience more than sacrifices.

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
  As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
  And to heed than the fat of rams.
  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
  And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”- Samuel (Sam 15:22-23)

These sacrifices are meant as a reminder for sins, to teach Israel to obey the words of God. ‘

Tabernacles And The Wilderness Journey

God instructed Israel to build tabernacles and stay in them for 7 days. This action is meant to teach the younger Israelites the story of how God made Israel to dwell in booths. During that 7 days they would recall the stories of Israel and their 40 years in the wilderness.

Interestingly when God sent Moses before the Pharaoh he said

“‘Let My people go, that they may
  hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”- YHWH (Ex 5:1)

God kind of regarded the entire Journey of the Israelites in the wilderness as a giant feast of the tabernacles. Interestingly most of  its participants did not survive the journey and enter Canaan.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites followed Moses into the wilderness. They followed Moses into the red sea, they had food and water provided by God. They were led by the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  They suffered all the way to the land of Canaan, yet in the midst of those suffering God grace is shown to them .

The purpose of constructing the tabernacles is to serve as a reminder. This reminder is mentioned off by Moses in (Deut 8:14-17) . That is the spirit and the purpose for constructing the sukkot.

How Christ Fulfils the Feast Of The Tabernacles.

When Christ had sacrifice himself on the cross for us. There is no longer a need for us to perform any sacrifices as required by the law of Moses. By taking away the sacrifice, the sacramental effect of the feast is now made obsolete.

Paul in 1 Cor 10:1-11 drew parallel of the journey to our Christian life

Like wise today we as Christians were called out of Egypt and were baptised into Christ. We are lead by the Holy Spirit of God. We have manna in the word of God and we drink from the rock that followed us in the journey.  Instead of journeying towards Canaan, the modern Christian walk with Christ onto heaven. 

Will we finish this journey?  Will we enter our promise land which is promised to us in the new covenant? That depends on the attitude we lead our lives in this world.

Let us not have the same unbelief as the wilderness pilgrims. For we know that almost 99.999% of them failed to enter the land of Canaan. They fail because they were unable to hold on to Gods promise and they were not willing to obey God when he told them to enter the land of Canaan.

Just as God called Israel out of Egypt to enter the land of Canaan . Christians are called out from the world by Jesus. To Christian, the world is just like the wilderness, it is a temporary dwelling for us. . As Christian we ought to keep the spirit of the Tabernacles, to believe in the salvation of Christ and obey him. We read how the majority of the people died in the wilderness and were unable to inherit that promise land. They did so out of unbelief.

At the same time let us remember that it is Christ who called out out to this wilderness. Even though it is difficult. God will help us with the journey. We need to bear with the difficulties we need to face in life. We may not need to build tabernacles but we ought to carry our cross to follow Christ.

God will help us in this journey. He will lead us safely to the promise land. May we all finish our feast of the tabernacles. May we all enter the promise land at the end.


According to the Jewish calendar, we have just passed the Day Of Atonement 2 days ago . It is the highlight of the fall feast. It is the most important day of the fall feast.

In Part 1 we had given an overview of the fall feast. We had talked about the feast of the trumpets. It was the day where the priest blew the trumpet as an announcement to gather the children of Israel  and to tell them to come up to Jerusalem for the feast.  

According to the law of Moses, the day of atonement is the only day where man can come before the presence of God. Interestingly, when Israel gather for the feast of unleavened bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The bible describes them as “appearing before the Lord” (Deut 16:16) . In English “appearing before” and “entering into" are different. In the Old Testament the people of God cannot come into the presence of God. They could only appear before him.

On the day of Atonement, only the high priest can enter into the presence of God. He does so once a year and it is on that day he confess the sin and iniquities of Israel and make atonement for these sin.  Atonement is different from forgiveness. This will be discuss in details later. 

Difficulty Of Drawing Close To God Under Mosaic Law

Under the Mosaic Covenant, it is difficult for men enter the presence of God. The rules concerning the day of the atonement was drawn out by God on the first day when his presence entered into the tabernacle.  The day when God first erect his tabernacle and dwell among man, death reigned on the first day when the son of Aaron perform their duties a priest.

That was the day  2 of the Lord’s priest were killed for dishonouring God. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron failed in their work as priest and offered profane fire before God. Lev 10 tells us that they burnt incense on their censor using fire not from the altar. This is in direct disobedience to od and God killed them burning them to death before all Israel.

After this incident, God forbade Aaron to enter the Holies of Holies as when he likes. The presence of God is hidden from man by a veil, and this is done for the safety of men. This separation is seen all over the Torah.

When God descended on Mount Sinai to speak to the children of Israel, the people must purify themselves,  even after that God had to create a boundary between himself and hte children of Israel. Even with the boundary, when God descended onto Mount Sinai and spoke to them, they were so terrified that they refuse to hear the words of the Lord.

When they sent Moses to speak to God on their behalf, Moses have to veil his face so that the glory of God have to be hidden from the children of Israel.

These boundaries are drawn by God for the safety of men. In those days serving God in the tabernacle could result to death. So the priest must wear bells (Ex 28:33-35) so that they can be heard while serving in the temple. The priest need to be tied to a rope just in case if he were to be struck dead by God. The people will be able to pull him out with a rope.

Significance Of The Day Of Atonement

The Day of Atonement is very important to the Israelites, for that is the day the temple is purified as it was set up in the midst of unclean people. (Lev 16:116). This is interesting for from here we can see that under the Mosaic Law, the tabernacle of God is in the midst of uncleanness.

Whenever a man offers a sin sacrifice before the Lord. They were in fact desecrating the tabernacle. There is a difference between how sin offering is done on the daily basis verses how it is done on the day of atonement.

The sin offering on the day of atonement is done to purify the temple, for the blood was brought into the veil and sprinkled onto the mercy seat. While typical sin offering requires the blood to be sprinkled before the veil.

The typical sin offering is offered when an individual committed unintentional sin against God. While the sin offering of the day of atonement is offered willingly for the sake of purifying the holy place and the altar.  

The blood from the sin sacrifice is used to sanctify the temple/tabernacle. It was not meant to ask for forgiveness from the Lord. It was also meant to cover the sin that were committed. These sins were carried away by a live goat. 

What Happens On the Feast?

The diagram below illustrate the procedures of the feast of atonement.

There are a few things we will notice.

1. The sin offering in the day of atonement is different from regular offering

2. The sin was carried away by the goat into wilderness, not forgiven

3. The Priest can only enter the presence of God this time. He is not allowed to enter the Holies of Holies at any time of the year

4. The priest and his helpers were made unclean because of the sin of Israel. They must cleanse themselves before entering the camp

The Principle Of Separation In Mosaic Law

Under the Mosaic law, God is dwelling among men. But his presence is confined onto the tabernacle. There is a separation between God and men. Man cannot draw close to God. They can only enter Gods presence once a year. This is so that they would not offend God with their uncleanness and be judged.

Under the Mosaic Law, the children of Israel is separated from the other Hebrews, such as Moabites, Edomite, Ammonites & Ishmaelite. Among the 12 tribes of Israel, the tribes of Levi is separated by God to serve him as priest. Among the Levites, only those who are without blemish can serve God as priest in the Holy Place. Only the descendants of Aaron can enter the Holies of Holies once a year.

Under the Mosaic Law there are separation between Clean and unclean, separation between Aaron, Levites, Israel, from the rest of the world. Separation is the principles found all over the Mosaic Law.

In part 2 we have discussed that God had will that eventually all these separation will be taken down when Messiah comes. Now let us look at how Christ fulfilled the Mosaic law through his death

Christ Fulfilment Of The Requirements Of Mosaic Law

At the death of Christ, when Jesus said “It is finished” there was a great earthquake. Matthew 27:51-54 records of a few things that happen. Firstly, the veil that separate between the Holies of Holies and the Holy Place as torn into two. Secondly, the vision of the ancient saints resurrecting started. All the people who died under the Mosaic covenant came back alive.

These two visions tells us two things.

Firstly. With the sacrifice of Christ. There is no longer a separation between man and God. All man can come before God and ask for forgiveness. The blood of Christ that is sprinkled onto the mercy seat is forever present. Man can now enter the Holies of Holies to ask for forgiveness without ending up like Nadab and Abihu who were judged by God on the spot.

Secondly, those who died under the Mosaic Covenant died in their sins. Their sins are not forgiven at the point of their death. That is why they died a sinful man without receiving salvation from God.  The day of atonement merely atoned (covered) their sins.  The blood of the bulls and ram can never take away sin. Their sin sacrifice are merely reminder of the sins they committed so often.

Their sins were only forgiven when Christ completes the sacrifice on the cross. Therefore when Christ died they were redeemed and they appeared before people. These saints forms the first fruits and were the first human beings saved through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prophecies Of The Covenant Of The Messiah

If we truly understand the fact that the feast of the Old Testament were merely prophecies of the new covenant that Christ will sign with men. We will appreciate the words of the Prophets better

Jeremiah 31:31-34 : God promised that he will sign a new covenant with Israel and Judah. It is a different covenant from the one made with their fathers in Sinai which is the Mosaic Covenant. In that New Covenant God will forgive them of sin. They will all know God and keep the law of God in their hearts.

In that new covenant God will no longer write on tablets of stone, he will write the law in their hearts.

The Lord had also spoken through Ezekiel that in those days he will give them all a new heart, and put his spirit into them. Eze 36:26-27, Eze 11:9.

God also prophesied that he will sign a covenant Israel, in that Covenant he will set his sanctuary among them. His tabernacle will be among them. (Eze 37:26-28) He will dwell in their midst and at that point of time, the nations will also know God. Fro Gods sanctuary will be in the midst  of nations as well.

We have examined many of the old testament prophecies regarding salvation of the gentiles in Part 2. So I would not repeat them here.

The Start Of The New Covenant

The Covenant of Christ was signed by Christ at the point of his death on the cross. When he died on the cross, his death fulfilled the Mosaic Covenant and brought redemption to all the people who died under the old covenant.

The Prophecy Of God cleansing the sin of Israel is now seen in Baptism where the sins of men are forgiven (Acts 2:38) . Whoever who are baptised are no longer separated from God. They were all children of God (Gal 3:26-29)

The prophecy of God dwelling among his people and in the nations is now seen when the Holy Spirit lives in the heart of men. It happened during the day of Pentecost and it happens to us today as well (Joel 2:28-29)

Today those who receive the Holy Spirit have the commandments and law of God written in their hearts. The Holy spirit will teach us the word of Christ write them in our hearts (Jn 16:7-15)

Under the new covenant, there is no longer a need for man to fear coming into the holies of holies. For at the point of baptism, the blood of Christ is sprinkled into our hearts. Our bodies became the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God resides in our heart. Our hearts is now the mercy seat. We have all entered into the Holies of Holies together with Christ.

That is why the Author of Hebrew tells us Heb 4:14-16

What Will Our Response Be?

The covenant of Christ is a better covenant than the covenant of Moses. The Mosaic Covenant cannot forgive sins nor can it bring salvation to anyone. They are a shadow foretelling the coming sacrifice of the Messiah.

Jesus told us that the Mosaic covenant testify of him, and he had fulfilled the covenant with his blood. Even Moses the law given talks about this new covenant. For he once said in the Torah

”The Lord your God will raise
  up for you a Prophet like me
  from your midst, from your
  brethren. Him you shall hear,
  according to all you desired
  of the Lord your God in Horeb
  in the day of the assembly, saying,
  ‘Let me not hear again the voice
    of the Lord my God, nor let me 
    see this great fire anymore, lest
     I die.’”-Moses (Deut 18:15-16)

Moses was talking about the day where Israel was unable to stand before the presence of God when he descended onto mount Sinai. Throughout the entire old testament, they have never been able to keep the law of God nor were they able to come close to God. For their uncleanness prevents them to do so.

Even the Tabernacle erected by God in their midst were constantly made unclean for it was standing in the midst of unclean people.  As the result those circumcised under the Mosaic Covenant were always afraid to draw near to God. They need to send Moses to speak to God on their behalf. Even though there are good man like David, they find themselves always falling short of Gods standard.

As the result God agreed with their suggestions for he knew they were unable to stand before him due to uncleanness. So he set up separation to protect them from his righteous judgement. God did it because he understood the weakness of man.

The Warning Of Moses 

But God was not satisfied with the state of this. Therefore he spoke through Moses saying 

“And the Lord said to me: ‘What
  they have spoken is good. I will
  raise up for them a Prophet like
  you from among their brethren,
  and will put My words in His mouth,
  and He shall speak to them all that
  I command Him. And it shall be that
  whoever will not hear My words,
  which He speaks in My name, I will
  require it of him.” – Moses (Deut 18:17-19)

Moses warned us the severity of ignoring and despising the covenant of Christ. Let us not despise the new covenant and insist on keeping  old traditions that were only meant as a shadow of the real covenant of God. Let us stop doing things that had no effect at all to salvation.

Let us learn the Moral standard of the Mosaic law and keep them. For it is the standard of God for discerning right and wrong. But most importantly let us  accept the new covenant that was prophesied in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets.

May we all understand this and may we choose the covenant of the Messiah. 

In this part I would like to take the chance to look closely at the verse that inspired the title of the Series

“So let no one judge you in food
or in drink, or regarding a festival
or a new moon or sabbaths,
 which are a shadow of things to
come, but the substance is of
Christ.”- Paul (Col 2:16-17)

This verse had been subjected to scrutiny very often. It is often quoted by mainstream Christianity as supporting the abolishment of the seventh day Sabbath. Others are pro-Sabbath  claims that Paul is referring to the rules and regulations from the Rabbi.

That is why whenever the topic of old testament feast and new testament covenant is brought up, this verse will inevitably be quoted.  Therefore I find this topic close to my heart and I would like share how I have viewed this verse.

The truth is, I am not theologically train and I do not know ancient language. Moreover I am no Israelite so all I have is the bible , and I base my understanding purely from my understanding of the law of Moses.

How I interpreted Col 2:16-17

As far as I can remember, Col 2:16-17 had never been about the 7th day Sabbath fro Lev 23:3. My rationale behind this is very simple. The 7th day Sabbath is part of the 10 commandments. This Sabbath is different from the other Sabbaths written in the law of Moses. God had specially place the seventh day Sabbath into the ten commandments, while the other Sabbaths such as new moon, sabbatical year  are recorded separately.

This differentiation is base on the fact in the law of Moses. At the same time when I read the book of acts, Paul is often meeting and preaching on Sabbath (Acts 13:42-43, 16:13 , 17: 2, 18:4) From here we know that Paul continue to keep the Sabbath he worshipped on the 7th day. To imagine Paul saying the Sabbath are no longer necessary in oOl 2 will mean that Paul did not practice what he preach. He would have contradicted himself a big time

My understanding is base on the fact that the Torah differentiate Sabbath as a commandment from the Sabbaths tied to the feast.

While many advocate that one must be consistent in his interpretation, I believe that the key to understand this verse lies in not being consistent. In fact it require us to have a deep understanding of the Torah, moral standard, and the regulations in the law of Moses.

That had always been how I different between the Sabbath as commandment and the sabbaths for feast. This method of understanding had never been a problem to me. Therefore I am a Sabbath keeper that do not believe in keeping of the feast the regulations of the Torah.

A Question To Think about

Perhaps those who feel that sabbath here refers to the man-made laws should answer this question

“How does man-made traditions of man become “a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”?”””

Assuming if they are right that Paul is referring to the man-made laws by the Rabbis, how could these man made laws teach you about Christ? How could their man-made laws be a foreshadow and a prophecy regarding the messiah?  If that is true, these rabbis must be exemplary, to be able to foresee the coming of Christ and create traditions that prophecy about him.

2 Types Of Jewish Christians In Col 2:16-17

From what I understand, I believe Paul wrote Col 2 targeting 2 types of Jewish Christians within the church, one group advocating the keeping of the traditions of men which is the custom of the Rabbis , and the other group which advocate that circumcision and keeping the law of Moses as an necessity for salvation. The latter group is featured prominently in Acts 15.

When Paul wrote Col 2 he is linked all of them under the same umbrella. That is why he talks about new Moon, Sabbaths and circumcision (A shadow of the good things to come) and the regulation made by man (delight in false humility and worship of angels, in food and drinks”, and rules like “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.

The Covenant Of Christ That Is Open For Gentiles And Israelites Alike

As far as Paul is concern man only needed to keep the covenant of Jesus. Which one of the most important part of that covenant is baptism for the forgiveness of sin. He equate Baptism to the circumcision made without hands. It is the removal of sin, the time when we die with the Lord and resurrection. .

When Paul wrote Col 2, he is well aware of the decision of the apostles and the events  In Acts 15.

In Acts 9, Peter witness first-hand how the Holy Spirit rested on the gentiles who do not observe Dietary law, the feast and the regulations of Moses. This event is shocking to as a Jew. For in the Torah Context, seeing the gentiles with the presence of God is liken to seeing the glory of God descending and not resting in the tabernacle build according to his standard.

Those who follow Torah knew that the presence of God will only rest on what is sanctified and clean as stated in the law of Moses. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples received the Holy Spirit and quoted Joel 2:28-29. They understood that the Spirit of God is now living among them.

They knew that in the New Covenant, God wanted to dwell in the hearts of man. His presence is not confined in the Holies of Holies, but he had in fact moved into them. They felt that they were ready and sanctified because they keep the Torah and are acceptable before God. For all who received are Jews who are circumcised, and followed the Law of Moses. Later on when the Samaritan believes, it was still ok, for they are circumcised, but they keep some part of the Torah.

This concept is put into the test when Peter entered the house of Cornelius. For he is a gentile, deemed unclean by the standard of Mosaic Law,  they are uncircumcised, ignorant of the regulation of the Mosaic Law, they do not keep the feast, they are unclean, Jews were not allowed to come into their house.

But when the Holy Spirit fell onto them, Peter realise that God treated the gentiles to be as clean as the Jews who kept the Law of Moses  Since God had accepted them he is in no position to oppose God. So he baptised them, cleansing them of sin.

Later on there were Jewish Christians who came to Paul and argued that one need to be circumcise and keep the law of Moses. The rule in Acts 15 was made base on the experience of Peter in Acts 10. They said

So God, who knows the heart,
acknowledged them by giving
them the Holy Spirit, just as He
to us, and made no distinction
between us and them, purifying
their hearts by faith. Now therefore,
why do you test God by putting a
yoke on the neck of the disciples
which neither our fathers nor we
were able to bear” – Acts 15:8-10

Over here they are referring to the law of Moses. They are well aware from the Old testament that all their forefathers failed at keeping the Mosaic covenant. The Old testament is a record of their repeated failure to keep the covenant. That is why it is a yoke that their fathers are not able to bear.

That is why the apostles did not expect these gentile believers to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. If they do not need to keep the Mosaic covenant, they are definitely spared of keeping the talmud from the rabbis

That is why they only ruled that these gentiles believers needed to observe only the rules set by God for Noah which is applicable for all descendent on earth. They added the clause about food offered to idols as these gentiles live in a land full of Idols and they live in a world where sexual immorality is a norm. But this does not mean that the gentiles do not need to keep the commandments of God. They are supposed to adhere to the standard of Morality as describe in the Mosaic law In fact they are supposed to go one step higher. Which is to match the standard spoken of by Jesus.

Why Did Paul Link Both Group Together In Col 2?

All these event that Preceded Col 2. As far as Paul is concern, anyone who advocate the keeping of Jewish Talmud or force the people to observe the regulations of Moses (dietary law, feast, and circumcision ) were all wrong. They are linked together because they are wrong in the same way.

For Jesus had already fulfilled all that is required of him from the Law and now they have entered the period where the spirit of God is poured out and the gentiles are receiving salvation. These gentiles are already regarded as clean and accepted even though they did not observe the Law Of Moses. They are cleanse from sin when they have accepted the covenant of Christ sign through baptism

For both Ezekiel (Eze 47:7-9) and Zechariah (Zech 14:8-9)  talks of the when the messiah comes living water will be flowing from Jerusalem. This waters had the abilities to heal. While many feels that it can heal ecosystems, but in fact he is referring to the time of the church where the conduct of baptism heals away sin.

At the same time, the prophets talk about the gentiles coming on the receive salvation. One of the verse that captured my mind deeply is this

“Thus you shall divide this land
among yourselves according to
the tribes of Israel. It shall be
that you will divide it by lot as
an inheritance for yourselves,
and for the strangers who dwell
among you and who bear children
among you. They shall be to you
as native-born among the children
of Israel; they shall have an
inheritance with you among the
tribes of Israel.”- Ezekiel(Eze 48:22-23)

This era of the gentiles coming to God is herald in when Jesus threw out the money changers in the temple. In which he said

“For My house shall be called a
house of prayer for all nations.”- Jesus (Mk 11:17)

After the coming of the messiah the kingdom of Israel will be restored. The gentiles will come and listen to the law of God

“Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the
mountain of the Lord, To the
house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways, And
we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go
forth, And the word of the Lord
from Jerusalem.”- Micah (Mic 4:2)

shall be engraved on the bells of the
horses. The pots in the Lord’s house
shall be like the bowls before the altar.
 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah
shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts.
Everyone who sacrifices shall come and
take them and cook in them. In that day
there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the
house of the Lord of hosts.”- Zechariah (Zech 14:20-21 )

Are they referring to the Kingdom Of Israel established by the messiah? Is it a physical kingdom or something else?

“My kingdom is not of this world.
If My kingdom were of this world,
My servants would fight, so that I
should not be delivered to the Jews;
but now My kingdom is not from
here.”- Jesus (Jn 18:36)

This new kingdom is the Kingdom established by the messiah. It is created through the sacrifice of his blood. In that kingdom, there is no differentiation between Jews and gentiles, for Baptism eliminates that.

“For as many of you as were baptized
into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Paul Gal 3:27-28)

In the light of these scriptures we know that both groups in Col 2 are wrong in the same way. And that is why Paul refer to them in the same passage at  Col 2

But Is There Evidence Of The Disciples Keeping The Old Testament Feast?

Much as I wanted to say they did not, the scriptures did record of them keeping the feast. (I Cor. 16:8-9). These occurrence happen after they believed in Jesus Christ. But they did it with the same understanding that I have describe earlier in the blog post. They did it not because it was a requirement of faith for salvation. But rather it is their habit to do so.

Paul entered the synagogue of the Jews for three Sabbaths in Thessalonica. It was his tradition on the Sabbath to enter the synagogue just as it was when Peter prayed in the Jewish hours of prayer three times a day (Acts 3:1; 10:9). The Jews kept the Sabbath day in the synagogues with practices according to the customs and traditions of the Misna and the rules added by the Pharisees but the Paul and Silas were not bound by them.

Paul was pretty clear of this when he wrote about it in Romans

“He who observes the day,
observes it to the Lord; and
he who does not observe the
day, to the Lord he does not observe.
He who eats, eats to the Lord ,
for he gives God thanks, and
he who does not eat, to the Lord
he does not eat, and gives God thanks.

For none of us lives to himself, and
no one dies to himself. For if we live,
we live to the Lord; and if we die, we
die to the Lord. Therefore, whether
we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ died and rose
and lived again, that He might be Lord
of both the dead and the living.”- Paul (Rom. 14:6-9).

I believe this kind of Summarise my view on Col 2


I realised that the fall feast had just started in Israel. While today the internet is peppered with countless of modern day studies by numerous scholars in academia, at the same time we have  many Christian scholars linking these festivals with the second coming of Christ. While all these excitement is generated within Christendom I wonder what is their significance to normal believers like me.

Before I continue I must admit, I am no scholar, I  do not know  the intricate process of playing around with ancient Greek and Hebrews text nor can I appreciate the excessive reliance & use of lexicons and ancient dictionaries by the modern academics.

First Things First

My approach when studying the fall feast is simple. My first rule is not to dwell on excessive speculations of the feast and their significance to the end day. Instead I choose  to focus on what the feast Is truly about, based on the objective of the feast as described in the law of Moses.

The second rule which I applied is to avoid linking the feast with other prophecies in the bible using keywords. With the help of modern website, it is now possible to run a key word search and pick up every verse in the bible that contains the key word. But appearance of the word in a verse doesn’t necessary indicate a link between the verses.

For example, the bible talks of many instances of the blowing of trumpet. Some are blown in battle, some in war, some for during  resurrection while some are used to herald the coming judgement of the Lord . These trumpets may not necessary have a link to the feast of the trumpet.
As far as I am concerned, I wanted to seek the meaning and the spirit of the festivals base on its definition in the Law Of Moses.

The Basic Principle Between Old And New Testament

As a Christian I believed in the words of Jesus.

“Do not think that I came to destroy
the Law or the Prophets. I did not
come to destroy but to fulfill.”- Jesus (Matt 5:17)

The author of Hebrews tells us

“For the law, having a shadow
of the good things to come,
and not the very image of the
things, can never with these
same sacrifices, which they
offer continually year by year,
make those who approach
perfect” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 10:1)
Throughout the book of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews compared and contrast the covenant made between God and Israel in the old testament to the covenant that Jesus made with both the circumcised and the uncircumcised.

The author of Hebrews talk about how the covenant with Christ is better than the former covenant of Moses. Whoever who approach God with the new Covenant would be made perfect and sanctified. In the Mosaic Covenant, God had to be veiled away and man can only approach God for atonement once a year. Under the covenant of Christ, our sin are once and for all forgiven and today the spirit of Christ dwells in the heart of the believers. The Holy Spirit became the counsellor to teach and help the members to achieve perfection.

This contrast is most plainly seen from the fall feast. That is why I feel it is worth our time to look at this feasts and see the difference between the two Covenant.

An Overview Of The Feast

The fall feast begins around the time of October this year, but due to the differences in calendar, they can start as early as September. It spans across a period of about 22 days. Besides celebrating the completion of the harvest. The fall feast also heralds the beginning of the sowing season, the season of the early rain. (Autumn rain)

Feast Of Trumpet

It begin with the new moon (AKA Rosh HaShanah) to most Christians it will be know as the Feast of Trumpets. On that day the blowing of the trumpets signals the beginning of the festivals. It is meant also as a reminder of Israel to finish their harvest and to go up to Jerusalem for the feast

Day Of Atonement

After 10 days from the trumpet, on the 10th of the month. There is an event known as the Day Of Atonement (Yom Kippur). In Hebrew, to Atone (Kaphar) is to cover. It is the appointed day for the high Priest to make atonement for Israel. This is a yearly event when the High priest would enter the Holies of the Holies where the presence of God is present.

There he will make sacrifices first for his own sin and the sin of his family. Then he will make sacrifices for the sin of Israel. He will enter the Holies Of Holies with the blood of the sacrifice and spinkle the blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant. As he depart from the temple, he would have to pour the blood on the altar to sanctify the altar.

It was the instruction from God that the high Priest to enter the sanctuary once a year. This rule was set after 2 Priests was killed by the Lord when they offered profane fire before the Lord. (Lev 10:1-17, Lev 16:1-2). These priests were killed on their first day of service, for they did not follow the command of the Lord.

The Day Of Atonement contains many prophecies regarding the Messiah, one I would dwell in greater details in later blog post

To prevent unnecessary deaths, God  only allowed Aaron to come into his presence once a year.

Announcement Of The Year Of Jubilee

The day of atonement is also used to declare the year of the Jubilee, it is a once in 50 years event where all debts, properties and payment are all forgiven. It is a day where all Israelites who are made a slave could get his freedom.

Feast Of Tabernacles

From the 15th – 22nd of the month marks the feast of the Tabernacles. The Israelites have to dwell in booths for 7 days. They are supposed to have a gathering on the 1st day and the 8th day of the feast. The purpose of the feast of Tabernacles is clear. It is meant as a re-enactment of the 40 years of dwelling in the wilderness. Lev 23:42-43. On the Sabbath years, which happens once every 6 years, they are suppose to read the Law of Moses. This serves as a reminder to the Israelites to keep the law of God.

The Feast And Their Sacrifice.

While the Christians of today like to talk about the things done on these festivals. We often neglect the fact that all these sacrifices are heavily tied to the sacrifices. The main sacramental effect behind the feast came from the many animals that are sacrificed during the festival.

I have compiled the dates for the fall feast base on the Jewish Calendar of 2016. I have also tabulated the number of sacrificed animals in the diagram below.

A Chart of ceremonies and sacrifices made during the fall feast

A Chart of ceremonies and sacrifices made during the fall feast

Indeed, the Children of Israel is suppose to come up to Jerusalem for the feast, but the main part of the feast was the sacrifices to be made to the Lord. During the fall feast , sacrifices are constantly made on the altar.

Base on the Mosaic law, the fall feast requires a total number of 280 animals to be sacrificed on the altar. On average, it would always be 1 animal killed every hour.  The animal sacrifices are made in the form of burnt r sin offering. By offering these animals, the sin of Israel was atoned.  This was the method used in the Old testament for forgiveness of sin.

We know from the author of Hebrews that the blood of Animals can never take away sins (Heb 10:1-4) they are only meant as a reminder of sin and cannot lead to forgiveness. All these sacrifices are symbols of the sacrifice of Jesus that is to come. All the feast of the Lord are prophecies that describes the salvation of Christ. They are not the solutions to sin. The offering of Jesus is the eternal sacrifice.

The Effect Of The Blood Of Christ For Atonement

After the death and resurrection of Christ ,  there is no longer a need to sacrifice on the feast days. Without sacrifices, the sacramental effect of the festival are lost. The feast no longer holds an effect to salvation.

What is more important is that these feast were a copy and image of what is to come. They are a copy of the reality that is happening in the spiritual realm. Today at baptism, the blood of Christ sanctifies believers. That is why in the new covenant there is no longer the need for the high priest to enter the Holies of Holies with blood. For today our high priest is Jesus, he had open a way for us to enter the holies of the holies. (Heb 10:19-21)

Since we can enter the heavenly sanctuary with Christ, that is why today as Christian we are given the right to come directly before God to ask for forgiveness. the blood of Christ will continue to wash us and sanctify us, as long as we repent with sincerity.

Since we can enter the heavenly sanctuary with Christ, why is there a need for us to continue the practice of walking into the physical sanctuary with blood?

The Location Of The Mercy Seat In The New Covenant

There is another significance of this in the last days. For God once promise through Ezekiel that he will dwell among man.  Ez 37:14. This prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came to live in the hearts of the believers. From then on,  our heart is the mercy seat where the presence of God dwells.

In this new covenant with Christ there is no longer a need to enter the Holies of Holies to meet the Lord. For the Spirit of God had moved from the Holies of Holies in the temple and dwells in the hearts of man. Any Christian who received the H/S had the mercy seat and the presence of God with them. Therefore we are in the Holies Of Holies forever. Since we are always within the Holies of Holies, is there still a need for us to depend on the High Priest to enter Gods presence on our behalf?

This made the day of Atonement Obsolete, both in its role to forgive sin and its role in allowing man to enter the presence of God.

That is why the fall feast are no longer relevant to the Christians under the new Covenant.

Keeping The Spirit Of The Feast

That is why Paul remind us in Colossians

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink,
or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which are a shadow of things to come, but the
substance is of Christ.”- Paul (Col 2:16-17)

That is why it really doesn’t matter if we want to do anything special on those days anymore.

However, Christians ought to learn from these feast and keep the spirit of these feast. For the Christians of today are part of this never ending feast in the presence of God. There are things that we ought to learn from the feast.

Blowing The Trumpet To Tell Others Of Gods Atonement

We are supposed to blow the trumpet and to declare the salvation of God to the rest of the world. Just like how the ancient Israelites blow their trumpet to signal the day of Atonement. We need to accept the baptism of the Lord for sins to be forgiven (Acts 2:38) For that is when the blood of Christ is sprinkled into our lives.

To Remove Our Heart Of Stone And Keep Gods Commandment

When our hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our heart became the mercy seat of God where the spirit of God dwells within us. We need to take out the stone tablets in our hearts and allow God to put in the heart of flesh. We must allow the spirit of God to once again inscribe the commandments of God in our heart. For the Lord once said

“Then I will give them one heart,
and I will put a new spirit within
them, and take the stony heart
out of their flesh, and give them a
heart of flesh, that they may walk
in My statutes and keep My judgments
and do them; and they shall be
My people, and I will be their God. “-Ezekiel (Eze 11:19-20)

To Dwell In Tents, Living A Life With A Hope In Heaven

Let us keep the feast of the Lord every day in our hearts. Let us be prepared to suffer for Christ, let us be willing to put aside our worldly comfort to dwell in tents serving the Lord in the wilderness. Let us live our lives as if pilgrims living in tent, knowing that this world it only a temporary stop. Let us remember that the promise of God is waiting for us in the promise land. While we live in this wilderness, let us dwell in the wilderness in the world with contentment, walking in the Lord.

To Believe In The Salvation Of God

Most importantly, let us not die in this wilderness because of our unbelief, for many of the Israelites failed to enter Canaan because they refuse to believe that God will give the land to them. As the result they fall in the wilderness one by one. Let us learn to appreciate the promise and salvation of God, let us look onto the bronze serpent and live (Num 21:4-9, CF Jn 3:14-16). Let us be like Joshua and Caleb, who survived the journey from Egypt to Canaan and receive their inheritance.


If we are able to do all of these then we are forever keeping the spirit of the fall feast. Our hearts will always be the Holies of Holies, for we have already entered the heavenly sanctuary with the blood of Jesus. If we can do this we are keeping the fall feast on a dally basis.

May we all reach the promise land safely.


In our previous post, we have looked at four metaphors that describe the word of God.

Part 1: The word of God is like Fire and Hammer
Part 2 : The word of God is like a Mirror And Rain
Part 3: The word of God is like a measuring line and a light
Part 4: The Word Of God Is a Double Edged Sword And Medicine

Let us continue our next metaphor

The Word OF God Is A Judge
“And if anyone hears My words
  and does not believe, I do not
  judge him; for I did not come to
  judge the world but to save the
  world. He who rejects Me, and
  does not receive My words, has
  that which judges him—the word
  that I have spoken will judge him
  in the last day.” – Jesus (Jn 12:47-48)

Jesus told us that the word of God is a judge. This is something all Christians must understand. Today there are many who choose not to believe in Christ. They do so not because of a lack of miracle. They choose not to believe in Jesus for they felt that  Jesus lack the appeal that attracts them.

The bible record of a man named Nathaniel, he was a man who seek the truth. But he felt that Jesus lack appeal. When Philip told him that he had found the messiah and he is from Nazareth, Nathaniel immediately commented, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

Today many regarded Jesus as a son of a poor carpenter from Nazareth, some regarded him as a mere religious teacher. they find it hard to believe. That is why they remain unmoved even when they felt that his words are true.

There are also others who followed Christ but  pay no attention to his words. They followed Jesus because he can perform miracles and heal the sick. They followed Jesus because he can provide them with food. They do not ponder about the words of Christ. It is true that Jesus had the power to perform miracles and feed the hungry. But let us not labour for  food that perish. Let us not come to him for the sake of miracles.

We need to seek the word of God which can save us. In those days, many did not esteem the word of Christ. Which is why Jesus spoke those words we read earlier. Jesus came into the world to save sinners and he came to give sinners hope. But that does not mean that there is no judgement, he told us that in the last days his word is a judge.

That is why we need to change our perspective about the word of God. For they are not mere words from a prophet but a command from God. If one were to treat it with belief and goes against it. That word will judge us in the future.

Let us remember that the word of God is a judge. we can choose to receive it or reject it, those are the words that will judge us at the end.

How Do We Preach The Word?

When Jesus sent his disciples to preach the gospel. He instructed them to do this

If the household is worthy, let your
  peace come upon it. But if it is not
  worthy, let your peace return to you.
  And whoever will not receive you nor
  hear your words, when you depart
  from that house or city, shake off
  the dust from your feet.

   Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more
   tolerable for the land of Sodom and
   Gomorrah in the day of judgment 
   than for that city!” –Jesus (Mat 10:13-15)

They are suppose to greet peace to the family when they arrive. If the house is a household that is worthy to receive the peace from God. IT will stay with them. If they refuse to accept it, the peace ill return to us.

We often get upset with people who do not listen to the gospel when we preach it. But we need to remind ourselves that we have fulfilled our responsibility to preach the gospel. If they reject us, it is between them and God and we have done our part.

That is why Jesus says if they do not receive us, we should shake the dust off our feet and leave. For preaching the gospel is a way of passing judgement as well. We know that man had no right to judge, but yet we remember the words of Jesus saying

“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.” – Jesus (Matt 18:18)

How is this authority given? That authority came from the word of God. Whenever we preach the word of God, those who believe will be set free. But for those who reject the word, their sin will remain in them. Eventually they will be judged by the word  of God.

That is why both the speaker and the listeners are important. For if we do not speak , the others will not hear and they will lose their chance of salvation. The same goes for the listeners, they have their right to reject the word of God. But they need to know the consequences of not listening to Gods word. Jesus once told us

For whoever is ashamed of Me
  and My words in this adulterous
  and sinful generation, of him the
  Son of Man also will be ashamed
  when He comes in the glory of His
  Father with the holy angels.”- Jesus (Matt 8:38)

As we read this we wonder why the Lord is so severe in this warning. This verse applies to both believers and non believers. That is why Paul exhorted Timothy not to be ashamed of the word of God. During that time in history, the church was persecuted, this discouraged many Christians and many did not want to believe in Christ anymore. 

Finding the courage to believe

It is often in times like this we lose our courage to preach the word of God. For many will question us saying “Why did God not help us? Why is his power not manifested? why are we facing so many adversities?”

Are we still able to find the courage to believe in Christ and preach his name? This is something we need to consider especially when the situation is making it hard for us to keep our faith. Sometimes our surrounding makes us feel ashamed of the gospel, it may even prevent us from attending services. That will make sharing the word of God a bigger challenge. 

But Jesus told us that if we are ashamed of him and the gospel, he will likewise be ashamed of us when he comes in his glory.  Let us esteem the words of God, especially in he face of great temptation. For by so doing we will be blessed and God will watch over us.

If we are aware of the preciousness of knowing God, we will be willing to suffer for it. We will choose to seek God even in the midst of weakness and illness. For God is watching us, he wanted to know how we would respond to him. He wants to know if we can hold on to him in times of great difficulty.

A man who is able to keep his faith will always be blessed by God. That is why the author of Hebrew tells us

“Therefore we must give the more
  earnest heed to the things we have
  heard, lest we drift
  away.” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 2:1) 

We must take heed whenever we listen to the words of God. For these words are not a result of man’s imagination. They are the words of God, revealed through his servants. Christian are suppose to treat the words of Jesus as the word of God. That is why we often called them the words of life. For we believe that they can grant us eternal life, they are the words that can deliver man from sin and judgement.

That is why we need to respect the words of God  and take heed to it. Perhaps in the past we think that  those words are mere theory. But let us change our mind set, for today we understand that the word of God is a judge. We need to meditate on them and remember them.

True Respect For The Word Of God

All of us are able to discern between people whom we respect and people we do not respect. If we do not respect someone, we will not pay attention to what he has to tell us. We will ignore them, and would not make an effort to remember. As they speak we allow our minds to drift away.

But we would treat the ones we respect differently. We would pay attention and ponder over his words. This is the attitude we ought to have when we are hearing the word of God. If we do not pay attention, we will slowly drift away.

We will only pay attention to things that interest us. Let us pay pay attention to the word of God. Let his words never drift away from us. For  the author of Hebrews reminds us.

“For if the word spoken through
  angels proved steadfast, and
   every transgression and disobedience received
   a just reward,”-Author of Hebrews (Heb 2:2)

The author of Hebrews was referring to the Old Testament which Moses received on Mount Sinai. In that Law every transgression and disobedience is given a just reward, everyone who went against the Law of God is judged quickly.  There are serious consequences in disobedience as those who went against the Law will be executed.

The Author of Hebrews continues telling us.

“how shall we escape if we neglect so
  great a salvation, which at the first
  began to be spoken by the Lord, and
  was confirmed to us by those who
  heard Him, God also bearing witness
  both with signs and wonders, with
  various miracles, and gifts of the Holy
  Spirit, according to His own will?” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 2:3-4)

If we need to pay attention to the Law of Moses, how could we neglect the words of Christ? The Law of Moses is given to him by angels, but in the new Testament God spoke directly as Jesus. His words are accompanied with  confirmation by miracles. It would be a great sin to neglect the word of God.

Considering The Value Of Gods Words

That is why we need to ask ourselves, “How much is the gospel worth in our hearts?” Our response to this question determines our attitude towards the gospel. If we regard the gospel as cheap words without value,  something that is good to have and can do without. Would we put in effort to study it?

In life we would not devote our time to study something that is trivial and valueless. We would only do it when we are bored and have spare time to kill.

But let us value the learning of the word of God, if we treat the words of God as entertainment to pass time, we may be guilty of blasphemy and mocking of the word of God.

A Christian who neglect the word of God will slowly drift apart from him. They will fail in faith and neglect their salvation. The Author asked “how shall we escape if we neglect so  great a salvation?”

Moses once said this to the Israelites before his departure from the world.

“Set your hearts on all the words
  which I testify among you today,
  which you shall command your
   children to be careful to observe—
  all the words of this law.

  For it is not a futile thing for you,
  because it is your life, and by this
  word you shall prolong your days
   in the land which you cross over
  the Jordan to possess.”- Moses (Deut 32:46-47)

Moses reminded the Israelites to take heed of the words of God. He knew that those Israelites that he led in the wilderness are not like him. He knew that God is about to take him from this world. That is why he reminded them one more time to put the words of God in their hearts. He assured them that it is not a futile thing to do, for it concern their lives as they lived in the land of Canaan.

In the same way, we must believe in the salvation of Jesus. For his words will judge us at the very end. Let us change our attitude towards the word of God. Let us re-establish our respect for it. For it is something that is not futile and it concern our lives.

We know that one day we will depart from this world, and we must let go of everything we possessed. That is when we realise only the word of God is important, for it will give us eternal life and hope. It can forgive our sins and help us face God in peace.

Let us look at the next metaphor in this study.

The Word Of God Is Food

“Your words were found, and I ate them,
  And Your word was to me the joy
  and rejoicing of my heart;
  For I am called by Your name,
  O Lord God of hosts.” – Jeremiah (Jer 15:16)

Prophet Jeremiah describes the word of God as food to eat. He treat it as the joy of his life and happiness. Do we feel the same way about the word of God? If we do, we will need it daily.

We know that if we do not eat, our body will grow weak. If we refuse food for a long period of time, we will eventually die.  It is not illness that kill us, but we die of hunger and malnutrition.  It is a sad sight to see someone die due to a lack of food.

In the same way, if a Christian fall to sin, it will bring us sadness as well. For we all aspire to be like Job who is able to stand firm even in the midst of trials. It is a waste to see someone fall from faith just because of his lack of esteem for the words of God.

For Jesus once said
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
  but by every word that proceeds f
  rom the mouth of God.’”- Jesus (Matt 4:4)

Let us not pursue physical food only, for there is also food that is used to feed our spirit. Only the word of God can give us spiritual growth and improve our spiritual lives. We know that our spiritual life is born through the blood of Christ and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is given as a grace of God, for we did not do anything worthy to receive this grace.  But after receiving this grace, we must allow it to grow within us. Only the word of God can help us grow spiritually.

Peter once said
“Therefore, laying aside all
  malice, all deceit, hypocrisy,
  envy, and all evil speaking, 
  as newborn babes, desire the
  pure milk of the word, that
  you may grow thereby” – Peter (1 Pet 2:1-2)

Peter tells us that we are new-born babes and our job is to grow up. We need the pure milk of the word if we desire spiritual growth. The birth of a child is always mysterious, but after the birth of a baby they must continue to grow. As parents, we must feed the baby and let it grow. We will find time to feed the baby no matter how busy we are.

The same principles apply to growing spiritually. When we receive baptism, we are reborn and our sins are forgiven. Baptism marks the beginning of our life with Christ. It must grow in order to remain healthy.

A baby must desire the pure milk from the word of God. He cannot survive on snacks and sweets only. Milk is the only food that could give them the nutrition necessary to grow. Snack can be delicious but it will harm our body on the long run.

Sadly there are many Christians who desire snacks more than the pure milk of the world. They appear to have focus on their spiritual life, but we see no growth in their lives at all. They appear like people who eat a lot of food but yet does not gain any benefit from the food. They are unable to digest and the food eventually became waste that is passed out from the body.

The same thing can happen when we listen to the words of god. We understand that the word of God is like pure milk. We have seen many hearing it but they did not grow. Is there a fault in the words of God? Or is it our failure to digest the words of God.

This bring about a question “How can one digest the words of God?”

Gaining Strength By Mixing Faith With Hearing

The Author of Hebrew raised an important point regarding this matter.

“For indeed the gospel was
  preached to us as well as
  to them; but the word which
  they heard did not profit them,
not being mixed with faith in
  those who heard it.” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 4:2)

Why is it that the believers in the Old Testament were unable to benefit from the words of God? We read of how God appeared before them and wrote the words on the stone tablet himself. The people heard the word of god through scribes and prophets. Yet their faith are not established. that is because they did not mix faith with hearing.

Only faith can help us digest the words of God and to give us strength. If one does not have faith even if they listen to the word of God daily, they will not be able to gain strength from those words. For these words will remain forever as a mere oratorical speech talking about morality.  It will never become the words of God.

If one does not mix faith with hearing, they can never receive strength in life. That is why we need to have faith in the word of God. For without it, how can one accept Christ and repent from his sin? How could they be baptised for their sins to be forgiven? Why should they come for service?

They would rather choose to sleep at home than to come to church for service. They will never be able to find strength to come to church. Many Christians were able to remain in church for they regarded the church as the temple of God.

That is why we need to believe in the word of Jesus, to make the effort to come to the church. It does not matter how many of us are there to worship. For Jesus promise that as long as two or three gathered in his name, he would be among them. Let us believe in the words of Christ and we will find strength to gather. Let us consider some examples from the bible

Daniel Found Strength In The Lord

“And he said, “O man greatly
  beloved, fear not! Peace be
  to you; be strong, yes, be strong!”

  So when he spoke to me I 
  was strengthened, and said,
  “Let my lord speak, for you
   have strengthened me.”” – Daniel (Dan 10:19)

There was something that troubled Daniel and he cannot understand. As he fasted and pray, the revelation of God came upon him. The angel said to him ”Man greatly beloved, do not fear and be strong”

Daniel was trying to seek out what he doesn’t understand, he was troubled and weakened by the visions he sees. He was fearful and was unsure if he should continue.  But when the angel spoke, he received strength, he could bear what God wanted him to know.

Have we ever received such strength and comfort from the word of God? We often think that only great prophets like Daniel is able to experience it. Let us consider another example, this time, let us look at a woman of faith.

 The Example Of Mary

We know the story of Mary and how the angel Gabriel appeared before her. He called Mary the highly favoured one of the Lord. Mary was surprised by that greeting and she wonder what grace will be given to her.

Then the angel said that she will be with a child and he will be called the son of God. The Lord God will give him the throne of David  and his kingdom will be forever. Mary is supposed to be elated but she was worried and asked “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

the angel replied

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
  and the power of the Highest will
  overshadow you; therefore, also,
  that Holy One who is to be born
  will be called the Son of God.
Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative
  has also conceived a son in her old
  age; and this is now the sixth month
  for her who was called barren.”- Gabriel (Lk 1:35-36)

The words of Gabriel would have given Mary a lot of concern. For she had just been betrothed and if she is found to be pregnant. How can  Joseph and his family be able to accept it?  Even if she believed in the power of the Holy Spirit, but will other believe it? What is worst is that she may be stoned to death if everyone accused her of being pregnant before marriage.

But angel Gabriel said

  For with God nothing will be
  impossible.”- Gabriel (Lk 1:37)

If you truly believe in the word of God, you will get strength to do the impossible. It can help us get rid of our worries for we know that God will help us. Mary understood that it is the will of God that she will give birth to Jesus. She trust that God will help her and watch over her and resolve all her problem.

If Mary did not believe , she will not receive such a great grace. She had the simple faith to trust God.


Having a simple faith does not mean believing blindly. Mary heard the grace of God, she is aware of all the trouble that is to come. At the same time she is aware of the blessing that God will give her.  That is why she believed in the word of God and she is worthy for this grace.

We do not need to attain the perfection of Daniel in order to receive such a faith. For even Mary is able to have the same faith. Let us ask God to add to our faith and let us understand his words. They will be food for our lives if we believe in it.

If we truly believe in the word of God, our attitude in hearing and reading the bible will be different. We will find that God will add strength to us through  our faith. We need to believe in his words and we will gain strength from it.  May God strengthen each and everyone of us in faith.


As Christians living on this earth, we are bound to face our own battles and fight. As long as life goes on, we will encounter pain and suffering. Nobody likes pain and suffering but we have to admit that they are part and parcel of life living on earth. There are times we encounter troubles and we find it hard to share them with our friends around us.

This is because sometimes they will give us a cold and unsympathetic response, while some will give us textbook answers such as “You need to pray and entrust them to God”. Many a times we find their comfort superficial and without any effect when it comes to helping us.

But today if we we understand that the Lord knows, it can help us find strength to face the difficulties and challenges ahead of us. Let us examine 2 aspect of our lives which the Lord knows.


Pt 1: The Lord Knows The Way That We Take

“But He knows the way that I take;
  When He has tested me, I shall
  come forth as gold.”- Job (Job 23:10)

Job was able to overcome the trials he encounter for he knew that the Lord knew the way which he takes, how he led his life on earth. Job did not understand why troubles came, and why he need to undergo sufferings. For he did not sin or commit a mistake, but yet the troubles arrives one after the other, and he understood that it was a trial from God.

How did Job arrive at this conclusion? That was because he knew that he is facing difficulties and they clause him pain.  But yet as God understood his difficulties and suffering, God did not attempt to save him from his suffering. That is how he knew it was a test from God.

If we truly  understand the fact that God knows our suffering and difficulties, we would know that God is walking beside us in the midst of our suffering. He is walking it with you, and we do not need to worry that the suffering will clause us to fail in faith.  Neither should we worry that the suffering will go beyond our ability to bear. For God is watching, he knows how heavy our burden is and he would not add to what we cannot bear.

That is why Paul reminds us that God will not abuse us and purposely make life difficult. But yet as we think about this a question often comes to our mind”. “Why is it that we feel that we cannot bear our suffering?”

Indeed if the suffering is short, we will know we can overcome it. We can bear with it no matter how painful it is. For we know it is only a short temporary period of suffering. But what happens when our suffering is prolonged? That is when we feel weak and our hearts is weary .It is not that our burdens have increased, but our weariness is making the problem harder to bear.

That is why even the Psalmist reminds us, that God knows our weakness and tiredness

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
  Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
  As they pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping) ,
  They make it a spring;
  The rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
  Each one appears before God in Zion”- Sons Of Korah (Ps 84:5-7)

Example of Jesus In Gethsemane

Let us examine one example given to us in the bible, let us think about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. At that point of time, he felt sorrowful, it was not just ordinary sorrow, he was sorrowful onto death. His sweat fell like drops of blood.

There are some who think that was Hematirosis, and it is a rare condition. It occurs when one is facing extreme stress and acute fear, at that point of time Luke tells us, an angel appeared and added strength onto him. As the result, Jesus found the strength to bear the bitter cup.

Indeed Jesus knows our weakness, he will add strength onto us as we face our difficulties. He can help us overcome our weakness and difficulties, we will emerge stronger than who we were previously. That is why Job said “When He has tested me, I shall   come forth as gold.”

This is one of the important reason why Job overcame his difficulties, for he knew that God is aware of our troubles, and he is our source of strength. Today our lives on earth in the journey of faith is just like the days where Israel walked in the wilderness during the time of Moses. It was God who called Israel to walk in the wilderness, it was a long and difficult journey. It is an empty an barren land, but Israel finished their journey by obeying God.  For it is the path God told them to go, and God knew the way they walked. No matter how difficult and dangerous the path ahead is, God will help them through it. They can overcome all obstacles by relying on God, they found courage and finish the journey.

That is why we need to understand that God knows the way we walk and he will help us.


Pt 2: God Already Know What He Will Do

“Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and
  seeing a great multitude coming
  toward Him, He said to Philip,

  “Where shall we buy bread,
     that these may eat?”

  But this He said to test him, for
  He Himself knew what He would 
  do.”- John (Jn 6:5-6)

The four gospels all talked about the miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes. But only the book of John recorded this observation made by John.  Jesus asked Philip “Where can we get bread for these to eat?”. He said it as a test for Phillip for he already knew what he would do. He wanted to see what his disciples would do.

Let us examine the reaction and actions taken by the disciples

Phillip’s Approach To The Test

“Two hundred denarii worth of
  bread is not sufficient for them,
  that every one of them may have
  a little.” – Phillip (Jn 6: 7)

Phillip saw the need and the magnitude of the problem, he saw the little resources that he had. He had at the most, 200 denarii of coins, roughly 6.5 month worth of salary for a single worker.  Even if he used all his money to buy bread, they can all but eat only a little bit of bread. Therefore he concluded that there is nothing he can do, why waste the money on what that cannot work?

Phillip is not wrong, his thinking and estimation are all sound and correct. His reaction is reasonable and fair but he forget to include one more aspect to his estimation. He had forgotten the authority and power of Jesus.

Even though Jesus is right beside him, he did not rely and trust in his power, we are guilty of doing this at times. Whenever we face a major problem and we knew that our strength is unable to overcome it, we forget to factor in the power of Jesus.

it is not that Phillip had never seen miracles performed by Jesus , he ought to have faith and rely on Jesus. But when Jesus tested him and told him to get bread to feed the multitude. He just made an estimate and concluded that it is something impossible to achieve.  For he only had 200 denarii and it would be unwise to waste it on a solution that cannot help.

Phillip only relied on his mind, wisdom, foresight and planning, he made use of everything that is before his eyes but he neglected the power of Jesus. In fact Jesus already knew what he wanted to do, he just wanted to see what Phillip is thinking. He wanted to know how Phillip will face this problem  and solve it.

Phillip did not past the test given to him by Jesus.

Andrew’s Approach To The Test

“There is a lad here who has five
   barley loaves and two small fish,
   but what are they among so many?”- Andrew (Jn 6:9)

Like Phillip, Andrew understood the magnitude of the problem, that is why he knew that 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes cannot help much. If Phillip and his 200 denarii cannot resolve this problem, how would 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes help?

But Andrew did not reject the little boys contribution, he knew that even though it did not help much, but Andrew did his part as a disciple, he took the little food and gave them onto the hand of Jesus. He wanted to see what Jesus will do with it, if he was willing to perform the miracle.

At that point of time, he did not know if Jesus would perform the miracle. But if the Lord is willing to do so, the problem will be resolved on the spot. Like Phillip he heard Jesus instructing Phillip to buy bread so they could eat. It appear as though Jesus was not prepared to perform the miracle.  For Jesus already give his instruction and told them to find a solution and get bread.

But where can they find the money to do so? Even if they have the money, where can they buy bread in the wilderness? He did not care about the situation and facts around him, he just took the bread and fishes and gave it to Jesus. Andrew wanted to see that Jesus would do and this is something we need to learn.

The Problem Of Preaching The Gospel

Today we are often faced with a big problem, we can see many around us who are in need. But how can we find strength to deal with it? Our strength is so limited. This is true especially in the work of the gospel today, there are many who need to hear the gospel but there are so little who are willing to preach.

What is worst is that when we are prepared to share, we are plagued with many troubles and difficulties, if we cannot even help ourselves, how can we try to help others?  What is more is that Jesus did not want us to preach only around us, we are suppose to carry this gospel message to the end of the world.

When we think of this we feel ashamed of ourselves, the work is so great and our power is so small. We did not just find sharing the gospel difficult, we even face crisis in our own faith. There are many around who find our gospel hard to believe, some even doubt and pose challenges to us. When we examine our own resources, indeed it look like 5 loaves and 2 fishes. We are limited by manpower, financial resources, and we know how limited we are.

So how can we resolve this problem? This is something we need to consider

Our Response To The Challenge

It is true that we only have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes, and the number we need to attend to are more than 5000. In face of this fact, will we respond like Phillip and just give up? Many Christians today responded like this, for the more they tried to preach the more tired they become. It seem as though no matter how hard we try, the end result is the same. That’s is why we reply like Phillip “There is nothing we can do”.

Let us not be like this, let us learn to be like Andrew. Let us do what we can even though it is only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. They may not look like a great help in the midst of all these troubles. But we have a responsibility to place it in the hands of Jesus.  Let him decide if he wants to perform miracles with it or not.

We will never know what Jesus would do with our 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. As we place this in his hand let us remind ourselves.. Jesus already knew what he will do. He is watching us to see what we will do.

Sometimes we tend to forget that Jesus already knew what he wanted to do. Sometimes we make response such as “If God will not do it, why must we put in our effort to do something?”

Indeed there are many times we wish God were to speak out just for once and everybody will listen to him. We know that if God is willing to help us, all our problem will be resolved. But yet we see God doing  nothing, and we asked “Why is it that you are unwilling to help us?”

Some of us sigh helplessly”If God wont do anything, what’s the point of us doing something?”

As the result we start to behave like Moses who once pushed the blame onto God. 

Learning To Work With God By Doing Our Part

“Why have You afflicted Your servant? 
  And why have I not found favor in Your
  sight, that You have laid the burden
  of all these people on me?

  Did I conceive all these people?
  Did I beget them, that You should say to me,
  ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a
   guardian carries a nursing child,’ 
  to the land which You swore to
  their fathers?” – Moses (Num 11:11-12)

At that point of time, the children of Israel was complaining to Moses in the wilderness. They accused him of bringing them out there to die for they have no meat to eat. Moses was angry and he said this to God.

Sometimes we face with a similar problem, especially when we serve God. That is often the time we tell ourselves to give up and not care about the problem. We wanted to push the blame to God saying he did nothing to help us.

But today if we understood what John meant when he said God knew what he would do and he is watching us to see what we will do. We will choose to believe in him and rely on him .At the same time, we would do whatever within our means to help.

“I planted, Apollos watered,
  but God gave the increase.”- Paul (1 Cor 3:6)

This is an important concept we need to understand whenever we face difficulties in life. More so when we are working for God. Whenever we face difficulties, let us remember these words.  Let us remember that we can only do the job of planting and watering. It is beyond our ability to let it grow.

God only wanted us to do what we can, to our best ability. It doesn’t matter if we are facing life’s problem or difficulties in service, God will not make us do what we cannot do, he want us to work with him.

We can only do what we can do, that is to plant and to water. It is God who let it grow. The result is beyond us only God can do it. This is an important concept we need to hold, both when serving God and facing life problem.

Learning To Rely On God Through Prayer

That is why today whenever we face difficulties in life and in service. We need to know what we can do within our power. We need to do them and entrust what is beyond our control to God. And God will help us. We must be willing to place our 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes before God.

But as we say this, some may accuse me of giving them the “textbook answer”. 

Some may even retort “What is it that we can do? What is our responsibility?”

The most basic of all is to pray to God and tell him our problem. But yet now as I said this,  I would be accused of giving another "textbook answer”. For many of us think that prayers are not effective. But why is it so?

One of the most common response we get it  
“Look, I repeated my request again and 
  again to God. I waited  but God did not
  take any action.”

This is one of the typical response where we conclude and say “What is the point of prayer?”.

Maybe we should approach this dilemma in a different direction. Let us examine ourselves rather than God. Let us ask if we are praying correctly. Let us examine some of the prayers made by the ancient saints.

EG 1 : Hezekiah Prayer Before God

2 Kings 18 and 19 talks about a King named Hezekiah. He encountered a huge problem as a king. During that time the armies of Assyria came and attacked him. The enemy is lead by a general known as Sennacherib.  They told Hezekiah that their God will not save them from the Assyrians and they have a point. For if war broke out between Judah and Assyrian, Judah would not be able to defend herself.

Therefore the enemy wrote a long letter, telling Judah not to trust in God.

In face of such problem Hezekiah only did one thing

“And Hezekiah received the letter
  from the hand of the messengers,
  and read it; and Hezekiah went up
  to the house of the Lord, and
  spread it before the Lord” – Chronicler (2 Kings 19:14) 

If we read his prayer from 2 Kings 19:15-19 we can see a few points. Hezekiah knew whom he believed in and who he was praying to. He was talking to the God who created earth, the one who made kings and rulers,  kingdom and nations.  He is the true and living God, different from the gods who the other nation worship.

Hezekiah’s faith is similar to the faith of David when he faced Goliath. He pleaded with the Lord to save Judah and God indeed answered his prayer. That very night an angel was sent into the enemies camp and all the soldiers was killed overnight. Sennacherib had to return home with no army to accompany him.

Hezekiah’s prayer would not have succeeded if he did not know whom he is praying to.  Hezekiah also did not demand God to do what he want, he just pleaded for his help. Hezekiah’s prayer made us consider 2 question.

1. When we pray, do we know whom we are speaking to?
2. Do we pray to God giving him orders or do we ask God to help us in his way?

EG 2 : The Prayer Of The Early Church In Face Of Difficulty

We shared earlier that no human being enjoy encountering difficulty in life. Whenever we are in trouble in our prayer we tend to ask God to take our difficulty away. But yet many a time God did not seem to accede to our request. Our problem  continue to happen, eventually we become discourage and we say that prayer didn’t work.

But have we wonder if the ancient saints ever ask God to take away their problem? When the church began in the book of Acts, there were many miracles that are perform. Yet the Jews did not believe, they threatened the apostles not to teach the name of Jesus. 

Therefore the church gathered to pray about the problem, but did they ask God to remove the problem? “

“Now, Lord, look on their threats,
  and grant to Your servants that
  with all boldness they may speak
  Your word,  by stretching out Your
   hand to heal, and that signs and
  wonders may be done through
  the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” – The church (Acts 4:29-30)

The church did not ask God to take away their troubles, but they ask God to grant them boldness to continue to testify for Jesus in the midst of these problem. They pleaded with God to show more miracles to help hem so that they can continue to preach in the midst of the trouble.

We knew from history that their situation only got worst, disciples were killed and imprisoned.  Yet the gospel continue to prosper in the midst of these persecution.  The Holy Spirit grant them boldness courage and bravery to stand up in the midst of these difficulties and trials.

We have the right to ask God to take trouble away from us through prayer. But sometimes God allowed it to happen, and sometimes God just hoping that we can pray to him for help, for more strength to handle, and the courage to continue to serve him.

If our prayer is according to his will, he will grant the strength for us to continue. For we see the disciples eventually preaching the gospel far and wide. 


EG 3: Making Plans And Prayer

Very often we pray to God asking for help, and when we do so, we stop doing and started watching. We sit there passively waiting for miracles and Gods direction. When God remain silent, we continue to wait and do nothing. At the end of it, we become discourage, we stop praying and we no longer trust God.

We may pass comment such as “We have waited on the Lord, but why did he not give us strength? Didn’t Isaiah tell us that those who wait on the Lord will receive strength?”

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
  And the young men shall utterly fall,”
  But those who wait on the Lord
  Shall renew their strength;

  They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
  They shall run and not be weary,
  They shall walk and not faint.”- Isaiah (Is 40:30-31)

But do we really understand what it means to wait onto the Lord?  Waiting on the Lord is not something passive. We need to continue to walk,than we will not faint. We need to run and then we would not be weary. You have to continue walking and running, then we can mount out with wings like the eagle and receive strength.

Praying to God does not mean that we no longer do anything. We are suppose to continue to make plans and to entrust our plans to God and let him guide us. That is how Apostle Paul relied on God to help him.

“Now when they had gone through
  Phrygia and the region of Galatia,
  they were forbidden by the Holy
  Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

  After they had come to Mysia, they
  tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit
did not permit them.

  So passing by Mysia, they came down
  to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul
  in the night. A man of Macedonia stood
  and pleaded with him, saying, “Come
  over to Macedonia and help us.”” – Luke (Acts 6:6-9)

Paul was eager to preach the word of God and he knew it is within Gods will. But God had forbidden him to go to some of the places he wanted to go. But Paul did not passively just pray and wait, he continued to make plans. He did not stop preaching, nor did he just pray and do nothing.

As Paul continue to move , he asked God to guide him. Finally he saw the vision of the Macedonian man. Then he headed toward Macedonia and started to preach.

Waiting for God is not a passive work, we do not just wait and do nothing. As we pray to God to guide us, we need to continue to put in our effort to do what we can do.  Eventually God will move us through his spirit and guide us where to go.

WE need to remember that God plan may not be what we want, that is when we need to be submissive and respond to the calling of God.

 Conclusion So Far

So far we studied that the Lord knows 2 things and we need to keep them in our hearts.

Firstly he knew the way we walk, he knows our faith our strength as well as our weakness. IF we rely on him, he will not allow us to fall in our trials. For he know how much we can take and he will not give us a test we cannot handle

Secondly, we learnt that God already knew what he wanted to do. Many a times he wanted to see how we would react to his test.

We also discussed one of the most basic thing we can do is to pray about our problems. We covered 3 aspect of prayer. Firstly we need to know whom we are praying to and rely on him. Secondly we need to ask God for strength to overcome our difficulty instead of asking for the problem to be removed. Lastly we need to continue to work and do what we can while we entrust our problem to him in prayer. 

May God help us in all our difficulties and give us strength to finish our walk of faith.


In our previous post, we have looked at four metaphors that describe the word of God.

Part 1: The word of God is like Fire and Hammer
Part 2 : The word of God is like a Mirror And Rain
Part 3: The word of God is like a measuring line and a light 

Let us continue our next metaphor

The Word Of God Is A Two Edged Sword

For the word of God is living and powerful,
  and sharper than any two-edged sword,
  piercing even to the division of soul and
  spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a
  discerner of the thoughts and intents of
  the heart. “ – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 4:12)

Here it tell us that the word of God is a living and powerful weapon. We need to have this understanding about the word of God. For it is not a dead literature or a mere piece of ancient writing.

If we regard the word of God is one that is living and with vitality. Our attitudes towards the bible will be different compared if we were treat it as a mere ancient document. If we believe that the bible is the word of God and it has spirit and life, we will read it with a different attitude and heart .

That is why we need to understand that the word of God is living and powerful. It can bring us comfort and strength in life. For Paul explains

For whatever things were written
  before were written for our learning,
  that we through the patience and
  comfort of the Scriptures might have
  hope. “ – Paul (Rom 15:4)

Paul told us that the bible is written specially for us, it is written to bring us hope, endurance and comfort. This is something ordinary literature cannot do. Today in the world, we have many self help books and book discussing religion and philosophy.  There are times such literature bring us comfort, happiness, it may even inspire new thoughts within us.  They may even be able to point us to new direction in life, inspires us to do what we normally would not do.

I do not deny the fact that common literature can provide help & comfort or even inspire us to think positively. But today if we were to face a hopeless situation, that is the time when these book are unable to give us strength.

Learning to find strength in the words of God

Let us recall the story of Elijah, how he slept under the broom tree and prayed to God for death. Was Elijah dying because of hunger? No, for we knew that he was afraid and disappointed. How did Elijah overcome his predicament?

Initially we  read of an angel offering him food and drink, but after eating he continues to sleep. The second time the angel offered him food and drink. He comforted Elijah saying “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” After that we read that Elijah had the strength to walk for many days. Is the root of the problem hungriness?

Sometimes if the problem is merely exhaustion, we only need to rest before we regain strength. But what happens when we are tired in spirit? How can one receive strength in spirit? Physical food and rest can replenish our physical strength. But only the word of God can give our spirit hope and strength.

Life on earth is full of worries, we are pressured from work, sometimes our superior threaten us by withholding our salary. There are many problems in life which we want to run away from, they make us feel that our lives are not worth living. 

These are  all signs of being tired in spirit. That is the time we need the words of God the most. 

Prophet Amos once said

““Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
  “That I will send a famine on the land,
    Not a famine of bread,
    Nor a thirst for water,
    But of hearing the words of the Lord.” – Amos (Amos 8:11)

And Jesus reminds us

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by
  bread alone, but by every word that
  proceeds from the mouth of God.’”- Jesus (Matt 4:4)

The bible is the word of God, it is a book where we can gain strength and help from God. If we do not listen nor read from it, we will never be able to get any strength and help for our spirit. If we view the bible as ordinary literature and the sermons as mere oratorical speech and not the words of God. How can we ever be moved by the Holy Spirit? The Spirit of God will only work within us  if we believe and desire the word of God. That is when we receive strength from God.

This is the reason why the author of Hebrews says that the word of God is living. It can generate strength within us and his words are not empty words.

The Word Of God That Never Fails

Before Joshua dies, he spoke his last words to the children of Israel

“Behold, this day I am going the way
  of all the earth. And you know in all
  your hearts and in all your souls that
  not one thing has failed of all the good
  things which the Lord your God spoke
  concerning you. All have come to pass
  for you; not one word of them has failed.

  Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all
  the good things have come upon you which
  the Lord your God promised you, so the
  Lord will bring upon you all harmful things,
  until He has destroyed you from this good
  land which the Lord your God has given you.

  When you have transgressed the covenant
  of the Lord your God, which He commanded
  you, and have gone and served other gods,
  and bowed down to them, then the anger of
  the Lord will burn against you, and you shall
  perish quickly from the good land which He
  has given you.”- Joshua (Jos 23:14-16)

The last words of Joshua is important and similar to the last words of Moses. He reminded the Israelites that they are the chosen people of God. He told them that the word of God will always come to past.  For God had fulfilled every promise he made to Abraham.

For God said, “ I will bless you and you will be a great nation”. At that point of time Abraham had no son, he had Isaac at the age of 100. From Isaac came 2 children, by the time Israel entered Egypt, they were numbered to 70.

Eventually they became a great nation, their numbers grew so great that the Pharaoh was afraid of them and wanted to destroy them. But yet the more he opposed the more they continue to grow. For it was the will of God. Eventually Moses brought them out of Egypt and Joshua led them into the land of Canaan. God fulfilled his promise to bring them into the land of Canaan. That is why Joshua told them that Gods promise will always come to past.

Where is our blessing? Why Can’t We See It?

Similarly let us believe and esteem the words of God. For everything that God had spoken in the past had always been fulfilled. we often mind what others have to say and we often forget what God told us. Let us remind ourselves of the blessing that God had promised us in the scriptures.

But sometimes we wonder “Where is our blessing? why are we unable to see it?”

Joshua told the people, the words of God never fails, both his blessing and his curses will come to past. If we follow his words, blessing will be upon us. But if we transgress against his words, his curses will come to past. If we do a bit of both then both his blessing and curses will be upon us.

Often the real problem lies within us, if we really uphold the words of God. The modern Christians often talk about his blessing but they ignore his curses altogether. That is why we must examine our faith to see if we believe in all of Gods word.

God is merciful and loving, he will always be ready to forgive us. But God is also righteous, eventually he must judged us for our sins. Let us learn to fear God  follow his words and receive his blessing

The Two Response When Pierced : Repentance

The word of God is not just double edged. It is sharper than a double edged sword. It can pierce through our souls and reveal the evil intent within us. It reveals the secret thoughts within us. At the same time it can pierce into the heart of man.

Most man will have 2 response when they hear the word of God. One would fear God and recognised the sin within him. For we read earlier that Gods word is like a mirror. That is when it becomes a 2 edged sword, revealing your sin and piercing through your heart.

An example of this can be seen on the day of Pentecost, when the Jews heard the preaching of Peter, they were cut in their heart. Acts 2:37 is not a mere description, for they felt the pain piercing through their heart. How cold they crucify Jesus to the cross?

The preaching of Peter allow them to see their hard heartedness, wickedness, pride and ignorance. As the result they humble themselves and repented.That is when the word of God pierce through their soul like a two edged sword. God did it because he did not want us to suffer eternally in pain and suffering. He wanted to awaken us and call us back.

The Two Response When Pierced : Anger

On the other hand, there are others who, after being pierced by the word of God, became angry with the word of God. For the word revealed the shame that is hidden within their heart. In the end they wanted to destroy the word of God. This was recorded in Lk 4:28-30

“So all those in the synagogue,
  when they heard these things,
  were filled with wrath, and rose
  up and thrust Him out of the city;
  and they led Him to the brow of
  the hill on which their city was built,
  that they might throw Him down over
  the cliff. Then passing through the
  midst of them, He went His way.” – Luke (Lk 4:28-30)

These people were filled with wrath upon hearing the words of Jesus. For the word of Jesus revealed their hypocrisy.  They know they cannot murder Jesus openly, but they wanted to do it badly. So they thrust him out of the city and wanted to throw him down the cliff.

The word of God is spirit and it is life, different people will have different responses to it. Some upon hearing will repent from their sins. While others became full of wrath and wanted to kill Jesus. For when Jesus pointed out their sin they were unable to accept it. They refuse to repent. These are the wicked that are often mentioned in the scriptures. 

What is the Difference Between Sinners And The Wicked?

Jesus wanted to save sinners but not the wicked. Perhaps you may ask, is there a difference between the wicked and the sinners?  Most will define  murderers and killers as wicked, we will think that those who commit miner sins are sinners. But God uses a different approach when it comes to differentiating sinners and wicked.

In God’s eye, a murderer is still a sinner for he can still repent. The wicked are sinners who knew their sins and refuse to repent. It is not that God did not want to save the wicked but rather the wicked refused to be saved by God.

If we try to dissuade a wicked man to stop sinning, they will tell you boldly “Stop persuading me, if I perish so be it”. They are well aware that they are treading on the wrong path but they choose to do it. The devil is like that, that is why we call him wicked.  The devil is well aware of the impending judgement he will receive, but he will never repent.

On the other hand, let us not be like Pharisees, even though they fear and they do many things hoping to please God. They pay the tithes, fast 3 times a week and make long prayers. These are all things that are hard to do. But all they show is external piousness, they do not repent from their own sins. They too, wanted to kill Jesus.

True Knowledge Of The Word Of God

Now we have received, not the
  spirit of the world, but the Spirit
  who is from God, that we might
  know the things that have been
  freely given to us by God.

  These things we also speak, not in
  words which man’s wisdom teaches
  but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
  comparing spiritual things with
  spiritual.” – Paul (1 Cor 2:12-13)

If we want to understand the word of God, we would need guidance of God to understand his will and his words. For we are able to read but we cannot fully understand it. For Paul mentioned earlier 

“But God has revealed them to us
  through His Spirit. For the Spirit
  searches all things, yes, the deep
  things of God. “ -  Paul (1 Cor 2:10)

Paul tells us that the spirit of God searches all things. Indeed only a spirit of man can understand the things of man. We may have a pet but our pets will never understand us fully. In the same way, the words of God can only be understood by the spirit of God.

We cannot use the wisdom of man but we need the spirit of God. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us to understand the scriptures. While human wisdom can help us analyse passage and rationalize thoughts, it may even help us know the original text and understand the verse better.

It cannot guaranty that we would be able to understand the things of God. If knowledge of biblical Hebrew is so important, why is it that those who read the Hebrew scriptures in its original form are unable to see that Jesus is the messiah that they were waiting for?  Why is it that they are unable to see how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the messiah?

Jesus once spoke to his disciples

“I still have many things to say to you,
  but you cannot bear them now. However,
  when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,
  He will guide you into all truth; for He will
  not speak on His own authority, but whatever
  He hears He will speak; and He will tell you
  things to come.” – Jesus (Jn 16:12-13)

Paul calls the word of God the sword of the spirit. that is why we need the Holy Spirit to abide in us and teach us. Only then will the word of God be powerful within us. For the Holy Spirit will work with the word of God. We need both of them in our hearts.

That is why we should emphasise on the word of God as well as prayer. For the sword of the spirit is the word of God. The holy spirit will work together with the word of God to encourage us and give us strength.

That is why we should not just pray, we need to read the bible and understand it. Then it would become a useful and powerful weapon of the Holy Spirit

The Word Of God Is Like Medicine

“My son, give attention to my words;
   Incline your ear to my sayings.
   Do not let them depart from your eyes;
   Keep them in the midst of your heart;
   For they are life to those who find them,
   And health to all their flesh.”- Solomon (Prov 4:20-22)

The word of God is like a medicine. Even though we are healthy and well at the moment. We may fall sick at times. The worst illness happen when we are sick in our spirit, for the best doctor cannot cure the matters of the heart.

We need medicine for the heart in order to cure such illness. The word of God is the best medicine for our heart.  That is why Solomon describes it so, for the word of God gives health to everyone and it can allow us to remain healthy.  For  a joyful heart is good medicine.

In the past, and sometimes even in our modern world. There are people who thinks that illness were a result of spirit and ghost. But today science have taught us that diseases are clause by virus. As the result we can heal ourselves now. But the Psychiatrist tells us that if we are sad, it will weaken our immune system. Therefore our emotional well being is related to our physical health.

The word of God can bring joy and comfort to our hearts. It can broaden our minds and give us the strength to forgive the people who had hurt us. As the result we could control our temper and choose not to fight. We could use this medicine to help us.

A Medicine that Enlarge Our Hearts

But how can it help us achieve peace in our hearts? How can it help us forgive and let go?

Only the word of God can help us and the Psalmist explain it clearly

“My soul melts from heaviness;
  Strengthen me according to
  Your word.”- Psalmist (Ps 119:28)

“I will run the course of Your
  commandments, For You shall
  enlarge my heart.” -Psalmist (Ps 119:32)

Our hearts can be bound by our hatred and wrath, it can also be bounded by sorrows and worries. For there will be words that will make us angry, and words that will break our hearts. That is when we need prayers, and we need to believe and mediate on the words of God. It can melt the heaviness and strengthen us, it can enlarge our hearts if we follow his commandments.

The Psalmist continues to plead with the Lord

“Remember the word to Your servant,
  Upon which You have caused me to hope.
  This is my comfort in my affliction,
  For Your word has given me life.” – Psalmist (Ps 110:49-50)

It is by remembering the words of God we can find hope. It can give us life and give us comfort. That is why the word of God is the best medicine for the heart. It is the reason why we need to read and ponder over them. That is why we often make children memories bible verses in Sunday school. For we want them to keep the words in their heart. Only then can the word of God comfort them when they are in trouble. For if we do not know the verse, how can we be reminded of it?

The Right Medicine For the Right time

Every good doctor is able to prescribe the right medication for the right diseases. In a same way, Christian must learn to make good use of the word of God. For if we abuse the word we will bring more harm than good to the people who hear us.

For example, we remember the 3 friends of Job who came to visit him in hope of bringing him comfort and counsel. They wanted to help him, but they make use of the wrong medication. They insist that Job’s suffering was a result of a judgement of God. And they went on to say that we all have sinned.

That is when Job defended himself asking them to point out his sins.

When they are unable to do so, they claim that it is the will of God. They advised Job to be humble and receive it. Their words brought more anger and disappointment in Job. Job calls them worthless Physicians who are only here to pass judgement.

As Christians, we are guilty of that at times. But we ought to know that the words of God are given to save people and not to harm them. 

A Concluding Story

There was a preacher who debated with a unbelievers and that man is hardened in his heart.  That man refuse to believe and in the middle of the debate he asked “Do you truly believe that all the words in the bible and all the instructions from Jesus? “

The preacher replied yes, and the man referred him to Matt 5:39

“But I tell you not to resist
  an evil person.  But whoever
  slaps you on your right cheek,
  turn the other to him also.” – Jesus (Mat 5:39)

Before the preacher could say anything, the man gave him a slap and he was in shock. So the man replied “Please do not be angry, but if you truly believe in the words of Jesus, please turn your cheek to me now”

The preacher replied “Well, I have this verse for you. Jn 3:36.”

“He who believes in the Son has
  everlasting life; and he who does
  not believe the Son shall not see
  life, but the wrath of God abides
  on him.”- Jesus (Jn 3:36)

The unbeliever was wise, and but as the preacher was showing him the scriptures, he let down his guard. Before he could finish reading, he received a punch in his stomach.

The preacher replied “Here is how the wrath of God looks like”

Both of these man know how to use the bible, but they use it only to teach and hurt others. They use it to vent their anger and frustration. This is not the right way to use the word of God.

Sometimes we behave just like these two me. But we need to know that God wanted people to repent and return to him. God wanted to save their souls and wake them from their slumber. Therefore we need to ask ourselves

“Are we using the word of God to help the ones in need?”

Let us learn not to use it merely to give others a lesson or to ridicule people. For if we do so are we suppose to be good or useless physicians?