Introduction

“And truly Jesus did many other signs
  in the presence of His disciples, which
  are not written in this book; but these
  are written that you may believe that
  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
  that believing you may have life
  in His name.”- John (Jn 20:30-31)

John tells us that there are many miracles performed by Jesus which were not recorded in the gospel. He had specially chosen 7 for us to read. He did that so that we can believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ and we can have life through his name.

So far we have taken a look at these miracles

1. Jesus turning water into wine (Part 1, Part 2)
2. Jesus Healing The Nobleman’s son (Part 3, Part 4)
3. Jesus Healing By The Pool Of Bethesda (Part 5, Part 6)
4. Jesus feeding 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 Fishes (Part 7 , Part 8)
5. Jesus Walking on Water (Part 9, Part 10)
6. Jesus Healing A Blind Man (Part 11, Part 12)
7. Raising Lazarus (Part 13)

This is the last blog post of this series in the previous blog post, we learnt that Jesus intentionally came late to Lazarus. So that he will die  and Jesus will be able to resurrect him.

Now let us look at the other lessons that we can learn from this miracle.

Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.

“Lord, behold, he whom
  You love is sick.”- Mary and Marta (Jn 11:3)

Jesus love Lazarus and he is sick. Sometimes we think that people who are loved by God will receive special grace. Most Christians will define this special grace as “"No disasters and no trouble”

To many in the world, grace means having no problems, no sickness and no pain. This is something we desire. That is why when we see people in trouble our first reaction is “Why the grace of God is not given to him? Why would God allow the ones he love to suffer?”

But that is the thinking of man and not what the bible tells us. The bible records that those who are loved by God will still fall sick. Elisha was a great prophet, full of great miracles and he healed many sick. He is loved by God and God used him mightily. Yet the bible records that Elisha died of illness.

Those who are loved by God will still fall sick and will still die. The only difference is that they pass away with a heart full of joy and peace of the Lord. For they know that God loved them and had brought them back to heaven for an eternal rest.

That is the difference between a someone whom the Lord loves and an unbeliever.

Those who are loved by the Lord understands that he is cleanse from sin, he will receive the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of his inheritance. He is assured that God had prepared a place for them and he will take him there some day.  That is why they can remain peaceful and joyful always.

But those who do not believe will despair. He may be able to think positively for a while, but if the sickness and pain is prolong, he may despair and give up hope. Even the strongest man may despair at times in the midst of suffering.

That is why Paul remind us

But I do not want you to be ignorant,
  brethren, concerning those who have
  fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others
  who have no hope. For if we believe that
  Jesus died and rose again, even so God
  will bring with Him those who sleep in
  Jesus.”- Paul (1 Thess 4:13-14)

“Then we who are alive and remain shall
   be caught up together with them in the
   clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And
   thus we shall always be with the Lord.
  
Therefore comfort one another with
  these words.”- Paul (1 thess 4:17-18)

As Christians, will we choose to despair in face of death and difficulties? Or will we choose to believe in the words of Jesus and be filled with peace and joy?

That is something we need to consider and we need to comfort each other often with these words

Jesus Delayed Coming To Lazarus

“So, when He heard that he was 
  sick, He stayed two more days
  in the place where He was. “- John (Jn 11:6)

“Lord, if You had been here, my 
brother would not have died.”- Martha and Mary (Jn 11:21,32)

Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he remained 2 more days, he did it so that Lazarus will die, and then he can perform this miracle. But Mary and Martha did not know this, so they murmured against Jesus. They questioned why Jesus chose to delay for 2 more days while they are worried for Lazarus.

As Lazarus’s condition got poorer and poorer still Jesus did not come. When Jesus finally arrived, they were unhappy and they blamed him for Lazarus death. They must be thinking within themselves “What is the point of coming since he is now dead?”

We face similar situations before, even more so when we are in extreme difficulty and danger. We call out to God again and again and it appears as though Jesus did not hear us, nor did he grant us our request.  Finally, our patience is exhausted and we start to murmur against God and blame him for the consequences that happens.

But the story of Lazarus tells us, that while we are entitled to our will, we need to understand that God has his own will as well. If Jesus were to come early, Lazarus will be healed, he will not need to die and it is good. But Jesus had another will, one which he delay in his arrival so that Lazarus will die. Jesus wanted Lazarus to be buried for at least 4 days.

There was a common Jewish superstition that after a person is dead, his spirit will remain in the tomb for 3 days. Only when the body starts to smell, that is when the spirit leaves. Therefore Jesus choose to come late not just for the sake of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. It is also for the multitude as well as the many Christians who will read of this miracles. He came late so tat everyone will know that he is the Lord of Life. Only though Jesus one can be saved.

That is the better will of God, and Christians who have faith will have a different attitude. Yes we may have our own will, our own wishes  and our own timing. But God will have a better will and a better time. Even though God did not answer according to our timing and our desires. But we will not despair nor murmur. Even though we may not understand why God did not grant our wishes, but we believe that God had a will that is far better. We will thank God and trust that God will have a better will and a better time.

Jesus Wept

“Jesus wept.”- John (Jn 11:35)

This is the shortest verse of the bible, and it is also the most touching. For Jesus wept, he wept after seeing the sorrow of the bereaved. He could see their despair and helplessness in face of death. As the result, Jesus is sad and sorrowful.

“Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping,
   and the Jews who came with her weeping,
   He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”" – John (Jn 11:33)

Here it records that when Jesus saw everyone weeping, he started to groan in Spirit. Some translation indicated that this groaning had a kind of anger and indignation. On one hand, Jesus was weeping, and on the other hand he was anger.

Have we wonder why Jesus is agitated? Jesus wept because he saw their sorrow and agony over death.  He understood our tears, and he can understand our weakness. Jesus had tasted the experience of being human. He is able to understand us. Whenever we encounter suffering and pain, he will weep together with us. He will weep with us even when everyone else is mocking us.

Perhaps others may think that the suffering we have encounter is small and insignificant, but Jesus will weep with us .For he knows our weakness and our suffering.

Jesus is sad because of the people and their unwilling to believe in his words. For those who do not believe in his words, will despair even more  and be in deeper agony, this is true especially when they are facing difficulty or death.

But if one believes in the words of Jesus.”Eve n though he may die, but he will live” Then he will not feel despair and helpless before death.

A Christian feels only sadness during funerals, for we know that it is a temporary separation. This separation is similar to us sending our children off to study. We are sad because we will not be able to see them, but we will never despair and be sorrowful. For we know that those who believe in the words of Christ will meet again. That meeting will be eternal in the kingdom of God. That is why we will not be despair, be helpless and sorrowful.

If one do not believe in the words of Jesus, he will feel the despair and agony of death. That is the reason why Jesus s troubled before the tomb of Lazarus.  He was sad at the hard heartedness of the people and their unbelief.

That is why we need to remember that Jesus wept.  We need to constantly ask ourselves, in all that we do, are we bringing trouble and distress to Jesus? The author of Hebrews reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Those who come before God must believe that he exist. He must believe that all that Jesus promised are true.

 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

John 11:39

Jesus : “Take away the stone.”
Martha : “Lord, by this time there
                  is a stench, for he has
                  been dead four days.”

Jesus told the people to roll the stone way. Does Jesus really need people to do this work?  If he were to command angels to do it, they will roll the stone away.  But Jesus chose to ask man to do it, even though people find excuses not to follow the instructions of Jesus.

But Jesus wanted man to do the work.  when Jesus gives us an instruction, it is within the ability of man. He did not want man to command the dead to come forth, he only wanted us to move the stones ourselves.

We need to understand that even when God perform miracles, he expects man to do what they could do, while God will accomplish the things that man cannot do.

“Commit your works to the Lord,
  And your thoughts will be established.”- Solomon (Prov 16:3)

This is a proverb that many knew, but yet the fact is, there are times when we commit our works to the Lord, and God did not establish it. It makes us wonder why.

“he preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”- Solomon (Prov 16:1)

Here it tell us that man can make as much plans as they like, but it is God’s who can decide whether to establish a plan or not. So do we know when God accepts a plan and when he rejects it? When you ask your Christians friends, some may say that if everything goes smoothly, that means that it is the will of God, but if you face opposition it is not. But is this a good way to judge ?

Let us consider Prov 16:2

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
  But the Lord weighs the spirits.”- Solomon (Prov 16:2)

Here it reminds us, that man will always think that their plans are good. But God does not look at the surface, he looks deeper into our hearts. God wanted to know our true intention, our true motivation behind our actions. If they are aligned to the will of God, God will grant it.

“Did I not say to you that if 
  you would believe you would
  see the glory of God?”- Jesus (Jn 11:40)

Today there are many who claim that they will believe only when they see something. For as humans we have a tendency to trust our eyes for facts. But Jesus reminds us that only by believing can we see the glory of God.  Today if we want to see the glory of God, if we want to see something that is impossible made possible, then we need to follow the word of Jesus.

We need to remove the stones within our hearts, we need to be willing to believe and follow the words of Jesus, then we can see the glory of God. That is the faith we ought to have. We need to first roll away the stone. That is something within our ability, then we need to believe that Jesus can do what we cannot do.

If we roll away the stone with no faith, then we will doubt if Jesus can raise Lazarus. Those who rolled away the stones must have smell the stench of the dead body in the tomb. But sometimes we need to smell the stench in order to see the dead being raised. The smell from the tomb must have made many around doubtful. But if we choose to stop believing after removing the stones, then we will never see the glory of God. Then we will not see Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Then all our work will be in vain and it will come to nothing.

But if we believe that Jesus can raise a man from the dead, and yet we choose not to roll the stone away, then our faith will be in vain for it lack action. That is why faith must be accompanied by actions. Then we can see the glory of God

 Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go.”

“Loose him, and let him go.”- Jesus (Jn 11:44)

When Lazarus was raised and he walk out of the tomb, he must be wrapped up in his grave clothes. If he remains like this what sort of resurrection is this? That is why Jesus told them to loose him and let him go. If they did not loose him, he will continue to look like a dead man. Only by removing the grave clothes can he be a true living person and be able to move freely.

Today all of us is like Lazarus, we have received the blood of Jesus and we are reborn. But sometimes we still look like our old person. It looks as if we are still dressed in grave clothes.

That is why Paul remind us

“But you have not so learned Christ,
  if indeed you have heard Him and
  have been taught by Him, as the truth
  is in Jesus: 
   that you put off, concerning your
  former conduct, the old man which
  grows corrupt according to the deceitful
   lusts,  and be renewed in the spirit of your
  mind, and that you put on the new man
  which was created according to God, in
  true righteousness and holiness.” Paul (Eph 4:20-24)

If we have truly learnt from Christ and become his disciples, we need to let go of our former conduct. That is just like Jesus calling the people to take the grave clothes of Lazarus. For we have all received a new life through the precious blood of Jesus.

That is why we need to listen to the words of Jesus, to put off our old man. For when God create the new heaven and new earth. Our old sinful self will not be allowed to enter. Only those who are reborn built according to the image of God can enter this kingdom.

We need to follow the words of Jesus, put off our old self and put on the new man. We need to be a real person that is raised by Jesus.

WE have finish this series concerning the 7 miracles of Jesus. May we all learn the lessons from this even miracles and believe that Jesus is Lord.

 

4. May God help all of us to apply this to our lives

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Introduction

In our previous discussion we talking about this verse

“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.

We shared that there are 2 aspects about guiding us into all truth.

In the first aspect, we have explored that the Holy Spirit is here to help individuals create a relationship with the truth. That relationship can allow us to enter into the truth of Christ, to change ourselves to take on his image. Then we will be truly connected to Christ, and we will not depart of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit will continue to guide, leading us into salvation.

Before we look at the second aspect. Let us consider the notion, “Entering into the Truth

What Does It Means To Enter Into Truth?

Entering into truth is not about achieving academic knowledge. One can always study the bible academically and build an understanding regarding it. But that will only remain as a basic understanding, a superficial relationship with the text.

The Holy Spirit wants to lead us into all truth, which surpasses a superficial understanding. It is here to lead us to create a practical and a deep relationship with the truth. For Truth is more than just an intellectual understanding of Gods word.

Differentiating The Word Of God From The Words Of Man

The word of God is different from the word of man . The word of man is derived from the thinking of man. It is from philosophy. Great man like Confucius and Socrates all have different understandings and they wrote books about what is in their mind. Therefore their perspective differs. The Truth they talk about is different from the truth of the bible.

What is the difference? Their words are a result of their thinking. But the word of God is not just a concept or a thinking. The Word Of God is God and it is living. 

“In the beginning was the Word,
  and the Word was with God, and
  the Word was God.
  And the Word became flesh and
  dwelt among us, and we beheld His
  glory, the glory as of the only
  begotten of the Father, full of grace
  and truth.”- John (Jn 1:1& 14)

This word is not a mere thought or a concept. He is something we can experience and see for ourselves. That is why John said “we beheld his glory”. This truth is a person, and it is someone we can build a relationship with. This word is Jesus, and he tell us that he is the way the truth and the light.

None on earth can dare claim to be the truth. Man can only seek the truth. He can discover and understand the truth but he is not the truth. He is a mere seeker. But those who found the truth cannot become the truth. But Jesus said that he is the truth. Those who believe in him have everlasting life, and his truth is life.

Those who entered into the truth, have an intimate relationship with God, the truth will allow them to have a deep communion and connection to God.

A Practical Illustration By Jesus

I am the vine, you are the branches.
  He who abides in Me, and I in him,
  bears much fruit; for without Me you
  can do nothing.
  
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is
  cast out as a branch and is withered;
  and they gather them and throw them
  into the fire, and they are burned.” –Jesus (Jn 15:5-6)

Branches need to be connected to the tree to have life. If it was cut off from the tree, it may be able to live for a while, but it’s life will eventually wither way. It may be able to bloom and to bear fruit. But it will de because branches are not the source of life. Its source of life come from the tree. branches that not joined to the tree, will die eventually.

But how can we be joined to Christ and receive this spiritual life?     

 
“If you abide in Me, and My words
  abide in you, you will ask what you
  desire, and it shall be done for you.”- Jesus (Jn 15:7)

We tend to focus only on the latter portion of the verse about asking. When we believe in Christ, we have a faith that is joined to Christ. When we pray, we experience God listening to us.  Many of us experience the grace of God as far as prayer is concern.

Experiencing Grace Is Different From Entering Into Truth

But the main purpose of Christ coming to earth is not to perform miracles or to grant worldly blessing. But many came to him seek for such grace. Initially they appeared to be full of faith and wanted to be joined to Christ. But they failed to enter into the truth, for they do not have the truth in them. That is why soon after they receive what they ask for, they leave Jesus.

These people are slightly better than unbelievers as they indeed had a relationship with God. But sadly that relationship only lasted for the duration where they came before him to ask for help. Their faith remain at that superficial level. When they received what they ask for and there is no more need for Jesus. They stop praying, they no longer wanted Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is always there, he is willing to lead us into all truth so that we can have a relationship with God. The word of God is spirit and it life, he is able to give us eternal life.

An Example In The Bible : Lydia

Let us examine an example of how the Holy Spirit can lead one into the truth.

“And on the Sabbath day we went
  out of the city to the riverside,
  where prayer was customarily
  made; and we sat down and spoke
  to the women who met there. 
  Now a certain woman named Lydia
   heard us. She was a seller of purple
  from the city of Thyatira, who 
  worshiped God. The Lord opened her
  heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”- Luke ((Acts 15:13-14)

Here is the record of the first believer in Philippi which is Lydia. Lydia was lead into the truth. Verse 14 told us that God opened her heart to pay attention to the words of Paul. She understood and entered into the truth. She had a relationship with Christ. She was willing to be baptised. That resulted to her salvation.

Misconception 2 : It Is the Holy Spirit Fault If One Does Not Believe

While we examined the story of Lydia, some  may think , “Today if we are unable to receive the truth, that is because the Holy Spirit did not open our heart. That is also the reason why we are uninterested in the truth. Therefore it is the Holy Spirits fault”

But that is a misconception, for the Holy Spirit is willing to lead everyone to the truth. But the question is are we willing to be lead by the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit will not force himself on us. If one is unwilling to open his heart, the Holy Spirit will not pry his heart open and control him.

This is seen clearly in the conversation of Lydia. how did we know that she opened her heart?

Lydia is a business woman, her clients are likely nobles. For she is a seller of purple cloth. In those days purples are reserved for the nobles. She must be busy working for the higher echelons of society in her days. But in the midst of her job she did not lose her direction in life. Instead she saw the vanity of life, which makes her realise what is the true value of life. That is why she seek what is eternal and valuable. That is also the reason why she will go to the riverside on the Sabbath.

Learning From Lydia

Lydia did not go to the riverside at the spur of the moment, she was doing that on a regular basis. This is something we ought to learn.

Today we see some Christians choosing to go to church only when their favourite speakers are speaking. But Lydia was different, she had the heart to worship God. She was one of the women who will gather at the riverside to worship God. (Verse 14). It is her habit to come on the regular basis. She willingly seek God, that is why the Holy Spirit was able to lead her to the truth.

Conclusion Of Entering Into The Truth

In Revelations, Jesus is knocking on the door of our hearts. He is asking us to open our hearts. He wanted to come in and live in our hearts. That message is not written for unbelievers. He is talking to believers, and that vision is telling us something.

Today there are many believers who had closed their hearts to Jesus, they no longer seek Christ. If one does not desire and thirst for Christ, how can one seek Christ?  How can we experience the Joy of the Holy Spirit leading us into truth? How can we develop this personal relationship with Jesus?

We need to pray for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts so we can receive the words of God. But firstly we need to esteem the word of God. So are we willing to find time for God in the midst of our busy schedule? The Word of God is no ordinary word, he is God himself.  

With this understanding, let us proceed to study the second aspect of being lead into the truth. In the next post we will study how does the Holy Spirit  lead the church into the truth

Introduction

Pneumatology is the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It is an important doctrine in Christianity. Many in Christendom wrote about it. But most of them would explain the Holy Spirit base on their own understanding. That is why today there are so many tongues speaking denominations. These denominations are build base on different understanding of the Holy Spirit.

But Jesus should be the person who is most familiar with the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Pneumatology of Christ is the one that is most accurate. For only Christ can explain how the Holy Spirit works the best.

Therefore Christians ought to check our understanding against the what Jesus taught. But in order to do so, we need to understand what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit. The teaching of Christ regarding the Holy Spirit is found in the bible. If we want to understand it, we need to examine all the verse that was spoken about it.

that is the only way to achieve a complete understanding.

The truth is, there are not many verses but yet these verse are far reaching and deep. That is why many in Christendom can write volumes and volumes of books regarding it.  But does the thickness of their book guarantee complete understanding? That may not be so, for the ability of man is limited. That is why the Holy Spirit is sent to help us understand the word of God.

PT 1: The Holy Spirit Is Here To Guide And Lead Us Into All Truth

One of the most important work of the Holy Spirit is to help us understand the words of Jesus. If we want to understand the truth in Christ, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to understand. As Jesus once said 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 )

While many understand that the Holy Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our inheritance (Eph 1:13-14)  and the Holy Spirit is the proof that we are the sons of the heavenly father. (Rom 8:14-17).. This understanding is correct, but incomplete, for it is one of his many works.  These verses refers to our life to come in the kingdom of heaven.

But What happens between now till the end of the world? What is the role of the Holy Spirit now? From here we know he is here to lead and guide us into all truth. That is why we need to seek for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Infilling is not about how loud your tongue speaking is, but rather it is about how well we understand the truth and the scriptures.

One may be speaking in tongues, but the truth they hold on to may be incorrect. Some of their actions may even go against the truth in the bible.  They are unaware that their actions and thinking grieve the Holy Spirit.  For they no longer seek to understand the truth, but they want to hold on to what they think is right.

PT 1.1: How Does The Holy Spirit Help Us To Understand The Truth?

As Christian, we need to understand that only the truth from God can grant us salvation. That truth lies in the words of Jesus and we need to listen to him. The Holy Spirit primary purpose is to allow us to understand the words of Jesus.

It is not about just hearing the words of Christ, but we need to understand what he is talking about. While the function of the Holy Spirit is to help us understand and comprehend the words of God. Why is it that there are people who cannot understand even after listening to the scriptures?

In fact the bible is not mysterious writing, it is written plainly and are easy to read. The words spoken by Jesus and the stories in the gospel are easiest to understand. Some may find the Old Testament and the Torah difficult. Perhaps they can understand Genesis, Exodus but as they proceed to Leviticus they find it hard to follow. That is why many feel the new testament easy to read and the old testament too deep.  Now there are many scholars who publish lengthy exposition of the old testament. And swamps of people hero-worship their understanding.

But is the words of Jesus indeed so shallow?

Perhaps on the surface it is very easy to understand literally. but the Holy Spirit is here to lead us to understand the truth. It is not just a portion of it, but he is here to lead us deeper into all truth. So what does it mean to enter into all truth? How can one enter into truth?

Let us examine what it means to enter into the Truth. There are 2 aspects I can think of. But for this article we will look into one of these aspect.

To Allow One to Have A Direct Relationship with the Truth.

The Holy Spirit is here to lead us into all truth, and that means to allow us to have a direct relation with the truth. This is not a mere superficial relationship where one merely listen to the words of God.

He is here to help us enter into the truth and achieve a deeper understanding. A deeper understanding is not about a mere academic or linguistic appreciation of the bible. But it refers to a deeper understanding. Whenever you read the passage again you will gain new perspective, new details. As the result you again new understanding, and that understanding will work in your heart. Exhorting you and strengthening your faith.

It will lead you in your resolve, and your heart to seek and follow the lesson you learn. There will be a change in you where others can see that you have entered into the truth.

Have you ever wonder why the same sermon produces different result?  There are some who are bored stiff while others are moved to tears. Some remain indifferent to the message while some repented and turn to the Lord. That is the result of the Holy Spirit moving within you, bringing you closer to God.

That is why the same message may be treated as pearls by some while other treat it like garbage.

The same observation can be seen when it comes to the understanding of the truth. The word of God can appear like dry grass to people. The more they hear it, the more frustrated they became. But to those who entered into the truth, they find it precious. The more they went deeper, the more treasure they found, they will say that the word of God is sweeter than honey.

It is at that point of time the truth had an impact and created a relationship between that man and God. As a result, that man will receive eternal life in the future. The truth will continue to cleanse his life of sin, give him strength to renew himself. It will bring him comfort and strength so that he can continue walking on that path to heaven. 

An Example From The Gospel

Why is it that the same words from a sermon when heard by 2 groups of people produces different result? There is one example in the gospel that fully illustrate this..

It is recorded in John 6:60-63

Jesus spoke a sermon where shared the truth with his followers. There are 2 different reaction that came from that sermon. Today we re able to know that when Jesus talks about eating his flesh and drinking his blood he is referring to the Holy communion which we now participate . By receiving the Holy Communion, we have eaten his flesh and drank his blood. As the result Christ will abide in us and we in him, and we will be raised in the last days.

We know that those who heard this teaching are not unbelievers, but disciples of Christ. They believed and followed him because they saw the authority and the power of Christ. But at this point of time, Jesus is no longer preforming his miracles but he is sharing a truth with them. Jesus wanted to lead them into the truth so they will have a relationship with him.

This relationship is not physical or superficial, but a spiritual relationship that is deep with God.  Jesus was sharing with them how to be joined to the life of Christ. Yet the disciples told Jesus

“This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”- Disciples (Jn 6:60)

What is the result of that sermon? They left Jesus. They followed him no more. (Jn 6:66)

Today if you follow Jesus for the sake of miracles, if you believe in him only because you see his power and miracles. Will you be able to follow Christ when he talk about the truth in the word of God? Will we be able to accept it, will we regard it as necessary and important?  Will we choose to leave Christ because we find it a hard saying?

But yet on the other hand we see another group, a minority. They took the effort to hear it, they ponder over the words of Christ. Even though they have not heard it before, but they understand that it concern eternal life. They open their hearts to it.

That is the point when the Holy Spirit moves them, and lead them into the truth. Even though they cannot fully or logically accept this truth. They are willing to obey and be moved by the Spirit of God.

When Jesus asked “Do you want to go away?”. What did they say?

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the 
  words of eternal life.  Also we have come to
  believe and know that You are the Christ,
  the Son of the living God.”- Peter (Jn 6:68-69)

Peter represented that minority who believed, who put in effort to listen to Christ. They paid attention to the truth and made a resolve to follow Christ.

Here is the difference between one guided by the Holy Spirit from one who is not lead by the Holy Spirit. The same sermon demonstrate these two different consequences.

Misconception #1: Is It The Holy Spirit Fault If we Fail To Enter Into Truth?

But this idea brings about a difficulty. Some will say they are unable to enter the truth for the Holy Spirit did not guide them. Does that mean that is is the Holy Spirit preventing them from understanding? So today if the words of God appear dry and boring, is it the Holy Spirit’s fault? 

If the Holy Spirit is not here, he cannot lead us into the truth. But now when he is here with us, why is it that not everyone understand the Truth?

The Holy Spirit may come and move you, but one can choose to close their heart to the Lord. It is not that the Holy Spirit is unwilling to lead, but our hearts are closed. We are unwilling to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.

That is why we need to open our hearts , to draw near and communicate with God. If we are unwilling to open our hearts, how can the Holy Spirit move you?

In my church we have a habit of praying in silence before the service In it, though none of us ever tell each other what we pray about, but I would often ask God to guide us in this service, for hearts to be open to the truth.  I will pray that everyone can understand the truth of God.

For speakers can only explain the words of the bible to their best ability. They can try to present their points logically and clearly. But they cannot open our hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can open the hearts of the listeners and he will not force his way into your heart.

Unless one is willing to open his heart to pursue and learn the truth, than the Holy Spirit will guide. That is also why we often hear that Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts. On the sermon of the mount he said, “Blessed are those who thirst and are poor in spirit” . But are we poor in Spirit? Do we long for God like the deer pants for water?

The Importance Of Desiring The Truth

There are many things that we want, but do we desire the truth of God? If we only listen to the word of God, then our relationship with God will only be superficial. It will be difficult to enter into truth if we only use our ears and not our heart.

At best that understanding will only remain as an superficial academic knowledge. That is the reason why the word of God is unable to move our hearts. The Holy Spirit wanted to move us in our hearts, to lead us to think about the word of God and most importantly to enter into truth.

If we enter into the truth, our lives will be renewed and our faith will grow. Then we can understand the truth and enter into salvation. That is the important work of the Holy Spirit, and it is the aspect that we tend to neglect.

Christians often neglect the importance of entering into truth and being renewed in Spirit. Even though we serve in various ministry, and are zealous in our work. Even though we offered much to the church, but the truth of Christ did not change us in anyway.

We remain that same old self before we know Christ. We remain greedy, bad tempered, full of pride and the wrong concepts of God. We did not bear the fruit of the spirit nor did we change to be like Christ. If Christ were to come again, can our old unrepentant self be saved?

Perhaps we have served in many ministries within the church, but we failed in the most important duty, that is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into the truth.  That is what Jesus really wants us to do

“This is the work of God, that
  you believe in Him whom He
  sent.” – Jesus (Jn 6:29)

We often define divine work as serving in the ministry, helping the poor, and preaching the gospel. But when the people asked Jesus “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

Jesus simply said that it is to believe in Jesus. If you truly believe in Christ, you will submit and follow Christ, you will emulate him. If we are able to do that, we have did the most basic of the will of God.

For God wants to save us, he want us to work with him to lead others to repentance. If we are able to do so, we have indeed done the work of God. 

Working Out Our Salvation

Paul once said

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have
  always obeyed, not as in my presence only,
  but now much more in my absence, work out
   your own salvation with fear and trembling; 1
 
for it is God who works in you both to will
  and to do for His good pleasure. “- Paul (Php 2:12-13)

Paul wanted us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We need to resolve to work out our salvation. Then God will work with us to do his good pleasure. The Holy Spirit is here to lead us into all truth.

It is not just to give us a mere understanding of the truth, but it can allow us to have a direct relationship with God through it. We need to obey the truth and allow it to sanctify our lives. Then we will slowly change and Christ will be form in us.

What It Means To Enter Into Truth?

The Holy Spirit is a guaranty and an evidence of our salvation This is seem clearly in Eph 1:13-14. But such knowledge is only superficial and mere touching the surface. We may have understood this, but have we entered into the truth of salvation?

When Paul wrote the book of Ephesians they have not fully entered into the truth. They have their spiritual life reborn, they have began their life of faith, but there was no change in their lives. Even though they spoke in tongues and preach the the truth of Christ, though they serve in various ministries but they are negligent in Spiritual Nurture. They have not entered into the truth, nor did they have a relationship with the truth.

That is why Paul reminded them
“But you have not so learned Christ,  if
  indeed you have heard Him and have
  been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
  
that you put off, concerning your former
  conduct, the old man which grows corrupt
  according to the deceitful lusts,”” –Paul (Eph 4:20-22)

Paul told them that they have no so learned Christ. If they truly hear the truth, they must enter and obey the truth. Allow it to change their life. They must no longer continue to do the things they used to do. If one truly enter the truth, people will see the change in us. We will become a new man, reflect the image of God.

To give us a practical example, Paul continue to give practical examples in Eph 4:25-29. And he gave us an important reminder.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit
  of God, by whom you were sealed
  for the day of redemption. “ – Paul (Eph 4:30)

Conclusion

The Holy Spirit is here to help us obey God, if we continue to remain in our old ways, we will grieve the Holy Spirit.  Eventually he will depart from us, and we will not be saved. That is why we must work out our salvation, believe in the truth, entered into truth and establish a relationship with it.

The truth is Christ, let us keep the Jesus and his teachings into our heart.  We must emulate him and follow him. This is the most important work. IT is one of the primary duty of the Holy Spirit from now till the end of times.

May God help all of us to understand this truth, may he continue to lead us. So that we will follow the truth and love it.

Introduction

In our pervious part of the series, we have looked into Sabbath from the Old Testament. Our topic is about Sabbath as described in the Mosaic Law. We understand that there are sabbaths from Festivals, sabbath year where planting is not allowed and the year of Jubilee that happen every 50 years (7 sabbatical cycle). These sabbaths are different from the Sabbath of the ten commandment

The Sabbath of the ten commandment is referring to the 7th day of the week. This is an institution that preceded the Mosaic Covenant and is given by God to his creation.

We went into the Torah and examine every verse about the Sabbath as mention in the Torah. The following is summary of what we learn

1. No work to be done on Sabbath (Men, animals, foreigner)
           a. But Priest must bake showbread, light the Lampstand in temple
           b. Soldiers can do their duty
           c. No burden is to be carried (most people carry burden to work)
2. Hold a holy convocation (gathering)
3. Do not light a fire
4. Offer an additional 2 lambs on top of the daily sacrifice
5. Remember that once you used to be slaves in Egypt and God saved you
6. Keep it Holy
          a. Refrain from doing your pleasure 
          b. Treat it as a delight and not a burden 
          c. Keep it out of reverence for God

Brief Lesson From History

But we know that Israel failed to keep it. As the result, the Kingdom of Israel and Judah were destroyed. Babylonian captivity came for 70 years.   When Israel return to rebuild Jerusalem, leaders like Nehemiah took active steps to set up rules to prevent Israel from breaking the Sabbath.

But by the time of Christ, the rules are piled up by generations and generations of Jews.  These rules started to be more and more ridiculous and impossible to follow. Here are some examples as listed in the gospel.
  
1. you can help a animal in the ditch but not save a human being (Matt 12:11)
2. You are not allowed to carry your bed  (Jn 5:10)
3. Not allowed to pluck head of grain to eat (Matt 12:1)
4. Not allowed to heal (Luke 14:3)
5. Not allowed to handle dead body (Lk 23:54-56)
6. Not allowed to walk a certain distance (Acts 1:12)

All these traditions are part of an Oral traditions kept by the Jews. These oral traditions are claimed to have descended from Moses. But yet these information are only known by the Pharisees. Strangely their Talmud get thicker and thicker over the years and today they even covered light blubs in fridges. Something that I am pretty sure Moses had no idea about.

The fact is, the Talmud is created by the Pharisees, the Pharisees was a group of Community Leaders that rose up during the Persian and Greek period after the Jews had return from Babylonian captivity.

They started as a innocent group of Jews who wanted to prevent themselves from breaking God commandments. But over time, their good intention lead them to create more and more rules and in each iteration, it got more and more ridiculous. These traditions are recorded and eventually codified into the Mishnah (1st and 2nd century CE) which evolves to the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud.

The Babylonian Talmud is often singled out by by anti Rabbanic Judaism practitioners for condemnation in all their studies. 

The Problem Of Traditions

Perhaps by now you may ask. “So what’s so wrong about taking precautions not to break the Law of God? Is it not my personal freedom to enact my personal rule to prevent myself from sinning? If my traditions manage to keep me close to God, what’s your problem with it?”

To be honest, I have no problems with your personal traditions and if it brings you closer to God. You are free to do whatever you want, whatever you like. .But to those who are very passionate about enacting your own traditions.  Allow me to bring you one caution from Moses, the angel (Messenger)  who brought your beloved Torah to you.

“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and
  the judgments which I teach you to observe,
  that you may live, and go in and possess the
  land which the Lord God of your fathers is
  giving you. 
   You shall not add to the word which I command
  you, nor take from it, that you may keep the
  commandments of the Lord your God which
  I command you” – Moses (Deut 4:1-2)

While today many people are careful not to subtract from the Mosaic Law. But many of those who desperately wanted to keep the Mosaic Law, keep it on their own term. But doing so they are guilty of adding their own tradition on top of the Law of God. Just like the Pharisees who created their tradition.

While it is bad to subtract from the Law of God, it is equally bad to add traditions on top of the words of Moses. To create Oral traditions and claiming that they came together with the Law o God spoken to Moses is in fact going against the law of God.

We need to remember that the traditions we create are only useful at one particular point in history. The time will come where the tradition will outlive its usefulness and lose its relevance. Then it will turn into a burden that future generation will have to bear without gaining its benefits.

A Tradition that had outlived its usefulness at best would become an inconvenience that serve no benefits. But in its worst form a tradition that is held on too tightly can supersede the actual commandment of God.

Let us study an example in the bible. 

An Example To Share

Mark 7 contains an example of  a tradition that clashes with the commandments of God. Let us examine this dispute. 

“For the Pharisees and all the Jews
  do not eat unless they wash their
  hands in a special way, holding the
  tradition of the elders.
  When they come from the marketplace,
  they do not eat unless they wash.
  And there are many other things
  which they have received and hold,
  like the washing of cups, pitchers,
  copper vessels, and couches.” – Mark (Mk 7:3-4)

So the Pharisees and scribes confronted Jesus asking.

“Why do Your disciples not walk according to
  the tradition of the elders, but eat bread
  with unwashed hands?”- Pharisees and Scribes (Mk 7:5)

Jesus replied quoting from the book of Isaiah

“‘This people honors Me with their lips,
   But their heart is far from Me.
   And in vain they worship Me,
  Teaching as doctrines the commandments
  of men”” – Jesus (Mk 7:6-7)

He went on to quote another example. Within the ten commandments God said, 

“‘Honor your father and your mother’;
 
and, ‘He who curses father or mother,
  let him be put to death.”

But yet these people enacted a tradition saying
“If a man says to his father or mother,
  “Whatever profit you might have
  received from me is Corban”—’
  (that is, a gift to God),”

And now the man who said this had no longer the need to to take care of his parents.

Jesus concluded saying

“making the word of God of no effect
  through your tradition which you
  have handed down. And many such
  things you do.” – Jesus (Mk 7:13)

The traditions we create today may have the risk of going against the commandments of God. Perhaps in the very beginning it was not enacted against Gods commandments. But what will happen after many generations of implementation? What if our future generation took these tradition to the extreme and went against the word of God? 

Instead of forming traditions and correcting them later. Why not do away with them and choose to follow the Words of God directly?

Jesus The Lord Of The Sabbath

Today there are many within Christendom that advocate that Sabbath is invention of the Mosaic Covenant. Those who advocate it say that Jesus had nailed the Sabbath to the cross and do away with it.  If this is so then do Christians had to keep the Sabbath?

Was the Sabbath indeed nailed on the cross?

Jesus once declared

“The Sabbath was made for man,
  and not man for the Sabbath.
  Therefore the Son of Man is also
  Lord of the Sabbath.” – Jesus (Mk 2:7)

If Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, how can the Sabbath be abolished?

The sacrifice of the Lord takes away the curse of the Law. Jesus had nailed the punishments for sin in the Mosaic Covenant to the cross. He had fulfilled the requirements of all feast and sacrifices.

Keeping The Spirit Of The Mosaic Covenant. 

When he died, he became the Passover lamb that was killed. His body was sinless. That is why he is the bread of life to Christians. That is why we as Christians need to keep the institutions that he had commanded us. For our Covenant is with Christ and that Covenant is not the same as the Covenant of Moses.

At baptism we received the blood of Christ, that is when sins are forgiven. That is why we keep the institution of Christ, instituted on that Last Passover in the world. We take the Holy Communion , eating the unleavened bread which is his body, and drinking the grape juice that is his blood. That is why we wash our feet after baptism to have a part with Christ. 

For Christ was the the first fruits of those who resurrect. When he died, the veil in the temple was torn to two. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the glory of God is separated and hidden away from man behind the veil. Men were not to pass the veil except on the day of atonement.

But now with the sacrifice of Christ the veil was torn into two ,for man can now come to God directly to ask for forgiveness instead of using the blood of animals to atone for their sin.

At the same time, those who are faithful to him under the Mosaic covenant were resurrected at the death of Christ. (Matt 27:51-53). It is these Old testament believers who are the Omers that ought to be counted. For they are redeemed by Christ. all the sacrifices they made in the feast, all the sins that are atone by the blood of animals are fulfilled by Christ.

Under the mosaic covenant, God could only dwell with Israel through the taberacle confined in the Holies of Holies which is cleanse yearly though the blood of animals. God had wanted to dwell with man but because of sin, man cannot draw near to God. That is why they could only appear before the Lord in 3 pilgrim festival. (AKA Feast of the Lord).

But now under the covenant of Christ, sins are forgiven and man are justified. As the result the Spirit of God can now dwell in the hearts of man, helping man to remember the words and commandments of God. Giving them comfort and strength to keep his commandments. That is why the spirit of God came to the people on Pentecost when the counting of Omer is completed and those who are part of the first harvest are complete.

The remaining work in a Christian perspective are all found in the fall feast. We no longer blow the trumpet to signal the start of the day of atonement. For the sacrifice of Christ is once and for all, Christ had entered into the Holies of Holies with his blood.   From then on, the presence of God is no longer confined in the Holies of Holies, he is dwelling the in hearts of every believer who are washed by the blood of Christ,  Jews and gentiles alike, they are all to be saved by the covenant of Jesus.

Today, as Christians, we ought to live a life of a sojourner dwelling in booths. This is no longer a 7 day affair, but a lifetime affair. For we are called out from the world just like how God called Israel out of Egypt. We are to dwell in tents, reminding ourselves that our final destination is the Kingdom of God.

Conclusion

Signing that Covenant with Christ  does not change the fact that God blessed the seventh day and hallowed the Sabbath. It does not change the fact that God had established the Sabbath at creation.

Christ had fulfilled the requirement of the Law of Moses, he had saved us from the curse of the Law nailing the writing that was against us to the cross. That is why  Christians are not stoned to death of failing to keep the Sabbath. Why we are no longer judged for lighting a fire. There is no longer the requirement to burn additional animal as offering on the Sabbath.

However as Christians we must keep the Spirit Of The Law as well as the ten commandments. We have need to observe the Sabbath. But our keeping of the Sabbath differs from the Jews in many ways.

Today Christian who keep the Sabbath in the following way.

1. No work to be done on Sabbath 
2. Hold a holy convocation (gathering for worship) 
3. Remember that there is an eternal rest for us in the Kingdom of Heaven  
4. Keep it Holy
          a. Refrain from doing your pleasure 
          b. Treat it as a delight and not a burden 
          c. To keep it out of a love for God

Besides that we are to observe  what Jesus taught us about keeping the Sabbath. What are they? We will read them together in the last blog entry of this series.

Recently I came across a series of video comparing the Christian Baptism with the Jewish Mikvah .  Calling the Christian baptism a Mikvah. He even went one step further saying that because John the Baptist was a Kohen (Priest) hence he was doing Mikvah and it is translated as baptism. He had this idea because some Jewish Rabbi explained that Baptism is equivalent to a Mikvah

https://youtu.be/vL90nL3n7fs
https://youtu.be/sRDaP65iUG8
https://youtu.be/3u3_4NApO48

He went on to quote Heb 6 and tell the believers to leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection. And his idea of perfection is to share about the types of “"Baptism” in the bible which he said are baptism a Christian ought to go through

1. Baptism of Purification (OT Mikvah)
2. Baptism of Repentance (Johns Baptism)
3. Baptism of Identification (Perform by the apostles to identify themselves with Christ)
4. Baptism of Spirit (which he felt are languages and not tongues)
5. Baptism of fire (seem to be refer to temptation , trials)
6. Baptism of suffering (Suffering of Christ on the cross, suffering of Apostles while preaching)

Initial Reaction

Fact is, there are some similarities between the Law of Purification in the Mosaic Covenant with Christian baptism. The similarities that come to my mind immediately are these

1. Under the Mosaic Law, Running (Same word as Living) are used for some of the rites
             a. There are others which just require the candidate to be bath in water
2. Many of the purification rites involves full immersion into running water.

It would be incorrect to equate baptism with a Mikvah. for there are massive differences between the two.  Lets examine the differences in a nutshell

A Mikvah A Baptism (John & Jesus)
A Mikvah washing is usually done
alone, by the individual who is unclean
There is no one administering the washing.
(Exception : Red Heifer and Lepers)
Baptism of John (Repentence) is administered
by John the Baptist to his followers

Baptism of Christ is administered by the
disciples of Jesus on believers

A person goes through Mikvah when they
are unclean. They have to do it whenever
they became unclean. Here are some 
reasons for using a Mikvah
1. Cleanse of Leprosy (Lev 14)
2. Bodily discharge (Lev 15:2-3)
3. Sexual encounter (Lev 15:16-18)
4. Menstrual Period (Lev 15:19-23  )
5. Childbirth (not from Moses)
6. Priest  red Heifer ritual (Lev 16:26,28)
7. In contact with dead body (Lev 17:15)
8. Nazirite (Not from Moses)
    (CF : Num 19:1-21)
9. Conversion to Judaism (Not from
    Moses)
John did not baptise his disciples many times.

Those who are baptised by John need to
believe in Jesus and be re-baptised by the
Apostles again.

The purpose of baptism by the Apostles
is seen clearly in acts.

“Repent, and let every one of you be 
  baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
  for the remission of sins; and you shall
  receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

While the many of the purification
requires running water. Quite a number
just required the person to bath in water
John and the disciples of Christ always conduct
baptism in living water. Despite the fact
that numerous mikvahs existing. 
                       
Definition of Living waters: Rivers, Oasis, Sea

That is why I do not equate baptisms with the Jewish Mikvah. Even though the actions and the water used could be similar, it s purpose, frequency of use, are different. Those who read Lev 14-17 may have realised that the reasons for Mikvah is somewhat similar to the reasons why we take a shower today. Perhaps that is what the Torah actually meant. The fact is that we will all do it by ourselves in the modern era.

Interestingly, Apostle Peter made a distinction between baptism and mikvah telling us that Baptism is the one that can save.

“There is also an antitype which now saves us—
  baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh,
  but the answer of a good conscience toward God),
  through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” – Peter (1 Pet 3:21)

He tells us that Baptism is made effective through the resurrection of Christ.

Misconceptions #1 : The Book Of Hebrews Are Written To Messianic Jews

The Audience Of Hebrews Are Jewish Christians who need to understand the differences between their old faith following the Mosaic covenant and their new Covenant with Christ. It is written to help them appreciate the difference between the Mosaic Covenant and their faith in Christ

When the Author of Hebrew encourage the Christians to to leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, on to perfection. He did not negate the need for Baptism, but rather he wanted them to go deeper, to have a perfect understanding of Christ.

As Jesus one ask ““But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”(Lk 6:46). How can one leave the elementary principles of Christ without even practicing it in the first place?

The process of perfecting faith starts with basic obedience, having their sin washed away, recieving the Spirit of God to counsel and guide them to the truth. Walking slowly but surely to put off their old conduct and to follow the commandments of God. With the blood of Jesus continuing to forgive them of their sins and transgression along the way.

Only then can one finish his journey to heaven.

Misconceptions #2 : Is John the Baptist Conducting Mikvah?

Personally I am surprised that Mr Rood just equated Mikvah with Baptism just because some Jewish Rabbis said so.  Even though I agree that John is a Kohen(Priest) as he descended from a family of Priest. I agree that he is well acquainted with the law of Moses with regard to cleanliness.

But the fact remains, that even though there are many Mikvahs all over Israel. John choose to perform his baptism in a river. When others question him behind his actions, he answered that God sent him to perform his baptism. He never said that what he was doing is according to the Law of Moses.

What is most interesting is that his actions puzzled the Pharisees

“Why then do you baptize if you are
  not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” – Pharisees

At that point of time he could have invoked his status as Kohen performing the law of Moses. But instead he answered 

“I baptize with water, but there stands One
  among you whom you do not know.  It is He
  who, coming after me, is preferred before me,
  whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” – John the Baptist (Jn 1:26-27)

Later on John bore testimony of Jesus saying

“I saw the Spirit descending from heaven
  like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
  I did not know Him, but He who sent
  me to baptize with water said to me,
  ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit
  descending, and remaining on Him,
  this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 
   And I have seen and testified that this is the
   Son of God.” – John the Baptist (Jn 1:32-33)

It seems that the entire purpose of the ministry of John had 2 purpose

Indeed, he was here to tell people to restore the faith of Israel and to turn them back to God. He is indeed the last prophet of the Mosaic Covenant. He is here to tell Israel to repent and return to God. For the Kingdom of God is coming. Meaning to say Christ is coming and he will be his Kingdom.

“For all the prophets and
  the law prophesied until John.”  – Jesus (Matt 11:13)

His second purpose is to perform baptism (as instructed by God) to identify the Messiah. He is waiting to see a baptismal candidate whom the Spirit of God would descend on him. The purpose of his baptism is NOT the same as a mikvah. For Mikvah is done for the sake of personal hygiene and not to identify the messiah.

Misconceptions #3 : Is The Baptism of Christ merely a Baptism of Identification?

Mr Rood merely describes baptism as a baptism of Identification. Indeed, when a person received Baptism, he is identified with Christ.

Just as Paul once mentioned to the Galatians

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
  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.  And if you are Christ’s,
  then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the
  promise.” – Paul (Gal 3:26-29)

This baptism also broke the wall of separation between Jews who practice the Mosaic covenant and gentiles. Allowing all to become the seed of Abraham and to inherit the promise of God.

But Baptism is more than just about identification. For the disciples repeatedly declare that Baptism is done for the forgiveness of sin.

“Repent, and let every one of you be 
  baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
  for the remission of sins; and you shall
  receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “- Peter (Acts 2:38)

“And now why are you waiting? Arise
  and be baptized, and wash away your sins,
  calling on the name of the Lord.’”- Ananias (Acts 22:16)

This is so important to the disciples that even when they encountered disciples of John the Baptist.  They will insist that they need to be baptised in the name of Jesus. (Acts 19:5)

“John indeed baptized with a baptism of
  repentance, saying to the people that they
  should believe on Him who would come
  after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”- Paul (Acts 19:4)

Why is baptism so important to them? what really happens when a person is dipped into the water at the point of Baptism.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were
  baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into
  His death? 
   Therefore we were buried with Him through
  baptism into death, that just as Christ was
  raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
  even so we also should walk in newness of life.” – Paul (Rom 6:3-4)

The truth is that when a person is baptised, he is crucified with Christ and died with him. When he get out from that river of living water, (John and Jesus disciples baptised in living water all along). That person is no longer a sinner, for he had died with Christ in the water.

It is no wonder that Peter tells us that the antitype that now save us is baptism (1 Pet 3:21). That baptism is no Mikvah, it is nothing about personal hygiene or the removal of filth from the flesh. It is about allowing the blood of Christ to forgive you of sin. 

How about Baptism Of Spirit, Fire and Suffering?

I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I talked about it here.  Though i am pretty much sure that my definition of tongues speaking wont be like how Mr Rood describes.

I believe that a Christian life will undergo temptation, trial, suffering (His Baptism of fire). Even though i usually do not call that a baptism. But in that aspect, I agree with Mr Rood that the baptism of fire and suffering will come. But remember, it is God who decide what we will encounter.

I have also encountered many Christians who had a smooth sailing life without much suffering and sometimes. I too make the same mistake like Peter when the Lord showed him how he will die and glorify the Lord

“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, 
  “But Lord, what about this man?”
  Jesus said to him, “If I will that he
  remain till I come, what is that to
  you? You follow Me.” – John (Jn 21:21-22)

As Christians we are not to compare our suffering and see “Who got it worst".  We are also not to question God why some of us do not go through the same trials and suffering. For God had appointed what we can handle and had given them to us. Let us walk bravely in our lives of faith. 

So How Do We Moved From Elementary Principles of Christ, On to Perfection?

We need to grow in our faith. While growth is a large topic. Let me break down a few important points quickly. As this article had taken more effort than I expected.

1. Grow in the knowledge of the Word of God

While many Christian today focus only on the love of God and nothing else. Let us dig deep into the scriptures to understand that our covenant with Christ has its requirements on us. We must adhere to the Commandments of God

Let us not foolishly think that having the salvation of Christ  means there is no longer a need to adhere to the commandments and moral standards of the old testament (Matt 5:17-20)
””For I say to you, that unless your
  righteousness exceeds the righteousness
  of the scribes and Pharisees, you will
  by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus (Matt 5:20)

We are to adhere to the moral standards set by God since Sinai as well as to follow the instructions of Jesus. Then we would be saved. We need to be able to see Christ from Moses all the way to the new testament

2. Put To Death Our Old Sinful Nature, Put On Christ

It is true that many Christians are unable to go beyond the elementary principles of Christ. Their faith remained the same at the point of Baptism. There is no change in their lives, they allowed their old sinful self to continue living within them.

As Paul once told the Ephesian church

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord,
  that you should no longer walk as the rest of
 
the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 
   having their understanding darkened, being
  alienated from the life of God, because of the
  ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness
  of their heart;  who, being past feeling, have
   given themselves over to lewdness, to work all
  uncleanness with greediness

  But you have not so learned Christ,  if indeed you
  have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as
  the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning
  your former conduct, the old man which grows
  corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be
  renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and that you
  put on the new man which was created according
  to God, in true righteousness and holiness..” – Paul (Eph 4:17-24)

3. To Resolve To Live For Christ

Today when Christianity talks about love, it is almost 90% about how to love one another. In that aspect, the church had did very well. However a Christians love is not just about love between fellow man. It is about  love of God as well.

To love God is to follow his commands and not sin. To Love God is to rejoice in the truth. Paul taught the Corinthian something about living of Christ

“For the love of Christ compels us, because
  we judge thus: that if One died for all,
  then all died; 
   and He died for all, that those who live should
  live no longer for themselves, but for Him who
  died for them and rose again. “- Paul(2 Cor 5:13-15)

So what does it really mean to live for Christ?

It is indeed a broad topic and I hope I will be able to share them with you. For Parenting duties does take out a lot of time which is used for  blogging.

So far we have explored many aspect of Jewish Ceremonial laws in the Shadow Of The Old Testament Series

This is what we have discussed so far

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)
4. Feast Of The Tabernacles (Part 4)
5. Clean And Unclean Meat (Part 5 , Part 6)
6. Burning Of Incense (Part 7, Part 8
7. Lighting Of Lamp (Part 9, Part 10 )
8. Offering Of Sacrifice (Part 11, Part 12)
9. Esther and Purim ( Part 13)
10. The Spring Feast (Part 14)
11. Jesus , The True Passover Lamb (Part 15)
12. The Red Heifer (Part 16, Part 17)

I was supposed to share this on Pentacost day, but my blogging software ran into some issues.

Purpose Of Pentecost (Feast Of The Weeks , Shavuot)

The Purpose OF the Feast, as mentioned in the Torah is as follows

“You shall rejoice before the Lord your God,
  you and your son and your daughter, your
  male servant and your female servant, the
  Levite who is within your gates, the stranger
  and the fatherless and the widow who are
  among you, at the place where the Lord your
  God chooses to make His name abide. And
  you shall remember that you were a slave
   in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe
  these statutes.”- Moses (Deut 16:11)

The real reason behind the festival is to remember the grace of God that he had brought Israel into the land of Israel. Prior to that the Jews will be counting the Omer. Between Passover to Pentacost, there are about 49 days (7 Sabbaths)

On that day Israel is supposed to offer two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. (Num 28:27)

Christ And First Fruits

Many Christians said that Christ is the first fruit of resurrection. But those who think like this tend to forget about another significant event that happen at the point when Jesus died on the cross. Matthew wrote about it.

“Then, behold, the veil of the temple
  was torn in two from top to bottom;
  and the earth quaked, and the rocks
  were split, and the graves were opened;
  and many bodies of the saints who had
  fallen asleep were raised;  and coming
  out of the graves after His resurrection,
  they went into the holy city and
  appeared to many.” – Matthew (Matt 27:51-53)

When Christ is raised, he was not the only one that was raise. All the Saints of the Old Testament who kept the Mosaic covenant were raised alongside with him. It is at that point all the rituals and statutes of the Mosaic Covenant had the power to save. That is also the time when the Mosaic Covenant is fulfilled completely.

From that point onwards, both Jews and Gentiles had to sign the Covenant with Christ through baptism to be saved.  Unlike the Mosaic Covenant, they are not to enter into the land of Canaan, but they are suppose to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the city that all the Jewish forefather look forward to.

Those who kept the Mosaic Covenant and were save, were those who resurrected together with Christ. When Christ fulfil that Covenant by being the Passover lamb, he saved all of them and bring them into heaven.

Under the Covenant of Christ we are no longer going to inherit the physical land of Canaan but to inherit the Spiritual promise land.  Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we now look forward to the city where the maker is God.

That is why Christians today no longer celebrate Pentecost to celebrate their entry into the land of Canaan. We are not farmers, so we have no Omers to count, but we keep the spirit of these feast. Knowing that God had rescued us from being slaves to sin and made us the slaves of righteousness. We as Christians ought to celebrate the fact that through the Covenant of Christ we are now Abraham’s descendent. Today we are freed from sin and we are no longer slaves of sin but slaves to righteousness. 

The Establishment Of The Church Through His Spirit On Pentecost

That is why Christ chose the day of Pentecost to establish his church. In Acts 2 the first Christians are gathered in the upper house of John Mark in Jerusalem. It was the Pentecost, where many Pilgrims from the Jewish diaspora returned to Jerusalem to keep the feast.

Jesus had promised his disciples

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.
 
And I will pray the Father, and He will 
give you another Helper, that He may 
abide with you forever—
 
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot
  receive, because it neither sees Him nor
   knows Him; but you know Him, for He
  dwells with you and will be in you. 
   I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”- Jesus (Jn 14:15-18)

Which later he spoke before he ascended to heaven he told his disciples

“you have heard from Me;  for John truly
  baptized with water, but you shall be 
  baptized with the Holy Spirit not many
  days from now … ….

  But you shall receive power when the
  Holy Spirit has come upon you; and
  you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem,
  and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
  end of the earth.”- Jesus (Acts 1:4-5, 8)

The disciples followed his instruction and continued to wait and pray. Acts 2 narrated the coming of the Holy Spirit

“And suddenly there came a
  sound from heaven, as of a
  rushing mighty wind, and it
  filled the whole house where
  they were sitting.
  
Then there appeared to them
  divided tongues, as of fire, and
  one sat upon each of them. 
  And they were all filled with
  the Holy Spirit and began to
  speak with other tongues, as
  the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Luke (Acts 2:2-4)

While today many in Christendom debate over what tongues sounded like. But we know that it is no normal language. it is a type of Utterance. It was very loud, and many of the pilgrims who came to Jerusalem for Pentecost gathered near the upper room to witness what the din is all about.

But as they gathered. They saw a group of 120 disciples given utterance by the Holy Spirit, but yet they heard them speaking in their own languages. These are the location where they are from
1. Parthians
2. Medes
3. Elamites, 
4.  Mesopotamia,
5.  Judea and
6. Cappadocia,
7. Pontus 
8.  Asia,
9. Phrygia
10. Pamphylia,
11. Egypt and the
12. parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene,
13.  visitors from Rome,
14. Cretans
15. Arabs

Today many who are anti tongues speaking claim that the utterance was assortment of languages and not an unknown tongue. But I would like to encourage those who think so to try this simple experiment.

1. Get 15 different bibles in different language (tongues) turn to Matt 6:9-13)
2. Each of you recite the Lords prayer in your own language
3. See if you can hear distinctly 15 languages clearly.

In Acts 2 there are 2 miracles that happen. The first was that those 120 disciples spoke in an unknown tongue. One that cannot be understood clearly. The second being that some of those who gathered were moved by the spirit of God to interpreted the tongue. that is why they could hear it by their own language.

“we hear them speaking in
  our own tongues the wonderful
  works of God” – Crowd at the upper room (Acts 2:11)

While those who hear the tongues speaking at not the interpreting mocked “They are full of new wine.” . they felt that these disciples were drunk.

Today many claims that when one believe in Christ he received the Holy Spirit. But in Acts these two event are not related and separated. For when the gospel is preached to Samaria, the book of acts recorded

“Now when the apostles who were at
  Jerusalem heard that Samaria had
  received the word of God, they sent
  Peter and John to them,  who, when
  they had come down, prayed for them
  that they might receive the Holy Spirit.”- Luke (Acts 2:14-15)

In Acts 10 the method that the disciples used to determine if one recieved the Holy Spirit is clearly stated

“And those of the circumcision who
  believed were astonished, as many
  as came with Peter, because the gift
  of the Holy Spirit had been poured
  out on the Gentiles also.
   
For they heard them speak with
  tongues and magnify God.
’”- Luke (Acts 10:45-46)

Peter when recalling this event compared it to Acts 2 saying.

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit
  fell upon them, as upon us at the
  beginning” – Peter (Acts 11:15)

This same standard was used by Paul when he was preaching in Ephesus

And when Paul had laid hands on
  them, the Holy Spirit came upon
  them, and they spoke with tongues
  and prophesied.”- Luke (Acts 19:6)

The Purpose Why God Poured His Spirit Onto Men

The purpose of Tongues Speaking is an evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is not here just as a sound that irritates people when we pray. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee and seal that indicate that we are the children of God.

As Paul once said

“In Him you also trusted, after you
  heard the word of truth, the gospel
  of your salvation; in whom also,
  having believed, you were sealed
  with the Holy Spirit of promise,
 
who is the guarantee of our inheritance
  until the redemption of the purchased 
  possession, to the praise of His glory.” – Paul (Eph 1:13-14)

The Holy Spirit is sent to the world for 3 purpose

“And when He has come, He will convict
  the world of sin, and of righteousness,
  and of judgment: 
   of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
   of righteousness, because I go to My Father
   and you see Me no more; 
   of judgment, because the ruler of this
  world is judged.”- Jesus (Jn 16:8-10)

The Holy Spirit  is given to believers and it is God living within them. Jesus once describe what the Holy Spirit does

“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 16:12-14)

He is here to help believers as a counsellor, to remind the believers the importance of keeping the word of God. To provide them comfort and strength in times of difficulty and to continually make supplication for believers before God as they pray.

We would go into this details in a separate series.

Conclusion

This article is mainly written to talk about Pentecost. In this study we have looked into the Mosaic Covenant and what Pentecost meant to the keepers of the Torah.

It is meant as a day of Thanksgiving where they remember the fact that they used to be slaves in Egypt. That is why they need to go up to Jerusalem for a sacrifice. It is one of the 3 festivals where the Israelites had to travel to Jerusalem to keep it.

We looked into the idea of first fruits. Knowing that along with Christ the saints of the old testament were raised  at the same time of Christ for Christ had finally redeem them with his blood.

When Christ sacrifice himself and offered the world the Covenant of Christ. He made use of the festival to establish the church. The Holy Spirit fell on the 120 believers , they spoke in tongues and the crowd gathered to see what was happening. Peter stood up, spoke to the Jews Pilgrim, telling them that Jesus is the Christ.

They performed Baptism on 3000 who believed. Upon Baptism their sins were forgiven and they form the first Church. It is the group of people redeemed by the blood of Christ and part of the kingdom of God.

As far as Christians are concern, there is no longer the need for us to keep this festival. For Christ had given us a better promise far better than what the Mosaic Covenant promised. Today we are pilgrims waiting to inherit the Kingdom of God, it is far better than receiving the land flowing with milk and honey.  That is why we ought to keep the Spirit of the festival and remember the fact that we used to be slaves to sin and now we serve God.

Most importantly, let us strive to pray for the Holy Spirit, which is evidence by tongues speaking. For the Holy Spirit is the seal that guarantees our inheritance in heaven. He is the Spirit of God living within us, teaching us and guiding us in our daily lives.

That is our true Pentecost.

So far we have explored many aspect of Jewish Ceremonial laws in the Shadow Of The Old Testament Series

This is what we have discussed so far

1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)
4. Feast Of The Tabernacles (Part 4)
5. Clean And Unclean Meat (Part 5 , Part 6)
6. Burning Of Incense (Part 7, Part 8
7. Lighting Of Lamp (Part 9, Part 10 )
8. Offering Of Sacrifice (Part 11, Part 12)
9. Esther and Purim ( Part 13)
10. The Spring Feast (Part 14)
11. Jesus , The True Passover Lamb (Part 15)

Introduction

Before the coming of Pentecost where this study will end. Let us take a look at a very special ritual that is unique to the Mosaic Covenant. It is one of the most mysterious and the most unique of all the ordinances found in the Mosaic Covenant.

I am referring to the Ordinances regarding the red Heifer.  It is difficult to understand how water mixed with blood and ashes from a dead heifer could maintain the purity and the cleanliness of the people.

That is why many Rabbis tried to supplement the word of God by adding to the word of God to make sense of the ritual. Their obsession to explain the ritual gave birth to volumes of books. One of it is documented in the temple institute.

Even today there is still an obsession about the red heifer. I once come across a funding project to breed the  pure red heifer. Those who supported this believe that that will help usher in the  era of the Messiah.

My Approach In Looking At This

Instead of inventing Oral traditions which are claimed to be spoken by Moses. I would look solely into the Law Of Moses to see what the Red Heifer Is truly about.  I will not attempt to supplement the word of God with endless researches and just look at the rite as it is.

After examining the rite , its uses and process. We would compare the against the backdrop of the New Testament. This is necessary for to Christians, the Messiah had already came. His sacrifices is complete and it fulfilled the requirement of purification which was what the red heifer is used for. ‘

That is why to Christians, there is no need to breed a pure red heifer to create the water of purification. For the blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse us from all sin and uncleanliness. Therefore, We will examine the effect of the right, and compare the rite of the Red heifer  with the sacrifice of Jesus.

Demystifying The Use Of The Red Heifer

Throughout the Mosaic Covenant (Torah) the heifer is only used in 2 places. Num 19 (the Israelite purification rite) and the rite for unsolved murder (Deut 21:4-6) these are 2 separate issues. The record in Deut 21 talks about the use of a Heifer, there is no requirement for it to be red. It is meant to atone for the sin of unsolved murder. It had nothing to do with Purification,

Today our focus will be primary on Number 19. Numbers 19 explains the use of the ashes created in this rite, 

1. It is meant use for purifying from sin (Num 19:9)
2. It is use to purify one who touches dead body (Num 19:11-15)
        a. The person must be sprinkled with the water on 3rd day and 7th day
        b. Any tent where a man died in it is unclean and must be sprinkled 
        c. Anyone who touches someone dead is unclean 7 days
3. They are to add the ashes and running water into to a jar for use (Num 19:17)
4. A clean man is to use it, sprinkle on the unclean tent with hyssop (Num 19:18) 
          a. Those who touch a slain man, or dead animals is to be sprinkled clean
5. Failure to do so will result to the person to be cut off from the people (Num19:20 )
         a. For he had  defiled the sanctuary of God.
         b. He is deem unclean.

So is there a scientific reason for doing this? Perhaps some of my old testament expert or Torah fan boys  could provide some scientific evidence how ash containing blood can clean something Winking smile 

But as far as I read from the Narrative of the scripture, this uncleanness is more about d sin rather than personal hygiene   Num 19:9 is very clear that the purpose of the this rite is to cleanse one from sin rather than physical uncleanness.

This rite is meant for atoning (covering sin) As we have shared before that nothing in the Mosaic Covenant is meant to forgive sin. Sins are merely atoned (covered) not forgiven. 

Manufacturing Of The Ashes

The entire process of producing this mystical ashes is a prophecy. It is meant to teach us about the coming sacrifice of Jesus.  Let us take a quick look at the process

We will talk about how this relate to Christian in the New Testament on our next post.