Is God A God of Love or a God of Judgment?

Many people believe that if God is a god of love, He would not carry out judgment against the wicked.  

The Bible makes it clear that God Himself is love.  He loves obedience and righteousness.  He hates disobedience and wickedness.  God loved His people so much that He gave them laws that embody and promote godly love.  All God asks of His bride is to demonstrate her love for Him by obeying His commandments.  In other words, instead of living a life of lawlessness God’s people must choose to live a life of righteousness.

The Levitical sacrifices show that God refines and/or disciplines His people whose sins and trespasses have been atoned by a blood sacrifice and that the wicked will be consumed in the lake of fire.  Jesus’ blood sacrifice is sufficient to atone our sins and trespasses.  Jesus even took away our sins which is something the Levitical sacrifices could not do. 

Over and over again the Bible talks about the Day of the Lord.  This is a day of judgment that was prophesied by the Old Testament prophets, pictured in the Feasts of the Lord, and talked about by Jesus and His disciples.  Jesus warned that those who practice lawlessness will be cast into the furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  This warning was given out of love.

Don’t we warn our children of the consequences of poor choices even though they may not agree with us?  Of course!  We do it because we love them.  So why don’t we warn non-believers of the coming judgment?  Is it because we fear being accused of being intolerant of sin or of being fanatical? 

Should we only try to love people into the Kingdom of God?  Is this really the only effective method of evangelism?  Is this really fair?  Do you want to enter into a marriage without knowing the expectations of your possible spouse even if you know that person loves you? 

It’s true that all people can come to God in the sinful condition they are in but they are not to remain in that condition and continue to live a life of lawlessness.  Many assume they can.  The Ten Commandments are the basics of the marriage covenant.  Certainly it takes time to learn more details of what God requires but once this is known, people must conform their lives to His standard of holiness.  Non-believers must understand that God is inviting them to enter into a marriage relationship with Him and that there are terms of that covenant that must be agreed to.  God made the terms of His covenant clear to the mixed multitude once He brought them out from under the burden of the Egyptians and brought them to Mount Sinai.  Exodus 24:3 says, “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has said we will do.” (NKJV)  This is how it began.  See how they were told about the commandments and the judgments?  They agreed to it with their eyes wide open.

Jesus called the Jews to repent and return to the terms of the marriage covenant and warned them of the coming judgment.  He originally sent His disciples only to the lost tribes of Israel.  Eventually, Paul was sent to the Gentiles.  The message has always been the same. 

Do you think presenting both the marriage covenant and the warning of judgment in a balanced manner the answer to evangelism in these last days?  Would you like it if you refused an offer without all the facts?  Think about it.

If you haven’t already done so, do you need to leave a life of lawlessness and place your trust in Jesus to rescue you from the wages of sin which is death?  Are you willing to do so?  Why or why not?

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It’s Really Physical and Spiritual

Many people see Christianity as a religious belief system or something strictly spiritual.  It’s really a marriage relationship between man and God.  God offers mankind a choice — either blessing and life for obedience or cursing and death for disobedience.  Everyone makes a choice between life and death by what they do whether they realize it or not.

Man is to demonstrate his love for God by obeying God’s commands, statutes, and ordinances in the physical realm.  These physical commands, statutes, and ordinances are often related to or represent spiritual things.  For example:

  • Physical circumcision removes the physical foreskin of the flesh but circumcision of the heart is a spiritual circumcision which removes the spiritual fleshly nature.
  • The Levitical Sacrifices atoned sin and guilt of trespasses while representing the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus for those who will believe in Him, the purification of the righteous, the consummation of the wicked by fire, the robes of righteousness for God’s people, and the peace that will eventually be experienced in the kingdom of God.
  • Ritual immersion was to remove various forms of ritual uncleanness.
  • Baptism pictures the death of the old man and resurrection to walk in newness of life.
  • Forbidden mixtures teach us that Christians are not to be in relationships with non-believers that would cause us to live more like the world and not as God would have us to live.
  • Celebrating the feasts of the Lord celebrates the steps of God’s plan of redemption for mankind.
  • The Lord’s Supper causes us to remember the bride price Jesus paid when He died on the cross and that He will return for His bride when the Father says the time is right.
  • Observing the weekly Sabbath is a type of the rest we will experience during the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus reigns in Jerusalem.

Deuteronomy 4:6 says, “Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’”  NKJV

Most men do not consider God’s laws to be wise today but foolish.  They fail to understand that obedience to God’s laws brings peace and harmony between God and men.  If man could understand the meaning of God’s laws, they would also be able to stand in awe of the work of Jesus Christ and see the complexity of the interwoven types and shadows found in God’s word.

Do you think Christianity:

  • Is just a spiritual belief system or experience?
  • Requires obedience to God’s commandments?
  • Is something else?

Why?

Jewish Wedding Tradition

Whether we realize it or not, the giving of both Old and New Covenants was patterned after the traditional Jewish wedding traditions.  There are two parts to the Jewish wedding traditions:  the betrothal (Kiddushin = sanctification or setting-apart) and the wedding ceremony (Huppah).  Currently the Bride of Christ is in the betrothal stage and is awaiting the actual wedding ceremony. 

  1. Traditionally the Jewish father chose the bride and sent a friend or servant to come to terms with her parents. 
  2. A written marriage contract called a ketubah was drawn up complete with promises of support for the bride and expectations for the bride.  A bride’s price (mohar) was agreed upon.   This was the law that was given to Moses.  The bride’s price was paid by Jesus’ death on the cross.
  3. If the bride agreed to the covenant, the bridegroom would pour a glass of wine and if she drank it, it meant she had accepted his proposal of her own free will.  This is the Lord’s Supper.
  4. At this point a groom and bride were considered legally married but did not have sexual relations.  They continued to live separately.  Gifts were given to the bride.  Believers have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Prior to the betrothal, the bride and groom commonly performed a ritual immersion symbolic of ritual cleansing.  This is believers’ baptism.
  6. The groom promised to prepare a place (bridal chamber) for his bride and to come back and get his bride after the bridal chamber met the father’s approval.
  7. The bride waited for the groom to return. 
  8. The groom came like a thief in the night preceded by his friends who blew shofars (horns of kosher animals) to announce his coming. 
  9. Vows and promises were finalized with a ceremony including a shared cup of wine. 
  10. The bride and groom entered the bridal chamber and consummated the marriage.  The groom then notified the best man that the wedding had been consummated.  The blood stained sheet was presented indicating the bride’s purity and the blood covenant.  The guests then celebrated seven days after which the marriage supper would begin.

Both the Old and the New Covenants followed this pattern.  The children of Israel were betrothed to God at Mount Sinai and the Bride of Christ was betrothed to Jesus during the Last Supper prior to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Take time to go through Exodus and the gospels to see if you can identify each step.  You may be surprized at what you find because it’s not only historical but prophetic.  Since Jesus’ resurrection, every generation that celebrates the Lord’s Supper betroths itself to Jesus the Messiah whether it realizes it or not.

Do you believe that the children of Israel came to God in a completely different manner than Christians do today or do they come to Him by following the same pattern of redemption?  Why?

Dietary Laws Are Still Valid

Many Americans believe Gentiles have the freedom to eat both kosher and non-kosher meat because of the vision Peter saw of a sheet with all kinds of animals on it — the one from which God told Peter to rise and eat (Acts 10).  I believe the laws of kashrut (dietary laws) as written in Leviticus are still valid today.

People often misinterpret visions because they use symbolism.  In addition, believers often don’t consider how to properly apply various passages of Scripture today.

For example, are supposed to take our children up a mountain and sacrifice them as God commanded Abraham to do to Isaac too?  Of course not!

Shall we take a map of America to the park and take our children’s toy soldiers and army tanks and prepare mock attacks on our land to show everyone how the Mexicans and Islamic terrorists are crossing the Mexican border because God is allowing it and our president isn’t going to do anything about it?  God told Ezekiel to do something similar to this in Ezekiel 4, why shouldn’t we?

How about when God told Ezekiel to make a six-grain bread and bake it over human dung as fuel?  Ezekiel objected like Peter did: “So I said, “Ah, Lord God! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.” (NKJV)  God compromised with Ezekiel and let him cook it over cow dung instead.

The point I’m trying to make is that Peter’s vision did not give us permission (freedom) to eat unclean food.  When Peter saw this vision, he probably thought of Ezekiel’s response and eventually came to the right conclusion concerning the vision he received from the Lord.  In other words, he knew he was expected to go to the Gentiles.  Despite Peter’s interpretation, we insist on rejecting Peter’s conclusion because theologians tell us to.  Peter wasn’t supposed to give in to the oral traditions created concerning the Gentiles and we shouldn’t give in to improper interpretations of the Scriptures.  God assured Peter He had cleansed the Gentiles — not the meat.  Peter didn’t need to fear that the Gentiles were going to transmit uncleanness to him as many had come to believe.  In fact, God wanted Peter to go interact with the Gentiles and minister to them that they may know Jesus Christ.  This is not much different from what happened with Ezekiel.  God made it clear to Ezekiel that the children of Israel would be eating their defiled bread with the Gentiles in the near future.

You do not need to fear the dietary laws as they are presented in the Scriptures.  God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30).  These words are not too hard for you so you can obey them (Deut. 30:11-14).  It just takes a few changes or substitutions for Gentiles to eat kosher meat and avoid meat that is unclean.  Freedom from uncleanness comes as we yield ourselves to the commands of the Lord.

Causes of Uncleanness

Ezekiel 44:23 says, “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” NKJV

Leviticus describes in detail the causes of uncleanness and how to be cleansed.  Being ritually cleansed was necessary in order to approach God and to prevent the Tabernacle from becoming defiled.  Conditions resulting in ritual uncleanness include:

  • Touching a human corpse.
  • Anyone who has tzara’at (translated as leprosy but this is not Hansen’s disease).
  • Seminal emission or other male discharges.
  • Women who are menstruating or have other persistent bleeding.
  • Women who have recently experienced childbirth.
  • Eating ritually unclean meat. This makes you abominable.
  • Eating ritually clean meat from animals that died naturally or that had been killed by wild animals.

As you can see, becoming unclean can be a normal process in life. This is not necessarily a sin.  Ritual uncleanness that results from disobeying the dietary laws is sin.  Certain forms of uncleanness can be transmitted.  It was especially important to avoid contaminating the Tabernacle by transmitting uncleanness to it. Fortunately God had a plan to deal with that possibility.  The Day of Atonement was necessary once a year to remove any contamination that inadvertently made its way into the Tabernacle.

God has commanded us to be holy because He is holy.  He does not want us to be common.  He does not want us to blend in with the world around us but to live separately from the world.

God justifies us (declares us holy) when we receive Jesus as our Savior.  Sanctification is the process of being holy.  It is the result of obeying God’s commandments.

The chiastic structure of Leviticus 11:41-47 emphasizes that certain things you eat can make you unclean and that we are to choose to be holy by obeying the dietary laws.  This is one way of being physically holy.  First Corinthians 7:34 indicates we should be concerned with how to be both physically and spiritually holy.  We often attempt to be spiritually holy without worrying about being physically holy.  God desires both in our lives.

For now, do not think the dietary laws have been abolished.  Mark 7:19b (NIV) leads us to believe that all food is clean but this phrase is not in the Greek version of the New Testament but was added by Bible translators.  For now, please bear in mind Deuteronomy 13:1-4, Matthew 5:17-20 and Roman 3:31 until we can take up that discussion in another post.

Do you think the causes of uncleanness listed above can still make us unclean?  Why or why not?

If they do, how does Christ’s sacrifice address that uncleanness?

Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we be concerned about doing anything that might defile or transmit uncleanness to our bodies?

Lack of Knowledge

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” NKJV Leviticus 26 teaches us that if we obey God’s commandments we will experience blessings from God but that if we disobey God’s commandments we will experience curses from God. Most of us think we are being obedient yet we are experiencing curses in our lives. The reason is not simply because we’ve forgotten the law of God but because of an outright lack of knowledge of the law. In addition we’ve been taught that the law of God has been abolished and that we only need to be concerned with the teachings found in the New Testament. If that’s not bad enough, we interpret the New Testament without the foundation of the Old Testament. This often can result in a misinterpretation of the Bible. God promised His people would experience the following blessings for obedience to the law given through Moses:

  • Rain
  • Produce, fruit, and plenty of bread
  • Dwelling in peace and safety in the land.

God promised His people would experience the following curses if they disobeyed the law given through Moses: 

  • They would experience terror and disease. They would be   attacked by their enemies. Their enemies would eat their crops.
  • The temple (the pride of their power – Ezekiel 24:21) would be destroyed. The land would be desolate and not yield produce or fruit.
  • To send wild beasts to take their children, destroy livestock, and decrease their numbers.
  • A sword would come against them to execute the vengeance of the covenant. God would send pestilence among them and turn them over to their enemies.
  • They would go hungry and eat the flesh of their children.
  • He would destroy their false temples and sanctuaries and ignore their fragrant offerings. He would kill them and make the land desolate. They would be exiled among the nations. Those who are left will flee as if fleeing the sword. The land will enjoy its seventh year Sabbath rests.

Consider the various ways these curses could take place. Is America experiencing the curses of the law? Are you experiencing any of these in your personal life? Is your church experiencing the curses of the law? Wouldn’t you rather enjoy God’s blessings in your life?

Fortunately, we aren’t eating our children yet but if we don’t change, we may find ourselves rapidly progressing through this list of curses. Do you realize these things happened under Stalin’s leadership in the former Soviet Union? There’s no reason it couldn’t happen here.

Are you willing to learn some knowledge that could reverse the damage our nation is already experiencing and prevent worse things from happening if it is applied in your life and those lives of others in your churches?

Discover your Hebraic roots, deepen your level of intimacy with the Lord, obey Him, and enjoy His blessings!

Will You Avoid the Great Apostasy?

Not long ago I got an email from someone asking if I would know Jesus when I saw Him and how would I be sure it was really Him.  This man believes many Christians will miss Jesus when He comes.  

He believes Jesus will:

  • Be cutting edge, awesome, and far beyond what Christians are imagining today.
  • Transcend the scriptures as we know them today.
  • Be fresh and new and totally with it in regards to everything happening in our modern world.
  • Present new ways of interpreting the old scriptures that Christians have scarcely imagined and he will add new scriptures Christians have likewise never imagined.

He believes Jesus’ disciples will dissolve in love in His presence with no need to “test” him.  He recommended these “tests”:

  • That Jesus melts your heart into liquid.
  • That you find yourself rejoicing in expansive love.
  • That He brings perfect peace to your mind.
  • That you cannot help singing and dancing and rejoicing in His presence.
  • That you cannot resist becoming a part of His global movement to create Heaven on this Earth.

This may sound good to some people but it is really frightening.  Many will go along with this.

We must test those who say they are Christ and know the order of expected end time events to avoid the Great Apostasy.  We can’t rely on our emotions and on miracles.  Rejoicing will take place at the marriage supper of the lamb and not before.

God gave us one primary test to use.  It’s found in Deuteronomy 13:1-4:  “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.” NKJV

Jesus passed this test in Matthew 5:17-20:   “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  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.” NKJV

Jesus did not create new commandments.  He taught Torah and properly interpreted them using His own authority and not the authority of previous rabbis.  Torah will not be outdated until after the millennial kingdom is over.

The False Prophet will change times and laws and cause people to abandon God’s original commandments which are written in our hearts (Dan. 7:25; Jer. 31:31-34).  We must remember that the apostle Paul told us the law is holy and good and that we should not abolish the law because of faith.  Instead we should confirm Torah (Rom. 3:31, 7:12).

How will you avoid the Great Apostasy?  Don’t rely on a pre-tribulation rapture.  The separation of mankind will not take place until Christ returns (Rev. 14:18-19).  Those who are taken will be eaten by birds of prey (Luke 17:37).  Those who remain will be gathered for the wedding feast.