Welcome to Church of God Sharing Village!
- Category: Scriptures With Songs
- Created on 11 January 2015
- Last Updated on 11 January 2015
- Written by Ofelia Limpoco-Magat
Scriptures and Songs
Opening Hymns 1. In Your Image, p.162
2. Oh, Day of Rest and Gladness, p.159
3. Safely Trough Another Week, p.174
Introduction: In today’s Songs and Scripture readings, we will read and study one of the very nature of our Sovereign God—that our God is a Holy God. God mandated all His people to be holy just as he is holy.
Our key verses are in 1 Peter 1:16 and Psalm 99:9. God doesn’t tell us that we can make ourselves holy, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:15-16) and God through Moses tells the children of Israel that they must be “’Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Lev 19:2). In Psalm 99:9 king David exhorted, “Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.”
Everything concerning God is Holy. In the book of Psalms, King David wrote regarding a “holy place”. Prophets Ezekiel, Obadiah, and Habakkuk spoke of “holy mountain”, “holy throne.”
The English derivative word of “holy” comes from the old English "halig”, “hal”, it means “whole” (or complete) hence, to “perfect” is to complete. The Hebrew equivalent is “qodesh” and it means “apartness, set-apartness, separateness, sacredness”.
In the New Testament, the word for holy is the Greek “hagios” and it means “set apart, reverend, sacred, and worthy of veneration.” While this word applies primarily to God because God Himself is totally “other”, separate, sacred, reverend, and set apart from every created thing, His call is for His people to be like Him.
A. God Declared or Created What is Holy.
Our Sovereign God created and declared the seventh (7th) day as holy. Even at the very beginning, God ordained, set apart a day, sanctified it and made it holy. This seems very important enough because the first thing God declared to be holy was not an object or thing or place, it is time—a holy time. This is called the Sabbath. Thus, even as God created time and seasons, for days and years as signs, He then set apart special days called Sabbath, Feast days, or holy convocation and assemblies. Let’s hear it from our first set of readers…
2. Joyful At the Feast p.225
B. How Can We Be Physically Holy Before God?
God in His Sovereign Will did not let his people grope in the dark or decide for ourselves what is holy or not holy. He declared or set apart certain food we can eat. God wanted us to eat healthy and good food, including clean animals. Why? Because our body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. We must keep our body clean, holy and undefiled. As these laws on holiness teach us to be physically clean, so our mind must also be clean. Our Heavenly Father wants all of us to be like Him—holy and clean. Just as every parent wants what is best for his children, so God is no exception. We cannot remain holy or clean if we eat things that are unclean. This should be a lesson for all of us. Our next set of readers will read these verses from…
Reader 4: 1Cor 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20
2Cor 7:1; 1 Thes. 4:4; 1 Thes. 5:23
Hymns 3. Praise the Eternal with a Psalm p. 2
4. On Our Way to the House of the Lord, p.221
- Category: Scripture Studies
- Created on 18 December 2014
- Last Updated on 19 December 2014
- Written by Administrator
As a believer of Jesus Christ, have you ever asked the question of what “Santa Claus”, “Christmas tree” mistletoe, holly wreath, exchanging gifts, and other quaint customs have to do with His birth? Almost twenty years ago, I found a small booklet about this subject that seriously challenged my belief and made me rethink of many long-held traditions whenever Christmas season comes around. I would like to share it with you as its information are still relevant today as it was when I first read it.
WHERE DID we get Christmas?... from the Bible, or paganism? Here are astonishing facts which may shock you! Do you know the origin of the Christmas tree -- of "Santa Claus" -- of the mistletoe, holly wreath, -- custom of exchanging gifts?
Does Christmas really celebrate the birthday of Jesus? Was He born on December 25th? Did Paul, the apostles, and the early Church of the New Testament celebrate Christmas? Do you know what the Bible says about the Christmas tree?
Stop and think! Very few know WHY we do the things we do, or WHERE our customs came from! We were born into a world filled with customs. We grew up practicing them, taking them for granted, but NEVER QUESTIONING WHY!
Not a Christian Festival
We have supposed Christmas to be the chief of the Christian holidays. Without asking questions, we have blindly assumed its observance must be one of the principal teachings and commands of the New Testament. We have supposed Jesus was born December 25th, and that the New Testament set this day aside as the chief Christian festival. We have supposed we exchange gifts because the wise men presented gifts to the Christ-child.
But let's quit supposing and look into history and the Bible for the facts! The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ," or, as it later became shortened, "Christ-Mass." It came to us as a Roman Catholic Mass. And where did they get it? From the heathen celebration of December 25th, as the birthday of Sol, the sun-god! It is, actually, an ancient rite of Baalism, which the Bible condemns as the most abominable of all idolatrous worship!
It is not so much as MENTIONED anywhere in the New Testament. It was never observed by Paul, the apostles, the early true Christian church! The idea that Jesus was born December 25th is one of the FABLES the Apostle Paul prophesied (2 Timothy 4:4) would deceive the world in these latter days.
The truth is, Christmas is NOT Christ's birthday at all! And this festival, important as it seems to so many, is not of Christian, but of pagan -- Babylonish -- origin! But does that make any difference? Isn't it all right to go ahead and observe it anyway? Isn't the "Christmas spirit" a good and splendid thing, regardless of how it got started?
We shall see!
Jesus NOT Born on December 25th
Now let's look to the interesting proof! When was Jesus born?
Jesus was not even born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born "there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). This could never have occurred in Palestine in the month of December. The shepherds always corralled and brought their flocks from the mountain sides and fields not later than October 15, to protect them from the cold rainy season that followed that date. Notice that the Bible itself proves in Song of Solomon (2:11), and Ezra (10:9 and 13), that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night.
“It was an ancient custom among Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early-Spring), and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain,” says Adam Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 5, page 386. Continuing, this authority states:
"During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As ... the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November (begins mid October), we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And, as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact ... See quotations from the "Talmudists in Lightfoot."
Any encyclopedia, or any other authority, will tell you that Christ was not born on December 25th. The Catholic Encyclopedia frankly states this fact.
The exact date of Jesus' birth is entirely UNKNOWN, as all authorities acknowledge. The Scriptures strongly indicate that it was in the early Fall -- probably September -- approximately six months after Passover. If God had wished us to observe and celebrate Christ's birthday, He would not have so completely hidden the exact date.
What Encyclopedias Say
There is not one word in the New Testament, or anywhere in the Bible, telling us to observe Christmas. The Christians of the first century, under the inspired teachings of Peter, and Paul, and the other apostles, never observed it. There is NO BIBLE AUTHORITY for its observance, strange as it may seem.
Then where did we get "Christmas?" Since it has come to us thru the Roman Catholic church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, published by that Church. Under the caption "Christmas," you will find:
"Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church ... The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt." "Pagan customs, centering around the January calends, gravitated to Christmas."
Encyclopedia Britannica has this: "Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ). Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church..." It was not instituted by Christ or the apostles, or by Bible authority -- it was picked up afterward from paganism.
The Encyclopedia Americana says:
"Christmas. It was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons, rather than their birth..." (The "Lord's Supper," which is instituted by New Testament Bible authority, is a memorial of the death of Christ). "...a feast was established in memory of this event (Christ's birth) in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed."
- Category: Scripture Studies
- Created on 12 December 2014
- Last Updated on 19 December 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
We are again in this time of the year when majority of the world keeps a very special time they believe commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
While this celebration is inescapable for most of us, this season can be a real struggle, especially when our difference piques the curiosity of some as they think it sad that we are removing ourselves from the most meaningful time of the year, or is it?
Was Jesus Christ really born on December 25th? If he was not born on that date, can we know for certain when his birth possibly took place? A careful study of the surrounding events leading to the birth of Christ will actually show some vital facts.
On the other hand, plethora of information is just a click away over the internet that will show us undeniable information as to the questionable origin of Christmas celebration. Many people are now beginning to see how the “winter-time” merry-making of December 25 actually predated the birth of Christ—that these were derived from an ancient cultic celebration of the re-birth of the Roman pagan sun-god on the day of the winter solstice or Saturnalia.
History also attested to the fact that the Catholic church heavily borrowed from this celebration in order to entice the heathens (pagans) to embrace a new religion. While this method was successful in preserving “Christmas” as it survived today, the Bible is actually explicit in forewarning us and discouraging such borrowed and sanitized pagan practices.
God’s overriding admonitions in Deuteronomy 12, are very instructive in helping us know how God views all these things:
“When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32 ESV(see also Jeremiah 2:2-5, Ezekiel 23:37-39, Zephaniah 1:5, 2 Cor. 6:14-18)
But what information do we have surrounding the birth of Christ?
On the surface, the gospels’ accounts of Matthew and Luke revealed little about the time of Jesus' birth. But a careful study of the narratives will clearly indicate two things:
First, that the December 25 date is very untenable and unlikely date for Jesus to be born.
Second, the chronology of the events and familiarity with the Biblical customs pointed to a different but meaningful period.
As a well-regarded historian, Luke, provided a sound and orderly account of the events that removes any doubt as to the time of the birth.
As an overview, Luke introduced us to event leading for Jesus’ parents coming to Jerusalem (Bethlehem). And this was due to a Roman census ordered by Caesar Augustus compelling everyone to return to their hometown (Luke 2:1-4). Both historical fact and logic dictate that such censuses cannot be taken in winter, when temperatures were often below freezing and travelling can be very arduous due to roads’ poor condition. It would be self-defeating for such census to be enforced.
Another least understood factor was the influx of many travelers in and around Jerusalem during this period that made it difficult for Joseph and Mary find a decent "inn" (Luke 2:7). Looking at the historical context, the only possible reason was the fact that it was a pilgrimage-feast (harvest) season (Exo 23:16, Deut 16:16), making it even more an opportune time for Roman census and collect taxes.
Moreover, Luke in his account about the timing of birth, also noted the presence of shepherds in the fields watching their flocks “by night”. (Luke 2:8). For shepherds to be in the fields at night with their flocks in the bleak of mid-winter December in Israel is unnatural and topographically untenable even when it is only a mild winter. Thus The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Jesus] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields at night. Other references suggest based on this account that, “Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night” (Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays p. 309).
If it is not possible for Jesus to be born on December 25, does the Bible indicate when He was born?
To unlock this and using the same sequence of events in Luke Chapter 1:5 through 2:8, two overlooked key factors will give us answers.
The Key Events
Luke Chapter 1 begins by telling the story of a childless couple named Zacharias, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth. While Zacharias was in the Temple administering his priestly duties under the “division of Abijah”, he was visited by the angel Gabriel, who told him that his prayers had been answered and that his wife Elizabeth will finally bear a son. He would name his son “John”( Luke 1:5-13).
Because of their advancing age, Zacharias doubted that this would happen. So Gabriel told him that he would be “mute” and not be able to speak until the birth his son. It was after receiving this vision and as soon as his priestly service in the Temple was completed, that Zacharias departed to his own house. Elizabeth soon conceived but kept it secret for five months. (Luke1:19-25)
It was in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, when Gabriel visited Mary (her cousin) and informed her about her own unique pregnancy, telling her "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus". Soon after, Mary visited Elizabeth and stayed with her until the latter's ninth month, leaving just prior to John's birth. Thus, making Jesus Christ birth approximately six (6) months after John the Baptist. (Luke 1:26-56)
- Category: Scripture Studies
- Created on 08 December 2014
- Last Updated on 12 December 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
I think it is without question that all of us believe in love. We have our view and understanding about what love is. We all have our own unique experiences when love is shown. We can further ask the same question to a more religious person and they will tell you how they profess and uphold love. Oh, how they love the subject of love! They would not even hesitate and embrace the virtue of loving others as they love themselves. No question about that.
But what do we really know about love?
How does the Bible define love?
I am asking this question about love, because I was once confronted with this question. Some thought that I tend to favor love more than the application of laws and commandments.
Is this observation correct? Is there some validity to the idea that we cannot truly show our love if we want to uphold the law? Are laws and love two different and opposing subject in the Bible? Will you be showing strength when you uphold the law, and you are giving in to some weakness when you favor love?
King David, one of the toughest men in the Bible (he has confronted and killed the mightiest giant of his time, Goliath), once wrote a meditation in concerning the interplay of law and love as he understood it in his life:
Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me. Psalm 119:97-98
David goes further in his affirmation by saying:
I hate the double-minded,
But I love Your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in Your word.
Depart from me, you evildoers,
For I will keep the commandments of my God! Psalm 119:113-115
So here is David, the righteous King over all Israel, affirming his love for God’s laws. Do we have contradictions here? Did King David confuse himself by showing his love for God?
David further adds in:
My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law. Psalm 119:109
That why I called this the triple “L” formula in Psalm 119 – Law, plus Love equals Life! I called this the love's equation.
Putting it another way: If you Love God’s Law, then your life will be full. If you love Life then you know that the foundation of that life must be grounded on the law and If you uphold life through love, then you are showing a love that is real! This is the synergy to a real life.
We cannot simply have one without the other. That’s the biblical application of Love. As they say, love is verb—an action word. Love defines our way of life. Love is manifested in itself as a fruit in one’s life (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23).
This same principle applies when we understand that our physical body, for example (with its various internal parts or organs woven intricately, playing distinctive roles), has built in system of laws that made our life possible and sustainable. And so laws are everywhere in God’s creation (laws of gravity, electromagnetism, laws on thermodynamics such as entropy, etc.) because laws are what made life possible. Law made life and love is what makes life worth living. Hence, without the interplay of law and love you can only have chaos, destruction and death.
However, many have this distorted idea about love who subvert those lacking in understanding of true, godly love. That is why the Bible is also full of admonition about a false sense of love, like this one in the book of Proverbs:
Come, let us take our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with love.
For my husband is not at home;
He has gone on a long journey;
He has taken a bag of money with him,
And will come home on the appointed day.”
With her enticing speech she caused him to yield,
With her flattering lips she seduced him.
Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks. Proverbs 7:18-22
This is the kind of love that is popular nowadays. Naturally the product of this kind of love is betrayal that causes pain and heartbrokenness in relationships.
Another sense of false love is described by prophet Ezekiel this way:
“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain." Ezekiel 33: 30-31
This is empty love that borders on deception and duplicity. These are commonly seen among those who profess to love God but their action speaks otherwise. Jesus equally has this strictest condemnation:
While there are false concepts of love these should not deter anyone in seeking the true kind of love that truly support and uphold life. In fact, we can confidently say that love is the centerpiece of all Scriptures (both Old and New Testaments).
Moving in the New Testament, Jesus Christ made it very clear in Matthew 22, even as He was challenged by those who claimed to uphold the Law:
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40
- Category: Latest
- Created on 21 November 2014
- Last Updated on 14 January 2015
- Written by Raul Hipe
Why do we need to “Watch and Pray”?
Jesus declared the following: ‘Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’ Luke 21:36
‘Watch therefore for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming’. – Matt.24:42
‘Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is…And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!’ –Mark 13:35,37
Watchman needs inspiration from God and His word:
‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.’- Ezekiel 3:17
‘I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He [the LORD] will say to me…’ Habakkuk 2:1
What do we watch and pray for?
What to look for in the news: World leader’s statements, plans and platforms, economic and political maneuverings. Religious leaders’ actions and pronouncements in the news. Newsworthy aspiring politicians or would be ‘messiahs’ in the news with promises and programs.
2) Verse 6-7a, And you will hear wars and rumors of wars…For nation will rise against nation, and kingdoms against kingdom. (Luke 21:10)
What to look for in the news: Update on news about warfare, wars in the Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, etc. Methods and means used in warfare such as chemical, biological, latest smart bombs, etc. Major political upheavals. Watch Israel, Middle East, Europe, rise of European economic powerhouse/union.
3)Verse 7b, And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Luke 21:11,25)
What to look for in the news: Latest outbreak of diseases, food shortages, economic abuses and sabotage. Lack of available jobs, market trends, social issues like poverty, family planning; News about nature and animals going wild, planetary alignments, news about stars and planetary discoveries. Updates on earthquakes, typhoons, latest natural and man-made disasters. Population explosion. Health news, new discoveries in medicines/sciences, battling diseases.
4)Verse 9, They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. (Luke 21:12-17)
What to look for in the news: Religions persecutions, Christians in danger zones. Laws and policies that oppresses religious assemblies. Anti-religious legislations; news on latest religious apostasies, new doctrines; departure from the truth.
5)Verse 10, Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. (2 Thess 2:3)
What to look for in the news: Family issues, marriage, divorce, social trends, (internet, gadgets, social media) that numb a person’s attitude/emotions toward others. Homelessness of people; family related deaths and killings.
6)Verse 11, Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (2 Pet 2:1)
What to look for in the news: New age religions, cults, magic, deceptions about faith, quackery, sorcery, horoscope, etc. Latest religious trends/frenzy about popular and charismatic religious preachers.
7)Verse 12-13, ‘Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (2 Thess. 2:3; 2 Tim 3:1-5)
What to look for in the news: Latest update on the psychological and physiological state of person in the news. Focus on new philosophy about life, theory of evolution, scientific studies refuting God. Latest news on Human rights issues, Rights movements: women, animals, environmental, and homosexuality. Legislations about divorce, family planning, etc. Positive/inspirational news about Christian overcoming the odds.
- Category: Meditations
- Created on 03 November 2014
- Last Updated on 03 November 2014
- Written by Ofelia Limpoco-Magat
LOVE OF SO VERY FEW
I threw a pebble into the river
and watched the ripples reach its shore.
The wave as small as a pebble
bigger and bigger it reached the shore.
I threw a sigh into the air
and sing the song of love, hope and faith.
The sigh as faint as breath
louder and louder it encompassed the earth.
I sowed a seed on a fertile ground
and let nature do its part.
The seed as small as a pea
bigger and bolder it became a tree.
A decade or two is but a short time.
The pebble is still on the river’s floor.
The sigh is just a song to remember,
The seed is now a fruitful tree.
So is the great love of so very few
Like a seed sown and nurtured to grow.
Small it seemed at the very start,
Watch and wait to taste the tree of life.
- Category: Scripture Studies
- Created on 30 October 2014
- Last Updated on 18 December 2014
- Written by Ivan Ezras
One verse that was interpreted to mean the “Last Great Day” is found in John 7:37 and it read:
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (NKJV all throughout)
Anyone can readily understand that this verse refers to the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths). We know that the topic discussed in this whole chapter 7 of the gospel of John is what transpired during the last feast of Tabernacles of Christ before his crucifixion. John 7:2 shows this to be the case.
There are only seven (7) days in the Feast of Tabernacles and not eight (8). That is a well-established fact. So the last day, the great day of the feast, is the seventh day. There is no contest to that. It is totally absurd to reason out that the Eighth Day is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles since God or His prophets never referred to it as part of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. Rather, they simply called it as the Eighth day.
“Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day, there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.” Nehemiah 8:18
“At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt. And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.” 2 Chronicles 7:8-9
Christ’s words at this last day of the feast in John 7:37 directly relate to the meaning and purpose of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles.
When Jesus stood up, He said:
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38
Verse 39 of John 7 gave the explanation to these words of Christ as referring to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to those who believe on Him.
“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:39
Jesus Christ deliberately timed and connected these statements and its meaning to the normal practice of the priests to draw water from the Pool of Siloam and pour this out at the temple during the seven days’ duration of the Feast of Tabernacles. (*Jews also called the last or seventh (7th) day of the feast as Hoshana Rabbah or the “Great Hoshana”. As Hoshana means “save now”, it pictures the last great act of saving through the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit in the last days. - Editor)
The priest’s ritual and Christ’s words both point to the offering of salvation and giving of the Holy Spirit to the vast majority of humans (who never had a chance before), as pictured by the seven days feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles). This feast coincides with the great fall harvest of fruit bearing trees, vines and crops in Israel.
Another passage worth considering is the very last verse in Chapter 7 of the book of John. The Eternal inspired John to write this down after the events ended at the last day of the feast:
“…They went each to his own house.” John 7:53
This verse provide us with a clue that the people were staying in temporary accommodations in compliance to God’s command to dwell in temporary (makeshift) shelter for the seven days Feast of Booths, Otherwise, there would be no sense to include the verse in Scripture if it is a usual thing during that week for people to go back to their respective homes every day. Jesus, on the other hand, went to the Mount of Olives.
Early morning of the next day (John 8:2), they were all back at the temple. What happened on this day is accounted for in Chapter 8 and 9 of the gospel of John. Reading these two chapters will give us the information this day is a holy day. This is now the Eighth Day Sabbath.
“Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them.” John 8:2
- Category: Feasts and Holy Days
- Created on 21 October 2014
- Last Updated on 21 October 2014
- Written by Raul Hipe
Joyous Feast of Tabernacles, thank you church ensemble for opening prelude music as we begin our worship service…
Hymn 1: Behold The Day Will Come, p.120
Hymn 2: How Filled with Honor is the Place, p.25
Hymn 3: How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings, p.20
Introduction: God’s Upward Call—Our theme for this year’s feast says it all: “Pressing toward the upward call of God for a more exceeding eternal weight of glory.” Paraphrased from Paul words in his epistles to the Corinthians and in Philippians (2 Cor.4:9 and Phil3:14)
If there was any one phrase or word that will summarize or best describe why we are doing what we are doing here today, as pilgrims, dwelling in temporary shelters (booths), is apostle Paul’s words calling everyone for an “upward call”. It is not merely a coincidence that we are keeping the feast on a mountain (here in Baguio), because that was God’s original intent similar to the call he had with the children of Israel to go up yearly to Jerusalem to keep God’s feasts. The physical pattern will show us the spiritual significance.
When we think of God’s calling, it connotes many ideas. It can mean God calling us back to His plan and purpose; our mission, our goal, the destination of our travel. Hence, we are called to a journey and that journey starts where you begin to listen, heed God’s call, turn around and begin to follow the road that will lead you to your real purpose leading to life eternal in God’s kingdom. At the very least our physical travel yearly should remind us of this very thing that God called us to a life far beyond the physical and transitory benefits. We don’t pack up our things just because we want a good vacation, no, we move our things, and life because God called us to a more glorious purpose.
Since the beginning, when God put man in the garden, His original call and intent has been for man to multiply and share the blessedness of a fruitful life. But since that was supplanted by the Adversary, God’s call has been made for select individual and family that will respond and continue to heed the upward call. Our first set of Scriptures will show when God’s call began and what it means to individual, families and mankind as a whole.
Bible Reader 1: God’s call in the Garden, failure of Adam and Eve, Cain, Call of Noah’s family, Abraham family to be a great nation.—
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-20; 3:8-9
Genesis 4:8-12, 6: 9-14; 8:15
Bible Reader 2: Calling of Moses, Israel out of Egypt, Joshua and Caleb on the Promised Land
Joshua 1:1-9; 24:14-15
Thank you Bible Readers. Brethren, let’s please stand as we sing praises through the following hymns:
Hymn 4: Who is On the Lord’s Side? P.164
Hymn 5: The Battle Belongs to the Lord, p.170
Please be seated brethren.
B. Prophets Call to Upward Vision
With the vision that God set for the patriarchs—an inheritance, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’—this set the stage for God’s people to seek that future homeland. However, this is not an easy trek for along the journey they will encounter roadblocks, snares, confusion, weariness, temptations, lost of vision, and many other discouraging conditions. It is God’s prophet’s call to remind everyone of this continuing vision and a warning that th-ey should be no let up in seeking the direction of righteousness and true holiness. It is the prophet’s mission to remind God’s people of their spiritual compass and to turn when the road they are trekking leads them on the wrong paths.
Our next set of Bible readers, will read to us prophet’s reminders for God’s people to always seek the vision of a future homeland –
Bible Reader 3—Visions of prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
Ezekiel 28:25-26; 36:23-28
Bible Reader 4—Calls of the latter prophets—Hosea
Amos 5:4-5;14-15; 9:11-15
Thank you Bible Readers. Brethren, please all stand as we responsively offer our next hymns:
Hymn 6 : Isaiah The Prophet, p.151
Hymn 7 : O God Our Help in Ages Past, p.
FACILITATOR : Thank you brethren, please be seated.
C. Jesus Christ’s Kingdom’s Call and Mission--
The kingdom’s upward call of great prophets of old were made more meaningful and intense with the arrival of Jesus the Christ—the Messiah to come. John the Baptist, one of the latter prophets to see this real time happening immediately recognized the person and the message. He paved the way/road for Jesus Christ in fulfilling His role as Savior and deliverer, at the same time inaugurating the expansion o f the kingdom Call to include every nations and tribes on the whole earth—the invitation that everyone can become part of a great journey—a future Israel of God in His kingdom.
Our next Bible verses will show Jesus Christ call for everyone to seek God and live according to the principles of Kingdom.
- A Time of Introspection
- Feast of Trumpets: The Five Wise Virgins and You
- Trumpets Watch
- An Invitation to Rejoice Before the LORD’s Feasts!
- The Sabbath: A Sign Between God and His People
- God's Everlasting Mercy
- Pentecost: The Day Israel was Betrothed to God (Yah’v’h) - Part 2
- Pentecost:The Day Israel was Betrothed to God (Yah’v’h) - Part 1