So, Why are we keeping Pentecost?

30/05/2009

by Ken E Murray

So …why are we keeping Pentecost?

I asked this question on an internet Forum the other day and here’s what one astute woman replied:

“Because I believe it is meaningful to focus, on a day set aside in scripture for Holy Purpose, on how this ancient observance pointed forward to the work of Christ back then, and backward to it now … and forward again to when and how He will finally complete the work of bringing many sons and daughters to glory.”

So …i replied: “Now, that is a good comment.

Yes, Pentecost is a fascinatingly positioned Holy Day, in the middle of the 3 harvest seasons (barley-wheat-fruit) …and is pivotal in the Plan of God regarding the Father’s and Christ’s loving family relationship with us.

It points back to “The Wavesheaf” (Christ – Barley – First of the firstfruits) links up with Pentecost (the Firstfruits – Wheat) …via 7 stages of sabbaths and 49 days to the Jubilee 50th day …and then points to the final Festival harvests of abundant Fruit, yet to come.”

Pentecost has to be counted

The instruction for counting Pentecost is found in Leviticus 23:15-16. It tells us to count 50 days from the day after the Sabbath that falls during the festival of Unleavened Bread.

Unlike any other Holy days which are appointed specific days of the month on which to be observed, Pentecost is commanded to be counted by God and is nowhere set down, in scripture, as a specific date, such as 6 Sivan.

“And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath (mi mohorat ha-shabbat =from and including OR beginning with), from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:  Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:15-16)

Why called Pentecost?

It is commonly called Pentecost, from the Greek pentekoste which means pente = 50 and koste = Count …count 50.

So, even in the name Pentecost we see we are commanded to count 50 days, and not to take it into our own hands and give it a set date, such as 6 Sivan.

The Jews refer to it in various ways. One is as Shavuot, meaning “Weeks,” because the date of its observance is determined by counting a specific number from an earlier religious observance.

Another name given it is Hag Hakatzir, the Festival of the Harvest, for it marks the harvesting of the wheat, the last grain harvest of the spring harvest season. And, in that context, it is also called Yom HaBikkurim, the Day of the Firstfruits.

Pentecost reminds us of 2 Great Events

Pentecost reminds us of 2 great events that occurred in history—the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and the giving of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.

Regarding the giving of the Law …In his book To Be a Jew, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin writes:

“Shavuot commemorates the awesome event experienced by the children of Israel seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt when they camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula. This event was the Revelation, when God’s will was revealed to Israel. It marked the declaration of the Ten Commandments … While the exact manner of this communication between God and man is not known and was always subject to various opinions by the great thinkers and Sages of Israel, it was an event of awesome proportions and a unique spiritual experience that indelibly stamped the Israelites with their unique character, their faith, and their destiny.”

Pentecost is also a celebration and reminder that God works in us through His Spirit.

For us to change from the ways of our carnal, proud and stubborn human nature and to be led by God’s Spirit, is a miracle.

Christ foretold the giving of His and the Father’s Holy Spirit, to us: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8 New American Standard Bible).

Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, when the gift of the Holy Spirit was made dramatically known to the disciples: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.   And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.   And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.   And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.   And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”  (Acts 2:1-5)

Peter then explained on that Day of Pentecost how other people can receive God’s gift of the Holy Spirit: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself” (Acts 2:38-39, NASB).

Throughout the book of Acts we read example after example of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit being given to people, who believed in God and repented of their sins and were baptised and received the laying on of hands of the ministry. Their lives were changed for the better as they were led by God’s Holy Spirit from that time forward.

The changes were so evident that they were even accused of having “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Such was the transformation of their lives through the indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Being led by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of which the Father and Christ, His Son, are composed. 

Just as we are humans composed of flesh, so the Father and Jesus are composed of Holy Spirit. 

Without the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within us, God does not consider us as belonging to Him:   “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” (Romans 8:9)

Paul explains that being “led by the Holy Spirit” of God is vital, if we are to be considered as a Christian and a son or daughter in God’s Family: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14).

“Christ in us” (Colossians 1:27) is what happens when we have God’s Holy Spirit within us.

That can only happen with faith, repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands of Christ’s ministry.

Once we receive God’s Spirit we allow God, through His Spirit, to lead our lives His way of life, not ours.

It then produce the qualities of true Christlike character in us of “love, joy peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23

With God’s Spirit within us that we are regarded by God as His children. (Romans 8:14-17).

How does God’s Spirit work in us?

Here are some examples of how God’s Holy Spirit, within us, leads us.

  • God’s Spirit keeps us in contact with God’s mind: God’s Spirit works with our mind. The apostle John describes it this way: “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit [which] He has given us” (1 John 3:24). Through the Holy Spirit, which is given to us, we can be influenced by God for the good. This is in contrast to the situation in the world around us and our own human nature.
  • God’s Spirit provides a deeper understanding of God’s Word and His will for us: As 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 tells us: “But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (emphasis added throughout).
  • God’s Spirit gives us Spiritual Discernment: Without that Spirit, a person cannot understand God’s divinely expressed Word and will, “for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
  • God’s Holy Spirit helps us in overcoming: There is nothing too difficult for us with the power of God working in our lives. Romans 8:26 tells us that God’s Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. Paul, the writer of the letter to the Romans, speaking for all of us said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).  “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27). The Christian life is to be one of overcoming. We must not believe that God wants us to remain just as we are whenever we are called. Instead, we must “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Christianity is a lifetime of overcoming and growing;
  • God’s Holy Spirit convicts our conscience and helps us see sin as it really is. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, which would be given to His followers after His death, Jesus Christ said it would “convict the world of sin . . .” (John 16:8). God’s Spirit within us, working with our conscience, helps us to recognize and avoid sin. The guilt that we feel is real, prompted by recognition of sins. Hebrews 9:14 tells us that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice “cleanse[s] your conscience from dead works to serve the living God,” meaning that we have forgiveness from God, and, through repentance, we no longer need feel guilt for our sins. Christ’s sacrifice washes away the sin in our lives, but we must still come to understand sin and how it affects us. Repentance must precede the forgiveness that God promises to each one of us, and repentance means change and effort to avoid sin, which is the breaking of God’s laws. (1John 3:4)
  • God’s Spirit produces godly fruit in our lives. Just as an apple tree produces apples, God’s Spirit produces a particular type of fruit in the life of a Christian. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit that should be evident in the lives of those who are led by God’s Spirit, which are: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.
  • God’s Holy Spirit comforts and encourages us. Jesus Christ promised to send His followers “another comforter” (John 14:16, KJV). True comfort and reassurance come from the Spirit of God dwelling in us. We need not be unduly worried about the future or what may happen to us. God’s Spirit gives us the reassurance that whatever happens will be for the good “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This provides an outlook on life that is quite rare in our world today. It is certainly possible for a Christian to become discouraged, but it is through the Holy Spirit that we can begin to look upon life differently. As noted above, peace is one aspect of the fruit of God’s Spirit in the life of a Christian.

Pentectost is an annual reminder of God’s gifts of His Law and His Spirit to us

Keeping Pentecost reminds us:

  • we have been given the awesome opportunity to be part of the Firstfruits to follow Christ as the First of the Firstfruits in the First Resurrection, yet ahead for us:   “Of his own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”  (James 1:18)
  • Pentecost is an annual reminder of God’s gift of His guidance system for our lives – His Laws, commandments, statutes, ordinances, principles, precepts and wisdom of how to live His way of life; and
  • Pentecost is also a reminder to be eternally thankful to Him for blessing us with the gift of the power of His Holy Spirit …through faith, repentance, baptism, and laying on of hands …so that we have His power to overcome temptation and sin …and to develop the mind and character of Christ within us.

Pentecost is the pivotal Holy Day in the centre of the sacred year, which encouragingly reminds us of our salvation and eternal life in God’s Family.

Meantime …keep pumpin’!

Ken E Murray

PS:  You can obtain FREE copies of this literature and the FREE Good News Magazine by contacting the United Church of God-Australia, Office on FREE CALL 1800 356202 or write to: PO Box 535, Brisbane, Qld 4001 OR as shown under Literature Request  on the Church webpage  …OR you can FREE download by clicking on to:  Bible Study Course.

PPS: Also, why not check out these FREE booklets: God’s Holy Day Plan AND Transforming Your Life.

PPPS: “Why not have Your say?”  Feel free to click onto these next 4 words and drop me an email.


Merry heart is like Medicine!

03/05/2009

by Ken E Murray

It might sound strange to some people …but the Bible has a lot to say about humour.

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

That’s probably why God made our faces in such a clever way, that we use much less muscles to smile than we do to frown or be angry.

And that’s why, when one of my nephews asked me to be involved in doing a Doritos Competition Advert, I accepted.

So here are our two entries. I hope you enjoy them and that they give you a warm and happy belly laugh. It is a good tonic for us all to be able to lighten up and see the funny side of life, as well as the sobering sides of life.

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13)

There are many medical reports that show the truth of these wise words. Humour is even used in the treatment of many diseases such as cancer and mental illnesses.

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15)

When the first Temple was dedicated to God by Solomon, the people rejoiced and kept a very happy Feast of Tabernacles. It was so good that they were all still smiling as they left to go back home.

“And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.

And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had showed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” (2 Chronicles 7:9-10)

“Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepts your works.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7)

So smile lots …we use less muscles!  J

Meantime …keep pumpin’!

Ken E Murray

PS:  You can obtain FREE copies of this literature and the FREE Good News Magazine by contacting the United Church of God-Australia, Office on FREE CALL 1800 356202 or write to: PO Box 535, Brisbane, Qld 4001 OR as shown under Literature Request  on the Church webpage  …OR you can FREE download by clicking on to:  Bible Study Course

PPS: “Why not have Your say?”  Feel free to click onto these next 4 words and drop me an email.


About AAA World Witness

28/03/2009

Ken Murray has been an Australian ordained minister of Jesus Christ, since 1982.

AAA World Witness has been established to assist in the Work of delivering Christ’s Gospel about His soon coming return and the establishment of His Government upon this earth (Isaiah 9:6-7) …and how we need to repent of our sins (Mark 1:15), be baptised and become converted …by developing the mind of Jesus Christ.

 “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end (of this age) will come”. (Matt 24:14)

At the end of this Age of Man’s many governments, under Satan, with all their disastrous consequences of wars, famines, disease, pain, suffering and misery …there will be a 1,000 year Millenium of Christ’s rule and Government on this Earth, of peace, prosperity, health, fulfillment and happiness.

What a wonderful contrast and lesson of enlightenment that will be for all of us.

You can be a son or daughter of God and help in serving millions of people in the Millenial rule of Jesus Christ’s Government on this earth. Daniel 7:18

AAA World Witness is offered freely, as an Australian All Around World Witness …to help people to gain Godly knowledge, understanding, and wisdom …to believe, love and respect God our Father and Jesus Christ His Son and our Lord and Saviour …our soon coming King of Kings.

Loving and believing in the “true God” (1 John 5:20) leads us to faith in God …which leads us to repentance from our sins (1 John 3:4), which is the transgression or breaking of God’s commandments, laws, principles and precepts.

We can then be baptised by immersion, and receive the gift of the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us, by the laying on of hands of one or more of Christ’s ministers. (Acts 2:38)

We then go on in life to live by God’s loving laws and God’s Way of life, to become converted Acts 3:19-21) and to develop the mind of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5) …in the way we think, speak, and conduct ourselves.

Ultimately, it is God …who by His kindness and grace …will choose to resurrect us (1 Thessalonians 4:16) to eternal life in His Family (Ephesians 3:14-15) as Sons and Daughters of God (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) …when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Government and Kingdom on this Earth.

We can begin to be a Son or Daughter of God, now, in this life (1 John 3-14) if we will only seek God now, “while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6-8).

As a minister of Jesus Christ, I am available to you at any time, if you wish to contact me.

Ken E Murray …email: aaaken@bigpond.com

PS: Meantime, why not watch this short video on how you can obtain real success; pysically, psychologically, and spiritually:


Lent ‘having a Loan of People’?

26/03/2009

by Ken E Murray

You know …if you were to try to tell an Australian: “Pigs fly” …they’d probably look at you with a wise smile and say … “I think you’re having a loan of me.”

Same with Lent. When churches direct people to observe Lent, they’re really ‘having a loan of people’.

Why?  Well …would Jesus observe Lent?  No.  There is no instruction in the Bible, by God, to keep Lent. On the contrary …God has commanded us to keep His Holy Days.

Alexander Hislop, in his book The Two Babylons (1959), explains how Lent was originally part of the pagan rituals of the Chaldeans of Babylon, being 40 days of fasting, leading up to Easter. “Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was . . . Ishtar” (p. 103).

Hislop explains that “the forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess” (p. 104). In Egypt a similar 40-day period of abstinence “was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god” (p. 105).

How, then, did 40 days’ abstinence come to be associated with a resurrection? Hislop continues: “Among the pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing” (p. 105).

Tammuz was a chief Babylonian deity and husband of the goddess Ishtar. Worship of Tammuz was so widespread in ancient times that it even spread into Jerusalem. In Ezekiel 8:12-18 God describes that worship and calls it an abomination—something repugnant and disgusting to Him.

The Babylonians held a great festival every spring to celebrate Tammuz’s death and supposed resurrection many centuries before Christ walked the earth (see “The Resurrection Connection” on page 18). Hislop comprehensively documents evidence showing that Lent and Easter’s origins precede the modern Christian holiday by more than 2,000 years!

Hislop cites the fifth-century writings of Cassianus, a Catholic monk of Marseilles, France, on the subject of Lent and Easter’s being a pagan custom, rather than a New Testament observance. “It ought to be known,” the monk stated, “that the observance of the forty days [i.e., the observance of Lent] had no existence, so long as the perfection of that primitive Church remained inviolate” (p. 104).

Sir James Frazer describes Lent and Easter ceremonies entering into the established church: “When we reflect how often the Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis [the Greek name for Tammuz], which . . . was celebrated in Syria at the same season” (The Golden Bough, 1993, p. 345).

This week the Pope and the Roman Curia (inner circle of Cardinals) spend the first part of Lent in their “annual retreat”, together, which concludes this coming Saturday.

Cardinal Arinze told Vatican Radio, at the start of this month. “The first day the priest follows Jesus to encounter God, who must have first place in our life.”

It certainly would be a good move, to heed and follow the words and example of the true Jesus Christ, “who must have first place in our life”. So, just as the true Jesus kept God’s Holy Days and not pagan days, we too, should not observe Lent or Easter.

We should follow Jesus example of keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

 “And because he (Herod) saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Passover (Greek: “Pascha”) to bring him forth to the people. (Acts 12:3-4)

Note carefully, that the Greek word “Pascha” means Passover and is connected with the Days of Unleavened Bread. These are the Holy Days that God has commanded us to keep, not Lent and Easter.

 

 

Pope says we shoud be "leavened" but Paul says "unleavened"

Pope says we shoud be "leavened" but Paul says "unleavened"

Referring to this 2009 year that the Roman Catholics have dedicated to the Apostle Paul, the Pope stated on Vatican Radio, 26 February 2008: “Paul experienced in an extraordinary way the power of the grace of God, the grace of the Paschal mystery which Lent itself lives.”

“Pascha” or “Paschal” in the scriptures refers to the Passover and has nothing to do with Lent or Easter, which are of pagan origins. So, it is quite a mystery how the Pope would think to try to syncretise Passover with Lent, when Paul never kept Lent, but he did keep Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Any connection with Lent and Easter (Ishtar) would have been anathema and an abomination to the Apostle Paul. 

Pope Benedict XVI at Mass in the Basilica of St Sabina, 26 February, also stated: “It is a consciousness that emerges in all his (Paul’s) writings that functioned as an interior ‘leaven’ on which God was able to act to push him forward, toward ever farther frontiers, not only geographical but also spiritual.”

The Apostle Paul would have been horrified to hear those words. Notice how Paul would answer the Pope and explain to him the problems of spiritual “interior leaven” and how we should become spiritually “unleavened”, like Jesus Christ.

Fasting in Lent eating puffed up "leaven"

Fasting in Lent eating puffed up "leaven"

 “Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us keep the feast (of Passover and Unleavened Bread), not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8) 

Paul was inspired to encourage us to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, following the example of Jesus, our Saviour.

 

 

Jesus broke 'unleavened' bread and gave to His disciples when he kept Passover. Jesus neve kept the pagan based custom of Lent

Jesus broke 'unleavened' bread and gave to His disciples when he kept Passover. Jesus neve kept the pagan based custom of Lent

Contrary to the Pope saying we should have an “interior leaven”, Paul advised us to put away spiritual leaven (sin) and become internally, in mind and spirit “unleavened” (without practicing sin). We are to become spiritually “unleavened as Christ is unleavened”, without practicing sin. 

It’s about time worldly Christianity stopped keeping pagan customs like Lent, which are ‘taking a loan of people’ …and began keeping God’s Holy Days, such as Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. 

 

That’s what we’ll be doing.

How about you?

Meantime …keep pumpin’!

Ken E Murray

PS:  You can obtain FREE copies of this literature and the FREE Good News Magazine by contacting the United Church of God-Australia, Office on FREE CALL 1800 356202 or write to: PO Box 535, Brisbane, Qld 4001 OR as shown under Literature Request  on the Church webpage  …OR you can FREE download by clicking on to:  Bible Study Course AND God’s Holy Day Plan.

PPS: “Why not have Your say?”  Feel free to click onto these next 4 words and drop me an email.