GOD’S STORY pt 28 What is Blessing?

“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.“ (Genesis 2:3)

GOD blessed the 7th day. 

What is blessing? 

GOD made a covenant with Abraham. A covenant is more than a commitment or promise. It runs so deep — like a marriage GOD makes an everlasting promise to Abraham…

Genesis 17:4-7 reads, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Read further into the chapter to grasp the entire promise GOD made with Abraham. 

Everything that Abraham might do would be blessed. His family from generation to generation would be blessed. Those who would bless him and his people the Hebrews would also be blessed. 

A blessing is an undeserved favour, a gift, a talent, a free pass to rest and comfort and peace.

GOD blessed the 7th day, making it holy and a blessing to man.

Preparing the Bride for GOD’s Story

How do we prepare as the Bride of Christ? One aspect is to learn GOD’S STORY. He created us in His image…. Piece by piece, and peace by peace, we learn to walk as He has walked. And we learn His perspective. 

What is the Lord’s Day

As far as we Gentiles understand, Jesus rose on “Sunday” and so, although Sabbath was declared by the LORD in the Wilderness as the 7th day ie “Saturday” (based on scripture and the Hebrew equivalent), the established Church moved the official Christian day of worship from Saturday to Sunday during the 4th Century.

I can’t help wondering, when we moved the day of worship to the 1st day of the week, what is the blessing of the Sabbath day that we are missing?

From GOD’s perspective, He called one day to be holy, a day of rest, a Sabbath. That was the 7th Day and no one disputes that is what we call “Saturday” The Jews keep their Sabbath as Saturday even to this day. But the established Christian church, by-and-large throughout the world, is not keeping that 7th Day holy. 

Are you aware the day of worship was moved from Saturday to Sunday? We can worship seven days a week, and that is grand! But it might be rare amongst Christians to be aware that The Lord’s Day is not the same day as the Sabbath day. When we worship at church on a Sunday that is not GOD’s Sabbath day.

Chosen because it was the day of Jesus’ resurrection, were we called to change our day of worship and rest? 

GOD’s Sabbath Day

What does GOD make clear to those who hold onto the Sabbath — His chosen Sabbath — and make it a holy day?

In Deuteronomy 7:12-16 GOD says, 

“Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you. Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the Lord your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you…..”

And Deuteronomy 11:9, 14 reads,

“… and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’” & “… then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.”

Deuteronomy 28:1 is the culmination:

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”

GOD offers abundance, prosperity, blessing, victory. peace.

Finally, we know GOD asks for obedience over sacrifice. All the sacrifices in the world are nothing to Him compared to an act of obedience. As it says in 1 Samuel 15:22, 

“So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

And so the challenge

I challenge us all to make Saturday our personal Sabbath to the LORD. 

When we obey we’ll learn His perspective and gain His wisdom. We don’t do it for the blessing but out of obedience. And we allow Him to respond as He will.

Examining Biblical Scripture

What is REST?

What is Rest? 

“For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3) and “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:10 – aka on the Sabbath)

Rest is being with GOD. Rest is peace of mind. Rest is desirable. Rest is….

In terms of physics, “at rest” is stillness, having a potential of energy but not movement, not kinetic energy.

Rest in the sense of our spirituality, is being in the Will of the Father.

How do we find rest?

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, 

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

That means: focus in Jesus, obey Jesus, take Jesus’ advice, follow Jesus.

How do we focus on Jesus?

By the power of the Holy Spirit which he sent to us after his Ascension to be with the Father.

And this is my point:

Rest comes from Yehovah, Father GOD, Creator. It comes when we align with Him. Jesus shows us The Way — how to be “at rest” with our father, through obedience and trust. Being under the anointing facilitates it, and as we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), we can be at rest in Him; we are not full of our own agenda, angst and will, but alive in His will, by His grace and love and faithfulness. 

Ultimately, rest comes when we walk in the Spirit and not in our flesh.

Sabbath Rest

In Hebrews 4:10 (above), the Father is telling us we need to keep His Sabbath in order to find rest. To keep the Sabbath means to rest in the Sabbath, but what IS the Sabbath?

In the 7th day of Creation, GOD rested. We know from the Hebrew that this day was the equivalent of our Saturday. So why do we go to church on Sunday? Why (historically) did shops used to be closed on Sundays? Why is our Sabbath considered by many followers of Jesus as Sunday?

Because Rome decided to do that as part of making the Church and State linked. Rome became “Christian” and so Rome dictated much change from The Way begun by Jesus’ immediate disciples. They based the new Sabbath on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the equivalent of Sunday. The establishment called this the LORD’s day and made it the Sabbath.

But speaking to the Hebrews, GOD says through the Word in Hebrews 13:5,

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

That doesn’t sound like a GOD who would change His Sabbath away from what He gave to the Hebrews centuries before.

What shall we do?

On the seventh day, GOD rested from all His work when He created the world. 

In Exodus 20:8 He commands us to do the same.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Strictly speaking, Christians are keeping the wrong day!

Does which day we keep as Sabbath matter to GOD?

We each must seek the Father on this matter.

I believe so. He picked a day, He picked a people. He’s never unChosen the Jews and He’s never changed the Sabbath… not in His Word. In fact Hebrews 13:8 says,

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Since Jesus is GOD’s son, I reckon if he doesn’t change, then neither does the Father.

Now if we are in pursuit of total rest, then let us seek Shalom and wish Shalom for others…

You’ve probably heard others or perhaps you’ve said yourself, “Shalom,” as a greeting.

What is Shalom?

Is it rest – stop – potential? 

In order for GOD to move, He may insist that we need to be in that state of ‘rest’, where we are walking not in the flesh but in the Spirit.

According to Jews for Jesus, Shalom is, 

“The ancient Hebrew concept of peace, rooted in the word “shalom,” meant wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety and prosperity, carrying with it the implication of permanence.”

You can read much more about the Shalom of YHWH:

From me, today, I simply want to encourage us all to consider two things:

  1. Let us live in the state of rest that Jesus encourages, only doing the will of the Father and
  2. Let us consider deeply, whether the Father wants us to keep His Sabbath, not because it’s law but as an act of obedient love for Him.

And finally,

Rest is eternal. Eternal rest, not as death, but as forever, living peacefully within – having the peace of GOD, which surpasses understanding. (Philippians 4:7) And as we walk by His Spirit, we can have that, beginning today.

Examining Biblical Scripture

Holy Days: Let’s get it Right

Christianity, Christmas and Easter

Many of us who follow Jesus closely have turned from calling ourselves Christians because we recognise that is a turn-off to a lot of people. The label was given by unbelievers in the first place (Acts 11:26) and brings the Crusade slaughters of Muslims and Jews to mind.

If you follow your calendar and history closely, you’ve also begun to say, “Happy Resurrection Day” rather than refer to Easter, because you know that the possibly well-meaning but definitely anti-Semitic founding fathers took a pagan festival and turned it into a recognition of Jesus’ death and resurrection in order to celebrate Jesus’ powerful testimony and ultimate sacrifice, much the way Constantin turned a pagan festival into a day to mark Jesus’ birth (aka Christmas) to get the pagans to turn to the Christian faith.

Wow, that’s a mouthful of thought to turn culture and tradition onto its head.

So, let’s begin to get this right.

We don’t know the day of Jesus’ birth, except that it was most likely in the autumn, September or October, in line with the Feast of Tabernacles on the Jewish calendar. An analysis of Roman history would also assist in discovering when the taxes were issued for Judea in those years surrounding Jesus’ birth.

Jesus was Jewish. He, his family and his culture, celebrated all the festivals and practices of Judaism, based on GOD’s (aka Yehovah’s) Laws given to Moses in the desert. The Jewish calendar would be relevant to them as Jesus was growing up. It is relevant to GOD even now. Jesus categorically stated he did not come to replace but to fulfil the Law of Judaism (Matthew 5:17).

As for the day Jesus (aka Yeshua) was crucified, we know it was on the Passover (Matthew ) and then he rose 3 days (including that Passover night) later. Therefore, the day he was resurrected has nothing to do with Sunday. Ah, if that’s the case then the Lord’s day is not Sunday? Then why do we call Sunday the Lord’s Day? …. but we’ll come to that momentarily.

So, how do we follow the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus if it isn’t hinged to the Friday to Sunday timespan? We follow the Jewish calendar, if you think they are accurate.

Are the Jews accurate?

Yes. For passover, they count based on the setting of the sun and when the new moon comes into its place.

So, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus accurately, based on a given date, we need to link it to Passover. Why? Because that’s Biblical.

What is Biblical?

The whole of the Evangelical faith in Jesus is based on the Bible, the Old and New Testaments (aka Covenants) believed to be given to Mankind through designated and anointed people who wrote the history, laws, poetry, prophetic words and anointing as given to them by Yehovah. For example, Moses, who wrote the first five books, aka Pentateuch, was not present “In the Beginning” and so the Father, Yehovah, dictated it to him.

If we want to be accurate and follow our Faith seriously, we need to strip out culture and tradition of fifteen hundred years and go back to what Jesus practiced and taught. If we want to reach people with the Truth of GOD then we need to be truthful and accurate ourselves. If we expect to reach Muslims and Jews, we need to return to the teaching Yehovah gave to us through the promises of Father Abraham, who is the founding Father of the Jewish Faith and Peoples and who is the Father of Islam as well.

To be accurate is to credible and to be credible is to be powerful, and the testimony will be anointed of the Holy Spirit.

So, let’s be accurate rather than sentimental

Sentiment practices Christmas and Easter as indoctrinated by the Church long after Jesus’ ministry, and long after the original Apostles and the Early Church members had died.

Accuracy respects GOD’s calendar and carries a weight and power that is incontestable.

Let’s look to the Father and follow His plan

Finally, as to the LORD’s day, it is man-made.

“On the seventh day, God rested from all his works.” (Genesis 2:2)

From the beginning of time, God created His Sabbath. The Jews called it Saturday. The Church turned it into Sunday to extract itself from the Christ-killing Jews. But the Jews started Christianity in the first place. If it hadn’t been for the disciples whom Jesus chose and the early church He founded, there would be no Christianity. So calling the Jews Christ-killers is absurd. And extracting ourselves from the calendar of feasts and celebrations that GOD ordained is also stupid.

Let’s use the Sabbath whom GOD created, keep it holy and celebrate as He encourages, not as keeping of the Law, if you argue or resent that, but as an offering to the Father whom we love and as a blessing He intended for us.

Let’s completely rid ourselves of the inaccuracies of the man-made Church some fifteen hundred years ago, rather than pick and choose what we like and don’t like.

Let us represent the Truth of the Full Gospel message, to gentiles but also to muslims and Jews.

Let’s begin to get this Faith in Jesus accurate in practical ways. Let’s get it right, once and for all.

Supernatural & Prophetic

The End of Christian Tradition is not to be feared

The End of Christian Tradition as we know it

There are many signs which indicate to me that the end of Christianity as we have practised it has come.

While the atheists would like to see the end of it because it is antagonistic to their beliefs, this is not the reason it is dissipating.

While the Muslim extremists would like to see the end because they do not want any theocracy but theirs, that is not the reason it is finishing.

While the pagans and other belief systems are disdainful or lukewarm tolerant to contemporary Christianity, this is not the reason for its end.

The reason Christian tradition is on the decline is because Father God would have it so. The foundation, Jesus, is sound. However the early Church lost its way with Constantin and pagan festivals replacing God’s feasts. Christianity needs to get back to its roots; it has strayed very far from the tree. It needs again to become recognisable to the Jewish people.

The time of the Gentiles is finished; the time for God’s Chosen, the Jewish people has come. It is time for them to recognise and acknowledge their LORD, and prepare: their Messiah has come.

We of the Christian tradition must let go of those traditions so that we can embrace the traditions GOD instituted for us. He wants His people jealous (Romans 11:11) and so we must take what GOD has given us, practice it and allow the Jews to see.

We must let go of our festivals. We must let go of our traditions. We must let go and allow GOD to re-educate us and reform us. The root: Sunday worship, Communion, Christmas, Easter and the like, must go, to be replaced with GOD’s ordained day of rest, His sabbath, His passover, His several feasts. We don’t pick up the LAW but we embrace GOD’s gifts to us.

Christianity is not the festivals, it is Jesus. Christianity is not our denomination, it is Jesus. Following Jesus is not a tradition, it is salvation and glory to GOD. So, when can we begin to do it His way?

“I will build my church,” said Jesus. “And the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”

(Matthew 16:18)

Let us let go of the constructs of men and allow ourselves to follow our Saviour, Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He did not destroy the law but fulfilled it (Matthew 5:17). He came to set us free from sin and death (Romans 6:18). But he did not release us from the festivals ordained by GOD.

It is time. We who love our Father in Heaven are being called. He has bought us, paid the price, forgiven us and loved us. How can be not hear and follow?

Hebraic Roots: Israel and Jewish Culture

More on the Sabbath (part 2)

Sabbath is Saturday, the day the LORD rested after creating the universe and its living creatures.

For quite some time, the World has been putting Saturday and Sunday at the end of the calendar week, making Saturday appear to be the 6th day. The early Church drifted from its Jewish roots and determined that since 3 days after Jesus’ crucifixion he was raised and that was the first day of the week, Sunday, they would call it the Lord’s Day. Eventually it replaced the Sabbath as the day for congregational worship. Today some earnest Believers think Sunday is the Sabbath.

The fourth Commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11)

One cannot change the day God rested. We can discuss how we are not under law but under grace, and that is true. But do we kill, covet or commit adultery? Of course not. Those are Commandments and as such mark a better way to live.

So, why do so many of us take the Sabbath more lightly than other of God’s guidelines? I confess I’m not always perfectly resting on the Sabbath, doing nothing that would bring in income, directly or indirectly, what one would call “work”. I do rest on Saturdays, but admittedly sometimes it is hard.

How about you, reader? Do you keep the Sabbath – Saturday – Holy and unto Father God?

Apart from it being one of God’s Commandments, why is it of relevance today and are we to keep this commandment? The answer is that, apart from it being God’s Commandment which simply marks the better way to live, it also has to do with Israel and the Jewish people.

I am of the understanding based on scripture that the Jewish people are still God’s Chosen People.   Discussion about that let’s save for another time, but we can agree I hope, that Jesus came for all of us, and for every nation, and he will come again when all the nation groups have had the witness of Jesus.

So, like all mankind, the Jewish people are invited to recognise Yeshua – Jesus’ name in Hebrew – as Messiah, the saviour of the World. And how will they be able to recognise Yeshua suddenly, if over 2000 years relatively few have? The answer is because the Jewish traditions – which have been hidden inside the Christian faith – must be released, revealed, exposed, to enable these people to see how the prophecy of their Messiah perfectly lines up with history.

Keeping the Jewish traditions hidden from view, such as using the first day rather than the seventh day as the “Sabbath”, makes it more difficult than it needs to be for the Jew to recognise he is meant to be a part of the Bride, the Church.

In Ephesians 2, Paul refers to the Gentiles as joining with all the Saints (in context: the Jewish Believers) as part of the Church. It is the One New Man, united by the faith in the Messiah, that will pull the Church through the challenges thrust upon it. (Ephesians 2:11-22) As you study and meditate on Ephesians 2 and 3, you will be able to see how God intends for Jew and Gentile to worship together.

Truly, if God is to minister and bring to the Jewish people the knowledge of Yeshua, then we, His Church, must help by allowing the Hebrew Roots of the faith to be exposed. The Sabbath only scratches the surface, but it is a start to revealing the Messiah and the Saviour as one and the same.

We can begin with aligning our day of worship with our Hebrew Roots. God’s choice of the Sabbath is recognisable to the Jewish people and it is Biblical, so I suggest a call to action: Let’s shift and use it.

**Next week I’ll send out an Extra Newsletter, on Thursday 21st, to share about Christmas. It’s a hot topic. It’s roots extend beyond the birth of Jesus, which most likely occurred in late September.**