Beth Moore has been a wonderful example of a Christian minister and has encouraged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people to study the Scripture and know Jesus as their Savior better. Recently, Beth released an open letter to her brothers in Christ explaining her denominational history, her respect for her Christian male mentors and pastors, and challenging Christian men everywhere to recognize the ungodly behavior by many who dismiss a woman simple because she was born female.
As a woman in Christ, my heart ached with Beth's letter, as I deeply understand the ridicule she faced in using of her gifts given by the Holy Spirit at the hands of some men in leadership positions within the Body of Christ. As Beth states, "attitudes among some key Christian leaders that smacked of misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women and it spread like wildfire. It was just the beginning. I came face to face with one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness."
Beth correctly identifies the source of negativity against women in ministry and leadership which has less to do with Scripture than the entrapment of sin. Scripture when taken in context and correctly translated does not forbid women from ministry roles as exemplified by their role within the early church, and nothing about the dismissive and demeaning attitude by men in leadership positions within the Church towards women is reflective of the image of Christ. I encourage you all to read Beth's letter for yourselves, because many people have already started to twist her words. Always encourage the Truth within the Body of Christ.
This revelation—holy, just, and true--
Though oft I read, it seems forever new;
While light from heaven upon its pages rest,
I feel its power, and with it I am blessed.
Henceforth, I take thee as my future guide,
Let naught from thee my youthful heart divide.
And then, if late or early death be mine,
All will be well, since I, O Lord, am Thine!
This insightful poem was penned by Phoebe Worrall, age eleven, on the inner page of her bible. Phoebe, born in 1807 to a devout Methodist family, experienced a problem faced by many Christians today. She was under the false belief that an intense emotional experience was required for or accompanied the act of salvation. The belief in an emotional connection to one's salvation has led many unbelievers to falsely assume they were saved simply because they had felt guilty and shed tears over their sins, without truly embracing the Savior. Emotion has also led many Christians to be unsure of their salvation for lack of "feeling" saved. Even the great evangelist Billy Graham knew not to trust emotion as the sign of genuine salvation, which he learned from watching many people come forward in his crusades, only to discover later they emotion was not connected to genuine repentance or faith in Christ.
Phoebe never felt like a Christian as a child, although she grew up in a Christian environment and had known and believed in the Lord since birth. She later married Walter Palmer, and two of their children died only months after birth. Phoebe wrongly concluded God was somehow punishing for her lack of faith and devotion to Him, because she could never "feel" the way other Christians described feeling salvation. As you can imagine, this led her into a very dark spiritual time.
Thankfully, Phoebe's spiritual crisis ended when she had the realization that she didn't need "joyous emotion" to believe. She discovered the biblical truth that the simple act of believing was the foundation for salvation. The verse that changed Phoebe's mind was Matthew 23:19, "Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?" While many overlook the implications in this verse, Phoebe received rhema from it. She realized the Bible taught whatever was placed on the altar was sanctified not by the act placing it there, or anything a person did. It was the work of God, upon whose altar the item was placed, to sanctify the item on the alter. This spiritual revelation helped Phoebe realize that her life committed to Jesus was sanctified not by her doing (keeping a list of do's and don'ts to follow) but by her surrender to the Lord, who was and is perfectly able to sanctify her by His power. As a result, she no longer needed a sign to validate her faith in Jesus.
Phoebe Palmer understood other believers were struggling in their faith in a similar way she once had. So she took her biblical revelation and applied it to John Wesley's Methodist perfectionist's movement, dividing it into a three step process.
1. Consecrate your life to God.
2. Believe God will sanctify what was consecrated to Him.
3. Tell others about it.
As a result of her three step process, Phoebe began holding prayer meetings, which eventually grew beyond measure. She was an active supporter of many Christian causes, including the first inner-city mission in America, located in New York City. Phoebe also inspired many other women of faith to trust God and step out in faith, like Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army. Phoebe went on to author the book, The Way of Holiness, which was a foundation in the Holiness Movement. The Holiness Christian movement believed upon salvation believers were cleansed from the power of sin and through sanctification could lead a life without committing willful sin. Whether the movement was entirely right or wrong, it impacted the way many believers thought and inspired new denominations like the Salvation Army, the Nazarene Church, the Church of God, and many Pentecostals.
More importantly, Phoebe's teaching that neither salvation nor sanctification are validated by emotion is relevant for believers today. While it is powerful to experience emotion, the Word of the Lord is not changed by it. Phoebe often said, "Earnest prayers, long fasting, and burning tears may seem befitting, but cannot move the heart of infinite love to a greater willingness to save."
While everyone is celebrating Palm Sunday today... the truth for 2018 is that this Sunday isn't really the "Palm Sunday" of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. While it is technically the fixed date the Church decided to celebrate, it isn't based on the truth of the crucifixion or resurrection as identified in Scripture.
For 2018, Passover occurs on sundown, March 30. This means the date of Jesus dying on the cross at 3pm would be on March 31st (Nisan 14th on the Jewish calendar). Four days before this event is Nisan 10th, the day the lamb is selected; the date Jesus would have triumphantly entered Jerusalem on the donkey. This means this year, "Palm Sunday" actually is "Palm Tuesday," March 27, 2018. Palm Tuesday doesn't sound as romantic, but it's accurate. Similarly, the day you were born on might originally have been a Sunday, but this year your birthday is actually on a Wednesday. The date of the month you were born remains the same, but the day of the week moves depending on the year.
For those of you who love the Lord, it's nice to know we can still know the EXACT date Jesus suffered and died with little work, but it requires us moving away from the traditions of men in order to find the Truth. It's also wonderful to know we can be positive that before sunrise on April 3rd of this year, Jesus arose from the grave, and the tomb was found empty by Mary. So while you might be celebrating Easter next Sunday... remember on Tuesday morning, April 3, 2018, that this was the actual date almost 2,000 years ago your Savior conquered death! This is Nisan 17, and this is the reason for my newest book: Redemption's Secret.
Have you ever wanted to learn Hebrew? The Biblical Archeology Review is hosting a free Hebrew Language Bible Course. The course contains 25 video lectures by Shaye Cohen, Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University. Because this course is independent learning based, you can start and stop videos any time. The Hebrew Course also includes surveys the major books and ideas of the Hebrew Bible (also called the Old Testament). Additionally, the course examines the historical context in which the Hebrew texts emerged and were redacted.
A major subtext of the Hebrew course is the distinction between how the Bible was read by ancient interpreters (whose interpretations became the basis for many iconic literary and artistic works of Western Civilization) and how it is approached by modern bible scholarship. James Kugel, former Harvard professor and author of the course’s textbook, contends that these ways of reading the Bible are mutually exclusive. Professor Shaye Cohen respectfully disagrees.
The course link is available here: The Hebrew Bible.
This week the BBC news released an article on the last remaining fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. There were six fragments written in code, which were finally deciphered by Dr Eshbal Ratson and Prof Jonathan Ben-Dov of Haifa University.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were originally found between 1947 and 1956 in caves in Qumran on the western shore of the Dead Sea. A young Bedouin shepherd stumbled across the caves when looking for lost sheep. He found jars which contained fragments of 900 scrolls; some of them were complete scrolls. It is believed an ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes were responsible for the scrolls.
The newly deciphered code reveals the names of Jewish festivals observed that recognized the seasonal transitions, which include Shavuot (Pentecost). The festivals related to Pentecost include New Wheat, New Wine, and New Oil. Researches believe this new decipher helps them understand how the scrolls were arranged originally.
The Dead Sea Scrolls have affirmed the reliability of scripture and is relevant to your faith in the written Word of God. If you would like to learn more about the Scrolls, the Leon Leavy Digital Library has a variety of information to help you understand the scrolls. They have the following subjects: Historical Background, Timelines, Discovery and Publication, Discovery Sites, Content of the Scrolls, Languages and Scripts, and Conversation.
I recently saw an article on the BBC news about the Rock Churches of Lalibela Ethiopia. These churches have been identified as World Historical Monuments and are located in a mountainous region north of Addis Ababa.
In total there are eleven ancient churches which were carved directly out of solid rock. The article noted that more rock churches are still being constructed today.
What was so amazing was the man currently building a rock church. He stated like the previous builders, he had no architectural plans or construction designs before beginning. They simply started building under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and moved with Him to create the building. The end result is nothing short of an architectural miracle, especially considering the tools they use to create these beautiful churches. The interiors are elaborately designed and the tunnel systems between churches and the housing units are intelligently crafted. There are arch doorways, complex windows, tall columns, various floors and artistic ceilings. Additionally, there is an extensive drainage system of ditches, trenches, and walkways.
The original churches were started by King Lalibela whose desire was to build a ‘New Jerusalem’ in the 12th Century after Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem had been stopped by Muslims. The churches were designed in two major groups.
To view the complete video you can see the BBC report here. Additional video is also below from Youtube but it does not contain the rock carver interview in the BBC video.
Yahshua is Jesus' name in the original Hebrew. Yahshua is also sometimes spelled Yeshua. It literally means, "Yahweh Saves" or "Yahweh is Salvation." Yahweh doesn't just save. He IS salvation. Within the very name of Jesus' original Hebrew Yahshua is the name of Yahweh. It is on Yahweh whom men must call to be saved. It is no wonder that Yahshua is the name above all names and at His name every knee will bow (Philippians 2:9-10). His name is synonymous with His Father's name. In John 17:6, Jesus proclaimed He had manifested the Father's name unto men. In Yahshua, we behold the Father's name Yahweh is Salvation and wonder at the miracle of Yahweh in human flesh saving the world.
Yahshua is often translated into English as Joshua in the Old Testament. How then did we get the name of Jesus instead of Joshua in the New Testament of the Bible you may wonder? Well, the answer is both simple and complex. In simple terms, the word Joshua is used for Jesus' name in a few places of the New Testament, but the name Jesus is more frequently used. If you examine the Strong's Greek numbers for either Joshua or Jesus, both names have the exact same Greek word identified.
The Greek translation of the Hebrew word had four major problems of consonant and vowel sounds that couldn't smoothly transition between the languages. Yod is the first letter in the name Yahshua, and has the sound of "y" as in "yell." Sadly, in translating Yahshua to the Greek, the name lost most of of its sound and meaning. Therefore, Yahshua was known as "ee-ay-soos" to the Greek speaking world for nearly 400 years.
Later when Latin became the dominant language in Christendom, Yahshua's mistranslated name in Greek was further mistranslated in Latin as "Iesou," or "Iesus." Masculine names in Greek often end with a consonant Sigma, an "S" sound. In the case of "Iesus," the Greeks added the "S" sound at the end of the name of Yahshua which was carried into the Latin translation. The Greek language also added the "S" sound to the names of Nicodemus, Judas, Lazarus, and many others. As centuries passed, the English language developed the letter "J" around the 12th Century. The letter "J" became more popular over the letter "I" as a constant, eventually replacing "I" with "J" in the Latin name "IESUS." Thus, Jesus became the English translation printed for the first time in the Bible in 1526.
There is no "J" sound (as in the word "jam") in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Latin. William Tyndale was the first person to use the letter "J" instead of "I" in the first printed Bible of 1526. The original Bible readers would have pronounced the Lord's name as "Jee-zuz." In fact, every name beginning with the "J" sound in the Bible has come from the faulty transliterations of Hebrew to Greek to Latin and finally English. Judah, Jerusalem, John, Jew, and Judas never originally had a "J" sound. Instead these names had a "Y" sound, as in "Yahweh." When Yahshua walked the earth, the world never heard of the name "Jesus" or sound of "J".
The name, Yahshua, is used repeatedly in both the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures. It is used to denote several different people, including Christ. In fact, the name Yahshua or Yeshua was a very common name during the first century, where one out of ten boys were named Yahshua. It is no wonder the nation of Israel had such a common name during the time of Christ. They were crying out for God's salvation, and He came to His own.
Today, every Christian needs to know and understand the meaning behind the name of Jesus. For the English name "Jesus" has no meaning apart from Yahweh's name. We must know on whom we have believed for salvation. It is Yahweh who saves. In Yahshua, He has come to save His people.
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