Grasping the spiritual lessons of de-leavening is vital if we are to grasp the real reasons behind so many other subjects — even the topic of illegal drugs.....
Back in March 2010 two smiling teenagers stared out of our newspapers, cut down in the prime of their life with the latest drug craze "miaow miaow" or "mephedrone". And within the article the inevitable panacea to such tragedies was glibly trotted out that this "drug linked to the deaths of two teenage friends should be banned immediately" But was that really the solution? Did banning the drug in 2010 — which they did — really stop people from taking it? All we have to do is read our newspapers today to see the answer — "Mephedrone warning issued as girl, 19, becomes latest young Scot to die after drugs binge as party carnage leaves another four in hospital" And the date of this latest tragedy? Sunday at the beginning of this week.
So why did these youngsters feel the need to take a substance like mephedrone in the first place? Why would anyone expose themselves to such risks just to get a high? Absolutely nothing is even hinted at within such articles as to the true cause behind such actions. And there is a good reason for the silence .... for the true cause is spiritual.
In the sermon on the First Day of Unleavened Bread I mentioned the great difference between the Jewish view of leavening and that within God's Church and showed how it has everything to do with The Spirit there needs to be behind deleavening. In the Pastor's Report this week I would like to elaborate a little more on the judgement process involved. Do we use something similar to the world's reaction to mephedrone, and declare that each individual product "should be banned immediately"? Or do we rather recognise that it is The Way we judge that is crucially important!
Rather than try and ban this list of items or that list of items — we need to judge by getting to grips with God's Mind on ALL subjects. What is the spirit, the attitude, the approach of God to the subject of Unleavened Bread for example? Why did God give us leaven as a picture in the first place...... and what IS that picture? And how do we apply it — faithfully, honestly, without in any way trying to "get around" the clear, God-given intent?
During the deleavening of our homes this year — deciding what could stay and what we had to remove — we may sometimes have felt that it was little more than a physical exercise, but the reality should have been anything but. Today it may merely be what we count as leavened ..... but tomorrow it may be how to deal with a questionable "substance" in one of the cities God has entrusted to us! Are we going to produce a list of products that we reckon are OK, and another list of those that aren't? If we do, guaranteed there will be something — like mephedrone, which is actually promoted behind the guise of being a plant fertiliser — that we will miss.
So how should we go about this? The world right now makes its list, and seeks to ban the problem, ignoring the cause and just attempting to treat the effect. But our job is to apply God's Mind to any and every subject. "How do I get the people in my city to think as God thinks — not just in regard to a substance like mephedrone, but in every aspect of life?" " How can I make life so interesting, so forward-looking, so exciting — that there will be no point in even contemplating trying drugs with their inevitable side effects?"
When we begin to assess this aspect of our future lives, I hope we can all see how this mindset is also what we need to be learning to apply ourselves — right now — during the Days of Unleavened Bread. What is God's Mind on the subject of what is leavened, for example? And how do we apply it in our lives and in our homes.
The Church today is shattered, but rest assured it did not become that way when God somehow "wasn't looking"! Though God did not orchestrate it, God most certainly allowed the current shattering. Just as He tested Abraham, so the Church today is going through its own period of testing — a measuring of the Holy Place as described in Revelation 11, verse 1. Eventually all the stones that pass the test will be gathered together to form the Holy Temple to which Christ is going to return.
It seems very clear that a significant part of that testing has been designed so that each individual has now to make his own decisions to a far greater degree than in the past. But, the key aspect is ....... HOW do we make these decisions? Is it merely applying "our little list"? Or do we do as Mr Armstrong always taught us — and seek for the Spirit, the attitude, the principle, the Mind of God on each subject? That is the spiritual heritage we were given. That is the spiritual heritage to which we must align once again — seeking always the very Mind of God!
It is interesting how the apostle Paul gets to the heart and core of the meaning of leaven when he three times applies the term "puffed up" to the Corinthian Church ( I Corinthians 4:18,19; 5:2). He does this just before he deals with their principle problem — the proud acceptance by the brethren of the man sleeping with his father's wife. He then ties this "puffed up" attitude right into the Days of Unleavened Bread they were in the process of observing at the time, when he says:........
But the passage does not end there. He then uses that problem of correctly judging the fornicator and extends it into our overall need to correctly judge in life generally — ready for our future jobs in God's Kingdom — when he says............
Note carefully that we are being trained by God to eventually judge the world — even to judge angels! But how does God expect that judgement to be made? Are we going to judge the world's way and ban mephedrone rather than get to the root cause of why people take it? God is NOT looking for an android-army of robots who remain eternally limited to work only within their own narrowly-repetitive, subroutines! He is looking for Spirit-born sons who think as He does and who will therefore correctly, accurately and enthusiastically administer HIS Mind within each of the cities throughout the World Tomorrow, and wherever He sends them thereafter...even to the outer corners of the universe. The question is, are we developing that Mind?
Part of the very purpose of Unleavened Bread involves learning to judge. Is this item leavened, or is it OK? Occasionally it is not clear-cut. Many times it may "technically" be unleavened — but in spirit and in principle air has been added to "puff it up" in another way. Then what do we do? Do we apply the mere letter, or seek for the Spirit, the intent, the principle, the very Mind of God in each case? The irony is, in this present shattered state of God's Church, as we make such judgements God also is judging us! Judgement is very much on the household of God today. In most cases today, we no longer have the luxury of running to the local minister on every occasion. God is often forcing us to make decisions ourselves that previously were unthinkable — even down to which fellowship we attend!
But the fact God is doing this should also encourage us greatly.....time must be short!. This is no longer kindergarten — this process feels more like final exams! So deciding what is physically leavened or unleavened is very much a side issue — the real issue is what they picture. What way leads to Life? And what way is destined to die with this world? And at its core lies one vital thing.... the Mind of Almighty God — currently being created in frail human flesh. It's the same Mind that Jesus Christ had when He was on earth ......... the Mind of a Son of God!
Therefore, in this year's Holy Day season ..........
Back in April 2013, Israeli President Shimon Peres invited the Pope to visit Israel. Later, when they met at the Vatican, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein from the Likud Party invited the Pope to Israel. The Pope is to be accompanied on his trip by an old Jewish friend from Argentina, Rabbi Skorka. They both intend to ‘send a message against anti-Semitism.’ Others are also involved with the event. The Eastern Orthodox archbishop of Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew I, who is to meet with the Pope in Jerusalem, feels the visit will focus on their discussions on ecumenism.
“Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to be held in May, will center on his encounter with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Eastern Orthodox archbishop of Constantinople, and their discussions on ecumenism.
Announcing the trip January 5, Pope Francis said its ‘principal goal’ is ‘to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I, that occurred … 50 years ago today.’
That encounter was the beginning of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches and led to a joint declaration issued in 1965, which declared the two leaders’ desire ‘to overcome their differences in order to be again “one,” as the Lord Jesus asked of his Father for them’ and which lifted the mutual excommunications of their predecessors issued in 1054, which profoundly contributed to the schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism.” (ncregister.com)
“With a lingering invitation from Israeli President Shimon Peres from April and other Israeli officials, Pope Francis is now set to make his first visit as Pope to Israel in March 2014. Israel’s Channel 2 news reported on Sunday October 13, 2013 that the Pope will be visiting Israel with his friend, Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, and they will be going together as a joint pilgrimage - marking the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s own visit to Israel, when he went to Jerusalem in 1964 prior to the Vatican even recognizing Israel as a country.
Peres invited Pope Francis to Israel right after his March 2013 election in a congratulatory letter, stating; ‘The sooner you visit, the better; in these days, a new opportunity is being created for peace and your arrival could contribute significantly to increasing the trust and belief in peace.’
Rabbi Skorka, a friend and colleague of Pope Francis from Argentina has also been a key element to the Pope’s visit to Israel. They will travel together to ‘send a message against anti-Semitism.’
Pope Francis is also speaking out against anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, using his position to curb a growing surge of anti-Semitism in Europe. ‘It is a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic. His roots are in part Jewish. A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman!’
The Pope also stated the same message in an article he wrote in the September 11th edition of La Repubblica in honor of Yom Kippur, stating; ‘This is a question - believe me - that touches us profoundly as Christians, because with the help of God, especially since the Second Vatican Council [created 50 years ago], we have rediscovered that the Jewish People are still for us the holy root that produced Jesus’.” (examiner.com)
But there is another side to this visit. It has been noted that for most of the trip, the Pope will be there for the Muslims! This has upset many Israelis, who question the Pope’s real agenda!
“Pope Francis’ visit in the ‘holy land’ will be a kind of final solution for the Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem. After visiting Amman, the Pope will be received by ‘the President of the State of Palestine’ (words taken from the Vatican official note). Then the Pope will be received in the ‘Phoenix Center of the Dehaisheh refugee camp’.
He will endorse the ‘inalienable right’ of millions of descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees to repossess the homes and villages that their grandparents and great-grandparents had lost in 1948, an act which would dismember the modern state of Israel.
The Vatican always presented the 1948 war as the source of an ‘injustice’ committed by Israel when it ‘pushed away’ the Palestinian Arabs. Pope Francis will talk with the people in charge of the Ibdaa camp, whose main goal today is to educate Palestinian Arabs about the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe).
Does the Pope know that Dehaisheh has also been a notable breeding ground of suicide bombers? Will the Pope see the graffiti and poster glorifying the Arab terrorists who dismembered Jewish babies and mothers?
Pope Francis will join the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem ‘in the building of the Great Council on the Esplanade of the Mosques’. It will be an implicit recognition of Muslim hegemony over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred site in the world. The Pope’s visit is taken to mean that Islam and Christianity superseded the Jewish religion and have the right to ‘inherit’ its holy places.
When the pontiff John Paul II ascended to the Temple Mount in 2000, he wasn’t welcomed by any Israeli official, but by representatives of the Palestinian Authority, and the holy complex was bedecked in Arab flags. A few months later, the Intifada broke out leaving 1,600 dead and maimed Jews.
Does Pope Francis know that Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, who will join the Pope, last year declared that ‘the Hour of Resurrection will not come until you fight the Jews’?
Does Pope Francis know that Jerusalem’s Mufti at funeral ceremonies for terrorists promoted terror against Israel, saying that the terrorists’ souls ‘tell us to follow in their path’?
Does Pope Francis know that this Sheikh denied the existence of the Jewish Temples?
Francis will also celebrate a mass ‘in the room of the Cenacle in Jerusalem’. Are Jews aware of the immense symbolism of this event?
The Cenacle lies on Mount Zion, where David and Solomon, Jewish kings of Judea, are considered by some researchers, to also be buried. The Pope’s mass will be the culmination of a long campaign by the Catholic Church to regain religious stewardship over the place where Jesus is supposed to have broken bread and drunk wine with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion.
The Pope will also visit Yad Vashem memorial. It is not a gesture of empathy for the Jewish people, but of perfidy, because the Holocaust has become for the Church the counterweight to the recognition of the Jewish condition in politics and history, the recognition of Jews as a people, along with Israel and Zionism.
The Pope will have a tepid moment of prayer at the Wailing Wall and will spend a few hours mourning for the Holocaust’s Jews. But for the rest of the time, the Pope will be there for the Muslims, in order to recognize their genocidal ‘right of return’ and their apocalyptic right to get control over Jewish holy sites.
Why don’t rabbis and the ordinary Israelis organize moments of protest against the Pope’s Islamic-friendly visit?” (israelnationalnews.com)
“In a rare interview, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa cautioned Israelis over how Christians are treated here. ‘When you say “Christianity” to the Israelis,’ he said, ‘they immediately think of the Holocaust and the Spanish Inquisition. People don’t know that we are here and that we have roots here,’ adding that this attitude is reflected throughout Israeli society.
In a reference to the long-standing, continual incidents of Orthodox Jewish extremists in Jerusalem spitting at Christian clergy, Pizzaballa said: ‘When I came to the country, I was told that I should know that if I walk around with a frock in the city of Jerusalem, people would spit on me, and I shouldn’t be offended, it’s normal’.” (forward.com)
What they say…
Pope Francis said its ‘principal goal’ is ‘to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I, that occurred … 50 years ago…’
Rabbi Skorka wants to ‘send a message against anti-Semitism.’ Patriarch Bartholomew I feels the visit will ‘centre on their discussions on ecumenism’.
Some see the Pope as a man of inspiration who can add to the attempt to bring peace in a stormy area.
What they do…
“After visiting Amman, the Pope will be received by ‘the President of the State of Palestine (words taken from the Vatican official note). Then the Pope will be received in the ‘Phoenix Center of the Dehaisheh refugee camp’. He will endorse the ‘inalienable right’ of millions of descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees to repossess the homes and villages that their grandparents and great-grandparents had lost in 1948, an act which would dismember the modern state of Israel…
Pope Francis will join the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem ‘in the building of the Great Council on the Esplanade of the Mosques’. It will be an implicit recognition of Muslim hegemony over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred site in the world…
The Pope’s visit is taken to mean that Islam and Christianity superseded the Jewish religion and have the right to ‘inherit’ its holy places…
Francis will also celebrate a mass ‘in the room of the Cenacle in Jerusalem’. The Pope’s mass will be the culmination of a long campaign by the Catholic Church to regain religious stewardship over the place where Jesus is supposed to have broken bread and drunk wine with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion…
But for the rest of the time, the Pope will be there for the Muslims, in order to recognize their genocidal ‘right of return’ and their apocalyptic right to get control over Jewish holy sites…” (israelnationalnews.com)
In a Co-Worker Letter, Mr Armstrong explains that the Roman Catholic Europe will eventually make its headquarters in Jerusalem.
“Now, finally, I come to what it is of LIFE-AND-DEATH importance for you to understand! Our labors in GOD’S WORK will be ended soon after the resurrection of the impending United States of Europe!
UNDERSTAND these end-time PROPHECIES!
According to Daniel 11:40-45, this revived ‘Holy Roman Empire’, ‘shall enter into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown.’
Then, verse 44, news out of the north-east (Russia and China) shall worry him – the Communists will be stirring to invade and destroy Roman Catholic EUROPE! Therefore, this power ([United States] of Europe) ‘shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace… in the glorious [land] (Palestine – Judea – Israel)’.” (Co-Worker Letter – August 14, 1978)
In the Pastor General’s Report, Mr Armstrong wrote:
“But, [Daniel 12] verse 11, ‘from the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away…’ Consider this a moment. This does NOT imply a material temple to be built in our time in Jerusalem. It does seem to imply the Israelis may restore the daily (twice daily) sacrifice – possibly at the Wailing Wall. The indication is the armies of the ‘beast’ of Revelation 17, entering Jerusalem (Daniel 11:41, Zechariah 14:2), will stop this daily sacrifice.” (Pastor General’s Report – November 20, 1979)
“Just where are we now, in the prophesied panorama of events leading to the END of this age?
Both world events and occurrences in the Church indicate we are in the time mentioned in Daniel 12.
In verse 2, Daniel speaks of the resurrection of saints at the time of Christ’s coming. Then he speaks of events leading up to that crowning event of history. He says: ‘But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased’ (verse 4).
We have come to that time – the TIME of THE END! Rapid travel, to and fro, at high speed! We are definitely in the END TIME! Knowledge has been increased on earth amazingly… Now, for the first time in human history, the weapons of mass destruction have been produced that can erase all humanity from the earth!
The WHOLE WORLD is now ON FIRE! This is not the GREAT TRIBULATION, but is certainly preliminary to it.” (The Good News – January 1980)
Is the Pope’s visit to Israel mainly to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras I or, as some Jews fear, does he have a hidden agenda?
Will the Pope’s visit to Israel focus on discussions on unity with the Eastern Orthodox Church?
Will the Pope’s visit to Israel ‘send a strong message against anti-Semitism?’
Will the Pope’s visit to Israel back the Muslim hegemony over the Temple Mount?
Will the Pope’s visit to Israel solidify the long campaign by the Catholic Church to regain religious stewardship of certain religious sites in Jerusalem?
Will the Pope’s visit to Israel bring peace to the region – or increase the level of tension?
Keeping in mind where we are in prophecy, are we about to see dramatic changes in the nation of Judah?
…Focus on Jerusalem!
by Jon Bowles
Is Passover on the 14th or 15th of Nisan?
given Wales UK 12 Apr 2014
|Most Jews today combine Passover and the first Holyday of Unleavened Bread - and some COG groups appear to be doing the same. But the Bible is clear - both in the New Testament and even in the Hebrew scriptures - that Passover and Unleavened Bread are clearly separate. (1.9 Mb)|
by Mr Armstrong
Passover Examination (UK)
given UK 27 Mar 1982 - played Wales UK 12 Apr 2014
|Begins: "I have just returned to the airport, I have come from having a luncheon, Mr Aaron Dean and myself with King Leopold and his family over in Belgium." Mr Armstrong then shows how the key area we all need to examine prior to taking the Passover, is our level of true repentance. This is a similar sermon to the one he gave a few weeks previously in Pasadena - but was given in St Albans England. (Full Transcript) (15.1 Mb)|