An Authentic Faith

Teshuvah

In the Bible and history, we find many heroes of faith. Hebrew chapter 11 has a list of them from the Old Testament, including Gideon and David. In the New Testament, Paul, Peter, and others inspire us to pursue God. When we study history, there are a number of men and women who have set a tremendous example of faith such as Polycarp and Wycliffe.

Over the years, I have heard people compare themselves to people from the Bible or history. David is a common comparison. He fought many battles for the Lord and displayed courageousness in the face of peril. He is even called a man after God’s own heart. Keep in mind David also made serious mistakes. One reason why we connect with heroes of the past is because they fell short as we do.

We can also not forget the heroes of today – people from our own lives that have made an impact on our walk with God. This can include, but are not limited to, a pastor, fellow church member, parent or grandparent, and even a sibling. These individuals are dear to our hearts because we knew them. They ministered to us, prayed for us, cried with us, and fought the battles of life with us. We look up to them.

While we have heroes of the faith – whether from the Bible, history, or the present – we also must have our own personal faith in God. This means that we spend time seeking God for His will in our own lives. When someone asks you a question about your faith or the Bible, does your answer sound like the following: “Because my brother says so”; “My mom or dad told me”; “Because my favorite preacher said it was true”; or “Because someone from history believed the same way”.

When we have answers like this, it makes us sound insincere. Jesus said that whatever comes out of our mouths reveals what is in our hearts (Matthew 10:34). Do you know why you believe a certain way? Are you just imitating someone else or following an organization’s command?

It is still important to honor and respect others who encourage you in the faith. At the same time, we want to have an authentic faith. Paul said, “…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12b, NKJV). Paul was persuaded because He knew God for himself.

When someone asks you why you believe a certain way – be sure to know where in the Bible you can defend that belief. Then you can say “Because God instructs me in the Bible to do such”, and you can demonstrate where that belief is found in the Bible. When you can defend your faith, you display authenticity.

Heroes of the present and past can certainly encourage, inspire, and teach us. But their example is to encourage us in our own genuine faith. Their faith cannot take the place of our own. Take the time to study the Bible and pray; be convinced and persuaded like Paul. Serve in your local church.

In the process of developing an authentic faith, let us remember that the end result is the example of Jesus Christ. No one else can exceed His perfect life.

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New Booklet: The Power of Forgiveness

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“The Power of Forgiveness”

Forgiveness is the foundation of the Christian faith. In this booklet, you will learn about the forgiveness of God that is available. Furthermore, you will learn how to forgive those who have hurt you.

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Power of Forgiveness

 

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A Brief Exegesis of Romans 14:5-6

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A Brief Exegesis of Romans 14:5-6

by Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Romans 14:5-6 is among the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. These verses have been misunderstood as negating the Sabbath and other commandments. We will examine the example of Paul, the verses themselves very carefully, and some history. This will make the passage clear.

One of the ways we interpret history is through what we call primary sources. These are people who were eye witnesses to events as well as archeological findings from the time period. The Apostle Peter was a contemporary of Paul. Here is what Peter said about Paul:

“15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:15-17, ASV).

We learn some important details from Peter’s words. Paul wrote some things that are hard to understand, but they do not negate the other Scriptures. The other Scriptures are a reference to the Old Testament. They did not have a New Testament in their day. He was a very educated man, which is why some people struggled with his words.

With this background understanding from Paul’s life, let’s look at the two verses in question: “5 One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks” (Romans 14:5-6, KLV).

First of all, in Romans 14:1 Paul identified this issue that was considered disputable. This means it is not clearly defined by Scripture. “Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions.” Secondly, the Greek word Paul uses for day, hemera, refers to any common day. It refers to the other six days of the week.

Third, the Greek word for holy, hagios, is not even found in this chapter (Romans 14). Thus, he is addressing common days, not holy days like the Sabbath. If he were referring to the Sabbath, Paul would have used the specific Greek word for Sabbath, sabbaton. Fourth, Paul was not addressing which days God considers to be holy, but what days men esteem higher than others. God is the one who set aside the Sabbath, not man.

Lastly, one must also consider his audience. He wrote this to the Romans. He is applying these verses specifically to days that the Romans considered to be important. Let’s take a look at some primary sources from the time before, during, and after Paul that will illuminate these verses.

The Romans were very superstitious. They considered some days of the week to be unlucky, such as Saturday (Tibullus, 1:3,17-18; Propertius 4:1,81-86). They also considered certain days of the month bad for specific activities such as business or travel (Marcus Varro, On the Latin Language: VI:29-31; Plutarch, Roman Questions, 25). There were even days of certain months on which activities were discouraged, such as marriage (Ovid, Fasti, 5:470-492). Some days of certain months activities were encouraged, such as eating certain foods (Ovid, Fasti, 6:169 –beans and spelt were eaten on June 1st to honor Juno).

They formed their behavior this way for one or more reasons. Sometimes these prohibitions were to honor a specific god or goddess (such as June 1st). Sometimes a certain date coincided with a fortunate or bad event that happened in the past in Roman history (for instance, June 23rd was considered ‘lucky’ because a Carthaginian general, who was an enemy of Rome, killed himself on that day – Ovid, Fasti, 6:769).  At other times, the Romans were just superstitious (as another example, the Romans considered odd numbers as unlucky. Certain odd days of a month were considered bad for business – Plutarch, Roman Questions, 25).  For the superstitions of Augustus, who even thought his shoes were an omen, see Seutonius, Life of Augustus, XCII.

Another issue raised in the verses we are questioning is the issue of abstaining from meat. There was a strain of thought in the Roman world which believed very strongly in vegetarianism (Ovid, Metamorphosis,bk15:76-112, 140-142, 458-462; Seneca, Epistulae, 108:17-22; Plutarch: On the Eating of Flesh, 1:41 and On Isis and Osiris, sections 2,4,7; Lucius Apuleis, Metamorphosis, 11:26-29).  From these sources we can see that their vegetarian beliefs were rooted either in the worship of other gods (such as Isis and Osiris) or in a form of reincarnation which viewed the spirits of dead people as dwelling in animals.

With this historical understanding, we can better ascertain the meaning of these verses. Paul himself was an educated man and even a Roman citizen. While he grew up Jewish, he also grew up in a culture that practiced these Roman superstitions. He was well versed with them.

If we are going to consider a common day as important to perform a specific activity, then we should do so unto the Lord and not to a pagan deity, superstition or any other reason (especially not because of a past event in the Roman Empire, which is the anti-thesis of God’s Kingdom). He is addressing this specific Roman cultural activity for common days and activities, not the Sabbath or any day declared holy by God.

God is the one who declared the Sabbath Holy (Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 31:12-18, and Leviticus 23:1-6 to name a few). Man did not declare the Sabbath holy. Paul would not condemn anyone for keeping the Sabbath as he obeyed it himself. The seventh-day Sabbath persists even into the New Heavens and the New Earth (Isaiah 66:22-24).

Paul’s example in the Bible shows us that he did not condemn any observance of the law, but that he continued to keep and reverence the Sabbath and Feast Days even after his conversion to Christianity (for a few examples: Acts 13, Acts 17, 18, Acts 20:16, Acts 27:9, and I Cor.16:8).

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul says to let no one judge them for keeping the Sabbath, Feast Days, and New Moon Celebrations (Col. 2:16). All of the early churches kept the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week.

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Why We Wash Feet at Passover

Foot Washing

Passover was the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples before His death. In fact, it is the only thing He said that He eagerly desired to do (Luke 22:15). When Christ was at the table with His disciples, he instituted a powerful act for us to imitate.

Jesus is the only perfect individual to ever walk this earth. He never sinned. Before he ate the meal with them, he washed the feet of His disciples. John 13:3-17 (ASV) records these events:

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and goeth unto God, 4 riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments; and he took a towel, and girded himself. 5 Then he poureth water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6 So he cometh to Simon Peter. He saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt understand hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew him that should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12 So when he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and sat down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord; neither one that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them.

Consider the context of this passage a little more. At that time, most people wore sandals. Their feet were covered in dirt, mud, and even animal dung. Instead of exalting himself at the table, Christ humbled himself to the place of a servant. He washed their feet.

In the process of doing this, He instituted a statute for us: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” He even said that we would be blessed by doing this (John 13:17).

With this act, Jesus taught us that true leadership is humbling ourselves in service. Each of us must be willing to do this for each other. We must be willing to reach down to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ to help wash them off when they are dirty and in time of need. Jesus was willing to humble himself and clean us up, so we should be willing to do the same.

This Passover, as you wash another person’s feet, think about washing the feet of Jesus. As your feet are being washed, think about Jesus washing your feet.

Christ said that we would be blessed if we do this! Is there a blessing from God that you do not want? We should want everything that Christ has for us. He has a special revelation He desires to impart to you as you wash feet this Passover Season.

“1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal 6:1-2, KJV).

Let’s honor Passover this year with humility as we consider what Christ has done for us.

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Free Booklet: The Feasts of the Lord

Are you interested in learning about the Festivals of Leviticus 23?

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“The Lord’s Feasts”

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Can God use the Heavens to Speak to Us?

Eclipse

Credit: The Exploratorium

Downloaded from NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/eclipse/eclipseimages.html

Can God use the Heavens to Speak to Us?

By: Kelly McDonald, Jr.

We do not think much about the heavenly bodies (the sun, moon, and stars) and their special place in God’s creation. I think we tend to overlook it for two main reasons. One, we are so far removed from the Heavenly realm, even though it affects us greatly. Two, there are people who have perverted God’s creation and worship these entities. Astrology is the religious perversion of the Heavenly Realm. This is where people worship the sun, moon, and stars. They have calendars called the zodiac, and people live by the zodiac predictions. People are trying to spiritually connect with a created thing instead of connecting to the Creator. Because these people have twisted God’s creation, many believers have run away from studying the creation at all. Astronomy is the scientific study of the heavens. Astronomy is Biblical.

The Magi knew that Jesus was born because of a star they saw in the east (Matthew 2:1-10). The Bible actually tells us that they knew the EXACT time the star appeared. This means that they could calculate when the star appeared and where the star was. The Messiah was found because the Magi knew astronomy.

Psalm 19:1-4

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (emphasis mine throughout)

The Hebrew word translated as “pour forth” is naba, and it is the same Hebrew word used for prophesying! The Hebrew word for Speech can mean promise. To summarize these revelations, the Heavens inscribe the prophecies or promises of God! They can even reveal intimate knowledge to us. The Magi could have only known that a specific star was a sign of the Messiah unless that star was assigned to a specific promise from God!

The Hebrew word for “voice” in verse 4 is “measuring line”. It can mean a line stretched forth for measuring or a line stretched for judgment. It is a unit of measurement. For God, the Heavens are a form of measuring where things are versus where they should be. Sometimes, things measure up perfectly. Sometimes they do not. The Heavens are how God sends this message to humans.

Genesis 1:14-19 reads, “14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”

The sun, moon, and stars serve as signs for season, days, and years. The Hebrew word for signs is oth, and it means a banner or beacon. Have you ever seen a light house? It is a beacon of light on a tower to guide you. In other words, the behavior of these heavenly bodies was meant to get our attention. A banner is a rallying point or a flag of representation. A beacon is meant to guide us. How do these bodies do this?

The sun is how days begin and end in the Bible. At sunset, one day ends and another day begins. This is why the Bible tells us that “…And the evening and the morning (or day) was the fourth day” (Gen. 1:19). This is why the Bible tells us not to let the sun go down on your wrath or anger (Ephesians 4:26). The Hebrew word for seasons is moed, and it literally means a fixed appointment. Throughout the Bible, this word refers to the Lord’s Feasts in Leviticus 23. The moon is so important in the Bible because the Hebrew Calendar is based off of the moon. Because months are determined by the moon, it helps us determine the festivals.

As we see the solar eclipse occur across the United States, let us not forget that God DOES speak through the creation He made. Let’s have ears to hear what He is saying to us in this hour. As we see our nation being torn apart, let us humbly seek His face. Pray for God to use this sign in the Heavens to get the attention of our nation that we would turn back to Him.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9)

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Future Hope Conference 2017

Future Hope“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

When we look at the world today, there are many problems. There are wars, famine, and disease. The world seems unstable; human governments seem to be ineffective. Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, there is GOOD NEWS!

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is coming back to establish a reign of peace and righteousness! There will be no more war, famine, or disease. The Government of God will operate with perfect efficiency.

While the world situation seems hopeless, but we can have hope through Jesus. Jesus came once to bear the sin of the world; he will come a second time to rule the earth. If the first coming of Jesus was the good news, then His second coming is the GREAT news!

To learn more about the return of Jesus and this Kingdom of Peace, come to the Future Hope Conference 2017!

Date: June 23 and 24

Location: Citipointe Pine Rivers – 138 Old Gympie Rd, Kallangur, Queensland, Australia 4503

Registration Required.

To register, click here: FUTURE HOPE CONFERENCE

 

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New Booklet Release: The Feast of Pentecost

New Booklet Release!

The Feast of Pentecost: Past – Present – Future

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The Day of Pentecost is mostly known for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2. Due to this, many consider it a ‘fulfilled’ day.  Did you know that this day has a rich meaning in the past, present, AND future!

In this booklet, you will learn the basics and more in-depth items concerning Pentecost. It will give you a powerful understanding of this special day!

To read this booklet, click the picture above or CLICK HERE!

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Three Right-Now Presidential Prayer Strategies

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Our country is at a tremendous crossroads. We have internal strife between conservatives and liberals. There is strife within the Christian community, with some wanting to conform to culture and others wanting to conform to the Bible. We have $20 trillion in debt and our birth-rate is at an all-time low. There is instability in the world with wars and rumors of wars, just as Jesus foretold.

At the end of the day, the President is a person. He has authority to direct the affairs of the government, but he has to work with congress and the judicial system. He has limitations. He can’t fix all these problems. Only God can turn the nation around (with His people seeking him daily). Having said that, God can direct this man’s heart and mind to act wisely and in a manner that pleases God.

There are a few presidential prayer strategies the body of Christ needs to apply right now.

1) Pray for protection.

Our country is extremely divided. Those who oppose Donald Trump are more violent than ever. During the inauguration, parts of Washington, DC were destroyed by protestors. This included establishments like Starbucks that opposed Donald Trump! This level of recklessness and destruction is from satan. If the plans of Donald Trump are allowed to succeed, then he will ‘upset the apple-cart’ of politics. He is causing individuals world-wide to hate him because he wants other countries to deal fairly with America.

We need to pray for his protection. He is proposing items so drastic to the left-wing media (like fighting terrorism and promoting pro-life, which who knew would be a drastic idea?), that radicals in our country may attempt to harm him. An attack on him would be even further devastating to the unity of our country. We also want to pray for his family, as terrorists could try to harm them in a way to discourage him.

2) Pray for Wisdom

As mentioned earlier, there are a multitude of national and international problems. We need to pray for God to give him WISDOM to direct him towards policies that are constructive. Trump has to work with Congress and the judicial system. There are elements in both areas that are very hostile to anything in his agenda. Pray for the wisdom and tact in speech and action so that constructive policies can be approved. Pray for his heart to be soft to the will of God; pray for him to know how to properly respond to opposition.

3) Pray for Encouragement

The media has been bombarding this man for months with the hateful and virulent reports. Pray for his eyes and ears to be closed to their assaults. Pray for God to shield his eyes and ears. Ask God to give him a surge of confidence and encouragement as he implements the items that God puts upon his heart. Ask God to increase his sense of purpose as he fulfills his duties. Moreover, pray the same items for his family. The media has even attacked his ten-year old son, which is terrible and should never happen. Pray for the family to be unaffected by satan’s attacks. Lastly, pray for the media to have their narrative transitioned to such a degree that they only report the truth and not lies.

The Body of Christ needs to act quickly to stem the flow of the outrageous attacks against our country. God has given us a second chance in this election; let’s make the best of it.

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Purim and The Revealing of the Bride

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The background for the celebration of Purim is found in the book of Esther. Interestingly enough, God’s name is not found one time in this book. Instead, we see God working behind the scenes to protect His people. In this process, we can see God’s plan to reveal His Bride to the entire world.

The Jewish people were taken captive to the land of Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. They remained there for 70 years. While they were there, they were subject to the Babylonians and then the Persians. The story of Purim starts with the King of the Persians, Xerxes, throwing a tremendous celebration for his princes and nobles. This party lasted about six months.

At the end of this time, he had a seven-day celebration for all who live in the citadel of Susa. On the seventh day, he called forth his bride, Vashti, to display her beauty before the nobles. She refused to come, which embarrassed the king. After consulting with his officials, it was determined that she should be removed from her position as queen.

The king then searched his entire kingdom looking for a queen to take her place. Beautiful virgins from across the vast empire were brought to him. They were treated with special ointments and food, and each one was given an opportunity to please the king. One of these beautiful virgins was named Hadassah or Esther. She was a Benjaminite descended from Kish. Her uncle Mordecai advised her to keep her family and national identity a secret. Unlike many of the other girls who sought to dress the way they pleased, Esther sought only to please the king. She won his heart. Her uncle Mordecai even uncovered a plot to kill king Xerxes.

In the meantime, a man by the name of Haman (who was an Agagite) was lifted up and exalted by King Xerxes. Despite this promotion by the King, Mordecai refused to bow down to him. This caused Haman to seek the destruction of not only Mordecai, but all the Jewish people throughout the entire kingdom! He cast the pur (or lots) on the 13th day of the 1st month on the Hebrew Calendar. The lots determined the date that they would try to destroy them. Haman even offered to pay for this destruction to happen! The King approved this destruction and sealed their fate. In his pride, Haman even had a gallows built to hang Mordecai when the opportunity was right.

Once news of this decree was made known, Mordecai pleaded with Esther to go before the king to ask for mercy. Normally, no one was allowed to go before the king without being summoned. You could be punished with death if you came to him on your own accord. If the king held out his golden scepter when you approached him, then you would be spared. Esther and all the Jewish people in Susa fasted for three days and three nights so that Esther would have favor. After seeking the Lord during this time, she went before the king.

With humility, Esther went before the king. I can only imagine the immense pressure she felt; but we serve a God who answers prayers. The king reached out his golden scepter and she was spared. The king asked her what she wanted, but she refused to speak about it at that time. Instead, she suggested a banquet be held with the king and Haman in attendance. She offered to prepare the banquet.

At this banquet, she requested a second banquet. The evening before the second banquet, the king could not sleep. He had the records of the kingdom brought in and read in his presence. In it, he found where Mordecai uncovered the plot to kill the king. He decided to reward Mordecai and made Haman honor him before the people!

Then came the second banquet. Haman thought he would be honored, but the opposite happened. AS Psalm 23:5 reads, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Esther finally revealed to Xerxes the plot of Haman to kill her people. She asked that they be spared. In doing so, she revealed that she was Jewish. The king was enraged!

He ordered that Haman and his sons be hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai’s destruction. He then made a decree that the Jews were allowed to defend themselves against their enemies on the same date that Haman had planned to destroy them! The Jewish people took vengeance this day, but did not take plunder from their enemies. Purim was decreed as a celebration for the people of Israel; on the 14th and 15th of Adar (the 12th month of the Hebrew Calendar), it was to be celebrated.

The bride-elect Hadassah, named Esther, is a picture and type of the Bride of Christ. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that there is a time for everything under the sun. In addition to what is listed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, there is a time for concealing and a time for revealing!

Joseph was concealed in slavery and then revealed in time for the harvest.  He saved his people. God hides people because in the process of hiding them, he is preparing them to fulfill their purpose. Esther’s identity was hidden. This does not mean she was ashamed. It just was not time for her to be revealed.

In the same way, all believers are preparing to be the Bride of Christ. However, only a certain group of believers will be elected to be the Bride. Jesus said, “Many are called, few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). Those who are called, chosen, and faithful will ride back with Jesus at His return (Revelation 17:14). Among the called are those hidden away – a remnant – who are chosen. How many will remain faithful?

Before a girl could go before the king, she had to complete 12 months of beauty treatments. She was treated for six months with oil and myrrh and another six with perfumes and cosmetics (Esther 2:12). These ointments would literally soak into her pores so that when she sweat these scents were released. The goal was to please the king.

Some women dressed and were treated in the way that they liked, hoping that the king would also like it. Esther only did what Hegai, the head eunuch in charge of the women, suggested (Esther 2:15). She won the favor of everyone, even the King! Hegai’s name is very similar to the Hebrew word for annual festival, chag. The Feasts of Leviticus 23 give us special food. Food determines health; special food is special, spiritual health. The oils can refer to the anointing poured out on us to serve Him (see John 12:1-10). The wonderful fragrances represent our worship of Him. Our works become the cosmetics that adorn us spiritually (I Timothy 2:10). Our beauty to Him is based upon these things. How attractive are you to Him? As Jesus said, He wants us providing meat in due season (Matthew 24:45). The festivals are when this happens. During the holy days we receive special revelations about our Kingdom assignments. We are given direction about what we need to change to be in conformity with the Will of God. We are to be preparing and helping others prepare to be the Bride.

Purim occurs at the time almonds bloom. An almond blossom represents the concealed will of God being revealed. In Jeremiah 1:11-12, the Bible reads, “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” In Numbers 17, God confirmed the priesthood through an almond blossom! In Exodus 25, God gave the instructions concerning the seven branch menorah.  God commanded that each branch have almond blossoms!

Almonds represent God’s covenant to fulfill all that He has promised. God accomplishes His promises by His Spirit – “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). This verse is just after Zechariah saw the seven-branch lamp stand in Heaven!

Almonds prophetically represents the Bride of Christ. God is going to present to Jesus His Son a bride that is without spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:26-27). This does not happen through human effort. “Quench not the Spirit’s fire. Despise not prophesyings.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:19-23, KJV). Our sanctification starts by submitting to the Spirit of Christ within us. We then begin to obey His commandments and serve in the Kingdom. He will cause the Bride to blossom at just the right time.

When an almond is being formed, a hull is formed around the almond to protect it and ensure its growth. We can see from the story how Esther kept her national identity concealed and protected until just the right time. At our present prophetic time period, the Bride is currently hidden, being formed by the Godly character she is allowing God to bring into her. She is concealed from the entire world. At the right time, the almonds will bud and blossom, and she will arise. When the harvest for almonds comes, the outer hull peals away. The almond becomes revealed. Just as Esther’s identity was concealed until just the right time, so will the True Bride of Christ be concealed until she blossoms before the entire world. There is a meaning of Purim even beyond the revealing of the Bride in Revelation 19!

Revelation 21:1-2 reads, “1 Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.’”

The final prophetic fulfillment of Hanukkah is found in verse 1 when the New Heavens and New Earth are revealed. The final fulfillment of Purim is when the New Jerusalem appears as a BRIDE adorned just as Esther appeared as a bride adorned. This is the full revelation of the Bride’s glory. The bride appears once in Revelation 19 to the whole world alive at that time; this last time is for the entire Universe. There was a first Eve; she is the last Eve just as Christ is the last Adam.

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