What is Christian Hebraism and Is It Relevant for Today?

Christian Hebraism transformed Christianity completely during the Middle Ages. However, the impact this movement had on the world remains forgotten by most people who consider themselves believers today: clergy and laity alike.

I realize I’m not the scholar this subject deserves if Christian Hebraism will have to be re-introduced to believers in the 21st century and beyond. But given the fact that none of the scholars who have specialized in this subject have produced materials in a format more accessible for the mass reader, any effort to resurrect the legacy of Christian Hebraism is better than no effort at all.

I began to investigate this subject matter three years ago when I experienced a “home coming” of sorts in my faith journey. I will explain this in an attempt to illustrate how deeply personal this subject is to me. The discovery of the story of Christian Hebraism helped bring together many of the otherwise scattered pieces of information I had accumulated through the years when it comes to the Reformation of the Middle Ages. But most importantly, it made me feel like I had “come home”. It made me realize that what I have been sensing intuitively and have been looking for through the years, others had been looking for something similar as well, some 500 or more years ago. This is both humbling and comforting from a spiritual standpoint and I will try to share this perspective with you.

 

A unique compilation of Latin moral, grammatical and historical treatises was collected by Geoffrey of Ufford in the 12th-century. Almost nothing is known of Geoffrey’s life, and this manuscript appears to be the sole surviving copy of his work. Public Domain. Source: https://www.bl.uk/medieval-english-french-manuscripts/articles/hebrew-in-christian-manuscripts-of-the-early-middle-ages

 

One more thing that will probably help you understand why I am so sensitive to the origin of words, languages and translations – I grew up during the 70s and the 80s in Bulgaria – a hard-core Communist country. Communism is based on violence, theft and ruthless, shameless lies, deception, fraud, manipulation, and propaganda. Growing up, my parents didn’t voice their opposition to Communism in front of me and my brother – they wanted to protect us. But when I was thirteen years old one night I walked in on my father listening to The Voice of Europe on short wave radio in the dark and I realized there was something going on that I didn’t know about. I got my hands on a short wave radio and became an avid listener of the Voice of Europe and the Voice of America. I slowly began to realize we were living in a parallel reality and a lot was going on we had no clue about. Under Communism there is no freedom of speech. If there were freedom of speech, the opposition would expose their fraud and crimes and their regime would be over with very quickly. They controlled all the media: TV, radio and print. Thankfully, short wave radio was there to help bring some news to the people living behind the Iron Wall. I was one of them.

The foundation of Communism has to do with the manipulation of words. Words are the tool we use to explain things. When we corrupt words, we bring a corrupt understanding of the essence of the matter they are meant to convey. For example, Communist regimes have always called their terrorist, totalitarian regimes “people’s republics”. They have fake Constitutions, fake Parliaments and fake elections. This is a gross perversion of the very meaning of what a republic, a Constitution, a Parliament and elections are meant to be. There are no “republics” in Communism. They are all in fact dictatorships. But the Communists are shameless psychopaths and they have zero remorse as they impose their regimes forcing untold millions to submit to their “republic” at gun point.

Gradually, as one grows up in a country totally dominated by the Communist regime, you begin to realize all the public slogans, school textbooks, newspapers, TV and radio are there to produce nothing but one gigantic psyopp intended to keep the people brainwashed into believing the lies of Communism as a dogma and the Communist regime as its executive (and executing) embodiment.

I became a believer in God because I kept having questions such as “how did this world come into being?” and “what happens after we die”? No one could give me an adequate answer. I loved to read books and used to spend hours and hours in the local library while growing up. Thankfully some classic literature had made its way into the Communist system. I realized that people have been asking these same questions through the ages but they still didn’t have any good answers. I also read a number of books I purchased from a bookstore selling Eastern Orthodox literature. This was very interesting but still no real answers came from going to the Orthodox Church, lighting candles, getting baptized as Orthodox, and reading their books.

Finally, at the age of 20 I came into contact with some believers who actually read the Bible and discussed things about it. I started going to the meetings of a congregation that didn’t resemble the Orthodox Church – no temple, no priest, candles, icons and so on. I realized that the only way I can become a “believer” is to accept that Jesus had risen from the dead, that he is alive somewhere in a dimension we can’t see (Heaven), that the Bible is true, and that I need to turn away from my sinful way of life (and there was much to turn away from, trust me)! I took the leap of faith and experienced a dramatic conversion at the age of 20, only a few months before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. My world had fundamentally changed and the world itself was about to change as well. Such was the beginning of my faith walk. I didn’t worry too much about who wrote the Bible and in what language, who translated it, how and when. What was important for me at the time and for many years to come was to be “spiritual”; to read the Bible, to try to grasp its teachings, to try to live according to them, and to try to get others to do the same. Sounds simple but it’s a huge challenge in and of its own. I would say most Christians spend the majority of whatever time they have trying to do their best doing exactly this; study the Bible, pray, try to live out its teachings, try to do good works, try to help others become believers.

Sadly, not so many believers go deeper and investigate the origins of the faith, the history of Scripture, the historic background, culture and context of the different events described, the true meaning of its teachings as they were given at the time, and what all this means to us.

However, I have remained as hungry to learn about the origins of the faith, as I am to learn how to live its teachings. I therefore share my discoveries without any specific agenda except my deeply seated desire to get to the bottom of the story, to learn the truth about something as much as it’s possible and only then to draw my conclusions about it. It’s with this mindset that I have been pursuing the re-discovery of Christian Hebraism during the Reformation of the Middle Ages and its relevancy for us today.

TALMIDIM – NOT DISCIPLES; RABBI – NOT “MASTER”; YESHUA – NOT “JESUS”

My first encounter with the Jewish heritage of the faith was in 1993 when I visited a Messianic congregation where I also purchased the Jewish New Testament by David Stern. It impacted deeply my perception of the historic Jesus as a fully Jewish man, as well as the Jewishness of the Gospel, the “church” (a term we will be deconstructing in a future post), and really the faith as a whole.

I remember how refreshing it was to learn that the “disciples” I had been reading about in the Gospel were in reality “talmidim”, that the real name of Jesus was actually Yeshua and that he was a Rabbi, not “Master” as some translations would have us believe.

Does this matter? Do we have to use Hebrew words and then learn what they mean vs. accepting a bunch of substitute and sometimes totally made up Hellenistic terms? I’ll make the case for Christian Hebraism as I post more on this subject and you can investigate this for yourself and make up your own mind.

NO ONE TALKING ABOUT CHRISTIAN HEBRAISM

I was fortunate enough to have graduated from a Bible School that rejected the replacement theology and honored the Jewish people. This Bible School helped many accept a Biblically correct theological, moral and ethical position of support and love for Israel and the Jews. This was also a Bible School that took the position that the Reformation of the Middle Ages was “the” much needed reset and remake Christianity needed in the pursuit of its original, more authentic beginnings. However, I didn’t hear anyone in Bible School talk about Christian Hebraism and its impact on the Reformation of the Middle Ages.

That was almost 30 years ago.

Since then I have been around a good deal of Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people, the Messianic Jewish movement, and have also gotten to know many non-Jews who have walked away from Protestantism and embraced the messianic movement. When I say “Christians” this includes ordinary believers and leaders alike. They love God, they are zealous about bringing Christianity back to its Jewish foundation, they are eager to express their faith in a way closer to its Jewish origins and they emphasize the changes we need to implement on a liturgical level. But again, they know about Christian Hebraism as much as a Southern Baptist.

To learn about Christian Hebraism today one has to dig deep into the vaults of higher academic learning. While the Messianic movement has picked up quite a lot of momentum during the last 30 years and we rejoice over this fact, it remains a mystery to me why hardly anyone has attempted to re-introduce the Christian Hebraists to our generation. As I kept learning about their passion to re-discover the Truth of God through the lens of Hebrew, I couldn’t help but think about the implications of such discoveries for us today.

I wish I didn’t have to do this. This is not my “full time” job at this point in time and I don’t have the professional theological credentials to challenge the status quo when it comes to the Hellenization of the faith vs. its rightful Hebraic origins. But I kept on digging and investigating this story for me and the sense that I have an obligation to re-tell this forgotten story kept growing in my spirit.

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN HEBRAISM?

“Historically Christian Hebraism has been understood as the use of Hebrew, rabbinic, or Cabbalistic sources for Christian religious purposes during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The use of such source material had dramatic results including the re-translation of the Old Testament, the re-interpretation of the New Testament, and the re-examination of historically central doctrines of Christianity” – Prof. Jerome Friedman, Kent State University [https://www.amazon.com/Most-Ancient-Testimony-Sixteenth-Century-Christian-Hebraica/dp/0821407007]

Stephen Burnett, author of “Christian Hebraism in the Reformation Era (1500-1660)”, says the following: “The Reformation turned Christian Hebraism from a pastime of a few hobbyists and theologians into a broad intellectual movement that involved students and professors, printers, and patrons of many kinds living throughout Europe. Christian Hebraist authors were the central actors in this movement.” [https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Hebraism-Reformation-Era-1500-1660/dp/B01181VYU4]

Going forward, I will quote extensively Prof. Jerome Friedman and Stephen Burnett. They have summarized so much of the information that’s missing from the arsenal of Biblical Scholars and ministers today.

Johannes Reuchlin (1455 – 1522) was classics scholar whose defense of Hebrew literature helped awaken liberal intellectual forces in the years immediately preceding the Reformation.

Christian Hebraica became one of the most powerful spiritual and intellectual forces of the Reformation of the Middle Ages. It became known as “Hebraica Veritas” (Hebrew Truth) because for the first time in 1,000 years Christians recognized the Hebrew Bible and classical Hebrew as the legitimate source of spiritual truth, not Jerome’s Latin translation. While it’s true that Jerome did study Hebrew and Greek in order to produce the Vulgate into Latin, the Reformers of the Middle Ages felt they had many good reasons to re-examine Jerome’s translation which was given the status of “inerrant” or inerrant-like by the Roman-Catholic Church.

Christian Hebraists were scholars of Hebrew literature. Hebraists approached Jewish texts with both academic and polemical motivations; some wanted to study Jesus in his time while others sought a way to convert Jews to Christianity. Their focus was on Biblical scholarship, religious philosophy, and the aggadah. Christian Hebraism offers a fascinating perspective into the history of printing, linguistics, and European culture in the Middle Ages as well as comparative religion and Jewish-Christian relations. By impacting theology, literature, science, and philosophy, Hebrew literature played a vital role in the development of Western culture.

 

IS CHRISTIAN HEBRAISM RELEVANT FOR US TODAY?

Undoubtedly, this is the proverbial “million dollar question”. If the story of Christian Hebraism is only something that was relevant to the people in the Middle Ages, I can understand why very few people today should care about it.

But let’s go back to what Prof. Jerome Friedman had to say about the implications of Christian Hebraism, this intentional return to Hebrew as the primary lens of Biblical learning, and let’s see if there might be something important we need to pay a little more attention to:

“Historically Christian Hebraism has been understood as the use of Hebrew, rabbinic, or Cabbalistic sources for Christian religious purposes during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The use of such source material had dramatic results including the re-translation of the Old Testament, the re-interpretation of the New Testament, and the re-examination of historically central doctrines of Christianity”

Could this be the crux of the matter, the very kernel of what this treasure hunting journey is all about?

  1. Re-translation (of the Old Testament, for better accuracy and understanding)

  2. Re-interpretation (of the New Testament, due to better understanding of Hebrew, the language used by the Jews in the 1st century)

  3. Re-examination (of the historically central doctrines of Christianity! This is huge.)

Christians have been in pursuit of a better, more authentic, and truer to the original version Christianity for the last 500 years. The creation of many translations of Scripture has been a huge part of this pursuit of authenticity.

The return to the Hebraic framework of thought has resulted in actual re-interpretations of the New Testament itself.

But have we done any serious re-examination of the historically central doctrines of Christianity in light of the fact that Hebrew, not Latin or Greek, is “the” most important key to the correct understanding of the Truth of God?

You may think we’ve done enough but my answer would be a “no”!

But hey, I am nobody. I’m just a normal guy who wants to know why I believe what I believe, why do we do what we do and most importantly, what is the Truth of God as intended by Him? If I am ready to live or die for what I believe, I don’t see why I need to spare one’s sacred cows in my pursuit of Truth.

Standby as post more articles on this subject and we look into the genius of the Hebrew language, what it has meant for the world, the true history of its origins, and how Christian Hebraism relates to our faith today.

I would like to also invite you to check out the beta version of a wiki I have been using to organize my research in the area of Hebraica Veritas. It’s only in its beginning stages but I haven’t seen even this much organized in one place when it comes to Christian Hebraism on the Internet – so I hope this can add to your own research: https://threefold.life/wiki

George Bakalov

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Christmas For Beginners

Let’s imagine you are a beginner in the faith. Up until few days ago you believed in reincarnation, elfs, Harry Potter and smoking pot. But something happened to you and here you are wanting to make things right with God, trying to figure out where to start. 

And it so happens that this very important cataclysmic event took place in your life only few days before Christmas. Yay! Right on time as if it were! Or maybe not?

Just how important is Christmas for someone who is seeking to know the Creator and wants to see a spiritual change in his or her life? Your entire being is telling you it’s time to turn away from the old ways and to choose a new way. You begin to read the Gospel of John and “accidentally” find out that Jesus spoke of Himself being the Way, the Truth and the Life. Not only that but thanks to your very knowledgeable friend who has been following threefold.life, you learn that in the beginning the followers of Rabbi Yeshua weren’t called “Christians” and the Jewish sect they belonged to was simply called “The Way”. 

You get confused. You want to do what’s right when it comes to Christmas now that you’ve decided to turn your life around by God’s grace. 

You’re frantically looking for the “Christmas For Beginners” manual that doesn’t exist. 


Relax. You don’t need to do anything special when it comes to Christmas. It’s not a holiday prescribed in Scripture. It’s something people do as a way to keep our traditions and some maybe in an attempt to be spiritual. Our spiritual leaders, pastors and theologians alike, have been going with the flow for far too long and no one dares to ask the inconvenient question about Christmas. 

[From a cultural standpoint I’m a huge supporter of Christmas. Militant atheists and Muslims would abolish Christmas in a heartbeat if they had the political power to do so. Thankfully they don’t. In a free society of we need something to change about what Christmas means or doesn’t mean to us, this is entirely up to individuals and church bodies to discuss, not some crazed militants telling us what to do with a gun pointed to our heads.]

Back to our story.

First of all, dear beginner, the most important thing that could happen between you and God has already happened. You responded to the prompting of the Spirit in your heart, you drew the line and you chose a new path. You desire to know Him, to follow Him and to grow in Him. This is what counts the most. This is what it’s all about when it comes to making the Lord smile as he sees at yet anther soul given to seek Him and to serve Him. 

You responded to the Spirit’s work in your heart and mind and you shifted lanes. You once were lost but now you’re found. No, not perfect. Just found. And placed onto some very different, new tracks, moving in a new direction. You are now a new creation in Jesus (Yeshua). 

But what is a beginner to do with Christmas? 

Here are some ideas however you need to determine what you need to do depending on your circumstances. 

Family first 

The first thing you will need to keep in mind is that Christmas is supposed to be a very family oriented celebration. In God’s economy family comes first. So in light of this, what is it that your family does for Christmas? If it isn’t anything outrageously wrong and against God’s Truth as revealed in Scripture, go ahead and be with your family and enjoy your time with them. Distancing yourself from them in the name of becoming more righteous probably won’t go over very well. The greatest manifestation of God in our lives is the love, grace, patience and joy in our lives. Go ahead and be loving, graceful, patient and joyful with your family. They will probably notice the change and will want to know what’s going on with you. You can then tell them and they will probably listen. No need to blast Christmas as being ungodly. They won’t hear that. But they will listen to you about the new love and peace that you sense now in your entire being. There, you heard the most important part of the Manual. 

Shepherds in the winter? I don’t think so. 

Jesus (Yeshua) was probably not born in December. How do we know that? Because the Gospel writers tell us there were shepherds who witnessed some amazing things. 

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields,” wrote one Gospel writer, “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8).

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible says that, “broadly speaking, weather phenomena and climatic conditions as pictured in the Bible correspond with conditions as observed today” (R.B.Y. Scott, Vol. 3, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1962, p. 625). There are no shepherds in Israel in December, not today – not ever. That’s one argument against a possible December date for the birth of Jesus (Yeshua).   

One commentary admits that, “as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Abingdon Press, Nashville, note on Luke 2:8). 

 Censuses don’t take place in December  

I doubt censuses take place in December even in our days. But they certainly wouldn’t have taken place in the winter at the time Jesus was born.   “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…, to be registered with Miriam, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son…” (Luke 2:1-7).

Generally a census would take place after the harvest season, around September or October, when it would not seriously affect the economy, the weather was good and the roads were still dry enough to allow easy travel. That’s yet one more strike against a possible December date. 

No early Christianity witness 

In the first 200 years of Christian history, no mention is made of the calendar date of Yeshua’s birth. Not until the year 336 do we find the first mention of a celebration of His birth.
Why this omission? In the case of the Church fathers, the reason is that, during the three centuries after Messiah’s life on earth, the event considered most worthy of commemoration was the date of His death. In comparison, the date of His birth was considered insignificant. As the Encyclopedia Americana explains,
“Christmas… was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…” (1944 edition, “Christmas”).

Speculation on the proper date began in the 3rd and 4th centuries, when the idea of fixing Messiah’s birthday started. Quite a controversy arose among Church leaders. Some were opposed to such a celebration. Origen (185-254) strongly recommended against such an innovation. “In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition, Vol. 3, p. 724, “Natal Day”).

During this time eight specific dates during six different months were proposed by various groups. December 25, although one of the last dates to be proposed, was the one finally accepted by the leadership of the Western church.

A summary of the debate on the dates of Messiah’s birth appears in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: “Though speculation as to the time of year of Messiah’s birth dates from the early 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria suggesting the 20th of May, the celebration of the anniversary does not appear to have been general till the later 4th century. The earliest mention of the observance on Dec. 25th is in the Philocalian Calendar, representing Roman practice of the year 336. This date was probably chosen to oppose the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti [nativity of the unconquerable sun] by the celebration of the birth of the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ and its observance in the West, seems to have spread from Rome” (1983 edition, Oxford University Press, New York, 1983, p. 280, “Christmas”).

Around 200, when Clement of Alexandria mentioned the speculations about Messiah’s birthday, he said nothing about a celebration on that day. He casually reported the various ideas extant at that time: “And there are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day…, the 25th day of Pachon… Furthermore, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi” (“The Stromata, or Miscellanies,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1986, p. 333).

In Rome December 25 was made popular by Pope Liberius in 354 and became the rule in the West in 435 when the first “Christ mass” was officiated by Pope Sixtus III. This coincided with the date of a celebration by the Romans to their primary god, the Sun, and to Mithras, a popular Persian sun god supposedly born on the same day. The Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti candidly admits that, “to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the birth of Messiah to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the ‘Invincible Sun’ Mithras, the conqueror of darkness” (Manual of Liturgical History, 1955, Vol. 2, p. 67).Protestant historian Henry Chadwick sums up the controversy: “Moreover, early in the fourth century there begins in the West (where first and by whom is not known) the celebration of December 25th, the birthday of the Sun-god at the winter solstice, as the date for the nativity of Messiah. How easy it was for Christianity and solar religion to become entangled at the popular level is strikingly illustrated by a mid-fifth century sermon of Pope Leo the Great, rebuking his over-cautious flock for paying reverence to the Sun on the steps of St. Peter’s before turning their back on it to worship inside the westward-facing basilica” (The Early Church, Penguin Books, London, 1967, p. 126).

The Encyclopedia Americana makes this clear: “In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it [Messiah’s birth] to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol [the sun god], as no certain knowledge of the day of Messiah’s birth existed” (1944 edition, “Christmas”).

The year of Yeshua’s birth

Yeshua was born while Herod the Great was still living (Matthew 2:1). Wise men appeared in Jerusalem asking about “one who has been born king of the Jews?” Of course, this upset Herod, who had been given the title “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate. Herod talked to the wise men secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared (Matthew 2:7). The wise men then journeyed to Bethlehem and found Yeshua, Miriam, and Joseph in a house (Matthew 2:11) and they bowed down and worshiped Yeshua.

When the wise men did not return to give Herod a report, “Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men.  He was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16).
This tells us that Yeshua may have been born two years before the appearance of the wise men and the death of Herod. Herod died the spring of 4 B.C.E. (according to the Jewish historian, Josephus).

So when was Yeshua born after all? Nothing is absolutely certain, because we are dealing with implications and assumptions, but a good guess from the Scriptures and history leans towards the end of September. 
So, there young beginner of the life-long journey with the Messiah! What matters is not so much on what date do we celebrate the birth of Jesus (Yeshua). What counts the most is the birth of the new creation in our hearts, souls and minds. 

Is America lost because Truth has been lost?

Let’s take a look at something the prophet Isaiah said and then we’ll look at something the apostle Paul said.

The Prophet Yeshayahu, aka Isaiah, lived and spoke the word of the Lord during a very tumultuous time in the history of Israel and Judah. Syria attacked Israel and Judah four different times during his lifetime. It was ups and downs with godly kings following ungodly ones.

The way Israel related to God’s Truth reflected directly on how things turned out with them as a nation.

And justice has turned away backward, and righteousness stands from afar, for truth has stumbled in the street, and straightforwardness cannot come. And truth is lacking, and he who turns away from evil is considered mad, and the Lord saw and was displeased for there is no justice. [The Book of Yeshayahu – Isaiah Ch. 59:14-15]

In one of the dark moments of Israel’s history at that time, when all seemed lost, Isaiah identified something very significant: “Truth is lacking and he who turns away from evil is considered mad…”

What an incredible prophetic statement! Seems to be so relevant to the way things look today in America. The notion of “Truth” is frowned upon in the public square. People who choose to live humble and chaste lives are considered “nuts”.

Now let’s get some perspective here. To speak about “truth” in the 7th century BC is something remarkable. Folks, that’s 200+ years before what historians call the classical Socratic period! If you read Socrates and you read what the Hebrew prophets wrote about two hundred of years before him (not to mention Moses over 1,000 years earlier) you can only then begin to understand the supremacy of the Torah and the Prophets.

Looking at it from today’s perspective Western Civilization is rooted much more on Moses than any Greek philosophical tradition. Greek literary thought pales when compared to what Moses and the Prophets brought forth spiritually, intellectually and ethically.

Most people today have never taken the time to understand just what kind of light were the Torah and the Jewish people to mankind – for centuries. The world would truly be a lost, dark, paganistic hell on earth without the light of the Torah. Mel Gibson provided an artistic glimpse into the world of idolatry and paganism in his movie Apocalypto. This clip gives you an idea of what I’m trying to convey here.

But now the prophet is speaking not just of the Torah. He is speaking of The Truth, the very synthesis of God’s revealed knowledge – something worth living or dying for!

When we transition from simply revering Scripture to a place of accepting Scripture as a vessel for God’s Truth, it can be said that we have become “believers”.

A few days ago I was given a research by the American Bible Society that has to do specifically with Minneapolis. The bad news is that 70% of adults in Minneapolis are “disengaged” (67%) or “neutral” (3%). Only 10% have a “friendly” relationship with the Bible, 14% are engaged and 5% are “centered”. Centered would be people for whom it is a priority to live out the values and truths they discover in Scripture. The good news is that this 70 % do want to know more about the Bible. [Or at least this is what they told the pollsters].

These stats are probably not much different on a national scale even though I’m sure they vary from city to city and from state to state.

Given the low percentage of people who apply the Truth of Scripture as a guiding and deciding factor in their lives, is it any wonder America is in moral and spiritual trouble?

I will resist and expose the advancement of Islam, Neo-Marxism and whatever other false ideologies, philosophies, and religions try to creep in. But that’s only one side of the coin. Until the majority of Americans turns away from their “disengaged and neutral” attitude towards God’s Truth to one of reverence and engagement, only resisting the false will not get the job done. We will fall as a nation within a generation. The main reason won’t be that these spiritual, cultural and political enemies have been so powerful, it will be because the people of this nation would have chosen not to acknowledge the Creator and His Truth.

It’s a known fact that the more devoted the Jews become to the Torah, the more conservative, pro-Israel and pro-Liberty centric they become. When the Jews abandon their heritage and the Torah they become liberal and succumb to the same self-destructive mindsets as the American Left.

The same is true for Christians. The more liberal a denomination becomes, the more accepting of various perversions the people become, the more anti-Israel and pro-socialism they become.

Here’s a New Testament verse from the apostle Paul’s epistle to his spiritual son apostle Timothy (mistakenly considered a “pastor” and the epistles referred to as “the pastoral letters” of Paul. Timothy was the overseer of a huge metropolitan-wide network of family-based communities in Ephesus, not the “pastor” of a “local church” the way we think of it today.)

“…but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

The word church here is the word “ekklesia” which for hundreds of years was used in a specific civic scenario – to describe the governing council of the polis, the city. When Yeshua (aka Jesus) spoke about “the church”, he taught that this “church”, this ekklesia that he was going to be a Head of, will be like the governing council in the city. Those who were one with him would walk in love towards each other and would win the trust of the city by virtue of their honorable and godly lives.

Having forsaken the true teachings of the Messiah whom we call “Christ”, the Western world invented a new religion, Christianity. It is time to get back to the roots and the essence of the Truth of Scripture: the teachings of Moses, the prophets, Yeshua, and his apostles.

This is where I see the only hope for America’s spiritual and civilizational renewal and victory over the false “gods”, religions, and ideologies of the world.

George @reformist

The Four Conditions For Human Flourishing And National Prosperity

Paul Larsen* is a former portfolio manager and business/economic development consultant. The principles he shares so clearly and masterfully here, in “The Four Conditions For Human Flourishing And National Prosperity”, are based on his deep experience and work in Africa and Eastern Europe.

This material will provide solid, well researched “package” every true Kingdom influencer needs!

  • Are missions your passion? How do you explain in simple terms why nations aren’t prospering? Christians are known for providing shallow, “magical” explanations for everything that’s wrong with our world. This time is over. The time has come and it’s here for people who are serious about helping developing nations to bring to the leaders of these nations wisdom deeper than few spiritual sounding cliches. Leaders of churches, communities, cities and nations are looking for real, Biblical-based, well-researched answers to today’s problems. These answers are relevant for those in the developing and the developed world alike.
  • Is human flourishing your passion? Human flourishing will never be possible without sound, Biblicaly compatible economic solutions.
  • Are you an educator? This is an excellent resource for your classroom, a great way to show why some nations are prospering and others aren’t.
  • Are you a pastor? Why not aquatint your congregation with a more holistic approach to human flourishing vs. the old “humanitarian-aid only” model?
  • Are you a law-maker? This can help you in your daily struggle against economic freedom and the pressure media and Academia exert on today’s legislators by pushing false socialist narratives.

Paul Larsen’s current full time focus is to “Build leaders worth following that lead organizations everyone wants to work with” as a Senior leadership culture consultant with global consulting firm GiANT Worldwide. You email him at (paul.larsen.pa@gmail.com) or you can reach him on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-larsen-giant/

 

The roots of the question-asking culture

The ability to ask the right questions is considered a sign of great wisdom and maturity in life, in business and in leadership in many cultures today. But it seems that the Jewish culture, already from antiquity was a question-asking culture.

Our Messiah grew up asking the rabbis questions at an early age. As a result the rabbis were asking him questions, too. Was this unusual? Not really.

Let’s find out more.

In rabbinical literature there is much written about the relationship between a talmidim (disciple) and his rabbi.

According to Brad Young, Professor of Biblical Literature in Judeo-Christian Studies at the Graduate Department of ORU, one of the world’s leading experts on the history of the rabbinate, the only way a talmidim was to approach his rabbi was by asking questions. Even when a talmidim had to come to gain some great knowledge, he wouldn’t come to his rabbi boasting about it or arguing. He was to show what he had learned by way of asking questions. This same ethos we see beautifully described in the Gospel record of Lukas.

But first let’s take a look at the educational process of the Jews in those days.

For Jews living in Jesus’ day, there were three separate educational venues.

Bet Sefer

The first was called Bet Sefer. At the ages of six through twelve, Jewish children began their formal education. Both boys and girls attended synagogue school and learned to read and write. The textbook was the Torah and the goal was not just to read but to memorize the sacred text.

Bet Midrash

For the best of the best, the next educational opportunity was called Bet Midrash. Boys who were deemed worthy to continue their educational pursuits went on to study (and memorize) the entire Tanach, as well as learning the family trade. Very few were selected for this pursuit.

The Mishnah says that the time that some began to attend the bet midrash which was a rabbi’s “school” or “study group” was about 15. Adults of all ages could come to listen in on the sessions (including women) when they had spare time, and there were quite a few who studied but never became teachers – they were still called “disciples” even at advanced ages. There were just a few who were dedicated enough to spend years of time in training to become rabbinic teachers themselves.

Even though marriage was strongly encouraged, some young men were so earnest in their studies that they would put it off until later so that they could study full time. Gamaliel II (the grandson of Paul’s teacher) already had disciples when he finally got married.

Bet Talmud

Of those who finished Bet Midrash, again only the best of the best were able to pursue the final educational leg, which was called Bet Talmud. This was the longest in duration; it went from the age of 15 to 30. To participate, he must be invited by a Rabbi and, if selected, he would begin a process of grooming that would lead to the potential of becoming a Rabbi at age 30. Those who were chosen were referred to as talmidim. They would literally follow in the dust of their rabbi – desiring to emulate him in all of his mannerisms. They would eat the same food in exactly the same way as their rabbi. They would go to sleep and awake the same way as their rabbi and, more importantly, they would learn to study Torah and understand God the exact same way as their rabbi.

It appears that Jesus Himself followed this model. At twelve we know that He attended His first Passover in Jerusalem and He began His formal ministry at 30. The Bible is silent as far as His mentors, but we do know that He selected His disciples and, just like those young fifteen year olds when invited to Bet Talmud, they left everything to follow after this Rabbi from Galilee. No doubt they walked in His dust, wanting to be just like their Rabbi!

How does our “church” culture measure up against the rabbinical ethos that existed back in the days when our Messiah dwelled amongst his people?

Can you find any similarities at all between their culture of respect and discipleship and the spirit of today’s youth? Do families today think it important to emphasize the study of Scripture? Do disciples today grow in an attitude of respect for their rabbi? Do we even foster a culture of asking questions, are we the inquiring minds whom God might consider worthy to reveal His mysteries to?

Seems like the culture of asking questions has deep Hebraic roots. Many believes today are rethinking their Christianity in light of these reformative truths and the consequence we are suffering due to neglecting them.

Energy to create God’s world in our world

You and I have been created with the energy to create energy. This energy will either be wasted, or put towards the purpose of God in your life.

For example, according to FactRetriever.com, “every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back.”

Whether this is true or not, or exactly how this is calculated, I don’t really know. But we do know that every day we wake up with certain amount of energy which we need in order to function.

The apostle Paul writes to the believers of his time about putting God’s energy to work. We have all been given the energy to create God’s world in our world. We have been given the energy, the ability to build our lives, our families and even our societies according to God’s patterns in this world. The world might never become a paradise on earth (some people believe this is possible), but we all have been called by God to transform it closer to His patterns of life, justice and productivity.

The apostle Paul is telling the believers he is writing to, that in fact he “toils to full exhaustion”, which is the literal translation of what “I labor” means in the Greek (“kopio“). He is “agonizing”, which is how “striving” really translates (“agonizomenos” – to remain “meno” in a state of “agon“, which means to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavor to accomplish something) — fight, labor fervently, strive.).

But the apostle wants to make sure everyone understands the source of both his motivation and energy: it is Christ in him, the Holy Spirit at work in him. God’s energy working in him. (“according to his energeian“), which works in Paul like “dynamite” (“dynamei” – Gr.)

I don’t know about you, but just reading all this, fills me up with faith and energy!

This energy has been given to us who have come into oneness (covenant) with the Lord, primarily so we can:

1) Love the Lord our God with all our mind, heart and strength

and

2) To love others as we ourselves have been loved by God

But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

1) On loving the Lord

When we seek God, we surrender to Him, we entrust ourselves to Him and in return we hear from Him words of comfort, direction and correction.

Comfort and reassurance are essential to our lives. We all need them on a ongoing basis, don’t we? The Shepherd of our soul knows just what to say to us, how and when, in order to touch our soul on a deep intimate level. This is how we are reassured. This is how we know deep inside that we are loved, that He is with us and that “everything will be alright” (“all things work together for good”).

Correction is also a form of love, even though many people have experienced various types and degrees of trauma throughout their lives, which prevents them form relating to correction as a way of God loving us. This explains why we have so many “goats” amongst the flock. They know all the right words to say, they have read all the right books and have been to all the important conferences. But deep inside they don’t feel like sheep. On a deep level they abide in fear, a sense of uncertainty and not sensing a personal value (low self-esteem). They despise and fear a life of submission to God because their trauma interprets as hostile everything and anything that has to do with authority figures.

How sad. God is the greatest authority figure ever. All other authority stems from His authority – parental, spousal, legal, societal, professional, etc. James Dobson, in his acclaimed book Dare To Discipline, speaks to this issue, clearly showing that one of the earliest signs of showing parental love is to discipline a child, when the child tests the healthy boundaries set by the parent. It doesn’t feel nice to the child, but it sends a message: the parent so cares of loves the child, that he or she will take the time to apply discipline and reinforce the boundaries that have been set. This means the parent cares and is not just saying some cheap, meaningless words. This is how a child internalizes a sens of “I am important enough” and “I matter enough”, even to the point of my parent following through on what they said I shouldn’t do. “Good, now I know you are committed to me. Now I know you care about me”, is what the child’s brain translates.

Conversely, a parent who doesn’t follow through with discipline, compromises the very integrity if his/her own words, which demoralizes a child, leaves him or her with a sense of being on their own, a sense closer to being alone in a boat in the midst of a storm, rather than a king or a queen sitting on a throne.

All of this correction stuff only works and makes sense within the context of a loving, kind and reassuring parental relationship. He who doesn’t first know how to love and show unconditional love to their child, doesn’t really have the spiritual, moral and ethical right to try to discipline, especially in a way of being firm and strong. This confuses a child and inflicts a wound in their soul, leaving them forever suspicious of the world around them, but most importantly suspicious of those in authority.

Needless to say we have a lot of people out there whose trauma sets them up literally for a life of endless cycle of living in fear and sabotaging themselves and others they are connected with.

The most extreme examples of such cases are those prone to a life of crime, the people who end up populating our already overpopulated prisons.

But don’t be fooled, there are plenty of “high-functioning” goats out there, people you meet every day, who are able to function in various degrees in their lives, yet on a deep level their spiritual and emotional baseline remains fear and anxiety – sometimes throughout their entire lives. Jesus loves the goats, too. However, they are difficult and not too willing to receive the help they need, which is why it’s possible to waste their entire lives running around as wild…well, goats.

When we entrust our lives to Jesus as our Creator, King, Savior and Friend (The Lover of Our Soul), we can finally find true rest. This is what it means “to love yourself” – i.e. to create the space and the time needed to receive God’s love towards you; his comfort, guidance and correction.

As we surrender to Him, we make room for His energy to kick in and to begin energizing our very soul and lives, which energy becomes poured into us in a way that it fills our own need of love and energy, as well as we have excess amounts of it to serve and bless others.

This is how we get to the next arena of God’s energy working in us:

2) Loving our fellow man

Loving our fellow man takes more than just words. It takes time and energy for us to have received God’s love. Likewise, it takes time and energy to love someone else. It’s a whole different matter whether they will receive it or reject it.

  • It takes time and energy to listen, which is one of the primary ways of showing love, appreciation and respect for someone else. Recently, someone I care deeply about, told me that when they spend time with me, they feel like I’m there, giving them my full attention, as if they were the only person in the world that matters to me at that moment. That’s the greatest compliment I could have possibly received. But I wasn’t a good listener for many years. This is something I had to learn about and also learn how to apply in the way I relate to others. I still fail on a regular basis to be a good listener.
  • It takes time and energy to actually “help” people. Words are cheap. In real life there are real situations and the people we tell we care about will need us to be “there” for them. This takes time and energy. People who show up for other people in their time of need, potentially may strike some of the greatest friendships.
  • It takes time and energy for married couples to develop their relationship and even to have sex. Many studies have shown that tiredness is a huge factor in sexless marriages.
  • It takes time and energy to rear children.
  • It takes time and energy to help our parents when they become elderly.
  • It takes time and energy to be a good neighbor to those you live next to, or close by.
  • It takes time and energy to foster good relationships with colleagues, business partners and clients, if you own a business or if you are building a professional career.

In all of this, God desires for us to abide in Him on a daily basis because

“in Him we live and move and have our being”. (Acts 17:28)

Rejecting God leaves us at a terrible place of being on our own when facing the chaos of life and the never ending demand on us by others, by work and by circumstances. It is understandable why people give up on life and others, feeling like they give of themselves but get very little in return. People will always fail us, if this is all we live by. I refuse to depend on what people can do for me. I accept people’s limitations and let people be who they are. My ultimate expectation is with God and he has never let me down.

God desires to be our Primary Source and Provider of life, strength, joy, peace and energy, which we all need all the time. He wants to give us the energy needed to create God’s world in our world. He is good and his love endures forever. Bad things do happen and they will happen. However, this doesn’t change who He is and who He desires to be to us as we go through the journey of life.

George Bakalov

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How can the Church become Kingdom Influencers and establish Law and Order in an unruly world?

By Samuel Rivers, Jr. for Threefold Christian Alliance

Today, the Church is losing its influence in American culture, and Apostles, Prophets, and the Saints should do something about it. It is time to take action and ready ourselves to go through the Gates of Our Nation, States, Counties, and Cities to serve the world. For those who hear and respond, they will be the ones to lead in commerce, advise officials concerning foreign affairs, warn world leaders against foreign alliances, and attack and dismantle the social injustices of the day.

Go through, go through the gates, Clear the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway; Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples (Isaiah 62:10).

As spiritual leaders, it is upon us to shake off mediocrity and live up to the call and commission of God. He inspires people worldwide to reach for and become more than they ever thought possible. God has provided through scripture many examples in the historical text, as well as, inspirational encouragement to move forward:

That in blessings I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed and the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore, and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. (Genesis 22:17).

Throughout scripture and as recorded by the historian Josephus (Of the War, Book V, v, 3), the “gates” of a city was the place for vital activities for the organisation and health of the city and the citizens within. Naturally, it was the area for defence and easily evolved as the marketplace location, where business and social life thrived. The Gates were also the place for justice and law to be established publicly, for the kings and judges would mete out their decisions at the opening of the gate. If an elder had a seat at the gate, it was a high honor. The seats of authority established at the gate are the predecessors for the Branches of Government in our society today: Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary decisions were made among the kings, rulers, ambassadors, and prophets.

Go through, go through the gates

Godly governance requires the proper attitudes, techniques, methods, and strategies that will penetrate every area of society and impact future generations. Wisdom in governing begins with respect and love for your neighbour, and worship, love and honor to God with our whole heart. These attitudes are commanded by God and certainly begin to paint the proper picture of the believer in authority.

Honor every person, love your brethren, worship God and honor Kings (I Peter 2:17).

Like a natural King of the earth, the ultimate rule of Civic Government is part of God’s supreme reign and responsibility.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a King (Matthew 22:2).

“Kingdom of Heaven” – Spiritual; “like a King” – Political

Samuel was a Prophet, Priest and Judge (I Samuel 3:1-21).
Samuel, a “Prophet and Priest” – Spiritual; Samuel, a “Judge” – Political

Therefore, it is His to promote or position whom He will to govern the people, both spiritually and naturally (civically). Samuel ruled in both natural and spiritual realms. Samuel kept Israel under the rule and spiritual subjection of God by decreeing God’s judging action, not wavering, to reinforce the wisdom and word of God. And Samuel was effective in his mission through personal, corporate, and territorial prophecy, continued prayer, and the offered sacrifices on behalf of God’s people. He also accomplished much through the training and mentorship of prophets, priests, and kings, his supernatural ministry, by being God’s divine oracle, and from ministering in the house of the LORD.

Faith in God and morality are central to the civic virtue required for our republic to survive and prosper;

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars.”
George Washington, Farewell Address (1796)

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution is only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”
John Adams, Address to the US Military (1798)

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)

Augustine, on the other hand, wrote The City of God where he argued that the City of God (God’s kingdom) transcended the City of Man (Rome) and was not dependent upon it. Yet, the peace of the (citizens of the) Heavenly city is in direct relation to the harmony of the earthly city.

The earthly city, which does not live by faith, seeks an earthly peace, and the end it proposes, in the well-ordered concord of civic obedience and rule, is the combination of men’s wills to attain the things which are helpful to this life. The heavenly city, or rather the part of it which sojourns on earth and lives by faith, makes use of this peace only because it must, until this mortal condition which necessitates it shall pass away (Augustine, City of God, Ch. 17, 3).

Clear the way for the people

It is imperative that we re-establish our positions to not only “occupy until I come” (Luke 19:13), but also, to become leaders and towering giants in government.

He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come (Luke 19:12-13).
Historically, Apostles and Prophets are a called people holding a unique place in world history. They were great and courageous souls—the guides to proper religious belief and correct conduct. Apostles and Prophets were outstanding men and women of character, with great minds, credibility, and members of devout study and training groups.

Apostles and Prophets, with the reputation for wisdom, continually were positioned to speak on behalf of God—delivering messages from the mind, heart, emotions, and will of God, as revealed by the Holy Spirit. These divine messages were proclaimed to the church, regions and nations, as well as, individuals, spiritual leaders, and social and political leaders. The purpose of these messages through these oracles was to provide biblical insight and alignment and, therefore, success in their duties and responsibilities each commanded.

The time is upon us to press into that level of effectiveness and productivity in society, not allowing anything to baffle us or prevent us from going forward.

  • …of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do– (I Chronicles 12).
  • When the righteous are positioned in seats of authority, we will see the church catapult into greater levels of achievement in society—the plans and plots of foreign enemies will be revealed, the state of our nation and the state of the state will be made known by the church (2 Kings 6).
  • The prophet of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there (2 Kings 6:9).

Some Apostles and Prophets of today, even now hear the call and reason to be leaders in the kingdoms of this world— by making known the wisdom of God to the kingdoms of this world, through our unique gifting, anointing, and biblical understanding.

It will take time to reinstate the saint’s role in civic government; first, by renewing the minds of church leadership and laity to let go of an old mindset of antiquated or misunderstood laws (i.e. separation of Church and State) and then, using new courage, step into places of influence in Our Nation’s Executive, Legislative and Judiciary Branches of government.

Build up, build up the highway

Following are scripture examples of key principles of, and godly leaders in, civic government: first and foremost, God is the one who decrees and declares laws.

  • The Lord is our lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).
  • There is one lawgiver (James 4:12).
  • It is the responsibility of His Church to write legislation and appoint judges and officers in all the towns (Deuteronomy 16:18).
  • When the righteous rule, there is rejoicing in the city (Proverbs 29:2).
  • We shall possess the gates of our enemies (Genesis 22:17).
  • We shall possess the gates of those that hate us (Genesis 24:60).
  • Joseph exalted to Governor (Genesis 41:37-44).
  • Deborah called to Judge (Judges 4).
  • Daniel promoted to Governor (Daniel 2:46-49).
  • All authorities are established by God (Romans 13:1-5).
  • We are predestined to lead, govern and legislate in the midst of our enemies (Psalm 110:1-3).

The principal and most damaging widespread belief restricting the Saint from these governmental positions of authority is the belief that the minister of the gospel should have no part in politics. This limiting idea, embedded in the Church mind, has done more to stagnate the mission of apostles, prophets, and saints more than any other. This false belief is simply a stubborn fear and keeps one caught in the old model of thinking. Denying this aspect of the Apostles’ and Prophets’ calling to kings, world leaders, and commander of armies, is wreaking havoc in the effectiveness of the Christian Body advancing in Power and Influence.

As we break out of this old pattern of limited thinking, we will begin to experience and demonstrate the height and width of God’s Purpose and Vision for Our World. Using His Power, Authority, and the depth of His Wisdom and Intelligence, we will release His divine messages into the ears of those who manage worldly affairs.

As the Prophets and Apostles operated in laser-sharp focus, accuracy, and integrity— the time is now for saints to step up and reach their full capacity and potential of living a Holy Spirit-led life, filled with Godly revelation and knowledge, growing in intelligence and wisdom and impacting the world.

The whole Earth is waiting for a public demonstration of the saints; and God commands us to war and take possession of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven and establishing His will, governance and values on earth until all dominions serve and obey Him.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were 10 times better in every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about than all the diviners, priests and mediums in the entire kingdom (Daniel 1:20).

Remove the stones

Personal transformation is needed.

  • Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit (Daniel 6:3).
  • Be strong for the people and the city (I Chronicles 19:12,13).
  • Free yourself from self-limiting beliefs that hold you back. Identify and eliminate negative emotions and false doctrines. Develop clarity about who we are and why you are here. Unlock the power of your spiritual gifts and learn to release the anointing.
  • Overcome every attack that comes, dominate the devil, reclaim the anointing and receive the impartation of Christ, Savior and King (Luke 4:14,18-19,21).
  • Reach beyond the walls of the church. Be the full expression of God’s glory, with clear, biblical knowledge of our important role in the world.
  • God is looking for those He can strongly support (II Chronicles 16:9).

Lift up a standard over the peoples

To be relevant the Church must take a leap of faith (with knowledge) and start to seek positions in the power bases. In doing so, we build citadels of hope for those in the world to witness–solving problems and overcoming worldly conflicts and obstacles—rapidly leading our nation to greater victories with illumination, insight, and wisdom from God (Daniel 5:10-12).

Daniel had an extraordinary spirit of knowledge, insight, and the ability to interpret dreams. He explained enigmas and solved difficult problems. No one could find any ground for accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; they could not find any evidence of corruption or negligence. Nothing baffled Daniel; he was not defiled by the customs and cultures of the day (Daniel 5 & 6).

World leaders must see the Church with an extraordinary spirit possessing insight, intelligence, wisdom and perception, the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems. The King of Babylon said to Daniel,

Surely your God is God……You have been able to reveal this mystery (Daniel 2:14-48).

Our task ahead is to bring the church to the knowledge of how important the training of saints to serve in seats of authority by understanding biblical principles concerning our role in government. The biblical texts record the positions of the righteous believer repeatedly occupying positions of authority in government and these examples should be the accepted and realistic expectation of the saintly life in civic service.

Living a yielded and obedient life to the Word of God is the common detail in each of the personal examples of authority and rule as recorded in the Bible. The saint in power and position of influence with a life empowered and fueled by the Holy Spirit is equipped to perform supernatural acts and demonstrate the kingdom truths. When this realm of divine reality is accepted and reached, there is nothing that will restrain an equipped body of believers ready to govern, legislate and demonstrate God’s judgment in this present world.

Expecting this transformational outcome, individually and corporately, will require high engagement: accelerated studies and learning, the gain of knowledge and experience through mentorship and fathering. These deliberate steps will give believers the knowledge, insight, and wisdom to dramatically enhance their lives ethically—equipped to lead, govern, legislate, and make righteous judgments.

Through understanding, operating, and properly discerning kingdom principles, the process of breakthrough begins. Believers will experience the certainty of apostles, prophets, godly judges, and officers in every branch of government to serve with righteous judgment, not denying justice, showing partiality or accepting bribes (I Kings 22:10; Deuteronomy 16:18,19; Proverbs 29:2).

We owe the world more… an intelligent encounter with God!

God has given us courage, a sound mind, and strength to perform conquests; He has given us the ability to face and resolve worldly conflicts, just as He has equipped us to display wisdom, knowledge, and insight, or to perform miracles, heal the sick, and strengthen the faith of the weak.

And you are sons of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers, when He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring, all the families of the earth will be blessed (Acts 3:25).

As saints, we are challenged to bless the nations of this world with lawful expertise leading the families of the world into holiness, prosperity, success and breakthroughs in society, in business, and in the political arenas.

It is time for the saints to jump in, take risks, and challenge ourselves. We must trust God to grant us boldness and strengthen us to fulfil His plans as Saints on the Earth. Our God-given instincts, innate talents and anointing are calling out for use!

Jesus had no dependence on human reasoning.

I can do nothing on my own (John 5:30).

Devoted to God and the ways of righteousness, the men and women of the Bible used their personal relationship with God and His word to guide the decisions of kings and nations. It is the duty of the Apostles and Prophets to bridge the gap of church and politics, and rewrite this school of thought— separation of church and state—to being positioned in leadership roles in Government and in cabinets of Governments, Educational Institutions, Media, Arts & Entertainment industries, and Business, by becoming effective saints doing exploits with our dependence solely on the Father.

Go through the gates! Let us go through the Gates!!!


Samuel Rivers Jr. is a member of the board of Threefold Christian Alliance. He is an Ordained Minister, Motivational Speaker, Educator, The Republican Whip-Member of SC House of Representatives District 15 -Berkeley & Charleston Counties. You can learn more about his work in the South Carolina House of Representatives at this website www.samuelriversjr.com and more about his ministry at www.thevoiceofthelordintl.com

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What does ‘revelation’ mean anyway?

So what does ‘revelation’ mean anyway?

Let’s take a look at some texts in the New Testament and try to get some clarity on this.

The apostle Paul wrote about the importance of revelation knowledge on a number of occasions. However, it’s worth noting there is, of course, a whole entire book in the New Testament called The Book Of Revelation.

The Greek term here is “apokalupsis” and yes, it’s root word for the modern day word “apocalypse”. But worry not, we are not going to talk about the end of the world right now, after all, if and when the end comes, it will all be over so why even worry about it, right?

The revelation I want to draw our attention to is the work of the Holy Spirit that has to do with the revealing of things that have to do with the Kingdom of God, with the realm of God, but are not accessible to the natural man.

So let’s begin by looking at the second chapter in the first letter of the apostle Paul to the body of Christ in Corinth. (We know that the chapter and verse organization of the Scripture content wasn’t part of the way these letters were given originally, but nevertheless, the whole of chapter two is dedicated to making a contrast between the natural and the spiritual man, as well as natural and spiritual knowledge.)

Natural knowledge is knowledge we obtain by observation and by the empirical, scientific method, allowing us to make certain conclusions based on the data.

Spiritual knowledge, by contrast, is knowledge, something we become aware of or gain access to, or are able to see and understand, based on the revealing work of the Holy Spirit.

But what does it mean?

“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” 1 Cor. 2:7

I can see how some people who are more inclined to seek the thrill of accessing the spiritual realm, would get excited about this verse and others like it. Secret and hidden wisdom of God? Wait a minute, is this a New Age seminar or the Bible we’re reading?

Yes, it is the Bible, and it’s the writing of it’s most prolific New Testament author, as well as probably the most active and productive amongst the apostles if such comparison is even appropriate.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” 1 Cor 2:9-10

Paul states clearly that God reveals to us through the Spirit things that are real to Him but unseen to our natural senses.

So there it is, revelation is the Spirit working to reveal to us things that are reality in the Kingdom of God, but are hidden from our senses, mind, i.e the natural man.

Why is this important for us to define?

Because are we literally drowning in a sea of false “revelation”, also known as the occult. The occult (which means literally “hidden”, as in “hidden knowledge of spiritual kind”), is false “revelation”. It doesn’t reveal anything that is actually real. It only “reveals” things demons project onto people’s minds. It’s deception. A religious deception is also a form of the occult. When Paul speaks of people preaching a “false” Christ, it really speaks of an “occult” Christ, something that really isn’t, a Christ that’s the product of the perverted imagination of people’s minds inspired of demons. These Paul calls “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).

By contrast, when the Holy Spirit reveals something, it is something real, something that actually exists, whether it’s God and his blessed creation or the realm of darkness. If the Spirit opens eyes to something like an angel, it’s because the angel is there, it actually exists.

Not so with the occult.

The occult is actually the false revealing of things that don’t really exist in order to lead us astray and captivate our minds, hearts and will away from God. Satan gains access to our mind, soul and possibly our body when we accept false, occult knowledge about spiritual things.

One more verse:

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14

The natural “person” or in other words, the mind of someone who relies on their senses alone, not only is oblivious to the realities of the Kingdom of God and the spiritual world, to the natural mind all this might is “folly”, as Paul puts it.

Notice when Paul says “the things of the Spirit of God”, he means what the Holy Spirit reveals in regards to Jesus, the cross, the Kingdom of God, etc. So someone whose thought patterns are deeply entrenched for example in Judaism, even though it’s rooted in God’s Truth and in the Torah, as soon as you bring up the Son of God to someone like this, their mind revolts and the reject the revelation, or the truth of Jesus and His Cross and Resurrection. To the natural person, it sounds like “folly”.

Today’s agnostics, atheists, and naturalists are a good example of people who rely solely on their natural senses, even to the point of denying God and the divine origins of life. Notice I said “solely”. I believe in the scientific method and the knowledge that it gives us about the natural world and its laws. However, this method is limited to empirical knowledge and fails completely when it comes to probably the most central of all issues and that is the soul. No one has any understanding of what the soul is, it can’t be measured, quantified or dissected and yet it’s THE most important part of who we are as human beings and the very purpose of life itself. Jesus said:

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Mat. 16:26

The scientific method can give us much (not all) knowledge about the natural world. But if it can’t account for the soul, the very core of who we are as human beings, what good is it to us? It’s only good for certain limited things and that’s the truth.

The Bible doesn’t give us all there is to be known about the spirit of man, or the soul, but it gives us much, it gives us enough knowledge for us to handle this life and it certainly gives us more what empirically based science has ever given us on this subject.

Furthermore, the natural world itself “reveals” to us there is a Creator by it’s sheer beauty, design, perfection and complexity.

What are some of the things God desires to “reveal” to us? Let me draw a quick list here enough to get you going in your own pursuit of the things of God on this subject:

  • Who He is
  • The correct meaning of Scripture
  • Who we are (as He sees us) – revealing our original purpose
  • Who other people are in Him – how God sees other people
  • The nature of His Kingdom
  • The presence and the work of evil
  • And more…

I can provide many other details for an in-depth study of each of these, but this is not what this article is designed to do. Ask me about The Apostolic Institute for more in-depth studies in the Word of God.

CONCLUSION: For our eyes to be opened to the Kingdom of God we must be born again (John 3:4). But revelation knowledge doesn’t end there. It requires us to remain humble, seeking and hungry so we can remain at a place of continued spiritual growth. Yet God doesn’t “owe” this to anyone. He is not obligated to reveal anything to anyone, especially not on their terms. That’s called “testing the Lord” and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone! Rather, when we humble ourselves and we open up our hearts for him, He is faithful and true to reveal things to us about Him, about ourselves, about our kids, about other people, about things in Heaven and things on earth.

God desires most of all to reveal to us the cross, the death and the resurrection of Jesus. This happens as we dig into the Word of God and apply the effort needed on a daily basis. People who take lightly the Word of God shouldn’t expect much spiritual revelation. God only reveals his secrets to people who love Him and who respect and study His Word – not in an academic manner alone, but mostly relying on the Spirit to illuminate our mind, spirit and soul.

George Bakalov

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Micro-church Fundamentals

Someone asked me recently how I define a micro-church. I think this has yet to be determined and defined, but there are some basics attributes of what makes a healthy micro-church that shouldn’t be too difficult for us to understand.

First off, it’s probably a good thing to ask ourselves how do we define “church”, before we can dive into what makes up a micro-church. After all, we are borrowing a term that has been used for centuries to mean one thing and we’re adding to it one of the most emblematic terms, symbolic of the technology revolutions (micro). I didn’t hear anyone talk about micro-churches until just recently Lance Wallnau actually did talk about this trend in one of this Facebook video chats. In fact, I wrote to Lance to thank him and let him know that as an early adopter I got so excited about what the Lord began to show me already 4 years ago, that I purchased the domain www.microchurch.us! Lance brought some very needed affirmation to those of us who have seen this wave rising across the world.

So what’s the main idea with micro-churches?

The whole idea here is to marry (in the right way), something ancient to something modern and come up with a working model of a functional vehicle for Christian life in a community that represents adequately the Body of Christ. Actually, the task of defining “church” might be a lot more challenging than defining “micro-church” in and of itself. In fact, if we take a good, long, fresh look at what “church” really means, based on the teachings of Jesus, the apostles and early Christians, defining “micro-church” might simply boil down to describing the mechanics of how to do micro-church, rather than get too dogmatic about defining it.

However, since the task of defining (or redefining) the very word and concept of “church” as it has been known traditionally in Christendom, is quite a daunting and challenging endeavour, I’ll skip it for now and will jump right into the micro-church idea as a stand alone concept.

The way I see it after much prayer, research and observation can be summed up this way: *a micro-church is a small, sustainable body of believers, which allows for the healthy development of a believer from the point of coming to faith in Christ, all the way to releasing people in who they are meant to be as a whole person, spiritual and natural giftings working together towards and life of peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.”

I’ll try to break this down to its most essential attributes:

  • Small: possibly anywhere between 5 on the low end, all the way to 15 members, which might be pushing it.
  • Sustainable: being able to stand on its own feet, not critically dependent on the “mother ship”.
  • Healthy development: the leadership and the people understand the process and are aware of the pitfalls and the possibilities. People choose to go through the process and pursue desired personal and body-life outcomes. Boundaries are well accepted and honoured. Warmth, empathy, and common sense carry the group through the tough seasons in this sustained effort.
  • Releasing: leaders understand the lifecycle of discipleship, how people work, how life circumstances play out and what role spiritual gifts play in it all. Activation is key to avoiding stagnation and thus preventing the religious spirit from gaining a foothold.
  • Guidance: the process of oversight and ongoing equipping. The leader of a micro-church is someone who has a clear understanding of the spiritual authority God has given them, what this means, who they are accountable to and what larger context they are part of and why.

Ideally, micro-churches will get planted or adopted by an “Antioch” type of a local or regional apostolic team (the apostolate), which will usually be made up of the three leading gifts listed by Paul in 1 Cor. 12:28 

“…God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers..”

The apostolic team, identifies (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), the right overseer/leader for a specific area. This future overseer of a micro-church must be trained and nurtured to a place of activation. The apostolic team is part of the initial effort of planting a micro-church or adopting it and bringing oversight to it. The next phase is development, growth and potentially the micro-church branching out into other areas.

One apostolic team might serve in a city or in a rural area where tens or even hundreds of churches are part of its conglomerate. Periodically the micro-churches come together as one body to share their testimonies, to get “baptized” into the spirit of unity and receive inspiration for tomorrow. These can be monthly or bi-monthly gatherings, or whatever the leadership and the people deem feasible based on their local context, culture, and preference.

The structure is kept light and straightforward. No need for permanent, excessive buildings and big staffs. Most resources: people (time, energy and expertise) as well as money, are being poured into helping or developing people, not building projects or programs.

There are definite differences between the micro-church concept as compared to house churches and cell churches. These differences will be discussed in future posts at length.

George Bakalov

PS: To lighten things up a bit, check out this funny (and well produced) video by RightNowMedia.org :)

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