Monday, April 15, 2024


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Thursday, March 7, 2024

Memorial Timing [] Unleavened Bread

As a primer to this post, it is essential that if you haven't yet read it, that you read this post to prepare:
The question below was left as a comment at the bottom of that link above.

Question received:
Good morning Perla, reading the post at the beginning I understand that the memorial takes place on the 13th Nisan and I agree but then you say that the whole thing takes place on the day of preparation, of the slaying which is parallel to the slaughter of the lambs and the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread then at sundown the Passover begins, but in the Bible I find only that the 14th is the day of preparation and at sundown that is the 15th the Passover "It was the day of preparation (i.e. the day before the Sabbath). So as the evening was drawing near," Mark 15:42 NIV.
In fact in a Scripture I added it says that the 15th begins the day of unleavening. "These are the feasts established by the Lord, the sacred assemblies that you are to proclaim at the appointed times: The Lord's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month begins the Lord's Feast of Unleavened Loaves; for seven days you are to eat bread made without leaven."
Leviticus 23:4-6 NIV
If the memorial takes place on the 13th and it is not the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, couldn't the bread be an ordinary loaf that is dipped as it is written? In the Septuagint, in the string of code concerning it, I find no unleavened bread but only loaf of bread...
It is true that Jesus made negative references to leaven, but he was referring to that of the Pharisees, for in one area he compares the kingdom of heaven to the leaven hidden in the flour, where it increases.
Mat 13:33 - Another parable told them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until the whole was leavened."
Since I got confused, can you help me understand my mistake?
-- -- -- -- -- -- --

My Reply:
I will copy each of your questions and respond in sections.
First you say;
 "I understand that the memorial takes place on the 13th Nisan and I agree but then you say that the whole thing takes place on the day of preparation, of the slaying which is parallel to the slaughter of the lambs and the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread then at sundown the Passover begins, but in the Bible I find only that the 14th is the day of preparation and at sundown that is the 15th the Passover "It was the day of preparation (i.e. the day before the Sabbath). So as the evening was drawing near," Mark 15:42 NIV."
- - -

If it is the Day of Preparation and the evening is drawing near, then the Sabbath starts when the evening arrives. The Jewish day is from sundown to sundown. Evening drawing near is the end of the present day (Preparation), and start of the new day (Sabbath). The next verse tells us that Jesus is about to be buried at that time (Mark 15:42-43NIV ).

I am not clear on how Mark 15:42NIV causes you to conclude that the 14th is the day of preparation, and that the 15th is the Passover.
If we consult the Greek interlinear, Mark 15:42NIV reads;
"And (G2532) already (G2235) of-evening (G3798) of-becoming (G1096) since (G1893) it-was (G2258) preparation (G3904) which (G3739) is (2076) before Sabbath (G4315).

"Of-becoming" (G1096) is being used here to convey "to begin to be". This means it was toward evening or at the approach of evening which is the approach of twilight. It is just as your quote of Mark 15:42NIV reads; "as the evening was drawing near". This means that the day of preparation was about to end when Joseph of Arimathaea requested the corpse of Jesus. When darkness fully arrived, it would be the start of the Sabbath... the Passover.
At this point, please consider John 19:31NIV; John19:31NKJV. John tells us that the Sabbath day after the death of Jesus, was a high Sabbath/special Sabbath. That is because the Passover and the Sabbath occurred on the same day in that year. 
Going back to Mark 15:42-43NIV which tells us that Jesus was being buried the day before the Sabbath, confirms to us that he was buried before Passover Sabbath started. He was buried as the Day of Preparation was about to end.

Now we can look at your reference of Leviticus 23:4-6NKJV. First let's look at Leviticus 23:5NLT.
Note that it tells us clearly... 
"In the fourteenth [day] of the first month at evening [is] the LORD'S Passover."

Even though seven days were to be special and holy, the one day of the Passover week which commemorated the flight from Egypt, was to occur on the fourteenth day of Nisan.
If we compare this to Mark 15:42NIV it confirms to us that Jesus had the Memorial, was arrested, died, and was buried, the Day of Preparation and the day before the Passover. That would need to be Nisan 13.
[Remember that the Jewish 24 hour day is from sundown to sundown.]

Next you say;
"In fact in a Scripture I added it says that the 15th begins the day of unleavening. 
"These are the feasts established by the Lord, the sacred assemblies that you are to proclaim at the appointed times: The Lord's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month begins the Lord's Feast of Unleavened Loaves; for seven days you are to eat bread made without leaven."
Leviticus 23:4-6 NIV

We must look more closely at Leviticus 23:6NKJV. You used the NIV version, which includes the word "begins". However, if you go to the Hebrew interlinear, the word "begins" does not exist. The translators of the NIV assumed that the fifteenth day of Nisan was when the week of unleavened bread began. Not true.
A better word-for-word translation is found in the Hebrew interlinear, which reads;
"And on the fifteenth day
of the same month [is] the
feast of unleavened bread
unto the LORD: seven days
ye must eat unleavened
The end of Leviticus 23:6 tells us that there are seven days of unleavened bread. 
Are we to assume that unfermented bread starts on the fifteenth day of the month? 
If it does, then this means that on the Passover (fourteenth day of the month) it is permissible to have and eat leaven. Agreed?

Now we should consult Exodus chapters (12&13).
In reference to the Passover meal on the fourteenth day (Lev.23:5NLT), ...Exodus 12:8 reads; "Then they shall eat the lamb on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it."
(see Exodus 12:17-18)
No leaven on the fourteenth day either.
So even though Leviticus 23:6 tells us that the fifteenth day of the month is part of the feast of unleavened bread (and part of the 7 days), it does not tell us that it starts on the fifteenth day.
It merely tells us that the fifteenth day is a part of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for seven days.

So let's return to Leviticus 23:6.
"And on the fifteenth day
of the same month [is] the
feast of unleavened bread
unto the LORD: seven days
you must eat unleavened
Please keep in mind that the requirement of no leaven, lasted for a week (Ex.12:15).
The Hebrew of Leviticus 23:6 never told us that the fifteenth day of the month was the beginning of the week of unleavened bread, which is proven by Exodus 12:8. 
Leviticus 23:6 only told us that after the Passover... after the fourteenth day of the month; The week of unleavened bread includes the fifteenth day of the month... and then God reminds them that the requirement to eat unleavened bread, continues for a week.
This reminder about the fifteenth day is understandable. Having just completed the central day of Passover on the fourteenth day (which is the most important day of the holy week), they may have been inclined to feel that the requirement to continue to keep their houses clean from leaven is not as important. God emphasizes that it must be upheld for seven days (Exodus 12:15) including and continuing into the day after the Passover.

What about the thirteenth day... the Day of Preparation?
Exodus 12:15 reads; "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel."
Preparations to purge and clean the dwelling could not comfortably take place after the start of the Passover on the fourteenth, because on that day, no work could be performed (Exodus 12:16). 
No mention is made in the Hebrew scriptures, about the Day of Preparation practiced by the Jews of Jesus' day. Through the years, the Jews added additional regulations, in order to comfortably assure the full compliance to God's own decrees. The Day of Preparation was instituted to accomplish all preparations ahead of the Sabbath, including the cleaning out of leaven and the slaughtering of the Passover Lamb. In the time of Jesus, that day also required that there be no leaven, in preparation for the Sabbath.

Luke 22:7-13 helps us...
7 Then the Day of Unleavened Bread came (sunset to sunset) when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed (before the sunset of the next day). 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him. (Day of Preparation)
10 “Listen,” he said to them, “when you’ve entered the city, a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. 11 Tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover (the week begins) with my disciples?”’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished room upstairs. Make the preparations there.”
13 So they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover." 
[In the first century, The Passover week of unfermented bread begins with the Day of Preparation.]

Please notice that "on the first day" of the week, "you shall remove leaven from your houses" (Ex.12:15).
The leaven was removed, to prepare for the week of no leaven. Removing the leaven was like cleaning the house to prepare for the holy week. "On the first day" when all Israel must remove the leaven, that is the Preparation for the Sabbath. In the first century... on the Day of Preparation, the leaven is removed and not eaten.
Then notice that Exodus 12:15 continues... "For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel." 
The Jews were very meticulous about these laws, even going beyond them to be sure there was no violation. If preparing for the Sabbath included removing leaven; we can be sure that the meal which is eaten on the Day of Preparation after the day began at sunset, contained No Leaven.
The Lamb's were slaughtered just before the Sabbath started at dusk (Ex.12:6). The Jews formalized and titled the day before the Sabbath began, to complete all preparations, including the decrees of leaven and the slaughter of the Passover lambs.

Next you write:
"If the memorial takes place on the 13th and it is not the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, couldn't the bread be an ordinary loaf that is dipped as it is written? In the Septuagint, in the string of code concerning it, I find no unleavened bread but only loaf of bread."
-  -  -

The "first day" must have No Leaven. The first century Jews removed the leaven beforehand to be certain that it was gone before the first day. The Day of Preparation (which arose in addition to the commands in the Hebrew scriptures) was the customary time to prepare the home to be without leaven. The Day of Preparation for the Passover includes removing all leaven.

Now what about the bread that Jesus offered his disciples as the symbol for his body, which occasion occurred on the Day of Preparation (Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:7-8)? Did it contain leaven, even though the preparations called only for the removal of leaven?

Matt.26:17 reads; "Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
    [Note: Although this verse already establishes that the requirement of no leaven was in place 
              for the Memorial; This verse speaks also of eating the Passover. To avoid confusion, 
              we must once again remember that to the Jesus and his followers, and all the Jews 
              of his day; the full Passover was understood to last a week. Their words "to prepare" is an
              apt reference, to the Day of Preparation (which is not mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures). 
              The disciples expected that Jesus would be with them for the Passover Sabbath. He was not.

Luke 22:7 associates the Day of Unleavened Bread...
              (meaning the first of multiple days, since it lasted a week -Acts 12:3) 
...with the day that the Lamb's are slaughtered. We know that is the Day of Preparation (Mark 14:12). 
That was Nisan 13 which spanned from sundown (Memorial) through the next day...
       (during which Jesus was betrayed, arrested, crucified, buried -John19:13-14,31,42) the next sundown, which started the Passover Sabbath, Nisan 14.

There are many verses in addition to Mark 14:12 which confirm that the bread Jesus used to symbolize his sinless body, was unleavened. It would not only symbolize his own sinless sacrifice, but also it came to represent the Body members belonging to Jesus (1Cor.10:17).

Leaven represents hypocritical teachings that are not from a sincere heart containing a love of truth (Luke 12:1; Matt.23:3; 15:14). It is associated with malice, wickedness, and sin. 
In contrast, Jesus is a king of truth (John 6:55; 18:37). Sincerity and truth are represented by bread that is free of leaven (1Cor.5:7-8; 1Pet.2:22; Heb.4:15; 2Cor.5:21). 
The unleavened bread represented Christ's Body. Those who become one in spirit with Jesus (1Cor.6:17; John17:21,23), become Christ's spiritual Body (1Cor.12:12,27). They must also become free of the leaven of hypocrisy, malice and wickedness (Col.1:22; 2:11; 1Thess.5:23; Heb.10:10; 1Cor.10:16-17; 1Pet.2:24). 

Then you write:
"It is true that Jesus made negative references to leaven, but he was referring to that of the Pharisees, for in one area he compares the kingdom of heaven to the leaven hidden in the flour, where it increases.
Matt. 13:33 - Another parable told them, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until the whole was leavened."
-  -  -

In this parable at Matt.13:33, it is not the kingdom that increases, but the hidden leaven that works its way throughout the three measures, until the puffed-up appearance becomes evident.
Not all references and parables about the kingdom of heaven were positive (Matt.13:24-25,40,47-48,49-50). The kingdom can be taken from those who become unfaithful, as the consequence to the unfaithful can also be shown in kingdom parables (Matt.21:43; 5:20; 7:21).

Consider that Matt.13:33 can have a consistent meaning for leaven.
Just as an unleavened loaf represented the sinless body of Christ; a loaf can represent other bodies. They can start out sincere, but become corrupted (1Cor.5:6; 1Tim.4:1-2; 2Cor.11:3-4; Col.2:8; Heb.3:12; 2Pet.2:21). Like leaven, the corruption and hypocrisy within them can increase, until it permeates the whole being. 

In prophecy, we do see 3 separate measures of the same lump. A "woman" hides leaven in them (Rev.17:5), until the hypocrisy, malice, and wickedness comes to fully bloom (Heb.10:26-27; Rev.20:10; 16:13; Heb.6:4). 
It is true that the kingdom will begin as a single stone, and spread to fill the earth (Dan.2:35).
But I think it is wise to take heed that the parable contains leaven, and what leaven does symbolize throughout the scriptures.

We have learned that:
*Nisan 14 is The Passover Day amid a Passover week (Leviticus 23:5).
*Nisan 14 is a part of the week of unfermented bread (Exodus 12:8).
*Nisan 15 is not the first day of unfermented bread, but is a part of the week of unfermented bread
  (Ex.12:19; Leviticus 23:6).
*Leaven had to be removed from the house in preparation for the Passover, before it began.
*The Day of Preparation (when the lambs would be slaughtered) was also free of leaven 
  in the time of Jesus Christ (Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7). 
      [Keep in mind that the Day of Preparation started at sundown right before the memorial, 
       and continued until the next sundown. During that 24 hour Jewish day, 
       the lambs were slaughtered, and Jesus also died and was buried.]
*The bread that represented the sinless body of Christ, was without leaven 
  (Mark 14:12;  1Cor.5:7-8; John 6:55)

My last thought for you is that we no longer are under the Law Covenant that God had with the Jewish nation. Jesus fulfilled the law (John 1:17; Rom.7:4; 4:16). In the first century, Jewish tradition had developed buffer practices that assured that God's regulations would not be violated. The Day of Preparation is not mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures, but was practiced by first century Jews, the apostles, and Jesus. As such, it afforded Jesus the perfect timing for the Memorial, and his sacrifice on the Day of Preparation to coincide with when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed (1Cor.5:7; John 1:29; Rev.5:6,12).
As Christians, our primary guidance comes from Jesus Christ and the words of the apostles. Our observance of the Memorial is not the Jewish observance of the Passover. We rightly observe the occasion according to the timing and example that Jesus provided us.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

2024 Memorial - When?

Question received:
Dear Pearl,
We had some questions about the date of the Memorial. When you read the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke, these evangelists place the death of the Lord Jesus on the day of Passover. However, John reports that it was on the day of Preparation, when the lambs were slaughtered (Nisan 13), because the Jews did not want to defile themselves by entering the governor's house so that they could later eat the Passover meal (John 18:28).
Interestingly, when we entered the Jewish calendar in 2024, according to it, Nisan 14 will be on April 22. However, the Watchtower states that the Memorial falls on March 24. What do you think?

My Reply:
                 [For those who would like to listen to a meeting we had on this post: (Click Here)]

If you read Exodus chapter 12, you will learn that Passover was not a single day, but rather it was a seven day observance. 
For the seven days, *no leaven was permitted to be present in the *household of an Israelite (Ex.12:15)  
[household *(Eph.2:19; Gal.6:10NKJV) of an Israelite (Rom.2:28-29; 9:6;  1Peter2:10; Gal.3:29; 6:16)].
   [The spiritual application of the symbolism of leaven, is deciphered by the words of Jesus 
     *(Matt.16:6; Luke 12:1; Matt.23:13-15,23-25,26-28,29-31; 5:20).]
The start of a new Jewish day occurs at sunset, unlike our own 24 hour day which starts at midnight.
The 24 hour Jewish day starts with darkness at sunset, continues through the daylight hours, up until the next sunset / nightfall.

The first day of the Passover week, (Exodus12:1-20)(Ex.12:15) was the Day of Preparation. That was the first day when no leaven was permitted.  So the first day of Passover which is also the Day of Preparation, started at sunset on Nisan 13. That evening was also the start of eating bread without leaven.
So when the disciples asked Jesus where he would like to eat the Passover (Matt.26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7), they were asking about where they should prepare to have the first meal of the first day of Passover. That was the first day and meal of the week with no leaven. Remembering that this first day started at sunset and continued until the next sunset; the day of preparation and slaughter of the lambs, would be included in that Jewish day. 
       (To our modern thinking, the next morning would be a new day in relation to the previous day's sunset, 
         but not according to the thinking of Jesus, his disciples, or the Jewish nation.) 
The Day of Preparation started at dusk when Jesus would have the Memorial Supper, that day would continue through the night when Jesus was arrested, continue through Jesus being condemned, crucified, and buried (John 19:31NIV). All of this was the same day that the Passover lambs would be slaughtered as part of the Day of Preparation, continuing up until the concluding sunset of Nisan 13, when Nisan 14 and the sabbath would then begin.

Once we understand the Passover week and the sunsets as being the start and end of each Jewish day; all the scriptures regarding the timing of Christ's memorial supper and death, will now be in harmonious agreement.

The sunset which launched Nisan 13 started the 24 hour Day of Preparation and was also the first day of the Passover week requiring unleavened Bread. The list of events that occurred during that 24 hour span from sunset to sunset, included:
- Christ's Memorial with his disciples
- the arrest of Jesus
- Christ's interrogation by the Jewish leaders
- Christ's scourging and sentence by Rome
- The Passover lambs being slaughtered 
     and preparations being completed for the Sabbath to start Nisan 14 at sunset
- Christ's crucifixion and death
- Christ being laid in a tomb.
     All these events occurred during Nisan 13 (Day of Preparation), before the initiating sunset of the Nisan 14 Sabbath.

Jesus had the Memorial and died on the same Jewish day, Nisan 13, which occurred between the two sunsets. That 24 hours was the first day of unleavened bread, the first day of the Passover week, and the Day of Preparation. Jesus did not have the memorial on Nisan 14. He had it on Nisan 13. According to this factual knowledge and testimony; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all agree.
    So when we read that the day in which Jesus ate his last meal with his disciples, is the same day that the lambs were slaughtered (Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7;  1Cor.5:7); we must remember that the meal occurred the evening before the lambs were slaughtered... not the evening after. We perceive this, when we accept the Jewish Preparation Day as occurring from sunset to sunset.
Mark 15:42-43; Luke 23:50-52,53-54; John 19:13-15,31,42

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

There are about 5 posts on this Main Page which discuss the modern timing of the Memorial and how to arrive at the proper date. I will give you one post link from 2021 which explains some of this, in addition to my explanation below. (

In harmony with how Jesus, his disciples, and the nation of Israel determined the timing of the Passover week, I will guide you through that procedure.
The Jewish calendar is lunar... meaning that it is based upon the moon's cycles.
The first month of the Jewish year (Nisan) is determined by the Spring Equinox and the new moon.
This year, the Spring equinox takes place on March 19. The new moon before the equinox occurs on March 10, before sunset. (The time of day is important, because if it occurs after sunset, we must wait for the following sunset as the fresh Jewish day and start of a fresh month.) 
Once we know both dates, we need to consider how many days are between them.
If there is more than half a month (15 or more days), then the equinox belongs to a Jewish leap year and the month of Adar II as the last month of the previous year. 
In that case, the first month of the new year (Nisan) would have to be postponed until the next new moon after the Spring equinox.
As already stated, there are 9 days between March 10 and March 19. Therefore, the new moon and sunset on March 10, begins the first month "Nisan" and the new Jewish year.

Since the new moon occurs before sunset on March 10; we can consider the sunset of March 10 as starting  the first day of Nisan. (If the new moon occurred after sunset on our March 10 modern calendar, then that sunset and Jewish day to follow, would belong to the previous Jewish day and Jewish month. We would then wait for the sunset on March 11, to start the first day of Nisan.) 
By overlapping our modern calendar with the Jewish; the new moon occurs between the sunsets of March 9 and March 10 (our modern March 10 during the night hours of our morning -1am). Therefore, the new sunset on March 10 can initiate Nisan 1.
sunset on March 10 is Nisan 1.
Now we need to determine when Nisan 13 takes place, so that we can observe the memorial on the *Lunar date and time that Jesus instituted it 
March10=Nisan1; March11=Nisan2; March12=Nisan3; March13=Nisan4; March14=Nisan5; March15=Nisan6; March16=Nisan7; March17=Nisan8; March18=Nisan9; March19=Nisan10; March20=Nisan11; March21=Nisan12; March22 after sunset=Nisan13.

I cannot be accountable for those who apply and arrive at a different calculation and conclusion. Many erroneously believe that Nisan 14 is the day Jesus had the memorial. Others of the modern Jewish faith have altered the method of calculation (i.e. to wait until the fresh new moon after the equinox). I've read that the Watchtower calculates according to the sunset in Jerusalem and then converts it to the next sunset of one's own location. The problem with this, is that the old Jerusalem is irrelevant 
(John 4:21; Matt.21:43; John 15:5,16; Heb.13:15;  1Pet.2:5,9; Isa.43:21; Heb.9:11;  2Cor.5:17; Rev.21:2).
New Jerusalem is not a location on earth, but rather, a designation in the heavens (Eph.2:6; Luke 10:20; Gal.4:26; Heb.12:22; Rev.3:12).

No one answers to me, nor do I answer to anyone except Christ. We each stand before the judgment seat of Christ for our own decisions.
  If further information is needed by any reader; please use the search box, or contact me by means of the contact box located in the right side column of this page.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Holidays [] Conscience [] Stumbling Others

Since this blog is essentially written for "Jehovah's Witnesses" and those who formally considered themselves the same; Those who send me questions are usually from that demographic. 
Members of both groups were indoctrinated to avoid participation in what was classified as a "worldly holiday". Such days include Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, birthdays, etc. To participate in such an occasion was considered blasphemous and worthy of the judgment of expulsion, along with the shunning that followed. (more info: disfellowshipping-and-shunning.html )
This introduction gives a background to the question I received, and my reply.
    For those English speaking readers who would like to listen to the meetings we had, where we read and discussed this material, here is a recording of that first meeting, so that you can use this link to follow along: 
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Question Received:
Hi Pearl. There are a few 'frivolous' questions that I wonder about - perhaps you can touch on sometime regarding day to day:
Xmas and Easter are obviously pagan.
What about:
Toasting - are they still a no no....? Or is it a conscience matter?

My Reply:
Thank you for your question. They are all of value.

According to my perspective, all matters should be decided on the basis of each person's individual conscience. We all as individuals, must render an account to God (Rom.14:12-13;  2Cor.5:10) and not to men (Gal.1:10; Rom.2:29). 
       (more info.

It is true that we were able to research and learn that many holiday practices find their origin in pagan worship of idol gods. Once we are no longer ignorant, it is not fitting to continue in such practices.
As with all the questions I receive, I strive to offer what the scriptures convey. I always hope that readers will read the cited scriptures, wherein the substance of my reply will be found. I will also take that approach as regards your holiday traditions in question.

Starting with Titus 1:15 :
"To the pure, all things are pure"
Whether the occasion calls for certain food, decorations, the calendar, ceremony, tradition, etc. ...what does each person see in the meaning of those things? If we see only pure things... closeness with family, beauty to the senses, God's generosity and bounteous gifts, remembrance of a joyous event, celebrating the accomplishments, dignity, or integrity of a person... then the occasion is pure.
    If we see a connection to what is not pure... false religion, condoning of falsehood, idolatry and spiritual harm, ...then the occasion will not be viewed as pure. Then we need to be concerned, because it is what is coming from inside us... our actions and words, that is lending support to that impure occasion.
    As an example...
I used to have wind chimes on my porch. They were a gift from a client. The chord they produced was a beautiful chord, and the sound was very relaxing and tranquil. One day following field service, another publisher took great offense at the wind chime. She told me that they were used by ancient people to ward off demons, and by our having a wind chime, we are actually summoning the demons. 
    In my own conscience, I see a wind chime as metal and wood, designed to accentuate a lovely breeze. Just as we cannot look to wood and stone as having the power of a god (Deut.4:28; Isa.37:19; Hab.2:18-19), I do not view wood and metal as a legitimate spiritual power to control the proximity of dark forces, either to repel or draw them. In my conscience, a wind chime is simply a wind chime.
Every person who is seeking the path of Christ, is on their own path from infancy to maturity. That growth is between God and them (1Cor.3:6-7). It is the same with the conscience. It is rightly trained by scripture, but obedience is from the heart. Obedience is not to be imposed externally by men, or else the obedience is not toward God (Rom.6:16;  1Cor.7:23).

    It is the desire in our heart for doing bad, that summons the darkness. A wind chime has no power over me because I see if for what it is. Yet I respected the right of the other publisher to refrain from having a wind chime, since having one would be a sin, for her, due to it being impure to her. If she were to compromise her conscience, it would be sin for her
The sin is found in the compromise of her own conscience.

Another example...
is the suspicion that heavy metal music is demonic and listening to it will cause one to become possessed. I am not saying that this result is impossible under any circumstance. But I know of heavy metal that was created to express the agony of a man who was horribly abused as a young boy. The sound of the music indeed matches the emotions that the artist is trying to express and purge himself of. I don't appraise such art as offensive or destructive, anymore than I would view the outcry of a victim of a violent crime, as offensive or destructive. I actually found the music comforting, because it eased the loneliness of my own past abuse.
    The superstitions that are integral to falsely called "godliness", paint a broad stroke over the surface of so many things... only to puff themselves up by means of rules that are not found in scripture (1Tim.6:20;  2Tim.3:5;  1Cor.4:6). Ironically, many such people are often blind to the real spiritual threats that they face.
    Anything can be misused, including music. Those who are mature can see the difference between agony and aggression, love and hate, good and evil, truth and lies. That distinction is often too simple for the wise to grasp... and too complicated for the proud to accept.

    As both Jesus and Paul said, it's not the food, etc. that goes into us that defiles us. What defiles us is the compromised relationship between our conscience and our decisions. The actions and words that result, condemn us. Are we being disloyal to our source beliefs and perception/conscience? If we hypocritically violate our conscience by our speech or actions, and what we believe deep in our own heart; 
That violation is what defiles us (Mark 7:14-15; Matt.15:18-20).

  James 1:14-15

Recording to follow along with the second half of this post: 
[(The recorded consideration of the material below, comes after my response to a question.)
Here is a link to the scriptures that are being discussed at the start of the recording:
Link: Click Here ]
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1 Timothy 4:4-5 :
Of course we can use many of the things that God created, for a bad purpose (sex, food, tools, etc.). That would be wrong. According to Titus above, if we are not using a blessing for a bad purpose according to our Bible-sourced conscience, we can be thankful for the pleasure of that blessing. God created food, family, light, color, music, etc. We can enjoy such things, if we do not associate them with, or use them to support, what we feel is impure.

James 4:17; 1:22 :
Important warning against deceiving ourselves. If we know God's standard and choose to ignore it, perhaps talking our way out of what we know is right, we are lying to ourselves. We need to speak the truth in our heart, and then follow that truth (Ps.15:1-2). If we know what's right and ignore that knowledge, that is sin.
Does all this mean that we can do whatever we wish, simply because we don't see anything wrong with it? No, we are not to become our own god. (Gal.5:13,17,19-20,21-23; James 4:7; Jer.10:23; Gal.5:16)
**Hebrews 5:14 :
This one is really important, because it adjusts our goal. It's telling us that the priority is our spiritual maturation, through an acquisition of deep spiritual knowledge, from which, we develop a powerful, insightful conscience upon which we can depend for righteous direction (Eph.4:13;  1Cor.2:16; Phil.1:9-11). After that acquisition, we must practice using what we've learned... because it is through the use and application of wisdom, that we affirm our maturity, wisdom, and spiritual lucidity. If we are pursuing those things, All our personal decisions will be easier to make from self-sufficiency, independent of another human's opinion, but dependent on the Laws of God (Ecc.12:13; Jer.31:33; Matt.22:36-39).

Galatians 6:7 :
Our decisions do have consequences and so in sober fear of God, we choose accordingly.

1 Corinthians 8:7-8,9-10,11-12,13 :
After maturation, we may come to see the distinct difference between violating God's Laws,
and ignorant superstitions and fears over meaningless things. Many still fear a particular material food, decoration, or tradition, as possessing evil power. It is our heart within us that is judged by God... not a food, decoration, or tradition. God looks at what those material things mean to a person, and not the item itself. To the mature, those material things are merely a food, decoration, or tradition. They hold no spiritual power for evil or for good. 
    Yet we must be aware of those people who do still believe that those material things are evil, ...because to them, association becomes sin. For them and their present conscience, it IS sin. We do not want to provoke another person into what is sin for them. If our decision or action is known by another person whose conscience will be offended... then it is better for us to heed the other person's conscience, rather than our own (1Cor.8:13; Phil.2:3-4).

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Honoring God with our Valuable Things

Question received
Hi Pearl. Just a quick question if I may. Proverbs 3:9. I am busy reading tonight for the first time in a long time. I am establishing my relationship with God. I would like to know how this particular scripture is applied practically in this day and age?

My reply:
Good question!
We may recall during our previous association with the Watchtower organization, that one of their exhortations was, "Make friends by means of unrighteous riches.". They cited Luke 16:9 and Prov.3:9.  
When I was a member, they often claimed that the friends we should strive to make by means of our material assets, are God and Jesus. Their simplified way to make spiritual friends that reside in heaven (according to Watchtower doctrine), is to hand over your earnings, to them!

How fortunate for the organization, because like Judas, they happen to hold the money bag for God and Jesus (John12:4-6). Although they claim to be using those funds to provide places of worship for those poor in spirit ("those conscious of their spiritual need/poverty" -Matt.5:3); ...the treasurers dwell in shameless luxury (Rev.18:7,17) while the genuine house of God, lies in ruins.  
(Deuteronomy 10:14; Haggai 2:8-9; Mark 14:58; John2:21;  1Cor.12:27; Isa.66:1; Acts 17:24; Heb.8:1-2;  1Pet.2:4-5;  1Cor.3:16; Acts 7:49; Heb.12:22-24; Eph.2:20-22,10; John4:21-24) (Dan.8:11-13; Luke 21:24; Rev.11:2; Haggai 1:3 - Haggai 1:4NKJV ;  1Cor.3:16;  2Thess.2:3-4; Mark 13:14; Matt.24:15-16; Heb.10:29; Matt.25:45).

If it were true that God desires literal riches, then of course we should seek divine approval by heeding such indebtedness. But before we are sheared like sheep which so many religions are guilty of causing; let's be sure that Luke 16:9 actually means that  
the friendships which we need to buy with cash, are really those of God and Jesus (Deut.10:17; Acts 8:20).
Jesus did not connect money with God, but rather, he emphasized the distinction between the two (Mark 12:17).

Micah 6:8; Hosea 6:6; James 1:27; Isa.1:17,23; Ecc.12:13NIV

       Here is an excerpt from the blog which explains Luke 16
The section below is taken from the blog linked above***, and covers some of Luke 16:8-9 

sons of light: those who have no interest in position or a tyrannical type of stewardship over God's household. Their only concern is in pleasing the Master and promoting his interests of truth. They wish to work under a loving spirit of cooperation and mutual respect (1Thess.5:5). How these are treated, will determine how others are judged (John20:23; Matt.25:40,46).

friends for yourselves: favor with other anointed, who may later prove to judge the steward who had exalted himself over them 
(Matt.23:12; John20:23;  1Cor.6:2-3).

Un-righteous riches: power and authority over the anointed household of God
(1Cor.4:8; Mark10:42,43,44; Luke 12:45). 

when such fail: the end of this religious system, which will make way for the Kingdom administration of Eph.1:10 and Rev.21:2. 
(1John2:17;  2Pet.3:11; Isa.2:11-12,17; Luke 16:19-21,22-23,24-25).

they* may receive you: that *the faithful anointed may welcome the Steward into the "tent of God" (Rev.22:14;  2Pet.1:11;  1Tim.6:17) to which the faithful ones belong; rather than complaining to the Master for justice
(Luke18:7; Matt.24:22; Luke21:28; Rev.6:10). 
  [note: the "friends" that the steward stands to gain by cancelling debt (by means of "unrighteous riches"), is the debt of the other slaves who will then become the stewards friends (Luke 16:5). The friends to be gained are not the Masters (Jesus and YHVH, for these two are not indebted to anyone). Those whose debt is cancelled by the steward, are those whose debt the steward manages and cancels--that of the other slaves whose debt is to the master.] 
The "unrighteous riches" that are used to cancel what the debtors owe the master, would only detract from the wealth of the Master, Christ. Yet it would aid the steward, to make friends of the debtors.
  [So this is not talking about making friends with YHVH and Jesus, by means of donating money to the WT (as has been taught by the WT).]

everlasting dwelling places: the Kingdom inheritance that lasts forever. (Matt.25:34)
As done by so many religious organizations throughout time, the spiritual hunger of humanity or it's fear of divine condemnation, are often exploited for material gain. 
Genuine slaves of Christ abstain from that temptation (2Cor.2:17;  2Pet.2:1,3; John7:18; Matt.20:25-27). Material empires are not needed for the will and purpose of God to be fulfilled (1Cor.4:9-11,12-13; Titus 2:12; Matt.19:16,21-22,23-24; 6:25,31-32; 8:20; John6:63)(Col.1:23). 
In fact, material empires are in opposition to spiritual wealth 
(1John2:15-16; James 2:1-2,3,4-5; Luke 4:5-6,7-8;  1Tim.6:5-7,8-9,10-11;  2Tim.2:4; Rev.3:17-18).

With that long introduction out of the way, your question arises.
What is meant at Proverbs 3:9 and how can we follow it's direction?

Prov.3:9 reads;
"Honor the Lord with your possessions
and with the first produce of your entire harvest"

Well, let's look first at our "possessions".
First we remember that Jesus said that the spirit is the source of life and the flesh amounts to nothing (John6:63). He points us to the importance of spiritual meanings, rather than the physical (Matt.13:10-11,34-35; John6:26-27).
So let us consider, spiritual possessions.
At Rev.3:18 Jesus advises us to "buy gold" from him. We learn that this "gold" we need to make sacrifices to pay for, 
is a refined heart (Prov.17:3; Job 23:10)(Jer.23:29; Zech.13:9), made such by taking in and applying Christ's treasure of truth. 
He sources the treasure he offers, from God (John12:49; Ps.119:162NKJV ; John17:8).

Once we refine our heart by taking into it, the teaching of Jesus, our heart contains that treasure (Luke 8:11,15; John17:3;  1Cor.2:12)(Ps.90:12; 119:11).

So, what would our spiritual possessions or "gold" be?
Divine truth, in our heart.
Jesus said;
"45 A good man out of the good treasure (gold) of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45).
So, does the heart contain the treasure of truth, or a storehouse of lies?
Will a person's teachings be sourced in a treasure store of divine truth, or demonic deception?
Which teachings can honor God?

The two verses before verse 45, (Luke 6:43-44)... Jesus just got done referring to this treasure in the heart, as the fruit of a tree.
From our heart, we produce words... just as a tree produces fruit.

So whatever is in our heart (truth from Christ OR false doctrine), that's the fruit that our mouth produces... the teachings we speak.
We either have truth in our heart, and speak it (fine tree/fine fruit), 
or, we have doctrinal error in our heart, and that's what we are teaching (rotten tree/rotten fruit).
Whatever is in our heart, that is the teaching that we treasure and believe in.

Moving on...
Prov.3: "9 Honor the Lord with your possessions
and with the first produce (fruit) of your entire harvest;"
What we learned about our "possessions"
ties in perfectly with the second part of Prov.3:9...
"Honor the Lord with.... the first produce of your entire harvest".

"The first produce" is a symbol of the best that is going to be produced, and that rightly belongs to God (Neh.10:35; Deut.18:4; 26:10; Prov.3:9; etc.). 
That symbol even applies to the Chosen from among mankind (James 1:18; Rev.14:4).

An additional thought about spiritual fruit, is Heb.13:15 which reads;
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of *praise to God, that is, the *fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."

putting this all together, lets look at Prov.3:9 again.
"Honor the Lord with your possessions (treasure in your heart)
and with the first produce (or firstfruits) (*SPEECH/Teachings) of your entire harvest"

Can you see that we are being requested to honor the Lord of truth and light with the treasure we have in our heart? (Ps.15:2; 51:6; Isa.63:8).
We can only so honor Him, if what we have in our heart and mouth, is His truth. The treasure of our heart can only have value, if it contains the truths of God. (Ps.119:162NKJV)

We can only possess fine treasure, IF we have acquired, learned, and taken in the Truth ourselves.
What do we do with that treasure of truth? 
How do we "honor God" with the symbolic first produce/fruits. of our heart's true faith/treasure? (Prov.3:9)

Of all our heart has harvested from the gospel of Christ, we choose the best of it, and speak it to others, thereby producing fine fruit from the treasures of a fine heart.
"Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure, things new and old.” (Matt.13:52)

Luke 6: "43 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. 45 A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart."

Prov.3: "9 Honor the Lord with your possessions (the treasure in your heart)
and with the first fruits (best lessons for teaching) of your entire harvest"
Psalm 86:11

Sunday, January 7, 2024

What Does it Mean to be Made in God's Image?

For those who would like to listen to a recording of a meeting which read and discussed this material, that content starts at the (26:26) counter mark of this link: 

Gen.1:26 reads; 
"26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
What does it mean that we are made in God's image?

My Reply:
At Gen.5:1 we read;
"5 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God."
This tells us that while everything was as yet, seen by God as "good"; Adam was in the likeness of God (Gen.1:27,31). We can begin to learn what it means to be a "likeness" and "in the image of" if we look at Gen.5:3NKJV. There it reads;
"3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth".
When we consider the likeness between a father and son, we notice that they share traits. There is an identifiable resemblance.
How can a human of flesh, resemble a spirit? (John4:24; 3:6)
That resemblance could not be in regard to physical traits. They then must be as regards spiritual traits.
(1Pet.1:15-16;  1Thess.4:7; Matt.5:48;  2Cor.7:1; Eph.5:1;  1John3:9).
Before Adam sinned, he possessed the spirit of God and lived according to that spirit 
(Gen.2:7; John20:22; Gal.5:16-17,22-25; Rom.8:13; Phil.2:3; Matt.7:12). 
Before sinning; Adam reflected his holy Father.

Luke 3:38 tells us that at his creation; Adam was a son of God.
As such, Adam also was placed with a dominion (Gen.1:26). The authority and power given Adam included the ability to be a steward of all the creation placed under his feet. He was expected to follow another expression of God's likeness... to be benevolent, merciful, generous, and kind.

When Adam sinned, his likeness to God was lost. Adam took on the traits of a different father. The ruthless cruelty of narcissism replaced holiness 
(John 8:44; John 10:10 a; Eph.2:2;  1John3:10; Rom.5:12; 8:20). 
His heart would now produce thorns, thistles and briers, instead of cultivating the word of God 
(Luke 8:11,15; Gen.3:18; Matt.15:18-19; Luke 6:44-45). 
The spirit of God no longer dwelt in Adam, and without God's spirit, there is no life 
(Rom.8:13; Gal.5:17,19-21) (Hab.1:13;  1Chron.28:9; Ps.104:29-30> LINK:*(see the GNT translation

-  -  -  -  -  -  -
All this rightly sounds distressing, because we are all generated from and born in, the likeness of Adam and Eve (Ps.51:5; Rom.3:23; 5:12). 
Is there any hope for us to be able to retrieve the spirit of God, renounce sin and death, and regain the spirit and life that Adam was initially blessed with? (John 3:15-16; Gal.5:22-25).

Please consider what we learn from the scriptures to follow:
1Thess.4:1-2,3-5; Rom.7:24-25; 6:12-14,16-18,19-21,22-23; 8:2,6-7,9-11,29; Gen.2:7; Rom.5:5; 8:14-16; Gal.3:26; 5:16; 4:4-5;  1John5:1-3,4-6,7-9,10-12;  2Cor.5:17;  1Cor.15:49; Eph.4:13; 3:19;  2Pet.1:4; John6:63;  1Pet.1:3,23; Gen.2:9; Rev.22:14,1-2,17; Mal.2:7; John 13:20; 20:21; Rev.22:16
 1Pet.1:23; John 1:14;  1Cor.15:45; John3:15-16; Rom.8:13; Col.3:3,5-7,8-10

As perceived within the scriptures above,
there are various ways to gain holy spirit, its guidance, and the eternal life of holiness which results. These provisions compare to the structure of a family. To gain more understanding of this, please consider:

Gen.1:27 brings in another topic in addition to being made in God's image. It adds that God made them male and female. This is where the duel existence of having traits of both flesh and spirit comes into the picture. God's image, is spirit (John4:24). Male and female is physical. Originally, Adam and Eve were both physical and spiritual. - When we are born as spirit, as Gal.3:28 tells us, we are nether male nor female. God and the Logos were also neither male nor female in the physical sense. 
Only in the spiritual sense, are they male. Only in a spiritual sense, is the bride of Christ, female (2Cor.11:2-3; Eph.5:23-32; Rev.21:2,9-10). 
As spiritual fathers, God and Christ cause life​ (Prov.23:24NIV ; Ps.36:9; Isa.9:6). The bride covenant members, nurture what God causes to become (Gal.4:26;  1Thess.2:7-9;  1Pet.2:2; Isa.66:10-11) by caring for the children that result from His spirit and truth (Eph.5:8;  1Thess.5:5,8-9).

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Who are the Two Gods of Creation?

At Genesis 1:26 we read; "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' ”
The creators seem to be plural. Who are they?

My Reply:
First of all, let's see when Gen.1:26 took place.
We learn about when, from Gen.1:1...
"1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
So, the "beginning" being referred to, is the origin of the physical creation. That can be plainly seen, if the rest of the chapter is read (Gen.1).

We can learn who was present at the beginning of the physical creation, by reading John 1:1-3
  "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."
    (Before this common obstacle arises, let's take care of the end of verse 1 where we are told that
     the Word was God, and therefore, there was really only one person at the beginning of
     the physical creation. This would seem to contradict John 1:2. 
     So how are we to understand that both the Word, and God, were both God? 
     Does this make the Word the same person as God, or are they two separate persons?
                                      The original Greek word, translated into "God", is 

     This Greek word is pronounced "theos". "Theos" is consistently translated into "God" / "god".
     "Theos" occurs in many scriptures which are not referring to the One Father and God of all
     (2Cor.4:4; Ps.82:6; John10:34-35; 3:5-6). It must also be noted that this word is consistently 
     used in reference to spirit existence. Therefore, this fact is reasonably convincing that 
     the word "theos" does not refer to a single person, but rather to a spiritual nature of existence.)
     Many persons share in being human. It does not follow that all humans are the same person.
     [For more information on this, see: (who-are-gods.html)]

So, when we read at John 1:1-2 that the Word was simultaneously with God, and also existing as God ("theos"), we need not become confused. The Word of John 1:1 possessed spirit nature (Phil.2:6-7; John 1:14), just as The supremely omniscient and pre-eminent God and Father of all, is also a spirit (Eph.4:6; John 4:24).

Obviously, if the Word (Greek: "Logos") was present at the start of the physical creation; he would have to be born prior to the physical creation. Yet as a spirit being, he would not be a part of the physical creation but rather, a creation of spirit ("theos"). That would mean that at the start of all God's creative work, The God initially created other spirit, according to His own spiritual nature and existence (1Cor.15:40).
Do the scriptures indicate this?
At Rev.3:14 we read;
"‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God".
Colossians 1:15 >
"15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."
John14:7,10-11 >
7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him! 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do." 
John 17:5 >
"5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began."

  Jesus is said to be the firstborn of God's creating, and assigned as having authority over the creation that followed.
But Jesus is also referred to as an "only-begotten" son of God (John 3:16NKJV). How should we understand this?
The original Greek word that is translated into "only" son, is:

It's definition means to be, the only one generated. [Here is a link to (Strong's G3439)].
So then, the Word (Logos) is the only spirit being, directly and personally generated, by The God.
How then, did the rest of creation come into existence? Who created the physical realm?

Let's return to John chapter One, this time paying close attention to verse three.
John 1:1-3...
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made."
Now things are getting clearer, regarding your original question.
Verse 3 teaches us, how it is that two spirit beings (two "theos") were present and worked together for the birth of the physical creation. Verse 3 tells us that The God created "through him" (the Word),
and without him (the Word), nothing was made (John 1:3). (Rom.11:36; 1Cor.15:27-28)

Please consider Proverbs chapter 8...

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
23 I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
29 When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
31 Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men."

"26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

John 1:1-3
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

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