Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 081520

“Then came together unto Him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, ‘Why walk not Thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?’ He answered and said unto them,
‘Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’
For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.’

And He said unto them,
‘Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:’ but ye say, ‘If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.’ And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.’ ” Mark 7:1-13  (KJB)

Words Of Jesus; Son Of God, God The Son – 072520

“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.’ But He answered and said unto them,
‘Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honour thy father and mother:’ and, ‘He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.’  But ye say, ‘Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.’ Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’
”  Matthew 15:1-9  (KJB)

Rooted And Built Up In Jesus Christ

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”  Colossians 2:6-15  (KJB)

Christmas Day Sixty Nine

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be the Christian God wants me to be; to walk with Him faithfully, to be a witness of His power, glory, and life; to live in His fullness, and to glorify His name; that I might see souls come to faith in Him.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:8-9 (KJV)

Working and Eating

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.  For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”  2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 (KJV)

The apostle considers it to be a disorderly thing for people to eat without having worked for it.  Read the above passage.  We here in the U. S. of A. and many parts of the world have many people who think everyone is owed a meal; even if they do nothing to contribute to the home, neighborhood, State or Country.

Now, let me try and clear something up.  There are many people today unemployed by no fault of their own and are in need of financial assistance, some in need of food assistance, and that is well and good; however, there are many who who have been dependent upon the aid most of their lives, have never learned to work, contribute a thing to society or their own home.

It has been said, “God helps those who help themselves”, and there is much that could be said of that statement, but it is not in the Bible; as some purport.  It could be understood to be taught by “If any would not work, neither should he eat”, but that applies only for the work ethic.

Some will say,  “Well I can’t find work”.  Have you looked?  Have you noticed that there are many things you could be doing?  If you are getting a government handout; do something in return.  If you are getting food from a food bank; do something for that food bank.  You might just find yourself feeling worthwhile for a change; or again.

-T.A.

Observations From Mark – 031411

Reading today from Mark 5 – 7

I want us to consider the charges Jesus makes against the scribes and Pharisees concerning their hypocrisy, and “Making the word of God of none effect…”  Just how does one go about making the word of God of no effect?  First of all this means, giving; in this case; more authority and power to something less powerful, such as their traditions.

The following are the words of Jesus,

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.   For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.  And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  Mark 7:6-13

Sometimes traditions are good, might even be great; however when we make tradition greater than Scripture we are in danger of being hypocrites, and of honoring God with lip service, but having no heart for Him.  The danger the scribes and Pharisees were in was due to one thing that Jesus mentions in verses 10 – 12.  Their tradition allowed them to take what would be used for honoring their father and mother; call it God’s, thus, making that sacred, and then they were unable to use that material thing for the honor of their parents.

The following are the study notes of the English Standard Version of the Bible for verses 10 – 13;

Mark 7:10–13 honor your father and your mother (cf. Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Deut. 5:16). No one questions the importance of this law in the Ten Commandments; disregarding it was punishable with death in ancient Israel. Part of honoring father and mother is to care for them, both financially and personally, in their old age. However, Jewish tradition allowed that funds originally dedicated to the care of parents could be declared Corban (Hebrew/Aramaic for legally “dedicated to God”; cf. Lev. 1:2; 2:1; etc.), meaning that the person would no longer be required to do anything for … father or mother. These funds could now be given to the temple, if so desired. Such human traditions thus allow room for the depravity of the human heart, directly opposing the Law of Moses which so often serves to protect the weak and helpless, in this case, parents in their feeble old age (making void the word of God). The “Corban” tradition is an example (along with many such things you do) of disregarding and rejecting the more important aspects of the Mosaic law.

As Christians of today let’s be careful to follow the guidance of the Word of God, and not our traditions over the Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is It Lawful…To Do Good?

“And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.”  Mark 3:1-6 (KJV)

These people came to “synagogue” seeking  help.  Did it matter that it was the “Sabbath Day”?  Only to those who watched with a longingness to catch Jesus “breaking their law”.  He was, in fact breaking no law; but fulfilling the law.  They were looking for anything with which they could charge Jesus, and cause people to turn from Him.

The man with the withered hand was a human life.  He had a need.  He had probably been to the synagogue many times and no one  offered to help him.  Now Jesus was there with a message, a helping hand and a heart of grace, mercy and love.

The Pharisees even teamed up with the Herodians.  The Herodians were a Jewish political “party” who were favorable toward Herod Antipas the governor at the time of Judea.  These people hated the Pharisees, but they hated Jesus even more.  The Pharisees hated Jesus because He was popular, powerful, and dangerous to their traditions and laws.  The Herodians hated Jesus because He was seen as a threat to the rule of Judea – at least as they saw it.

Jesus’ question should have really thrown them off their guard (“And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?”).  Is not the life of a fellow human being of more value than a misinterpreted law or tradition?  Jesus thought so; and taught so.  The Pharisees did not.  Who will we believe?  Whom will we follow?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conspiracy Theorists

Prophets were often accused of conspiring with enemy forces. Isaiah was no different. Isaiah was involved in a conspiracy, but not with the enemy of Israel or Judah. He was in a conspiracy with the LORD of hosts. That is “The Conspiracy” I write of in this article. If preachers are to be the men of God we have been called to be we will be accused at times of conspiring against our church, our people, and sometimes even accused of going against tradition, when we really are not.

The prophet Isaiah is told by God, “not to walk in the way of this people”. When our people are going astray, when they are living out of the will of the LORD, when they are in feuds with one another, when they are charging the preacher of conspiracy, then is the time for that preacher to stand and preach like he has never preached the Word before. It is not the time to back down.

Hear the Word of the LORD spoken to Isaiah:

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,  Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV)

The prophet is being directed by the LORD to have no walk in the way of his people. They were actually accusing this man of God of conspiring with the enemy, and they wanted to pronounce judgment upon this man Isaiah.

As I look as this passage of Scripture I find myself wondering, “What did they fear?”, “What did they dread?” Were they fearing the dreaded enemy that they had heard was coming? It seems to me that they were probably fearing the failure of the economy. The failure of their insurance policies, ie., their walls. They may have been more fearful of their health failing them as well. What ever they feared Isaiah is told not to fear the same things, but rather to “Regard as holy” Him who is speaking to the prophet. He is assured that God will be his sanctuary – a place of protection and solitude.

The prophet is also told “Let Him (ie., God) be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. The only hope anyone has is in the LORD. It does no one any good whatsoever to fear and dread anything that is human, or thing, or thought, or act of another. We have absolutely no control over other’s lives; but God does.

We can stand assured by God and His Word that those who stand against God, His Word, and His men will find a Rock of offense, they will stumble, they shall fall, and be broken. If there is a conspiracy among the men of God; let “The Conspiracy” be that we are faithful to God, His Word, and His way. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the Word, warning the people, encouraging the people who are weary, “comforting the afflicted; and afflicting the comfortable.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus, The Commandments and Tradition

In verses one and two the scribes and Pharisees had travelled to Galilee from Jerusalem to confront Jesus with the issue of eating meals with “unwashed hands”.  They would suddenly find themselves confronted by the  holy God in person Jesus the Christ.

It is something that happens, of which they seem very slow to learn.  You don’t ask Jesus questions without questions being asked by Him.  In doing this Jesus knew their motives.  It was evident by the way they lived their lives and by the way they asked the questions. 

These hypocrites concerned over the absence of unwashed hands before eating a meal, had no problem whatsoever deceiving their  parents, and of that is what Jesus speaks in verses three and four:

“But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Matthew 15: 3-4(KJV).

The matter of washing hands was a man made tradition.  The only basis for it was the ceremonial cleansing/washing of the hands and feet of the priests of Exodus 30, and the brazen laver.  There is nothing concerning washing of hands before a meal for the average Hebrew man or woman.

The fifth commandment, however, gives us clear command, and guidance concerning our parents; and that is that we are to honor them.

These so called law keepers, legalists is what they were; and especially when it came to Jesus, tricked, deceived and manipulated their wealth – little or much – so that when a parent had a need the son could say, “I have dedicated all I have to God”.  In saying that they were saying to their parents that since it was dedicated to God it could not be used to help them out.  This was not honoring to their parents.  God is not pleased with such deception, manipulation, and just plain ole, outright SIN.

Hear the indictment Jesus brings against them:

“But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”  Matthew 15:5-6 (KJV)

By their tradition they condemn a man and his followers for not washing their hands before they eat a meal.  By the word of God, men are condemned for not washing in the eternal Word of God (Ephesians 5:26).

It was their tradition which condemned Jesus for eating with unwashed hands; and it was their tradition that let them withhold what was due to their parents.  Neither were righteous; and neither stood the muster before the Lord Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Travelling Religion – Ritual Washing

In the Old Testament Law the only washing which I can recall is for the priesthood as they conduct the duties of the tabernacle in the wilderness, at the brazen laver (Exodus 30:17-21). It was for the washing of the feet and hands of Aaron and his sons in going about their daily duties of the tabernacle. Somehow a tradition came to be for every Jew to wash their hands before they ate. So it seems they were condemned if they did not.

Now I would be the first to admit in our day and time that is a good practice, but for health reasons, not religious reasons. To test another Jew because of not washing their hands was what these religious leaders were up to; in particular questioning the Lord Jesus and His disciples; measuring whether He could be the Christ determined by whether He washed His hands ceremonially or not before He ate meals.

Our verses say,

“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Matthew 15:1-2 (KJV).

We are not told how many of the scribes and Pharisees came to question Jesus; just that they came. They had travelled from Jerusalem to Galilee on a mission of question. Jesus’s popularity was growing. They wanted to check Him out, as though they had not already done so a few times. Oh how miserably we fail when we try to win people to traditions which are not based on Scripture, conviction, and the saving or betterment of society.

There is no tradition which can save a soul from the condemnation of Hell, unless you want to call repentance, and faith a tradition.

These men come to Jesus actually making a charge against Him with their supposed question, “Why do thy disciples transgress…”. It is already in the accusatory form. They were not coming to Jesus to learn from Him, but rather, to accuse Him and His disciples of breaking tradition.

I have a thing about washing hands, especially after visiting the restroom. I was in a men’s restroom in a steak and buffet place a few years ago, when I grew passionate about this washing hands. There was another man who was just leaving the urinal and walked right out the door, right to the buffet line. When I got out there, and yes, after washing my hands; there he was; picking up the utensils for dipping out the food, and I had to touch it if I wanted what he did. I didn’t. I watched where he went, what he dipped and I steered clear. Some have said that the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is in the Bible, but it is not. It sure is a good thought though.

It is a good practice to wash your hands, and regularly. You can help prevent colds, flu viruses, and conduct all around good hygiene by doing so. However, it is not the means of judging whether one is holy or not. These would judge Jesus, and reject Him because of their tradition, which really had no merit in the Law.

We are declared righteous and just by our Creator, through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins. It is God’s declaration, not our good behavior or good deeds which cleanse us.

-Tim A. Blankenship