The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Covenant; Revisited, Renewed, and Revealed

'When is a covenant not a covenant?'

The covenant that God gave through Moses, signified by the ten words given on Mount Sinai, was doubtless a conditional covenant. God commanded His people; 'Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you', which, Paul told the Church in Ephesus, is 'the first commandment with promise'. There was always the condition of 'if', 'then' as in Deuteronomy 28: 'if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God', 'that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth', but 'if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God', then 'all these curses will come upon you and overtake you'. You may say, 'well, that was the Old Covenant; we're in the New Covenant era now, there is no more 'if'', 'then', but you would be greatly, even gravely mistaken!

Jesus told those Jews who had believed in Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed' ( John 8:31 ); doesn't that sound kind of like what God told His people in the Promised Land? You could say that Jesus was telling them that they would have proof that they were His disciples if they kept His word, but 'then', the opposite is true as well; if they did not keep His word, they were not His disciples. This statement that Jesus made, came directly before that famous phrase, 'you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free'. If they remember the 'you shall know the truth' part, they're doing better than most, because most commonly, Christians love to spout, 'the truth shall set you free'! This is actually a very correct statement; the Truth HAS set us free ( in fact, not too long ago; I wrote an article by that title )! When we quote this statement, though, we must remember that it is conditional as well; Jesus said 'If you abide in My word'. Knowing the truth, and the truth setting you free was conditional on abiding in His word, in Him!

The old, or as the writer to the Hebrews put it, 'that first [ covenant ]' ( 8:7 ) could almost, in that sense, be said to have been contractual, but, as Paul had written before, to the Church in Galatia, 'Therefore the law was our tutor [ to bring us ] to Christ, that we might be justified by faith' ( 3:24 ).

There is much talk today, especially with the rise of preterism, but not relegated to the realm of fulfilled eschatology, with antinomians crying 'no more Law!', but I believe we can see, with careful ( as opposed to careless ) study that, first, it was not the Law, which James calls the 'royal law', which was 'passing away', but rather , 'the world', and 'darkness' ( I John 2:8 & 17 ( I Corinthians 7:31 ), or, that 'first' ( covenant? ), which was 'ready to vanish away'.

'Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.'

If indeed, and those antinomians are correct here; if indeed the ( Mosaic ) covenant, or the Law, had been merely a contract; it would necessarily have passed away with its fulfillment. Contracts, as a rule, DO have an end, but a covenant, on the other hand, implies a relationship! Sure, a relationship, of sorts, may be found, or formed, within the bonds of a contract, but a covenant is based on relationship, and not just upon a legally drafted agreement. When a contract is fulfilled between two ( or more ) consenting parties, though, that relationship is terminated. If the parties involved have formed a relationship through that contract, or within the limits of their agreement, then that relationship, as long as both are agreeable to the covenant that they have made together, may continue, but then it is no longer just a contract.

A contract, when it is broken by either party, most often ends, not with just a bad relationship, but usually with no relationship at all. As long as the offended party is satisfied, they usually go their separate ways, never pursuing any kind of relationship again. When a contract between two 'friends' is broken, this most often causes much grief and heartache ( or relief )! On the other hand, when a covenant is broken, as the covenant that God formed with His people Israel; because it is based on relationship, on love, it did not come to an end, but rather was re-formed, renewed, and finally revealed in the person of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God!

In a recent article, and actually, several past articles, we saw that, not only was Jesus prophesied to be given  'as a covenant' to the people ( Isaiah 42:6, 49:8 ), but that He was, in effect, the personification of the Law!

The Law itself, either as God gave it to Moses on Sinai, or it's summation, as Jesus gave in Matthew 22:34-40, was never meant to, and indeed, did not 'pass away'!

There is question, especially among those who have done much careful study of contract law and such ( I have not! ), as to whether the differences between contract and covenant are such as I have laid forth above, but I believe that I have given the gist of it; that covenant is based upon relationship, or friendship, whereas a contract is more stringently an agreement between two parties, whether a relationship existed before or not, wherein one party agrees to do this and the other agrees to do that.

A good way to put it is that a covenant is based in grace, whereas a contract is based solely in law!

This is not to say, as many Christians have wrongly assumed, that grace is antithetical, or opposed, to law. A good friend of mine has recently reminded us, in a series of sermons he is currently preaching on the subject of 'Covenant', that, beginning with the covenant with Adam, grace comes first. Even when it came to the Mosaic Covenant, the so-called 'covenant of works'; we must acknowledge that God  showed grace first, in hearkening to the cries of His oppressed people, and secondly, in setting them free, liberating them from the bondage in which they had labored. After He had raised them from their chains; He gave them His Law, to guide them in how they ought to keep the covenant He had made with their fathers. We have already noted how Jesus, the Son of God, summed up His Father's words, telling His people how to live: love God, and your neighbor!

'For if that first [ covenant ] had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they broke My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.' ( Hebrews 8:7-9 )

The writer to the Hebrews, quoting what is written in Jeremiah 31:31-34, revealed to his readers that God did not grant a new Covenant because the covenant He first gave was faulty, but because the people to whom He gave it 'did not continue in' His covenant, so He promised a new Covenant that would be written, not on tablets of stone, as that 'first' covenant, which Paul called 'a tutor', but, God said, 'I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts'. Jesus was and is the Covenant, as we have seen, that was written on the hearts of His people, and enthroned into their minds, or consciences!

By the Grace of the Covenant,
Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Molech Worship-the King as God

'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [ which is ] your reasonable service.' ( Romans 12:1 )

Uncle Sam ( U.S. ) wants your children!

The worship of Molech was, to my understanding, the practice of sacrificing your children to the false god Molech ( which, at its base, means 'king' ), either by 'passing them through the fire', actually offering them as a burnt sacrifice to this false god, or by presenting them to the king, as in I Samuel 8:10-18, as belonging to the king, rather than to Yahweh, their True King.

Molech worship, as it was in biblical times, may not be quite as blatant, but it continues to this day! 

I heard on the news this morning how that there was a certain public school in a district not too far away, that actually had the parents arrested and brought up on criminal charges, because 'their' children were tardy too often! Can you imagine that?! Crazy! There were even rumors following this flagrant injustice that the parents could lose custody of 'their' children if this irresponsibility continued. 

This is just the latest example of how the god/state, of course, backed by our nationalistic 'federal' government, is determined to stand in the place of the One, True God, by usurping, in the first place, His power and authority, and secondly, by stealing and claiming for themselves what is rightfully His, and by extension, ours, as His stewards of Creation.

Abortion, of course, is probably the most blatant example, and closest physical representation of Molech worship today. I think that the latest figure I heard was that almost 55 million preborn babies have been mercilessly and selfishly murdered, over the past 39 years, ever since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision handed down by the powers that be.

Does this tell you anything about who the king is, who is worshiped by the majority of this nation, even many Christians?!  Without going into a big discussion of the military draft, which is but an iteration, a fulfillment, really, of the words of God in I Samuel 8: 10-18, which was referenced earlier, there are many examples, I'm sure, many more than we presently have time or space for, to show how 'the state' for lack of a better characterization, has been seemingly successful in undermining God's true power and authority, and has successfully trampled the Church of God under its iron sandals, and implemented a new form of Molech worship!

If something is not done, and soon, Molech worship, more of the ilk practiced in days of old, will likely become more and more prevalent in our society, as more and more people prostitute themselves to this false god and continually refuse to worship the One, True God.

The Number of the Beast

We know that this number attributed by the apostle John to some unnamed person, was realized and fulfilled in the first century anno domini, but there is also a very real sense in which the 'spirit' of this 'Beast' is with us today. As the man to whom this number pointed in the first century took his stand against the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, so that same 'spirit' which vaunts itself in direct opposition to God, and attempts to steal or destroy what is rightfully His, persists to this day.

Talking with friends the other day, and you've probably heard similar stories, or even experienced it yourself; we heard that when their child had to be birthed in a hospital, rather than at home, as they would have preferred, the hospital staff, in flagrant disregard of, and even contrary to their stated wishes, issued their child a social security number ( SSN ). Now, without going into a lengthy diatribe here, against the evils of the 'Social Security' system, we will suffice to say that by doing so, the hospital dutifully acknowledged that the child is owned by the state/god, and any profit that might be made through this form of Molech worship was due to it!

What can be done to quell this unnecessary evil?

This has been going on for so long that there is much, almost despairingly, to some, too much, to do! We, however, are not without hope, nay, we have a certainty that all will turn out to our good, and God's glory; this IS, after all, our Father's world! Molech, or the state as king, has no power but what God has granted it, and what we, through our weakness and complacency, surrender to it! We, even, and maybe especially, as Christians, are guilty of, not only complacency and pure laziness, but of blatant idol-worship! We have sacrificed our children on the altar of the state for our own selfish reasons, and prostituted ourselves like a dirty whore, in order that we might remain in the comfort of our dank, dark prison, where the light doesn't hurt our eyes, and we are handed a crust of stale, moldy bread on a silver-plated platter made of iron!

Whatever shall we do; to Whom will we turn?

Thankfully; we have a most gracious and merciful God, as always, who hears the prayers of His children, and when they turn to Him, and begin, once again, to keep His Covenant, rather than following the dictates of their own selfish hearts; He, through His Covenant, will honor that faithfulness, and bless His people, His Creation, far beyond our vain imaginations!

May we, as His people, turn with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, back to Him, and keeping His Covenant as we should, reap the benefits for our generation, and untold generations to come!

'Amen' and 'Amen'!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

'Heaven' and 'Hell'?

This is pretty strong language, yes, but is it really any different than some of the language that Jesus used in condemning the self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees?
We want to clarify, for you, that 'Heaven' is simply the enjoyment of the blessings of the Presence of God, whereas, the 'Hell' that we speak of here, could be described as the cursedness of a life lived in disobedience to His Covenant, and thus not in enjoyment of the benefits of His Presence!
Many in this world, even some Christians, because of their lifestyle ( in some cases, more correctly termed 'deathstyle'), live in a real 'hell on earth', because of the stubbornness and hardness of their heart, whether because of a rebelliously contrary attitude towards the Words of God, or because of ignorance of the Word of God.
One such example, and I'll only name one, is Ted Haggerty. Because of the rebelliousness of his heart, he was revealed to the world, several years ago, for what he truly was, and that he had, though pretending to be a minister of the blessings of God, been living in a veritable 'Hell'!
We are not claiming either, that prostitutes, while living as prostitutes, enjoy the blessings of the Covenant, although, to some extent, they do; even Ted Haggerty enjoyed drawing a breath ( then again? )! Jesus told the women, supposedly caught in adultery ( John 8 ); 'Go, and sin no more'! He did not condone her sin, and neither do we! But when true repentance is shown, through a heart-felt ( and rending ) turning away from that sin, prostitutes, though harlots no longer, enjoy the blessings of the Covenant, while men like Ted Haggerty, and there ARE others, exist in a literal 'Hell', at least, while living in opposition to the true Word of God!
May we, as the Body of Christ, endeavor to keep the Covenant that God has blessed us with, and living in obedience to His Word, always enjoy the benefits, the blessings of that Covenant, as revealed in Jesus Christ! As the Body of Christ; may we also lead people everywhere, prostitutes and pastors, to true repentance, that they too, may enjoy the benefits of obedience, a blessed existence for eternity, in the Presence of God, which is 'Heaven'!
In the love of God,
Charles Haddon Shank