Studies

Learning by Examining Ourselves

For Our Admonition Part 21

“Learning by Examining Ourselves”

Key Verses:  Jdg 8:18 – 8:28

This series of studies in the life of Gideon is reminding us that entering into the Kingdom of God is a process of many wars and fiery experiences which are teaching us the right ways of God.  We pick up the story with Gideon holding the captured Midianite kings that were found in a spiritual location where SELF was being exalted and promoted (Nobah and Jogbehah) and where our man of sin was dwelling securely (Jdg 8:11).  A discussion between Gideon and the kings takes place ending with their death.

Jdg 8:18  Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king. 

Jdg 8:19  And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you. 

Jdg 8:20  And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth. 

Jdg 8:21  Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks. 

 This outward event happened for our sake (1Pe 1:12) to show us the benefits of examining ourselves.  The Lord has purposefully ordained our erring and rebellion, represented by these two kings to bring the grace and chastening that is saving us in our day of the Lord (Pro 16:4, Rom 8:20).  We fall down our “seven” times as we are learning righteousness and are shown our error and are chastened of the Lord (Heb 12:8).

Pro 24:16  For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Our old man is manifest in the mindset of these two kings and is an enemy of God.  In our day of the Lord, we are meeting the enemy and he is us (Mat 10:36)!  We will confront our these kings in our day of judgment and Lord willing will learn of the damage they are causing and adapt our walk and ways or spiritual warfare.  After a victory or conquest, it is natural to relax and let one’s guard down but that is exactly the opportunity the adversary is looking for to hit a soft unprepared target.  We must never forget that our carnal mind is always at enmity with the ways of the Lord.

Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

We are admonished constantly in Scripture to be vigilant in keeping watch and examining ourselves to keep us spiritually healthy.

2Co 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

We will see in the end, Gideon falling down and not being wise just after the Midianites are finished.  All of those “take heed” admonishments are given to warn us about issues within ourselves and not just about those outside ourselves.  If we see these things within, we just might have a Midianite king to be hiding out in our heavens.

Mat 16:6  Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Mar 4:24  And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

Luk 11:35  Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

1Ti 4:16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Learning from our enemies is examining ourselves and our motives and past actions.  That is the lesson from Gideon’s questioning of the Midianite kings.  Gideon asks the kings what kind of men (where they were spiritually) were the men these kings slew when they killed the men of Israel at a placed called Tabor.  We are not given the details of the event being referenced but we can learn more by digging in the Scriptures (Pro 25:2).

Tabor [H8396] comes from a root “tebor” H8406 that means broken or fragile.  Tabor spiritually speaking is where we are made to see our true broken nature and how we have done horrible things in the Name of the Lord.  Christ comes to the brokenhearted (Luk 4:18) and breaks open the fountains of life deep inside of our flesh (Gen 7:11).  When we are drained of self then we can be lifted up and given the land with power.

Mat 5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

These carnal kings within us slay Christ and His Christ as we mix carnal strife and contention with the Truth.  We come to see that we are the Pharisee that has slain Christ and killed His prophets.

1Th 2:14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

1Th 2:15  Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

Tabor is symbolically between the temple and the altar.  It is where babes, the immature dwell, still engaging in two trains of thought – the carnal mind and the ways of the Spirit. It is here in Tabor that we kill Christ and His prophets with our hatred for the commands and ways of the Lord.

Mat 23:34  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

Mat 23:35  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

An OT witness to us doing spiritual violence and turning back to carnal wisdom are these.

Eze 8:16  And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

Eze 8:17  Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.

Facing eastward away from the direction the sun (temple) is a symbol of immaturity and our being yet carnal.  Yet that is where we all are at when we first come into the Truth while we await the day of the Lord that is going to suddenly come and burn of the Midianites with fire.  As babes in Christ, we are broken and very fragile and are easily seduced by the carnal darkness that masquerades as light and its ministers as angels of light.

2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

2Co 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him

Looking behind ourselves in our day of judgment, we are being humbled in seeing how we have opposed the Lord and His work within ourselves and the work of others.  This good work is bringing us to repentance and turning our hearts back to God.  Thus, we are given a zeal like our Lord to cleanse the Temple (Joh 2:19, 1Co 3:16) and put to death these Midianite kings.  These OT shadows speak of this NT spiritual reality (Joh 6:63).

Exo 21:12  He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

Hos 5:1  Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.

There is something for each of us to focus on as there is always work to be done in the Kingdom of God while we walk in clay.  When we see false doctrines and carnal unbelief in our heavens we are to spare not and show no mercy to these inward enemies but to put them to death.  This extends to our thought life as well as our deeds.  We are not to suffer the woman Jezebel (another shadow of carnality) who is causing us to commit fornication against the Lord and His Christ.

Deu 20:16  But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

Deu 20:18  That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

1Co 11:29  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1Co 11:30  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

We are given further detail that our firstborn mindset, representing the flesh and our yet carnal nature is unable to rise up and slay these kings.

Jdg 8:20  And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

Gideon’s firstborn son Jether, comes from a word by the same name [H3499] that means remnant or residue, speaking of the part of us that is cut off and unable to enter into the Kingdom of God (Gal 4:30).  Being a youth (also Hebrew word for child), he was spiritually immature and not yet given to overcome the Midianites.  Such is the definition of a babe in Christ.

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 

Being the firstborn of Gideon is also a symbol for our flesh and the old man who is the rejected anointed and was not designed to inherit the Kingdom of God.

1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

1Co 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

Gideon and all of us are to work out our own salvation. We have to bear our own burden (Gal 6:5) and provide for ourselves (1Ti 5:8) if we are to eat the spiritual nourishment and grow.  While we have a body of Christ to strengthen and encourage and teach us, we still have to tend and keep the garden of Eden in the Kingdom of God within us (Gen 2:15).

Jdg 8:21  Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks. 

Our carnal mind does not want to die but there comes a time when the trumpet judgments are blowing, the fiery trials are tormenting us when we do seek the death of our old man and the Midianite spirits.

Rev 9:6  And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

The old man will die along with these carnal kings but only when the Lord has ordained us to overcome.  These kings are the root of a mixed multitude, emotionally driven mindset that is hindering and oppressing Israel in the promised land.  We learn later in verse 8:26 that the kings wore purple raiment symbolizing the mixture of flesh (red, “adam”) with the things of the Spirit (blue).  Yet there is only one master and we either hate Christ or the Midianite kings.  Like Gideon, we are all made willing to lay down the flesh and kill the false prophets we have followed only by looking behind ourselves and seeing the miracles in our own life.  Elijah brought this outward miracle to Israel and thus the liars and false prophets were then taken and killed.

1Ki 18:39  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.

1Ki 18:40  And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Removing the round ornaments on the camel necks symbolizes removing the yoke and bondage to our beastly (camel like) natural state.  Cutting off these ornaments is ridding ourselves of carnal thoughts that have us going up and down reasoning and justifying what seems right to our beastly nature.  This is the epitome of the law for the lawless and self-righteousness that those in Christ are overcoming by judgment.

Rom 2:14  For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

Rom 2:15  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;

The word for ornament is H7720 “saharon” comes from a root meaning round and is also translated as round tire in its one other use in Scripture.  These round tires or round ornaments symbolize (Hos 12:10) the lies and distractions of the great harlot, all 200 million of them (Rev 9:16) that keep us focused on fleshly things and not the commandments of the Lord.  There is spiritual freedom in Christ and the Law of faith, yet the Midianite spirits will keep us bound in unbelief.

Gal 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage

The Lord is always testing and trying our faith.  Immediately after the slaying of the kings, Gideon becomes the object of angel worship.

Jdg 8:22  Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. 

Jdg 8:23  And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you. 

Flesh loves to give credit and glory to flesh. We see several examples of this in the new testament involving Paul (Act 14:12), Peter with Cornelius (Act 10:25) and most memorably with the angel in the Book of Revelation who showed John Truth.  The carnal mind wants to bow down to the Lord’s angels (messengers) that bring us into the Truth and who are more mature than us and have been given much overcoming and dominion over their flesh.   The rest of Israel who had witnessed Gideon’s conquest in slaying the two kings were quick to hand dominion and rulership over to a mere man.  God’s people are to not to do this nor receive such adulation that is solely the purview of the Lord.

Rev 22:8  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

Rev 22:9  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

Our answer Lord willing will be the same as the messenger who helped John in his overcoming.  Gideon gives the mature answer in turning them back to the Lord and His rulership over all things in heaven and on the earth.

Isa 42:8  I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images

The Lord and His Christ hate the spirit of the Nicolaitans that has one lording over another having any dominion over their faith (Rev 2:14-15).  I personally came into this fellowship and it was demanded that I bow down to the man who had shown me such truths.  If any of us ever find us in that situation, know it is not the way of the Lord and such brother or sister is in grievous error and needs strong rebuke and correction.

2Co 1:24  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

But Gideon had not arrived yet and would soon fall down again in pursuing idolatry.

Jdg 8:24  And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 

Jdg 8:25  And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. 

Jdg 8:26  And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks. 

Jdg 8:27  And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house. 

Jdg 8:28  Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon. 

The story of Gideon is our story (1Co 3:21).  It is a story of abiding in the fire as it begins to work its work within the Kingdom of God within us.  Gideon is a story about failures and unbelief as much as it is of conquests and victories.  The “mighty man of valor” which Gideon was called upon his initial visitation was no such thing at that time.  Yet this is the way the Lord operates declaring the end from the very beginning (Isa 46:10) and speaking of things that are not as though they already are (Rom 4:17).  Knowledge and successful conquests will puff us up and the Lord will cause us to err from His ways (Isa 63:17) to bring more grace.

Deu 5:8  Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

Deu 17:17  Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

Gideon asks and receives the spoils of war from the men of Israel collecting all these valuables in order to make an ephod.  An ephod was a specially made garment or robe for the priests of Israel as is described in detail in Exodus 28.

Exo 28:4  And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.

Of course, the true ephod is the armor of God (faith) and the garments of salvation (fiery trials) that are given to us by Christ and intricately woven as we endure in the age-abiding fire of judgment (Isa 33:14-15, Rev 3:18).

Golden earrings in the positive symbolize our God-given gift of ears to hear the Word of God (Eze 16:12) which is how we are able to love (obey) God.  In the negative they represent us taking God’s gifts and using them for our own purposes and in establishing our own outward righteousness.  Which is exactly what we do in Spiritual Babylon as we merchandise in the things of God and go after the way of Balaam, Korah and Cain using our outward works to justify ourselves.  There is another famous story of Israel misusing golden earrings in making themselves idols in their impatience in waiting on the Lord and in this case Moses to return from the mount.

Exo 32:3  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

Exo 32:4  And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Gideon’s ephod was a phony covering of self-righteousness that is the carnal mind’s way of exalting itself and running ahead of the Lord in His process of maturing us.  This man-made ephod is very alluring because it looks so beautiful and righteous.

Rev 18:16  And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

Rev 18:17  For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

Gideon’s ephod is a molten image of our own beast made with the best our flesh has to offer.  The weight (judgment) of the gold was one thousand and seven hundred shekels representing the perfection of flesh, the process of judgment (10 x 10 x 10) and the completion of that judgment (seven).  Gideon’s nor anyone’s flesh can inherit the Kingdom of God (1Co 15:50) and instead must be destroyed for us to enter.  Thus, more experiences and more judges bringing judgment on the land are needed.

The story of Gideon has taught us the virtue of patience and believing the promises of the Lord despite what we see in the physical and what our own failures will have us believe.  Our growing into the mature man includes us living through the experiences of Gideon.  We will go from fearful to bold and each step the Lord uses for good in teaching us anew and giving Him plenty of opportunities to apply the grace that is, was and will be saving us.

Heb 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

The story of Gideon is not done.  Judges continues with Gideon’s concubine son Abimelech, being put into judgeship and there is a quick backsliding to Baal.  Such is our story and our walk as it seems 3 steps forward and 2 backwards at times, yet we are getting there little by little.

Php 3:12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Questions and comments are always welcome.  You can also email me directly at peterjwilson56@gmail.com

Studies

Gideon’s Signs of the Fleece and Dew

Download mp3 Study, Right Click Here, “Save As”

Discussion – Protected

For Our Admonition Part 16

“Gathering at Jezreel and the Signs of the Fleece”

Key Verses:  Jdg 6:25 – 6:40

The story of Gideon among other lessons is teaching us that God’s people do not become warriors for the Lord in a ten-second sinners prayer.  A mighty man of valor “in the making”, Gideon, remains needy for signs and confirmation from the Lord.  Such is the state of immaturity where our faith is weak and needs to be propped up.  We ended our last study with Gideon being sent on his first conquest to cut down Baal’s altar and grove with instructions to then built an altar to the Lord in its place.

Jdg 6:25  And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: 

Jdg 6:26  And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. 

Jdg 6:27  Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

 Coming into the faith requires us to lay down our life and follow the Lord.  This is the symbolism of offering the young bullock of seven years as we now begin to confront the lies and false doctrines that lead us to worship the dragon and Baal (Rev 13:4).   Our following of the carnal thoughts and doctrines (who are the innumerable Midianites) is being replaced as we battle and begin to judge the land in obedience.  The cutting down of the woody grove is what hewers and fellers of trees, the meaning of Gideon is doing when we obey the Lord’s commandments.   When the new man (aka the “ax man”) goes into action, judgment is arriving at the house of God, which house we are as His elect (1Co 3:16).

Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Jer 5:14  Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood (the Midianites within and without ourselves), and it shall devour them.

Young in the faith, Gideon takes along ten men which is “his own flesh” in Spirit in performing the Lord’s commands.  The symbolism of the number ten represents the perfection of flesh which is never good enough to enter the Kingdom of God (1Co 15:50) and which shows that the true law of faith has not yet been given.  Gideon fears his father household meaning he fears men and is a respecter of people contrary to faith in God.

Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Deu 1:17  Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it

When we fear men, we do our godly deeds in the dark for fear of reprisal.  But the day comes when Gideon and we are able to step up in faith and fear only the Lord.  With faith comes increased comfort in the reproaches, persecution, and hatred from those outside the covenant of faith of Jesus Christ.  Gideon’s first act in judging the land immediately manifests the enmity and hatred (in type) against the Lord and His Chosen Christ.

Jdg 6:28  And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. 

Jdg 6:29  And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. 

Jdg 6:30  Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it. 

Jdg 6:31  And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. 

Jdg 6:32  Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar. 

Jdg 6:33  Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. 

Before we can successfully take on the Midianites, we need alignment and to be of one mind with Christ.  The lies and worship of Baal are first to go.   Our inward enemies, the Midianites and Amalekites and the children of the east (i.e. all our fleshly and carnal thoughts); are aroused when the new man stands up and begins tearing down the altars of Baal.  The nations of this world within us get angry at God’s ax men that are beginning to deliver Israel.

Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged …

These enemies then gather in a place called Jezreel for the coming war against the Lord and His Christ.  It is in this fruitful valley that God will begin to sow the seeds of righteousness and the carnal nations within us are being put to death.

H3157, yizre‛ê’l, yiz-reh-ale’

From H2232 and H410; God will sow; Jizreel, the name of two places in Palestine and of two Israelites: – Jezreel.

Jezreel is where God sows new life through the death of the old man.  Jezreel is infamous for bloodshed and death in the Bible.  Those stories and events foretell of the blessing to the new man as the old man is killed off via judgment.  The rejected first King Saul (1Sa 31:8), the evil Jezebel (2Ki 9:36) and all the descendant’s  of the evil King Ahab’s (2Ki 10:7), among others all died in the area of Jezreel.  We come together as ONE with the mind of Christ in the day of Jezreel.  This is that day, the day (process) of judgment as the old man decreases (dies) and the new man increases.

Hos 1:11  Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. 

The valley of Jezreel is also known as the valley of Megiddon or Megiddo.  The Greek word for Armageddon comes from Megiddo H4023. What this means is that spiritually speaking, the decisive end battle against our flesh takes place in the same valley where Gideon is smiting the Midianites and freeing Israel for a season.

Rev 16:16  And he gathered them (the Midianites)  together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Rev 16:17  And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

The Spirit of the Lord is already moving on Gideon and Israel is called together for war.  The men of God from Abiezer (meaning the fiery sons of God) who are the Israel and armies of God are gathered with Gideon.

Jdg 6:34  But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him. 

Jdg 6:35  And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 

The Spirit of the Lord moves Gideon to blow the trumpet and gather Israel in preparing for war.  Blowing trumpets is speaking warning of pending war and judgment of God.  The sound of the trumpets are words of fire to the heathen within and without ourselves that put God’s enemies to flight (Rev 4:1).

Num 10:8  And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations.

Num 10:9  And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy (Midianites) that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

Joe 2:1  Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants (Midianites) of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

We will see later in the actual battle with the Midianites the importance that every man and warrior in battle carry and blow their trumpets (Jdg 7:16-18).

Despite all of this, Gideon reveals his weak in the faith and fearing of men status by asking the Lord for signs and confirmation of what has already been declared. Gideon is becoming that “mighty man of valor” declared when he was chosen and met the Angel but he is only begining to get there (Rom 4:17). Gideon makes the so-called “Bible hall of faith” that Paul wrote in Hebrews 11!  It is through great faith that the kingdoms of this earth, within and without will be subdued.

Heb 11:32  And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:

Heb 11:33  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Heb 11:34  quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Gideon, like all carnal men that walked before him and after him (doubting Thomas’s), will be seeking after signs in our unbelief.  Yet the Lord knows this and as the Potter set it up this way.

Joh 4:48  Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 

Gideon waited for the gathering of his own people to ask the Lord for the signs of the fleece.  The Lord gives the immature signs to counter unbelief of being chosen of God to do the seemingly impossible.  The Lord helped Moses out with the same challenge in unbelief taking place while dwelling with many Midianites.

Exo 4:4  And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

Exo 4:5  That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

The Lord even gave Moses a second sign of the hand with leprosy being healed.  But as was later seen in Exodus, these signs convert nobody in a lasting way.  It takes the death of the firstborn (the first Adam) to convert the carnal mind and eliminate our doubts.  The real sign and our conversion process comes about little by little, by the process of maturity that is symbolized in the number three.

Mat 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth

Seeking and inquiring about God’s will is a good thing and we should be going to the source that is the Word which is the lamp unto our feet (Psa 119:105).  It is even commanded that we seek wisdom from the Lord which includes confirmation from the Lord and His multitude of counselors.

1Ch 14:10  And David enquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.

Pro 11:14  Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

We see the same admonishment from the Lord to ask and the promise that it shall be given (Jas 1:5).

Mat 7:8  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

With Israel’s forces now gathered together, Gideon asks the Lord to confirm his calling.

Jdg 6:36  And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, 

Jdg 6:37  Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. 

Jdg 6:38  And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. 

Jdg 6:39  And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. 

Jdg 6:40  And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. 

Asking God for signs to prove something He has already told us, is missing the mark of the higher calling and as such it is sin.  But even our sins (Isa 63:17) and our immaturity (Ecc 3:1) is all the Lord’s work in us (Isa 64:8).  We are given these experiences of Gideon and all the Patriarchs to teach us how we should walk and to learn about the process (1Co 10:11) of our salvation.

Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

2Co 5:7  For we walk by faith, not by sight (By fleeces)

Gideon, like all of God’s people, is full of hypocrisy and inequity when first called of God.  But here is the best news that reminds us that salvation and our victory is not up to us but it is up to the Lord.

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

Let’s now look at the symbols of the signs of the fleece and then we can know what Gideon was really asking for because all of these words are signified.  The truth is hidden in symbols and parables.  The Scriptures mean what they mean not what they literally say.

Hos 12:10  I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.

Mar 4:11  And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 

Fleece:  Fleece is the cutting (shearing) of wool from a sheep (or a goat) that represent our own works.  We are the sheep of His pasture and our own works are what keeps us warm and covering our sin (nakedness) until it is all exposed in our baptism with fire (Rev 3:18).  In the positive (Heb 4:11), fleece is our covering, when we are young and immature which protects us from the elements of the earth.  In the negative, this wool represents the self-righteousness of the law and carnal thinking that we are saving ourselves.  This covering will make us (the priests of God) to sweat versus resting in Christ and wearing His clothes.

Eze 44:17  And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.

Eze 44:18  They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causeth sweat. 

As we progress from being young to mature, we cease being double minded and conflicted and mixing and matching our spiritual clothing.

Deu 22:11  Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

Gideon asking God to make the fleece wet with dew is asking for confirmation that the works of our hands in doing His service will be blessed.  A good request albeit an immature mindset.  Applying the spiriutal significance of dew makes this clearer.

The Dew:  In the positive dew signifies the blessings of God that water the earth and bring Israel abundance and fertility (Gen 27:28; Deu 33:13,  Zec 8:12).  Dew is the Word that waters the earth in our youth (immaturity) when our heavens are still shaded in darkness before we are given the former and latter rains.

Gen 2:5  And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

Gen 2:6  But there went up a mist (dew) from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

Dew in the negative reflects immaturity as dew cannot remain in the heat of the day, meaning the heavy trials that come with our baptism by fire.

Hos 13:3  Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney

Dew in the physical world is water gathering from condensation mostly at night.   Condensation occurs when the surface radiates its heat and the water droplets accumulate faster than they are evaporated in the cooler air.  Applying the lesson of Romans 1:20, spiritual dew is a blessing, as water is needed to bring life.  The accumulation of water signifies us growing and standing in faith, in our trials and is the favor of God given a very precious few.

Deu 32:2  My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

Pro 19:12  The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.

The absence of Dew or Dry:  The absence of God’s dew or rain on a surface reflects a cursed condition.  A land without dew or rain is a dry land which is a place of famine and where nothing will grow or increase in the Lord (Amo 8:11, Hag 1:10, Deu 28:24).  Confronting the enemies of God begins by the withholding of the moisture (dew and rain) that is needed to sustain life.

1Ki 17:1  And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

When it’s hot and when the sun is on the land no dew will be found.  The symbolism of a dry earth is a land (the old man, the rejected King Saul) that is under judgment where the heat and fiery sun of God’s Word is beating down.  The curse of the old man is the blessing for the new man and the other side of the two-edged sword.

Rev 16:9  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

2Sa 1:21  “O mountains of Gilboa, Let there be no dew nor rain upon you, Nor fields of offerings. For the shield of the mighty is cast away there! The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.

The Ground/Earth:  The land or earth referenced here is the threshing floor (Jdg 6:11) which is where we create spiritual food out of the crops the Lord is giving us.  That food nourishing the new man, is the dying body of the old man (Num 14:9) as we begin to judge the land.  Christ increases, and the old man is decreased and consumed.

Joh 6:54  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

A land without dew is a land under judgment bearing God’s wrath which is exactly what is needed to cleanse of the innumerable Midianites.  Lest there be any confusion, it is a good thing for judgment to be on the land within us, that is the process that is saving us (Exo 6:6, Isa 26:9, Rev 15:8, etc).

Isa 1:27  Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

Asking for our works (the fleece) to be blessed is asking our earth (Jer 22:9) to be cursed and the dew withheld.  That is the way of salvation and how the Midianites are being cleared from the promised land.  The second sign flips this as in the end God’s moisture that is His Word must cover the earth for green things to grow and ultimately the more mature fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).

We are all Gideon that first need assurance that the Lord has truly chosen us to work in His Kingdom. Such is the objective of the first sign of the fleece. Will God bless our works in His service and bring what is needed to deliver us (Israel) of the Midianites?   The Lord answers these petitions in bringing us blessings to confirm His Word in us as we begin to get small victories (Zec 4:10) on the road to overcoming the Midianites.

Luk 10:17  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils (lying spirits) are subject unto us through thy name.

Secondly, those chosen of the Lord need assurance the fruit of our work for Him is being blessed.  Asking the ground to be wet with dew and the fleece (our own works) to be dry is the better and more mature request.  It is the inward works and fruit that is most important and where the Lord looks for righteousness.   Asking for the reverse sign of the dew (blessing), is Gideon asking for a blessing for the promised land that is Israel.  This is a good prayer as our obedience, ruling over sin, brings forth the blessings to the land.

Deu 28:8  The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

The Lord is always working good through evil (Gen 50:20).  Seeking assurances that the Lord is blessing the land with the dew, shows us the purpose of spiritual warfare (judgment) that “is, was and will be” necessary to sanctify the land within and without in the appointed times. Gideon does not know any of this yet, but his story is written to minister to us (1Pe 1:9-12).

Mat 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Mat 24:6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Amazingly enough, Gideon is still not done needing signs from the Lord to bolster his faith.   When it comes time to actually fight by faith, Gideon becomes fearful again and a man is sent by the Lord to reveal a dream (a sign) that turned his fear (Jdg 7:9-15).  We are blessed for believing without seeing because our trust in the Lord with all of ourselves is rewarded.  It is commanded that we NOT prove or try the Lord. However,  there is one exception where the Lord wants us to try Him and to prove Him.  He wants to pour more blessings out upon us as He rewards those who seek Him in faith.

Mal 3:10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Luk 6:38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Now being given the two signs of the fleece, Gideon, is strengthened and blows the trumpet and prepares Israel for battle (Judges 7).  Next, the Lord will have more lessons for us in the life of Gideon including the parable of reducing the assembled 32,000 strong army down to just 300 men.   That story and parable has great spiritual significance and has been the subject of many detailed studies and FAQ on the various Body of Christ websites.  We will bring that to our remembrance and look further into Gideon which is teaching us about our experience in living by every word.

Sincere questions and comments are always welcome. You can also email me directly at peterjwilson56@gmail.com

Articles

Sects in the New Testament

Note:  This is an addendum to a prior post on Cult Accusations Against the Body of Christ. That post can be found here:  Cult Accusations Against Christ

Sects in the NT

 The Pharisees were considered a sect in the NT and so were the Sadducees:

Act 15:5  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Act 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

Paul was a Pharisee [Acts 26:5] in his youth and was also called a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Christ was called a Nazarene, from the city, Nazareth [Matt 2:23]. Paul was a follower of Christ, thus called a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

Act 24:5  For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

 Whilst in Rome as a prisoner, the Jews that came to Paul’s lodging, said this about the sect of the Nazarenes:

 Act 28:22  But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.

But Paul also was under the Nazarite vow. Let us now briefly consider being under the vow of the Nazarites as given by the Lord through Moses [Num 6:1-2], seeing that Paul took the vow of a Nazarite, coming out from under this vow as he was maturing in Christ. We know that Paul in his earlier walk was keeping the feasts [Acts 18:21] and purifying himself signifying the accomplishment of the days of purification [Acts 21:26]. He was under the vow of the Nazarites, separating himself unto God.

Act 18:18  And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

This typifies us, as babes in Christ [1Co 3:1-4]. The Nazarite vow typifies the immature carnal zeal which is typical of carnal babes in Christ. A Nazarite makes his zeal known to all, by separating himself through a vow [Num 6:2]. He wants everybody to know that he is not like other men looking down on the publican [Luk 18:11]. We notice the three requirements of this vow [shadow] and what this is spiritually representing to us, Christ’s sons.

1] The Nazarite was forbidden to drink wine or strong drink or touching anything made of the fruit of the vine.

Num 6:3  He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

This sounds so special. Here is the NT witness or parallel to this exclusiveness:

1Co 1:4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

1Co 1:5  That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

1Co 1:6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

1Co 1:7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 

But is this holiness really so glorious or is there something that excels?

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

2Co 3:7  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

2Co 3:8  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

2Co 3:9  For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

2Co 3:10  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

As spiritual Nazarites at the beginning of our walk, we too, do many wonderful works under this vow [type] [Matt 7:22-23] while we spiritually walk this out in our immaturity. We are blind as bats, as Samson, the lifelong Nazarite [Judges 13:5], whose eyes were put out [Judges 16:21] to then see, being made blind first [John 9:39-41, NT parallel]. Paul was three days without sight [Acts 9:9]. The symbolism of not being permitted to drink, eat or touch anything concerned with the vine tree or the fruit of the vine, is the symbol of Christ and His Words [Matt 26:26-29].

Luk 22:20  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Joh 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

After the days of our separation [type and shadow], we now partake of the fruit of the vine. We are now mature enough to partake of Christ, eat His meat and drink His blood [John 6:53].

2] The Nazarite could not cut the locks of his hair [Num 6:5] which symbolizes his own self-righteous works.

We know we have to exceed the righteousness of the law.

Mat 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 What is the spiritual reality for us, after our vow [type] is fulfilled [when we mature in Christ]? We can cut our hair and live by a much more mature law. The symbolism of not being permitted to cut one’s hair, short hair being the symbol of the man who is the head of the woman, means in the spiritual language that Christ’s Spirit in us is ruling over our souls. This only comes as we are maturing through much sorrow of having fiery trials.

 1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

1Co 11:4  Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.

 1Co 11:14  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 

 3] The Nazarite could not touch a dead body until the days of his vow was fulfilled.

Num 6:6  All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.

Num 6:7  He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

 As spiritual Nazarites in type and shadow, we, are not able to eat all things or esteem every day alike at the beginning [Rom 14]. But as maturing sons, we reckon ourselves dead with Christ, dying daily [1Co 15:31] [Gal 2:20] and make ourselves unclean for Christ’s Body [type and shadow] filling up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ.

Rom 6:11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church

 Paul, as a Nazarite, in the beginning, did not understand that the Lord is making Himself one new man and only whilst in Rome, not being under this vow anymore, now declares these Words:

Eph 2:11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Eph 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; ………. Eph 2:19   

 Coming out from under the Nazarite vow, all spiritual Nazarites Lord willing, will get past the need for any vows [type and shadow, when our separation is fulfilled] and will be made able and ready to follow Christ who says this concerning any vows:

Mat 5:34  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

Mat 5:35  Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Mat 5:36  Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

Mat 5:37  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

 Summary

We, as the sons of God, members of the many membered body of Christ, only have the Truth and His Spirit to ward off the fiery darts of our enemies. The Words of Christ never puts us to shame. Christ’s Words are Life [John 6:63]. The carnal world does not understand the Truths we hold and cherish [Joh 12:38].

2Co 13:8  For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.

Dan 12:9  And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Dan 12:10  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

We, as the true Bride of Christ, are not members of a cult, but reformers as is Christ because as He is, so are we [1 John 4:17]. We rest in Him because He is our Sabbath.

 

Articles

Observing Days, Times and Years

The keeping of days and years is a gigantic custom and tradition of the world.  It is only by looking behind ourselves once we have come out of day keeping that we can truly appreciate just how wide and deep is that bondage that has captured the whole world.  We start out in bondage but are delivered as we mature in the faith.

Gal 4:3 Even so, we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 

The Lord made all things, even the lights and celestial objects in the physical heavens for the purposes cited early on in Genesis.

Gen 1:14  And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 

Yet the keeping of days, times and seasons is for the world.  The world’s [spiritual Gentiles] attraction of day and timekeeping was given to them to worship awaiting the appearance of Christ to them.

Deu 4:19  NLT And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced into worshiping them. The LORD your God gave them to all the peoples of the earth. 

The little flock that is the Israel of God is commanded to not partake of these days and worship any of the world’s gods which include days, months, times and seasons.

Deu 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

Exo 23:32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

Exo 23:33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

The Lord changes not and His commandments include our separation from all the things the world loves as the Lord is separating a people unto Himself.

Jas 4:4  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you

It is seemingly little matters like keeping of days that truly separate the people of God from those still in the world.  Paul rebukes the Galatians sharply for their acceptance of false gospels and their broadening of the narrow way commanded.

Gal 4:8  Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 

Gal 4:9  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 

Gal 4:10  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 

Gal 4:11  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 

As ambassadors for Christ, we are strangers in a foreign land.  Yet ambassadors cannot do their job if they become entangled in the affairs of the land they have been sent to minister.   We are not winning people to Christ by partaking of the world’s traditions and customs.

2Ti 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Anyone keeping days, months, times and years is either 1) not in the faith and of the world or 2) they are weak in the faith and need time and admonitions to grow and mature.  The absolute sovereignty of God is solid established doctrine so we know everyone is exactly where the Lord has placed them so we are not to condemn anyone for their disobedience in this regard or any work of the Lord.  We all have kept days, months, times and seasons and it is only by the mercy we received that we are able to now correct others in mercy, patience, and long-suffering.

Days, Months, Times and Seasons are Everywhere

Partaking of worldly times keeps us focused on the world and our hearts and minds, not on the treasures in heaven and the cross that we are now carrying daily to our death with Christ.

Luk 9:22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luk 9:23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Consider just how vast the designation of special days has become in the world today.

Religious holy days:  Nothing holy about any of them be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim or otherwise.  They all represent flesh and not those called of the true living God.

Patriotic Days:  Each country has its own growing set of days.  Shunning them will make people hate you instantly and speak all manner of evil about you.

Special Days: Men and clever marketers have invented numerous days to honor and bring recognition to certain people, groups of people, roles and sexes. This list is endless …Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s day, Arbor Day, Flag day,  Earth Day, Ground Hog Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Civil Rights Day, Emancipation Day, National Day of Prayer,  Grandparents Day, Boss’s Day, ….. with no end ….

Birthdays: This is a big one and one of the harder ones to give up as it is so ingrained into every society. Yet the scriptures are clear and the only examples of birthdays we have resulted in death.

Anniversaries: Marking anniversaries has waxed far beyond just wedding days to include all kinds of markings of annual remembrances.

Standing in the Truth Brings Persecution

The world hates Christ.  You can be sure when one makes a stand on days and times, persecution will come from those we interact with in the world including our families.

2Ti 3:12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

People will naturally begin to separate from you when you make a stand for Christ on days.  This is a good thing as the church truly is the “Ekklesia” or the called out ones.

Luk 6:22  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luk 6:23  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

People will naturally want to know why you do not keep their days and despise their traditions.  You can be sure that when that stand is made against the keeping of days and times,  most will reject and hate (seek to kill you spiritually) for having the audacity to not keep their worldly traditions and to call yourself the son of God. We will then be in very good company in following our Lord.

Joh 5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath [did not keep their precious days], but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 

When I made a firm stand on all days, months, times and seasons, it marked the beginning of my abiding in true fiery trials.  I lost nearly all my relationships with physical family over their vehement opposition to any cessation of keeping days and times.  Yet it’s a small price to pay to be Lord willing be found worthy of His Name.  We must count the costs of following Him and know it will cost us our old way of life.

Luk 9:25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Luk 9:26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Being rejected of men and your own household is truly a trial of our faith, but one we must be made able to endure if we are to move on to maturity and be prepared for even greater fiery trials in the Lake of Fire.  Not conforming with the world starts with our rejection of the world’s customs on keeping of days, months, times and years.

Gal 1:10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Judging Others and Bearing the Weak

While day keeping is wrong for the people of God, how we deal with others is also part of the narrow way and what the Lord is teaching us in raising us up as Kings and Priests.  Being separated from the world also means we do not judge the world and those in it.  That is for a time and age to come in the future when the world will begin to hear the word of the Lord and are given faith (Joh 12:47).   Those in the faith are not to judge those in the world, our focus is to be on those within the fellowship of faith.

1Co 5:12  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 

1Co 5:13  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. 

Those within include all in the faith and yet there are different measures of faith and varying degrees of maturity.  All first struggle in understanding God’s requirements of not keeping days and in discovering practical ways of being obedient while not coming across as a clanging gong (1Co 13:1) or ramming our spiritual meat down those not yet prepared to receive it.

Gal 6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

It is the mature in the faith who learn mercy and longsuffering by tolerating the weak in the faith who still keep days and times.

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations

Rom 14:2  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 

Rom 14:3  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

The weak are not allowed to bring in disputes about established doctrines but we need to trust the Lord and let Him work His work in our brothers and sisters that He has already ordained.

Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

Rom 14:5  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

We should always be ready to answer and teach the truth of the mature and more excellent way of the Lord.  Yet we are learning patience in waiting for others to be brought along by the Lord.

When we understand that the love of God is our obedience and that is what AGAPE or LOVE truly means, then we begin to understand that our obedience on days, times, months and years is actually loving our families that reject Christ at this stage.  Our stand for the truth will be a witness to them in due time.  Our disobedience only serves to keep them in darkness to the Lord’s truth and make it harder for them to see the separation the Lord requires of His people from the world’s ways.  Bottom line we are in this world but not to be of it.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

When we go along with the world, we lead people astray from the truth of God’s word.  We are teaching them by example that it is okay to serve our God in the same way the world serves its gods.  That is not “love” the way God defines it and neither is it loving our neighbor.

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. [We love by obeying God]

Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Practical Lessons

The fact we are in this world means we will be continually exposed to these customs and traditions.  This will be especially true for gatherings with our physical families and also in our places of work.  One simply cannot totally escape this exposure, it’s pervasive in our world and society.  We learn the narrow way by making mistakes and then adjusting our approach to stand firm for Christ.

Telling your family you beliefs:  It will take time for your family and relatives that you have contact with to stop communicating with you over days the way the world does.  The happy birthday’s wishes, the cards, the gifts for Christmas and salutations and phone calls for all the other holidays will continue until they learn you are standing firm.  The sooner you make that stand and stick to it, the sooner you will bear the reproach of Christ and also begin to teach them you no longer live by the world’s customs.  You can then start counting it all joy to suffer for His sake.  Your family will not understand at first and will think evil of you for not acknowledging the birthdays, the holidays, the anniversaries that are so precious to the carnally minded.  It is particularly difficult where one spouse believes and the other does not and even more when children are in the house.

Family gatherings over the holidays or around a significant birthday:  These can be tricky yet in some cases, our appearance may be mandated and could give the appearance we are partaking in a holiday or a birthday party.  For example, some visit families around the big holidays because that is the only chance they have to see family.  A narrow way might be for example coming over on Thanksgiving break but not partaking of the big meal which is the biggest part of the worldly custom.  In another example, one may need to go to a gathering of a family where a birthday celebration could be part of the broader overall plan.  If the visit could not be avoided, then one should bear no gifts and leave the gathering temporarily when the festivities of the cake/gifts and the song occur.  We are not under the law and our careful treading is not for our sakes but for the sake of our unbelieving family to not create a stumbling block for them to come to Christ in the future.  The longer we stand on truth the less likely it becomes we will find ourselves in a tricky spot again.

Office birthday parties:  I was not in truth when I worked in office buildings with lots of people.  But nearly half the days there was always a card for someone being circulated or a meeting to have cake and sing the song.  What do you do?  We would have to tell our workers that we do not partake of birthdays and to please do not ask us to sign the cards or come to these ceremonies.  It’s called making a stand and it could cost us our friendships in the world.  Lord willing anyone’s job would not be imperiled yet we can hold nothing back in seeking to obey God.

Any that still struggle with these issues should seek counsel from a more mature brother and sister in navigating the narrow way.  All in Christ have been there and has had to learn to deal with day keeping and our avoidance of it.  We are all here to be helpers of your joy in obeying the Lord.