A Plea for Help

May 20, 2017

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I know it has been quite some time since I have been able to post ‘much’ on my blog. Some people will already know the reason while many others are about to find out why. But allow me to start at the beginning.

13 years ago I started to fall apart in intense pain. After many bouts to the hospital and being placed on a morphine drip and a few misdiagnoses and a year later I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and within six months my Rheumatologist added the diagnoses of Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pain was pretty intense but by God’s grace I was able to endure and do my best to help raise my daughter to the best of my ability in the limitations that I had. I was always cheerful whenever I was out and about and sometimes my wife privately would see my grumpy side due to the pain. But being cheerful all the time led some friends to question me and then they no longer remained friends with me. There always seems to be a balancing act between whether one is complaining to much or not complaining enough and finding that balance is not always easy as the old saying would go, “You are darn if you do, darn if you don’t”.

Within the next several years severe coughing fits would develop and I would have to try to sleep on 5 pillows high to alleviate some of the coughing. But as it was I was not getting much sleep due to the pain levels and the coughing. Doctors would always feel my lymph nodes in my neck and comment that they were swollen but would never do anything about it or do more test. A time came when my parotid gland would seriously swell and I was always getting straph throat and major ear infections. So it was time to see an ENT. Well it turned out that my parotid gland had a MRSA virus that no antibiotics would get rid of.  They finally put me on 30 days of Levaquin and radiation therapy to kill the infection. The ENT also found out that my coughing fits was due to yet another autoimmune disorder, Sjogrins which directly affected the parotid glands.

After several more bouts of MRSA in various locations in my body (due to a very weakened immune system) that was extremely hard to get rid of and had to have some pretty extreme methods to finally get rid of them and a few TIAS due to both medications I was on as well as Peripheral artery disease throughout my legs it was finally time to see another Rheumatologist as I was progressively getting worse and there was nothing my other doctors could do anything about.  The new Rheumatologist found some other autoimmune conditions to add to the growing list. She discovered that I also had Ankylosing Spondylitis in my spine which is a severe degenerative spine disease that has the ability to make my spine to fuse together and not allow me any mobility. It is also called Bamboo spine for good reason. Because the spine becomes brittle as well as pockets of holes throughout the spine which x-rays revealed that I have numerous holes throughout my spine. The cervical part of my spine is already bending forward.

Suffice to say with all these conditions I have had some pretty severe pain levels with many days of the week where I just cannot get out of bed and not a single day without pain.

Then sometime this year in July it was discovered that I also have cancer and on September 19th they performed surgery to remove the cancer. Forgive me I do not get into extreme detail here since it is in a very private area. While they were in during surgery, they took further biopsies in the surrounding regions that confirmed that the cancer did in fact spread. They will now need to go in and preform a much larger surgery to remove the cancer.  The cancer has caused additional pain and my pain levels are through the charts at present and with all the medications I am on, nothing really seems to help and that includes Morphine, Lyrica, Tizanitine and Etodolac.

My Ankylosing Spondylitis is progressively getting worse and I am barely able to walk around anymore without my cane and it is getting to the point that the cane may not be enough anyone. I am in advanced stages of Ankylosing Spondylitis.  I was placed on Humira which is yet another extremely expensive drug ($6100 amonth that the insurance pays), although now the doctor wants to increase the amount of injections which will bring up the cost to $12,200.00 amonth and insurance is definitely bulking at this increase and refusing to pay.  They have been doing nerve block injections on my spine but it does not seem to help at all. I also went back to the ENT who is still extremely concerned about my swollen Parotid gland but also found cancer in my mouth and gums.

Additionally they found a huge mass of tissue and non-cancerous tumor that is now a part of my larynx. It is inoperable otherwise I would lose complete ability to speak as they would have to remove most of my larynx.  The problem is it continues to grow which could eventually prevent me from speaking as well. So now I am in vocal therapy to strengthen my larynx to be able to keep my voice as long as possible. The speak therapist has told me my prognosis is good as long as I do what I am supposed to do.  I have to speak more nasally and not so throaty with such resonance.  I have to strengthen the muscles in the throat through vocal exercise. I cannot speak loudly or scream and I have to give up a lot of stuff from the occasional smoking from the Hookah (although once a year type of thing might be okay I am told) to any second hand smoke, to alcohol and even soda and really really limit my caffeine intake.

Getting back to the next surgery I received some pretty bad news several month ago that the doctor who was going to perform the surgery (The only one in Maryland who could do the surgery) was moving out of state to New York and my Insurance would not pay out of state or out of network surgeries.  I did seek legal aid to find a way to get them to pay for this extremely expensive surgery since there was no way I could afford to pay for it. Several amonths ago I received the devastating call that the insurance company has worked themselves out of anyway to pay for the procedure saying that I am not a good candidate for surgery due to all my other health issues and something about some medication. Basically they want to give up on me as I think that since they have already paid for so much of my health over the years and don’t think I am worth it. In otherwise I am just to die from Cancer..

Since then, I have been fighting tooth and nail with the insurance company and with the help of a Senator, my legal aid, the State of Maryland was about to overturn the insurance denials and I got approved. I did have to wait though until John Hopkins set up their new surgical unit for this particular type of cancer and hire two new surgeons.

Now, after two months of working with Hopkins and all I have my surgical consult coming up on June 2nd, with surgery coming up in August. Something of course never goes the way it is supposed to and everything always happens. Apparently I need a number of pre-surgery treatments that insurance will definitely not pay for and they will not do the surgery until these treatments are done because it is extremely important.. I don’t know how many I will need but it is going to cost several thousand dollars and I will have to do this in several segments because of the limitations placed on me in order to keep my insurance…

Genetic testing has revealed that unless they remove the area where the cancer is present, the cancer will keep coming back. So they really have to get all of it because of the serious nature of the genetic anomalies that are present.

This is going to be a very long recovery I am told. Up to 6 months perhaps even more for me with all my other health issues. I will try to write blog articles when I am able to and I will keep everyone updated on my continuing struggles as well as blessings throughout this next year as I recover.

So I am asking you my dear friends and family to help me raise the money that I need for these pre surgery treatments. I do not like asking for help. I am self-reliant as much as possible. This whole scenario has really humbled me and though I am depressed from it all, I know that my Redeemer liveth and I put my trust in God. I know my God can do anything including finding a way to raise this large sum of money. I am not ready to roll over and die. I still have a fight left within me. There is so much I have left to do in this life to God’s glory and I still have much to teach my daughter as she grows up to be a godly young lady and finds a husband and start a family of her own.

So I need your help. Please consider helping me with any means you are able and consider donating any amount that you can for this surgery.

I will set up two ways for donations. If you would like to Donate without having any fees taken from your donation, you can use Paypal and type in my email address thjodmar30@yahoo.com

Or

You can donate with the following donation site. Using a donation site will lower the amount of donation that gets donated with their fees.

https://www.gofundme.com/michaels-presurgery-treatment-fund

To God Alone Belongs All the Glory Forever and ever.

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.  … So will I sing psalms unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

For Christ’s Crown and Covenant

A Child of the Covenant,

Michael

The Eastern AntiChrist, a Christian Heresy

May 11, 2017

The Eastern AntiChrist, A Christian Heresy

Part 1

muhammad

“As Mahomet says that his Al-Coran is the sovereign wisdom, so says the Pope of his own decrees.
For they be the two horns of Antichrist”
John Calvin
Sermons on Deuteronomy (18:15 & 33:2)

 Table of Content

A Note about why I use Muhammadanism instead of Islam or Muslim
The Origins of Muhammadanism
The Christian Heresy of Muhammadanism
The Roots of Arianism, Nestorianism, Ebionitism and Gnostism
The Gospel of Barabbas
The Little Horn
Ancient Babylon, Sun and Moon Worship
Allah, what is in a name?
The Eastern AntiChrist
The Locust Coming out of the East
The Final Battle
Islamic Peace versus Christian Peace
Muhammadanism and Reformed Christianity
The Westminster Directory of Publick Worship
The True Shahada or Confession
Conclusion

 

Allah-Moon-God

A Note about why I use Muhammadanism instead of Islam or Muslim

Throughout this article I have selected to use the term Muhammadanism instead of Islam or Muslim. My reasoning is that first the sect was started through Muhammad and thus it rightly should be called Muhammadanism. Secondly, In Arabic, the word “Islam” means submission or surrender – however, it was derived from the root word “salam”. From this root word, you can also derive the words peace and safety. The Arabic word “Muslimeen” is equivalent to the Hebrew word “Meshalomim” which Christ used in the beatitudes to refer to the Peacemakers. Neither terms correctly define this sect nor it’s doctrines. The Orthodox people of the East refuse to refer to Muslims as Muslims because they DO NOT submit to God through Jesus Christ but refer to them as Ishmaelites. Thirdly, Muhammadanism has been largely used throughout the centuries by true believers to describe this sect. Muhammadan is the modern rendering of the word so you will see other historic renderings of this exact word throughout this article in the quotes of various commentators. I have chosen to use the modern rendering in my own writings. Other terms that have been used for Muhammadanism is Saracen, a word derived from Sarah exiling Hagar; Hagarenes, a word derived directly from Hagar their mother; Ishmaelites, the children of Ishmael the son of Hagar; Turks, a term derived from one of their tribes that came to occupy Anatolia. Muhammad is also the modern rendering of their prophets name. Therefore you will encounter other varient forms of his name as it appeared throughout history including  Mahomet.

Introduction

“A cask by losing centre-piece or cant  Was never shattered so, as I saw one Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.  Between his legs were hanging down his entrails; His heart was visible, and the dismal sack  That maketh excrement of what is eaten. While I was all absorbed in seeing him,  He looked at me, and opened with his hands His bosom, saying: See now how I rend me;  How mutilated, see, is Mahomet; In front of me doth Ali weeping go,  Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;  And all the others whom thou here beholdest,  Disseminators of scandal and of schism While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.  A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us Thus cruelly, unto the falchion’s edge Putting again each one of all this ream,  When we have gone around the doleful road; By reason that our wounds are closed again  Ere any one in front of him repass. But who art thou, that musest on the crag,  Perchance to postpone going to the pain  That is adjudged upon thine accusations? Nor death hath reached him yet, nor guilt doth bring him,    My Master made reply, to be tormented;  But to procure him full experience, Me, who am dead, behoves it to conduct him Down here through Hell, from circle unto circle; And this is true as that I speak to thee. More than a hundred were there when they heard him,  Who in the moat stood still to look at me, Through wonderment oblivious of their torture.” Dante’s Inferno, Canto 28

Dante encounters a man walking with his torso split from chin to groin near the bottom of the pit of hell, his guts and other organs spilling out. “See now how I rend me” the man shrieks. “How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;” Dante is not in a circle of false religion but in a circle reserved for those who tear the body of Christ. Like many medieval Christians, Dante views Muhammadanism less as a rival religion than as a heretical form of Christianity.

It may come as a surprise to many modern Christians (even those within modern Reformed circles) that the Reformed Faith has always held that Islam is the second horn of Anti-Christ with the Papacy being the first horn. Some may even bulk at the idea since in their mind the Anti-Christ must declare himself in the Temple and how can Islam do that if it has not been part of the church? Today, I am only going to write about the second horn. My excellent friend Carlos Gonzalez has already written a solid series of articles on the first horn being the Anti-Christ which is the Papacy which can be read here @ https://covenanterreformation.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/the-pope-the-man-of-sin-part-1/ . If you have not already done so I highly recommend reading his articles on his blog regarding the Papacy being the Anti-Christ.

“The nations of Christendom have given their power to Antichrist, “the man of sin and son of perdition,” and thus do homage to God’s enemy. ” -Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah, 1819

So the question arises, how can Islam be part of the Anti-Christ if it has never been in the church? We must first explore the beginning history of Islam.

The Origins of Muhammadanism

To understand what Muhammad’s influences were and the spiritual background of what would become Islam, it is essential that we understand the religious landscape of Makkah and the rest Arabia just prior to Muhammad and the rise of Islam, paying particular attention to the Christian communities. In addition we must understand particular people that influence Muhammad including members of his own family.

The Christian Church in Arabia had always had a severe problem with various different arch-heresies that were anathematized by the Church. This is why it’s no surprise that the pre-Islamic Christian church in Makkah was a hotbed of heresy. The Nestorianism practiced by the Church of the East was one of the most prominent of heresies in Arabia. Nestorianism and other Christological heresies would become the backbone of Islamic doctrine concerning the Lord.

Two schismatic heretical Christian monks were foundational in Muhammad’s spiritual formation. The first was an Arian monk, Bahira, or Sergius according to some sources.

The most influential was Waraqah bin Nawfal, a high profile heretical Christian priest who was the influence from Muhammad’s own family. Waraqua was a priest within the Roman Catholic Church of the West. He was sent by the Pope to Arabia to evangelize the Arabs and bring them into the Church of Rome. Waraqua was also a cousin of Muhammad’s first wife. What the Pope did not realize was that Waraqua was secretly an Arian Ebionite and Gnostic and held heartily to the Gnostic book ‘The Gospel of Barabbas’.

Waraqah held a very complex heresy based on Ebionism and Arianism with added elements of Nestorianism. He was very well versed in the Old Testament and the Gospels and Jewish Halakha law.

The Ebionites were a small sect of Judaizers who while accepting the Christ as Messiah, rejected his divinity and continued to follow Jewish Halakha law. They held to aspects of the oral law of the Jews as well as Ceremonials laws of the Tanakh that was outwardly abrogated at the first advent. Ebionites also held to Arianism which completely denies the Trinity as well as aspects Nestorianism. Ebionism would become the basis for Islamic Shari’ah law.

Waraqah’s heresy is especially important because his heresy would become the basis of Islam as he was a very close companion of Muhammad.

The second great influence on Muhammad was a man named Sergius who was also known as Bahira. Sergius was a minister of the christian church who had fallen into the serious error of Nestorius and also fallen into immorality of the deepest kind.

“Sergius, called, by the Arabian writers, the monk Bahira, was a minister of the christian church, who had fallen into error and immorality of the deepest kind. He had belonged to that class of people, who in those days of dissention were called Nestorian from the celebrated bishop Nestorius, of Constantinople.” -Alexander Mcleod, Lectures on Revelation

Sergius came forth to Muhammad with a copy of the Gospel of Barabbas and was the angel Gabriel who helped Muhammad write the Quran.

“Friar Richard, and several other historians, speak of this fallen Monk, both under his proper name, and that of Bahira, which he assumed in Arabia as the agent in composing the Koran. He was the Gabriel of Mahomet. When Sergius had finished his task, he was sentence to death by his patron, for fear he should afterwards betray the imposture. … It was in the year 606, Mahomet commenced his imposture by retiring, under pretense of extraordinary sanctity, to the cave of Hera. In 612 he appeared as the apostle at the head of his disciples, publicly to propagate the new doctrine.” -Alexander Mcleod, Lectures on Revelation

Thus is the origin of Muhammadanism, the influences of Muhammad’s life that shaped this sect that would become in centuries to come a very dangerous sect that would play a very important role in Redemptive history.

The Christian Heresy of Muhammadanism

Muhammadanism does not claim to be a new religion but the church continued by further revelation. Muhammad believed they were a Reformation of the church and not a new religion. Muhammadans believe that Muhammad superseceded and abrogated both the Jewish dispensation of Moses and of the Christian dispensation of Christ and that Muhammad is the last great prophet. The Quran even tells us that the Scriptures are to be regarded as the Word of Allah (God) and to be respected and read but with the light and revelation of the writings of the Quran. They believe they are now the new church and seat in the temple of God. Muhammad claimed to be an apostle and prophet and superseceded the previous apostles and prophets of the Old and New Testaments.

Muhammadanism to this day embodies many aspects and practices of the early Christian world now lost in modern Western-based incarnation of Christianity. When the early Byzantines were first confronted by the Prophet’s armies, they assumed that Muhammadanism was merely an heretical form of Christianity, and in many ways they were not so far wrong: Muhammadanism accepts much of the Old and New Testaments and venerates both Jesus and the ancient Jewish prophets.

Amazingly, one of the great and most subtle theologian of the early church (although he sometimes went to far in the opposite direction as a knee jerk reaction to Muhammadanism), John Damascene commonly known as John Damascus was convinced that Islam was at root not a separate religion, but instead a form of Christianity. John regarded Muhammadanism as a form of Christian heresy related to Arianism: after all Arianism, like Muhammadanism, denied the divinity of Christ.

Muhammadanism is a perversion, a monstrous mutation of the Christian faith. Muhammad started with that important Christian doctrine, the unity and omnipotence of God. He also drew from Christian doctrine the attributes of God- the fact that God is eternal. The fact that He was all provident, all good as well as being the creator and sustainer of all things. The fact that Muhammadanism believes in angels and that they believe in demons. They also derived from the church the immortality of the soul, the equality of all men as well as responsibility of one’s action coupled with rewards and punishments after death. Furthermore Christ teaching about the poor, forgiving debts, condemning all usury. Muhammad gave Christ very high honor calling him a great profit who would come on the last great day to judge the living and the dead. Through Catholic influence Muhammadans have an extremely high devotion to the virgin Mary. Muhammad calls her in the Quran the first and best of all womenkind. Muhammadans even suggest that Mary was conceive without sin.

If you happen to spend anytime in the Christian communities of the Middle East, the more you become aware of the extent to which Eastern Christian practice formed the template for what were to become the basic conventions of Muhammadanism. The Muhammadan form of prayer with its bowings and prostrations is derived from the older Patristic tradition of the early church that is still practised in pewless churches across the Levant.  Muhammadan maqamat or tonal chant tradition is a combination of Syriac Christian maqamat, Byzantine Christian maqamat which is rooted in the plain chant of the Patristic church. By which they use the Zabur of Dawud. The term zabur is the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew zimrah (Hebrew: זִמְרָה), meaning: “psalm or chant.” Musical Instruments are strictly hareem but not just in worship but also in all of life. The Qur’an refers to the Zabur of Dawud (David) as one of God’s books revealed to four selected messengers.

“…And to David We gave the Psalms.” -Surah 4:163

“And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth: We did bestow on some Prophets more (and other) gifts than on others: and We gave to David (the gift of) the Psalms.” -Surah 17:55

“There will be people of my Ummah who will seek to make lawful; fornication, wine-drinking and the use of ma`aazif (musical instruments)” – Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari

The architecture of the earliest minarets, which are square rather than round, unmistakably derive from the church towers of Byzantium. Even the Niqaab (face veiling) was a universal practice of the church 500 years before the advent of Muhammadanism. In fact Muhammadanism did not accept the veiling of the face until the fall of Byzantium where they adopted the practice. Predestination was a strong belief of the early church rooted throughout all the Scriptures and it is still a strong and important belief within the Reformed Church.

Muhammadans do have a postmillenial view of eschatology. And like Gary North has always said. “You hit what you aim for” and they are advancing. Unfortunately for them, Christian postmillenialism is actually true….and so they will lose. God’s law will be established and Muhammadanism will be just another leg on the footstool of Christ.

This is just a taste of what more could be added to the list of attributes showing the similarities between Muhammadanism and Christianity. But in spite of its Christian influence Muhammadanism is still a heresy and a very dangerous one at that. Today the West Church often views Muhammadanism as a religion and civilization very different from Christianity.

“I cannot deny that the Turk holds the four Gospels to be divine and true, as well as the Prophets – and also speaks very highly of Christ and His mother. But at the same time, he believes that his Mohammed is above Christ — and that Christ is not God….” -Martin Luther

Jonathan Edwards said,

“If we consider the propagation of Christianity as a doctrine or belief of wonderful divine facts, Mahometanism is not set up in opposition to it; because the Mahometan religion itself acknowledges the principal facts of Christianity, though it has no facts of its own to urge. And so Mahometanism rather confirms than weakens Christianity; and the propagation of Mahometanism itself may be considered as one thing belonging to the propagation of Christianity, and as a part of that propagation, in so far as it consists in a propagation of a professed belief of those facts. It is so far an instance of the propagation of that which is the foundation of Christianity, that it proves all the rest.  The Alcoran owns Jesus to be a great prophet; “the messenger of God,” (Surat. v. 84) that he wrought miracles, healing a man blind from his birth, and the leprous, (Surat. v. 119.) also raising the dead; and that Jesus as born of Mary was himself a miracle, (Surat.xxiii. 52.)  He often speaks of Jesus as the servant and messenger of God; (Surat. iv. 158. iii. 152. iv.169, 170. v. 84.)  Now, owning this, is in effect owning the whole.  This is the foundation of the whole, and proves all the rest.  It owns that Jesus was miraculously conceived and born; (Surat iii. 47. xix. 20, 21.) and without sin.  (Surat iii. 36. xix. 19.)—Mahomet owns Jesus, and ascribes the conception of Christ alone to the power of God, and the inflation of his Spirit.—In Surat xxi. 19. are these words, as the words of God: “And Mary was a chaste virgin, and We inspired her with Our Spirit, and set up her and her son as a miracle to all ages.”—He owned Jesus to be the Messiah foretold in in the law and the prophets; Surat. iii. 45. “When the angels said, O Mary, certainly God declares to thee his own word; his name shall be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary:” Surat xix. 29  Surat iv. “Certainly Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, is the ambassador of God and his word.”  He owned Christ’s ascension into heaven.  “God raised him (Christ) to himself;”  iv. 157.  Concerning Christ’s miracles, Mahomet says, Surat. iii. 45. v. 119.  “God says, O Jesus, the son of Mary, I have strengthened thee by the Spirit of holiness; and thou shalt, by my leave, heal a man blind from his birth; and by my leave thou shalt raise the dead from their graves.”

In this respect the great propagation of the Mahometan religion is a confirmation of revealed religion—and so of the christian in particular, which alone can have any pretext to be a religion revealed by God—as this is a great demonstration of the extreme darkness, blindness, weakness, childishness, folly, and madness of mankind in matters of religion, and shows how greatly they stand in need of a divine guide, and divine grace and strength for their help, such as the gospel reveals. And that this gross delusion has continued so long to so great an extent, shows how helpless mankind are, under ignorance and delusion in matters of religion; and what absolute need they have of extraordinary divine interposition for their relief. And besides, such a miserable, blind, helpless, state of mankind, is also exactly agreeable to the representation made in the christian revelation.” -Jonathan Edwards. 1879. The works of Jonathan Edwards, A.M., rev. & ed., Edward Hickman,   2:491-3, 12th edition.  London: William Tegg & Co.

Covenanter Alexander McLeod wrote,

“The impostor of Mecca admitted the divine origin of both the Old and the New Testament, and gave out that they both predicted his own mission, as superior to Moses, and even to Jesus Christ. In the sixty-first chapter, the Koran has these words, ” Remember that Jesus the Son of Mary said to the children of Israel, I am the messenger of God ; he hath sent me to confirm the Old Testament, and to declare unto you, that there shall come a prophet after me, whose name shall be Mahomet.”* Four texts of scripture are employed to prove that the son of Abdallah was a teacher sent from God, Deut. xxxiii. 2. Psa. 1. 2. Isa. xxi. 7. John xvi. 7. I shall not however, take up your time by repeating the argument or the criticism upon these passages.” -Lectures in Revelation

Dutch Reformed Theologian Abraham Kuyper wrote,

“That is the reason Muhammad connected to earlier revelations of Monotheism. He did not consider his a new religion. Neither was it a religion that syncretistically was cobbled together by mixing existing religions. Allah had always reigned, had all the while revealed His will and had from the beginning counted in history. It is just that mankind was not capable of comprehending the full mystery of Allah’s rule all at once. Hence Allah revealed Himself gradually, progressively, step by step. The prophets of all the ages were the vehicles for these revelations. They numbered in the thousands, but most of them were of minor significance. Some were mere sparks that flamed up quickly but extinguished just as quickly. A few among them became leading vehicles in this development of the service of Allah. Adam was the first in that series. The series includes Noah and Shem. After them, especially Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ. All of these not only struggle zealously for Monotheism and proclaimed the majesty of Allah, but in their successive appearances they formed an unbroken chain, a continuous progressive revelation from Allah. Jesus was the last among them before Muhammad, and the highest. However, even Jesus Christ was merely one of the many prophets, the latest in order and the highest, but no higher than Moses and other predecessors in rank and kind. That is why even in Jesus, divine revelation had not yet come to a close. Did the Gospels themselves not predict that after Jesus there would be another Comforter? That final closure to revelation came in the person of Muhammad. He completed what was begun with Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muhammad received the closing revelation. At the eschaton, that is, the end of all things, at the closure of world history, there will be more appearances, but these will no longer belong to history, for that history will also have come to its close. From now until that ending, that is, during this present dispensation, there will not come any further, higher or more complete revelation after Muhammad. What began with Adam or, if you prefer, with Abraham, is one single unified process that found its finale in Muhammad. That is why all faith comes down to two articles: first, the confession that Allah controls all things; second, that Muhammad represents His full and closing revelation. But now, according to Muhammad, that revelation is complete. That is to say, that revelation, being the final revelation of God’s will, must have priority over the law and rule over all other things. Here is where the Qur’an came in and then, next to it, a variety of sources of orthodoxy. There are the Hadith [the Traditions or record of individual actions and sayings by the Prophet as reported by his Companions], the Sunnah [the sacred collection of the Hadiths, the second highest Islamic authority next to the Qur’an] and the Ijima as the vox populi [the voice of the people] comprising the entire body of learned Islamic scholars and their output.” Abraham Kuyper, The Mystery of Islam

Kuyper continues,

“Muhammad and his followers definitely did not place Christians and Pagans on the same level. They distinguished sharply between those who bowed before idols and those who stood by the revelations of Moses and Jesus. After all, according to Islam, Moses and Jesus also honoured Islam. Their revelations are all recognized as being of divine origin, the difference between them being that the revelation to Muhammad was higher, came later and went further. Thus Christians were viewed as knowing Allah at an earlier period and were walking the right path. They only went wrong when they refused to accept the later and higher revelation. This and this only was their offence. It is similar to the way Christians honour the Jews in so far as they follow Moses, but we fault them only for being blind towards the later and fuller revelation that came in Christ. So Muslims judge that Christians did indeed obey the revelation that till that point was the highest, but they willfully closed their eyes to the even higher light that came with Muhammad. Here they determined the limits of the Holy Book. Jews had the Holy Book of the Old Testament; Christians honoured the Holy Book of the Old and New Testament, but both rejected the even holier Book of the Qur’an. But even though, according to Muhammad’s judgement, the others were at a lower level, they could be tolerated as backward or deficient kindred. That is why all Christians were not only tolerated but were given a degree of freedom of worship, on condition that they acknowledge the authority of the Muslim ruler, if not in religion, at least in politics. From the beginning this demand for nations and non-Muslims to acknowledge the superiority of Islam governed their relationship. Since Allah is omnipotent over the entire world, His faithful warriors are automatically entitled to control that entire world. Strictly speaking, only the followers of Islam have a right to exist or human rights.” Abraham Kuyper, The Mystery of Islam

“Mohammedanism was a : that is the essential point to grasp before going any further.  It began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. It vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was_not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing. … He took over very few of those old pagan ideas which might have been native to him from his descent. On the contrary, he preached and insisted upon a whole group of ideas which were peculiar to the Catholic Church and distinguished it from the paganism which it had conquered in the Greek and Roman civilization. … Mohammed did not merely take the first steps toward that denial, as the Arians and their followers had done; he advanced a clear affirmation, full and complete, against the whole doctrine of an incarnate God. He taught that Our Lord was the greatest of all the prophets, but still only a prophet: a man like other men. He eliminated the Trinity altogether.” -Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies

The Roots of Arianism, Nestorianism, Ebionitism and Gnostism

Muhammadanism is a complex compound of various Christian Heresies combined together. It combines Arianism, Nestorianism, Ebionitism, Gnostism and Neonomianism along with various other heresies together for a system of one super arch-heresy sect combining the worst all of all major Christian heresies.

Arianism

Arianism is a nontrinitarian belief that asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, created by God the Father, distinct from the Father.

Martin Luther distinctly declared that Muhammadanism came out of this sect,

“Augustine held that [the A.D. 320f] Arius’s punishment in hell becomes greater every day, as long as this error lasts. For Mohammed came out of this sect.” -Reformer Martin Luther

Nestorianism

Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine that emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus. It was advanced by Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431.

A brief definition of Nestorian Christology can be given as: “Jesus Christ, who is not identical with the Son but personally united with the Son, who lives in him, is one hypostasis and one nature: human.”

Nestorius and his teachings were eventually condemned as heretical at the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451, leading to the Nestorian Schism, in which churches supporting Nestorius broke with the rest of the Christian Church. Many of Nestorius’s supporters relocated to the Sasanian Empire. Over the next decades the Church of the East became increasingly Nestorian in doctrine, leading to it becoming known alternately as the Nestorian Church.

Both influences in Muhammads life, Waraqah bin Nawfal and the monk Sergius were Nestorian.

Ebionitism

Ebionitism was an early church heresy that were Judaizers. They were condemned in Acts 15 at the council of Jerusalem. They denied that Christ was divine and believed that Christ was a mere prophet like Moses, continued to believe in the continuation of the sacrificial system (i.e, the Ceremonial law) as well as the additions of the law of the Pharisees commonly known as the oral law of Moses. But they also owned the Gospels. They also adhered to Justification by Works.

“What [the Judaistic] Ebion began, Mohammed continued. Thus, all the throngs of heretics…rise up against Christ…. But to John, they are all liars…. Mohammed came and led nearly the whole World in the East astray and away from Christ.” -Martin Luther

Gnosticism

Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός gnostikos, “having knowledge”, from γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) whose adherents shunned the material world and embraced the spiritual world. But how does this tie into Muhammadanism? The Gospel of Barnabas is considered a Gnostic and perhaps Ebionite origin which we will see the Quran was largely taken from.

The Gospel of Barnabas

The Gospel of Barnabas not only mentions Muhammad by name, but including the shahadah (chapter 39). It is strongly anti-Pauline and anti-Trinitarian in tone. In this work, Jesus is described as a prophet and not the son of God, while Paul is called “the deceived.” Furthermore, the Gospel of Barnabas states that Jesus escaped crucifixion by being raised alive to heaven, while Judas Iscariot the traitor was crucified in his place. These beliefs—in particular, that Jesus is a prophet of God and raised alive without being crucified—conform to or resemble Islamic teachings which say that Jesus is a major prophet who did not die on the cross but was taken alive by angels to God.

“The Muhammadans have also a Gospel in Arabic, attributed Barnabas, wherein the history of Jesus Christ is Gospel of related in a manner very different from what we find in the true Gospels, and correspondent to those traditions which Muhammad has followed in his Quran.” George Sale in The Preliminary Discourse to the Koran, 1734

The Gospel of Barnabas claims that Jesus predicted the advent of Muhammad, thus conforming with the Qur’an which mentions:

“And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad. But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, this is evident sorcery!”  -Sura 61:6

According to the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus foresaw and rejected his own deification:

“And having said this, Jesus smote his face with both his hands, and then smote the ground with his head. And having raised his head, he said: “Cursed be every one who shall insert into my sayings that I am the son of God.” -53:6

“Jesus answered: “And you; what say you that I am?” Peter answered: “You are Christ, son of God”. Then was Jesus angry, and with anger rebuked him, saying: “Begone and depart from me, because you are the devil and seek to cause me offences.” -70:1

Ancient Babylon, Sun and Moon Worship

The Papacy and Muhammadanism are both rooted from ancient Babylonian. They are the Sun and Moon religions of Babylon and both are in a true sense dopplegangers of True Christianity. They are in a really real sense the AntiChrist. The vision is found in the Apocalypse ‘a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.'”

Even the celebration of December 24 and December 25 has it roots in Babylonian Sun and Moon Worship. Alexander Hyslop wrote, “Among the Sabeans of Arabia, who regarded the moon, and not the sun, as the visible symbol of the favourite object of their idolatry, the same period was observed as the birth festival. Thus we read in Stanley’s Sabean Philosophy: “On the 24th of the tenth month,” that is December, according to our reckoning, “the Arabians celebrated the BIRTHDAY OF THE LORD–that is the Moon.” The Lord Moon was the great object of Arabian worship, and that Lord Moon, according to them, was born on the 24th of December, which clearly shows that the birth which they celebrated had no necessary connection with the course of the sun. “ -The Two Babylons

moon god

Hyslop continues, “It must have been the birth-day of the Lord Moon, therefore, and not of the Sun, that was celebrated by them on the 25th of December, even as the birth-day of the same Lord Moon was observed by the Arabians on the 24th of December. The name of the Lord Moon in the East seems to have been Meni, for this appears the most natural interpretation of the Divine statement in Isaiah lxv. 11, “But ye are they that forsake my holy mountain, that prepare a temple for Gad, and that furnish the drink-offering unto Meni.” There is reason to believe that Gad refers to the sun-god, and that Meni in like manner designates the moon-divinity. “ -The Two Babylons

So just as the Papacy celebrates the ancient feast of Saturnlia that stems back to Babylon and is tied to the sun, the Arabians also celebrated the birth of the Moon on December 25th through their god Meni.

The Little Horn

The Horns comes from Daniel. A Big Horn and a small horn that grows out of the Big horn.. The Reformers saw this as the two great arms of the AntiChrist which was why in the Westminster Confession of Faith they labelled the Pope as THE AntiChrist. He was the first horn and was a manifestation of THE antichrist. This was the Sun Worship of Babylon. Out of this Sun Worship of Babylon and the papacy would grow a little horn that would spread over all the earth, The Moon Worship of Babylon- Islam.

In Daniel 7:7 & 7:20, the Prophet predicted the rise of a ‘little horn’ within the Roman Empire.  Though first but ‘little’ — that horn would later become very ‘stout’ and arrogant.

In his Commentaries on Daniel (7:7-18), Calvin explains that “in this Fourth Monarchy those who are endued with moderate judgment confess this vision to be fulfilled in the Roman Empire….   What is here said of the Fourth Beast — many transfer to the Pope, when it is added that a ‘Little Horn’ sprang up.   But others think the Turkish kingdom is comprehended under the Roman.   The Jews, for the most part, incline this way…. “

“Christ’s Kingdom was erected by the overthrow of the Roman dominion.   The Jews…join the Turkish monarchy with the Roman….   There are some of our [Christian] writers who think this image ought not to be restricted to the Roman Empire, but ought to include the Turkish….”

“The Little Horn in Daniel . . . Mahomet the great destroyer, as his name signifies.” -Alexander Ross, “Alcoran of Mahomet” (1649)

Allah, What is in a name

Allah is not an Muhammadan concept. It’s Arabic for God. Etymologically related to the Hebrew El and Elohim.

The Aramaic word for “God” in the language of Assyrian Christians is ʼĔlāhā, or Alaha. Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word “Allah” to mean “God”. (1)

The Aramaic singular for “god” is alaha, the plural for “gods” is alahe.

“Elaha” and “Alaha” are the same word, they mean the same thing. The only reason it is pronounced differently is because of the dialect, Elaha is Western Aramaic while Alaha is Eastern Aramaic. Both are acceptable in Aramaic.

The word ‘El’ is an ancient proto-Semitic root and predates both Hebrew and Aramaic, the Aramaic ‘Alaha’ is the emphatic form of the root ‘El/Al’ (Aleph-Lamed). It is found in Akkadian as well (Babel/Babylon = “bab-ilu”, “gate of god”). Ugaritic, Phoenician, Arabic and all the Semitic languages use this root.

Allah is a generic word for the God Almighty in the Arabic language.

Edward Lane (A Christian Arabic Scholar) will tell you this and Abdul Omar Mannan has perfectly stipulated this in their lexicographic works.

The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for “God” than “Allah” (2) Maltese speakers call God “Alla,” and the Orthodox in the middle East use the word Allah as well

Furthermore NO Arabic lexicon that exist says to the contrary.

Some archaeological excavation quests have led to the discovery of ancient Pre-Muhammadan inscriptions and tombs made by Arabic-speaking Christians in the ruins of a church at Umm el-Jimal in Northern Jordan, which contained references to Allah as the proper name of God, and some of the graves contained names such as “Abd Allah” which means “the servant/slave of Allah”. (4)

The name Allah can be found countless times in the reports and the lists of names of Christian martyrs in South Arabia, as reported by antique Syriac documents of the names of those martyrs from the era of the Himyarite & Aksumite kingdoms. (5)

A Christian leader named Abd Allah ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad was martyred in Najran in 523 AD, and he had worn a ring that said “Allah is my lord” (6)

In an inscription of Christian martyrion dated back to 512 AD, references to Allah can be found in both Arabic and Aramaic, which called him “Allah” and “Alaha”, and the inscription starts with the statement “By the Help of Allah”. (7)

In Pre-Muhammadan Gospels, the name used for God was “Allah”, as evidenced by some discovered Arabic versions of the New Testament written by Arab Christians during the Pre-Islamic era in Northern and Southern Arabia. (8)

Pre-Islamic Arab Christians have been reported to have raised the battle cry “Ya La Ibad Allah” (O slaves of Allah) to invoke each other into battle. (9)

The Diatessaron (c 160–175) is the most prominent early Gospel harmony; and was created by Tatian, an early Christian Assyrian apologist.  The Diatessaron was first written in Aramaic and later translated in Arab. It used Alaha in the Aramaic and Allah in the Arabic translation.

Early Aramaic Christians and Arab speaking Christians have used two forms of invocations that were affixed to the beginning of their written works, The bismillāh. In addition to an invocation it was used as a blessing and many times as opening to prayer. They also created their own Trinitized bismillāh as early as the 8th century A.D. after the rise of Muhammadanism (3)..

This article Syriac version Bismillahirrohmanirrohim ;

ܒܫܡ ܐܠܗܐ ܪܚܡܢܐ ܘܪܚܝܡܐ

ܪܚܡܢܐ  is  MRaKHMaNaA and means most compassionate (Arabic: Al-rahmān)

ܘܪܚܝܡܐ  is warHiyme and means most merciful (Arabic: al-raheem) aRKHiYMeA

ܐܠܗܐ is Alaha

ܒܫܡ is bishm and means In the name of

Recently Father Pecerillo, a famous Franciscan Archeologist, found more than twenty churches in Madaba at the south of Jordan. From the Forth Century we found houses in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine with this inscription in Arabic :”Bism il-Lah (Allah) al Rahman al Rahim” that showed that Christians were the first to use this name so as to indicate their belief in the Holy Trinity, more than two hundred years before Islam.

Christians had church all over the region of Arabic speaking countries. All over the Iraq, Syria Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia: (Mekka itself), Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Palestine, etc. you can find the sites of churches, convents and Christian centers and schools. Today, archeology tells us a lot about these monuments. Recently a convent was discovered in Karbala (Iraq) that returns to the 1st century of Christianity. The oldest one that was discovered ever since was in the Forth Century.

In šāʾ Allāh is a term that means ‘Allah Willing’. InsaAllah is also common in Christian groups in the Middle East, in parts of Africa and by some Portuguese and Spanish-speaking people. A term that gives an understanding of the Absolute Sovereignty of God over all His creation, and that nothing happens apart from His ordaining it to come to pass.

The Epistle of James in the New Testament Scriptures tells followers of Jesus: “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” -James 4:13-15

Footsnotes for this particular chapter at the end of the article

The Eastern AntiChrist

To many people the AntiChrist is a singular person who has not yet come. But that is not what the Scripture teaches nor is it the view of the historic Reformed Protestant church. The AntiChrist is not a person but a system. A system that has two horns consisting of Western and Eastern AntiChrist and is namely the Papacy and Muhammadanism. The AntiChrist system is not something we are still awaiting but is already at work in the world during this time of Great Tribulation. It is a system that will engulf the entire Roman Empire both of East and West. We have already shown how Muhammadanism is not just another religion but is nothing more then a Christian heresy.

In Calvin’s 1551 Commentary on the First Epistle of John 2:18-23 — on Apostle John’s words ‘even now many antichrists have arisen’ — Calvin comments that “here, all the marks by which the Spirit of God has pointed out Antichrist — appear clearly in the Pope….  Those who think that he would be just one man, are dreaming!”

Within the same century of Muhammad there was a Christian theologian by the name John Damascus. He was intimately associated with Muhammadanism because he not only lived in the East but also lived under the Dynasty. John Damascus calls them a heresy and shows how they are tied in with the Old and New Testament and conversed with an Arian monk,

“There is also the superstition of the Ishmaelites which to this day prevails and keeps people in error” John Damascus, The Fount of Knowledge,  Peri aipeseon (Concerning Heresies)

John Damascus continues,

“They (Muhammadans) are descended from Ishmael, [who] was born to Abraham of Agar, and for this reason they are called both Agarenes and Ishmaelites… From that time to the present a false prophet named Mohammed has appeared in their midst. This man, after having chanced upon the Old and New Testaments and likewise, it seems, having conversed with an Arian monk, devised his own heresy. Then, having insinuated himself into the good graces of the people by a show of seeming piety, he gave out that a certain book had been sent down to him from heaven. He had set down some ridiculous compositions in this book of his and he gave it to them as an object of veneration.” -John Damascus, The Fount of Knowledge,  Peri aipeseon (Concerning Heresies)

Again he continues,

“Moreover, they call us Hetaeriasts, or Associators, because, they say, we introduce an associate with God by declaring Christ to the Son of God and God… And again we say to them: ‘As long as you say that Christ is the Word of God and Spirit, why do you accuse us of being Hetaeriasts? For the word, and the spirit, is inseparable from that in which it naturally has existence. Therefore, if the Word of God is in God, then it is obvious that He is God. If, however, He is outside of God, then, according to you, God is without word and without spirit. Consequently, by avoiding the introduction of an associate with God you have mutilated Him. It would be far better for you to say that He has an associate than to mutilate Him, as if you were dealing with a stone or a piece of wood or some other inanimate object. Thus, you speak untruly when you call us Hetaeriasts; we retort by calling you Mutilators of God.’” -John Damascus, The Fount of Knowledge,  Peri aipeseon (Concerning Heresies)

Finally, John Damascus said,

“He says that the Christ is the Word of God and His Spirit, but a creature and a servant, and that He was begotten, without seed, of Mary the sister of Moses and Aaron. For, he says, the Word and God and the Spirit entered into Mary and she brought forth Jesus, who was a prophet and servant of God. And he says that the Jews wanted to crucify Him in violation of the law, and that they seized His shadow and crucified this. But the Christ Himself was not crucified, he says, nor did He die, for God out of His love for Him took Him to Himself into heaven.  And he says this, that when the Christ had ascended into heaven God asked Him: ‘O Jesus, didst thou say: “I am the Son of God and God”?’ And Jesus, he says, answered: ‘Be merciful to me, Lord. Thou knowest that I did not say this and that I did not scorn to be thy servant. But sinful men have written that I made this statement, and they have lied about me and have fallen into error.’ And God answered and said to Him: ‘I know that thou didst not say this word.”  There are many other extraordinary and quite ridiculous things in this book which he boasts was sent down to him from God. But when we ask: ‘And who is there to testify that God gave him the book? And which of the prophets foretold that such a prophet would rise up?’—they are at a loss. And we remark that Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, with God appearing in the sight of all the people in cloud, and fire, and darkness, and storm. And we say that all the Prophets from Moses on down foretold the coming of Christ and how Christ God (and incarnate Son of God) was to come and to be crucified and die and rise again, and how He was to be the judge of the living and dead. Then, when we say: ‘How is it that this prophet of yours did not come in the same way, with others bearing witness to him? And how is it that God did not in your presence present this man with the book to which you refer, even as He gave the Law to Moses, with the people looking on and the mountain smoking, so that you, too, might have certainty?’—they answer that God does as He pleases. ‘This,’ we say, ‘We know, but we are asking how the book came down to your prophet.’ Then they reply that the book came down to him while he was asleep. Then we jokingly say to them that, as long as he received the book in his sleep and did not actually sense the operation, then the popular adage applies to him (which runs: You’re spinning me dreams.)” -John Damascus, The Fount of Knowledge,  Peri aipeseon (Concerning Heresies)

Martin Luther who ignited the Protestant Reformation declared the following,

“The Turk and the Pope,” explained Luther, “do not differ at all in the form of religion; they vary only in words and ceremonies. For the Turk observes his and Moses’ ceremonies; yet the Pope, partly Christian ceremonies and partly such as were born of his own brain…. Just as the Turk violates the washings of Moses, so the Pope [too] does violence to Baptism and the Sacrament [of the Eucharist]. And just as the former does not stay with Moses, so the latter does not stay purely with Christ.”

We already know that the Papacy is the AntiChrist, it is declared in every Protestant Confession of Faith including the Westminster Confession. Here Martin Luther explains that the Turk and the Pope do not differ at all in the form of religion and therefore they too are the AntiChrist.

Again Luther said,

“To us Germans and to the Italians, He gave the Pope and with him all sorts of horrible things.” Yet “the wrath of God has brought Mohammed and the Pope into the World.”

Regarding the prophecies of Daniel, Martin Luther speaks of the Fourth Beast as well as the Little Horn that grew out of the first and he declares that little horn Muhammadans who will knock off three of the top ten horns of nations.

“The fourth beast, with the iron teeth, is now the really guilty one! This is the last, the Roman Empire…. Daniel [7:19-21] here…portrays this Roman Empire in such a way that it should first be broken up into ten kingdoms. These are the ten ‘ horns’ : Syria, Egypt, Asia [Minor], Greece, [North] Africa, Spain, Gaul, Italy, Germany, England, etc. He (Daniel) also indicates that one small horn shall knock off three among the top ten horns – meaning Mohammad or the Turk who now holds Egypt, Asia, and Greece…. This same little horn will fight the saints and blaspheme Christ — something that we are all experiencing and seeing before our very eyes…. The Turk has had great victories against the Christians, yet denies Christ while elevating his Mohammed.”

Dr. Luther believed that the “two regimes, that of the Pope and that of the Turk, are no doubt the true Antichrist”

Luther elaborates that “the Antichrist is at once the Pope and the Turk, because a human being is made up of body and soul.”

“And St. Paul in Second Thessalonians [speaks] of the Antichrist who comes with all kinds of lying-signs and [lying-]wonders and with all kinds of deceit unto unrighteousness etc….. This has occurred powerfully in the Papacy — and also in Turkey where such [Moslem] ‘clerics’ and exceptional ‘holy men’ are many….”

After John foresaw the fifth angel sound his trumpet, John recorded, “I saw a star fall from the sky…and he opened the bottomless pit. And there arose a smoke out of the pit…. And out of the smoke, locusts came upon the Earth…. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the Earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those who do not have the seal of God upon their foreheads…. Then the sixth angel sounded [his trumpet]. And I heard a voice say…’Loosen the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates!’ Then the four angels were unleashed…to slay the third part of men.” Revelation 9:1-13f.

Dr. Luther explains that “in chapters 9 and 10 the real misery begins.” In Revelation 9:1-11 “is Arius, the great heretic and his companions who plagued the Church so terribly everywhere” — and who was the unitarian forerunner also of the equally-unitarian Islam. In Revelation 9:12-13, “the second woe is…the shameful Mohammed with his companions the Saracens, who inflicted a great plague on the Church – with their doctrines and with the sword.”

Luther continues  “Here now the Devil’s final wrath gets to work. There, in the east — the second woe: Mohammed and the Saracens. Here, in the west — Papacy and Empire: with the third woe!”

Luther concludes his treatment of the book of Revelation: “We can profit by this Book…. We can know that neither force nor lies neither wisdom nor holiness, neither tribulation nor suffering, shall suppress the Church. But it will gain the victory, and overcome at last…. Great and perilous and manifold offences come upon the Church…. This has happened before now, under the Papacy and Mohammed…. Our time is a golden age, compared with those that have gone before….

The great Reformer John Calvin in his 1556-57 Sermons on Deuteronomy (18:15 & 33:2), explains:

“As Mahomet says that his Al-Coran is the sovereign wisdom, so says the Pope of his own decrees. For they be the two horns of Antichrist”

Both “Mahomet” and “the Pope” John Calvin called “the two horns of Antichrist.”   They correspond to the two legs of the later Roman Empire – Islam and the Papacy.

John Calvin in his Sermons on Deuteronomy (4:8), he frankly enjoined his Christian addressees: “Look upon the Turks [The Muhammadans]!   They have some reverence to their religion….   So have the Papists also….   Still, both of them are cut off from the Church of God — through their own fault.”

The Lion of the Covenant, Cameronian Covenanter Richard Cameron in a sermon delivered in Lanarkshire had compared the ‘Turks’ Alcoran’ to the ‘Pope’s Conclave’ and the ‘Council of Britain’ as the Antichrist enemies who would perish at the Lord’s hand. -The information about the sermon is in Renwick, A Choice Collection, 422.

In his book A History of the Work of Redemption, Jonathan Edwards wrote: “The two great works of the devil which he wrought against the Kingdom of Christ are . . . his Anti-Christian (Romish or Papal) and Mahometan (Muslim or Islamic) kingdoms, which have been, and still are, two kingdoms of great extent and strength. Both together swallow up the Ancient Roman Empire; the (Papal) kingdom of the Antichrist swallowing up the Western Empire; and Satan’s Mahometan kingdom the Eastern Empire . . . In the Book of Revelation (chapter 16-20) . . . it is in the destruction of these that the glorious victory of Christ at the introduction of the glorious times of the Church, will mainly consists. And here let us briefly observe how Satan erects and maintains these two great kingdoms of his in opposition to the kingdom of Christ.

With respect to the kingdom of Antichrist. This seems to be the masterpiece of all the contrivances of the devil against the kingdom of Christ, and is evidently so spoken of in Scripture. Antichrist is that man of sin, (2 Thess. ii. 3.) emphatically, as though he were so eminently. He is called Antichrist, which signifies the opponent or adversary of Christ, not because he is the only opponent of Christ; for the apostle John observes, that in his days there were many Antichrists. But yet this is called the Antichrist, as though there were none but he, because he was so eminently, and above all others. So this contrivance of the devil, is called the mystery of iniquity, 2 Thess. ii. 7. We find no enemy of Christ one half so much spoken of in the prophecies of Revelation as this; and the destruction of no enemy is spoken of as so glorious, and so happy for the church.

This is a contrivance to turn the ministry of the christian church into a ministry of the devil, and the angels of the churches into fallen angels. In the tyranny, superstition, idolatry, and persecution, which he sets up, he contrives to make an image of ancient paganism, and more than to restore what was lost by the overthrow of paganism in the time of Constantine. By these means, the head of the beast, which was wounded unto death in Constantine, has his deadly wound healed in Antichrist, Rev. xiii. 3. And the dragon, that formerly reigned in the heathen Roman empire, being cast out thence, after the beast with seven heads and ten horns rises up out of the sea, gives him his power, and seat, and great authority; and all the world wonders after the beast.

I am far from pretending to determine the time when the reign of Antichrist began, which is a point that has been so much controverted among divines and expositors. It is certain that the twelve hundred and sixty days, or years, which are so often in Scripture mentioned as the time of the continuance of Antichrist’s reign, did not commence before the year of Christ four hundred and seventy-nine; because if they did, they would have ended, and Antichrist would have fallen before now. The rise of Antichrist was gradual. The christian church corrupted itself in many things presently after Constantine’s time; growing more and more superstitious in its worship, and by degrees bringing in many ceremonies into the worship of God, till at length they brought in the worship of saints, and set up images in their churches. The clergy in general, and especially the bishop of Rome, assumed more and more authority to himself. In the primitive times, he was only a minister of a congregation; then a standing moderator of a presbytery; then a diocesan bishop; then a metropolitan, which is equivalent to an archbishop; then a patriarch. Afterwards he claimed the power of universal bishop over the whole christian church; wherein he was opposed for a while, but afterwards was confirmed in it by the civil power of the emperor in the year six hundred and six. After that he claimed the power of a temporal prince, and so was wont to carry two swords, to signify that both the temporal and spiritual sword was his. He claimed more and more authority, till at length, as Christ’s vice-regent on earth, he claimed the very same power that Christ would have done, if he was present on earth reigning on his throne; or the same power that belongs to God, and was used to be called God on earth; to be submitted to by all the princes of Christendom. He claimed power to crown princes, and to degrade them at his pleasure; and this power was owned: yea, kings and emperors used to kiss his feet. The emperors received their crowns at his hands; and princes were wont to dread the displeasure of the pope, as they would dread a thunderbolt from heaven. If the pope was pleased to excommunicate a prince, all his subjects were at once freed from their allegiance to him; and obliged not to own him any more, on pain of excommunication; and not only so, but any man might kill him wherever he found him. Further, the pope was believed to have power to damn men at pleasure; for whoever died under his excommunication, was looked upon as certainly damned. Several emperors were actually deposed, and ejected, and died miserably by his means; and if the people of any state or kingdom did not please him, he had power to lay that state or kingdom under an interdict, which was a sentence pronounced by the pope against that state or kingdom, whereby all sacred administrations among them could have no validity. There could be no valid baptisms, or sacraments, or prayers, or preaching, or pardons, till that interdict was taken off; so that that people remained, in their apprehension, in a miserable, damnable state, and therefore dreaded it as they would a storm of fire and brimstone from heaven. And in order to execute his wrath on a prince or people with whom he was displeased, other princes must also be put to a great deal of trouble and expense.

And as the pope and his clergy robbed the people of their ecclesiastical and civil liberties and privileges, so they also robbed them of their estates, drained all Christendom of their money. They engrossed most of their riches into their own coffers, by vast revenues, besides pay for pardons and indulgences, baptisms and extreme unctions, deliverance out of purgatory, and a hundred other things.—See how well this agrees with the prophecies, 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4. Dan. vii. 20, 21. Rev. xiii. 6, 7; xvii. 3,

During this time also superstition and ignorance more and more prevailed. The Holy Scriptures by degrees were taken out of the hands of the laity, the better to promote the unscriptural and wicked designs of the pope and the clergy; and instead of promoting knowledge among the people, they industriously promoted ignorance. It was a received maxim among them, That ignorance is the mother of devotion: and so great was the darkness of those times, that learning was almost extinct in the world. The very priests themselves, most of them, were barbarously ignorant as to any commendable learning, or any other knowledge, than their hellish craft in oppressing and tyrannizing over the souls of the people.—The superstition and wickedness of the church of Rome, kept growing worse and worse till the very time of the Reformation, and the whole christian world were led away into this great defection, excepting the remains of the christian church in the Eastern empire that had not been utterly overthrown by the Turks. The Greek church, and some others, were also sunk into great darkness and gross superstition, excepting also those few that were the people of God, who are represented by the woman in the wilderness, and God’s two witnesses, of which more hereafter.—This is one of those two great kingdoms which the devil in this period erected in opposition to the kingdom of Christ, and was the greatest and chief.

The Mahometan kingdom is another of mighty power and vast extent, set up by Satan against the kingdom of Christ. He set this up in the Eastern empire, as he did that of Antichrist in the Western.

Mahomet was born in the year of Christ five hundred and seventy, in Arabia. When he was about forty years of age, he began to boast that he was the great prophet of God; and proceeded to teach his new-invented religion, of which he was to be worshipped as the head next under God. He published his Alcoran, which he pretended he received from the angel Gabriel; and being a subtle crafty man, possessed of considerable wealth, and living among a people who were very ignorant, and greatly divided in their opinions on religious matters, he by subtlety and fair promises of a sensual paradise, gained a number to be his followers. He set up for their prince, and propagated his religion by the sword, and made it meritorious of paradise to fight for him. By such means his party grew, and went on fighting till they conquered and brought over the neighbouring countries; and so his party gradually increased till they overran a great part of the world. First, the Saracens were some of his followers, who were a people of Arabia, where Mahomet lived, and who about the year seven hundred, dreadfully wasted the Roman empire.—They overran a great many countries belonging to the empire, and continued their conquests for a long time. These are supposed to be meant by the locusts mentioned in the 9th chapter of Revelation.

And then the Turks, who were originally different from the Saracens, became followers of Mahomet, and conquered all the Eastern empire. They began their empire about the year of Christ twelve hundred and ninety-six; began to invade Europe in the year thirteen hundred; took Constantinople, and so became masters of all the Eastern empire, in the year fourteen hundred and fifty-three. And thus all the cities and countries where stood those famous churches of which we read in the New Testament, as Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, &c. now became subject to the Turks. These are supposed to be prophesied of by the horsemen in the 9th chapter of Revelation, beginning with the 15th verse. And the remains of the Christians in those parts of the world, who are mostly of the Greek church, are in miserable slavery under these Turks; are treated with a great deal of barbarity and cruelty, and are become mostly very ignorant and superstitious.

Thus I have shown what great works of Satan were wrought during this space of time in opposition to the kingdom of Christ.

  1. I come now to show how the church of Christ was upheld through this dark time.
  1. It is to be observed, that towards the former part of this space of time, some of the nations of Christendom held out a long time before they complied with the corruptions and usurpations of the church of Rome. Though all the world wondered after the beast, yet all nations did not fall in at once. Many of the principal corruptions of the church of Rome were brought in with a great deal of struggle and opposition; and particularly, when the pope gave out, that he was universal bishop, many churches greatly opposed him in it; and it was a long time before they would yield to his exorbitant claims. And so, when the worship of images was first brought into the churches, there were many who greatly opposed it, and long held out against it. And so with respect to other corruptions of the church of Rome. Those who dwelt nearer to the city of Rome complied sooner; but some that were more remote, were a long time before they could be induced to put their necks under the yoke: and particularly a great part of the churches in England, Scotland, and France, retained the ancient purity of doctrine and worship much longer than many others who were nearer the chief seat of Antichrist. …

Assuming very much to himself: (2 Thess. ii. 4.) “That he should exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” So Rev. xiii. 5. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies.” Dan. vii. 8, 20. the little horn is said to have a mouth speaking very great things, and his look to be more stout than his fellows. This also was verified in the pope, and the church of Rome.—It was also prophesied, that Antichrist should be an exceeding cruel persecutor, Dan. vii. 21.

Rev. xiii. 7. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” Rev. xvii. 6. “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” This also came to pass in the church of Rome.—It was foretold, that Antichrist should excel in craft and policy: Dan. vii. 8. “In this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man.” And “Even of that horn that had eyes. “This also marks the church of Rome.—It was foretold, that the kings of Christendom should he subject to antichrist: Rev. xvii. 12, 13. “And the ten horns which thou sawest, are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but received power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” This also came to pass with respect to the Romish church.—It was foretold, that he should perform pretended miracles and lying wonders: 2 Thess. ii. 9. “Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.”

It was foretold, that Antichrist would not suffer the bodies of God’s people to be buried: Rev. xi. 8, 9. “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, —and they—shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.”

To this end he set up those mighty kingdoms of Antichrist and Mahomet, and brought in all the heresies, superstitions, and corrupt opinions in the world. But when he sees all begin to fail, it will rouse him exceedingly. If Satan of old dreaded being cast out of the Roman empire, how much more does he dread being cast out of the whole world!

It seems, in this last great opposition, all the forces of Antichrist, and Mahometanism, and heathenism, will be united; all the forces of Satan’s visible kingdom through the whole world of mankind. And therefore it is said, that “spirits of devils shall go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. 641 “ And these spirits are said to come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet; i. e. there shall be the spirit of popery, the spirit of Mahometanism, and the spirit of heathenism all united. By the beast is meant Antichrist; by the dragon, in this book, is commonly meant the devil, as he reigns over his heathen kingdom: by the false prophet, is sometimes meant the pope and his clergy; but here an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his followers call the great prophet of God. This will be as it were the dying struggles of the old serpent; a battle wherein he will fight as one that is almost desperate.  We know not particularly in what manner this opposition shall be made. It is represented as a battle; it is called the battle of the great day of God Almighty. There will be some way or other a mighty struggle between Satan’s kingdom and the church, and probably in all ways of opposition that can be; and doubtless great opposition by external force. The princes of the world who are on the devil’s side shall join hand in hand; for it is said, “The kings of the earth are gathered together to battle,” Rev. xix. 19. And probably there will be great opposition by subtle disputers and carnal reasoning, persecution, virulent reproaches, craft, and subtlety. The devil now doubtless will ply his skill, as well as strength, to the utmost; and those who belong to his kingdom, will every where be stirred up, and engaged to make an united violent opposition against this holy religion, which they see prevailing so mightily in the world.—But,

  1. Christ and his church shall in this battle obtain a complete and entire victory over their enemies. They shall be totally routed and overthrown in this their last effort. When the powers of hell and earth are thus gathered together against Christ, and his armies shall come forth against them by his word and Spirit, in how august and glorious a manner is this advance of Christ with his church described, Rev. xix. 11. &c. And to represent how great the victory they should obtain, and how mighty the overthrow of their enemies, it is said, (Rev. xix. 17, 18.) that ” all the fowls of heaven are called together, to eat the great supper given them, of the flesh of kings, and captains, and mighty men,” &c. and then, in the following verses, we have a distinct account of the victory and overthrow.

In this victory, the seventh vial shall be poured out. It is said, Rev. xvi. 16 of the great army that should be gathered together against Christ: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon ,” then it is said, “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. “ Now the business is done for Satan and his adherents. When this victory is obtained, all is in effect done. Satan’s last and greatest opposition is conquered; all his measures are defeated; the pillars of his kingdom broken asunder, and will fall of course. The devil is utterly baffled and confounded, and knows not what else to do. He now sees his antichristian, Mahometan, and heathenish kingdoms through the world, all tumbling down. He and his most powerful instruments are taken captive. Now that is in effect done, for which the church of God had been so long waiting and hoping, and so earnestly crying to God, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true? “

The kingdom of Antichrist shall be utterly overthrown. His dominion has been much brought down already by the vial poured out on his throne in the Reformation; but then it shall be utterly destroyed. Then shall be proclaimed, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.  “ When the seventh angel sounds, “the time, times, and half a time, shall be out; and the time shall be no longer.” Then shall be accomplished concerning Antichrist the things which are written (Rev. xviii.) of the spiritual Babylon

Satan’s Mahometan kingdom shall be utterly overthrown. The locusts and horsemen in the 9th of Revelation, have their appointed and limited time set them there, and the false prophet shall be taken and destroyed. And then—though Mahometanism has been so vastly propagated in the world, and is upheld by such a great empire—this smoke, which has ascended out of the bottomless pit, shall be utterly scattered before the light of that glorious day, and the Mahometan empire shall fall at the sound of the great trumpet which shall then be blown. ” -Jonathan Edwards, History of Redemption

Covenanter Alexander McLeod in his Lectures in Revelation wrote,

“THE ANTICHRISTIAN SYSTEM. It includes, the beasts of the pit, of the sea, and of the earth; the head, the horns, the image of the beast; the mother of harlots, and all who are drunken with the cup of her intoxication. It is not precisely the emperor, the kings, or any of the kings, nor the people, nor the pope, nor the Roman church, nor the territorial dominions of the pope, or of the emperor; but it is all these, combined by a corrupt religion, embodied with despotic power, in opposition to the public social order which Christianity demands of the nations of the world, and which shall be actually established in the millennium.

Antichrist Signifies an opposite Christ, from over, against, and against, Christ. AntiChrist, the opposer of Christ, under pretense of being himself appointed or anointed of the Lord. Thus, the grand opposition to the Christian system is personified according to the prophetic style of king, horn, beast, etc. for kingdom, power, empire. In this sense, the antichrist is generally understood by all writers, and while agreeably to the apostle John’s declaration, 1 John ii. 18. there are many antichrists many opposers of Christ, it is not doubted that prophecy directs to one great system of opposition which should arise under the Christian dispensation, as pointed out by this name.”

Alexander Ross wrote in 1658,

“Yet I cannot deny that he was Antichrist, in broaching a doctrine repugnant to Christ’s divinity, and in persecuting Christ in his members. Besides, number of the Beast, 666, is found in his name.”

— Alexander Ross, “A View of All Religions in the World, pp. 162-179 (1658)

The Locust from the East

After John foresaw the fifth angel sound his trumpet, John recorded, “I saw a star fall from the sky…and he opened the bottomless pit. And there arose a smoke out of the pit…. And out of the smoke, locusts came upon the Earth…. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the Earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those who do not have the seal of God upon their foreheads…. Then the sixth angel sounded [his trumpet]. And I heard a voice say…’Loosen the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates!’ Then the four angels were unleashed…to slay the third part of men.” Revelation 9:1-13f.

The Arabs have an Islamic tradition that goes back to one of their ancient schools of Hadiths, which says “Locusts fell onto Mohammed’s hand, and on the wings of the locusts it was written: “We are the army of the Great God“

Dr. Albert Barnes — nineteenth-century Pastor of Philadelphia’s famous First Presbyterian Church comments on Revelation chapter 9: “With surprising unanimity, commentators have agreed in regarding this as referring to the empire of the Saracens, or to the rise and progress of the religion and the empire set up by Mohammed…. Mohammedan tradition speaks of locusts having dropped into the hands of Mohammed…. Nothing would better represent… the Saracenic hordes that came out of Arabia and that spread over the East, over Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Spain — and that threatened to spread over Europe.”

Dr. Luther explains that “in chapters 9 and 10 the real misery begins.” In Revelation 9:1-11 “is Arius, the great heretic and his companions who plagued the Church so terribly everywhere” — and who was the unitarian forerunner also of the equally-unitarian Islam. In Revelation 9:12-13, “the second woe is…the shameful Mohammed with his companions the Saracens, who inflicted a great plague on the Church – with their doctrines and with the sword.”

The Reformed Dordt Dutch Bible of 1637 rsays that at Revelation 9:1-11, many here understand “Mohammad with his followers who around the year 620 cobbled together his ungodly doctrine… and was brought forth to appear from the bottomless pit. Thereafter, it was propagated throughout a large part of the World by his Arabs and Saracens, who looked like armed locusts.”

Abraham Kuyper speaking on the Locust wrote,

“The ruins tell you that this was once the land of Christians, but provide no clue about that past. As a swarm of locusts descends on an orchard and devours all the leaves and blossoms to leave only bare branches, so has Islam in those countries totally devoured and dissected the Christian orchard till nothing was left.”  Abraham Kuyper, The Mystery of Islam Covenanter Alexander McLeod wrote in his Lectures on Revelation,

“Trumpet V.—Being the First Wo Trumpet.

Verses 1—11. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it nets commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And lo them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from, them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on

their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

And they had tails like unto scorpions; and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

We have already assigned our reasons for laying the scene of these events in the eastern empire: and the interpretation must proceed accordingly. In the progress of my exposition abundant internal evidence will be furnished by the prophecy itself, which, independently of the introductory argument, will prove that we have not misunderstood the scene of the vision.

The sounding of this Wo Trumpet announces an approaching judgment; and a hieroglyphical representation of the particular agents and events, is immediately made to the apostle, and, by him communicated to the church. The principal objects of attention to the expositor, in this representation, are The fallen star opening the pit—The locusts issuing from the smoke of the pit—Their king Apollyon— The depredations which they committed —

And the time of their depredations.

  1. The fallen Star.

This symbol has been already explained.* A star fallen from heaven to earth, signifies either a civil or theological character degraded from the political or ecclesiastical heavens. I cannot, therefore,

conceive of a greater perversion of figurative language than to apply it, with Dr. Johnston, to the exaltation of Pope Boniface III. to the bad eminence of universal bishop, by the emperor. The application of it to Mahomet, whether considered in the light of the founder of a religion, or the head of an army, is also incorrect. Not degradation^ but elevation and success, characterized this eminent impostor.

He never fell from either an ecclesiastical or political heaven. The contrary of being a fallen star was the case both with the eastern impostor, and with the Pope of Rome. They rose from obscurity to eminence.

This fallen star, with a key bestowed on him), opened the bottomless pit—in the providence of God he is permitted to promote the purposes of fallen angels. Instantly a smoke ascends from the pit, the place of impiety and suffering, that obscures the sun and the air. Truth is light. Error is darkness. A system of misrepresentation and falsehood, originating from the father of lies, and deceiver of the nations, is the smoke of the pit by which the sun and the air were darkened.* Such are the doctrines of the Koran. The fallen star, is in plain terms, a degraded “man, who is instrumental in contriving a system of delusion, of which hell approves, and by which moral darkness is spread abroad among the nations. The description suits the monk Sergius.

We shall as yet only name this man, and proceed,

  1. To take a view of the locusts issuing from the smoke of the pit. Their appearance is formidable in a high degree. They are compared to a troop of horse prepared for the battle. Adorned with crowns, with a manly countenance,

* By SMOKE, in the figurative language of Scripture, are denoted (dark confused doctrines clouding the light of pure revelation.

Appearing as effeminate ornaments, as the hair of women, with breastplates of iron, with scorpion stings, the sound of their ravings was as the sound of chariots, and they had the teeth of lions to devour their prey.

The natural locusts are flying insects very destructive to the fruits of the earth. They abound in Asia, and sometimes fly in astonishing multitudes, like an immense cloud which darkens the air, threatening destruction wherever they light. They constituted one of the plagues of Egypt, Exod. x. 14—19. and are used by the prophets as the symbol of a destroying army, Joel i. 4. and ii. 4—6. The symbolical locusts under consideration, issued from the figurative smoke, that is, were excited to their destructive excursions by hellish delusions.

We are, therefore, to look for the fulfilment of this prophecy, to some fierce and barbarous people, who appear after the close of the 61h century, in the eastern empire, influenced to cruel warfare in immense multitudes, under the auspices of a system of false doctrines contrived by the instrumentality of some ” fallen star.” The history of Arabia, the natural seat of the locusts, furnishes the interpretation of the prophecy in the conduct of the Saracens.

The locusts had a king over them. He was a messenger of hell, the angel of the bottomless pit.

His name is Abaddon, or Apollyon. Both these words signify a destroyer. This king is the personage, who acts as chief over the destroying armies, who are permitted in the providence of God to inflict judgments upon the eastern Roman empire.

  1. The power with which this new foe is invested appears to he placed under restrictions. The depredations of the locusts are limited to that class of people who have not the seal of God on their foreheads. … This trumpet must be accordingly explained of the WO caused by the Mahometan Saracens, for the space of one hundred and fifty years after the rise of their false prophet.

The events of that period are so interesting a part of the history of man, and had such an effect upon the christian churches of the east, that they ought to be known to intelligent men, and undoubtedly merit a place in the sacred system of prophecy.

That great peninsula, which is washed on the south and east by the waves of the Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf, and on the west by the waters of the Red Sea, has since the remotest ages been known by the name of Arabah or Arabia. This name it received from the most distinguished of its original settlers, Yarab* the son of Joktan, and the fifth in descent from Shem the son of Noah. Ishmael, the son of Abram by Hagar, settled with his family in this country; and his descendants were mingled with the former inhabitants. It was not long before the idolatry of the Sabeans, who derive their name from Saba, the great grandson of Joktan, became prevalent through the greater part of this extensive territory.

But of its internal history from the time of Moses until the commencement of the christian era, we know very little. From the Greeks and Romans we have derived our knowledge of ancient nations; and as Arabia defied the power of these conquering empires, they have not been at the pains of describing its geography, or recording its history. … In the year 579 was born at Mecca the celebrated Mahomet, the king and apostle of the Arabs; or to use the words of the sacred text, Apollyon the destroyer, king of the locusts. He was descended from one of the most ancient and powerful families. His father Abdallah was the favourite son of Motalleb, a man of great opulence and liberality, who succeeded his father Hashem in the principality of Mecca, and custody of the Caaba. The aged Motalleb outlived his son, and took under his protection the orphan grandson. In the eighth year of his age, however, Mahomet was deprived of this guardian; and came of course under the immediate protection of Abu Taleb his uncle, who, himself a merchant of the first rank and wealth, now succeeded to all the dignities of his deceased father. It appears to me altogether improper, therefore, to represent this imposture as rising from obscurity to eminence. He was left indeed in early life an orphan without a patrimonial inheritance: but he had no alliance with poverty. He was educated in the first families of the age: his connexions were the first in power and rank: he travelled along with his uncle through Syria and Egypt, while engaged in mercantile pursuits: he was early made acquainted with the absurd mysteries of the prevailing religion; and under Abu Taleb, the victorious general of the Koreish, he served in a successful war, in which he acquired the rudiments of the science in which he afterwards became so famous in the east. In the twenty-eighth year of his age, Mahomet found himself possessed of independent property: and to his aspiring mind the most flattering prospects began to be unfolded. This state of things was brought about by his marriage with Cadigha, an opulent widow of Mecca, whose extensive mercantile concerns he had, for three years from the death of her first husband, conducted to great advantage.

He now began to cherish the hope that he might repair the loss incurred by the death of his father Abdallah, who, had he survived his grandfather, would have been the heir of his fortunes; and would have of course transmitted to his son the first, dignities of Mecca. His intercourse with men of different nations and religions, was sufficient to convince him, that, in that age, there was no possibility of acquiring influence over the minds of men, with; out some show of religion. That of the Caaba was evidently declining; and, in its present state, the chief office of the system was lodged in other, and very powerful hands, from which he could have no hopes of wresting it for himself. The Christians were greatly divided; and the Jewish system was not well adapted to the condition of the Arabians.

New sects of different descriptions were frequently springing up with various success. He resolved to become the prophet and apostle of a new religion. Intelligent, wealthy, courageous, crafty, ambitious, and eloquent, he had much to expect from his influence with the people; and the patronage of his powerful relatives promised him in the beginning protection from danger. He was in short remarkably qualified to be the king of barbarous fanatics, or an angel of hell. All that was necessary was to open the pit, that the smoke which generated the locusts might issue forth—that a suitable system of religion might be contrived for the deluded inhabitants of Arabia, a mongrel race of idolaters, half convinced of the folly of their present faith, of Jews, who knew but little of their own Bible, and of professed Christians, without understanding or piety. Mahomet now felt one deficiency which was likely to prove irremediable. He, with all his natural talents and acquirements, lived in a society into which literature had never been introduced ; and he could not himself either read or write. The Jews and the Christians were commonly designated as that people of the book; and no new system could be reasonably expected to prove successful without it were placed in that respect upon a footing with others. Without the smoke of the pit nothing could be done. The Koran must be contrived and executed; and to this task the son of Abdallah is entirely unequal. He had not the key of the abyss. The Koran is the smoke from which the locusts spread over the land; and the author of the Koran, whoever he is, (and it is certain it could not be the pretended apostle himself,*) is the person designated in the prophecy as the fallen star, unto whom was given the key of the bottomless pit. This man is Sergius. To him must be ascribed the work of composing the religion of the Musselman. The histories of that age appear, it is true, at a loss whether to ascribe the work to a Jew, a Persian, or a monk ; for each of those three were associates of the impostor: but internal evidence is furnished by the Koran itself that it owes it’s origin to some one acquainted with Christianity; and undoubtedly the Apocalyptical prediction determines the question.

It was a from star that opened the bottomless pit, and set loose the smoke of impost me, from whence issued the Arabian locusts under their king, the destroyer. Sergius, called, by the Arabian writers, the monk Bahira, was a minister of the christian church, who had fallen into error and immorality of the deepest lie. He had belonged to that class of people, who in those days of dissension were called Nestorians from the celebrated bishop Nestorius, of Constantinople. The dispute between this arrogant Prelate, and the still more haughty Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, had more of ambitious policy than of religion to give it origin and support. It began about the titles of the Virgin Mary: and the question was, whether she ought to be honoured with the epithet , or mother of God. Nestorius, in adopting the negative, was upon the side of truth. This dispute, however, continued until, in vain attempts to explain the union of two natures in Jesus Christ, the Nestorians asserted that there were two persons* united under one aspect. This fixed upon them the charge of heresy; and their enemies triumphed. To this sect of Christians, spread over Persia and Arabia before the time of Mahomet, Sergius, the intimate associate of Mahomet, and the principal contriver of the system which bears that impostor’s name, belonged. He had contracted an intimacy with the youthful and engaging nephew of Abu Taleb, whom he first met at Bostra, a city on the confines of Syria;* and it was further cherished by the particular attention afterwards bestowed upon him, by the elegant husband of the opulent Cadigha, when he revisited that city, or when they met at Jerusalem.

Shortly after this, Sergius for high crimes was degraded from his ministry, and became a ” fallen star.” Excommunicated from the church, and expelled from the monastery, he fled to Mecca. A man of genius and literature, suited to the purposes of Mahomet, and now reduced to the necessity of labouring for his bread, he entered readily into the views of the grandson of the famed Motalleb. Both were unrestrained by moral principle: the one was needy; and the other a splendid merchant, of uncommon address and boundless ambition. This will account for the connexion which they formed. Theophanes, Zonaras, Cedrenus, Anastasius, the author of the Historia Miscella, Friar Richard, and several other historians, speak of this fallen Monk, both under his proper name, and that of Bahira, which he assumed in Arabia as the agent in composing the Koran. He was the Gabriel of Mahomet. When Sergius had finished his task, he was gut to death by his patron, for fear he should afterwards betray the imposture.

The new religion progressed after a few years with extraordinary rapidity; and in its progress became the way announced by the fifth Apocalyptical Trumpet which fell upon the eastern empire, and ravaged the adjacent countries, tormenting men for one hundred and fifty years of Saracenic invasion and conquest.

It was in the year 606, Mahomet commenced his imposture by retiring, under pretense of extraordinary sanctity, to the cave of Hera. In 612 he appeared as the apostle at the head of his disciples, publicly to propagate the new doctrine. Then did the locusts issue from the smoke of the pit, opened by the excommunicated monk, under their king Apollyon. In the year 762 the Caliph Almansor built the city of Baghdad, and called it “the city of peace.” A stop was then put to the devastation of the locusts. The Saracen empire continued for a longer time, but after this period it lost the disorderly locust character, and became a more regular commonwealth. Between the years 612 and 762, during the five months of prophecy, or 150 years, the Saracens overrun and subdued with terrible depredations, Syria, Persia, India, Egypt, and Spain. … I have already in this discourse given my reasons for applying the first and second woe to the Christian empire, as it still remained in the east, Constantinople being the seat of power. The Arabian locusts’ under Mahomet, gave to this power a shock of great violence; but it is under the sixth trumpet that it is completely overthrown. History so minutely describes this overthrow, and the means by which it was effected, that their is no avoiding the application of the second woe, to the Mahometan conquerors of the empire of the Cesars.

The text itself too, is so obviously descriptive of these invaders, that almost every Commentator of celebrity explains it of the followers of the impostor of Mecca. Mede, and Newton, and Faber, particularly, have so correctly illustrated the judgment of this trumpet, that I deem it sufficient to refer you to these writers for a satisfactory discussion. The objections of Mr. Woodhouse to this part of the scheme of interpretation are eventually superseded by the considerations already submitted. Even he, however, is constrained to acknowledge the application of the sixth trumpet to the Mahometan devastation. The objects which, in this part of scripture, require the attention of the expositor, are the Euphratean angels—the specified time of their conquests— and, the character and consequences of their warfare.

THE CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS respect, The nature of the Mahometan religion—The progress of the great power which is its principal support— and the necessity of carefully distinguishing from every other religion, that personal piety, which, through the faith of the gospel, prepares for eternal life.

  1. The Mahometan Religion, The creed of the Mussulman is essentially the same with that of the Sociniaus which they presumptuously denominate Unitarian, as If they alone worshipped one God.

The coincidence between the religion of the Mahometan, and that of the modern Socinians, has been distinctly perceived by respectable writers of different countries, and has been acknowledged by Socinians themselves. Professing reverence* for the christian scriptures, these Unitarians quote them, reject them, and pervert them, at pleasure; and pretend to found upon them their own incoherent and impious dogmas.

The impostor of Mecca admitted the divine origin of both the Old and the New Testament, and gave out that they both predicted his own mission, as superior to Moses, and even to Jesus Christ. In the sixty-first chapter, the Koran has these words, ” Remember that Jesus the Son of Mary said to the children of Israel, I am the messenger of God ; he hath sent me to confirm the Old Testament, and to declare unto you, that there shall come a prophet after me, whose name shall be Mahomet.”* Four texts of scripture are employed to prove that the son of Abdallah was a teacher sent from God, Deut. xxxiii. 2. Psa. 1. 2. Isa. xxi. 7. John xvi. 7. I shall not however, take up your time by repeating the argument or the criticism upon these passages.

The Final Battle

“We are assured that Satan will be dispossessed of that power over this world, which he usurped when man fell, and which he has since been permitted, for wise purposes, to exercise. His kingdom will be destroyed, and he will be shut up in hell. The great, immoral empires, symbolized by the four beasts of Daniel’s vision, are to be destroyed. That is, there will come a time when civil governments of an immoral character, shall cease to exercise tyranny over the nations. Their downfall will be succeeded by the setting of kingdoms established upon holy principles, and administered by godly men, The kingdom of Christ, in other words, will then be fully established.” -The Two Sons of Oil, 1773-1852

Rev. Dr. Luther wrote, “While all this is happening, there comes in chapter 20 (vv. 7-10) the stirrup-cup” alias the final draught of the wine of the wrath of God. “Satan… brings up – God and Magog; the Turks; the ‘Red Jews’ …. But they are soon to go with him, into the lake of fire.”

“This picture… has been put in because of the Turks…. The thousands years are to begin…. After the Turks, the last Judgment follows quickly – at the end of this chapter [20:11-15], as Daniel 7 [vv.7-8 cf. 12:13] also shows”

Islamic Peace versus Christian Peace

The word Islam is derived from another Arabic word meaning peace, this is perhaps part of the explanation of the term “Dar Al-Islam”, or Land of Peace.  “Peace” has an entirely different meaning in Islam; only a society completely dominated by Dar Al-Islam is “at peace”.  Individual personal peace is attained by utterly submitting to Allah.

“Peace” has an entirely different meaning in Christianity, only a society completely dominated Christ and His laws as the supreme laws of the land is “at peace” and is considered  the “land of peace”.   Individual personal peace is attained by utterly submitting to the Triune God through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

Reformed Christianity and Muhammadanism

Some people have tried to say that the Reformed doctrine of the Second Commandment is totally Muhammadanistic. That we have been influence by Muhammadanistic Doctrine. We can not portray images of the Godhead! We can’t even portray a hand, or a light signifying His presence. Nor are we permitted to have mental images of any person of the Godhead. Nor should we portray images of heavenly beings that we do not know what they look like nor any of the Apostles of Prophets as taught by Wilhelmus A’Brakel. And when we mention the symbol of the Cross they really get upset.. But Muhammadans do have a legitimate reason why they call us Christians ‘cross-worshippers’ in their materials.

To many modern Christians all of this sounds like some of the worst of Muhammadan doctrine and sometimes the most radical forms of it in the Taliban and Daesh (I have been called more than once Tartan Taliban). But this is not so. Christianity has always believed these beliefs. And many other issues that get called Muhammadan Doctrine (Predestination, Veiling, Chanting the Psalms, etc).

They also like to call Covenanter Theonomy a type of Sharia law and that the Reformed doctrine of Postmillennialism all stem from Muhammadanism.

But who do think Muhammad and his followers got these ideas, practices and doctrines from? Muhammadanism is a Christian heresy. It took ideas; doctrines and practices from Christians twisted them and then corrupted them for their evil wicked designs.

So in reference to the Second Commandment and the total absence of any image of any person of the Godhead including mental images, images of apostles and prophets (Ninth Commandment issues), images of heavenly beings, images of the cross and that our places of worship are totally devoid of any artistic representation and is bare is not because of Muhammadanism but that we originated it from the Scriptures and Muhammadans borrow and stole the views from us.

Reading through Faith No Fancy, a Treatise on Mental Images by Seceder Ralph Erskine. It is a 500 page book and I am looking forward to finishing it but so far it has been excellent and I highly recommend everyone to read it.

So let them call us Islamic. My faith and doctrine is Reformed and it is to the true Reformed Religion that I firmly hold to and am bound.

The Westminster Standards, The Directory of Publick Worship and our Duty regarding Muhammadanism

The Directory of Publick Worship, part of the Westminster Standards commands us that we are “To pray for the propagation of the gospel and kingdom of Christ to all nations; for the conversion of the Jews, the fulness of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastening of the second coming of our Lord; for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of the antichristian faction, and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk; for the blessing of God upon the reformed churches, especially upon the churches and kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland, now more strictly and religiously united in the Solemn National League and Covenant; and for our plantations in the remote parts of the world: more particularly for that church and kingdom whereof we are members, that therein God would establish peace and truth , the purity of all his ordinances, and the power of godliness; prevent and remove heresy, schism, profaneness, superstition, security, and unfruitfulness under the means of grace; heal all our rents and divisions, and preserve us from breach of our Solemn Covenant.”

The Apologetical Declaration declares our apocalyptic role to ‘display Christ’s standard … against all opposition’ and to ‘declare war against the bloody and whorish beast, and all his supporters, whether right, or left hand enemies’ in ‘long and costly warfare’ against ‘all the courts of the Antichrist’”

Martin Luther wrote in his “Treatise on Good Works, “O God, how blind – nay, how insane – we Christians have become! … If the Turks destroys cities, country and people’ and ruins churches – we think a great injury has been done Christiandom. Then we complain – and urge kings and princes to war. But when faith perishes, love grows cold, God’s Word is neglected and all manner of sin flourishes – then, no one think of fighting…” -Works, VI: 486

The True Shahada or Confession

The true Shahada or confession of faith is the Shema for all true believers,

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

Shma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad. The Lord our God (Plurality) is One (Unity) Lord.

This is the Tri-Unity of our God and our true Shahada.

With regard to the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament Francis Turretin puts forward the following (Third Topic: Question 26):

“Can the mystery of the Trinity be proved from the Old Testament, and was it known under it? We affirm against the Socinians”
Turretin also states,

“He (Christ) must necessarily have been revealed to the Jews as such and known and worshipped by them. Otherwise they would not have worshipped the true God who is no other then the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (because he who has not the Son has not the Father either, 1 Jn. 2:23).”

Do Mohammedans submit to the one true God through Jesus Christ our Lord? The answer of course is no they are not!

“Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah. Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.” -Psalm 83:1-10

Conclusion

I am more than certain that after this gets published and disseminated a Fatwa will most likely be declared on my head. But the truth must be told. We must prepare ourselves for the growth of Muhammadanism on a world scale. It will be a time of the blood of the martyrs where the saints will have their heads cut off. And the souls of the martyrs will cry “with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”

I do not write this article to be mean or hateful. I have a great desire to see the Arab people come to Christ. I have much admiration for the culture, a culture that is deeply rooted in the early traditions of Patristic Christianity. I love for the art, the music, architecture, language, the literature, food, and just the general environment of the Middle East. So again, this is not about hatred. This is very much in fact a call for the Arabian people to come out the heresy that they are in, leave the Eastern AntiChrist and join the true Religion of God- the Reformed Faith.

Part 2 that will be written will include the following

Muhammadanism and Neonomianism

Further details on The Gospel of Barabbas

Mystery Babylon

The Accumulation of the Great Tribulation Period

Footnotes for Chapter

(1) Columbia Encyclopedia, Allah

(2)  Lewis, Bernard; Holt, P. M.; Holt, Peter R.; Lambton, Ann Katherine Swynford (1977). The Cambridge history of Islam. Cambridge, Eng: University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-521-29135-4.

(3) Thomas E. Burman, Religious Polemic and the Intellectual History of the Mozarabs, Brill, 1994, p. 103

(4) James Bellamy, ‘Two Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions Revised: Jabal Ramm and Umm al-Jimal’, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 108/3 (1988)

Enno Littmann, Arabic Inscriptions (Leiden, 1949)

Rick Brown, Who is “Allah” ? – International Journal of Frontier Missions, (23:2 Summer 2006), page 80.

(5) Ignatius Ya`qub III, The Arab Himyarite Martyrs in the Syriac Documents (1966), Pages: 9-65-66-89

Rick Brown, Who was ‘Allah’ before Islam? Evidence that the term ‘Allah’ originated with Jewish and Christian Arabs (2007), page 8.

(6) Rick Brown, Who was ‘Allah’ before Islam? Evidence that the term ‘Allah’ originated with Jewish and Christian Arabs (2007), page 8.

(7) Rick Brown, Who was ‘Allah’ before Islam? Evidence that the term ‘Allah’ originated with Jewish and Christian Arabs (2007), page 8.

Adolf Grohmann, Arabische Paläographie II: Das Schriftwesen und die Lapidarschrift (1971), Wien: Hermann Böhlaus Nochfolger, Page: 6-8

Beatrice Gruendler, The Development of the Arabic Scripts: From the Nabatean Era to the First Islamic Century according to Dated Texts (1993), Atlanta: Scholars Press,

(8) Rick Brown, Who was ‘Allah’ before Islam? Evidence that the term ‘Allah’ originated with Jewish and Christian Arabs (2007), page 10.

Frederick Winnett V, Allah before Islam-The Moslem World (1938), Pages: 239–248

Michael Macdonald, Personal Names in the Nabataean Realm-Journal Of Semitic Studies (1999), Page: 271

(9) Irfan Shahîd, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University-Washington DC, page 418.

Where have I been and Why haven’t I Written Anything Recently

February 27, 2017

blog-article-picture

I know it has been quite some time since I have been able to post anything on my blog. Some people will already know the reason while many others are about to find out why. But allow me to start at the beginning.

13 years ago I started to fall apart in intense pain. After many bouts to the hospital and being placed on a morphine drip and a few misdiagnoses and a year later I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and within six months my Rheumatologist added the diagnoses of Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pain was pretty intense but by God’s grace I was able to endure and do my best to help raise my daughter to the best of my ability in the limitations that I had. I was always cheerful whenever I was out and about and sometimes my wife privately would see my grumpy side due to the pain. But being cheerful all the time led some friends to question me and then they no longer remained friends with me. There always seems to be a balancing act between whether one is complaining to much or not complaining enough and finding that balance is not always easy as the old saying would go, “You are darn if you do, darn if you don’t”.

Within the next several years severe coughing fits would develop and I would have to try to sleep on 5 pillows high to alleviate some of the coughing. But as it was I was not getting much sleep due to the pain levels and the coughing. Doctors would always feel my lymph nodes in my neck and comment that they were swollen but would never do anything about it or do more test. A time came when my parotid gland would seriously swell and I was always getting straph throat and major ear infections. So it was time to see an ENT. Well it turned out that my parotid gland had a MRSA virus that no antibiotics would get rid of.  They finally put me on 30 days of Levaquin and radiation therapy to kill the infection. The ENT also found out that my coughing fits was due to yet another autoimmune disorder, Sjogrins which directly affected the parotid glands.

After several more bouts of MRSA in various locations in my body (due to a very weakened immune system) that was extremely hard to get rid of and had to have some pretty extreme methods to finally get rid of them and a few TIAS due to both medications I was on as well as Peripheral artery disease throughout my legs it was finally time to see another Rheumatologist as I was progressively getting worse and there was nothing my other doctors could do anything about.  The new Rheumatologist found some other autoimmune conditions to add to the growing list. She discovered that I also had Ankylosing Spondylitis in my spine which is a severe degenerative spine disease that has the ability to make my spine to fuse together and not allow me any mobility. It is also called Bamboo spine for good reason. Because the spine becomes brittle as well as pockets of holes throughout the spine which x-rays revealed that I have numerous holes throughout my spine. The cervical part of my spine is already bending forward.

anky-drawing

Suffice to say with all these conditions I have had some pretty severe pain levels with many days of the week where I just cannot get out of bed and not a single day without pain.

Then sometime last year in July it was discovered that I also have cancer and on September 19th they performed surgery to remove the cancer. Forgive me I do not get into extreme detail here since it is in a very private area. While they were in during surgery, they took further biopsies in the surrounding regions that confirmed that the cancer did in fact spread. They will now need to go in and preform a much larger surgery to remove the cancer.  The cancer has caused additional pain and my pain levels are through the charts at present and with all the medications I am on, nothing really seems to help and that includes Morphine, Lyrica, Tizanitine and Etodolac.

My Ankylosing Spondylitis is progressively getting worse and I am barely able to walk around anymore without my cane and it is getting to the point that the cane may not be enough anyone. I am in advanced stages of Ankylosing Spondylitis.  I was placed on Humira which is yet another extremely expensive drug ($6100 amonth that the insurance pays).  They have been doing nerve block injections on my spine but it does not seem to help at all. I also went back to the ENT who is still extremely concerned about my swollen Parotid gland but also found pre-cancer in my mouth and gums.

Additionally they found a huge mass of tissue and non-cancerous tumor that is now a part of my larynx. It is inoperable otherwise I would lose complete ability to speak as they would have to remove most of my larynx.  The problem is it continues to grow which could eventually prevent me from speaking as well. So now I am in vocal therapy to strengthen my larynx to be able to keep my voice as long as possible. The speak therapist has told me my prognosis is good as long as I do what I am supposed to do.  I have to speak more nasally and not so throaty with such resonance.  I have to strengthen the muscles in the throat through vocal exercise. I cannot speak loudly or scream and I have to give up a lot of stuff from the occasional smoking from the Hookah (although once a year type of thing might be okay I am told) to any second hand smoke, to alcohol and even soda and really really limit my caffeine intake.

Getting back to the next surgery I received some pretty bad news several month ago that the doctor who was going to perform the surgery (The only one in Maryland who could do the surgery) was moving out of state to New York and my Insurance would not pay out of state or out of network surgeries.  I did seek legal aid to find a way to get them to pay for this extremely expensive surgery since there was no way I could afford to pay for it. A few weeks ago I received the devastating call that the insurance company has worked themselves out of anyway to pay for the procedure saying that I am not a good candidate for surgery due to all my other health issues and something about some medication. Basically they want to give up on me as I think that since they have already paid for so much of my health over the years and don’t think I am worth it. In otherwise I am just to die from Cancer..

I had found another surgeon within the Philadelphia region that will actually perform the surgery and at a much cheaper price then the doctor who moved to New York. But $20,000.00 is an awful lot of money to come up with.

Amazingly I found a doctor in Canada who can perform the surgery even cheaper. The surgeon is world class and one of the best doctors around for this surgery. I have heard nothing but the best of praise on his work from those who had similar surgeries from him. The price even includes the 2 weeks stay at their recovery center and a place for my family at a bed & breakfast as well as all the medication needed for the journey home and the continued recovery at home. He will be even able to fit me in within the next month or 2. $15,000 is amazingly cheap. So it looks like I am headed for Quebec for almost a whole month.

Genetic testing has revealed that unless they remove the area where the cancer is present, the cancer will keep coming back. So they really have to get all of it because of the serious nature of the genetic anomalies that are present. There are other things found within the Genetic testing as well that would take too long and too complex to explain everything.

This is going to be a very long recovery I am told. Up to 6 months perhaps even more for me with all my other health issues. I will try to write blog articles when I am able to and I will keep everyone updated on my continuing struggles as well as blessings throughout this next year as I recover.

So I am asking you my dear friends and family to pray for me and my family. This whole scenario has really humbled me and though I am depressed from it all, I know that my Redeemer liveth and I put my trust in God. I know my God can do anything including healing me and keeping the cancer permanently away after the surgery. I am not ready to roll over and die like the insurance company wants me to. I still have a fight left within me. There is so much I have left to do in this life to God’s glory and I still have much to teach my daughter as she grows up to be a godly young lady and finds a husband and start a family of her own.

To God Alone Belongs All the Glory Forever and ever.

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.  … So will I sing psalms unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

For Christ’s Crown and Covenant

A Child of the Covenant,

Michael

Fair Market, Price Setting Commission, Oppressing the Poor, Monopolies, Price Gouging, & Concerning Scarcity and Supply

July 18, 2016

capitalism

Michael Daniels

7/18/2016

 

Ah, Free-Market Capitalism and Socialism; both modern day evils of the world’s economics. Many people think they are the only options open to us.  But there are other options and ones that are biblical. Such as the Fair-Market option that the Protestant Reformer taught in their day.

 

Within Free-Market Capitalism there are many things that are contrary to divine law and many Christians today do not even know are wicked and oppressive. Did you know that even our Westminster Standards claim forth that enhancing prices, engrossing commodities, oppressing especially the poor, enriching ourselves by unjust and sinful ways of withholding from our neighbors and all other ways whereby we unduly prejudice our own outward estate which are all forms off Unjust weights and measures within Commerce? Did you also know that divine law gives sanctions to the Civil Magistrate to enforce commerce and commercial and trade regulations?

Socialism you say? No way! But also not Free-Market Capitalism but all parts of Fair-Market Trade.. If you are a Reconstructionist you may be bulking at these ideas at the moment but these are things that are explicitly spelled out within our Reformed Confessional Standards as well as the Covenanter position on the Economic Commerce.

 

The Westminster Larger Catechism explicit states the following in Question and Answer 142,

 

“Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?

 

  1. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery,… fraudulent dealing,  false weights and measures, … oppression, … engrossing commodities to enhance the price; … and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbour what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; …  and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate …”

 

The Scripture references are according to Vos’ Commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism,

 

  1. Fraudulent Weights and False Weights and Measures: Thess. 4:6; Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 20:10; Amos 8:5.
  2. All forms of Oppression, or taking advantage on the helplessness of others for our own profit: Lev. 25:7; Matt. 23:25; Ezek. 22:12 & 29; Psalm 15:5.
  3. The Attempt to Establish Monopolies: Isa. 5:3; Mic. 2:2; Proverbs 11:26.
  4. All ways of enriching ourselves at the expense & withholding of others: Luke 12:15; 1 Tim. 6:5; Col. 3:2; Proverbs 23 :5; Psalm 62:10; Matthew 6:25, 31 34; Eccl. 5:12.

 

I can hear it now, “But Gary North says … !” Gary North is not always right. Adding to this is he is just one person and not a confessional standard and some of his ideas are not Reformed or Scriptural.

 

As I already stated these are all forms of False Weights & Balances in Measurements and falls within the realm of the civil magistrate and regulation.

 

“You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” – Lev. 19:35-36

 

While many thinks of this passage as dealing with currency (and it does) but it is not restricted to currency standards and deals with all forms of trade and commerce.  This passage actually encompasses a much greater span of transactions. All commodities traded and sold, as well as precious metals used as money, were required to be measured and weighed according to established standards.  Their measure in length, capacity, volume, weight, and value all had prescribed units (e.g., shekel, bath, omer, ephah, cubit, gerah, dram, etc.), which no one was allowed to deviate from.

 

The command for just weights and measures assumes that there are recognized standards (including prices that are fair and not inflated or gouged) for calculating weight, capacity, and length in a given marketplace and society.

 

It was stressed in the Torah that you have ONE ephah, and that it be clean and untainted, so that the measure was the same everywhere anyone traveled. This is a form of price setting and done by the government to be the same everywhere anyone traveled.

 

From the earliest period of their history the people of God understood the necessity of an accurate system of weights and measures, and an honest handling of them.  Food supplies and other goods were obtained through barter in the marketplace or purchased with weights of precious metals (silver and gold). The first legislation in the interest of economic righteousness in general is found in Leviticus 19:35 and Deuteronomy 25:13–16, and the prophets constantly denounced the use of false measures in later history (see Amos 8:5; Hos. 12:8; Micah 6:10; see also Prov. 11:1; 16:11; 20:10).

 

The use of a false weight or measure involves both deceit and theft; deceit, because it is purported to be what it is not; theft, because it leads the buyer to spend more money than the commodity is actually worth and thus punishable by the civil magistrates as a form of theft and a violation of the Law of God.

 

Using false weights and measurements often transcends mere fraud and becomes outright oppression. It is the job of the magistrate to regulate just weights and measures,

 

“’Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness Stop your expropriations from My people,” declares the Lord GOD. “You shall have just balances, a just ephah and a just bath.” Ezekiel 45:9-10

 

“The people of the land have violently oppressed by spoiling and robbing, and have vexed the poor and the needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger against right. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” – Ezekiel 22:29-31

 

So it is the job and function of the Civil Magistrate to regulate as well as fix prices that are fair within the economic markets of the nation.

 

The Reformer Martin Luther stated regarding Price fixing and preventing price gouging and oppressing the poor by withholding necessities of life (such as food, medicine, clothing, shelter, etc) from them,

 

“For  when this rogue’s eye and greedy belly of a merchant finds that people must have his wares, or that the buyer is poor and needs them, he takes advantage of him and raises the price. He considers, not the value of the goods or what he has earned by his trouble and risk, but only the other man’s need; not that he may relieve it, but that he may use it for his own profit, to raise the price of goods, which he would not have raised if it had not been for his neighbour’s need. Because of his greed, therefore, the wares must have a price proportioned to his neighbour’s need for them, and his neighbour’s need, like his own wares, must have a valuation. Pray, is not that unchristian and inhuman conduct? Is not that selling a poor man his own poverty? If, because of his need, he has to buy his wares so much the dearer, it is just the same as if he had to buy his own need; for what is sold is not the wares as they are, but the wares plus the fact that he must have them. This and like abominations are the necessary consequence when the rule is: I may sell my wares as dear as I can.

 

The rule ought to be, not: I may sell my wares as dear as I can or will, but: I may sell my wares as dear as I ought, or as is right and proper. For your selling ought not to be a work that is entirely within your own power and will, without law or limit, as though you were a god and beholden to no one; but because this selling of yours is a work that you perform toward your neighbor …

 

But in order not to leave this question entirely unanswered, the best and safest way would be for the temporal authorities to appoint over this matter wise and honest men who would appraise the cost of all sorts of wares and fix accordingly the outside price at which the merchant would get his due and have an honest living, just as at certain places they fix the price of wine, fish, bread and the like. …

the next best thing is to hold our wares at the price which they bring in the common market or which is customary in the neighbourhood. In this matter we can accept the proverb: “Do like others and you are no fool.” Any profit made in this way, I consider honest and well earned, since there is risk of loss in wares and outlay, and the profits cannot be all too great.

 

But when the price of goods is not fixed either by law or custom, and you must fix it yourself, then indeed no one can give you any other instructions except to lay it upon your conscience to be careful and not overcharge your neighbour, and seek not avaricious gain, but only an honest living. …

 

In deciding how much profit you ought to take on your business and your labour, there is no better way to reckon it than by estimating the amount of time and labour” –Martin Luther, On Trade

 

So yes, I support Price fixing for a Fair-Market System through a Price Fixing Ministry of Justice and believe it is based on Scriptural law both explicit as well as good and necessary inference. It is better to be decided in the multitudes of people in counsel then in the greedy mind of one as long as that counsel of people are not bought by businesses and corporations to also enforce their form of price gouging and monopolies.. That also must be prevented! In fact I question that legitimacy of the concept and idea of corporations in the first place based on divine law but that I will leave for another day to write about.

 

It is also extremely wicked to raise the prices of products just because of scarity or a shortage in supply.

 

Again Martin Luther stated,

“there are some who sell their goods at a higher price than they command in the common market, or than is customary in the trade; and raise the price of their wares for no other reason than because they know that there is no more of that commodity in the country, or that the supply will shortly cease, and people must have it. That is a very rogue’s eye of greed, which sees only one’s neighbour’s need, not to relieve it but to make the most of it and grow rich on one’s neighbour’s losses. All such people are manifest thieves, robbers, and usurers.” Martin Luther, On Trade
It is manifest thievery and wickedness to oppress the poor in such ways as to fill ones purse with money made in such a way. It is as Martin Luther called it a rogue’s eye of greed.

 

Even more heinous is to purposefully buy up entire supplies of goods so as to engross the price or create a monopoly in such wares as to fix your own price of what YOU think is fair or to corner the market by the preventing of others to sell similar like products or even at a lower cost.

 

Martin Luther states,

 

“Again, there are some who buy up the entire supply of certain goods or wares in a country or a city, so that they may have those goods solely in their own power and can then fix and raise the price and sell them as dear as they like or can. Now I have said above that the rule that a man may sell his goods as dear as he will or can is false and unchristian.  It is far more abominable that one should buy up the whole commodity for that purpose. Even the imperial and temporal laws forbid this and call it “monopoly,” i.e., purchase for self-interest, which is not to be tolerated in city or country, and princes and lords would stop it and punish it if they did their duty. Merchants who do this act just as though God’s creatures and God’s goods were made for them alone and given to them alone, and as though they could take them from other people and set on them whatever price they chose. ” Martin Luther, On Trade

 

These are all issues and matters that are explicitly and categorically condemned within our confessional standards and a Christian as no business practicing any of these practices. These are issues that are required to be suppressed at the national levels and ARE within the realm of civil magistracy.

 

Such monopolies of commodities, especially of the necessities of life, are so clearly unjust that they are to be prohibited by civil legislation..

 

Other passages that deal with False Weights and Balances and How Abominable they are to Yahovah,

 

“Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?” Amos 8:4-6

 

“A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress. And Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors they will find in me No iniquity, which would be sin.” Hosea 12:7-8

 

“Differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the LORD.” Proverbs 20:10

 

“A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.” Proverbs 11:1

 

“A just balance and scales belong to the LORD; All the weights of the bag are His concern.”  Proverbs 16:11

 

“Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD, And a false scale is not good.” Proverbs 20:23

 

Sadly, many people are so caught up in Americanism they can’t see any other way and call others who advocate such as socialist but which is furthest from the truth.  And it should be pointed out that America or even American ways are not always the right or biblical way.

The Great Heresies of Antinomianism and Neonomianism

June 30, 2016

blog antinomianism tzitzit

 

Remember the Commandments of God

Michael Daniels

Antinomianism and Neonomianism must be fully rejected and considered to be very great heresies. It equally applies to that false doctrine NCT (New Covenant Theology).

Christ constantly appealed to the law and prophets. It is “written” was His warrant for all He said and did. He did not assume to Himself the authority of abrogating that holy, perfect, and spiritual rule of life, which was contained in the law given from God by Moses.

He began His Public ministry with the most solemn protest against such a supposition.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 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. 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.” (Matthew 5:17-20)

If we attend to Christ’s preaching from the Mount in Matthew 5, we shall find Him a most zealous advocate for the law of God as delivered by Moses.

“It comes in the section of the Sermon on the Mount in which our Lord is showing the relationship of His kingdom and teaching to the law of God that was given through Moses to the children of Israel. He begins by saying that He has not come to destroy but to fufil; indeed He says, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Then comes the following: 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. 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.’ He then proceeds to display His teaching in the light of this background. Bearing all that in mind, let us also remember that in these six contrast which our Lord draws, He is comparing not the law of Moses, as such, with His own teaching, but rather the false interpretation of this law by the Pharisees and scribes. Our Lord obviously does not say that He had come to correct the law of Moses, because it was God’s law, given by God Himself to Moses. No; our Lord’s purpose was to correct the perversion, the false interpretation of the law which was being taught to the people by the Pharisees and scribes. He is therefore honouring the law of Moses and displaying it in its great fullness and glory.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

In Matthew 23 Christ declared,

“Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. …”

And then He declared in verse 23 that while we do the lesser matters of the law we are not to forget about the weightier matters of the law but to do them both not leaving either undone. We are not free from the law, even the lesser matters of the law but while doing the lesser matters of the law don’t leave undone the greater matters of the law.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

“He came into the world to be subject to it in all things, and so to fulfill the whole righteousness of it.” (Matthew 3:15)

He did not come to abolish or do away with the Law of His Father, but it was prophesied that He would come,

“To magnify and make it honourable.” (Isaiah 42:21)

Christ delights to do the will of the Father and that the Law is within His heart,

“Lo- I come- in the volume of the book it is written of me- I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, Thy Law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8)

Christ, not to add the apostles, suspended the truth of his mission and doctrine on the infallibility and holiness of the Old Testament. His appeal is ever to them. He cites Moses and the prophets as though he thought their testimony must be the end of strife.

In John 5:46-47, Christ tells us – “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Christ commanded the Jews to search the Scriptures, that they might as He said, think they had eternal life in them but they were sadly mistaken. In vain were they referred to the Hebrew Scriptures as testifying of Him. And not one word is there found in the Scriptures of the Old Testament of His appearance upon the Earth as a repealer and abrogater of the Moral Law of Moses or an enacter and establisher of a new rule of life in it’s place.

And Christ declared that He does not speak of His own, nor is His doctrine or commandments His but the one who send Him, nor does he do anything himself,

“My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” (John 3:34)

If any man will do His will, he shall known of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:16, 17)

“I do nothing of myself, but as my Father hath taught me I speak these things.” (John 8:28)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19)

“I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12: 49, 50)

Christ declared the greatest laws to be the Law of God which is summarized in the Ten Commandments and further summarized under the headings of the Two Greatest Commandments. The First Commandment is the summary of the First 4 Commandments in the Ten Commandments and the Second Commandment is the last 6 Commandments in the Ten Commandments.

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

The Apostle Paul

“The law is holy, and the commandment holy- just- and good.” (Romans 7:12)

Verse 14, “The law is spiritual- enter not into judgment with thy servant”

The Bereans

The Scriptures that the Bereans (Acts 17:11) were told to search must have been the scriptures of the Old Testament; because no others, if written, could then have come to their hands; but they compared the New testament as preached by Paul with that of the Old Testament of Moses and the Prophets. That they might judge whether the things he declared to them were of divine authority, answerable to revelations that preceded by the Mind and Will of God or not.

New Law

If it is possible to produce a single law of Christ which opposes the law of the Old Testament, all his claim to the character of the Messiah is at an end; for the Messiah was,

“to be made of a woman made under the law” Galatians 4:4

Subject to it’s very precepts, obedient to every command which includes,

“Ye shall not Add to the Word I commanded you, neither shall ye Diminish aught from it” Deuteronomy 12:32 and Deuteronomy 4:2

So important was this commandment that it was given twice.

If a New Law is to be found or that the New Testament contained a more excellent law or rule of life it then follows irresistibly that Jesus Christ was either mistaken or he was dishonest. Absit impietas. In either case, he is no Redeemer for us and we must continue to wait for the first coming of the Messiah.

Consider what is said of the Law of God,

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19, 7-11

Psalm 119

“1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

55 I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.

56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

57 Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words.

58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

65 Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word.

66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

75 I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.

78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

81 My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.

82 Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?

83 For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.

84 How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

85 The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.

86 All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.

88 Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.

90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.

91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.

92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.

93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

94 I am thine, save me: for I have sought thy precepts.

95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.

96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.

99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.

100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.

102 I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.

103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.

108 Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments.

109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.

111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

112 I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.

116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.

119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.

120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

121 I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.

122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.

123 Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.

124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.

125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.

126 It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.

127 Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.

128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

129 Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.

132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.

135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

137 Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments.

138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

139 My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.

140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

141 I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.

142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

143 Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

144 The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.

145 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes.

146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

149 Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment.

150 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.

151 Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth.

152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.

154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.

156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments.

157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.

158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.

159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.

160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

161 Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.

165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

166 Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.

167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.

168 I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.

169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.

170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.

171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.

172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.

173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.” (Psalm 119-1-175)

There is a perpetual obligation of the moral law. The immutability of the Law of God is extremely important. The law is based on God’s own attributes which are themselves immutable, so that what it once forbad it always forbids and what it did not forbid can never be forbidden. It is a point of such infinite consequences.

“He should not disgrace what Moses once permitted to the children of God, for anything once allowed by God and not subsequently prohibited in Scripture remains valid.” Martin Bucer (Reformer, 1530s)

So sure is that idea of a more excellent law, or rule of life is replete with folly. It is goes beyond folly, it borders upon madness and is complete down right Blasphemy!

To contend for Christ enacting any new law, contrary to the Old Testament, is to call in question His veracity and to place Him in rank of imposture even below Muhammad.

Cloud of Witnesses

Christ brought nothing new into the law of the fathers, but He made fresh the old commandments, and did away with human traditions. — Huldrych Zwingli

“Jesus Christ has not changed the external economy, but added justice only, and life everlasting, for reward. He teaches the true way of obeying God, and endeavors to repair the corruption of nature.” -Martin Luther

“All the faithful have had alway one and the self-same Gospel from the beginning of the world, and by that they were saved”-Martin Luther

Christ hath added no new command to the Law of Moses; and whatsoever is a sin now in moral things, was also then… There is a dangerous book, called, The practical Catechism, that venteth much Socinian poison, and in this particular, among other things, that Christ added to the law, and perfected it, filled up some vacuities in it; Certainly, the Law of God being perfect, and to which nothing must be added, cannot be said to have vacuities in it; and Christ is said to fill the law, in respect of the Pharrisees, who by their corrupt glories had evacuated it. Anthony Burgess, Vindiceae

“To be Christians under the law of grace does not mean to wander unbridled outside the law, but to be engrafted in Christ, by whose grace we are free from the curse of the law, and by whose spirit we have the law engraved upon our hearts.” –John Calvin

Covenanter Sisters- Infinity Scarf Veiling

June 20, 2016

hijab 1

 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy veil”

Song of Solomon 4:1

 

Although I have written very little about veiling on my blog it may some as a surprise to my readers that I hold to full time veiling for our sisters. This will definitely not be a surprise if you know me from facebook.

I do have a upcoming book on the subject that I am publishing so I will not be getting into the nitty gritty of my doctrinal reasoning behind the veiling as well as for full time veiling but to give some advice for our veiling sisters.

To those who are unaware the Historic Reformed faith has by the majority supported a veiling very similar to Islamic Hijab and not just during worship. The Patristics and some of the Reformation theologians took it even further but it is not my point to get into that today.

All the Reformers held that the whole head should be veiled. The veil does not consist of a small piece of fabric like a doily on top the of head showing most if not all of the entire head and most of the hair. The veil that the Reformer showforth was a whole veil that looked very much like a Hijab.

The great Covenanter Commentator James Durham said it also includes the neck.

“Wantonness and lightness in them [i.e., clothes and dressings], which is especially in nakedness, as to such and such parts of the body, which in modesty are to be hid; for women having clothes for a cover, ought to make use of them for that end; and it is more than probable, that that walking with stretched-out necks, there reproved, relateth to women, their making more of their necks, and their breasts bare, than should be, or is decent, they affected to discover or raise their gorgets, when God commendeth modesty, and nature is best pleased in its own unaffected freedom, yet they stretched them out” -James Durham, ‘The Seventh Commandment’, The Law Unsealed, pp 306-308.

*gorgets- Part of the woman’s veil covering the throat and chest. Old French gorgete, diminutive of gorge, throat.

But we aren’t plain people like the Amish!

And we aren’t Islamic that we must all match in one solid color!

Covenanter sisters do not have to look ugly or plain nor do they have to cover with a bag. There is nothing wrong with beautiful veils. There is absolutely no prohibition against beautifulness. There is no prohibition on colors and patterns. You may have a beautiful scarf with all sorts of flowery patterns with many colors..

So why settle for a plain small triangle handkerchief or doily?

Many veils are also expensive (trust me I have search high and low for good scarfs for my own family). You shouldn’t have to pay and arm and a leg for a good quality larger veil.

Many veils can be hard to tie or take some time of finagling to put on.

But I have discovered the Infinity scarf which is a nice inexpensive larger scarf that is connected at both ends (therefore when opened up it looks like an O) that is pretty cheap and reasonable ranging between $3 and $7 a piece. I bought two in a single pack for $3 this week for my family.

Not only that they can be very stylistic with all assortment of patterns and designs. They are also extremely easy to don quickly with not much ado.. One can be donned in less then 30 seconds.

In addition they are light weighted. So you don’t have to feel weighed down, stuffy or hot to wear especially in the summer time!

Being veiled with such scarfs that have such designs and patterns with so many bright colors it is very unlikely you would get mistaken for a plain mennonite or amish girl as  well as the radical Islamic women that mostly stick with plain light blue, black or white and you will still bare modesty that is of a historic Christian belief and practice..

It is high time to bring back the Reformed & Patristic Veil for modesty. You Covenanter sisters are like precious pearls and like the pearl which is modestly veiled by God in the sea with it’s shell wrapped around it, so you to should be veiled for your honor, dignity and submission under which God have greatly given you. You are a price far above rubies and pearls. I might add that the veil gives a bit of a mysteriousness & intrigue to you. Your head and hair are your glory and should be reserved for intimacy. Your body is to be honored and respected. Why allow it to be plundered and disrespected by revealing your body thus belittling you and causing shame unto you? Why give yourself such little honor and respect by revealing all before the world? Clothing and the veiling gives you respect. They are to conceal what God commands to be concealed.

Be Mysterious.. Be Veiled O Sisters… Honor & Dignity and Respect are yours.

There is nothing like a veiled mysterious woman seen in beautiful colorful patterns concealing herself & where her cloths are deeply covered and filled in deep scents of Frankincense, Myrrh  and Aloes.

 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.” Psalm 45:8

She is intriguing with a touch of modest allure. She is sophisticated and she respects and honors herself and she will receive respect and honor from men.. Your garden will be more protected and well attended.

“A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” Song of Solomon 4:12

So how does one veil an infinity scarf?

Here is a video that will give you 5 example styles that are quick and easy.. (Yes I know it is an Islamic women but it is still a good tutorial).

Infinity Scarf Veiling

 

 

America, Americans & Our Foundation, Atheistical to the Core

June 18, 2016

bill-of-rights-hero-lg

 

Some say that America & many Americans Christians but John Brown of Haddington (A minister from 17th century Scotland) will show forth that most Americans have dangerous and serious atheistical principles and that to the very core and foundation of America is atheistical which cannot be denied.

 

“The correspondent warrant of conscience which we mean to impugn, if honestly expressed, would run thus:

“I Conscience, as the great deputy of The Most High GOD, Lord, and Lawgiver of the world, implanted in every man’s breast, for his temporal, spiritual, and eternal advantage, Do hereby, In God’s name and authority, and in the exercise of my power which is wholly derived from him, and to be exercised for his glory, in trying all things by his law, and approving and holding fast that which is good,—Warrant and authorize all and every one of you, sons and daughters of men, to devise, believe, openly and obstinately profess, and zealously propagate every damnable heresy, and blasphemous opinion, and to practise and propagate every absurd and abominable form of idolatry, which Satan, who deceiveth the world, and a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and given up of God to strong delusion, belief of lies, vile affections, and a reprobate sense, can make you think innocent or proper.—And, I do hereby, In the same name and authority,—Grant you my sacred claim of right to all manner of liberty and protection from the civil magistrate in so doing,—providing always, that you commit such injury and outrage only against God, your infinitely excellent, high, and gracious Proprietor and Superior, and do no civil injury to the body, character, or property of your fellow creatures.”

Such is indeed the toleration which many praise or plead for; and this I proceed to impugn, by the following arguments.

  1. Men’s pleadings for it do, all of them, necessarily proceed on their adopting such atheistical principles as the following,

(1.) Men’s natural or civil rights to their property, liberty, profits and honours, are not originally derived from God,—and ought to protect them in their most outrageous sinning against him

(2,) Men’s consciences have a right and authority, underived from, and independent of God, by which it can warrant them to think and speak of, or act towards God, as insolently and blasphemously as they please.

(3.) That, if the law of God, be any rule to men;  it is not so, in respect of any intrinsic meaning affixed to it by him, but merely as it is understood by every man, particularly in that which relates to their behaviour towards God.

(4.) All men being ready to mistake, we ought always to believe that our opponents may have as just a view of the scriptures as ourselves,  and never to condemn them for that which they do not own to be blasphemy, idolatry, or heresy.

(5.) Magistrates right and authority to govern others, doth not originate in God as the Creator, Preserver, and King of nations, but in magistrates themselves, or in their subjects; and so may be exercised as they please, particularly in requiring or allowing their subjects to belie, blaspheme, or rob God.

(6) Magistrates may be moral governors deputies or lieutenants, under God, without having any power or authority relating to religion, or his honour.

(7.) Not the law of God natural or revealed, but the laws of nations ought to be the supreme standard of all civil government.

(8.) Not the declarative glory of God, as the Most High over all the earth, but the civil peace and prosperity of nations, ought to be the chief end of magistrates in all their acts of government.

(9) Men’s natural rights of conscience, or their civil rights, or the authority of magistrates, may or ought to empower, warrant, or protect them in gross heresy, blasphemy, idolatry, or other outrageous abuse and injury of God; but can by no means warrant or protect them in calumny, theft, murder, or any other injuries against men.

(10.) There is no real difference between moral good and evil, at least in things pertaining to God; and so true and false religion are equally calculated to promote the welfare of civil society, and the virtues which render men good, peaceable, useful, and honourable rulers or subjects,—and hence heretics, blasphemers, and idolaters may be good subjects.

(11.) The favour or indignation of God is of no importance to civil society; and therefore magistrates ought to use no means to procure his favour by the encouragement of true religion, or to avert his indignation by the restraint of gross heresy, blasphemy, or idolatry,—but only labour to procure the friendship of men, and prevent their injuring the character, property, or bodies of their subjects—

That all these propositions are really atheistical, is manifest. They all give up with the necessary existence, infinite Excellency, and absolute supremacy of God, without any of which, he cannot be God at all.”

–John Brown of Haddington, The Absurdity and Perfidy of all Authoritarian Toleration of Gross Heresy, Blasphemy, Idolatry, Popery in Two Letters

Now be honest, how many of the 11 points of assertions given above do you hold to and therefore holding forth atheistical principles, that is totally contrary to the Word of God?

It is time to reform our thoughts have to biblical standards with Divine Law as given to the Holy Scriptures.

The Ancient Synagogue to The Christian Synagogue: A Continuity

May 2, 2016

The Ancient Synagogue to The Christian Synagogue: A Continuity! A Historic Reformed Position

Showing Forth

That the pattern and modal for the Government, Offices, Meetings Place and Worship of the Synagogue is the same as the New Testament Synagogue (Church)

ancient synagogue

 

Table of Content

§Places of Worship in the Old Testaments (Synagogue/Parishes, Houses of Prayer, Temple)

§Mosaic Origin of the Synagogue

§Of Synagogues & Sanhedrins

§The Testimony of the Mosaic Origin of the Synagogue by the Apostles at the Jerusalem Councils

§Offices of the Synagogue

§Council & Bench of Elders (Consistory) along with Ruling Elders

§Chazan, Angel of the Congregation – Parnas (Pastor) (Preaching Elder)

§Doctor Elder

§Deacons – Levites

§Christian Synagogues – A Continuation of the Old Testament Synagogue

§Worship Elements and Patterns of the Synagogue

 

 

§Places of Worship in the Old Testaments (Synagogue/Parishes, Houses of Prayer,Temple)

 

Within the Old Testament Economy there were at least 3 places of worship, Synagogues, (Oratorie or Promarius in Greek) and the Temple. The Temple was the national place of worship where the Jewish people were required to all travel to Jerusalem to attend the Temple only three times per year. The Temple was the ceremonial cultus which were types and shadows of the law that was temporary to show forth the person, work and attributes of Christ to the saints prior to His human investuring. The Synagogue and it’s corresponding worship was the moral worship of the people of God that was to be done weekly every seventh day on the Sabbath. The elements of worship for the Synagogue did not consist of any ceremonial components but only the moral aspects of what is required in the worship of God. More on this moral components of worship will be discussed further in a little while. But there was a third place of worship for the people of God in the Old Testament. This place was called a Pomarius. The Pomarius was strictly a house of prayer for daily prayers.

Synagogues were places within the “Sabbath Day’s Journey” which is a 2 or 3 mile walk so that people would be able to attend to worship even if they had no other transportation then by foot. And since no servile work was to be done on the Sabbath they could walk more to and fro from the Synagogues. There was also Sabbath Houses connected with the Synagogues where people could go and eat and rest inbetween the Morning and Evening services much like the Puritans did in New England.

It was commanded to have fixed hours of prayers, 3rd, 6th, and 9th, which was corresponding to morning noon and night prayers, daily with the people of God. We see such examples as Daniel during such times of prayer but we also see the Apostles in the New Testament praying at this appointed times. So the people of God needed to be able to meet within a shorter distance of location then the Synagogue for daily prayer at those appointed times.

The Patristic Confession of Faith, Apostolic Constitutions states,

XXXIV. Offer up your prayers in the morning, at the third hour, the sixth, the ninth, the evening, and at cock-crowing: in the morning, returning thanks that the Lord has sent you light, that He has brought you past the night, and brought on the day; at the third hour, because at that hour the Lord received the sentence of condemnation from Pilate; at the sixth, because at that hour He was crucified; at the ninth, because all things were in commotion at the crucifixion of the Lord, as trembling at the bold attempt of the impious Jews, and not bearing the injury offered to their Lord; in the evening, giving thanks that He has given you the night to rest from the daily labours; at cock-crowing, because that hour brings the good news of the coming on of the day for the operations proper for the light. But if it be not possible to go to the church on account of the unbelievers, you, O bishop, shall assemble them in a house, that a godly man may not enter into an assembly of the ungodly. For it is not the place that sanctifies the man, but the man the place. And if the ungodly possess the place, avoid it, because it is profaned by them. For as holy priests sanctify a place, so do the profane ones defile it. If it be not possible to assemble either in the church or in a house, let every one by himself sing, and read, and pray, or two or three together. For “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.””

To walk to Daily Prayer, 3 times a day, to the Synagogue you would be spending most of your day walking back and forth to Prayer meetings. So Promarius or Oratories (in Hebrew) with later name change to Chapels (Gentile Church) in the Patristic and Medieval times period.That way you return to servile work or domestic work without much walking and be able to attend to all the prayer meetings. So they were smaller and more numerous throughout the community, town or city.

John Weemes states:

“They had a place wherein they prayed only. Acts 16:13. It is called (greek language inserted), a house of prayer. It was a place different from their Synagogues and Temple. In it they prayed only; in their Synagogues they prayed, and interpreted the Scriptures; in the temple they prayed, interpreted the Scriptures, and sacrificed. This might properly be called an Oratorie.

The Synagogue was reckoned a more holy place by the Jews, then the place of prayer: for in the their Synagogues they might do no servile work, they might make no reckonings in them: but in their house of prayer, after the prayer was ended, they might do any civil work. He to whom the (greek word inserted), or house of prayer belonded, was called Pomarius…” John Weemes -The Christian Synagogue

There were also Parishes of the Synagogue. Parishes are smaller bodies then the city or town congregation. It is Presbyterianism going down in scale in addition to going up in scale. So as we have Regional Courts and National Courts in the higher scale, the local city or town Congregation is broken down into small Parishes meeting in various locations across that city or town. The preaching elder of the local Congregation would go throughout the day to various Parishes around the city and preach to those smaller Parishes.

In the Acts of the Apostles we see the local church over a city like the church of Jerusalem. But you do really believe that in Acts 21:20 that tens thousands were gathered in one building or even in one home? No, the local city churches were broken up into smaller parishes between 10 to 15 families that lived around each other. Each parish was placed within a simple walking distance between a group of families or what we sometimes call a Sabbath Day’s journey. Each parish has a session of elders which were governed by a consistory of all the parish elders of that city which were governed by a presbytery of all the elders of the consistories within a region which were governed by a synod of all the elders of all the presbyteries in nation which were governed by a general assembly of all the elders of of all the synods internationally. This is Court structure that Christ instituted which represents all the elders of the church without seniority. We see the Parish model in all of the epistles but you can clearly see it mentioned in Corinth. Paul speaks of the church which is at Cenchrea Romans 16:1 Cencherea was a sea port in the city of Corinth but we also see a parish in the city proper of Corinth. Both are called the church at Corinth. Not everyone in all ages has the transportation that we have today and we may not have the same or better transportation in the future. The church needs to be within a walking distance for all men and women even for the poor that can not travel across the city to reach the church. We need smaller bodies of believers that the elders and shepherds can know personally and care and for the body of believers to act like a family together. When a church grows to a certain number for the sake of argument lets say 50 or 80, those people may not even get to really know one another. I have see in such bodies that some people will never talk to or meet someone else who goes to the same church for years. That is not family. That is not the model we are given in the scriptures.

The Second Book of Discipline of Scotland, 1578 talks about Parishes,

“The first kind and sort of assemblies, although they are within particular congregations, yet they exercise the power, authority, and jurisdiction of the kirk with mutual consent, and therefore bear sometimes the name of the kirk. When we speak of the elders of the particular congregations, we mean not that every particular parish can, or may, have their own particular elderships, especially to landward; but we think three or four, more or fewer, particular kirks may have one eldership common to them all, to judge their ecclesiastical causes. Albeit this is meet, that some of the elders be chosen out of every particular congregation, to concur with the rest of their brethren in the common assembly, and to take up the delations of offences within their own kirks, and bring them to the assembly. This we gather from the practice of the primitive kirk, where elders, or colleges of seniors, were constituted in cities and famous places. “

“First, seeing the whole country is divided into provinces, and these provinces again are divided in parishes, as well in landward as in towns; in every parish and reasonable congregation there would be placed one or more pastors to feed the flock, and no pastor or minister to be always burdened with the particular charge of more kirks or flocks than one only.

And because it will be thought hard to find out pastors or ministers to all the parish kirks of the realm, as well in landward as in towns, we think by the advice of such as commission may be given to, by the kirk and prince, parishes in landward or small villages may be joined, two, or three, or more, in some places together, and the principal and most commodious kirks to stand, and be repaired sufficiently, and qualified ministers placed thereat; and the other kirks which are not found necessary may be suffered to decay, their kirk yards always being kept for burial places; and in some places, where need requires, a parish, where the congregation is over great for one kirk, may be divided into two or more. “ Second Book of Discipline of Scotland 1578

But we are more interested today in the Synagogue and the Synagogue pattern of Worship and Government.

§Mosaic Origin of the Synagogue

The Synagogue was instituted by the command of God through the hand of Moses. It will be admitted that modern scholar have rejected this view, placing the institution of the Synagogue in the time of Ezra in the Babylonian Captivity. But this view must be rejected. Besides the fact that the modern scholar are strictly relying on archeological evidence (something that cannot prove or disprove something since things can be destroyed) but they are highly tainted by higher criticism. But the scripture itself shows forth the institution of the Synagogue as well as the Sanhedrin by the hand of Moses through the commandments of God.

§Of Synagogues & Sanhedrins

The Church (ekklesia) existed prior to the NT, Acts 7:38 “This is he (Moses), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel (Christ) which spake to him in the mount Sinai”.

The Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament uses the word Ekklesia in place of the Hebrew word “Qahal”.

The synagogue is a Greek word used for the God ordained (miqra) is translated into English as Holy Convocation (Lev. 23:3) on the Sabbath.

Synagogues and Sanhedrins are of the same substance the difference is between the various lower and higher courts of the Lord. The Synagogue is a local council of elders while the Sanhedrins were a council of elders from all the local councils through regional and national levels. This is in very real sense the system of Presbyterianism. Synagogues, Regional Sanhedrin, National Sanhedrins to Christian Synagogues (Churches), Regional Presbyteries to National Synods. So the Sanhedrin are the higher courts of the council of elders that start at the Synagogue level.

The Greek word (presbyterion) is used for the Jewish Elders sitting in a (synedrion) (Luke 22:66) which is a continuing Judicial Court for the Church (1 Tim. 4:14, Acts 15).

The Greek word (presbuteroi) which is used in the Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament for the (zaqen) Church Elders in the Old Testament. It is also used for Church Elders in the New Testament.

There was also a Civil Sanhedrin ordained on Mount Sinai for the civil government (Exodus 18). Which is God’s ordained civil council for all governments.

Presbyterianism is a governmental structure which consist of a council of elders. It is derived from the Greek word presbuterion. The New Testament speaks of a presbuterion meeting in a sanhedrin in Luke 22:66. Two Sanhedrins/Presbyteries were ordained on Mount Sinai, one for civil government in Ex. 18:13-26, and one for the church or Ecclesiastical government in Numbers 11:17-25. So the Presbytery is a continuation of the governmental structure of the Sanhedrins, which is a council body of church elders from all the churches. Paul uses the word presbyterion in 1 Timothy 4:14 for Christian ministers being ordained and we see the church gathering for a presbyterion council in Acts 15. All confirming the continuation and the ordinary function of the Presbyterian governmental structure.

So the council of elders were ordained of God in Numbers chapter 11 while the actual Synagogues (the places of worship) were ordained in Leviticus 23:3.

Numbers 11:16-17,

“Then the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest, that they are the Elders of the people, and governors over them, and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and let them stand there with thee. And I will come down, and talk with thee there, and take of the Spirit, which is upon thee, and put upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee: so thou shalt not bear it alone.”

Here we see the actual origin of the Elders of the people and of the Synagogues. Moses actually started with a National Council of Elders which at that time was 70 men of God.

In Leviticus 23:3 we see the creation of the places of worship, ordained by God through Moses.

“Six days shall work be done, but in the seventh day shall be the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation: ye shall do no work therein, it is the Sabbath of the Lord, in all your dwellings.”

First we must know and see that every Sabbath day there was to be a HOLY convocation. A convocation is a sacred assembly, not just any common assembly. Secondly we must see and understand that it is to be done in all your dwellings. This word ‘dwelling’ has thrown off many modern people thinking that they kept the Sabbath day strictly in their home dwellings but that is not what this means. This is the ‘Dwellings of Jacob’ which was the Holy Convocation places of worship. In other words this is the Synagogue that the Holy Convocation met at every Sabbath and they were not to leave their dwellings, i.e. the Synagogues throughout the land but to worship Him throughout the day. We must also point out that this verse is NOT talking about the Temple worship or the other feast days. It is speaking solely of the Sabbath day. The Temple was only required to attend three times per year and not every Sabbath day. It would have been near impossible for every person in Israel to attend to the national temple of worship every Sabbath day. But we also see that in verses 4 through 38 we see what, when and how the Temple and other festival days were to be celebrated which is distinuished from verse 3 prior.

Leviticus 23: 4-38,

“These are the feasts of the Lord, and holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the first month and in the fourteenth day of the month at evening shall be the Passover of the Lord. And on the fifteenth day of this month shall be the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Also ye shall offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord seven days, and in the [f]seventh day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the Priest, And he shall shake the sheaf before the Lord, that it may be acceptable for you: the morrow after the Sabbath, the Priest shall shake it. And that day when ye shake the sheaf, shall ye prepare a lamb without blemish of a year old, for a burnt offering unto the Lord: And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, for a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord of sweet savor: and the drink offering thereof the fourth part of an Hin of wine. And ye shall eat neither bread nor parched corn, nor green ears until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: this shall be a Law forever in your generations and in all your dwellings. Ye shall count also to you from the morrow after the Sabbath, even from the day that ye shall bring the sheaf of the shake offering, seven Sabbaths, they shall be complete. Unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days: then ye shall bring a new meat offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations bread for the shake offering: they shall be two loaves of two tenth deals of fine flour, which shall be baken with leaven for firstfruits unto the Lord. Also ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of one year old, and a young bullock and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the Lord, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, for a sacrifice made by fire of a sweet savor unto the Lord. Then ye shall prepare an he goat for a sin offering, and two lambs of one year old for peace offerings. And the Priest shall shake them to and fro with the bread of the firstfruits before the Lord, and with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the Lord, for the Priest. So ye shall proclaim the same day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be an ordinance forever in all your dwellings, throughout your generations. And when you reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not rid clean the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou make any aftergathering of thy harvest, but shalt leave them unto the poor and to the stranger, I am the Lord your God. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, In the seventh month, and in the first day of the month shall ye have a Sabbath, for the remembrance of blowing the trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein, but offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, The tenth also of this seventh month, shall be a day of reconciliation: it shall be an holy convocation unto you, and ye shall humble your souls, and offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work that same day: for it is a day of reconciliation, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For every person that humbleth not himself that same day, shall even be cut off from his people. And every person that shall do any work that same day, the same person also will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner work therefore: this shall be a law forever in your generations, throughout all your dwellings. This shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall humble your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say, In the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be for seven days the feast of Tabernacles unto the Lord. In the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, and in the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you, and ye shall offer sacrifices made by fire unto the Lord: it is the solemn assembly, ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the Lord (which ye shall call holy convocations) to offer sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord, as burnt offering, and meat offering, sacrifice, and drink offerings, every one upon his day, Beside the Sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your free offerings, which ye shall give unto the Lord.”

So we see there is a distinction between the holy convocations in their dwellings in verse 3 and the Temple and other festival days in verses 4 through 38.

But does this have any historical testimony? Why yes it actually does!

William Pynchon, 1652 wrote,

“Whether were the Jewes Synagogues particular churches of Jesus Christ or no?

Teacher, It is evident to me that the Jewes Synagogue Assemblies were particular Churches of Jesus Christ because it was the Angel of the Covenant, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ that did ordain and institute not only all the twelve Tribes into one National Church but also that did divide and distribute the said twelve Tribes into several particular Churches. I say, Jesus Christ did institute both these kind of Churches in Israel: he was the Angel Jehovah that first spake unto Moses out of the bush, Exod 3.2 called also the God of Abraham, verse 7. and he is also called the God of Glory, that first appeared to Abraham while he was an Idolater in his Fathers house in Mesopotamia, Acts 7.2. Joh. 24.

This God of glory did now appear unto Moses in the bush and sent him to bring his People out of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage, Exod. 20. therefore Christ was that Jehovah that said unto all Israel, Thou shalt have no other Gods but me; Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven Images, thou shalt not bow down to them; but thou shalt worship me alone. with such outward worship as I have already appointed at this Mount Sinai, or which I shall hereafter appoint, when the Throne of my Tabernacle shall be reared up.

So then, Christ was that Jehovah that first promised the Land of Canaan, unto Abraham and his seed, Gen. 12. and that sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt, and that kept them company in the wilderness, by going before them in a cloudy pillar by day, and in a fiery pillar by night, until he brought them into the land of Canaan: And the Apostle Paul doth tell us plainly, that it was Christ that caused the rock to supply them with Water in the wilderness, 1 Cor. 10.4. Therefore it follows that it must needs be Jesus Christ that did not only unite the twelve Tribes, into one National Church, but also that did distribute them into several particular Church-assemblies: And therefore it was Christ that appointed all the Ordinances of his worship by Moses, both their national, and in their particular Church-Assemblies.

Scholar, How do you prove that Jesus Christ did distribute the twelve Tribes into several particular Church-Assemblies.

Teacher, I prove it by a place of Scripture, that is both plain and pregnant, Lev. 23.1,2,3/ Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying. Speak unto the sons of Israel, and say unto them, &c and in verse 3. he saith thus, Six days shall work be done, but in the seventh day shall be a Sabbath of Sabbatism, a convocation of holiness, ye shall not do any work, it shall be a Sabbath to Jehovah in all your dwellings.

In this Text, Jesus Christ is called Jehovah, he bade Moses (the chief Magistrate) to speak unto the sons of Israel, that is to say, to the chief Sons or Elders of Israel; as he doth explain his meaning in Levit. 9.1, 3. There Moses bids Aaron to speak unto the sons of Israel; that is to say the 70. to the Senate of Israel in the first place, that so by their means all the other sons of Israel might understand the commandment of Christ, concerning the time and manner of his public worship. And so it was Christ also, that bade Moses to set the judicial Laws before them, Exod. 21. 1. that is to say, before the chief sons of Israel in the first place, and so by their means before all the people also, and by this orderly way, Christ did communicate all his Laws, and Ordinances to all the people, see Ains. in Exod. 4.29. & 12.3 compared with 21. & with Num 5.1 & 30.1.

Then Christ by Moses bade these chief sons of Israel to proclaim Convocations of Holiness, that all the people might know the appointment of Christ: and Christ did command these chief sons of Israel to proclaim unto the people the observation of two several kinds of holy Convocations.

First, particular Convocations of Holiness or particular Church-Assemblies which they must observe every seventh Day in all their dwellings, Levit. 23:3.

Secondly, By general Convocations of Holiness, or general Church-Assemblies, which they must observe before his Sanctuary three times a year, verse 4. and so to thee and of the Chapter

Now, the first sort of these holy Convocations spoken of, verse. 3. must needs be understood of their particular Church-Assemblies for this phrase, In all your dwellings: cannot be understood neither of their Family-Assemblies nor yet of their National Church-Assemblies; therefore it must be understood of particular Church-Assemblies.

First I say, that this Convocation which Christ commanded them to keep every seventh Day in all their dwellings, cannot be understood of their Family-Convocations. It is a gross conceit for any man to think that Christ did by this phrase, command every Family to stay at home to keep a Convocation in every private Family. Secondly, it is as gross a conceit to think, that Christ did by this phrase command all the twelve Tribes to keep a general Convocation before the Sanctuary every seventh Day, especially after they were settled in the Land of Canaan, in their several Inheritances: any man that hath but half an eye, may see that such a Convocation was impossible to be observed every seventh Day. Therefore it follows by necessary consequence that the holy Convocation which Christ did command them to keep every seventh Day in all their dwellings, must be understood of such particular Church-Convocations, as were made of several Families, in a convenient distance of place for every ones dwelling. The truth of this Interpretation will the better appear, if we do but consider two circumstantial differences. 1. Of Time. 2. Of Place. First, of Time: This Convocation spoken of in verse 3 is expressly commanded to be observed every Sabbath, or seventh Day through all the year, even during the time of their travel in the wilderness; therefore this Convocation cannot be understood of their general Church-Convocations for their general festival Convocations were commanded to be observed only three times in the year: neither were they bound to observe their festival Convocations in the time of their travels in the wilderness, but the observation of those Convocations were adjourned until they were settled in rest. in the Land of Canaan, Numb. 15.2.

Secondly, this Convocation of holiness, Levit. 23.3. Differs from their National-Convocation in respect of place because their National-Convocation was commanded to be observed only before the Tabernacle or Temple, which place was a great way off from the most part of their dwellings after they were setled in Canaan. But this Convocation of holiness, in verse 3. is at hand, and therefore it is commanded to be observed in all their dwellings; that is to say not far off, but nigh to every ones dwelling, so that all forts of persons might resort thither with ease every Sabbath or seventh Day, without breaking the rest of the holy Sabbath by long toil of travel; for the Text saith plainly, Yee shall not do any work, it shall be a Sabbath to Jehovah in all your dwellings; but if all the twelve Tribes had been commanded to repair to the Tabernacle, or Temple every Sabbath or seventh Day, they must have toiled hard, and so have broken the rest of the holy Sabbath.

Therefore seeing this Convocation in verse 3. is so expressly limited. 1. To the time of the Sabbath or seventh Day. And 2. to the place of their dwellings; that is to say in a convenient nigh distance to their dwellings. It doth necessarily follow that this Convocation of holiness spoken of in verse 3. must needs be understood only of their particular Church-Assembles, which Christ ordained as well as their general Church-Assemblies.

It is said in Psalm 87.2. That Jehovah loveth the Gates of Zion, above the dwelling places of Jacob.

That is to say, Christ did more delight to manifest his visible Presence in the Cloud of his presence, between the Cherubim upon Mount Sion, then in their Synagogue-Assemblies: but he did graciously bless their Synagogue-Assembles with his Spiritual presence to the conversion of souls, as he did the place of his visible presence in Mount Sion.

But I chiefly alledge this place in Psal. 87. to note out unto us, that their particular Church-Assemblies, were called the dwelling places of Jacob, because they were many and conveniently dispersed in all the Towns and Villages of Israel.

Secondly, if Jesus Christ had left his people to their own liberty and discretion, whether they would have met together in particular Church-Assemblies, to worship him every Sabbath or not at all the while they were in their travels in the wilderness, which was for the space of thirty eight years together; Then doubtless they would have used that liberty to the increasing of Idolatry, and profaneness, as experience doth teach us in all places where the strict exercise of Gods worship in particular-assemblies hath been neglected; and then the generation that entered into Canaan, would have been worse then those that came out of Egypt, but they must be better instructed before they could enter into Canaan, therefore there was a necessity that Jesus Christ should enjoyn them to observe particular Convocations of holiness by particular Church-Assemblies every Sabbath or seventh Day, even whiles they were in their travels in the Wilderness.” -The Jewes synagogue: or, A treatise concerning the ancient … manner of worship used by the Jewes in their synagogue-assemblies, Volume 1, William Pynchon, 1652

The Sanhedrin which was the ordained Council of Elders created in Numbers chapter 11 are the Council of Elders in the local Synagogues but also the higher Courts of the Lord within the Regional and National levels.

Westminster divine George Gillespie wrote,

“In the third place we take an argument from the example of the Jewish Church, for as in their Common-wealth there was a subordination of civil courts, every City having its proper court, which did consist of seven magistrates, if we believe Josephus, the talmudic tradition makes two courts to have been in each city, the lesser of the Triumvirat, and the greater of the twenty three Judges. Besides these, they had their Supreme Consistory, the Civil Sanhedrin, which governed the whole Nations, and had authority over the inferior courts. So was there also a subordination of Ecclesiastical courts among them, they had a Consistory in every Synagogue, for their Synagogues were appointed not only for prayer and praising of God, and for reading and expounding of the Scriptures, but also for public correction of offenses, Acts. 26:11. They had besides, a Supreme Ecclesiastical court, where unto the whole nation, and all the Synagogical Consistories were subject. This court having decayed, was restored by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 19.8 and it had the name Sanhedrin, common to it with the supreme civil court. From this court did the reformation of that National Church proceed, Nehem. 6.13. On the Second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests and the Levites, unto Ezra the Scribe, even to understand the words of the law. And they found written in the law, etc. Whether there was yet another Ecclesiastical court, in the middle betwixt the Synagogue and Sanhedrin, called Presbytery, Luke 22.66, Acts 22. 5, and make up possibly out of the particular Synagogues within the cities, I leave it to learned men to judge; howsoever, it is plain from Scripture that there was at least a twofold Ecclesiastical court among the Jews the Synagogue and the Sanhedrin, the latter having authority above the former.” George Gillespie, An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland in the points of Ruling-elders, etc.

Dutch Reformed Campegius Vitringa wrote,

“The Synagogue, in its early state, was governed by a Council; so was the early Church, There is a striking correspondence between the Councils of the Church, and those of the Synagogue. And 1. In the names given to the member of these Councils. Thus, the Rulers of the Synagogue are called by St. Luke Presbyters; the very same name is given, by the same Evangelist, to the ministers of the Christian Church. … again, the name, Parnas (Pastor) was frequently given to the members of the Jewish Councils “-Campegius Vitringa, The Synagogue and the Church, P. 145-146, 1693-1723

§The Testimony of the Mosaic Origin of the Synagogue by the Apostles at the Jerusalem Councils

Even the Apostles declared that Moses was the one who set up Synagogues in every city in Acts 15:21. So we know that the Synagogue was set up according to divine revelation given to Moses and it was set up from the time of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.

We have now seen both from Scripture and from the historical testimony of the church that the Synagogue and the Sanhedrins are ordained by God and that they were both set up through the hands of Moses.

§Offices of the Synagogue

The offices of the Synagogue were a council of Elders who were designated by several titles. Of course there were the Ruling Elders who were the governors of the Synagogue but there was also the Chazan who was also known as the Angel (Messenger) of the Congregation as well as the Parnas (pastor). There were also the Doctors who were the scribes of the Synagogues who taught doctrine, presided in the Catechumen schools as well as the School of the Prophets (Seminary) and the Hebrew Schools for the children.

Westminster divine George Gillespie wrote,

“The Jewish Church, not as it was a Church, but as it was Jewish, had a high Priest, typifying our great high Priest Jesus Christ. … But as it was a Church, and not as Jewish, It had four sorts of ordinary office-bearers, Priests, Levites, Doctors, and Elders, and we conformable have Pastors, Deacons, Doctors and Elders. To their Priest and Levites, Cyprian doth rightly liken to our Pastors and Deacons, for howsoever sundry things were done by the Priests and Levites, which were typical and Jewish only, yet may we well parallel our Pastors with their Priests, in respect of perpetual Ecclesiastical office common to both, viz. The teaching and governing of the people of God, Mal. 2.7. 2 Chron. 19.8, and our Deacons with their Levites, in respect of the care of Ecclesiastical goods, undo f the work of the service of the house of God in the materials and appurtenances thereof, a function likewise common to both, 1 Chro. 26. 20. & 23.24. 28. The Jewish Church had also Doctors and Schools, or colleges for the preservation of true Divinity among them, and of tongues, arts, and sciences, necessary thereto, 1 Chron. 15. 22. 27, 2 King. 22.14, 1 Sam. 19.20, 2 Kings 2.3.5, Acts 19.9. These office-bearers they had for no typical use, but we have them for the same use and end for which they had them. And all these sorts of office-bearers among us we do as rightly warrant from the like sorts among them as other while we warrant our baptizing of infants from their circumcising of them, our churches by their Synagogues, etc..” -George Gillespie, An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland in the points of Ruling-elders, etc.

§Council & Bench of Elders (Consistory) along with Ruling Elders

The Synagogue had a Council and Bench of Elders in every Congregation that was ordained in Numbers chapter 11.

Dr. Samuel Miller states,

“The following specimen of the representation given on this subject in various parts of the Old Testament will suffice at once to illustrate and establish what is here advanced. Even while the children of Israel were in Egypt they seem to have had Elders in the official sense of the word, for Jehovah in sending Moses to deliver them said Go and gather the Elders of Israel together and say unto them, “The Lord hath visited you and hath seen what is done to you in Egypt, Exodus iii 16. In the wilderness the Elders of Israel are spoken of as called together by Moses appealed to by Moses and officially acting under that divinely commissioned leader on occasions almost innumerable. These Elders appear to have been of different grades and endowed of course with different powers, Exodus xvii 5; xviii 12; xxiv 1-9; Numbers xi 16; Deut xxv 7-9; xxix 10; xxxi 9-28. From these and other passages it would seem they had seventy Elders over the nation and besides these Elders over thousands over hundreds over fifties and over tens who were all charged with inspection and rule in their respective spheres.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

Dr. Miller continues,

“Again, we find inspectors and rulers of the people under the name of Elders existing and on all public occasions acting in their official character in the time of Joshua during the period of the judges under the kings especially during the most favored and happy season of their kingly dominion probably during the captivity in Babylon and beyond all doubt as soon as they returned from captivity and became settled in their own land.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“Now whatever might have been its origin, nothing can be more certain than that from the earliest notices we have of the institution and through its whole history its leading officers consisted of a bench of Elders, who were appointed to bear rule in the congregation, who formed a kind of Consistory or ecclesiastical judicatory to receive applicants for admission into the Church to watch over the people as well in reference to their morals as their obedience to ceremonial and ecclesiastical order to administer discipline when necessary and in short as the representatives of the Church or congregation to act in their name and behalf to bind and loose and to see that every thing was done decently and in order.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“Accordingly we find various passages in the New Testament history which refer to these Ruling Elders as belonging to the old economy then drawing to a close and which admit it would appear of no other interpretation than that which supposes their existence. The following specimen will suffice, Mark v: 22. ‘And behold there cometh one of the rulers of the Synagogue Jairus by name and when he saw him he fell at his feet.’Acts xiii: 15, ‘And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the Synagogue sent unto them saying ye men and brethren if ye have any word of exhortation for the people say on.’ On this latter passage Dr Gill an eminent master of oriental and especially of rabbinical learning in his Commentary writes thus, ‘The rulers of the Synagogue sent unto them that is those who were the principal men in the Synagogue the Ruler of it together with the Elders for there was but one Ruler in a Synagogue though there were more Elders and so the Syriac version here renders it the Elders 0f the Synagogue.’ By this language as I understand the Doctor he does not mean to intimate that the other Elders of whom be here speaks did not bear rule in the Synagogue but that there was only one who by way of eminence was called the Ruler of the Synagogue that is who presided at their meetings for official business. It is plain however that even in this assertion he is in some degree in error for more than once we find a plurality of persons in single synagogues spoken of as Rulers. The learned Vitringa who undoubtedly is entitled to a very high place in the list of authorities on this subject is of the opinion that all who occupied a place with the bench of Elders in the Synagogue were of one and the same rank or order that they all received one and the same ordination and were of course equally authorised to preach when duty or inclination called them to this part of the Public service as well as to rule. And in this opinion he is joined by some others whose judgment is worthy of the highest respect.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“This is quite sufficient for our purpose. If it be conceded that there was in every Synagogue a bench of Elders who as a judicial body were entrusted with the whole government and discipline of the congregation that a majority of these Elders seldom or never preached but were in fact whatever right they might have had chiefly occupied as ecclesiastical rulers and that all ecclesiastical matters instead of being discussed and decided by the congregation at large were constantly committed to the judicial deliberation and decision of this Eldership if these things be granted and they are granted in substance by every writer entitled to be referred to as an authority with whom I am acquainted it is all that can he considered as material to the purpose of our argument.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

§Chazan, Angel of the Congregation – Parnas (Pastor) (Preaching Elder)

The Pastor of the Synagogue, the first among equals was called a Chazan Hakeneseth, that is the Bishop of the Congregation and also called Sheliach Tsibbor the Angel of the Church. He was also called a Parnas which actually means ‘Pastor’.

“But at the same time this eminent man freely grants that a majority cf the Elders of the Synagogue were not in fact ordinarily employed in teaching or preaching that this part of the public service was principally under the direction of the Chief Ruler or Head of each Synagogue who attended to it himself or called on one of the other Elders or even any other learned Doctor who might be present and who was deemed capable of addressing the people in an instructive and acceptable manner and that the chief business of the mass of the Elders was we rule.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“These officers of the Synagogue were called by different names as we learn from the New Testament and from the most respectable Jewish authorities. The most common and familiar name perhaps was that of Elders as before stated at large. They were also called Rulers of the Synagogue a title of frequent occurrence in the New Testament as applied to the whole bench of the Elders in question but which would seem from some passages to have been at least sometimes applied by way of eminence to the principal ruler in each Synagogue which principal ruler appears however to have been of the same general rank or order with the rest and to have had no other precedence than that which consisted in presiding and taking the lead in the public service These officers were further called Heads of the Synagogue, Overseers or Bishops, Presidents, Orderers or Regulators of the affairs of the Synagogue, Guides, etc, etc. These titles are given at length by Vitringa, Selden, and others with the original vouchers and exemplifications of each showing that they all imply bearing rule as well as the enjoyment of preeminence and dignity as these Elders were distinguished from the common members of the Synagogue by appropriate titles indicating official honor.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“The first quotation shall be taken from Bishop Burnet, ‘Among the Jews says he, he who was the chief of the Synagogue was called Chazan Hakeneseth, that is the Bishop of the Congregation and Sheliach Tsibbor the Angel of the Church. And the Christian Church being modelled as near the form of the Synagogue as could be as they retained many of the rites so the form of their government was continued and the names remained the same.’ And again, ‘In the Synagogues there was first one that was called the Bishop of the Congregation. Next the three Orderers and Judges of every thing about the Synagogue who were called Tsecenim … These ordered and determined every thing that concerned the Synagogue or the persons in it. Next to them were the three Parnassin or Deacons whose charge was to gather the collections of the rich and to distribute them to the poor. The term Elder was generally given to all their Judges but chiefly to those of the great Sanhedrim So we have it Matt 16:21; Mark 8:31, 14: 43 and15:1; and Acts 23:14. A great deal might be said to prove that the Apostles in their first constitutions took things as they had been modelled to their hand in the Synagogue … But the Apostles rather speak as those who give rules for the ordering and directing of what was already in being from all which it seems well grounded and rational to assume that the first constitution of the

Christian Churches was taken from the model of the Synagogue in which these Elders were separated for the discharge of their employments by an imposition of hands as all Jewish writers do clearly witness.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“The second testimony shall be that of the Rev Dr Thomas Goodwin, an English divine of great erudition especially in oriental learning. In his well known work entitled ‘Moses and Aaron’ we find the following passage, ‘There were in Israel distinct Courts consisting of distinct persons the one principally for Church business the other for affairs in the commonwealth the one an ecclesiastical Consistory the other a civil Judicatory. The secular Consistory was named a Sanhedrim, or Council, the spiritual a Synagogue. The office of the ecclesiastical court was to put a difference between things holy and unholy and to determine appeals in controversies of difficulty. It was a representative Church, Hence is that Dic Ecclesie Matt 18:16.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“The next question shall be taken from Dr Lightfoot, another Episcopal divine still more distinguished for his oriental and rabbinical learning. ‘The Apostle says he calleth the minister Episcopus or Bishop from the common and known title of the Chazan or Overseer in the Synagogue.’ And again, ‘Besides these there was the public minister of the Synagogue who prayed publicly and took care about reading the law and sometimes preached if there were not some other to discharge this office. This person was called first the angel of the Church and the Chazan or Bishop of the congregation.’

The Aruch gives the reason of the name of The Chazan, says, he is the angel of the Church or the public minister and the Targum renders the word mm by the word n 1 one that oversees. For it is incumbent on him to oversee how the reader reads and whom he may call out to read in the law. The public Minister of the Synagogue himself read not the law publicly, but every Sabbath he called out seven of the Synagogue, on other days fewer who he judged fit to read. He stood by him that read with great care observing that he read nothing either falsely or improperly and called him back and correcting him if he had failed in anything. And hence he was called Chazan that is Emmqrog Bishop 0r Overseer. Certainly the signification of the words Bishop and Angel of the Church had been determined with less noise if recourse had been bad to the proper fountains and had not vainly disputed about the signification of taken, I know not whence. The service and of the temple being abolished as being ceremonial God transplanted the worship and public of God used in the Synagogues which was into the Christian Church viz the public public prayers reading God’s Word. Hence the names of the ministers of gospel were the very same the Angel of the Church, the Bishop which belonged to the Ministers in Synagogues. There was in every Synagogue an order of three. This bench consisted of three Elders and by imposition of hands preferred. There were also three Deacons or on which was the care of the poor.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“In another place the same learned orientalist (Dr. Lightfoot) says describing the worship in the Jewish Synagogue, ‘In the body of the Church the congregation met and prayed and heard the law and the manner of their sitting was this The Elders sat near the Chancel with their faces down, the Church and the people sat one form behind another with their faces up the Church toward the Chancel and the Elders. Of these Elders there were some that had rule and office in the Synagogue and some that had not. And this distinction the Apostle seemeth to allude unto, in that much disputed text, 1 Tim v:18, where the Elders that ruled well are set not only in opposition to those that ruled ill but to these that ruled not at all We may see then whence these titles and epithets in the New Testament are taken namely from the common platform and constitution of the Synagogues where Angelus Ecclesie and Episcopus were terms of so ordinary use and knowledge. And we may observe from whence the Apostle taketh his expressions when he speaketh of some Elders ruling and laboring in word and doctrine, and some not namely from the same platform and constitution of the Synagogue, where the Ruler of the Synagogue was more singularly for ruling the affairs of the Synagogue and the minister of the Congregation laboring in the word and reading the law and in doctrine about the preaching of it. Both these together are sometimes called jointly the Rulers of the Synagogue, Acts xiii:15; Mark v:22, 4, being both Elders that ruled but the title is more singularly given to the first of them.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“The fourth quotation shall be taken from Bishop Stillingfleet who in his Iremcum, maintains a similar position with confidence and zeal the following is a specimen of his language. ‘That which we lay then as a foundation whereby to clear what apostolical practice was is that the Apostles in forming Churches did observe the customs of the Jewish Synagogue.’ And in support of this position particularly in reference to the Eldership of the Synagogue he quotes a large number of the most distinguished writers both Jewish and Christian. It is due to candor indeed to state that Stillingfleet does not admit that any of the Elders either of the Synagogue or of the primitive Church were lay Elders, but thinks they were all invested with some kind of clerical character. This however as before remarked does not at all affect the value of his testimony to the general fact that in every Synagogue there was a Consistory or Judicatory of Elders and that the same class of officers was adopted both name and thing in the apostolic Church which he unequivocally asserts and proves. In the same general doctrine Grotius and Salmasius of Holland decisively concur with. By Grotius the following strong and unqualified language is used, ‘The whole polity or order regimen of the Churches of Christ was conformed to the model of the Jewish Synagogue.’ And again, speaking of ordination by the imposition of hands, he says ‘This method was observed in setting apart the Rulers and Elders of the Synagogue and thence the custom passed into the Christian Church. Salmasius also and other writers of equally profound learning might be quoted as unequivocally deciding that the Synagogue had a bench of Ruling Elders and that a similar bench after that model was constituted in the Christian Church. Especially he contends that the Elders of the Church were beyond all doubt taken from the Eldership in the Synagogues.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“The learned Spencer a divine of the Church of England in the seventeenth century teaches the same general doctrine, when he says, ‘The Apostles also that this reformation the change from the Old to the New Testament dispensation might proceed gently and without noise received into the Christian Church many of those institutions which had been long in use among the Jews. Among the number of these may be reckoned the imposition of hands, bishops, elders, and deacons, excommunication, ordination and other things familiar to learned men.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

“The Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke whose eminent learning no competent judge will question also bears testimony that, ‘in every Jewish Synagogue at the time of the coming of Christ and before there was an ecclesiastical judicatory or little Court whose duty it was to conduct the spiritual government of each congregation.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

§Doctor Elder

There is yet also another sub-office under the category of Elders. That of the Doctor which is distinct from Preaching Elders and Ruling Elders.

Westminster divine George Gillespie wrote,

“Now Elders are of three sorts, 1. Preaching Elders, or Pastors. 2. Teaching Elders or Doctors. 3. Ruling Elders. All these are Elders, because they have a voice in Presbyteries, and all assemblies of the Church, and the government of the Church is incumbent to them all: not only to the Pastor and Elder, but to the Doctor also. … The Doctor being an Elder, as said is, should assist the Pastor in the government of the Kirke, and concur with the Elders, his brethren, in all Assembled, by reason the interpretation of the Word, which is only judge in Ecclesiastical matters, is committed to his charge. But they differ, in that the Pastor laboureth in the word of exhortation, that is, by the gift of wisdom applies the Word to the manners of his flock, and that in season and out of season, as he knows their particular cases require. The Doctor Labors in the Word of Doctrine, that is without such application as the Pastor uses, by simple teaching he preserves the truth and sound interpretation of the Scriptures, against all heretics and error. The Ruling Elder both neither of these, but laboureth in the government and polices of the Church only.” George Gillespie, An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland in the points of Ruling-elders, etc.

The Second Book of Discipline of Scotland, 1578, states in Chapter 5,

“Doctors would be appointed in universities, colleges, and other places needful, and sufficiently provided for; to open up the meaning of the scriptures, and to have the charge of schools, and teach the rudiments of religion. “

Again the Second Book of Discipline of Scotland states,
“Of Doctors and Their Office, and of the Schools

1. One of the two ordinary and perpetual functions that travail in the word is the office of the doctor, who also may be called prophet, bishop, elder, catechiser: that is, teacher of the catechism and rudiments of religion.

2. His office is to open up the mind of the Spirit of God in the scriptures simply, without such applications as the minister uses, to the end that the faithful may be instructed, and sound doctrine taught, and that the purity of the gospel be not corrupted through ignorance or evil opinions.

3. He is different from the pastor, not only in name, but in diversity of gifts. For the doctor is given the word of knowledge, to open up, by simple teaching, the mysteries of faith; to the pastor, the gift of wisdom, to apply the same, by exhortation to the manners of the flock, as occasion craves.

4. Under the name and office of a doctor, we comprehend also the order in schools, colleges, and universities, which has been from time to time carefully maintained, as well among the Jews and Christians, as among the profane nations.

5. The doctor being an elder, as is said, [he] should assist the pastor in the government of the kirk, and concur with the elders, his brethren, in all assemblies; by reason the interpretation of the word (which is [the] only judge in ecclesiastical matters) is committed to his charge.

6. But to preach to the people, to minister the sacraments, and to celebrate marriages, pertains not to the doctor, unless he is otherwise orderly called. Howbeit the pastor may teach in the schools, as he who has also the gift of knowledge oftentimes meet therefore, as the examples of Polycarp and others testify. “

The Presbyterial Form of Church Government within the Westminster Standards also states,

“Teacher or Doctor.

THE scripture doth hold out the name and title of teacher, as well as of the pastor.

Who is also a minister of the word, as well as the pastor, and hath power of administration of the sacraments.

The Lord having given different gifts, and divers exercises according to these gifts, in the ministry of the word; though these different gifts may meet in, and accordingly be exercised by, one and the same minister; yet, where be several ministers in the same congregation, they may be designed to several employments, according to the different gifts in which each of them doth most excel. And he that doth more excel in exposition of scripture, in teaching sound doctrine, and in convincing gainsayers, than he doth in application, and is accordingly employed therein, may be called a teacher, or doctor, (the places alleged by the notation of the word do prove the proposition.) Nevertheless, where is but one minister in a particular congregation, he is to perform, as far as he is able, the whole work of the ministry.

A teacher, or doctor, is of most excellent use in schools and universities; as of old in the schools of the prophets, and at Jerusalem, where Gamaliel and others taught as doctors. ”

These Doctors or teachers are distinct of that of the office of Preaching Elder. They teach more Doctrinally. They set up Catechumen Schools for new converts, they run the Seminaries of training men for the office and they set up schools such as Hebrew schools during the week for the children of the Church.

§Deacons – Levites

The office of deacon is the successor to the Levites.

Isaiah speaking of New Testament times when the Gentiles will be brought into the church,

“And I will take of them for Priests, and for Levites, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 66:21

By understanding that the Deacons are the Levites of the New Testament explains why there is so little data in the NT regarding deacons. Also by only rely on New Testament commentary then deacons are limited strictly to mercy. Taking care of church property is not given to them as well as other functions of the office of Deacon. The apostles, as the Newer Patriarchs and Prophets, discovered that they needed Levites, and moved to elect deacons. It also explains Acts 6, which says “Males.” when electing Deacons since the Levites as well were restricted to men thereby doing away with all of the peripheral references to diakonos, diakonoi, etc., because they get relegate to the status of helper. But this is not some mere novelty but has an ancient testimony throughout the church even in the Reformed Church.

Westminster divine George Gillespie wrote,

“The Jewish Church, not as it was a Church, but as it was Jewish, had a high Priest, typifying our great high Priest Jesus Christ. … But as it was a Church, and not as Jewish, It had four sorts of ordinary office-bearers, Priests, Levites, Doctors, and Elders, and we conformable have Pastors, Deacons, Doctors and Elders. To their Priest and Levites, Cyprian doth rightly liken to our Pastors and Deacons, for howsoever sundry things were done by the Priests and Levites, which were typical and Jewish only, yet may we well parallel our Pastors with their Priests, in respect of perpetual Ecclesiastical office common to both, viz. The teaching and governing of the people of God, Mal. 2.7. 2 Chron. 19.8, and our Deacons with their Levites, in respect of the care of Ecclesiastical goods, undo f the work of the service of the house of God in the materials and appurtenances thereof, a function likewise common to both, 1 Chro. 26. 20. & 23.24. 28. The Jewish Church had also Doctors and Schools, or colleges for the preservation of true Divinity among them, and of tongues, arts, and sciences, necessary thereto, 1 Chron. 15. 22. 27, 2 King. 22.14, 1 Sam. 19.20, 2 Kings 2.3.5, Acts 19.9. These office-bearers they had for no typical use, but we have them for the same use and end for which they had them. And all these sorts of office-bearers among us we do as rightly warrant from the like sorts among them as other while we warrant our baptizing of infants from their circumcising of them, our churches by their Synagogues, etc..” George Gillespie, An Assertion of the Government of the Church of Scotland in the points of Ruling-elders, etc.

Westminster divine John Lightfoot (1602-1675) states in his commentary on Matthew 4 that the office of deacon was not necessarily something new that comes about in Acts 6. Rather he states and defends that the synagogue had deacons.

“Again he (Thomas Goodwin) says, ‘In all the Jew’s Synagogues there were Parnasin Deacons or such as had care of the poor. Whose work it was to gather alms for them from the congregation and to distribute it to them. That needful office is here Acts vi translated into the Christian Church.’” -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

But it was also found within the Patristic Church.

Clement of Rome (96 A.D.)

“The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus the Christ was sent from God. Thus Christ is from God and the Apostles from Christ. In both instances, the orderly procedure depends on God’s will. And so, the Apostles, after receiving their orders and being fully convinced by the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and assured by God’s word, went out in the confidence of the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News that God’s Kingdom is about to come. They preached in country and in city and appointed their first converts after testing them by the Spirit, to be the BISHOPS and DEACONS of future believers. Now this was not any novelty, for Scripture had mentioned bishops and deacons long before. For this is what Scripture says somewhere, ‘I will appoint their bishops in righteousness and their deacons in faith.'” (1). “The high priest is given his particular duties: the PRIESTS are assigned their special place while, on the LEVITES, particular tasks are imposed. The layman is bound by the laymen’s code.” . Each of the brothers, “in his own rank,” must win God’s approval and have a clear conscience. We must not transgress the rules laid down for our ministry, but must perform it reverently”. (1) quotation mentioned is from the Septuagint of Isaiah 60: 17.

“They therefore that make their offerings at the appointed season are acceptable and blessed; for while they follow the institutions of the Master they cannot go wrong. For unto the high priest his proper services have been assigned and to the priests their proper office is appointed, and unto the Levites their proper ministration is laid. The layman is bound by the layman’s ordinances. Let each of you, brethren, in his own order give thanks unto God, maintaining a good conscience, and not transgressing the appointed rule of His service, but acting with all seemliness.” -Ib. a. xl, xli; but cf. a. xliv.

Jerome, Ep. 146

Bishops, presbyters and deacons occupy in the church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple.

Athanasius

‘The great Athanasius in his sermon to the newly baptized says this:’

“You shall see the Levites bringing loaves and a cup of wine, and placing them on the table.” -Sermon to the Newly Baptized” 373 A.D

Zephyrinus, To the Bishops of the Province of Egypt.

The Decretals

“Ordinations of presbyters and Levites, moreover, solemnly perform on a suitable occasion, and in the presence of many witnesses; and to this duty advance tried and learned men, that ye may be greatly gladdened by their fellowship and help. Place the confidence of your hearts without ceasing on the goodness of God, and declare these and the other divine words to succeeding generations: “For this is our God for ever and ever, and He will guide us to eternity.” Given on the 7th November, in the consulship of the most illustrious Saturninus and Gallicanus.”

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians Chapter III

“In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church.”

So there is very little doubt that the office of Deacons is a continuation of the office of Levite and have similar functions except where aspects of the ceremonial law is abrogated.

§Christian Synagogues – A Continuation of the Old Testament Synagogue

The Church (ekklesia) existed prior to the NT, Acts 7:38 “This is he (Moses), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel (Christ) which spake to him in the mount Sinai”.

The Greek Septuagint of the Old Testament uses the word Ekklesia in place of the Hebrew word “Qahal”.

The synagogue is a Greek word used for the God ordained (miqra) is translated into English as Holy Convocation (Lev. 23:3) on the Sabbath.

The New Testament in James 2:2 calls Christian Assembly buildings (synagōgē).

As Reformed Christians our worship practices must be built upon the whole Bible. We must take our instruction from all 66 books of Holy Scripture. It is a single book, a single coherent revelation of God’s mind. And it has always been, therefore, a single worship of God’s people: the same grateful praise, confession, submission offered to a holy God by sinners saved by grace. Also, we must regulate our worship according to the precepts, principles, and examples found within the totality of God’s Word. And through his unity and application of the entire scriptures we see a continuity and continuation of the Synagogue for the New Testament saints. The Synagogue being the moral holy convocation of the saints throughout the Old Testament time period.

The New Testament church is based on the model of the Synagogue and continues the Synagogue. It was the weekly gathering of the saints throughout the Old Testament. It was set up by God through Moses in Lev. 23:3 which is the Holy Convocations (Miqra) that God appointed on the weekly bases. Even the Apostles declared that Moses was the one who set up Synagogues in every city in Acts 15:21. So we know that the Synagogue was set up according to divine revelation given to Moses and it was set up from the time of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.
Matthew Poole speaking on the Ancient Use of the Synagogue states,

“All the synagogues of God in the land, i.e. all the public places wherein the Jews used to meet together to worship God every sabbath day, as is noted, Acts 13:27, and upon other occasions. That the Jews had such synagogues is manifest, both from these and other places of Scripture; and from the testimony of the Hebrew doctors, and other ancient and learned writers, who affirm it, and particularly of Jerusalem, in which they say there were above four hundred synagogues; and from the nature and necessity of the thing; for seeing it is undeniable that they did worship God publicly, in every sabbath, and other holy times, even then when they neither did nor could go up to Jerusalem, both conscience and prudence must needs direct them to appoint convenient places for that purpose.” -Matthew Poole on Synagogues in Ancient Israel

Campegius Vitringa wrote,

“The places of meeting, of both Christians and Jews, were called by the same name, viz. (Synagogues), we have proof of this in the Epistle of St. James; Grotius, in his Commentary on the Acts, shows, that this was the name generally given to Christian places of worship. The usual appellations of the Synagogue were likewise applied to the Churches of Christians; thus Eusebius calls them, “Venerable schools of virtue,” the very appellation by which Synagogues are designated by Philo.” -Campegius Vitringa, The Synagogue and the Church, pg. 140, 1693-1723
“The Synagogue, in its early state, was governed by a Council; so was the early Church, There is a striking correspondence between the Councils of the Church, and those of the Synagogue. And 1. In the names given to the member of these Councils. Thus, the Rulers of the Synagogue are called by St. Luke Presbyters; the very same name is given, by the same Evangelist, to the ministers of the Christian Church. … again, the name, Parnas (Pastor) was frequently given to the members of the Jewish Councils “-Campegius Vitringa, The Synagogue and the Church, P. 145-146, 1693-1723
“The word translated Church, (Ecclesia,) … always conveys some idea of the nature of the assembly; it answers to the Hebrew word Kahal, which denotes an assembly legally convened. Thus Jewish people, when assembled as a body politics to receive the law, are called Kahal; and St. Stephen, referring to this assembly, styles it Ecclesia. … The followers of Christ may be so dispersed, so scattered throughout the world, as to have no opportunity of meeting together; they then cease to be a congregation (Sunagoge), but they do not cease to be a Church (Ecclesia); they have still their legal bond of union, they have still the same Head, they are united by the same faith, supported by the same hope. The Greek words rendered Synagogue, and Church … the word Synagogue signifies in general, the place of assembling, whereas the word Church, … is used to denote, not the place of assembling, but the believing servants of Christ, congregated together for the worship of God, and for mutual edification. ““-Campegius Vitringa, The Synagogue and the Church, P. 1-3, 1693-1723
Westminster divine Anthony Burgess wrote,

“The opinion of the Socinians and others is very wicked, which makes them before Christ, only to hope in temporal good things, and the notion of the Papist observing that the Church under the New Testament is called Ecclesia, but never Synagoge; & the meeting of the Jews, called always Synagoge, but never Ecclesia, doth suppose that the Jews were gathered together as so many beasts, rather than called together as men. But this notion is judged false; and they instance Heb. 10 and James 2 where the Church of the Christians is called Synagoge…” Anthony Burgess, Vindiceae, pg 252

Dr. Samuel Miller, whom we have already used in another section states,

“Now in all these respects, and in many more which might be mentioned the Christian Church followed the Synagogue model and departed from that of the Temple. Could we trace a resemblance only in one or a few points it might be considered as accidental but the resemblance is so close so striking and extends to so many particulars as to arrest the attention of the most careless inquirer. It was indeed notoriously so great in the early ages that the heathen frequently suspected Christian Churches of being Jewish Synagogues in disguise and stigmatized them as such accordingly. And when it is considered that all the first converts to Christianity were Jews that they had been accustomed to the offices and service of the Synagogue during their whole lives that they came into the Church with all the feelings and habits connected with their old institutions strongly prevalent and that the organization and service of the Synagogue were of a moral nature in all their leading characters proper to be adopted under any dispensation while the typical and ceremonial service of the Temple was then done away when these things are considered will it not appear perfectly natural that the Apostles themselves native Jews should be disposed to make as little change in converting Synagogues into Christian Churches as was consistent with the spirituality of the new dispensation. That the Synagogue model therefore should be adopted would seem beforehand to be the most probable of all events. Nor is this a new or sectarian notion. Whoever looks into the writings of some of the early Fathers of the Reformers and of a large portion of the most learned men who have adorned the Church of Christ subsequently to the Reformation will find a very remarkable concurrence of opinion that such was the model really adopted in the organization of the apostolic Church. Most of the distinguished writers whose names are mentioned in the preceding chapter are as we have seen unanimous and melons in maintaining this position. Accordingly as soon as we begin to read of the Apostles organizing Churches on the New Testament plan we find them instituting officers of precisely the same nature and bestowing on them for the most part the very same titles to which they had been accustomed in the ordinary sabbatical service under the preceding economy. We find Bishops, Elders, and Deacons every where appointed. We find a plurality of Elders ordained in every Church. And we find the Elders represented as overseers … as rulers in the house of God and the members of the Church exhorted to obey them and submit to them as to persons charged with their spiritual interests and entitled to their affectionate and dutiful reverence.“ -Dr. Samuel Miller, An Essay on the Warrant, Nature and Duties of the Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church

And Miller and another work of his,

“The service and worship of the Temple being abolished as being ceremonial, God transplanted the worship and public adoration of God used in the Synagogues which was moral into the Christian Church viz the public ministry, public prayers, reading God’s word and preaching.” -Dr. Samuel Miller, A continuation of letters concerning the constitution and order of the Church

Hugo Grotius states,

“The whole polity regimen of the Christian Church was conformed to the pattern of the Synagogue.” Hugo Grotius, -Commentary on Acts 11:30

And in his Commentary on 1 Tim 5:17 Grotius has the following passage,

“Formerly in large cities as there were many Synagogues so there were also many churches or separate meetings of Christians. And every particular Church had its own President or Bishop who instructed the people and ordained Presbyters. In Alexandria alone it was the custom to have but one President or Bishop for the whole city who distributed Presbyters through the city for the purpose of instructing the people as we are taught by Sozomen.”

So we see that the Biblical and the Reformed position is that the New Testament church is a continuation of the Synagogue and that our assembly, our meeting places, our offices, our constitution and our worship are based and modeled on the Old Testament Synagogue.

§Worship Elements and Patterns of the Synagogue

As I have already stated, as Reformed Christians our worship practices must be built upon the whole Bible. We must take our instruction from all 66 books of Holy Scripture. It is a single book, a single coherent revelation of God’s mind. And it has always been, therefore, a single worship of God’s people: the same grateful praise, confession, submission offered to a holy God by sinners saved by grace. Also, we must regulate our worship according to the precepts, principles, and examples found within the totality of God’s Word.

But we must also understand there is a nuance of various types of worship within the sacred Scriptures and not every type of worship that is being described is for the Sabbath Day Corporate Worship service.

The Reformed also hold to nuance understanding of worship throughout Scripture. We distinguish between Synagogue and Temple Worship with the Synagogue model and the Synagogue pattern of worship for the church. We distinguish between Civil Celebrations such as Miriam and the Red Sea and Corporate Sabbath Worship. We distinguish Between Private, Family and Corporate Sabbath Worship and we distinguish between things that were temporary such as the Corinthian passage about let every one who has a prophecy, etc which was Apostolic and not for today. We also distinguish between Elements of worship, Substances of worship and Forms of Worship and circumstances of worship with the Elements, Substance and Forms being totally required by Scripture command and example and Circumstances being first by biblical example and then by the light of nature and good Christian prudence. So for us it is not a free for all but depending on context, nature, and what is required per ordained worship. Not all that is required for corporate worship is permitted in Family or Private worship (such as the sacraments). What is allowed for Civil Celebrations may not be permitted for Private, Family or Corporate worship (such as dancing and certain musical instruments). What was required and permitted for the Temple may not be done for the Synagogue/Church (Musical Instruments, Incense, etc).

Worship is giving due adoration, devotion, and homage to God who is Lord and Sovereign over the entire universe.

Within Scripture there is Synagogue Worship and Temple Worship. Figuring out which type of worship is important because we figure out and are told how to worship from all of Scripture and not just the New Testament. The Temple Worship was required 3 times per year while the normal weekly Sabbath worship was required in the Synagogue. The Temple was a type or shadow of Christ and His work and was set to come to an end at their pre-appointed time which was at the first advent. Then we must figure out if it is Family worship, private worship, or Corporate Synagogue Worship, to determine which worship pattern we are to follow.

The Synagogue only had the non-sacrificial/rituals of the temple. The Synagogue worship consisted of Prayer, Reading and Hearing the Word of God, Exposition of Scripture, Singing of Psalms without Musical Instruments.

This is why we do not have musical instruments within our Divine worship. The musical instruments were part and parcel with the Temple and Burnt Offerings. They were done by the Levites with very particular instruments all of which is abrogated for us today. The Synagogue did not have musical instruments, they only had the singing of Psalms without instruments because the instruments were so tied to the Temple and Temple Worship.

Alex Hislop stated,

“With the abrogation of the “worldly sanctuary,” the instrumental music, which, as much as the offering of sacrifice, was identified with it, and which was not used in the service of the synagogue, was equally abrogated. So certain is it that the instrumental music of Judaism was identified with the Temple service, that the Jews themselves have, ever since the destruction of the Temple, till very recently, held it utterly unlawful to introduce such music into their synagogues. … THE scriptural argument in regard to the identification of the instrumental music in the Old Testament dispensation with the temple worship, stands thus:—We find an express appointment by Divine authority of the use of musical instruments for the temple service, and in connection with the offering of sacrifice; (Numbers 10:10; 1. Chronicles 15:16, and 16:4-6,) the very families being specifically named that could alone use these musical instruments. (1 Chronicles, 25. to the end.) We find no appointment, or the least hint of the appointment, of any such instrumental music in the service of God anywhere else.“ -Alex Hislop, The Scriptural Principles of the Solemn League and Covenant

The whole of worship is made up of a number of parts. The Regulative Worship is the “what” of worship, while the Dialogue Worship makes up the “When” or the order of worship and the “Who” or in other words, who is it whom is speaking during worship. Together they combine to form the “How” of worship.

Worship must also be reverent and with a holy fear. It must not be flippant or without trembling. Worship is not about silliness or childish antics that often passes for modern evangelical worship today. It must be serious, with a reverence and a solemn fear . Psalm 2 says “Rejoice with trembling”, and “With reverence and a godly fear” Hebrew 12:28. And why must this be? Hebrews 12:29 tells us , “For our God is a consuming fire.” We must tremble at his Word. Isaiah 66:1-2.

The Regulative Principle teaches that there are Elements of Worship, and those Elements consist of substance and form. There are also circumstances. The Regulative Principle regulates the Elements, Substances and Forms to their very form. The Circumstances are those things that do not pertain to the Elements of Worship but are common to humans such as if we have air conditioning, microphone for amplification, whether we have carpeting or stone flooring. Though the Circumstances are not as regulated, they are still to be determined first by biblical example and second by good christian prudence.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states the regulative principle well in the first paragraph under “Worship and the Sabbath Day”

“The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”

What are the elements of Worship? Our Confession go further and states the elements of worship. The elements of Worship are Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, Prayer, Reading and Hearing of the Word of God, Preaching the Word of God, Covenant Vows, and Singing Psalms with Grace.

The warnings of Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 stress God’s demand that whatever he commands, especially in worship, “you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to them nor take away from it.”

The pattern as seen in Nehemiah chapter 8 is a good example of a worship pattern found in Scripture.

“… And Ezra the scribe stood upon upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, &c. . . . . on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, &c. . . . . And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, (for he was above all the people,) and when he opened it, all the people stood up; and Ezra blessed the Lord the great God; and all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands, and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua . . . . and the Levites caused the people to understand the law; and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understanding the reading.” We have in these verses a perfect model of the synagogue. 1st. The pulpit of wood, elevated above the people. 2d. The reading of the law by Ezra and the other doctors. 3d. The explanation of the law. 4th. Praise and Thanksgiving. 5th. The people answering, Amen.” -Campegius Vitringa, The Synagogue and the Church, pg. 40-41, 1693-1723

There is also a Covenantal pattern to our worship through a Covenant Ceremony.

Call to Worship – Israel’s first assembly took place at Sinai at God’s call for a feast and to serve God when He came to them (Ex. 3:12; 5:1; 19:10ff). The call to assemble before our Covenant Lord comes from God, naming Him as the one who calls, and the saints as those called to gather. The Lord says, “Gather my saints together before me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifices. Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High” (Ps. 50:5, 14).

Response of Praise through the Singing of Psalms – Saints meeting with their King respond to His call to meet with praise, thanksgiving, and offerings as well as confession of sin. God is pleased with the sacrifice of praise and with the good deeds of sharing this world’s goods (Heb. 13:15-16). And He instructs His people to give Him thanks: Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing Psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! (Ps. 105:1-3)

Reading of the Old and New Testament, The Covenant History, giving reasons for covenanting (Ex. 19:4), summarizing Exodus 1-18, pointing back to all of Genesis. What is the reading of Scripture in God’s worship but recounting the history by which God brought His people home to Himself? The giving of the Law under the Old Testament began by recounting God’s saving Israel: I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Ex. 20:1-2). Likewise, in the New Testament, God’s saving acts in Christ are proclaimed in the gospel. God in Christ has vanquished the enemies of his people: the power of sin, Satan, and the last enemy, death itself (Col. 1:13-14).

Reading of the Law – Stipulations (Ex. 20:1-17; 21:1–23:19): The Ten Commandments are permanent principles applied to specific matters in Ex. 21:1–23:19.

Confession of Sins – As subjects appearing before our Lord, we must seek pardon for past sins. In the solemn assemblies of the Church, the saints properly respond to God’s call to meet with a confession of sin and hear God’s assurance of forgiveness for Christ’s sake. Apart from Christ’s sacrifice, there can be no appearing in God’s presence.

Assurance of Pardon – Blessings (Ex. 23:20-33)

Instruction – Preaching of the Word, Covenant Document (Ex. 24:4). Instruction in how to serve God follows the history of His salvation. Scripture instructs and exhorts God’s people to obey their sovereign Lord in everything at all times. In the reading and preaching of the Word, the saints hear God Himself speak to them. They hear warnings and encouragements. The hands that hang down, and the weak knees, are strengthened. Their feet are given straight paths to run in. The unregenerate are left without excuse, the unrepentant face God’s correcting chastisement. Weighty church discipline takes place within the assembly (1 Cor. 5:4-5). The saints all add their Amen to His Word, mixing faith with God’s Word, showing they believe and embrace it

Oath (Ex. 19:8; 24:3): “All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient.”

Prayer and Praise of Thanksgiving – All the saints share in teaching and admonishing one another. Even newborn babes in Christ, even those weak in faith, even those who have been caught in a fault, even those with no gift of preaching join the assembly in singing psalms. Through the psalms the Word of God dwells richly in His people, so that each instructs all how to praise God, how to confess sin, how to handle adversity, and how to remember God’s covenant. Just as all sing to God, so all pray. When the minister leads in prayer, each adds his Amen to it. In the church’s prayers, the covenant is again remembered and affirmed as the church offers up its desires to God, with thanksgivings and confessions of sin.
Covenant Meal (Ex. 24:9-11): They saw God and ate and drank. When the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is administered it seals God’s love to His people. In communion, as in baptism and in the preaching of the Word, grace and salvation are held forth in fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations (Confession, 7.6).

The Benediction – The benediction expresses the blessings of the covenant, while the warnings against unbelief (Heb. 4:1) and the exercise of church discipline in its gatherings remind the Church of the curses attached (see 1 Cor. 5:4-5; 11:29). A parting benediction conveys God’s blessings on the saints in the week to come. They leave the assembly with “grace, peace, and mercy from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” They also leave with the hope of the resurrection and the life to come and the promise of the Holy Spirit’s presence: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Here we see the Synagogue patterns and elements of worship, here we see the same pattern and elements of Worship for the Christian Synagogue. It is a Holy Worship, a Holy Convocation and it is Covenantal.

“We must understand that the earth is profaned when God’s worship is polluted and when his holy name is dishonoured, and that the land in which he wants us to live is polluted and cursed, or will soon be. But since God has given his children the right to remove idolatry from their country, if they don’t do it they provoke him to anger and bring his vengeance upon themselves.”

John Calvin, Sermon on Deuteronomy, The Sabbath, 1555

The Encounter and Convocation of Alexander Peden and James Renwick

April 20, 2016

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Alexander Peden, known as the Prophet of the Covenant, was one of the leading figures in the Covenanter movement in Scotland. After becoming an outlaw and rebel he wore a mask when going out in public preaching the gospel throughout all of Scotland. The following is a true account of the encounter and convocation between Alexander Peden and James Renwick another leading Covenanter after the death of James Cameron.

 

peden preaching

 

“Wrote Paul to Timothy, when about to die, ‘Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry.’ It was not always so. There was a time when Paul had little use for the young man who ‘went not with them to the work’ But there came about a blessed change, and such an one as ‘Paul the aged’ would have with him, in the Roman prison, John Mark.

And old Alexander Peden, the Prophet of the Covenant, ‘in deaths oft’, was truly dying now in his cave, but of whom he had believed some hard things.

james renwickJames Renwick

 

By all his afflictions, Puir Auld Sandie was hastening on to the joy of his Lord, and he sent for James Renwick. Patrick Walker tells the fine old story:

He said to James Wilson, that from the time he drank in these false reports, and followed these unhappy advices, it had not been with him as formerly; and when he was a-dying, he sent for Mr. Renwick, who hasted to him and found him lying in very low circumstances, overgrown with hair, and few to take care of him, as he never took much care of his body, and seldom unclothed himself, or went to bed. When Mr. James came in, he raised himself upon his bed, leaning upon his elbow with his head upon his hand, and said,

“Well Sir,” said Mr. Peden, “turn about your back,” which he did in his condescending temper. Mr. Peden said, “I think your legs too small, and your shoulders too narrow, to take on the whole Church of Scotland on your back; sit down, sir, and give me an account of your conversion, and of your call to the ministry, of your principles, and the ground of your taking such singular courses, in withdrawing from all other ministers;”

Which Mr. Renwick did in a distinct manner; of the Lord’s way of dealing with him from his infancy, and of three mornings successive in some retired place in the King’s Park, where he used to frequent before he went abroad, where he got very signal manifestations and confirmations of his call to the ministry, and got renewed in Holland a little before he came off; a distinct short account of his grounds upon which he contended against tyranny and defections, and kept up an active testimony against all the evils of that day. When ended, Mr. Peden said,

“Ye have answered me to my soul’s satisfaction, and I am very sorry that I should have believed any such ill reports of you, which have not only quenched my love to you, and marred my sympathy with you, but made me express myself too bitterly against you, for which I have sadly smarted. But, sir, ere you go you must pray for me, for I am old, and going to leave the world;”

Which he did with more than ordinary enlargement; when ended, he took him by the land, and frew him to him, and kissed him and said,

“Sir, I find you a faithful servant to your Master, go on in a single dependence upon the Lord, and ye will win honestly through and cleanly off the stage, when many others that hold their head high will fall and lie in the mire, and make foul hands and garments;”

Then prayed, that the Lord might spirit, strengthen, support and comfort him in all duties and difficulties. James Wilson was witness to this, and James Nisbet, who then lied in that countryside, could have asserted the truth of this.’

They never met again. Peden ever a phantom to the troopers, evaded them to the last, but forty days after he was buried, they dug him up as he said they would, and hung him on a gallows, and out of contempt for him, reburied him at the gallows foot.”

-Fair Sunshine, Jock Purves

 

Think! No more in the old graveyard,
Will anyone bury his dead!
They carry them high to the Gallows Hill
And lay them there at his head.

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The Mask of Alexander Peden

Civil Modesty Law How Does Clothing Pertain to Civil Magistrates

April 11, 2016

 

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I have come to a very carefully thought out conclusion. It is my first large theology change in a year or so. It happens to deal with the issue of modesty but in more respect to the role of civil government with it. All of the Reformers, Puritans and Covenanters all held that the government had a role in outlawing immodesty and they even passed laws within their societies to deal with the issue of lewdness and immodesty.

Such examples of Puritan modesty laws of New England were such as the following,

“In 1639, the General Court made another order prohibiting the wearing upon garments ‘any manner of lace’, and in the same order it was provided ‘that hereafter no garment shall be made with short sleeves, whereby the nakedness of the arm may be discovered in the wearing thereof and such as have garments already made with short sleeves shall not hereafter wear the same, unless they cover their arms to the wrist with linen or otherwise’.”88 Daniel Wait Howe. The Puritan republic of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. (Indianapolis: Bowen – Merrill, 1899), 98.

But up to this week I have not been convinced from Scripture that the government has a role within this issue. I just could not see it The Scripture definitely speaks to the issue of modesty and what is permitted and what is not permitted. It even defines explicitly and implicitly the details of gender distinctions. But where does it give authority for the civil magistrate (an ordained minister of God) to punish such vices? Where does it spell out the just punishment for the infraction of this wickedness?

Of course, the Social Theocrats would say well it doesn’t but the magistrate is to punish all sin and wickedness that it discovers. Of course that is an argument that I cannot buy. It is rift with issues and massively prone to abuse that can dive quickly into tyranny.

Of course the Recon RPG (Regulative Principle of Civil Government) is also incorrect. We do not need for everything a strict explicit command for the magistrate to punish wrath against the evil doers. We may also go by implicit examples in scripture as well as inference. I call this a Covenanter RPG. I sort of straddle the middle of the two extremes.

Even so, up to this week I could not derived an implicit example or even inference from Holy Scripture for the role of the civil magistrate to punish the wicked and abominable act of immodesty.

That has all been changed. I have taken a week to go deep into this subject and I believe I have the only proper and correct way to derive the principle that the civil magistrate is to punish immodesty. As a friend told me this week, if it is not in that passage then there is no where else to go in Scripture.

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§Leviticus 18

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.”

Here in the beginning of this chapter we are told speak unto the children of Israel, DO NOT do after the heathen nations around you. We are not to adopt their way, practices, even their clothing. This verse alone throws out the oft repeated mistake that we are to fit in with our culture and that we must adopt the clothing from the culture and be cultural relevant. No we are to be distinct from the heathens even if that means looking like the strangest person in the world. We are to keep these ordinances as well as the judgments (civil law) and walk after them and live in them.

“None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord. The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness. Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.”

§Nakedness

Now we are given a list of people we are not to present our nakedness to. But wait? Doesn’t this entail incest? I thought we were talking about Modesty Laws? Yes, it does include incest but it is not limited to incest.

This chapter is dealing with generality of nakedness. We are not to come before these people with a three-fold view of particular prohibitions.

Here is what Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says,

“This verse contains a general summary of all the particular prohibitions; and the forbidden intercourse is pointed out by the phrase, “to approach to.” In the specified prohibitions that follow, all of which are included in this general summary, the prohibited familiarity is indicated by the phrases, to “uncover the nakedness” [Le 18:12-17], to “take” [Le 18:17, 18], and to “lie with” [Le 18:22, 23].”

The law prohibits 1. Uncover Nakedness, i.e. Nudity, 2. Take and 3. to Lie with. So it is not just dealing with Incest. Another chapter deals explicitly with incest which I will explain in a minute.

Nakedness translated in the passage is the Hebrew word ‘ervah’. In addition to the standard knowing of sexual incest there it also includes the following, “nakedness, nudity, shame, pudenda, pudenda (implying shameful exposure) nakedness of a thing, indecency, exposed”.

So this is dealing with modesty in addition to incest.

One will quickly ask, “But these are dealing with particulars of family members and not general public? Well first there is a Synecdoche, more is meant then just the bare reading. But more to the point if you are dressing immodesty in your home before you come out into public you will be before your mother, father, brother, sister, etc within your house. Even before you walk out that front door you will be interacting with family members. Everybody has a mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, an uncle and various other family members. It is very unavoidable to go out in public before coming before one of your relatives which is expressively prohibited here. Doing so in private or public would be off limits and therefore punishable by the civil magistrates with what is prescribed in these passages, added to this the Westminster Larger Catechism places modest apparel in the Seventh Commandment, a type of sexual sin…

I was reading John Calvin on this chapter and right in the middle of his diatribe he also recognized that there is a modesty component here. In this is discusses veils for women.

“Paul, on a very trifling point, sets before our eyes the law of nature; for, when he teaches that it is shameful and indecorous for women to appear in public without veils, he desires them to consider, whether it would be decent for them to present themselves publicly with their heads shorn; and finally adds, that nature itself does not permit it. ”

Someone will then ask, “Okay, what is nakedness? How do we determine what we can dress?” I am not planning on tackling that particular nuance within this article. I don’t want to get bogged down with specifics at this time. Let us discuss and come to agreement on the general application here before diving into specifics of what is permitted and what is not permitted and what is punishable by the magistrate and what is not punishable by the magistrate… I will cover that subject in the future (No pun intended).

§Just Recompense Punishment

Finally someone will ask, “So what is the punishment for immodest in the civil realm?”

“For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.”

Does that mean that death is required for immodesty? Oh, I can hear the name calling now.. Taliban, Islamic, ISIS who cut off heads or pinch off large hunks of skin for immodesty. I am not a stranger to being called such names as Tartan Taliban, Christian Ayatollah, etc. People will do what people do. Such name calling does not fear me or even bother me. haha

Thankfully it does not mean the death penalty.

According to John Gill, Cut off from the people doesn’t mean death but excommunication from church, removal of citizenship from the state and perhaps banishment from the land if they are habitual…

“shall be cut off from among the people; be removed from their church state, and deprived of ecclesiastical privileges, and from their civil state, and reckoned no more of the commonwealth of Israel; and if known and convicted, to be punished by the civil magistrate, and if not, by the immediate hand of God.” – John Gill

Death is prescribed for some of the acts in this chapter especially for incest. But this chapter does not determine that and not all of them are requiring of death.

Ellicot Commentary says,

“Shall be cut off.—That is, in case the transgression escapes the ken of the tribunal, God himself will inflict the punishment upon the criminals, since some of the crimes specified in this chapter are, according to Leviticus 20, to be visited with death by the hand of man”

So some are by death and other not.. the death would be depended on Lev. 20 and what it prescribes for explicit “lie with”.

§Differences between Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20

See the difference between Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20 is Leviticus 18 uses the term “nakedness” which is a general term for various acts and sub acts while Leviticus 20 uses the term “Lie with” which is more explicit for incest and the actual action and not other things such as nakedness.

Leviticus 20 proscribes death for certain acts of lying which is different then cut off from the people…

It is also possible for ringleaders and habitual modesty breakers that the following make apply as per the courts decision as per what George Gillespie argues in Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty, 1644,

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.” Deuteronomy 25: 1-3

§Conclusion

All in all I think this is one of the best argumentation for civil modesty laws and if it is not found here there is nowhere else it can be derived. But I believe it is a pretty convincing argument although I know many people will disagree. Many by emotionalism, fear and a plain ‘I don’t want to’. This was not an easy topic to cover nor some of the outcomes and logical conclusions. But I think it makes the best case from Scripture and the Reformed Faith.

People need guidance and they need rules and laws. Seeing what we see in our culture today as well as the many arguments I have been into online, I am convicted ever so strong that people are sheeples and need guidance and laws and even punishments to deter even in these areas.