Sabbath and New Moon 1/13/33/120

Dear Friends

This New Moon before the New Year and the Sanctification of the Temple of God, which Temple we are as it is made up of the people of God in which God resides, we will examine the concept of being reconciled to our brothers.  A building cannot stand unless it is composed of stones properly crafted and fitting together in proper joints in sound construction.

All humans have differences of opinions and difficulties. Sometimes we can take offence at others. Sometimes we can be influenced by others to our detriment and the detriment of the body. Sometimes we can make a false report not knowing the full or true facts of the matter and we can follow after a multitude to do evil, not even understanding that is what we are doing (cf Ex 23:1-2).

We have seen it happen many times of the church of God. Sometimes people are hurt by it and some take themselves out of the body because of it. In some cases it is with self righteous railing accusations. God knows the full facts of a matter and he will vindicate the cause. Our job is to make sure that we do not cause anyone to stumble and we do not give offence and cause them to depart the faith.

There is a sequence of a teaching in Matthew from 5:21-26 that throws light on the mindset behind the conduct of the Church of God.

Matthew 5[21] "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' [22] But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire. [23] So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, [24] leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. [25] Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; [26] truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.

This text placed the level of operation of the followers of Christ at a higher level or standard than that which the law demanded. It showed a spirit or mental state that was required of the faith that was of a type that ensured right conduct between the members of the faith. It was to ensure that the concept of violence was lifted above the simple injunction not to kill anyone and place it on a level of the obligation to make alive and to safeguard the well being of the individual.

Each of us is not to maintain anger against our brother. We will be judged for it as the elect are under judgment now. If we insult our brother we are doing damage to the person. Insulting someone is assault to the person and often defamation. Such conduct is to be dealt with by the council of the Body of Christ. The concept of “Raca” translated “you fool” is really the Aramaic insult of “Spit in your face.” It is violence to the person and such an attitude removes one from the First Resurrection and places those in danger of the death of the Second Resurrection unless the action is repented. 

The comment Christ made regarding offering your gift at the altar is of significance. What gift was he speaking of and what altar was the one in question? Clearly if he was meaning the physical Temple of God at Jerusalem then the comment is superfluous as it was not the Temple that was built by Christ and the apostles. That temple was a spiritual temple of living human beings. Each one is part of the building. Each one is part of the offering of prayers and worship to God. The prayers and worship are daily and one is told not to let the sun go down on one’s anger. So reconciliation to the brother is at least on an ongoing basis either daily as we forgive others before we go before to God, or at least weekly at Sabbath services where we meet to go before God as a cohesive body.

More importantly, the greatest ceremony of our spiritual year is the reconciliation of the church and the individual to God at the Lord’s Supper.   We cannot expect to go before God at the Lord’s Supper and be forgiven our sins if we have not reconciled ourselves to our brothers and have forgiven them, or been forgiven for whatever perceived grievance that they have against us and whatever offense we may have caused them.

The Day of Atonement also represented the sacrifice for reconciliation of all the sins of the Holy People in that day (Lev. 16:20). All the sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ and thus it is at the Lord’s Supper that the sacrifices of reconciliation are also fulfilled. We have seen people offended and also those that give offence. He who is full of the Holy Spirit takes no offence. However, sometimes people are offended more easily. Sometimes people are so self-righteous they don’t understand when it is they that are at fault.  

We were reconciled to God while we were as yet sinners and enemies of God by the death of God’s son and in his life we are continually reconciled to him (Rom. 5: 8-10). We cannot remain away from God and be saved. As we are all partakers of the Holy Spirit, God is in all of us. Therefore how can we be reconciled to God and remain apart from those in the Holy Spirit who are part of the Temple of God.  It is logically impossible to do so. Therefore, to maintain salvation we cannot be apart from the body of Christ, which is the Temple of God.

We are duty bound to maintain a continuous state of reconciliation to attain salvation. That is why the Seventy Weeks of Years were allowed to the physical Temple to build it and to sanctify it and to bring it to an end. That was so that we who were chosen and predestined to be called over the forty jubilees in the wilderness could take our place as the spiritual Temple of God. (see paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No.13)).

Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your Holy City, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy (Dan 9:24).

All things are of God, who reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ and has given to us the Ministry of Reconciliation. To whit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19).

So if God gave us the ministry of reconciliation, ought we not to be dedicated to reconciling each one of us to each other, not imputing sin to any?  We are ambassadors for Christ as though God beseeched the elect by us. We pray for you in Christ’s stead that you are reconciled to God (2Cor. 5:20). Christ was made sin for us; he who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (cf. v. 21).

Is it not then incumbent on us all that we are to let no accusation or division occur among us so that we are reconciled to each other and therefore to God through Christ.

It was Christ that was made like unto his brethren where he did not take on himself the nature of Angels but was made like the seed of Abraham. He was made in all things like his brethren in order that he could be made a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Heb 2:17). Do you not know that you have been redeemed and made a nation of kings and priests under Christ in the Order of Melchisedek being priests forever without genealogy and without limitation or end of our priesthood?

How then can we cause division and not take the Passover together or take resentment before God and let our offenses remain unresolved, in spite of the injunctions placed upon us to be ministers of reconciliation, each and every one of us. To reconcile means to make two opponents to become friendly, to accept a situation that exists or one is confronted with, or simply to balance statements of account, and in that sense it means to forgive debts also and especially within the body of Christ.

What then are we required to do? How do we leave our gift at the altar and then go and be reconciled. What is our gift?

Are we not required to make daily sacrifice in prayer as a sweet offering before God? Have not the 24 elders of the High Priesthood and inner council of the elohim been tasked with collecting our prayers as an incense offering and monitoring them under the Lamb who was anointed above them and found worthy to open the seals of the plan and prophecy of God (Rev. Chapters 4 and 5).

Do we not go before God three times a year with our gifts as part of the Laws and Commands of God?
Is not the most important of these the Passover where we are commanded to go before God  for the Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread and make our offering and take of the Lord’s Supper with which we are again washed of our sins and reconciled to God. Is this not required each year? How can we take of this most important feast and yet remain unreconciled to our brethren. How can we expect forgiveness and not extend it to our brethren?

Go and be reconciled and then return to God and give Him praise. Ask forgiveness at the Lord’s Supper so that He might forgive you as you forgive your brethren, and ask forgiveness for the trespass or offence that you have given them.

No conflict is entirely one way. We are all at fault.

All of us give offence and trespass against one another. We must forgive them so that we may be forgiven in turn and thereby reconciled to God.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General