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Hidden In Him

April 08, 2020, 10:37:46 AM
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http://www.spiritualwarbiblestudies.com/index.php?topic=181.msg207#msg207
 

Hidden In Him

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MoreBloodWine

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Everything happens for a reason, even if it's rewriting old works ;-)
 

Hidden In Him

March 07, 2020, 07:12:18 PM
My wife dislikes the idea that I'm rewriting studies rather than writing new ones, but the Lord is now opening up Colossians to me like never before, and some work needs to be redone. Very excited about the new insight!  :)
 

Hidden In Him

February 29, 2020, 02:19:44 PM
...get back to making sure studies were ready to put on camera when the time comes.  :)

So how's life with you?  
 

Hidden In Him

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MoreBloodWine

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Hidden In Him

February 28, 2020, 05:43:50 PM
I'm officially going back to writing! Glory to God Almighty!! Having fun again already, and going to be going to work improving and the adding to the set on Colossians.

Blessings in Christ to all who visit,
Hidden
 

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November 02, 2019, 02:37:56 AM
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Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:21:06 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians.

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:20:49 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:20:34 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:19:58 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians.

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:19:21 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:18:57 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:57:00 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians!  :)

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:56:30 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:55:42 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:55:19 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what the abundan
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:54:41 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians!  :)

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant according to the admin

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Study #9 / Colossians 2:20-23, 3:5-7, Part 1
« Last post by Hidden In Him on November 14, 2020, 05:42:56 PM »
Defeating Spiritual Uncleanness By Mortifying The Flesh, Part 1

     Ever wonder why there is so much sexual sin in the church? It is a problem the modern church in reality doesn't have much answer for, though most of the sin goes on without being exposed. Adultery and fornication are practiced, yet because such sins are not something most are willing to admit to, these things are kept from public scrutiny. But the reality of sexual sin and immorality in the church can be easily enough seen through the things they do admit to, for instance the consumption of pornography.
     According to an article by ConquerSeries.com entitled, 15 Mind-Blowing Statistics About Pornography And The Church:

     Statistics reveal that the increase in the amount and reach of pornography cannot be ignored. And it is not just a problem affecting men. Women, teenagers, and children are also being caught in the web of pornography at alarming rates. Many Christians may assume that the church is immune. They see the smiling faces of the people who attend their church. Certainly such godly folks could not be viewing pornography. But many studies and reports have come out over the last several years that show quite a disturbing picture. Not only has pornography invaded churches, but in many cases, the statistics show that Christians – and even church pastors – engage in viewing porn at almost the same rates as the secular population. The research studies, primarily by the Barna Group and Covenant Eyes, reveal:

- Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites. The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
- 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home.
- Eleven is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn, and 94% of children will see porn by the age of 14.
- 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.
- 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
- 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use.
- Only 13% of self identified Christian women say they never watch porn – 87% of Christian women have watched porn.
- 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. And 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.

     The church's current "solutions" to dealing with the problems of sexual sin and sexual immorality are things like "accountability," but these do not address the flesh itself. They are primarily psychological "solutions," which do not account for the physiological side of the problem, and thus are for the most part ineffective with most believers.
     The early church's teachings on how to deal with the lusts of the flesh, however, were different. They advocated the sex drive be brought under through fasting. But as our next passage reveals, the church at Colossi was being presented with a different teaching; one that stressed not how much food one ate, but only what kinds of food. It was a return to strict Judaism, but as Paul would warn them, turning ones focus back to Jewish unclean food laws "did not have any value against gratification of the flesh." They were merely exercises in religious "piety," but did nothing to bring the flesh under control, or submission to the Spirit.
     As this two-part study will attest, the battle Christians face against the drive of the flesh is admittedly severe, and not an easy one to win even when proper teaching is presented. But this issue must be dealt with, or we will have no hope. It is the primary means Satan is using to destroy the Christian witness in our times, and until there is a return to early church teachings on it, we will continue to experience defeat and demoralization. 


Jewish Law Vs. True Discipline Of The Flesh

     After the apostle Peter had his vision of a sheet being lowered from Heaven with all sorts of things Jews were forbidden from eating, and then the Lord commanded him to "Rise up, sacrifice and eat," the early church no longer concerned itself with keeping Jewish unclean food laws. These laws had passed from being any longer relevant for the church of Jesus Christ, aside from not wanting to needlessly and unnecessarily offend the Jews:

     And when Peter went up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision were differentiating with him, saying, "Before uncircumcised men you went in, and you ate with them." But having begun, Peter related the story to them in order, saying, "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and while in a trance I saw in a vision a certain vessel like a great sheet being let down by four corners out of Heaven. And it came to me, upon which after I had looked intently, I was considering. And I saw the four-footed creatures of the earth, and wild beasts and creeping things, and the birds of heaven. And I heard a voice saying unto me, 'Rise up, Peter, sacrifice and eat'." (Acts 11:2-7)

     What the early church did teach, however, was "bringing the body under submission" through fasting. Thus, when heretics now threatened to turn the church at Colossi back to concentrating on keeping Jewish unclean food laws, Paul was quick to point out proper teaching on the matter, and that the church no longer concerned itself with such things. These were now little more than the "teachings of men," men who had not yet received revelation from Christ on the matter:

     If you died with Christ from the principles of the world, why as though living in the world do you subject yourself to decrees? Touch not, taste not, neither handle such things as are all coming to corruption with the using, in accordance with the injections and teachings of men; [teachings] which indeed have an appearance of wisdom in advocating voluntary subservience, self-abasement and neglect of the body, [yet] do not have any value against gratification of the flesh. If therefore you were raised with Christ... Mortify your members upon the earth: Sexual immorality, uncleanness, physical passion, evil lust, and [sexual] covetousness, which is idolatry, on account of which things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, among whom you also walked when you were once living among these. (Colossians 2:20-23, 3:5-7)

     As stated throughout this set of studies, the evidence is overwhelming that the heretics trying to influence the Colossians here were the Essenes. They were completely obsessed with ritual purity. As one article states regarding their mikvahs or ritual baths:

     Based on the findings at Qumran, we know that personal purity was also as high a priority. The number of mikvot found at Qumran makes this clear to us. There were 13 stepped pools found at the site. This is the site with the highest density of ritual baths. The largest mikvah at Qumran (locus 71) can contain around 300 cubic meters of water. What is also unique about these baths at Qumran is the dividing line(s) they have on the stairs leading into the pool. The current understanding is that this line separated the people entering the pool. It kept the unclean people entering the pool from the clean people leaving the pool. In some case there were two lines with a space between to make sure that the people do not touch one another by accident. (Who Were The Essenes? Set Apart People.com)

                                               

     The strictness of their teachings and way of life can also be confirmed by studying their own writings. As suggested by the passage in Colossians, their need to not touch or "handle" anything unclean appears to have been among the highest priorities in their codes of conduct.
     Speaking of their "Yahad" or holy community, one of their documents stated as follows:

     None of the perverse men is to enter purifying waters used by the Men of Holiness, and so contact their purity... None belonging to the Yahad is to discuss with such men matters of the Law or legal judgment, nor to eat or drink what is theirs, nor yet to take anything from them... If [a potential candidate] does proceed in joining the society of the Yahad, he must not touch the pure food of the general membership before they have examined him as to his spiritual fitness and works, and not before a full year has passed. Furthermore, he must not admix his property with that of the general membership. When he has passed a full year in the Yahad... he shall be initiated further into the secret teachings of the Yahad... [but] the initiate is not to touch the drink of the general membership prior to passing a second year among the men of the Yahad. (DSS, Charter Of A Jewish Sectarian Association)

     But these ordinances of "taste not, touch not, handle not" did not apply to Christians. Rather, the emphasis for Christians was on not coming into contact with spiritual uncleanness, which is what the unclean foods represented. The command for Christians was to "keep themselves undefiled," by making sure their bodies remained habitations for the Holy Spirit alone.

 
Unclean Foods: A Prophetic Warning Against Evil Spirits

     Why did God institute unclean food laws for the Jews? The answer lies in understanding what it represented spiritually. Jesus referred to demons as being "unclean spirits," and this is what the food laws were given to prophetically represent; not allowing oneself to come into contact with unclean spirits, or worse yet, "eat" them by allowing them entrance into one's body. As Paul stated, they were "cleanse themselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
     In his vision of being taken into Second Heaven, Harold Pittman talked about witnessing demonic spirits in action, and how demons of sexual immorality in particular appeared to be especially unclean and disgusting, not only in appearance but also smell:

     Finally, my escorting angels brought me to a group of these odd-looking beings... This group of demons had the most despicable shapes and forms of any in all of Second Heaven. In many cases, the forms of some of them were so repulsive that just to look upon them produced nausea.... I was astounded to learn that these were the creatures who held all the expertise in the area of "perversion." This group of untouchable, despicable, odd-looking spirit beings had been given the important assignment of destroying the morals of modern man. (Pittman, Demons: An Eyewitness Account, P.53)
 
     As he testified a little later in the Chapter:

     The angels told me that I was going to be permitted to see a human being actually being possessed by one of these demons… When we crossed through the dimension wall, we came out in a different room in the same hospital where my body was… In that room were two people, a young man and a young woman… The couple had no idea that we were there, and apparently thought they were completely alone.
     Standing between them was the most despicable looking of all creatures, of which they were totally unaware. He looked like an overgrown, stuffed, green frog that was all out of shape [proportionally]. The man and the woman were talking and laughing as though they had just exchanged a joke. The demon, however, was between them and moving slowly toward the man's face. His every movement was calculated, much as a cat's movement is calculated when he is stalking a little bird… When the demon reached the man's face, suddenly, like a puff of smoke, he disappeared into it, appearing to have penetrated the pores of the skin. As I turned away from the two, the angel began to tell me about the sovereign will of man, and how this demon made himself look beautiful and desirable to this individual. The angel stated that this individual, by his own sovereign will, had openly invited this thing to enter. To the man, the demon looked so desirable and beautiful, but I got to see him for what he truly is - ugly, despicable, and nauseating. (Pittman, Demons: An Eyewitness Account, P.53-54)

     This then was the real concern: Not taking within oneself unclean spirits, or allowing oneself to come into contact with them. And this is precisely the same problem the Lord said the Pharisees had. Like the Essenes, they were heavily concerned with outward purity, yet inside they were full of spiritual uncleanness:

     Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, yet within they are full of rapaciousness and voracity. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and the dish, that the outside of it may also become clean. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:25-27)

     The Pharisees harbored a murderous spirit, which is why Jesus said they were "full of dead men's bones," yet another allusion tospiritual uncleanness, since anything dead was considered to be unclean by the Jews, and never to be touched. But murderous intentions were just one thing the Lord said spiritually defiled a man. The list He provided immediately followed with adultery and sexual immorality: 

     And having called to the crowd, [Jesus] said to them, "Hear and understand. It is not that which enters into the mouth that defiles a man, but that which goes forth out of the mouth; this is what defiles a man… For out of the heart comes forth evil intentions: Murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, defamations. These are the things that defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." (Matthew 15:10-11, 17-20)

     The question, then, was how to keep unclean spirits from gaining influence over oneself, and for this the church advocated mortifying the flesh. This made the work of unclean spirits that much harder, because the flesh was being to come under submission to the leading of the Spirit instead.


Fasting: The True Means Of Mortifying One's Members

     Thus the command was to avoid all spiritual uncleanness, and to do so necessitated that they "mortify their members upon the earth." So what did this phrase mean exactly? Many take this verse to be speaking figuratively of carnal or fleshly desires, but the Greek word used here was actually μέλος, which was used throughout Classical Greek and the Greek Old Testament of "limbs" or "body parts." Thus the verse was speaking of "putting to death" in a sense the literal members of the physical body.
     Many translations fail to communicate this accurately. For instance, some read, "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you" (RSV). Others say, "You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you" (GNT). Still others say, "Put to death your worldly impulses" (ISV). Even the NASB, while using the literal word "members" in its translation, nevertheless then clouds the meaning by saying, "Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality."
     This verse doesn't say anything about "considering" anything dead. Rather, it speaks of actively putting something to death; of weakening the fleshly members of one's body such that they are literally "put to death" in a sense, and it is clear from the rest of the verse that the members Paul was talking about were sexual in nature. All the words that follow (including "covetousness," which is a word used in the Old Testament of coveting one's neighbor's wife), are used in reference to sexual sin.

     If therefore you were raised with Christ... Mortify your members upon the earth: Sexual immorality, uncleanness, physical passion, evil lust, and [sexual] covetousness, which is idolatry, on account of which things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. (Colossians 3:5-6)
   
     So how was mortifying ones's sexual members done? Through fasting, and this appears to be not only something Paul preached but something he lived by as a single man. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he made reference to not simply engaging in "shadow-boxing" when it came to the flesh, but to actually "beating his body into submission" as it were by dealing with it harshly, so that it would be trained to submit to his intentions:

     Do you not know that they which run in a race all run, yet one receives the prize... So I therefore run, not as uncertainly; so I box, not as beating the air. But I pommel my body and bring it under subjection, lest having preached to others, I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24, 26-27)

     Early Christian writers understood Paul here to be speaking specifically of fasting. According to Ambrosiaster, "To 'pommel the body' is to fast, and to avoid any kind of luxury. Paul shows that he disciplines his own body so that he will not miss out on the reward which he preaches to others." (Ambrosiaster, Commentary On Paul's Epistles).
     The approach of the Essenes, then, would have fallen under the category of what Paul referred to as merely "shadow boxing." They were denying themselves certain foods, yet doing nothing to actually train the flesh to endure subjection to the Spirit. If one could ate all they desired so long as it was "clean," this would do nothing to bring the sex drive under submission. Some pastors, though maybe meaning well, advocate similar approaches today. They advise pursuing "Daniel fasts" where only vegetables are eaten for an extended time. But unfortunately many end up eating more food during this time than beforehand, which essentially defeats the purpose in much the same way.
     As for Paul, it is clear from his writings that he indeed practiced what he preached when to came to fasting. Twice in his second letter to the Corinthians he made reference to it, and not just occasionally but often. He professed to them openly that he fasted even in the midst of enduring persecutions, afflictions and sufferings:

     In everything, we commend ourselves as God's servants: In great endurance amid afflictions, amid bodily necessities, amid difficulties, amid riots, amid labors, amid watchings, amid fastings... (2 Corinthians 6:4-5)

     I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false believers, [and all this] amid labor and toil, often amid sleeplessness, amid hunger and thirst, often amid fastings, [and] amid cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:25-27)


Christian Teaching On Defeating Sexual Immorality

     Claims that overeating inflamed the sexual lusts while fasting greatly reduced them were common among early church writers. John Cassian, Basil of Caesarea, John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, Gregory of Nyssa and Evagrius all made statements advancing this teaching, as did later theologians like Thomas Aquinas who followed in their footsteps, maintaining that “the ardor of lust is dampened by abstinence from food and drink.” Unlike what we hear today, this teaching was blunt and simple but effective: Sexual desires were diminished through fasting. Based on the teachings of Paul, it was understood that a gluttonous life brought the Spirit under subjection to the flesh, while a fasted one instead brought the flesh under subjection to the Spirit.
     Satan has stolen this teaching away from the church, but just a few quotes from centuries past will suffice to prove that it was the teaching of the church up until relatively recent times:

     I would be amazed at the Psychics (i.e. heretics opposed to fasting) if they were enthralled to voluptuousness alone... if they were not likewise bursting with gluttony. Lust without voracity would certainly be considered a monstrous phenomenon, since these two are so united and concrete. (Tertullian, On Fasting, Ante-Nicene Fathers, V.IV, P.102)

     There are three things which most belong to religious actions: Namely prayer, fasting, and almsgiving … By prayer we seek to propitiate God, [and] by fasting we extinguish the lusts of the flesh... God’s image is throughout renewed in us if we are always ready to praise Him, unfailingly intent on our purification, and unceasingly active in cherishing our neighbor. (Saint Leo the Great).

     Listen and hear the word of warning: “Wide and spacious is the road of gluttony. It leads to the catastrophe of fornication, and there are many who travel that way. The gate is narrow, and the way of fasting is hard, that way leading to the life of purity, and there are few to make the journey . . . Fasting ends lust, roots out bad thoughts, frees one from evil dreams.” (St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, P.167).

     Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity. (St. Augustine, On Prayer and Fasting, Quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas).

     [E]very wise man will deny his soul, and keep it abased. He will wean it more and more from all those indulgences of the inferior appetites, which naturally tend to chain it down to earth, and to pollute as well as debase it. Here is another perpetual reason for fasting; to remove the food of lust and sensuality, to withdraw the incentives of foolish and hurtful desires, of vile and vain affections. (John Wesley, The Sermons of John Wesley, Sermon 27.4).

     A man who eats too much cannot strive against laziness, while a gluttonous and idle man will never be able to contend with sexual lust. Therefore, according to all moral teachings, the effort towards self-control commences with a struggle against the lust of gluttony—commences with fasting . . .
     And yet, just as the first condition of a good life is self-control, so the first condition of a life of self-control is fasting.
     One may wish to be good, one may dream of goodness, without fasting, but to be good without fasting is as impossible as it is to walk without getting up onto one’s feet.
     Fasting is an indispensable condition of a good life, whereas gluttony is, and always has been, the first sign of the opposite — a bad life. Unfortunately, this vice is in the highest degree characteristic of the life of the majority of the men of our time. (Leo Tolstoy, The First Step, The Works of Leo Tolstoy).


Scientific Substantiation Of Early Christian Teachings

     Today, scientific proof exists that the teaching of early church leaders was actually correct. The fasting regimen of early church theologian John Cassian was put to the test in the 1940s by researchers at the University of Minnesota, led by Aline Rousselle:

     John Cassian, Jerome, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Ancyra all understood the benefits of ascestic fasting to include the slowing of the processes that lead to sexual desire. Aline Rousselle has demonstrated that modern research on the effects of food deprivation confirms the ancient theory to some extent... One of the marked and common effects of prolonged food deprivation - in the Minnesota experiment as well as numerous studies of starving populations in war or famine - is a weakening or loss of sexual desire and activity. The researchers at Minnesota found that by the end of the twenty-four weeks of semi-starvation "sexual feeling and expression … were virtually extinguished in all but a few of the subjects." They also report that "masturbation and nocturnal emissions ceased or were greatly reduced in frequency. Sex fantasies and sex dreams were reported to have decreased in number, and when present they were much attenuated." During the rehabilitation period, the sex drive returned only very slowly. The researchers attributed the decrease in sexual desire in starvation or semi-starvation in part to the body's own "adaptive mechanisms protecting the individual organism from nonessential energy expenditure." Experiment results also showed a marked decrease in the production and excretion of male sex hormones (ketosteroids) as well as a reduction in semen volume and changes in its morphology. Although the Minnesota experiment involved only male subjects, the authors note previous studies documenting widespread amenorrhea among women suffering from food deprivation. (Teresa Shaw, The Burden Of The Flesh, P.126)

     The contention of Cassian was that the fasting regimen should be extended for at least six months, however. This is why the fasted life has to become a more permanent lifestyle if one would hope to keep the flesh under submission consistently. The sex drive will gradually start returning over time after one returns to a normal diet. I have done enough fasting myself to attest to this:

     The Minnesota experiment thus documented both physiological and psychological aspects of the decline in sexual interest. This decline occurred at a daily caloric intake level of around 1500-1600. It is therefore a fair assumption that the monks of Gaul or Egypt would have experienced a loss of sexual appetite and a reduction in the frequency of nocturnal emissions and erections if in fact they followed the diet described by John Cassian for any significant length of time. Indeed, Rousselle estimates that the individual items in Cassian's daily fast - bread, brine, and oil - would provide around 930 calories. Even the special meal served by Serenus to his guests, which included a few olives, roasted chickpeas, prunes, and a fig, would provide only around 1,069 calories. In light of the modern research just presented, Cassian's recommended weekly diet can only be described as one of semi-starvation. On Saturdays and Sundays, however, the monks were permitted to relax their fast and add an extra meal on a voluntary basis. Cassian very sensibly notes that extra food was necessary at times due to the extreme weakness of the body after five fasting days.
     In sum, Cassian's practical and clear assertion [through the voice of Chaeremon] that six months of rigorous fasting, vigils, and reliance on God should be enough to bring one close to the goal of chastity - which is known in part by the cessation of sensuous dreams and nocturnal emissions - seems firmly based in his observations of the heroic fasters of the Egyptian desert and confirmed by modern research in semi-starvation. (Teresa Shaw, The Burden Of The Flesh, P.127)

     In conclusion, the early church knew what it would take to achieve real success at bringing the body under, and following the lead of the apostle Paul they advocated it. In Part 2, I will discuss in more detail some of the principles behind how it can be achieved, though this is something I myself am still struggling to master given the lack of good teaching on the subject and the difficulty involved. It is admittedly not an easy lifestyle to adopt, but one that even scientific studies have proven is effective in curbing the sex drive, something the modern church would do well to apply with more diligence, given how sexual and moral failings have hurt the church's reputation in the eyes of the world in recent decades.



Links:
https://conquerseries.com/15-mind-blowing-statistics-about-pornography-and-the-church/


2
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Welcome to the site ugibak !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on November 05, 2020, 09:16:01 PM »
Hey everybody, looks like we got a new face !

Lets welcome ugibak to the site with a hearty hello, and remember... this is a family friendly site so lets play nice with our new friend and make him/her feel like they've been part of our family for years !

As always, hazing of our members new or not will not be tolerated if it's anything outside of a playful nature (No highschool BS).
3
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Welcome to the site ugibak !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on November 05, 2020, 09:16:01 PM »
Hey everybody, looks like we got a new face !

Lets welcome ugibak to the site with a hearty hello, and remember... this is a family friendly site so lets play nice with our new friend and make him/her feel like they've been part of our family for years !

As always, hazing of our members new or not will not be tolerated if it's anything outside of a playful nature (No highschool BS).
4
Study #8 / Colossians 2:16-19, Part 2
« Last post by Hidden In Him on November 02, 2020, 02:41:10 PM »
The Jewish Feasts: Prophetic "Shadows" Of Coming Things, Part 2

     It is evident from scripture that the New Testament saints actually observed in some sense several of the Jewish feast days, but as this study will show they did not do so after the strict manner of the Jews. Rather, the suggest is that they did so only after a spiritual manner, knowing they were only prophetic foreshadowings of future events in the life of the church. As I demonstrated in Part 1, the value in meditating on them was in knowing the Lord predicted all things in advance, and all the things He had promised would indeed be fulfilled before the end of the age. This is what Paul meant by telling the Colossians that the Jewish festivals were but "shadows" of coming things:

     Take heed that there be no one robbing you through philosophy and empty deceit, in accordance with the tradition of men, in accordance with the principles of the world, and not in accordance with Christ. For in Him dwells all the Fulness of the Godhead bodily, and having become perfected, you are in Him who is the Head of all rule and authority... Therefore, do not let anyone but the body of Christ judge you in food and drink, or in respect of a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of coming things. Let no one disqualify you, delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, investigating into things which he has seen, being vainly inflated with pride by his fleshly mind and not holding fast the Head, from whom the whole body, being supplied and conjoined together through its joints and ligaments, grows with the growth of God. (Colossians 2:8-10, 16-19)

     Statements made in this letter suggest that the heretics trying to deceive the Colossians were Essenes, a Jewish sect who very strictly kept the Jewish Sabbaths, New Moons, Feast days and cleanliness laws. But Paul warned not to let anyone but the body of Christ judge them in such things, for they were merely prophetic foreshadowings of things the church was now living out for real, things the festivals only pointed to prophetically. Those not receiving their understanding of such things from Christ as Head of the church would not understand this, for they were spiritually revealed, but it is true that in a sense the early church was observing them, else there would have been nothing for the heretics to "judge" them over.
     But since many Christians today are not aware that the New Testament church actually observed these things after a spiritual manner, let us now turn to examining certain passages in the New Testament that strongly suggest it. The first of these passages is in 1st Corinthians, where the apostle Paul discussed them observing Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


Keeping Passover, Unleavened Bread And Pentecost, But Spiritually

      That the early church was observing the Jewish festivals in some sense is easy enough to prove, not only from the writings of the early church fathers but from the New Testament itself. Writing around A.D. 55, Paul wrote to Corinthians, telling them the following: 

      Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

      The first sentence, "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened," is hard to make out unless one understands how the Feast of Unleavened Bread was literally observed by the Jews. In Exodus, a description is provided of how God wanted the nation to observe it. They were to remove leaven completely from their houses during the seven day period:

     On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel... For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your dwelling places you shall eat only unleavened bread.” (Exodus 12:15-19-20)
   
      There were Jewish Christians present in Gentile congregations like at Corinth, and these would have kept this observance quite literally. Thus, it appears that the phrase "just as you are in fact unleavened" was a reference to the entire congregation both Jew and Gentile removing leaven entirely from their houses at this time, in remembrance of the Jewish feast. Paul's displeasure, however, was that they were not keeping it in a spiritual sense. To keep the feast spiritually, they needed to remove false teaching from among them, which s what Jesus said the leaven represented (Matthew 16:6). They were clearly not doing so. One young man was "leavening the whole lump" by the immoral lifestyle he was living among them, thus spreading "leaven" throughout the congregation by the example he was setting (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).
     The Feast of Unleavened Bread is also mentioned in Acts 20:6 and Acts 12:3-4, and without any further elaboration this suggests the Gentile Christians needed none, and knew exactly what this Jewish Feast was and when it was held. Thus, based upon the texts in Acts and 1st Corinthians, it appears the Gentile church not only understood what Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were, but observed them along with the Jewish Christians among them who would have had no reason not to. But again, the teaching was that no one needed to after the strict manner of the Jews now, for they were merely shadows of coming things.
     So, too, with Pentecost. Reference is made to this festival in connection with the apostle Paul more than once in the New Testament:

     For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia. For he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 20:16)

     Now concerning the collection for the saints... when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by letters, them will I send to bring your liberality to Jerusalem... But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost. (1 Corinthians 16:1, 3, 8 )

     Why would Paul have been hurrying to be in Jerusalem specifically for Pentecost if he was not desiring to attend it? It means that the apostle Paul kept Pentecost. And if so, wishing to "remain in Ephesus until Pentecost" suggests he was keeping it there as well. And if the apostle Paul was keeping it, the rest of the congregation likely honored it as well, even if only after a spiritual manner.
     So what happened? Why does the church not still keep such observances today? According to Tertullian, it was simply because they eventually started abandoning them in favor of the pagan festivals instead. Writing around the mid third century, he stated the following:

     By us, to whom Sabbaths and the New Moons and festivals formerly beloved by God are [now] strange, the Saturnalia and New-year's and Midwinter's festivals and Matronalia are [instead] frequented - presents come and go - New-year's gifts - games join their noise - banquets join their din! Oh what better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claim no solemnity of the Christians for itself! Not the Lord's day, not Pentecost, even it they had known them, would they have shared with us, for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians. But we are not apprehensive lest we seem to be heathens! (Tertullian, On Idolatry)

     It has remained that way until today. We still observe New Years as well as Christianized holidays like Christmas and Easter. This won't send a Christian to Hell, of course, but when we abandoned the spiritual observance of the Jewish festivals after the first few centuries, we abandoned meditation upon prophecies that were fulfilled during New Testament times, as well as others that have not come to pass yet.   


The Church Likewise Kept The Sabbaths, But Spiritually

     Writing around 110 A.D., Ignatius made it clear that while the early Christians were keeping the Sabbath, they were only doing so after a spiritual manner, and not after the strict manner of the Jews. To distinguish themselves even more from them, the early Christians likewise kept the first day of the week in honor of Christ's resurrection:
 
     Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner and rejoice in days of idleness... But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law not in relaxation of the body... nor in eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, nor walking within a prescribed space... And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ [also] keep the Lord's day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Magnesians, Chapter 9, 110 A.D.)

     Barnabas, writing in roughly 70 A.D., also wrote about how Christians at that time were keeping the Jewish Sabbath and what it symbolized prophetically. But he likewise also added that they were to keep the "eight day" as well (an alternate way of describing the first day), since the eight day prophetically foreshadowed the beginning of Christ's reign after the millennium, when "a new world" would begin:

     Of the Sabbath [God] spoke in the beginning of the creation. And God made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the seventh day and rested on it, and He hallowed it. Give heed, children, to what this means. He ended in six days. He means this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end. For the day with Him signifies a thousand years, and this He himself bears me witness, saying, "Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years." Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end. And "He rested on the seventh day." He means this: When His Son shall come and abolish the time of the Lawless One, and judge the ungodly, and change the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day... Finally He says to [the Jews], "Your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot endure." You see what is His meaning: "It is not your present Sabbaths that are acceptable, but the Sabbath which I have made, in the which, when I have set all things at rest, I will make a beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world." Wherefore we also keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which also Jesus rose from the dead. (Barnabas, Epistle of Barnabas 15:3-5, 8-9, late 70s A.D.)

     Both Clement and Origen attributed this epistle to the same Barnabas who ministered with the apostle Paul in the Book of Acts. Thus it can be established with virtual certainly that the early Christians observed the Sabbath as well as the first or "eighth" day of the week, but after a spiritual manner rather than in accordance with the strictness of the Jews.


How The Church Observed Sabbaths And New Moons

     According to Ignatius, the early churched observed Sabbaths by spending the day meditating on the word of God together, as was the custom of the Jews. It was said of Jesus that this was His custom as well.

     And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (Luke 4:16-20)
 
     Jesus was presenting a teaching here. It was Jewish custom that those who had something to teach stand up, read from a text, and then expound on what God had showed them, opening things up for discussion. So, too, were members in the early church doing the same. When they were coming together, one had a teaching, another sang an instructional psalm, another spoke in a tongue and another then gave an interpretation. One gave a prophecy and then another gave revelation of what God had shown him about the prophecy that was uttered. By this means all were bringing something to the service as God so enabled them, and all were able to learn from one another.

     What is it, then, brothers? Whenever you may come together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone with a tongue speaks, [let it be] by two or the most three, and in succession, and let one interpret. And if there is no interpreter, let him be silent in the church, but let him speak to himself and God. And let prophets speak two or three, and let the others discern. And if anything should be revealed to another sitting by, let the first one be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and be exhorted. (1 Corinthians 14:26-31)

      This is in fact what the Sabbath was designed to represent. It was a prophetic celebration of the end-time harvest, when the word God would be gathered together unto the Lord. Jesus spoke of it in these terms when He taught the following:

     And He was saying, "Thus is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and arise in length, how he does not know. For the earth brings forth fruit of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full wheat seed within the head of grain. And when the fruit delivers itself up, immediately he sends in the sickle, for the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)

     What Jesus was saying here was that there was an expectation the word itself would grow in the earth. That meant that the responsibility to receive revelation from God rested upon the church, which is why they were to each bring spiritual food to the Sabbath. The meditation then, was a prophetic remembrance of the millennium, the thousand year period that that will follow the end-time harvest, when God finally gathers together those in whom His word dwelt, and rejoices in how the word of God produced a harvest in the earth.   
     Whether anyone at all in the early church, including Jewish believers, kept the New Moons is pure conjecture. But should any in the future, the meditation is that each New Moon represented a different "phase" if you will in the work of Christ, as revealed in works like The Witness of the Stars by E.W. Bullinger, The Gospel in the Stars, by Joseph A. Seiss, and other related works that have been written on the subject by credible Christian writers.


The Irrational Fears Of The Headless Church

     Mention to modern Christians about observing the Jewish feasts or Sabbaths in ANY form or fashion, and most will react like you are a heretic or a lunatic or both. They have been totally conditioned to reject all such things as being "of the Law," even when you are only talking about spiritually observing them by meditating on the things they pointed to prophetically. This is simply proof of just how far the church has been removed from the Lord's Headship, and His way of thinking.
     Paul appealed to the Colossian church to keep Christ as their Head, and let Him do the thinking in how they approached the issue of Jewish Feasts, Sabbaths and New Moons. And judging from both scripture and early church documents, Christians did indeed once observe these things, but they didn't go overboard into adopting the strictness of the Jews. The strictness of ritual Judaism was actually the very thing the Lord was trying to avoid when He had the heads of the church address Gentile believers in Acts 15, and place no other restrictions on them than not to eat blood, or animals that had been strangled, or engage in prostitution or other accepted forms of sexual immorality within Gentile society.
     But sadly the Lord is no longer the Head of the church like He was back then. Not would most grossly overreact, but today most have no idea what the festivals even represent. So the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus take center stage in their minds more than the festivals God ordained to serve as prophetic foreshadowings of major events in the life of the church, and they see no problems with this.
     So where do we go from here? We certainly don't want to go back to strict Jewish observance, or anything resembling it. That would just freak people out. I recall reading a story about a group of Hispanic Christians who got very into all things Jewish, and boarded a plane dressed in full Hasidic attire to go to some celebration. People on the plane had no idea what was going on and thought they might be terrorists, so they had the plane grounded. One Jew, in writing about this incident later, rather sarcastically said they should have told the airport security, "Officers, make sure you check their luggage for weapons and S&M paraphernalia. There's no telling what these religious zealots might have had planned for us."

                                             

                                               

                                                         

     The sad part is, had they been dressed in Easter bunny outfits, there would have been less concern. Things would have been "kosher." But unfortunately not everyone can discern the difference between a Hasidic Jew and died-in-the-wool Islamic terrorist. 
     In general, Christians would do well to take some cues from modern day Jews on their observance of feasts and celebrations, because even they don't take them with the deathly seriousness many might think. I once read a commentary from a Jewish woman on how to observe Pentecost. It was entitled, "Shavuot: The Jewish Festival Of Sex, Books And Cheese Is Upon Us. Let’s Rage":

     If you don't live your wildest night on the Jewish holiday Shavuot, why even bother?... The ancient harvest festival of Shavuot, which begins this Saturday at sunset, is an all-night bacchanal of reading, arguing, and cheese. It’s a celebration of a lot of things: The grain harvest season, God’s giving of the Torah to the people of Israel, and the right to eat dairy. On Shavuot, we read the Book of Ruth — a book in the scriptures that tells the mournful, erotic, funny story of an impoverished young widow who converts to Judaism, saves herself and her mother-in-law from starvation and falls in love in the process. At sundown on Saturday, Jews around the world will gather for tikkun — all night study, inspired by Jewish mystics... This should be the wildest rager of your year. If you don’t wake up in a ditch on Sunday morning, naked and surrounded by a dozen copies of “Torah: A Women’s Commentary,” you have no right to call yourself “such a nerd.” (Jenny Singer, The Forward, June 3rd, 2019).

     Granted, we'd want to take things a little more reverently than that; Pentecost is a celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, past, present and future. But the point is that if even many Jews today are not taking the festivals with dire seriousness, Christians shouldn't either. They should most certainly avoid taking things so far that people wonder if we might be about to set off a bomb or something. Unfortunately, we actually do have some branches within Christianity that take things too far in my opinion. The Seventh Day Adventists quite literally believe that worshipping on Sunday will one day be the "mark of the beast" as referred to in the Book of Revelation, and anyone who does so will be doomed to destruction. Never mind that Christians in New Testament times observed their Sabbaths according to a lunar calendar, unlike most Adventists and other like-minded Christians today, who go by the solar calendar everyone in secular society goes by.


Doctrinal Foundations That Should Be Reclaimed

    When Christ again becomes the Head of the church, we will again walk in wisdom regarding a vast number of things, including remembrance of the feasts of the Lord and their prophetic significance. This will lead not only to spiritual edification but the glorification of our Lord, for having predicted these things from the beginning. Certainly such meditations bring about more spiritual edification than meditating on Santa, Rudolf, the Easter bunny, and a host of other stories we've incorporated into Christian observance.
     Had the church continued to meditate upon the feasts as prophetic foreshadowings of events in the life of the church, we might have better preserved some of the pivotal doctrines of the early church that are fully supported by New Testament scripture, and saved ourselves from a great deal of heresy that has since come along to replace it. I'm speaking for one here about the doctrine of Hell, and how the saints of the Old Testament were delivered out from there at the Lord's resurrection, and ascended with Him into Heaven.
     This is stated explicitly in the Apostles' Creed:

      I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to Hades. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

     Seventh Day Adventists as well as other factions within Christianity now flatly deny the existence of Hell and the conscious existence of the dead. As a result, numerous Christians have  now begun to doubt the very existence of the Underworld as if they were just myths, when belief in such things are the very foundations of the Christian faith. Without an understanding of them, there are numerous New Testament passages the reader will be clueless to understand, including Colossians 1:13, which we covered in an earlier study in this series.
     Another foundational teaching in the history of the church is Pentecost. Multitudes now deny the reality of Pentecost in their lives, relegating it to merely being an historical event in the life of the church that has no bearing on what she is doing today. This renders the church powerless in her witness, though it was never intended to be this way. The church was supposed to LIVE OUT Pentecost until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, and having set aside the importance of this teaching has led to deception, blindness and spiritual impoverishment. But the promises in Joel 2:28-31 will be fulfilled before the Lord's return, as will the promises inherent in what is foreshadowed by the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. Had these observances been kept, the church would not be so in the dark today about their prophetic significance, and what is soon to come upon the earth where the church is concerned.


Links:

https://forward.com/schmooze/425406/shavuot-the-jewish-festival-of-sex-books-and-cheese-is-upon-us-lets-rage/





5
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Re: Welcome to the site Mayflower1 !
« Last post by Mayflower1 on April 27, 2020, 07:16:48 PM »
Hey everybody, looks like we got a new face !

Lets welcome Mayflower1 to the site with a hearty hello, and remember... this is a family friendly site so lets play nice with our new friend and make him/her feel like they've been part of our family for years !

As always, hazing of our members new or not will not be tolerated if it's anything outside of a playful nature (No highschool BS).
Hello. Nice to meet y'all. I will probably explore on here more tomorrow. But my friend "Hidden in Him" invited me on.

Sent from my LML212VL using Tapatalk

6
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Welcome to the site Mayflower1 !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on April 27, 2020, 07:10:39 PM »
Hey everybody, looks like we got a new face !

Lets welcome Mayflower1 to the site with a hearty hello, and remember... this is a family friendly site so lets play nice with our new friend and make him/her feel like they've been part of our family for years !

As always, hazing of our members new or not will not be tolerated if it's anything outside of a playful nature (No highschool BS).
7
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Welcome to the site Mayflower1 !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on April 27, 2020, 07:10:39 PM »
Hey everybody, looks like we got a new face !

Lets welcome Mayflower1 to the site with a hearty hello, and remember... this is a family friendly site so lets play nice with our new friend and make him/her feel like they've been part of our family for years !

As always, hazing of our members new or not will not be tolerated if it's anything outside of a playful nature (No highschool BS).
8
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday Naomi25 !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on March 14, 2020, 12:01:52 AM »
Guess what everybody, today is Naomi25's birthday so lets wish them a happy birthday with lots of presents !
9
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday Heart2Soul !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on February 24, 2020, 04:59:05 AM »
Guess what everybody, today is Heart2Soul's birthday so lets wish them a happy birthday with lots of presents !
10
Welcome / Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday MoreBloodWine !
« Last post by MoreBloodWine on August 30, 2019, 06:59:33 PM »
Guess what everybody, today is MoreBloodWine's birthday so lets wish them a happy birthday with lots of presents !
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