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Friday, 01 June 2007 00:12

Moriel Missions Southern Africa June 2007

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Dear Friends

Greetings in Jesus name.

The Apostle Paul tells us that his life and ministry were fraught with perils, in fact from 2Cor 11:21-29, it show's us the life he led was not a comfortable one with dangers from all angles, even from his own countryman.

South Africa over the years has become a place of danger. The statistics are frightening and the truth is that most of us here know someone who has either been hijacked, raped or murdered. South African residents are leaving in their droves for more peaceful countries such as Australia and New Zealand. But most South Africans have to live here and ride this wave of shocking violence that has gripped this land. However in contrast we see that not only are people leaving for a better life, we also see people from these 'safer' countries coming to South Africa with a burden to help the situation. People such as Dianne from New Zealand, who has swapped a comfortable life as a college lecturer to help young pregnant mums from our neighbors on Kwazinzele. Young ladies like Becca and Suzie who have swapped the peaceful hills of Yorkshire for a life helping HIV orphans. Take Erin as another example who could be leading a comfortable life by the sea in Formby who chooses to come to South Africa to help school our children. So why do they come? It's a simple answer; they like Paul have become obedient to Gods call, and when God calls, He supplies the means to survive and like Paul, some of our people will have to go through dangers too. This was no more evident the other Friday evening when seven of our people were having an evening off and visited a local restaurant. While dropping off a member of their group, three armed men entered the front yard and robbed them stealing the car, cash, cards and cell-phones. Salvador who was trying to witness to them was hit over the eye with the butt of a gun; it was a shocking experience for them all. However what impressed me about our guys was this. First of all they had a calmness about the whole thing which I attribute to the shalom peace that only Jesus can give. Secondly when the press got hold of the news and wanted to interview them; they asked one of the ladies did they now want to get on the next plane home? Her reply? God has called her and she will be staying.

I would like to take my hat off to our missionaries. They have come to a place were few want to go. They have come when others are leaving. They have come in the place of many who do not head the call. I then realized "how then do we treat brothers and sisters who go in our place?" Do we encourage them with a letter? Do look after their physical needs? Makes you think doesn't it? Well I was telling the guys that this incident was a wake up call that must shake us from our complacency. The reality is that this is a wake up call for everyone of us in the Church and particularly in Moriel who love the idea that we are now missioning on several continents. It's a wake up call to the fact that missionaries need love. It's a wake up call to the fact that missionaries need support. It's a wake up call to the fact that God may want you to go in their place after they have left for home. It is a wake up call to the cost of mission in terms of our priorities. As for my wake up call? Well I am glad it went as it did, God has been compassionate with us. These young people could have been killed. Our Son could have been killed. I have become awake to the fact that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and the fact is, He has chosen to use even young girls fresh out of school to go in the place of men and women who are better equip. Let me ask, what will it take to awake you today.

In Jesus

Dave Royle

Jacobs Tour

Dear Friends, I have put together what I have for Jacobs tour. All dates for the tour are booked the only things I am waiting for is confirmation of times and the Cape town venues.

Friday 24th August
Last Days Tent Meetings
Venue Aletheia Community Church
6 Van Der Stel Street, Strubenvale, Springs
Time: 7.30pm
Contact Dave Royle 011 730 1719
Cell 0823739297

Saturday 25th August
Last Days Tent Meetings
Venue Aletheia Community Church
6 Van Der Stel Street, Strubenvale, Springs
Time: 2.00pm & 4.00pm
Contact Dave Royle 011 730 1719
Cell 0823739297

Sunday 26th August
Last Days Tent Meetings
Venue Aletheia Community Church
Time; 11am & 2.00pm
6 Van Der Stel Street, Strubenvale, Springs
Contact Dave Royle 011 730 1719
Cell 0823739297

Monday 27th August
Day off, evening leaders meeting
Venue: Sunward Park
Contact Dave Royle 011 730 1719
Cell 0823739297

Tuesday 28th August
Evening Meeting:Â  7:00pm @ Sinodale Centre, Cnr of Boshoff and Burger Streets, Pietermaritzburg
Contact:   Scott Wheeler   083 2753671

Wednesday 29th August
Afternoon and Evening meetings:Â  2:00pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm @ 35 Bell Street Howick
Contact: Scott Wheeler   083 2753671

Thursday 30th August
Evening Meeting:Â  Pinetown Girls High
Contact:  Ã‚  Ã‚  John Davy 083 303 8787

Saturday 1st September
Elijah ministries
PJ Contat 011 783 5082

Sunday 2nd September
Elijah ministries
PJ Contat 011 783 5082

Monday 3rd September
Elijah ministries
PJ Contat 011 783 5082

Tuesday 4th September
Elijah ministries
PJ Contat 011 783 5082

Wednesday 5th September
Port Elizabeth
Contact Alan McKenzie 0824523278
Depart Joberg 1050am
Arrival time  Ã‚   12:30
Meeting: NG Church, Walmer Boulevard, South End, Port Elizabeth

Thursday 6th September
Port Elizabeth
Contact Alan McKenzie 0824523278
Meeting: NG Church, Walmer Boulevard, South End, Port Elizabeth

Saturday 8th September
Cape town
Contacts Erwin Dennis

Sunday 9th September
Cape town
Contacts Erwin Dennis

Mission News

Building work continues thanks to two nice donations from the UK and USA. We have just seen completed 274 meters of concrete walling and 54 meters of steel palisade fencing. This means that Ebyown is completely sealed off from the outside and security has been upgraded. We now need about $1000 to secure razor wire and the job will be complete. The animals can now be kept outside the habitat compound securely and we hope that in the near future we will be able to purchase some sheep and a few more cows.

The children are all doing fairly well. A few problems with chest infections due to the onset of winter and the wood fires from Kwazinzele across the road.

We have a new social worker that dropped in unexpectantly. We have not had a visit from any government official for 7 months or so, which is both a blessing and a curse. Anyway it looks as though this lady will be easier to work with than the last.

Apart from the obvious glitch, our overseas visitors have really settled in to their roles. Dianne has been busy putting together the Bethesda project. This has meant the construction of a small building with its own fenced play area, then plenty of paint and posters. A leaflet has been produced in English and Zulu explaining the project and this is being distributed around Kwazinzele.

Erin has been busy assisting Lyn with the school work as well as researching the children's special needs. This has led to the production of several leaflets that are to be used in future staff training and orientation.

Becca spends a great deal of her time with the babies, especially Deven. Deven has a special place in her heart and it would not surprise me if Becca goes on to do study in special needs child development.

Sussi' being a farmer's daughter has undertaken the task of developing our vegetable garden. Along side this she manages to look after the children as well plus help Aaron in the kitchen " “ a busy girl.

Although he is our son, Aaron has come back to South Africa to work and so he has been given the role of chief cook and bottle washer. Aaron produces a meal for 20 people and snacks for most of the week (I Brai on Saturdays).

This year we have more visitors. Judith from the Netherlands. Marianne, Hannah and Jonathan from Sweden. Bob from the USA and Suzie from Singapore. There is even rumor that our favorite possum Marge Godwin from Australia is coming over as well.

Evangelism

Salvador has continued to coordinate things and have people like Mike Lillenfield and Ps John from Tsakane work alongside him. We have also received a nice donation for Bibles and tracts from Australia which we will use with Pastors we work with.

Further Afield

Pastor Norbert and Pastor Moses in Tanzania and Western Kenya have reported tremendous growth. Norbert over the last few months has distributed over 500 wheelchairs to the disabled in Tanzania. Moses also is busy and runs conferences for pastors.

The one thing that is a constant concern for me is the need for resources to support these men. What little support they get is usually from the little that's left over because of our huge commitment to South Africa. Norbert and Moses never ask for a penny even though personally they go through financial frustration with their ministries and families and yet they constantly encourage me with their emails and zealous endeavor. In the years that I have known them they have planted churches, pastured churches, run bible schools and looked after orphans. Surely something can be done to raise regular support for these men? It would be a crying shame if for our lack of support we lose anyone of them.

Ps Chanti and his wife Lilly hold a special place in our heart and we plan to put a mission team together to visit in November. Chanti wants to put together a pastor's conference for between 500 and 1000 pastors as well as do village to village evangelism. The team will only be a small one so there are not many places. You will need your air fair, Visa, any shots required and a contribution towards food and accommodation. By the way the Guest house they also run is first class with air conditioning. If you are interested then I will need to know by the end of July.

Australia Trip

It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and make some new friends during my itinerary down under. I had not been to Aussie for two years to speak but was there last year for the funeral of my good friend Ross Godwin; so it was great to catch up with Marg and her team who are now in their new office.

Can I say a big thanks to all who were involved in my visit, especially to those who hosted me and even more Aunty Marg who organized events, flights, hotels etc.

It was great to have my dear Lyn with me at the latter end of my tour in Melbourne. The people at Pilgrim fellowship showed her great hospitality. Finally I was able to whisk her off to Cairns to celebrate our 25 years of marriage. Cairns is a beautiful city and we really enjoyed a good rest before coming back home into the work again. I know I keep saying this but Thank You to all who made our trip possible, for your love and generosity.

USA Trip

I will be away again from July 9th to speak in the States. Please pray for the ministry and my family again while I have the opportunity to teach and share about the work in Moriel Missions.

Main Teaching

Since Jacob's visit is almost upon us I have decided to print his teaching on Midrash, so that we can become accustomed again to Jacobs teaching style. I know its an oldie, but it's a goodie.

The Way The New Testament Writers Handled The Old Testament

Midrash is the method of hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation) used by the ancient rabbis in the time of Jesus and Paul. Midrash incorporates a grammatical-historical exegesis, vaguely similar to the western models of Biblical interpretation that the Reformers borrowed from 16th century Humanism, but it sees this as simply a first step.

In its handling of various Biblical literary genre " ” such as narrative, wisdom literature, Hebrew poetry and apocalyptic " ” it seeks cognate relationships between different scriptural texts in order to interpret them in light of each other. The approach is more topical than linear.

The clearest set of guidelines in Midrash are the Seven Midroth attributed to Rabbi Hillel, the founder of the Pharisaic School of Hillel, where St. Paul was educated as a rabbi by Rabbi Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel.

Midrash makes heavy use of allegory and typology to illustrate and illuminate doctrine, but never as a basis for doctrine. It sees multiple meanings in Bible texts found in strata, but this is very different in certain fundamental respects from the Gnostic and Alexandrian uses of figurative interpretation associated with Philo and Origen, reflecting more of Hebraic, rather than Hellenistic philosophical world-view and view of theology.

Midrash interprets prophecy as a cyclical pattern of historical recapitulation (prophecies having multiple fulfilment), with an ultimate fulfilment associated with the eschaton, which is the final focal point of the redemptive process. A classical work of Midrash in Judaism is the Midrash Rabba on Genesis (Berashith). Another is Lamentations Rabba.

Midrash follows certain formats. One is the Mashal/Nimshal format seen in Proverbs or the parables, where physical things are representative of things spiritual. Figurative midrashic exposition in the New Testament is viewed, for instance, in Jude's epistle or Galatians 4:24-34. It is Midrash which accounts for the manner in which the New Testament handles the Old Testament.

Another format is the parashiyot; sections opening with a petihah in which a base verse is followed by commentary. In addition to exegetical midrash, there are homiletic midrashim, arranged in topically argued pisaqaot. These frequently follow a yelammedenu rabbenu format used by Jesus in the gospels. Both of these kinds of midrashim are haggadic. There are also wide bodies of midrashic literature which are halakik, but these are of less importance to New Testament scholarship.

Unless someone has been educated in Judaism, Hebrew, or theology, it is easier to demonstrate midrash than to explain it. Moriel provides various tapes and videos where midrashic exegesis is practically applied and demonstrated in interpreting Scripture. One example would be "The Woman at the Well," a midrashic interpretation of John chapter four, used to expound the Scriptures relating to the subject of Roman Catholicism.

If you look at the way the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, it is clear that the apostles did not use western Protestant methods of exegesis or interpretation. Jesus was a rabbi. Paul was a rabbi. They interpreted the Bible in the way other rabbis did-according to a method called Midrash.

Something went wrong in the early Church; it got away from its Jewish roots. And as more Gentiles became Christians, something that Paul (in Romans 11) warned should not happen, happened. People lost sight of the root.

Whenever you have a change in world-view, you're going to have a change in theology. A positive way to handle that change is called recontextualising; a negative way is called redefining. Recontextualising the gospel when Wycliffe Bible translators translated Isaiah 1:18, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow, for tribal people in equatorial Africa " ” a place where the people had never seen snow " ” they translated it as they shall be white as coconut. That is recontextualising " ” taking the same truth and putting it into the context of somebody else's language or culture or world-view. That is perfectly valid; it does no harm to the message, in contrast to redefinition.

Instead of re-explaining what the Bible means, redefinition changes what the Bible means. That is wrong. And that is what happened in the Early Church. After Constantine the Great turned Christianity into the religion of the state, people began redefining the gospel in increasingly radical ways. Some of the Early Church Fathers believed that what was best in Greek theosophy, for example the monotheistic ideas of Plato and Socrates, helped to prepare the Greek world for the coming of Jesus, in the same way that the Torah (the Old Testament) prepared the Jewish world. Up to a point, that is a fair statement.

There is a Greek (Hellenistic) way of thinking and there is a Hebrew (Hebraic) way of thinking. Paul used both. When Paul spoke to the Jews he used the Hebrew way of thinking, but in Athens when he was preaching the gospel to the Areopagites (Acts 17:22-31), he used the Greek way of thinking. Jews seek a sign, Greeks seek wisdom. There is validity in both, if they are used biblically.

A problem arose when people began to Hellenise a Jewish faith. Instead of recontextualising the gospel for Greeks, they began redefining it in Greek terms. This happened especially in Alexandria in the time of Origen, but it became a major problem after Constantine. With the introduction of the teachings of Augustine of Hippo, and the people who influenced him " ” Cyprian of Carthage, Ambrose, and others.

The Greeks knew many things from Plato and Socrates that were true such as the fact that man is made in God's image and likeness. Anybody " ” even people with no Judeo-Christian background and no access to the Bible " ” can know by natural reason there is one true God and that man is sinful (Romans 1:18-20).

We can agree with the things in Greek theosophy up to the point they agree with the Bible. But when people begin reinterpreting and redefining the gospel in the light of a Greek world-view, we have a problem. The Greeks believed in Dualism. They thought that everything of the flesh was bad and everything of the spirit was good. A Greek reading the words, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1), could agree with them. But he could not agree with the statement, The Word became flesh (John 1:14). The Greeks believed that something physical was bad, simply because it was physical. The Bible teaches that the spiritual and the physical were meant to work in harmony with each other. There was not to be any contradiction or any conflict between the two. The flesh is fallen, that is true, but there is nothing wrong with the physical elements themselves.

When Augustine came along he did not recontextualise but, rather, redefined Christianity as a Greek, Platonic religion. Augustine said things like, "The only good thing about marriage is having children who will be celibate." The Manichaeans, who said that the first sin was having marital relations, introduced these ideas into the Greek world. That is why, to this day, Roman Catholicism cannot handle sexuality, and why it has so many restrictions and hang-ups, and why Roman Catholics are even hung about marital sex.

People began reinterpreting the Bible, not using the Jewish method of midrash, but using Greek methods. Typology and allegory Midrash uses typology and allegory " ” symbols " ” in order to illustrate and illumine doctrine. For instance, Jesus is "the Passover Lamb." The symbolism of the Jewish Passover perfectly illustrates the doctrine of atonement, but we never base the doctrine of atonement on the symbolism. The symbolism illustrates the doctrine, which is itself stated plainly elsewhere in Scripture. In the Gnostic world of Greek thinking, the opposite happens. Gnostics claim to have received a subjective, mystical insight " ” called a gnosis " ” into the symbols. They then reinterpret the plain meaning of the text in light of the gnosis. For Gnostics, symbolism is the basis for their doctrine, contrary to the ancient Jewish methods.

These methods first started to creep into the Church through people who were influenced by Philo. His teachings progressively entered into Roman Catholicism, to the point where Augustine would say, "If God used violence to convert Paul, the Church can use violence to convert people," which led to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and so on. Instead of recontextualising, they were redefining Scripture. They were reading a Jewish book as if it were a Greek book. That was a mistake.

It started with Origen in the East and Augustine in the West, and steadily worsened over the centuries. It became much worse in the Middle Ages with something called Scholasticism. Aristotle's ideas were absorbed into Islam, then the Crusades brought those ideas back to Europe, and into medieval Roman Catholicism. Moses Maimonides rewrote Judaism as an Aristotelian religion, then Thomas Aquinas rewrote Christianity as an Aristotelian religion.

The Reformers came along and tried to correct what had gone wrong in medieval Roman Catholicism. Unfortunately, although the Reformers were dynamic personalities, they were not dynamic thinkers. The Reformation was born out of something called Humanism. (Note: the first Humanists were not secular, they were Christians.) The best of the Humanists were men like Thomas A Kempis, John Colet, and Jacques Lefà ¨vre. But the greatest of them all was Erasmus of Rotterdam. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and most of the other Reformers got their ideas from Erasmus. Erasmus and the other Humanists attempted to study and teach the Bible in its plain literal meaning, in order to undo the medieval abuses of Roman Catholicism. They placed the emphasis on reading the Bible as literature and as history, and gave us the system of grammatical-historical exegesis that has been used in the Protestant churches ever since.

The problem with the Reformers is that they only went so far. They made rules governing the application of their grammatical-historical system in order to refute medieval Roman Catholicism, and many of those rules are still taught in theological seminaries today. One such rule is this: There are many applications of a Scripture but only one interpretation. That is total rubbish! The Talmud tells us there are multiple interpretations. Who did Jesus agree with? The Reformers? Or the other rabbis?

Jesus said, A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:39). What was "the sign of the prophet Jonah?" In one place Jesus says it was this, that "as Jonah was three days and nights in the stomach of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40). But, at the same time, He says that it was the fact that the men of Ninevah repented at the preaching of Jonah (Luke 11:32). The Gentiles would repent when the Jews did not, that is also the sign of the prophet Jonah. He gave two equally CO-valid interpretations of what that sign is. So, where Protestant hermeneutics say that there is only one interpretation, all the rest is application, it is out of step with Jesus.

Another rule of Reformed Hermeneutics says that, if the plain wording of Scripture makes sense, seek no other sense. Take it at its face value, full stop. That is also total rubbish!

A First or Second Century Jewish Christian reading John's Gospel, chapters one, two and three, would have said it was the new Creation narrative " ” the story of the new Creation. He would have seen that God walked the earth in Genesis, and now God walked the earth again in the new Creation in John. He would have seen that the Spirit moved on the water and brought forth the Creation in Genesis, and now the Spirit moved on the water and brought forth the new Creation in John. He would have seen that there was the small light and the great light in the Creation in Genesis, and now there was the small light " ” John the Baptist " ” and the great light " ” Jesus " ” in the new Creation in John. The fig tree, midrashically, in Jewish metaphor, represents the Tree of Life that we see in the garden in Genesis, in Ezekiel 47, and in the Book of Revelation. So when Jesus told Nathaniel, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree" (John 1:48), He was not simply saying to Nathaniel that He saw him under a literal fig tree (although He did), He was telling him that He had seen him from the garden, from the Creation, from the foundation of the world.

By reading the Bible as literature and history, as the Humanists did, you only see part of it. The Humanists were reacting to medieval Scholasticism and the Gnosticism that much of Roman Catholicism is based upon. Nonetheless, their approach prevents people from seeing much of the depth of Scripture. Using the grammatical-historical method, the Reformers were able to discover truths such as Justification by Faith and the Authority of Scripture. But that is all they could see; they could not go beyond it. Martin Luther considered Romans to be the main book of the Bible. He totally rejected the Book of Revelation. Yet the Book of Revelation is the book for the Last Days. Luther admitted that you cannot understand it with a Protestant mind.

What is wrong? Is the Book of Revelation wrong? Or is the Protestant mind wrong? Be very careful. Daniel (Daniel 12:4) and John (Revelation 10:4) were told to "seal these things up" until the time of the end. In the fullness of God's time, the interpretation of these books will be manifested to the faithful. When you see people writing out diagrams and charts, saying that they have got the whole eschatological program and all of Revelation figured out, be very cautious. It is sealed up until the appropriate time. God will unveil it in His way and in His time. And that will be done step by step. The first step is going back to reading the Bible as a Jewish book, instead of as a Greek one.

The Epistles are commentary on other Scripture; they tell you what other Scripture means on a very practical level. It is fine to read the Epistles as literature and history, using grammatical-historical methods. But there are different kinds of literature in the Bible, different literary genre that God put in there for different reasons. Psalms (Hebrew poetry), Revelation (apocalyptic literature), the Gospels (narrative), and Proverbs (wisdom literature).

You do not read a letter in the same way as you read poetry. You do not read The Narnia Chronicles (C.S. Lewis) in the same way as you would read a letter from Aunt Harriet back in England. If you read the Epistles, you will see that the apostles did not interpret the other books of the Bible by the grammatical-historical method. The book of Hebrews is a commentary on the symbolism of the Levitical priesthood and the Temple. Look at Galatians 4:24 onwards, the story of the two women " ” it is a midrash on the purpose of the Law. Look at the epistle of Jude, it is midrashic literature. The apostles did not handle the Scriptures according to Protestant grammatical-historical methods.

There are different kinds of prophecy in the Bible. The two kinds that are important in understanding the Last Days are Messianic prophecies and, connected to those, eschatological prophecies. When we come to consider biblical prophecy, this is very important. Because the Western mind, with its basis in Sixteenth Century Humanism, says that prophecy consists of a prediction and a fulfilment. To the ancient Jewish mind, it was not a question of something being predicted, then being fulfilled. Rather, to the ancient Jewish mind, prophecy was a pattern which is recapitulated; a prophecy having multiple fulfilments. And each fulfilment, each cycle, teaches something about the ultimate fulfilment. For example: In a famine, Abraham went into Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20). God judged Pharaoh. Abraham and his descendants came out of Egypt, taking the wealth of Egypt with them, and went into the Promised Land. Abraham's descendants replayed the same experience. In a famine they went into Egypt (Genesis 42). God judged Pharaoh again, a wicked king. Abraham's descendants came out of Egypt, taking the wealth of Egypt with them (Exodus 12:36), and they went into the Promised Land.

What happened to Abraham happened to his descendants. Then the same thing happened with Jesus. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son" (Matthew 2:16).

Matthew says that when Jesus came out of Egypt, after the wicked King Herod died, that fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea. "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son" (Hosea 11:1-2). Very plainly, Hosea chapter 11 is talking about the Exodus, about what happened with Moses. In its grammatical-historical context, it is talking about the Exodus, not about the Messiah. But Matthew appears to take the passage out of all reasonable context and twist it into talking about Jesus. We have to ask, is Matthew wrong? or is there something wrong with our Protestant way of interpreting the Bible?

There is nothing wrong with Matthew, and there is nothing wrong with the New Testament. But there is something wrong with our Protestant mentality. The Jewish idea of prophecy is not prediction, but pattern. Abraham came out of Egypt, when Pharaoh was judged; his descendant's came out of Egypt when the wicked king was judged; then another wicked king was judged and the Messiah came out of Egypt. There are multiple fulfilment's of prophecy. Midrashically, "Israel" alludes to Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. When you see verses like: "Israel my glory and Israel my first born," they are midrashic allusions to the Messiah.

Then, in 1 Corinthians 10, something else happens: We come out of Egypt, which Paul tells us is a symbol of the world. Pharaoh, who was deified by the Egyptians and worshipped as God, is a symbol of the devil, the god of this world. Just as Moses made a covenant with blood and sprinkled it on the people, so did Jesus. Moses fasted forty days, and so did Jesus. Jesus is the prophet like Moses, predicted in Deuteronomy 18:18. Just as Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the water, into the Promised Land, so Jesus leads us out of the world, through baptism, into heaven. It is a pattern.

Then the horse and its rider are thrown into the sea (Exodus 15:1). We sing the song of Moses " ” the horse and rider thrown into the sea " ” in Revelation 15:3. Why? Because it is a pattern. The ultimate meaning of "coming out of Egypt" is the resurrection and rapture of the Church. The judgments that happen in Exodus are replayed in Revelation. And just as Pharaoh's magicians were able to counterfeit the miracles of Moses and Aaron, so the antichrist and False Prophet will counterfeit the miracles of Jesus and His witnesses. They brought Joseph's bones with them when they came out of Egypt (Exodus 13:19). Why? Because the dead in Christ will rise first. It is a pattern

The ancient Jewish mind that produced the New Testament looks at prophecy, not as prediction, but as pattern. To understand what is going to happen in the future, you look at what did happen in the past. There are multiple fulfilments, and each successive fulfilment teaches something about the ultimate one.

You will never understand the Book of Revelation with the kind of limited approach to biblical interpretation that is taught in Protestant seminaries. Midrash is like a quadratic equation or a very complex second order differential equation, a thirteen or fourteen step equation. Some people take the first step of grammatical-historical exegesis and think the equation is solved. There is nothing wrong with what they do, but there is plenty wrong with what they don't do. The equation is not solved. There is nothing wrong with grammatical-historical exegesis. It is a necessary first step, it is a necessary preliminary, and it is okay for reading the Epistles. But that is all.

It takes the wisdom of the ancients to really understand these things " ” Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast... (Revelation 13:18) " ” not the wisdom of the 16th century, but the wisdom of the first century.

Fellowship

Having recently spoken in Sydney on this subject matter, I decided to transcribe it in three parts in case any of our readers find it edifying.

True Fellowship

Acts 2: 42 " “ 47

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved."

I was speaking to someone a while ago, and they were reminiscing about a church many years back. They said that at this particular church the fellowship was sweet like nothing they have experienced before or since. In fact over the last few years, I've spoken to quite a few people who have told me the same thing. In fact I, myself, as a youth leader in the late 70's, early 80's, have memories which are so sweet; of fellowship with the crowd I was involved with then.

So is fellowship consigned to the past? Does it only exist in the nostalgic memories of a few? Or is there a possibility that fellowship can be lived and experienced among believers today? Despite what we see so often in our churches, despite the apparent shallowness of some of our relationships, I believe fellowship is a distinct possibility for you and I, if we endeavor to do two things.

  • Firstly " “ We fellowship to the depth and breadth which the New and Old Testaments indicate.
  • Secondly " “ We see fellowship as what it really is; something which needs to be constantly worked at. I don't know about you but I carry baggage that hinders my fellowship; stuff that I need to let go of if I desire to grow in this area.

The text we are looking at is probably the text that most people would come up with when thinking about New Testament fellowship and that's why I chose it. For here we see a group of believers who shared everything together in those early days straight after Pentecost. But today I am not going to exegete that text fully because when one looks at the original Greek and Hebrew texts concerning the whole area of fellowship, we begin to see a lot deeper into what God desires for us. For example, the word 'fellow' in the Hebrew has four uses.

  • It can just mean man or 'ish'. 'Isha' is the feminine for woman. It's a generic term.
  • Another is 'Reya', an associate, an acquaintance.
  • Another is 'Amiyth', which means a comrade, a closer word than 'Reya'.
  • And finally there is 'Kawbare', which literally means 'to be knitted together' or intermeshed.

When we look at the Greek we get an even more in depth look, because it suggests what we must do or be with our fellows.

In Ephesians 2: 19 it says we must be 'fellow citizens' or 'Soompolytare'. In other words a native of the same town or faith.

In John 11: 16 we are called 'fellow disciples' or 'Soomathetes'. In other words a co-learner under the same master.

In Ephesians 3: 6 Paul says we are 'fellow heirs' in Christ, in other words we participate in a common inheritance. 'Soongklayronomos'. We are also fellow members of the body, fellow partakers of the promise.

In 1 Thessalonians 3: 2 we are called 'fellow laborers', or 'helpers'. It's the same Greek word 'Soonergos', a companion in labor.

In Romans 16: 7 we are called 'fellow prisoners', 'Soonaheekmalotos', a co-capture in Christ or for Christ.

In Colossians 1: 7 we are to be found as fellow servants, 'Soondoulos', co ministers with the same Master.

Then in Philemon verse 2 the word suggests 'fellow soldier', 'Soostiateotare', a companion in battle.

So when we look just at the depth in the way scripture suggests how you and I are to interrelate in Christ, we see that even here, sometimes what we know as 'church' pales into insignificance. But there is one more 'fellow' which even makes these fall short of what I believe God really desires and that 'fellow' is 'fellow-ship'. In the Hebrew we have several words;

  • The first is, 'Tesoometh' or to be pledged together.
  • Secondly we have 'Yad' which means an 'open hand' quite literally, and can be used to both grasp and also smack if necessary.
  • Thirdly is 'Kawbar', similar to 'Kawbare' and it literally means to 'be fascinated' by one another.

In the Greek it is just as fascinating.

  • Firstly, 'Soongkoynoneho', to share company with someone.
  • Secondly, 'Metoche' which means 'fellowship', but not at a particularly deep level.
  • But thirdly we have that word for fellowship, mentioned not just in Acts 2; but in many places. It is a word that lies at the heart of all relationships " “ 'Koinonia'. Literally to have everything in common.

So let's look at three points in this word study, which we will cover over three teachings.

  • Firstly What is Koinonia? How could it affect us? That is this teaching.
  • Secondly Who and what we have Koinonia with and who we don't. We will look at this in the next teaching.
  • Thirdly Obstacles to Koinonia, which will be our final lesson.

Koinonia, according to Vine is "Communion, fellowship, sharing in common, that which is the outcome of fellowship, a contribution." When we look, at our picture of the early church in the book of Acts we do indeed see all these things occurring. Five in particular which to me stand out significantly in our text are;

    1. In verse 44 they were together! It is impossible to have fellowship unless we meet as an extended family and as Hebrews 10: 25 says "all the more as you see the day approaching". It upsets me terribly when I see the amount of Christians out there, keeping away from a local church because of heavy shepherding churches and the abuses of the word of faith movement and other heresies. I understand, I sympathize, even empathize BUT someone once said and I agree, 'The answer to bad church is not no church, but good church.' But these believers were together.
    2. Again in verse 44, they had all things in common. Now let me make a point here because this is where quite a few churches go wrong. You see when we look at other contemporary groups of the time, we see some living lifestyles in a similar way to communes. The Qumran documents show clearly that the Essenes and the Qumran sects lived in a similar fashion; being together and having all things in common. In Acts 4: 32 " “ 5: 11 though, it clearly shows that the selling of possessions was voluntary, and the fact that the Christians moved from house to house in verse 46 shows that the Christians were distinct from the communes from the time. In fact what it does mean is that to hold together and have things together does not mean you join a Kibbutz or a commune; what it does mean is that even though you may own land, things, finances, a cricket bat, lawn mower " “ whatever, we can make them available to the community of believers if there is a need. In other words if you have 2 coats, food, whatever you should share with who ever has none. Many years ago the welfare system of society was 'The Church'. Justine the Apostate, enemy of the Church, said "These followers of Christos, they not only look after their own poor, they look after ours as well." When we look at some of the Great welfare movements of all time with people such as Shaftsbury, Muller, Barnado etc, we see that it was always the Christian at the forefront. We see that the Church played a prominent role. In the UK after the 1st and 2nd world wars, we see a Paternal state taking the place of the Church. And now as these systems become so expensive to maintain and institutionalized, we see the failure of the state and people unchurched and adrift in poverty. In our society, times are economically difficult and I believe once again the fellowship of believers must fill the GAP as we see brothers and sisters in terrible need, children orphaned, as we see an HIV pandemic shattering lives and families. We must respond in Christ's love.
    3. Verse 46 says they had one mind, one accord, in the temple. Their act of worship was an act of unity, and this overflowed into their very houses because" ¦
    4. It goes on to say they broke bread from house to house, even taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart; praising God and having favor with all the people. So their 'Koinonia' involved communion, fellowship, a sharing in common and, what an outcome their fellowship had with gladness, praise, joy and sincerity of heart! Let me ask, when was the last time you had fellowship of this quality! Let me ask again, is our fellowship a present day reality? Or is it confined to the limitations of nostalgia? But like I said earlier, there are two things which we need to understand. A) That we must fellowship to the breadth and depth of the biblical term. B) And also we must understand then, that if we claim to be in Christ Jesus then we are fellows " “ together.
    5. That we are fellow citizens in Christ, fellow disciples in Christ, fellow heirs in Christ, fellow laborers in Christ, fellow prisoners in Christ, fellow servants in Christ, fellow soldiers in Christ. And in Christ as we come to understand these terms, we must work at it.

Koinonia does not happen overnight but it begins to happen when we worship together, when we work together, when we eat together, when we have fun together, when we show hospitality to one another. Then, when we begin to trust, then we begin to heal from our past mistrusts, then we stop judging according to our misconceptions, then we begin to have Koinonia.

Let me ask;

In Christ do you desire to work at Koinonia?

Are you fed up of a pale imitation?

Do you long for the real thing?

Next time we will look at "Koinonia with who?"

Teaching Material

A catalogue of Moriel teaching material can be obtained from Christopher at the following email address, I have also brought back from Aussie some new stuff which I will be catalogued for next month. Meanwhile to stir the hearts of some, I have obtained a DVD called "The Revival Hymn". We will send it out for next to nothing at cost +P+P. It's a 30 minute DVD set to music using inspirational words from revival preachers and includes descriptions of the great Hebrides revival in the 1950's. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prayer Items

  • Dianne's tenants in New Zealand are leaving. This leaves her with the problem of getting new people or she may have to go home.
  • Praise the Lord for Ant's Mission to Rome. We are looking for sponsors for Ant and Liz to carry out this work. If you are interested   please get in touch with them.
  • For Norbert and Moses in Tanzania and Kenya and their growing work
  • For Chanti and Lilly at Good News Ministries in Vijayawada in India
  • For The whole team here at Moriel in Africa
  • For the children as they continue to fight their ailments
  • For Salvador and his team as they preach the gospel
  • For all our missionaries those who are yet to come
  • For all our needs both temporal and spiritual

How can you help?

Prayer is important, but also the helping hands and the finances that enable us to do what we do. So please consider the following.

Receive a regular News update either by email or hard copy. Just send your address to us and we will pop one in the post for you or email it to you. (although email to save mail size will be without pictures)

Secondly you can apply to be a short or long term missionary.   If the Lord burdens you and you want to investigate more please contact us.

Finally you can give a one off gift or a regular monthly amount to cover the costs of mission. This is simple to do. Just contact the following people or you can contact any Moriel office and they will assist you.

Contacts

For the UK contact:

MR & MRS B Royle
2 Cressington Close
Off Cedric Street
Salford M5 5JS
England
Tel: +44 (0) 161 737 2996
Email: Â  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Moriel SA

Po Box 10807
Strubenvale 1570
Gauteng
South Africa
Phone:+27 (0)11 730 1719
Fax: +27 (0)11 730 1719
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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