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Faith questions – Which are the New Covenant customs?

Certain customs are prescribed in the Bible. Christianity however often administers these crookedly. It also has invented its own customs. In many cases these are not only redundant, but contra dictionary with or go against the (spirit) of the Bible. In Christianity they have been anchored into traditions connected with superstition, occultism and blasphemous rituals. What is written in the Bible about these (specific New Covenant) customs?

By Marco van Putten

Customs are religious acts. They form a bridge between God and the believer, the general and the extraordinary and between the collective and the individual. They mediate the essence of belief on the believer’s identity. Customs are commonly called rituals or ceremonies. However, this is also how heathen (occult) sacrificial practices of the Romans were called. Therefore ‘the Church’ called them sacraments (Latin: sacramentium – holy acts) or acts of grace. However, Moses described them as special Torah decrees directly connected with God’s Covenant. The customs of the New Covenant (NC) have renewed these [1].

What are the NC customs?
Biblical customs are mostly connected with the Temple service. Since the NC three customs are added [2]: baptize in water, baptize in God’s Spirit and Holy Communion. All these require a prior conversion (Dt 30:2; Hos 14:1) [3]. Conversion is the most fundamental Biblical custom [4]. The first two are only performed once [5].
Other Biblical customs commanded in the Old Testament concern the gathering of the congregation of believers (Lv 23:3), the installation of ministers of the congregation (Ex 28:41; 1 Tim 4:14), religious declarations [6] and religious appeals, like the anointment of the sick (James 5:14). The marriage custom is traditionally seen as a NC custom, but this not so [7]. The same applies for a funeral, which is not a NC custom (Mt 8:22; Lc 9:60).

There is no magical ‘power’ in the Biblical customs. Neither in the individuals or utensils that are involved in the customs [8]. Only peripheral believers or outsiders believe that. Customs only have meaning when God is involved with them (Mt 12:33; Acts 5:39). Thus, they are meant for God-fearing, pious believers and can only be ministered by such individuals. Being involved in [9] or ministering these customs require faith and sufficient understanding and knowledge of the custom [10].

Why do customs exist?
Without customs there would be no conscious moments to contemplate faith. They are meant to have believers realize God’s blissful acts and to stress that God appoints individuals as ministers of His customs. Customs are meant to build up faith. Since faith needs to become one with the personal identity and not remain ‘outside’ that identity. Hence, they are crucial for the development of faith. They are ‘signs’ [11] of faith and therefore believers will yearn for these customs to be ministered unto them; to become subject in them and to minister them to others (if possible).

(In)correct use
It is well known from (church)history that the Biblical customs have been wrongly used and even abused for centuries. This often happened not on purpose [12], but sometimes intentionally. Even today there exist shocking examples of that. Through customs people are bound to ‘the church’ or a religious community [13], which leads to all kinds of manipulation. ‘The Church’ wants to illicitly replace the function which the Temple had in the time of the Bible books. The most important customs of ‘the Church’ are: baptizing of children, religious confirmation [14], the marriage sacrament and confession. According to ‘the Church’ believers can only complete their religious life if they undergo these ‘Church’ sacraments.

However, according to the Bible the customs of the NC require first and foremost the mediation of the High Priest, the Lord Jesus, in the Temple in heaven (Hb 2:11) [15]. The Biblical customs are only operational in connection with the Covenant relationship between God and His people and with its individual members [16]. He [17] who ministers a custom delivers a service to fellow believers (Mt 23:11), whilst the one receiving the service of the custom is the property of God and is under His authority (1 Kr 29:11) [18].

Explanation of the NC customs

1.
Baptize in water
The immersion in water for (spiritual) cleansing and preparation is prescribed in God’s Covenant with Moses (Ex 29:4; Lv 16:24). John the Baptist administered this baptize. The Lord Jesus showed, by undergoing this water baptism also, that God intended to add a new meaning to it. Namely, water baptize administered only once. In the Bible it is nowhere stated that it replaces the water baptize of Moses [19], but it does state that this new baptize required a change in the spiritual conditions [20]. The Lord Jesus would bring about this change. This explains his water baptize, which is unique in itself [21] because He underwent it as a perfect Spirit-filled Human. Also, He didn’t need spiritual cleansing and preparation since He already was in such a state. Only since the arrival of the state of the NC believers can undergo this new baptize, although it is not the same as that of the Lord Jesus.

Water baptize represents symbolically the death of the old (carnal) life and the resurrection unto the new (spiritual) life of the believer. Similar to that what is commemorated at Passover. Death (slavery) and resurrection (exodus) are its two key-concepts. Every baptized believer should question itself at Passover whether one still adheres its life according to the confession made at the water baptize.

2.
Baptize in the Spirit of God
Many believers think that this custom is not a Biblical custom at all and that they only need to be baptized in water [22]. But the NC is specifically marked by rebirth and the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:16-17) [23]. Baptize in water marks the conversion (the redemption), but baptize in God’s Spirit enables the observance of the NC (the accomplishment of Gods will) [24]. No one can observe the NC without being fulfilled by His Spirit, since that would mean that the believer is trying to achieve something what man simple cannot. That’s why God has given his Spirit to the believers [25]. Without being baptized in God’s Spirit believers would remain ‘in the flesh’ (Rm 8:8; 1 Cor 3:1).

At Pentecost, after the Ascension of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers for the first time. During Pentecost the Spirit-filled believers should question themselves whether they already bear fruit for God or whether they need to dedicate their fruit to God.

3.
The Holy Meal / Commemoration of the Last Supper
Believers need to be regularly confronted with the Last Supper of de Lord Jesus. It must have a deep influence on their religious life.

It has different meanings, like:
Commemoration of the last Passover meal of the Lord Jesus
This Passover meal is commanded to Moses as commemoration meal of the Exodus (Ex 12:14) at the beginning of the seven days of Passover.
Commemoration of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus
The Lord Jesus added a new meaning unto the original commemoration meal; He would offer Himself up as a perfect Passover offering unto God (1 Cor 5:7) [26]. But this is not just based upon the original Passover feast [27], it surpasses that [28].
The establishment of the NC
The temporal parting from the earth
With this meal the Lord Jesus said farewell to His disciples and with that also from God’s people on earth until His return (Lc 22:16, 18).

The Lord Jesus made this into a NC-custom during the Passover meal with which Israel’s exodus was commemorated. Should this then only be administered during Passover? This link in itself shows that the commemoration meal of the exodus stays in practice since the NC, but then added to it the commemoration of the Last Supper. However, since the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus is central to the NC this meal also became a common, general custom administered regularly. Detached from the Passover feast. Believers are free to commemorate Him with that at any appropriate moment [29].

Wrong understanding and application of Holy Communion
What the Lord Jesus said during His Last Supper with His disciples seems to be wrongly or even not understood. When He was breaking the bread He said: ‘This is My body which is broken for you. Eat it while you think of Me’ (Lc 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24). He also said that of the drink He passed out to them. Some believers think that the bread and the drink of the Holy Meal literally change into His flesh and blood. Thus, they later replaced the table for the Meal into an altar for offering, since they thought that His Body and Blood were literally offered up each time they administered the Holy Meal. This misinterpretation has lead to serious consequences;
1.
The people and utensils involved in this custom were thought to be holy or even magical
2.
The original NC-custom was given a different meaning [30].

These assumptions are not only contradicting the Bible, but above all they are blasphemous. The NC-custom is in this way being applied as occult ritual [31]. By administering the NC-custom wrongly the NC [32] is (re-)presented in a twisted way.

There are also believers who think that the Holy Meal gives eternal life and power to resurrect (Jh 6:54). This also a deviation from the truth. Why should a NC-custom, in which suffering, death and ending of life is central, be involved with life or resurrection?

When one undergoes this NC-custom in the right way regularly then the essence of the NC is sharpened with the believers. Fortunately eternal life doesn’t depend on the fact that a Biblical custom is administered nor does it depend on the NC alone. It depends only on God, Who gives creatures (believing or not) eternal life [33].

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[1] It is remarkable that in Christianity these are unrelated with God’s Covenant and that the Old Testament Customs are mostly regarded as having become redundant.
[2] Added to the customs of Moses.
[3] Therefore these are not accessible for under aged (newborn) children. Circumcision is the only exemption as custom that God demands to be performed on newly born males.
[4] Required in the Old Testament.
[5] Anabaptism is an indication that faith is weak or being doubted and this can be a mocking of God.
[6] Blessings (Nm 6:23-27) or cursings (1 Cor 16:22; Gal 1:9).
[7] The NC announces a reality without married life (Lc 20:35). It originates from the Old Testament (OT).
[8] God has exclusive right upon His powers and thus these only work according to His will. To suggest something else, using these powers crookedly or otherwise allying them with magic opens the door for the realm of darkness.
[9] An exception to this is circumcision since this is administered to newly born.
[10] Customs are conditional, like the Covenant of God from which they originate.
[11] In neutral and explicit, not in magical sense.
[12] There is much incomprehension and lack of understanding about the religion of the Bible.
[13] ‘The Church’ presumes to have exclusive right on the customs. This is a consequence of tunnel view on the church (ecclesiocentrism). Customs are supposed to be only administered by church authorities. However, this is not how they are described in the Bible.
[14] Consecration of young believers.
[15] This rule should determine a religious congregation.
[16] Only God had property right on the customs and they are only operational when He acknowledges them (they have to adhere to the requirements of His Covenant).
[17] Only male servants, whom God has appointed, are allowed to administer the customs (1 Cor 11:3; 14:34).
[18] In this way God’s people, of which a church is supposed to be a part, will receive the required authorization of the Biblical customs.
[19] The Mosaic customs of circumcision and the continuous baptize in water for cleansing and spiritual preparation remain valid (Acts 16:3; Hb 10:22).
[20] The change that was needed prior to it was that the power satan over man was broken and the relationship that man had with God was restored.
[21] It happened in the old spiritual reality.
[22] According to some there exists only one baptize (Ef 4:5), therefore some think that baptize in water and in the Spirit happen simultaneous. But in the Bible this is not so (Acts 8:16-17; 11:16; 19:2-6).
[23] Contrary to baptize in water, baptize in the Spirit (internal circumcision) is a token of the new life. Just like circumcision (external circumcision) is.
[24] This baptize thus confirms the circumcision of the body and makes it complete. Without that the first replaces the other. Both have their own function in the NC.
[25] Therefore this is a specific NC-custom.
[26] Only just from that act on this can be commemorated. Thus, this is a specific NC-custom.
[27 The blood of the Lord Jesus shall preserve against God’s final judgment of humanity, like the blood of the Passover offering has preserved Israel against God’s judgment of Egypt.
[28] The Israelites were delivered from the power of Pharaoh, but the Lord Jesus delivers from the power of satan.
[29] The apostles have determined a special gathering for it (1 Cor 11:20).
[30] Not only is the passive commemoration replaced by an active blissful mediation (forgiveness of sins and/or receiving salvation). Christology had to be violated; the offering up of the Lord Jesus was no longer understood as once and unique. This suggests that His work did not finish and that the power of satan over man was not completely broken!
[31] By applying the NC-custom wrongly it had become offensive for God. Something that is only beneficial for demons.
[32] Christianity had put the concept of the NC aside or saw it as something of the Israelites (the Jews). These assumptions violate the NC.
[33] The Biblical religion is not about gaining eternal life, but about eternal salvation by observing the NC. From today forward.


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