Last Saturday’s Torah portion was ‘Vayetze’, which means, ‘And he went’. In the Bible Study video below, we discuss the following passages and more:
Here is the YouTube video discussing this week’s Torah portion:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to popular culture, but is it really? Surely you have heard, “Jesus is the reason for the season”. In reality though that is far from the truth. It could be more accurately stated as the holiday we justify using Jesus’ name in vain for capital gain.
Numerous years ago, before being Spirit-filled, much less led by the Spirit to go where He says to go, and to say what He says to say, I had been leary of Christmas and it’s ridiculous traditions, much of which are designed to commercialize the name of Jesus while promoting lies and pagan rituals. When my sons were small I refused to deceive them into thinking Santa brought them gifts for I could not understand why any parent or Christian would lie to their children only for them to be disappointed at a later age – not to mention learn not to trust their own parents. Such “traditions” directly contradict the simply stated commandment which reads, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices .” Colossians 3:9 (NIV) as well as many other Scriptures with similar sentiments. Nevertheless, I still proceeded with all the other typical traditions – mostly to go with the flow of everyone else.
Later, when I researched the origins of Christmas, I was not only surprised to learn it’s pagan history, but I was surprised to learn Christmas was illegal in early United States history for early settlers believed Christmas to be a Satanic, unholy custom:
For the preventing of disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonour of God and offense of others. It is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like — either by forbearing labour, feasting or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offense five shilling as a fine to the county. Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1659.
as well as a second notice, which reads:
The observation of Christmas having been deemed a sacrilege, the exchanging of Gifts and Greetings, dressing in Fine Clothing, Feasting and similar Satanical Practices are hereby FORBIDDEN with the Offender liable to a Fine of Five Shillings.
In fact, did you know the origins of Christmas actually have nothing to do with the birth of Christ Jesus, but rather have everything to do with the Roman pagan festival known as ‘Saturnalia’? According to the History Channel’s History.com site,
“Saturnalia, held in mid-December, is an ancient Roman pagan festival honoring the agricultural god Saturn. Saturnalia celebrations are the source of many of the traditions we now associate with Christmas.
Saturnalia, the most popular holiday on the ancient Roman calendar, derived from older farming-related rituals of midwinter and the winter solstice, especially the practice of offering gifts or sacrifices to the gods during the winter sowing season.
The Christian holiday of Christmas, especially, owes many of its traditions to the ancient Roman festival, including the time of year Christmas is celebrated…by the fourth century A.D., Western Christian churches settled on celebrating Christmas on December 25, which allowed them to incorporate the holiday with Saturnalia and other popular pagan midwinter traditions. ” Saturnalia, History.com
Did you also know the pagan holiday known as Saturnalia has been described by other sources likened to Mardi Gras with no morals, drunkenness, orgies, and other lawless activities? Did you know the reason we give gifts during Christmas isn’t because of the wise men, but rather because gift-giving was a custom of Saturnalia where the Romans gave one another gifts representing human sacrifices originally given to the temple god, Saturn?
“On the last day of Saturnalia celebrations, known as the Sigillaria, many Romans gave their friends and loved ones small terracotta figurines known as signillaria, which may have referred back to older celebrations involving human sacrifice.” Saturnalia, History.com
I strongly encourage you to research the origins of Christmas and Saturnalia as article after article I read portrayed nothing but pagan practices later repackaged as ‘Christmas’.
I know what you may be thinking, perhaps you are thinking, ‘Well, that’s not what it means to me, Carrie. It’s just a nice tradition my family has been doing for years…’
In my opinion, customs or traditions, which could also be known as doctrines of men, are acceptable so long as they do not violate certain parameters:
- The tradition or doctrine cannot contradict God’s word, His written voice and instructions for our lives.
- The tradition or doctrine cannot have pagan origins glorifying other gods or pagan practices that encourage violating God’s word.
- The tradition or doctrine cannot supercede God’s word.
While the beautiful lights decorating homes are alluring, in addition to singing famous Christmas songs, as well being bedazzled by Christmas trees of various creative themes, these practices are designed to delight our senses. These sensual festivities on the surface seem harmless, but the fact is, they violate all three of the parameters above. We’ve already discussed their pagan origins, now check out what God’s word says about participating in pagan, Gentile practices. The prophet, Jeremiah scribes in Jeremiah 10, what sure does sound like a Christmas tree, a wooden idol:
“Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the Lord:
‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.’
6 Inasmuch as there is none like You, O Lord
(You are great, and Your name is great in might),
7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations?
For this is Your rightful due.
For among all the wise men of the nations,
And in all their kingdoms,
There is none like You.
8 But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish;
A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.
9 Silver is beaten into plates;
It is brought from Tarshish,
And gold from Uphaz,
The work of the craftsman
And of the hands of the metalsmith;
Blue and purple are their clothing;
They are all the work of skillful men.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble,
And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation….
25 Pour out Your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know You ..”
Whether you realized it or not, the custom of dragging a dead tree in your home is establishing a wooden idol and participating in pagan practices. I have heard others preach you are even offering sacrifices/gifts to it when you kneel down and place them under the tree, unknowingly.
According to an article titled ‘All about the Christmas Tree: Pagan Origins, Christian Adaptation, and Secular Status’ on religioustolerance.org, “During the Roman celebration of the feast of Saturnalia, Pagans did decorate their houses with clippings of evergreen shrubs. They also decorated living trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus.”
In numerous passages, the LORD says to not adopt the traditions or customs of the pagan Gentiles. As believers in Jesus, or Yeshua, in His Hebrew original name, we are apart of Israel spiritually, regardless of your physical DNA, according to Scripture, a type of adopted Israelite (Galatians 3:26-29; Romans 11), no longer identified as a Gentile, but having been born-again, having crossed-over, which is what ‘Hebrew’ means, we are a new creation in Him…no longer a pagan Gentile. To learn more, read https://flipflopfellowship.com/2019/04/23/walk-like-an-egyptian/
- “And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.” Ezekiel 12:12 (NKJV)
- “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. ” Ephesians 4:17-24
For me, in recent years, I avoid any resemblance of participating in the typical Christmas traditions like exchanging gifts, decorating trees, etc. for I now understand they violate God’s word, His call to be set-apart, and similar to Halloween, have pagan origins. But I welcome opportunities to spend time with family and friends such as sharing a meal similar to Thanksgiving around or on Christmas Day (unless exchanging of gifts will be present – pun intended). 😉 Even so, my parents still give me something for Christmas, but they would be highly offended if I refused to graciously receive them. So I have discerned for the sake of love, to pick and choose my battles. Being set-apart is designed to make you be a light to the world, not an explosive bomb, although it will most likely shake things up!
Being set-apart is designed to make you be a light to the world, not an explosive bomb, although it will most likely shake things up!
Furthermore, throughout the year, I celebrate God’s holy holidays prescribed in the Bible (see Leviticus 23, as one passage discussing them), since they are commanded, prophetic, and centered on our Messiah, Jesus/Yeshua. It is believed, but not proven, based off clues found in Scripture, Jesus may actually have been born during the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’, the final Fall feast known in Hebrew as ‘Sukkot’. It also is speculated for those same reasons, Jesus most likely was conceived during or near Hanukkah. In addition to God’s holy holidays, I also celebrate the tradition of Hanukkah since it meets the parameters discussed above, though that holiday is not commanded to celebrate like the others. However, even Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22-23).
Keep in mind, coming to such observances was a long process of cooperating with the Spirit of Holiness dwelling within me for He specializes in removing the unholy and replacing it with holy, hence, God labeling His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. I respect your decision to celebrate Christmas even if you still choose to do so now knowing it’s pagan origins and what I believe are contradictions to God’s word. I hope you too can respect me as I choose to no longer celebrate Christmas.
To learn more about God’s holidays, Hanukkah, and my perspective regarding other holidays, click on the following links for various articles or videos I have published.
Regardless if you agree or disagree with my faith, I love you still.
Blessings & Shalom,
Carrie R. Tuner
Better late than never! I have been battling a pesky and inconvenient sinus infection all week so I apologize for the delayed ‘Seabbatical’, which I normally publish on YouTube on Friday evenings. Due to my illness, I recorded it, edited it, and published it today, Saturday. Nevertheless, I hope it blesses you richly. This recording is themes and lessons I gleaned from this week’s Torah portion (Genesis 25:19-28:9 | Malachi 1:1-2:7).
⛵Tonight is another ‘Seabbatical’ at 7pm CST. We invite you to participate in this online Bible Study by clicking on the link below ⬇. You might want to click the set reminder button and read the passages before hand.⏰
In recents weeks a public debate manifested due to a comment made by John MacArthur, a prominent Christian minister, admonishing Beth Moore, another prominent minister, to “Go home” being she is a woman and according to his understanding of Scripture should not be publicly teaching others – namely men. Within recent history, discussion of whether a woman can be in leadership of the Christian ekklesia (assembly/congregation/church) has indeed sparked much controversy. Such comments propagated by both Mr. MacArthur and Mrs. Moore as well as many other Christian voices caused me to dig into Scripture for myself regarding this matter. I invite you to grab your Bible and peruse some critical Scripture that you may not have encountered before, but will certainly be foundational as we come to some fascinating conclusions as well as further reflection.
For better or worse, according to the Bible, husbands and fathers are responsible for their wives and daughters under their roof. Since the beginning of time, Abba Father (God) has set an order and heavy responsibility on a married man and father. Consider how not only was Adam created first, but even more so when Eve was deceived by Satan and consequently she unknowingly deceived her husband, God addressed and held Adam accountable FIRST of the two. As another similar example, Queen Jezebel of Israel also greatly influenced and deceived her husband, King Ahab, for evil. Ahab, being both King and husband, having authority over both the nation and his wife, had to answer for his decisions influenced by his wife with his own life – FIRST. According to 1 Kings 21:17-22:40, King Ahab perished due to his decision to go along with his wife’s evil advice. Much later and according to the prophecy given through Elijah, Jezebel also perished for her influencing sin (2 Kings 9:30-37). Whether us ladies like it or not, God has a prescribed order of authority, one we should not be eager to usurp. Through the creation account, we see God established the husband as being held accountable for his wife. Likewise, we see in Genesis 3:16 God affirms the husband will rule or have authority over his wife. This does not mean to lord over her in an abusive capacity, although tragically some do, rather, it is designed to best protect and serve her.
The Torah expounds on this concept bringing clarity through an entire chapter of instructions on this important matter. Numbers 30 clearly affirms a father or husband has final say over his daughter or wife within his household. This passage lists in great detail a variety of scenarios defining a young(er) woman indeed has a voice, but if her father or husband overrules her decision, then her decision/oath/agreement/plans are annulled. Conversely, if a woman’s husband or father remains silent or vocally supports her decision, then she is bound to it and held accountable to the LORD (as is her male authority). Interestingly enough, Abba Father, our ultimate authority, also clarifies in Numbers 30:9 that any woman who is a widow or divorced is under her own authority being she is clearly no longer under her father’s roof or a husband’s and answers directly to Abba (God). We see a similar tangible example with Miriam, the unmarried, older prophetess, for Scripture list her a being a prophetess and much older sister of Aaron and Moses, but does not list a husband nor mentions anywhere in the text of living with her father (see Exodus 15:20) upon the timeline of Numbers 12. This is presumably why in Numbers 12, Miriam is listed first as speaking against Moses (Numbers 12:1) and is directly held accountable for what she speaks by being disciplined by Abba Father when He afflicted her with leprosy. Kindly, both her brothers intercede on her behalf and she is healed after her prescribed affliction has run it’s seven day course (Numbers 12:9-15). Notice in verse 14 of Numbers 12, the LORD inferred if her father had been alive, he himself would have rebuked her or overruled her ill words towards her brother, Moses. But since her father, is no longer present, Abba Father directly addresses her and holds her accountable, which correlates with Numbers 30:9. It could also be argued she was disciplined for attempting to usurp her authority, as a female, over Moses, a man, by stating in Numbers 12:2, ” ‘Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’ And the LORD heard it.” Notice in the text, Aaron also agreed and said such things, but he was not disciplined – was Aaron not disciplined because he was High Priest or because he was a man or both? Why was just Miriam disciplined? I suspect the greater offense was more so because a) Miriam was a woman attempting to usurp a man’s God-appointed authority and b) she was an unmarried, child of God, and directly accountable for herself being she had no male covering, which the Apostle Paul speaks of as well in 1 Corinthians 11:3 and 1 Timothy 2:12-13:
- “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)
- “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” 1 Timothy 2:12-13 (NKJV)
Speaking of teaching or having authority, in Jewish tradition, a Rabbi, or teacher is to be highly respected with much authority and influence over his students or followers just as Yeshua/Jesus was over his disciples. A teacher naturally has great influence over their audience so a woman teaching would not only influence others, but would naturally assume authority over them as well. The Bible states a woman should not teach men and therefore, have authority over a man. Nevertheless, Scripture permits women, regardless of their marital status, to teach other women (Titus 2:3), which incidentally is how Beth Moore’s ministry began.
Regardless of the debate of male or female teachers being permitted, the Apostle James advises no one be eager to be a teacher for with much authority comes much accountability to God (James 3:1). Similar sentiments have been expressed as the burden of the prophet (Jeremiah 20:7-10; Habakkuk 1:1; Nahum 1:1).
Furthermore, based off Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments, it would appear women can operate in many crucial roles and be utilized in their giftings so long as the following parameters are met:
- A woman can never usurp the authority of a man, especially the authority of her husband or father assuming she dwells in his house still. A few Biblical examples would be the life of Eve, Miriam, and Jezebel, as discussed previously. Another positive example would be Queen Esther and how careful, yet successful, she was when presenting her plea to the King, her husband.
- If a woman’s husband or father supports her calling/plans/purpose, she may proceed in operating in that office/calling. If a woman’s husband or father does not support her, his authority, his voice supersedes hers. If she is authentically called by the LORD to do x, y, or z, her God-given male authority will see such giftings in her and support her, per the LORD’s will and plan for her life. A few Biblical examples would be Deborah, a married prophetess (Judges 4:4), Huldah, a married prophetess (2 Kings 22:14), Isaiah’s wife and prophetess (Isaiah 8:3), Lydia, a presumably married seller of purple who hosted Paul and Barnabas in her home (Acts 16:11-15), Priscilla, a married female apostle (Acts 18:1,28:26, Romans 16:2), Junia, a married, female apostle (Romans 16:7), and Phillip’s unmarried prophetess daughters (Acts 21:8-9). **It should be noted, however, that we have no Biblical examples of unmarried, divorced, or widowed female apostles – the only two female apostles defined in Scripture are married. Though fascinatingly enough, Priscilla seems to be the dominating apostle since the Apostle Paul lists her name before Aquila twice (Acts 18:1; Romans 16:2).
- If the woman is unmarried and not living in her father’s household, or divorced, or widowed, she is directly under the authority of Abba Father and not an appointed man (Numbers 30:9). Nevertheless, she still cannot usurp a man’s authority as exampled by Miriam. She will directly be held accountable to God for her decisions. She may operate in her giftings/calling without a man and does not have the benefit of a man protecting her or wisely guiding her like a 2nd opinion. Consequently, she is held accountable in all that she does, for better or worse. By not having an active male overseeing her, it does not mean she is of less value or a dangerous threat. It simply means she is responsible for herself. In addition to Miriam (Exodus 15:20), a few Biblical examples could be Anna, the widowed prophetess (Luke 2:36-37), Mary Magdalene, a (presumably unmarried) supporter and evangelist of Jesus/Yeshua (Luke 8:1-3, 23:49,55-56, 24:1-11; Matthew 27:55-56, 61, 28:1-10; Mark 15:40-41, 16:1-11; John 19:25, 20:1-18), Susannah a (presumably unmarried) supporter of Yeshua/Jesus (Luke 8:1-3), Phoebe, a (presumably unmarried) female administrator of sorts (Romans 16:1-2), Mary, a (presumably unmarried) female laborer in the body of Christ (Romans 16:6), Mary and Martha, the unmarried sisters who ministered to Jesus/Yeshua (Luke 10:38-42; John 11; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:1-9) and the divorced Samaritan woman evangelist (John 4:27-42).
We can see in various Biblical examples, there is much evidence for women having critical roles in certain positions of leadership primarily as prophetess, whether married or unmarried, throughout all of Scripture (front and back of the Book) or operating at the very least in the gift of prophecy (I Corinthians 11 and 14); however, there is no supportive Biblical examples of unmarried/divorced/widowed female apostles or female pastors.
Similarly, Scripture clearly states the office of a bishop/elder (overseer) or deacon (those in leadership of the ekklesia/church) ought to be held exclusively by men, though it seems to indicate they should be married men (1 Timothy 3:2-7, 8:11-12). Most likely because these elders and deacons will be pastoring many married couples and their families so they too will need marital and parenting experiences in addition to the Spirit to guide them in their counsel. Conversely, it would seem acceptable, if not preferable, for male apostles and prophets, who are known to be sent to various places and people, to be unmarried as was the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 7:1-2, 7-9, 26-27,32-38), numerous other apostolic men, and the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:2) or the prophets Elijah and Elisha. It is difficult to easily go where you are called to go in a variety of places or to specific people when you need to tow along a household of people and belongings, though certainly possible – just look at Abraham (Genesis 15:20). Likewise, it is better for a never-married woman to remain unmarried if at all possible so that she too may serve the Lord in whatever called capacity without distractions (1 Corinthians 7:34). Even so, a wife and mother can still serve the Lord by ministering to her immediate family first then others just as a husband and father is called to do.
Furthermore, women ministers, regardless of their marital status, ought to err on the side of caution or the appearance of usurping the men’s authority by avoiding teaching men. Nevertheless, a woman can prophesy to a man as exampled by Deborah, Huldah, and Anna so long as it is clear her motive is not to usurp a man’s authority, but rather assist him in his direction per the LORD. It is not the prophetess’ job to convince a man of the word of the LORD, but simply to deliver it. How a man responds is between him and the LORD – the man will have to answer for himself accordingly. A word of caution to the budding prophetess: In the event a man rejects your prophecy, be careful, dear prophetess, not to usurp God-appointed authority by speaking against that man. The LORD will deal with him, not you. Assuming it was indeed a word from the LORD, that man will know in God’s time a prophetess was in his midst.
In summary, based off my conclusions, women can certainly possess many leadership roles according to Scripture. Some such positions seem to indicate marital stipulations while others do not, such as a woman may be a prophetess, an evangelist, or a teacher (of other women or children), regardless of her marital status, and yet as an apostle, it would appear she would be one along with her husband, not on her own. Other roles woman may not occupy such as an elder/bishop or deacon. It would make Biblical sense to not have a single/unmarried/divorced/widowed female Apostle establishing churches since a woman, per the LORD, cannot function in the government of the ekklesia as an elder/bishop or deacon herself; hence, the need for an apostolic husband. Together, the two can produce much fruit just like in natural marriage produces children. Whatever a woman’s role may be specifically in an ekklesia type of setting, ultimately, there will be a man presiding over her per God’s design for her own benefit. It is best to have the men as the head of the ekklesia with many women serving alongside the men, for just like the home, the two will become one and produce much spiritual fruit. Neither a man or woman can produce fruit in of themselves – they must be in unity to do so – they need each other and should respectfully honor and serve one another. Otherwise, the ekklesia will emulate a single-parent household. By becoming one in leadership, the men and women of the ekklesia will produce many healthy spiritual generations to come!
“Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 11:11 (NKJV)
Food For Thought: If a husband is supportive of his wife being a female teacher/preacher of both women and men, such as the circumstance with Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Marilyn Hickey, or Christine Caine as a few examples, does that contradict Scripture? How does Numbers 30 apply to that type of situation considering the husband did not annul her intention? If he approves, then, in theory, she is not usurping his authority, correct? Would the supportive husband be wrong in approving his wife to teach/preach? What are your thoughts?
For further study, explore: 1 Timothy 3:4-5; Ephesians 5:22-33; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 5
Seabbatical Live starts in 3 minutes. Here is the Bible Study link.. Join in!
For the first time THIS Friday, November 15, 2019 @ 7pm CST, we are going to attempt to live stream ‘Seabbatical’, an online Bible study where you can watch and participate through the chat box. You will need to access our Flip Flop Fellowship YouTube Channel to do so. Lord willing, the WIFI and technology will work properly! Please do read the Torah and Haftarah portions prior to our live stream. Hope to see you there!