Seabbatical | Vayetze

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:

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas

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:

Publick Notice

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:

Publick Notice

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…’

A beach-themed Christmas tree dominates the lobby of Hampton Inn of Myrtle Beach, SC. (2017)

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:

  1. The tradition or doctrine cannot contradict God’s word, His written voice and instructions for our lives.
  2. The tradition or doctrine cannot have pagan origins glorifying other gods or pagan practices that encourage violating God’s word.
  3. 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.

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.
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.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.

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),
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.
But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish;
A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.

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.

Holy Holidays: Why I Celebrate The Feasts of the LORD

Mom, Why Don’t You Say Happy Easter Anymore?

Halloween: Just Don’t Do It

Why I Am Celebrating Hanukkah

Regardless if you agree or disagree with my faith, I love you still.

Blessings & Shalom,

Carrie R. Tuner

12.8.19

Ladies As Leaders: To Be Or Not To Be?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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

Torah Portion: Vayera

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!

Another Big Earthquake Coming Soon To California? Get Ready To Love!

Our #California brothers and sisters should ‘get ready to love’ one another (even more). Likewise, we are preparing to go #serve as well should another large #earthquake manifest like we think it will in the near future. Please share this video with friends and family you may have in CA.

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‘Distinction Theology’ or Distinguished By Love?

Upon attending a Messianic Jewish congregation for quite some time recently, I was introduced to a relatively newer labeled theology unfamiliar to me known as ‘Distinction Theology’, which sets apart Jewish people from Gentiles even if both are believers in Yeshua/Jesus. The congregation used resources from First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ), a Messianic Jewish ministry, which is how I discerned this fascinating, but what I believe to be false doctrine. Moreover, it reveals the importance of being familiar with the word of God, having the Holy Spirit, and discerning all that is being taught as well as the fruit manifesting from various doctrines. In FFOZ’s recently published Messiah Journal, they define Distinction Theology as such:

What is distinction theology? It’s the premise that there is a difference between Jewish people and Gentiles, even after they become Yeshua followers.” , D Thomas Lancaster, First Fruits of Zion, “Distinction Theology and Diversity in the Communities of Yeshua”, Messiah Journal Issue #134, Summer 2019

In the article, Mr. Lancaster goes on to explain this theology is based off of Exodus 19:4-6, which defines Israel as a holy nation and set apart priesthood. After breaking down the verse being exclusively for Israel being the chosen nation and chosen elite priests, Lancaster pens the following,

Likewise, as a holy nation, Israel is set apart. The Jewish people have special priestly duties that the rest of the nations do not. There are things they are required to do that the rest of the nations are not required to do. They also have privileges and prerogatives that the rest of the nations don’t have. That’s what distinction theology is about.

The distinction between Priest and High Priest by uniform and duties could be a prophetic clue to come.

However, when we study the entirety of Scripture along with Exodus 19:4-6, what we will find is the only ‘distinction’ God seems to stress upon believing in His Son, Jesus/Yeshua, and receiving His Holy Spirit, which is the same Holy Spirit dispersed to all of us, is that we be distinct from the worldly lifestyle as set apart people not distinct from one another. In fact, numerous Scripture reveals that once a person believes in Jesus/Yeshua as Messiah, they are considered to be united with Him and others in Him. I suspect in an effort to thwart Anti-Semitism and the false notion that Yeshua came to start a new religion, distinction theology, promoting ethnic Jews and Judaism, was birthed. But rather than emphasizing our genetic and cultural differences, and yet still esteeming Israel at the same time, Scripture seems to implore Jewish believers to no longer view Gentile believers as a lesser ‘unclean’ (Acts 10) class and for Gentiles who believe and follow Yeshua to no longer self-identity as ‘Gentiles’, for Gentiles were not of God, rather now, having been ‘brought near’ or ‘grafted-in’, Gentiles now are apart of Israel…they now are also apart of an eternal, holy nation, a greater or enlarged priesthood alongside believing Jews, and therefore, NOT distinct from Jewish believers in Yeshua. Believing Jews and Gentiles were worshiping together in the early assemblies/synagogues after Yeshua’s resurrection until the works of some UNholy spirits divided them.

Moreover, now that we are a new creation in Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17), consisting of one unit, one body, one faith in Him, we are to be one as we are set apart or distinct from a worldly lifestyle, not each other. Compare the following Scriptures:

  • “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh– who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 (NKJV)
  • “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29 (NKJV)
  • There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ” Ephesians 4:4-6 (NKJV)
  • “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief (faith & obedience) they (natural Israelites) were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear (keep God’s laws). For if God did not spare the natural branches (Israelites/physically Jewish people), He may not spare you either (grafted-in Israelites/spiritual Jews/former Gentiles). Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but towards you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they (natural Israelites/physical Jews) also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” Romans 11:19-23 (NKJV)
  • “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, let nothing be done in selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:2-3 (NKJV)
  • Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV)
  • “not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;” 1 Thessalonians 4:5
  • And do not pray like the Gentiles…do not be like them..” Matthew 6:7-15
  • “This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations (gentiles)…” Jeremiah 10:2 (also see Deut. 12:4,29-32; 13:1-8)
  • Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and LAWLESSNESS, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 {Note the antithesis to being right with God (righteousness) is lawlessness (not obeying God’s laws).}
  • “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

Furthermore, since Distinction Theology emphasizes the priesthood being exclusive to those of Jewish descent, let’s see what God has to say about the priesthood throughout Scripture for further insight. We see the Apostle Peter directly references Exodus 19:4-6 in 1 Peter 2:9 as well as earlier in verse 5 when He addresses believers in Yeshua are as priests.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

One could argue that the Apostle Peter, being a minister to the Jews (Galatians 2:7), was directing his letter to Jewish believers as hinted at by addressing those in the Diaspora/dispersion of Jews throughout the world in 1 Peter 1:-1-2. Fair enough! Keep in mind though, Peter writes some important truths in this letter such as “the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work..” in 1 Peter 1:17 and believers are to “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God…” (2:17). We also see the Apostle Peter says in chapter 4:3, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles-when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, abominable idolatries..” So even though all of Peter’s writings can easily be applied to a believing Jew and believing Gentile, let’s just say for the sake of argument, Peter was definitely writing specifically to believing Jews and not Gentiles indicating the believing Jews are exclusively the priesthood. But then how would you explain away in Revelation 1:6 the Apostle John’s reference to the non-Jewish (Gentile) ekklesia/assemblies/churches (for they all were in Gentile areas such as Ephesus, according to Revelation 2-3) when John states Christ “made us kings and priests to His God and Father..” ? These are clearly Gentile churches he is writing to as “priests”. Or how would you explain Revelation 20:6 which defines those who made the first cut, the first resurrection, as, “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” as being exclusive to Jewish believers? By the argument distinction theology is trying to convey, this would mean only Jewish believers in Messiah will be resurrected, so obviously we can throw that logic out. Not to mention, as a side note, the logic of First Fruits of Zion establishing a ministry called ‘Torah Club’ teaching Torah to the Gentiles, when according to their own distinction theology, Torah is not for the Gentiles (they believe only the 7 Noahide Laws apply, but Gentiles can tag along in the other commands if they want). Also, how would one reconcile their Distinction Theology with Revelation 5:10 where it defines these believers also “reigning on earth” (with Christ/Messiah) just like Revelation 20:6 and Revelation 1:6 infer as the priests do? Additionally, the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian ekklesia/church, who were non-Jewish, the same exact sentiments that the Corinthians (formerly known as Gentiles) will also rule and reign judging the earth (1 Corinthians 6) imploring them to learn how to discern and judge spiritual matters now for it is all practice for what is to come. Indeed! We need to better discern through the lense of the Holy Spirit rather than fleshly spirits the entirety of the Word of God and stop fashioning doctrines off one or two verses to appease tradition and other motives while producing bad fruit of division and pride.

Now that we have reviewed a plethora of Scripture revealing there absolutely is NO distinction between Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua/Jesus while understanding both believing Jew and Gentile are apart of Israel as well as the priesthood, let’s examine the bigger purpose as to what the role of the chosen enlarged priesthood actually is all about. First, we have already discovered in the above mentioned verses, our set apart calling is not about our flesh or ethnicities for our flesh is temporary, but it is all about the eternal Spirit within us and what it produces in us and through us. In other words, our role in Messiah is not about how we were naturally born nor our ethnic upbringings, but it IS about how we are supernaturally born and that we be brought up to love God and others by serving them like the priest demonstrated.

If we want to understand what our purpose is and how we are to be distinct from the nations/unbelievers, being we are one nation of Israel in Him as believers in Messiah, we would be wise to look at the Biblical priesthood described for such concepts seem to be prophetic clues to our future.

–> First and foremost, we know Yeshua/Jesus is The High Priest (Hebrews 7-10).

–>Second, we know there were numerous distinct roles within the priesthood. So if you are hoping to be “distinct” in God’s perspective, then you will want to pay close attention to this next point.

–>Thirdly and moreover, the purpose of the priests were to serve God and serve others…in other words, they had to specialize in loving God and loving others while teaching others to do the same. The priests had to be experts in knowing God’s instructions, in knowing His boundaries, in knowing His laws, knowing the difference between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and how to teach the people in such matters. The priestly role also required many other legal transactions such as judging matters that inevitably manifested.

And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and clean. In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow my Sabbaths.” Ezekiel 44:23-24 (NKJV)

Simply put, the priest need to lead in love…they need to be firmly rooted and matured in love or perfected in love (Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 3:14, 1 John 4:12). Since we see all throughout Torah how the priests were indeed discerning or judging delicate matters as well as teaching people God’s instructions accordingly, those historical inspired writings would seem to be a good role model for how we are to live today as the “priesthood” as well as prophetic clues to our roles in the Messianic Era when Yeshua returns to rule and reign. Perhaps when Yeshua/Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19 that whoever teaches others not to live by His commands, His instructions, His Torah, will be “considered least in His Kingdom” could be because of the priestly roles established in the hierarchy. Under the High Priest, you had many priests, even broken down into families, each with a separate but highly important role all working as one priesthood…in the Spirit of love and authentic worship. Some were performing the sacrifices (Leviticus 1-6), some were singers (1 Chronicles 9:33), some were gatekeepers/security (1 Chronicles 9:17-21), some were taking things down and were meant to protect the sacred items (Numbers 4:4-14), some were in charge of the oil and menorah lighting (Numbers 4:16) and making ointment of spices (1 Chronicles 9:29-30), some carried the curtains, chords, screens (Numbers 4:21-28), some manages the pillars, boards, sockets (Numbers 4:29-33), some were bakers (1 Chronicles 9:31-32), some were schlepping sacred objects around (Numbers 4:15), whom I affectionately call the “schleppers”, etc. Perhaps likened to the hierarchy of the Levitical Priesthood, there will be a similar manifestation when we all are gathered to Israel upon His return to rule and reign with Him, with Yeshua our High Priest. Depending on if we are good stewards in the flesh now or how we lead in love now may determine our priestly role in our transfigured spirit bodies one fine day. So be careful what doctrines you teach and that you not devour one another in the process or you could end up a “schlepper” in the priesthood to come. Ha ha!

In all seriousness though, after a careful study of Torah and the Scriptures penned afterwards, we know the spirit of all of God’s word is to love God and love others; hence, the instructions on HOW to do so. The Apostle Paul declares over and over again the laws of God are fulfilled when we love God and one another for the Torah and all of Scripture is all about love, including tough love, discipline, self-control and overall distinction from the ways of those who don’t believe in Abba Father and His Son…who don’t have His Holy Spirit guiding them and instructing them, not distinct from those of us who believe in Jesus/Yeshua for we are to be one priesthood.

Like the Apostle Paul described, we are one body with many roles and many giftings and yet, without love, we are just clashing cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1-5). If you want to be distinct, be distinguished by your love for God and for one another.

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R Turner 10.24.19

Someone To Blame

If you have followed our faith journey, you know Abba Father had me start a cleaning business in whatever area He has called Jerry and I to. In doing so, He has taught me to discern and identify unholy spirits so while physically disinfecting a space, I sometimes am also disinfecting the unholy germs from that space (if I sense any). In other words, while cleaning I may be praying for that couple’s marriage or asking the Lord for financial blessings for the client or to help them with addictions or depression or any other potential spirit. I do the same while cleaning for a faith-based pregnancy resource center. Additionally, He has had me discern unholy spirits holding larger body of believers in captivity. Consequently, He instructs me to lovingly correct and encourage sometimes individuals and or groups on how to be healed from toxic germs infecting them. The reactions vary, but one thing I have been taught by the Spirit is that it isn’t my problem so to speak with how people respond to His Spirit of Holiness, but rather my problem is if I will step out in faith and obey the Spirit by indeed sharing with that individual or body of believers what the Holy Spirit wants to bless them with.

Through it all, while comparing my own experience of allowing the Holy Spirit to disinfect me, I realize the biggest obstacle the Holy Spirit encounters in us is blame. Whenever confronted with some form of evil, we as individuals and a society since the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden have blamed others hoping to thwart the consequences of evil. In Genesis 2:16-17, God instructed Adam on not to eat of a certain tree in the garden for in doing so, it would be sinning against God and consequently introduce death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Upon Adam being confronted by God about this grievous act of rebelling against God’s instruction not to eat of that tree, Adam blamed God Himself for giving him that woman, he also blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the deceiving serpent(Genesis 3:12-13). As a result of Adam, Eve, and the serpent going against God’s instructions, God’s command, God’s voice, all three suffered serious consequences, that still manifest today (i.e. woman still have pain in childbirth). By blaming one another, they had hoped to avoid suffering.

Out of a deceived heart, Eve and Adam rebelled against the instructions of God. How were they deceived? How are any of us deceived? If Satan can get us to doubt God’s word for us found in the Bible, we will reflect on Satan’s word, not God’s, and ultimately choose whom we will serve. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve chose to serve Satan, an unholy spirit, in that moment as do many of us today when we doubt and ultimately, reject God’s instructions for living. Adam and Eve violated God’s boundaries and had to live with the consequences. When God gives instructions for how to live and love, He means them. Tragically, due to deception conceived in doubt, mankind tends to violate God’s instructions thereby elevating themselves above God.

When God enforces His boundaries, which is still love, being tough love, designed to bless us, not harm us, mankind tends to blame others or other ideologies or even objects in attempt to avoid God’s disciplining love.

We create legislation or more boundaries as if God’s boundaries aren’t enough. We want to blame religions, blame theologies, or create counter theologies. We establish non-profits, ministries, and causes all striving to somehow feel in control when in reality only God is in control.

Rather than realizing it’s due to our own deceived hearts as the source of all evil, we prefer to blame others for in doing so it is easier than looking deep within. Due to our own spiritual captivity, we find ourselves held captive to the victim-mentality and so out of our pain we choose to blame.

Due to our own spiritual captivity, we find ourselves held captive to the victim-mentality and so out of our pain we choose to blame.

However, so long as we continue to deceive ourselves not recognizing the root source of evil, we will never truly be set free, we will never truly experience peace, wholeness, shalom.

By continuing to blame objects, others, or ideologies, all we are really doing is further putting ourselves and others into captivity.

When I was in my upper twenties, after living a decade of selfishness and rebellion to God’s instructions, I found myself in physical captivity. I was married to an abusive man. It is only by the grace of God hearing my desperate literal cry of, “JESUS, SAVE ME!” upon being suffocated and strangled by the hands of my then husband, that my eyes were opened to the unholy spirits lurking within my home and heart for at the very moment, my husband, full of an UNholy spirit, immediately let me go, saying in a different voice, “Don’t cry out to Jesus!”. It took many years, overall, with only the help of the Holy Spirit, to realize my own spiritual captivity led to that form of physical captivity. For I was like most other young ladies in my twenties, simply having sexual relations with men outside of the context of marriage. Deceived and unable to discern unholy spirits blinded by lust, in the name of love, I would dismiss the red flags subtly presented in the course of a relationship. Even if one relationship wouldn’t work out, I would find myself in yet another abusive relationship that violated my boundaries. I repeated this pattern of hooking up with boundary-busting men, not realizing that I too was a ‘boundary-buster’ because I would violate God’s boundaries as well as others’ boundaries it just manifested differently than these unhealthy men I was sleeping with. Perhaps you could say due to my deceived, boundary busting heart, I was sleeping with the enemy, an unholy spirit. Various variables manifested causing all sorts of twist and turns further leading me into an eventual dangerous captivity, but God in His goodness used it all, to reveal to me truth and love.

Once I was set free from that abusive marriage and received the Holy Spirit just weeks after our divorce, I eventually felt led to start a Domestic Violence ministry that specialized in helping pregnant victims of domestic violence housing. I had a 5 bedroom house at the time in the city in Pennsylvania so I took in pregnant young ladies fleeing from abusive relationships. Prior to doing so, I became a certified domestic violence advocate through the YWCA as well as a certified faith-based domestic violence support group leader through Focus Ministries, based out of Chicago. All of it was revealing and healing. One such critical issue I realized in time, through the Holy Spirit’s help, was that so long as I blamed my x-husband or my upbringing or whatever else, I was still not addressing what led to my captivity, which ultimately was my deceived heart. I also had to address the motive in establishing a 501(c)3 non-profit domestic violence ministry for I realized even though it was a very good thing and I sincerely wanted to help people, I was also motivated by my own hurt, fear of it happening again to others, as well as wanting to prove I am a good enough – I am a good person. In other words, my motives were not from a pure heart and I was still being held captive by a victim-mentality. In His time, Abba Father used it all to reveal me the unholy spirits rooted deep within that needed to be evicted. In doing so, His purpose was to make all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

(my other site)

The Holy Spirit did what He usually does by first addressing the lie about sexual immorality being permitted outside of marriage. I argued with Him that I don’t have a problem, but He quickly showed me otherwise. Once my eyes were open to the truth of my deceived heart, I wept and wept genuinely repentant. Now the Holy Spirit was finally getting somewhere within my heart. By comparing myself to other young ladies I knew, my behavior seemed saintly. But we must stop comparing ourselves to others and instead compare ourselves to the word of God- His standards. Many don’t realize, upon initiating the new covenant, Yeshua/Jesus raised God’s standards of holiness, for He of all people could being He died so we can be holy, like God is holy. Notice, Jesus/Yeshua taught just looking at another lustfully is considered adultery and a violation of God’s commands versus simply the act of adultery as a violation.

Until there is a new heaven and new earth, evil will always linger. People will continue to be deceived and propagate deception. We cannot control other people’s deceived hearts. No amount of legislation, no amount of education, no amount of non-profits or ministries can thwart an unholy spirit. Not that various efforts to do so are wrong, but just realize only the Holy Spirit in each of our hearts can effectively thwart evil.

Do you want to quell abuse, violence, terrorism, anti-semitism, discrimination, pride, entitlement, unhealthy relationships, abortion, and other evils manifesting in the flesh? Allow the Spirit of Holiness to uproot the unholy spirits hiding deep within your deceived heart. It’s an ongoing ‘horribly-amazing-purification-process’, a term I often use in my blogs and vlogs, but until each of us do so, we will always experience evil. May we cry out, “Jesus, Save Me! Abba, create in me a clean heart.” ❤

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R. Turner, 10.23.19

Fashioning Idols of Faith

We are meant to worship. 1 Peter 2:9 says we, those who believe Jesus is Messiah and have received Him as such, the redeemed, are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, called out so “that we may proclaim the praises of Him” who called us out darkness into His light. We are created by our Creator to be in relationship with Him…to be in covenant with Him…to worship Him and Him alone. Why? Is He some egotistical God that needs to be puffed up all day long? No. Rather, He understands we become what we behold and He wants us to be holy like He is holy presented by the Apostle Peter earlier in 1 Peter 1:16. Unfortunately, there are many unholy spirits infecting our hearts causing us to fashion and worship idols of faith.

I have been to countless places of worship full of numerous doctrines, but mostly still full of themselves. In each place, Abba Father (God) uses it all to reveal to me not just unholy spirits haunting the halls of churches or congregations, but the unholiness still pulsating in my heart as well. This is why the Lord provides us HIS Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Holiness, because He specializes in removing the unholy and replacing it with holy! Perhaps that is the most accurate type of Replacement Theology – ha ha! 😉

Through my travels since being sent out or called by God to go wherever His Spirit says to go and say whatever He says to say – mostly to His people in a variety of settings, what I have discovered is we are still fashioning idols like the ancient Israelites did when they fashioned a golden calf to worship (Exodus 32). It is fascinating how we can turn anything, even godly things, into a god in of itself, an idol. People of faith often unknowingly fashion an idol out of some spiritual truth they have gleaned, or out of a spiritual gift, or we take our ministries, mission, our causes, etc. and those very good, God-given gifts or blessings become idols we worship rather than God Himself. We are guilty of worshiping these gifts instead of the Gifter. Instead of fashioning a calf out of gold, we have fashioned idols out of theologies, our spiritual gifts, our callings, our ministries and so forth. What makes it especially difficult to discern is they can actually be good things, but elevating our beliefs, practices, or ourselves above our God is obviously not a good thing. I have seen people put the gift of prophecy or their role as prophet or apostolic calling above God as if they ARE God. I have seen the concept of grace elevated so high permitting people to commit any sin abusing God’s grace putting grace above The Gracious God. I have seen believers strive to obey the laws of God and become Torah Terrorists to those who don’t as if THEY are the Lawgiver themselves. I have seen people put their identity or their own Jewish blood above Yeshua’s atoning blood. I have seen people elevate their own ministries above other ministries and even above the Ministry of Messiah. I could go on and on for we ALL do it. I am guilty of it as well – particularly if we come under various teachings or authority in whatever body of believers we align ourselves with we are subjecting ourselves to whatever that “head” thinks and instructs. For what the head thinks, the body will follow. What the eyes perceive, the vision will manifest. What you behold, you become.

For what the head thinks, the body will follow. What the eyes perceive, the vision will manifest. What you behold, you become.

I myself have been zealous for grace, zealous for the Holy Spirit and His gifts, zealous for the roles of the body of believers, zealous for accepting the whole word of God including Torah, zealous for authentic worship, zealous for embracing Jewish/Hebraic roots for more accurate revelation, etc. How easy it is for our hearts to be deceived by putting whatever spiritual truth we have gleaned as well as even false doctrines we have aligned with, whether knowingly or unknowingly, above the Discerner of Hearts.

Today, I invite you to allow the Spirit of Holiness to examine your heart and it’s motives as it looks for and uproots any unholy spirit trying to elevate themself above the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R. Turner, 10.21.19

Rejoice!

This evening started the Feast of the LORD known as ‘Sukkot’ in Hebrew or ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ or ‘Feast of Booths’ in English. It is commanded to rejoice during this feast. This afternoon, Jerry and I made our own ‘Lulav’. A Lulav is a collection of three branches used to rejoice which consists of the myrtle, the willow, and the palm tree branch. If you have followed along our journey, then you know God has used this particular feast to reveal more and more truth to us. To get an overview of how, check out our ‘Walk His Way’ story on the home page of our website flipflopfellowship.com. Soon, I hope to make a video of the various revelations that have unfolded and how God used the ‘Lulav’ to help teach me some important things. Happy #Sukkot, ya’ll!

Worshipful Wednesday | Yom Kippur

“Create In Me A Clean Heart” seemed to be an appropriate song for Yom Kippur, this Day of Atonement. Thank You, Yeshua/Jesus, our Messiah, for shedding your blood and providing us Your Holy Spirit to justify us, to seal us, and disinfect the unholiness from our hearts. ❤