Letter to Kurt McPherson
Letter sent to Kurt on March 29th, 2007 – Short Version:
I have had some thoughts on our discussion last Sunday, and some questions. These are on the spiritual matters. I think the details on the rockwork are clear enough. If you prefer to discuss any of this in person, let me know and I will be more than happy to make arrangements.
Can you please show me in Scripture where it says that we are supposed to keep the feasts, looking back after Christ as those did looking forward before Christ?
Can you tell me why we would keep the shadows once we have the real thing? Would that not be like keeping a picture of someone once that someone has arrived and come into our presence, occasionally showing him or her the picture and focusing on it? Or would it not be like valuing a contract for work to be done once the job is done, as though keeping the paperwork would ensure that the work remains done?
If, in saying that Jesus did not do away with the law, you include the ceremonial law, where then do you get the authority to omit so much of it, like the sacrifices, rituals, altars and Levitical priesthood? Did God lay out a new set of specific laws to replace the former? Where are they recorded? Or by whose valid authority were they changed, and how can we know they were right?
I would like to hear your answers, Kurt. If you believe you can teach me, then teach me; I am here. Again, give me the Word of God and not man’s reasonings, which are ever wrong.
I have had some thoughts on our discussion last Sunday, and some questions. These are on the spiritual matters. I think the details on the rockwork are clear enough. If you prefer to discuss them in person, let me know and I will be more than happy to make arrangements.
I had the impression you felt you could teach me and asked me to consider that this is so. I replied that I knew I could learn from you, meaning that we can all learn from every person, one way or another. However, I could have left you with the impression that spiritually, I acknowledged that we were in the same space. You know I don’t think we are and we aren’t. I want to make it clear because I don’t want to be disingenuous with you.
However, we have had many people come our way in a spiritual context, and while we have learned from them, they often go away learning very little from us, except that they learn the hard way, having rejected what we have had to offer, then suffering the consequences. We have seen it time and time again, with many cases being outright tragic.
If you do have the wherewith to teach us anything, we would like to know what it is. We would also appreciate it if you were to answer the many questions we asked you in past correspondence. You say you destroyed it. On our part, we take these things seriously, under God. We have the letters on file for your reference, if you are willing.
You say, “Jesus kept the feasts and did not do away with the Law.” However, I pointed out to you that He kept the feasts as the Son of man. In the days of His flesh, He kept the Law as a Jew and had not yet fulfilled the ceremonial Law by laying down His life, rising from the dead and giving us His Spirit, thus fulfilling His mission and purpose that enables us to keep the moral Law. Once those things were done, once the feasts were fulfilled, nobody can say He continued the feasts or would require it of those who received His Spirit. The Scriptures indicate no such thing that I know of. Perhaps you can show me specifically otherwise. You need to, not only for my sake, but more so for yours, since you have committed yourself in this way for your salvation.
You seem to assume we believe that the Law was done away (a popular notion). We believe no such thing. The moral Law stands, and always will (Mat. 5:18). However, the ceremonial laws and ordinances were certainly fulfilled. As I said and as you know, the Temple, sacrifices, rituals, and the Levitical priesthood (those who were alone ordained to make sacrifices and conduct Temple services) all ceased within a generation of Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. The vail of the Holy of Holies was miraculously torn from top to bottom, thus signifying the end of the shadow of things. Why would one continue in that which God had fulfilled, unless he did not have the substance?
Where in Scripture (if you deem the Scriptures to be authoritative under God, concerning the things of God) do you find any testimony that we keep the feasts, looking back to the time of Christ as did those before His time kept them, looking forward to His time? Can you give me specific, Biblical direction in that matter?
On the one hand, you say God did not do away with the law. You seem to include the ceremonial law (correct me if I am wrong). If you include the ceremonial law, such as the feasts, why do you criticize others for doing away with the law, or teaching that Christ did away with the law when you are not keeping the ceremonial law yourselves, as specified by the Word of God? Where do you find in Scripture that God changed the ceremonial law the way you have changed it? Where is the Levitical priesthood? Where are the sacrifices that were commanded? Where are the Temple and the ordinances? All those have been done away, because fulfilled. Are you therefore not contradicting yourself?
On the other hand, the moral Law stands and will always stand, fulfilled by God Himself, through Jesus Christ, in those who have received His Spirit by a new birth. I am one of those who have experienced the reality.
What I see with you is that you have come only so far. You had a need in your life and began to pursue the spiritual dimension. You came into contact with people who have their take on what the Bible teaches but you have not come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You have doctrine and beliefs, in His Name, but you do not know Him. Like with Stephen Harper, so with Jesus; you know some things of Him, but you do not know Him. Yet, knowing Him is what the feasts were all about.
Kurt, what I see is that your religion is an external one, your faith an intellectual one. While you have to start somewhere, I assure you that you cannot remain there. I am here to inform you, by the will of God, that He requires the inner reality.
By the will of God, you, in this life, can have a full assurance of salvation.
I expect that you will go through your exercise of “removing leaven,” of “making things right with thine neighbor,” preparing for the observance of the shadow coming up in Regina, but will eventually run out of steam in desire and commitment where we are concerned because it is your own steam and not His. You do not have the “power of Christ’s endless life” within you by virtue of the new birth. You even said that you could fail, expressing not humility so much as a lack of confidence in being able to live a righteous life indefinitely. That is because you have never been born again. I am here to tell you that you can indeed come to a place where you have full confidence to do the right thing, not that you would presumptuously trust in your own righteousness, but humbly, yet confidently in His. Paul, the apostle, whose words were not loose or merely theoretical, made this bold declaration:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 MKJV).
The very fact that you cannot be sure of doing the right thing is because your trust is not in Him but in yourself.
I seem to recollect that Herbert scoffed at the new birth (or Ted did), but I am here to tell you that it is real, necessary, the very will of God for those He calls to be His, and determined for this life, not just the next:
“But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name, who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but were born of God” (John 1:12-13 MKJV).
And: “Purifying your souls in the obedience of the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, love one another fervently out of a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23 MKJV).
I testified of the three feasts fulfilled in me (Passover, 1973; Pentecost, 1975; and Tabernacles, 2000); read Victor Hafichuk. It varies for every individual but the reality is His will, sooner or later.
You confessed that you gave me a low price with the hope and intention of winning us to your church. What if I “win” you to a new birth in Christ? What if I, by God’s grace, introduce you to the Savior that you might know Him in a new, living, meaningful way? Would that not be a far greater reward for your price, infinitely, immeasurably, incomparably so?
Consider this, Kurt: While I can easily join your church (or almost all others) by simply abiding by your requirements, be it an acceptance of your doctrines, water baptism, whatever, it is not nearly as easy to join mine. Truth be told, it is impossible. If the Lord does not add you to His Body, no man can, neither the one seeking to join, nor any other. Truth be told again, no man truly seeks to be added to the Church, except the Father draws him.
Men can freely join men’s institutions called churches but only God can work that wonderful grace in a soul to bring him into a direct and personal fellowship with Him.
I would like to hear your answers, Kurt. If you believe you can teach me, then teach me; I am here. What are you waiting for? Prove me wrong, not by men’s doctrine or religion, not by opinion, or by theological theory unsubstantiated by God’s Word, but by God’s Word, not loosely or vaguely applied, but by “rightly dividing the Word of Truth,” by the sure authority of the Scriptures.
To this day you have been offended at me and what I have had to say, and have not responded to our questions and comments. I suspect you have paid next to nothing in considerate, caring, responsible attention to them, though we have spent much time and energy on your behalf. Don’t be offended. It only tells me that you do not have the answers. Just prove me wrong by the sure Word of Testimony. Show us our error. You will not offend us. Be honest, Kurt.
Kurt replied on April 7th:
Happy Sabbath, I have been looking into your questions and have found a few scriptures that I believe command us to keep the Feasts of the Lord.
(1Pe 2:21) For you were not called to this? For Christ also suffered on our behalf, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps,
Christ is our example therefore we should do as he did.
(Joh 7:10) But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as in secret.
Christ went to the Feast of Tabernacles.
(Joh 7:28) Then Jesus cried in the temple as He taught, saying, You both know Me, and you know from where I come. And I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.
(Joh 7:28) Then Jesus cried in the temple as He taught, saying, You both know Me, and you know from where I come. And I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.
Christ was there and taught at the Feast. Now, why was he there?
Leviticus 23 describes the Feasts of the Lord beginning with the Sabbath.
There are three scriptures I wish to draw your attention.
(Lev 23:21) And you shall proclaim on the same day that it may be a holy convocation to you. You shall do no work of labor. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
(Lev 23:31) You shall do no kind of work. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
A statute forever, as far as I can see this means into eternity.
From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always: – always (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). Compare H5331, H5703.
Now, regarding the sacrifices. The in the first covenant the blood of bulls and goats was used to make atonement for sin. Christ is a more perfect sacrifice than any animal could be as He was without spot.
(Heb 9:13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh,
(Heb 9:14) how much more shall the blood of Christ (who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God) purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
When Christ offered Himself up for our sins He made the sacrifices under the old covenant of no effect becuase He was more perfect. It is the sacrifical portion that He replaced.
This portion of your question I’m still working on. I do wonder this though why do you keep the sabbath and not the other Feasts of the Lord when they are listed together?
Anyway, I must go for now. I will see you tomorrow.
Kurt[Kurt also sent a booklet from the United Church of God, “The Law of God and New Covenant”]
Victor replied after a personal visit with Kurt the next day:
Paul and I took a quick look at the “booklet” you suggested. We have to tell you that one, it is utterly lifeless, truly so; two, the things they say in it we have addressed in our letters to you – all of them. Now I know that you have yet to attentively read what we have sent you. We think you need to read what we have written. We have paid full attention to your words and dealt with them all. You need to extend the same courtesy to us, not give us more literature because you don’t have answers to our questions. We went to a lot of work dealing in these matters for your sake.
Next, concerning our visit Sunday, April 8/07, there is one statement you repeated that I wish to clarify. If I am wrong in my interpretation, correct me. You were saying that the low price of the rockwork can be justified, partly, if not substantially because of the inconvenience I suffer for the drawn out time of performance. Are you conditioning me for making it a longer drawn out affair? We are already into the third season, with not one wall completed. That was not what was agreed on. Though we both knew it would take time, seeing you would come only on days off, it seems there were several days where nothing happened and maybe should or could have. Here again though, I will not press you on it – Lord willing.
My next question is: “Are you trying to rationalize to yourself and justify the price by such factors like the job being drawn out, so as to not feel too disappointed or depressed or discouraged about the price you gave me?” If not, fine; if so, do you really think that is a solution to anything? If so, are you not fooling yourself? Why not simply live up to the commitment, get it done as soon as possible, and see where the Lord takes it? Dragging it out will only prolong what you might find to be unpleasant circumstances (which you ought not to see as such). I realize that you have been busy with other things, so that may be all there is to it, but I suspect there has been more.
Concerning our conversation on feasts, I want to tell you, not with offence, though you may be offended, that you are not keeping the feasts, while we are. You rightly said that the Feast of Tabernacles, as mentioned by Zechariah, includes all the feasts. That is what it is all about. They were intended to be fulfilled in us. That is why Jesus Christ came, died, rose again and gave us His Spirit. One can only know these things by His Spirit. We have received His Spirit and thus we know. You have not received His Spirit and therefore you cannot hear our words; you do not comprehend because you are yet in the flesh, in your carnal mind.
The Food from Heaven was finally made available to Israel and all of mankind 2000 years ago. The Substance was revealed when, by the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, the chaff was broken and opened up. By teaching that one must keep the feasts externally after that time, you are asking us to feed on that which the wind was to take away when the grain was winnowed.
Instead of the finished Rock, you are asking me to take pleasure in the scaffolding that held the Rock. Scaffolding has its time and place but when the work is done, scaffolding makes an unsightly scene and is no longer of use. It is to be removed. So it is with the feasts, Kurt; so with the feasts. While the scaffolding speaks of a fulfillment to come, one does not keep it in place to speak of that which came, or for a reminder that the fulfillment came. No reminder is needed because the Presence (Parousia) of the fulfillment is finally there. So yes, to keep scaffolding after the rockwork is done is not right, not good, not wise, and not fruitful. It is a marring of the beauty that has been manifest. Therefore, it is sin. It is an effrontery to both man and God.
Now God is not unrighteous that He should hold one accountable if he knows no better, but if he is informed or could know better and refuses, then there is a new dynamic at work:
“But all these things they will do to you for My Name’s sake, because they do not know Him Who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:21-22 MKJV).
While God has been gracious to you, the laying on of hands and the water baptism you experienced did not bring you to receiving His Spirit. Of course, as you have made it known to us, you believe otherwise. How do we know these things? We know them because God reveals them to us.
Kurt, you said that perhaps you have things to learn and we have things to learn; perhaps you are wrong and we are right or vice versa; perhaps we have scales and you have scales. You said things along those lines. In other words, you were not sure if what we were saying was out of ignorance or true knowledge of God. I can tell you right now that we know whereof we speak, for Jesus said so:
“You worship what you do not know, we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22 MKJV).
We know Him of Whom this is all about, Kurt. Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to us and has come and made His abode in us, as He promised He would:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21 MKJV).
By His grace, we have kept His commandments, not as you suppose, by our righteousness, but by His, and He has revealed Himself to us. We walk with Him on His behalf before the whole earth, sent by Him to those He chooses.
He has spoken to you by us. I said there was value in the feasts in that one can learn to do right because they are a demonstration of righteousness. However, they were only meant for an age; now they are no longer.
You need to come away from a form of worship to the One of Whom worship is all about.
You speak of feasts, we speak of Jesus;
you speak of religion, we speak of reality;
you speak of a church on earth, we speak of the Heavenly Jerusalem;
you speak doctrine, we bear witness to the Truth;
you speak of an intellectual understanding, we of a spiritual;
you speak of the earthly kind of works, we speak of a Heavenly;
you speak from earth, we speak from Heaven;
you speak of faith out of works, we speak of works out of faith;
you speak by yourself, we speak by Him, the Lord of Heaven and earth;
you speak of Him, we speak in and by Him;
you speak by the appointment of men, we speak by His appointment;
you would have us enter into the works of men, we would have you enter into the work of God.
Kurt, you have heard the Truth, having been granted the privilege to do so. God has done it. You have received far more than you bargained for in this encounter. What will you do with it? If you believe, it will go well for you; if not, it will not go well for you. We do not condemn you. As Jesus said:
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God” (John 3:17-21 MKJV).
We have not just religion but Life itself, from Life Himself. That is why we have all that we have, and it is all good. We are here to pass it on to all those who believe, that they too may prosper in body, soul and spirit.
You wait for His coming because He has not yet made Himself known to you. We walk in His Coming. He is here, now. You speak of Sabbaths. We are the Sabbath. That is what the Hebrews writer talks about. I expect that you and your friends will scoff at these things, as Paul declares:
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 MKJV).
Page 12 PART THREE– Israel to Bernalillo (cont.) Particle – Andrea Keeps Her Vow Their daughter, Andrea, was now sixteen. She was fully set on fulfilling the vow she had made a little over a year before. She cut her hair very short, plastered herself with makeup, and fitted herself into a pair of very tight jeans. Art and Doreen were perplexed and depressed, yet seemingly helpless to do anything about it. Andrea was of legal age to be independent of her parents and do as she pleased, and she was determined to take full and vengeful advantage. We were witnessing the fulfillment of things we had warned them about over six years before, and the consequences of their ignoring those warnings. The next day or two, Andrea, Marilyn, and I were in the living room watching something on TV. Art and Doreen were out. I was uncomfortable for both her and us because of some suggestive subject matter. Andrea had no desire to talk or change so, wisely or otherwise, I took the remote and changed channels. Andrea was immediately upset; she rose up and stomped out. Each day we were there, the atmosphere grew colder and heavier. For the first couple of days, they wondered what we were going to do, but we had no idea. After three days, Art and Doreen would hardly speak to us. Yet there we were, on their living room floor, right in the middle of their small apartment with no idea of where to go or what to do. We were beginning to feel about as welcome as a large, fresh, stubborn rug st...
Page 9 PART TWO – Pentecost to Israel (cont.) Particle – Al and Peggy Ryan Young in the Spirit, we attended a couple of meetings at Al and Peggy Ryan's home on Shellbrook Highway, west of Prince Albert. They were rather charismatic in personality, leading in song and praise, and they were big on Bob Mumford, the entertaining Charismatic champion of the day, playing his video tapes for those interested. Attending were several people from mainline denominations, such as Lutherans, Catholics, United, and Anglicans. We weren't comfortable there, however. After a couple of meetings, we dropped out. I was told that the Ryans once lived in Vancouver, where Al worked in a ministry with drug addicts on the streets. Because Al received threats on his life, Peggy wanted no more of it and urged him to leave his work, which I was told they did. I couldn't understand that. If a man is called of God to work somewhere, why would he abandon the work to the Devil, especially if he had the power of the Spirit of God, which is what these Charismatic meetings were supposed to be all about? Was his retreat an admission of the powerlessness of God against Satan? Had Al ever been called to ministry there in the first place? Or had God, not his wife, led him out of there? Had God, in fact, abandoned those slums to destruction after all? I wondered about such things. What would the Lord be doing with us, and what should I expect of Him and of myself? Particle – Reverend Roderick Riled...
Page 6 PART TEN - The Issues of Life (cont.) Particle - Ceremony and Superstition Trump Sympathy and Reason Dan Stanojevic passed away with cancer. We all prayed for direction and all went to the funeral on the Sabbath, January 11, including Jonathan and Ingrid. The ceremony was at the Greek Orthodox Church on 13th St. North in Lethbridge. The funeral was quite pagan, with drink and food offerings at the coffin. At the grave, a novice priest was totally occupied with the correctness of the ceremony procedure. When the undertaker would hold off the lowering of the coffin, knowing that Senka (Dan's widow) wanted to have her last parting moments in grieving, the young priest insisted the coffin be lowered into the grave promptly as he sang or spoke his ritualistic formulas. Not being in a position of authority and not wishing to offend the powers that be, the undertaker acquiesced. After all, it certainly would seem to be a bad business decision on the coroner's part to please a solitary family but lose the favor of those who determine burial arrangements and decisions for their congregation on a regular basis. Besides, it wasn't his business to tell others what to do. As I watched, I was confounded. Seeing Senka's need and sensing her wishes, should I jeopardize the apparent order of the occasion, step in and insist the priest show more regard to the grieving than to the ceremony? I really had nothing to lose, unlike the undertaker. Howe...