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Msindisi # 108

September 11, 2013

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER: 108 September 2013

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008
+27 (0) 815836288

Email: msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

We are late getting this months newsletter out but hope you enjoy it never the less.

Just for a quick over view:

We had Joe Rumley from the UK with us for the first few days of the month. Asimbonge made good friends with Joe and it was hard to say goodbye to his new friend. In fact Asimbonge, for some reason, thought that Joe was the same age as him. It was fantastic having him with us and we look forward to seeing Gemma with him next time.

Salvador visited Zimbabwe for the negotiation of Labola for our good friend Mujuru and then had the pleasure of being one of the grooms men for Mujuru and his new wife Joanne’s wedding. He traveled up by car which was a dueling !!!!! 10 hour wait at the boarder in melting conditions with no shade and very little sleep. However the time there with his family and friends was incredible. He returned with many interesting stories. It is wonderful to see how many Zimbabweans have rejected the ancestral aspects of the culture and mostly due to a biblical influence on the culture. That is not to say it means that most of them are saved but simply that the Bible has had an influence non the less. Di stayed with Sue and Allen and the kids while Sal was in Zimbabwe. She was able to help Sue out with some painting.

The builders started on the addition of our hut. With incredibly fast progress !!! Thanks to John and Girlie Dely. They have been amazing with organizing and fetching and supervising over this project. We have had nothing to do with it, they have taken it on as their project and we are truly blessed and grateful. We know many friends, business, and fellow believers have contributed. It has blown us away !!!!

By the end of the month we had moved everything from our hut, it is stored at Girlie’s and in Phumlani and Thabi’s spare bedroom. While we were still there it was a very social time with cooking for the builders, friends coming for coffee to check on the progress and discussions about the next move of action. Salvi did well to continue to study for his assignment while all this was going on. Ministry also continued with bible studies, preaching, kids club, discipling. When the roof was removed to be sorted we had to move out ……You can check out all the progress of the hut below in the photos.

We started our homeless travels at the end of the month by visiting our friend Marieanne Van Niekerk at Rorke’s Drift. She was spending time with her eldest son Shane and his wife Chrissy who run an amazing self catering get away. Marieanne was visiting while Mark was away in Israel. We were truly treated to 2 nights of wonderful accommodation while having a great catch up with them all. Please check out their website at http://www.rorkesdriftlodge.com

We are now currently staying at our dear friends, Craig and Magda Boardman who have opened there home so graciously while the roof gets sorted on the hut. While we are in town Di has been helping Belinda at Care bear from 7-12 and Sal has been making good use of the Internet for his assignment. He also returns out to go preaching with Phumlani and discipling. By the end of this month they should have finished preaching throughout the whole area of Khambi and will be starting an area called, Cibilili, the last area that Salvi had envisaged to evangelise when he first moved with Di in 2009. We must seek the Lord as to what to do after Cibilili has been saturated with the Gospel. Bible study has continued on the Monday and Friday evening at Johnny and Kim’s. At home cell on monday we have started a series looking at the Church, its identity, its manifestation, calling and getting a heart for God’s house. On fridays we have been going through Proverbs but are now taking a break to watch some DVD teachings. We will not do kids club this coming weekend as we will housesit for Hendrik and Belinda. Then the following weekend we should be back in our old hut while they continue to finish the rest of the addition.

We would also like to draw your attention to the missionary work of Salvi’s Chinese grandmother, Wu Yanping, who is reaching out to the poor and sharing the gospel with them in China. Truly a phenomenal story and testimony. We are sure it will be a blessing to you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLu1YMugZ4I&feature=youtube_gdata_player

That’s the quick overview !!

Please continue to prayer for Gogo’s salvation. ( Phumulani’s mother)

The continuation of the additions to the hut. We give thanks to the Lord and all involved.

For friends in Australia and New Zealand who are struggling with health issues at this time.

Give thanks for our gearbox problems on the truck being fixed. Many thanks to Genrod and everyone at Bayshore Assembly.

Give thanks for touching Emmanuel Congregational Church, Palmerston North, NZ for enabling us to get bibles for kids club, for the church and others. This has already blessed many.

Please keep kids club children in prayer.

Once again we give thanks for you all, we hope our newsletter will encourage you all.
Peace and love in the name of our precious Saviour.

Shalom

Salvi and Di

For those who are interested, Salvi has submitted the petition to Lausanne members to take a stand and distance themselves from ecumenism. For the latest updates please check the following website, http://www.lausannecje.wordpress.com . Thank you to all who have signed the petition, especially leaders of various ministries.

OATHS

Is it wrong for Believers in Jesus to make any kind of oath?

In Matthew 5: 33 – 37 Jesus instructs his hearers not to make oaths ‘at all’, and that they should not be made by heaven, or by the earth, or by one’s own head but one’s statement should be ‘yes, yes’ or ‘no, no’. Note the repetition of the words yes and no. In Jewish speech if something needs to be emphasised, it is said twice. If you wanted to say that it is really hot outside you would say ‘it is hot, hot’. If freezing you would say ‘cold, cold’. Jesus, when drawing his hearers’ attention to a statement that was very important repeated the word ‘true’, ‘Verily, verily’, or literally ‘Amen, amen I say unto you.’ (Jn 3: 3, 5; 5: 19, 24; 6: 32; 12: 24 – to name just a few examples) Thus the act of repeating yes means that you agree to do or say whatever is asked of you and you utterly mean what you say. It is not a flippant response.

In life all kinds of vows and oaths are made. There are solemn vows and there are light ones. Marriage, business deals, employment contracts, membership procedures, promises to friends are all different types of oaths and have different levels of severity. There is also the act of swearing to tell the truth in a court of law. Now here lies the important question; when Jesus commanded his listeners not to make an oath what did he mean? Did he mean that all of the above types of oaths should never be made under any circumstance? From a cursory glance of these few verses, without reference to the rest of scripture, it would seem so. There are two ways to deal with this dilemma then. One is to bury our head in the sand, not worry about it. The trouble with this approach is at least twofold.

Firstly it belittles the teaching of the bible as something not important and not to be concerned over. It is true that as human beings we cannot understand everything but I do not think Jesus is being ambiguous here. Secondly, this attitude does not seem to regard the bible as that relevant to everyday life, and so we put on our religious hat when we go to church, when we read the bible and when we go to other meetings, but we take it off whenever we do secular activities. If the bible is truth, and if we have surrendered our lives unto Jesus Christ, as Lord (master) and saviour, then the bible instructs us in every area of our lives. It instructs us as to the type of films we watch, the music we listen to, the thoughts we think, the words we say. This is not to say that the Christian becomes a perfected soul who does not stumble. It is to say that believers should be seeking to see God transform them into Christ likeness, that this change is not just a verbal profession but is something radical and visible in the things we do, what we get involved in and the way we do things. Although the believer has not been fully perfected, he wants to be perfected regardless of his background, social status, former religious profession, gender, previous knowledge of scripture and ethnic origin. The truth of scripture brings change into all our lives.

Therefore I think that it is most appropriate to tackle this subject and pray that the Lord would convict, challenge and change us in love.

Before continuing to look at scripture first it would be helpful to actually define what an oath is so that we are all thinking along the same lines when the word oath is mentioned. There are various words in the old and new testaments that signify oaths or the act of swearing. These I will list now;

HEBREW WORDS (OT)

Alah – (Strong’s number 422) a primary root; to adjure, i.e. (usually in a bad sense) imprecate: – curse, adjure, swear. (This is a verb)

Alah – (Strong’s number 423) from 422, an imprecation: – curse, cursing, execration, oath, swearing. (Noun)

Nacah – (Strong’s number 5375) a primary root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively as follows; accept, advance, arise, bear, bring, burn, carry, cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt, extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up

Al – (Strong’s number 5920) (from 5927 – to ascend) properly the top; specially the Highest (God); also (adverb) aloft, to Jehovah: – above, high, most high

Shebuwah – (Strong’s number 7621) feminine passive participle of 7650; properly something sworn i.e. an oath: – curse, oath, sworn

Shaba – (Strong’s number 7650) a primary root; prop. To be complete, but used only as a denomative from 7651; to seven oneself i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times): – adjure, charge, (by an oath, with an oath) feed to the full.

The next three form a unit to communicate the idea of an oath.

Ba’al – (Strong’s number 1167) (from 1166 – to be master) a master, hence a husband, or (fig.) owner (often used with another noun in modifications of this latter sense): – + sworn, they of.
Yad – (Strong’s number 3027) a primary word; a hand (the open one indicating power, means, direction) used in a variety of applications
Kec – (Strong’s number 3676) apparently a contraction from 3678 (covered/ throne) but probably by error transcription for 5251 (a flag staff – generally a signal, figuratively a token) sworn

GREEK WORDS (NT)

(332 – anathematizo) (from 331 – to ban/excommunicate/accursal) to declare or vow under penalty of execration (bid under a curse, bind with an oath)

(3660 – omnuo) a prolonged form of a primitive but obsolete for which another prolonged form (omo’o) is used in certain tenses; to swear, i.e. take (or declare on) oath: – swear.

(3727 – orkos) (from erkos) a fence; a limit; i.e. (sacred) restraint (specially oath) oath.

(3728 – orkomosia) a comparative of 3727 and a derivative of 3660; asseveration on oath.

Now these words have different meanings, but just because they have different meanings does not mean that they mean different types of oaths. They may be used to describe different ways of looking at the same oath; i.e. two different words may not necessarily refer to two different types of oath but to two different perspectives. This is exemplified in the passage where Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac from among his relatives in Mesopotamia. (Genesis 24: 1 – 41.) In verses 2 – 4 we see that Abraham makes his servant swear. The word for the verb ‘swear’ here is the word shaba, which means to seven oneself. The word shaba in Hebrew is related to the word sheva, which is the number seven.

Seven in Hebrew speaks of being complete; hence it is highly important that the creation took place over 7 days because God is showing that what he made was perfect and complete. This aspect of completeness in regards to an oath is expounded in the NT letter to the Hebrews 6: 13 – 16 where it says, ‘For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. For men swear by one greater then themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.” Basically the teaching being expounded is that the promise here is not just about the people involved, but it is about something far greater. There is someone far greater who listens to our promises and even when we forget, he does not.

More will be elaborated about this when we look at various treaties. But this word ‘shaba’ is used by both Abraham in verse 3 of Genesis 24, and by his servant in recounting these details in verse 37 – that is in relation to the act of swearing. However when we look at the word for the noun ‘Oath’ that they both use we see a difference. Abraham refers to it, in verse 3, with the word Shebuwah, relating to the word for completeness, where as his servant relates to it in verse 41 with the word, Alah. This word Alah is slightly different as it has a negative connotation. The connotation is one of calling down a curse on oneself. This word speaks of punishment and it shows the anxiety that this servant was undergoing to carry out his masters task.

This is an important aspect of treaty making. This bears much similarity to the depiction of the American court of law. The witness before entering the box swears on the Bible ‘I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.’ What is the person really saying? The person is saying that the judge is a person, the jury are people, the lawyers and everybody present are people. People are fallible. People make mistakes, get it wrong and can be deceived. In this imperfect world justice gets twisted and the innocent can be condemned and the guilty are able to go off Scott free. When the person swears this oath he is saying that he might be able to fool people but he cannot fool God. If he misleads the people and perverts the cause of justice, then God have mercy on his soul because he will have to give an account to God. In this sense the witness is calling down a curse on himself and the danger is very real.

Thus the validity of the oath is dependent upon the reality of God. If God is not real then the oath is worthless because a make believe ‘god’ cannot pose any threat whatsoever on someone who breaks an oath sworn in his name. There are many oaths that have been made in the bible. Some have been honourable, such as the treaty between David and Jonathan (1 Sam 20: 16 – 17). Some have been dishonourable, such as where King Ahab made the kingdom of Israel swear that they had not seen Elijah because he was trying to track Elijah down to kill him. (1 Kings 18: 9 – 10)

There are different types of oaths in the Old Testament. The majority of oaths seem to have been treaties for protection. Much like the old treaty between England and Portugal where both agreed that they would never attack each other. These treaties may not look important to us who live within ‘the democratic west’ but the act of swearing here was of utmost importance. It gave security that the nation, people or family you have sworn with will not attack you. In a time of tribal conflict, where the preservation of the family unit and property were always at risk, treaty making was a form of insurance policy. Breaking such a covenant would cause the offended party to retaliate and would be deception on the side of the treaty breaker. We see this in the case of Zedekiah who made an alliance with Babylon and then broke it in Ezekiel 17: 11 – 24. God would judge Zedekiah for doing so and Nebuchadnezzar would make him pay for it by slaughtering his sons before his eyes, then gouging his eyes out and then taking him bound to Babylon to die there. (2 Kings 25: 6 – 10)

Breaking covenant was a serious affair. The word covenant in Ezekiel 17: 13 means ‘a cutting’. It is the act of swearing that is signified by cutting and separating pieces of flesh so that the people making the oath can pass through the middle of them. It is a ritual. We see this demonstrated by God to Abraham in Genesis 15: 7 – 21. Abraham put out the animal carcasses and God passed through the middle of it, he made the covenant. Charles Ryrie, a bible teacher who compiled the ‘Ryrie Study Bibles’ comments concerning this “The idea is this: May the same be done to the one who breaks this covenant (see Jer. 32: 18 – 19)”. So all types of covenants are forms of oaths, or at the least oaths are integral to the forming a covenant.

Vows were not only made concerning treaties but they were also used in worship. In Numbers 5: 19 – 31 there is the use of oath to ascertain whether a woman was guilty of adultery. As the method seems very sexist to the ears of a twenty-first century hearer, it must be remembered that it was God who commanded this from the Israelites and this God is the same God of the New Testament. It must also be remembered that it would be highly foolish to separate this passage from the rest of the bible, which though putting the responsibility of headship on the husband and commanding the woman to respect him, also commands the husband to love his wife, to be understanding to his wife, to care for his wife, even going as far to say that the husband should be willing to give his life for his wife. (Eph 5: 22 – 32).

The practice of oath making also contains the act of swearing as a witness in the court of Law (Lev 5: 1), the last will of someone who is dying (1 Kin 1: 13), oaths to restrain potential offenders (1 Kin 2: 8, 9 & 36 – 46), to follow a ruler (Ecc 8: 2 – 3). The idea of making the oath is an act of binding someone to an agreement, it is a restraint, to put a limit on ones actions. Even marriage would come under the category of oath making, as one person makes a contract with another, entering the holy bonds of matrimony.

So when Jesus states ‘Do not swear at all’, is it therefore a sin to make an oath. If it is a sin and unchristian then surely all who have ever made oaths in the bible have sinned against God. Indeed, God himself must have sinned because not only did God make oaths (Such as GEN 22: 16, GEN 26: 3) but he also commanded people to make oaths. (EX 22: 11, DEUT 6: 13, DEUT 10: 20, PS 63: 11, IS 65: 16, JER 12: 16)

Therefore there are only 3 possible explanations for the verse. Either Jesus was ignorant of the Old Testament teaching, or he was contradicting the Old Testament teaching or he meant something other than what we have asserted. As for the possibility that Jesus was ignorant of Old Testament teaching, or even that he was contradicting the scriptures, it is evident that this is not the case. Some people may argue that even though Jesus was God, He was still a man and therefore had to learn the scripture progressively. Alternatively people may argue that Jesus came to do away with the Old Testament, so the commands in the Old Testament do not count and can therefore be contradicted by the New Testament. Even though it is partly true that the Old Testament does not have jurisdiction over the Believer in Christ, being born into the New Covenant, it is not true that the New Testament can contradict the Old. In fact Jesus in the very same chapter 5 of Matthew, verse 17 said ‘Do not think that I came to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.’ Thus, in this passage Jesus is not taking away the Law in the Old Testament, rather He is affirming it. Verse 18 and 19 further confirm that Jesus upheld the Law in the Old Testament where Jesus said, ‘For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’

Neither can it be claimed that Jesus was ignorant of the LORD’s commands in the Old Testament to swear oaths in His name because in verse 33 of Matthew chapter 5 Jesus quotes from the Old Testament (Numbers 30: 2) when he said ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the LORD.’ Therefore Jesus must not have been claiming that swearing oaths was sinful or that a person should not swear in any circumstance or situation. So what was Jesus talking about when He said that one should not swear and that anything beyond ‘yes yes’ and ‘no no’ is of evil?

In order to understand this statement we must look at it in the context of the surrounding teaching which Jesus gave. From Matthew chapters 5 – 7: 29 Jesus is teaching the Sermon on the Mount. The key verses to understanding what Jesus was saying are the ones that we have already read from 5 v 17 – 20, especially verse 20: ‘For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not the kingdom of heaven.’ The Pharisees were a sect of devout teachers who prided themselves on their pious observance of the Law. They, on the whole, believed that they were righteous for doing so and saw themselves as an example for others to follow. (Lk 18: 10 – 14) What Jesus does in the following verses is not to contradict the Law in the Old Testament but to present it in its purest form. Another key verse to understanding these following verses lie in Matthew 23: 27 – 28. ‘Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.’ Basically, they seemed, outwardly, to keep the Law but inwardly they were law breakers.

What Jesus does in the following verses is to show how this is so. Jesus acknowledges that the Law says not to murder or commit adultery but if we even think or dream of doing these things, we have sinned in our hearts and so we are law breakers. What Jesus was requesting of His hearers in verse 20 was impossible. It would have sounded incredible to the ears of the hearers. If even the Pharisees were not good enough to go to heaven then what chance did anyone else have! Jesus was not getting rid of the Law but instead He was making it harder to keep.

The reality is that no one can possibly keep the Law perfectly and therefore no one deserves to go to heaven. And the sooner we can face up to that in our own lives, the nearer we will be to getting in the kingdom for ‘Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. This links also to John 3: 19 – 21. Thus in verses 33 – 37 of Matthew 5 Jesus was not contradicting the Old Testament but he was making it harder. God does not only expect us to keep our oaths but also He wants us to be people of our words, so that a promise is a promise.

Also you will notice that in the Old Testament God commanded that oaths be made in His name. Hence Jesus in verses 34 and 35 does not mention oaths made in God’s name but oaths made by heaven and by earth and by Jerusalem. Why would people who have been commanded to swear by God’s name turn to swear in the name of something else? In Jesus’ critique of the self righteous attitude of the Pharisees and scribes (Mt 23: 16 – 22) we can see that the Pharisees were making these oaths so that they did not have to keep their promises. If they were criticized for not keeping their promises they would say, ‘Well you see, that oath did not count because I only swore by the temple but it is the gold that is in the temple that has the real value!’ etc. Hence, through their swearing, they were making their yes into a no and their no into a yes. This is the type of swearing Jesus was referring to.

The third reason Jesus commanded against swearing in this context can be understood from the letter of James 5: 12. ‘But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgement.’ Again James is teaching us not to make oaths, not because it is wrong to make them but he is speaking against us making our yes into a no and our no into a yes. Some one who is always rash to swear on everything in order to make you believe their testimony must do so continually if he is the sort of person who is not trustworthy. James is teaching this in order to protect his readers from judgement. He is against rash oaths.

Therefore Jesus must not have been referring to oaths such as marriage and oaths in the context of being in a court of law. Even Jesus was put under oath to answer the high priest during his trial in Matthew 26: 63 & 64. Jesus was not against business contracts or any other official and solemn oath. Jesus was against the use of the oath to turn a yes into a no and a no into a yes. In an everyday situation we should not have to swear to convince those around us that our words and promises are true but ideally we should have a reputation that our word is our bond. As Jesus said in Matthew 5: 48; ‘Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

Khethiwe gets her bible

Khethiwe gets her bible

Mkhulu gets his large print bible

Mkhulu gets his large print bible

Slabs laid for House extension.

Slabs laid for House extension.

Windows up

Windows up

Getting there

Getting there

Walls built up

Walls built up

Tin is off

Tin is off

Move all stuff out for having tin taken off.

Move all stuff out for having tin taken off.

Tin is on

Tin is on

Phumlani with his car

Phumlani with his car

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