Reformation’s 500th Anniversary

Opening note. Those who have been on our mailing list for some time know that I enjoy Bible history so much that I can bore a reader to death. I hope you will not find the following too boring.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…

Everything that has taken place since Adam, and will take place until the angel proclaims that time shall be no more happens according to God’s fullness of time; that is, everything happens according to God’s predetermined, foreordained timetable. He alone controls history, down to the sparrow that falls to the ground.

Accordingly, in His fullness of time, he stirred up a Roman priest, Martin Luther:

October 31, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. 500 years ago, Luther challenged the Church of Rome about its serious errors that kept the people of the day in bondage. His challenge laid the foundation for Western Civilization, and we today are the heirs to his work.

According to Wikipedia:

The Reformation (from Latin reformatio, literally "restoration, renewal"), also referred to as the Protestant Reformation and the European Reformation, was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th century Europe. The period is usually considered to have begun with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Luther in 1517 to the Thirty Years' War and ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

The Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences (NK""\o"Latinlanguage"Latin: Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum) are a list of propositions for an academic disputation written in 1517 by Martin Luther, professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg, Germany, that started the Protestant Reformation, a schism in the Catholic Church which profoundly changed Europe.

Luther sent [his 95] Theses enclosed with a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, on 31 October 1517, a date now considered the start of the Protestant Reformation and commemorated annually as Reformation Day. Luther may have also posted the Theses on the door of All Saints' Church and other churches in Wittenberg [Germany] in accordance with University custom on 31 October or in mid-November. (The old B&W Martin Luther film is worth purchasing if you do not have it.)

America is a product of Luther’s stand against the world dominating power of Rome. That power had killed many “reformers” before Luther. Moreover, notice where the devil’s point of attack is against what is left of Western Christianity. The devil is moving his army of Muslim hordes into the world through Germany. Former President Obama not only welcomed them into the US, but also paid them to come with free “entitlement” programs.

As we remember the 500th anniversary, here are some interesting observations about the Reformation.

Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

In His fullness of time, He sent forth His Son.

Of reformation; …, of putting things to rights by the law, rule, and ordinance of Christ, the work of this special point of time. He, the great church reformer, thoroughly righteth things to God-ward, by removing and taking away what was faulty, not in itself, but by man’s abuse of it, even all the Mosaical economy and church-frame, which carried men about to God, by opening and making that to be seen with open face, which was well veiled, and so mistaken, even the mystery of Christ hid from ages, by manifesting and establishing that which was the truth itself, instead of the shadows that did but represent it; even that true church-frame intended first by God, and now fully revealed and settled by his Son as a standing rule and pattern to all for ever; which unmovable kingdom of his is described further, #Heb 12:22-28. (Matthew Poole)

Reformation: in a physical sense, a making straight, restoring to its natural and normal condition something which in some way protrudes or has got out of line, as broken or misshapen limbs (Greek Lexicon)

diorthosis. This word, which originally means “straightening,” is variously used for “correction,” “arrangement,” “setting up” states, and “settlement” (debts or taxes). #Heb 9:10 argues that the OT cultus, which can have only temporary and external effects, is set up only until the time of the true order (diorthoseos). When this comes, the cultus finds its own fulfilment in the dawning age of consummation. (TWOT)

Cultus: A system of religious beliefs and rituals

According to the counsel of His own will, and according to the covenant agreement between the Tri-Une God:

First, time started in the beginning when God established a true, perfect and straight order, a perfect arrangement, which lasted long enough for Adam to name (classify) all the animals.

Second, then through one man, sin and death entered into the world. Sin made crooked that straight order, or the perfect arrangement established by God, and the close, personal fellowship between man and Himself was broken.

Third, God established another arrangement, the sacrifice of an innocent victim to allow man to have a limited fellowship with his Creator. That sacrifice contained several promises, among which were: 1) a promise he would reform man with a new heart and spirit, and a renewal of the close, personal fellowship with his Creator through justification (Ez 11:19, 36:26, Isa 45.); 2) a promise that God would straighten out, reform, the crooked path of sin (Isa 40:4, 45:2, Lu 3:5); 3) a promise he would reform creation with a new creation through Christ; that is, the restoration of the paradise that Adam lost in the fall (2 Cor 5:17); 4) a promise of a reformed new nation to replace the old nation of God, and provide an army to go forth against the gates of hell, and subdue the world to Christ for the Glory of God (Ps 110:4, Ps 45, Ez 37ff, Mat 28:19, 20, Gal 6:16), and other promises. In Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, all the promises of God are fulfilled. (2 Cor 1:20)

Fourth, the path established by God became so crooked by sin that God sent a flood upon that old creation, and started over again.

Fifth, the flood did reform man, but not his sin problem. It did solve the problem of the long life span of the sinners. A 600 to 900 year lifespan gave the ungodly an abundant amount of time to develop his evil devices, especially since his mind was much “sharper” than it is today after 6000 years of corruption.

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

If man still had this “sharp” mind after the flood, we cannot imagine what he was like before the flood when the whole human race, which may have numbered about what it is now, was of one mind and language. Today, that one language is digital.

The earth was divided in the days of Peleg. (Gen 10, 11) If that division was a linguistic division, it means that the Tower was built a little over 100 years after the flood, when Nimrod was probably 70 years old.

By man’s days being shortened to three score and ten, his opportunity to develop evil is greatly limited. (If David, Asaph and Jeremiah complained about the long life in modern terms, and the prosperity of the wicked, imagine what the wicked could do in 900 years today.)

Sixth, the flood did not reform, or straighten out, the crooked path. So a temporary law was given through Moses to restore a very limited means of fellowship:

“#Heb 9:10 argues that the OT cultus,which can have only temporary and external effects, is set up only until the time of the true order (diorthoseos)”

Seventh, that “cultus” could not reform the crooked path with a new heart and spirit; that “cultus” was only in place until the promised true Reformer came. Galatians 4:4 tells us that in the fullness of time, God sent forth His True Reformer:

Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

carnal ordinances: which belonged to the flesh, and not the spirit or soul, and therefore could not affect that; besides, these were only imposed on them until the time of reformation; they were enjoined on the Jews only, though by God himself; and were put upon them as a burden, or a yoke, and which was on some accounts intolerable, but were not to continue any longer than the time of the Gospel, here called "the time of reformation," or of "correction," and emendation;* in which, things that were faulty and deficient are amended and perfected, and in which burdensome rites and ceremonies are removed, and better ordinances introduced: or rather of direction: in which saints are directed to Christ, the sum and substance of all types, shadows, and sacrifices, and in whom alone perfection is. (Gill)

Eighth, the New Covenant simply corrected or updated the faulty Old Covenant. The New Covenant retained the covenant laws for God’s new creation, his new nation of Israel.

Observe: Christ changed nothing of the covenant made with Adam and Eve, and which he confirmed to the saints of old. Rather, he reformed, or corrected it by removing the things which were faulty and deficient, i.e., various rites, rituals, ceremonies and ordinances. He did not replace the covenant-promise, but reformed it by his sacrificial work on the cross. (Col 2:13-15)

Note that I am going to depart somewhat from the context of the “reformation” in Hebrews 12:10.

In one of his lectures, I heard Rushdoony refer to Rehwinkel’s book “The Flood”. His mention sparked an interest concerning the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation. That is, the start of the flood corresponds with the date of the start of the Reformation 500 years ago in our present Halloween:

Quoting Rehwinkel from his chapter IV, “ Warning of the Coming Flood” (we continue the thought that God moves in His “fullness of time” which is according to His predetermined timetable for everything that takes place in time and history):

When the ark had been completed and the period of grace had expired, Noah received instructions to enter the ark with his own household and with the animals which were to be kept alive. At the beginning of the 600th year of Noah's life the ark was finished, and on the tenth day of the second month of that year he entered the ark. This raises the question what was the first month? If, as some hold, the first month corresponded to the end of our month of September and the beginning of October, it would mean that the Flood began, according to our reckoning, about November of the 600th year of Noah, or the 1,656th year of the world. And with Noah went into the ark his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives, eight souls altogether. They took two of every kind of animal, but of the clean animals they took seven, which, according to Luther and other interpreters, means three pairs to continue the species and one male for the purpose of sacrifice. (P. 63)

Chapter X, “The Babylonian Flood Account”:

Here, then, is another interesting and stubborn fact which must be met honestly, for all these ever-recurring incidents found with so many people so widely separated with respect to both time and place cannot be accounted for as a mere accident. These traditions, differing in some of their details, evidently have a common source in the same historical facts.

But there is another tradition found with many peoples in widely separated areas in both ancient and modern times which bears witness to the historical fact of the Flood, even to the extent of pointing to the season of the year in which this fearful cataclysm destroyed the human race. That season is the festival of the New Year, observed at the disappearance of the Pleiades at the end of October or the beginning of November. Urquhart, who reports these traditions, says that a new-year festival connected with, and determined by, the Pleiades seems to be one of the most universal of all customs.' It is not only the fact that New Year's Day was observed by so many people at about the same time which makes this significant, but that the observance of this event was always connected with the memory of the dead or was observed as a feast of the ancestors.

The natives of Australia observed this day at about the season mentioned. On this occasion they painted a white stripe over their arms, legs, and ribs, and dancing by the light of the fire appear like so many skeletons celebrating. The same custom is found among the savages of the Society Islands, where the closing of the old and the opening of the new year were celebrated about November. At the conclusion of this celebration each man, returning to his hut, was expected to offer a special prayer for the spirit of the departed relatives.

In the Fiji Islands a commemoration of the dead takes place toward the end of October.

In Peru the new year came at the beginning of November and was called Ayamarka, which signifies "carrying a corpse." The festival was celebrated in memory of the dead and was observed with songs and music and by placing food and drink upon the graves of the dead.

The Hindus celebrate their Durga, a festival of the dead, which originally was their New Year's Day and was observed on the 17th day of November.

The Persians called November Mordad, that is, the angel of death, and the feast of the dead, which took place at the same time as in Peru, was considered a New Year's festival.

With the ancient Druids the night of the first of November, in which they annually celebrated the reconstruction of the world, was full of mystery. According to a custom connected with this event, the priestesses were obliged at this time to pull down and rebuild each year the roof of their temple as a symbol of the destruction and renovation of the world. If one of them, in bringing the material for the new roof, let fall her sacred burden, she was seized by her enraged companions and torn to pieces. On this same night the Druids extinguished the sacred fire, which was kept burning throughout the rest of the year; and at the signal all the fires in the community were put out, and it was believed that, in the complete darkness that followed throughout the land, the phantom spirits of those who had died during the preceding year were then carried by boats to the judgment seat of the god of the dead.

A strange relic of this Druidic festival has survived in our present Hallowe'en (Hallow Eve) on the last day of October and All Saints and All Souls Days on the first and second of November. In former years the relics were even more numerous ? in the Hallowe'en torches of the Irish and the bonfires of the Scotch and Welsh, while in France it was customary to visit the cemeteries and graves of their ancestors at this time.

The Mexicans to this day observe a day of the dead in much the same way and at the same time. They still place food and drink upon the graves of the departed ancestors, as modern travelers in that country have observed.

In ancient Egypt the day of the dead was observed on the 17th day of Athyr, which corresponds to the 17th day of November. On this day the Egyptian priest would place an image of the god Osiris in a sacred ark and launch it into the sea until it was borne out of sight.

Now it must be admitted that the origin of these strange traditions is not as clearly traced as the Flood traditions, and yet there seems to be a connection between these strange events and that great event in the history of the human race.

The date of the festival (of the dead, ed.) corresponds to the date of the Flood if, as some hold, the year began in the fall of the year. There are others who question this. All these traditions have in common a remembrance of the dead, which seems to point to a major calamity of the human race. Then there are echoes of a perishing world and the rebuilding of another. Customs and traditions found so widely scattered and with so many people must have their origin in some great experience in the past history of man. There is no common experience of the human race which would so well account for these strange customs and traditions as the Flood. And we may therefore well agree with Urquhart, who in concluding his remarks on these traditions says: "Here the traditions not only unite in bearing down to our own times that awful cry of anguish which once shook earth and sky, but also fix upon the very month and the very day which the Scriptures have recorded."
(Rehwinkel, The Flood. Concordia Publishing House, 1951. Thirteenth printing, 1972. Pp 168-171.)

Accordingly, Rehwinkel makes a good case that the world-wide “festival of the dead” was in remembrance of the wicked who perished in the Flood.

Here we see that in God’s Divine providence, the date identified as the start of the “Reformation” back to the orthodox faith could be on the date of the world-wide celebration of the “festival of the dead”; that is, Hallowe'en (Hallow Eve). The world was perishing under the heavy load of sin, so God sent the Flood to correct things, and start over again. The world was perishing under the heavy load of sin and bondage to a corrupt religious system, so God sent a reformation to correct things, and call men back to the only Way, Truth and the Life as revealed in His Word.

Obviously, those who celebrate Holloween have no idea of its original purpose, though it is common knowledge that it is a celebration of the dead. By the way, Halloween is the number one income-producing holiday for retail, or at least number two after Christmas.

Daylight Savings Time was lobbied for by the retail industry. An extra hour of “daylight” meant shoppers would remain shopping longer, and more gas would be sold. Then a few years ago, the candy manufacturers lobbied for an extended date (after Haloween)to return to standard time, so they could reap the benefit of the “Halloween” beggars for candy. (As a youngster, our mother used to take us “trick or treating” for candy.)


Everything that has taken place since Adam, and will take place until the angel proclaims that time shall be no more happens according to God’s fullness of time; that is, everything happens according to God’s predetermined, foreordained timetable. He alone controls history, down to the lowest sparrow that falls to the ground, and the very hairs of our head that wash down the drain. What can escape the attention of the Everlasting God of Scripture?)

Reformation: diorthosis. This word, which originally means “straightening,” is variously used for “correction,” “arrangement,” “setting up” states, and “settlement” (debts or taxes). #Heb 9:10 argues that the OT cultus, which can have only temporary and external effects, is set up only until the time of the true order (diorthoseos). When this comes, the cultus finds its own fulfilment in the dawning age of consummation. (TWOT)

Time of Reformation:

First, God established a perfectly arranged world.

Second, sin corrupted that arrangement, and fellowship with the Creator was broken. The sacrifice was given to restore a limited fellowship until the fullness of time when the True Reformation would come.

Third, the flood was sent to reform that corruption, but the heart was not changed, “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth;” (Gen 8:21)

Fourth, the law was given through Moses which codified the sacrificial law to reform man’s fellowship with the Creator God.

Fifth, that law was only temporary until the “fullness of time” when the True Sacrifice was made which activated and fulfilled the many promises.

Sixth, that Sacrifice was the true reformation that straightened out or corrected the damage done by sin.

Seventh, the truth of the True Sacrifice was corrupted beyond recognition by Rome.

Eighth, 500 years ago, God sent a reformation; that is, a spark to return to the truth of His Word. We are living in the flame from that Spark. Regardless of what appears, righteous judgment tells us that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”(Jn 7:24, Isa 11:9)

October 31 is the date that the world without Christ celebrates the remembrance of the dead (the wicked who died in the Flood?).

However, October 31 is the date the Redeemed should celebrate the reformation from the bondage to Roman formalism (Jewish or Hebrew formalism in the context) and death, to the new life of victory in the true Reformation through Jesus Christ. Let us rejoice in that day, and be glad in it for the renewal of the hope as proclaimed by prophets, the Lord himself, and the authors of the New Testament.