Romans 1:16-17, I am not ashamed.

As a child, raised in the church, the idea of being a missionary was shoved down our throats constantly. Being a missionary meant preaching, trying to convert all the people you came in contact with, and because most of these people did not go to our church, they were obviously lost and we had the exhortation to save their souls. (You can see a problem with that attitude I hope.)

At one church, under pressure from a friend and the peer group, I became a part of the Sunday evening visitor contact team. To do this, I had to go through the short training that our church had put together; they called it the Roman road; you know, Romans 3:16 and others, where it says, God so loved the world and so on. I hated the home visits for the most part with one exception. A lady had filled out a card and asked for prayer; she was extremely heavy and had difficulty walking. Because she was one of our visits, I developed a friendship and relationship with her and her family and went back to visit several more times on my own.

Overall, my public speaking ability was greatly hampered by introversion and childhood insecurities. We frequently got hard nudges from pastors and guest speakers, as they tried to push us to be exactly like them.

I, for the most part, got over my insecurities, however, on occasions I still feel twinges of fear trying to assert its control over me. Fortunately, I have learned to conquer fears grip. One of those occasions came as I sat with a group of about 80 men to study at a church I was attending. The group leader got up and started introducing the speaker, saying how much he loved this guy, and then he called my name. I had no idea that we were that close. As I think back on that period of time I was also in a Celebrate Recovery group, and this particular leader would attend on occasions; maybe he heard me speak, which I did twice. Unannounced, with no intentional preparation, I chose to act like I knew what I was doing. In actuality, I had done the teaching just two days before on Sunday morning, so it was still reasonably fresh in my mind. I walked away from that moment much like Paul as he opens this next section of Romans, unashamed.

Romans 1:16-17 NLT  For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.  (17)  This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

  • For I am not ashamed –

Ashamed is the Greek word epaischunomai, and means to feel shame for something: or to be ashamed. The Webster’s dictionary explanation of ashamed goes like this: To be affected by shame; abashed or confused by guilt or a conviction of some criminal action or indecorous conduct, or by the exposure of some gross errors or misconduct, which the person is conscious must be wrong, and which tends to impair his honor or reputation.

Had Paul broken any laws of the local government? No, but he was going against the grain of the religious system. In heavily populated Jewish communities, the Synagogue elders or council upheld the law of Moses. Since there were laws that restricted work on the Sabbath, then he could have been punished for that, but as a rule, if you know Paul’s story, you don’t see him breaking Sabbath laws.

Paul was an expert in the law of Moses prior to preaching this good news about Jesus as the Messiah. Teaching about, Jesus the Messiah, now that could have got him in trouble, as the majority of the Jewish community submitted to the council elders and too would have seen Paul as blasphemous for preaching about a grace-filled life in Jesus. After all, their hope, as a Jew, was wrapped up in sacrifices.

This teaching of grace alone would have put Paul at odds with the Jewish councils, for there was an entire economy wrapped up in the sacrificial temple system. In time we do find Paul being attacked by an angry mob for that very thing, as this good news Paul preached set some of those who worshiped idols free; these were the same idols that many of the townsfolk stopped buying and therefore impacted a local economy.

So, if Paul is affected by shame; confused by guilt, or has a conviction of some criminal action, it seems rather apparent that it would have been at the hands of the Jewish religious community. Paul did nothing to draw feelings or guilt upon himself in any manner.

  • Of this Good News about Christ.

Prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus, the only thing Paul knew about Jesus was what he witnessed from the sidelines, as the Synagogue elders cried out for the Romans to crucify Jesus. Saul, as we would have known him then, probably watched as they hung Jesus on the cross. He most likely did not know that Jesus said he would rise again. Paul would not have been aware of the numerous miracles that Jesus performed; nor did he know or experience the unique relationship Jesus had with the Father God. (Why say unique, because no one spoke to the Father, nor called Him Father, the way Jesus did.)

So all that Paul learned of this grace either came from the vision on the Damascus road, or the three years that he spent seeking God’s face in Arabia. Consider how Saul/Paul was a master of the Law and the Prophets; in practicality, he was working on his Doctorate when the Lord found him that day (They did not have a Doctoral system of education.) That means Paul finished his education in the deserts of the Sinai peninsula, the same deserts that Moses had to wander in, and, if all that Paul preached was in God’s eyes, reworked information, then Paul found the grace and mercy that he taught in what many perceive as the most restrictive books in the Bible. (This restrictiveness is why many will not touch the Old Testament.)

  • It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

The phrase, it is, speaks of the Good News about Christ. If time permits and God is willing, we will eventually discuss all that the Good News/power of Christ entails. Since we have Bibles, something that neither Paul nor the early church had, we have God’s Word in a nicely packaged form. If you are like me, then you have concordances and can quickly look up the most straightforward of words and find intricacies you did not know existed. And, you can cross-reference items such as the phrase “it is the power of God at work.” That cross-reference work will lead you to passages like you see below.

While Jeremiah 23:29 speaks of power, the mercy and grace evade me. NASB “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

This next one is deep. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 NLT  So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.  (24)  But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

In pondering these two verses, I see that the truth is all wrapped up in Jesus submission to the cross. Christ is the power and wisdom of God, that is a lot, and it is all that I need to understand, but that is probably not going to happen in the few pages I allow myself to work with.

In case you missed it, this process of understanding happens among those called by God to salvation. This means you.

Paul tells us in Romans 1:17 NLT, that –

  • This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.

Whether it is instantaneous, or after a while, we are made righteous. What does that word righteous mean? Webster’s dictionary tells us that it means just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man. Since we are born broken thanks to Adam’s treason, it would be impossible for us to attain any righteousness unless something extraordinary took place. Well, something did take place, and now we back to Christ crucified. Christ’s willing submission paid the price that our sin/brokenness demanded; it demanded our death, but He died in our place and took the penalty for that sin away.

Are you kidding me, if God made us right, then that means I am a free man?

Well, yes and no. Yes, your price was paid, but much like my adoption agency scenario, in which God comes and pays for all of us to go home with him. The No side of this is that we still, in a sense, have to get off our lazy butts, put down the game controller and sign the paperwork that demonstrates our willingness to go with Him. There is no paperwork in God’s plan, as acceptance comes in the form of you, by faith, asking Him to take over your life and the mess you have made with it. If this statement were to change anything, it should change the way we look at, and speak to people, for they are all loved, welcomed, and forgiven by the Father.

  • This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

There is nothing you can do to make yourself righteous. I know, there are many religions that advocate works, such as Islam, but even they would not dare guarantee that you can obtain right standing with their god. It works this way in virtually every religion but Christianity. Sadly, because of false teachings and poor leadership you can find religious legalism in Christianity as well.

An example of this legalism came a couple of years ago at a Sunday evening service I attended at a Christian church. The Pastor that evening said, if you have had a miracle in your life, then come forward so that you can pray for others; so I did. As expected no one came to me, so as I stood there twiddling my thumbs, the spirit of the Lord said to me, that lady. I pointed at her and motioned for her to come down front. There was, of course, some hesitancy as I am told that I can be seen as a big, somewhat scary man, but as I waited the Holy Spirit said, go get them. By this time she was gathering her husband and others to go with her. We all prayed as the Holy Spirit gave me the words to say to them. We cried, hugged and had a great time, and then they returned to their seats. Only moments later this tall, angry lady, came charging over to me and demanded to know who gave me permission to pray over people. I know what I wanted to say, like did you listen to anything the Pastor said? But I did not. I merely pointed to the Pastor and said, he did. She huffed and rattled on about classes that must be attended. I never attended those classes and no longer participate in that church. She, on the other hand, was laid off.

Its all through faith and I have faith in the one who sent me. That faith also anchors me in the hope of an eternity of peace and joy with Him. I so long for that.

Posted in Apostle Paul, bible study, confidence, Faith, finisher, forgive, Freedom from sin, Jesus, Jews, Mercy, restore, Romans, Sin, the good news, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He was reading a fictional story based on Revelation 13.

Recently I turned to one of my “Christian” radio stations and heard Dr. David Jeremiah reading from his fictional book, which, he told us, is based upon Revelation 13. I had missed the introduction that he would have usually given, and so I cannot inform you which book Dr. Jeremiah was reading from; a strong possibility could be “Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times.” Since Dr. Jeremiah wrote this book also, and it speaks of the Antichrist, a key player in the apocalypse, then it would be a logical assumption.

Here is the problem; although he is reading a fictional story, he tells us that it is based on scripture. The immediate inclination, on the part of the naive, is to think that what he is saying is exactly the way this particular scenario will play out. Dr. Jeremiah, as I entered the radio program, was talking about a character, that in just a matter of minutes, is demonstrated to be the Antichrist.

I get it that most choose not to believe how gullible we are so I will give you a powerful example.

In 1938 Orson Welles produced and introduced a radio production of H.G. Wells novel “The War of the Worlds.” “The one-hour program began with the theme music for the Mercury Theater on the Air and an announcement that the evening’s show was an adaptation of The War of the Worlds. Orson Welles then read a prologue which was closely based on the opening of H.G. Wells’ novel but modified to place the story’s setting in 1939. The next half hour of the broadcast was presented as a typical evening of radio programming being interrupted by a series of news bulletins. The first few bulletins cut into a program of dance music and describe a series of odd explosions observed on Mars. The episode became famous for causing panic among its listening audience, though the scale of that panic is disputed, as the program had relatively few listeners. The program has become famous for supposedly tricking some of its listeners into believing that a Martian invasion was actually taking place. The illusion of realism was furthered because the Mercury Theater on the Air was a sustaining show without commercial interruptions, and the first break in the program came almost 30 minutes after the introduction. Popular legend holds that some of the radio audience may have been listening to The Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen and tuned in to “The War of the Worlds” during a musical interlude, thereby missing the clear introduction that the show was a drama; however, contemporary research suggests that this happened only in rare instances.[3]:67–69

In the days after the adaptation, widespread outrage was expressed in the media. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the broadcasters and calls for regulation by the Federal Communications Commission.[2] Nevertheless, the episode secured Welles’s fame as a dramatist.” (Sourced from Wikipedia:

When I turned on Dr. Jeremiah’s radio program that day, he is introducing a character; based on the description, he easily could have been an Archbishop. Given permission to enter, the primary, fictitious characters office he steps forward and presents his case for a one world government and its one world religion. The person that we will soon understand to be the Antichrist responds with, excellent, as he refers to the Archbishop by name. I am glad you brought this up as it is something I feel strongly about; we need to talk about this more, but I must go ready myself for a critical, televised meeting. Hold your thought, and we will speak again about this matter. Within minutes of this meeting, the Antichrist character is shot in the head by an assassin. The doctors at the hospital declared him dead as there was no brain function and the Archbishop was called to the hospital room to say a prayer over the man. As the Archbishop begins to pray some standardized prayers over the deceased, the Antichrist character sits upright. Much to the surprise of everyone in the room the man who was dead only moments ago from an undeniable and severe head wound, now has no evidence of any injury to his head. With several short discussions, we find out that the plans are already in place to mark the citizens of the world in a manner that would cause all to be subject to this universal mark, and the “beast.”

While it makes for an exciting read, it is FICTION and must be looked at in that light alone.

Since Dr. Jeremiah informed his audience that the story is based in Revelation 13, then it behooves to study this out, and that is what we are going to do.

Revelation 13:1-2 NASB And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. (2) And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

Alright, in reading the first two verses, especially those which describe the beast, you should be asking, is there anything like this? The answer is a resounding NO unless the beast represents some other things.

Here is a massive clue for you, in attempting to “interpret” scripture, there is nothing new under the sun, and so you should be able to find comparable scriptures to help you understand. Do we have such a thing with this beast? YES!

Read Daniel 7: 1-8, and you will discover four kingdoms referred to as beasts; descriptions of the same animals that we see in Revelation 13, and the mention of horns and heads. The Jews gave considerable credence to prophetic patterns, and so should we.

In Revelation 13:3 we see one of the many heads sustain a head wound as though it had been killed.

Revelation 13:3 NASB I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

As a child I can remember, while on the playground at school, learning that our, then President, John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated, shot in the head. It seemed that the entire religious world watched and waited for him to come back to life; not because they thought he was evil, but because he was so well liked. He did not come back from the dead, and so life went on, and everyone went back to looking for the next potential Antichrist.

Another consideration for us. Daniel is one of the leading players when it comes to understanding the scheme of things in Revelation 13.

In Daniel chapter two Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. Daniel not only told the king what the dream was, but he explained what it meant. Daniel spoke in a language that the king could understand; in other words, he did not get all religious and spout high church theology. Daniel started by saying, “that head of gold is you oh king.” Gold represents the noblest position, and although Nebuchadnezzar may not have been the noblest representative for God, he is undoubtedly a resounding message to us all, as this first kingdom was the Babylonian empire. If God’s Word is true and logical, and it is, then it easy to assume such standards for the other kingdoms as well, and Daniel told us that there were to be three more. Daniel and history have helped us to understand.

In Daniel chapter five Nebuchadnezzar we must assume is dead and his son Belshazzar is now king. We learn that Belshazzar gave a great party, and God saw fit to provide him with a great sign, handwriting on the wall. Daniel was eventually brought in to interpret, and this is what he read:

“This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE’–God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. ” ‘TEKEL’–you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. ” ‘PERES’–your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:26-28 NASB)

Clear cut evidence that the second empire, or head, is the Medo-Persian empire.

Wikipedia gives us this information:

In 334 BC after re-imposing control over the southern Greek City-States, Alexander began his invasion of the Persian Empire by conquering Asia Minor (Turkey), then Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He then invaded Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), defeated the Persians at the Battle of Arbela (or Gaugamela) and conquered Babylon.

Thanks to history we can understand that the third empire is the Grecian empire under Alexander’s rule.

The fourth empire is a bit of a mystery as the typical, but ill-conceived school of thought tries to tell us that we should be looking for a resurrected Roman Empire. The “evidence” they use to back their argument for this comes from Daniel chapter 9.

“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26 NASB)

Most attribute the title of “prince” to Antiochus Epiphanes, a Roman general who, desecrated the temple, but the scripture gives us every reason to believe that another temple (a third temple) will be built and that it once again will be desecrated.

Another argument is one that ignores the historical record given by both Josephus and Tacitus and attributes the destruction of the temple to the Roman army, an act in conflict with recorded history.

Josephus indicated that conscripted Assyrian troops, marching under the Roman flag, disobeyed commands from Titus to desist, and because of their violent hatred of the Jews, destroyed the temple. (Wars of the Jews, book 6 chapter 4.) This train of thought should help to undo the theory that we are looking for the Antichrist to come out of a restored Roman empire.

So what are we left with for options? Some common sense and history can help us figure that out.

After the death of Alexander, the Grecian empire dissolved under two remaining generals of Alexander, Ptolemy in the South (Egypt and Northern Africa), and Seleucid in North. The Seleucid empire took in the Assyrian empire which included the Babylonian empire, extended into Egypt, and North where they held allegiances with the Scythians of Asia and Southern Russia. Remnants of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires still exist today, as does the Assyrian empire under Islamic rule.

Since this head is NOT a man, although it is definite that a man will soon step up and try to lead whatever this entity is.

What then are we talking about? An ideology such as Islam, a fallen angel/demon that controls blindsided nations and people? In 1924 the world thought they had killed off Islam and the damage the Ottoman Caliphate was causing. Only a fool would believe that the Caliphate is still dead. Hopefully, I have given you something logical to think about and therefore make a proper decision as to whom or what this head that sustains the mortal wound is.

Posted in Antichrist, Apocalypse, apologetics, Assyrians, bible study, dragon, End times, false prophet, gullibility, Islam, Jews, leopard, lion, and bear, mortal wound, one world religion, Prophetic, Revelation, Revelation 13:3, seven headed beast, ten horns and seven heads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I shall be blessed by the will of God to come to you. Romans 1:8-12.

When I was young, I rarely found a trek through the Bible interesting. I suppose that had more to do with the person who was doing the teaching and their personality. I often find my character to be a bit quirky, and that adds a flair to my teaching efforts. In many ways I see things differently; I like to call it putting flesh and blood on the biblical characters. Perhaps that adds a bit of undue negativity but we all came out of the same mold, and therefore, struggle with similar issues.

An example of this is my perception of Paul when he says; I unceasingly make mention of you in my prayers. How do I take this, especially when my trust-er is slightly broken? Paul had a history of throwing himself into his work; and, there is this tenacity that we find when we learn of his interactions. By paying attention, I have learned that I can trust Paul, just as I trust God and His word.

With that being said, let’s dive in.

Romans 1:8-10 LITV  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of in all the world.  (9)  For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son, how without ceasing I make mention of you  (10)  always at my prayers, beseeching if by any means now at length I shall be blessed by the will of God to come to you.

  • First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all,” …For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son, how without ceasing I make mention of you  (10)  always at my prayers,”

Paul tells us why he prays unceasingly for them.

  • Because your faith is spoken of in all the world.”

This sentence is a positive accolade.

Here are some verses that say something comparable.

2 Corinthians 3:2-4 LITV  You are our letter, having been inscribed in our hearts, being known and being read by all men,  (3)  it having been made plain that you are Christ’s letter, served by us, not having been inscribed by ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not in tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart.  (4)  And we have such confidence through Christ toward God;

Paul had a similar conviction about the church at Colossae; and, therefore, prayed unceasingly for them

Colossians 1:9 LITV  For this cause also, from the day in which we heard, we do not cease praying on your behalf, and asking that you may be filled with the full knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,

And we can contrast Paul’s thoughts against John’s, as John says:

3 John 1:3 LITV  For I rejoiced greatly at the coming of the brothers, also bearing witness of you in the truth, as you walk in truth.

John’s audience bore witness to the truth and walked in it.

  • beseeching if by any means now at length I shall be blessed by the will of God to come to you.” So Paul has an earnest desire to be able to come and “visit” with them. I doubt that ever happened.

Romans 1:11-12 Moffatt NT (11) For I do yearn to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift for your strengthening — (12) or, in other words, that I may be encouraged by meeting you, I by your faith and you by mine.

  • “For I do yearn to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift for your strengthening,” What that spiritual gift is we are not told. Later in this letter to the church in Rome Paul begins to clarify the idea of giftings.

Romans 12:6 NET. And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith.

Again, what did Paul say to the church in Rome?

Romans 1:11 NET. For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you,

What is my keyword here? Impart – To give, grant or communicate; to bestow on another a share or portion of something; To confer; To communicate the knowledge of something; to make known.

So, through the laying on of hands, we can impart, not only spiritual gifts, but bestow, confer, and make known – to the best of our/God’s ability, the information concerning those gifts.

In the case of Peter and John, the first realization they had of the Holy Spirit was on the Day of Pentecost. Is it possible that they had to learn by trial and error, or did they have a teacher? The best was Jesus, but aside from the examples He left them, we do not see Jesus teaching them directly about hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. The point here is that there is hope for us.

  • that I may be encouraged by meeting you, I by your faith and you by mine.”

This letter to the church in Rome is what Paul says to, not only this church body but to your body as well. Obviously, Paul is no longer with us, but we who follow Christ are now His hands and feet, and we are compelled by this to encourage others and impart or convey any of a variety of spiritual gifts.

Often, a simplistic reading only shows you what seems like selfish motives, such as Paul’s comment – “that I may be encouraged by you,” so it becomes necessary for us to pursue the context of the passage. Since Paul has given us his thoughts on multiple occasions – in his letters to the churches, we can understand that he cares about those that have come to follow Christ. Considering who he was and his personality that is difficult at best to comprehend.

The annoying part of this process was a technique that my mother loved to push at us when we had a problem with someone. She would say, you need to ask God to change you. Now, why would I do that when clearly they are the problem? Mom would be relentless, and in time I would pray that prayer. Much like a wound that had been bothering you for weeks, and you suddenly realize that it was gone, this change would take place in me, and I would begin to see those people who caused me grief differently. I can only explain this as God intervening to change my heart.

Merely telling you these things triggered a string of memories; memories in which I felt hatred toward certain people. In all honesty, I held this hatred, in many cases, for years, but something changed, and almost without notice I found myself able to see the value in them, and I cared for them. No, it did not happen all at once, or overnight, but with some, it did happen. Apparently, we can change.

Posted in apologetics, Apostle Paul, bible study, confidence, disciple, disciplined, Faith, Freedom from sin, God's character, heart, impart, In Christ, Jesus, Jews, laying on of hands, Prayer, Romans, spiritual gifts, Thoughts on scripture, understanding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Questions a friend asks me. Today’s is based in Matthew 18:10.

Matthew 18:10 NASB “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

What are these angels doing in Matthew 18:10, do they guard children?

When I look at the notes in my Dake’s bible I am referred to Psalm 34:7
Psalms 34:7 NASB The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.

So I can understand that angels operate on our behalf. But what does a child understand about fear for and of the Lord? They don’t unless we indoctrinate them with the notion that God can kill them, which He can, but that is not the nature and character of God, and certainly would not explain the caring and compassion God has for children.

Knowing that God cares for children, then why would He allow such horrible things to happen to them, especially since there are angels assigned to them, just as they are assigned to us?

I am not sure I can answer this appropriately, as there are innocent children, on a daily basis, kidnapped, tortured, blown up, and they were nothing more than innocent victims. One of my friends read a statistic that said there were 200,000 children that go missing every year in America.

Where then were these angels?

Perhaps God’s plan surpasses our understanding and is, therefore, a part of this mystery.

In what other ways do angels surround us?

  • In the case of Elijah and Gehazi, they were surrounded by the Syrian army. Gehazi was the only that seemed terribly concerned by this and cries to Elijah about the situation as though Elijah did not know.

2 Kings 6:15-17 NASB Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (16) So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (17) Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

  • On behalf of Daniel, an angel shut the mouths of the lions.

Daniel 6:22 NASB “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”

  • The angel Gabriel came to deliver a message to Daniel and had to physically fight.

Daniel 10:13 CJB  The prince of the kingdom of Persia prevented me from coming for twenty-one days; but Mikha’el, one of the chief princes, came to assist me; so that I was no longer needed there with the kings of Persia.

  • Angels are commissioned to work for us.

Hebrews 1:14 NASB Are they, not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

  • In the latter days (days which we may see.) Michael will stand up and deliver those whose name is found written in the book.

I can apply this to the church, or to the Jews in general. If I project the idea of latter days into the time of wrath, then it becomes those who are to be delivered because of their testimony. Sadly, for many, deliverance comes by the sword or some other form of death.

Daniel 12:1 CJB  “When that time comes, Mikha’el, the great prince who champions your people, will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book.

  • On our behalf

Psalms 91:11 CJB  for he will order his angels to care for you and guard you wherever you go.

The standard argument is, why then did He let me go through (insert the horror you experienced here?) The answer lies in God drawing your heart back to Him, and, should you survive it, making you the great witness that you are today.

  • If God knows already who his heirs are, then why do we need angels to guard us, and how does play into fate/destiny vs free will?

The angels guard us because we are flimsy, weak, mortals, with an inherent genetic defect that drives us to sin. To prove my point the flood scenario depicts a pre-flood world left to its own devices, the world was filled with violence and every thought of man was evil.

Free will works in opposition to God most every time. Free will is overrated. And fate is an allusion to sin. God is in control, no matter what it looks like, and sometimes it looks like the bad guys just won.

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The Apostleship of Paul. Romans 1:1-6.

Do you ever wonder what our purpose and goals are? I am not talking about standing at the door of a grocery store and passing out Jesus loves you tracks; I am talking about our hope and destiny. Well, I have and the conversations I have had with God sound a little like this. If this is not real and there is no home with you, living in peace, something I have rarely experienced, then I might as well go party with the fools, or eliminate some of the world’s bullies. In other words, without this hope, there is no purpose.

Regardless of how I occasionally feel, there is hope and the promise of a life with the Father in this place we call heaven. All of His promises are for real.

Paul’s words in his letter to the group of believers in Rome begins to spell that out to them.

Romans 1:1-3 NLT  This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.  (2)  God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.  (3)  The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life, he was born into King David’s family line,

Since I previously elaborated on Paul and this idea of being a slave of Christ Jesus, I will bypass that and move on. We make huge assumptions about the amount of time and the quality of that time that Paul spent with some of these groups of people. If he had, then they should have understood the calling(s) placed on Paul, but apparently, they did not, so Paul begins to tell them that God chose him –

  • To be an apostle
  • and that he was sent out to preach the Good News about Jesus Christ.

Let’s pause here for a moment.

Paul was, without doubt, a disciple, although not among those that Jesus hand-picked to walk with Him. That word merely means one disciplined; and Paul, when he went by the name Saul, was an adept disciple among the Pharisees.

If someone wants to claim discipleship, you should be asking, for and of what? Consider how MMA fighters discipline themselves in multiple fighting styles to take on and defeat whatever comes against them; isn’t this is the goal and purpose of Apologists, such as Ravi Zacharias and others. 

I am not good at Apologetics as my memory is not working so well anymore. I think about the religious groups that occasionally come to our door; most are young, trained to argue their theologies, and their memories are not betraying them as mine does.

We would certainly expect an apostle to be a disciple or disciplined one. Apostles, on the other hand, are typically thought of as one set forth in the authority of another (like a pastor) – in our case, Jesus Christ. I, like many of you, assumed that an apostle was so much more than merely being a pastor. I suppose I got that impression because speakers with titles came to a couple of the churches I went to. The pastors in both cases made a big deal about these speakers, almost as if we should bow to them, and how they were not only an apostle but the pastor at their own churches. In the case of one church I attended, these guest speakers poured out accolades upon my pastor, announcing that he too was also an apostle (at one of them Pastor was almost like one of us in the sense that he rode a motorcycle with us.) For me, the problem with all this is that there are the implications that this man who assigns himself the title of apostle is automatically demanding that you treat him differently, almost as if he were some pontifical ruler.

Definitions of an apostle read like this: Apostle – one sent forth. In the New Testament, the term was applied to the twelve disciples whom Jesus sent forth to preach the gospel and to be with him during his ministry on earth. It also implies ‘one commissioned’ – a Hebrew word which signifies that the person is not merely a messenger but a delegate, bearing a commission, and, within the limits of his commission, wielding his commissioner’s authority. And, finally, A person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. This word is used as a descriptive designation of Jesus Christ, the Sent of the Father (Hebrews 3:1; John 20:21).

So, with the little we know about the Apostle Paul let’s see if we can match Paul with some of these characteristics I see in this definition above?

  • One commissioned.
  • not merely a messenger but a delegate
  • bearing a commission
  • wielding his commissioner’s authority
  • A person sent by another;

Paul was all those things, as he preached and taught a message of good news.

I, Paul, am a devoted slave of Jesus Christ on assignment, authorized as an apostle to proclaim God’s words and acts. 
(Romans 1:1a MSG)

It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to picture what life was like under the oppressive rule of the Pharisees, and the Roman law. A hot shower and a flushing toilet were unheard of, for anyone to stand their ground against the constant draw toward selfish hedonism could have been unbearable. Not so dissimilar to how we live today.

So, what to them would have been good news?

To the Jews, who longed for the Messiah to come and rule over them in a peaceable kingdom, good news meant just that. There is a problem with that, as their Jewish leadership only just a short time before, they rejected and killed the Messiah. (Most Jews did not know that Jesus death was all a part of the more excellent plan to redeem humanity.)

Those outside of the Jewish religion might have only seen the oppressiveness of Roman rule, or the lack of sustenance. The good news it seems means different things depending upon the condition. The sad part is that we, with our inherent brokenness, do not realize that the sadness we feel comes from brokenness inside of us which calls out to be redeemed and longs for the hope – the good news.

God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.”

What exactly did God promise?

While most might miss the promise in Genesis chapter three, it is there. Genesis 3:14-15 NASB

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; (15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

God, speaking to Eve about her descendants/seed, promised that they would bruise him/the serpent, on the heel. This ability to damage the serpent, no less than the promises made to Abram, were taught and passed along through oral history.

Genesis 12:1-3 NASB Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; (2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; (3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

  • A land
  • a great nation
  • I will make your name great
  • And you shall be a blessing

One last thing.

  • I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.

How could all families on earth be blessed since there are atheists, and diverse religions not accepting of the one true God? The answer is only found in Jesus, and the price He paid on that cross. That price was more than enough to cover all humanity, for all time, obtaining their forgiveness.

You would think that what Jesus did on that cross should have removed everyone from any list destined for the great white throne and any eternal damnation, and it did. Sadly, we know some will follow Satan to his destruction, so how do I explain that? Simple, since no man comes to the Father, but through Jesus, the Son, then there has to be an acceptance, not only of who He is, but what He did for the individual. Because you and I cannot see the heart, we do not know what that looks like. I am quite convinced that it does not have to look like some standardized religious experience. So, this blessing is obtained through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We should be able to grasp some of Paul’s direction at this point, and one of those directives was to preach the Good news, which Paul spells out in the following verses.

  • The Good News is about his Son. (Romans 1:3 NLT) Jesus, and
  • He was shown to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4 NLT)
    • In the gospels, we are introduced to family lineage. This heritage is something intensely relevant in the Jewish community, as it is traceable to King David’s family line, and the information we are given fulfills prophecy.
    • He, Jesus, was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. And the words of Jesus who said,
    • He is Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Romans 1:5 in the NASB it reads like this – “through whom we have received grace and apostleship.”

The NASB has that word I struggle with, apostleship, so let’s look at it in another translation and see if it makes any more sense.

Through whom grace has been given to us, sending us out to make disciples to the faith among all nations, for his name: (Romans 1:5 BBE)

An emissary, which we are, is merely one commissioned on behalf of another, most often thought of as a representative. Every nation has its ambassadors, but I wouldn’t want to have someone who is drunk trying to represent me, but that is another story. Look at these words in the CJB version, “promoting trust-grounded obedience.” Trust must be developed, and it is built through words and actions. Doesn’t that imply that we are to demonstrate those words and actions ourselves?

  • (This grace and apostleship) includes you, who have been called by Yeshua the Messiah. (Romans 1:6 CJB) Unless you were born of Jewish heritage, you were considered a gentile, but through your acceptance of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah you have been grafted into the rootstock, Israel. Since that grafting took place, we who follow Jesus are part of the vine that God pours His heart and life into. This integration into spiritual Israel is a disappointment to those who believe in replacement theology. To others, salvation is something distant that they can never attain, nor be accepted into, but you are wrong. Redemption and love like you have never known is only a breath away, as you, by your acceptance, hand your life over to Jesus the Messiah, and accept the mercy and grace that was paid for at the cross.
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On the idea of judgment. 1Corinthians 6:2,3.

The conversation was wrapped around a challenge from the local university students who asked my friend what he thought of the idea that angels are superior to humans, God’s creation. I suppose this challenge emanated from some liberal professor who suggested the idea. While my friend offered a reasonable response to the students, who asked, it opened the door to more questions in my friend’s mind. That led him to open the mornings Bible study with the following verse, an aspect of his response to the students.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 ISV  You know that the saints will rule the world, don’t you? And if the world is going to be ruled by you, can’t you handle insignificant cases?  (3)  You know that we will rule angels, not to mention things in this life, don’t you?

The premise is that “we,” those of us who are in Christ, from the millennial reign forward, will rule angels. The KJV has a much harsher tone.

1 Corinthians 6:3 KJV  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?

If I had nothing else to work with, I suppose I could make an argument against the idea that we, those who are in Christ, not just humankind, are the people who are engrafted into the vine shall judge the angels (A huge but legitimate assumption here is that these are the fallen angels. I am not sure what role we might play in that decision-making process seeing as they have already been judged.) I do not think that a general population should or would be able to judge angels. I certainly don’t remember a moment in time when I felt like I was capable of judging any angelic being. If I thought I could apply this to Satan, there is this verse that puts me in my place.

Jude 1:9 NLT  But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.)

What this tells me is that my words, without the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus, are pointless and ineffectual against an angel created by God – regardless of whether the angel is fallen or not. Ah, but we who are in Christ are not impotent against Satan and the uncountable number of fallen angels/demons who fell with him; however, the name of Jesus is the only effective weapon we have. Since Satan has proven that he too knows the Words of God, then you should know that he will challenge everything you do and say – it is his nature.

In a sense, I suppose that I have judged Satan merely by speaking against his actions in Jesus name, but not really. Satan has already been judged, although his final fate is yet to come in its entirety. What I am doing when I stand against him in Jesus name, is little more than taking advantage of a right given to me as a Son and an heir.

By the way: in Hebrews 1:7 the writer is talking about angels and the context is adequately laid out when he refers to angels as ministering spirits. Now moving forward to a few verses in Hebrews 1:14 we see that these same angels are working and on behalf of those who are heirs of salvation. We, who are followers of Christ are those heirs.

Having covered the topic of judging an angelic being let’s move on to the context of Paul’s thoughts – the judgment of a person within the church body/community of believers.

1 Corinthians 5:1 CJB  It is actually being reported that there is sexual sin among you, and it is sexual sin of a kind that is condemned even by pagans—a man is living with his stepmother!

Having spent some time around “pagans” I find they are fairly accepting of most anything that can be deemed fun, that is until it comes to someone messing with their woman or wife.

Ask yourself this question. How would anybody have known this kind of nonsense was going on unless the man was telling far too many people about his actions?

  • The offender is taking pictures of his lewd acts with this participating woman and sharing them with people. Actions like this are nothing less than bragging about what he has done. And, you must assume that he has shared this information at church. I know many of you think I am preposterous thinking that this would never happen, but I am telling you this because I worked with such a man; a man who claimed to be a Christian just because he was a Catholic, who during his working hours on the customer service floor, would share pictures of partially clothed women with his fellow employees. These were pictures of women with whom he claimed he had committed adultery.
  • What kind of father would not have a clue about this activity?

For the most part, I have no idea what kind of massive failures you are involved in unless you share that information with the wrong people or you speak too freely.

Watch Paul’s response.

“And you stay proud? Shouldn’t you rather have felt some sadness that would have led you to remove from your company the man who has done this thing?” 1 Corinthians 5:2 CJB 

Think about this for a moment; under ideal circumstances, which rarely happens in church communities, we are supposed to be able to share, or confess, if you will, our shortcomings and struggles. Assuming we feel safe enough to share the worst of it, and the group reacts poorly to what you say, and removes you from the entire church community, where else do you go? If you were serious about wanting some change in your life, what then becomes of you if they excommunicate you? It all seems a bit short-sighted, unless, your sin (missing the mark – or moral standard set up by the community,) is something intentional, blatant, forward, and little more than bragging.

Another example that may help us all understand.

Many years ago, there was a television pastor by the name of Dr. Gene Scott. He was an intense man, who had done his homework and taught with a passion I rarely see. But, Dr. Scott also understood this grace that Paul preached, to the point of taking it much too far. He seemed to ignore Paul’s words, which tell us that we are not to offend our weaker brothers. Dr. Scott’s attitude was more of buckle up, shut up, and hang on. I stopped watching him when he began to sip scotch and smoke cigars while he taught.

Perhaps this brother in Christ we see in 1 Cor 5:1 had a much broader vision of grace than I have. I find myself struggling with the grace some people live in; not because they are “sinning” but because my childhood and early church indoctrination pushed me toward a life of restrictions, and therefore I struggle with the personal freedoms of others when I want to have a little freedom myself.

Paul’s solution to a horrendous sin problem within the church.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5 CJB  For I myself, even though I am absent physically, am with you spiritually; and I have already judged the man who has done this as if I were present.  (4)  In the name of the Lord Yeshua, when you are assembled, with me present spiritually and the power of our Lord Yeshua among us,  (5)  hand over such a person to the Adversary for his old nature to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.

This scenario wasn’t just about the man sleeping with his father’s wife; the whole church, by their lack of action, seems to have played some sick role in this.

1 Corinthians 5:6 NLT  Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?

Who is Paul talking to when he says, “your boasting about this is terrible.”? He is talking about the congregation.

We have such a twisted idea of manhood if we feel that we have to smile, laugh, and condone garbage like this. I see this type of activity as high school jock mentality, and sadly it emanates from broken father-son relationships.

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NLT  When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin.  (10)  But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.  (11)  I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.

The idea of sexual sin seems so disgusting, especially when you think about how you might come to know this information. If it is shared in small groups, it is supposed to stay private within the group, unless it is harmful or illegal; even then, let management handle it. But what of this terminology which we find so much easier to accept, like people who are: greedy, abusive, or one who cheats people. These individuals are people within the church body, and apparently, they are bragging about what they do.

So, if we deal with problems aren’t we then judging? Again, watch what Paul says,

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 NLT  It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.  (13)  God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

  • It is NOT my responsibility to judge outsiders, Why not? Because Jesus took all wrath and judgment upon himself on the cross. The only thing left to be judged would be, what did you do with Jesus?
  • but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” Paul already spelled out what that looks like, and it doesn’t have to be a colossal waste of words, although I can almost guarantee you that the offender will believe they deserve punishment.

“In the name of the Lord Yeshua, when you are assembled, with me present spiritually and the power of our Lord Yeshua among us, hand over such a person to the Adversary for his old nature to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.”

So, it is not merely sending the person to hell, as many seem to desire, but the eventual preservation of the soul in the Day of the Lord.

How can that be? Because Jesus NEVER lost one that was His. Imagine what this does to Judas?

  • “ God will judge those on the outside.”

In Deuteronomy 17 God lays out the details for dealing with anything God finds detestable. Here is the Complete Jewish Bible version on this.

If there is found among you, within any of your gates [in any city] that Adonai your God gives you, a man or woman who does what Adonai your God sees as wicked, transgressing his covenant by going and serving other gods and worshiping them, the sun, the moon, or anything in the sky—something I have forbidden— and it is told to you, or you hear about it; then you are to investigate the matter diligently. If it is true; if it is confirmed that such detestable things are being done in Israel; then you are to bring the man or woman who has done this wicked thing to your city gates, and stone that man or woman to death. The death sentence is to be carried out only if there was testimony from two or three witnesses; he may not be sentenced to death on the testimony of only one witness. The witnesses are to be the first to stone him to death; afterward, all the people are to stone him. Thus you will put an end to this wickedness among you. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7 CJB)

All of this leads to 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 and the question that was presented to me, as the result of this challenge by the university students, when they asked if angels were superior to humans?

Since my friend typically barrages me with several random questions each evening, this was no different. In this case, he gave them a reasonable answer and was looking to validate his response to them.

1 Corinthians 6:1-3 CJB  How dare one of you with a complaint against another go to court before pagan judges and not before God’s people?  (2)  Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?  (3)  Don’t you know that we will judge angels, not to mention affairs of everyday life?

From the information we obtain in verse three, one might reasonably assume that we are superior to the angels. Since we know that Satan and his band of fallen angels have already been judged, then why should God need us to do any further judging? It is preposterous to think that we should judge Michael or Gabriel for not moving quick enough, when they are typically busy, on our behalf, fighting what seems like a life or death struggle with demons bent on our destruction. So the obvious conclusion is that there is something here that goes beyond merely judging, the answer to which might require us to look at the original words that constitute the sentence.

To judge is the Greek word kékrika, and it means to separate, distinguish, discriminate between good and evil, select, choose out the good. In the NT, it means to judge, to form or give an opinion after separating and considering the particulars of a case. Word Study Dictionary

If we are to separate, then I can easily associate this Jesus separating the wheat from the tares. You do realize that wheat and tares (weeds such as foxtails,) have similar properties. For some, telling them apart could be difficult. Perhaps what we should be concerned with is the idea that the angels are not so dissimilar. But angels are not the only thing we will judge.

We will judge the universe, but what does that look like?

The universe or the world is the Greek word kosmos and means the orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants.) Strong’s concordance

Since Isaiah 45:18 tells us that the earth was made to be lived in, then we can only assume that the “orderly arrangement,” was right or perfect. Genesis 1:2 speaks in opposition of this orderly arrangement. The obvious point here is that something horrendous happened. We know that God made a garden called Eden and put it in the center, but that doesn’t speak to the extremities, and this may play a role in this restoration of orderly arrangement.

Again, how or why would we do that? We wouldn’t unless we are in Christ (integrated) as we are, and because of this integrated relationship however Christ judges we judge, and His judgments are true and right. While angels are created beings, we are created in God’s image, and because we are in Christ, then we are also God’s sons and will one day rule over the angels.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, angels, bible study, fallen angels, God's character, grace, In Christ, judge angels, judgment, pagans, Saints, sexual sin, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Romans 1:1. Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus.

To be honest, I am not sure what direction to take this study for several reasons. For one, Romans is very intense and designed to build us up in Christ. That is not a bad thing as the words Paul brings us, build a solid basis for who we are in Christ. As you can see below, my journey into verse one has taken at least a page unto itself. Considering that it took me six months to complete a study on the book of Micah, I am not sure how long this will take. Additionally, I have a personal reason to study Romans, as a group I sit with will soon be going through the book of Romans and I prefer to be prepared for discussions.

With that, let’s dive in and see where this will take us.

Romans 1:1 NLT  This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.’

Pay attention to the phrase Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus.

For me, as a young man, slavery had a negative connotation, and I think that much of that came from the nightly news, as every broadcast in the ’60s and ’70s was filled with people of color marching for the right to treated like human beings. Much like the assassination of President John Kennedy, we watched Dr. Martin Luther King get assassinated, while white Southern police brutally beat the blacks who marched in protest.

In my home, it meant I had no right to have any say over my own life, and, it meant brutal, unjust treatment. Raised in a “Christian” home, I was taught that if I defended myself from some bully at school, and my mother found out about it, I would be handed over to dad for an additional beating after he would come home from work. Another aspect of my “Christian” upbringing, was being told, repeatedly, that the Bible teaches us to turn the other cheek; by my mom’s standards that meant that I was supposed to allow some school bully to keep punching me until I was spinning like a top or unconscious.

So, all this damage I am spewing is associated with the notion of slavery.

Slavery is the Greek word doúlos and means one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other. WSD

The idea of being a slave, especially on purpose, repulsed me for years. What changed me because I am no longer taken back by the idea of being a slave to Christ, but long for it?

It has been a couple of things.

Having gone through what I call my “dark night of the soul,” I began to study my Bible intentionally – a journey that has been going on for over eleven years. My work schedule, at the time, was such that I had to be at work at seven in the morning and I had to drive through some wretched drive-time traffic to get there. Leaving an hour earlier, I was now within proximity of work, I bypassed the mad rush of traffic, and I could quietly eat my breakfast and read my Bible. Reading, seemed pointless at first as I felt dead inside, and the words were the same lifeless words I had heard before. I can remember crying out to God and saying if this dead feeling does not change then I cannot and will not keep doing this. I need you to make the words come alive, and they did.

There was another facet of my understanding that had to change. Aware that religion had taught me cute stories – narratives that enforced how my parents and church wanted me to see Jesus and God; therefore, a component of my reading and writing was an intentional and purposeful hunt to find the nature and character of God. With the understanding that Jesus is God, I began to study the gospels where the actions and words of Jesus were laid out before me. If my perception was correct, and Jesus was God, then I was seeing God in action. I could not worry about the “law” with all its regulations; I merely observed the life of Jesus. A significant example of God’s character was displayed when the temple rulers brought a woman caught in adultery. How odd, since adultery always requires two participants and it is typically the man who makes the moves on the woman, and yet, there was no man presented to Jesus that day. While the elders were looking for Jesus to condemn her, He most likely rebuked them as He wrote in the dirt. But then the most amazing thing happened as he showed the woman mercy.

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A heavily modified version of an old post on Hebrews 5:11. It’s hard for you to learn.

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. (Hebrews 5:11, NIV)

With an opening like this, many could perceive this as an insult. The writer of Hebrews may well have meant it to be just that, a shot at this particular group of Hebrew converts that made up a portion of the early church.

We have much to say about this,”

“What is the “this” the author is speaking of?” Obviously, by starting here, we have lost critical components of the conversation and therefore have missed the context. We find the context by returning briefly to Hebrews 5:1-10. Chapter five of Hebrews opens by speaking of Jesus as the better high priest, ordained by God. Because he achieved all this as a man, He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.

but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.”

I, for the longest time, thought of myself as a slow learner. It turns out that I am more of a visual learner, for once I get the imagery in my head, that scriptural scene usually stays with me forever. So, when it comes to my experiences in comprehending the Bible, the understanding has come through repetition and a great deal of writing. The writing has been my opportunity to ask God my questions, no matter how awkward or embarrassing, and put forth my heartfelt challenges. (A comparison for this would be a friend of mine who feels he is comfortable enough to say, God, lied about some situation! It might be how he feels at the time, as he searches for more appropriate words to express himself; but the reality is, God cannot lie, and my friend needs to grasp that concept.)

In our journey through Hebrews, we come to recognize that the entire book is in part a discourse proclaiming the superiority of Christ and why.

The cross plays a dominant role in this affirmation and here is why:

  • “His reverent submission.” (Hebrews 5:7)

Jesus voluntarily became a man; set aside His glory and position with the Father; submitted to death not only in his body but in his spirit; and, he did all this as a man.

  • yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)

There is more to this than what the eye can see. It will require you to think it through.

J. Vernon McGee said this in his commentary on chapter 5 of Hebrews, “What is obedience? A crowd of people asked Jesus, “… What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (Joh_6:28). Jesus replied, “… This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (Joh_6:29). Do you want to obey God? Then trust Christ. That is what He is saying.”

Maybe we should be paying attention to words like Dr. McGee’s. Since so few of us trust Christ, try to imagine having to trust the Father God with your life – Jesus did.

Dr. McGee goes on to say, that in all honesty, there is something here he did not understand; “Why did the Son of God need to learn obedience by suffering? And why did He need to be made perfect when He already was perfect?” Dr. McGee proposes perhaps the best answer one can give – “Now I am well acquainted with the explanation that men gave, but none of them satisfy me. I just recognize that it is a great mystery.” For myself, I have learned to relax in the knowledge that He loves me, just as He loves you, and that Jesus was willing to go through horrible punishment for us.

  • “and once made perfect.” (Hebrews 5:9)

The NIV translates the verse right before this as, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” That obedience is one of the things that made Him perfect.

A couple of things jump out at me when I read that He was made perfect. Jesus was and is God; John chapter one spells that out for us when it says, He spoke the worlds into existence. I know that God, Jesus, Holy Spirit being God thing is hard to handle, but none the less, it is what it is. Therefore, His voluntarily stepping down to be a human disabled Him in a sense; at least momentarily. Think about that; He became a human – a defenseless baby, dependent upon Mary to nurse and change His diapers. He, like victims of trauma often do, had to learn to walk and talk all over again. Any powers associated with the Father were set aside until He learned who He was and what His powers were, just as we have to do.

This transition from heaven to earth provokes my second thought.

Because Mary, at such an early age, had enough strength of character that she was able to stand her ground and say, He is the Son of God, it did not fare well with anybody and gossip spread quickly. No one was buying Mary’s story, and for a time, neither did Joseph. Jesus, once he was born, was now reliant upon the protective covering of Joseph. Without this covering, He would have been thought of and treated as nothing more than an illegitimate child of an unnamed father. Accusations like this should have prevented Him from entering a Synagogue, or being taught in a Rabbinical school; and yet, what do we see, Jesus, at the age of accountability amazing the teachers in the synagogue with His understanding and knowledge. Where would He have learned all the things necessary to make Him who He became?

1. Joseph, we are told, was a good man. This title does not necessarily mean he fared well in the community; it says he too knew the Torah and Talmud and by repetition taught Jesus.
2. At Jesus baptism in the Jordan by John, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit leads us and guide us into all truth, and, in the case of Jesus, led Him into the wilderness for forty days. We do not see Satan enter that picture until Jesus experienced a painful hunger at the end of that forty days. So, what was Jesus doing all that time? Talking to the God He had come to understand and recognize as His own Father.

Is there any doubt that He was perfect?

He was born through a woman who merely carried God’s fertilized egg. This course of action is the way it had to be done to bypass the inherent brokenness that came to every human through Adam; this course action, on God’s part, made Him sinless (that means, like us, He was not driven to satisfy personal desires.) And, we learn that He followed the will of the Father precisely; and yet, Jesus the Son is being made perfect again. John’s gospel tells us that he is God, was with God, created all things by his word, and upholds all things by the word of his power; and yet, Hebrews has God restoring him to power. Why? Because God was restoring His firstborn Son, given to be sin, back to His rightful position of authority, seated next to the Father in heaven.

  • “he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9)

God alone has the power to give life. However, Jesus told the Jews that he was God, and they very clearly understood that because they immediately tried to kill for making that claim. There was nothing veiled about what Jesus said, and yet, here again, we have a description of Jesus becoming the source of eternal salvation. To and for whom did He become the source of eternal salvation? All who obey him. (None of us do that entirely, but His grace is sufficient enough to ensure the salvation of all who believe.)

  • “designated by God to be High Priest.” (Hebrews 5:10)

Pay attention to the patterns for this is what the Jewish mind is accustomed to when analyzing prophecy. Aaron was a man, and God chose him. Look for patterns (this is what the Jewish mind is accustomed to when examining prophecy) Aaron was a pattern, but there is another clue here. Not after the order of Man but after the order or example of Melchizedek. A man who had no beginning and no end, appointed by God to be High Priest. Why? Because humankind had a limited lifespan and would have to have been replaced. Jesus, like Melchizedek, now continues because He was raised from the dead. Those who serve in the priesthood are born with a broken nature and must offer sacrifices for their failings before offering a sacrifice for others. It is true, that Jesus was born without sin, but could have given himself over to the desires of the flesh, as Satan pushed opportunities at Him, and yet He did not.

The explanations for why Jesus is superior is cloaked in references to the cross and his death.

There are two forms of death: Physical and spiritual. To be spiritually dead is to be separated from God, and Christ, for the first time experienced a separation from the Father. We call it his death, and no doubt the body was killed, but when John talks about death in Revelation 20, he refers to the second death. Christ’s body was not the only thing that died on the cross that day. Jesus, himself, attests to that by saying “my God, why have you forsaken me.”

Everything in scripture is a pattern, and we have Abraham for a model. When Isaac asked where is the sacrifice, Abraham answers “God will provide himself a sacrifice,” and that is precisely what happened that day on the cross.

Adam was the pattern for the man Jesus would become, and neither had experienced what it was like to be separated from God. Look at our Genesis account for the pattern. God made it clear to Adam what would happen on the day He ate from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil – death; and yet, did Adam die that day? Not to the physical eye, but he did spiritually, as he lost his connection to God. Try to keep in mind that God is not a liar and He did say that day. Some will look at this as the eventual death of Adam, which came almost nine-hundred years later. Still, if Adam’s physical death was all that was implied, then that still makes God a liar, for it did not occur that day. I believe that Adam understood what God meant when God explained what would happen; that is what made Adam’s act of disobedience such a critical, treasonous error. It would seem only a few have experienced anything close to that kind of intimacy: Adam, who relinquished his relationship; Enoch, who walked off this earth, and Jesus, who was killed because he proclaimed his relationship with the Father. Of those moments that I feel separated from Him, I think I can equate it to being underwater, and not being able to breathe. Your spirit, much like your lungs need air, desperately seeks a relationship with the creator.

So, here we are back at Hebrews 5:11 where it says, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.”

Why would the writer of this letter to the Hebrews know the recipient’s spiritual state?

Perhaps he had been one of their teachers. With the Law and the prophets only written on scrolls – the majority of which were held within the communities Synagogue because of rarity and expense, there were no books to enlighten the new converts about the latest theories on how grace and spiritual laws work; and, surely there was no New Testament, for it was being written as they spoke.

Another safe assumption is that these were exclusively Jewish believers considering that the entire book is a letter to the Hebrews.

Jews in the compulsory Rabbinical schools were trained in the Torah and Talmud. Now, not everyone was a scholar like Saul/Paul, but within the Jewish community has a firm grasp of history and high Holy days was mandatory. Therefore, the knowledge of God’s grace had to come through the same documents that the religious leadership used to control people with its many burdensome laws. The most significant input the new church had, would have been oral tradition and inspiration given through the Holy Spirit. Paul was a perfect example of one of those people, as he and a handful of others began to grasp the grace that God was trying to tell us.

Look at Hebrews 6:1-2 to get an idea of what the basics were/are; not one of these can be taught in 10 minutes.

  • Basic teachings about Christ.
  • The fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds.
  • Placing our faith in God.
  • Instructions about baptisms.
  • Instructions about the laying on of hands.
  • The resurrection of the dead.
  • Eternal Judgment.

What would make this hard to explain?

I would not think that it is the telling of the story of Jesus that is difficult; although the trip to the cross can be graphic and gory. Perhaps the visualization of cross sets many people at odds with the cross. Having heard angry arguments against Jesus descending to hell and taking the keys away from Satan, I can presume that many others with their religious mindset fight against the cross. We also know that many have a cloak over their eyes, and therefore their physical mind cannot grasp the impact of the cross. And then, there are those who are not willing to spend any time looking into God’s word, and therefore, will not find freedom.

What happened from the cross to the throne is what makes those of us who follow Him who we are. It is what made Jesus who He is, and it is what prompted God to call him our great High Priest, and the one who mediates for us continually. God so desperately wanted to restore that relationship with you that he allowed his Son to die for you, and Jesus voluntarily set aside the glory he had with the Father to be the required sacrifice so that you might live. All that Christ did was done for you.

Posted in Apostasy, bible study, End times, false teaching, God's character, grace, Hebrews, Hope, hypocrisy, In Christ, Jerusalem, Jesus, judgment, Mercy, redemption, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In the midst of a conversation, the statement was made, that the 144,000 get raptured. Sorry, I could not let it lie.

A statement was made that indicated that the one hundred and forty-four thousand bond-servants, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel, would be caught up in the rapture of the church.

When we do a lookup of either, the numeric value 144,000, or, the term written out, we only find three references; all of which occur within the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which John wrote.

The first reference to the 144,000 is in Revelation 7 where we see four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so that they did not blow on the earth or sea, or even on any tree. What does that mean to those who are here? It says the average mean temperature is going to rise by at least 10- 15 degrees. Along with all the other horrors that will be going on during this time of judgment, it will be unbearably hot.

In Revelation 7:2,3 we see an angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. This angel shouted to the four angels, who had been given the power to harm the land and sea, “Wait! Don’t harm the land and sea or trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.

Revelation 7:4 NLT states, I heard how many were marked with the seal of God – 144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel.

Those who are sealed are specifically from the tribes of Israel, not Jehovah’s witnesses. Verses 5-8 spell out how 12,000 from the sons of Israel were chosen from the tribes listed there.

Now the oddity in this story, if we were to keep reading, is that Revelation 7:9 immediately takes the reader into the throne room of God, where a vast crowd, too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, are found standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. These were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands. 7:10 tells us, they were shouting with a great roar, Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!

In Revelation 7: 13 John asks, who are these people and where did they come from? The answer is given in verse 14 where a voice responds; you are the one who knows. The speaker then explains, “these are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white. (And) That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his temple.”

What’s the point so far?

If I were to try and understand who the 144,000 are from a chronological standpoint, based upon what I see in the following verses, all this is happening within the seven years of wrath. Since we see an uncountable multitude standing before the throne, then there would have to have been a terrifying rush to kill people who have chosen to follow Christ early on, or enough time has passed to attain such numbers. This scenario is in consideration of the fact that three and one-half years into the seven, the false prophet will be unleashed upon the world. According to Islam, this man will be the enforcer of Sharia law, and the chopping off of the head is the primary method of killing.

The other place we find the 144,000 is in Revelation chapter 14.

“Then I looked, and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Tziyon (Zion); and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing waters and like the sound of pealing thunder; the sound I heard was also like that of harpists playing on their harps. They were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living beings and the elders, and no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who have been ransomed from the world. These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins; they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they have been ransomed from among humanity as firstfruits for God and the Lamb; on their lips, no lie was found—they are without defect.”(Revelation 14:1-5 CJB)

The Lamb, of course, is Jesus the Messiah; and, if He is standing on Mount Zion, then He has returned victoriously and returned the earth into the hands of the Almighty God. Since the 144,000 are, to the best of our knowledge, witnesses to the Jews during the time of wrath, then it is evident that their work is completed.

Look at a scene king David painted with words over three thousand years ago.
Psalms 2:1-6 ESV  Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  (2)  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,  (3)  “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”  (4)  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.  (5)  Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,  (6)  “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

David was talking about events that happen within and moments after the time of wrath – this time of wrath is the same thing most of the modern church mistakenly calls “The Great Tribulation.” Within this horrific time of tribulation, there will be a period in which the slaughter becomes even more numerous, and that is the time that Jesus spoke of when He said if God does not cut the time short no one would survive.

Since God seals the 144,000, they are untouchable and cannot be exterminated; at least we know that they cannot be killed by the things God is unleashing upon the land. However, we have no evidence that any of these died.

  • That would mean that they were not raptured.
  • And, it most likely means that they are alive today.
  • There is nothing that says they are exclusively in Israel, for we have Jews all over the world.
Posted in 144000, bible study, End times, Israel, Our being caught up, rapture, Revelation, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s steadfast love and compassion. Micah 7:18-20.

This post will be the end of our journey through Micah’s prophecy.

The NLT translation headlines this section as,

God’s Steadfast Love and Compassion

If you have been following my study on Micah, then you will agree that what Micah had to say was hard to hear. Much applies to our lives although we don’t want to admit it, but pay attention to the last three verses.

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago. (Micah 7:18-20 NLT)

  • Where is another God like you? Many translations say it like this, Who is a God like you, as though there was something out there to compare Him to.

An acquaintance of mine, vehemently said, Jesus cannot come back because not everyone has heard the gospel, and yet those same people who have not heard the gospel serve a multitude of gods, many of which are carved out of the trees or palm branches near them. So then, what is the distinction?

  • [It is God] “who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?” (NIV)

The ERV translation puts it this way – You take away people’s guilt. What other god, if there is one, does that? Ponder this statement, “You take away people’s guilt,” for a moment. Where else do we see this theme? For most of us, our minds look to the New Testament, but it is a theme repeatedly found in the Old Testament; one example is found in Exodus. Sadly, in the Old Testament, forgiveness was only temporary and required the death of a sacrificial animal, but with the New Testament, Jesus was that lamb, and He too was sacrificed once for the sins of the world. Jesus alone had that authority. Luke’s gospel tells us that this forgiveness would be proclaimed to all. This process we see in Luke’s gospel, how that Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, is critical in God’s plan to regain His creation, humankind, back again.

  • The CEV translation phrases verse 18 like this, “We are all that is left of your chosen people, and you freely forgive our sin and guilt.”

I have sat in a Bible study, led by a man who is willing to tell you that no Jews advance into the millennium. In light of Micah’s statement, and what Luke tells us, everyone who believes receives this forgiveness and therefore obtains eternal salvation and life with the Father. Religion constantly berates us for sin, almost as if the cross did not exist. But the cross indeed happened, and sins were forgiven. That is one of the reasons why both the Gentile and the Jew are forgiven. The burning question then will be, what did you do with the Son, the Messiah I sent to you? If you are a student of the Bible, then you know that there is a time of wrath coming. Sadly, we the church improperly call this time, the Great Tribulation when it is a time of wrath and judgment. An aspect of that judgment is against Israel for their rebellion and rejection. God told them it would come, and it will, but during this horrid time, many will come to understand that Jesus is the longed-for Messiah God. Understanding and believing are the requirements to obtain this eternal salvation, but once you are in the time of wrath, you must endure what that period holds.

  • Many ask, what is God’s character, and how can I know that? Well, here is one of those examples that tell us what His character is – “ because you delight in showing unfailing love.”

How did Micah know that? Because he and others like him were taught an oral history; a history that spoke of examples of God’s love and mercy. There is no doubt that these stories were all intertwined with what seemed like perpetual war, but then that is what this community, called God’s people, has been done since they left Egypt. Why call Israel a community at war? Because their mission, under God’s orders, was to take the land God promised, and there was no way of doing that without conflict; that is why practically every story we read has a thread of bloodshed in it. I could not help but think about Jonah when I read this statement. The majority of the story we get on Jonah shows us a man, without reason, doing his best to escape God’s directive to go to Nineveh. Bypassing all the details in-between, Jonah arrives at Nineveh and exclaims, 40 days and you are dead! This judgment is precisely what Jonah wanted; however, they repented, and God relented – showing them mercy (for the time being.) Where we find Jonah’s real motive is at the end of the story where he says, I knew you would do that! What did God do? He delighted in showing His unfailing love to these barbaric Assyrians.

  • Once again you will have compassion on us.”

While God is always looking for ways to show compassion, the reality is that this will happen after Jesus comes back as the warring Messiah. Then compassion will be seen for not just God’s people, but all who accept Him. 1000 years of peace, a time I have a hard time picturing.

  • You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!”

This verse has a familiar theme for me. Compare this statement above with a couple of others. Psalms 103:9-14 speaks of God’s love for all who worship Him, and, how far He has separated us from our sins. Look at what Isaiah says. Jeremiah also speaks of God forgiveness. And lastly, Daniel reminds us that there is a price to be paid for sins – we have laws that uphold those penalties, but God, for reasons not explained in this verse, will put an end to their sin, atone for their guilt, and bring in everlasting righteousness? My opinion is somewhat irrelevant, but I see much of this happening on the cross. The requirement, on our part, is to believe in the Son. I suppose that means that I, in time, comprehend all that He did, but for now, to believe is enough.

  • Micah 7:20 NLT  You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.

Once again, with men like Jeptha, Gideon, and Samson, all you focus on is the violence as they tried to free their people, but maybe that is where the faithfulness and unfailing love is hidden in the background as God is calling Israel back to Himself. A friend of mine seems to be undone by the possibility that God created evil. He heard Radio Pastor John MacArthur say God created evil. At this point, my friend became so inflamed that he turned off the radio and swore never to listen to Pastor MacArthur again. Perhaps created is an entirely inappropriate choice of words, and here is why. I hate when Pastors say, “this is what James is saying,” this is especially redundant and insulting when it is obvious what, in this case, James is telling us. Consider the logic as we learn that:

  • it is not possible for God to be tested by evil.”

Fortunately, we have an explanation, for God spoke about the person who foolishly says, God put me through this test or evil.

  • and He tempts no one.” (MKJV)

That would eliminate Him tempting or testing you and I. My friend, influenced by far too many voices, suggests that God instilled Adam with evil. If you read the creation account, you see nothing that indicates that, and there is definitive evidence that Adam and Eve obtained the knowledge of evil through the consumption of the fruit of the tree that represented that knowledge.

Let’s play out one more scenario. If God, as Isaiah tells us, created evil, and humankind, in the spirit form, is made in the likeness of God, why wouldn’t Adam know evil as well? To answer the question I need to understand what Isaiah said!
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7 KJV 

Formyāṣar: A verb meaning to form, to fashion, to shape, to devise. The primary meaning of the word is derived from the idea of cutting or framing. [Word Study Dictionary]

The word create. Heb. bara, Poel Participle, which with “evil” requires the rendering “bring about.” So I can understand the idea of creation, in Isaiah 45:7, as God brought about.

Light – the Hebrew word ’ôr. It is a masculine noun meaning light. In a literal sense, it is used primarily to refer to light from heavenly bodies.

Darkness is the same word we see in Genesis chapter one where we find the creation account. Most innocently read Genesis 1:2 where it says, “and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” and see the earth as a place that simply had no light. But an in-depth look into a simple word like darkness and you find something ominous.

Darknesschôshek the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: – dark (-ness), night, obscurity.

Isaiah gives us one more word, evil.

Evil is the Hebrew word ra‛ or râ‛âh. It means bad or (as noun) evil (naturally or morally). This includes the second (feminine) form; as adjective or noun: – adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, displeasure, distress,

But, in speaking through Isaiah, only moments later, we get this:

“For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:18 NLT 

He (God) made the earth perfectly, and, inhabitable from the moment of its origination; and yet, something appears to have happened, and because of that we find the earth covered in darkness – chaos. Isaiah distinctly tells us that God brought about evil. Since God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt any man with evil, then evil must have come from some other direction or source, and God, in time, had to allow it to be brought forth; we see that happening with Adam at the forbidden tree of knowledge. Jesus told us that He beheld Satan fall like lighting to the earth. Since Satan’s one purpose in life now is to usurp God’s authority and position, then it is safe to assume that the evil, calamity, distress, and adversity came with him.

  • [What does the BBE translation of James 1:13-17 say?] But every man is tested when he is turned out of the right way by the attraction of his desire.”

So, are you telling me that Eve was turned out of the right way because of personal desires? Yes. The MKJV puts it this way – But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them.” Having struggled most of my life with self-esteem issues, I asked a counselor that used hypnotism about how this is done; this was important to me as I desire freedom from the fear associated with low self-esteem, and, I have seen stage shows where people do odd things like acting like a chicken. On a positive note, I have also seen a hypnotist get a lady past her morbid fear of snakes. When he was done with her, she was comfortable enough to hold a rather large snake. The counselor I spoke with, told me that the people doing odd things have a deeply inset desire to do those things and that these are the same people who drastically change with alcohol consumption. The counselor also told me that there was nothing they could make a person do if it is against their will. So, the hypnotized are only acting out upon their lusts/desires. In the MKJV you can see that they used the word lusts in James 1:13-17. Many perceive lusts as purely sexual, but it is not. Lusts are only desires that you have, like a fast or flashy car. In the case of Eve, she saw that the tree was not only good for food but that it gave you knowledge. The problem is that it was a knowledge that was not beneficial, for so many reasons; nor did she understand or care that her actions included the genetic alteration of the human species from that point forward – this is the best way for me to understand how we could all be born into sin.

Posted in bible study, creation, Creation, End times, forgive, gentiles, God's character, grace, Hope, Jews, judgment, Mercy, Micah, Prophetic, Sin, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment