Hello; and welcome to a collection of odds and ends from the Bible that come in handy now and then for just about everybody that's just starting out.
The Difference Between The Old Testament And The New
The Everlasting Gospel
The Length Of A Creation Day
To Infinity And Beyond
Day And Night
The Image And Likeness Of God
Non Binary Identification
Why Adam Didn't Drop Dead
Why Everyone Has To Die At Least Once
Why Cain Was Rejected
Why God Didn't Execute Cain For Murder
From Whence Cain Got A Wife
How The Critters Got To Noah
The Fate Of Noah's Ark
Abraham And Hagar
Abraham And Ex Post Facto
Abraham And The Stars
Who/What The Firstborn Is
David's Little Boy
The Meaning Of "Under The Law"
What/Who The Schoolmaster Is
The Brazen Serpent
The Sin Nature
When To Obtain Eternal Life
The Difference Between The Old Testament And The New
This major division in the Bible is primarily editorial; viz: it's man-made instead of God-made; but the division is pretty harmless and actually quite useful.
In a (very small) nutshell:
1• The simplest difference is chronological, i.e. the Old Testament focuses upon the Jews' religious history prior to Christ's birth, while the New focuses upon the world's introduction to Christianity in connection with Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.
2• "Old Testament" refers to the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
3• "New Testament" refers to the covenant that Yhvh's people will eventually agree upon with God as per Jeremiah 31:31-34.
The Everlasting Gospel
This particular gospel is a bounce from the first chapter of Genesis.
● Rev 14:6-7 . . And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the everlasting gospel to preach to the people who dwell on the earth— to every nation, tribe, language, and people. Fear God! he shouted. Give glory to Him! For the time has come when He will sit as judge. Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all the springs of water!
It's easy to mistake the everlasting gospel for the gospel of Christ but neither Christ's name nor his crucifixion and resurrection are anywhere in the angel's message.
The everlasting gospel is very elementary. Pretty much all it says is:
1• There is a supreme being.
2• He deserves respect.
3• There's a frightful reckoning looming on the horizon, and
4• The cosmos— all of its forms of life, matter, and energy —is the product of intelligent design.
The Length Of A Creation Day
To Infinity And Beyond
● Gen 1:14-18 . . God said: Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to distinguish Day from Night; they shall serve as signs for the set times— the days and the years; and they shall serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth.
. . . And it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to distinguish light from darkness.
At that point in biblical history, "stars" no doubt indicated all objects in the heavens that blazed with light (other than the Sun and Moon) seeing as how it would be a very long time before humanity began categorizing some of the stars as planets.
I think it's important to emphasize that in the beginning God "set" the stars in the sky just as he set the Sun and the Moon in the sky, i.e. celestial objects didn't arrange themselves all by themselves sans any intelligent supervision whatsoever; no, they were placed; and not only were they set in place, but also set in motion— nothing in the entire cosmos is standing still, though many things appear to be.
According to Gen 1:15, stars illuminated the Earth on the day that God made them.
Well; the only stars whose shine is of any practical use as illumination on the Earth are those of the Milky Way; which is estimated 100,000 to 180,000 light years in diameter. Of course light from stars nearest our location in the galaxy would begin dousing the earth with illumination long before those at the far side.
For example, light from Alpha Centauri takes only about 4½ years to reach Earth while light from Alpha Orionis (a.k.a. Betelgeuse) takes about 640. There are quite a few stars whose illumination reaches Earth in less than 50 years. But whether 4½ years, 50 years, 640 years, or 180,000 years; the time involved is insignificant if we but allow the days of creation to be epochs of indeterminate length rather than 24-hour events.
But what's the point of putting all those objects out there in space? Well, for one thing, they're not only brain teasers; but they're actually quite pretty. Celestial objects decorate the night sky like the ornamentation people put up during holidays. The night sky would sure be a bore if it was totally black. Decorated with stars; the night sky is like a beautiful tapestry, or a celestial Sistine Chapel.
"The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork." (Ps 19:2)
Celestial objects make better sense that way than to try and find some other meaning for them. The universe is simply a magnificent work of art— just as intriguing, if not more so, than the works of Picasso, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Monet, Vermeer, and da Vinci —testifying to the genius of an engineer-artist without peer. I doubt the stars were ever meant to be a home for Mr. ET.
Sadly, a number of very intelligent people like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson look to the sky for the wrong reasons. Personally, I think it's futile to look to the sky for SETI reasons. Why not just look to the sky for inspiration instead of intelligent extraterrestrial life? What's so bad about visiting the sky as a Metropolitan Museum of your maker's many-faceted talents?
"For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made." (Rom 1:19-20)
Day And Night
● Gen 1:4b-5a . . God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.
Day and Night simply label two distinct, and opposite, conditions— the absence of light, and/or the absence of darkness. Defining those conditions may seem like a superfluous detail, but when analyzing the chronology of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, it's essential to keep days and nights separate. When people attempt to define "day" as a twenty-four hour amalgam of light and darkness, they invariably come up with some rather convoluted interpretations of Matt 12:40.
● Gen 1:14 . . God said: Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to distinguish Day from Night
On the first day; God defined Day as a condition of light; and defined Night as a condition of darkness. Here, it's further defined that Day, as pertains to life on Earth, is when the sun is up; and Night is when the sun is down.
The Image And Likeness Of God
Non Binary Identification
The non binary political movement consists of people who shun labeling their gender as either male or female, and prefer to speak of themselves with neuter pronouns, for example: it, its, that, they, and them.
I've no reservations whatsoever that humanity's creator regards non gender people as freaks of nature; in other words: non gender people are not of His making because His making was two genders: male and female.
● Gen 1:27 . . God created Man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
● Matt 19:4 . . Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female?
If people can't agree with humanity's creator on something as elementary as their gender designations as per Gen 1:27 and Matt 19:4, then I have to assume that they disagree with Him on many other issues far more important than that.
There's a term for people unable to accept themselves as the person they really are. I think it might be called Dissociative Disorder. Political correctness requires that they be "included" but God-honoring Christian churches dare not accept into their official membership roles someone known to be non binary.
● Heb 12:15 . . See to it that no one misses the grace of God, and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
A bitter root is one belonging to a species unfit for human consumption. When you find noxious vegetation sprouting in your garden, you've got to get out there with a hoe and dig that stuff up before it spreads out of control.
FYI: Hebrews 12:15 doesn't apply to the world at large. It only applies to the official membership roles of a Christian congregation, i.e. non binary folk can come to church on Sunday and listen to the choir and the pastor's sermon as visitors if they like; no harm in that.
NOTE: Prince Rogers Nelson (a.k.a. Prince the entertainer) at one time decided he didn't want to be known by a name spelled with letters and so created an unpronounceable symbol for himself; but of course he continued to be known as Prince.
Point being: though non binary people wish not to be described as boys and girls and/or men and women and/or males and females, nor referred to by gender-specific pronouns; they are still seen that way by everybody else. The quest to disown their gender is not only a fight against nature and common sense, but also a fight against God. They might succeed in gaining a measure of legal protection; but never in a million years will they gain people's honest respect; which is a very good reason to disqualify non binary folk applying for the office of elder in a Christian church.
● 1Tim 3:7 . . He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the Devil's trap.
A non binary Christian church elder would be seen by the world as a bona fide hypocrite; which can be roughly defined as somebody who should be standing for the Bible but at heart does not care to live by it. With a church officer like that; you couldn't help but wonder where else they've compromised the faith.
● Titus 1:7-9 . . He must be blameless, as the steward of God . . holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught
The Phylogenetic Tree Of Life is an interesting scientific diagram that traces all forms of life back to a singular genetic heritage regardless of species. In other words; if you started with a raccoon, and followed it's branch down the tree far enough, you'd eventually intersect with another branch that you could then trace to mushrooms. The tree is sort of the equivalent of a Big Bang of living things.
The branch on that tree that interests me the most is the one that traces human life. According to the diagram; any two people you might select— no matter what their age, race, or gender —if traced back far enough, can eventually be linked to a common ancestor; which of course is no surprise to Bible students.
● Gen 2:21-23 . .Yhvh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said: This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
The Hebrew for "rib" in that passage is tsela' (tsay-law') and Gen 2:21-23 contains the only two places in the entire Old Testament where it's translated with an English word representing a skeletal bone. In the other twenty-nine places, it's translated "side"
In other words: Eve wasn't constructed directly from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was constructed from a human tissue sample amputated from Adam's body; ergo: Eve's flesh and bone were derived from Adam's flesh and bone; consequently any and all human life produced by Eve's flesh and bone is biologically traceable to Adam's flesh and bone.
● Gen 3:20 . . Adam named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all people everywhere.
● Acts 17:26 . . He made from one man every variety of mankind to live on all the face of the earth
So then, it was the creator's deliberate design that all human life be biologically related to a sole source of human life— the one and only human life that God created directly from the earth's dust; viz: Adam. (Gen 2:7)
Why Adam Didn't Drop Dead
● Gen 2:15-17 . .The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden you are free to eat; but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for in the day you eat of it, you shall die.
Adam didn't drop dead the instant he tasted the forbidden fruit. In point of fact, he continued to live outside the garden of Eden for another 800 years after the birth of his son Seth. (Gen 5:4)
So; is there a reasonable explanation for this apparent discrepancy?
Well; first off let me point out that in order for the consequence to resonate in Adam's thinking; it had to be related to death as Adam understood it. In other words: Adam wasn't threatened to die spiritually. No, he was threatened to die normally; i.e. physically; like as in pass away.
How can I be so sure that God meant normal death? Because according to Gen 3:19 that's how it worked out; and to make sure Adam would die, God blocked his access to the tree of life. (Gen 3:22-24)
Anyway; the trick is: Adam wasn't told he would die the instant he tasted the fruit. God's exact words were "in the day"
Well; according to Gen 2:4, the Hebrew word for "day" is a bit ambiguous. It can easily indicate a period of time much, much longer than 24 hours; i.e. the day of Adam's death began the moment he ate the fruit.
That was a milestone in human history. Up till Adam tasted the fruit, the only significant day on record was the creation era. Adam inaugurated a new day by tasting the fruit— the day of death.
● Rom 5:12 . . Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men.
Well; like Jack Palance's character Curly in the movie City Slickers said: "The day ain't over yet"
● Ecc 7:2 . . It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of gaiety, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this seriously.
Q: If Adam is responsible for bringing death into the world, then how did he know what it meant to die if nothing had done so up to that point?
A: Well; as far as we can tell from the Bible, humanity is the only species that God created with the potential for immortality; viz: the other creatures— e.g. birds, beasts, and bugs —died all around Adam all the time so that "death" wasn't a strange new word in his vocabulary.
Why Everyone Has To Die At Least Once
Prior to Moses, an official code of divine law containing lethal consequences had yet to be issued.
● Rom 5:13-14 . . Before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam.
The answer is: they all had to die not because of breaking an official code of divine law; but because of Adam breaking just one rule (Gen 2:16-17). His disobedience in the matter of the forbidden fruit effected his entire posterity: both the good and the bad; the young and the old.
This is really difficult for some people to get their heads around. Nevertheless, it's very important to accept it whether one understands it or not because the apostle Paul applies this principle in his effort to explain why it is that Christ's followers never have to worry about being condemned for their sins. (Rom 5:12-21)
NOTE: Opponents are often quick to point out that Ezek 18:20 says that children don't share their father's guilt. But hey, which came first? Adam or Ezekiel? So then, since Adam's incident came along many years before Ezekiel's prophecy, then God was at liberty back then to reckon Adam's posterity as joint principals in his act of disobedience because biblical law isn't retroactive, i.e. when a law prohibiting certain things is enacted ex post facto, then it cannot be imposed upon people in the past; especially the distant past. That's a very important principle to nail down in one's thinking. (cf. Gal 3:17)
● Rom 5:12 . . Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin; and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.
Why Cain Was Rejected
Why God Didn't Execute Cain For Murder
● Gen 4:12-13 . . If you till the soil, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. You shall become a ceaseless wanderer on earth. Cain said to the Lord: My punishment is too great to bear!
Cain's punishment was relatively lenient. In point of fact, it wasn't punishment at all, it was discipline. It's true that Cain would struggle to survive; but at least he was allowed to live. His kid brother was dead. How is that fair?
Q: How did Cain get off with only a slap on the wrist? Why wasn't he executed for murder since God himself mandates capital punishment for murderers as per Gen 9:5-6, Ex 21:12-14, Lev 24:17, Lev 24:21, and Num 35:31-34? Does God practice a double standard?
A: Murder is intrinsically wrong, yes; and it's intrinsically a sin, yes; however; it hasn't always been a capital sin. According to Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17, law enacted ex post facto is too late; viz: law can't be enforced until after it's enacted, not even divine law; which is precisely why God didn't have to execute Cain for murder.
From Whence Cain Got A Wife
How The Critters Got To Noah
● Gen 6:3 . . And the Lord God said: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever. Yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.
Some feel that God set the limits of human longevity in that verse. But people still continued to live long lives for a great number of years afterwards. Even Abraham, who lived many, many years after the Flood, didn't die till he was 175 years old. No; it's far more reasonable to conclude that God was announcing a deadline.
Fortunately Noah didn't have to go on safari to round up his passengers. God said two of each "shall come to you" (cf. Gen 7:9, Gen 7:15) which implies of course that species who failed to come got left behind and went extinct in the Flood. There was plenty of time for them to make it because Noah was 120 years building the ark and getting it ready.
A man named Dave Kunst walked across today's world in just a little over 4 years from June 1970 to October 1974. Kunst walked a total of 14,450 miles, crossing four continents and thirteen countries, wearing out 21 pair of shoes, and walking more than 20 million steps. That was an odd thing to do, but does prove it can be done in a relatively short time; so 120 years was plenty enough for all the critters to make it on over to Noah's place in time for the Folly's maiden voyage.
If the ark were to launch in 2017, critters would have been on the move towards it since 1897— six years before the Wright Brothers historical flight, and fifteen years before the Titanic foundered —and probably reproduced many times along the way since there are not all that many species that live to see 120 years of age.
But how did they cross oceans? In the past that was doubtless a thorny theological problem. But with today's knowledge of the geological science of plate tectonics, the answer is as simple as two plus two. Scientists now know that continental land masses can be shifted, and in point of fact the dry parts brought so close together as to form one single super continent.
Scientists also know about subduction and magma hot spots and pressure points that can raise and lower the earth's crust like a service elevator. That's going on right now in the region of Yellowstone National Park.
For example according to Gen 14:3, the area now known as the Dead Sea was once the Vale of Siddim. In its early history; the valley was home to the Sedom Lagoon. Back then, water from the Red Sea was able to ebb in and out of the lagoon because the region hasn't always been land-locked like it is today. At one time the Jordan River had an easy outlet to the gulf of Aqaba. But over time, tectonic forces altered the region; preventing drainage into the gulf and trapping water in a huge basin from which they cannot escape.
Another biblical example (Gen 2:10-14) tells of a river system that once supplied water to Arabia, Ethiopia, and Iraq. That's not so today.
Gen 1:9-10 is handy for showing that God is capable of molding the Earth's lithosphere into any geological configuration He pleases to push sea beds up and form land bridges; thus expediting migrations from all over the world over to Noah's diggings.
This idea is by no means novel. For example: in 2014, a 9,000 year-old stone structure utilized to capture caribou was discovered 120 feet below the surface of Lake Huron; and is the most complex structure of its kind in the Great Lakes region.
The structure consists of two parallel lanes of stones leading to a cul-de-sac. Within the lanes are three circular hunting blinds where prehistoric hunters hid while taking aim at caribou. The structure's size and design suggest that hunting was probably a group effort, with one group driving caribou down the lanes towards the blinds while another group waited to attack.
The site— discovered by using sonar technology on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, 35 miles southeast of Alpena Michigan —was once a dry land corridor connecting northeastern Michigan to southern Ontario.
Ten miles off the coast of Alabama in 60 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, are the remains of a Bald Cypress grove that's estimated to be eight to fourteen thousand years old; testifying that the earth's topography was quite a bit different in the ancient past.
Geological processes normally take thousands of years to accomplish, but those processes can be sped up considerably by the cosmos' creator, who has absolute control over everything— not just the earth's geological processes; but all the rest of nature's processes too; including things like gravity, thermodynamics, inertia, and the speed of light, etc.
The Fate Of Noah's Ark
● Gen 8:3b . . At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters diminished, so that in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
The precise topographic location, where the ark went aground, was not really up on a specific mountain by the name of Ararat nor up on any other mountain for that matter. The Hebrew word for "mountains" in Gen 8:4 is haareey which is the plural of har (har). It doesn't always mean prominent land masses like Everest or McKinley; especially when it's plural. Har can also mean a range of mountains like the Pyrenees bordering Spain and France and/or a range of hills or highlands; like the region of Israel where Mary's cousin Elizabeth lived.
"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth." (Luke 1:39-40)
In California, where I lived as a kid, the local elevation 35 miles east of San Diego, in the town of Alpine, was about 2,000 feet above sea level. There were plenty of meadows with pasture and good soil. In fact much of it was very good ranchland and quite a few people in that area raised horses and cows. We ourselves kept about five hundred chickens, and a few goats and calves. We lived in the mountains of San Diego; but we didn't live up on top of one of its mountains like Viejas, Lyon's, or Cuyamaca.
Another inhabited region in the continental U.S. that's elevated is the area of Denver Colorado; which is located on the western edge of the Great Plains near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is a whole mile above sea level— 5,280 feet. However, Denver, even though so high above sea level, isn't located on the tippy top of a mountain, nor even on the side of one; it's just located up on high ground.
The ark contained the only surviving souls of man and animal on the entire planet. Does it really make good sense to strand them up on a mountain peak where they might risk death and injury descending it?
When my wife and I visited the San Diego zoo together back in the early 1980's, we noticed that the Giraffes' area had no fence around it. The tour guide told us the Giraffes' enclosure doesn't need a fence because their area is up on a plateau 3 feet high. The Giraffes don't try to escape because they're afraid of heights. There's just no way Giraffes could've climbed down off of Turkey's Mount Ararat. It's way too steep and rugged. Those poor timid creatures would've been stranded up there and died; and so would hippos, elephants, and flightless birds.
The Hebrew word for "Ararat" is from 'Ararat (ar-aw-rat') which appears three more times in the Bible: one at 2Kgs 19:36-37, one at Isa 37:36-38, and one at Jer 51:27. Ararat is always the country of Armenia: never a specific peak by the same name.
So; where is the ark now? Well; according to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the whiz kids call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box. So most of the lumber and/or logs used in its construction would've been nice and straight; which is perfect for putting together cabins, sheds, fences, barns, corrals, stables, gates, hog troughs, mangers, and outhouses.
● Gen 9:1-4 . . Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them: Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
Blessings should never be construed as commandments and/or laws and edicts. In other words: God gave Noah and his sons the green light to eat meat, but He didn't say they had to.
Abraham And Hagar
● Gen 21:10-12 . . Sarah said to Abraham: Cast out that slave-woman and her son, for the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.
The common laws of Abraham's day (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi and the laws of Lipit-Ishtar) entitled Ishmael to the lion's share of Abraham's estate because he was Abraham's firstborn biological son. However, there was a clause in the laws stipulating that if a slave-owner emancipated his child's in-slavery biological mother; then the mother and the child would lose any and all claims to a paternal property settlement with the slave-owner.
The trick is: Abraham couldn't just send Hagar packing, nor sell her, for the clause to take effect; no, he had to emancipate her; which he did.
● Gen 21:14 . . Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy.
NOTE: The "boy" at this moment in time was near 18 years old if he was circumcised at fourteen and Isaac was weaned at three. (cf. Gen 16:16, Gen 21:5, Gen 21:8)
The phrase "sent her off" is from the Hebrew word shalach (shaw-lakh') which is a versatile word that speaks of divorce as well as the emancipation of slaves. In other words: Hagar wasn't banished as is commonly assumed; no, she was set free; and it's very important to nail that down in our thinking because if Abraham had merely banished Hagar, then her son Ishmael would have retained his legal status as Abraham's eldest son.
Later, when Abraham was ordered to sacrifice Isaac; God referred to him as the patriarch's only son.
● Gen 22:2 . .Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
● Gen 22:12 . . Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.
Biologically, Ishmael retained his status as one of Abraham's sons (Gen 25:9) but not legally; no, his legal association with Abraham was dissolved when the old boy emancipated Ishmael's mother; and I sincerely believe that is precisely how Gen 22:2, Gen 22:12, and Heb 11:17 ought to be understood.
Who/What The Firstborn Is
● Col 1:15 . . He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Christ wasn't even the one born first in the human family let alone the entire creation so what gives here?
Well; firstborn is just as much a rank as it is a birth order; and though the latter is set in biological concrete; the title, and it's advantages, are transferable to a younger sibling; e.g. from Esau to Jacob (Gen 25:23) from Reuben to Joseph (Gen 49:3-4, 1Chr 5:1) and from Manasseh to Ephraim (Gen 48:13-14). This situation can lead to some interesting ramifications; for example:
● Matt 22:41-46 . . Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question; saying: What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He? They said to Him: The son of David. He said to them: Then how does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord" saying: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand until I put thine enemies beneath thy feet. If David then calls Him "Lord" how is He his son?
David's Little Boy
Long story short: David breached the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy by committing the capital crimes of premeditated murder and adultery (2Sam 11:1-2Sam 12:23). As bad as those two breaches are; what really rattled heaven's cage was that David's conduct was an embarrassment.
● 2Sam 12:14a . . Because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of The Lord to blaspheme,
What might the nature of that blasphemy be? Well; you probably already know because it's very popular: "How can God call David a man after His own heart when he was nothing but a premeditated murderer and adulterer?"
Behavior like David's also causes the world to question the wisdom of Yhvh's choice of a people for His name. That too is a very common form of blaspheme: it goes on all the time. (e.g. Isa 62:5, Rom 2:24)
● 2Sam 12:14b-18 . . the child also that is born to you shall surely die . . .The Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick . . .Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died.
How was that fair? Well; it wasn't meant to be fair to the boy; it was meant to be fair to David. His little boy was just collateral damage.
● Ex 34:6-7 . . Then Yhvh passed by in front of Moses and proclaimed: Yhvh, Yhvh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth; who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished: visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.
It is apparently God's prerogative to get back at people by going after their posterity and/or the people they govern.
There's a horrific example of collateral damage located at Num 16:25-34. Another is the Flood. No doubt quite a few underage children drowned in that event due to their parents' impiety. The same happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah, and Ham's punishment for humiliating Noah was a curse upon his son Canaan, and during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against the man's firstborn son along with all those of his subjects.
The grand-daddy of all collateral damages is everybody has to die because the human race's progenitor disobeyed God in the very beginning. (Rom 5:12-18)
Interesting isn't it? There are times when Heaven's anger seems to come out of the blue; but if truth be known; sometimes it actually comes out of the past; for example:
● 2Sam 21:1 . . Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the Lord. And the Lord said: It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.
Joshua agreed to a non-aggression pact with the Gibeonites during the conquest of Canaan (Josh 9:3-16). Saul, when king, dishonored the pact. He apparently got away with it; but not his countrymen, no; God slammed them for what Saul did; and that posthumously.
Moral of the story: The sins of today, jeopardize the lives of tomorrow; and sometimes those lives are very large in number.
NOTE: The US Government has marginalized and/or dishonored several of its treaties with Native Americans. I sometimes wonder if a number of this land's woes haven't been because of that.
The Meaning Of "Under The Law"
● Rom 6:14 . . Sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.
Abraham And Ex Post Facto
● Gen 26:5 . . Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My commandments, My laws, and My teachings.
Some construe God's statement to indicate that Abraham was included in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But Moses' statement below excludes him.
"The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our forefathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, we, all of whom are here alive today." (Deut 5:2-3)
Were Abraham included in the Jews' covenant; God would have placed Himself in a serious dilemma. The problem is: Abraham was married to a half sister (Gen 20:12). The covenant prohibits marrying, and/or sleeping with, one's half sister. (Lev 18:9, Lev 20:17)
Under the terms and conditions of the Jews' covenant; men who sleep with their sisters are cursed the moment they do so because "cursed be he" is grammatically present tense— no delay and no waiting period; viz: the curse is immediate.
"Cursed be he who lies with his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter." (Deut 27:22)
Well; were God to slam Abraham with a curse for sleeping with his sister, then God would be obligated to slam Himself with a curse in return.
"The one who curses you I will curse" (Gen 12:3)
Abraham enjoyed quite an advantage. He had a degree of immunity. In other words, seeing as how Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were instituted long after Abraham passed away; then none of the curses listed at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69 applied to him.
Abraham complied with God's requirements; His commands, His decrees and His laws voluntarily rather than by compulsion because he wasn't in a covenant with God that demanded him to do so like his posterity would be in the days of Moses.
The promises God made to Abraham as per Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 17:8 were not sustained by Abraham's piety. In other words: once God made those promises, neither Abraham nor his posterity can ever lose them because they are unconditional
"The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise." (Gal 3:17-18)
The "promise" in question reads like this:
"And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a god." (Gen 17:8)
That should be really good news to Abraham's posterity because although the law has a marked effect upon their occupation of the land, it has no effect upon their entitlement to it.
Abraham And The Stars
● Gen 15:4-5 . .The word of The Lord came to him in reply: That one shall not be your heir; none but your very own issue shall be your heir. He took him outside and said: Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them. And He added: So shall your offspring be.
In Abraham's day, prior to the invention of optics, the only stars that people could see with their own eyes were those in our home galaxy; the Milky Way; which consists of an estimated 100-400 billion stars. But many of those estimated billions of stars appear to the naked eye not as stars but as glowing clouds; viz: they cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye so those didn't matter to Abraham when it came to actually tallying the heavens.
The entire global sky contains roughly five or six thousand stars visible to the naked eye. However, we can't see all those stars at once; only the ones when the sky is dark. So then; in Abraham's day, he could see at most three thousand discernable stars from dark till dawn. God had said "if you are able to count them". Well; even at only three thousand, the task would be difficult.
FYI: Abraham's posterity exceeded three thousand long ago. By the time of the Exodus, they numbered above six hundred thousand. (Ex 12:37)
● Gen 19:3 . . Lot prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
The Hebrew word for "unleavened" is matstsah (mats-tsaw') which essentially refers to an unfermented cake or loaf; in other words: bread made with sweet dough rather than sour dough.
In this day and age of cultured yeast it's not easy to explain what the Bible means by leavened and unleavened. Well; the primary difference between the two terms isn't ingredients; rather, the primary difference is age; for example:
"Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven" (1Cor 5:8)
If there is an old leaven, then there must be a new leaven; just as there is an old wine and a new wine; for example:
● Matt 13:33 . .The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and mixed in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.
The woman's batch was a blend of fresh dough and spoiled dough; i.e. the spoiled dough made her fresh dough into a batch of new leaven.
Old leaven then refers to dough that's gone bad, i.e. fermented; which, given time, pure dough will do on its own because all flour, no matter how carefully it's milled and packaged, contains a percentage of naturally-occurring fungi.
● Ex 12:34 . . So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.
That gives an idea of how quickly God moved the people out of Egypt after slaying all the firstborn. They had made bread with fresh dough for that night's dinner in accord with the law of the Passover instituted in the 12th chapter of Exodus and it had not yet spoiled; which fresh dough will do in short order if it isn't refrigerated.
Who/What The Schoolmaster Is
● Gal 3:24 . .The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be acquitted by faith.
The koiné Greek word for "schoolmaster" is paidagogos (pahee-dag-o-gos') which defines not a headmaster, nor a teacher, nor a tutor. It essentially defines a servant whose responsibility it was to get their master's children to school. In other words: a sort of chaperone who made sure the kids got there; even if the servant had to take them by the hand to do it.
The Brazen Serpent
The Sin Nature
The term "sin nature" found in some versions of the Bible, is actually an interpretation rather than a translation. I suspect somebody coined it as a substitute for the flesh that Paul often spoke of in his letters.
● Rom 8:8 . .They that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The koiné Greek word for flesh is sarx (sarx); which basically indicates the meaty parts of either man or beast. The meat of the human body would of course include the 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue housed within humanity's bony little skulls sufficing for a mind; and it's not all that difficult to tamper with a brain and make its owner quite mindless.
The meaty parts of the human body are the source of a human being's human nature and it isn't all that difficult to define. Webster's says its (1) the ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are common to most people, and (2) the nature of humans; especially the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans.
Ironically, when God finished assembling the cosmos with its various forms of life, matter, and energy; He pronounced it all not just good; but "very" good (Gen 1:31). In other words, God was satisfied that the human body came out just exactly as He designed it to come out; but it didn't stay that way.
When people do something contrary to their better judgment; it's very common to hear them complain "I don't know what came over me." Well; the thing that came over them was their own body exerting its fundamental dispositions and traits; viz: the human body literally has a mind of its own; it constantly, and perpetually, competes with its host for control of their thoughts, their speech, and their conduct, and more often than not wins.
When I was a growing boy my dad was always telling me that I was my own worst enemy. I think that maybe the apostle Paul would have agreed with my dad because he too was his own worst enemy.
● Rom 7:18 . . For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing
● Rom 7:24 . .What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
When To Obtain Eternal Life
In the passages below, note the grammatical tense of the "have" verbs. They're in the present tense; not future, indicating that believers have eternal life right now— no delay, and no waiting period.
● John 3:36 . . He who believes in the Son has eternal life
● John 6:47 . .Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
● John 5:24 . . I assure you, those who heed my message, and trust in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from Death into Life.
● 1John 5:13 . . I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
According to those passages, people lacking eternal life, are lacking it because 1) they are unbelievers, 2) they are not paying attention to Christ's message, and 3) they don't trust God.
The possession of eternal life is very crucial because according to God's testimony, as an expert witness in all matters pertaining to Christianity; people lacking eternal life do not have God's son. In other words: they are currently quite christless.
● 1John 5:11-12 . . This is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His son. So whoever has God's son has this life; and whosoever does not have this life, does not have His son.
People that argue with God's testimony, are insinuating that He not only doesn't know what He's talking about, but also that God is a dishonest person of marginal integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth.
● 1John 5:10 . .Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about His son.
When people do that— when they insinuate that God is dishonest —they imply that He belongs in hell because according to Rev 21:8, hell is where all liars are destined.
Anyway; I should think that it goes without saying that christless people are in grave danger of the sum of all fears.
● Rom 8:9 . . If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
We can be sure that there are millions of christless people throughout the world; but are there any christless Christians? Well; for starters: Roman Catholicism— known everywhere as the largest single denomination in the world —currently consists of approximately 1.2 billion followers who all, to a man, including the Pope, insist that nobody obtains eternal life till sometime after they die and cross over to the other side.
Well; that can mean but one thing, and one thing only: seeing as how those 1.2 billion souls are currently lacking eternal life, then according to God's expert testimony they are currently living without Christ, and they will pass on without Christ; you can safely apply that rule to any, and all, denominations, religions, and/or spiritual ideologies insisting that eternal life cannot be obtained prior to one's demise.
Jesus Christ's Human Origin
Jesus Christ And The Original Sin
Some folk posit that Mary was, in some manner, a sort of surrogate mother, i.e. Jesus' embryo was an implant. Others sincerely believe that Mary's baby was an alternate species of human life totally unrelated to her own, i.e. another Adam, so to speak; basing their posit on 1Cor 15:45.
But the Bible testifies that Jesus Christ was Mary's honest to gosh, bona fide biological human progeny.
Q: How can you be so sure that Jesus Christ was produced from his mother's human egg, viz: her ovum?
A: Not only the Bible; but also the science of Biology bears that out.
Christ is stated to be born of David's seed.
● Acts 13:22-23 . . "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will". Of this man's seed hath God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a savior, Jesus
● Rom 1:1-3 . . Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh
The koiné Greek word for "seed" in those two passages is sperma (sper' mah) which in males typically refers to their reproductive stuff and/or their genetic material; especially when the seed is according to the flesh, i.e. biological seed rather than spiritual seed.
Now, in order for Christ to descend from David's flesh, one of his biological descendants had to be involved. So then, seeing as how Jesus was virgin conceived, then his mother became the default progenitor, i.e. Mary was one of David's granddaughters.
● Luke 1:31 . .You will conceive in your womb and bear a son; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David
An implanted embryo isn't really a conceived embryo. Conception took place in a woman's womb back in those days when her own ovum was involved in the process.
NOTE: In following the kings of the Davidic dynasty in the Old Testament, it's readily apparent that many of the names of the monarchs are associated with their mothers' names. There's a number of theories as to why that is, but the one that satisfies me most is that by naming the mothers of David's successors, it proves that they were 100% normal human beings rather than alien beings; which, in my mind at least, makes Luke 1:31 an extremely important piece of information.
● Heb 7:14 . . It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah
Well; it's clear enough to me, yes, but there are some folk who would contest Christ's biological origin.
Q: If Jesus Christ really was David's biological progeny; then wouldn't his mom have passed the guilt of Adam's sin to him?
A: Yes; absolutely, because the whole entirety of Adam's posterity— regardless of age, race, or gender —is automatically condemned for tasting the forbidden fruit.
Note the grammatical tense of the passage below; it's past tense; indicating that the moment Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, he and his posterity (which included Eve seeing as she came into being via the organic tissues of his own body) became guilty of tasting it— in real time —including those of his family yet to be born.
● Rom 5:12 . . Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned
● Rom 5:19 . .Through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners.
Well; the trick is: though Adam's disobedience made his posterity sinners; it didn't make them sinful: that's something else altogether. We're not talking about the so-called "fallen nature" here, we're just talking about joint principals in Adam's act of disobedience.
The good news is: Adam's sin is not a sin unto hell. No; it's very simple to clear his sin off the books seeing as how life's end is the proper satisfaction of justice for what he did (Gen 2:16-17). The satisfaction of justice for his posterity's own personal sins is another matter.
Q: If Jesus Christ was made a joint principal in Adam's slip-up, then how can it be honestly said that Christ was a lamb without blemish or spot?
A: Adam's slip made Christ culpable right along with his fellow men, yes; but it didn't make him sinful. In point of fact; Christ committed no personal sins of his own. (John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22)
Q: What was the secret to his success?
A: Jesus Christ is a mysterious amalgam of human and divine. Not only did he descend from David according to the flesh, but Christ also descended from God according to the Spirit. (Luke 1:32-35). That is quite an advantage because according to 1John 3:9, that which is born of God not only doesn't sin, but cannot sin.
How Christ Became Solomon's Successor
Jonah (One Version)
● Matt 12:39-40 . . As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The Lord paralleled his own afterlife journey with Jonah's. Well, seeing as how Christ was dead for most of the time that he was in the tomb, then I think it's valid to conclude that Jonah was dead for most of the time that he was in the fish.
According to Jonah's second chapter, there were moments during his nautical adventure when he was in two places at once: the fish's belly and the bottoms of the mountains.
Seeing as how the Lord paralleled his own journey with Jonah's, then I believe it is valid to conclude that there were moments in Christ's adventure when he was in two places at once too: the tomb's belly and also the bottoms of the mountains; i.e. the heart of the earth.
(It doesn't take much education to know that the bottoms of the mountains are situated in neither a fish's tummy, nor a tomb.)
Jesus appropriated the story of Jonah to predict his resurrection. Unfortunately people are typically distracted by the time element; consequently totally missing the parallel's purpose. The average rank and file pew warmer is convinced that Jonah was alive the whole time he was in the fish. Well, had he been, then Jesus would had to been alive the whole time he was in the tomb; otherwise the parallel fails.
Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites and also a sign to Jesus' generation (Matt 13:39-40, Luke 11:29-30). The word "sign" is translated from a koiné Greek word that's sometimes used in the gospels to indicate miracles. Now, had Jonah merely survived the fish's tummy, that would not be the kind of sign that Jesus had in mind. He needed a miraculous event that would adequately depict his own; the reason being that Jesus was not on track to be resuscitated, no, Jesus was on track to be resurrected because he would be quite dead from crucifixion. (John 19:33)
According to Jonah 2:6, the prophet was spared putrefaction. Well; according to Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-31, Jesus too was spared putrefaction. Thus it all came to pass just as the Lord said: As Jonah, so the Son of Man.
Q: Why make a fuss over whether Jonah was dead or alive?
A: Because Jonah's adventure gives us a clearer concept of the scope of hades; the location to which Christ retired during the three days and nights that his corpse reposed in the tomb (Acts 2:25-31). No doubt hades refers to the grave, but that's not all. According to Jonah, hades also refers to the netherworld.
NOTE: Commentators smarter and better educated than I posit that Jonah 2:3-7 recounts Jonah's demise via drowning. In other words: Jonah was dead before he was laid to rest in the fish's tummy just as Christ was dead before he was laid to rest in the tomb.
Jonah (A Second Version)
Hell vs Common Sense
Ways To Describe Grace
● 1Cor 1:3 . . Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although grace is an important element in Christianity; I seriously doubt that John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer have an adequate concept of it. I suspect that quite a few are under the impression that grace is somehow a quantifiable substance like butter and gasoline; but in regards to God, grace is an abstract noun that expresses personal qualities apart from substance.
The New Testament Greek word for "grace" is charis (khar'-ece); which means: graciousness.
Webster's defines graciousness as: kind, courteous, inclined to good will, generous, charitable, merciful, altruistic, compassionate, thoughtful, cordial, affable, genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, considerate, and tactful.
Cordial stresses warmth and heartiness
Affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals
Genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality
Sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others
Generous is characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit; viz: magnanimous, kindly, and liberal in giving
Charitable means full of love for, and goodwill toward, others; viz: benevolent, tolerant, and lenient.
Altruistic means unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others; viz: a desire to be of service to others for no other reason than it just feels good to do so.
Tactful indicates a keen sense of what to do, or say, in order to maintain good relations with others in order to resolve and/or avoid unnecessary conflict.
Compassion defines a sympathetic awareness of others' distress, coupled with a desire to alleviate it, i.e. empathy.
The Old Testament Hebrew word for grace is chen (khane); and means pretty much the same as charis (e.g. Gen 6:8).
When you put all those lovely attributes together, you get a pretty good picture of the bright side of God's personality. There's a dark side too; but grace doesn't go there.
Knowing Your Religion is Right
The Rich Man, Lazarus, And Abraham
Fiction can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that, though untrue; are plausible; viz: realistic.
Fantasy can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that are not only untrue; but implausible; viz: unrealistic.
For example: a story about a wooden boy like Pinocchio is unrealistic; while a story about a boy with autism is realistic. The difference between Pinocchio and the autistic boy is that the one is compatible with normal reality; while the other is far removed from normal reality.
I have yet to read even one of Jesus Christ's parables that could not possibly be a real-life story. They're all actually quite believable— banquets, stewards, weddings, farmers sowing seed, pearls, lost sheep, fish nets, women losing coins, sons leaving home, wineskins bursting, tares among the wheat, leavened bread, barren fig trees, the blind leading the blind, et al.
Now; if Christ had told one that alleged the moon was made of green cheese; we would have good reason to believe that at least that one was fantasy; but none of them are like that. No; there's nothing out of the ordinary in his parables. At best; Christ's parables might qualify as fiction; but never fantasy because none of them are so far removed from the normal round of human experience that they have no basis in reality whatsoever.
Luke 16:19-31 is commonly alleged to be a parable; which of course implies that the story is fiction; and some would even say fantasy. But the parable theory has a fatal flaw. Abraham is not a fictional character: he's a real-life man; the father of the Hebrew people, held in very high esteem by at least three of the world's prominent religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And he's also the friend of God (Isa 41:8). I simply cannot believe that Jesus Christ— a man famous among normal Christians for his honesty and integrity —would say something untrue about a famous real-life man; especially about one of his Father's buddies.
And on top of that, the story quotes Abraham a number of times. Well; if the story is fiction, then Jesus Christ is on record testifying that Abraham said things that he didn't really say; which is a clear violation of the commandment that prohibits bearing false witness.
There is something else to consider.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus didn't originate with Jesus Christ. No, it originated with his Father. In other words: Jesus Christ was micro-managed.
● John 3:34 . . He is sent by God. He speaks God's words
● John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.
● John 8:28 . . I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught me.
● John 12:49 . . I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
● John 14:24 . .The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.
So, by alleging that Luke 16:19-31 is fiction/fantasy, the parable theory slanders God by insinuating that He's a person of marginal integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth about people, not even about His own friends, which is ridiculous seeing as how Titus 1:2 and Heb 6:18 testify that God cannot lie.
God's impeccable character is what makes that narrative all the more disturbing. Unless somebody can prove, beyond a shadow of sensible doubt, that Christ's Father is a tale-spinner; I pretty much have to assume the narrative was drawn from real-life; and if not drawn from real life, then at least based upon real life.
The God Begotten Of God
Q: One translation of John 1:18 speaks of the only begotten god; while another translation of John 1:18 speaks of the only begotten son. Which translation is correct?
A: Either one will do because, biologically speaking, they're both saying the very same thing.
The Koran's Christ didn't pass away on the cross.
"And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure." (The Women 4.157)
The Bible's Christ fully expired.
"And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. And having said this, he breathed his last." (Luke 23:46)
"When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe." (John 19:31-35)
Since Jesus was somewhat elevated, (it's not stated exactly how high) the spear point would have entered his body at an upward angle. The text doesn't say which side was penetrated, but from John's description, and judging from the intent of the soldier to leave no doubt about Jesus' death, the heart side was very likely the side they cut into and the spear point would've entered just under his rib cage.
The heart is surrounded by a membrane called the pericardium; which serves to contain a serous material resembling water to prevent the surface of the heart from becoming dry and/or chafed by its continual motion. It was very likely this which was pierced and from which the water flowed. The point of the spear also seems to have reached one of the ventricles of the heart, and the blood, yet warm, rushed forth, either mingled with, or followed by, the liquor of the pericardium, so as to appear to John to be blood and water flowing together. Though not medically accurate in our day, John's calling the serous fluid "water" was accurate enough in his own day.
Had Christ managed to survive the spear he most certainly would have died of suffocation. According to the records, his friends covered his face with a towel, wrapped him with strips of cloth like a mummy, and coated him with a paste consisting of 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes: all of which served to not only put him in a straight jacket, but also sealed him in an air-tight cocoon of sorts.
1• The Towel
"And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:7)
The koiné Greek word translated "napkin" is soudarion (soo-dar'-ee-on) which defines a sweat-cloth; viz: a towel for wiping the perspiration from the face, or binding the face of a corpse.
2• The Mummy
"Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes" (John 19:40)
"And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:7)
The Greek word translated "wound" is deo (deh'-o) which means to bind
The Greek word translated "linen cloths" is othonion (oth-on'-ee-on) which defines bandages.
3• The Cocoon
"And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." (John 19:39-40)
Myrrh is a gum resin. The aloe of that day was a thick liquid taken from an aromatic tree and used in medicines and cosmetics, etc. Blending those two ingredients together produced a nice sticky goo that could be slathered and plastered all over the deceased to seal the body and retard putrefaction and/or seal in odors and thwart vermin. This was likely the final step just prior to wrapping the whole affair in a shroud (Matt 27:59).
So all told— the crucifixion, the spear, the face towel, the wrappings, and the gooey paste —I think it's pretty safe to conclude that Christ, as he is depicted in the Bible, was quite deceased.
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."
The KJV's obsolete language is misleading. Here's that same passage in updated language.
● 2Pet 1:20-21 . . Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
That passage isn't talking about one's own personal understanding of prophecy, rather, the origin of prophecy. In other words: the sayings of the prophets didn't arise from human reasoning and a fertile imagination. No, they got their sayings directly from God.
Now, the sayings they got from God are not quite the same as the sayings that you see in print. No, the sayings you see in print are the prophets' interpretations of the sayings they got from God; viz: they translated God's thoughts into common language and grammar; but that's not the end of it.
For example: Jesus once said that his words are spirit (John 6:63). Well that right there is a bit of a problem because I don't have in my possession an ENIGMA machine designed to decode spirit words; so were I not blessed with the anointing as per 1John 2:26-27, I'd be sort of like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there when it comes to spirit words.
● 1Cor 2:12-13 . .We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
Sons And Bums
● Deut 21:18-21 . . If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you.
Webster's defines "profligate" as completely given up to dissipation and licentiousness; i.e. shamelessly immoral
A "drunkard" refers to heavy drinking; which implies all-nighters and/or wild parties and such.
Those words don't describe minor children, rather, of-age children, i.e. legally adults still living at home and mooching off their parents instead of out on their own, working for a living to support themselves.
There's a rule of thumb that says "When you live in our house, you'll live by our rules". Well; the bum described in Deut 21:18-21 not only mooches off his parents, but does whatever he pleases in their home, not caring how mom and dad might feel about anything.
These days that's becoming more and more common when 26 is the new 21. Kids are staying home longer than they used to. Well; there's nothing intrinsically wrong with kids staying home longer, but when their lifestyle becomes intolerable for their parents, it's time for them to move out.
Why is the punishment so severe for bums? Well for starters; it violates one of the Ten Commandments.
● Ex 20:12a . . Honor your father and your mother,
Failure to comply with that command merits dying before one's time.
● Judg 11:30-32 . . And Jephthah made a vow to Yhvh and said: If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.
Some of the "houses" back in that day were constructed as an enclosed compound; which included a courtyard. Around the periphery of the courtyard were the family's living quarters and sometimes accommodations for certain of the family's animals. The "door" of the house served not as an entry to the family's living quarters, rather, as a gate to the courtyard.
Something very similar to that description is depicted in the Charlton Heston movie Ben Hur. I rather suspect that at least of few of the animals were allowed to freely roam the courtyard and were Jephthah's intended sacrifice rather than his kin. That would help explain the bitter disappointment he expressed when his daughter met him first.
As for giving his daughter to the priests for a burnt offering; that just wasn't done. Human sacrifice isn't specified in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; so offering a human on the Altar would have been a serious violation.
● Deut 4:2 . .You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you.
● Deut 5:29-30 . . Be careful, then, to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. Do not turn aside to the right or to the left: follow only the path that the Lord your God has enjoined upon you
However, seeing as how Jephthah's daughter was a devoted item; then according to Lev 27:28 any personal ambitions she may have thought for herself were over.
In the end, Jephthah's daughter didn't bewail the loss of her life; rather, the loss of any hope of having a family of her own. I've a feeling she joined other women of Israel dedicated to assisting with things in and around the Temple vicinity (cf. 1Sam 2:22). According to 1Cor 7:34, that vocation is better suited to unencumbered single women than married.
Of Babes And Bears
● 2Kgs 2:23-24 . . And [Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of The Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
It would appear from the 1611 KJV that Elisha was guilty of criminal child abuse. But to begin with, there's two different Hebrew words translated "children" in that passage.
In verse 23, the word is na` ar (nah'-ar) which has a pretty wide application; and more than one meaning: 1) a boy from the age of infancy to adolescence 2) a servant (of either gender) 3) a girl (of similar latitude in age as a boy)
The word in verse 24 is yeled (yeh'-led) which has even more latitude than na` ar; and just simply means offspring, viz: the young of either man or beast, e.g. Gen 30:26 where yeled indicates not only Jacob's sons, but also his daughter Dinah. At 2Chron 10:8-10 yeled is the word for the young men from whom Rehoboam sought counsel.
A far more rational scenario is that Elisha was accosted by a youth gang; not by a posse of unsupervised little toddlers; as some have supposed. Youth gangs can be dangerous at times; and Elisha was very lucky to get away before they attacked him. The curse of the bears was obviously an act of self defense. They ran interference for Elisha; distracting the youths; thus creating an opportunity for Elisha to get away before the gang did more to him than just taunting; and forty-two plus youths all at one time of any age are too many for one man alone to stand against.
Here's a paraphrased way to look at it.
"From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. Go on up, baldy; they said. Let's see you go on up too, chrome dome. He turned around, glared at them and called down a curse on them in the name of The Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths."
NOTE: The incident took place in the vicinity of Bethel; which, at the time, hosted a school for prophets (2Kgs 2:3). I've heard it proposed that the young men who accosted Elisha were disciples of false prophets hanging around that area.
FYI: Until Christ returns to take the reins of this planet, there's always going to exist an element out there that has made it their mission in life to stump the Bible thumpers. Some have even gone to the trouble of writing books on the subject; for example 101 Clear Contradictions in the Bible by Dr. Shabir Ally. A response to Dr. Ally's book is located at the link below.
101 'Cleared Up' Contradictions in the Bible
Spiritual Body vs Spirit Body
● 1 Cor 15:44 . . It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Watch as I revise that passage because the difference is significant.
"It is sown a natural body, it is raised up a spirit body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spirit body."
No; it doesn't say spirit body but nevertheless that's what some people have decided it ought to say.
The Greek word translated "spiritual" is ambiguous. It doesn't necessarily refer to spirit. Below is a list of spiritual things that bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the body chemistry of an angel or a demon.
Spiritual gifts (Rom 1:11)
Spiritual law (Rom 7:14)
Spiritual things (Rom 15:27)
Spiritual people (1Cor 2:15)
Spiritual nourishment (1Cor 10:3)
Spiritual water (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual rock (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3)
Spiritual music (Eph 5:19)
Spiritual understanding (Col 1:9)
Spiritual housing (1Pet 2:5)
Spiritual sacrifices (1Pet 2:5)
The spiritual body spoken of at 1Cor 15:44 is in no way composed of spirit. Of what material it is composed I don't know; but I do know at least three things about it.
1• The spiritual body is patterned after Christ's body.
"Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Php 3:20-21)
2• The spiritual body is capable of dining upon ordinary foods and beverages.
"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you: I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." (Luke 22:15-16)
"I tell you: I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matt 26:29)
"You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom." (Luke 22:28-30)
3• The spiritual body is capable of being seen by the naked eye.
"Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11)
"Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him." (Rev 1:7)
God's Good Faith
● Eph 1:13-14 . . Having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession
● Eph 4:30 . . Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The Holy Spirit of God is the seal; which is from the koiné Greek word sphragizo (sfrag-id'-zo). The word has no reference whatsoever to a zip lock bag, or a strip of tape, or a gasket, or that little widget that the power company clips onto electric meters, or a cork, or a bar code, or a bottle cap, or a label, or a tag, or the lid on a jar, or glue, or the ring of bee's wax that goes in between the base of a toilet and the flange of the soil pipe it drains into.
Sphragizo refers to the impression that's made upon wax with a signet ring. In other words: the Holy Spirit is God's own personal signature on the dotted line; and it serves a very important purpose.
The Holy Spirit is also the "guarantee" of a believer's inheritance. Let me explain.
The koiné Greek word is arrhabon (ar-hrab-ohn') which refers to a pledge; viz: part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest.
When we bought our home, I had to submit, along with the escrow papers, an amount of money called a "good-faith" deposit. In the event that my wife and I backed out of the deal, for any reason at all; we would've forfeited the deposit. That's no doubt an incentive to make sure people mean business about buying a home.
Eph 1:13-14 explains a difficult spiritual truth by putting it into a context easy to understand by anyone familiar with the process of buying a home. Another context, also easy to understand, is located in the 38th chapter of Genesis.
Long story short, Judah left his staff and signet with Tamar as a pledge that he would pay her with a young goat as compensation for sleeping with him (Gen 38:18). The Hebrew word for Judah's pledge is 'arabown (ar-aw-bone') which is equivalent to the Greek word for guarantee.
Well; Judah was unable to make good on his promise because Tamar took a powder. So his response was:
"Let her keep what she has or we will become a disgrace." (Gen 38:23)
You bet your bippy they would have been a disgrace because until such a time as Judah paid Tamar what he promised; she had a legitimate right to keep his staff and his signet because that's the way an 'arabown works.
Bottom line is: at this point in the plan of salvation, should God not spare a believer's soul from the sum of all fears; then He has to forfeit the Holy Spirit. In other words: should a believer end up in hell, they get to keep the Holy Spirit and take Him down there with them because that's the way the arrhabon and the 'arabown work; and believers have God's signature holding Him to it.
How People Stay In Heaven
Female Pastors, Preachers, and Teachers
Hope For Pedophiles And LGBT, et al.
Everybody has problems with proclivities; which Webster's defines as inclinations or predispositions toward something; especially strong inherent inclinations toward something objectionable.
Everybody also has problems with predilections too; which Webster's defines as a natural liking for something; viz: a natural tendency to do or to be attracted to something.
Those definitions are keyed to the words "natural" and "inherent". So then what we're talking about here are not conditioned responses, nor acquired tastes.
In the passage below; Paul's pronoun "we" included himself as someone with natural-born longings and desires for bad things.
● Eph 2:2-4 . .We too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Paul's pronoun "all" torpedoes every Christian claiming to be born free of one or more sinful predilections.
The point is: unless something were done to remedy human nature's sinful proclivities and predilections, nobody would qualify for citizenship in either the new cosmos or the holy city depicted in the 21st chapter of Revelation. Everybody, no exceptions, even Christ's apostles, would be barred entry even though Christ gave his life as a ransom to rescue their souls from the wrath of God.
The problem is: forgiveness isn't a cure; viz: forgiven pedophiles and LGBT go right on as pedophiles and LGBT just like always and were they to attempt to suppress their desires throughout eternity, I think they would eventually go mad with a nervous breakdown because they would be fighting against nature; which everybody instinctively knows is a fight that can't be won without suffering serious psychological consequences.
So then, it's futile to tell pedophiles and LGBT to stop giving in to their desires if they want to get to heaven and stay in heaven because that's not a viable, long-range solution to their problem. The problem is not their conduct; no, their conduct is merely a symptom; and as every informed person knows: you don't treat an illness by treating its symptoms— that method has been proven ineffective.
God's remedy for pedophiles and LGBT is radical, to say the least; but it's the only way He can get them into heaven so they can stay in heaven.
First off: He doesn't remove their longings and desires; instead God regards their natural-born condition as so far gone that it can't be treated. In other words: God throws the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, and starts from scratch with a new baby.
● John 3:3 . . I tell you the truth: no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
The birth about which Christ spoke isn't an option; no, it's a must.
● John 3:7 . .You must be born again.
● Matt 8:23-25 . . And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but he himself was asleep. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying: Save us, Lord; we are perishing!
The koiné Greek word for "save" in that verse is sozo (sode'-zo) which means to rescue and/or protect.
● Luke 2:8-11 . . And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
. . . And the angel said to them: Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a savior, who is Christ the Lord.
The Greek word for "savior" in that verse is soter (so-tare') which means: a rescuer.
Rescuers typically help people who are in grave distress and/or imminent danger of death and/or serious injury, and helpless to do anything about it; e.g. Red Cross, Firemen, Emergency Medical teams, snow patrols, mountain units, and the Coast Guard and National Guard.
The Good Shepherd
One of Christ's characteristics, in which I have complete confidence, is that he's conscientious about doing what he's told.
"The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him." (John 8:29)
Were Christ to fail in any way, any way at all, pleasing the one who sent him. then it would be dishonest of Christ to claim to "always" please Him. Christ might be able to claim pleasing the one who sent him a high percentage of the time, but certainly not always.
Here is one of the things that God wants from His son.
"This is the will of the one who sent me; that I should not lose anything of what He gave me." (John 6:39)
The one who sent Christ has given him sheep (John 10:27-30). Were Jesus to lose one single head of those sheep— even just one —he would fail to always please the one who sent him.
Regarding those sheep, Jesus stated:
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)
It has actually been posited that the sheep are an exception. In other words; it's been posited that the sheep of their own free will can take themselves out of Jesus' hand. But of course they can't because the Father's free will trumps the sheep's free will.
"This is the will of the one who sent me; that I should not lose anything of what He gave me." (John 6:39)
The posit is a vote of no-confidence in the good shepherd's determination to succeed at pleasing the one who sent him; and reveals a belief that the sheep have enough strength and cunning to overpower their shepherd and run off.
Were the good shepherd only human, then I would be inclined to agree with the posit that his sheep might get past him and run off. But the Bible teaches that Christ is not only human, but also the divine architect of the entire cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy. So then, the good shepherd has at his disposal all the powers and abilities of the supreme being to utilize in keeping the sheep right where he wants them to be.
Surely no one in a right mind would dare to suggest that sheep have sufficient powers and abilities of their own at their disposal to overcome Christ. Were that the case, the sheep would have no need of his services; the sheep could shepherd themselves.
But even were the sheep to somehow manage to escape Christ's hand, they would still have his Father's hand to contend with; and good luck getting away from Almighty God!
Now, seeing as how the good shepherd has all the powers of the supreme being at his disposal to keep the sheep, then it shouldn't take too much more to persuade the sheep that it's okay to fully trust in this next statement of his.
"I am the gate; whoever enters through me shall be saved." (John 10:9)
Were Christ a so-so shepherd; then he wouldn't dare say "shall be" saved; no, he'd have to tone it down a bit and say "can be" saved. That would leave him some room for error. But when Christ says "shall be" he's claiming a 0.0% failure rate. That's how confident Christ is that he will lose nothing of what his Father has given him.
The New Man
The term "in Christ" is widely misunderstood. In a nutshell; everyone starts out born in Adam; in order to get one's self in Christ; it's necessary to undergo yet another birth as per John 3:3-8.
● John 3:7 . . Don't be surprised at my statement that you must be born again.
Note that another birth isn't optional; it's a must.
● 2Cor 5:17 . .Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.
The koiné Greek word for "creation" is ktisis (ktis'-is).
Ktisis makes its first appearance in the New Testament at Mark 10:6 where it refers to intelligent design and the source of the current cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy.
Ktisis is a subtle word. It implies that the current cosmos is an original rather than a copy; viz: the creation spoken of in 2Cor 5:17 is an original too, i.e. the first ever of its kind; unique. In other words: the new h.sapiens isn't a renovation of the first version.
"old" is from the koiné Greek word archaios (ar-khah'-yos) which basically means the first and/or primeval. In other words: the old man is the Adam version of h.sapiens, i.e. a terrestrial human race as per Gen 2:7.
Natural-born humans are classified as "in Adam" which makes sense seeing as how Adam is their progenitor.
Just as Adam was the progenitor of the now-obsolete human race; so Christ is the progenitor of the never-to-be-obsolete human race; viz: the new Man; which is a race of heavenly people that has some pretty amazing advantages.
Adam all are reckoned joint principals in his disobedience.
In Christ all are reckoned joint principals in his obedience.
Adam all are adjudged unrighteous.
In Christ all are adjudged righteous.
Adam all are capable of sin.
In Christ all are incapable of sin.
Adam all have the human nature.
In Christ all have the divine nature.
Adam all have natural life.
In Christ all have eternal life.
● 1Pet 3:15b . . Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you.
The koiné Greek word for "hope" in that passage, and in others (e.g. Rom 8:23-25) is elpis (el-pece') which means expectation; viz: elpis isn't wishful thinking, nor crossing your fingers; no, elpis is a confident kind of hope that looks forward to something, and fully expects to obtain it; ergo: elpis is an anticipating hope; viz: it doesn't pray for the best, while in the back of its mind dreading the worst.
When people aren't 110% sure what the afterlife has in store for them— if there is even the slightest concern, or unease —they can't possibly comply with 1Pet 3:15b nor with Rom 12:12a for the simple reason that the hope that is in them, if any, is the wrong kind of hope.
James Taylor / Country Roads