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Hold These Thoughts

 

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 Cosmos

Day And Night

The Beginnings Of Human Life & The Origin Of Its Mortality

The Image And Likeness Of God

Non Binary Identification

Big Daddy

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

Eating Meat

Abraham And Hagar

Abraham And Ex Post Facto

Abraham And The Stars

Leaven

Erotic Fantasies

Who/What The Firstborn Is

David's Little Boy

The Meaning Of "Under The Law"

What/Who The Schoolmaster Is

Yom Kippur

The Brazen Serpent

The Sin Nature

Eternal Life

When To Obtain Eternal Life

Jesus Christ's Human Origin

Original Sin

Jesus Christ And The Fallen Nature

How Christ Became Solomon's Successor

Jonah                             

Hell vs Common Sense

Ways To Describe Grace

Knowing Your Religion Is Right

The Rich Man, Lazarus, And Abraham

The God Begotten Of God

Jesus Afraid?

Christ's Demise

Christ's Recovery

Inspiration

Interpretation

Sons And Bums

Jephthah's Daughter

Of Babes And Bears

Spiritual Body vs Spirit Body

God's Good Faith

How People Stay In Heaven

Female Pastors, Preachers, And Teachers

Hope For Pedophiles And LGBT, et al

Christian Defined

Savior Defined

The Good Shepherd's Rights vs His Flock's Rights

The New Man

Hope Defined

Die Now / Live Now

Q & A Posted On Internet Forums


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 Cosmos
 

Although most Christians readily agree that the cosmos is the result of intelligent design; they're divided over the very first two verses of Genesis which read like this:

1. In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth. 2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Some sincerely believe the second verse indicates that the cosmos pre-existed its current form. In other words: a great cataclysm wrecked the original Earth so that God had to reconstruct it. Thus; we today supposedly live on a renovated Earth. This posit is the so-called Gap Theory; which is explained pretty well on Wikipedia.

Others, just as sincere, believe that the six days of creation shouldn't be taken as 24-hour events; rather, as epochs of indeterminate length. This posit is based upon Genesis 2:4, which reads like this:

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven."

The Hebrew word for "day" in that verse is yowm (yome) which is the very same word for each of the six days of God's creation labors. Since yowm in Gen 2:4 refers to a period of time obviously much longer than 24 hours; it justifies suggesting that each of the six Days of creation were longer than 24 hours too. In other words: yowm is ambiguous and not all that easy to interpret sometimes.

Well; for sure we have to account for some time somewhere, beau coup time— either with the gap theory or the epoch theory —in order to account for the 4.5 billion-year age of the earth, and factor in the various eras, e.g. Triassic, Jurassic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, and Cretaceous, etc, plus the ice ages and the mass extinction events.

There are some serious geological issues too. For example: the discovery of fossilized sea lilies near the summit of Mt Everest proves that the Himalayan land mass hasn't always been mountainous; but at one time was the floor of an ancient sea bed. This is confirmed by the "yellow band" below Everest's summit consisting of limestone: a type of rock made from calcite sediments containing the skeletal remains of countless trillions of organisms who lived, not on dry land, but in an ocean.

Everest and its yellow band got up high like that by means of tectonic plate buckling and/or subduction; which are very slow processes requiring thousands of years.

And there are hominid issues. For example: in 1992, Tim White of the University of California at Berkeley, discovered the fossilized remains of a pre h.sapiens female (nicknamed Ardi) in Ethiopia's Afar Rift who lived 4.4 million years ago. His forty-seven member team, over a period of 17 years, discovered portions of the remains of thirty-seven more individuals from the same era.

And then there's the dinosaur issue. Adam and all the land faring animals were created on the sixth day. On no other day did God create land faring animals.

Gen 1:3 . . Then God said "Let there be light" and there was light.

It's commonly asserted that seeing as how the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars weren't created until the fourth day, then this particular light had to be God's presence; but according to Gen 1:4, God had never seen this light before. And besides, according to 1Tim 6:16, God, as illumination, isn't visible.

Space was at time thought to contain absolutely nothing until radio astronomers discovered something called the cosmic microwave background. In a nutshell: CMB fills the universe with light that apparently radiates from no detectable source. The popular notion is that CMB is energy left over from the Big Bang.

2Cor 4:6 verifies that light wasn't introduced into the cosmos from outside in order to dispel the darkness and brighten things up a bit; but rather, it radiated out of the cosmos from inside— from itself —indicating that the cosmos was created to be self-illuminating by means of the various interactions of the matter that God made for it; including, but not limited to, the Higgs Boson.

You know it's curious to me that most Christians have no trouble readily conceding that everything else in the first chapter of Genesis is natural, e.g. the cosmos, the earth, the atmosphere, water, dry land, the Sun, the Moon, the stars, aqua life, winged life, terra life, flora life, and human life.

But when it comes to light they choke; finding it impossible within themselves to believe that Genesis just might be consistent in its description of the creative process. I mean, if all those other things are natural, why wouldn't the cosmos' light be natural too? In point of fact, the creation of light entails a whole lot more than just illumination. Light is the centerpiece of the laws of physics; without which the Earth would've certainly remained formless and void.

Gen 1:9 . . And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

Shaping the earth's mantle in order to form low spots for the seas and high spots for dry ground was a colossal feat of magma convection and volcanism combined with the titanic forces of tectonic plate subduction.

"He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth." (Ps 104:5-9)

The Earth is home to an amazing volume of water. According to an article in the Sept 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine, the amount contained in swamp water, lakes and rivers, ground water, and oceans, seas, and bays adds up to something like 326.6 million cubic miles; and that's not counting the 5.85 million cubic miles tied up in living organisms, soil moisture, ground ice and permafrost, ice sheets, glaciers, and permanent snow. To put that in perspective: a tower 326.6 million miles high would exceed the Sun's distance better than 3½ times.

At the ocean's deepest surveyed point— the Challenger Deep; located in the Mariana Islands group, at the southern end of the Mariana Trench —the water's depth is over 11,000 meters; which is about 6.8 statute miles (36,000 feet). That depth corresponds to the cruising altitude of a Boeing 747. At that altitude, probably about all you're going to see of the airliner without straining your eyes is its contrail.

Africa's Mt Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain on earth at 19,341 feet above its land base. If Kilimanjaro were placed in the Challenger Deep, it would have about 16,659 feet of water over its peak. Were the tallest point of the Himalayan range— Mt Everest —to be submerged in the Challenger Deep, it would have about 7,000 feet of water over its peak.

Gen 1:16 . . He made the stars also.

The universe is expanding in all directions, and not only expanding, but the rate of its expansion isn't uniform.

The latest data suggests that the expansion is roughly 73.24± kilometers per second per megaparsec. (Parsecs are a measure of distance; with one megaparsec amounting to roughly 3.26 million light years.)

For example: the center of the Virgo Cluster is roughly 16.5 megaparsecs from Earth. So the rate of expansion relative to that area of the universe is about 1,208 kilometers per second. (751 miles)

To put that in perspective: the muzzle velocity of a 55 grain, .223 caliber rifle bullet is roughly 3,200 feet per second; which translates to a mere 6/10ths of a mile per second. Were someone to try to shoot the center of the Virgo Cluster in the back with a .223 the exact moment it passed the spot where they were standing, the bullet would never catch up fast enough to hit it.

Anyway; scientific reasoning says that if the universe is getting bigger, then there must have been a time when celestial objects were closer together than they are now: much, much closer; in fact so close that all the matter in the universe was compacted and condensed into a mere speck. But scientific reasoning has a fatal flaw; it doesn't reckon with intelligent design.

According to Genesis 1:16, God set the stars in place. In other words; instead of beginning the expansion of the universe from a starting point; the creator began its expansion with a starting lineup.

NOTE: Nobody knows yet what's ballooning the universe. The cause has thus far been attributed to a mysterious force called, for convenience sake, dark energy. Scientists as a rule are a patient lot. I'm pretty confident that some day they will discover the cause of the universe's accelerating expansion; and it would not surprise me one whit if the cause is entirely natural rather than divine.

Gen 2:7 . .The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Non-human life for the Earth was created on a different scale than human life. Non-human life was created in swarms, while human life was created just one solo individual.

That one human life has the distinction of being the only human life that God ever created directly from the dust of the ground. All other human life descends from that one human life, including women, because they were formed from material amputated from that first human life's body.

This means that any and all human life made from women are descendants of that first human life that God created from the dust of the ground; whether virgin conceived or naturally conceived makes no difference.

Acts 17:26 . . He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth

The koiné Greek word for "nation" is ethnos (eth'-nos) which basically refers to races, which for brevity's sake I'll just label Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, and Australoid. There's a variety of sub groupings within those major divisions.

Some Christians are adamantly, and sometimes even angrily, opposed to any and all forms of evolution. But if we don't allow for at least a modicum of somatic mutations and adaptations we'll be hard pressed to provide an adequate explanation for the variety of human life on Earth, including Pygmy, that descended from the one and only human life that God created directly from the dust of the ground.

 


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.

These definitions occur so early in the Bible that they easily escape the memories of Bible students as they slip into the reflexive habit of always thinking of Days as 24-hour events. That's okay for calendars but can lead to gross misunderstandings when interpreting biblical schedules, predictions, and/or chronologies.

Gen 1:15-18a . . 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.

That passage not only defines "day" as when the sun is up, and "night" as when the sun is down; but it further defines night as when the stars are out; and yet people still don't think God means it.

Christ defined Day and Night as they were practiced when he was here.

John 11:9 . . Jesus answered: are there not twelve hours in the day? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light.

"this world's light" is the sun; which Christ defined as "by day". So if Christ's "day" was defined as when the sun was up; then Christ's "night" had to be defined as when the sun was down.

So then, when Christ predicted his death to last for three days and three nights, he obviously meant the hours of daytime and nighttime as they were understood when he was here rather than some other era otherwise the people in his own time wouldn't have known when to expect his crucified body to come back to life.

NOTE: Daytimes divided into twelve divisions were regulated by what's known as temporal hours; which vary in length in accordance with the time of year. There are times of the year at Jerusalem's latitude when daytime consists of less than 12 normal hours of sunlight, and sometimes more; but when Christ was here; the official number of daytime hours was always 12 regardless.

I don't know exactly why the Jews of that era divided their daytimes into twelve divisions regardless of the seasons, but I suspect it was just a convenient way to operate the government and conduct civil affairs; including the Temple's activities (e.g. the daily morning and evening sacrifices)

 


The Beginnings Of Human Life & The Origin Of Its Mortality


Ps 139:14-16 . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

The Hebrew word for "substance" is `otsem (o'-tsem). It appears in only three places in the entire Old Testament: Ps 139:15, Deut 8:17, and Job 30:21.

There lacks a consensus on the word's precise meaning. Based upon what I found in the Strong's Concordance, `otsem apparently refers to the constitution of something.

The Hebrew word for "curiously wrought" is raqam (raw-kam') which has to do with skilled needlework, i.e. embroidering, knitting, etc, which produce multicolored handmade articles rather than made by machines; suggesting that the human body— all of its intricacies —was crafted by the hand of God.

The Hebrew words for "lowest parts of the earth" always, and without exception, refer to the netherworld; viz: underground. (e.g. Ps 63:9, Isa 44:23, Ezek 26:20, Ezek 31:14, Ezek 31:16, Ezek 31:18, Ezek 32:18, and Ezek 32:24)

Some folk prefer to apply Ps 139:15 to a woman's womb; but I think it best, and far more sensible, to interpret it as relating to the author's creation rather than his conception. If so, then we probably should review Adam's beginning in the book of Genesis because everyone, from first to last, is his biological progeny; Eve too because she was made from human material taken from Adam's body.

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground" (Gen 2:7)

The Hebrew word for "ground" is 'adamah (ad-aw-maw') which refers to soil.

So; if Adam's body was made from soil, then everybody else's body is derived from soil too because everybody is his biological progeny.

Well then, from whence came soil?

Some of soil's minerals are derived from the disintegration of meteors that burn up in the atmosphere— commonly referred to as star dust. But that only accounts for a small percentage. The bulk of soil's parent materials come from the disintegration of the Earth's own rocks.

So: from whence came the Earth's rocks?

All the Earth's rocks are formed underground and end up on or near the surface via natural processes like volcanism, continental plate subduction, mighty earthquakes, and erosion, etc.

In a nutshell: The author of Ps 139:14-16 believed that God saw his bodily constituents while they were not yet even soil but were still underground, deep in the Earth where they were being formed into rock which would later be broken down to make soil.

So then, from whence came the physical matter to make rock? Well; that information is located in the very first two verses of the Bible; which says to me that in the very beginning God saw every human being that was ever to exist before even one began to walk the Earth.

 

Gen 1:9-10 . . And God said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas

The dry land at that point as yet had no soil because at first it would've been bare rock.

"He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth." (Ps 104:5-9)

Psalm 104 is stunning; and clearly way ahead of its time. Mountains rising, and valleys sinking speaks of magma pressure and tectonic plate subduction.

Now, it's right about here that young-earth theorists have a problem because it's obvious from physical evidence that much of the Earth's higher elevations were inundated for a very, very long time before they were pushed up to where they are now.

Take for example Mount Everest. Today its tippy top is something like 29,029 feet above sea level. The discovery of fossilized sea lilies near its summit proves that the Himalayan land mass has not always been mountainous; but at one time was the floor of an ancient sea bed. This is confirmed by the "yellow band" below Everest's summit consisting of limestone: a type of rock made from calcite sediments containing the skeletal remains of countless trillions of organisms who lived, not on dry land, but in an ocean.

Anyway; soil formation is a very slow process, sometimes taking as long as a millennium to make just one inch; which at first would consist of little more than powdered rock. In order for soil to become really productive, it's needs organic material mixed with it. So it's my guess that the very first vegetation that God created were species that thrive on stone, and little by little their remains would amend the powder to increase its fertility.

Some of the lyrics of one of AC/DC's songs says: It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n roll. Well, it was an even longer ways to the soil from which human life was eventually brought into viable existence.

 

Here's an interesting event in Jesus' life.

Luke 19:37-40 . . When he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying: Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

. . . And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them: I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

And an event from John the Baptist's life.

Matt 3:9 . . Think not to say within yourselves; "We have Abraham to our father" for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Both of those passages suggest to me that God could've— had He wanted —created h.sapiens from nothing more than rock dust; but instead waited till the Earth's rock dust was amended with organic material derived from the remains of decayed vegetation in order to make soil, but the soil's condition was still not yet ready enough to make a man.

After rock, and after vegetation, God then created all forms of life that lives ashore which would of course include not just birds, bugs, and beasts, but also all forms of life living underground, e.g. night crawlers, grubs, microbes, and nematodes, etc. When life ashore passes away, its remains are not lost to oblivion, no, they're valuable for further amending rock dust with even more organic material.

Although those ingredients would suffice for constructing a human body, they wouldn't suffice for making a body come alive, alert, and sentient.

Though there's electricity in the human body, electricity cannot revive a corpse. And though there are chemicals in the human body, neither can chemistry revive a corpse. And though there's air in the human body, a corpse cannot be revived by pumping air into its lungs; and a body without life is just a corpse, even one that's freshly created like in Gen 2:7.

 

Gen 2:7 . . And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The transition from soil to soul is made possible by a mysterious force called the breath of life. If that spoke of atmospheric air, then it would be possible to revive a corpse with artificial respiration, so we have to conclude that the breath of life is something vastly more powerful than anything found in nature.

The word "life" is commonly employed to speak of living things. But what is it that makes living things alive, alert, and sentient? How is it that all humans are constructed basically the very same way yet each has a sense of individuality?

There is no real individuality in products manufactured on an assembly line. They're all cookie-cutter duplicates and they can all be operated and maintained by the very same set of instructions.

But people are not like that. We're not cookie-cutter duplicates manufactured on an assembly line. We're all custom-made specimens with a mind of our own and a will of our own. In other words: human life isn't mechanical, rather, it's intelligent, thoughtful, and introspective. And each one is best reckoned with on an individual basis rather than the oneness of a Borg hive collective. All this, and more, from the breath of life.

The breath of life isn't unique to humans. Every creature aboard the ark with Noah was alive due to the breath of life, and every creature that drowned in the Flood was alive due to the breath of life. (Gen 7:12-23)

 

Gen 2:8-9 . . Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground— trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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.

Genesis 2:15-17 is a favorite among critics because 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?

The first thing to point out is that in order for the warning to resonate in Adam's thinking; it had to be related to death as he understood death in his own day rather than death as modern Sunday school classes construe it in their day. In other words: Adam's concept of death was primitive, i.e. normal and natural rather spiritual.

As far as can be known from scripture, Man is the only specie that God created with immortality. The animal kingdom was given nothing like it. That being the case, then I think it's safe to assume that death was common all around Adam by means of plants, birds, bugs, and beasts so that it wasn't a strange new word in his vocabulary; i.e. God didn't have to take a moment and define death for Adam seeing as how it was doubtless a common occurrence in his everyday life.

Adam saw things born, he saw things grow to maturity, he saw things gradually wither, he saw their life ebb away, and he saw them decay and dissolve into nothing. So I think we can be reasonably confident that Adam was up to speed on at least the natural aspects of death; viz: he was familiar with mortality and he was familiar with immortality.

Death includes not only mortality but also disintegration.

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (1Cor 15:53-54)

In other words; had Adam not eaten of the forbidden tree, he would've stayed forever 21, but the very day that he tasted its fruit, his body became infected with mortality— he lost perpetual youth and began to age.

Mortality is a walking death, and it's slow, but very relentless. It's like Arnold Swarzenegger's movie character; the Terminator— it feels neither pain nor pity, nor remorse nor fear; it cannot be reasoned with nor can it be bargained with, and it absolutely will not stop— ever —until you are gone.

Long story short, Adam took the risk.

Gen 3:6 . .When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

And of course, he also incurred the consequences that came with it.

Gen 3:19b . . You will return to the ground— for from it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Another consequence came with it that wasn't foretold.

Gen 3:22c . . what if he should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever!

Adam contracted mortality from the other tree. Had God allowed him access to the tree of life, it's fruit would've healed the mortality infecting his body and restored it to immortality.

The thing is: God predicted Adam's demise; so in order to ensure that the prediction came to pass; God had to cut off his access to the tree of life.

Gen 3:23 . .So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden

That was unfortunate because the tree's fruit not only cures mortality, but its leaves are a remedy for whatever ails you. (Rev 22:2)
 


The Image And Likeness Of God
 

According to Gen 5:3 and Heb 1:1-3, image and likeness basically refers to progeny, i.e. offspring.

Genuine sons are born in that position. But Man wasn't born with God— i.e. via procreation —rather, Man was created, viz: Man exists as God's handiwork, sort of like how Geppetto made for himself a little wooden son named Pinocchio.

Now, Geppetto and Pinocchio both look human, though one is for real and the other a doll. But Man's creator isn't human, nor does He look human: God is spirit whereas Man is physical; and God is eternal whereas Man is temporal. So we have to be careful to keep the progeny aspect within reasonable limits.

It's likely best to assume that the creator endowed Man with His image and likeness rather than Man inheriting the status as a son born in the home.

 


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

 


Big Daddy
 

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 Cain Was Rejected
 

1Pet 5:8-9 . . Be discreet, stay alert. Your adversary, the Devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour; whom resist, steadfast in the faith.

"the faith" isn't only a collection of beliefs, but includes a collection of practices, since according to James; a person of faith without practices might as well have no faith at all.

Jas 2:17 . . Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

The demon world believes in the existence of a supreme being (Jas 2:19) but the demon world lacks piety; i.e. they are not devout.

A devout Christian is someone who not only believes; but also behaves.

John 14:15 . . If you love me, you will comply with what I command.

John 14:21 . .Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.

John 14:23-24 . . If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.

John 15:14 . .You are my friends if you do what I command you.

Now, assuming for the moment that Cain's offering was correct; then why didn't God accept it? Well; before God snubbed Cain's offering, He first snubbed Cain.

Gen 4:4-5 . .The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.

The reason given for Cain's rejection is an elephant in the middle of the room that quite a few Bible students seem content to ignore.

Gen 4:7 . . If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?

Cain believed in the existence of a supreme being; that much is pretty obvious. But Cain's piety was flawed, i.e. his personal conduct didn't meet God's standards of behavior, viz: Cain wasn't devout.

FAQ: How could Cain possibly know God's standards of behavior without a written code to inform him?

A: Luke 11:49-51 says that Cain's kid brother Abel was a prophet.

FAQ: What does Cain's rejection have to do with me? I'm a Christian.

A: Cain's association with God was thwarted by his conduct. That principle is a universal axiom; it governs everybody: Christians included; they are not exempt. When Christians do what's right, they get along with God just fine; but when they don't do what's right, they get the cold shoulder just the same as if they were a demon.

1John 1:5-6 . .This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

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Heb 11:4 . . By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.

I'm going to edit the wording of that just a bit to bring out an important point.

"Abel offered God a sacrifice"

The missing word "better" is a modifier; which serves to show that both men's offerings were sacrifices; only the quality of Abel's sacrifice was superior to the quality of Cain's.

Sacrifices should never be assumed always lethal and/or bloody. Take for example:

Rom 12:1 . . I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices

Heb 13:15-17 . .Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Heb 11:4 also testifies that Abel's offerings were gifts. The very same Greek word is used at Matt 2:11 to categorize the treasures that the wise men left with baby Jesus.

Their gifts were not sin offerings; they were tributes: defined by Webster's as (1) something given or contributed voluntarily as due or deserved especially a gift or service showing respect, gratitude, or affection and (2) something (such as material evidence or a formal attestation) that indicates the worth, virtue, or effectiveness of the one in question

In other words "gifts" are acts of worship; which is the primary reason why Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate birthdays.

NOTE: It's commonly assumed that Abel's sacrifice was slain; but there isn't enough evidence to support it. Noah's sacrifices were obviously slain because they're listed as incinerated on an altar (Gen 8:20). But Abel's sacrifice is not said to end up the same way.

The Hebrew word for both men's offerings in Gen 4:4-5 is minchah (min-khaw') which means to apportion, i.e. bestow; a donation; euphemistically, tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary).

When disinformation is repeated often, spread widely, and lent proper respect; it sometimes becomes axiomatic in people's thinking. Caveat Lector.

It ain't what you know that gets you into trouble.
It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
(Mark Twain)

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I'm confident in my own mind that the Cain and Abel incident is unrelated to the plan of salvation as per Christ on the cross rather, it's a lesson about worship.

Take for example Isa 1:11-20. Moses' people were offering all the covenanted sacrifices, they were praying up a storm, and observing all the God-given feasts and holy days. He rejected all of it, even though He himself required it, because the people's personal conduct was unbecoming.

Prv 15:8 . .The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Yhvh.

Perhaps the classic example is the one below.

Ps 51:16 . .You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

When David wrote that; he had only just committed the capital crimes of adultery and premeditated murder. There was just no way that God was going to accept his sacrifices and offerings on top of that; and David knew it too.

The principle shows up again in Jesus' teachings.

Matt 9:13 . . Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice.

Some folk honestly believe that Christ's statement, taken from Hosea 6:6, practically repealed the entire God-given book of Leviticus. But that's not what either Hosea or Jesus were saying. They meant that God much prefers that people be civil to each other rather than religious to their fingertips.

In other words; an ungracious person's lack of things like sympathy, patience, tolerance, lenience, helpfulness, pity, and common courtesy causes God to reject their worship just as thoroughly and bluntly as He rejected Cain's.

The principle didn't go away. It's still the Lord's way of doing business with people; including Christians.

1John 1:5-7 . . God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.

It's likely a foregone conclusion that God is deeply insulted when people whose conduct is unbecoming all during the week come to church on Sunday actually thinking He's glad to see them show up for some quality time.

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Gen 4:7 . . If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?

FAQ: What do you suppose Cain would've had to do right in order for him to be accepted?

A: Judging from Gen 4:8 and 1John 3:14-15, Cain would've, at the very least, had to stop hating his kid brother.

Matt 5:22-24 . . I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says "You fool" shall be liable to the hell of fire.

. . . So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there before the altar and go— first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

NOTE: Dysfunctional families really ought to stay home on Sundays and watch football or mow the lawn instead of coming to church till they resolve their differences and can all put on an honest happy face when they're together in public.

FAQ: Don't all families squabble to some degree?

A: We're not talking about squabbles; we're talking about hate; and not just any hate, rather, a hatred that's gone beyond anger and congealed into a lingering malice that's intense enough to want someone dead. (cf. Gen 37:4-20)

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Jude 11 . . Woe to them. They have taken the way of Cain.

Cain's way began with Gen 4:16, which says:

"Cain went out from The Lord's presence"

Apparently Cain's departure was permanent because he's never again shown in contact with God for the remainder of the Bible. In other words; Cain's rapport with God ended abruptly that very day and was never restored.

During an evening service in church many years ago, the minister asked everyone to stand and promise God that they would make an effort to avoid sin. Well, my sister and I made the promise but my brother did not. When we got home I asked my brother why he didn't make the promise. He replied: "There's some things I want to do."

God had put that very same choice on the table for Cain to think about when He said:

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?" (Gen 4:7)

Well; neither my brother nor Cain were interested in doing what's right; they had other ideas.

The "woe" in Jude 11 isn't just an expression of sympathy; no, it's a reality. Here's the wording of it from Gen 4:7

"If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

Well; piety and self control were not Cain's highest priorities. He was determined to do as he pleased; viz; Cain stepped out on the road to depravity; and my brother did too.

Jude 3-4 warns that Christianity is infected with a number of people on Cain's path— some are pastors, priests, and ministers, some are officers on church boards, some are deacons, some are elders, some are even Sunday school and catechism teachers; so be careful out there.

NOTE: People like Cain, and Jacob's uncle Laban, are curiosities. Neither man was an atheist, and both were privileged by personal encounters with the one true God; yet the encounters failed to motivate either to change his ways.

 


Why Wasn't Cain Executed For Murder
 

Gen 4:8 . . Cain talked with Abel his brother; and when they were in the field, Cain set upon his brother Abel and killed him.

The Hebrew word translated "killed" means to smite with deadly intent, i.e. 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?

FAQ: How did Cain get off with only a slap on the wrist?

A: The Bible's retribution for murder is capital punishment; and that comes out very early in God's communications with Man at Gen 9:5-6. However; Adam didn't have to prosecute Cain as required by that rule because it was enacted ex post facto, viz: the laws of God are not retroactive. (Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, Gal 3;17)

 


From Whence Cain Got A Wife
 

Adam was created directly from the dust of the earth. Not so Eve. She was constructed from a human tissue sample amputated from Adam's body. In other words: Eve's flesh was biologically just as much Adam's flesh as Adam's except for gender; viz: Eve wasn't a discrete species of human life, rather; she was the flip side of the same coin.

After God created Adam and Eve, He wrapped the work and has been on a creation sabbatical every since.

According to the Bible, all human life thereafter came from Eve's flesh.

Gen 3:20 . . Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

It was apparently the creator's deliberate design that all human life descend from a solo specimen.

Acts 17:26 . . From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth.

The Greek word for "nation of men" is ethnos (eth'-nos) which pertains to racial diversity.

Bottom line: The flesh of Cain's wife descended from his mother's flesh.

An even more convincing example of prehistoric incest is Noah and his three sons and their wives. Nobody else survived the Flood; ergo: Shem's, Ham's, and Japheth's children all married amongst themselves.

Gen 9:18-19 . . Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth. These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was populated.

Obviously the human genome was very pure back in those days. The proof of it is pre-historic human life's amazing longevity— Adam lived to be 930, and Noah to 950.

Now as to the "sin" of incest; according to Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17; God doesn't enforce His laws ex post facto: viz: they are not retroactive. So then, it would be a gross miscarriage of justice to prosecute pre-historic people for incest because it wasn't prohibited in their day; and wouldn't be until later in Moses'.

 


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.

I think it's very safe to assume Noah and his kin gradually dismantled the ark over time and used the wood for many other purposes, including fires. Nobody cooked or heated their homes or their bath and laundry water with refined fossil fuels and/or electricity and steam in those days, so everybody needed to keep on hand a pretty fair-sized wood pile for their daily needs. There was probably plenty of driftwood left behind by the Flood, but most of that would be water-soaked at first. But according to Gen 6:14 the ark's lumber was treated. So underneath the pitch it was still in pretty good shape and should have been preserved for many years to come.

 


Eating Meat
 

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.

Rom 14:2-3 . . One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

People are often curious why God revised humanity's diet after the Flood. Well; the Bible gives no reason for it that I'm aware of, but according to an article in the Dec 10, 2013 Science section of the New York Times, scientists believe that the early human body was able to manufacture all of its own essential vitamins; but over time gradually lost the ability to manufacture all but K and D.

That seems plausible to me seeing as how Noah lived to be 950 years old, but by the time of Abraham, the human life span had decreased considerably to 175; which the Bible describes as a ripe old age (Gen 25:7 8). Well, Noah at 175 was about equivalent to Abraham at 32; so the human body was obviously a whole lot stronger back in Noah's day than it was in Abraham's.

Apparently the inclusion of meat in Man's diet after the Flood was intended primarily as a source of natural supplements to make up for the human body's gradually lessening ability to manufacture all it's own essential nutrients; much the same reason that modern vegans resort to synthetic supplements in order to avoid contracting deficiency diseases.

People subsisting on vegan diets, such as many of the people of India, often eat lots of minute insect eggs along with their fruits and vegetables without knowing it, thus providing themselves with a number of essential nutrients that most everyone else obtains by deliberately eating animal products. It's kind of humorous that in their care to avoid meat. vegans sometimes end up dining on bugs.

 


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.

Abraham was the biological father of the slave woman's son, i.e. Ishmael (Gen 16:2-16)

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?

Jesus referenced Psalm 110:1, where there are two distinct Hebrew words for "lord". The first is Jehovah, a name reserved exclusively for God. The second is 'adown, which is a very common word in the Old Testament used to simply indicate a superior. Sarah labeled Abraham her 'adown (Gen 18:12) Rachel addressed her dad by 'adown (Gen 31:5) and Jacob addressed his brother Esau by 'adown (Gen 33:8).

So then; Psalm 110:1 could be translated like this:

"Jehovah said unto my superior: Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

God established David as His firstborn in regard to monarchs.

Ps 89:20-27 . . I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him . . . . . I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

So then, in order for one of David's sons to outrank their paterfamilias, it would be necessary for God to revoke David's rank and transfer it to the son.

This was previously unheard of in the Jews' history. Their sacred writings record the rank of siblings being shifted around from one to another, but never a father's to a son. In point of fact, the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God requires children to revere their fathers, not the other way around (Ex 20:12). It's no surprise then that the Pharisees were baffled.

Matt 22:46 . . And no one was able to answer him a word.

NOTE: The Pharisees are a case in point that anybody can read the Bible, and anybody can parrot the Bible, but not just anybody can explain it.

 


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.

The apostle Paul was a well-trained Jew (Acts 22:3, Php 3:5). He and his fellow Pharisees generally understood the law as that of Moses', a.k.a. the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The important thing to note about the covenant is that it's a legally binding contract. So then the term "under the law" refers to contractual obligations.

Seeing as how Christ's followers are not contracted with God to comply with the Jews' covenant, then neither is God contractually obligated to penalize Christ's followers for breaching it.

In a nutshell: where there is no contract, there is no contract to breach; and where there is no law, there is no law to break; and where there is no law to break, there are no indictments; which brings into focus principles related to the priesthood of Melchizedek.

He was a priest of the Most High God in the book of Genesis contemporary with Abraham. (Gen 14:18-20)

Mel, along with Abraham, existed prior to the covenanted law that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This is very important seeing as how according to the Bible, law enacted ex post facto isn't retroactive.

Deut 5:2-4 . .Yhvh our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. Yhvh did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.

Rom 4:15 . . Law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

Rom 5:13 . . Sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Gal 3:17. .The Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God.

That being the case, then Melchizedek's constituents— among whom was Abraham —were immune to the consequences specified for breaking the covenant's law as per Ex 34:6-7, Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

Christ's priesthood is patterned after Melchizedek's (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:5-6). So then, seeing as how Melchizedek and his constituents were immune to the curses specified for breaching the covenant, then Christ and his constituents are immune to the curses too. In a nutshell: neither Christ nor his followers can be sent to hell for breaking the Ten Commandments.

Another advantage of Christ's priesthood is its continuity.

Take for example the Aaronic priesthood. No one has benefited from its services since Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70ad. Which means of course that 1,900+ years worth of Yom Kippurs have been merely for show because the Day Of Atonement cannot be observed properly and effectively without a fully functioning Aaronic priesthood.

In contrast: Christ's priesthood isn't effected by wars, and/or geopolitics. He officiates in heaven where nothing happening on earth can reach to either interfere with, or interrupt, his services (Heb 8:1-4). And seeing as how Christ recovered from death immortal (Rom 6:9, Heb 7:3, Rev 1:18) then health, old age and/or death will never be a factor in either the length or the effectiveness of his priesthood tenure.

Heb 7:24-25 . . He, on the other hand, because he abides forever, holds his priesthood permanently. Hence, also, he is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

FYI: Melchizedek's office is a High Priest's position (Heb 5:10, Heb 6:20). Well; the office of High Priest isn't a fraternity; the Bible limits the number in office to just one at a time; and the man stays in place till he's either dead or incapacitated before being replaced— which of course won't happen with Christ seeing as how he's currently immortal.

Point being: Mormonism's order of Melchizedek is over-staffed: and so, for that matter, is its order of Aaron seeing as how Aaron's is the office of a High Priest too. In addition; Aaron's order is the official High Priest of the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. So then, every male in Mormonism's Aaronic order is under the law; a very dangerous position to be in.

Deut 27:26 . . Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.

The grammatical tense of the curse is present tense, indicating that the curse is immediate— no delay and no waiting period.

 


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)

 


Leaven
 

Gen 19:3 . . Lot prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

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 decay.

The Hebrew word translated "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 doug. i.e. fresh dough rather than spoiled dough, i.e. pure dough rather than tainted dough.

Given time, fresh dough will become leavened 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 Moses' 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 eventually do if it isn't refrigerated.

Anyway, point being: bread made with sour dough is reasonably safe to eat, we know that; so serving his guests bread made with tainted dough wouldn't have been a health issue. However, it's likely that Lot served his guests bread made with fresh dough due to urgency. Leavened bread is appealing; but unleavened is quicker because there's no waiting for the dough to rise before baking it.

Old fashioned leavened bread-- the Bible's leavened bread --is made by blending a batch of fresh dough with so-called "starter" which is highly prized by some cooks. The product becomes a blend of good and bad; which spiritually speaking is not a good thing because it's an amalgam of that which is corrupt with that which is sound.

1Cor 5:6 . . Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

Yes; it surely does.

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." (Matt 13:33)

In other words; the woman's dough was no longer pure, it was tainted.

1Cor 5:7-8 . . Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 


Erotic Fantasies


Matt 5:27-28 . .You have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Before we can even begin to apply what Christ said about adultery; we first have to categorize the "woman" about whom he spoke. Well; she's obviously somebody's wife because adultery is defined as voluntary carnal activity between a married man and someone other than his wife, or between a married woman and someone other than her husband. In other words; in order for an incident to qualify as adultery, at least one of the participants has to be married.

The koiné Greek word for "lust" is epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh'-o) which means: to set the heart upon.

Setting one's heart upon something is a whole lot different than merely liking something and wanting it. The one whose heart is set upon something is in the process of finding a way to get it; and as such comes under the ruling of covetousness; which reads:

Ex 20:17 . .Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his burro, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

Coveting, per se, isn't a sin. Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to "covet earnestly" the best spiritual gifts (1Cor 12:31) and to covet prophesy (1Cor 14:39). To "covet earnestly" means you go after something with the full intention of possessing it.

Ex 20:17 doesn't condemn erotic fantasies nor a healthy male libido, no, it condemns scheming to take away something of your neighbor's instead of getting your own. (cf. 1Kgs 21:1-20)

Rom 13:14 . . But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

The emphasis there is not upon human nature's desires; rather, upon taking steps to fulfill them; which has the distinction of being the correct interpretation of Matt 5:27-28.

So then, are Ex 20:17 and Matt 5:27-28 saying that a man can't look across the street at his neighbor's Harley and drool over it, turning green with envy? Or that a man can't gape at his neighbor's buxom wife, undressing her with his eyes, and having erotic fantasies about her? No, the kind of lust we're talking about here doesn't imply that at all. It implies a man going after the neighbor's Harley, and the buxom wife instead of getting his own.

As an illustration: in the movie The Bridges Of Madison County, there's a precise moment when a married Francesca Johnson makes a definite decision to initiate an affair with free-lance photographer Robert Kincaid. Francesca was okay with Robert up till the moment of her decision; but from that moment on, Mrs. Johnson was an adulteress before she and Robert even slept together because it was in her heart to make it happen.

Supposing a religious man sincerely believes it really and truly is adultery to entertain thoughts about women— any woman, whether somebody's wife or single? Well; too bad because if that's the way he feels, then whenever he does, he's an adulterer.

Rom 14:14 . . To him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Rom 14:23 . . If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

That is indeed tragic because there are perfectly normal men out and about stacking up piles of unnecessary sins against themselves due to their religion instilling within them a guilt complex related to their God-given attraction to women.

Gen 1:28 . . God blessed them and God said to them: Be fruitful and increase,

Some interpret that verse to be an edict requiring married people to have children; and that they have no business getting married for any other reason. But the wording is so obviously a blessing rather than a law; especially since God said the very same thing to the winged creatures, and the fish, and the reptiles, and the bugs, and the beasts.

It's always best to regard blessings as benefits and/or empowerments unless clearly indicated otherwise. Some blessings have to be merited (e.g. Deut 28:1-13) but not Gen 1:28. It was neither requested nor was it earned— it was freely given without any strings attached and nothing asked in return.

FAQ: Why then do people feel so guilty about their libido if it's God-given?

A: In the beginning, that wasn't so.

Gen 2:25 . .They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Then Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, and one of its side effects made him sensitive about his midlands.

Gen 3:7 . . Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

The Hebrew word for "coverings" indicates aprons; i.e. they made themselves loin cloths. Apparently Eve was comfortable topless at first, but not bottomless; which suggests to me that they were compelled to cover up their midlands right away due to a newly-acquired sense of decency brought on by something in the chemistry of that fruit.

However, their newly-acquired sense of decency wasn't God-given; it was man-made; viz: humanistic rather than divine; i.e. of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.

 


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 "law" to which the writer refers is the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Although Gentiles aren't contracted with God to comply with the covenant, it's useful for revealing God's feelings about certain kinds of behavior; for example:

Lev 19:11 . . You shall not deal falsely, nor lie to one another.

Once a Gentile is made aware that their maker disapproves of dishonesty, henceforth they get in hot water every time they lie because God is lenient with uninformed liars but has little patience with scofflaws.

Num 15:30-31 . .The person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly reviles the Lord; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has spurned the word of the Lord and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off— he bears his guilt.

So; what might "cut off" amount to? Well; for one: no liar will be allowed entrance to the holy city.

Rev 21:27 . . No one who practices lying shall ever come into it

Rev 22:14-15 . . Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are whoever loves and practices a lie.

The law's task then; is to instill fear in dishonesty, and make liars aware that if they opt to take their chances, and stand before God to be judged on their own merits; that they haven't the slightest, slimmest possibility of coming away unscathed. It's a 110% forgone conclusion that they will come away dead.

Rev 21:8 . . All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

I am willing to bet that nobody can get through the day without dishonesty— we need dishonesty, we have to have dishonesty or interactions with our friends, with strangers, with associates, with superiors and loved ones would be very strained indeed. It is just humanly impossible to be honest all the time. I would even go so far as to say that in the world in which we live; it's not smart to be 110% honest all the time; viz: "Honesty is the best policy" just isn't true; not in the world we live in anyway; which is a bit of a catch-22.

FAQ: Why does everyone find it so easy to lie?

A: Because human beings are natural-born liars.

Ps 58:3 . . The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth.

That's an interesting statement. It's saying— in so many words —that although infants are too young to lie; they are born with a proclivity to lie; i.e. a natural predilection, and that's what makes them wicked because that inborn inclination to lie is in them and will eventually have its way with them.

FAQ: How are people supposed to obey that commandment seeing as how we're all natural-born liars?

A: Nobody can, it's impossible.

Jer 13:23 . . Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

Well; the Schoolmaster's goal is not only to frighten liars and make them nervous; but also to show them the God-given way out of their predicament.

On the night Jesus was born, a heavenly messenger made the following announcement:

Luke 2:10 . . Don't be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

The cross' first and foremost purpose was to satisfy justice for all kinds of sin, including dishonesty. That right there should make liars breathe a little easier in respect to the sum of all fears.

1John 2:2 . . He himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Isa 53:6 . . All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.

FYI: The June 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine contains a very interesting article titled: Why We Lie. There's actually been studies done about this.

 


Yom Kippur
 

The details of Yom Kippur as per Lev 23:27-32, Lev 16:29-34, and Num 29:7 don't really matter all that much to Christians because the New Testament only concerns itself with the ritual's limitations.

The problem is: the covenant's sacrifices obtain pardons and forgiveness and cleansing for the people, but the sacrifices aren't sufficient to obtain innocence for them nor to get their records wiped clean. In other words; Yom Kippur may obtain forgiveness, pardon, and cleansing for dishonesty; but on the books the offender will still be listed as a liar. (Heb 10:1-3)

And on top of that, the very moment the ritual ends, people begin accumulating new sins towards the next Yom Kippur so there's never really a moment when the people are guiltless.

So then, Yom Kippurs are endless; one is never enough because the ritual is always for the past, never for the future. In other words; Yom Kippurs are always catching up with the people's sins instead of getting out ahead of them.

The new covenant doesn't have an extensive sacrificial system, nor does it have an endless parade of annual rituals like Yom Kippur. It had but one sacrifice; just one, and it's good for all time. In other words: the new covenant's sacrifice isn't only for past sins, but also for sins of the future that people haven't even committed yet. Isaiah 53:6 is past tense, i.e. done.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Plus, the new covenant's sacrifice is sufficient to get the people off their perpetual guilt trip because it not only obtains pardons and forgiveness and cleansing, but also an acquittal and a complete wipe; something nobody gets from the first covenant.

FAQ: Doesn't Yom Kippur's scapegoat effect a wipe?

A: The so-called a scapegoat is a misnomer. It's actually an escaping goat; viz: a fugitive; here's why.

It's a biblical axiom that the soul that sins, it shall die, i.e. the wages of sin is death (Ezek 18:20, Rom 6:23). Well; the scapegoat is allowed to live rather than executed, so justice for the worshippers' sins remains pending; hanging over their heads like a sword of Damocles.

NOTE: Some people, unfamiliar with animal husbandry, think that leaving a goat out in a wilderness place to fend for itself is a death sentence. No; far from it. Goats are survivors. They can get by in environments that quite a few other species would find quite disagreeable. And though the Jews were in a wilderness place during the giving of the law, there was vegetation enough to nourish the herds. (Ex 34:3)

Yom Kippur's purpose then, isn't to expunge the people's sins; rather, to remind the people that although Yom Kippur's ritual sanitizes them as per Lev 16:30, their sins are still on the books, yet to be brought to justice.

Ex 34:6-7 . . 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

Nahum 1:3 . . Yhvh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked

Looking at those two scriptures one cannot help but scratch their head and wonder how it's possible that God forgives the guilty, and yet at the same time does not acquit the guilty. Well; the answer to that is: forgiveness and acquittal are two very different things in the Old Testament.

In other words; though God forgives He does not forget; viz: the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God does not permit Him to expunge the guilty party's record; viz: forgiveness as per the covenant is merely a reprieve; which Webster's defines as: to delay the punishment of someone; such as a prisoner who is sentenced to death.

Long story short: there's a reckoning coming for Yhvh's people when the covenant will finally get its pound of flesh as per Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

NOTE: Never, ever, wish your Jewish friends and/or associates a pleasant Yom Kippur. It's okay to wish them a satisfactory Yom Kippur but never a pleasant one because it's not a feel-good day like Christmas and birthdays.

Quite the contrary Yom Kippur is specifically a day to be depressed; viz: a day of sadness and self-affliction; as per Lev 16:29-31, Lev 16:31, Lev 23:27, and Lev 23:32, which is from a Hebrew word meaning to mistreat, humiliate, oppress, break the spirit, demean, abuse, weaken, injure, abase, etc. Jews that think and/or speak well of themselves on that day accrue an instant curse upon themselves. (Deut 27:26)

 


The Brazen Serpent
 

John 3:14-17 . . As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The incident to which Christ referred is located at Num 21:5-9. Long story short: Moses' people became weary of eating manna all the time at every meal. But instead of courteously, and diplomatically, petitioning their divine benefactor for a different diet, they became hostile and confrontational; angrily demanding tastier food.

In response to their insolence, and their ingratitude for His providence; God sent a swarm of deadly poisonous vipers among them; which began striking people; and every strike was 100% fatal, no exceptions.

After a number of people died, the rest came to their senses and begged Moses to intercede. In reply; The Lord instructed Moses to fashion an image of the vipers and hoist it up on a pole in plain view so that everyone dying from venom could look to the image for relief.

The key issue here is that the image was the only God-given remedy for the people's bites— not sacrifices and offerings, not tithing, not church attendance, not scapulars, not confession, not holy days of obligation, not the Sabbath, not the golden rule, not charity, not Bible study and/or Sunday school, not self denial, not vows of poverty, not the Ten Commandments, not one's religion of choice, no; not even prayers. The image was it; nothing else would suffice to save their lives.

As an allegory, the brazen serpent indicates that Christ's crucifixion for the sins of the world is the only God-given rescue from the wrath of God; and when people accept it, then according to John 3:14-17 and John 5:24, they qualify for a transfer from death into life. Those who reject his crucifixion for the sins of the world as the only God-given rescue from the sum of all fears are already on the docket to face it.

John 3:18 . .Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

His son's "name" in this case is relative to the brazen serpent incident.

 


The Sin Nature
 

Jer 13:23a . . Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?

The answer to both those questions is of course "no" because if an h.sapiens is born with black skin, it stays black; and if a cat is born with spotted fur, its stays spotted. In other words: the color of an Ethiopian's skin, and the spots on a leopard's fur, are indelible; they're permanent.

Jer 13:23b . . Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

The apostle Paul said something similar in Rom 7:7-24; which is pretty much summed up in verse 18, which reads thus:

"I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh"

The Greek word for "flesh" is sarx (sarx); which basically indicates the meaty parts of either man or beast; i.e. the body. The meaty parts of course consist of not only muscle and fat; but also the organs and the brain and the nervous system along with the eyes, the ears, and the tongue. Those are all "meaty" parts.

What Paul is saying in Rom 7:7-24 is that the human body has a will of its own, and it quite naturally, and quite intrinsically, has a predilection for evil instead of good. In other words; any man who would be 100% righteous is in for a fight against nature, i.e. a fight against his own self— an inner conflict that (speaking from experience) can lead to a mental disorder or a nervous breakdown.

Ironically, should someone manage to succeed in a war with themselves, in the long run it will be for naught because all they will have done is suppress their body's natural predilection for evil rather than get rid it.

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.

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?

 


Eternal Life
 

Eternal life is often mistaken for immortality. The two are not the same.

Immortality is a material kind of life that has to do with a superhuman body impervious to age, death, and putrefaction.

Eternal life, on the other hand, isn't a material kind of life; it's a spirit kind of life; which is why it's possible for people to obtain eternal life prior to obtaining immortality.

For example: Christ had eternal life when he was here (John 5:26, 1John 1:1-2) but according to Rom 6:9 and Rev 1:18, he didn't obtain immortality till he rose from the dead.

Likewise Christ's believing followers have eternal life while they're here (John 5:24) but according to Rom 8:23-25, 1Cor 15:51-53, and 1Thss 4:14-17 they won't obtain immortality until their resurrections.

So then; I think we can safely conclude (in a nutshell) that immortality is something that can be seen, while eternal life is something that cannot be seen.

The properties of eternal life are a little easier to understand when juxtaposed with creature life.

Human life was created.

Eternal life wasn't created.

There's a large variety of created life.

There is only one eternal life.

Human life's primary characteristic is human nature; roughly defined as the fundamental dispositions and traits of the human being.

Eternal life's primary characteristic is divine nature, roughly defined as the fundamental dispositions and traits of the supreme being.

FYI: When people in possession of eternal life pass away, they are fully prepared to go straight to heaven because God has devised a way to strip them of their human nature and leave them with only the fundamental dispositions and traits of the supreme being (Col 2:11). That's quite an advantage, and emphasizes the importance of obtaining eternal life now, today, while it's available.

 


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 christless, and they will pass on christless. 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 passing.

 


Jesus Christ's Human Origin
 

I was taught in catechism that seeing as how Jesus Christ's mother was a virgin when he was conceived, then he didn't have a human father. Well; that all depends on how we go about defining "father".

Gen 2:21a-22a . . So the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man; and, while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot. And the Lord God fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman;

The Hebrew word for "rib" is tsela' (tsay-law') and Gen 2:21-22 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" which is really how it should be translated because according to Gen 2:23, the material taken from Adam's body included a portion of his flesh, which is notable; here's why.

God constructed Adam's body from the Earth's dust, and then breathed into it the breath of life. He did neither of those two things with Eve. Her body was constructed from Adam's body, and she got her breath of life from his breath of life. In other words: human life is a transferrable kind of life that can be, and is, passed on to succeeding generations.

The result is: none of us are discreet creations; everybody that biologically descends from Adam is just simply more Adam; viz: reproductions, i.e. our body is his body, and our breath of life is his breath of life. This is very important in regards to Jesus Christ's human origin.

There are people, even a number of Christians, who desperately want to biologically disconnect Jesus Christ from Adam; their case relies heavily upon Jesus' virgin conception, which is a losing case seeing as how the flesh and bone of Mary's parents biologically descended from Eve's flesh and bone; and from thence Adam's flesh and bone; ergo: Mary's flesh and bone were Adam's.

Opponents have even attempted to biologically disconnect Christ from Adam by insisting that his conception was an implant, i.e. Mary was Jesus' surrogate mother rather than his biological mother. But that idea is not only a theory concocted right out of thin air and a fertile imagination, but it's also spurious and unbiblical.

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 seed according to the flesh sans Mary sleeping with a man, she had to be one of David's biological granddaughters or else her child would not have been David's actual progeny, and the angel's announcement would've been untrue.

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.

I can think of no sensible argument that would successfully break Christ's biological lineage to David, nor of one that would successfully break David's biological lineage to Eve.

So then; unless somebody can prove— clearly, conclusively, and without ambiguity; air tight and iron clad— that Jesus Christ's mother wasn't biologically related to Eve; then it's a foregone conclusion that Adam was the first in Jesus Christ's long line of biological male ancestors; the final one of course being Mary's biological father.

FAQ: From whence did baby Jesus obtain a Y chromosome for his male gender?

REPLY: In the beginning, Eve's entire body was constructed with material taken from Adam's body.

Seeing as how Eve is the mother of all women, then any material taken from Mary's body to construct a Y chromosome for baby Jesus would be owed to Eve's body.

The beauty of it is that a Y chromosome constructed with material taken from Mary's body would not be an alien substance created ex nihilo; but would be 100% natural, and easily traceable all the way back to Eve, and from thence to the very dust that was used to construct Adam's body.

I can't prove any of this of course, but nevertheless I sincerely believe that what I suggest herein actually took place when the power of the Most High overshadowed Jesus' mom per Luke 1:35; and if my suggestion is true, then little Jesus was thoroughly a Jew from top to bottom-- biologically descended, as all other Jews, from the Man that God created in the book of Genesis.

Heb 2:17 . . He had to be made like his brethren in every way

FAQ: But doesn't 1Cor 15:45-47 say that Christ is a second Adam rather than a reproduction of the first?

A: I'm going to deliberately misquote a portion of that passage so's to bring out a point.

"And so it is written; "The first man Adam was made a living soul"; the last Adam was made a life-giving man."

According to the actual language, the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit rather than a life-giving man. When 1Cor 15:45-47 is considered along with John 1:1-4, it becomes readily apparent that the last Adam was God prior to becoming an h.sapiens.

 


Original Sin
 

This particular sin stems from an incident depicted in the third chapter of the book of Genesis.

Comments related to the incident can be reviewed rby following the link.

The Forbidden Tree

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The importance of the original sin is due primarily to its universal application.

It is commonly believed among a pretty large number of Christians that accountability for Adam's eating the forbidden fruit is transmitted to children by means of their parents. But the language and grammar in the epistle to Romans indicates that everyone's joint participation in Adam's act took place in real time rather than taking place in their own time.

Rom 5:12 . .Through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned

The words "all sinned" are grammatically past tense rather than present or future. In other words; everyone that is related, was related, and/or shall be related to Adam is reckoned a joint participant in his act, and it matters not whether they are virgin conceived or normally conceived because the act isn't transmitted by one's parents, it was transmitted to everyone solely by one man working alone and no one else. There's more.

Rom 5:19 . .Through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners

The words "were made sinners" are grammatically past tense rather than present or future. In other words; everyone that is related, was related, and/or shall be related to Adam became sinners by his act right then; whether virgin conceived or normally conceived makes no difference because complicity in Adam's act isn't transmitted by one's parents, it was transmitted to everyone solely by one man working alone, and no one else. There's more yet.

Rom 5:12 . .Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all

The words "death came to all" are grammatically past tense rather than present or future. In other words; everyone that is related, was related, and/or shall be related to Adam was condemned to death by his act right then; whether virgin conceived or normally conceived makes no difference because the death sentence isn't transmitted by one's parents; it was transmitted to everyone solely by one man working alone, and no one else.

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FAQ: Did Jesus' virgin conception protect him from Adam's transgression?

A: No; because Adam's sin isn't inherited; it was imputed to everyone all at once.

FAQ: Well then, how can John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, and 1Pet 2:22 all claim and/or imply that Jesus was a lamb without spot or blemish, i.e. 100% sinless?

A: Jesus committed no sins of his own to account for.

FAQ: Does Adam's sin put people in danger of Hell?

A: The proper retribution for Adam's sin is just simply mortality. So when folks pass away, they're done with Adam's mistake; which of course makes it possible for aborted babies and tiny infants to gain access to heaven.

Jesus passed away on the cross, so there went his share of the retribution for Adam's transgression. In point of fact, had not Jesus been executed, he would've eventually died from some other cause, including old age.

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Isa 53:8 and Isa 53:10 record mysterious predictions about Christ that basically say he would die and leave behind no posterity, yet he would live long and prosper, and would see his children.

That's doubtless a veiled reference to Christ's resurrection. But there's more tucked away in there than only that, and we need to look at Rom 5:12-21 if we're to have any expectation at all of figuring this out.

In a nutshell:

1) Just as all in Adam were accounted disobedient by his act, by the grace of God all in Christ are accounted compliant.

2) Just as all in Adam were accounted unrighteous by his act, by the grace of God all in Christ are accounted righteous.

3) Just as all in Adam were accounted guilty by his act, by the grace of God all in Christ are accounted innocent.

4) Just as all in Adam were accounted sinners by his act, by the grace of God all in Christ are accounted saints.

5) Just as all in Adam were condemned to die by his act, by the grace of God all in Christ will live forever.

Now the catch to obtaining this particular grace of God is that its recipients must be "in" Christ just as the recipients of the aforementioned condemnation are "in" Adam. In other words; this grace is granted to Christ's posterity, i.e. his children. (Heb 2:10-14)

Look down at one of your hands. That hand is Adam's hand because according to Gen 3:20 and Acts 17:26 we are all his posterity, viz: we were all in that one man's body on the very day he was created. (cf. Heb 7:9-10)

So, the place to be in order to qualify for the grace that I've been talking about is in Christ's body; which is a placement requiring an act of God as opposed to placement in Adam's body which requires an act of Man, i.e. the one is a natural process whereas the other is a supernatural process.

1Cor 12:13 . For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body

Eph 5:30 . . For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

 


How Christ Became Solomon's Successor
 

Luke 1:32 . . the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

It's not difficult to prove that Mary's little boy was David's biological progeny.

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 is a bit ambiguous because it can refer to spiritual progeny as well as to biological progeny; for example:

Gal 3:29 . . If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed.

That seed is obviously spiritual progeny. But the seed in Acts 13:22-23 and Rom 1:1-3 is biological progeny because David's seed is "according to the flesh".

Now, a problem associated with David's throne is that it passes down thru his son Solomon (1Kgs 1:28-35). Well, Solomon is in Joseph's genealogy (Matt 1:6) and we know for sure that Joseph was not Jesus' biological father (Matt 1:18-25. Luke 1:26-35). So then, how did Jesus get a legitimate place in Solomon's genealogy if not by birth?

At Gen 48:5-7, Jacob adopted his own two biological grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim; thus installing them in positions equal in rank, honor, and power to his twelve original sons; thus legally increasing Jacob's total number of sons from twelve to fourteen.

Jacob's motive for adopting Joseph's two sons wasn't for himself; it was in sympathy for his beloved wife Rachel being cut off during her child-bearing years, which subsequently prevented her from having any more children of her own. Ephraim and Manasseh bring Rachel's legal total up to six: two of her own, two by the maid Bilhah, and two by Asenath.

Now, fast-forward to the New Testament where the angel of The Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream and instructed him to take part in naming Mary's virgin-born baby.

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus" (Matt 1:21)

Joseph complied.

"And he gave him the name Jesus." (Matt 1:25)

So Christ went in the books as Joseph's son because that's how it worked in those days when a man stood with a woman to name her child (cf. Luke 1:59, Luke 2:21). And from that day on; Joseph was regarded by all, including Mary, as Jesus' father. (Matt 13:55, Luke 2:27, Luke 2:41, Luke 2:48)

Thus: Christ became Solomon's descendant by means of adoption, just as Ephraim and Manasseh became Rachel's descendants by means of adoption. This was the only legitimate way that Jesus could ascend Solomon's throne because stepchildren don't have inheritance rights.

NOTE: Just in case there's a man looking in on this considering adopting his wife's children from a previous marriage; you need to be aware that should the two of you later divorce; she can legally make you pay child support for another man's kids because when you adopt them, the law and the courts regard them as yours; so you'd better give that some serious thought before taking the plunge.

 


Jonah

Jonah 1:17 . . The Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

FAQ: Was Jonah alive in the fish?

REPLY: Yes. (Jonah 2:1)

FAQ: The whole time?

REPLY: No.

Jonah 2:1-2 tells of two prayers. One was prayed while Jonah was interred in a fish's tummy, and the other was prayed while Jonah was being held in sheol.

* Sheol is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word Haides, which simply refers to the netherworld; a place where at one time all the dead retired; both the good dead and the bad dead regardless of age, race, gender and/or religious preference.

In other words; the sheol prayer was uttered while Jonah was deceased, and the fish prayer was uttered after Jonah's corpse was restored to life.

Also, the language of Jonah's fish prayer strongly indicates that he underwent a resurrection.

"I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But Thou hast brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God." (Jonah 2:6)

The Hebrew word translated "bars" oftentimes indicates the mechanical devices by which ancient city gates were secured. (cf. Matt 16:18)

The Hebrew word for "pit" speaks of putrefaction.

The very same Hebrew word is located in Ps 16:8-10, which Acts 2:25-31 verifies is speaking of a dead body.

Jonah 2:7 tells of yet a third prayer, which was actually Jonah's first, uttered while he was losing consciousness. (cf. Luke 23:46)

And then there's Jesus . . .

Matt 12:40 . . 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.

So then, jas Jonah's soul was not left imprisoned in the earth, neither was Christ's. And as Jonah's dead body wasn't left to decompose, neither was Christ's. And as Jonah's dead body was restored to life within three days and nights, so was Christ's. If none of this were so, then Jonah's experience would be a pretty useless parallel to Christ's if the only thing we're to get out of it is the time element.

FAQ: How can it be that Jonah's resurrection preceded Christ's when Col 1:18, 1Cor 15:20, and Rev 1:5 clearly indicate otherwise?

REPLY: A number of dead bodies were restored to life prior to Jesus'. For example, not counting Jonah, there was 1Kings 13:20-20, 2Kings 4:18-37, 2Kings 13:20-21, Matt 11:5, Luke 8:49-55, Luke 7:12-15, and of course John 11:1-44.

The problem that quite a few folks have with Jonah's resurrection is their misunderstanding of the term "first begotten" which pertains not only to birth order, but also to superiority; and the position is transferrable to a younger sibling, e.g. Esau and Jacob (Gen 25:23) Rueben and Joseph (1Chrn 5:1), Mannasah and Ephraim (Gen 48:13-19).


Hell vs Common Sense

I watched an educational series on NetFlix some time ago called "The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson Ph.D. director of the Hayden Planetarium. Mr. Tyson said, in so many words; that in the study of Physics, one must sometimes abandon sense and accept discoveries as they are no matter how contrary to logic they may seem.

The NASA teams that sent Pioneers, Voyagers and Mariners out to explore the planets came to the very same conclusion: they learned to abandon their logical expectations and instead expect the unexpected; and they encountered plenty.

The discovery of the cosmos' accelerating expansion was very discouraging for cosmologist Alan Sandage— once a proponent of the theory that the universe would eventually run out of explosive energy from the Big Bang and gradually pull itself back together —and called the discovery of the ever increasing velocity of the expanding universe a terrible surprise. And of course it is because the known laws of gravity, combined with common sense, demand that the ballooning universe slow down, stop expanding, and shrink. If nothing else, the velocity of its expansion should at least be steady rather than picking up speed.

In the field of Christianity, as in the fields of Physics and planetary exploration, faith believes what's revealed to it rather than only what makes sense to it.

I readily admit that the idea of people existing in an altered state, consciously suffering to time indefinite, makes no sense at all to my human mind's way of thinking, and seems to totally contradict the nature of a divine patron reputed to be kind, caring, and sympathetic. But just as science admits to many unsolved mysteries; so does Christianity. And there's no shame in that. The shame is in pretending to have complete understanding of a supernatural entity that by its very nature defies reason and common sense.

1Cor 2:13-14 . . A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

 


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
 

I've been an on-going student of the Bible since 1968 via numerous sermons, lectures, seminars, books, Sunday school classes, and radio programs. In all those 53 years nobody yet— not one preacher, not one author, not one Sunday school teacher, nor one radio speaker —has ever produced rock solid, iron clad, empirical evidence for the existence of an afterlife.

And still I am a die-hard believer that an afterlife exists— not because it's proven to exist but because I feel it exists.

Mark Twain once remarked that although he didn't believe in an afterlife, he was nevertheless inclined to expect one. You see, his sharp wit may have sufficed to silence his critics; but utterly failed to silence his suspicions.

Now of course feelings are not facts; nevertheless feelings, when they're strong enough, easily overwhelm logic and reason. In other words: I don't need a holy book to tell me something awaits people beyond death's door; my intuition tells me so, in spite of common sense insisting otherwise.

Faith is believing what you know ain't so.
Mark Twain

Every so often I get asked how I know that my religion is right. My answer is: I don't know if it's right. Then of course they want to know how it is that I believe in my religion when I don't know whether it's right.

That's a fair inquiry. Most of the people who ask me those kinds of questions are genuine; they're not trying to trip me up and make a fool out of me. They are honestly curious. So I tell them, in so many words, that though I don't know if my religion is right, my conscience tells me it is; in other words: I cannot shake the conviction that the religion I believe in is right.

Why does anybody believe what they believe? Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Bahá'í, Hare Krishna, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Judaism, Voodoo, Wiccan, Jain, Druze, Native American, etc, etc, etc. The answer? Because it grips their heart— the core of their being —which is very different than persuading someone with logic and reasoning.

When folks are persuaded to buy into a religion by means of logic and reasoning, they can be just as easily persuaded to renounce it by logic and reasoning. But someone whose heart is gripped by their religion is not so easily removed regardless of how strong, how sensible, how convincing, nor how logical the opposition's argument— and die-hards aren't limited to religion; atheists and agnostics can be just as resolved.

 


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.

In other words: there really is an afterlife place of conscious suffering where people endure unbearable anxiety worrying their loved ones are on a road to where they are and there is no way to warn them; which brings to mind the survivors of the Titanic watching their loved ones go to Davy Jones while utterly helpless to do anything about it.

People for whom I feel the most pity are parents that brought up their children to walk in mom and dad's ideological footsteps and the ideology turned out to be mistaken. How do people in hell bear up under something like that on their conscience?

 


The God Begotten Of God
 

FAQ: 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.

God has lots of sons; but only one is His son by means of procreation.

The Greek word for "only begotten" in John 1:14, John 1:18, John 3:16, John 3:18, is monogenes (mon-og-en-ace') which is a combination of two words.

The first is mono, which music buffs recognize as a single channel rather than two or four in surround-sound stereo. Mono is very common; e.g. monogamy, monofilament, monotonous, mononucleotide, monochrome, monogram, monolith, monologue, monomial, et al.

The other word is genes; from whence we get the English word gene; which Webster's defines as a biological term indicating a part of a cell that controls or influences the appearance, growth, etc., of a living thing.

In other words: monogenes refers to one biological gene set rather than many.

Monogenes always, and without exception, refers to a parent's sole biological child. If a parent has two or three biological children, none of them qualify as monogenes because in order to qualify as a monogenes child, the child has to be an only child. Obviously then, an adopted child can never be monogenes in the home because it wouldn't be the home's biological child. Examples of monogenes children are located at Luke 7:12, Luke 8:42, and Luke 9:38.

Now if God's monogenes son is really and truly His biological offspring, so to speak, then we are going to have to admit that His son is a chip off the old block; which in fact the Bible declares.

Col 2:9 . . In him all the fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form.

Webster's defines "divinity" as the quality, or the state, of being a god.

According to the Greek version, "divinity" is modified by a definite article; so that what we're looking at here isn't nondescript divinity; rather, the divinity; viz: the quality, or the state, of being Almighty God. (cf. Rev 1:7-18)

People have difficulty with the literal meaning of "only begotten" because it's unthinkable to them that God is somehow able to reproduce. Well; I don't know how God goes about it; but if single cell organisms like amoeba can reproduce by means of a process called binary fission; then we shouldn't be all that aghast at the prospect of God multiplying Himself in a similar way. And if God actually did reproduce; then His offspring is more of Himself; viz: God would produce God just as humans produce humans.

 


Jesus Afraid?


Matt 26:42 . . He went away a second time and prayed: My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.

Jesus must've been really dreading the ordeal that he was facing because he prayed like that three times.

During this scene an angel showed up.

Luke 22:43 . . Now an angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening Him.

I've been curious for some time now to know exactly what that angel did to strengthen Jesus. Did it bring him some water, or a bite of high energy food? Possibly.

This next verse gave me a hint.

Luke 22:44 . . And being in agony, he was praying very fervently; and his sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

The Greek word translated "agony" basically refers not to pain, but to struggle.

Well; I may be wrong about this (and maybe even in trouble for saying) but I suspect Jesus was right on the edge of panic, and thinking seriously about bolting for the door— so to speak —when his Father sent that angel to calm him down because oftentimes when people are in a high state of anxiety; they can't think straight. (cf. Matt 4:11)

NOTE: Luke 22:44 sometimes leaves folks with the impression that Jesus' skin was bleeding. But upon closer examination of the language and grammar, it's readily seen that Luke simply meant that Jesus perspiration was heavier than normal and more like the volume of a man digging an exposed ditch in the Mojave Desert's blistering August sunshine.

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1John 4:18 . . There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

That verse is sometimes utilized to prove that seeing as how Jesus was a sinless man, therefore he knew no fear. But that passage has nothing to do with ordinary fear; it's about fear related to one's future existence in the afterlife.

1John 4:16-18 . . God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.

There are denominations— e.g. Roman Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist —whose adherents are unsure of their future in the afterlife. They're crossing their fingers and hoping for the best whilst in the backs of their minds dreading the worst; which indicates to me that their association with God is not on the best of terms.

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Though Jesus may, or may not, have known all the details pertaining to what was in store for him, the prophet Isaiah gave him at least a hint of what to expect.

Isa 52:14-15 . . there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness —thus will he sprinkle many nations

The Romans whipped the Lord to within an inch of his life, slapped him around, crowned him with thorns, and drove nails into his hands and his feet. But that was child's play compared to what God did. By the time those hours of darkness around the cross lifted; the Lord's own mother would have trouble recognizing him.

Though it's said that Christ was led to his death without protest (Isa 53:7) according to the 22nd Psalm, Jesus did what any man would do when undergoing severe abuse: he yelled at the top of his lungs with the strength and volume of a roaring lion.

Luke 23:48 . .When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.

Yes, of course they beat their breasts; and I suspect it was not only because of the earthquake and the darkness, but also because they were having trouble catching their breath. The extent of the Lord's injuries were so horrific that they could scarcely tell he was the same man.

Isa 53:5-6 . . But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

. . .We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

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Most Christians will readily attest that Christ was fully God and fully Man, while in reality they only believe he was a divine hominid rather than a bona fide h.sapiens biologically related to Adam via David and Abraham.

Jesus was on track to become a high priest. Well; the letter to Hebrews says that priests are chosen from among men because it's essential that they be able to relate to the men they represent.

A divine hominid would likely have much in common with divine beings, but certainly not all that much in common with human beings, viz: a divine hominid for our priest would be like a bunny rabbit representing honey bees. It just wouldn't work because the differences in the respective natures of those two species makes it impossible for them to relate to each other.

Heb 2:16-18 . .We all know that Jesus came to help the descendants of Abraham, not to help the angels. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.

Heb 4:15 . . This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same trials we do.

Isa 53:3 . . A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief

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Heb 5:5-10 . . Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to him: You are My son; today I have begotten you— just as He says also in another passage: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

. . . In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the one able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his piety.

. . . Although he was a son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered. And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

That passage is sometimes construed to suggest that Jesus came into this world an imperfect man and needed his rough edges sanded off. No; it means that until he underwent the many slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune that plague us all, he was unsuitable for the high priesthood.

He was already pious, but Jesus didn't know by personal experience what it's like to comply with God's requirements as an h.sapiens in a world gone mad with evil till he gave it a try himself.

Great Spirit: grant that I may not criticize my neighbor
Until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.
( Native American Proverb )

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When I joined the US Army back in 1961, the government gave me a written test, and put me through a rigorous physical exam, to make sure I had enough potential to become a soldier. But it wasn't until I successfully completed boot camp that I went from being a potential soldier to being a competent soldier.

Before coming into the world as a human being, the WORD lived a life of luxury, power, and privilege; thoroughly insulated from hardship, disappointment, anxiety, fear, danger, illness, aging, injury, fatigue, thirst, stress, hunger, despair, sadness, loneliness, loss, grief, heartbreak, shunning, ridicule, rejection, harsh criticism, abuse, demeaning comments, betrayal, poverty, etc. all the really disagreeable stuff that at times make life definitely not worth the living.

As I was before boot camp; the WORD was born into human life with the potential to become a high priest, but it wasn't until he successfully completed thirty plus years of the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune common to all men that he became a competent high priest.

In other words: those years of rubbing shoulders and sharing experiences with the human race were the WORD's boot camp. By the time he was all done and recalled back home to be with his Father, he was fully prepared to go to work as a high priest.

Heb 4:15 . . This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same trials we do.

NOTE: In my opinion, there are far too many Christians out there preferring a bullet-proof Jesus that nobody can relate to instead of a Jesus that's been thru the mill and got himself all dented and scratched up same as they have. The distressing part of it all is that they have been very effective with their sophistry that has but one purpose; and that's to de-humanize him.

The danger is: When a rumor is repeated often enough, loudly enough, and by people respected enough; in time the rumor becomes accepted as truth by the masses without thought or question. (a.k.a. the Asch Conformity Phenomenon)

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I like the way that the NLT puts Mark 14:34 like this:

"My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death."

Well; I don't know about all you iron men out there, but I've been down Jesus' road enough to know an anxiety attack (a.k.a. panic attack) when I see one. It's my guess that at this point in the garden, Jesus' knees were weak, his overall vigor was ebbing, and he was feeling faint.

However, the Bible says that he was willing to go thru with his crucifixion because of "the joy he knew would be his afterward". (Heb 12:2)

Yes— I sincerely believe that the WORD of John 1:1-3 and John 1:14 came into the world as an ordinary man rather than a divine man because only by being ordinary could he ever truly relate to the lives of ordinary people.

Heb 4:15 . . This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same trials we do.

Isa 53:3 . . A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief

Jesus was truly a man for all seasons; especially the wet ones.

Rainy day people always seem to know when it's time to call.
Rainy day people don't talk, they just listen till they've heard it all.
Rainy day lovers don't lie when they tell 'ya they've been down like you.
Rainy day people don't mind if you're cryin' a tear or two.
(Gordon Lightfoot, 1975)

 


Christ's Demise
 

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.

 


Christ's Recovery
 

There lacks a universal consensus regarding the nature of Christ's resurrection. Some say his crucified body came back to life. Some say that his crucified body was exchanged for a glorified body. Still others say that Christ's crucified body not only didn't recover, but he came back with a spirit body; and his post resurrection physical appearances were done as an angel disguised in a fully-functioning human avatar.

It's evident that Christ has a glorified body at present (Php 3:20-21) but I really don't think such was the case out at the cemetery.

John 2:19-22 . . Jesus answered them: Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. The Jews replied: It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.

Had not Christ's crucified body revived, then his prediction would be easily proven false because the temple he spoke of was "this temple" viz: the body he was standing in as he spoke with the Jews.

FAQ: If Christ didn't come back from death with the glorified body spoken of in Php 3:20-21, then how and when did he obtain it?

A: The dead bodies of all Christ's believing followers are on track to be revived and taken up to meet The Lord in the air (1Thes 4:14-17). On the way up, the bodies will undergo a sudden, miraculous transformation (1Cor 15:51-53). I think it's pretty safe to assume that Christ's body underwent the very same process while on the way up to heaven as per Acts 1:9 so that today his body is no longer a normal human body; but instead a superhuman body to which all his believing followers' bodies will one day conform.

FAQ: What about the fact that he was able to pass through a locked door? (John 20:19, John 20:26). Surely a normal human body could never do such a thing.

A: The koiné Greek word translated "shut" in those passages doesn't necessarily indicate a bolted door; merely a door that's closed as opposed to a door that's ajar or wide open. But I think it might be okay to accommodate those convinced in their own minds that the boor was bolted.

Well; Jesus Christ was virgin-conceived, walked on water, calmed storms, restored withered limbs, put the lame up on their feet, healed blindness and leprosy, multiplied loaves and fishes, converted water into wine, instantly reattached a severed ear, restored the dead to life, withered a fig tree, levitated into the sky, etc. Come on now; what's one more miracle more or less for a man like that?

NOTE: An interesting incident is recorded at Luke 4:28-30. A variety of opinions have been offered to explain how Jesus escaped the hands of a hostile crowd that day. I leave it to readers to decide for themselves what is meant by "passing through the midst of them, he went His way."

FYI: Paul mentions in 1Cor 15:1-4 that Christ was raised from the dead according to the scriptures; there's at least two. One is the story of Jonah; which Christ appropriated as a "sign" of his own resurrection. (Jonah 1:17, Matt 12:40). Another is in the book of Psalms at 16:8-10 (cf. Acts 2:22-36)

 


Inspiration
 

2Tim 3:16 . . All Scripture is inspired by God

The Greek word for "inspired" is theopneustos (theh-op'-nyoo-stos) which is a combination of theo which means deity (i.e. a god), and pneustos which means to inflate: as in blowing up a balloon or a soccer ball and/or filling a boat's sails with wind.

Theopneustos is probably about as close as you'll get for a Greek word corresponding to Gen 2:7 where it's stated:

"Then Yhvh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

"breathed into" is pretty much what theopneustos says. But the breath of life isn't artificial respiration. Pumping air into a corpse doesn't work. It's been tried. The breath of life is a mysterious energy with enough power to even make solid rock sentient. (Luke 3:8)

What all this means is: scripture is more than just text— God has willed scripture to have a peculiar kind of life all its own.

Heb 4:12-13 . . For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Scripture, then, is a divine agent: it speaks about God, it speaks for God, and it speaks as God. In a manner of speaking then: scripture can be thought of as a close encounter with God; not in person of course, but as close to God as His spirit, teamed with the Bible texts, can bring Him.

"In its pages we recognize His voice, we hear a message of deep significance for every one of us. Through the spiritual dynamism and prophetic force of the Bible, the Holy Spirit spreads His light and His warmth over all men, in whatever historical or sociological situation they find themselves." (Paulus PP VI, from the Vatican, September 18, 1970)

Paulus PP VI said it well. So then: when people listen to the Bible, they listen to God; and when they mock and ridicule the Bible, they mock and ridicule God; not directly of course, but indirectly; which is serious enough to warrant consequences.

The voice of God is set to be called as a witness in the prosecution's case against certain individuals.

John 12:48-49 . . He who rejects me, and does not receive my sayings, has one who judges him: the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father himself who sent me has given me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.

 


Interpretation
 

"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.

Ex 20:12b . . that your days may be prolonged in the land which Yhvh your God gives you. (cf. Eph 6:1-3)

 


Jephthah's Daughter
 

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
http://gluefox.com/min/contrad.htm

 


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
 

I should think that producing enough piety during one's lifetime in order to get to heaven would be difficult enough. But people who make it to heaven don't face a lifetime; no, they're facing eternity. Producing piety for that long has to be even harder.

According to Rom 2:6-11, people's piety has to be consistent. In other words: there's no reward for complying with some of God's wishes some of the time, nor even most of His wishes most of the time. No, people have to comply with all of His wishes all the time in order to stay in heaven; no slacking off— people are expected to give it everything they've got.

Mark 12:30 . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Christ is the lucky one. Piety is second nature to him. Christ doesn't even have to work at it because he was born with the nature of God rather than only the nature of a human. That's quite an advantage over the rest of us.

1John 3:8 . .Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

According to Rom 6:23, the wages of sin is death. Well; if the wages of sin is death down here, wouldn't the wages of sin be death up there too? I can't imagine why not. So then, it seems to me that people in heaven are living under a sword of Damocles, hanging by a slender thread easily broken by the slightest impiety; and thus finding themselves booted out of heaven right quick.

Human nature being what it is, the obvious solution to this dilemma is to take people right back to square #1 and route them through birth all over again. Only the second time, instead of born the normal way; they'd be born by the hand of God in such a way that piety would be second nature to them just like it is for Christ; because unless God can say about ordinary people "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased" like He says about Christ; they are not going to survive in heaven for very long.

Is what I'm talking about a possibility? Yes; it certainly is.

2Pet 1:3-5 . . His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature.

Routing through another birth all over again in order to obtain the divine nature isn't optional. No; it's a must.

John 3:3 . . Jesus declared: I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born from above.

John 3:7 . . Do not wonder that I said to you: You must be born from above.

 


Female Pastors, Preachers, and Teachers
 

NOTE: The comments below pertain specifically to Christians within a Christian congregation, rather than to people in general throughout the world community.

Christ's apostles speak for Christ; and obeying them is a walk pleasing to God.

1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of The Lord.

1Ths 4:1-2 . .We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

Seeing as how the apostles' commandments are Christ's commandments, then refusal to obey an apostle is all the same as refusal to obey Christ. It's a domino effect all the way to the top.

Luke 10:16 . .Whoever listens to you; listens to me. Whoever rejects you; rejects me. And whoever rejects me; rejects the one who sent me.

Therefore, these next commandments are not just one man's opinion; but are Christ's wishes, and being so, are God's too.

1Cor 11:3 . . But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

1Cor 14:34-35 . . Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

1Tim 2:11-12 . . Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

People who refuse to obey those commandments are no better than pagans practicing dark arts and/or worshipping Shiva and Vishnu.

1Sam 15:23 . . Rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.

They're Christ's enemies.

John 15:14 . .You are my friends if you do as I wish.

And they're disloyal too.

John 14:15 . . If you love me, you will comply with what I command.

John 14:21 . .Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.

John 14:23-24 . . If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching . . He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.

Their insubordination insinuates that God's wisdom is absurd.

2Pet 3:15-16 . . Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

FAQ: What about Deborah? God appointed her to lead men. (Jdgs 4:4-5:31)

A: Things are quite a bit different now with Christ at the helm, i.e. Christ's association with his church trumps Deborah's association with the Jews. I do not recommend using her, or any other woman in the Bible, as an excuse to defy Christ's edicts in matters pertaining to the governance of Christian congregations.

NOTE: Paul appeals to "the law" as the basis for 1Cor 14:34. Normally when Paul speaks of the law he's referring to the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Exactly where in the covenant women are explicitly forbidden to preach, or teach, or usurp authority over men in matters of religion, I don't know. However, it's quite obvious that the covenant is very sexist, i.e. women are not permitted in either the priesthood or the Sanhedrin.

 


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.

That goes for everybody, not just pedophiles and LGBT, because Christ said "no one" can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again; which of course has to include all the holy people in the Old Testament too or otherwise the words "no one" are just hot air and serve no useful purpose.
 


Christian Defined
 

Acts 11:26 . . in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

Webster's defines a Christian as somebody who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

According to that definition; it isn't necessary to actually believe in Christ's teachings in order to qualify as a Christian; it's only necessary to say you do.

People don't even have to know what Christ's teachings are; they only have to say they believe in them.

Nor is it necessary to put Christ's teachings into practice in order to qualify as a Christian; it's only necessary to say you believe in them.

Webster's is a very broad definition, but if all denominations complied with it, I think they'd all be a whole lots more tolerant; and get along a whole lots better too.

 


Savior Defined
 

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.

Wouldn't it be awful if those agencies refused to assist desperate folk until they first proved themselves deserving? Well lucky for everyone that those agencies work on the basis of need rather than merit or many of us would end up thrown back to the wolves.

I think quite a few people are under the impression that Christ is some sort of probation officer; viz: if people "endure to the end" as they say; then he grants them a clearance for heaven. But God forbid they should fail to satisfy the conditions of their probation, because then they're out the door.

Probation can be likened to a sword of Damocles hanging over people's heads by a slender thread easily broken by conduct unbecoming. How dare the angel of Luke 2:8-11 describe his announcement as "good news of great joy" if probation were actually what's meant by sozo instead of rescue.

On the other hand; if Christ is in the business of rescuing people from the wrath of God in accord with the humane principles underlying normal emergency services; then yes, I fully agree with the angel that the birth of Christ is something to get excited about.

 


The Good Shepherd's Rights vs His Flocks's Rights
 

God's free will trumps everybody else's free will, including Christ's. For example:

"This is the will of the one who sent me; that I should not lose anything of what He gave me." (John 6:39)

One of the many things that God gives His son is sheep. (John 10:27-30)

Now, whether the sheep like it or not, they're struck with the good shepherd because Jesus is determined to always satisfy his superior's wishes.

"I always do what is pleasing to Him." (John 8:29)

Were Christ to fail— fail in any way at all —accomplishing the will of the one who sent him; then it would be dishonest of Christ to claim to "always" please God. Christ might be able to claim pleasing the one who sent him a high percentage of the time, but certainly not always.

Bottom line: The good shepherd's will trumps the sheep's will. (It would be a pretty dim-witted wrangler that lets the wishes of a herd overrule him; as if animal husbandry were somehow democratic. HAW!)

"You are not your own; you were bought at a price." (1Cor 6:19-20)

FAQ: What if a believer decides to leave his faith and worship Satan instead?

A: Assuming the "believer" is one of the sheep that God gives His son to keep, then no soap. Regardless of what the sheep think, feel, say, or do; once they're brought into the sheepfold, they're stuck.

"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.

Cattle ranchers whose livestock roam on BLM lands, typically brand their stock for easy identification later on at round-up. Well; God doesn't brand the good shepherd's sheep but He does mark them.

"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13)

The Greek word for "seal" is sphragizo (sfrag-id'-zo) which basically refers to the impression that a signet ring leaves in wax and/or soft clay.

Well; the good shepherd's sheep might wander far and wide and even attempt to blend in with another flock, but any and all attempts to escape and/or repudiate their rightful owner are futile. That seal will always give them away as belonging to the good shepherd and it's only a matter of time before he comes looking for his investment.

Nowhere to run to baby,
Nowhere to hide.
(Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Motown, 1965)

The sheep's hope to be saved isn't based upon their willingness to comply with the shepherd's wishes; no, their hope to be saved is based upon the good shepherd's willingness to comply with his Father's wishes; a willingness proven by blood.

"I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:15)

Were the good shepherd only human, then I would be inclined to agree with skeptics that Jesus might fail to keep his sheep safe. 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 (John 1:1-3, Col 1:16-17). So then, the good shepherd has at his disposal all the powers and abilities of the supreme being to utilize in order to succeed at keeping his sheep on the books.

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 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 10:27-29)

NOTE: Jesus spoke of himself as "the good shepherd" (John 10:14). Well; in my estimation, shepherds that lose sheep don't deserve to be called good.

 


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.

In Adam all are reckoned joint principals in his disobedience.
In Christ all are reckoned joint principals in his obedience.

In Adam all are adjudged unrighteous.
In Christ all are adjudged righteous.

In Adam all are capable of sin.
In Christ all are incapable of sin.

In Adam all have the human nature.
In Christ all have the divine nature.

In Adam all have natural life.
In Christ all have eternal life.

In Adam all are made to die.
In Christ, all are made to live.
 


Hope Defined
 

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.

 


Die Now / Live Now
 

When people wait to take their chances at the great white throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15, in all likelihood they will end up facing a mode of death akin to a foundry worker falling into a kettle of molten iron.

That can be easily avoided by opting to become a joint participant in Christ's crucifixion.

Rom 6:3 . .Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

Rom 6:4 . .We have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Rom 6:5 . .Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him

Rom 6:8 . . Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Col 3:1-3 . . If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Gal 2:20 . . I am crucified with Christ


 

 

Q & A Posted On Internet Forums

 

Was Jesus A Christian?

Jesus was a Jew thru and thru who believed and practiced the Old Testament in compliance with the Prophets and the various covenants; most especially the one that Moses' people agreed upon with God per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. (Gal 4:4) _

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Was John The Baptist A Christian?

John missed the cut. Jesus didn't begin assembling the "my church" predicted at Matt 16:18 till after John was executed.

In point of fact, Christianity didn't exist prior to Jesus' resurrection— specifically before the day of Pentecost following that event.

The day of Pentecost kicked of an era characterized by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5 and 1Cor 12:12-13).

John was filled with the Spirit all his life, even prior to his birth (Luke 1:15). But he wasn't baptized by the Spirit. This is a very, very important technicality. _

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How Were John The Baptist's Mom And Jesus' Mom Relatives?

John's mom was of the tribe of Levi. (Luke 1:5)

Jesus' mom was of the tribe of Judah. (Luke 1:32, Rom 1:3, and Heb 7:14)

Both tribes descend from Leah. (Gen 35:23)

Ergo: The women were cousins via the same grandmother. _

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Name All Fourteen Of Jacob's Sons.

His twelve natural sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. (Gen 35:23-26)

His two adopted sons were Manasseh and Ephraim. (Gen 48:5) _

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What Is A Prophet?

The Hebrew word for prophet in the Old Testament is nabiy' (naw-bee') which isn't limited to big-gun prognosticators like Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel, rather, it mostly just refers to inspired people— of either gender — influenced, moved, and/or guided by a divine connection; e.g. Abel (Luke 11:50-51) Abraham (Gen 20:7) Moses (Deut 18:18) Miriam (Ex 15:20) Deborah (Judg 4:4) and Huldah (2Kgs 22:14).

People can be inspired and not even know it because God's influence is supernatural, viz: impossible to detect with the five natural senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Every Christian is supposed to be inspired (1Cor 2:11-15, 1Cor 12:7, and 1John 2:26-27) which makes an inspired Bible teacher's job a whole lot easier. _

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What Is The Name That Is Above Every Name?

There are several names for God in the Old Testament, but only one that I know of that's a moniker; and that's Jehovah. (Isa 42:8)

Well then; according to Philippians 2:9-11 Jesus has the God-given right to use the name of Jehovah for his own personal name; ergo: everyone far and near, high and low, must bow to Jesus Christ just the same as they would bow to God. Refusal to do so dishonors the name of God the Father. _

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What's The Difference Between Immortality And Eternal life?

Immortality has to do with a body that will neither age nor die of natural causes.

The negative side of immortality is it's impermanence. In other words: immortality isn't indelible, i.e. it can be washed out; so to speak. For example: Adam's body was created with immortality, but lost it as a result of him eating a certain fruit known to be off limits for human consumption.

Whereas immortality has to do with the constitution of a being's body, eternal life has to do with the constitution of one's being, i.e. the very core of their existence.

I am a man, ergo: the core of my being is human nature; whereas God is a deity, so the core of His being is divine nature. The advantages of divine nature become very apparent when it's juxtaposed with human nature.

When I was a youngster; it occurred to me that if my propensities and proclivities were like God's, then it would be very easy to get into Heaven, and very easy to stay in Heaven without ever getting evicted because doing what's right would come just as natural to me as it does for God, i.e. God has no difficulty getting along with God; so if I had divine nature instead of human nature, then I too would have no difficulty getting along with God.

So it's readily seen that whereas immortality is beneficial; eternal life is far more desirable because of its potential for making ordinary people super holy. _

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Name The Special Sabbaths.

First and final day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:16, Lev 23:5-8)

Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25)

Yom Kippur (Lev 16:30-31)

First and final day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 16:34-36, Lev 16:39) _

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Whence Did Mary Get The Y Chromosome For Baby Jesus?

In the beginning, God constructed a fully functioning woman from some material taken from a man's body. Well; if God could construct an entire woman with material taken from a man's body, then it shouldn't be too hard for him to construct a teensy little male chromosome with material taken from a woman's body.

Now; it was essential that Jesus' Y chromosome not be created ex nihilo because he had to be Man— not just human but Man; as he spoke of himself on numerous occasions throughout the gospel narratives. Were Jesus' Y chromosome to be derived from some other source than Adam's biological posterity, then he might be human but he wouldn't be Man as Man is defined in the book of Genesis. _

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How Was Joseph Related To Baby Jesus?

Joseph was instructed to name Mary's baby.

Matt 1:21 . . She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus

Joseph complied.

Matt 1:25 . . And he gave him the name Jesus.

So Christ went in the books as Joseph's son because that's how it worked in those days when a man stood with a woman to name her child. (cf. Luke 1:59 and Luke 2:21)

From that day on; Joseph was legally bound to Jesus as his father. (Matt 13:55, Luke 2:27, Luke 2:41, and Luke 2:48)

NOTE: Adoption is very advantageous for children because it gives them not only a legal right to their adoptive father's name and a position in his genealogy, but also inheritance rights equal to biological children. This is very important in matters related to not only the man's estate, but also his status. In other words: it's possible for a child to circumvent blood, and go from pauper to prince by just the stroke of a pen. _

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Was The Forbidden Fruit Toxic?

Eve was first to taste the forbidden fruit; and when she did, nothing happened. She didn't get sick, and she went right on in the buff as before without the slightest guilt feelings about frontal nudity. It wasn't till Adam tasted the fruit that she underwent a change in her feelings about decency. _

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Wasn't Adam Supposed To Die Right Away? (Gen 2:16-17)

Yes; absolutely; however, the death that came upon him wasn't what might be expected.

Adam was created with immortality (Gen 1:26-27). The consequence for eating the forbidden fruit was the loss of his immortality. In other words; Adam's death came upon him as a walking death in the form of mortality. As a result, mortality became a pandemic malady: we all have it; and the only natural remedy known for treating mortality is the tree of life; to which no one yet has been allowed access.

According to Rev 22:2, the tree of life is medicinal, i.e. a remedy for whatever ails you.

Adam's body became infected with mortality when he tasted the forbidden fruit. The tree of life would've cured his condition and restored his body to perfect health had God allowed him access.

The problem is, people tend to take advantage of medicine in order to continue their bad habits. For example; treatments for STDs enable immoral folk to continue their swinging life style with little fear of permanent consequences. The same can be said for folk with high cholesterol numbers. Statins make it possible for them to keep on eating foods that are bad for them

Had Adam been allowed free access to the tree of life, he and his wife would've no doubt routinely included fruit from the forbidden tree in their diets seeing as how its detrimental effects on their health could've been easily remedied by the tree of life.

According to Rev 22:2, the tree of life can be used as a medication to treat other conditions besides mortality. If we had access to it in our day, we could use it to cure people stricken with HIV, Alzheimer's, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Cancer, Diabetes, Cirrhosis, High Blood Pressure, etc. That tree would free many of us from depending as much as we do on Big Pharma for survival.

In the beginning Adam was completely naked, which strongly suggests to me that he made use of the tree practically every day for common conditions like sun burn, abrasions, rash, and insect bites which, again, strongly suggests to me that in His own time, the creator would've eventually gotten around to showing the people how to make clothing, not so much for modesty, but primarily to protect their skin. _

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Why Were Mary And Joseph Chosen For Jesus' Parents?

It was due to a combination of genetics and the moment.

1) Mary was a Jew biologically related to David (Rom 1:3) and

2) Joseph was a Jew biologically related to David (Matt 1:20) and

3) Their confluence in history. (Gal 4:4) _

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Why Is Joseph's Genealogy Given In The New Testament?

This matter is of little importance to the average Gentile, but very important to pious Jews.

God appointed Jesus to take David's throne (Luke 1:32). However: successors have to meet two prerequisites. They have to be directly related to David, and they have to be directly related to David's son Solomon. These prerequisites are non negotiable. (2Sam 7:12-16, 1Kings 1:13, 1Chron22:9-10, and Ps 89:3-4)

Jesus was directly related to David via his mother (Rom 1:3) but neither she nor he were directly related to Solomon. However; Joseph was directly related to both David and Solomon (Matt 1:6 and Matt 1:20).

Now whereas successors to the throne have to be David's biological posterity, they don't have to be Solomon's biological posterity; they only have to be one of his direct descendants; which made it possible for Joseph to pass the throne on to Jesus by means of adoption: a process that gives children just as much standing in the home as biological children, including the right to inherit, the right to their adoptive father's name, and the right to be placed in his genealogy.

This is very important in matters related to not only the man's estate, but also his status. In other words: it's possible for a child to circumvent blood, and go from pauper to prince by just the stroke of a pen.

Jacob set the precedent for this procedure when he adopted his two grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim in the book of Genesis; effectively endowing Joseph's two boys with the status of tribal heads equal in rank and privilege to Jacob's original twelve sons. So then, what Joseph did with Jesus was neither innovative nor unheard of. _

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What Is A Savior?

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.

Wouldn't it be awful if those agencies refused to assist desperate folk until they first proved themselves deserving? Well lucky for everyone that those agencies work on the basis of need rather than merit or many of us would end up thrown back to the wolves.

I think quite a few people are under the impression that Christ is some sort of probation officer; viz: if people "endure to the end" as they say; then he grants them a clearance for heaven. But God forbid they should fail to satisfy the conditions of their probation, because then they're out the door.

Probation can be likened to a sword of Damocles hanging over people's heads by a slender thread easily broken by conduct unbecoming. How dare the angel of Luke 2:8-11 describe his announcement as "good news of great joy" if probation were actually what's meant by sozo instead of rescue.

On the other hand; if Christ is in the business of rescuing people from the wrath of God in accord with the humane principles underlying normal emergency services; then yes, I fully agree with the angel that the birth of Christ is something to get excited about. _

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Define An Angel

The Hebrew word for "angel" is mal'ak (mal-awk') which doesn't especially indicate a celestial being. The word is a bit ambiguous and essentially means a dispatched deputy or a messenger; viz: someone who speaks for, and/or represents, another; i.e. an ambassador and/or someone selected by God for a special purpose.

Priests are mal'ak. (Malachi 2:7)

The New Testament word translated "angel" is aggelos (ang'-el-os) which means pretty much the same thing as mal'ak. For example john the Baptist is labeled an aggelos. (Mal 3:1 and Matt 11:10) and his assistants too are labeled aggelos (Luke 7:24)

The heads of the seven churches to whom John penned letters in Revelation are labeled aggelos.

All of which tells me we should never assume that the word "angel" in the Bible eo ipso indicates a heavenly being. It could just as easily be a human agent on a divine mission, e.g. Heb 13:2. _

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What Is Original Sin?

The so-called original sin was committed by the first man (Adam) relative to a certain forbidden fruit. (Gen 2:8-17 and Gen 3:6)

The last ten verses of the letter to Romans explains that Adam's posterity are all reckoned implicated in his act.

Rom 5:13 . . Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

"all sinned" is grammatically past tense; indicating that the entirety of Adam's posterity, from first to last, regardless of age, race, gender, and/or religious preference, are implicated in eating the forbidden fruit. That of course includes the first women Eve because she was constructed with material taken from Adam's body.

Thus so everybody is doomed to die not for something they did to deserve death, but for what he did.

Rom 5:18 . .The result of one trespass was condemnation for all

The fairness of this situation is very difficult to accept, nevertheless it is what it is, and futile to complain.

The good news is that the original sin isn't a sin unto Hell, rather, it's a sin unto death. In other words; the proper punishment for the original sin is simply mortality, i.e. everyone's demise. _

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Jesus Christ And The Fallen Nature

In a nutshell: the so-called fallen nature is a preference for unobstructed, unrestrained, self rule; i.e. deciding for one's self what determines right and wrong and/or what determines good and evil. In that respect, the fallen nature tends to be its own God and resists cooperating with the real God. (Gen 3:22 and Rom 8:7-8)

It's believed by a pretty large percentage of modern Christians that the so called fallen nature spoken is propagated by men. Oh? From whence did Eve get it?

She was already alive and fully constructed with material taken from Adam's body prior to the forbidden fruit incident. Since himself tasted the fruit after his wife was already in existence; then it was impossible for Adam to pass the fallen nature to her by means of his body.

In the past, I was sure that the chemistry of the forbidden fruit had something to do with the first couple's altered moral perception; but now I seriously doubt it because Eve was the first to eat the fruit, and when she did, nothing happened. She remained just as shameless in the buff as before. It wasn't till Adam tasted the fruit that she began to feel exposed; so I'm pretty sure that the underlying cause is far more serious than the chemistry of that fruit.

If Eve's fallen condition wasn't due to the fruit, nor due to Adam's body, then what? Well; obviously the Serpent did it to them, a.k.a. the Devil (Rev 20:2)

The ruler of the kingdom of the air-- i.e. the spirit world --has the power of death (Heb 2:14) and the ability to tamper with the human body and the human mind in ways not easily detected; e.g. Luke 13:16, Mark 5:1-5, and Eph 2:2.

The Serpent was apparently all set and ready to wield his power the moment that Adam crossed the line and ate that fruit. It amazes me how quickly it takes effect. Not long after Adam tasted the fruit, he and his wife both immediately set to work cobbling together some rudimentary aprons to cover up their pelvic areas.

FAQ: Why wasn't the woman effected by the Serpent's power when she tasted the forbidden fruit?

REPLY: It was apparently God's decision that if death was to come into the world, it would come via a lone male's actions just as life would come into the world via a lone male's actions. (Rom 5:12-21)

FAQ: When does the Serpent go to work on people. . . in the womb or out of the womb?

REPLY: Adam and his wife demonstrate that it can be done on adults, but I'm guessing that for most of us it's in the womb; and if not in the womb, then certainly no later than when we're born. (Ps 51:5 & Ps 58:3)

So then: even if Joseph had fathered baby Jesus, the child wouldn't have necessarily been born with the so-called fallen nature because it's not passed on by one's father nor one's mother. It's obtained from humanity's covert parent: the Devil-- ergo: protecting baby Jesus from the so-called fallen nature was just a simple matter of keeping the Devil's paws off him.

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Why Did The Man In Luke 16:19-31 Address Abraham As "father"?

Abraham, in turn, addressed the man as "son" which strongly suggests to me that the man is a Jew; and as such would be related to Abraham as grandfather/grandson via Isaac and Jacob.

The rich man is reported to have five brothers. Those would be related to Abraham too. _

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What Is Meant By Man As The Image Of God?

According to Gen 5:3 and Heb 1:1-3, image and likeness basically refers to progeny, i.e. offspring.

Natural children are born in that position. But Man wasn't born from God— i.e. via procreation —rather, Man was created, viz: Man exists as God's handiwork, sort of like how Geppetto made for himself a little wooden son named Pinocchio.

Now, Geppetto and Pinocchio both look human, though one is for real and the other a doll. But Man's creator isn't human, nor does He look human. God is spirit whereas Man is physical, and God is eternal whereas Man is temporal, and God is self-sustaining whereas Man requires sustenance, and God is divine whereas Man is a critter. So we have to be careful to keep the progeny aspect within reason.

It's likely best to reckon that the creator endowed Man with His image and likeness rather than Man inheriting the status as a child born in the home.

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Why Is Death The Wages Of Sin?

It's my educated guess that the penalty is so severe because Man was created in the image and likeness of God.

For example: according to Gen 9:5-6, murderers deserve capital punishment— not because murder is wrong per se, rather —because the image and likeness of God lends Man a degree of honor and dignity as near the honor and dignity of God that a creature can possibly get.

Had God brought Man into existence as just another organic species like meerkats, lobsters, chickens, and microbes; then Man's conduct would likely be so insignificant in regard to justice as to not even be worth God's notice. But the image and likeness of God makes Man a near-deity and thus magnifies the consequences of his actions.

The image and likeness of God is definitely a status to be grateful for, but at the same time, it's definitely a status to fear. _

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Was The Serpent In Genesis 3 A Real Snake?

"Serpent" is sort of like a pseudonym. The true identity of this creature is revealed in the very last book of the Bible; and it is none other than the dark spirit being well known to everyone as the Devil and Satan. (Rev 20:1-3)

However, "serpent" is an appropriate name for the Devil because snakes are typically portrayed in the Bible as toxic reptiles; thus a danger to mankind's health, safety, and welfare. _

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Why Didn't God Execute Cain For Murder?

God couldn't haul Cain into court for killing his kid brother Abel because according to Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17; the laws of God aren't enforced ex post facto, i.e. they're not retroactive. Seeing as God enacted no laws regulating murder until after the Flood; then it was too late to indict Cain by means of Gen 9:5-6.

In other words; when there are no rules prohibiting a certain practice, then no rules are broken when somebody does it. _

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What is The New Man?

Adam was the first Man. His version of humanity became obsolete when Christ rose from the dead. From thence, Adam became the old model and Christ the new and improved model; so to speak.

A sampling of their differences are:

1 The old Man is made from the Earth, whereas the new is made from Heaven.

2 The old Man is susceptible to mortality, whereas the new is not.

3● The old Man is susceptible to temptation, whereas the new is not.

4● The old Man is somewhat righteous, whereas the new is completely righteous.

5● God can't depend on the old Man, whereas on the new He can.

6● The old Man's base nature is human, whereas the new's is divine.

7● The old Man tends to avoid God, whereas the new welcomes His company.

8● The old Man resents God, whereas the new admires Him.

9● The old Man fears God, whereas the new seeks His approval.

10● The old Man is an enemy of God, whereas the new is His ally. _

Following is a codicil to the above.

NOTE: According to 1John 1:8, Christians do sin; whereas according to Eph 4:24, the new man never sins.

People who've undergone the birth spoken of at John 3:3-5 are an amalgam of old man and new man. However, the old and the new aren't joined at the hip. By means of a special circumcision, performed by the hand of God, the old and the new are separate (Col 2:11)

This is one of Christianity's mysteries that quite a few folk find very difficult to accept; which I suspect is due to the fact that born-again Christians are readily aware of the workings of their old man's sinful nature while not so aware of the workings of their new man's righteous nature. Consequently, if the Bible were not telling born-again Christians that they have the new man's righteous nature, it's likely many would never discover its presence on their own.

God is righteous and truly holy, viz: God never sins. So then, if the new man is patterned after God, then it must be that the new man never sins.

Two more useful texts for instructing Christians that the new man is 100% sinless are 1John 3:9 and 1John 5:18. But I avoid quoting those verses on a public forum because they're too controversial. _

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Did Jesus' mom go up to Heaven body and soul?

I'm pretty sure Heaven is an off-planet, alien environment that cannot support human life as we know it. In other words; it's necessary to be immortal for Heaven. For now, Jesus alone has immortality.

1Tim 6:14-16 . . Keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the proper time— he who is the blessed and only sovereign, the king of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. _

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Why Was Cain's Offering Rejected?

Long story short: God rejected Cain along with rejecting his offering. This is important because God still does business like that with mankind to this day.

Prov 15:8 . . Jehovah detests the sacrifice of the wicked

Cain's situation is well illustrated by Isa 1:11-20 where Moses' people were offering all the covenanted sacrifices, they were praying up a storm, and observing all the God-given feasts and holy days. God rejected all of it, even though He himself required it, because the people's personal conduct was unbecoming.

FAQ: In what way might Cain's piety have been lacking?

A: Well, judging by the fact that Cain later murdered Abel; my first guess would be bad blood between him and his kid brother.

Matt 5:23-24 . . If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

And Cain's attitude was deplorable too; he was insolent and rude; even to his maker. (Gen 4:9)

Moral of the story:

"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. (1John 1:5-6)

NOTE: The Hebrew word for Cain's and Abel's offerings is from minchah (min-khaw') which aren't necessarily sin offerings like the 'olah (o-law') which are burnt offerings. Minchahs are more like donations and or tributes; and usually bloodless and voluntary.

Ancient rabbis understood the brothers' offerings to be a "first fruits" kind of oblation.

T. And it was at the end of days, on the fourteenth of Nisan, that Kain brought of the produce of the earth, the seed of cotton (or line), an oblation of first things before the Lord; and Habel brought of the firstlings of the flock. (Targum Jonathan)

Seeing as how Cain was a farmer, then in his case, an amount of produce was the appropriate minchah, and seeing as how Abel was an animal husbandman, then in his case a head of livestock was appropriate. _

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Where Is Noah's Ark?

Gen 8:3b-4 . . 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 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 in the Bible always refers to a political area— a country —never a specific geological feature by the same name.

The Hebrew word for "mountains" doesn't always indicate a prominent land mass like Kilimanjaro; especially when it's plural. Har can also mean a range of hills or highlands; for example:

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 peaks like Viejas, Lyon's, or Cuyamaca.

So; what happened to the ark? Well; according to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the beautiful minds 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 logs used in its construction would've been nice and straight; which is perfect for putting together houses, cabins, fences, barns, corrals, stables, gates, hog troughs, mangers, and outhouses.

I think it's reasonable to assume that Noah and his kin gradually dismantled the ark over time and used the wood for many other purposes, including fires. Nobody cooked or heated their homes or their bath and laundry water using refined fossil fuels and/or electricity and steam in those days, so everybody needed to keep on hand a pretty fair-sized wood pile for their daily needs.

There was probably plenty of driftwood left behind by the Flood, but most of that would be water-soaked at first. But according to Gen 6:14 the ark's lumber was treated. So underneath the pitch it was still in pretty good shape and should have been preserved for many years to come. _

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Why Was Canaan Execrated Instead Of His Father?

The curse on Canaan wasn't personal, i.e. it was more or less collateral damage due to his dad's exclusion from the blessings bestowed upon the other two brothers per Gen 9:26-27.

As a result of missing that blessing; Ham's posterity became dependent upon employment opportunities created by his brothers' prosperity, ergo: Canaan's line became the Bible's very first working class, i.e. instead of moguls, they were destined to become minions all because of their father's shameful lack of sympathy for Noah's dignity. Had Noah been anybody else other than one of Ham's parents, things may have gone a lot better for Canaan.

Canaan's fate seems terribly unfair to be caught in the middle like that, but it wouldn't be the last time a man's posterity was effected by his conduct. For example God dealt in a similar way with the evil king Jeconiah. (Jer 22:29-30) _

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Why Was Meat Added To Man's Diet?

Gen 9:3 . . Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all these.

It seems plausible to me that the inclusion of meat in Man's diet is evidence that the human body's strength was declining seeing as how Noah lived to be 950, but by the time of Abraham, the human life span had decreased considerably to 175; which the Bible describes as a ripe old age (Gen 25:7-8) so the human body was obviously a whole lot stronger back in Noah's day than it was in Abraham's.

According to an article in the Dec 10, 2013 Science section of the New York Times, scientists believe that the early human body was able to manufacture all of its own essential vitamins; but over time gradually lost the ability to manufacture all but K and D.

Red meat has been demonized of late for a number of medical reasons, but it, along with other sources of meat— e.g. clams, swine, sheep, fish, and poultry —still remains an excellent natural source of B12 without which post-Flood folk risk contracting deficiency diseases.

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God "Came Down" To Inspect The Tower Of Babel?

Gen 11:5 . .Jehovah came down to look at the city and tower that man had built

That verse presents an interesting theological problem. Wouldn't it make better sense by saying Jehovah looked down, instead of saying He "came" down? Why bother to come down? Doesn't the Bible's God see all and know all? Isn't God omniscient and isn't His spirit omnipresent? Can't He see everything from right where He is?

Well; fact of the matter is, yes, Jehovah could see the city and the tower from Heaven, but He wasn't satisfied. It was His wish to inspect everything up close and personal; to actually visit the city and the tower in person as an on-site eye witness. He did it that way again with Sodom and Gomorrah.

Gen 18:21 . . I will go down to see whether they have acted altogether according to the outcry that has reached Me; if not, I will take note.

Why bother to go down? Doesn't the Bible's God see all and know all? Isn't God omniscient and isn't His spirit omnipresent? Can't He see everything from right where He is?

Well; fact of the matter is, yes, Jehovah could see and hear from Heaven everything he needed to know about the city, but He wasn't satisfied. He had to investigate, and establish the truth of every fact for Himself in person as on-site eye witness, before moving against Sodom.

In future, should someone challenge the Lord by saying: How do you know Sodom was bad? Were you there; did you actually see it yourself? Well; yes, He was there and did actually see its bad for Himself.

And then there's the offering of Isaac.

Gen 22:11-12 . .Then an angel of God called to him from heaven: Abraham! Abraham! And he answered: Here I am. And he said: Do not raise your hand against the lad, or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from me.

Isn't God omniscient, and doesn't He have an ability to scan the future? Then why did the voice say "now I know". Doesn't God always know everything there is to know?

Yes; but knowing things as a spectator is quite a bit different than knowing things by omniscience. God sometimes favors seeing things for Himself in real time, as an eyewitness.

Of course God knew in advance that Abraham would go thru with offering his son, but that kind of knowing doesn't always satisfy God. No, sometimes He prefers to be on-site and observe things unfold as current events.

So although God knew by His intellect that Abraham would comply with the angel's instructions, now He also has a first-hand knowledge of Abraham's compliance by personal experience, i.e. God, via the angel, was there in the bleachers, so to speak, watching all the action from first to last.

NOTE: Some of the ancient rabbis were baffled by these passages as they seem to imply there are two Jehovahs. So they nick-named one of them as Metatron: a celestial being whose name is his master's. Roughly speaking; Metatron is authorized to speak for God, speak as God, be spoken to as God; and be worshipped, obeyed, and respected as God.

No human has seen or heard the real God at any time (John 1:18, John 5:37, and 1Tim 6:16). Till Christ came along; Metatron was the closest that humanity ever came to associating with the ultimate supreme being. _

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Isaac Was Abraham's Only Son When He Was Offered?

Gen 22:2 . .Then God said: Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.

Abraham actually had two sons at this time: Ishmael and Isaac. But only one of his boys counted. Here's why.

Gen 21:10-11 . . 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 matter distressed Abraham greatly, for it concerned a son of his own.

Ishmael would always and forever be one of Abraham's biological sons; that couldn't be undone with any more ease than recalling the ring of a bell. However; in the case of slave mothers; there was a way to break Ishmael's legal ties to Abraham; and the way was actually quite to Hagar's advantage.

The common law of Abraham's day (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi and the laws of Lipit-Ishtar) stipulated that if a slave-owner disowned 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 catch is: Abraham couldn't just send Hagar packing, nor sell her. In order for the common law to take effect; Abraham had to emancipate Hagar; which he did.

Gen 21:14 . . Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away

The phrase "sent her away" is from the Hebrew word shalach (shaw-lakh') which is a versatile word that can be used of divorce as well as for 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.

Ishmael retained his status as one of Abraham's biological sons (Gen 25:9) but in legal matters relative to inheritance he's no son at all.

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Why Is Jeconiah's Curse So Important?

A curse, back in the Old Testament, leveled at a really bad king in Solomon's royal line to David's throne reads like this:

Jer 22:29-30 . . O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! Thus said the Lord: Record this man as without succession, one who shall never be found acceptable; for no man of his offspring shall be accepted to sit on the throne of David and to rule again in Judah.

The bad king's name was Jeconiah (a.k.a. Jehoiakim and/or Coniah). Jesus' dad Joseph was one of his descendants. (Matt 1:11)

It's commonly believed that the curse extended to Joseph, so that had he been Jesus' biological father, it would have prevented Mary's boy from ascending David's throne.

However, Joseph adopted Jesus and seeing as how adopted children inherit from their fathers the same as biological children; then had the curse extended to Joseph, it would have extended to Jesus too whether he was virgin-conceived or not. In other words: seeing as how Jesus got into Solomon's royal line by adoption, then of course he would've got into the curse too because the throne and the curse were a package deal.

However; the wording "to rule again in Judah" indicates that the curse on Jeconiah's royal progeny was limited to the era of the divided kingdom with Samaria in the north and Judah in the south. That situation came to an end when Nebuchadnezzar crushed the whole country and led first Samaria, and then later Judah, off to Babylonian slavery.

When Messiah reigns, the country of Israel will be unified. His jurisdiction won't be limited to Judah within a divided kingdom, but will dominate the entire land of Israel. So the curse doesn't apply to him.

Ezek 37:21-22 . .You shall declare to them: Thus said the Lord God: I am going to take the Israelite people from among the nations they have gone to, and gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. I will make them a single nation in the land, on the hills of Israel, and one king shall be king of them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms. _

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What Is Matt 22:42-45 Supposed To Mean?

That's a reference to Ps 110:1 which Jesus interpreted speaking of Christ, a.k.a. Messiah.

Ps 110:1 . . The Lord says to my lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.

There's two distinctly different Hebrew words translated by the English word "lord" in that passage

The first is Jehovah (a.k.a. Yahweh); which is a name restricted to God's use (Isa 42:8).

The second is 'adown, which is a common word for superiors in the Old Testament; both human and divine, for instance: Sarah referred to her husband as 'adown (Gen 18:12).The people of Heth addressed Abraham as 'adown (Gen 23:5-6). Abraham's trusted servant referred to him as 'adown (Gen 24:12). Rachel addressed her father Laban as 'adown (Gen 31:35). And Jacob addressed Esau as 'adown (Gen 33:8). And God is spoken of as 'adown too, e.g. Isa 1:24 and Isa 3:1 et al.

Jesus' interpretation of Ps 110:1 says Christ is superior to David, which is normally unthinkable seeing as the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God ranks parents above their children. (Ex 20:12, cf. Eph 6:2)

Now, the thing is: David has no peers relative to kings on earth, seeing as he was given the rank of God's firstborn son in that respect.

Ps 89:20-27 . . I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him . . I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

So, in order for one of David's sons to outrank their father, the son would have to be God's firstborn son in Heaven, viz: David's son would have to be a divine being. (cf. Acts 2:32-36)

The theologians of Jesus' day knew the Old Testament practically word for word, but they couldn't always explain it. No doubt they were aware that Psalm 110 speaks of David's son, and that he would be superior to David, and that he would be a divine being. I'm pretty sure they knew all that. But what they hadn't as yet figured out is how this one particular man of David's biological posterity could possibly become so incredibly exalted. _

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What Is The "My Church" Spoken Of At Matt 16:18?

Within the global sphere of Christianity is a non-denominational fraternity of individuals joined to Christ in such a manner as to be corporately identified as his body, i.e. his actual body. (Eph 1:22-23 and Eph 5:30)

This concept isn't new. In the beginning it was declared that when a man and a woman are joined to each other as a permanent couple, they become one flesh, i.e. one body. (Gen 3:23-24, cf. Eph 5:31-32)

FAQ: How did these individuals bond with Christ's body?

A: Via baptism by the Spirit. (1Cor 12:13)

FAQ: Not by Christian baptism?

A: No; by Spirit baptism. In other words: bonding with Christ's body is by means of an act of God rather than a ritual, i.e. one's affiliation with a denomination is merely a name tag.

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How Was It Okay For Abraham To Marry His Half Sister?

I'm not sure we can say "okay" but a divine law prohibiting marriage to a half sister wasn't instituted till Lev 18:9, which was many years later in Moses' day.

According to Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17 divine laws are not retroactive so Abraham could get away with marrying a sibling in his day.

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Is Something Important Hinted By Gen 13:7?

Gen 13:7 . . And there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and those of Lot's cattle. The Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land.

How do you suppose that squabbling looked to the pagans? When God's people can't get along, outsiders become disgusted with them and they sure won't be influenced for God in a good way when there's fighting amongst themselves like that.

Years ago, when I was a young welder just starting out on my own, I rented a small room in a daylight basement from a man who was the senior pastor of a medium sized church in the Portland Oregon area. He and his wife radiated the luster of polished spirituality whenever I spoke with them out in the yard, but in my location under the floor of the house, I could overhear their bitter quarrels upstairs behind closed doors. Was I favorably inclined to attend their church? No. _

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Define New Testament Hope.

1Pet 3:15 . . Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.

The Greek word translated "hope" in that verse is elpis (el pece') which means to anticipate (usually with pleasure) and to expect with confidence. Note the elements of anticipation, expectation, and confidence.

In other words: New Testament hope is a know-so kind of hope rather than a cross your fingers hope— i.e. a sure thing, a.k.a. in the bag: signed, sealed, and aboard the FedEx truck headed your way for delivery (so to speak).

Rom 12:12 . . Rejoicing in hope.

When people are praying for the best, while in the back of their mind dreading the worst, they have absolutely no cause for rejoicing; no; but they do have plenty of cause to fear the unknown. _

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What Is Grace?

The common Greek word translated "grace" refers to graciousness; defined by Webster's 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 to approach, 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. _

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What Is Redemption?

A couple of Greek words are translated redemption.

One is lutrosis (loo'-tro-sis) which means a ransoming.

The other is apolutrosis (ap-ol-oo'-tro-sis) which means to ransom in full.

Webster's defines "ransom" as:

1 A consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity

2 The act of paying the consideration.

In the divine scheme, Christ is the payer; and the life of his body is the consideration; plus. according to apolutrosis, his life isn't a down payment, rather: the entire sum demanded leaving no balance outstanding.

FAQ: Who/What is the captor?

A: The architect spoken of by Genesis 1:1

FAQ: God is holding the world hostage?

A: Not quite like that. A better comparison depicts the world as indicted fugitives in imminent danger of arrest and trial at the great white throne event described at Revelation 20:11-15.

In other words: Christ satisfies the justice due to the fugitives so they can be acquitted— which is much better than parole because an acquittal leaves behind no record. It's as though a wanted man has never been anything but 100% innocent his entire life.

I cannot imagine a better way to settle out of court with God than by means of the redemption that's available in Christ Jesus. _

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What Is Justification?

Rom 4:25 . . He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

The Greek word translated "justification" in that passage means acquittal; which Webster's defines as a judgment that a person is not guilty of the crime with which the person has been charged.

To give a rough-hewn idea of how this plays out: according to Rev 20:11-15, God is keeping books on everyone wherein is inventoried their entire life.

Were those books to be opened to the pages wherein is supposed to be an inventory of the life of someone who managed to obtain the justification available by means of Christ's death and resurrection, those pages would be missing because when someone obtains the justification, God closes their case and it's never reopened— not because it's a cold case, but because all charges against them were dropped, i.e. transferred to Christ.

Isa 53:6 . .We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2Cor 5:19 . . God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them

Rom 8:33-34 . .Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns; Christ Jesus.,who died? _

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What Is Meant By The Quick And The Dead?

2Tim 4:1 . . Christ Jesus, who will judge the quick and the dead

The Greek word translated "quick" means living, i.e. alive.

The question pertains to judgments rather than spiritual conditions, For example John 5:24 speaks of spiritual conditions; whereas 2Tim 4:1, along with 1Pet 4:5, speaks of judgments.

There's a judgment for those alive depicted at Ezek 20:33-38 and another at Matt 25:31-46.

A judgment for those deceased is depicted at Rev 20:11-15. _

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How Can Death Be Thrown?

Rev 20:14 . . Death was cast into the lake of fire.

Seeing as how Death— as an abstract concept —can't be picked up and thrown like a baseball or a javelin, then I suggest that casting, in this instance, is speaking of exile. (e.g. Matt 8:11-12)

Death is likely a category consisting of everything and anything one can possibly imagine that God considers dead to Himself, both visible and invisible. Whatever that amounts to, it will all be disposed of in that fiery impound. In that respect, the lake of fire could be thought of as a sanitary landfill, viz: a dump for trash and garbage.

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Why The Everlasting Gospel?

Rev 14:6-7 . . And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, announcing with a loud voice: Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

The everlasting gospel is a bounce from the very first chapter of Genesis; and reiterated at Ps 19:1-4 and Rom 1:19-20. It's very elementary; pretty much all it says is:

1 There's 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.

Jesus is absent from the everlasting gospel; as is his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his future kingdom on Earth.

Most of the Bible teachers that I've listened to sincerely believe that Jesus' church will be completely gone from the Earth when the fourth chapter of Revelation begins coming to pass, viz: the era of the so-called great commission (a.k.a. the church age) will be over; there won't be any born-again, Spirit-empowered Christian evangelists left anywhere on Earth preaching the gospel of Christ, yet according to Rev 7:9-17, many thousands of people will be saved out of the Tribulation during the church's absence.

In my opinion, some of those numbers can be attributed to the success of the everlasting gospel which, in my opinion, can be rightfully called the timeless gospel because it's always been here whereas the gospel of Christ hasn't.

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FAQ: The Bible thumpers claim it's a "must" to believe in Christ's gospel in order to be spared the wrath of God. How is that fair to peoples of the world who were never afforded an opportunity to hear it?

A: According to Luke 12:47-48, everyone will be judged on the basis of what they knew rather than what they didn't know.

However, in God's estimation the wonders and complexity of the cosmos— all its forms of life, matter, and energy —is a strong enough argument to convince people that everything came about by intelligent design and the handiwork of a higher power, i.e. a supreme being.

Plus, their own sense of justice— their conscience —is enough to warn people that there's coming an ultimate reckoning to make things right, i.e. to reward people for their good, and to punish them for their evil.

Those particulars are wrapped up in a timeless gospel wherein is no Jesus, no crucifixion, and no resurrection. (Rev 14:6-7)

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What's To Learn From Moses And The Snakes?

John 3:14-17 . . Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Long story short: Moses' people became sick and tired of living in the desert and eating manna all the time at every meal. But instead of courteously, and diplomatically, petitioning their divine benefactor for tastier food and better accommodations, they became hostile and confrontational.

In response to their insolence; God sent a swarm of deadly poisonous snakes among them; which began striking people; and every strike was 100% fatal, no exceptions. In no time at all, much people of Israel died. Then those not yet dead got nervous and appealed to Moses for help. In reply; The Lord instructed Moses to construct a replica of the beasts and hoist it up on a pole in plain view so that everyone dying from venom could look to it for immunity.

Now the key issue here is that the replica, lifted up, was the only God-given remedy for the people's terminal condition— not purity, not sacrifices and offerings, not tithing, not church attendance, not missionary work, not confession, not holy days of obligation, not the Sabbath, not charity, not good deeds, not good behavior, not piety, not Bible study and Sunday school, not catechism or yeshiva, not one's religion of choice, not self denial and/or self control, not the so-called golden rule, not vows of poverty and/or chastity, not the Ten Commandments, not the Eucharist; no, none of that: not even prayers. That replica, lifted up, was it; viz: it was all or nothing at all— there was no other option. Whoever failed to look to that replica, lifted up, for immunity died: no exceptions.

In other words then: Christ, lifted up on the cross to satisfy justice for the sins of the world, is the only God-given option for protection from the second death depicted at Rev 20:11-15. The default is terminal; no exceptions. People relying upon religion and piety, instead of putting all their trust in Christ's crucifixion, are dead men walking, no exceptions.

John 3:18 . .Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever disbelieves stands condemned already. _

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What Is Sheol?

At some point in the prophet Jonah's nautical adventure, he went to a place called, in the Hebrew language, she'owl (sheh-ole') a.k.a. sheol. (Jonah 2:2). Sheol is sometimes transliterated instead of translated; likely because there is so much controversy about its meaning.

Jonah located sheol under the mountains. (Jonah 2:6)

Well, Jonah's fish was under the sea rather than under the mountains, and seeing as how no part of a mountain is located in a fish's tummy, then we can be reasonably certain that during Jonah's experience he and his body parted company; implying that Jonah wasn't alive in the fish for the whole three days and three nights reported by Jonah 1:17; which corroborates Jonah 2:9 that the prophet's body underwent putrefaction and would've been completely destroyed had not God resurrected him in time to stop the process from getting out of hand.

Jesus appropriated Jonah's experience to illustrate his own. Jesus predicted that at some time during his three days and nights deceased, he would be in the heart of the Earth. (Matt 12:40)

Well; Jesus' body was laid to rest on the surface of the Earth; so in order for him to be down inside the Earth at same time, he and his body had to part company. In other words: Jesus spent some of his three days and nights under the mountains, i.e. sheol. And he too was resurrected in time to stop the process of putrefaction from getting out of hand. (Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-32) _

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How Could Abraham's Posterity Possibly Amount To The Stars?

Gen 22:17 . . In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore;

I think it best to interpret stars and sand as ancient idioms representing overwhelming numbers of just about anything. Compare Heb 12:1 where "cloud" is a term for the same purpose.

But as a matter of interest: back in Abram'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 Abram 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 Abram's day, he could see at most three thousand discernible stars from dark till dawn. God had said "if you are able to count them" (Gen 15:5). Well; even at only three thousand, the task would be difficult. _

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Why Was Jesus Baptized?

Matt 3:13-15 . .Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying: I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? Jesus replied: Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented.

An important point worth noting is that everything Jesus did, it was to please his Father. (John 8:29)

Also, Jesus did nothing on his own initiative. His daily itinerary was planned for him (John 6:38 and John 8:28). In other words: Jesus was micro managed.

However, John's baptism was unto repentance (Matt 3:11). This is curious because according to Isa 53:9, John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22, and 1John 3:9; Jesus committed no sins of his own; and as he always pleased his Father, then there was never a time when Jesus needed to ponder his life's direction and think about turning from evil and returning to God.

The reason for Jesus' baptism is very simple: his Father required it. Even if Jesus didn't know the reason why God wanted him to submit to John's baptism, it was the right thing for Jesus to do at the time because it was God's will; just as baptizing Israel was the right thing for John to do at the time because it was God's will. Both men were acting in compliance with God's directions. (John 14:31)

Obedience fulfills righteousness. For example Eph 6:1 where it's said:

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

NOTE: Orwellian societies— e.g. Communist China —tend to ban religions like Christianity because one of their means of control is to turn children against their parents. This particular management practice was put into full swing during the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao Zedong back in the era 1966-1976. (cf. Malachi 4:6) _

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Isn't Christianity's Human Sacrifice Against The Laws Of God?

God's codified law per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is very narrow, viz: any human sacrifice— whether underage children or consenting adults —is illegal because none are specified.

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: the codified law isn't retroactive (Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, Gal 3:17) This is extremely important because Jesus was designated, and scheduled, to give his life a sacrifice for the sins of the world not only prior to God's codified law, but also prior to God creating even a single atom for the current cosmos. (1Pet 1:18-21 & Rev 13:8)

The past-tense grammar of the passage below reflects that ancient pre cosmos determination.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa 53:6)

That passage isn't a prediction, rather, it's a statement of facts, i.e. a telling of things reckoned already gone by prior to Isaiah writing them down more than 700 years before Christ was born. _

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Did Jesus Wed And Have Children?

According to Isa 53:8, Jesus left behind no one to carry on his name.

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What Is Meant By Proverbs 27:17?

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."

The Hebrew word translated "countenance" has to do with one's face rather than their mind.

A friendly face is usually soft and mellow; whereas a hostile face is usually accented with tight lips and glaring narrow eyes; and sometimes even bared teeth. We call that kind of look "daggers" —and if those kinds of looks could kill; they would.

No sharpening of two metals rubbing together can take place without them wearing on each other. However, in Prov 27:17 only one of the metals experiences wear while the other is the cause of it.

In my judicious opinion, that proverb is not speaking of building your friend up but instead speaks of tearing him down by means of chafing, i.e. relentless fault finding, mockery, and/or carping criticism; none of which are acceptable social skills for making friends and influencing people.

Job 16:9 . . He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

The eyes of Job's enemy were knives, and reveals that causing somebody's countenance to sharpen should not be construed a good thing. In point of fact some of Webster's definitions related to "sharp" in include:

severe and/or harsh: such as

a : inclined to or marked by irritability or anger a sharp temper

b : causing intense mental or physical distress a sharp pain

c : cutting in language or import

NOTE: The Hebrew word for "friend" in Prov 27:17 doesn't necessarily indicate a buddy; but includes a variety of others, i.e. companions, associates, fellows, husbands, lovers, neighbors, etc. —just about anybody with whom we come into personal contact whether temporary or extended, e.g. waitresses, taxi drivers, retail clerks, fast food workers, gas station attendants, dog walkers, flight attendants, druggists, coffee barristers, food cart vendors, doctors, dentists, nurses, et al.

I think everyone, Christians especially, ought to avoid rubbing people the wrong way lest we become known as a toxic influence that the world would be a better place without.

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Is 2Macc 12:48-46 A Useful Example?

The story tells of a Jewish military commander's attempt to atone for his dead soldiers' pagan amulets which he believed is a crime against God for Jews to wear. So Judas Maccabeus passed the hat among his surviving men and collected about 2,000 silver drachmas which were sent to Jerusalem intended for a sacrifice to expiate his dead men's sin so that it wouldn't jeopardize their resurrection.

The covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy is very narrow. There are no sacrifices stipulated in it for expiating the unforgiven sins that people take with them over to the afterlife; ergo: the very Law that Judas sought to appease makes it a crime to either amend, embellish, add to, revise, edit, upgrade, update, or subtract from the covenant.

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 5:32-33 . . Be careful, therefore, to do as The Lord, your God, has commanded you, not turning aside to the right or to the left, but following exactly the way prescribed for you by The Lord, your God,

Deut 26:16 . . This day The Lord, your God, commands you to observe these statutes and decrees. Be careful, then, to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

Bottom line: What Judas did was just as pagan as the amulets that his men were wearing when they died.

NOTE: Just because somebody's personal beliefs are recorded in the Bible does not make their personal beliefs eo ipso truth. Judas believed it was possible for living Jews to offer sacrifices for the unforgiven sins of deceased Jews. Is it? No; absolutely not! Were it possible, then a procedure for that purpose would be stipulated in the covenant.

Atonements for the dead fall into the category of sins of presumption; viz: unauthorized behavior.

If 2Mcc 12:38-46 teaches anything at all it’s that the Israel of Judas Maccabeus’ day was spiritually decadent— just as decadent as it was in the days of the Judges when every man did that which was right in his own eyes rather than the eyes of The Lord their God. _

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