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

The Forbidden Fruit

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


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

Jesus Christ And The Original Sin

How Christ Became Solomon's Successor

Jonah's And Jesus' Resurrections

Hell vs Common Sense

Ways To Describe Grace

Knowing Your Religion Is Right

The Rich Man, Lazarus, And Abraham

The God Begotten Of God

Christ's Demise

Christ's Recovery



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

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

Gen 1:26a . . And God said: Let us make Man in our image, after our likeness.

Because of the terms "image and likeness" there are some who believe that man's creator is a human being; or at least resembles one. But according to Christ, creation's master mind is non physical.

"God is spirit" (John 4:24)

According to Luke 24:36-39, spirit isn't solid.

Moses warned Yhvh's people to avoid making any kind of mannequin, figurine, totem pole, or statue representing God since no one has any true concept of what creation's God actually looks like in person. (Ex 4:10-19)

There exists absolutely nothing in nature physically resembling its creator; except maybe the air in front of your face— neither Man, nor beast, nor plant, nor bird, nor bug, nor reptile nor anything out in the void (Rom 1:21-23). Concepts that portray the supreme being in human form are purely fantasy. (Rom 1:25)

Gen 1:26b . . let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

Humanity's right to dominate the earth is where we find at least a portion of its image and likeness of God. In other words: Man's image and likeness of God takes into consideration sovereignty, power, control, and authority. (cf. Gen 44:18)

The word for "rule" is from radah (raw-daw') and means: to tread down, i.e. subjugate; specifically: to crumble off.

I saw a pretty interesting bumper sticker some time ago that went like this:

We are not above the Earth;
We are of the Earth.

Well . . I respect the Native American cultural feelings behind that statement; but the cosmos' designer and builder decreed that though Man is of the earth; he is very definitely above it too, and has the God-given right to subjugate every living thing on the planet including its forests, its grasses, its rivers, its seas, its soil, its rocks, its air, its minerals, its mountains, its valleys, and even its tectonic plates and the earth's very atmosphere itself. And that's not the end of it. According to Heb 2:8, humanity is on track to take control of even more.

Another aspect of humanity's image and likeness of God is immortality.

Ex 3:13-14 . . Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I am that I am: and He said; thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, "I AM" hath sent me unto you.

In other words: God always was, He always is, and He always shall be.

Although it could never be said of humanity that it always was, in the beginning it could at least be said that humanity always is and always shall be; because according to Gen 3:22, the human body was meant to continue indefinitely.

God created all manner of living things in swarms and herds and flocks; no doubt to keep their numbers up because they weren't apportioned the tree of life for nourishment. It was located in the garden of Eden; to my knowledge, the tree was located nowhere else on Earth. In addition; the Hebrew word for "garden" indicates it was walled; probably to keep out foraging animals. In point of fact, I seriously doubt that the tree of life would've helped extend the life span of non human creatures even had they eaten from it; viz: the tree of life was strictly human food: a sort of ambrosia, so to speak.

Ps 82:6 . . I said: You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.

Humanity is as close to divine as a creature can possibly get.

Ps 8:4-8 . .What is man, that thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that thou dost care for him? Yet thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.


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)


The Forbidden Fruit

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 2:16-17 . . 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 evil, you must not eat of it; for in the day you eat of it, you shall die.

Gen 3:4 . . And the serpent said to the woman: You are not going to die,

There we have the beginnings of what's known as a half-truth; which Webster's defines as a statement that is only partly true and that is intended to deceive people. In other words: half-truths contain a kernel of truth but not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The Serpent somehow knew that the forbidden fruit itself wasn't lethal, i.e. Eve wouldn't die from eating it like hemlock or a Night Cap mushroom. He was 100% right about that. Her death, though related to eating the fruit, would come upon her from a very different direction; one that Eve apparently never suspected; though it was right under her nose the whole time.

Gen 2:16-17 . . as for the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you must not eat of it; for in the day you eat of it, you shall die.

The first thing to point out is that in order for the threat to resonate in Adam's thinking; it had to be related to death as Adam 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 natural rather spiritual.

As far as can be known from the Bible, the tree of life was located only in the garden and nowhere else on Earth; plus the Hebrew word for "garden" indicates that Adam's food source was fenced; i.e. walled, no doubt to protect it from foraging critters.

Both those points suggest very strongly to me that only human life was meant to continue indefinitely; viz: humanity is the only species that God created with the potential for immortality; as a result, expiration was common in Adam's world by means of plants, birds, bugs, and beasts so that "death" wasn't a strange new word in Adam's vocabulary; i.e. God didn't have to take a moment and define it for him.

Gen 3:6d . . she took of its fruit and ate.

You can just see Eve's eyes brighten from the sugar rush as she realized the Serpent was right after all— she didn't drop dead. So the woman brought it home and convinced her man to try it too.

Gen 3:6e . . She also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

Eve didn't drop dead the instant she tasted the fruit, and neither did Adam. 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 catch is: Adam wasn't told he would die the instant he tasted the fruit. God's exact words were "in the day"

According to Gen 2:4, the Hebrew word for "day" is a bit ambiguous. It can easily indicate a period of time much, much longer than 24 hours; viz: the day of Adam's death began the moment he ate the fruit; and according to Rom 5:12-19 the day of everybody else's death began at that moment too; making human death universal regardless of age, race, gender, or class distinctions.

Gen 2:25 . .The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, yet they felt no shame.

Webster's defines shame as: 1) guilt, or disgrace, 2) a feeling of inferiority or inadequacy, and 3) inhibition.

In other words, there was absolutely nothing in early Man's psyche restraining him from parading around in full frontal exposure; and actually, neither was there anything in his psyche encouraging him to. They weren't exhibitionists by any stretch of the imagination because in their innocence, Adam and his wife simply were neither proud of, nor humiliated by, their appearance in the buff.

Adam and his wife felt neither naughty nor perverted by frontal exposure at first, nor were they self conscious in the slightest respect because as yet they knew no cultural boundaries, nor were they infected yet with a guilt complex about sex and the human body; and concepts like vanity and narcissism had no point of reference in their thinking whatsoever. They had absolutely no natural sense of propriety, nor were they even aware of any because their creator hadn't taught them any proprieties yet at this point.

That was an interesting time in early human development. They had neither intuition nor conscience as yet to moderate their dress code. Had somebody criticized the first couple's appearance, they would no doubt have stared at their critic like a man taken leave of his senses.

Some expositors label this era in the human experience as the age of innocence; which implies not just an ignorance of morality; but primarily a lack of self consciousness— which Webster's defines as uncomfortably aware of one's self as an object of the observation of others.

Gen 3:6-7 . . She took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened.

According to 1Tim 2:14, Eve was in violation of Gen 2:16-17 when she tasted the fruit. But curiously, her eyes weren't opened right away. In other words: up till Adam tasted the fruit, its effects upon Eve's health were nil; and in point of fact, there's really no good reason to believe that Adam's eyes were opened the very instant he tasted the fruit; it's effect upon him may have been delayed too.

Gen 3:7b . . and they perceived that they were naked;

Shazaam! Their newly acquired knowledge of good and bad kicked in with an intuitive sense of propriety; which Webster's defines as the quality or state of being proper or suitable, i.e. conformity to what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech.

In other words: Adam and his wife took it upon themselves to initiate a dress code due to finding themselves slaves to a humanistic conscience so powerful that even if Almighty God himself told them it was okay to remain disrobed they would not have believed Him; and even had they believed Him, they would still put something on because at this point, they were embarrassed.

Gen 3:7c . . and they sewed together fig leaves and made themselves loincloths.

But why not bosom coverings? Why not derrière coverings too? Why only loin coverings? Well it's not too hard to figure out is it? They developed a guilt complex over sex and the human body that continues to this day; and I sincerely believe that complex is the very reason why so many people feel that the male libido is naughty and sinful. (Those same people rarely, if ever, condemn the female libido.)

Some say there were no agents in the fruit to cause the changes in human consciousness that occurred in the Adams. But I'm not so sure. According to an article in the Oct 8, 2011 issue of the Oregonian; new research reveals that some, if not all, the plants we eat actually change the behavior of human genes in ways never before imagined.

A new study led by Chen-Yu Zhang, of Nanjing University, found that fragments of plant genetic material survive digestion and wind up swimming in the bloodstreams of humans and cows. Those tiny strands of RNA that somehow make it through the toxic acids and enzymes in the gut come from rice and the plant family that includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Zhang found that they can muffle or amplify human gene expression in various ways. The discovery could lead to ways of designing plants that act as medicine or even change our own genetic structure for the better (or the worse).

And it's well known what happens to kids when they move into adolescence. Hormonal chemicals kick in, and their childish innocence vanishes; right out the window. They lose interest in kid's toys and begin to take an interest in things more appropriate for their age; including a very noticeable interest in themselves, and in the opposite sex; and most especially in what others think about them. In other words: they become self-conscious; which Webster's defines as: uncomfortably aware of oneself as an object of the observation of others.

Those adolescent changes aren't miraculous changes— they're totally natural, hormonally induced, organic changes. So if kids undergo a natural kind of change because of the chemicals generated by the glands in their own bodies, then there is good reason to believe that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil actually did contain something that caused Adam and his wife to morph and develop an intuitive sense of propriety; and that "sense" can't help but influence people's interpretation of Matt 5:28. In other words they want male libido to be naughty because their forbidden-fruit intuition compels them to "feel" it's naughty.

At any rate, the pending dialogue, between God and Man in the next few verses, implies that God himself had no hand in making those two people change. On the page of scripture, their altered human consciousness is directly related to the fruit and to nothing else.

So instead of stretching our imaginations to construct a complex spiritual explanation, I suggest it would be better to stick with the biological one and let it go at that.

Gen 3:8a . . They heard the voice of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day;

The Hebrew word for "voice" is somewhat ambiguous. It can not only indicate a vocal sound, but lots of other kinds of noises too; e.g. horns, crackling, snapping, cackling, bleating, tweeting, roaring, whooshing, hissing, barking, thudding, whistling, and booming, et al.

Gen 3:8b-9 . . and the man and his wife hid from Yhvh God among the trees of the garden. Yhvh God called out to the man and said to him: Where are you?

Since God is omniscient, "where are you" can be taken to mean: Adam; come out, come out, wherever you are!

Gen 3:10 . . He replied: I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.

Adam wasn't totally disrobed; just partially. But even that degree of undress lacked adequate propriety to his newly acquired sense of right and wrong. But the thing to note is Adam's unease in the presence of God while lacking what he thought in his own mind to be appropriate clothing.

This incident tells me that even the most seasoned exotic dancer— normally comfortable disrobed in a room of leering men —would want to put something on should God come thru the door and take a seat around the dance floor. (cf. John 21:7)

Gen 3:11 . .Then He asked: Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?

In other words: where'd you get the idea that undress is indecent? Well; nobody had said undress is indecent, nor even suggested that it's indecent— the concept of a dress code was unheard of at that time. No; they just "felt" it's indecent. In other words; it was their intuition telling them that undress is indecent.

Where did they get that intuition? Not from their maker, that's for sure; no, they got it from the fruit of that tree. Unfortunately, their newly acquired moral compass was unreliable; the reason being they got it from nature, viz: it was a natural sense of right and wrong rather than God-given; therefore it couldn't be trusted to guide them into absolutes.

Gen 3:16a . . To the woman He said: I will make most severe your pangs in childbearing;

The Hebrew word for "pangs" is 'itstsabown (its-tsaw-bone') and means: worrisome-ness. Webster's defines worrisome-ness as: causing distress or worry or inclined to worry or fret; viz: anxiety, insecurity, and perhaps melancholy.

For many women, the preggers stage of motherhood is often characterized by bloating, illness, nausea, depression, anxiety, insecurity, and irritability. For them, pregnancy is more like a curse than the intended blessing of Gen 1:28.

Gen 3:16b . . in pain shall you bear children.

It's difficult to imagine child bearing without pain because that's the way it's always been right from the beginning, even with Eve's very first child. Apparently before Man's fall, having a baby would have caused no more discomfort than doing one's business in the ladies room— and just as lacking in danger to mom and baby.

The thing to note is: this particular punishment was unexpected; viz: it isn't specifically listed in Gen 2:17 as a consequence for tasting the forbidden fruit.

Something else that's notable is that the tree's chemistry played no role in Eve's new circumstances. God said "I will make yada, yada, yada, yada". In other words; the pangs and pains of child bearing are via the hand of God rather than the hand of nature.

There's more.

Gen 3:16c . .Your desire shall be for your husband,

The Hebrew of that passage is very difficult; not even the great rabbis Rashi and Ramban were in agreement how best to interpret it. But it appears to me simply the very first prohibition against sex outside the bonds of matrimony.

And then there's this:

Gen 3:16d . . and he shall rule over you.

That is probably one of the most hated verses in the whole Bible. Eve's daughters do not like to be subjugated to and/or dominated by men. It really goes against their grain; and if the women's suffrage movement that took place in America's early 1900's were to be thoroughly analyzed, it would not surprise me that women's right to vote wasn't really an equality issue: it was a rebellion against male domination; which of course is to be expected in a world gone mad with evil.

Gen 3:16d isn't restricted to marriage. It regulates women's place in church too— all churches.

"As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says." (1Cor 14:33-35)

"Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." (1Tim 2:11-15)

How long the Adams cohabited sans the imposition of a gender hierarchy isn't stated; but evidently there was no need for it prior to the forbidden fruit incident. But the incident aptly demonstrates that manipulative women can quickly lead men to ruin in no time at all because it's all too easy for them to persuade men to behave themselves in ways contrary to their own better judgment; which reminds me of a really cute line from the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

Toula Portokalos complains to her mother: "Ma, dad is so stubborn. What he says goes. Ah, the man is the head of the house!"

Toula's mom, Maria Portokalos, responds: "Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck; and she can turn the head any way she wants."

That's humorous but it's not a laughing matter. Many a man has been led like sheep to the slaughter by women who got them to do things contrary to their own better judgment.

Gen 3:17a . .To Adam He said: Because you did as your wife said, and ate of the tree about which I commanded you; "You shall not eat of it"

A portion of God's gripe with Adam was that he put a subordinate creature's wishes over and above the wishes of the creature's superior; thus forcing God to compete for Adam's affections; i.e. a rival. Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing between pleasing women or pleasing God; men all too often sell their souls to the women.

Gen 3:17b . . Cursed be the ground because of you

That was unexpected; it isn't specifically listed in Gen 2:17 as a consequence for tasting the forbidden fruit.

Not only would Man himself be effected by a curse upon the ground, but every living thing that depends upon the ground for its survival would be effected too; from lowly nematodes and earthworms right on up to the top of the food chain. The whole animal world, and all the seed-bearing plant life too, would suffer collateral damages for Adam's mistake.

God somehow manipulated the soil's fertility so that it now no longer produces as well as it did in the beginning. The abundant swarms of life that God created in the beginning would, at that point, begin to thin out as the competition for available natural food-stuffs would begin to intensify.

Gen 3:17c . . By toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life

Adam was no stranger to work because God already had him tending the garden. But matters worsened with a new ingredient. The word for "toil" is from 'itstsabown (its-tsaw-bone') and means the very same thing as it did in Gen 3:16.

The element of 'itstsabown took some of the pleasure out of Adam's existence. Where before his daily routine was relatively care-free, now he'd begin to worry and fret over things that are especially pertinent to farmers e.g. weather, insects, and plant diseases; which, among farmers, are common causes of anxiety and feelings of insecurity.

Gen 3:18a . . thorns and thistles shall it sprout for you.

God finished the entire cosmos in six days; and no more creating took place after that because He's been on sabbatical ever since day 7: so thorns and thistles already existed prior to the events of chapter 3.

But in the beginning, noxious plants doubtless weren't so dominant. Today they're a nuisance because if ground is left fallow, it will soon be covered with dock, mustard, dandelion, chaparral, wild flowers, brambles, reed canary grass, and stuff like that. Those kinds of plants may be okay for wildlife, but humanity needs something quite a bit more nutritious.

Gen 3:18b . . and your food shall be the grasses of the field;

Apparently Adam was a fruitarian at first, and then his diet later expanded to include other kinds of vegetation. However, I don't think humans are supposed to graze on pasture like buffalo or deer and elk. Many of the grasses God intended for Adam to eat fall into the food group we call cereals; which are raised primarily for their grain; e.g. corn, wheat, oats, and rice; et al. In their natural form— whole grain —cereals are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein. After refinement grains are pretty much good for nothing but carbs.

Gen 3:19a . . By the sweat of your brow shall you get bread to eat,

Whereas the Adams before had a beautiful productive farm complete with orchards that required minimal maintenance, they became faced with stubborn soil that needs plowing, sowing, and weeding. Very few natural grains exist abundantly in nature. These days; if he wants them in any sizable amount, Man has to farm.

Those of us who live in 9 to 5 leisure-intensive America really don't appreciate just how laborious and time consuming the work is to grow your own food. Early humanity's days were hard. They're still hard in many developing countries. Adam had to get out there with a hoe and a plow to provide for his family. Today, only about 2% in the USA work the ground for a living.

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

Did God have to smite Adam in order for him to stop living? No; it was only necessary to deny Adam access to the tree of life and let nature and hard work take their toll; in other words: it was only a matter of time before Adam simply gave out and passed away from wear and tear and old age.

It's often assumed that Adam was created immortal; but no so. Adam was created an air-breathing creature. Smother him and he'd die. Hold his head underwater and he'd die. But as long as Adam supplemented his diet with nutrients form the tree of life, he'd not die of natural causes.

But what happened to Adam when his body returned to dust? Did he return to dust too? No; and that's because Adam wasn't entirely organic. The human body came from the ground; but according to Gen 2:7, human consciousness came from God. The afterlife disposition of human consciousness is one of life's greatest mysteries. Heck, even the origin of human consciousness is mystery enough for some, let alone where it goes when people pass away.

Gen 3:21 . . And the Lord God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Precisely what species of animal God slaughtered in order to make the Adams their first suit of real clothing is unknown.

That day, humans learned something about the advantages of leather goods. Most of it is produced from cattle hides: calfskin, goatskin, kidskin, sheepskin, and lambskin. Other hides and skins used include those of the horse, pig, kangaroo, deer, crocodile, alligator, seal, walrus, and of late; python. Humans have used animal skins for a variety of practical purposes since ancient times, and to this good day leather is still a useful material all around the world.

The exact cut and design of their garments isn't specified; the Hebrew words kethoneth (keth-o'-neth) and/or kuttoneth (koot-to'-neth) just indicate a shirt, or covering; as hanging from the shoulder.

A garment hanging from the shoulder indicates that Eve's topless days were over; although that wouldn't necessarily rule out the possibility that she may have become the Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel of her day and created some interesting necklines.

The garments actually facilitated the people's association with God. They were unbearably uncomfortable around their creator in the buff, even in the semi-buff, and that was principally the reason they hid from the Lord when He came calling. However, fig leaves aren't very durable; they're merely an expedient. God showed them a much better way— actually a way they would never have thought of all by themselves because who would have guessed animal hides could be used for clothing until God showed them how?

The point to note is that the clothing humanity's maker crafted for the Adams didn't cost them one red cent nor did they have to contribute even the slightest bit of labor to its construction. God slaughtered the animals, treated the hides, and fabricated the garments Himself; and gave the clothing to them for free, out of kindness; and free of charge.

I believe God went to all that trouble because He didn't want anything hampering His association with humans. In other words, Adam's felt-shame over undress was a barrier between himself and his creator so God showed him a really good way to overcome it: a way that greatly enhanced Adam's limited survival skills.

Gen 3:22a . . And the Lord God said: Now that Man has become as one of us

Humanity was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27). But that image and likeness stopped short of "one of us". In other words: humanity didn't come from the hand of God as an equal; i.e. though humanity was given the status of divine beings; humans aren't actual deities— gods are impervious to death, humans die like flies.

"I said: You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men." (Ps 82:6-7)

Seeing as how humanity wasn't created "as one of us" then we're safe to conclude that humanity made itself "one of us"; i.e. made itself a deity. Unfortunately, humanity, as a deity, isn't God's associate, rather, His competitor; i.e. a rival sheik so to speak.

From the limited amount of information we're given, it's readily seen that it's fairly easy to make one's self a deity; it's only necessary to rebel against constituted authority; viz: go your own way instead of complying with the laws, rules, and dictates of a higher power, especially humanity's creator.

Gen 3:22b . . discerning good and evil,

Discerning good and evil isn't a bad thing per se; that is; if it's an instructed discernment rather than a natural, intuitive discernment. (Rom 12:2 and Heb 5:13-14)

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

The Old Testament Hebrew word translated "forever" doesn't always indicate infinity. Normally it just means perpetual as "in perpetuity" viz: indefinitely; which Webster's defines as: having no exact limits.

The thing is: God predicted Adam's passing; so in order to ensure that the prediction came to pass; God had to cut off his access to the tree of life; which is a pretty interesting tree seeing as how it's not only an elixir, but also a remedy for whatever ails a man. (Rev 22:2)

The tree of life didn't contain enough nutrients to give Adam eternal life. It couldn't even give him immortality. But the tree could have given Adam perpetual youth; but even then, only so long as he supplemented his diet with regular doses of it; for example: I have an under-active thyroid gland that if left untreated would eventuate in my untimely death. But so long as I continue to supplement my diet with a prescribed daily dose of a medication called levoxyl, I can expect to live to a normal old age.

However; I can't get by on just one dose of levoxyl, nor can I take a lifetime of doses all at once. Levoxyl has to be taken a little at a time on a daily basis. What I'm saying is: as long as Adam supplemented his diet with nutrients from that tree on a regular basis; he wouldn't die of natural causes; thus he had the potential to remain forever twenty-one. But that was not to be since God had already decreed that Adam die for eating the forbidden fruit.

Gen 3:23-24 . . So the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he was taken. He drove the man out, and stationed east of the garden of Eden the cherubim and the fiery ever-turning sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.

People could probably go and see that cherubim and its sword for themselves up until the time of Noah; but no doubt the Flood wiped Eden off the map.

The thing to note is that the cherubim and its sword blocked not only Adam's access to the tree but everybody else's access too; thus dooming everyone to an eventual expiration no matter whether they're rich or poor, young or old, male or female, righteous or unrighteous, holy or unholy, pious or impious. Even Jesus would have eventually died of natural causes had he not been crucified. If the human body, as God created it, is to remain strong and healthy indefinitely, it has got to have that tree in its diet.


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.


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)


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.


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)


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 God Didn't Execute Cain For Murder

Gen 4:12-13 . . If you till the soil, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. You shall become a ceaseless wanderer on earth. Cain said to the Lord: My punishment is too great to bear!

Cain's punishment was relatively lenient. In point of fact, it wasn't punishment at all, it was discipline. It's true that Cain would struggle to survive; but at least he was allowed to live. His kid brother was dead. How is that fair?

FAQ: How did Cain get off with only a slap on the wrist? Why wasn't he executed for murder since God himself mandates capital punishment for murderers as per Gen 9:5-6, Ex 21:12-14, Lev 24:17, Lev 24:21, and Num 35:31-34? Does God practice a double standard?

A: Murder is intrinsically wrong, yes; and it's intrinsically a sin, yes; however; it hasn't always been a capital sin. According to Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17, law enacted ex post facto is too late; viz: law can't be enforced until after it's enacted, not even divine law; which is precisely why God didn't have to execute Cain for murder.


From Whence Cain Got A Wife

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.

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 Yhvh, 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:

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

Anybody who knew the Old Testament in Jesus' day knew good and well from Ps 89:27 that David has no superiors but God because he holds the rank of God's firstborn; viz: no king that you might name is David's superior other than Yhvh: the king of all kings.

So Psalm 110:1 suggests that David's rank— and subsequently its advantages —as God's firstborn has been transferred to another man; and seeing as how Jesus' opponents agreed that the other man is David's son, then the position has been transferred not to one of David's siblings; but to one of his own posterity; so that now David has to bow and scrape to one of his own grandchildren, which up to that time was not only unheard of; but just wasn't done.

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

Well; no surprise there. This was something not only strange to their Jewish way of thinking; but entirely new, yet there it was in black and white in their own scriptures; and they had somehow failed to catch its significance until Jesus drew their attention to it.

Now; here's something else that I'm 110% positive crossed the minds of Jesus' learned opposition. To their way of thinking, David's position as God's firstborn as per Ps 89:27 is irrevocable. Well; seeing as how there is no intermediate rank sandwiched in between the firstborn position and the paterfamilias position, that means David's son, about whom he spoke in Ps 110:1, is equal in rank to God; which is a blasphemous suggestion to say the least. (chuckle) Those poor know-it-all Pharisees were utterly baffled beyond words.

"Your throne O God is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy more than your fellows." (Ps 45:6-7)

If that passage has been translated correctly, it says one of two things. Either God is speaking to Himself, or He is speaking to a king of the Davidic dynasty that has been promoted to a level of dignity and authority equal to His own; which of course outranks David by a pretty large amount; and in point of fact: is superior to the entire cosmos— all of its forms of life, matter, and energy —no contest.


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)



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

The Hebrew word for "unleavened" is matstsah (mats-tsaw') which essentially refers to an unfermented cake or loaf; in other words: bread made with sweet dough rather than sour dough.

In this day and age of cultured yeast it's not easy to explain what the Bible means by leavened and unleavened. Well; the primary difference between the two terms isn't ingredients; rather, the primary difference is age; for example:

"Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven" (1Cor 5:8)

If there is an old leaven, then there must be a new leaven; just as there is an old wine and a new wine; for example:

Matt 13:33 . .The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and mixed in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.

The woman's batch was a blend of fresh dough and spoiled dough; i.e. the spoiled dough made her fresh dough into a batch of new leaven.

Old leaven then refers to dough that's gone bad, i.e. fermented; which, given time, pure dough will do on its own because all flour, no matter how carefully it's milled and packaged, contains a percentage of naturally-occurring fungi.

Ex 12:34 . . So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

That gives an idea of how quickly God moved the people out of Egypt after slaying all the firstborn. They had made bread with fresh dough for that night's dinner in accord with the law of the Passover instituted in the 12th chapter of Exodus and it had not yet spoiled; which fresh dough will do in short order if it isn't refrigerated.

Anyway, point being; Lot served his guests fresh bread made with fresh dough rather than with bread made with dough that's been sitting around for a while. Bread made with sour dough is reasonably safe to eat, we know that, so serving his guests bread made with aged dough wouldn't have been a health issue. I like to think that Lot served his honored guests unleavened bread as an act of courtesy rather than necessity. Giving people your best, rather than your less than best, shows that you think highly of them.


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: Yhvh's 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; Yhvh 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 worlds 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.

NOTE: It's commonly objected that women cannot provide the Y chromosome necessary for producing a male child. And that's right; they usually can't. However, seeing as how God constructed an entire woman from a sample of male flesh and bone; then I do not see how it would be any more difficult for God to construct a dinky little Y chromosome from a woman's flesh and bone.

And seeing as how every woman's flesh and bone descends from Adam's flesh and bone, then any Y chromosome that God might construct from a woman's flesh and bone would essentially be Adam's Y chromosome seeing as how Eve's flesh and bone were Adam's to begin with.

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.


Jesus Christ And The Original Sin

FAQ: If Adam really was Jesus Christ's biological progenitor, then wouldn't he share Adam's guilt in the matter of the forbidden fruit just like everybody else in accord with Rom 5:12 and Rom 5:19?

A: Yes, absolutely; there are no exceptions. In point of fact; Christ didn't come into the world with holy flesh, he came with sinful flesh.

Rom 8:3 . . By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.

Heb 2:16-17 . . For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God

Ergo: nobody is born into this world 100% innocent; which is the reason why infants and underage children die the same as grown-ups. The poor things are condemned to die right from the moment of conception. So then, had Jesus not been crucified, he would have eventually passed away of some other cause.

Heb 9:27 . . It is appointed for men to die once

FAQ: If Jesus Christ was made a joint principal in Adam's sin, then how can it be honestly said that Christ was a lamb without blemish or spot? (1Pet 1:19)

A: Christ committed no personal sins of his own. (John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22)

FAQ: What was the secret to his success?

A: Jesus Christ is a mysterious amalgam of human and divine. Not only was he Adam's progeny, but Christ was also God's (Luke 1:31-35) and I think most people would agree that divinity is easily able to overcome humanity.

Col 2:9 . . For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form

NOTE: The upside to Adam's sin is that it isn't a sin unto hell. He and his posterity need only pass away in order to satisfy that particular sin's consequence. (Gen 2:16-17 and Rom 5:12). The consequences for his posterity's own personal sins is another matter.


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 & Christ

If we're not careful, the time element can become a red herring while the real issue-- the issue that matters most --is Jonah's death and resurrection.

Matt 12:40 . . Just 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.

That should be accompanied by this next passage so there's no mistaking what Jesus was talking about.

John 2:18-22 . .Then the Jews demanded of him: What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?

. . . 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. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.


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?

A: Yes. (Jonah 2:1)

FAQ: The whole time?

A: No; and in point of fact; unless Jonah was deceased at some point, then his adventure tells us little of any real significance.

FAQ: So you think Jonah died in the fish?

A: Jonah 2:5-7 strongly suggests that he drowned prior to being swallowed by the big fish; which fits perfectly with the fact that Jesus was dead before his body was entombed; viz: neither man was buried alive.

Jonah's prayer from within the fish speaks of a prayer that he prayed while drowning, and also about a prayer that he prayed while incarcerated in sheol; a total of three prayers; each one prayed from three separate locations and under three different circumstances: in the sea, in sheol, and in the fish.


At some point in his nautical adventure Jonah went to a place called sheol (Jonah 2:2) which he sited at the roots of the mountains. (Jonah 2:6)

Well; the roots of the mountains aren't located in the tummies of fish, no; they're located down deep in the Earth. So, the only way that Jonah could possibly be at the roots of the mountains while in the belly of a fish at the same time was for the man and his body to part company and go their separate ways.

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.

Now when you think about it; Jesus' corpse was never in the heart of the Earth. It wasn't even in the Earth's soil. His corpse was laid to rest on the surface of the Earth in a rock-hewn tomb.

So the only way that Jesus could possibly be in a tomb on the surface of the Earth while in the heart of the Earth at the same time; was for the man and his body to part company and go their separate ways.


Just before being cast ashore, Jonah prayed thus:

Jonah 2:6 . . You brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.

The Hebrew word for "pit" in that verse speaks of putrefaction.

The very same Hebrew word is located in Ps 16:8-10 --which Acts 2:25-31 verifies is speaking of putrefaction; viz: Jonah 2:6 tells of the prophet's flesh just as Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-31 tell of Christ's flesh. In other words: Jonah 2:6 tells of Jonah's resurrection; which is precisely the sign that Jesus intended.

So then, just as Jonah's soul was not left at the bottoms of the mountains, Christ's soul was not left in the heart of the earth. And just as Jonah's body was not left to decompose in the fish, neither was Christ's body left to decompose in the tomb. And just as Jonah came back from his grave within three days and nights, so Jesus came back from his grave within three days and nights.

If none of this were so, then Jonah's experience would be a pretty useless parallel to Christ's.


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

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.

People brought into a religion by logic and reasoning can be taken away by logic and reasoning. But someone whose heart is gripped by their religion, is not so easily removed regardless of how strong the opposition's argument.

Back in the early 1980s,I attended a special class called "How To Witness To Jehovah's Witnesses" taught by a lecturer who had been in that system for nearly three decades.

The man didn't train us to hammer JWs in a debate because even if you best them scripture for scripture, they will not give up on the Watchtower Society. Their mind's unflinching premise is that the Society is right even when it appears to be totally wrong. They are thoroughly convinced in their own conscience that the Society is the voice of God, while the oppositions' voices have no more validity than that of a squeaky little gerbil.

I encountered that very attitude with a Catholic woman on the old Beliefnet forums. The woman admitted that she was unable to refute my arguments; but nevertheless, I am an obscure nobody rather than an authority recognized by The Church so she didn't have to listen to me. Fair enough.

It seems unjust to me that God is set to lower the boom on people who are honestly sincere in their religious beliefs rather than just stubborn. The Pharisees opposed Jesus' teachings primarily because they hated him. For them it was a personal matter rather than a matter of conscience. I can understand slamming them; they deserve it. But I have trouble understanding how sincere people deserve to be slammed.

For example Matt 7:21-23 where number of people are predicted to be amazed that all the while they truly believed themselves on the Lord's side will be turned away as his enemies.

That disturbs me because my eldest brother is a Friar who has conscientiously devoted his life to teaching and defending Roman Catholicism. I do not doubt my brother's sincerity for a moment; yet there's a very real possibility that his life's work will have been all for naught.


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.


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)



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.



"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


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 from the wrath of God in accordance 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





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