Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Proof We Are Christians

Calvinists veer away from teaching obedience. The Book of James was questioned by Martin Luther because it didn't fit his doctrine of "only by grace" that people are "saved". Arminianism teaches against eternal security because Christians must do things. Faith is not a onetime event but an ongoing endless trusting in the efficacy of Jesus's blood. Although faith is a gift from God, the exercise of faith is our responsibility. There is a strong correlation between faith and obedience. Let's look at what Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
"The proof of you" is that the Corinthians were one of his kind - Christians. Thus, obedience is the "proof" of being a Christian. Of course, obedience is not slavery to the Law as a profession of faith but a sincere desire to please God. True Christians have a strong desire to please God because He is the redeemer of those who have faith in Him.

Let's say that I want a new bicycle. Someone gives me the object of my desire. I am so pleased and grateful for the person's charity that I love him back. I know that I don't deserve that new bicycle which makes me even more appreciative! I know how evil inside I have been. Maybe I even stole from this man before, what was his. His generosity overwhelms me. What's more, I know the cost of the bicycle is a sacrifice by this man because he is without wealth. His sacrifice for me is humbling, and I love him back! The spiritual "bicycle" is eternal life, the giver of life is Jesus, and the recipient of eternal life is the Christian. If we truly appreciate Jesus's sacrifice, because He loves us so, then we should want to please him! I started to use the word "must" but with God, there are no "musts".

God doesn't demand that we be saved.  He calls us to receive His gift. Like the bicycle, I don't have to accept the bicycle for various reasons: (1) because I know that I don't deserve it to the extent that it is rejected (false guilt), (2) I fail to believe that the donor can even give the gift, (3) I trivialize the gift, (4) I take it for the wrong reasons, (5) I am ungrateful, (6) I have no use for it, (7) I want a better gift, (8) I doubt the gift is authentic, (9) I'm afraid that I might owe a debt myself!

I want to focus on the latter reason for not accepting gifts: I am afraid that if I accept the gift, the giver expects something in return. He does! He wants our love.

God gave His gift because He loves us:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"The world" are all the "us's" who ever existed.  His gift was "his only begotten son". The only Son God Fathered was Jesus Christ. The rest of us were created! What's more, Jesus is God in the flesh. God essentially sacrificed Himself for our sins. Our gift is God sacrificed! To whom is the gift for? To "whosoever believeth". His gift is only for those who accept it's authenticity and reality.

The gift itself is "everlasting life". Now who would not want that gift? Those who doubt that it even exists. "Doubt" is the lack of faith. We must have faith in God to even accept the gift. That merely takes a little faith. However, to keep the gift requires steadfast faith (Colossians 2:5).

Genuine gratitude results in a circumcised heart. A new creature with a new nature is the product of rebirth. That new creature is willing to submit his or her own will in exchange for God. The flesh which was circumcised from the heart was unwillingness to do God's will. The result of a circumcised heart is obedience - willingly do what God wants us to do! It's not having to. That would revert back to the force of the Law. The convert looks at the Law with new eyes and a new mind. Rather than servitude to it, the Law is loved because it is God's will. Those genuinely born-again genuinely want to please God!

Calvinists reject obedience because, frankly, it is hard work.  He allows Satan to tempt us with diverse pleasures as a test of our love for Him. Since love is hard work, it can waver. Satan's purpose is to make us waver to undermine God. He created the law of sin to counteract the Law of God. What is Satan's law of sin? The inverse of the Law of God. The law of sin is not doing God's will. That becomes obedience to Satan's will.

When even Christians sin, we endeavor to serve two masters - God and Satan. Scripture tells us that is impossible because one will win out (Matthew 6:24). Even those who are born again but still do the will of Satan are serving two masters. If the sin continues on without remorse and repentance, the Christian mutinies. He finds himself serving another master. That is apostasy.

Apostasy is the affect of disobedience. Sinners come to God because he calls us to, but since we are not spiritual zombies, we voluntarily answer the call. He shows us His gift, not just to tempt us, but to make it ours. We must willingly accept the gift to have it. That is doing something for our salvation. It does not undermine the gift because it's still there, but submitting our will, is our part in the new birth. Just as a baby can breach his own birth, we are at liberty to breach our own spiritual birth. Either way, the Light is still out there, and ours for the having, but we are at liberty to fight the rebirth to the end. That is our free-will.

Free will doesn't stop at rebirth. God's gift doesn't make us automatons. With each temptation, we "exercise" free will. Satan doesn't make us do anything (Job 1)! Sinners freely do our own will.  Of course, Satan is gleeful that we do but the decision is still ours. Obedience to God is utterly rejecting Satan. By doing God's will rather than ours, we accept the law of God over the law of sin. That is presenting our will to God to show our love - our "living sacrifice" to Him (Romans 12:1), and is our "reasonable service". Serving God is hard work! It takes great faith to work hard.

What if we get lazy and quit being obedient? God still forgives us, not once, not seven times, but seventy times seventy (Matthew 18:22). Justice is that we must be willing to do that for our fellow man! Yes, obedience is hard work. However, like the hard worker of years past, there is great satisfaction in hard work both to the employer and to the worker. Deming called real life employees "willing workers", and that's all God expects from us!
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.15:7 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Obedience is how we demonstrate to Jesus that we love him. It's not the emotional things we see but the acts of charity toward others. Commandments 5-10 are the "other commandment like unto" the "Greatest Commandment" (1-4).  It's easier to love God who we can't see, than it is to love others who we can see. Hence, "loving others" is the true test for "loving God"!

We think obedience are the shall and shall not do's.  However, love is the measurement of our willingness to obey the shalls and shall nots.

With all that said, obedience is the proof that we are indeed Christians.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Ending and the New Beginning.

For your perusal and consideration: What is the future of mankind?

Adam was created on the sixth day - thus he was born on day 5 of the Creation (Bible)
Adam sinned in the first 5-1/2 days (actual days for he only lived 930 years). (Sacred literature)
From his death to his return to the Garden (Heaven)  is 5-1/2 days or using one day as a thousand years, 5500 years (Sacred literature)
Neglecting the insignificant days, then for the duration of God's promise (to Adam's resurrection - return to the Garden)  is 5500 years.
Figuring that 5500 was from his death until his resurrection, add 930 years to the 5500.
That would place the General Resurrection (the rapture) at 6430 years from the Creation.
Most theologians place the age of the earth at around 6000 years using various techniques. The Masoretic Text should be the most accurate since it is God's Word.
Thus, in approximately 430 years Jesus's should be his second coming. It won't be that year and the day is certainly unknown because we can only use rough calculations. (I'm not setting dates but only dating God's promise to Adam).
Genesis says that God worked on six days, and rested on the seventh. In our time, God "worked" by keeping the world safe for 6000 years. That's about now! we are as in the days of Noah.
God's "Sabbath" is surely when Jesus reigns 1000 years (His rest), or one sacred day.
As time passes the general resurrection and the 7-1/2 years of tribulation will occur. Adam will live again as God promised (sacred literature).
The Thousand-year reign comes next. (Dr. David Jeremiah's "The Revelation Prophecy Chart). This is God's rest on the seventh "day". He no longer needs to "work" with the world because it will be a time of peace. . After that is Judgment Day, and a new heaven and new earth. At that time the eighth day commences, and never ends. Before the first day there was no time, and on the eighth day neither is there time.
The beginning of the eighth day would be about 8000 A.M., or 4000 A.D. By then I will have been in Heaven for almost 2000 years! At that time, I will return "home" along with the New Jerusalem. Adam will too.

Monday, January 15, 2018

An Ancient Rock Concert

I've learned much about the Bible from non-canonical sources - the sacred writings of unknown origin, but dead-on. Over the years I have reflected often on Scripture. I perceived my own gift to be discernment, not only between right and wrong, but the symbolism in scripture. It came to me one day that all Holy Scripture is about Jesus Christ. The patriarchs of old undoubtedly did things and were righteous because God spoke directly with them!
Two "stories" opened my eyes: (1) Abraham's willingness in His sacrifice of his only beloved son on the mountaintop was my most profound realization, being symbolic of God's own sacrifice. I believe that the Word must have told Abraham about God's sacrifice of Jesus. At that time, in spite of professing the Trinity, I still separated God into three "people" - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Many Christians still do that! My other profundity was, (2) that the Word who spoke to the patriarchs was pre-incarnate Jesus. Why so? Jesus Is God! That explained how Abraham knew so much about Jesus - He spoke with him!
Angels are messengers of God. In the Old Testament "the Angel of God" is the Word Himself. God manifested Himself as a burning bush, a man in the fiery furnace, a cloud, a light, and as the angel. All those appearances were supernatural. Then, when the time was optimal, God came to mankind "in the flesh". He became as His Creation, felt what we feel, and dreaded death just as we do. We tend to look at God in Heaven but earth is His footstool. On Calvary, iniquity yanked Him off that footstool for three days, but now Jesus reigns in Heaven on His throne. He was here and there at the same time because he is omnipresent.
Because of my earlier discernment, I pondered on many other things. When I read Holy Scripture in the Old Testament, I came to realize that all scripture is all about Jesus! When I read, I looked forward in time, just as the patriarchs did, and questioned the meaning of what I was reading. I made many conclusions. The first was that Abraham knew all about Jesus! That realization revealed to me "the mystery of God" (aka, "the mystery of Christ) of which Paul wrote. In one sentence that mystery is, "there is one testament - the covenant was always by grace, for all, and only through the blood of Jesus". 
I then thought much between the lines. It came to me that the Garden of Eden can't be found because it is no longer there. I deduced that somehow it ascended  just as God ascended Himself to the heavens. I came to the conclusion that the Garden is there, but in an invisible realm that we cannot see.  Now, I work on the idea that Jerusalem "the foundation of peace" which is now the armpit of war, is where Paradise once was and will be again.
With time, I discovered the sacred writings which are not canon. They aren't "Bible" but whoever wrote many of them had great discernment. To understand Jesus and His sacrifice hundreds of years before it happened, had to be God-inspired. Even if they were written after His death, whoever wrote them understood in detail "the mystery of God"! 
I wondered at times what dress, makeup, tattoos and the like had to do with spirituality. Because lipstick, earrings, immodest and colorful dress, tattoos and so forth are so prevalent today, we wonder, "just what is the problem?" I personally have attacked music often, not because music is bad but because it is misused. In scripture, all things are about God; not about us. With that said, the reader right now may quit reading because we all have our pleasures of choice. We know that God destroyed the earth by water because of wickedness. The pseudopigrapha story I include herein explains why God detests so badly the things which we think are harmless. It is why God destroyed the world. It seems the righteous on the Holy Mountain looked down on sin on the plain and desired it. The lesson is that Christians must not look on the things of the world, or they too, can be destroyed.
- - - - -
I call these passages “Ancient Rock Concert Before the Flood”. This is from sacred literature written either before 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. Regardless of when it was written, it is insightful although it is not canon.  My comments are in parenthesis. I thought these chapters interesting because the description is so much like modern music, and its hold on even the Christian community. Also, it describes the evilness which resulted in the earth being cleansed by water. 

2 Adam & Eve 19:

1 Then God revealed to him (Jared) again the promise He had made to Adam; He explained to him the 5500 years (from Adam’s sin until salvation comes), and revealed unto him the mystery of His coming upon the earth (the mystery of God of which Paul wrote).
2 And God said to Jared, "As to that fire which thou hast taken from the altar to light the lamp withal, let it abide with you to give light to the bodies; and let it not come out of the cave, until the body of Adam comes out of it (In the end of days).
3 But, O Jared, take care of the fire, that it burn bright in the lamp; neither go thou again out of the cave, until thou receivest an order through a vision, and not in an apparition, when seen by thee.
4 "Then command again thy people not to hold intercourse with the children of Cain, and not to learn their ways; for I am God who loves not hatred and works of iniquity." (Cain’s line  produced “the daughters of men”.)
5 God gave also many other commandments to Jared, and blessed him. And then withdrew His Word (pre-incarnate Jesus) from him.
6 Then Jared drew near with his children, took some fire, and came down to the cave, and lighted the lamp before the body of Adam; and he gave his people commandments as God had told him to do.
7 This sign happened to Jared at the end of his four hundred and fiftieth year; as did also many other wonders, we do not record. But we record only this one for shortness sake, and in order not to lengthen our narrative.
8 And Jared continued to teach his children eighty years; but after that they began to transgress the commandments he had given them, and to do many things without his counsel (honoring not their father). They began to go down from the Holy Mountain one after another, and to mix with the children of Cain, in foul fellowships.
9 Now the reason for which the children of Jared went down the Holy Mountain, is this, that we will now reveal unto you. (Until then Seth’s line had been so righteous, being separate – sanctified, on the Holy Mountain that God had considered them angels, and were referred to as “Sons of God”).

2 Adam & Eve 20:
1 AFTER Cain had gone down to the land of dark soil (off the Holy Mountain, and the soil was dark physically and spiritually), and his children had multiplied therein, there was one of them, whose name was Genun, son of Lamech the blind who slew Cain.
2 But as to this Genun, Satan came into him in his childhood; and he made sundry trumpets and horns, and string instruments, cymbals and psalteries, and lyres and harps, and flutes; and he played on them at all times and at every hour (instruments had been unknown until then, except maybe the shofar).
3 And when he played on them, Satan came into them, so that from among them were heard beautiful and sweet sounds, that ravished the heart. (Satan made seductive music to be played on the instruments).
4 Then he gathered companies upon companies (various bands) to play on them; and when they played, it pleased well the children of Cain, who inflamed themselves with sin among themselves, and burnt as with fire (sexual passion); while Satan inflamed their hearts, one with another, and increased lust among them.
5 Satan also taught Genun to bring strong drink out of com; (alcoholic spirits) and this Genun used to bring together companies upon companies in drink-houses (the bars of antiquity); and brought into their hands all manner of fruits and flowers; and they drank (partied) together.
6 Thus did this Genun multiply sin exceedingly; he also acted with pride, and taught the children of Cain to commit all manner of the grossest wickedness, which they knew not; and put them up to manifold doings which they knew not before (Lead them to temptation by removing inhibitions).
7 Then Satan, when he saw that they yielded to Genun and hearkened to him in every thing he told them, rejoiced greatly, increased Genun's understanding, until he took iron and with it made weapons of war. (The first mention of war, and it was instigated by Satan).
8 Then when they were drunk, hatred and murder increased among them; one man used violence against another to teach him evil taking his children and defiling them before him (pedophilia).
9 And when men saw they were overcome, and saw others that were not overpowered, those who were beaten came to Genun, took refuge with him, and he made them his confederates.
10 Then sin increased among them greatly; until a man married his own sister, or daughter, or mother, and others; or the daughter of his father's sister, so that there was no more distinction of relationship (incestuous relationships… and “others” were surely “other”men), and they no longer knew what is iniquity (sin became the norm); but did wickedly, and the earth was defiled with sin, and they angered God the Judge, who had created them.
11 But Genun gathered together companies upon companies (band after band), that played on horns and on all the other instruments we have already mentioned, at the foot of the Holy Mountain; and they did so in order that the children of Seth (those who were righteous) who were on the Holy Mountain should hear it (tempt them with pleasure).
12 But when the children of Seth heard the noise, they wondered, and came by companies, and stood on the top of the mountain to look at those below; and they did thus a whole year. (The first “Woodstock-type rock concert ” it seems).
13 When, at the end of that year, Genun saw that they were being won over to him little by little (sin is gradual), Satan entered into him, and taught him to make dyeing-stuffs for garments of divers patterns, and made him understand how to dye crimson and purple and what not (the same gaudy costumes that concert-goers still wear).
14 And the sons of Cain who wrought all this, and shone in beauty and gorgeous apparel, gathered together at the foot of the mountain in splendour, with horns and gorgeous dresses, and horse races, committing all manner of abominations.
15 Meanwhile the children of Seth, who were on the Holy Mountain, prayed and praised God, in the place of the hosts of angels who had fallen; wherefore God had called them "angels," because He rejoiced over them greatly.
16 But after this, they no longer kept His commandment, nor held by the promise He had made to their fathers; but they relaxed from their fasting and praying, and from the counsel of Jared their father. (Pleasure relaxes them from spirituality) And they kept on gathering together on the top of the mountain, to look upon the children of Cain, from morning until evening (Like Woodstock), and upon what they did, upon their beautiful dresses and ornaments (even the righteous gave way to sin).
17 Then the children of Cain looked up from below, and saw the children of Seth, standing in troops on the top of the mountain; and they called to them to come down to them. (what you are seeing and hearing won't hurt!)
18 But the children of Seth said to them from above, "We don't know the way." (Certainly not God’s Way!)  Then Genun, the son of Lamech, heard them say they did not know the way, and he bethought himself how he might bring them down (Genun showed them another way).
19 Then Satan appeared to him by night, saying, "There is no way for them to come down from the mountain on which they dwell; but when they come to-morrow, say to them, 'Come ye to the western side of the mountain; there you will find the way of a stream of water, that comes down to the foot of the mountain, between two hills; come down that way to us.'" (The “way” was perilous and likely broad, according the New Testament).
20 Then when it was day, Genun blew the horns and beat the drums below the mountain, as he was wont. The children of Seth heard it, and came as they used to do (entered into temptation).
21 Then Genun said to them from down below, "Go to the western side of the mountain, there you will find the way (the wrong path) to come down."
22 But when the children of Seth heard these words from him, they went back into the cave to Jared, to tell him all they had heard.
23 Then when Jared heard it, he was grieved; for he knew that they would transgress his counsel.
24 After this a hundred men of the children of Seth gathered together (peer pressure), and said among themselves, "Come, let us go down to the children of Cain, and see what they do, and enjoy ourselves with them." (Join the concert!)
25 But when Jared heard this of the hundred men, his very soul was moved, and his heart was grieved. He then arose with great fervour, and stood in the midst of them, and adjured them by the blood of Abel the just, "Let not one of you go down from this holy and pure mountain, in which our fathers have ordered us to dwell." (Jared was to them the closed-minded overly righteous parent).
26 But when Jared saw that they did not receive his words, he said unto them, "O my good and innocent and holy children, know that when once you go down from this holy mountain, God will not allow you to return again to it." (To deny God after knowing him would be as crucifying him again – NT).
27 He again adjured them, saying, "I adjure by the death of our father Adam, and by the blood of Abel, of Seth, of Enos, of Cainan, and of Mahalaleel, to hearken to me, and not to go down from this holy mountain (apostasy); for the moment you leave it, you will be reft of life and of mercy; and you shall no longer be called 'children of God,' but 'children of the devil.'" (They became the sons of perdition).
28 But they would not hearken to his words.
29 Enoch at that time was already grown up, and in his zeal for God, be arose and said, "Hear me, O ye sons of Seth, small and great--when ye transgress the commandment of our fathers, and go down from this holy mountain--ye shall not come up hither again for ever." (Enoch, because he was true to God bever suffered death but was taken up to heaven. He never suffered the flood).
30 But they rose up against Enoch, and would not hearken to his words, but went down from the Holy Mountain.
31 And when they looked at the daughters of Cain, at their beautiful figures, and at their hands and feet dyed with colour, and tattooed in ornaments on their faces, the fire of sin was kindled in them. (It seems they were dressed in the apparel of modern concert-goers down to the tattoos which God forbids)
32 Then Satan made them look most beautiful before the sons of Seth, as he also made the sons of Seth appear of the fairest in the eyes of the daughters of Cain, so that the daughters of Cain lusted after the sons of Seth like ravenous beasts, and the sons of Seth after the daughters of Cain, until they committed abomination with them. (Fornication).
33 But after they had thus fallen into this defilement, they returned by the way they had come, and tried to ascend the Holy Mountain. But they could not, because the stones of that holy mountain were of fire flashing before them, by reason of which they could not go up again. (Apparently, the seraphim also guarded the gate to the Holy Mountain just as they did to the Garden so that they could not re-enter).
34 And God was angry with them, and repented of them because they had come down from glory, and had thereby lost or forsaken their own purity or innocence, and were fallen into the defilement of sin. (Herein sin is pretty much described as leaving righteousness for pleasure).
35 Then God sent His Word (pre-incarnate Jesus) to Jared, saying, "These thy children, whom thou didst call 'My children,'--behold they have transgressed My commandment, and have gone down to the abode of perdition, and of sin (doing the things of the world). Send a messenger to those that are left, that they may not go down, and be lost."
36 Then Jared wept before the Lord, and asked of Him mercy and forgiveness. But he wished that his soul might depart from his body, rather than hear these words from God about the going down of his children from the Holy Mountain.
37 But he followed God's order, and preached unto them not to go down from that holy mountain, and not to hold intercourse with the children of Cain (the true Way).
38 But they heeded not his message, and would not obey his counsel.
(And then the world was dirty enough for the flood!)
(It seems that there are two possibilities for “giants” in the days before Noah. Here, the Sons of God were of the line of Seth, and the Daughters of Men were Cain’s line. Other stories relate that angels came down and had intercourse with humans. Since, God likened Seth’s line to angels, when they fell, they were as dark angels. Somehow this intercourse created a giant people. In earlier writings Satan took the form of being taller than the angels who consorted with him? It would seem that giants were a penalty for this intermingling of the righteous with the wicked, and indeed Seth’s line were “men of renown”).

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Beauty and the Beast

Everyone is familiar with the Beauty and the Beast story - the beautiful woman in love with a beast. However, today's commentary is only remotely similar to that story! Who was the beauty and who was the beast is a matter of perception.

My wife and I, while on vacation, were assigned a nice hotel room wherein we discovered pornographic magazines. Both contained photos of unclad morbidly obese women. That was our perception. Apparently the person who perused those magazines perceived the women as beautiful. Nowadays, the Twiggy-type female is considered beautiful whereas in earlier periods even the art-masters preferred those Rubenesque. My intent is not to demean overweight people. In fact, it is the opposite as they may indeed be truly beautiful! Why so? Beauty in the eye of the beholder.

When we think of beauty, most people have pictures of those society has made "beautiful people". Like the Pavlovian dogs people are, we are conditioned to see people in light of what is in vogue. Most of us are guilty of that. Why do "ugly" people attract other "ugly" people and get married? Because, to them, neither of them are ugly. Society has stereotyped beauty. Society doesn't look at the whole, but only looks at their mold. The entertainment industry are they who stigmatize "ugliness" and fortify what is considered beautiful.

My wife laughs because I see Mennonite women as beautiful. Their manner of dress is intentional so that men don't admire their appearance. What I see in them is natural beauty, bright eyes, and a righteous disposition. For me, there is much beauty in those characteristics. Admittedly, I do enjoy imagining their long silky hair when it's not bound and covered. (Yes, I too am weak). However, that hair is long because scripture teaches that. Part of the beauty of a righteous woman is her long hair - not for beauty but to honor God.

Where is this headed? My friend saw a television interview, and said this: "How can anyone watch the interview of Barack Obama and David Letterman and not consider him decent individual? Political beliefs aside.....really..." This is not to belittle that person because most would think that way. It got did get me thinking on the difference between perception and reality.

I was astounded! Of course, she negated the importance of "political beliefs" but unfortunately moral beliefs cannot be ignored. When I look at Obama, I see a very "ugly person" because of what is inside. "Beauty" for most is much in appearance, grace, speech,, mannerisms , and disposition. Obama was apparently groomed for the job because in the eyes of those who "make people", he had all those characteristics. 

God gives to Christians what was called in days past "bright eyes" - the ability to see holy things. Along with bright eyes comes the ability to discern between what is dim and what is bright. Those with bright eyes could see the angels and God, and Lucifer as well. After the fall of mankind, the vision of mankind was clouded, thus hardly seeing spiritual things at all! If one recalls scripture, cherubim appeared to be scary beings. However, since they were holy, the two with bright eyes had no fear. Beauty was in the eyes of the beholders. 

After the fall of mankind, beauty took on a new meaning. Appearance meant everything. Satan knows that, and uses beauty to deceive people. Most people fall into sin because of a misconception of what is beautiful. Obama seems to the world to be among the "beautiful people". Most stories site his humor, mannerisms and suavity. They even drool on his appearance, but that too is debatable! 

Lucifer was at one time a beautiful angel. He could have been a creature like the seraph. We don't know because beauty in the eyes of God is not what we see as beautiful. However, Lucifer (aka Satan) can appear to mankind as God, an angel, a man, a woman, or even a serpent. Usually, to appeal to us, it is a beautiful person. Writings refer to Satan as "hideous" when his true nature is exposed. However, before one can see his hideousness,  the person must have bright eyes!

I've already mentioned my ability to see beauty in Mennonite women. On the other hand, I see ugliness in beautiful people. To me, Jennifer Lawrence, Ashley Judd, George Clooney, and Barack Obama are all "ugly people". None of them fit the biblical example of beauty. Although we all sin and disappoint God, iniquity is "grossly sinful". Most of how those people live is wrong in God's eyes, and as such, should be in ours!

"Christians" can be spiritually ugly as well. Satan often appeared as the angel he once was. He was a beautiful thing. I put quotes around Christians because some of those who merely proclaim faith fail to have the bright nature - the ability to see true beauty and actual ugliness. "Positive Christianity" is for those with an ugly nature. Obama projects that type of positive Christianity. He seems to do be sincere with a desire to do what is "good". I know it seems an unfair comparison, but even Hitler was voted "good' by most of the German people as they voted him into existence!

To many in Germany, Hitler did good things. Because the times and styles are no longer in vogue, Hitler no longer looks beautiful to us, but his charm and appearance swayed people by the millions in his day. In fact, he was known to be quite personable and an entertainer. Children were said to love him, and him the little children. We now know that inside Hitler was an ugly man. Dietrich Bonnhoeffer saw his ugliness while his beauty was still in vogue, and died trying to eliminate that hideous little self-indulgent man.

Of course, the caricature of Hitler is so often used, that people just ignore it. After all, how can a nice person like Obama be a Hitler? It's obvious that he is not that bad. Few are! However, people with spiritual discernment - having bright eyes, can see the similarities in  the values (or lack of values) of the National Socialists and the Democrats in America. The victims of Nazis were the Jews, true Christians, and the infirmed. Jews were considered sub-human parasites.

Obama, a proponent of abortion, and even killing after the abortion fails, must consider unborn babies little more than sub-human parasites. While all the Jews were far from innocent, all babies are indeed innocent. Like the Jews, they are just a little inconvenient! Therefore, when I look at Obama, I see the same ugly features which I see in the photos of Hitler.

Despots usually either use their Christianity for bad, or disdain Christians altogether. In the 2008 and 2012 elections Christians were deceived. We were told, for instance, that Obama was against same-sex marriage. He lied! Rick Warren is partially responsible for giving this deceptive little man a forum to espress his views. Then even after condemning his own religion in policy and speech, Christians continued to support him, and polls show that most still do!

True Christians look at true beauty. Evil in fine dress and manners is merely a way we are deceived. Before I admire anyone, I look at their beliefs and compare them to Holy Scripture. Unholy beliefs reveal hideous people regardless of their acting performance and appearance.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Jabez Stone, after years of bad luck, expressed his dismay with casual words: "It's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!." With that said Mr. Scratch, the devil himself, made a deal with Stone. He was to prosper for seven years, then belong to Scratch. After the seven years were over, Stone asked for three more years. Scratch said, "no." With that said, Stone wanted out of the deal, and hired the attorney, Daniel Webster, to represent him. It turned out that it was Daniel Webster who the Devil wanted.!

Webster defended Stone so eloquently, that even the demon jury was convinced. Jabez Stone was released from his contract with the Devil.

Let's look at the symbolism. Of course, in the original, this tale was about patriotism and morality. However, it is the way of Satan!  There are two laws in the world: (1) The Law of God, and (2) the law of sin.
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
The Law of God was from the beginning. It consisted of one Law: "Love and honor God". It was expressed to Adam with the command,  "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it" (Genesis 2:17).  This Law was enumerated with The First Commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3), and with the first sin there came deception: "the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (Genesis 3:5).

Thus, breaking the Law of God is elevating oneself to godhood, implying that the sinner knows better than God. That false knowledge is irreverent and unloving. The original Law and the everlasting Law - written on stone (coincidental to Jabez Stone) are essentially the same. The Law of God is willingness for our desires to harmonize with God's will. It's not the keeping of the Law which is paramount but the willingness to attempt it. That's love and reverence for God!

What then is "the law of sin"? It is unwillingness to do the Law of God. By being unwilling to obey our Creator, it is unloving and irreverent.  Essentially, we believe we are our own gods! Realistically, we are mere slaves to sin, and Satan becomes our god. 

Thus, the law of sin is as old as angel-kind because Satan created the law of sin before Adam ever did the Devil's will. Since, Lucifer rebelled, the law of sin is rebellion. Like Lucifer, we too want to be gods.

The law of God was established for the well-being of our spirit. The law of sin exists for the pleasure of the flesh. "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:25). As we attempt to obey God, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Our spirit wants peace but our flesh wants pleasure. Now on with the story of Webster and the Devil.

Jabez Stone's life was chaotic. Everything went wrong with him. Not understanding the importance of words, and the evil of the tongue, in vain he called up the Devil. Since words mean things, Stone conjured up Mr. Scratch. We should never speak casually because our words are a reflection of the heart. It never occurred to Stone to call on God. He did, however, call on the Devil. Likely, Stone never thought of the Devil being real, and neither do many others! Surely, Mr. Stone even failed to take God seriously, or he would have simply prayed. The Devil took Stone's challenge seriously even though it was said frivolously. That's why speaking with vanity (without substance) is so distasteful to God and pleasurable to Satan!

Stones' tongue merely spoke what he was thinking. The tongue is merely the spokesman for the mind. The tongue would not say things unless the mind is in agreement. Stone sub-consciously distrusted God by not praying, and by default, his trust was in the Devil. If not with God, one is against him (Matthew 12:30).

Now for us: We may not say it aloud but each time we are tempted, a decision is made: whether to do God's will or our own will. God's will is the Law of God. Our own will is the law of sin. The temptation and promised outcome is peace if with God, or worldly pleasure if for Satan. For Stone, he sought peace but the Devil only gave him pleasure!

Satan uses God's gifts to entice but never follows through. Stone wanted that his life be less chaotic and sought that. Satan cannot provide peace. That can only come from God. God can also provide pleasure but the Devil offers illicit pleasure.  Pleasure under the Law of God is hope - looking to the reward of eternal life, and serving the One who can provide that. On the other hand, worldly pleasure seems to satisfy the flesh but distresses the soul.

Actually, Stone enjoyed the pleasure but lost his hope, and wanted out of the deal. Stone represents mankind. We desire to serve two masters but the Law of God says we must only serve One (Exodus 20:3). With sin, we believe we are serving ourselves but we are really serving Satan. He has merely convinced us that we are more important than God, and foolish humans buy into that fa├žade!

Since God is gracious, he provides a way out. Daniel Webster is symbolically Jesus Christ. He is our mediator and attorney in the Court of God.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Unlike Webster, who faced a jury of demons, our eternal fate is in the hands of God alone. There is evidence that he considers. Like Webster, Jesus can be eloquent and always just. If we are guilty, Jesus acknowledges our guilt. Whatever,  "the  books" says is evidence. 
Revelation 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
The desires of our hearts are in the first book.   When Stone said,  "It's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!," the willingness to sell his soul to the Devil was written down in a book as were all his sins before that. Sins are evidence that one deserves eternal death:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For those who blaspheme against the Lord such as Stone seemed to, if his name was ever in the Book of Life, it no longer is:
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
We don't know that Stone's name was in the Book of Life but presumably it was because Webster was able to end his deal with the Devil.  Because of God's mercy, he doesn't hold a sin against us but looks at whether the heart is circumcised our not (Romans 2:29). Webster plead for Stone's eternal life. Jesus pleads for ours! The first place he looks is in The Book of Life. That is where those who are "born-again" have their names written down as willingly good citizens of the Kingdom of God! Since God is not a dictator, it's our willingness to be God's citizens that is favored. Obedience to the Law is how we show the Ruler that we love him (John 14:15).

Stone must have returned to the light for his casual comment was nullified. He had not blasphemed because he sought reprieve. He was disgusted with himself for becoming a slave to the Devil and sought redemption. When us sinners do that, God is gracious!

As a sinner, Stone never blamed the Devil. He just made the law of sin. Stone willingly obeyed Satan's law. The Devil cannot be blamed for our sin because sinners freely choose that law. Quit blaming the Devil for our own bad decisions. Stone didn't do that! He knew that he sinned, and sought to become the person he was before the deal. His heart was circumcised and tears were his baptism! We must do that as well. He was meek. He couldn't save himself, and came to realize that. He then called on the attorney Daniel Webster.  When we finally see the light that we can't save ourselves but Jesus can, we are new persons. When Stone turned to Webster, his heart was contrite, he saw the light, and was made a new person as his deal with the Devil was nullified.

Jesus does that for us! Our place is to want to break the deal with the Devil. Like Stone who trusted Webster, we must trust Jesus because God's will is that none should perish (John 3:16).

Oh, yes. I about forgot. It was Webster who the Devil really wanted!  It's not you who he even cares about. He wants to have power over Jesus. He tries to minimize Jesus through us.