Sunday, December 31, 2017

Gender Roles and Identities

Men and women are different. With their differences they have different roles to play in society, and their appearance is to be strictly delineated. Feminists won't like that, but women are different than men, and as such have different gender roles. Let's look at Design Intent:

1 Corinthians 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. 8 ...the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
We see some of the many differences in Paul's letter above:
  •  Christ is the head of men, not the women (verse 3).
  • Men are the head of the women (verse 3).
  • God is the head of Christ (verse 3).
  • Women are of the men, not the men of women (verse 8).
  • Women were created for the men, not the men for the women (verse 9).
  • Women and men are meant to be together in unity, not divided  (verse 11)
  • Men exist because of the women; it's the women who give birth and nourish (verse 12).
  • The natural man looks normal, and that is short-haired. Long-haired men are shameful (verse 14).
  • The natural women has long hair for a covering, and that is glorious.
Nowhere does Paul say, you will go to hell if you are different. Paul is pointing out the Designer's Intent because his words were inspired by he Designer Himself! One must ask the question: why would a man desire to look like a woman, and why would a woman desire to look like a man? Paul points out that it's natural - Design Intent, for men to look like men and women, women.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over (it). Genesis 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. 15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 18  And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 21  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam 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. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
In Genesis above, we read the Designer's Intent:
  •  Both men and women were created in the image of God. We not only are to think and look like God, but we have a place for His Spirit. Like God, mankind has mind, body, and spirit. Yes, Adam was created with his soul already filled with the Spirit of God! We look like God because mankind was formed with the same physical features with which His Son was designed. With God's foreknowledge, He knew how He would Design Jesus! (verse 1:27).
  • God blessed them. He effectually ordained the woman to be woman and man to be man (verse 1:28).
  • The purpose in life is for men and women to procreate. The obvious reason is to create more friends for God (verse 1:28). Hence, men and women are for God, and God is the head over men.
  • Men and women were to "subdue" the earth - to conquer it. Mankind wasn't for the earth but the earth for man. There is no "mother nature". Mankind has Spirit; the world does not! (verse 1:28).
  • They both were to have dominion over the earth. Men are charged with tilling, protecting, and governing the earth. (1:28) I must note that with original sin, this "purpose" was way-laid by Satan who is designated "Prince of the Air" (Ephesians 2:2).
  • God formed man, unlike David who was brought forth in sin, Adam was brought forth holy. He was without mother, and God was his Father. Hence, it is man who is of God. Mankind originally was strictly of God, and not of the woman. As such, our allegiance is to God (2:7). However, God's Design Intent was for the woman to birth man. Hence, man is also of the woman. (verse 1:28). God gave mankind life and soul. Men and women both belong to God, and each our of our souls are His dwelling-place (verse 2:14). 
  • Man's work is toil. We are to "dress and keep" God's Garden (verse 2:15). Symbolically, since in the midst of the Garden is the Tree of Life, men are to be the religious leaders of the household. It is our assignment to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, and not the forbidden tree. Man's job is spiritual discernment. God gave the penalty for sin to Adam, not Eve (Genesis 2:17).
  • Woman was created to be a friend of man (verse 2:18). Note that "the world" tries to divide men and women with gender warfare. Gender role reversal and confusion was not God's plan!
  • Women were to be the helpers of men. (verse 2:18). The implication is that the two are a team - "become one flesh", and one not to Lord it over the other! A team is no longer a team if the methods and goals are different.
  • Woman was from man, not man from woman (verse 2:21). As such, woman is physically less than man. We see the evidence of that in the physical makeup of the two sexes. Those "politically correct" hate that notion but it cannot be denied. Men and women were made with different physiques. It's not that less is bad but that there are differences. With that Design, Adam didn't need a womb. Eve would need one later. Hence, the pelvis in men and women are different. Men do not have the equipment to birth. Women are superior in that. Their role is to birth and nourish. The world doesn't like that either! Because of unique "tools" men and women were Designed differently. The genders have different DNA. Not only cannot gender roles be reversed but neither can gender identity. A man can never be a woman nor a woman a man! However, they can be confused.
  • Woman is of man not the man of woman (verse 2:23). Women were created with the same elements as men, but arranged differently. Eve was of the same flesh and bones as Adam but hers belonged to him. This passage implies unity because Eve was of Adam. That is important; they are to strive for the good of the other because essentially they are the same!
  • They shall be in unity. (verse 2:24). "One flesh" implies so much: the same goals, mutual and exclusive sexual attractions, common interests, and many others but placing God first is pre-eminent! 
Paul didn't make that stuff up! He knew the Designer's Intent. Nothing has changed from the beginning, and Paul pointed that out. However, there is one "person" who desires to change gender roles and identities - he is Satan. As the deceiver, Satan has confused the world. What God joined together, Satan endeavors to put it asunder. He doesn't do that himself; it's the law of sin, and he wrote it, but men do his bidding because Satan stole them at birth. He is the father of those of the flesh.

To conquer God, Satan's law is to divide what God created. Of course, we argue about the creation but also everything in the creation from the environment to sexual identities. Environmentalism is "good" but Satan has used it to divide. Man has come to worship the creation, and not the Creator! 

Likewise, God created the genders and their roles. Satan's law of sin seeks to undermine those roles. Feminism is merely the very efficient tool that Satan has chosen, and they are excellent followers of their father.  In the modern world, Satan's law of sin has even been written. Of course, we know it from the Bible, but they have Satan's Bible as well. Then Karl Marx rewrote the law of sin to sweeten it up for consumption, but it's the same old laws of sin. The Prince of the Air is to divide and conquer. The fuzzing of gender roles, and reversal of gender identities are snubbing the Law of God. Men, be men. Women, be women. That's the Designer's intent!

Saturday, December 30, 2017


Christ body has gone to paradise, but his Spirit lives on. As Jesus ascended, his "Ghost" descended, not coincidentally, but on the day of Pentecost. This day celebrates the 50th (Pentecost) day after the Passover. In English it is called the "feast of weeks". It is a celebration of the wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22), and the day the Law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Although the wheat is a representation of Jesus as the "Bread of Life", the Law was the precursor to Jesus's coming, since he came to fulfill the Law. The feast of weeks was an announcement of the coming of Jesus. Not by coincidence, Pentecost- the feast of weeks, announced Jesus's return!

Just as Pentecost marked the 50th day since the Passover, we must ask, what was the importance of the Passover? It was when the Hebrews applied blood to their door posts to save their firstborn from death. Passover was a picture of the death and salvation of Jesus Christ, and because Jesus died in our place, we are "passed over" by the angel of death. Of course, the blood represents Jesus's death, the door-posts represent the cross, and they were to eat unleavened - pure bread. When the Lord saw the blood on the doorposts, the angel of death passed over that home. With the eating of the unleavened bread and the application of the blood, the Passover clearly represents the Lord's Supper according to this passage:
Exodus 12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
Just as the Passover feast was "forever", we are to celebrate the last supper as an ordinance forever. You can see from the Lord's Last Supper, Paul as much said the same thing about the taking of the unleavened bread and the drinking of the wine, Jesus's body and blood respectively, which saves mankind from sin: 
1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
It is my proposal that Pentecost is a celebration of the Lord's Last Supper, just as The Feast of Weeks is of the Passover meal. We know that it was fifty days between the Passover and the Feast of Weeks. In Jesus's life, we know it was forty days from Jesus's death on the cross to Pentecost. It is always assumed that the Last Supper was the night before his crucifixion, but his interrogations took time. He was betrayed by Judas at the last supper. I propose that the Lord's Last Supper may have been ten days before his death to signify Pentecost - the Feast of Weeks. Why? Because God plans things, and time is His for the planning. Without regard to whether I am correct in my thinking or not, the Passover meal clearly is a picture of the Lord's Last Supper.

Jesus was betrayed by Judas at the Last Supper. He was unworthy to partake of the body and blood of Jesus. The Egyptians were unworthy of eating the Passover meal. Just like the first-born of the Egyptians, Judas died. We are warned when remembering Jesus with our Communion meal at church, to not partake of it "unworthily":

1 Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
The Egyptians didn't "deserve" the Passover meal. Judas didn't "deserve" the Last Meal with the Lord. We don't know if Judas partook of the meal at the Last Supper, but either way, he was "unworthy". If he was honorable, as he dipped, he would not have partaken. There is no evidence that he did or did not. However, as Christians we are made worthy because Jesus propitiated his blood for our "sins that are past":
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
We are to pray continually. The typical prayer is asking forgiveness for our sins (Matthew 6:12). When we take the Lord's Supper that is Holy Communion. Judas wasn't holy, and was unworthy. Jesus makes us "worthy" when we repent and call on him for forgiveness. "Worthiness" can never be achieved on our own but by confession. To be worthy before partaking of the Holy Elements, we are to repent of past and present sins, and ask that we not be tempted. Paul explains this much better than I:
1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Unworthiness is drinking of the "cup of devils".  In other words, if we have unforgiven sin, it is the devil's cup of which we partake. It is the bread and blood of Jesus which makes it the Lord's cup. You see, the cup is the same, the bread is the same, and the wine is the same. However, if the wrong spirit is there, it's the devil's cup. If Judas drank, he drank of the devil's cup. If those who are unworthy drink, it is the devil's cup from which they sip!
Pardon is a continual process. We are to repent of present sins as they happen, and let go of those already pardoned. We keep our spiritual cup - the soul, clean at all times. However, if we are remiss, before we commune with God by remembering his body and blood, we are to repent of all those trespassed we have made against him. In other words, Holy Communion is a time of remembrance of Jesus, and so as to not take his Name in vain, we seek forgiveness.  How is that done? The important metric is love. Communion is our feeble attempt to demonstrate our love for Jesus. We do that by communing with His Spirit in remembrance of His Body. 
However, Jesus doesn't want fake communion. If it is taken unworthily, it's not communion. It is merely ritual. The Greatest Commandment is one: love God and love others. The former without the latter makes the partaker of the elements "unworthy". Before you bring your gift to God - which is you, He doesn't receive it unless you reconcile with others:
Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
There are many sins which we own ourselves. However, when we sin against another, we need to make it right before we "gift" ourselves to God. Unworthiness is surely those who have not reconciled. Reconciliation doesn't take sides. It matters not where the fault lies. The mature Christian will be the first to reconcile whether at fault or not. Those who don't reconcile, drink from the devil's cup. Christians need to be careful from whose cup we drink!

Like it or not, Judas was a disciple of Christ, or else Jesus would not have ordained him. However, he betrayed his Master. He had sorrow and committed suicide, breaking another commandment. We don't know if Jesus was merciful to him or not, but surely he forgave Judas just as he did those who murdered him.
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. 
I don't believe that Judas knew fully what he was doing! He followed Jesus, and was thus a disciple of Jesus, but a traitorous one. He may have been an "unworthy Christian" who sipped the devil's cup. We all do that at times, and ask for mercy when we feel guilty. Judas felt guilty. Perhaps Jesus had mercy on him.

My point is two-fold: (1) The Passover feast was a picture of the Last Supper, and (2) before Christians eat the meal to remember Jesus, we allow Jesus to wash the cup from which we drink. Reverence for Jesus, not taking his Name and Purpose in vain, is where worthiness exists.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Tempting Christ

Today, I continue on with Paul's first letter (epistle) to the Corinthian church.  We've seen before, if you are a regular reader (, how the bronze serpent lifted up by Moses was a representation of Jesus in that by lifting up and looking up to the bronze serpent was placing faith in the Lord. 

We must remember that Christians are monotheistic. There is one "Lord":

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
In other words, the "Lord" of the Old Testament is Emmanuel of the New. He is "called" Jesus. In the Old Testament he was referred to as the "Word" (John 1).  Just as we can't see Jesus now, his "Ghost" is always present. Throughout time, then, the "Lord" is the Word JHVH, Jesus JHVH, and the Holy Ghost JHVH since there is "one Lord".

Now look further at what Paul wrote to the Ephesian church. There is "one faith". We present Christianity as a sect of Judaism, but they and we are "one faith" with the provision that the Jews profess the Messiah, and accept his sacrifice, as their own scripture professes! Most Jews fail to accept that Jesus Christ has come, only believing that he will come! That's better than most in Christian nations who just can't accept Jesus at all, yet maintain that they are Christians.

Judaism and Christianity are "one faith". The Old Testament is all about Jesus, and since he was there in the beginning (John 1:1), Christianity is "the faith", and Judaism is the sect! Our faith is the foundation, and theirs is the schism. Someday, many Jews will have the same Light that we have when the darkness hovering over them is removed.

Now, it is understood, I hope, that the "Lord" of the Old Testament Is pre-incarnate Jesus. Jesus said that outright while he was walking on water. "Who is it?" he was asked. "I Am," he replied (Matthew 14:27; direct transliteration).

Now to todays verse: 
1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them (Jews of the Exodus) also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
The Jews tempted Christ - the Messiah, around the fifteenth to thirteenth B.C. (i.e., over 1000 years before Jesus was ever born!) Yes, Christ was there even back then! He Is always with us in "Spirit and in Truth".
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 
This passage speaks specifically of the Holy Ghost of Jesus who would come to dwell in the believers. Don't take my use of "Ghost" as Pentecostal because it's not. The Lord is sort of: (1) You can't see Him, (2) now you see Him, and (3) now you don't! In all cases, though, He was present! Christ was as real in the Old Testament as He was in apostolic times, and Is as real today. Because Jesus has the ability to transfigure does not make him less real nor less JHVH!

Paul, to the Corinthians, said  "Neither let us tempt Christ," as the Jews had after they were saved from Egypt - the symbol of sin.  "Tempting" in this context is "testing" Christ. We already know that tempting Christ is futile. "Testing" Christ is also futile but the Jews did it anyway. Read this passage from that time:
Numbers 21:2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. 3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities... 5  And the people spake against God, and against Moses... 6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7...the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us... 9  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Where was the "tempting" Christ here, remembering that Christ was tested?  The people of Israel made a vow to the Lord (verse 2) that if they are delivered they would destroy the enemies' cities. He did, and they did. So far good. However, being ungrateful, they spoke against God (verse 5). Essentially, they took the Lord's grace in vain. I have contended that "taking the Lord's Name in vain" is taking for granted the grace of Jesus in vain. Jesus didn't come to allow us to sin, but to save us from sin!

That was the "test". Will "Christ" punish for sin or will he not?  He will, and He did! The Lord sent poisonous snakes, they bit many, and many died. Remember, Christ is "Spirit and Truth". He had to follow through with the penalty for sin. This example is a reminder to us, "Christ cannot be tested. He will judge the world, and unrepentant sinners will be punished! The Israelites took the Lord in vain, and today many take Jesus's propitiation vainly!

In the case of the Israelites, their punishment was death. However, by grace, Christ provided a way out for some. Why? Because the people confessed to Moses: "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord." (verse 7). They were contrite. Then, because of their contrition, the "testing" of Christ was over. Not only does Christ judge and punish, but he also saves! Verse 9 speaks of Christ's salvation to all those who trusted Him. Vicariously, by Christ's Spirit lifted up symbolically in the bronze serpent, those who looked upon it were saved.

This is what Paul was referring to as "tempting Christ" over one-thousand years before He was made flesh (John 1:14). Because the Israelites lifted up and trusted Christ way back then, those who did were saved from dying right then, and their faith saved them from eternal death! Those Jews who looked up were Christians! We will see them in heaven with one provision: "Neither let us tempt Christ" or we too will be destroyed by the serpent! If we the people fail to lift up Christ, the Serpent will bite us as well, and it will be with eternal death!

Tempting Christ is taking his mercy in vain. That is the unpardonable sin, and only by lifting Him up can we be saved.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Compromise Without Compromising

Early on, after Jesus's death, there became a dilemma: the Jewish Christians had rigid ideas on righteousness. God had established the Abrahamic Covenant with the Jews, and the liberty which Christ brought freed mankind from having by their own efforts to "work" for salvation. Until that time, it seemed that Abraham's works was what made him righteous - with his "sacrifice" of his only son on the mountain, but it was his righteousness that made him willing to do that! Of course, God knew his faith and  provided the sacrifice instead of Abraham. Thus, Abraham wasn't righteous because of works, but did works because he was righteous. This idea is crucial in salvation. It disputes any notion that mankind could ever do anything to be "good" enough for God.

Thereafter Moses wrote down the Law. The Law of God is in the first five books of the Old Testament, Jews call it the Torah and Mosaic Law is written there. They are the commands, entreaties, and regulations God gave for righteousness. The Supreme Law of God are the Ten Commandments. They are the Laws which were written on stone for perpetuity. The remainder were written on destructible "paper". Circumcision of the males were the seal of agreement that the Jews would abide by God's Laws. After fornicating with every God imaginable for years, the Hebrew nation and religion nearly died out.  Solomon's Temple was destroyed, and God had no earthly place to abide. It seemed that God was dead - at least to the world!

Seventy years afterwards, God was "resurrected" in the lives of a few Jews in captivity. Ironically in seventy years after the mercy of God, the temple was rebuilt, just as after the grace of Jesus death, Herod's Temple was destroyed. With Jesus no temple was of further need because Christians are his temple!

The wicked Babylonian King had held the Jews in captivity, and removed some to Babylon and most were dispersed - the Diaspora. Eventually King Cyrus defeated the Babylonians, and God put it on his heart to be merciful to the Jews. He allowed them to return to their homeland. Darius, a successor to Cyrus, assisted them in restoring the temple.

What does this have to do with the council of Jerusalem? The Jews had often "fornicated" with other gods; not quite abandoning God but having other gods besides and before Him. The fornication against Divinity is called syncretism. It is the attempted amalgamation of different religions. The best example of this in modern times is Unitarian-Universalism. They have amalgamated all religions into one. even though they seemingly have retained Jesus, they have other gods "in his face" - the actual translation of God's command.

The Jews learned their lesson. They became strict in their worship of the One True God - JHVH. Thereafter, they had fidelity in their marriage to JHVH. Even with difficulty, only a few Jews accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah, even though Jesus Is God! Ironically they had learned their lesson so well after being destroyed, that they were and still are apprehensive to Jesus.

After Jesus ascended, many Jews believed because of his miracles and signs. The Holy Ghost came on the Jews at Pentecost as with fire and speaking in "tongues" - another unrecognized language. Because the Jews were so faithful in their adherence to One God, they were convinced by the miracle of tongues and the appearance of the Ghost of Jesus. Those that were there became Christians, now referred to as Messianic Jews.

However, the majority of the Jewish community rejected Christ, and still do. Then, God revealed his mystery to Paul: that salvation was always by grace, always by the blood of Christ, and always for everyone - the "whosoever" in John 3:16. Paul turned to the Gentiles who had never fornicated against God, who had never been circumcised and bound to the Law, and never practiced the Law. They had not the same experiences as the Jews.

The Messianic Jews believed that because they were circumcised, and thus bound by the Law, that the Gentiles must be as well. This issue was taken to the council at Jerusalem, moderated by Jesus's brother James. Here is the ruling of the Council of Jerusalem:

Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;  29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
The council, although by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, recognizing the works as "a burden" allowed some of the Law to remain in force:
  1.  Abstain from meats offered to idols.
  2. Abstain from blood.
  3. Abstain from things strangled.
  4. Abstain from fornication.
Circumcision, the object of the council, was not commanded. Gentiles and Jews were to have circumcised hearts, not of the actual flesh:
Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Thus Gentiles became "Jews" because they too were circumcised but not in the "letter" of the Law. This idea seemed to satisfy the Jews because they accepted the Jerusalem compromise. Was circumcision ever really required? No! It was always "circumcision of the heart done in the spirit of God". Thus, circumcision of the foreskin was the symbolic circumcision of the heart. Somehow the Jews at Jerusalem was made to understand that!

As circumcision was the seal of sincerity and a commitment to God, Christian baptism is a seal of sincerity of the heart. The new birth is when the circumcision occurs, and baptism is a testimony of that.
Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Note that because circumcision was done at eight days old, that does not imply that baptism is as well. Paedobaptism - the baptism of infants, is erroneously applied due to this passage. However, I do admire the idea of baptizing born-again Christian "babes" within eight days to "seal the deal" of adoption by God.

The council did not forbid circumcision as an act. The Jews were still free to do so. However, the council did say it was "good", even for the Gentiles to do those other four things.

In the days of Antiochus Epiphanes - a brutal Hellenistic Greek king of the Seleucid Empire (175 BC -164 BC), the Jews were commanded by him to eat swine which was forbidden by the Law. The old priest Eleazer was brought to the king, and in spite of numerous tortures including the wheel, dislocation of the joints, knouting, ripping off of the skin, he remained firm in not eating unclean meats, and those offered as sacrifices. Others of the Jewish faith followed his example. Eleazer and many other Jews endured extreme agony and death because of their devotion to Jehovah (4 Macabbees). 

They reasoned that if they broke this one law, it was as if they broke them all! I turns out that this is the case! By obeying the laws of man above the Laws of God, the Jewish people would be fornicating against God. Human sexual intercourse is a type of fornication against God because he detests it. Therefore, perhaps the importance of the four "burdens" from the council of Jerusalem is understandable. It was to show respect for JHVH and His Law, and to not trivialize those Jews who had the faith of Abraham even unto death.

By allowing the eating of unclean animals - those sacrificed to idols, or their blood, and the disrespect of strangling God's offerings, the faith of the Jews would be trivialized. To the Jews, those acts would be fornication against God!

Note that the council didn't issue these as "requirements" to be "Christians". They were "good" things. In that manner, the Jews could still hold onto their principles yet practice Christianity. On the other hand, the Gentiles were not required to do so, but it was "good" if they did. With this recommendation "they rejoiced for the consolation". This was a compromise and it satisfied both the Jews and Gentiles, and brought unity in the Church.

Paul recognized the perseverance of the Jews in his preaching. Because of their faith of Abraham - the faith in One True God, they had been persecuted unto death. Guess, what? Paul taught the same principle to Christians:
2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Christians are called to use the example set by Eleazer and the Jews back in the time of Antiochus. Paul himself suffered as Eleazer suffered, only by different hands. The council of Jerusalem thus favored the demonstration of faithfulness to God, whether it be to pre-incarnate Jesus or to God in the flesh.

The effectual recommendation of the council of Jerusalem is one: remain faithful to God whoever you may be!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It Was Him All the Time

I keep pounding away at covenantists and dispensationalists that God never changes! Those of the covenant have two eras or "deals" God made with mankind. The two are (1) the Law before Christ, and (2) grace after the death of Christ. I don't know what it's called between the birth of Christ and his death, and I'm not sure they do either. On the other hand dispensationalists cannot agree even on the number of dispensations. (More on that shortly).
Covenants are the "deals" God had with mankind. Although the Old Testament is the "Old Covenant", the "mystery of God" (aka "the mystery of Christ") in Paul's writings, combines the two covenants into one. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It is necessary to believe that, indeed, Jesus Is God. God, then is unchanging. Jesus was there in the beginning at the Creation (John 1), so it should be evident that Holy Scripture, both Old and New Covenants, are all about Jesus since He Is God. Hence, there is one covenant; the first part is the "deal", and the second part the fulfillment of the "deal".
Jesus himself testified to that:
Luke 24:44 And he (Jesus) said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Jesus had died and was raised from the dead when these words were spoken. Jesus therein claimed that "the Law", prophecy, and "the psalms" were all about him. Jesus included all that had been written, what we call the Old Testament, was "concerning me". Therefore, as I often claim, when one reads the Old Testament, it must be read with the constant question: What does this have to do with Jesus?
Paul understood that mystery:
1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Paul speaks here of what we call "typology". Paul pointed out that "under the cloud" was safety with God, "passing through the sea" was a type of baptism, and "drinking of the rock" in the wilderness was drinking the living water of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we know that "the meat" or food which they ate was the "Bread" -  Jesus Christ since the bread represents Jesus's Body. How more clear can it be? Jesus was "the Rock" from which the life-giving waters sprang!
Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him (Jesus) shall not be ashamed.
Moses knew that the Hebrews were "saved" by the faith of many in Jesus Christ. He knew that the waters of the Red Sea were where Jesus cleansed Egypt - which represents sin, from the earth. Moses knew that it was Jesus who called forth the water from the rock so that they would be comforted and live. And Paul knew that Moses knew!

The Old Testament is about the coming of Jesus, and the New Testament is about his presence and eternalness. We need to quit looking at God and Jesus as different Existences because the Word which God spoke is the same Word Jesus spoke. No one taught Jesus Holy Scripture - he spoke it years before he even walked on earth! When Jesus quoted the Old Testament, he quoted himself.

My contention is that there was one Covenant, and it was always by God's grace, was always by faith, and always by Jesus. (See "Herrin Daily Thought" at Paul verified that Moses and company were saved by Jesus (the passages above). It is the same Jesus who saved then as now! The Holy Spirit is with us still, and he is the Ghost of Jesus as the King James translators fully understood. Thus, Jesus Is always and has three aspects: (1) the Word, (2) Jesus - God incarnate, and (3) the Holy Ghost - the Spirit of God who suffered crucifixion on the Cross.

Now let us deal with "dispensations".  Those various periods were the "divine government" through the ages, commencing with the "dispensation if innocence" and including the "covenant of grace" as the "dispensation of grace". There are many more but they are all beside the point! Why so? There was just one "dispensation": God's government was always one of grace! Beginning with "original sin", Adam and Eve tried to cover their own "sin" with works of their own, but the Word stepped in, slaughtered an animal, and covered their sin with blood. Scripture validates that:

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
It took the blood of animals by the hand of "the Word" who spoke as "the Voice" to cancel out the sins of Adam an Eve. You see, in the beginning, it was not by works by which sins were covered but by grace! Then, and ever since, it has took blood for the remission of sin. But what about before original sin? By grace, our forebears lived without sin! We only look at the sinful side of our nature but we can only be righteous by grace as well. Hence, even post-crucifixion, we live by grace just as in the beginning in paradise. And of course, it is by grace that we shall have eternal life in Heaven. Grace is free and it keeps flowing!

Hence, "the dispensation of innocence" before original sin was still by grace. In fact, the Creation was by grace so that we could have life.

John made it clear in his gospel that Jesus was there all the time. Where was he? He was God. Just get over the delusion that Jesus and God are different! It is imperative to realize that it was God who died on the Cross, and it was Jesus who spoke and Creation happened.  It was him all the time! He is the Ghost of Jesus who still Comforts us today. It's still him all the time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Struggle of Wills

Life is a contest of wills - ours versus God's, but we know the weaker.
1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation (exemption) of the gospel (God's will to trust Jesus) is committed unto me.
The "will" is a human faculty in us and a divine one in God. Will is in contrast to fate. With the latter, humans accept the inevitable, and our attempts to control the outcome is in futility. With fate, there is a natural order of things, whose outcomes cannot be directed. Fate can either be divine order or chance. Divine will, is toward order, and fate disorder.  Divine will increases probability, and fate reduces it.

Let's take the case of fate: Let's assume that somehow against all planning and human interaction, a blind deaf person just appears in Los Angeles rush hour traffic; fate would be one of two outcomes: injury or safety. However, can fate really dictate that situation? Obviously, plans, events or persons controlled the experiment because a person can hardly be effected without cause(s).  This so-called "fateful" event was either the outcome of divine will or human will. Both causes are from an intelligence of some sort.

To remove any bias, I propose the reader derive any situation where it happened solely by fate. I'll help you be inventive: scientists propose that existence was created by fate. Inevitably the entire universe was an effect without a cause! In this way of thinking, there is no natural nor supernatural order but a high degree of unnatural disorder which self-ordered! Let me repeat that: Existence is a outcome of unnatural order whose outcome is order which occurred by self-ordering! Let the philosopher examine the ridiculousness of that hypothesis but that's what scientists propagate.

Humans don't have the capacity nor power to order the universe nor does any creature nor object. Hence, that leaves an ordering of only the supernatural. Some "existence" beyond "human will" ordered the universe. For the dimwitted or savant-idiots, "order" was not fate but by the will of a "being" whose intelligence and power were capable of ordering it. Hence, "Existence" had a Mind behind it who did His Will. I capitalize now, because this Existence claimed the Creation!
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Actually Moses wrote that but God inspired and directed Moses to write it. As such, Moses wrote about God's will, and did God's will in writing this. Fate didn't direct Moses to write that. He took God's will and followed the supernatural order. Moses could have used his own will, and not write that. Surely Moses believed that God Is the Creator or he would not have written it! Fate would suggest that one day Moses mind created that thought and wrote it down without a reason. However, it is more plausible that "somebody" caused Moses to have that thought. Scripture proclaims that God did!

God created because He willed it.  I may will that I live to be two-hundred. The difference between my will and God's will is Power. Actually my will and the will of everyone, whether they know it or not, is to live forever, of course with a pleasant existence. For Christians, being "born-again" is the recognition that what we will cannot come about because humans have not the power to provide the desired outcome. It occurs to us, as we accept truth, that since we cannot obtain eternal life on our own, that we depend on Someone with Power who is Able. That "Existence", we refer to as "God". We use a capital "G" to signify the Ability of that Existence.

Thus, eternal life must be God's will to have that outcome. God expressed His will very clearly:
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.
God's will is that mankind - "whosoever", live forever and always be! Guess what? The irony is that our will matches God's will in this case. It is dependent on our willingness to accept the gift of faith and willingly do something with it. God desires that for the outcome to be favorable to both us and Him! When it occurs to men that our will is the same as God's will, then men have seen the light which God shines. Those dimwitted before, finally see the Light which scripture tells us is the truth of God. What is that truth? Since only He could order existence in the first place, only He can order infinite Existence. Fate has no power to make cause at all, let alone cause it forever! Self-indulgent people have a false reality: that Chance controls everything. Since there is no supernatural order, not even natural order effects or affects humankind. Everything is by Chance but only humans can influence the outcome.

Some believe that because fate is the existence, or actually that there is no existence, that man is the master of our own destiny. Purists believe that even our feeble attempts to control our own destiny is in futility. Indeed, in the eternal scheme of things, God agrees with that idea! Humans are powerless and our will is insufficient! Wise men not only hope that there is a God who wills them to live forever, but believe there must be to the extent that we place our confidence in God's will and power. Since fate promises nothing and we are powerless, then our only hope is in an Existence. Nobody or nothing claims to be the Existence save One:
Exodus 3:13 And 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? 14 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. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever...
The One without a name merely says, "I Exist" and "this is my name for ever". God (not his name but how we describe His will and power),  just Is and Always Will Be. God Is "Existence"! Everything else is the effect. God is the Cause! Fate had no power to create order from nothing, and to keep order in chaos. Everything happens because God wills it!

Looking back at the start of this commentary with the featured scripture, Paul says, "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward." Paul is saying that his outcome is eternal life if his own will is doing God's will. Therefore, my contention is that eternal life is granted when believers are willing to submit their own will in deference to God's will! Sin is failing to match our will to God's. Since God is graceful, it is not the outcome that impresses Him. Doing "good" is not His will but the willingness to please God is! Again, for the dimwitted, God doesn't look at our failures but our willingness to sacrifice our own will for His will.

Romans 12:1 says, "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service".  Paul is telling Christians here to present their will to God as a sacrifice. Not our will but God's will be done (Luke 11:2). Hence, Jesus prayed that God's will be done and ours submitted to Him. Salvation is all about the battle of wills. You see, Jesus didn't give Satan any credit. He is the author of the "law of sin" but we are free agents to follow Satan's laws or God's will. We either will to obey the will of Satan or the will of God. Satan is satisfied with man using his own will. However, God is not!