Literal Vs. Actual

From the upcoming ‘Islam For Christians’ series…
Is there a difference between the ‘Literal’ word of God and the ‘Actual’ word of God?Slide14

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Is everyone a child of God?

Pastor Jermin shares a letter that he wrote to a friend who made that claim:

Regarding your assertion that the Bible ‘ultimately teaches that all of us are God’s children.’

The short response would be this: While the Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16),  it is equally clear that only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12;11:52; Romans 8:16;1 John 3:1-10).

The longer answer is :

Outside of the 10th through 13th verses of John Chapter 1, which say (as translated in the King James Bible or KJV) :

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

I can see where that would be a logical conclusion, especially in light of the many times that we see words like ‘all’ or ‘every’ or ‘world’.

The key becomes, in every case then, what the context of the Word usage is.

The only way to get to the intended meaning of a text (the only accurate meaning) is by asking and answering the following questions:

1) Who is speaking?

2) To Whom are they Speaking?

3) What was the intent?

A good example is the contention that God wants all people to be ‘saved’ using 2 Peter 3:9 as proof text. In the KJV, it is translated as: 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The words any and all figure prominently here, and at first glance it is quite easy to see how the conclusion can be drawn.

But a more careful reading of the verse shows that the word ‘us-ward’ precedes ‘any’ and ‘all’. We’re then forced to ask the question: ‘Who are the ‘us’ of whom Peter speaks’?

Verse 1 of the Chapter has a clue:  It says: ‘This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance’

This means then, that this is a second letter. This implies then, that there is a first.

Thankfully we have that letter, and it is in the Canon of scripture. The Epistle of 1st Peter begins:  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

From this we can deduce the following re: 2 Peter 3:9 what he is really saying is: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward (the Elect of God) , not willing that any (of the Elect of God) should perish, but that all (of the Elect of God)  should come to repentance.

This is in keeping with the statements made by Jesus Christ (as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is fairly clear that Jesus is not speaking of everyone in that he makes the distinction that ‘all that the Father Gives me’ will come, meaning of course, that not all people were given to Him by the Father. This is borne out by the fact that after the crucifixion and resurrection the Bible records fewer that 500 believers.

Jesus is even more succinct in the 8th Chapter of John’s Gospel, when in a discussion with the Pharisees, beginning at verse 39:

Our father is Abraham!” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.”

“We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

Consider these other NT passages:

Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.  – Ephesians 1:5

The children of the flesh … are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.  – Romans 9:8

He that committeth sin is of the devil … Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.  – 1 John 3:8-10

As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  – Romans 8:14

Now this does not mean that God does not Love everyone: As one of my favorite preachers, John MacArthur says:

“The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that these mercies flow out of God’s boundless love? Yet it is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.

Scripture clearly says that God is love. “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9). Christ even commands us to love our enemies, and the reason He gives is this: “In order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). The clear implication is that in some sense God loves His enemies. He loves both “the evil and the good,” both “the righteous and the unrighteous” in precisely the same sense we are commanded to love our enemies.

In fact, the second greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31; cf. Lev. 19:18), is a commandment for us to love everyone. We can be certain the scope of this commandment is universal, because Luke 10 records that a lawyer, “wishing to justify himself … said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Lk. 10:29)—and Jesus answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The point? Even Samaritans, a semi-pagan race who had utterly corrupted Jewish worship and whom the Jews generally detested as enemies of God, were neighbors whom they were commanded to love. In other words, the command to love one’s “neighbor” applies to everyone. This love commanded here is clearly a universal, indiscriminate love.”
But it does not say that everyone is God’s Child.

Tools For The Trial

An transcription of an Old sermon of mine. May it Bless you today:

Abide & Abound, or; Tools for the trial – 05/27/06

1 Corinthians 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

That is easy to read, but Hard to do, isn’t it.

Why? Because:

We have misunderstood the reality of our connection to the church. It is an internal connection not external, and because we fail to understand this, we become anchored to, and enslaved by, the buildings and organizations that we tether ourselves to. Instead of being attached, we become entrenched. Jesus made it plain that:

  • Worship is not tied to a locality, and the Church is not a building.
     – John 4:19-24.
    Paul echoed the sentiment, in that it is not about created things, and God is nigh thee

Acts 17:19-34

People going to church for feelings. Feel Good religion, non-confrontational Gospel.

You know, the all things work, etc. positive confessions, etc.. Focus on Praise. Corporate, modern, sophisticated, church

But the Spirit of the Lord let Paul that this would happen 2000 years ago

 

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Recently I shared about the Barna Group website. George Barna has written one of the most startling books of the past five years: Revolution. Reading that book caused me to want to find out more about what he does, so I went to his website.  While on his site, I came across a page dealing with Statistics that his research group gathered re: the Faith of African Americans. I was intrigued, and a bit upset, to say the least, because according to the Barna group’s findings:

Although 75% of us believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator who rules the world today, and 83% of us say our religious faith is very important in their lives….

  • Only 10% of us believe moral truth is absolute.

This goes right back to what I keep screaming. Until we teach God’s people to WORSHIP, Until the People of God have an Isaiah 6 experience, Until we as ministers, worship leaders, and whatever else we call ourselves, model Worship in our day to day living, until we teach foundational Bible truth, and Stress the importance and NECESSITY for Worship and Holiness, Our churches will be full of people who believe that:

  1. A) Sin is relative B) Holiness is optional C) Righteousness is tentative

D) Holiness is conceptual at best E) Righteous Ethical living is situational

People MUST know, that charismatic preachers, slammin’ choirs and a Shout and dance DO NOT get you anywhere near the LORD! No matter how many tongues folk speak in.

You want the formula? The Lord says:

Humble yourself and pray, seek my face and turn from your wicked ways. Draw night unto me and I will draw night unto you, but you must clean your hands, and purify your hearts.

– 2 Chron 7:14 – , James 4:8)

Humble yourself in my sight, and I will lift you up, for a broken spirit and contrite heart I will not despise.,  – James 4:10, Psalm 51:17

Study to shew thyself approved, for I need knowledgable workmen that can go forth without fear, because they know me, and my Word. – 2 Timothy 2:15  

Because the hour comes, in fact, it now is, when the true worshippers will Worship me in Spirit and in truth, for I am a Spirit, and I seek these to Worship me.  – John 4:23-24

 

Everybody’s got drama, it is part of life, as Solomon so aptly put it in Ecclesiastes 9:11

 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

  • 3 Types of people, many types of Praise. There are only 3 types of people:
    1. Those facing a trial or valley,
    2. Those in the midst of a trial or valley,
    3. Those who are on the way to the next one.

Those of you who are facing or in the midst are probably finding it harder to Praise and Worship. Here’s some perspective for you:

Life is peaks and valleys, but we want to go mountain to mountain. Glory to glory

Why? Because Goliath is in the valley and the Philistines are on the other side.

 

Worship causes you to KNOW your God, and KNOW yourself. Knowing God allows you to have David’s perspective when facing your Goliath. As Daniel put it

Daniel 11:32b  – But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.1

But how do you get through the valley?

1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

But how can you do that?

Dr. Roy Blizzard in his book Let Judah Go Up First. Recounts the following story:

In the book of Judges, chapter 1, verses 1-12, Israel is preparing for battle and they inquire of the Lord, Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites? The Lord tells them …Judah is to go. Later, in Judges 20:18 we find, …who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites? The Lord replied, Judah shall go first.

There were twelve tribes of Israel. Why should Judah be called upon to go up first? The Hebrew word translated as Judah is used many times in English as PRAISE. So the scripture could be translated as, LET PRAISE GO UP FIRST. This is good advice for us when facing struggles or battles. Let us first praise. This is both an act of faith and submission. Praise God before the battle is entered; anyone can praise when the battle is over and won. Only by faith can we praise at the start.

 

We want to praise and praise accurately. To help us understand what this is about, we will look into some of the Hebrew words translated as praise.

 

  • For us to let Judah go up first is to recognize that our battles are spiritual and must be fought in the spirit. When we let Judah go up first, we confess the attributes of God

2 Corinthians 10:4-5  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  • Here are some tools to use, straight from the Word…
  • At all times

GADAL (Gah Dahl) – Often translated “magnify,” it is used as a synonym of praise. In Psalms 34:4 and 69:31, it literally means “to cause to become great.” Gadal calls the worshipper to ascribe greatness to the Lord and His name.

  • As you face the valley

TOWDAH – (To-Daw) -To give worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreeing with what has been done or will be. This word is commonly found in connection with sacrifice-applying the giving of thanks or praise as a sacrifice before reception or manifestation. Thanking God for something that I don’t have in the natural. Agreeing with His Word – faith in His Word. This form of praise goes in operation just because His Word is true. “Father, I thank YOU that YOUR WORD is TRUE. As we raise our hearts and hands in praise to the Lord, it involves a sacrifice, especially if one is very sick in body. The carnal mind would fight and ridicule this particular action, but there is great faith in TOWDAH as praise. The lifting of the hand symbolizes agreement. The right hand symbolizes my covenant with my

Father. As I go through the scriptures, God is seen extending His Right Hand to me. That’s the covenant. When He extends His right hand to me, He’s saying to me – ALL THAT I AM IS YOURS, and when I extend my right hand to Him, I am saying “All that I am is yours and I agree with what You’re saying. It is the sacrifice that God honors by His performing of miracles.

 

The ATTITUDE for TOWDAH is: I’m thanking God. I’m agreeing with God that it is as He says. I don’t care what it looks like. I’m agreeing with what His Word says. Example: Father, I thank You that I am healed. Scripture: Psalm 42:4, 50:23, Jer. 17:26

  • In the midst of the valley:

YADAH  (Yaw-Daw) – To worship with the extended hand. The giving of oneself in worship and adoration. To lift your hands unto the Lord. It carries the meaning of absoulute surrender as a young child does to a parent – “pick me up, I’m all yours”.  Scriptures: Gen. 29:35, 2 Chron. 7:6, 20:21, Psalms 9:1, 28:7, Psalms 33:2, 42:5,11, 49:18,

Isaiah 12:1

Yadah in practice – Lift my hands to Him and say how I am surrendering myself to Him. List the ways that I am surrendering to Him. Be diligent. Be disciplined. Be specific. Take the discipline and SAY to the Lord how I am surrendering to Him. With my hands uplifted – surrender unto my God – spirit, soul & body. Totally commit myself to my father.

 

  • The victory cry!

SHABACH – (Shaw-Bakh) – to address in a loud tone, a loud adoration, a shout! Proclaim with a loud voice, unashamed, the GLORY, TRIUMPH, POWER, MERCY, LOVE OF GOD. This word implies that testimony is praise. The phrase “shout unto the Lord” can be understood as the action of SHABACH. It is not just being loud. You should have the attitude of putting your whole being into it, an attitude of being totally uninhibited. Scripture: Psalm 117:1, 63:3-4

 

  • Elder Pointer ministered last week about testing and chastisement, how God sends or allows both, but they are different things for different purposes. I was thinking about that, and there it was, the reason for the valleys…

 

Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Could the trials, the valleys, could they be to remind us of the one on whom we rely

The one in whom we live and move and have our being? This is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

You see when you change your mind, you change yourself! That’s the experience Isaiah had, and the woman at the well had…

I dare you to step back and take a LONG look, a LONG look at your circumstances,

And figure out what you need to change. Then you know what you got to do…

Change Your MIND!

Now I see some of you sisters looking over at your husbands, and some of you brothers looking at your wives. That’s not what I’m talking about.. Amen? Amen!

You’re asking: “How am I supposed to renew my mind?”

Well here’s a simple start. Turn the TV off, and Open your Bible!

Call your cable company, and cancel that playboy channel, start watching the WORD network!

Put down the knife and fork, and pick up your Bible!

Turn off the 50cent, and turn on Fred Hammond!

Hmmm. It’s awful quiet in here… But that’s good. Work Holy Ghost, have your way…

For those that are thinking, None of that applied to me, I’m all right now, why would I wanna change my mind? Well brothers and sisters, the answer is in the next sentence of Romans 12:2

that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

“Prove it to who Pastor Cyril?”

Well Jesus answered that one in Matthew 5: 13-16

No need to turn to it, just write it down…

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

You see there is a responsibility in serving God. God has certain expectations of us.

They’ve got to see your good works, yes, WORKS!

You and me, we are employees, you see.

Of Jesus, Inc.  And the boss expects productivity!

Some of us are very productive, out in the vineyard, working. Doing the work, fighting the good fight, pressing on towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus!

Praise the Lord! Others of us got hired, worked for a while, then went on break! I ain’t callin you out, you know who you are. You’ve been in the break room so long that you forgot what your desk looks like! But I’m here to tell you today, I’ve got to pass this message on from the boss:

Break Time is Over! Look at somebody and say Break Time is Over!

Look around you! There is work to be done!

Look at your neighbor and say… “There is work to be done.”

Some of you are on vacation. That’s all right… For a time.

He understands that we get weary, and need to rest…

But some of you are thinking about not coming back to work. Things have gotten too hard. Situations have made you weary…

Like them that’s on leave, but I got a Word for you BENEFITS!

Say Benefits!

Psalms 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Psalms 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalms 116:12  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

 

David said this in Psalm 139
1 O LORD , you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD .
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

 

  • He knows, and he understands. You might be discouraged, you might be beat down, might not want to go on, but remember the benefits, brothers and sisters. Remember the benefits!

Psalm 91
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

You see, if you stay close, you will abide. You will Abide

Y’all didn’t hear me! You will abide!  Glory to God!

Ok, let me break it down… Help me Holy Ghost….

  • To abide means to:  Remain in a place. To continue to be sure or firm; To endure.

Think about it. If you dwell in the secret place of the Most high God,

You will remain under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s peace!

You will continue to be sure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s confidence!

You will continue to be firm, under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s security!

You will Endure under the shadow of the Almighty!

That’s power!

When you Abide, Surely he shall deliver thee!

He shall cover thee! under his wings shalt thou trust!

When you Abide, His truth shall be thy shield and buckler!

Thou shalt not be afraid of anything!

 

When you Abide,

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee!

When you Abide,

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee!

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways

You’re gonna abide! Oh somebody Praise Him!! Hallelujah


It’s in your mouth, let it out

For those of you who don’t think it takes all of this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  –  John 1:1-3,

If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.  – Deuteronomy 30:10-14

Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! – Psalm 81:1

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  – Psalm 95:1-3

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD.  Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say:”Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” – Isaiah12: 1-6

And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.  – Joshua 6:16  

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. – Psalms 5:11  

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. – Psalms 32:11  

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. – Psalms 35:27  

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. – Psalms 47:1

AMEN!

 

Why post about Eddie Long after his death?

A brother asked me this week, the following questions:

“… you have been posting a lot of stuff about Eddie Long. Why and what is the reason? The man is dead and buried now.”

I responded:

Sorry that it took me so long to respond bro. I was not ignoring your comment/query.

Though seemingly a simple question, it is a layered one. As such it requires a tiered response. My attempt follows:

  • We are required to walk in Truth, and there is a paucity of that in the modern ‘church’, especially when it comes to our ‘leaders’. The man may be dead and buried, but his legacy (positive and negative) live on. As such, I am resistant to the idea that because he is dead, we must ignore the carnage that the man left, and focus solely on the good that he did. It does a HUGE disservice to those who have been harmed, and to that which calls itself ‘church’.
  • I am a Pastor, and I am always painfully aware of my shortcomings and failures. It is clear always to me that I am a recipient of a great GRACE. That said, we tend to in the ‘church’, especially in the organizations that employ what is called ‘The Great man Model’, elevate our pastors to near sainthood if not outright deification. That is IDOLATRY plain and simple.
  • The Bible is clear that there is only ONE man who lived His entire life without sin. The rest, even the great ones, achieved despite or in the face of, their sin, and we are told about their sin as a reminder and an encouragement. How dare we discuss people today as though they have no sin?
  • I knew the man. We were a part of the same organization for several years, in fact we for a time, referred to the same man as spiritual father. The man that I knew was humble, self-effacing, and willing to be clear about the pain of his childhood, and the scars that he bore. But it was clear even then, that there was an underlying issue when it came to the question of sexual sin. The truth is that; issues which are not addressed, not resolved, though they may reside below the surface or in a closet, will erupt, or the door will open. When they do, especially in these type or organizational systems that focus on ‘The Great man’ as the engine, measures of deceit or cover up must be employed in order to keep the machine rolling. This involves other people in the sin.
  • For us who are, as the Bible says, Elders, Pastors, we are to be beyond reproach (1Tim 3:2) this does not mean without sin, but it does mean that repetitive, consistent, habitual sin is a disqualifier. The Bishop because of this behavior, and because of the errant doctrines that he was teaching (which we can discuss at another time) was disqualified.

I hope that this was not too long… God Bless you bro.

SDG

The Transitional Importance of The Lord’s Table

Good Morning Family. I am so grateful to be here with you again. God is indeed merciful.

Intro and Example

It is important, when studying any passage of scripture, to seek to know what the original writer meant, what the context of the passage was, the history and the time, and what the original hearers would have heard. Knowing these things leads to greater understanding, and minimizes the misuse of a passage.

It has been said quite that ‘Text without context, is pretext’. Not having context, and authorial intent can be deadly. Literally. History has shown us that.

This has been particularly meaningful, as I have been for the past 14 months, teaching through The Revelation.  Line by line, verse by verse, we have worked our way through it.  In fact, we are going to be finishing Chapter 13 in our gathering later this afternoon…

One of the things that we have learned, to a person, is that our understanding of this letter, which was framed in the rubric of Dispensational American Evangelicalism, is almost completely wrong. It has been sobering, to say the least.

Why you may ask, has it been wrong? Well, because we are taught John’s words, interpreted outside of John’s time and context.

A quick example: Chapters 2 and 3 are individual letters to 7 churches in Asia Minor. Each of them had issues that plague many churches today. That alone is a great reason to read them. In Chapter 3, which contains the Letter to the church at Laodicea, we find two oft-misquoted passages, occurring in verses, 15, 16, and 20:

Verses 15 & 16 say: 15  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.

I have heard that passages taught many times that Jesus was telling us to decisive, to be hot or cold towards him, and that indecisiveness would cause you to be, (and I am quoting King James here) ‘Spewed out’.  When I was younger, I used to wonder just how far God could ‘spew’?

Was it one of those deals where, if he spit you out, 1000 years later, you’d still be hurtling through the galaxy  at Warp 8, doomed to travel from here to the other side of forever…?

What used to bother me, and I never seemed to get a sufficient answer was, why would God want anyone to be cold towards Him? It made no sense, and I understand today that it made no sense because I had no context.

The statement is most like a reference that the church at Laodicea would have easily understand as an ironic chastisement, specific to their time and place. You see Hieropolis, with its invigorating , medicinal hot springs was a few miles to the north, and Colossae, with its refreshing cold springs was just south.

Laodicea, right in the middle, had neither… In fact, some scholars believe that the water in Laodicea was literally tepid, lukewarm… neither hot nor cold.  As such, it was neither invigorating nor refreshing.

Think about that for a moment: A CHURCH, representatives of the Most High GOD, Bearers of HIS SPIRIT and HIS WORD. SALT AND LIGHT in the world, and Jesus calls them Useless…  It is a terrifying thought, both individually and corporately.

How would we, could we understand that today, without knowing the context.  Doesn’t that make a lot more sense now?

And it is this loving albeit harsh admonition that leads to the Grace-filled offer of verse 20, which we all know…

Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

How have you heard that used? In my experience, it was usually in an altar call situation, imploring unsaved people to come to Jesus. Presenting the knocking, waiting, patient, Jesus… Things of that sort…

But now that we know the subject, object and context of the letter it is clear to see that this is not a general offer or invitation of communion, or salvation. It is specific to the church, the people of God, those with whom there already exists a covenant, an oath: Born of Love, sealed in precious, redeeming BLOOD. It is to US that this offer of communion is made…

Gathered to Celebrate

We have gathered today to celebrate one of the most important events, not only in Christendom, but in the history of the world. The Lord’s Table, The Eucharist, Communion…

In fact the word Eucharist itself is based on the Greek word meaning to celebrate.

The Lord’s table then, is a celebration.  A celebration of what?

A celebration of transaction, transition and transformation…

What do I mean?

Listen to this passage in Luke Chapter 22. Starting from verse 14: Reading from the HCSB

 14 When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

17  Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

20  In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.

He says to them that for Him, it would be the Last Until… Yet for them, by telling them to repeat this process in remembrance of Him, for them this was a First.

It was Last for Him, first for them, transition for both of them…

You see, He knew what they didn’t know or understand, even though He had said it numerous times… The son of man must be given over, and be killed… He knew what was coming, and that things would never be the same. The table became symbolic then, not only of what had passed, but of what was to come.

As such, it could be argued (and is argued by some) that the Last Supper, was in fact the First Communion and the Last Passover. We’ll get to that in a minute.

From our vantage point we know now what those who first heard it would understand later:

The Communion was preparation for a transaction that would take place a few hours later on the cross.  The Lord’s Table was symbolic of The Process of transition for Jesus, and the Promise of transformation  for the disciples (and for us).

The First Passover

The first Passover itself was a transaction that was both transitional and transformational.

Think about it. The Book of Exodus records that Israel had been in Egypt in bondage for over 400 years. They had been oppressed and enslaved, and God delivered them by the leadership of Moses through a series of plagues.

The final plague was the death of the firstborn. The angel of death came and killed the firstborn in every family, the firstborn of man and animal unless you had sacrificed a lamb and splattered the blood on the doorposts and the side beams. If there was blood shed, then the angel of death passed that house by.

To be delivered then, requires the shedding of blood. In particular, the blood of a spotless lamb…

In short, there is a principle which is: To be delivered from judgment requires death.

But by Jesus’ time judging by the behaviors recorded in scripture, Passover was for many a mere formality. It was a thing that the people did on a ritual basis that commemorated a long done event, too far removed from the people’s understanding to have any real meaning.

Sadly, it is the same now. The Lord’s table is, for many, merely a ritual exercise, a ritual devoid of meaning. We do not fully grasp that the elements are symbols of Great Love, great cost, great weight, great promise and great value. Let us never forget that.

Jesus Elevates the Passover

So what do we know about The Last Supper? It was a Passover dinner. But what else do we know?

Luke and Paul both speak of Bread being broken, and ‘The Cup’ being drunk. Can we get some more context on this? I believe so… What does current scholarship have to say?

“Near the beginning of a traditional Passover Seder, a piece of matzah is broken in half. The larger of the two pieces is hidden away in linen cloth until the end of the meal. When it is brought back from concealment it is shared by everyone at the table as their final morsel. This broken and hidden piece of matzah is called the afikoman.

None of it is explained in the Haggadah for Passover. Nor is it mentioned in Scripture. The term afikoman appears first in the Mishnah (the earliest collection of rabbinic legal rulings, codified around 200 CE/AD) Although afikoman is written in Hebrew letters, it is actually a Greek word…

Jewish historians disagree why a Greek term entered the Passover liturgical tradition or what it means.

In 1925 an Austrian scholar named Robert Eisler argued that at the time of Jesus,  the afikoman was originally part of an established messianic ritual observed during the Passover. He said the whole piece of matzah held up at the beginning of the meal represented all Israel, while the broken-off portion stood for the longed-for Messiah. When the hidden afikoman emerged from concealment at the end of the Seder, it symbolized the coming of the Messiah in the midst of his people.”

Could it be that it is THIS piece of Bread that Jesus gave to His disciples declaring that this was His Body?

As for ‘The Cup’. What cup is this?

“The Mishnah states that there are 4 cups of wine drunk during the Passover feast. Each time the cup is filled, it has a different name. Opinions vary as to what certain cups actually symbolize. Most agree that the first cup is the Kiddush, which means sanctification. With this cup, the Passover seder begins.

The second cup is called the cup of plagues. The third cup is referred to as either the cup of redemption or the cup of blessing. The fourth cup is often called hallel which means praise, though some traditions call it the cup of acceptance while still others use it as the cup of Elijah.

The New Testament names one of the cups—the cup taken after supper, which is traditionally the third cup. Jesus calls this cup “the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). The Apostle Paul calls it, “the cup of blessing which we bless,” as well as “the cup of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 10:16,21).

Both Jesus and Paul draw on something from Jewish tradition to provide insights not previously understood. By calling the cup “the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus makes a direct reference to the promise of Jeremiah 31. God had declared that He would make a new covenant because the previous covenant had become “broken” (Jeremiah 31:32). To violate a covenant agreement with God would surely incur His wrath and judgment—a terrible cup! But instead, God promised a new covenant of grace and salvation.” – source jews for jesus

Think about how this must have sounded to those at the Table…

It is apparent then, that Jesus was fundamentally and eternally elevating the nature and purpose of this meal. By elevating the Passover, Jesus makes it clear that it is the blood of the lamb that seals one’s destiny, and not by anyone’s planning, skill or merit, neither by tradition or remembrance, but by grace. What is the principle again? To be delivered from judgment requires death.

 The Communion table then, is a reminder that to be a Christian is:

  • Transactional (there was a cost, the shedding of innocent blood), That it is
  • Transitional (that as John said, we have been given power to become the children of God. Contrary to popular preaching today, everyone is NOT God’s child, and John 1 is clear about that. If you have to become something, then you are not that thing until you become it) and it is
  • Transformational (John later describes the fact that though we have become the children of God , it does not yet appear what we shall be. Shall is future, it is not now. For those of you who are Christians, take a moment to look back over your life… Can you see that you have changed? Right, you are in the midst of a transformation, a process that will continue until He calls you home.

 

Hymns

The Revelation has several hymns in it, and I’d like to quickly share a passage where a couple of them can be found. Chapter Five starting at verse 8, again from the HCSB

8  When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.

11  Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. They said with a loud voice:

The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!

13  I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say: Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

THE LAMB (The spotless, sinless, sacrificed One) is the Only One worthy to open the scrolls of judgment (the events contained in the scrolls mark transition points) , His Blood redeemed a people for God, (to redeem something is a transaction) and these people, by having become God’s people have undergone a transformation.

When the people of God drink the cup and eat the bread, we understand , just as the earliest followers though culturally Jewish, understood,  that by interaction with the Messiah we are transformed, individually and corporately into something different.

 

Only for the believer

This is why Communion is not for everyone. It is only for those who believe.

Consider the Apostle Paul’s words again: from 1 Corinthians 11:26-29  

Verse 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

The Apostle is saying what? That this event, this supper, this communion, is a proclamation,  a statement.

A statement of what? The truth of Jesus’ claims, His Death, His Resurrection, His substitutionary atonement, and much more. It is a proclamation of the reality of your Faith.

He continues, in verse 27:

27  Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28  So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup.

In what way? In a self examining, humble way. In a way that is aware of yourself, your relationship with God, and your place in the community of believers.

Think back to the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee… What did Jesus say? He said that the Pharisee who came boldly to pray, trusting in his own righteousness… ‘I thank you that I am not like other men, etc.’  went away just as he approached; unchanged, unjustified, far away from God.

But the tax collector, despised among the people, the man who stood afar off, clearly aware of his own sin and unrighteousness, and begging for mercy, went away justified. It is the same here.  And here is the Apostle’s warning…

29  For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

Growing up around the way, we used to say, ‘Check yourself, before you Wreck yourself.’

Examine Yourself

So today family, as we prepare to partake of this table; this symbol of transaction, take a moment to examine yourself.

As we come to celebrate this transformational event, especially on this day, that is symbolic  of transition and for transformation, for this Pastor, for this church, for each of us individually, and as a corporate body;  Take the time to examine yourself, honestly, truthfully.

Take time to contemplate, to consider, to look back, to look forward. Take a hard look at you, right now. Consider what you see…

Take time as we sing the Hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’,  to ask God by His Spirit to show you what you need to see, what needs to change, what needs to be transformed in you, and ask Him for the strength and courage to allow Him to do what He wills be done.

To God Be the Glory. Amen.

3 Questions from a seeking youth…

A young sister sent me three questions after spending time with family members who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here are her questions, and my responses…

1) If Jesus is God why did he call God his father when he was on the cross?

Let us be clear, Jesus (Yeshuah is his Jewish name, and this will be important in a few moments) consistently referred to YHWH (GOD) as his Father. Throughout the Gospels, we see this. What we have to seek to do first in order to properly understand any time we read the Bible, is to try to hear what the original hearers heard. This is important here, since to the Jews, Fathers and Sons had the same attributes. Here is an example: Read Matthew 13:54-56, and its parallel passage Mark 6:1-5. Note that in Matthew’s account, he (Jesus/Yeshuah) is referred to as ‘The Carpenter’s son’. That is his identity in the community, and that is why they could not hear him or receive from him. Carpenters were just that carpenters, and nothing else. Mark parallels this, referring to him in this same event as ‘the carpenter’. Two things to note here: 1) You are identified with your Father, and 2) You do what your Father does.

I hope you’re with me so far. Here’s why: Jesus identifies himself as being ‘one’ with God in John Chapter 10. Please read verses 22-39, focusing on verses 30-33 in particular. Did you notice WHY they are picking up stones to stone him? Then look at what he says to them in verses 37-38. Whose works is he doing?

Now thinking back on what we read earlier in Matthew, knowing that for the Jew, you did the works of , and had equality with, your Father, what is he then saying to them? He is identifying Himself by His Works, to the ONLY one who could do those works, YHWH (GOD). Better yet, what did they understand? That He was proclaiming Himself to be equal with God. Knowing that to the Jew, GOD has no equal , the implication here is clear. Jesus is calling Himself GOD.

There are many other times that this type of thing occurs, another good one is when He declares to them EGO EIMI (I AM)

Most Jews is Jesus’ time read their Bibles (The Old Testament, as at the time there was no New Testament) in Greek, the document was called ‘The Septuagint’

(… from the Latin word septuaginta (meaning seventy). It is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts into Koine Greek. The title and its Roman numeral acronym LXX refer to the legendary seventy Jewish scholars who completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century BCE. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the Greek Old Testament (Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα). This translation is quoted in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers.. – source Wikipedia)

In the Septuagint, when Moses asks God Who should he say is sending him, God responds ‘I Am’ – Exodus 3:14 –  “And God spoke to Moses, saying, I AM (ego eimi); and he said, Thus shall ye say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM’(ego eimi) has sent me to you.”

Now turn to John Chapter 8, and read from verse 48 to 59. Note that he says, before Abraham was ‘I AM’, and can you guess what Greek phrase is used there? You got it, EGO EIME the same name that GOD/YHWH uses with Moses.

Do you see what happened next? They picked up stones (to try to kill him) Why? Because of WHO he was saying that He was/is…

With the preceding point in mind now, (that for Jews, there was equality between Father and Son) let’s take a look specifically at Luke 23:33-3433 When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. [34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” ] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Knowing what you now know about the context in which Jesus spoke, what is so unusual about this? Nothing. He was doing as He always had, declaring Himself one with/equal to, GOD

Please note that the disciples identified him as God as well. Here are a couple of examples:

2 Peter 1:1  – “Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”

He is not, as some might claim, referring to two beings, He is referring to only ONE Jesus Christ (Yeshuah Ha Maschiach) who he calls ‘our God and Savior.’ As in one being both attributes… How do we know this? It is a reference to the doctrine of imputation. The righteousness of the Messiah, was imputed to men, and their sin was imputed to him.  Imputation means to replace missing data/information/elements with substituted values. It is what the Jews clearly understood from Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The sin of the family is imputed to the animal that is to be sacrificed, and that animal’s blood is then shed in atonement of sin. The animal in effect, becomes/takes on the sin of the person, and the animal pays the price for the sin, with its blood (its life). Sound familiar? It should, It is the point of the cross. As Paul said: ‘He who did not have any sin, became sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God.’  – 2 Corinthians 5:21

That is imputation.

Paul says of the Jews (his brothers ethnically), in his letter to the Roman church:

Romans 9:1  I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. 3 For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the  Messiah for the benefit of my  brothers , my own flesh and blood. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever.  Amen .

2) Was Jesus an Arch Angel?

No, Jesus is not a created being, He is the Creator. This is especially hard for people who are Unitarians (as Jehovah’s witnesses are). To grasp the idea that one being can exist in three persons is unfathomable, and yet the Bible clearly maintains this truth.

Here is what the Apostle Paul says to the church at Colossae (where a similar debate was going on as to whether or not Jesus was deity or a created being.)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.– Colossians 1:15-18

If he is the image of that which is invisible, he is that thing in representation. For example, if you look in the mirror, the reflection that you see is who? You. If everything was created by him, (that includes angels) He cannot have created himself, as such he is THE CREATOR, HE is GOD. All things have been created through and for Him. He is before ALL things, as such if he was a created being something/someone would have to have been before him, and by him all things (notice it says ALL THINGS) hold together. All clearly means ALL so there is nothing before Him, as such he MUST be GOD.

Compare this to: “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.“ – Isaiah 44:24

The Apostle John, at the beginning of his Gospel, declares:

The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15  John (the Baptist)  testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’”) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son— the One who is at the Father’s side— He has revealed Him. – John 1:14-18

Notice that John the Baptist is quoted as saying that Yeshuah is pre-existent. Chronologically, John was older than his cousin Jesus/Yeshuah (see Luke 1:26-45) yet he says that Yeshuah existed before him… This comment from John lends weight to the contention made at the beginning of the Gospel of John which we will discuss later in this tome.

See also Revelation 3:14-22 written to the church at Laodicea, a city quite close to Colossae,  in fact mentioned 3 times in the letter to the Colossian church, and a place where clearly the same heresy concerning Yeshuah’s Deity was active,  wherein Yeshuah identifies Himself as: ““The  Amen , the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation” – Rev. 3:14

This is a very big issue, and here is one reason why I prefer that you not use the NWT.

Consider what EVERY OTHER BIBLE EVER TRANSLATED has to say re: John 1:1-3: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

Now this is what the NWT says: In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence (John 1:1–3 NWT).

Not only is this translation inaccurate, it is deceitful, and dishonest, because it seeks to intentionally change the writer’s statement re: the Deity of Christ (Yeshuah) by calling him a ‘god’ (note the small g’)

3) Is Jesus’ name Jehovah?

In a Word NO. But GOD’s name is not ‘Jehovah’ either. Why do I say that? First off, because there is no ‘J’ or j sound in Hebrew. So Jesus’ name isn’t Jesus either. So where did ‘Jehovah’ come from?

“The word “Jehovah is a hybrid, arising from a misunderstanding. The word “Yahweh,” which more nearly corresponds to the original Hebrew name, is preferable;” –  Bade The Old Testament in the Light of Today (Boston, 1915), pp. 313 f.

And this from the 1911 – Encyclopedia Britannica: “JEHOVAH (YAHWEH 2), in the Bible, the God of Israel.

“Jehovah” is a modern mispronunciation of the Hebrew name, resulting from combining the consonants of that name, Jhvh, with the vowels of the word Adonay, ” Lord,” which the Jews substituted for the proper name in reading the scriptures. In such cases of substitution the vowels of the word which is to be read are written in the Hebrew text with the consonants of the word which is not to be read.”

BritannicaJehovah

 

As such the better question is: Is Jesus/Yeshuah YHWH (Yahweh)?

The answer is YES! Let’s look at Philippians 2:9-11— The Apostle Paul says: Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Once again, we have to, when reading the Bible try to understand what the original hearers/readers would have understood. Paul’s readers (remember there was no new testament at the time of this letter’s writing) would have immediately identified that Paul was calling Jesus GOD, specifically YHWH. Why? Because he is drawing directly from Isaiah 45:20-25 –

20 “Come, gather together, and draw near, you fugitives of the nations. Those who carry their wooden idols, and pray to a god who cannot save, have no knowledge. 21 Speak up and present your case— yes, let them take counsel together. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, Yahweh?* There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me. 22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 It will be said to Me: Righteousness and strength is only in the Lord.” All who are enraged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame. 25 All the descendants of Israel will be justified and find glory through the Lord .

*If the translation that you are using says ‘The LORD’ or something close, here is why:

Whenever the name LORD is printed in small caps in some English translation, it means the NAME: YAHWEH. For ancient Jews (and conservative modern ones), YAHWEH was the Name of names; so sacred that they would not speak it nor would they write it in full (they left out the vowels: YHWH). YAHWEH was the Holy One of Israel. Here is what it looks like:

yhwh-in-english

 

So let’s consider this:

As a Pharisee, (one of the most learned and trained Jews) Paul knew this text very well. He knew exactly what he was saying: Jesus of Nazareth is YAHWEH.

In The Psalms, we find this: “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Yahweh, faithful God.” Psalm 31:5

The Apostle Stephen as he was being killed, said what? – Acts 7:59-60 “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.’”  What did Stephen believe abiout Jesus/Yeshuah, even to his death? That He is YAHWEH

The Prophet Joel says: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom Yahweh calls.” Joel 2:32

The Apostle Paul says:

8  On the contrary, what does it say? ‘The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (he is quoting Deuteronomy 30:14). This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:8-13

The Lord who? Who does Paul say is Lord? What scripture is he clearly referencing? So what is He saying about Jesus/Yeshuah? Right, that HE IS YAHWEH

I hope that at least gets you started.

God Bless You, sister.

Please let me know what other questions you have

Much Love to you,

Pastor J

Debate with a Pro-‘Choice’ person

Recently, I was involved in an online debate with a person who is a Liberal Democrat, and vehemently Pro-‘choice’. In response to one of their posts, I wrote this, and thought I’d share. SDG…

Xxxxxx, please do not be sorry, and though I did not mean to ‘fire you up’, I am glad that you commented. I am sure that there are many other people who frequent my page who feel as you do, but will not comment. You are a surrogate for them today. On their behalf, I thank you.

I want to take a few moments to examine your post, as it covers most of the main Pro-Choice argumentation. Please note that I will use the words baby and fetus, not ‘clump of cells’, not ‘products of conception’

1)    “Pro choice is about a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body.”

This presupposes that the body (the life) growing inside the woman is not in and of itself a person, has no body of their own, as such has no rights, which I get is the main argument. (One woman I read recently straight up called the baby a parasite) but does this then not deprive the female unborn child (never mind the male) the right to decide what to do with her body? If this is fundamentally a women’s rights issue, what of the rights of these women?

2)    “Men have been making decisions for women for most of history.”

This is ‘The War on women’ argument, which is usually paired with the proposed notion that abortion (aka reproductive rights) is the way to cure this. (For clarity’s sake, I am aware that the term ‘reproductive rights’ encompasses a variety of things, however, most often when I see/read/hear the term used, it centers around abortion)

I respectfully disagree. In fact, I would propose to you that the real war on women is gendercide, in that the majority of abortions done in places like India & China for example, are sex selection abortions, and it is the female babies that are killed.

http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/pub/faculty/sumon/sexabortions_india.pdf

http://www.allgirlsallowed.org/gendercide-china-statistics

This argument, (much like the completely fallacious and incendiary ‘College rape culture’ claim) is used to make the claim that today in America women are patriarchally besieged, unable to decide who to sleep with and when, and what methods of contraception to use. Is that what is really being said?

3)    “So if you don’t get pregnant, then please don’t weigh in on this issue.”

This is equivalent to: ‘If you’re not X, you can’t have an opinion on X involved issues.’  It is a tactic used to silence any opposing viewpoints, thereby killing conversation and/or debate. It assumes that people cannot show/have empathy, and it is extremely unfair and problematic. We see this very mindset working division and strife in our country right now, when it comes to matters of epidermis, melanin, and the associated difficulties… There are many good people afraid to speak on issues that they care deeply about because they are afraid of being labeled, bullied, etc. It is sad and ridiculous.

So, as the son of a woman, the husband of a woman, the brother of a woman, the father of a woman, the uncle of a woman, cousin to many women, heck, as a person, I think that I am entitled both to a) Have an opinion and b) voice it. Just as everyone else is free to either agree or disagree. Why would anyone think otherwise?

4)    “You have no idea what it means to have to make that choice.”

Actually, you’d be surprised.

5)     “And what happens to an unwanted child once they are born? Do We think about that? Does the government care about whether they are housed, fed, clothed, educated, sent to prison, sick? I think not.”

This is the ‘It’s better to kill it now than to have it suffer later’ argument. On the surface, it sounds almost empathetic, even caring, but in reality, is it? This is the logic that causes 90% of babies with Down’s syndrome to be aborted. It is akin to theAktion T4 program. Which was started in 1939 to euthanize “incurably ill, physically or mentally disabled, emotionally distraught, and elderly people.” From 1939 to 1945 some 200,000 people met their end in this way.

Is it right to deprive a human being of life, on the chance that they may suffer later? Do you think that, given the choice, the nearly 60 million children aborted in the US since 1973 would have voted to be killed? I think not.

6)     “Respectfully, men have no right to decide or to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her body.”

It’s not an issue of legislation Xxxxxx. As Mrs. Clinton rightly says: These are the laws in our country (like them or not).  I would note though, that 38 states have fetal homicide laws, in those states, the law also says that if someone kills a pregnant woman they have killed two persons. Why is that? It is the undeniable fact of the personhood of the fetus, the personhood of the baby…

7)    “It’s her body AND for that matter, her soul to do what she wishes. I’m a social worker and I’ve seen what happens to these kids and overburdened and under resourced families.”

I am well aware that nearly 40% of the abortions performed nationally are women who are in or close to poverty. This is true, and lamentable. I am also aware that in NYC, black people are 25% of the population, but have 61% of the abortions. How is this explainable when free birth control and all kinds of sex education materials are readily available for free, abundant in schools, pharmacies, etc.?  How is it at all explainable that once again (as of the most recent data, 2014) More black children are aborted (27,367) than born( 23,680)  in NYC?  – https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/vs/2014sum.pdf

What this means is that abortion is being used as ‘birth control’, but I would argue that feticide is not birth control, it is population control.

Interesting that you would mention the soul. In my ‘line of work’, I have also had to deal with broken women unable to forgive themselves sometimes decades after abortions, (sometimes multiple ones) some of whom mark the days annually because they were unable escape the reality of the abortion: At the end of every abortion, someone is dead. Not a clump, not by-products, but a person. A person, innocent, full of potential and purpose, is dead. We all know this, no matter how hard we try to redefine, or change the terminology.

Or what of the women who had safe, legal abortions but were unable to carry to term later (there are more than you think, and no one talks about them, because of the ‘safe legal and rare’ narrative.) What of these completely preventable tragedies?

8)    “Are you willing to adopt some of these kids? Sorry. This fires me up.”

I’ve already been informed that I did not make enough to adopt, and then when I did, that we were too old.  We talked about this very thing last week, and at this point, have given up.Let me say this, and then I’ll stop:

This issue is not simply a women’s rights issue. It is a people issue. It is a human rights issue, and it is one that impacts most people very strongly. Why? Because again, we know what we’re really talking about: The taking of a life. Abortion is the purposed, intentional, taking of a human life.

In order to make the truth of this fact less repulsive, less fundamentally disquieting, we must dehumanize the baby. This is not an uncommon methodology; we do it all the time. Human beings know that others are human, just like dogs can spot eachother a block away, in a rainstorm at midnight. We just KNOW. So we have to make the person an ‘other’. In order to hate, enslave, fear, kill, we have to seek out the ‘otherness’ of that person. It temporarily assuages our primal discomfort…

Life is chock full of situations, circumstances and issues. That is the reality, and if you live long enough, you’ll have trouble. I just cannot ever agree, that imposing the death penalty on a person, especially an innocent one, ever solves the problem.

Looking forward to your response…

(I did eventually get a response. A response that bypassed all of my points and went right to feelings. There is no way to reason past that, so it ended.)