Go Through The Bible In A Year

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Sa:ji:sdo:de
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Hello; and welcome to a collection of odds and ends from the Bible that come in handy now and then for just about everybody.

The Difference Between The Old Testament And The New

This major division in the Bible is primarily editorial; viz: it's man-made instead of God-made; but the division is pretty harmless and actually quite useful.

In a nutshell:

1• The simplest difference is chronological, i.e. the Old Testament focuses upon the Jews' religious history prior to Christ's birth, while the New focuses upon the world's introduction to Christianity in connection with Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.

2• "Old Testament" refers to the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

3• "New Testament" refers to the covenant that Yhvh's people will eventually agree upon with God as per Jeremiah 31:31-34.

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The Everlasting Gospel

This particular gospel is a bounce from the first chapter of Genesis.

†. Rev 14:6-7 . . And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the everlasting gospel to preach to the people who dwell on the earth-- to every nation, tribe, language, and people. Fear God! he shouted. Give glory to Him! For the time has come when He will sit as judge. Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all the springs of water!

It's easy to mistake the everlasting gospel for the gospel of Christ but neither Christ's name nor his crucifixion and resurrection are anywhere in the angel's message.

The everlasting gospel is very elementary. Pretty much all it says is:

1• There is a supreme being.

2• He deserves respect.

3• There's a frightful reckoning looming on the horizon, and

4• The cosmos-- all of its forms of life, matter, and energy --is the product of intelligent design.

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Light

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

The creation of light was an intricate process. First God had to create particulate matter, and along with those particles their specific properties, including mass. Then He had to invent the laws of nature to govern how matter behaves in combination with and/or in the presence of, other kinds of matter in order to generate electromagnetic radiation.

Light's properties are a bit curious. It exists as waves in a variety of lengths and frequencies, and also as theoretical particles called photons. And though light has no mass; it's influenced by gravity. Light is also quite invisible. For example: you can see the Sun when you look at it, and you can see the Moon when sunlight reflects from its surface. But none of the Sun's light is visible in the void between them and that's because light isn't matter; it's energy.

The same laws that make it possible for matter to generate electromagnetic radiation also make other conditions possible too; e.g. fire, wind, water, ice, soil, rain, life, centrifugal force, thermodynamics, fusion, dark energy, gravity, atoms, organic molecules, magnetism, color, radiation, refraction, reflection, high energy X-rays and gamma rays, temperature, pressure, force, inertia, sound, friction, and electricity; et al. So the creation of light was a pretty big deal; yet Genesis scarcely gives its origin passing mention.

†. Gen 1:1-2 . .The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep

That statement reveals the planet's condition prior to the creation of light; and no mystery there because sans the natural laws that make light possible, the earth's particulate matter would never have coalesced into something coherent.

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

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

But when it comes to light they choke; finding it impossible within themselves to believe that Genesis just might be consistent in its description of the creative process. I mean, if all those other things are natural, why wouldn't light be natural too? In point of fact, without natural light, planet Earth would become a cold dead world right quick.

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The Length Of A Creation Day


†. Gen 1:5b . . And there was evening and there was morning, a first Day.

According to Gen 1:24-31, God created humans and all land animals on the sixth day; which has to include dinosaurs because on no other day did God create land animals but the sixth.

Hard-core Bible thumpers insist the days of creation were 24-hour calendar days in length; but scientific dating methods have easily proven that dinosaurs preceded human life by several million years. So then, in my estimation, the days of creation should be taken to represent epochs of indeterminable length rather than 24-hour calendar days.

That's not an unreasonable estimation; for example:

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven." (Gen 2:4)

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

Another useful hint as to the length of the days of creation is located in the sixth chapter of Genesis where Noah is instructed to coat the interior and exterior of his ark with a substance the Bible calls "pitch". The Hebrew word is kopher (ko'-fer) which indicates a material called bitumen: a naturally occurring kind of asphalt formed from the remains of ancient, microscopic algae (diatoms) and other once-living things. In order for bitumen to be available in Noah's day, the organisms from whence it was formed had to have existed on the earth several thousands of years before him.

The discovery of fossilized sea lilies near the summit of Mt Everest proves that the Himalayan land mass has not always been mountainous; but at one time was the floor of an ancient sea bed. This is confirmed by the "yellow band" below Everest's summit consisting of limestone: a type of rock made from calcite sediments containing the skeletal remains of countless trillions of organisms who lived, not on dry land, but in an ocean. The tectonic forces that pushed the Himalayans up from below sea level to their current height work very slowly and require untold eons to accomplish their task.

So then, why can't Bible thumpers accept a six-epoch explanation? Because they're hung up on the expression "evening and morning"

The interesting thing is: there were no physical evenings and mornings till the fourth day when the Sun was created and brought on line. So I suggest that the expression "evening and morning" is simply a convenient way to indicate the simultaneous wrap of one epoch and the beginning of another.

Anyway; this "day" thing has been a chronic problem for just about everybody who takes Genesis seriously. It's typically assumed that the days of creation consisted of twenty-four hours apiece; so we end up stumped when trying to figure out how to cope with the estimated 4.5 billion-year age of the earth, and factor in the various eras, e.g. Triassic, Jurassic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, Cretaceous, etc, plus the ice ages and the mass extinction events.

It just never seems to occur to us that it might be okay in some cases to go ahead and think outside the box. When we do that-- when we allow ourselves to think outside the box --that's when we begin to really appreciate the contributions science has made towards providing modern men a window into the Earth's amazing past.

Galileo believed that science and religion are allies rather than enemies-- two different languages telling the same story. In other words: science and religion compliment each other-- science answers questions that religion doesn't answer, and religion answers questions that science cannot answer; viz: science and religion are not enemies; no, to the contrary, science and religion assist each other in their respective quests to get to the bottom of some of the cosmos' greatest mysteries.

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To Infinity And Beyond

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

Celestial objects require some special consideration because of their apparent distances and the apparent time it takes for their light to reach the Earth.

For example: last decade, an analysis of the light that Hubble telescope detected coming from a distant galaxy named A1689-zD1 suggested it's apparent distance at approximately 12.8 billion light years.

Chronologically; the cosmos' creator began constructing the Earth before He began constructing the stars; which indicates that as a physical structure, the Earth should be older than A1689-zD1. But geologists have pretty good reason to believe the Earth to be only something like 4.5 billion years old; while A1689-zD1 appears to be a minimum 12.8 billion years old.

So then, it seems reasonable to conclude that A1689-zD1 is Earth's senior by at least 8.3 billion years. But there's a rub. Light's journey through space is complicated by some curious mysteries.

1• The available data suggests that the universe is expanding in all directions. And not only is it expanding; but the velocity of its expansion isn't steady, nor is it slowing down as might be expected; but rather, contrary to common sense and Newton's standard laws of gravity; the velocity of the cosmos' expansion is accelerating due to a mysterious force which, for convenience sake, has been labeled dark energy.

Plus, the expansion isn't uniform. Galaxies farthest from our own appear to be moving away faster than those closer in; which means of course that viewed from those farthest galaxies; our own would appear to be moving away faster than those closer in because the expansion is moving us too.

Ergo: many of the galaxies seen by powerful telescopes are quite a bit more spread out now than when they were born. How much more I don't know; but if the age of the Earth is really and truly 4.5 billion years, then it's my guess the difference is significant.

2• Light has no detectable mass, yet is effected by gravity; so that light's path through the cosmos is not always the shortest distance between two points; which suggests to me that A1689-zD1 is nearer than its estimated 12.8 billion light years.

3• Although the speed of light is constant in a vacuum, the void is a bit more complicated due to the fact that it's state isn't steady. There are forces in space influencing not only light's path, but also its velocity. There was a time when scientists sincerely believed that although light could be slowed down, it could not be sped up; now they're not so sure.

4• Light doesn't decay. In other words: there is no detectable difference in age between the cosmos' first light, and the light emitted by the screen of an iPhone.

5• The more that scientists study the cosmos, the more things they discover about it that cause them to question what they believed in the past. Today's scientific truth is only valid until another truth comes along to cancel it.

All the above suggests to me that A1689-zD1's apparent distance has no bearing upon its age; viz: the estimated age of the cosmos is only loosely theoretical rather than actual. In other words: current dating methods are unreliable and subject to revision. It's very possibly true that the Earth really did precede the stars just as the Bible says.

Now; a consideration that shouldn't be overlooked is that Gen 1:16 refers only to stars visible to the author's naked eye, which would limit the category to those of the Milky Way. In point of fact, as recent as the beginning of the last century, most astronomers sincerely believed that the Milky Way contained the sum total of all the stars in the universe; up until Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies-- now estimated to number as many as 200 billion in the observable universe.

God challenged Abraham to count the stars (Gen 15:5). But of course without optical assistance, Abraham was limited to the stars of the Milky Way; whose apparent diameter is estimated to be a mere 100-150,000 light years.

The final say of course is the Bible. According to Gen 1:15, stars illuminated the earth on the day that God made them, which was prior to His creation of humanity. In other words: it's not unreasonable to believe that God didn't wait till starlight reached the earth on its own, but punched it straight through in order to begin illuminating the earth immediately.

But what's the point of putting all those objects out there in space? Well, for one thing, they're not only brain teasers; but they're actually quite pretty. Celestial objects decorate the night sky like the ornamentation people put up during holidays. The night sky would sure be a bore if it was totally black. Decorated with stars; the night sky is like a beautiful tapestry, or a celestial Sistine Chapel.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork." (Ps 19:2)

Stars makes better sense that way than to try and find some other meaning for them. I believe the universe is simply a magnificent work of art-- just as intriguing, if not more so, than the works of Picasso, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Monet, Vermeer, and da Vinci --testifying to the genius of an engineer-artist without peer.

"For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made." (Rom 1:19-20)

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Day And Night

†. Gen 1:4b-5a . . God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.

Day and Night simply label two distinct, and opposite, conditions-- the absence of light, and/or the absence of darkness. Labeling those conditions may seem like a superfluous detail, but when analyzing the chronology of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, it's essential to keep days and nights separate. When people attempt to define "day" as a twenty-four hour amalgam of light and darkness, they invariably come up with some rather convoluted interpretations of Matt 12:40.

†. Gen 1:14 . . God said: Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to distinguish Day from Night

On the first day; God defined Day as a condition of light; and defined Night as a condition of darkness. Here, it's further defined that Day, as pertains to life on Earth, is when the sun is up; and Night is when the sun is down.

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

†. Gen 1:15-18a . . God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to distinguish light from darkness.

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

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

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

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

So then, when Christ predicted his death to last for three days and three nights, he obviously meant the hours of daytime and nighttime as they were understood when he was here otherwise the people with whom he rubbed shoulders wouldn't have known when to expect his crucified body to recover.


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

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

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The Image And Likeness Of God

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

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

"God is spirit" (John 4:24)

Spirit isn't solid. (Luke 24:36-39)

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

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

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

Humanity's right to dominate the earth is where we find its image and likeness of God. In other words: Man's image and likeness of God is all about sovereignty, power, control, and authority. (cf. Gen 44:18)

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

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

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

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

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Big Daddy

The Phylogenetic Tree Of Life is an interesting scientific diagram that traces all forms of life back to a singular genetic heritage regardless of species. In other words; if you started with a raccoon, and followed it's branch down the tree far enough, you'd eventually intersect with another branch that you could then trace to mushrooms. The tree is sort of the equivalent of a Big Bang of living things.

The branch on that tree that interests me the most is the one that traces human life. According to the diagram; any two people you might select-- no matter what their age, race, or gender --if traced back far enough, can eventually be linked to a common ancestor; which of course is no surprise to Bible students.

†. Gen 2:21-23 . .Yhvh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said: This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

The Hebrew for "rib" in that passage is is tsela' (tsay-law') and Gen 2:21-23 contains the only two places in the entire Old Testament where it's translated with an English word representing a skeletal bone. In the other twenty-nine places, it's translated "side"

In other words: Eve wasn't constructed directly from the dust of the earth as was Adam. She was constructed from a human tissue sample amputated from Adam's body; ergo: Eve got her flesh and her life from Adam; consequently any and all human life produced by Eve's flesh is Adam's flesh.

†. Gen 3:20 . . Adam named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all people everywhere.

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

It was apparently the creator's deliberate design that all human life be biologically related to a sole source of human life-- the one and only human life that God created directly from the earth's dust; viz: Adam.

So then; it is not quite accurate to say that Christ didn't have a human father because if Christ is biologically related to his mother, and if his mother is biologically related to Eve, then Christ is biologically related to Adam.

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Why Adam Didn't Drop Dead

†. Gen 2:15-17 . .The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden you are free to eat; but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for in the day you eat of it, you shall die.

That passage has always been an embarrassment for Bible thumpers because Adam didn't drop dead the instant he tasted the forbidden fruit. In point of fact, he continued to live outside the garden of Eden for another 800 years after the birth of his son Seth. (Gen 5:4)

So; is there a reasonable explanation for this apparent discrepancy?

Well; first off let me point out that in order for the threat to resonate in Adam's thinking; it had to be related to death as Adam understood death in his day, rather than death as the Bible thumpers understand it in their day. In other words: Adam didn't expect to die spiritually. No, he expected to die normally; viz: physically; like as in pass away.

How can I be so sure that God meant normal death instead of spiritual death? Because according to Gen 3:19 that's how it worked out; and to make sure Adam stayed normally dead, God blocked his access to the tree of life. (Gen 3:22-24)

Anyway; the trick is: Adam wasn't told he would die the instant he tasted the fruit. God's exact words were "in the day"

Well; according to Gen 2:4, the Hebrew word for "day" is a bit ambiguous. It can easily indicate a period of time much, much longer than 24 hours' viz; the "day" of Adam's death began the moment he ate the fruit.

That was a milestone in human history. Up till Adam tasted the fruit, the only days on record were the six of creation, and the one when God ceased creating. Adam inaugurated a new day by tasting the fruit-- the day of death.

"Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men" (Rom 5:12)

Well; like Jack Palance's character Curly in the movie City Slickers said: "The day ain't over yet"

†. Ecc 7:2 . . It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of gaiety, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this seriously.

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Why Everyone Has To Die At Least Once

Prior to Moses, an official code of law with the power to condemn the entire human race by the act of just one man did not exist.

†. Rom 3:19-20 . . Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

†. Rom 5:13-14 . . Before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam.

The answer is: they all had to die because of Adam. His disobedience in the matter of the forbidden fruit effected his entire posterity: both the good and the bad; the young and the old.

This is really difficult for some people to get their heads around. Nevertheless, it's very important to accept it whether one understands it or not because Paul applies this principle in his effort to explain why it is that believers never have to worry about being condemned for their sins. (Rom 5:12-21)


NOTE: Opponents are often quick to point out that Ezek 18:20 says that children don't share their father's guilt. But hey, which came first? Adam or Ezekiel? So then, since Adam's incident came along many years before Ezekiel's prophecy, then God was at liberty back then to reckon Adam's posterity as joint principals in his act of disobedience.

†. Rom 5:12 . . Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin; and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.

"all sinned" has no reference to all's own personal sins; just Adam's, i.e. his sin became everyone's sin, even everyone yet to be born.

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Why Cain Was Rejected

†. Gen 4:2b . . Abel became a keeper of sheep, and Cain became a tiller of the soil.

Both men worked at honorable professions and their skills were essential to the Adams' survival. Humans at this time were vegetarians so Cain farmed and raised the family's food; while Abel kept them clothed and shod by tending flocks for leather; and possibly fleece too.

†. Gen 4:3-4a . . In the course of time, Cain brought an offering to The Lord from the fruit of the soil; and Abel, for his part, brought the choicest of the firstlings of his flock.

There's no indication in this scene suggesting that the items they brought were sacrifices for sin. The Hebrew word for "offering" is from minchah (min-khaw') and means: to apportion, i.e. bestow; a donation; euphemistically, tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary).

Since the offerings were minchah type offerings-- which are essentially gifts rather than atonements --it would be wrong to insist Abel slew his firstling and/or burned it to ashes. In point of fact, holocaust offerings are indicated by the word 'olah (o-law') instead of minchah; for example Gen 8:20 and Gen 22:2.

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

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

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

I think it's safe to assume the brothers were no longer boys, but rather, responsible men in this particular scene because God treated them that way. This incident is not said to be the very first time they brought gifts to God. The brothers (and very likely their parents too), probably had been bringing gifts for many years; ever since they were of age. And up to this point, apparently both men were doing everything right and God was just as much pleased with Cain and his gifts as He was with Abel and his gifts.

But where did they get this religion of theirs? Well; wasn't Abel a prophet?

"Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary." (Luke 11:50-51a)

It's evident then that the offerings were a legitimate part of a God-given religion rather than a pagan ritual. (cf. Heb 11:4)

†. Gen 4:4b-5a . .The Lord paid heed to Abel and his offering, but to Cain and his offering He paid no heed.

The language and grammar of that verse indicate that God not only snubbed Cain's offering; but also Cain himself; so that his offering wasn't the only issue: Cain himself was an issue too.

Cain was of a good family. He wasn't the product of poverty or an inner city barrio or dilapidated public housing. His mother wasn't cruel and/or thoughtless, nor did she neglect or abandon him. He wasn't in a gang, didn't carry a church key, a shank, an ice pick, or a gun; didn't smoke weed, drink, snort coke, take meth, gamble or chase women.

Cain worked for a living in an honest profession. He wasn't a thief, wasn't a predatory lender, wasn't a Wall Street barracuda, a dishonest investment banker, or an unscrupulous social network mogul. He wasn't a cheap politician, wasn't a terrorist, wasn't on the take, wasn't lazy, nor did he associate with the wrong crowd. He was very religious and worshipped the exact same God that his brother worshipped, and the rituals he practiced were correct and timely.

The man did everything a model citizen is supposed to do; yet he, and subsequently his gift, were soundly rejected. What?

Well; for one thing; at this point in his life, in spite of appearances; Cain was actually impious. (1John 3:12)

In what way was he impious? Well, my first guess would be friction between him and his brother. It is unacceptable to worship God while the worshipper's relationship with their brother is dysfunctional.

"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Matt 5:23-24)

†. Gen 4:5b-7a . . Cain was much distressed and his face fell. And the Lord said to Cain: Why are you distressed, and why is your face fallen? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?

Cain knew the drill; viz: it's conduct first and worship second. That can be readily seen played out in the first chapter of Isaiah where Yhvh's people are depicted practicing their God-given worship to perfection. They were attending Temple on a timely basis, praying up a storm, offering all the correct sacrifices and offerings, observing the Sabbath, and all the holy days of obligation. But God soundly rejected all of that because their conduct was unbecoming.

Bottom line is: Abel and his offering were acceptable because Abel's conduct was acceptable; while Cain and his offering were unacceptable because Cain's conduct was unacceptable. So then, from Cain and Abel we learn that the key to acceptable worship is acceptable conduct. The two are joined at the hip; so to speak. And that being the case; I'd have to say that there are a number of Christians attending church every Sunday morning who really ought to stay home and not come back until they clean up the things in their lives that they know very well are rubbing God the wrong way.

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

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Why God Didn't Execute Cain For Murder

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

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

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

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

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From Whence Cain Got A Wife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How The Critters Got To Noah

†. Gen 6:3a . . And Yhvh said: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever. Yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.

Some feel that God set the limits of human longevity in that verse. But people still continued to live long lives for a great number of years afterwards. Even Abraham, who lived many, many years after the Flood, didn't die till he was 175 years old. No; it's far more reasonable to conclude that God was announcing a deadline; viz: the antediluvians had 120 years left to get ready to meet their maker. But you think that alarmed anybody? Heck no. They went right on; business as usual.

"And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:26-27)

The time of God's patience is sometimes long; but never unlimited; viz: reprieves are not acquittals-- though God bear a great while, He never bears forever.

†. Gen 6:12-14 . . God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah: I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark

†. Gen 6:17 . . For My part, I am about to bring the Flood-- waters upon the earth --to destroy all flesh under the sky in which there is breath of life; everything on earth shall perish.

†. Gen 6:19-20 . . And of all that lives, of all flesh, you shall take two of each into the ark to keep alive with you; they shall be male and female. From birds of every kind, cattle of every kind, every kind of creeping thing on earth, two of each shall come to you to stay alive.

Fortunately Noah didn't have to go on safari to round up his passengers. God said two of each "shall come to you" (cf. Gen 7:9, Gen 7:15) which implies of course that species who failed to come got left behind and went extinct in the Flood. There was plenty of time for them to make it because Noah was 120 years building the ark and getting it ready.

A man named Dave Kunst walked across today's world in just a little over 4 years from June 1970 to October 1974. Kunst walked a total of 14,450 miles, crossing four continents and thirteen countries, wearing out 21 pair of shoes, and walking more than 20 million steps. That was an odd thing to do, but does prove it can be done in a relatively short time; so 120 years was plenty enough for all the critters to make it on over to Noah's place in time for the Folly's maiden voyage.

If the ark were to launch in 2017, critters would have been on the move towards it since 1897-- six years before the Wright Brothers historical flight, and fifteen years before the Titanic foundered --and probably reproduced many times along the way since there are not all that many species that live to see 120 years of age.

But how did they cross oceans? In the past that was doubtless a thorny theological problem. But with today's knowledge of the geological science of plate tectonics, the answer is as simple as two plus two. Scientists now know that continental land masses can be shifted, and in point of fact the dry parts brought so close together as to form one single super continent.

Scientists also know about subduction and magma hot spots and pressure points that can raise and lower the earth's crust like a service elevator; for example according to Gen 14:3, the area now known as the Dead Sea was once known as the Vale of Siddim. Sometime in the distant past the earth's crust rose in that region, blocking the Jordan River's natural drainage into the gulf of Aqaba; thus trapping it's waters in a huge basin from which they cannot escape. Subduction causes the earth to wrinkle, bulge, and form mountain ranges and hill country.

"He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever. Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they fled; at the sound of Thy thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose; the valleys sank down to the place which Thou didst establish for them. Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over; that they may not return to cover the earth." (Ps 104:5-9)

That portion of Psalm 104 is probably speaking of Gen 1:9-10. It's handy for showing that God is capable of molding the Earth's lithosphere into any geological configuration He pleases to push sea beds up and form land bridges; thus expediting migrations from all over the world over to Noah's diggings.

This idea is by no means novel. For example: in 2014, a 9,000 year-old stone structure utilized to capture caribou was discovered 120 feet below the surface of Lake Huron; and is the most complex structure of its kind in the Great Lakes region.

The structure consists of two parallel lanes of stones leading to a cul-de-sac. Within the lanes are three circular hunting blinds where prehistoric hunters hid while taking aim at caribou. The structure's size and design suggest that hunting was probably a group effort, with one group driving caribou down the lanes towards the blinds while another group waited to attack.

The site-- discovered by using sonar technology on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, 35 miles southeast of Alpena Michigan --was once a dry land corridor connecting northeastern Michigan to southern Ontario.

Ten miles off the coast of Alabama in 60 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, are the remains of a Bald Cypress grove that's estimated to be eight to fourteen thousand years old; testifying that the earth's topography was quite a bit different in the ancient past.

Actually the Earth's mantle is one continuous (albeit fractured) shell anyway, although its profile is so irregular that dry land sticks up above sea level at various high spots; which is a good thing because if the mantle were smooth, the world would be quite flooded all the time. In point of fact, if the Earth's mantle were perfectly smooth, like a billiard ball, there's enough indigenous water on it to cover the crust to a depth of 9,000 feet of water. That would be equivalent to a global ocean approximately 1.7 miles deep.

Geological processes normally take thousands of years to accomplish, but those processes can be sped up considerably by the cosmos' creator, who has absolute control over everything-- not just the earth's geological processes; but all the rest of nature's processes too.

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The Fate Of Noah's Ark

†. Gen 8:3b . . At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters diminished, so that in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

The precise topographic location, where the ark went aground, was not really up on a specific mountain by the name of Ararat nor up on any other mountain for that matter. The Hebrew word for "mountains" in Gen 8:4 is haareey which is the plural of har (har). It doesn't always mean prominent land masses like Everest or McKinley; especially when it's plural. Har can also mean a range of mountains like the Pyrenees bordering Spain and France and/or a range of hills or highlands; like the region of Israel where Miriam's cousin Elizabeth lived.

"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth." (Luke 1:39-40)

In California, where I lived as a kid, the local elevation 35 miles east of San Diego, in the town of Alpine, was about 2,000 feet above sea level. There were plenty of meadows with pasture and good soil. In fact much of it was very good ranchland and quite a few people in that area raised horses and cows. We ourselves kept about five hundred chickens, and a few goats and calves. We lived in the mountains of San Diego; but we didn't live up on top of one of its mountains like Viejas, Lyon's, or Cuyamaca.

Another inhabited region in the continental U.S. that's elevated is the area of Denver Colorado; which is located on the western edge of the Great Plains near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is a whole mile above sea level-- 5,280 feet. However, Denver, even though so high above sea level, isn't located on the tippy top of a mountain, nor even on the side of one; it's just located up on high ground.

The ark contained the only surviving souls of man and animal on the entire planet. Does it really make good sense to strand them up on a mountain peak where they might risk death and injury descending it?

When my wife and I visited the San Diego zoo together back in the early 1980's, we noticed that the Giraffes' area had no fence around it. The tour guide told us the Giraffes' enclosure doesn't need a fence because their area is up on a plateau 3 feet high. The Giraffes don't try to escape because they're afraid of heights. There's just no way Giraffes could've climbed down off of Turkey's Mount Ararat. It's way too steep and rugged. Those poor timid creatures would've been stranded up there and died; and so would hippos, elephants, and flightless birds.

The Hebrew word for "Ararat" is from 'Ararat (ar-aw-rat') which appears three more times in the Bible: one at 2Kgs 19:36-37, one at Isa 37:36-38, and one at Jer 51:27. Ararat is always the country of Armenia: never a specific peak by the same name.

So; where is the ark now? Well; according to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the whiz kids call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box. So most of the lumber and/or logs used in its construction would've been nice and straight; which is perfect for putting together houses, fences, barns, corrals, stables, gates, hog troughs, mangers, and outhouses.

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

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Eating Meat

†. Gen 9:1-4 . . Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands.

. . . Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

Blessings should never be construed as commandments and/or laws and edicts. In other words: God gave Noah and his sons the green light to eat meat, but He didn't say they had to.

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


FYI: Prior to the Flood, humans were vegans. Afterwards; they were given permission to become omnivorous. People are often curious about that.

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

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

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

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

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Abraham And Hagar

†. Gen 21:10-12 . . Sarah said to Abraham: Cast out that slave-woman and her son, for the son of that slave shall not share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.

The common laws of Abraham's day (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi and the laws of Lipit-Ishtar) entitled Ishmael to the lion's share of Abraham's estate because he was Abraham's firstborn biological son. However, there was a clause in the laws stipulating that if a slave-owner emancipated his child's in-slavery biological mother; then the mother and the child would lose any and all claims to a paternal property settlement with the slave-owner.

The trick is: Abraham couldn't just send Hagar packing, nor sell her, for the clause to take effect; no, he had to emancipate her; which he did.

†. Gen 21:14 . . Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy.

The phrase "sent her off" is from the Hebrew word shalach (shaw-lakh') which is a versatile word that speaks of divorce as well as the emancipation of slaves. In other words: Hagar wasn't banished as is commonly assumed; no, she was set free; and it's very important to nail that down in our thinking because if Abraham had merely banished Hagar, then her son Ishmael would have retained his legal status as Abraham's eldest son.

Later, when Abraham was ordered to sacrifice Isaac; God referred to him as the patriarch's only son.

†. Gen 22:2 . .Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.

†. Gen 22:12 . . Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.

Biologically, Ishmael retained his status as one of Abraham's sons (Gen 25:9) but not legally; no, his legal association with Abraham was dissolved when the old boy emancipated Ishmael's mother; and I sincerely believe that is precisely how Gen 22:2, Gen 22:12, and Heb 11:17 ought to be understood.

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Abraham And Ex Post Facto

†. Deut 29:13-14 . . Not only with you am I making this covenant and this oath, but with those standing here with us today before the Lord, our God, and [also] with those who are not here with us, this day.

It's sincerely believed by some that the statement above serves to include Abraham in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But the statement below seems to exclude him.

†. Deut 5:2-3 . .The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our forefathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, we, all of whom are here alive today.

I'm pretty sure that Abraham was excluded from the covenant. The reason I feel that way is because God promised to curse whosoever curses Abraham.

†. Gen 12:3 . . I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse,

The problem is: Abraham was married to a half sister (Gen 20:12)

The covenant prohibits marrying, and/or sleeping with, one's half sister. (Lev 18:9, Lev 20:17).

Under the terms and conditions of the covenant; men who sleep with their sisters are cursed the moment they do so because "cursed be he" is grammatically present tense; no delay and no waiting period; viz: the curse is immediate.

†. Deut 27:22 . . Cursed be he who lies with his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter.

†. Deut 27:26 . . Cursed be he who does not uphold the words of this Torah, to fulfill them.

Well; it seems to me that were God to slam Abraham with a curse for sleeping with his sister, then God would be obligated to slam Himself with a curse in return as per Gen 12:3.

Abraham enjoyed quite an advantage. He had a certain kind of immunity. In other words, seeing as how Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were instituted long after Abraham passed away; then none of the curses listed at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69 applied to him.

†. Gal 3:17 . .The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

The "promise" in question reads like this:

"I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you." (Gen 12:2-3)

Additionally:

"And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a god." (Gen 17:8)

Q: What about Genesis 26:4-5? doesn't that prove Abraham was included in the covenant?

A: The passage in question reads like this:

"I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws."

Gen 26:4-5 reveals that the promises God made to Abraham as per Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 17:8 were not sustained by Abraham's piety; rather, Abraham's piety up to that point deserved them. In other words: once God made those promises, neither Abraham nor his posterity can ever lose them because they are unconditional

†. Gal 3:18 . . For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

That should be really good news to Abraham's posterity because although the law has a marked effect upon their occupation of the land, it has no effect upon their entitlement to it.

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Who/What The Firstborn Is

†. Col 1:15 . . He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Christ wasn't even the one born first in the human family let alone the entire creation so what gives here?

Well; firstborn is just as much a rank as it is a birth order; and though the latter is set in biological concrete; the title, and it's advantages, are transferable to a younger sibling; e.g. from Esau to Jacob (Gen 25:23) from Reuben to Joseph (Gen 49:3-4, 1Chr 5:1) and from Manasseh to Ephraim (Gen 48:13-14). This situation can lead to some interesting ramifications; for example:

†. Matt 22:41-46 . . Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question; saying: What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He? They said to Him: The son of David. He said to them: Then how does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord" saying: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand until I put thine enemies beneath thy feet. If David then calls Him "Lord" how is He his son?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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David's Little Boy

Long story short: David breached the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy by committing the capital crimes of premeditated murder and adultery (2Sam 11:1-2Sam 12:23). As bad as those two breaches are; what really rattled heaven's cage was that David's conduct was an embarrassment.

†. 2Sam 12:14a . . Because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of The Lord to blaspheme,

What might the nature of that blasphemy be? Well behavior like David's causes the world to question the wisdom of Yhvh's choice of a people for His name. That's a very common form of blaspheme: it goes on all the time. (e.g. Isa 62:5, Rom 2:24)

†. 2Sam 12:14b-18 . . the child also that is born to you shall surely die . . .The Lord struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick . . .Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died.

How was that fair? Well; it wasn't meant to be fair to the boy; it was meant to be fair to David. His little boy was just collateral damage.

†. Ex 34:6-7 . . Then Yhvh passed by in front of Moses and proclaimed: Yhvh, Yhvh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth; who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished: visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.

It is apparently God's prerogative to get back at people by going after their posterity and/or the people they govern.

There's a horrific example of collateral damage located at Num 16:25-34. Another is the Flood. No doubt quite a few underage children drowned in that event due to their parents' wickedness. The same happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah, and Ham's punishment for humiliating Noah was a curse upon his son Canaan, and during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against the man's firstborn son along with all those of his subjects.

The grand-daddy of all collateral damages is everybody has to die because the human race's progenitor disobeyed God in the very beginning. (Rom 5:12-18)

Interesting isn't it? There are times when Heaven's anger seems to come out of the blue; but if truth be known; sometimes it actually comes out of the past; for example:

†. 2Sam 21:1 . . Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the Lord. And the Lord said: It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.

Joshua agreed to a non-aggression pact with the Gibeonites during the conquest of Canaan (Josh 9:3-16). Saul, when king, dishonored the pact. He apparently got away with it; but not his countrymen, no; God slammed them for what Saul did; and that posthumously.

Moral of the story: The sins of today, jeopardize the lives of tomorrow; and sometimes those lives are very large in number.

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The Meaning Of "Under The Law"

†. Rom 6:14 . . For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

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

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

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

God has to lower the boom on Yhvh's people with any and/or all of the curses listed at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69 for breaching the covenant, but He doesn't have to lower the boom on Christ's followers with those curses because He isn't contracted with them to do so. This is a very important aspect of Christianity.

In a nutshell: where there is no contract, there is no contract to breach; and where there is no law, there is no law to break; and where there is no law to break, there are no indictments. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13)

This principle applies in a really big way to people who have undergone the baptism described at Rom 6:3-11 because it essentially means that they cannot be sent to hell for breaking the Ten Commandments, or any of the other covenanted commandments for that matter.

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Who/What The Schoolmaster Is

†. Gal 3:24 . .The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be acquitted by faith.

The koiné Greek word for "schoolmaster" is paidagogos (pahee-dag-o-gos') which defines not a headmaster, nor a teacher, nor a tutor. It essentially defines a servant whose responsibility it was to their master's children to school. In other words: a sort of chaperone who made sure the kids got there; even if the servant had to take them by the hand to do it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Because human beings are natural-born liars.

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

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

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

A: Nobody can, it's impossible.

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

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

†. Gal 3:24 . .The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be acquitted by faith.

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

†. 1John 2:1-2 . . If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

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


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

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The Flesh

†. Rom 8:13 . . For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

The koiné Greek word for flesh is sarx (sarx); which basically indicates the meaty parts of either man or beast. The meat of the human body would of course include the 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue housed within its bony little skull sufficing for a mind; and it's not all that difficult to tamper with a brain and make its owner quite mindless.

The meaty parts of the human body are the source of a human being's human nature and it isn't all that difficult to define. Webster's says its (1) the ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are common to most people, and (2) the nature of humans; especially the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans.

In a nutshell then: the flesh, as per Rom 8:13, can be concisely defined as that which comes natural to an organic species of life.

Ironically, when God finished assembling the cosmos with its various forms of life, matter, and energy; He pronounced it all not just good; but "very" good. In other words, God was satisfied that the human body came out just exactly as He designed it to come out; but it didn't stay that way.

†. Rom 7:18 . . I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me

When people do something contrary to their own better judgment; it's very common to hear them say "I don't know what came over me". Well; the thing that came over them was their natural will having its own way.

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Leaven

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

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

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

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

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

Old leaven can refer to a batch of dough that's going bad, i.e. fermenting; which, given time, dough will do on its own without the addition of yeast because all flour, no matter how carefully it's milled and packaged, contains a percentage of naturally-occurring fungi. New leaven, then, would refer to a time in the life of the dough before the flour's naturally-occurring fungi has time to spoil the product; for example:

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

That gives an idea of how quickly God moved the people out of Egypt after slaying all the firstborn. They had made unfermented bread for that night's meal in accord with the law of the Passover instituted in the 12th chapter of Exodus.

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

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Eternal Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

The properties of eternal life are probably best understood relative to human life.

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

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

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The Fiery Serpent

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

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

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

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

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

In other words then: Christ's crucifixion is the only God-given rescue from the wrath of God; and when people accept it, then according to John 3:14-17 and John 5:24, they qualify for a transfer from death into life. Those who reject his crucifixion as the only God-given rescue from the wrath of God are already on the docket to face it.

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

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

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When People Obtain Eternal Life

In the passages below, note the grammatical tense of the "have" verbs. They're in the present tense; not future, indicating that believers have eternal life right now-- no delay, and no waiting period.

†. John 3:36 . . He who believes in the Son has eternal life

†. John 6:47 . .Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

†. John 5:24 . .I assure you, those who heed my message, and trust in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from Death into Life.

†. 1John 5:13 . .I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

The possession of eternal life is very crucial because according to God's testimony, as an expert witness in all matters pertaining to eternal life; Christians who currently lack it also lack God's son. In other words: they are currently quite christless.

†. 1John 5:11-12 . . This is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His son. So whoever has God's son has this life; and whosoever does not have this life, does not have His son.

I should think that it goes without saying that christless Christians are in grave danger of the sum of all fears.

†. Rom 8:9 . . If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

How many christless Christians are there? Well; for starters: Roman Catholicism-- known everywhere as the largest single denomination in the world --currently consists of approximately 1.226 billion followers who all, to a man, including the Pope, insist that no one obtains eternal life before they die and cross over to the other side.

Well; that can mean but one thing, and one thing only: seeing as how those 1.226 billion souls are currently lacking eternal life, then according to God's expert testimony they are currently quite christless. And you can safely apply that rule to any, and all, denominations insisting that nobody obtains eternal life before they die and cross over to the other side.

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

Mark Twain

The average John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer is 100% convinced that following the Roman Church's dogma is all the same as following Christ's dogma. Supposing their confidence is misplaced?

It would mean that the 1.226 billion Catholics throughout the world currently following Rome are actually following a Judas goat. That would be a human tragedy behind words; not only for the Catholics alive now, but also for those who have gone before.

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How Christ Is Related To Adam

I was taught in catechism that seeing as how Jesus Christ's mother was a virgin when he was conceived, then he didn't have a human father. That notion is easy to debunk.

According to the book of Genesis; God created Adam's flesh from the earth's dust. Not so Eve.

She was constructed from a human tissue sample amputated from Adam's side. Thus Eve's flesh wasn't the flesh of a second species of h.sapiens. Her flesh was biologically just as much Adam's flesh as Adam's except for gender. In other words: Eve was the flip side of the same biological coin. In point of fact, the Bible refers to Eve as Adam just as it refers to Adam as Adam, (Gen 5:22)

From that point on; any human flesh biologically produced from Eve's flesh-- whether virgin conceived or naturally conceived --would be biologically just as much Adam's flesh as Adam's because the source of its mother's flesh was Adam's flesh.

†. Gen 3:15 . . I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Just about everybody agrees that the seed spoken of in that passage is Christ. Well; seeing as how his mom's flesh was derived biologically from Eve, then Christ's flesh is just as much Eve's flesh as Eve's, and seeing as how her flesh was just as much Adam's flesh as Adam's, then it's readily deduced that Adam is Christ's biological progenitor.

It's commonly objected that women cannot provide the Y chromosome necessary for producing a male child. And that's right; they usually can't. However, seeing as how God constructed an entire woman from a sample of man flesh; then I do not see how it would be any more difficult for God to construct a dinky little Y chromosome from a sample of woman flesh. And seeing as how woman flesh is just as much Adam's flesh as Adam's, then any Y chromosome that God might construct from woman flesh would actually be produced from Adam's flesh seeing as how Eve's flesh was produced from Adam's flesh.

Bottom line: In order to qualify as one of Adam's biological descendants, a person need only be one of Eve's biological descendants: which we all are.

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

So then; unless somebody can prove-- conclusively and without ambiguity-- that Jesus Christ's mother wasn't biologically related to either Adam or Eve; then we are forced to conclude that Adam is Jesus Christ's biological father.

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Jesus Christ And The Original Sin

Some folk posit that Mary was, in some manner, a sort of surrogate mother, i.e. Jesus' embryo was an implant. Others sincerely believe that Mary's baby was an alternate species of human life totally unrelated to her own, i.e. another Adam, so to speak; basing their posit on 1Cor 15:45.

But the Bible testifies that Jesus Christ was Mary's honest to gosh, bona fide biological human progeny.

Q: How can you be so sure that Jesus Christ was produced from his mother's human egg, viz: her ovum?

A: Not only the Bible; but also the science of Biology bears that out.

Christ is stated to be born of David's seed.

†. Acts 13:22-23 . . "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will". Of this man's seed hath God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a savior, Jesus

†. Rom 1:1-3 . . Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh

The koiné Greek word for "seed" in those two passages is sperma (sper' mah) which in males typically refers to their reproductive stuff and/or their genetic material; especially when the seed is according to the flesh, i.e. biological seed rather than spiritual seed.

Now, in order for Christ to descend from David's flesh, one of his biological descendants had to be involved. So then, seeing as how Jesus was virgin conceived, then his mother became the default progenitor, i.e. Mary was one of David's granddaughters.

†. Luke 1:31 . .You will conceive in your womb and bear a son; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David

An implanted embryo isn't really a conceived embryo. Conception took place in a woman's womb back in those days when her own ovum was involved in the process.


NOTE: In following the kings of the Davidic dynasty in the Old Testament, it's readily apparent that many of the names of the monarchs are associated with their mothers' names. There's a number of theories as to why that is, but the one that satisfies me most is that by naming the mothers of David's successors, it proves that they were 100% normal human beings rather than alien beings; which, in my mind at least, makes Luke 1:31 an extremely important piece of information.

†. Heb 7:14 . . It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah

Well; it's clear enough to me, yes, but there are some folk who would contest Christ's biological origin.

Q: If Jesus Christ really was David's biological progeny; then wouldn't his mom have passed the guilt of Adam's sin to him?

A: Yes; absolutely, because the whole entirety of Adam's posterity-- regardless of age, race, or gender --is automatically condemned for tasting the forbidden fruit.

Note the grammatical tense of the passage below; it's past tense; indicating that the moment Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, he and his posterity (which included Eve seeing as she came into being via the organic tissues of his own body) became guilty of tasting it-- in real time --including those of his family yet to be born.

†. Rom 5:12 . . Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

†. Rom 5:19 . .Through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners.

Well; the trick is: though Adam's disobedience made his posterity sinners; it didn't make them sinful: that's something else altogether. We're not talking about the so-called "fallen nature" here, we're just talking about joint principals in Adam's act of disobedience.

The good news is: Adam's sin is not a sin unto hell. No; it's very simple to clear his sin off the books seeing as how life's end is the proper satisfaction of justice for what he did (Gen 2:16-17). The satisfaction of justice for his posterity's own personal sins is another matter.

Q: If Jesus Christ was made a joint principal in Adam's slip-up, then how can it be honestly said that Christ was a lamb without blemish or spot?

A: Adam's slip made Christ culpable right along with his fellow men, yes; but it didn't make him sinful. In point of fact; Christ committed no personal sins of his own. (John 8:29, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22)

Q: What was the secret to his success?

A: Jesus Christ is a mysterious amalgam of human and divine. Not only did he descend from David according to the flesh, but Christ also descended from God according to the Spirit. (Luke 1:32-35, Rom 1:3). That is quite an advantage because according to 1John 3:9, that which is born of God not only doesn't sin, but cannot sin.

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How Christ Became Solomon's Progeny

Q: Seeing as how Christ was virgin conceived; how did he get into Joseph's genealogy as per the first chapter of Matthew?

A: At Gen 48:5-7, Jacob adopted his own two biological grandsons Manasseh and Ephraim; thus installing them in positions equal in rank, honor, and power to his twelve original sons, which had the effect of adding additional children to Rachel's brood just as effectively as the children born of her maid Bilhah-- Dan, and Naphtali.

Jacob's motive for adopting his son Joseph's two sons was in sympathy for his deceased wife being cut off during her child-bearing years, which subsequently prevented her from having any more children of her own. Ephraim and Manasseh bring Rachel's total up to six: two of her own, two by her maid Bilhah, and two by Joseph's wife Asenath.

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

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

Joseph complied.

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

So Christ went in the books as Joseph's son; because that's how it worked in those days when a man stood with a woman to name her child. In other words: Christ became Joseph's son by means of adoption, just as Ephraim and Manasseh became Jacob's sons by means of adoption.

Q: But wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Jesus was Joseph's foster child rather than adopted child?

A: Webster's defines "foster" as affording, receiving, or sharing nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal ties. In other words: foster children have no rights to inheritance nor a legitimate place in their foster father's genealogy. Foster children are expendable.

In contrast; Webster's defines "adopt" as to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child. In other words: adopted children have rights to inheritance and a legitimate place in their adopted father's genealogy. Adopted children are permanent.

Jesus' adoption was essential because even though he was born a biological candidate for David's throne, he wasn't born a legitimate candidate. The reason being that the throne passed down from Solomon rather than Nathan. Plus, the throne never passes down through women, only men. Mary provided Jesus' biological right to David's throne, but she could not provide him a legal right to it.

John Q and Jane Doe pew warmer are often unaware of the strict biblical conditions that dictate ascendance to David's throne and so are easily led to believe that Joseph was Jesus' foster father instead of his adopted father.


NOTE: Just in case there's a man looking in on this thinking about adopting his wife's children from a previous marriage; should the two of you later divorce; she can legally make you pay child support for another man's kids because when you adopt them, the law and the courts regard their status as your own biological progeny.

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Jonah

†. Matt 12:39-40 . . As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The Lord paralleled his journey with Jonah's. Well, seeing as how Christ was dead for most of the time that he was in the tomb, then I think it's valid to conclude that Jonah was dead for most of the time that he was in the fish.

According to Jonah's second chapter, there were moments during his nautical adventure when he was in two places at once: the fish's belly and the bottoms of the mountains.

Seeing as how the Lord paralleled his own journey with Jonah's, then I believe it is valid to conclude that there were moments in Christ's adventure when he was in two places at once too: the tomb's belly and also the bottoms of the mountains; i.e. the heart of the earth.

(It doesn't take much education to know that the bottoms of the mountains are situated in neither a fish's tummy, nor a tomb.)

Jesus appropriated the story of Jonah to predict his resurrection. Unfortunately people are typically distracted by the time element; consequently totally missing the parallel's purpose. The average rank and file pew warmer is convinced that Jonah was alive the whole time he was in the fish. Well, had he been, then Jesus would had to been alive the whole time he was in the tomb; otherwise the parallel fails.

Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites and also a sign to Jesus' generation (Matt 13:39-40, Luke 11:29-30). The word "sign" is translated from a koiné Greek word that's sometimes used in the gospels to indicate miracles. Now, had Jonah merely survived the fish's tummy, that would not be the kind of sign that Jesus had in mind. He needed a miraculous event that would adequately depict his own; the reason being that Jesus wasn't on track to be resuscitated, no, Jesus was on track to be resurrected because he would be quite dead from crucifixion. (John 19:33)

According to Jonah 2:6, the prophet was spared putrefaction. Well; according to Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-31, Jesus too was spared putrefaction. Thus it all came to pass just as the Lord said: As Jonah, so the Son of Man.


NOTE: Commentators smarter and better educated than I posit that Jonah 2:3-7 recounts Jonah's demise via drowning. In other words: Jonah was dead before he was laid to rest in the fish's tummy just as Jesus was dead before he was laid to rest in the tomb.

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Hell vs Common Sense

I watched an educational series on NetFlix in September of 2014 called "The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson Ph.D. director of the Hayden Planetarium. Mr. Tyson said, in so many words; that in the study of Physics, one must sometimes abandon sense and accept discoveries as they are no matter how contrary to logic they may seem.

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

The discovery of the cosmos' accelerating expansion was very discouraging for cosmologist Alan Sandage-- once a proponent of the theory that the universe would eventually run out of explosive energy from the Big Bang and gradually pull itself back together --and called the discovery of the ever increasing velocity of the expanding universe a terrible surprise. And of course it is because the known laws of gravity, combined with common sense, demand that the ballooning universe eventually slow down, stop expanding, and shrink rather than picking up speed.

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

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

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

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Ways To Describe Grace

†. 1Cor 1:3 . . Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I seriously doubt the average rank and file pew warmer even knows what grace is. I suspect that most are under the impression that grace is somehow a quantifiable substance like butter and gasoline; but in regards to God, grace is an abstract noun that expresses personal qualities apart from substance.

The New Testament Greek word for "grace" is charis (khar'-ece); which means: graciousness.

Webster's defines graciousness as: kind, courteous, inclined to good will, generous, charitable, merciful, altruistic, compassionate, thoughtful, cordial, affable, genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, considerate, and tactful.

Cordial stresses warmth and heartiness

Affable implies easy approachability and readiness to respond pleasantly to conversation or requests or proposals

Genial stresses cheerfulness and even joviality

Sociable suggests a genuine liking for the companionship of others

Generous is characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit; viz: magnanimous, kindly, and liberal in giving

Charitable means full of love for, and goodwill toward, others; viz: benevolent, tolerant, and lenient.

Altruistic means unselfish regard for, or devotion to, the welfare of others; viz: a desire to be of service to others for no other reason than it just feels good to do so.

Tactful indicates a keen sense of what to do, or say, in order to maintain good relations with others in order to resolve and/or avoid unnecessary conflict.

Compassion defines a sympathetic awareness of others' distress, coupled with a desire to alleviate it.

The Old Testament Hebrew word for grace is chen (khane); and means the same as charis (e.g. Gen 6:8).

When you put all those lovely attributes together, you get a pretty good picture of the bright side of God's personality; and the extent of His good will towards the Corinthian church. There's a dark side too, and plenty of ill will; but grace doesn't go there.

I picked up an interesting line from an exasperated father in the final episode of Downton Abbey that goes like this:

"As my son, I love you, but I have tried, and failed, to like you."

The father who spoke that line wasn't a difficult man. He was actually a very gracious man who had it up to here with his grown son's toxic personality.

That so reminds me of a passage in the book of John: here paraphrased a bit:

"For God so loved the world, that He offered His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be rescued through him." (John 3:16-17)

Yes, God loves His human creations; enough to even sacrifice His only son's life and limb to protect them; but I honestly believe that he has tried, and failed, to like them. For example:

"Now the Lord observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and He saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry He had ever made them. It broke His heart. And the Lord said: I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created. Yes, and I will destroy all the animals and birds, too. I am sorry I ever made them." (Gen 6:5-7)

Bottom line: God doesn't owe humanity anything. God's offering of His only son was neither an obligation nor a duty; it was a courtesy. Far from deserving kindness, humanity deserves the cold shoulder. But God, being the sensitive person that He is, willing to go the extra mile, still finds it in Himself to extend humanity an opportunity to turn itself around and give Him cause to like them instead of humanity, with its overall toxic demeanor, always making it impossible for Him to do so.

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Knowing Your Religion is Right

Every so often I get asked how I know that my beliefs are true. My answer is: I don't know if they're true. Then of course they follow up with: Then why do you believe your beliefs are true when you have no way of knowing they're true?

Most of the people who ask me those kinds of questions are genuine; they're not trying to trip me up and make a fool out of me. They really are curious about it. So I tell them that though I don't know if my beliefs are true, my instincts tell me they are; in other words: I cannot shake the gnawing conviction that they're true.

Mark Twain once remarked that he didn't believe in an afterlife; but nevertheless expected one. In other words: Twain logically concluded that there is no afterlife, but his instincts did not agree with his thinking; and I dare not criticize him for that because even my own religion requires that I believe in my heart rather then only in my head.

Why does any believer believe what they believe? Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Bahá'í, Hare Krishna, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Judaism, Voodoo, Wiccan, Jain, Druze, Native American, etc, etc, etc. The answer? It appeals to them.

It's a known fact that quite a few voters do their voting not with their head but with their gut. In other words, they settle on a candidate based upon how they feel about him, and then argue their decision.

Take for instance President Barack Hussein Obama. A large block of Americans voted for him solely on the basis of the color of his skin rather than his executive ability. (Ironically Mr. Obama isn't even Black. He's what used to be called Mulatto but now called Mixed Race; viz: his father was Black, but his mother was White. Lucky for Mr. Obama that his skin turned out dark or he may never have been nominated for US President, let alone elected.)

It is of course impossible that all religions are right; that's pretty much a given. But on the other hand, it's very possible that none are right. So I would say that when settling upon a religion, don't worry so much about picking the one that's right; instead pick the one that's right for you; and if none are right for you, then in my estimation; you're just as well off because if your heart's not in it; then let's face it; your choice is no less arbitrary than randomly selecting a cookie out of a jar of 100.

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The Rich Man, Lazarus, And Abraham

Fiction can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that, though untrue; are plausible; viz: realistic.

Fantasy can be defined as stories about people, places, and events that are not only untrue; but implausible; viz: unrealistic.

For example: a story about a wooden boy like Pinocchio is unrealistic; while a story about a boy with autism is realistic. The difference between Pinocchio and the autistic boy is that the one is compatible with normal reality; while the other is far removed from normal reality.

I have yet to read even one of Jesus Christ's parables that could not possibly be a real-life story. They're all actually quite believable-- banquets, stewards, weddings, farmers sowing seed, pearls, lost sheep, fish nets, women losing coins, sons leaving home, wineskins bursting, tares among the wheat, leavened bread, barren fig trees, the blind leading the blind, et al.

Now; if Christ had told one that alleged the moon was made of green cheese; we would have good reason to believe that at least that one was fantasy; but none of them are like that. No; there's nothing out of the ordinary in his parables. At best; Christ's parables might qualify as fiction; but never fantasy because none of them are so far removed from the normal round of human experience that they have no basis in reality whatsoever.

Luke 16:19-31 is commonly alleged to be a parable; which of course implies that the story is fiction; and some would even say fantasy. But the parable theory has a fatal flaw. Abraham is not a fictional character: he's a real-life man; the father of the Hebrew people, held in very high esteem by at least three of the world's prominent religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And he's also the friend of God (Isa 41:8). I simply cannot believe that Jesus Christ-- a man famous among normal Christians for his honesty and integrity --would say something untrue about a famous real-life man; especially about one of his Father's buddies.

And on top of that, the story quotes Abraham a number of times. Well; if the story is fiction, then Jesus Christ is on record testifying that Abraham said things that he didn't really say; which is a clear violation of the commandment that prohibits bearing false witness.

There is something else to consider.

The story of the rich man and Lazarus didn't originate with Jesus Christ. No, it originated with his Father. In other words: Jesus Christ was micro-managed.

†. John 3:34 . . He is sent by God. He speaks God's words

†. John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.

†. John 8:28 . . I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught me.

†. John 12:49 . . I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

†. John 14:24 . .The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me.

So, by alleging that Luke 16:19-31 is fiction/fantasy, the parable theory slanders God by insinuating that He's a person of marginal integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth about people, not even about His own friends, which is ridiculous seeing as how Titus 1:2 and Heb 6:18 testify that God cannot lie.

God's impeccable character is what makes that narrative all the more disturbing. Unless somebody can prove, beyond a shadow of sensible doubt, that Christ's Father is a tale-spinner; I pretty much have to assume the narrative was drawn from real-life; and if not drawn from real life, then at least based upon real life.

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

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

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The God Begotten Of God

Q: One translation of John 1:18 speaks of the only begotten god; while another translation of John 1:18 speaks of the only begotten son. Which translation is correct?

A: Either one will do because, biologically speaking, they're both saying the very same thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Christ's Demise

The Koran's Christ didn't pass away on the cross.

"And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure." (The Women 4.157)

The Bible's Christ fully expired.

"And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit. And having said this, he breathed his last." (Luke 23:46)

"When they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe." (John 19:31-35)

Since Jesus was somewhat elevated, (it's not stated exactly how high) the spear point would have entered his body at an upward angle. The text doesn't say which side was penetrated, but from John's description, and judging from the intent of the soldier to leave no doubt about Jesus' death, the heart side was very likely the side they cut into and the spear point would've entered just under his rib cage.

The heart is surrounded by a membrane called the pericardium; which serves to contain a serous material resembling water to prevent the surface of the heart from becoming dry and/or chafed by its continual motion. It was very likely this which was pierced and from which the water flowed. The point of the spear also seems to have reached one of the ventricles of the heart, and the blood, yet warm, rushed forth, either mingled with, or followed by, the liquor of the pericardium, so as to appear to John to be blood and water flowing together. Though not medically accurate in our day, John's calling the serous fluid "water" was accurate enough in his own day.

Had Christ managed to survive the spear he most certainly would have died of suffocation. According to the records, his friends covered his face with a towel, wrapped him with strips of cloth like a mummy, and coated him with a paste consisting of 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes: all of which served to not only put him in a straight jacket, but also sealed him in an air-tight cocoon of sorts.

1• The Towel

"And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:7)

The koiné Greek word translated "napkin" is soudarion (soo-dar'-ee-on) which defines a sweat-cloth; viz: a towel for wiping the perspiration from the face, or binding the face of a corpse.

2• The Mummy

"Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes" (John 19:40)

"And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." (John 20:7)

The Greek word translated "wound" is deo (deh'-o) which means to bind

The Greek word translated "linen cloths" is othonion (oth-on'-ee-on) which defines bandages.

3• The Cocoon

"And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." (John 19:39-40)

Myrrh is a gum resin. The aloe of that day was a thick liquid taken from an aromatic tree and used in medicines and cosmetics, etc. Blending those two ingredients together produced a nice sticky goo that could be slathered and plastered all over the deceased to seal the body and retard putrefaction and/or seal in odors and thwart vermin. This was likely the final step just prior to wrapping the whole affair in a shroud (Matt 27:59).

So all told-- the crucifixion, the spear, the face towel, the wrappings, and the gooey paste --I think it's pretty safe to conclude that Christ, as he is depicted in the Bible, was quite deceased.

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Christ's Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

A: Some day the bodies of all Christ's believing followers will be raised from the dead and taken up to meet the Lord in the air (1Thes 3:14-17). On the way up, the bodies will undergo a sudden and miraculous transformation. (1Cor 15:51-53). I think it's pretty safe to assume that Christ's body underwent a similar transformation while on the way up to heaven as per Acts 1:9 so that today his body is no longer a normal human body; but instead a superhuman body to which all his believing followers' bodies will one day conform.

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

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

Q: Why make a big deal out of the nature of Christ's resurrection?

A1: Were I the Devil, I would do my utmost best to disprove Jesus' bodily resurrection because his bodily crucifixion is only half enough to protect people from the wrath of God. Though his bodily crucifixion obtains forgiveness for people's sins, it does not gain people an acquittal; i.e. a verdict of innocence.

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

The Greek word translated "justification" is dikaiosis (dik-ah'-yo-sis) which means acquittal; i.e. a verdict of innocence; viz: exoneration.

People merely forgiven still carry a load of guilt; viz: they have a criminal record. Christ's bodily resurrection expunges their record so that on the books, it's as though they've never done anything bad.

This clearing of one's record that I'm talking about is obtained via the kindness and generosity of God through belief in the resurrection of Christ's crucified body. If the Devil can succeed in convincing people that Jesus' crucified body is still dead or, even better yet, make them question whether the man even existed at all; then they will fail to obtain an acquittal, and consequently end up put to death in brimstone because records are to be reviewed when people stand to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15.

A2: Belief in Christ's bodily resurrection is one of the essential elements of the gospel that must be accepted if one is to have any hope at all of escaping the lake of brimstone.

†. 1Cor 15:1-4 . . Now I make known to you, brothers, the good news which I declared to you, which you also received, in which you also stand, through which you are also being saved, with the speech with which I declared the good news to you, if you are holding it fast, unless, in fact, you became believers to no purpose.

. . . For I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures.

Paul goes on to say that if Christ's crucified body did not revive, then his followers haven't a prayer of escaping the sum of all fears.

†. 1Cor 15:17 . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.


FYI: What and/or where are the scriptures about which Paul spoke? There's at least two. One is the story of Jonah; which Christ appropriated as a "sign" of his own resurrection. (Jonah 1:17, Matt 12:40). Another is in the book of Psalms at 16:8-10 (cf. Acts 2:22-36)

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Inspiration

A common interpretation of inspiration is as follows:

†. 2Pet 1:20-21 . . No prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.

That's actually motivation rather than inspiration. This next example is better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture, then, is a divine agent: it speaks about God, it speaks for God, and it speaks as God. In a manner of speaking then: scripture can be thought of as a close encounter.

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

Paulus PP VI said it well. So then: when people listen to the Bible, they listen to God; and when they mock and ridicule the Bible, they mock and ridicule God.

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

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

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Sons And Bums

†. Deut 21:18-21 . . If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you.

The Hebrew word for "profligate" is zalal (zaw-lal') which, among other things, means to be morally loose and/or worthless

The word for drunkard refers to heavy drinking; which could refer to wild parties and such.

Those words don't describe minor children, rather, of-age children, i.e. legally adults still living at home and mooching off their parents instead of out on their own, working for a living to support themselves.

There's a rule of thumb that says "When you live in our house, you'll live by our rules". Well; the bum described in Deut 21:18-21 not only mooches off his parents, but does whatever he pleases in their home, not caring how mom and dad might feel about anything.

These days that's becoming more and more common when 26 is the new 21. Kids are staying home longer than they used to. Well; there's nothing intrinsically wrong with kids staying home longer, but when their lifestyle becomes intolerable for their parents, it's time for them to move out.

Why is the punishment so severe for bums? Well for starters; it violates one of the Ten Commandments.

†. Ex 20:12a . . Honor your father and your mother,

Failure to comply with that command merits dying before one's time.

†. Ex 20:12b . . that your days may be prolonged in the land which Yhvh your God gives you.

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Jephthah's Daughter

†. Judg 11:30-32 . . And Jephthah made a vow to Yhvh and said: If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.

Some of the "houses" back in that day were constructed as an enclosed compound; which included a courtyard. Around the periphery of the courtyard were the family's living quarters and sometimes accommodations for certain of the family's animals. The "door" of the house served not as an entry to the family's living quarters, rather, as a gate to the courtyard.

Something very similar to that description is depicted in the Charlton Heston movie Ben Hur. I rather suspect that at least of few of the animals were allowed to freely roam the courtyard and were Jephthah's intended sacrifice rather than his kin. That would help explain the bitter disappointment he expressed when his daughter met him first.

As for giving his daughter to the priests for a burnt offering; that just wasn't done. Human sacrifice isn't specified in the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; so offering a human on the Altar would have been a violation.

†. Deut 4:2 …You shall not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin upon you.

†. Deut 5:29-30 …Be careful, then, to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. Do not turn aside to the right or to the left: follow only the path that the Lord your God has enjoined upon you

In the end, Jephthah's daughter didn't bewail the loss of her life; rather, the loss of any hope of having a family of her own. I've a feeling she joined other women of Israel dedicated to assisting with things in and around the Temple vicinity (cf. 1Sam 2:22). According to 1Cor 7:34, that vocation is best suited to unencumbered single women than married.

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Spiritual Body vs Spirit Body

†. 1 Cor 15:44 . . It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Watch as I revise that passage because the difference is significant.

"It is sown a natural body, it is raised up a spirit body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spirit body."

No; it doesn't say spirit body but nevertheless that's what some people have decided it ought to say.

The Greek word translated "spiritual" is ambiguous. It doesn't necessarily refer to spirit. Below is a list of spiritual things that bear absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the body chemistry of an angel or a demon.

Spiritual gifts (Rom 1:11)
Spiritual law (Rom 7:14)
Spiritual things (Rom 15:27)
Spiritual people (1Cor 2:15)
Spiritual nourishment (1Cor 10:3)
Spiritual water (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual rock (1Cor 10:4)
Spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3)
Spiritual music (Eph 5:19)
Spiritual understanding (Col 1:9)
Spiritual housing (1Pet 2:5)
Spiritual sacrifices (1Pet 2:5)

I sincerely believe that the spiritual body spoken of at 1Cor 15:44 is in no way composed of spirit. Of what material it is composed I don't know; but I do know at least four things about it.

1• The spiritual body is patterned after Christ's body.

†. Phil 3:20-21 . .Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

2• The spiritual body is capable of dining upon ordinary foods.

†. Luke 22:15-16 . . I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you: I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.

3• The spiritual body is capable of imbibing ordinary beverages.

†. Matt 26:29 . . I tell you: I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom.

4• The spiritual body is capable of being seen by the naked eye.

†. Acts 1:11 . . Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched him go into heaven.

†. Rev 1:7 . . Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him

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God's Good Faith

†. Eph 1:13-14 . . Having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession

†. Eph 4:30 . . Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

The Holy Spirit of God is the seal; which is from the koiné Greek word sphragizo (sfrag-id'-zo). The word has no reference whatsoever to a zip lock bag, or a strip of tape, or a gasket, or that little widget that the power company clips onto electric meters, or a cork, or a bar code, or a bottle cap, or a label, or a tag, or the lid on a jar, or glue, or the ring of bee's wax that goes in between the base of a toilet and the flange of the soil pipe it drains into.

Sphragizo refers to the impression that's made upon wax with a signet ring. In other words: the Holy Spirit is God's own personal signature on the dotted line; and it serves a very important purpose.

The Holy Spirit is also the "guarantee" of a believer's inheritance. Let me explain.

The koiné Greek word is arrhabon (ar-hrab-ohn') which refers to a pledge; viz: part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest.

When we bought our home, I had to submit, along with the escrow papers, an amount of money called a "good-faith" deposit. In the event that my wife and I backed out of the deal, for any reason at all; we would've forfeited the deposit. That's no doubt an incentive to make sure people mean business about buying a home.

Eph 1:13-14 explains a difficult spiritual truth by putting it into a context easy to understand by anyone familiar with the process of buying a home. Another context, also easy to understand, is located in the 38th chapter of Genesis.

Long story short, Judah left his staff and signet with Tamar as a pledge that he would pay her with a young goat as compensation for sleeping with him (Gen 38:18). The Hebrew word for Judah's pledge is 'arabown (ar-aw-bone') which is equivalent to the Greek word for guarantee.

Well; Judah was unable to make good on his promise because Tamar took a powder. So his response was:

"Let her keep what she has or we will become a disgrace." (Gen 38:23)

You bet your bippy they would have been a disgrace because until such a time as Judah paid Tamar what he promised; she had a legitimate right to keep his staff and his signet because that's the way an 'arabown works.

Bottom line is: at this point in the plan of salvation, should God not spare a believer's soul from the sum of all fears; then He has to forfeit the Holy Spirit. In other words: should a believer end up in hell, they get to keep the Holy Spirit and take Him down there with them because that's the way the arrhabon and the 'arabown work; and believers have God's signature holding Him to it.

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How People Stay In Heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Routing through another birth all over again isn't optional. No; it's a must.

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

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

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Female Pastors, Preachers, and Teachers


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They're Christ's enemies.

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

And they're disloyal too.

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

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

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

Their insubordination insinuates that God's wisdom is absurd.

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

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

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


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

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Christ And The Melchizedek Priesthood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

†. John 5:24 . . I assure you: those who listen to my message, and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

Another advantage of Christ's priesthood is its continuity.

Take for example Judaism's priesthood. No one has benefited from its services since Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70ad. Which means of course that 1,945 years worth of Yom Kippurs have been merely for show because the Day Of Atonement cannot be observed properly and effectively without a fully functioning priesthood.

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

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


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

Point being: Mormonism's over-crowded order of Melchizedek is unbiblical: and so, for that matter, is Mormonism's order of Aaron seeing as how his is the office of a high priest too.

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Hope For Alcoholics And LGBT

Everybody has problems with proclivities; which Webster's defines as inclinations or predispositions toward something: especially strong inherent inclinations toward something objectionable.

Everybody also has problems with predilections too; which Webster's defines as a natural liking for something; viz: a natural tendency to do or to be attracted to something.

In the passage below; Paul's pronoun "we" included himself as someone with natural-born longings and desires for bad things.

†. Eph 2:2-4 . .We too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Paul's pronoun "all" torpedoes every Christian claiming to be born free of one or more sinful predilections.

The point is: unless something were done to remedy human nature's sinful proclivities and predilections, nobody would qualify for citizenship in either the new cosmos or the holy city depicted in the 21st chapter of Revelation. Everybody, no exceptions, even Christ's apostles, would be barred entry even though Christ gave his life as a ransom to rescue their souls from the wrath of God.

The problem is: forgiveness isn't a cure; viz: forgiven alcoholics and LGBT go right on as alcoholics and LGBT just like always and were they to attempt to suppress their desires throughout eternity, I think they would eventually go mad with a nervous breakdown because they would be fighting against nature; which everybody instinctively knows is a fight that can't be won without suffering serious psychological consequences.

So then, it's futile to tell alcoholics and LGBT to stop giving in to their desires if they want to get to heaven and stay in heaven because that's not a viable, long-range solution to their problem. The problem is not their conduct; no, their conduct is merely a symptom; and as every informed person knows: you don't treat an illness by treating its symptoms— that method has been proven ineffective.

God's remedy for alcoholics and LGBT is radical, to say the least; but it's the only way He can get them into heaven so they can stay in heaven.

First off: He doesn't remove their longings and desires; instead God regards their natural-born condition as so far gone that it can't be treated. In other words: God throws the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, and starts from scratch with a new baby.

†. John 3:3 . . I tell you the truth: no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

The birth about which Christ spoke isn't an option; no, it's a must.

†. John 3:7 . .You must be born again.

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

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Christian Defined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Savior Defined

†. Matt 8:23-25 . . And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves; but he himself was asleep. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying: Save us, Lord; we are perishing!

The koiné Greek word for "save" in that verse is sozo (sode'-zo) which means to rescue and/or protect.

†. Luke 2:8-11 . . And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

. . . And the angel said to them: Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a savior, who is Christ the Lord.

The Greek word for "savior" in that verse is soter (so-tare') which means: a rescuer.

Rescuers typically help people who are in grave distress and/or imminent danger of death and/or serious injury, and helpless to do anything about it; e.g. Red Cross, Firemen, Emergency Medical teams, snow patrols, mountain units, and the Coast Guard and National Guard.

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

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

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

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

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The Good Shepherd

One of Christ's characteristics, in which I have complete confidence, is that he's conscientious about doing what he's told.

"The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him." (John 8:29)

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

Here is the will of the one who sent him.

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

The one who sent Christ has given him sheep (John 10:27-30). Were Jesus to lose one single head of those sheep-- even just one --he would fail to always please the one who sent him.

Regarding those sheep, Jesus stated:

"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)

It has actually been posited that the sheep are an exception. In other words; it's been posited that the sheep of their own free will can take themselves out of Jesus' hand. But of course they can't because the Father's free will trumps the sheep's free will.

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

The posit is a vote of no-confidence in the good shepherd's determination to succeed at pleasing the one who sent him; and reveals a belief that the sheep have enough strength and cunning to overpower their shepherd and run off.

Were the good shepherd only human, then I would be inclined to agree with the posit that his sheep might get past him and run off. But the Bible teaches that Christ is not only human, but also the divine architect of the entire cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy. So then, the good shepherd has at his disposal all the powers and abilities of the supreme being to utilize in keeping the sheep right where he wants them to be.

Surely no one in a right mind would dare to suggest that sheep have sufficient powers and abilities of their own at their disposal to overcome Christ. Were that the case, the sheep would have no need of his services; the sheep could shepherd themselves.

But even were the sheep to somehow manage to escape Christ's hand, they would still have his Father's hand to contend with; and good luck getting away from Almighty God!

Now, seeing as how the good shepherd has all the powers of the supreme being at his disposal to keep the sheep, then it shouldn't take too much more to persuade the sheep that it's okay to fully trust in this next statement of his.

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." (John 10:9)

Were Christ a so-so shepherd; then he wouldn't dare say "will be" saved; no, he'd have to tone it down a bit and say "can be" saved. That would leave him some room for error. But when Christ says "will be" he's claiming a 0.0% failure rate. That's how confident Christ is that he will lose nothing of what his Father has given him.

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