The Good Samaritan

The following re-blog is an insightful commentary on Christ’s Parable,  The Good Samaritan. I especially like the challenge by the author to discern which of the characters each of us might be. Prayerful contemplation should enrich your spiritual walk and improve your serve.

Salvageable

‘And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed…

View original post 1,417 more words

Advertisements

Who is Job?

Job is one of the poetic portions of the Old Testament of which very little is confirmed. Ancient Jewish scholars cite Moses as the author, but that Job himself is the true author is a more widely agreed speculation. Some scholars even propose two different unknown authors.

As for the actual dating of Job’s life, most believe it predates everyone after Adam and Eve, supposing Job to be among the people of the land of Nod (Gen. 4:16). But the first two places Job’s name is found (aside from the book of Job) is in Ezekiel There the prophet stated:

“Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness, says the Lord God” – Ezek. 14:14, 20.

Ezekiel’s point in both verses was that the ungodly conditions in the land were such that even if Noah, Daniel, and Job lived in that city, no one else would be saved. Ezekiel spoke of all three of these men as being real, historical people, not legendary characters.

As to his genealogy, neither Job nor his ancestors are ever mentioned in any of the original Hebrew biblical genealogies. However, as time progressed and newer translations became available new information appeared.

Some Greek and mostly Latin versions of the Book of Job state that Job dwelt in Ausitis on the confines of Idumea and Arabia. Further, his original name was Johab. He married an Arabian woman and fathered Ennon. Job’s father was Zerah who was from the lineage of Esau – five generations from Abraham. They were natives of Bozrah. The Latin text continues that Job reigned in Edom succeeding Balak, the son of Beor.  But in the Hebrew Bible, Balaam is the son of Beor.

The Latin continues to report that after Job were Husham and then Hadad, who was the son of Bedad and who defeated the Midianites in the fields of Moab. His city was named Arith. His three friends were Eliaphaz, a descendant of Esau and king of Teman, Bildad, king of the Shuhites, and Zophar, king of the Naamathites. Those that attest to the reliability of this are exclusively catholic scholars.

Other theological scholars suggest that Job was contemporaneous with Moses (1300 BC). In the Pseudepigrapha, one finds The Testament of Job. It claims Job was a king in Egypt. It also tells us the name of his wife, Sitidos. One Talmudic Tractate claims the Book of Job was written by Moses. Another claims it dates back to the time of Jacob,  and that Job is the son of Uz who was the son of Nahor, who was the brother of Abraham.

Still others claim that Job was one of the advisors to Pharaoh during the time of Moses; indeed, he was present when Pharaoh decreed that all the male Hebrew infants should be drowned. Even though he did not agree with the decree, he said nothing to dissuade Pharaoh from implementing it. This was, presumably, the sin for which he would be punished – the sin of silence.

According to the book that bears his name, Job was a uniquely righteous man, yet he was subject to all forms of distress. Because of this many have thought that Job was introduced as an Old Testament ‘parable’ similar to the New Testament parables of Christ, where the characters (the Good Samaritan, the Rich Young Ruler, etc.) were fictitious., rather than actual persons. As a work of fiction, like Christ’s parables, the story promotes the moral of faithfulness in spite of all opposition.

It should be obvious that scholars are not in agreement on any of these possible records.

Warning should also be heeded wherever characters mentioned with Scripture are further referred to in extra-biblical texts or nefarious newer translations. Perhaps it is best to accept the deliberate anonymity presented by the author of Job and to acknowledge that certain things cannot be known. Certainly, to postulate that any story is sufficient for sound doctrine is naïve at best.

SIN

According to a universal definition, ‘sin’ can be a noun or a verb: an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law; or, the commission of an offense. Synonyms are many, including: an immoral act, wrong, wrongdoing, act of evil/wickedness, transgression, crime, offense, misdeed, misdemeanor, scandal, disgrace, outrage. These are, of course, secular conceptions of a matter much more fully examined in the pages of Holy Scripture.

While many of the same ideas about sin are indeed expressed, the main point Scripture declares about sin is that it is essentially what separates us from God. The Book of Genesis introduces the concept of sin in relating the story of Eden, the subsequent fall of mankind, and God’s promised remedy.

Curiously, while Eden is where the Biblical narrative provides the origin of sin, the actual word ‘sin’ is not mentioned until AFTER Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the garden. The first passage that employs the term is in God’s discussion with Cain about his anger towards his brother, Abel.

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” – Gen. 4:7.

Obviously, the issue of sin is designated there as a consequence of choice. That Cain should rule over it, indicates that it was a matter of his free will whether to sin or not. Therefore. any idea that this was because of the curse of ‘Original Sin’ must be prayerfully scrutinized more carefully.

There are many similar assumptions  that few people adequately research before accepting as truth. As with most things, one’s perspective greatly influences their ultimate appreciation of fact.

The purpose of this Article is to distinguish between two primary perspectives related to sin. This is NOT to infer that merely two perspectives exist, only that at least these two should be considered. One view is mankind’s involvement in, responsibility for, and possible rehabilitation from, sin. The other is God’s revelation and purpose of, and antidote for, sin.

Two other distinctions must also be simultaneously considered. Scripture regards sin in an all-inclusive, universal application and additionally, as an individual, personal liability. The ubiquitous sense relates to the ‘Original Sin’ imposed upon mankind in Eden and in which ALL humanity is born. I label this as SIN. This is THE NOUN by which everything that opposes God is called. The other designated in lower-case font, ‘sin’ or ‘sins’.

Equally offensive to God, yet NOT the same perpetual curse imposed pre-birth, are the many wrong actions performed by mankind – intentionally or ignorantly. These are commonly referred to as being either ‘sins of commission’ or ‘sins of omission’. More than merely wrongdoing, failing to do rightly is just as evil.

The existence of the universal application of sin is clearly proclaimed in Scripture.

““There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” – Ro.3:11,12.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Ro. 3:23.

Interestingly, there is little doubt or debate among believers about the universal curse of sin. Excluding atheists, the majority of people attribute the existence of evil to sin. The godly remedy for sin is where they disagree. The entire purpose of God becoming man and offering Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice is revealed in Scripture as THE solution to this pervasive blight.

Confusion and speculation also abounds regarding the PRESENT sin that continues to plague believers. The remainder of this Article shall focus on that matter.

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” – 1Jn. 1:7-10.

Sadly, many false doctrines exist that portray the preceding scripture passage as a seeming contradiction. Of course, the spiritually mature know that scripture NEVER contradicts itself. Where ever it appears so, a deeper research and fuller understanding is imperative.

Still, the question is continually debated, “How do believers explain the sin that continues to oppress them, after being forgiven and saved”? Again, spiritual maturity provides the necessary enlightenment, possible ONLY through the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit.

“Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” 1Jn. 3:6.

A crucial discernment is required here. Who to believe – Scripture, or some private interpretation of it? How can we know the difference? What is it to ‘abide’ in HIM? The WORD of God definitely says, “Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him”.

So, those who have ‘seen’ Him (in Christ) and have come to ‘know’ Him (as revealed in Christ) do NOT sin. Except, many have ‘seen’ Him and ‘know’ Him, by virtue of a personal encounter that has been confirmed by the perpetual residency of the Holy Spirit, yet they continue to sin. How do we reconcile this personal experience with Scripture?

Paul explained a similar enigma in his personal experience. He admonished believers to understand the relentless battle that our flesh wages against our spirit – the ‘inner man’.

“We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Ro. 7: 14-25.

Remember, this was Paul’s expressed empathy for born again Christians, as a born again Christian, to other born again Christians. His conclusion? “Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He understood that a newness of life had set up permanent residency in him which led him to the conviction – “Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me”.

Just as SIN separates us from God, becoming truly born again (born of the Spirit) separates us from sin. The term ‘separates’ is better realized as a ‘division’ or ‘partition’; ‘detached’, ‘disjoined’. The ‘new creation’ that the infilling Spirit of God produces involves an addition to the natural man. Formerly mere physical beings with no spiritual life now become ‘alive’ unto God and ‘dead’ unto sin by being born again.

“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” – 1 Cor. 2:14.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” – 2Cor. 5:17.

“Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” – 1Pt. 1:23.

“Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Ro. 6:11.

Without such a personal experience, sin forever rules the heart. But a new desire to please God, to worship Him, and to express an eternal gratitude for His grace (unmerited favor) now reigns in sin’s place for those truly born again. Of course, this is a simplistic reasoning for a supernatural miracle of redemption and transformation from death to life. It cannot be rightly comprehended by merely the rational mind.

But such newness of life does NOT immediately end the former way of life. In most, this is a life-long process, learning more about the things of God and how to surrender to His Spirit rather than the old sin-nature our selfish flesh continues to insist upon. Some, very few, do experience an instant change that solidifies the born again experience as an immediate eternal assurance.  Most however, receive such confirmation over time, as their personal education in Scripture and subsequent edification in the Spirit is experienced. Further hindering such spiritual growth, temptation comes with every thought. But a way of overcoming every temptation also accompanies those thoughts.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond  your ability, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” – 1Cor. 10:13.

Here again, Paul is ministering as a born again believer to other born again believers. Clearly temptation to sin remains an ever present danger to believers, but by the same grace by which we’ve been saved, a ‘way of escape’ allows us to endure.

Many have confused the ‘incorruptible seed’ by which spiritual birth is conceived to mean that born again believers are beyond corruption. This is a false assumption. It is the Spirit of God that is the incorruptible seed. He ALONE is righteous. Although He appropriates His righteousness to born again believers, it remains HIS righteousness.

Self-righteousness is one of the hypocrisies of sin. Those who attempt to achieve righteousness through their own efforts, regardless of motivation or resulting good, have circumvented Christ’s whole redemptive purpose. While they may claim naivety, Jesus has warned that is no excuse. He explained that the ‘doing’ of good works in hopes of attaining righteousness was NOT the way to come to know Him. Conversely, knowing Him would produce His covering of righteousness and good works would be manifest in and through such believers.

 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  – Mt. 7:16-23.

In conclusion, this was not intended to present an exhaustive study on the topic of sin. It has been presented as a concise ‘over-view’ of the multitude of passages within Scripture pertaining to the matter as it relates to the true believer. An applied systematic theological research into ‘Soteriology’ (doctrine of salvation) is strongly recommended for further consideration. Those still doubtful should perhaps consider that as an indication that sin has not yet been remedied in their life, and pray to God for deliverance.

What Religion is God?

A recent post on another blog posed some interesting questions  which I was compelled to address. A copy of the original post is pasted below, along with an attempt at providing a suitable answer.

[What Religion is God?]

  • We all know that Jesus taught in the Jewish temple but what exactly is His religion?
  • We also know from scripture that He is “not” Catholic.
  • Is He… Baptist? Mormon? Jehovah Witness? Seventh-Day Adventist? Methodist? Anglican? Buddhist?
  • Are there any Scriptures that define what religion God is?
  • Is Religion man-made or God made?
  • Why does mankind need religion anyway?

In the strictest of definitions equally understood and agreed to by a universal non-sectarian application of the English language, “RELIGION’ = “the belief in, and/or worship of a supernatural controlling being or power – especially an intimate God or lesser gods”.

‘Mono-theists’ believe in ONLY ONE ALMIGHTY CREATOR TRUE GOD. ‘Poly-theists’ believe in many lesser gods, assigning distinct, but limited powers, to several unequal deities – thereby forming the primary basis upon which ‘religions’ disagree.

When such applications become PERSONAL, they may adhere more strongly to the general convictions of a particular organized system of such worship & beliefs – or NOT. Many personal relationships with God are based upon an individual’s firsthand experiential encounter with God. Where again, such may or may not conform to any or some pre-existing dogma.

To address the more specific questions about the religion of Jesus, a distinction between Christ’s Deity and humanity must be properly discerned (which immediately creates ‘religious’ differences). Depending upon one’s personal convictions relative to their accepted doctrine, the truth may remain evasive.

However, the Historical figure of Christ – the actual individual who lived, ministered, and was crucified in Jerusalem 2000+ years ago – was a Jew and lived according to the Jewish religion of that time. Judaism has changed substantially since then, debate over the proper identity of Christ and the validity of His Resurrection being chiefly responsible. Even within the ranks of many subsequent forms of religion that claim affiliation with Christ, His proper identity and actual ramifications of the resurrection continue to cause conflict.

Stating that Jesus is not Catholic is true only in the sense that neither is He exclusively any of the other religions/denominations/sects cited above. Some of all those particular doctrines agree (in part) with Scripture’s teachings and Christ’s own declarations. But NONE of them solely form, nor are independently the epitome of ‘stand-alone’ sound doctrine. Each individual must take responsibility to apply due diligence to researching doctrines, comparing them to valid copies of Scripture, under an anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit to rightly comprehend any so-called ‘true religion’.

But even such an extensive exercise may produce merely clarity about WHAT to believe; the ultimate goal is to KNOW WHO to believe. TRUTH is much more than a philosophy – Scripture reveals that TRUTH is a PERSON, Jesus Christ

“Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” Jn. 14:6.

 As to the question –Are there any Scriptures that define what religion God is? Jesus Christ answered,

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” – Jn. 5:59.

Accordingly, scholars of theology have long determined that the total sum of ALL Scripture reveals the ultimate & cumulative manifestation and purpose of true God is Jesus Christ. Consideration of all the facts regarding ‘religion’ is that it is ‘man-made’ but likely inspired by God to bring man to a discovery of truth by empirical evaluation of the various contradictions within all religions. But this does NOT mean that ALL religions are inspired by God – some are indeed called ‘doctrines of demons’ by Scripture.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a proper comprehension of priorities regarding spiritual realities.  It must be acknowledged that many wrongly approach matters pertaining to God by placing the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’. Thinking religion leads to God is backwards.   Conversely, a personal encounter with God enlightens one to the true tenets of religion. Apart from a vital personal relationship with God, religion is pointless.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” Jn. 15:5.

Scripture declares that the things pertaining to God are ‘spiritual’ and as such require true ‘spiritual discernment’ to rightly understand. This discernment comes ONLY through the Holy Spirit, to whom ONLY those who receive Him are enabled.

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” – 1Cor. 2:14.

“The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” – Jn. 14:17.

“By this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” – 1Jn. 3:24.

“You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is NOT His” – Ro. 8:9.

By such enabling of the Spirit of God each man is individually responsible to determine for himself that which is true, opposed to that which is false. God’s challenge to all men regarding religion is recorded in Scripture thusly:

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” – Duet. 30:19.

So, in conclusion, the important question should not really be “What religion is God?” (for God is NOT a religion), but instead – “What religion fully agrees with God’s revelation to mankind?” The choice remains yours.

WHAT to Believe or WHO to Believe?

Originally posted in reply to an Article entitled “Child Abuse and Atheism” at , I included it here for reasons that are hopefully apparent.

Whenever ANY person looks on another in judgment (whether a so-called ‘Christian’ or perceived member of ‘other’ religions) rather than seeking the GOD such persons proclaim loyalty to, ‘true religion’ rather than ‘right relationship’ immediately becomes the topic. As IB rightly stated in her Article – TRUTH is a PERSON. Alternatively, religions are mere ideologies formed by individual interpretations of the teachings of whatever particular assumptions are believed about ‘my’ GOD.

What is tragically too often overlooked in sharing one’s faith, is that God has NOT created a world inhabited by faulty robots, programed to conform to certain standards and regulations, but prone to failure. His presenting the Law through Moses was to reveal the Righteousness of God, NOT to set a standard of acceptable behavior, but – to show mankind how far superior and beyond a man’s BEST efforts, GOD actually is. Basically to proclaim, “I AM” – you’re NOT.

The plan of God is to establish the Righteousness of God that ONLY God Himself can achieve and maintain – to prove that He is the ONLY true God. In accomplishing THAT, He revealed Himself through Christ and initiated an eternal right-relationship in His believers by His Spirit living perpetually within them, enabling them to perform the good will of God according to HIS purpose.

Atheists claim no belief in God, but false belief in God can be even more dangerous. Many have moved from NO belief to encountering God, while fewer have escaped false religions imposed upon them by family heritage. The notion of conformity to a particular standard of religious convictions (especially when promoted from early childhood to the exception of other more valid teachings) without a proper introduction to the PERSON of Christ the Living God, negates the intentions of God’s plan of salvation. Apart from experiencing a personal encounter with Christ, man is powerless to achieve real righteousness, regardless of the most sincere commitment to religious beliefs.

I find it tragically amusing that the world consensus agrees on the ‘goal’ of any religion is attaining right relationship with God in hopes of some form of comfortable after-life, yet they imagine all methods and paths towards that ‘goal’ as equal. If there are MANY Gods, then such logic is sustainable, but if there is only ONE GOD, by the same logic – there is only ONE WAY to Him.

ONLY Jesus Christ declared regarding Himself to be THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE. THAT statement is either true or not, making everything else regarding God, religion, and life thereby accountable relative to the right conclusion.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jn. 14:6.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” – Jn. 5: 39

One comment from IB‘s blog stated: “I know the Truth, the Truth is a person, and He can set you free.”

When rightly acknowledged as a living being, TRUTH has the capability of salvaging captives. Conversely, when TRUTH is perceived as merely a philosophy or ideology, not only is it open to debate,it is powerless to save. anyone. Without the reality of a right relationship with the Living Christ, life is destined to be perceived merely as equally confusing and void of absolutes to everyone – abstract at best.

Unless a vital personal relationship with the Author of Life is literally a constant state of consciousness, the ‘goal’ of one’s most altruistic endeavors remains insurmountable.

No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace.

GOD is…

This Article explores further concepts of remarks to a re-blog recently posted on this site about the “Trinity”. Indeed, as so frequently occurs – semantics confuse a PROPER understanding of too many important ABSOLUTES. Therefore, a closer look at Scripture is in order.

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” – Jn.1:18.

“[To Moses] He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” – Ex. 33:20-23.

Relative to semantics, the term ‘seen’ is one such unfortunate English word when used in relation to describing supernatural realities. Because it immediately conjures up a literal reference to PHYSICAL sight through PHYSICAL eyes, the proper figurative nature of Scriptural interpretation tends to be most elusive to the mere casual reader.

Of course, there is ample Scripture to indicate that God intended that ONLY  His true children (believers indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit) would have access to the right interpretation of His WORD. Still, apart from such direction, a surface rendering understood in merely the LITERAL sense of ‘seen’ definitely indicates GOD can NOT be ‘seen’ (at least – has never been seen by man in THIS physical dimension).

Upon THAT idea, consider this insight – perhaps “GOD” is much more than what has been determined by centuries of theological scholarship. I have researched and written other Articles offering challenges to many ‘popular’ doctrines regarding the “Trinity”. Even avoiding the term, the nature of GOD revealed in Scripture declares that He has ‘manifest’ Himself in various forms.

A comment received in reply to a Forum post offered a perspective worthy of further research and prayerful contemplation. It proposed, “Is it GOD ‘no man has seen’ or is it ‘the FACE of GOD no man has seen? And if GOD can manifest HIMSELF into the image of man, then, for sure, the image one looks upon is GOD’S manifested image – not the ACTUAL ‘FACE’ of GOD”.

This particular commentator and I developed a mutual respect along with an ‘agreement to disagree’ several years ago. On THIS specific thought, in consideration of the ongoing differences involved in the personal comprehension of certain terminology, semantics remains a nefarious culprit. But I do discern that he’s ‘on’ to something of a revelation.

In other Articles (i.e. The Transfiguration,  The Son of God) I’ve explained the unfortunate terminology involved in English versions of dogma expressing the triune nature of the Godhead, namely the unscriptural term – ‘Trinity’. I further expounded on the various manifestations of the SAME ‘GODHEAD’. Throughout Scripture, There are many more specific encounters with God that appear in several other forms than merely the three indicated by the ‘Trinity’. Generally speaking, I ‘see’ NO reason to limit our comprehension of our Creator to merely three distinct manifestations.

As I clearly state in other Articles – I am NOT denying the ‘main’ three manifestations of GOD, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I merely hope to raise an awareness that GOD is so much bigger and beyond the ability of human rationale, than to think that ALL He is has been FULLY revealed.

“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” – Jn. 10:29.

Due to the the adjective ‘greater’ many have reasoned that Christ and the Father cannot both be GOD. Even many proponents of Trinity Dogma have trouble with this, creating an explanation that there are three ‘persons’ in GOD. This has added to the confusion, and attempts to further explain the ‘three persons’ is virtually impossible. How can GOD be ONE, if He really is THREE separate ‘persons’?

Semantics again, is the primary culprit. The unfortunate use of both ‘Trinity’ and ‘persons’ induce faulty comprehensions. Better substitutes would be ‘triune’ and ‘manifestations’ but traditional doctrines proclaimed as ‘set in stone’ are hard to remove the unexpected problems of semantics and translation.

That should be NO excuse however, for settling on acceptance of any doctrine of men, regardless of their influence or popularity. Sound doctrine requires PERSONAL study of Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, utilizing an error proof rule of  scholarly biblical exegesis as explained in another Article – Interpretation of Scripture.

Regarding ‘Trinity’, Scripture nowhere specifically proclaims that the ONLY true identity of GOD is triune in nature, thereby LIMITING Him to merely three manifestation of Self to mankind. Significantly, many doctrines of men exist that proclaim such exclusively, especially in defense of their dogma regarding the Deity of Christ. Such are unfortunate examples of myopic explications and/or ‘private interpretations’ – to be completely avoided according to an admonition of Scripture.

“We have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any PRIVATE INTERPRETATION, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” – 2Pt. 1:19-21.

The idea that GOD is The Eternal Supreme Being is widely believed and considered completely consistent and relevant to any notion the He ALONE is the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of life. But the term ’Supreme Being’ appears NO WHERE in all of Scripture! Do we then reject it, as so many do other equally descriptive terms like ‘Trinity’ and  the ‘Deity of Christ’ and/or of the Holy Spirit?

Can GOD be rightly referred to as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (and other usually familiar names) EXCLUSIVELY? Isn’t the real essence of GOD so much MORE? What if ALL the names and manifestations of GOD are truly emitting from Him, yet NOT meant to provide a FULL revelation of Him? What if Paul realized this when he communicated in the spirit how little anyone really knows about TRUE GOD?

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” 1 Cor. 13:12.

Hopefully, the absurdity and blatant ignorance of such matters of semantics is understood and accepted as a point of departure for further prayerful consideration. That said, moving on to exploring the actual nature and essence of TRUE GOD, What Scripture does CLEARLY teach is that GOD is ONE. There is ONLY ONE TRUE GOD.

The Old Testament is resplendent with narratives that reveal the worship of many false gods, called idols. The practice is condemned as an abomination, substantiated by GOD’s own declarations of exclusivity to the title GOD. But throughout those many passages, GOD never refers to Himself as ‘Father’ – prophecy does, but never GOD Himself. In fact, the now familiar terms of ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ are exclusive to the New Testament, barring this:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” – Isa. 9:6.

“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” – Psa. 2:12.

Many tend to confuse this truth when they begin to contemplate the several other ‘manifestations’ of GOD. ‘ONE GOD’ does NOT infer that He hasn’t PLURAL manifestations. Just as individuals appear differently at times (new clothes, hair styles, roles, titles, occupations, etc.) while remaining intrinsically the SAME person, so GOD (in who’s ‘image’ man was created), has revealed Himself to mankind in many various forms. Many examples of these various forms are annotated in the Article referred to in the opening sentence RE-BLOGGED – The Trinity: Easy As 1, 2, 3? – ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry.

Biblical scholars have originated terminology to indicate certain manifestations of God the Son in various ‘pre-incarnate’ Old Testament appearances, often called ‘the Angel of the Lord’ – but NOT exclusively. The theological term for these is ‘Christophany’.

While such references implicate a Christ-like figure, another term, ‘Theophany’ is a manifestation of GOD in a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, that is tangible to the human senses.  Some examples of theophanies are: as  a burning bush, a voice from out of the tempest, a pillar of cloud,  the glory of the Lord. No similar term has been offered for Old Testament appearances of  God the Holy Spirit.

As was indicated in the aforementioned Article, all the passages containing related narratives clearly implicate that it is GOD that was encountered. Yet many of the cites include manifestations that are NOT even animate personalities! This indicates a much broader comprehension of GOD – well beyond a limited notion of mere triune existence.

Hopefully, the use of BOLD emphasis for GOD throughout this Article has been noticed. The intent is is to distinguish traditional concepts of GOD that are the result of  merely ascribing to a specific proclaimed doctrine or an acceptance of a universal idea of God that is so nefarious that any and all religions profess. Under such a notion, GOD could be Allah, Brahma, Buddha, or any number of pagan deities – ALL false gods diametrically opposed to the GOD of the Bible Who ALONE claims to be the ONE TRUE GOD.

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no GODIsa. 44:6.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no GOD besides Me” Isa. 45:5.

“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am GOD, and there is no other” – Isa. 45:22.

“Remember the former things of old, For I am GOD, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me” – Isa. 46:9.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” … And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” – Rev. 1:11-17.
In the final passage (quoted directly above), the speaker in the narrative is a post-resurrection appearance of Christ to the Apostle John. These claims MUST be perceived as either true and consistent with Isa. 44:6 (the 1st cite above), or blasphemous in light of GOD claiming exclusive right to proclaim of Himself, I am the First and the Last”.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” – Jn. 4:24.

In conclusion, prayerfully consider this: GOD as He has chosen to reveal Himself is as Jesus declared, essentially SPIRIT. As can be rightly understood, ‘spirits’ are NOT discernible to the natural physical eye. generally considered beings of  another realm The very FACT that GOD has manifest in different ways, although specifically appropriate  to the incident.  In like manner, the SPIRIT that is GOD also evades natural ‘sight’, choosing to reveal Himself in ways conducive to human reception. Equally incomprehensible is the overwhelming evidence of GOD’s Spirit as that of the natural wind.

“Jesus said, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – Jn. 3:5-8.

Any attempt to reason such spiritual analogies apart from the unique discernment available ONLY from the guidance of the Holy Spirit sadly leaves one as confused as Nicodemus. But fortunately for sincere seekers of God, several clearly proclaimed promises of God have been given.

“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” – Jer. 29:13.

“The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” – Jn. 14:17.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” – Jn. 15:26.

“When He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” – Jn. 16:13.

Back to the matter of semantics for these closing remarks – in ALL the above Scriptural quotations, the pronouns (exclusively as part of proper English grammar) are ALL in the masculine tense. This especially important to understand because by their use, an express rejection of any notion that references to the Spirit portray HIM as an inanimate object or mere ‘force’, opposed to the proper designation in the masculine tense, is false.

Other Article for further related exploration >>> , The Existence of God, and The Son of God.

RE-BLOGGED – The Trinity: Easy As 1, 2, 3? – ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry

This essay is  easy to follow,  and so worthy of consideration! While it is perfectly adequate in its original form, one more example of God manifesting Himself in physical form has been added here:

“Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” – Gen. 32:24-30.

The remainder and full credit posted below belongs exclusively to One for Israel.org.

One of the hardest things for Jewish people to deal with when it comes to Yeshua is the idea that he could be God in human form. The trinity just sounds like straight up polytheistic idol worship to Jewish ears.

Monotheism was the defining difference between the faith of Abraham and all the pagan worshipers surrounding him in the Mesopotamian basin. Every Jewish person knows that their God is one, and squirms inside when they see a church cluttered with images that seem like idols – the holy child in the arms of Mary, Yeshua on the cross… it might be like a believer going into a place of worship with star signs of the Zodiac all over the walls. Jewish resistance to the Trinity comes from the knowledge that the God of Israel is a jealous God, and that they must never bow the knee to any other. So how can we be so sure that the appearance of Yeshua and teaching of the Trinity does not contradict the Torah’s insistence that only God should be worshiped?

Does explaining the Trinity tie you in knots?

An English preacher called David Pawson rightly noticed that we often feel awkward and embarrassed about the inexplicable trinity. How can God be three and one at the same time? “We don’t know!” We have to admit. There are metaphors of clover leaves having three parts to the one leaf… of water, ice and steam all being H2O… of the ability to be a mother, daughter and wife simultaneously, but none of these analogies really do justice to the mysterious Godhead we claim to know and love.

But, insists Pawson, the trinity is one of the greatest truths we have to share, because we alone, of all faiths, can declare the truth that God IS Love!

In order to love, we need an object of affection, but since God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He was already living in loving unity long before He created the world! In Himself, God’s very essence is love with no need of outside intervention. We could say that a singular God could be loving in nature, but to say that He IS Love is a unique privilege of those who believe that He alone can give and receive love in and of Himself.

They’re all there, the entire time, all through the Jewish Scriptures

The word “Trinity” cannot be found in the Bible, but the truth is that the three of them have been there together all the way along. Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the earth by his word. John 1 tells us that the Word is Yeshua – that He was with God and was God from the get go, right there at creation. We also see the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, hovering over the waters in the second verse of the Bible. Not sure about this? The first words of the Bible in Hebrew are  בראשית ברא אלוהים – In the beginning, God created (or “in the beginning, created God…”, because that’s the way Hebrew sentences are structured). The word for God is Elohim. This word Elohim, very interestingly, is plural. Still not convinced? The decision to create humanity is made. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”, says the plural God, in plural. There is no getting away from it this time. The Hebrew is very clear.

Later on we see hints of Yeshua appearing as “The Angel of the Lord”, which could simply be one of God’s many angels, except that those who encounter this one a) identify Him as The Lord himself, and b) worship Him. There is no way that a regular angel of God – even a top level angel – would accept worship that belongs to God alone. If you want to see what I mean, see what happens when “The Angel of the Lord” turns up to visit Hagar in Genesis 16 and 21, Abraham in chapter 18, and the One who stops him killing Isaac in 22:11, look at the interaction between Samson’s parents and the Angel of the Lord in Judges 13, and consider who the fourth person was in the fiery furnace that Daniel’s three friends were rescued from. As you ponder the texts and the dialogues, look carefully at the way people address this angel, at the way he refers to himself, and you will see that there is something divine going on here. This angel speaks as if He is God, and people speak as if they have encountered God. Because He is. And they have.

We also learn of the third person, the Holy Spirit, very much active in his own right in the Tenach – falling upon and anointing people with power to prophesy and act to accomplish God’s will. He empowers the artisans who make the tabernacle, falls upon Saul in 1 Samuel 10, and is spoken of by David in the Psalms and the prophets (“The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me…” Isaiah 61). He appears many times throughout the scriptures, helping and enabling people to do the will of God.

We even see all three of them together in this verse:

“Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this: From the beginning I have not spoken in secret; from the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord GOD has sent me, and His Spirit.”  (Isaiah 48:16)

There they all are – all three of them together. The Lord God (Father), the One who He sent, who was with him from the beginning (Yeshua) and His Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament.

God repeatedly promises that he would come and live among them, in words that bewilder the mind if you are not ready to accept the deity of Yeshua. He says,

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you.” (Zechariah 2:10-11)

Yes, it was always God’s intention to come and live among us as Yeshua. And you can see the sameness yet separateness in these verses – He speaks as God himself, yet tells us that the Lord of Hosts has sent Him.

We also see the God’s Son mentioned several times in the Tenach (Jewish Scriptures):

Psalm 2:2
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Proverbs 30:4 –
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in his fists?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is his son’s name?
Surely you know!

Daniel 7:13 –
and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,

and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.

Incomprehensible, but true

So although this idea seems alien to most Jewish people (and frankly, rather bewildering to most believers) a careful study of the Scriptures shows us that Yeshua did not suddenly appear two thousand years ago. As he says of himself; “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58).

All To Jesus I Surrender

https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/the-trinity-easy-as-1-2-3/

One of the hardest things for Jewish people to deal with when it comes to Yeshua is the idea that he could be God in human form. The trinity just sounds like straight up polytheistic idol worship to Jewish ears.

Monotheism was the defining difference between the faith of Abraham and all the pagan worshippers surrounding him in the Mesopotamian basin. Every Jewish person knows that their God is one, and squirms inside when they see a church cluttered with images that seem like idols – the holy child in the arms of Mary, Yeshua on the cross… it might be like a believer going into a place of worship with star signs of the Zodiac all over the walls. Jewish resistance to the trinity comes from the knowledge that the God of Israel is a jealous God, and that they must never bow the knee to any other…

View original post 1,113 more words

Does God Create Evil?

A recent inquiry regarding a specific passage found in the Book of Isaiah that appears to be a declaration by God that He ‘creates’ calamity and evil has resulted in the posting of this Article. As always, seek the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit as you ponder these things.

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things” – Isa. 45:7.

Immediately, it must be understood that whenever seeking a proper interpretation of Scripture, several ‘rules’ of exegesis must be followed. Obviously, few students of formal theology exist, just as there are few doctors, lawyers, or plumbers, relatively speaking. Individual occupations or vocations are many and the choice of endeavor is determined solely by an individual’s free-will. To become an ‘expert’ in any chosen field, years of disciplined study and research associated with similar ‘experts’ in the SAME profession or ‘calling’ is necessary. As with most everything in life, the more time and effort invested in any pursuit – the better the understanding.

Therefore, the aforementioned ‘rules’ are NOT widely known nor commonly exercised by many who seek clarification or guidance in certain specific areas, especially when it comes to interpretation of scripture. While even doctors of theology do not have a unanimous consensus on the ‘best’ rules, several methods are accepted and deemed most appropriate.

It is NOT the intention of this Article to proclaim a preferred method or hope to put an end to debate. Merely presenting these facts though, will provide even the novice an opportunity to realize that such variables exist so as to understand. Often when Scripture is not blatantly clear, the reader must accept that God chooses at times NOT to reveal many things, or that a deeper, prayerful consideration of a particular subject or topic is warranted.

In light of those facts, please consider this. One ‘rule’ of interpretation includes the necessity of reading pertinent verses in their original context. This means discovering who the original audience was, in order to properly evaluate what was the intended message to THEM. Evaluation of their history and culture should provide insight into the intended application or meaning of the verse – to THEM.

This is of utmost importance, because the initial reason for a message forms the proper foundation of all subsequent interpretations of it. Often, to accomplish this, many surrounding verses or whole chapters must be scrutinized to glean the whole truth.

To the point of the specific passage mentioned, Isaiah was God’s prophet SOLELY to Judah during their Babylonian captivity in 712 BC. He is proclaiming God’s choice of a specific man who would become king (Cyrus), and he would be used by God to set THEM free. The original deliverance of this passage was in prophetic form, as the appointment of Cyrus was at THAT time 150 years into THEIR future (562 BC).

While it has been declared about Cyrus by many modern teachers that he is a ‘type’ of Messiah, a foreshadow of the coming Christ, THAT profession is a double-edged ‘sword’. On the one hand, it does fit with the general theme of prophecy utilizing ‘typology’ where the entire Old Testament is a shadow of things to come. Conversely, Cyrus was a real man who actually did fulfill the things Isaiah prophesied about him. Since this was completely fulfilled in his actual lifetime, theories and stipulations that there remains an unfulfilled portion of Isaiah’s proclamation pertaining to him must be understood as interesting to ponder, but avoided as elements of sound doctrine.

The more obvious point of the whole two chapters (Isaiah 44 & 45) is that God ALONE knows and controls the future. Lifeless idols cannot prophesy, acknowledge worship, nor respond to the cries of the Jews. THAT was the original intent – to reiterate the eternal control God has over all things. Now 2500+ years later, many who attempt to attach possible modern fulfillment of the prophesy are speculating or theorizing, at best.

Problems with seeming contradictions (such as: does God actually ‘create’ evil?) occur frequently when the specific verse is taken out of context. Properly read within its original setting, it is merely a poetic expression to elaborate on the Omnipotence (all-powerful nature) of God – as in, is there any limit to God’s power?

On the ‘other side’ of the SAME ‘coin’ is the New Testament declaration of Paul based on the absolute control God has over anything that might pose a threat to preserving our right relationship with Him.

I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor ANY other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”Ro. 8:38,39.

The remainder of the chapters sited in Isaiah deal with prophetic language purposely declared to give the Jews hope that their captivity was coming to an end. Warnings of God’s wrath being poured out against their captors is one explanation about God ‘creating’ darkness and evil – but only AGAINST those who oppose Him, NOT in the sense of the general perpetual influence of evil throughout the world.

For MORE about the existence of evil and its origin, please read one of my other Articles on the subject: Explaining the Existence of Evil.

Talk With God

A recent dialogue about the possibility of actual ‘two-way’ communication with God challenged the premise that God is even a person! If the rational mind could receive spiritual revelation, sufficient to convince ANY logical debater would be very many such ‘reasonable’ arguments. But unless the Spirit of God provides enlightenment, no exchange of information regarding the spiritual realm can be rightly received as absolute TRUTH. Of course, truth, if not absolute, is NOT TRUTH. Sadly for those without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they CANNOT comprehend these deeper revelations God provides.

“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”1Cor. 2:14.

“The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” – Jn. 14:17.

Self-awareness, apart from finding its identity in Christ, becomes an over indulgent self-consciousness that produces a self-centered arrogant ego.  But this is nothing new. Scripture explains how the ‘exalted cherub’ became the ‘fallen angel’ by daring to usurp God’s authority and ascend above His throne. Similar desire ‘to be god’ is the foundation upon which all false assumptions about true spirituality rest.

“You were the anointed cherub… till iniquity was found in you. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” Ezk. 28: 14-17.

“…You have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” – Isa. 14:13.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” – Pr. 16:18.

Because they have refused to humble themselves before God, many people continue entertaining vain imaginations instead that replace True God with man-made idols of endless foolish theories. Even many who claim to know God and regularly fellowship with Christians are secretly not fully surrendered to the SOLE Lordship of Jesus Christ as True God, Emmanuel.

They continue to debate well established areas of sound doctrine regarding the scriptural revelations God has presented about Himself such as the different manifestations of His Godhead: A Triune nature, although ONE and ONLY ONE God.

How perfectly scripture explains such folly:

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE,  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but BECAME FUTILE in their THOUGHTS &  their FOOLISH HEARTS were DARKENED. Professing to be wise, THEY BECAME FOOLS, & CHANGED the glory of the incorruptible GOD into an IMAGE [imagination] made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who EXCHANGED the TRUTH of GOD for the LIE, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” – Ro.1:1-25.

Many profess a generic sense of knowledge of God, but have also accepted several non-scriptural ideas about Him. Having merely a nominal understanding of the spiritual realm, while believing in its existence, they are NOT properly educated regarding the truth.

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” – Jas. 2:19.

Prayerfully consider this with further emphasis on God’s ‘person-hood’. Sadly, as in, all have sinned and come short of His Glory, those among the unbelieving cannot comprehend this personal relationship. Some criticize or completely renounce the authority of Scripture, claiming it is merely the product of fallible men and therefore, equally unreliable. They pretend to revere a sense of God, but deny that there is only ONE TRUE PERSONAL GOD by agreeing with a more popular ‘user-friendly’ idea that all paths lead to God and all spiritual journeys are forms of enlightenment that can result in righteousness or ultimate ‘Nirvana’.

In doing so, they also deny God’s clear claims to ‘Fatherhood’. Instead, they grasp onto the perceived ‘love’ emitted by the female goddesses of ancient mythologies.  But polytheism is the underlying hypocrisy that many fail to realize as the very implication of their denials toward the Deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They aspire to entities, essences, powers, and forces – but reject the revelation of the one true PERSONAL Supreme Being manifest as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Some of these are ‘Quasi-Christians’. Seeing only the Father as True God, the other manifestations of the Son and the Spirit are assumed by them to be other ‘lesser gods’. Christ becomes merely a ‘perfect man’; the Holy Spirit, a mere ‘impersonal force’.

“For men will be LOVERS of THEMSELVES, lovers of money, BOASTERS, PROUD, BLASPHEMERS, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, TRAITORS, HAUGHTY, HEADSTRONG, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS  but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 2Tim. 3:2-7.

Conversely, only those who have accepted Christ and truly become born again, ‘newly birthed’ into the spiritual kingdom of God and awareness of God’s personal relationship, can and do communicate with Him. Scripture defines these ‘qualifications’ in terms equated with normal human experiences.

“My sheep HEAR My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” – Jn. 10:27.

Interestingly, even our initial ‘introduction’ is expressed with similar terms, used figuratively to proclaim an actual ‘normal human experience’ of inter-personal relationship.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone HEARS My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” – Rev. 3:20.

It should be obvious as readers over two-thousand years past the time of its writing, that Scripture intentionally uses terminology that must be interpreted figuratively in passages where a literal interpretation would be absurd. To think that Christ literally ‘stands’ at your ‘door’ in physical forms as such literal interpretation would require, dismisses entirely any notion that these scriptures have relevance today regarding God’s continued desire to experience a personal relationship with us.

But such is the origin of a false-belief system called ‘agnosticism’: that God created the world,  once visited it, but long ago ceased to communicate with it. Agnostics also relegate Scripture to mere historic texts – mere narratives, with no significance for today in regards to prophecy, or ongoing revelation to, and relationship with modern man.

But John, when closing his divinely inspired compositions encouraged active faith for every new generation when he wrote:

“Truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” – Jn. 20:30,31.

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” – Rev. 22:18-21.

So, it should be quite clear that God definitely desires communication and a right personal relationship with us. The only question remaining is – are YOU listening? God forbid you remain one of them

“And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive” – Mt. 13:14.

For further insight,  please consider my other Articles regarding this topic – The Existence of God, The Deity of Christ, and The Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Gospel of Mark

Years ago I presented as my Sunday sermon what I titled as The Gospel According to Mark.  In the introduction I clarified that it was not the New Testament Book I was referring to, but my personal ‘gospel’. I wanted to share my personal testimony and challenge the congregation to acknowledge that every believer has a personal ‘gospel’.

In my desire to spread the Gospel of Christ, I’ve encountered many ‘evangelists’ who proclaim a message that is NOT the Gospel, but instead, doctrine and religious pretense. Quite similar to political protesters, they wave posters with scriptural slogans, but seem more intent on imposing their beliefs than introducing Christ.

“Repent” has replaced “accept Christ” as their mantra. Hate has subsequently removed love from the lasting impression these ‘evangelists’ leave. But their message is not confined to street corners; it is being preached in churches as well. A much more subtle (and thereby more heinous) presentation is employed (because we must be more pious) in church. It is a confused version of ‘preaching the gospel’ insisting people must choose THEIR proclamation, rather than rightly pointing to Christ.

The picture of ‘Lady Justice’ blindfolded as she holds the scales is fairly representative of the sum of my experiences. In retrospect – (hindsight being the ever reigning champion) – truly following after the Spirit of the Lord always brings us to the SAME ‘fork-in-the-road’ where HE leaves us to our free-will choice. Although NOT Biblical, it remains equally true – ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’.

In order to really ‘lead one to Christ’, we must first and foremost realize that it is Christ the PERSON (a living being) we must introduce – NOT doctrine, religion, or church affiliation. ALL those are by-products – POSSIBLE helpful ‘elements and tools’ to aid in the spiritual growth of a true believer – BUT ONLY a TRUE BELIEVER!

The ‘political church’ (as many have sadly become) is NOT embracing Christ the Person, but attempting to provide an organization of like-minded individuals who agree on specific tenants of ‘faith’. Membership is too often based upon requirements quite similar to other secular organizations. Merely naming Christ as the common denominator, but never celebrating nor actually experiencing HIS real being. Conforming to so-called dogma derived from His teachings, GRACE is forsaken and replaced with modern forms of Old Testament Law.

“Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?  Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” – Gal. 3:1-3.

Our relationship with God in Christ is through the Holy Spirit – a SPIRITUAL reality. Attempting to ‘enforce’ morality, conformity, or unity with regard to our common carnality is merely ineffective false religion. We must NOT focus on our physical natures, but on the PERSON of Christ. Issues that divide the church related to ‘sins of the flesh’ continue to drive people away, because those things are NOT conducive to spiritual maturity – but conversely, when remedied they become the obvious ‘fruit’ that GOD produces in every true believer AFTER they have entered into the promised transition from ‘death to life’.

 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” Jn. 5:24.

We know that we have passed from death to life…”– 1Jn. 3:14.

As with every other relationship in life, it is impossible to ‘lead’ someone to a proper relationship with another person with whom you have not  established a prior ‘right’ relationship. You may comment about a person by name without having any personal relationship with them, but the result can only be information – NOT an intimate relationship.

Too many so-called ‘leaders’ in church circles merely proclaim information related to a common historical knowledge of Christ, rather than a testimony of their personal relationship with Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Preaching the Gospel must be consistent with the manner in which it was originally preached and recorded in the New Testament.

“He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ)” – Jn. 2:41.

“Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.” – Jn. 1:46.

“They said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” – Lk. 24:32.

When an actual personal encounter with Christ is experienced, from then on, knowing the TRUTH, no counterfeit experience, teaching, or other deception can nullify who Jesus Christ truly is, or obstruct the legitimate preaching of your personal ‘gospel’.

Whenever the distinction between preaching the Gospel and further ‘educating the saints’ is NOT clearly established and rightly appreciated – false doctrines can result. There is a marked difference between coming to Christ in response to the preaching of the Gospel (resulting in becoming born again) and subsequent life in Christ, whereby instruction in spiritual matters facilitates proper spiritual growth leading to spiritual maturity. The naivety to, or abject ignorance of these facts far too often leads to confusion about many aspects of Christianity.

To borrow from another well-known idiom about horses – too many people have placed the ‘cart before the horse’ in their approach to properly discerning and interpreting the tenants of Christianity. Much of what is proclaimed as ‘how to be saved’ is actually reserved as instruction for those who are already saved, now being transformed into ‘perfection’. Too frequent among such teachers is the erroneous notion that ‘being saved’ is synonymous with ‘attaining perfection’. Scripture actually teaches that ‘perfection’ can only be achieved subsequent to salvation, NOT simultaneously.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” – Heb. 6:1.

Preaching the Gospel must NOT be confused with ‘instructing the saints’. Right response to the Gospel (thereby creating ‘saints’) ALWAYS precedes their instruction in righteousness (which, by-the-way is Christ’s Righteousness – NOT ours). Mixing elements of ‘instruction in godliness’ with steps to accepting Christ and entering into a right relationship with Him not only leads to confusion, but many false belief systems usually result.

Christ came to set us free and grant us peace and life abundant, NOT burden us with allegiance to rules and restrictions. By His own proclamation, He never intended Christianity to be an entanglement that focuses primarily on THIS life – but a promise of the next, experienced NOW.

” I came that they may have life, and that more abundantly” Jn. 10:10.

“My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Mt. 11:30.