Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mark 8:13-18 commentary: the corruption of leaven

13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. 17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

It’s important to understand that leaven in the Bible is not likened to a good thing. There is the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Exodus 12.

Exodus 12:19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off* from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

*To be cut off means to perish or die – examples below

Amos 1:8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.

Zechariah 13:8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

Leaven is a type of corruption.

Leviticus 10:12 ¶ And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:

So, unlike what some religious traditions proclaim this woman, who may be the false goddess Ishtar, Asthoreth, Diana, Isis, or any number of feminine manifestations of Satan, is not enriching or making perfect what may very well be Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism but is responsible for polluting all three.

Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

The doctrine or leaven of these Christian churches is no better than the leaven of the Pharisees.

Matthew 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

This is the natural outcome of following the heresy of the three main branches of Christianity is apparent;

Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The Scriptures tell us of a great “falling away” at the end of history.

2Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

To fall away is to betray Christ, to join the enemy.

Jeremiah 37:13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.

The lukewarm church of the end times, the Laodicean church, from Lao-the people, dike-judge or the people’s rights, the human rights church, not God’s rights, is rejected by God;

Revelation 3:14 ¶ And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The many “progressive” movements in the United States in the 18th century were essentially Christian based, founded by diehard, postmillennial, and evangelical Christians. By placing government in the place of God and civil law in the place of moral courage these pious Christians who meant well eventually consigned their spiritual offspring to unbelief and faithlessness. Government, whom they could see, became the God whom they could not see previously. The destruction of the Biblical view of Christians in America and the authority of the Scriptures was abandoned. Neo-orthodoxy and eventually Neo-evangelicalism reduced the Bible to a quaint mythology whose authority was based on original manuscripts that no one on earth has seen for thousands of years, the doctrine of the Scriptures “given by inspiration” as the Bible states was reduced to the original manuscripts only being inspired, and finally the error of calling them even “God-breathed” in defiance of Jeremiah, chapter 36, Job 32:8; and 2 Peter 3:15. As pre-President Obama lamented in his 2006 Call for Renewal speech the abandonment of the liberal of his or her religious faith is ironic considering that liberal political ideas were rooted originally in Christian beliefs and voiced by evangelical Christians in the 1800’s. To the American Christian, government became God’s agent on earth, and eventually took God’s place.

Postmillennial belief, that mankind would create God’s perfect kingdom on earth by legislating it into existence led to disbelief and apostasy and the eventual disappointment of World War One led to a new kind of Christianity, not moored to the Bible at all, but geared to a rewriting of it, without God’s hand in it.

As one example, a mentor of President Woodrow Wilson, Richard Ely of Johns-Hopkins University said it most clearly.

“An obstacle [to the expansion of the State’s role] in economic activity has been found in the low view that men have too frequently taken of its [the State’s] nature. Calling it [the State] an atomistic collection of units, some have gone so far as to speak of the support for public schools as robbery of the propertied class. Now, it may rationally be maintained that, if there is anything divine on earth, it is the State, the product of the same God-given instincts which led to the establishment of the Church and of the Family. It was once held that kings ruled by right divine, and in any widely accepted belief, though it be afterwards discredited, there is generally found a kernel of truth. In this case it was the divine right of the state.”

(Gary M. Pequet and Clifford M. Thies, “The Shaping of a Future President’s Economic Thought: Richard T. Ely and Woodrow Wilson at “The Hopkins,” The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy 15, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 262. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed August 2, 2011).)

A hardened heart has to do with not understanding or being willing to understand what God is showing you or teaching you. A hardened heart keeps you from hearing what is being said;

Exodus 7:13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

In verse 17 it is clear that a hardened heart keeps you from understanding what is obvious. A hardened heart keeps you from doing what you should do;

Exodus 7:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

The consequences of a hardened heart become worse and worse sin. Read Romans 1:16-32.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mark 8:12 commentary: of signs and generations

12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

Sorry, just had to go off on a tangent here. It’s too interesting to pass by.

In another place Jesus promises the Jews only the sign of the prophet Jonah;

Matthew 12:38 ¶ Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

By this statement we can understand that Jonah did die and was brought back to life in this passage;

Jonah 2:1 ¶ Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

As an interesting aside, notice how the great fish, a unique one of a kind fish for those people running off to try to prove that this or that sea creature can or has swallowed a man whole, was prepared by God for Jonah and is a type of Hell, as you read the passage in Jonah again. The fish is also a type of something else, though, or someone else, rather.

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jesus calls this great fish, a whale. Modernists, steeped in modern taxonomic expressions will scream, “A whale is not a fish! Ha, a mistake!” But, man’s taxonomic classifications are just that, man’s. Notice the creatures around God’s throne in Revelation 4 are classified in categories; domestic, wild, flying, man-like (primates?). God mentions whales in Genesis 1:21 as the first creatures coming out of the water where He started life.

Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

In Job 7:12, in Job’s lament, it is implied that God would set a guard over a whale as if you select all the verses that contain “watch” you see that it is an alert guard over something or at a certain time. (Genesis 31:49; Exodus 14:24; Judges 7:19, etc. etc.)

Job 7:12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

Pharaoh is likened to a whale in Ezekiel 32:2

Ezekiel 32:2 Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.

I am going to put forward that, rather than being a specific reference to a specific taxonomic classification, a whale represents a large sea creature; what we would call a large fish, which is God’s obvious classification by comparing verses between Matthew and Jonah, in that case a specially modified fish, or the Leviathan of Psalm 104:26 as in BIG.

Psalm 104:26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

Which then, links these large creatures to the reptilian Lucifer or Satan, which are titles rather than personal names.

Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

This verse links the serpent of Genesis 3 with the dragon of Revelation 12, which is the Devil.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan is likened to a dragon, which is the word we used for giant reptiles before the word dinosaur was invented. You can see the description in Job 41 as the word Leviathan in the first verse links the whale, Satan, the dragon, and the Devil in one as typified by a giant reptile.

Keeping in mind that the Philistine god, Dagon, is part man and part fish, imported from the Assyrian and Babylonian pantheon of gods (Judges 16:23; 1 Samuel 5:2). Perhaps he is also referenced in Revelation 13:1, linking him to Satan as well.

And remember Manna, that unknown substance that fed the Jews in the wilderness? Well, consider this;

Psalm 74:14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

There are so many deep things in this Book of God that we can never know the entire story here in this life.

A generation refers to our polluted bloodline. Death came into the world that we know by sin.

Let’s take a look at an unbelieving evolutionary scientist’s scholarly statement;

“Death did not appear simultaneously with life. This is one of the most important and profound statements of all biology. At the very least it deserves repetition: Death is not inextricably intertwined with the definition of life.” William R. Clark, Sex and the Origins of Death (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 54.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

In our natural state our bloodline is polluted. Starting with the proscriptions against eating blood before, during, and after the Law given to Moses;

Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Leviticus 17:12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Let’s move on to the fact that Satan used Eve as a sort of shill in his rebellion against God by giving Adam the opportunity to go against the one thing God had forbidden him to do.

He beguiled her through subtlety;

2Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

She added to God’s command which we are forbidden to do repeatedly (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; and Revelation 22:18);

Genesis 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

God had said merely not to eat of it;

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

She became part of Satan’s scam but Adam knew full well what was happening;

1Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

And he was right there with her when this happened, when Eve fell for the three things that God warns about again in 1 John 2:16, and he willingly disobeyed while she was deceived as the previous verse says;

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Eve sexually knew her husband, Adam, after the Fall and declared that her firstborn was from the Lord;

Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

Is it possible that Cain and Abel were twins? There is no mention of a conception between Cain and Abel;

Genesis 4:1 ¶ And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

But, was Cain truly from God?

1John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

There is a condition where fraternal twins can have different fathers called Heteropaternal Superfecundation.

Remember, the sons of God who came to live in the flesh bore children through the daughters of men which offspring were giants; violent and powerful.

Genesis 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…..4 ¶ There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually….

Their appearance, their representatives or angels (Isaiah 63:9) as angels are not a separate created thing but appearances of God (Judges 2:1), men (Daniel 9:21 with Luke 1:26 and Revelation 21:17), churches (Revelation 2:1), children (Matthew 18:10), suffer for their leaving their original position;

Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Remember what Jesus called the religious elite of His day;

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

If this is so, then Cain’s blood ran through our veins, and by extension, Satan’s blood, through Noah’s sons. Some traditions say that Noah’s wife, the mother of the three men who overspread the entire earth; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, was Naamah, Tubalcain’s sister, a descendant of Cain.

If that is so, then the blood of Cain entered our veins through the wife of Noah as he was perfect in his generations. There was something wrong with Shem’s, Ham’s, and Japheth’s blood. There is something wrong with our blood. God did something about that spiritually and physically.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

1Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

1Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Seems like blood is sort of important, doesn’t it? Christ Himself has generated a people for Himself by His blood. The prophecy in Psalms 22 which Christ pointed to by quoting its first verse from the cross states that clearly;

Psalm 22:30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

Although the Jews had plenty of evidence to look at Christ refused to give them a sign. The Hebrews were born as a people by signs and wonders but Christ refused them. Remember from before, He knew they didn’t believe but were merely seeking a way to accuse Him of something wrong by their standards.

You don’t need a sign. You need the gift of faith to believe. When was the last time you prayed for, not only health, healing, sustenance, success, and lots of stuff? When was the last time you prayed for faith?

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Jesus is going to leave these people and preach an important little sermon about leaven.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mark 8:10-11 commentary: tempting him

10 ¶ And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

“Straightway” means immediately. The Bible uses parallel phrasing to define words. For instance here are two parallel verses that help define straightway; Matthew 4:20, 22.

Matthew 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Matthew 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

The Bible also uses word markers to define words. In this situation if you take the word you are unfamiliar with, “straightway”, and look at the words which surround it; “And they-----left”, and then look for the word those words surround in nearby verses you can determine the meaning.

This is done again in the paragraph of Matthew 14:22-33. Simply see that the word used after “straightway” on two occasions within the paragraph is the name “Jesus”. In verse 31 you have the same word progression only with “immediately” in “straightway’s” place.

By using this method in the paragraph of Mark 1:29-39 we can see the definition of “forthwith” and “anon” as well.

As far as Dalmanutha is concerned, in the parallel passage in Matthew 15, they took the ship to the coasts (borders) of Magdala. So Dalmanutha must be a village or location on the edge of Magdala.

The Pharisees just had gotten a sign but now they want to get Him to say something or do something to get Him to do wrong by their rules. The “tempting him” here is clearly tempting for the purpose of trying to get Him to make a mistake in their minds. This difference in tempting or testing someone is a very important concept in the Bible.

“Tempt” means to prove or ensure something works as promised or is true. It is a test.

Psalm 95:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

Some people who don’t like to think or don’t want to dig into God’s word will view the next two verses as a Bible contradiction;

Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

However, in the verse in James as well as Jesus’ experience with Satan in Matthew and Luke, chapters 4, it is Satan who tempts or tests man with evil, hopefully expecting to see him fall. God never tempts or tests one of His own with evil or malice. He never wants you to fall. That is not His purpose. That is always Satan’s purpose.

The Pharisees were tempting Jesus in the hope and expectation that He would commit some blasphemy by which they could justify their condemnation of Him. They were doing the work of Satan. One application for these verses might be that if you test or tempt someone with the express purpose and expectation of seeing them fall or do wrong then you are doing the work of Satan.

As an example of the contrast remember how Paul tells Christians in Romans. Chapter 14, not to flaunt their liberty in Christ in front of a weaker brother or sister. We not only don’t want to see someone fall as the world enjoys doing, the proof of which is on every day in the news or in the tabloids, but we don’t even want to put any of our brothers or sisters to the test if there is that danger. Unless, of course, you are keen on doing the work of Satan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mark 8:1-9 commentary: feeding the 4,000

1 ¶ In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

This is how our flesh is. I can remember how God, one day, delivered me from something that should have happened to me and then a few months later I was fretting about another seemingly impossible situation that I had created and was doubting that God would help me. The Hebrews who came through the Red Sea also forgot His miracle when faced with something else unpleasant.

Psalm 78:17 And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. 18 And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. 19 Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?

Here, He publicly has fed people again. This wasn’t secret.

Acts 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

The five thousand in Mark 6 are representative of God feeding Israel in that 12 baskets of fragments are taken up signifying the 12 tribes. Here, the feeding of four thousand represents His gift to all men as He feeds them with 7 baskets remaining, seven being the number of God’s perfection and completion. God has fed us with His words and we are fools to disregard them and to not feed on them every single day.

God’s words are likened to food throughout the Bible. Notice these examples in Job;

Job 12:11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?

Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.

And here from Proverbs;

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

And Psalms;

Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

And in Amos;

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

Why would the words of the Lord be like food? Well we are born again by the word (small w for words) of God;

1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

So, you see, you are saved, not because of something you feel but because of what the word of God says, whether you feel close to God today or not. You were not saved by your own will.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God’s words are more important than our food.

Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

For it is by His word that we are sanctified over time, made useful to Him, and set apart for His purpose.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Any Christian who has been spiritually fed by God’s words knows what I mean. Those Christians who don’t regard God’s words as having any power other than as some sort of inspirational self-improvement or self-help guide don’t know what I mean. Those Christians who regard the Bible as God’s principal manner of speaking to their heart know what I mean. Those Christians who regard the Bible as just another ancient book to be dissected and judged like Plato’s “Republic”, Livy’s “History of Rome”, or a Shakespeare play won’t know what I mean. Those Christians who treasure, use, and believe the Authorized Version of the Bible will know I am talking about. Those Christians who use a Bible version dependent upon Alexandrian manuscripts and modernist scholarly musings won’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mark 7:31-37 commentary: opened the ears and loosened the tongue

31 ¶ And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. 35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

This is the area where the maniac that was possessed had lived. Think of the string on an instrument that makes a sound or think of String Theory, where all the physical universe is based on strings of vibrating energy.

Of course, God has the power to remove these infirmities as He told Moses directly;

Exodus 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

One thing many people seem to miss is that God Himself is capable of making you hear and believe His word as He is capable of loosening your tongue so that you will witness and preach. Many of us were deaf, as in without the ability to hear, understand, or obey God’s words before we were saved or even after we became Christians by trusting in Christ. Then, when we heard and understood we often were unable to tell others. Although some people can’t shut up once they are saved others don’t know how to speak about Christ. Christ is capable of opening your ears and loosening your tongue. Read His words in His Book and hear Him. Then let Him loosen your tongue and watch the words fly.

Don’t expect that you can do it yourself and it come from God. He may open your ears and loosen your tongue Himself just to show His power. Read His Bible prayerfully every day and believe it, expecting something to happen. God gave the Bible by inspiration in the originals, in copies, and in translations where He had a hand in the minds of the people doing the work. Of course, you want to pray and figure out in which Bible His hand of inspiration is evident. All Bibles are not equal.

The Authorized Version, also known as the King James Bible, has that hand of inspiration, wisdom, and understanding on it. It will compel you to read it from cover to cover if you are faithful. Don’t concern yourself with Apocrypha placed between the Testaments in the early editions for historical context. God had them removed. Don’t worry about the alternate renderings of words placed in the margins. God had them removed, as well. Don’t concern yourself with Gothic script you can’t read in the early editions. God changed that as time went by to the script we use today. Don’t let someone twist your faith in knots over variations in spelling of words. God had men standardize the spelling in the 1760’s editions we use today. Just read the text, believing that God has something for you. He will give you sight, open your ears, and then loosen your tongue.

Matthew Henry said that Jesus sighed because He would have known of the dangers of having an unloosed tongue;

Psalm 39:1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

This is also proof of Jesus Christ being the Messiah;

Isaiah 35:5 ¶ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Of course, the Pharisee’s weren’t able to heal at all and unless God had a hand in it those events where a Pharisee would seem to heal were pure scam. Here, Jesus does something physical but it is His words that initiate the healing as revealing His will by which healing is always performed.

Jesus Christ did all things well. This would be a great sermon and has been used often.

John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mark 7:30 commentary: mental illness and possession

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Finally, the woman finds out that her daughter has been delivered of this devil. It has become more common than not, in the age of secular humanism as the established religion, not to imagine any mental or physical disorder as the work of a spiritual entity. But, these entities that are invisible to the human eye unless they take on a body do exist according to the Bible and according to the Bible they do operate in the bodies and lives of people. If you don’t believe that you don’t believe the Bible. If you don’t believe the Bible then you don’t know if you are saved even and your faith is based on your own feelings rather than a solid foundation.

Devils exist and do cause many diseases and mental illnesses. Dr. Ruckman has pointed out that, in his opinion, most mental illnesses are the result of not being willing to forgive others, not being willing to be forgiven by others, undealt with sin, and not forgiving yourself. Depression itself can be looked at as anger turned inward. However, my point here is that along with any proven chemical imbalances in the brain or a personal emotional and spiritual issue, there are also those who are affected by unseen spiritual entities.

Can a Christian be possessed or are those people indwelt by the Holy Spirit only subject to oppression? Well, as Dr. Ruckman has pointed out, if a devil has your tongue, your eyes, or any part of your mind I’m sure you aren’t going to quibble about semantics. Deal with the spiritual first by getting right with God through Christ, forgive your enemies and those who have done you wrong, declare your sins to God and ask Him for forgiveness, allow others to forgive you when you have asked them to forgive you or when they have chosen to forgive you for something you had not even addressed, and when you know God has forgiven you, accept His forgiveness and move past it. From the physical standpoint, if you are under a doctor’s care, within reason, comply with his requests and take medication as directed.

Many medications are designed only to stabilize your condition so you can think clearly. This is often important in order for you to think clearly enough to address your spiritual issues. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need to take medication prescribed for you whether it be Lithium for bipolar disorder or a drug to address chronic, clinical depression. Suddenly stopping your medications on your own can make you intensely depressed and even suicidal. Do not take this on yourself without your doctor’s advisement. Of course, proper rest, a good diet, and regular exercise are fundamental to mental health as well as these spiritual and medical issues.

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm Your Brother

There are a lot of people who sit in church pews around the country and are silently hurting in a big way but not necessarily in a visible way. They don’t know if the person standing up front whether he be the master of ceremonies and chief sermonizer, the preacher, or a hired gun like an evangelist who is brought in to shame the regular crowd into better attendance or more giving, really feels what they feel or understands where they are at right now, or even believes what they believe.

I’m one of those people who often just don’t get it. I read the Bible diligently. I’m on my 57th time. I know what it says, how’s it written, and who its written to, and most of the time, I think I understand it. But, there are times when I listen to a sermon that I feel like I’m from a different planet. And I’m not talking about my church, but any church, any internet sermon, any youtube video of a favorite preacher, or anyone who claims to be a “man of God”.

You know how they say how wonderful it is to be saved, to be in the “house of God”, and how they love the Lord, and you should feel all those things as well. Some people shout Amen! But, all you feel right now is beat up, run over, broken down, or maybe discouraged and disheartened, or even afraid. You feel guilty because, well, maybe it’s just a sin to feel the way you do.

You know how it is, they tell you that if you’re a real Christian you’d show up every time the doors are open. But, you wonder if the car that left you sit at work last week, the one you can’t afford to repair, the one you can’t afford to replace, will even get you home from the church meeting today. You know how it is, they tell you that if you really love Jesus you’d give more money and if you gave more to the church organization then God would bless you. But, since you were laid off and the unemployment ran out you’re worried about keeping a roof over your head, you can’t afford your own medical care, and the kids are sick. You think, I guess my worries are just more sin.

But, if you’re out there and you don’t connect with a lot of preaching you hear I just want you to know that I’m your brother in a lot of ways. Not in all ways but I’m sure you can see it my way in at least some ways.

I’m your brother if you’ve been through or are going through chronic, clinical depression and are taking medication for it. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are probably people who are suffering who don’t have to but for their own pride and stubbornness. It wasn’t until I acknowledged the authority of the Authorized Version aka the King James Bible that God removed that from me. But, I do know how you feel. So does God.

Read Psalm 42.

I’m your brother if you are in middle age or senior years and feel like a failure. You not only haven’t arrived, you don’t even know where you were supposed to be going. Your ship not only didn’t come in, it hasn’t even left the dock yet to start the trip. You’re barely able to keep a roof over your head or gas in your car and you are one paycheck away from foreclosure. You’re one car breakdown away from not being able to get to work. Your relatives are successful. Kids you used to play with live in fine homes, take wonderful vacations to interesting places, and have the best electronic doodads on the market to entertain themselves with. But you, if it cost a nickel to go around the world you couldn’t get out of sight. You are just so thankful to God that in spite of your failures He is the one who has kept you from living under an overpass and eating cold beans out of a can. You’re thankful you have a spouse that is smart enough to keep the heat on or the water running. If you look back at your life and you honestly can say, were it not for God’s mercy, I’d be in line down at the county welfare office tomorrow. Or, maybe you will be in line at the county welfare office tomorrow. I’m your brother.

Psalm 9:18 For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

I’m your brother if sin has wrecked your life. If you’ve burned yourself out with wrong thoughts and wrong deeds. If you’ve pleaded with God to do what He’s done in the past, to deliver you from the sin that makes you sick. I used to drink a lot. Quietly, it caused me a lot of problems. I was unresponsive to my family’s emotional needs. I was there but I wasn’t there. You don’t have to be abusive to be an abuser. I was a neglecter. I paid a high price for it. And in my shame and agony God removed alcohol from my life when I believed which book was His Book. But, I have other sins I can’t shake. I’m too weak to let go myself. And I’m pleading with Him to do what He did with alcohol and horror movies. Just take it away. If your sin has made you sick and you want it to end but you see no end, you feel no end in sight, I’m your brother. I’ve been there. If your sins make you cringe when you think about the past and there are times in your life that should have been joyful but, dadburn it, you can’t remember them, precious memories that aren’t, or that bring back shame and self-disgust, I’m your brother.

Read Psalm 38

I’m your brother if your heart is broken. I’ve wanted to kill myself. I thought about it a lot. But, my daughter did it before me. I loved her so much. I still do. I just wasn’t a very good Dad. We didn’t have family Bible reading or family prayer. I never dealt with the issues that she would have had coming from a broken home and moving into a blended family. I just pretended those problems wouldn’t exist. I closed my eyes and whistled in the dark. I left it up to the church to teach her the ways of God. I left it up to her step-mother to teach her everything else. Her step-mother couldn’t have overcome the fact that my daughter’s biological mother had rejected her to her face, not once, but twice. There’s a saying I respect. Its, “look at your child and decide what kind of person you want that child to be, and then you be that person.” I wasn’t. She’s gone now. My only hope is that when she was seven and she went forward on her own and announced to the pastor that she believed, that she was saved. I know no one in the Bible who committed suicide went to Hell because they committed suicide. If they went to Hell it was for what they had done before. But, after the resurrection and Christ’s ascension there are no suicides in the Bible unless you think Paul for all his rash pursuit of martyrdom was suicidal. Maybe he was just in a hurry to be with the Lord. Anyway my heart is shattered into a million jagged pieces and it will never be put back together in this life. If you feel that pain and that grief and that hopeless loss with a big hole in your heart and you long for heaven and a reunion you pray will happen, I’m your brother.

Read 2 Samuel 21:8-11.

I’m your brother if you’re an oddball. Maybe you have a weird hobby. Maybe you’re just strange. I’m not the kind of person that people say, “hey, I got an idea! Let’s go hang out with Fred! That’ll be fun!” No, my friends, most are like me, and we’re content to talk on the internet. We’re not outgoing. Not party people. I’m not much of an entertainer and I’m not entertaining. If you regard yourself as a loner, someone who feels uncomfortable in a group or a meeting, I’m your brother. I feel good with my church in a way I don’t even feel with my family. The fellowship we have in the afternoon is often far too short a time. There are so many times that I regret that I live so far away. I feel like if we lived down the street I’d be there most days or evenings for some reason or the other. But, my wife is the only person I like hanging around for hour after hour. We don’t even have to talk. My wife and my animals. So, maybe you’re nerd, a bookworm, or are into Japanese calligraphy. Whatever. If you just aren’t a people person, not outgoing, not all excited about the prospect of going to Hershey Park or a high school reunion I’m with you. I’m your brother.

Read Psalm 102:6,7.

I’m your brother if you think politics is the entertainment wing of the military industrial complex. If you can’t trust politicians who don’t express a faith in God and don’t trust politicians who do, I’m your brother. I’m your brother if you think the Democrats are crazy as loons and the Republicans phony as three dollar bills. I’m your brother if you think Satan is the god of this world and you believe like the famous Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and that great men are almost always bad men. You know the thought, that just the fact that a man wants that kind of power makes him ineligible morally to have it. I’m your brother if you think that the only native American criminal class is the government and if you’re sick of hearing that if you don’t vote for the one you are voting for the other because you know that both candidates’ people say that so who am I voting for if I don’t vote on that particular line? I’m your brother if you’re sick of people telling you that you have no compassion if you think their plans for curing the country of its ills and righting all wrongs are poorly thought out or that the president of whichever party is in the White House is a communist/muslim sleeper agent or doing the bidding of the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, the Skull and Bones, or the He-man Woman-haters club. If you are sick of the lies and emotional manipulation in the world of politics, I’m your brother.

Read Daniel 4:17 and Luke 4:5-7.

I’m your brother if you know in your heart that you need to be doing more knocking on doors but your inherent shyness and/or your respect for private property and the right of someone to just get some rest on a Saturday morning without being harassed make it hard for you. I’m your brother if someone coming to your door on your only day off where you can actually get work done or just relax; dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase makes you feel like you want to hide your wallet, eat the paper your checking account number is written on, and hide behind the curtains until they leave; makes you angry or nauseated. I’m your brother if before you do go out to hand out tracts or to knock on doors you just pray that God would either direct you to that one person who has been praying for someone to come, or direct them to you, either way, because salvation isn’t a corporate sales gimmick where you think, well, it’s a numbers game. I give out so many tracts I’m bound to get a percentage saved. What is this, the church of Jesus Christ or a Dale Carnegie sales training symposium?

Read Acts 8:26-40.

I’m your brother if you are a Bible thumping, fundamental literalist who believes the King James Bible is the word of God, sort of the Lord Jesus Christ in written form, that it defines its own words, and lays out its on doctrines, and that adding to it or taking away from it is a stupid, if not downright hideous, sin. I’m your brother if you can read the literal English that breeches were Hebrew priests’ underwear, the church is the people, the house of God is God’s family, angels don’t have wings, and that the church is going to be translated, all pop religion words like “rapture” aside and that words like judgment, salvation, damnation, and vessel, etc. etc. should be defined in context only. I’m your brother if understand that nearly 99% of all manuscripts, the writing of the early church leaders called “Fathers” by unbelieving scholars, lexicons, and early versions agree with the Authorized Version aka KJV of the Bible and that the work of Westcott and Hort and their offspring are the works of the Devil. I’m your brother if you believe that “given by inspiration” , not “God-breathed” or “divinely inspired”, and preservation are essential Bible doctrines. I’m your brother if you think you’d have to be crazy to believe that only the originals were inspired by God, originals that are gone, no one you know personally has ever seen, and can’t do you any good or glorify Christ. I’m your brother if you believe the Bible, not your own will, has God’s power to change you and that most calls for holy living are pure humanistic drivel.

2Timothy 3:16; Job 32:8; 2Peter 3:15; wisdom, understanding, and knowledge from God being synonymous as per Exodus 31:3; see what God thinks of the originals in Jeremiah 36:32; see Psalm 12:6,7; Psalm 119:89; Psalm 119:11; Deuteronomy 17:18,20; Joshua 1:8; 1 Timothy 4:13.

I’m your bother if you believe that God created everything that is in six days by Christ who also holds it all together, that giant lizards didn’t become birds, that ape-like creatures didn’t become men, or that your ancestors didn’t evolve from the “primordial ooze” or some place equally nasty sounding. I’m your brother if you don’t see any reason to believe the earth is moving as even the godless, atheist scientists say that all motion is relative to the observer and there are no walls or floor or ceiling in space to start with as a reference point and I’m the observer and I’m here so everything else is moving and not me. I’m your brother if you picture the earth as the center of the universe. I mean, well, even the unsaved atheist cosmologist believes that anywhere can appear to be the center of the universe so why not here. I’m your brother if you believe that you can be a great medical doctor, biologist, astronomer, physicist, chemist, or engineer without believing in evolution or being an atheist. I’m your brother if you believe that a Christian who believes in evolution’s core principles is calling Moses, Paul, and the Lord Jesus Christ liars and needs to be smacked upside the head.

Read Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Mark 13:19; Colossians 1:15-17.

I’m your brother if you feel uncomfortable in many church services because you can read and by reading the Bible you know that the early church was a participatory worship and not passive. I’m your brother if you realize that we all have a ministry, whether we like it or not. You realize that you may be a lousy minister but you are one anyway; at work, in your neighborhood, in your family, at sporting events, when you shop at stores or eat out, and you are a representative of Christ, his ambassador, even if a reluctant one at times. I’m your brother if you wait on God’s calling each day and want Him to tell you through His word what service He wants from you, not someone in the church to define what your service ought to be by their standards and by their convictions. I’m your brother if God is not just a concept, an ideal, or a system of morality to you but a living and real person who speaks to you through His words in His Book every single day if you’ll allow it and that He wants to bless you by you being a blessing to others. God’s Spirit will direct you, you are sure, through His Book, and you resent someone trying to make you think that it is their personal standard of spirituality that counts more than the talents that God gives you personally, the inclinations that He directs you to personally, and the doors He opens for you personally. I’m your brother if you believe the church is a living organism, that Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Living WORD, the physical body of God, that God the Father is the soul of God, the seat of will and self-identity, and that God the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is here to guide and teach you in all things. I’m your brother if you believe that Jesus Christ walked on this earth before His incarnation as the angel or appearance of God, and also after that. I’m your brother if you believe in the triune God.

1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 1:3,4; John 1:12,13; Colossians 1:18,24; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; Isaiah 63:9; Judges 2:1; Acts 27:23; John 14:26; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 5:7; Matthew 3:16,17.

I’m your brother if you believe that God saved you and you didn’t save yourself, that God keeps you saved, and that you not only can’t earn your salvation, you can’t pay for it once you’ve got it, and you can’t lose it because now you are part of Christ’s body, and He has sealed you by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that no matter how bad you feel or how sorry you are you are saved because the Bible says you’re saved and it’s not based on how you feel or anyone else’s opinion of your standing with God or your standards with men. I’m your brother if you’re going to spend eternity with your Creator. Praise God and God bless you.

John 1:12,13; Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9,10; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mark 7:27-29 commentary: The time of the Gentile nations is ending

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. 28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. 29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

Matthew gives more details. See Matthew 15.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

In this context Christ is referring to Gentiles as dogs in comparison to the Jews who are God’s children, but it is by their faith that these Gentile dogs are justified. The Gentile nations would probably hate to be thought of as dogs but in comparison to God’s chosen people, the Jews, that is what they are called. Jesus had come to the Jews. He did not travel to India or America as false religions say. God created these people out of the wicked Gentile nations and made them for Himself. They fell away and He wanted them to return. But, He warned them that He would extend His grace to the Gentiles and that many of the kingdom would be cast out. They did not receive it. The only reason we’re getting the crumbs is because the Jews rejected Christ. So, the Gentile nations like America and Britain need to stop being so proud and arrogant.

The Gentiles;

Isaiah 40:17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

But Israel isn’t one of them;

Numbers 23:9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

The Gentiles are blessed because of the Jews’ fall, which is temporary, until the end of history.

Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

When did or when will the “fullness of the Gentiles be come in”?

At the end of the 19th century many Europeans and Americans envisioned a golden age of mankind being brought in by science and a new understanding between nations. The Europeans believed they had brought civilization to the world enlightening the darker races of the earth with Christianity and progress, then with science and technology.

At the end of the century, Great Britain ruled supreme over the earth. In the latter half of the 19th century a movement rose to the forefront which called for the return of Israel to its national homeland; called Zionism. Among the many apologists for this effort was a lawyer, journalist, and playwright, Theodore Herzl. Anti-Semitism and particularly the Dreyfus Affair where a French-Jewish military officer was mistreated badly helped him to articulate the frustration that Jews felt in the world, particularly in Europe. The World Zionist Congress met in Basle, Switzerland in 1897. Eventually, this movement led to the state of Israel being formed in the fallout of Europe’s colonial empires disintegrating as well as Ottoman Turkey’s collapse.

At the end of that century mankind realized that he had moved forward in technology and science very rapidly. Christianity had a new version of the Bible based on unreliable and faulty manuscripts apostate scholars loved but that Christians had ignored for 1500 years. German universities trumpeted a “science” called Higher Criticism where virtually everything about the Bible was questioned from Moses authorship of the Pentateuch to whether or not Jesus Christ had ever even lived.

Marx’s economic theories which would undergird revolutions around the world starting with the Russian Revolution of 1917 causing millions of state-sanctioned murders and nightmare oppression, Unitarian influenced (which does not acknowledge the deity of Christ) Darwin’s preposterous postulate of atheistic evolution which would undermine religious faith and provide the foundation for Hitler’s National Socialism, and Freud’s view of the inner workings of the mind which eventually would be the foundation for his nephew, Ed Bernays, creating the modern industry of public relations, propaganda, and the advertising industry in America bringing on what a BBC commentary referred to as “A Century of Self” laid the groundwork for the most bloody century in the history of mankind after the Great Flood of Noah’s day.

There, we are at the end of the 19th century with the dream of the liberal intellectual of uniting all religions and languages into one, ushering in a “golden age” of peace and understanding. Britain rules supreme and its most powerful men dream of a better world united under the Union Jack, the flag of Great Britain. America is about to become a colonial power by seizing the dying remnants of Spain’s colonial empire in what the Spanish call ‘The Disaster’. The Bible in use for 250 years based on texts used by Christians for nearly 2,000 years has been altered to downplay the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ due to Unitarian influences and downplay the importance of the words of God as a Protestant or a Baptist’s final authority due to Roman Catholic influences.

The world is poised on the brink of coming together, at least in the dreams of the intelligentsia looking forward to a bright new age of peace, prosperity, and human understanding. The Tower of Babel is being rebuilt. The fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Satan’s plan of drawing all men together in one final stand against their Creator appears to be coming to fruition. Several possible Anti-Christs are prepared by him as he does in every generation; an overweight cigarette sucking, cigar chomping Edward the VII of England, related to every other European monarch and called the “Uncle of Europe”, his cousin, German Emperor Wilhelm the II, heavily influenced by Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s anti-Jewish rant “The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century”, and any number of their other relatives such as Czar Nicholas II of Russia, and American presidents with a messianic vision of America, Britain’s offspring, such as William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson.

But, it was not to be. The Gentile powers, now in their finest hour, were about to begin a century of war that would destroy the flower of their manhood, their myth of superiority over the people of their colonial possessions, and the foundations of their entire civilization. A “Great War” would start in 1914 that would not officially end until October 3, 2010 when Germany made its final reparations payment which had been imposed on it after it lost the first round of fighting on November 11, 1918. During those 90 + years 150 million human beings would lose their lives in the bloody conflict of war, tens of millions would be driven from their homes, and the supremacy of European civilization would be eliminated as first the colonial powers including Great Britain would be eclipsed, then the Soviet Russian Empire would dissolve, and then America, which reigned supreme from 1945 would slowly start to see its economic power and position of preeminence decay.

The fullness of the Gentiles has come in and its passing was a century of death and anguish. But, here God in the flesh is trying the resolve and faith of one Gentile woman who comes to him pleading for deliverance for her beloved child; a simple story of faith with tremendous implications. He has made her a promise of deliverance for her daughter in the present tense as they spoke, delivering her from afar, evidence of His power as the God of the universe, in the flesh.

How must it feel for the devils that stand behind the Gentile nations (Daniel 10:13, 20) to know that that their world is ending, that the primacy of their civilization is passing, and that the glory of their culture was neither able to stand up against the God who created the people of those lands nor prevent His will from being fulfilled. As Jerusalem stands at the heart of the earth, so Christ, not Kaiser Wilhelm II as he planned according to an author I read, will enter the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 46:12) and reign on earth for a thousand years until eternity begins.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mark 7: 24-26 commentary: fall at his feet

24 ¶ And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. 25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

A “Greek” is merely someone who is not a Jew in almost every case but for exceptions like Romans 1:14 where the learned, science loving Greeks are contrasted with the presumably ignorant barbarians; those who were not of that culture. A Greek is a gentile.

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

In these verses the Greek, as representative of the Gentile nations, is contrasted to the Jew, as Greek was the predominant language and scholarship and represented the religious affiliations of the world of the Roman Empire.

Finally, for confirmation of the difference between the Jews, who came into existence through signs and miracles, and the Gentiles, who respected science, learning, and wisdom moreso, see;

1Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

But, here in her desperation, ironically, is a Gentile seeking a miracle. Bible commentators refer to her as a Gentile born in the Phoenician part of Syria, present day Lebanon. She is a Greek, in that she is a Gentile of the greater Greek world, but she is a Syro-Phoenician by nation or ethnicity.

The physical act of worship is to fall at one’s feet, prostrating themselves before the one worshipped.

Revelation 19:10a And I fell at his feet to worship him……

When was the last time you fell at His feet to worship Him? We have sung praises and prayed and many have done that often, but when did you come to Christ and prostrate yourself physically before Him? Does God have to visit you and bring you low in spirit and despair for you to do that? Would it were that we would of our own free will cast ourselves at our Saviour’s feet and plead for His mercy and grace in time of trouble rather than haughtily assuming by virtue of our standing as saved, born again people that Christ owes us something.

We were created, as everything else was, for God’s pleasure.

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We need to get beyond our petty pride and realize that “it” is not about us, but about Him, without whom there would be no existence, and without whose sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead there would be no hope.

Fall at His feet. His words in His Bible can lead you there or life’s troubles and anguish can drive you there. You choose. Come expectantly like this Gentile woman did.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to read the Bible: part two; doctrine

This is a study of how to read the King James Bible, also known as the Authorized Version, in order to help with understanding.

This section will be on doctrine.

Doctrine is defined by the Bible as law in Proverbs 4:2. Doctrine is the rules, the standards for you, in your dispensation, which is not a period of time but a way in which God deals with His people. It is something that can be taught in Mark 1:22. It can be taught by parables in Mark 4:2. There are many other statements about doctrine in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament.

Here are some general ideas to help you establish true doctrine.

First, understand that most of the Bible is written directly and literally to the Jews. It is not doctrine for Gentile believers in Christ. The entire Old Testament, the Gospels, most of Acts, and the General Epistles or Tribulation letters, plus Revelation are not specifically written to you as doctrine. Every verse applies to you but not doctrinally. A particular verse in Ezekiel, for instance, may only have a metaphorical or symbolic application to you, or, if it doesn’t contradict a doctrinal statement in Paul’s letters it can be practically and literally applicable.

The literal and specific doctrine for Christians can be found in the letters starting with the name, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. (Romans 15:16).

Paul’s letters are written in response to letters sent to him or to conversations he has had. It is important to try to prayerfully figure out what problems he was asked to address.

Rules for establishing doctrine are rather straightforward.

1. Begin in the letters that start with the name Paul.

2. Look at all of the verses in context on the subject.

3. Define words by methods outlined in lesson one.

4. Confirm by background texts in other parts of the Bible.

5. Look at available information on historical background and context if your are still confused and uncertain.

6. In prayer, come to a conclusion apart from popular belief or the pet opinions of your favorite celebrity preacher. Use the Bible exclusively and prayer as your guide as without the Holy Spirit’s help you won’t figure out anything. Other information apart from the Bible is limited in its value. Don't overestimate the importance of an historical work as they are useful only for providing context.

In the following feel free to add verses that you believe are applicable and explain to yourself why.

Doctrine 1: How do you get saved?

Romans 10:9-10 is the clearest expression of how you get saved.

Also read Ephesians 2:8,9

Exercise: Many authorities add “repent of your sins” to this equation. On what grounds would they be able to do that?

Doctrine 2: Can you lose your salvation?

Read 2 Corinthians 1:21,22; Ephesians 1:13; and 4:30

Exercise: How do you reconcile those verses with 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:29; and 1 Timothy 5:12?

Doctrine 3: Why must Christians be baptized? Does it have some quality to save them apart from belief?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:16, 17; Mark 16:16; and 1 Peter 3:21.

Exercise: What are people being baptized with in context in the following verses; Ephesians 4;4,5; Romans 6:3,4; 1 Corinthians 10:2;1 Corinthians 12:13? Could you relate baptism to Romans 10: 9, 10 in any way?

Doctrine 4: In 1 Corinthians Paul gives a long argument for women having long hair in the Corinthian church and men not having long hair. However, at the end of the argument he says that it’s not a custom in the other churches. Read 1 Corinthians 11:1-16.

Exercise: Is Paul saying that for a woman to have a short hair style is a sin or an act of disobedience to Christ? What is the historical and religious context of long or short hair on a Corinthian woman? Does it apply to all Christian women in every place in every time?

Doctrine 5: Under what conditions are Christians required to give money to the church organization? Is a ten per cent tithe required? Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

Exercise: Find the word “tithe” or some form of it in the letters written to the Christian? On what basis would a preacher or pastor or bishop request a tithe or a fixed percentage of someone’s income? Is it valid?

Doctrine 6: Are Christians to obey government authorities? Read Titus 3:1 and Romans, chapter 13.

Exercise: Taking into consideration the literal context of Romans 13 and reading Acts 5:26-29 under what conditions are Christians to obey magistrates? Under what conditions to disobey?

These are just a few. Come up with your own doctrinal exercise and answer it prayerfully. Search the Scriptures.