Monday, February 11, 2013

Mark 10:13-16 comments: Suffer the little children

13 ¶ And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

To suffer is to allow which you can see by searching for all of the instances the word is used in the Bible. To understand words in the Bible see how they are used in context, by looking at words next to them, near them, or anywhere around them that gives them meaning. It is foolish to go to a dictionary when the King James Bible is self-defining. Webster’s 1828 dictionary is no substitute for how the Holy Spirit defines its own words.

Unfortunately, while lexicographers studying Plato do not go to Homer to see how Plato uses a Greek word, they do often, in modern times, go to Plato to see how to define a Bible word. This is because they don’t believe in the authorship of the Holy Spirit through the wisdom He gave the actual human writers. But, it’s even worse than that. They don’t even judge the Bible by the same standard they judge a play by Aeschylus. While the author’s use of words in context is good for any other work, apparently many of them do not afford the Bible that credibility.

We have to receive Christ in the kind of trust and acceptance and expectation that a child receives Him.

We are to trust Christ with the absolute trust of a little child. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were all children in heaven? If children see Christ in their parents’ lives, in the way their parents speak, the way they act toward each other, the way they act toward those outside of the family, then they are most likely going to be drawn to Christ. Children who see fear, paranoia, a psychopathic lust to control others, and constant ingratitude and arrogance will either become just as wicked as their parents or they’ll get as far away from them as they can get when they become adults.

Remember, it was the little ones who were able to go into the Promised Land, not their parents.

Deuteronomy 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

How can you trust Christ if you don’t know Him through the Bible? Is your Christ some figment of your imagination? Is He some projection of your own desire and longing for immortality, or a fear you have of not having any meaning in your life? Upon what is your relationship with Christ based? A feeling? Your conscience? A cultural concept of what it means to be a good person? How do you know the Christ of the Bible apart from the Bible? Are you so confident in your own spirituality and discernment that you don’t believe Satan or your flesh or the world can fool you into believing in a false Christ?

Trust in Christ for your salvation. Trust in Him alone. Don’t try to live by someone else’s convictions or let your service for Christ be judged by some Pharisee’s standards. But, trust Him as a little child trusts because if you don’t He’s made it clear that you are not His.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mark 10:1-12 comments: marriage, divorce, and remarriage

1 ¶ And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.

Jesus Christ is constantly busy. He has no time to lose and yet, He has eternity.

2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.

A Pharisee is tormented by questions about sex. A modern day Pharisee is obsessed about how women dress, how they behave toward their husbands, and whether or not a woman can own a business or lead a country, and, of course, divorce. They are fanatically obsessed with concerns about women. There must be a name for that kind of obsession.

Here is the passage in the Law given to Moses that they are concerned with;

Deuteronomy 24:1 ¶ When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

The Law was given for wicked people. It was given for murderers and blasphemers among other unsavory characters.

1 Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

A saved man today has Christ’s righteousness imputed to Him if he believes, which, of course, if he didn’t believe, he wouldn’t be a saved man. He is not under the Law. (see Galatians 3:24 and 25 for confirmation). The Pharisees and Judaizers want to keep putting you back under the Law so the preacher or priest can have control over you. Christ is going to give something that completes the Law and fulfills it and explains what it meant.

In the Sermon on the Mount He says, if I may paraphrase, ‘the Law says this….but I say’ as He explains the distinctions between what was meant by the Law and what the Law literally says. As Paul says later;

2Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Remember here that Christ is talking to beard wearing, pork abstaining, temple going, Sabbath observing Jews under the Law given to Moses. See Romans 7:1-4 where Paul is talking to those who know the Law as he makes a comparison to the wife of a dead man not being bound to him as we are dead to the Law and not bound to it. We are married to Christ now. Some preachers’ reading comprehension is sorely lacking.

Romans 7:1 ¶ Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Marriage is designed to be FOR LIFE. Divorce is not part of God’s will. He allowed it because of the hardness of a man’s heart. Don’t unite your flesh with another person of the opposite sex unless you commit yourself that this is forever. Don’t marry someone who thinks differently.

The Jews taught, I am told but have not bothered to confirm, that you could kick your wife to the curb if she didn’t cook like you wanted.

10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Here it is clear that if you put away your wife and marry someone else you commit adultery against her. If a woman puts away her husband and marries someone else she commits adultery. Jesus announces in Matthew that only the spouse’s fornication is an acceptable grounds for divorce.

Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Fornication runs the gamut from adultery to incest and many places in between. When you have removed your sexual affections from your spouse, even temporarily, and put them someplace else you are a fornicator. You may also be an adulterer, a pedophile, or obsessed with pornography (the Greek word translated as fornication is porneia from which we get the word pornography) and you have broken the marriage bond.

The Holy Spirit, speaking through the wisdom given to Paul, shows that abandonment is another ground that is acceptable for divorce.

1 Corinthians 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

It can be argued, I think, quite truthfully that the spouse who has abandoned you and joined flesh with someone else has ended the marriage on both counts of fornication and abandonment. You didn’t put them away falsely. They left you and committed adultery with someone else. Case closed. You are free to marry again. Thank God for His grace.

The Fundamentalist Pharisee’s assertion that if divorced, for any reason no matter what, you can never marry again is an absurdity based solely in their sick, twisted desire to control other people; pathological authoritarians that they are.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mark 9:49-50 comments: a sacrifice seasoned

49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

The Authorized Version, the Geneva Bible, and Tyndale’s New Testament all have the Byzantine/Antiochan Christian ending of verse 49. Modern New Age Versions of the Bible following Westcott-Hort’s Alexandrian manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, leave it out.

The problem is that the verse is referring to two types of people; one saved and the other damned. The unsaved are tormented with fire while the saved, who are a sacrifice to God, are salted with salt.

Leviticus 2:13 And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

The Christian is to regard his body as a living sacrifice to God. This is according to Paul, given inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16; Job 32:8; 2 Peter 3:15), which is understanding and wisdom, synonyms in dozens of verses.

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

For you Greekophiles Paul uses the word for reasonable that Plato and Aristotle would have used, Logikos, from which we get logical, only Paul’s explanation of what reasonable is, our bodies a living sacrifice to God, is a far cry from what Plato and Aristotle found reasonable.

Your bodies are not to be used for the works of the flesh, for sin. Those people who define themselves, their existence, by these sins will not inherit God’s Kingdom. Have you ever heard someone call themselves “a player” or “a party animal” or “a night owl” or any other term that implies sexual immorality, moral incontinency, or lack of self-discipline?

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Notice that there are more than just actions of the body that constitute the works of the flesh but of the mind, as well, which is part of the flesh in its sinful attitudes and thoughts. The modern Christian’s fear, paranoia, bigotry, hatred, and lust for violent revenge are just as much works of the flesh as the unbeliever’s lasciviousness and are not befitting someone who is called to be a living sacrifice to God.

The fruit or the proof of the Spirit of God being inside you is not how many “decisions for Christ” you can get by twisting the verses regarding salvation and browbeating people until they give in to shut you up, how many seats you can arrange to fill in church services, how many tracts you hand out, or how you dress, or what family members you shun because they’re too worldly, or how faithfully you talk about “those” people whomever “those” people happen to be this year.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Is your testimony worthless? Do you have nothing to commend yourself as a Christian but how you proudly hold your head up at what you don’t drink, what you don’t laugh at, what you don’t listen to, what you don’t watch or read, what party you don’t vote for, and who you don’t associate with?

The salt that loses its saltness is worthless. It has no value. It doesn’t fulfill its intended function. And remember, the Christian’s works are going to be judged. The value and worth of what he or she claims to have done for Christ will be weighed in Christ’s balance at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Keep in mind also the actual context of these verses, oh church worker, pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, believer or pretender.

For Christians;

2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

And for those who reject Christ;

Revelation 20:11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Ohhh, people are going to have a time of it, aren’t they?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mark 9:43-48: the fire is not quenched

43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

These verses go with the last verse. Literally.

Jesus Himself shows that this verse can have a different application than a literal call to cut off your hand.

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Evil proceeds from the heart. The hand just does what it’s told.

A spiritual application can be made here for the Christian today that it would be better to be without a body part than to use it to unite in sin and wickedness and that applies not only to hands that touch things they ought not in ways they ought not, eyes that look at things they ought not, and feet that hastily take them to wicked places where they should not be.

Modern versions based on the Alexandrian text-type Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus which underlie Westcott and Hort’s Greek text and all the modern versions remove verses 44 and 46. And yet, these two verses are found in the Byzantine text tradition from Antioch where Christians were first called such that the churches believed through for nearly 2,000 years.

Note here that the Hell where “their worm dieth not” is to be a physical place on earth. By any understandable method of interpretation, Hell in the verse 43, 45, and 47 is a place of burning and suffering, where decay is eternal, and the worm that feeds on the sufferer lives forever, too.

Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Now for what I believe the verses are literally about based on the literal context. Notice that in the context of these passages Christ has referred to offending a little one who has believed in Him. I think the warning should be obvious for any church worker or person in authority in the local church who has the inclination to deal inappropriately with a child.

Three times, Christ alludes to the passage in Isaiah here. Three times he warns people that they’d be better off not to have something as a part of them than to use it against Him to sin. It must be a very important point He wants His people to learn. Would it were that priests, pastors, Sunday-school teachers, all church workers, and Christian congregations would look at these passages and the context. Perhaps there would be fewer survivors’ groups on social networking sites or books written by those who had “escaped” if they had.

God is very serious about this one thing in particular among many. Don’t mess with His children.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mark 9:42 comments: the faith of a little child

42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

The world’s treatment of children is going to be one good reason for why God is going to be so harsh on the world at the end. The exploitive, abusive, and neglectful treatment of children all over the world is wicked. God is coming to stomp out this world for its wickedness. God is watching. When our sins are filled up He will come, but in His own time.

To offend can be something one does against God that draws His wrath. In this definition it is sins and trespasses against God.

2Chronicles 28:13 And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.

Offenses are inevitable from a fallen race of sinful people but...

Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

It can be wrongs that cause a brother to be angry.

Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

To offend can be to cause to stumble to be made to fall in your walk either in the Law under the Law or with Christ under Grace. Here Jesus is a “rock of offence” to those people who stumble at His words, which those people who reject Christ are “appointed” to do.

1 Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

If a person harms the faith of a little child who believes in Christ his or her suffering shall be legendary. Christ makes a stark statement here about what their fate will be. It will be a very sad day at the Judgment Seat of Christ for Pastors and Sunday School teachers who have exploited or manipulated little children and taken their faith from them. I can think of a long list of names of people who have sexually exploited or physically abused children who grew up to form support groups where they talk about how evil Christians are. If saved, these victimized people have been neutralized in any value for Christ by the evil work of these men.

It will be an even more terrible day at the Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers for those unsaved Pastors and Sunday School teachers who will stand before Christ for what they have done to children. Those children’s appearances, the angels of their presence (Isaiah 63:9), are always before God the Father in heaven.

Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

The Bible has many references to the evil of harming the faith of another.

Romans 14;13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

When it comes to children fathers have even been warned not to provoke their children to anger and wrath lest they become discouraged but, by contrast to provoking them, raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Harming the faith of a little child is one of the worse of the transgressions a person can commit and will apparently reserve that person a greater judgment. Be warned.