Monday, April 20, 2015

Exactly what is or who are the Bride of Christ?

The Christian Church has historically considered itself to be the celestial bride of wife of Christ; Catholic nuns notwithstanding, but is it as simple as that? To start on this journey it will be helpful to begin with a few statements by the Apostle Paul below in the following:

2 Corinthians 11: 2
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I may present you as a pure virgin [bride] to Him.

Ephesians 5: 25-27
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present to Himself a radiant [glorious] church [bride], without stain, wrinkle, or blemish; but [that she be] holy and blameless.

Now, let’s look at the description of the Lamb’s [Christ’s] bride as found in the book of Revelations in the following:

Revelation 19: 7, 9
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Then the angel said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.”

Revelation 21: 1, 9-11
And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues cams [near] and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain, great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was shining with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.

NOTE: At this point we have read two theological inconsistencies- either the Church (Jews and Gentiles who believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world) is the bride of the Lamb [Christ] or it is the supernaturally restored city of New Jerusalem; it seems unlikely that it can be both.

Revelation 21: 3
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will be with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

NOTE: This is all fine and good but King Solomon posed the question in 1 Kings 8: 27- But will God really dwell on the earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven cannot contain thee.
Let’s look at what the prophet Jeremiah has to say about this future event:

Jeremiah 3: 17
At that time they will call Jerusalem the Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD.

Revelation 21: 23
The city [New Jerusalem/the Lamb’s bride] does not need the sun or the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb [Christ] is its lamp. The nations will walk in its light and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor [tribute??] into it. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

Lastly, consider the question the disciples of Jesus asked before His ascension back to heaven. In Acts 1: 6-7 we read: So when they met together, they asked Him, “LORD, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel [Jerusalem/ including Judah and Israel (Cp. Jeremiah chapter 3)]?” He said, “It is not for you to know the times or the dates that the Father has set by His own authority.”

CONCLUSION: Be that as it may the one thing that seems obvious is that God is still very much concerned about the Israelites or Jewish people/Hebrews, and that whatever blessings that the Gentiles receive does not supersede or replace those who are descendants from Abraham and heirs to God’s promises to him along cultural, ethnic, racial, and even religious grounds. In fact the entire book of Revelations is the most pro-Jewish book in the New Testament, along with the book of Hebrews (quite naturally). It is not a matter of choosing one or the other but to consider both sides of the issue as merely food for thought; although to some true believers there is no further need for any other consideration because the Church is the bride of Christ and this settles the matter-simple as that.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
April 20, 2015

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What does the Bible teach about Predestination and Freewill?

Several opinion polls have been taken over recent years regarding the viewpoint of the average American citizen pertaining to their view of the afterlife, and by an overwhelming majority, nearly three out of five believe in the existence of 'heaven.' Those same polls, however, by about roughly the same margin, reject the belief in a place called "Hell." To the many respondents, it is inconceivable that a God of LOVE could actually create such an awful place, and not only that, but condemn someone to suffer in agony and torment for all eternity; to wit, how could the righteousness, justice, and holiness of God our heavenly Father who is 'Love' be satisfied with such an outcome since it states in I Timothy 2: 4, that it is God's will for all men to be saved.

Genesis 4: 21
The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Romans 9: 18
Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.

Romans 8: 29a, 30a
For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. . . And those He predestined, He also called [to receive salvation];

Romans 9: 11a, 13
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad-in order that God’s purpose in election [predestination] might stand: Just as it is written: “Jacob have I loved but Esau I hated.”

Ephesians 1: 4a, 11
For He [God the Father] chose us in Him [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us [those of us who are/will be saved] to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ. . . In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined to the plan of Him [God the Father] who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.

John 17: 12
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name You gave Me. None has been lost except the one doomed (predestined) to destruction (damnation/perdition) so that the Scripture would [must] be fulfilled (Cp. Acts 1: 20; Psalms 69: 25; 109: 8).

Proverbs 16: 4
The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom [evil; destruction??].

Romans 9: 20b, 22
Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this? “What if God, choosing to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the objects of His wrath, prepared [beforehand] for destruction?

This serves as a perfect introduction to the concept of freewill and predestination; that is the idea that humans have a 'choice' in their lives and social interactions independent of divine intervention, design, or effect in the decisions they make; and the consequences based upon acting or not acting upon the exercise of actions independent of the influence of God, and the circumstances planned by Him in advance to bring about a certain desired outcome; whether good or bad.


Freewill 2: The freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or made by divine intervention [or will??].

Predestination 2: The doctrine that God in consequence of His foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation.

NOTE: The converse of this is that God DOES NOT guide others [to be saved], allowing them to choose a path of life which leads to eternal damnation.

Romans 9:21-23
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known (Cp. 17b), endured with much longsuffering, the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand [before the foundation of the world??] for glory.

Jeremiah 1: 5a
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart;

Calvinist theology notwithstanding, there does appear to be ample evidence from the Bible that human beings do not have ‘freewill’ in the usual meaning of the word. It is even more than a little troubling to think that in the greater scheme of things the outcomes of our actions or decisions have already been decided. Esau is rejected by God, prenatally; Pharaoh’s haughtiness of heart is reinforced by God; and Judas Iscariot was predestined to betray Jesus up for crucifixion. This is unnerving, complex, and one of the most fundamental issues of human existence that have baffled the most enlightened philosophers and theologians of all time, that is, trying to explain in a rationally intelligent way the purpose of God in this drama called “life.” Is it true that a certain number of interstellar dust particles are selected in the pre-physical, infinite nothingness to become human souls doomed to torment in an eternal lake of fire, and the others granted the experience of endless bliss in the joys of heaven and immortality? The reward and punishment is not merit-based in the strictest sense of the word because the outcome has already been decided. The experiences and choices we make are inconsequential because all of these have been taken into account, and our fate is final and unalterable because anything and everything that can ever be thought and acted upon, only more than convincingly validates the unimpeachable end result. As a final thought, Isaiah 45: 6b-7 is quite interesting, as it declares: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create the darkness. I make good and I create evil. I the Lord do all these things.   

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
January 24, 2014

Monday, November 4, 2013

A rose by any other Name

Let me start at the onset to dispel any expectation of enlightening Shakespearean prose, rhyme or poetry. What this has to do with is: I had written an article several years ago about what name should believers use in the Church, and I am more than a little convinced that perhaps we should consider how the name Christian came about, at least from a historically Jewish/Aramaic identity and religious perspective. While some will contend that “Christ/Christian” identifies us with our Lord and Savior, but the thing is we need to keep in mind that this name has been handed down to us from non-Jewish (for the most part), Western-European Ecclesiastical Church Fathers and Bible theologians, and not from the early disciples and Apostles, or the Scriptures, for that matter. Let’s start at the beginning for a brief overview.

Matthew 2: 23
And He went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene (Heb. Nats’riy).”

Mark 14: 67
When she saw Peter warming himself [by the fire], she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene (Heb. Nats’riy), Jesus,” she said.

Mark 16: 6a
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene (Heb. Yahoshuah ha Nats’riy), who was crucified.”

Acts 11: 26
The disciples were first called “Messianic believers” (Heb. M’shiychiyiym) at Antioch.

NOTE: The Greek translation of the last part of the verse as the word “Christian,” but reading from verse 19, the context seems to suggest that these evangelizing brothers from the region of Judea, who initially spread the word of the Messiah to Jews only, some of them went among the Greeks, but it is doubtful they would have come up with the word “Christian.” Not only that, but this area was not in Western or Northern Europe, but in Syria (the Middle East).

1 Peter 4: 16
However, if you suffer as a “Messianic believer” (Heb. M’shiychiyiym), do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

 Acts 22: 8
“Who are you Lord? I asked.  “‘I am Jesus the Nazarene (Heb. Yahoshua ha Nats’ riy), whom you are persecuting.’”

Acts 24: 5b
He [Apostle Paul] is a ringleader of the Nazarene “sect” (Heb. kath ha Nats’riym)

NOTE: Did the Apostle Paul say that he was a Christian? Reading further in Acts 24: 14a, he states: “I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way (Heb. ha Derekh), which they call a sect.” This appears to be associated with the Nazarenes (Netzari) or those who are associated with a belief in Jesus of Nazareth as the Jewish Messiah or Moshiyach.

Acts 26: 28
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think in such a short time you can persuade me to be a ‘Nazarene/Netzari’” [not Christian; except according to the Greek translators].

NOTE: Why is this unlikely that “Christian” was used? In the same chapter at verse 8, the Apostle Paul mentions that he formerly lived as a Pharisee, the strictest “sect” of the Jewish religion. In the previous two chapters another [new] “sect” was mentioned, namely that of the Nazarene’s. It is to this group (Nazarene/Netzari) who follow in the Way (ha Derekh) of Jesus of Nazareth (Yahoshua Nazaret) that the Apostle Paul belonged. The Greek translation tries to reconcile the principles of Jewish thought and belief by using a derivative word “Christ” (Gr. Christos; “Anointed”); thus extending it out as Christian (Gr. “ianos” is a suffix that was originally applied to that of a ‘slave’). The word “Christian” (Gr. ‘Christianos,’ so it seems, has the denotation or connotation in ancient times to mean an “anointed slave.” A far better usage of a more scripturally appropriate term, then, is to be found in the following: The Hebrew word for Nazareth has the meaning of “branch” which is quite appropriate. Jesus (Yahoshua) is referred to in John 15:2, 5 as the vine (Heb. Ha Gefen) and the disciples as the branches (Heb. Ha sariygiym). In the earlier passages the Hebrew root “riy/riym” is associated with the word for Nazareth/Nazarene, as well as Messianic believer, so instead of using a convenient Greek derivative word (“Christianos”) why not instead use the Hebrew one that that attaches itself to the birthplace, person, and destiny (Messiah/Mashiyach) whereby those who believe in the Jewish Messiah and Son of God are called Nazarenes or Netzari (Heb. Nats’riym)?

Final Thought: This study is not meant to suggest that every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should abandon the name Christian, using Hebrew names and terminology instead. But it does serve as an interesting background check into the original Hebraic mindset of belief in the long-awaited Jewish Messiah (Moshiyach), and the likelihood that these followers would more closely identify themselves with a more culturally, religiously, and socially relevant name than that adopted by the Gentiles [Greek/Latin Bible translators]. Not only that, in Acts 26: 14-15 the Apostle Paul mentions that the risen Jesus (Heb. Yahoshua) spoke to him from heaven in the native tongue of Hebrew; not Greek or Latin. Why did he mention this particular point, and not simply that the Lord spoke to him from heaven? It would seem, then, that language does matter and the first Jewish disciples and God-fearing Gentiles who believed in Jesus the Messiah from Nazareth (Heb. Yahoshua ha Mashiyach Nazaret) in all probability did not call themselves by the Greek term for “Christians” but rather, used the Hebrew Nats’riym (Nazarenes/Netzari) or M’shiychiyiym (Messianic believers).



The Orthodox Jewish Bible Fourth Edition. AFII International Publishers. New York, N.Y. 2002

Stern, David, H. Jewish New Testament. Jewish New Testament Publications. Clarksville, MD. 1989

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
November 3, 2013







Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The earthly ministry of Jesus thru last Passover Seder

This study is a basic schematic chart, starting from the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River up until the disciples prepare to eat the final Passover with Him in the city of Jerusalem. Although there are parallel and chronological bibles on the market, I thought it would be interesting to construct a basic flowchart of the more interesting and important events during Jesus’ three and one-half year earthly ministry. There are instances in which the gospel narrators are in consistent agreement, not only with what happened, but with the order in which it happened. At the same time there is inconsistency and wide divergence in what is reported; as well as places where an entire section of occurrences is omitted or missing. Since most Bible scholars believe Mark’s gospel is the earliest, I have used him as Matthew’s source but in Luke’s case I consider his source to be independent of the other two. As a helpful tool I use superscript numbers in parenthesis to show where an event occurred in the particular individual gospel, irrespective of where it falls on the chart.

This is just a simple tool as an aid to hermeneutical study or Biblical research, and not as it were, some kind of authoritative or scholarly work. I find it is useful to see the information gaps in certain places and try to perhaps figure out why the author left it that way, and in another case there is information inserted at a particular point where no other writer even refers to it at all. For instance, why does Luke’s gospel mention so much about the Samaritans, or Jesus dining with Pharisees; who were his sources and where did they live? Mark/Matthew leave quite a gap of information after the disciples complaint to Jesus about someone casting out demons in His name until the narratives resume with Jesus being asked about the law on divorce while in the region of Judea [Luke’s gospel fills in this gap]. Interestingly, Luke’s gospel has a noticeable omission after recounting Jesus feeding the five thousand with 5 loaves and 2 fish, but it resumes with Peter confessing Jesus as the Christ [Messiah-“Anointed One”] in Caesarea Phillippi. However, between these two examples, the Mark/Matthew omissions appear, at least to me, to be the more substantive; and I am curious as to why they are this way. Be that as it may, these differences and variations don’t impugn the reliability of the gospels or the veracity of revealed truth; albeit from the recollections and orally transmitted accounts handed down by those who witnessed firsthand these things, and entrusted to faithful men and women to carry forth the message to future generations of believers and nonbelievers alike.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 22, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gog, Magog and the destruction of Israel

There are many various interpretations of who are the nations and people who will usher in Armageddon, the final battle between “good and evil” where God will intervene, destroy Satan and the demons in a ‘lake of fire’ and restore Israel to unsurpassed glory and preeminence. To set all of this in motion will be a series of global events, not the least of which will be an invasion against the Jewish people by a coalition of the damned/doomed, led by one called Gog, prince of Magog. Although I am not entirely sure which tribal nations make up this military offensive first-strike, which for them will be MAD (“Mutually Assured Destruction”), still these groups are comprised of Indo-European descendants of Noah’s son, Japheth.

JAPHETH- The progenitor of the Indo-European peoples who lived to the farthest north and west of Israel.

(GENESIS 10: 2-8)

JAPHETH (Gomer-Magog-Madai-Javan-Tubal-Meshech-Tiras).
GOMER (Ashkenaz-Ripath-Togarmah)
JAVAN (Elishah-Tarshish-Kittim and Rodanium )

NOTE: The sons of Japheth are the maritime or seafaring people.

Gomer- Cimmerians/Indo-European people from southern Russia who settled in Cappadocia in Asia Minor [Turkey]. He was the father of the Scythians who dispossessed the ‘Cimmerians’ from their home in Russia.

-Cappadocia- south of Pontus about 300 miles from Galatia eastward toward “Armenia” (land of ‘Ararat’), with Cilicia and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Today the region is in central Turkey, which is 98% Muslim.
-Scythians- Nomadic, Indo-European people, speaking an Iranian (Persian) dialect.
-Armenia- Is referred to as the “land of Ararat” (‘Urartu’) of which modern Turkey, Iran, and Soviet Armenia occupy parts of this ancient land area.

Madai- Ancestor of the Medians or “Medes” (Iranians/Persians); the region south and southwest of the Caspian Sea on the Zagros mountains, inhabited by an ‘Aryan people’ from the north and west. It is north of Elam and west of Assyria.

Javan- The original ancestor of Greek people.
Tubal- Ancestor of a people, likely of Cappadocia or Cilicia in Asia Minor [Turkey].
Meshech- A people of Asia Minor frequently associated with ‘Tubal.’ (Cp. Ezekiel 32: 26; 38: 1 – 40).
Tiras- Possibly thought to be the “Etruscans” of Italy.
Ashkenaz- Ancestry of a people usually associated with the Scythians (Nomadic, Indo-European people, speaking an Iranian (Persian) dialect).
Riphath- Ancestor of an ‘Anatolian’ tribe [Turkey].
Togarmah- The name of a region of Asia Minor and is likely modern ‘Gurun’ 70 miles west of Malatya, or an area in “Armenia” (land of ‘Ararat’).
Elishah- Island of Cyprus mainland of Greece (“Mycenean culture”) and Phoenician trade route.
Tarshish- Ancestor of the Aegean people, most likely of Tartessus at the southern tip of Spain, but possibly Tarsus of Cilicia [home of the apostle Paul in Turkey].
Kittim- Tribal name for the island of Cyprus [Elishah].
Rodanium/Dodanium- Identified with a Greek-speaking people.

NOTE: Reference-Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, 2003, Nashville, TN.

Ezekiel 38: 1-2a, 5-6
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of Man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops- the many nations with you. 

Ezekiel 38: 8b, 11-12a, 18-19, 22b
In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from the nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations and now all of them dwell in safety. You will say, “”I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people- all of them living without gates and bars. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In My zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him.

Ezekiel 39: 6, 9, 12-13, 25, 27
I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD. Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up- the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. And the people of the land will bury them, and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for My holy name. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies. I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.

Revelation 20: 7-10
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth- Gog and Magog- to gather them together for the battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

COMMENTARY: The nationalities of seafaring peoples descended from Noah’s son Japheth consists of those from southern Russia, Armenians (“land of Ararat”), Scythians and Medes (Iranians/Persians or Aryan speaking people), Greeks (Aegeans, people of Cyprus), and Etruscans (Italy). It does seem that the leader of the invading forces against Israel in the Last Days will be a coalition led by Greek states, along with Persia (Iran), Cush (southwestern limits of Persian power or land south of Egypt-Sudan), Put (Libya; a region of Africa bordering Egypt),  and Beth Togarmah (Armenia /”land of Ararat”). It seems quite plausible that with the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, some of the independent Balkan states might be home to radical Muslim extremists who hate Israel. With unrest in Chechnya, as well as political and economic instability in Bosnia, Croatia, and other countries [Eastern Europe, Africa, Central Asia, Middle East, etc.,], including Pakistan and bordering nations, the one thing many of them have in common is their feelings about the State of Israel. With the ever-present threat from al-Qaida in these regions and elsewhere, Biblical prophesies just might come true in such a dramatic fashion that one can only conclude the END is not only nigh, but it is here at last!

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 20, 2013


The Arrest of Jesus

Matthew 26: 47-55
While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him. Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And kissed Him. Jesus replied, “[Friend, do what you came for].” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested Him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. [“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”] But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled [that say it must happen this way?”] At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture Me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest Me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled.

Mark 14: 43-51
Just as He was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, [the teachers of the law], and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him [and lead Him away under guard]. Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And kissed Him. The men seized Jesus and arrested Him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest cutting off his ear. “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture Me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted Him and fled. [A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.]

NOTE: Why was this last verse placed here because it doesn’t seem relevant to the narrative?

Luke 22: 47-53
While He was still speaking, a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him, [but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?] And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.  But Jesus answered, [“No more of this!”] and [He touched the man’s ear and healed him]. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders who had come for Him, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on Me. [But this is you hour-when darkness reigns].”

John 18: 1-12
When He had finished praying, Jesus left with the disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove; He and His disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed Him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with His disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons. [Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am He,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again He asked them, “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” “I told you that I am He,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for Me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words He had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave Me (Cp. 6: 39).”] [Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus). Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?”]. [Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander] and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus.

ANALYSIS (contrast/comparison):
Since John’s gospel doesn’t name this olive grove like the “synoptic” authors did, it would be interesting to observe what happened there before Jesus was arrested by the officials sent from the Jewish religious authorities.

-Jesus tells the disciples to sit while He goes over there to pray (Matthew 26: 36; Mark 14; 32).
-Jesus took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (Matthew 26: 37); Peter, James and John (Mark 14: 33).
-My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (Matthew 26: 38; Mark 14: 34).
-Father, may this cup pass from Me (Matthew 26: 39).
-Jesus prayed, My Father if it would be possible that this cup pass from Me (Matthew 26: 42: Mark 14:36; Luke 22: 42). An angel appeared from heaven and strengthened Him (Luke 22: 43). And being in anguish He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22: 44).
-Jesus returned and found the disciples sleeping and told them to watch and pray that they not fall into temptation (Matthew 26: 41: Mark 14: 37). Jesus tells His disciples to pray that they don’t fall into temptation (Luke 22: 40, 46).
-Jesus prayed a third time saying the same thing, as far as asking that He be spared from the ordeal of crucifixion (Matthew 26: 44; Mark 14: 39).
-Jesus finds the disciples sleeping a third time (Matthew 26: 40, 43, 45: Mark 14: 41).

John’s narrative about Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane or the olive grove at the Mount called Olivet, is quite interesting. In Chapter 13, Judas Iscariot is revealed as the betrayer of Jesus but the other disciples didn’t catch on to that point, even after Jesus said to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13: 21-29). Jesus taught His final lesson from that chapter until Chapter 17, where He started praying and ended it in John 18: 1. It doesn’t seem that Jesus and His disciples ever got a chance to share in the Passover Feast. The events after Jesus and the disciples entered the garden up until the moment when Judas came with the soldiers to arrest Jesus are curiously omitted in this narrative. Not only that, but the encounter between Jesus and this mob are in stark contrast to the other accounts. Even the role of Judas Iscariot in this final encounter is quite muted and doesn’t fit the portrayal as the most blatant betrayer that points out Jesus to the rabble by identifying Him with a kiss.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 15, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Biblical origin of Christianity

Christianity, at least the practice of religious faith and history that has been handed down to us by Ecclesiastical Church fathers and biblical historians covering roughly the past two thousand years ago, doesn’t tell the whole story.  To begin with it did not have its beginnings in Rome, Italy of Western Europe. To make a long story short, Christianity, as it pertains to non-native Jews and Gentiles outside of Judea, began in the country of Syria (Acts 11: 19-21, 26). In fact, the Church at Antioch, where believers were first called “Christians” was west of the town of Aleppo, where some of the fighting between the military of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and rebel anti-government had been taking place in contemporary times. This Antioch Church became headquarters for the great missionary expedition of Barnabas and Saul [Apostle Paul]. The Holy Spirit commissioned the two church leaders to the work and this is the first time in the entire Bible that the Holy Spirit is recorded to have spoken audibly to anyone. The places that were evangelized are located in Turkey [Galatia] mostly, with Greece/Acaia [Macedonia] next, and lastly, a few places in Eastern Europe.

This will probably come as a surprise or shock to most readers of this article. In order to verify whether this is true or not, start with the place names in Acts 2: 19 all the way through Revelation 3: 14 and reference them in a current Bible Dictionary [HOLMAN]. Afterwards, use the Bible map of the Roman Empire that is included at the back references in most bibles and compare the geographical shape and boundaries to Google maps of Northern Africa and the Middle East, and also Europe. The Apostle Peter, who is traditionally considered the first Bishop of Rome doesn’t seem to have visited Rome, but the closest he may have gotten was Corinth, which in Achaia, south of Greece (1 Corinthians 1: 12; 9: 5). As far as correspondence to believers, in his epistles or letters, the recipients were located in parts of Turkey (1 Peter 1: 1).

The Apostle Peter, one would think should have had a more prominent role in the affairs of the Church (Matthew 16: 17-18; John 21: 15-17), but he didn’t; at least from the Scriptural accounts of his life. James, the Lord’s brother, became the head of the Jerusalem Church (Acts 12: 17; 21: 18; Galatians 1: 9, 19; 2: 9, 12), and even in his first epistle, presumably written from Rome (Babylon), he mentions about being a fellow elder, one among others, and not as the head Elder/Bishop [Pope] of the Church or congregation (1 Peter 5: 1-2a, 13). The word used to translate “elder” might refer to Peter’s age or experience as opposed to any official title; since he always referred to himself as an Apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 1; 2 Peter 1: 1). Certainly the Apostle Paul had an impact on Christianity, especially with his voluminous writings; and in fact, without such documents Christianity as experienced throughout the world, would not exist in the form we know today.

As a final point, Christianity is NOT a separate, exclusively non-Jewish religion but rather the opposite; it is a part of the Jewish faith or rather, the fulfillment or culmination of it through Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah (Romans 11: 1-32; Ephesians 2: 11-16).
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 17, 2013





Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Land of the Giants

Genesis 6: 4
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days- and also afterward (Cp. Numbers 13: 33a)- when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

NOTE: Heroes would seem to indicate valor, bravery and honor and not depravity, wickedness or ungodliness. This could very well explain the mythologies, magical pantheons and demi-gods of civilizations across the planet, though in some corrupted form or another.

Genesis 14: 5
In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham [Egypt], the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the “Horites” in the hill country of Seir, as far as Paran near the desert.

Numbers 13: 22a, 32b-33a
They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak lived. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim).”

Joshua 11: 21-22
At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country; from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. No Anakites were left in Israelite territory; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did any survive.

Judges 1: 10
After that, the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai (Cp. Joshua 15: 14).

Deuteronomy 2: 10
(The Emites used to live there- a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. Like the Anakites, they too were considered Rephaites but the Moabites called them Emites. (That too was considered a land of the Rephaites, who used to live there; but the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. They were a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites).

NOTE: So far we have the Anakites (descended from the Nephilim, then Rephaites (called “Emites” by the Moabites), and lastly, Rephaites who were also called “Zamzummites” by the Ammonites.

Deuteronomy 3: 10, 13b
(Only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and was more than thirty feet long and six feet wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites. The whole region of Argob in Bashan used to be known as a land of the Rephaites).

Deuteronomy 9: 1-2
Hear, O Israel. You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that has walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall- Anakites!

2 Samuel 21: 15-16, 18-22
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha (“Rephaites”), whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels (7.5 lbs.), and was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha (“Rephaites”). In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod. In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot- twenty-four in all. He was also descended from Rapha. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimei, David’s brother, killed him. These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they all fell at the hands of David and his men.

NOTE: Elhanan son of Jair (Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite) didn’t kill Goliath but rather his brother Lahmi (Cp. 1 Chronicles 20: 5).

COMMENTARY: There are many scoffers who think of giants as some kind of “tall tales” (no pun intended) and fabrications spun of an overactive, imaginative mind that has no more basis in reality than bedtimes stories told to little children with visions of fairies, elves, leprechauns, and magical pixie dust. Yet, for these rational thinkers it is easier to accept Area 51 conspiracies regarding classified U.S. intelligence reports of contact with aliens from outer space than the plausible biblical mention of a group of beings that were first mentioned as present in the antediluvian period [days of Noah], millennia ago. Apparently they were not destroyed by the ‘Great Deluge’ or at least not all of them, and they seemed to settle down in certain areas within the land of Canaan. Either the “Nephilim” are the offspring of copulation between ones called the “sons of God” and human females (‘daughters of men’) or they were already on Earth when this kind of thing started happening. It is possible that the root “naphal” (to fall) depicts this group; hence Nephilim means “fallen ones.” The “sons of God” are another group of celestial beings are either their progenitors or competitors in some way.

The narrative in Genesis 6 doesn’t really give the reader any significant trail of bread crumbs to follow. Just like in any mythical account there is always the battle between the forces of good and evil and it may very well be the case here. The Nephilim are never involved in any fighting but rather others like the sons of Anak (‘Anakites’), the Rephaites, Zamzummites, or Emites. Perhaps the goal of Nephilim is to introduce some kind of non-human genetic strain into human DNA, a kind of eugenics experiment to duplicate the ‘genesis’ creation after their own kind and image; just as Elohim created man in His own image and likeness. This could also explain why the Israelites were told to annihilate the inhabitants of various Canaanite tribes because of the contamination from the Anakites (first order of the Nephilim). The wickedness of these other nations (Cp. Deuteronomy chapter 9) had more to do with idolatry than anything else because that theme is the most frequently occurring in the Old Testament canon (TANAKH). Greek mythology depicts the battle of the Titans against Zeus and his family so perhaps Nephilim battle Elohim, if not directly, then through the Israelites on one side and the other gigantic races who inhabited and perhaps comingled their seed among the indigenous Canaanite inhabitants, on the opposing side. Be that as it may, there doesn’t appear to be any further mention of them, or rather their mutated offspring since the times of King David.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 28, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Explaining about Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire

One of the common practices and teachings among Pentecostal, Holiness and Charismatic Christian congregations is the doctrine of Holy Spirit and Fire baptism, just like the apostles received on “Pentecost Day” after the Feast of Passover, when the LORD Jesus was crucified. This study will review biblical texts to get a perspective as to see how such a theological perspective originated.

 Matthew 3: 11-12
I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Cp. Luke 3: 16b).

NOTE: Before trying to understand the context it is necessary to start back at verse 7, paying careful attention to the narrative, as in the following:

Matthew 3: 7-8, 10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire (Cp. Luke 3: 7,-8, 9).

Matthew 7: 16a, 17, 19
By their fruit you will recognize them. Likewise every good tree bears good [fresh] fruit, but a bad tree bears bad [rotten] fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Luke 3: 17
His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

NOTE: What has been presented so far is a series of contrasts: baptism of the Holy Spirit/fire; good fruit/bad fruit; and wheat/chaff.

Acts 1: 3-5
After His suffering, He showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about (Cp. Luke 24: 49). For John baptized with water; but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Cp. Acts 11: 16).

NOTE: Jesus did not say that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, too.

Acts 2: 2-3
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. They “saw” what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues [languages] as the Spirit enabled [empowered, directed, guided] them.

CONCLUSION: In all due respects to my Spirit-filled, tongues-speaking Christian brethren it is all a matter of rightly dividing the word of truth (Cp. 2 Timothy 2: 15). Jesus mentioned to His disciples (apostles) before His ascension back to heaven that they were to tarry in the city (Jerusalem) until they be imbued [clothed] with power from on High. Jesus said that John baptized in water but that they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit, and there was no mention about fire. What the apostles experienced on “Pentecost” was a unique and extraordinary gift of divine grace that was given to them as the special emissaries of the LORD Jesus and messengers of His gospel to the world. Other believers subsequently spoke in tongues but the scriptures does not have any record of a person or group who heard a violent rushing wind or sound [perhaps like that of a hurricane, whirlwind, or tornado] and actually “saw” some kind of supernatural manifestation described as “tongues of fire” that afterward separated and quantities or aspects of that ‘something’ came and rested upon any of them. Lastly, this accounts for the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit part to which all believers experience presently, however, in a different way from the ‘original’ apostles but the remaining “fire” [baptism] will occur at the end of the Age.

Revelation 20: 11-12, 15
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of Life. The dead were judged according to what they had done according to the books. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 19, 2013





Monday, May 6, 2013

A perspective on Christian Persecution in the Roman Empire

In the controversial new book, "The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom," University of Notre Dame Professor of Christianity Candida Moss says that many of the stories of Christians defying an imperial world power to the point of death is mostly exaggeration and historical embellishment. No populist movement, be it religious, political, or otherwise, is immune from occasional literary and oral propaganda or expansion. The idea of suffering is almost hardwired into the believer’s spiritual DNA, especially thousands of years ago, but does such a mindset promulgate the kind of behavior leading to a predictable outcome that is in conflict with societal values and expectations? The most important component of Roman society was respect for law and the Pax Romana, or civil peace. Since the empire was heterogeneous and consisted of people from many different ethnicities and cultures with disparate religious beliefs and practices, it mattered not to Roman officials what they did as long as they weren’t trying to undermine the social order and break lawful ordinances and statutes as administered by the local authorities.

The Roman religion was more or less a civil one where every citizen was to respect deity only as far as it pertains to ensuring the welfare and prosperity of the state or empire, and not so much about having ‘faith’ in or experiencing a personal relationship with any of the Roman gods as such. To offer sacrifice on one of the altars was more or less a pledge of allegiance to the state, and to Caesar as the representative head of government, ruler of the people and commander of the Roman legions, and to faithfully abide by all laws as a loyal Roman citizen. Whether a person believed in the gods was not so much an issue, but  when someone chose to show public disdain for the practice through some overt action, it was seen as not supporting societal values or norms, and being against everything that Rome offered; like freedom, peace, prosperity, security, and so forth.

I am not aware of any decree that someone was required to worship any member of the Roman pantheon of gods or if there were temples dedicated to them where attendance was compulsory. There were various cults associated with many pagan religious practices as well as the more esoteric and mystery religions of Egypt, Babylon, or Greece. The thing is, though, why were these groups able to operate under the radar of the government and the Christians singled out for such horrible mistreatment? A possible answer could be the “overemphasis” on persecution, suffering, trial, imprisonment, and tribulation narrated in the Scriptures and taught by the early followers of Jesus’ disciples and apostles where the actions that believers take or the way they live among people, created the kind of violent reaction from others in society where martyrdom becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Also, another point is found in Acts 17: 6b, 7 which reads: “These men have caused trouble all over the world [empire]. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees [laws], saying that there is another king, Jesus.” Now think upon that statement for a moment. What upset the people and authorities were not Christian believers practicing their religion but rather breaking the laws, and most importantly, saying that there was another king besides Caesar.

Let’s try and look at how this might have looked to the average Greek or Roman citizen. If Caesar is not a true king then his rule is illegitimate because there is someone else who is a legitimate or true king; in fact someone who is King of kings. If Caesar is a usurper, imposter, or unauthorized to rule then his laws or creeds are null and void. Ignoring heretofore royal and legal decrees, as well as saying that there is a higher or greater throne to pay allegiance to would doubtless be viewed as subversive, insurrection, anarchistic, and the whole structure of governance throughout the empire could unravel; destroying the Pax Romana. Whenever an authoritarian, autocratic regime is in jeopardy of some kind of potential threat or revolt, sometimes extreme measures have to be taken to discourage such attacks by setting an example to warn future dissidents of the consequences of rebellion; and also because most leaders are insecure and fearful of assassinations, poisonings, or other measures to get rid of them.

 It is time to make some comparisons and contrasts, starting with the apostle Paul:

Acts 21: 38
Aren’t you that Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists (“jihadists or insurgents”) into the desert some time ago?

 Acts 24: 5
We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world [empire]. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.

 Romans 13: 1-5
Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong [rebellion, rioting, insurrection, anarchy??]. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong [disobey the laws], be afraid. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath [cruel, inhumane, violent treatment or torture] to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of punishment.

NOTE: Does submitting to the authorities include living in obedience to corrupt authoritarian, democratic, socialist, communist, illiberal democracies, and dictatorships who deny civil liberties, civil rights, and perpetrate ‘genocide’ and “ethnic cleansing” violating international human rights laws as war criminals?

1 Thessalonians 4: 11a
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and mind your own business.

1Timothy 2: 1-3
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.

1 Peter 2: 13-14, 17
Submit yourselves for the LORD’s sake to every authority instituted among men; whether to the king, as the supreme authority [in the empire], or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. Show the proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear, honor the king [earthly ruler, government official or ruler].

1 Peter 3: 13-14a
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even “IF” you should [not always will] suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

While not wanting to minimize the noble sacrifices of the nameless Christian martyrs who are not listed in the books of classical or medieval history or writings of the Church Fathers, there is the other side of the story that has to be acknowledged, too. After Christianity became the state religion by a pagan Roman Emperor who saw a vision of a “cross” in the sky the persecuted became the persecutors. During the Inquisition of medieval times pagans who did not submit to belief in Jesus as the Son of God were treated with horrible abuses that were just as vicious, brutal, and merciless as the ones they had received when the shoe was on the other foot. In fact, hundreds of thousands who resisted the word of God at the edge of a sword or barrel of a gun were slaughtered. Their lands taken as well as all the precious minerals and other goods or resources to fill papal coffers and royal treasuries [kings and queens who funded the expeditions of conquest and conversion to find riches in new undiscovered lands] in the home countries of Christian missionaries and explorers.  Christians even punished other believers deemed as ‘heretics’ who did not go along with the theological party line through torture, banishment, seizure of property, and execution. It is not a pretty picture and of course it is much easier to sell if it is one-sided and through the experience of ‘victimology.’

Another important thing to look at is the earthly life of Jesus in His contemporary time. He lived under an occupation force of a foreign world power and hegemony [imperial Rome], and the people are anxious for deliverance so much that they lived with a siege mentality. The people were desperate as evidenced in Luke 3: 15, where it says: The people were waiting expectantly [with a sense of urgency or importance] and were wondering in their hearts if John might be the Christ [“Messiah/Deliver’]. Interestingly, Jesus did not give attention to the political situation of the day, although He mentioned frequently about the “kingdom of God.” As human nature proves, though, anxiety, frustration and impatience can spill over into clashes with authorities, civil disobedience, and if it is not contained by a strong show of force, sometimes excessive, can lead to anarchy and the destruction of state political, social, religious, and economic institutions.  

Applying this analysis to Christian martyrs, it is entirely possible that quite a few of them might have been massacred due more to irrational “anti-social” conduct or visions of Apocalyptic end-of-the-world battle between good and evil, and not strictly because of their [superstitious] religious beliefs and practices. What needs to be kept in mind is proportionality of the punishment to the offense and was government action arbitrary or capricious, and over how long of a time frame. Notwithstanding, believers come in all types and there could have been a few influential radicals whose fiery rhetoric can fan the flames of people’s discontent, much like the leaders of al-Qaida, Taliban, or fanatical religious jihadists in the Middle East today. Consequently, someone can walk into the arena or coliseum and be torn apart, one limb or body part at a time from a half-starved animal, or have their flesh burn away while in the center of a bonfire because they want to go to heaven and see their LORD Jesus; or enjoy the pleasures of the celestial virgins in paradise awaiting faithful Muslim martyrs [suicide bombers]. This seems to be one side of an extreme anti-life perspective that sees the entire world from the standpoint of believers versus infidels, but it may very well be that such severe punishment is more the result of law-breaking than faith- practicing.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 4, 2013