Monday, July 20, 2015

The faith once delivered to the saints


I want to start this article with a familiar story found in the New testament, and later expand on it to better explain the subject matter for our study. In Luke’s gospel, chapter 18, verses 1-8 is the “Parable of the Persistent Widow” in which God is pictured as an uncaring or insensitive judge. A widow constantly appears before him to dispense justice against her adversary, and although the judge is indifferent to her situation since in the narrative this judge had no regard for anyone, yet he acts on her behalf simply to keep from being worn down by her persistence and constant appearing before him.


Although it is not a flattering representation of God but this is not the main point anyway; which is actually found in the first verse. Jesus tells the disciples that they should always pray and never give up. There is a powerful and subtle message here, too. It says that God can be influenced by humans if we are so strongly committed that our cause is just and righteous that even the Creator will be moved to act; even if the initial response from on High was silence. That being said, however, I want to focus the reader’s attention to verse 8 where Jesus asks the question, “When the Son of man comes again will He find ‘faith’ on the earth?” That’s a really good question and the follow-up to that statement is found in the book of Jude where much of the answer is found.


Jude 3
Dear friends, although I was eager to write to you about the salvation we [commonly] share, I felt that I had to write and urge you to contend [struggle and fight to keep/preserve] for the ‘faith’ that was once for all entrusted to the saints [for safekeeping until Jesus returns].


I want to leave this point for now to take a look at this ‘faith’ and try to unpack it and see what all of this means. Many, if not all Christians have been taught and agree wholeheartedly that they are saved by faith in Jesus Christ; this is undeniably and certainly true as far as things go. The thing is though, more importantly, we are saved by the faith of Jesus, as found in the following:


Galatians 2: 16
Know that a man [person] is not justified by observing the law [Torah] but by the faith of Christ Jesus.


Philippians 3: 9
. . .  and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law [Torah], but that which is through the faith of Christ- the righteousness that comes from God and is by [and through] faith.


Now, what is the connection between the faith of Jesus and righteousness?


Luke 22: 41b-42
Jesus knelt down and prayed, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup [suffering, pain, and death] from me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.


Hebrews 5: 7-9
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears [like great drops of blood] to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission [to the will of the Father]. Although he were a son [the Son], yet He learned obedience [and trust??] from what He suffered, and once made perfect [being perfected], He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. . .


NOTE: From these passages that have been previously cited it seems that the ‘faith’ of Jesus is an obedient faith resulting in righteousness through submission to God’s will.


So, to wrap this up by returning back to the book of Jude where some of the things listed there are so familiar, as if taken from today’s news headlines, using Jude 3b as a basis and supported by the next part as referenced below:


2 Timothy 3: 1-5, 7b, 8b
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the Last Days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents [and any other authority figure], ungrateful, unholy, without love [love will grow cold], unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control [intemperate], brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous [disloyal, unfaithful], rash [impetuous/impatient], lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying [blocking through hardness] its power. Have nothing to do with them. Men [persons] of depraved minds, who as far as the ‘faith’ [the faith once and for all delivered], are rejected (reprobate).


Jude wraps it up by including more negative characteristics of believers who have departed from the true faith of Christ through disobedience and way of life in these ways:


Jude 10:
These men speak abusively (derisively) against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct [or through tradition, history, cultural experience] - these are the very things that destroy them [are stumbling blocks??].


Jude 16
These men are grumblers, faultfinders and they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for [or to] their own advantage.


Jude 19
These are the men who divide you (Cp. Romans 10: 17-18), who follow mere natural instincts (verse 16) and do not have the Spirit.


To sum it all up then, just believing in Jesus is not enough because as James writes in chapter 2 and verse 19b of his epistle: Even the demons believe God and tremble. As a matter of fact there are several examples of demons confessing Jesus as the Son of God (Cp. Matthew 8: 29; Mark 3: 11; 5: 7; Luke 4: 41), but there is no record in the gospels that mentions any of them being converted or were saved through their obedience to His will. The original faith is the one entrusted to those who were first changed by it and passed it down through the centuries, as the Holy Spirit bore witness to these things. It is a life of devotion, commitment, and obedience to whatever God commands, as the Apostle Paul puts it this way:


Galatians 2: 20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live [as in the flesh], but Christ lives in [and through] me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in [and of] the Son of God.


Now, when Jesus returns, will He find [the former and original] “faith” in the earth, or more importantly, will He find His type of ‘faith’ in the Church?


 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
July 20, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com


Thursday, June 11, 2015

What exactly does it mean to have a “culture of violence?”

There is literally no escape from the inevitable touch of violence, and like death’s merciless and icy grip, there seems to be no way to avoid being touched by it in some way. But before one gives in to the dark clutches of despair and futility, perhaps the thinking about “violence” needs to be reexamined from another perspective that is basic to its intrinsic nature; the propensity to which all living things are imbued with. The first thing to realize is that violence is not a social phenomenon, cultural pathology, or moral transgression. In its basic and primordial essence, it is the natural and instinctual struggle for survival, and as such, human life or any other type could never come into existence. It might be easy to blame the media or entertainment industry for the upsurge in violence but our prehistoric and ancient ancestors seemed to have done a pretty good job of killing and waging war, even making other civilizations and cultures extinct without having the advantage of being exposed to modern technology. Let’s just see what the Bible has to say about the subject of violence.


Isaiah 51: 9b
Was it not You who cut Rahab to pieces, Who pierced the monster through?



Psalms 74: 13b-14
You broke the heads of the monster in the [cosmic] waters. It was You who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.



NOTE: This is poetic imagery taken from earlier pagan mythology about the Creation and the struggle against monstrous and violent cosmic forces [Rahab] in making the universe.
 
Genesis 4: 6a, 7b
The LORD said to Cain, “But if you do not what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it’s desire is to have you, but you must master it.”



NOTE: This is probably the most overlooked, and yet, the most revealing lines of text in the Bible-one of those precious spiritual gems of great value and of which contains invaluable or immensurable truth. According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the word (de)sire is derivative of sidero/sidereal-‘astral’ (Latin astrum [“star”]; Gr. astrom- relating to or coming from the stars. Next, the word (m)aster comes from Latin aster; Gr. aster (“star”). The Biblical narrative tells the story how Cain killed Abel after getting into an argument with him.


Now keeping in mind the root words for ‘desire’ and ‘master’ presented in the dictionary, Genesis 3: 19b, reads: For dust you are and back into dust will you return. Astrophysicists, Cosmologists, and scientists in related fields of study engaged in researching the origins of the universe and the existence biologic life on earth, have concluded that it originated from n interstellar dust cloud in some far distant galaxy. This seems to greatly support the pronouncement by God that Adam [human race] was created from and will return back to the substance that God created and formed Adam from, namely [star] dust. Metaphysicians claim that the only existence possible consists of energy and consciousness, and I wonder if this is possibly what is meant by Genesis 1: 27, where God [Heb. Elohim] creates Adam [man/mankind] in the image and likeness of Elohim.
 
Let’s consider a very interesting passage found in the Bible.


Revelation 12: 7, 8, 9b
And there was war [violence] in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. That great dragon was hurled down. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.



NOTE: It was a battle of unimaginable proportions and the unleashing of cosmic forces/energy beyond human comprehension. I can also imagine that the crash landing by the dragon [Satan] and his angels after their defeat in the celestial war was none too gentle.


So to wrap it up then, the cause of violence is ingrained and has nothing to do with morality because it is amoral forces or energy but it is a moral choice [based upon societal norms and values] to commit a violent act, either for good or for harm/evil. It is not an unsolvable dilemma and there is hope because Jesus told His disciples in John 16: 6 “In this world you will have trouble but take heart, for I have overcome [mastered]the world. Isn’t this the very word that Cain was told, that he must overcome the desire/urge to do wrong, that we must become the master over our impulses and inclinations? The cause is supernatural and the cure must also be supernatural because human effort, no matter how good it is, doesn’t tame, neither mortify the deeds of the fierce LEO within each of us, but salvation can only by faith in the Lamb [ARIES] of God who gave Himself as a ransom for our sins by shedding His precious blood on the Cross of Crucifixion.



Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt b11
Tacoma, WA 98402
June 11, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Do angels really have wings?

Angels are supernatural beings that help administer the government of God throughout the universe, including earth, and are almost always depicted as having wings; whether in art or based upon the recollection of dreams and visions. Angel is more of a generic term, though, because there are several classes of them, but the question that remains to be answered in this study is whether the angels that are usually associated with appearing to humans, do indeed have wings.
 
1 Kings 8: 7
The cherubim spread their wings over the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles.


NOTE: This involves the symbolic representation of the creatures that overshadowed the mercy seat in the Ark of the Covenant.

Isaiah 6: 2
Above the LORD were the seraphs, each with six wings, with two wings they covered their faces, with two wings they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.


Ezekiel 1: 4b-9a
The center of the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their forms were like that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed [shone] like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings, and their wings touched each other.


NOTE: These four living creatures are mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Daniel 4: 17
The decision is announced by the Watchers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men. . .


Zechariah 5: 9
Then I looked up- and before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.


Revelation 8: 13a
As I watched, I heard an angel that was flying in mid heaven call out with a loud voice. . .


Revelation 14: 6a
Then I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-



NOTE: It does not say anything about either angel having wings. So, to sum it all up then, in all the instances where an angel appears to humans, no matter how awesome their appearance [like lightning, radiant, and clothing imbued with divine light, etc.] no mention is made of having wings. I would think that such an important detail like that would fail to be omitted if it were true and factual.

Lastly, the angel Gabriel flew very quickly to the prophet Daniel while he was praying around the time of the evening sacrifice (Cp. Daniel 9: 21), but it didn’t describe that the angel had wings. Sometimes “wings” can be used metaphorically, like coming on the ‘wings’ of the wind to mean that the person came in a hurry; which was probably the case with the angel Gabriel’s urgent rush to be sent by God to instruct Daniel. Angelic baby cherubs with wings and golden hair or adult ones with strong and powerful wings like those of Asgardian Valkyries may exist in dreams, fantasy, the imagination and folklore of Northern European and Scandinavian legends, Western European Greek or Roman mythologies, as well as those in Asia and probably Africa, but the Bible is silent on winged angels that any Bible personage tells us about, specifically.


Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
June 10, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Jesus Christ and the identity of God


This is a millennia old debate regarding the divinity of Jesus in relation to that of God the Father. The first thing that must be considered is that the word or term ‘God’ is not a personal noun for the name of deity but rather a descriptive title as it pertains to essential nature or attribute. A careful reading of Scripture reveals the recurring use of special cognates or root words associated with God/LORD, the earliest being Elohim/El and then subsequently Yahuwah/Yahushua. Instead the usual starting place in the Book of Genesis or the gospel of John, perhaps a good place to begin this study is Deuteronomy 32: 7-8, which reads as follows: Remember the days of old, consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain it to you. When the Most High [Heb, ‘El’yon] gave the nations their inheritance (Cp. Genesis 10: 1-32), when He divided all mankind [sons of Adam]. He set up boundaries for the people according to the number of the sons of Israel [Heb. translation bene elim (“sons of God”). For the portion of the LORD (Heb. Yahuwah) is His people, Jacob (Israel) is the allotment of His inheritance.


NOTE: The narrative in Genesis chapter 10 lists about seventy nations that the sons of God were to administer over as an inheritance from El-yon (The Most High), and Yahuwah was among them.


Matthew 1: 21b, 23b
You are to give Him the mane Jesus [Heb. Yahushua], because He will save His people (Jacob/Israel) from their sins. And they shall call His name Immanuel (Heb. Imanu ‘El), which is interpreted, [the God] (Heb. ha ‘El) with us.


NOTE: Yahushua (‘Yah’ saves), which is derived from the root word in Hebrew “shua” meaning, to save; protect; or rescue. Also, Jesus is the El/(elohim) with or among us.


Luke 1: 31-32, 35b
And behold, you (Mary) shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name [Jesus] (Heb. Yahushua). He shall be great and be called the Son (Heb. ben) of the Most High (Heb. ‘El‘yon), and God (Heb. Yahuwah ‘Elohim) shall give Him the throne of His father David. The power of the Most High (Heb. ‘El’yon) shall overshadow (come upon) you, and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God (Heb. ha’ Elohim).


NOTE: Just like the divine company mentioned in Deuteronomy 32: 7-8.


John 1: 1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [the] God (Heb. ha Elohim), and the Word was God (Heb. Elohim). He was in the beginning with the Elohim (God). All things came into existence through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into existence that has come into existence.


NOTE: These verses say that, if you include verse 9, that Jesus was not only Elohim but was also with [other] Elohim in the beginning.


1 Corinthians 8: 5-6
For if there are so-called gods/deities (Heb. elohim) whether in heaven or on earth, (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”); yet for us there is but one God (Heb. El) the Father, from whom all things came. . . and there is but one LORD Jesus Christ (Heb. Yashua haMashiyach) through whom all things came. . .


1 Timothy 6: 15b-16
God, who is the blessed and only Sovereign (Ruler), the King of kings and LORD of lords, Who alone is immortal and lives in unapproachable light, who no one has seen or can see. To Him be glory (honor) and might forever.


NOTE: This does not apply to Jesus (Cp. John 1: 14, 18)


Jude 25a
To the only God [Heb. ha Elohim/the El or God] our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our LORD (Yahushua haMashiyach). . 


 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
June 7, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com


 


 







Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A perspective on the movie “Left Behind”



I recently watched the movie “Left Behind” which is the latest installment of Christian evangelism and eschatological genre about the end of the world. The main point of this cinematic drama is when Christians around the world suddenly disappear after a loud noise is heard, leaving behind their clothes and other personal belongings. Of course, all babies are gone, too. There are reports of pilotless planes, automobiles, and other vehicles crashing all around as well as looting, wide scale panic, and so on. This a basic snapshot that the film centers on as far as what is expected to happen according to the traditional interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17, which most evangelical and charismatic believing Christians subscribe to. Since this passage is the foundation of such a viewpoint it should be reviewed in some detail. Several things are worth noting: 1) The LORD comes down from heaven and issues a loud command/voice of an archangel/trump of God (v. 16); dead believers in Christ will arise from their graves first (v. 16); those who are alive/still living will be caught up together [“raptured”] with them [the formerly dead saints who believed in Christ and are resurrected and transformed] in the clouds to meet the LORD [Jesus Christ] in the sky (v. 17).

Now, with all that information it is time to incorporate other biblical texts into this scenario. In 1 Thessalonians 4: 14 it states that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him, which seems to be different from what is mentioned in verse 16. Also, in Philippians 1: 23 the Apostle Paul wrote about departing (dying) and being with the LORD, or putting it another way, being absent from the body is to be at home with Christ. Jesus, Luke 23: 42-42, tells the believing thief who hung next to Him on a cross that the person would be with Him in paradise today. Another rendering which seems the more plausible is that the thief was told today that he would be with Jesus in paradise (in the future). Either the person who dies believing in Jesus as the Savior/Messiah goes to be with the LORD in death or are still in the grave [ashes to ashes and dust to dust], or they are not; it cannot be both. Perhaps I am digressing a bit but one could ask about the Jewish patriarchs who died before they even heard about Jesus, or believed or understood about the coming Messiah who would redeem them from sin, not from the yoke of a foreign (pagan) nation’s occupation army.

Getting back to the subject at hand, let’s look at 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12 where the Apostle Paul picks up this point again, but I want to look at a few critical verses here, too: the day [the LORD’s return/ “Rapture”] WILL NOT COME until the rebellion comes, and the Man of lawlessness/rebellion/sin be revealed (v. 3); the Man will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God, or is worshipped [as God] (v. 4); he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (v. 4).

NOTE: Is the temple in existence today? I guess it will be restored again by the time of the end, though. Also, in that same Thessalonian epistle it says that the mystery of iniquity was already at work then, so it has taken over two thousand years before it finally reaches completion? Additionally, for such a person to be a God impersonator requires some kind of seemingly miracle working power, which fits nicely with the rest of the chapter as well as in the book of Revelation chapter 13 or 19.

Another point, just as important, is that there might not be that many Christians raptured to meet Jesus in the air simply because only a small percentage are actually all that faithful anyway, although they may be very religious and zealous in church attendance, tithing, singing in the choir, and doing acts of benevolence or Christian service or ministry. A lot of us may simply be convinced that Jesus is the Savior but we have not been converted nor had a “real” and personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Luke 13: 22-24 mentions about “few” that will be saved. I am not sure how many Christians will be absent from unmanned transportation vehicles or critical systems that will result in some kind of apocalyptic nightmare scenario of death and destruction.

There might not be a whole lot of us viewing the earth in flames from of pristine vantage point in the clouds, with our newly clothed immortal body and presumably invisible to the naked eye of those left behind. Revelation 7: 9, 11, 13-14 says that a number so large it cannot be counted will be those who come out of the “Great Tribulation” and not the expected large number of believers in Jesus who are redeemed from the planet before all hell breaks loose. Oh, as a passing thought, why would God snatch infants from the loving arms of their mothers, leaving to inconsolable grief over the loss? Anyway, to sum it all up it seems that the expectations of the future eagerly Rapture is more imaginative and dramatic Sci-fi based on a literal interpretation of certain Bible verses, which seems to stretch the boundary of rational coherent thought and philosophical as well as intellectual inquiry.

 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
March 21, 2015

 



Monday, June 1, 2015

An overwiew of the Psalms

These writings are considered sacred meditations, prayers and songs of praise on the majesty of God and His wondrous works.  Although this book can be subdivided into different sections covering several distinct as well as some overlapping themes or reflections, one area that seems consistent throughout is that of lamentation or distress. There are painful cries of estrangement, alienation, rejection, and abandonment as if God has turned His face away from the petitioner and no longer hears or regards the impassioned pleas of the supplicant; either as an individual or nationally as with the entire tribes of Israel. Perhaps nothing more riveting or poignant can compare to Jesus quoting Psalms 22 while He hung on the Cross of Calvary, which I have included in the following study.

But before reading Psalms 22 it might be a good idea to look at the most often quoted Twenty Third Psalm. The part I want to look at is verse 4a, which says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil [harm], for You are with me. . .” Now read Psalms 22 after that to get some perspective. I think the issue here is one of perseverance in the midst of trial, doubt, uncertainty, and imminent danger or even death. It is whether or not one will continue to trust in God for the long haul, even it seems that God may be far off and unlikely to come to the rescue at the last minute. It is not about, as some will say, just keep on believing anyway, which to me is irrational but rather to learn the value of character development through learning how to be patient without complaining or being anxious. Perhaps that’s the lesson that Job [Jobab??] needed to learn, although he suffered unjustly as a righteous man.



Psalms of David:
Psalms 7: 6
Arise, O LORD, in your anger; Rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God and declare justice.


Psalms 9: 13
O LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death.


Psalms 10: 1, 12
Why, O LORD, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? Arise, LORD! Lift up Your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.


Psalms 13: 1-2
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?


Psalms 22: 1-2a
My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me; so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer.


Psalms 35: 22
O LORD, You have seen this, be not silent. Do not be far from me, O LORD.


Psalms 39: 12a
Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping.


Psalms 42: 3
My tears have been my food day and night, while men [mock me] and say to me all day long, “Where is your God?


Psalms 43: 2
You are my God my stronghold, why have You rejected me? Why must I go about mourning and oppressed by the enemy?


Psalms 44; 23
Awake, O LORD! Why do You sleep? Arouse Yourself. Do not reject us forever. Why do You hide Your face and forget our misery and oppression?


Psalms 55: 1-2
Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.


Psalms 60: 1
You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; You have been angry- now restore us!


Psalms 69: 17
Do not hide Your face from Your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.


A maskil of Asaph:
Psalms 78:59
When God heard them, He was very angry, He rejected Israel completely.


Psalms 79: 5
How long, O LORD? Will You be angry forever? How long will Your jealousy burn like fire?


Psalms 80: 3-4, 7, 19
Restore us, O God; make Your face shine upon us that we might be saved (rescued). O LORD, God Almighty, how long will Your anger smolder against the prayers of Your people? Restore us, O God Almighty; make Your face shine upon us that we may be saved. Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make Your face shine upon us that we may be saved.


Sons of Korah
Psalms 85: 4-6
Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away Your displeasure toward us. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger through all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?


A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite:
Psalms 89: 46
How long, O LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? How long will Your wrath burn like fire?


A prayer of Moses the man of God:
Psalms 90: 13
Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on Your servants.





Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
June 1, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com






Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mystery of the Gospel


It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul used the word ‘mystery’ on numerous occasions in his writings (epistles), because when it comes down to the relationship of the Gentile Christian Church and the role of the Jews (Israelites) in the plan of God, there is quite a bit of confusion. The fact remains that Israel is very important in the salvation of humanity and is still the “apple” of God’s eye; in a manner of speaking. Let’s take a look at some Scriptures that address this very point, as below in the following.


Romans 11: 1a, 11
I ask then: Did God reject His people? By no means! Again I ask: Did they [Israel] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression [blindness/error] salvation has come to the Gentiles.



Romans 11: 25
I do not want you to be ignorant of this “mystery”. . . Israel has experienced a hardness [blindness] in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.



Romans 11: 28b
But as far as election is concerned, they [Israel] are loved on account of the patriarchs [Abraham/Isaac/Jacob]. For God’s gifts and His calling are irrevocable.



Ephesians 2: 11a, 12-13a
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called uncircumcised [by the circumcised]- Remember that at that time [formerly in times past] you were separated from Christ (Messiah), excluded from the citizenship of Israel, foreigners (aliens) from the covenant of promise, without hope, and without God in the world.



Ephesians 2: 19
Consequently, you [Gentiles] are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people [Israel] and members of God’s household.



Ephesians 3: 3a, 6
The “mystery” made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. This ‘mystery’ is that through the Gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together of the promise in Christ Jesus.



NOTE: This last part is important because there have been some preachers in the Christian Church who claim that God has forgotten about Israel or has rejected His people of the covenant in favor of the Gentile believers and followers of Jesus Christ. For many individuals in modern times, when they think of Israel what comes to mind is the political State of Israel established by UN Charter; but such was probably not conceived of 2,000 years ago. This is not to say that many Jews living in Palestine and throughout the world are not to be included as the redeemed of Israel when Jesus returns to judge the world.


Isaiah 62: 3-5
You [Israel] shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of God. You shall no more be termed (called) forsaken; neither shall the land anymore be termed desolate; but you shall be called ‘Hephzibah’ (“My delight is her”) and your land ‘Beulah’ (“Married”). For the LORD delighted in you and your land [and people] shall be married [to the LORD]. For as a young man marries a virgin so shall your sons [Heb. “Redeemer”] marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride so shall your God rejoice over you.





Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 31, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com


Friday, May 29, 2015

Fire worship and the ancient Israelites

This study is to trace the early pre-history of the Hebrews, starting with Abraham in Ur of the Chaldeans (Ara. “Ur Kasidim”), and how fire became a frequent representation of deity (God).

Joshua 24: 2
Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River [Euphrates] and worshipped other gods.’”

Acts 7:2b
The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran [Turkey]. So he left the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran.

Genesis 11: 2, 4a, 5
As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar [Mesopotamia??] and settled there. They said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens. . .” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.

Genesis 11: 27a, 28
Terah became the father of Abram (Abraham), Nahor, and Haran. While his father was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans.

NOTE: According to Holman’s Bible Dictionary (p. 1640), during the third dynasty Ur was the most prosperous and highly developed city in the region at that time. Archaeological evidence has uncovered remains of a three-staged pyramidal structure [‘ziggurat’] which is probably the famed Tower of Babel.

Genesis 11: 36
They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.

NOTE:
Certain tools would have been required for stone masonry but to make bricks required kindling a fire in an oven to harden the clay blocks. Also, just as interesting is the place name for ‘Ur’ means “fire oven/”

Now let’s look at some Biblical text regarding how God is revealed to the Hebrews/Israelites:

Exodus 3: 1b, 2a
Moses led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb the mountain of God. There the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from a bush.

Exodus 19: 18
Mount Sinai [Horeb] was covered with smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire.

Exodus 40: 38a
So the cloud [“Shekinah”] of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night.

Leviticus 9: 24
Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offerings and the fat portions on the altar.

Deuteronomy 4: 24a
For the LORD is a consuming fire.

Exodus 20: 4
You shall not make for yourself any graven image in the form of anything in heaven above, the earth beneath, or in the waters below.

FINAL THOUGHT:
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines graven image as an object of worship carved out of wood or stone. A statue representing fire cannot be constructed out of materials but a drawing or painting can be used to symbolize it, I suppose. The evidence is circumstantial and conjecture at best to prove that the patriarchs, starting with Abraham being introduced to God [the LORD] in the ‘fire oven’ city of Ur and then the deity becoming representative of Israel’s national God under Moses, and ultimately as the Creator of the Universe.

Word Play:
Elyon ("Most High God"-Daniel 4: 2b; 4: 17b, 34b; 5: 18) in Babylon.

Bab(el)yon (??)= Babylon

Babel (the god Bel)

El


 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 29, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A discussion of 1 Corinthians 15: 3-6

This is one of the more interesting chapters in the New Testament and these few verses should provoke curious readers and Bible students to examine the text with a sense of astonishment, as the following brief study will attest.

1 Corinthians 15: 3b-6
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve.

Jesus appeared to Peter, then to The Twelve??

Matthew 28: 1, 9-10
Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [there were several] and commands them to go tell His brothers.

NOTE: There is nothing in the gospels that mention Jesus calling the disciples His brothers.

Matthew 28: 16
Jesus commands the Eleven [not Twelve] disciples to go to the mountain in Galilee where He would meet with them again.

Mark 16: 9-11
Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene [alone] and she went and told those who had been with Him as they were weeping and mourning about Jesus’ death, telling them that he was alive [had risen], but they did not believe her.

Mark 16: 14
Later, Jesus appears to the Eleven as they were eating and rebuked them for their unbelief.

Luke 24: 9-12
The women came back from the tomb and told these things (Cp. 24: 2-8) to the Eleven and the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the others [women] with them. They did not believe them because their words seem as nonsense. However, Peter went to the tomb and seeing the strips of linen by themselves, went away wondering as to what happened.

Luke 24: 18, 33-34
They (Clopas and another unnamed disciple), after meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus returned to Jerusalem and found the Eleven, and those assembled with them, confirming that the LORD has arisen and appeared to Simon [huh??].

John 20: 1-9
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw the stone rolled away, and she went and told Simon Peter and the disciple that Jesus loved [only here]. Simon Peter ran to the tomb and entered first, seeing the strips of linen lying there and the burial cloth that was around Jesus’ head folded up by itself separate from the linen. The other disciple (whom Jesus loved) went inside the tomb and he saw and believed.

John 20: 10-18
The disciples went back to their homes but Mary stood outside the tomb crying, Jesus appears to her and commands her to go tell His brothers. [Afterward] Mary Magdalene went to the disciples and told them that she had seen the LORD and He had said these things to her.

John 20: 24
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

CONCLUSION:
The Apostle writes that Jesus appeared to Simon but the gospels abundantly show that that he appeared first and almost exclusively to Mary Magdalene before any of His followers, so it seems that the priority given Simon Peter was somehow to diminish the role of Mary Magdalene, or women in the Messianic movement. Since Luke was a companion of Paul his narrative is the only one that says Jesus appeared to Simon, so this incorporation into the Corinthian letter should not be all that surprising. In the synoptic gospels of Matthew, mark, and Luke, The Eleven are mentioned. Matthew 27: 1-10, supported by Acts 1: 15-17, esp. verse 26 mention about Judas hanging himself, but John’s gospel explodes this because he mentions the Twelve. If Judas killed himself then this would only leave eleven disciples and a replacement wasn’t found until after Jesus ascended back to heaven. It also means that if Judas killed himself or somehow left the group of “the Twelve” then apparently the writer of John’s gospel and the Apostle Paul knew nothing about it.

 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 27, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Exegesis of Genesis chapters 1-6

It seems that just a cursory reading of the book of Genesis tells the same old story of Creation that many readers are familiar with, but upon closer inspection it just might reveal precious cosmic mysteries that go largely unnoticed. The most startling thing to me is that the narrative is not one continuous narrative but a composite of several stories that the redactor or editor pieced together in the present order that appear in the Old Testament Scriptures and Christian Bible. So now it is time to start the journey of rediscovery in the following excerpts below:

(Version 1)
Genesis 1: 1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface (face) of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering [vibrating] over the waters.

Genesis 1: 20
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures. . .”

Genesis 1: 24
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures. . .”

Genesis 1: 26-28
Then God said, “Let Us make Man [Adam] in Our image, in Our likeness, and let “them” rule. . .” So God created Man in His own image; in the image of God He created him- male and female [pairs??] He created them [Man-Adam-mankind??]. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and replenish (fill) the earth and subdue (??) it. . . .”

NOTE: In this story the Creator God makes not just a single man and woman but several whom are called the family name ‘Adam’ (“mankind”) and are commanded to fill or populate the entire earth and bring it under subjection. This is quite different from the other version which has as its centerpiece a single male who is placed in a garden to take care of it, and only subsequently is given a mate as helper because none of the animals or other creatures are compatible.

Genesis 2: 1-3
Thus the heavens and earth were completed in their entire vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing, so on the seventh day He rested (ceased) from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and make it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.
THE END

(Version 2)
Genesis 2: 4
This is the account of the heavens and earth in the day [eon??] when they were created, when the LORD God made the heavens and the earth.

NOTE: Chapter 2 appears to be out of sequence and verse 4 should actually be verse 1 (in my opinion). Also, instead of God, the term LORD God is used.

Genesis 2: 5-6
The LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth; there was no man (Adam) to work the ground; streams came up from the earth and watered the entire surface of the ground.

NOTE: One would think that even if some underground streams supplied water some vegetation would still grow, unless it was too briny or salty to produce anything. The LORD God in this account seems different from the Creator in chapter 1, Who seems to just “speak” things into existence and qualifies everything as good, very, good and blesses creation.

Genesis 2: 7-8
The LORD God formed man (the Adam) out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man (the Adam) became a living soul (“person”). The LORD God planted a garden in the east, in Eden.

NOTE: This is quite different from chapter 1 in quantity as well as quality-

Comparison/Contrast:
1. Them [Adam/mankind]   
1a.Him [the Adam/man].
2. Be fruitful, replenish/fill and subdue the earth
2a.Dress and keep the garden.
3. Man [Them-male/female pairs] to rule the earth
3a. Woman as a helper for the Adam (man).
4. Adam (Man/mankind) made in the image and likeness of God
4a. Adam (the man) made from the dust of the ground.

Genesis 2: 10-14
A river watering the garden flowed out of Eden and from there [the garden] it separated into four headwaters- Pishon that winds through the entire land of Havilah; Gihon that flows through the land of Cush [Ethiopia??]; Tigris runs along the east side of Asshur [Ninevah/Babylon (modern Iraq)]; and the Euphrates river.

NOTE: There was no need to explain the location of the Euphrates because the recipients of this oral narrative were familiar with its route. That must have been some enormous river that flowed out of Eden (downstream) and still was able to continue as some major waterways into other countries-if literally true. Also, verse 18 seems out of place and makes a little better sense as far as sequence if it were placed before verse 21 (maybe).

Genesis 2:21
The LORD God took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

NOTE: We know the story that Eve (woman) was formed from this rib, but Aramaic Bible translator Vic Alexander has an intriguing theory about this event. He speculates that since man has a YX chromosome pair, God took one of the ‘ribs’ and replicated the X chromosome to produce the female “XX” pair. It is interesting because the Hebrew word for rib (‘tsala’) can also mean side, so one of the side chromosome genetic markers or sites was used to fashion the female type. Whether true or not I thought it is just as plausible as anything else, and besides all this, it does seem that the woman (Eve) was fashioned from the man’s (Adam) genetic substance or material.

Genesis 3: 15
The LORD God said [to the serpent], “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.
NOTE: This prophesy is revealed in the heavens in the study of astrology (the Zodiac). SEE “Witness of the Stars” by E.W. Bullinger and read especially pages 54-62. To fully appreciate the enormity of the scheme of redemption it would be beneficial to read the entire book.

Genesis 4: 16
So Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain lay with is wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.

NOTE: The million dollar question is where did Cain find a wife? The answer is from among the people who populated the earth after the first creation in Genesis chapter 1. It could not be from the other daughters of Adam and his lineage since the birth of Seth because Cain was already in the land of Nod and married before Seth was born (Cp. Genesis 5: 1).

Genesis 4: 25-26
Adam lay with his wife again and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him. Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

Genesis 5: 1, 3
This is the written account of Adam’s line. When Adam lived 130 years, he had a son in his own image and likeness and he named him Seth.

NOTE: Is this another separate Creation fragment and what form such as hieroglyphic, cuneiform, or when was some type of script writing invented? Is not Cain and Abel part of Adam’s line so why are they omitted, here? Why was it necessary to mention that Seth was made in the image and likeness of Adam, since it seems at this time that Adam had fallen from grace and was banished/driven from the garden?

Genesis 5: 4-32
NOTE: The long lives of these antediluvians stems from the fact that they are the ones from Genesis chapter 1 that some editor extrapolated or placed in this genealogy of this Adam; of course that ideal and efficient diet of plant-based foods from rich soil probably helped the Adam prime male/female pairs live for a long time, too. Interestingly, those Bible literalists who interpret the days of creation in 7/24 hr. cycles find difficulty in accepting these great ages of Adam made in the image and likeness of the Creator. Besides, it would mess up their chronology for the age of planet earth being 6,000 years old because adding up the 9 generations of Adam comes to 7,625 years; and when you add in Noah’s age and the time until the flood you get 8,225 years up until then.

Genesis 6: 3b
His days will be 120 years.

NOTE: This is supposedly how long God decreed that humans live from now on but Abraham’s father Terah lived 205 years (Genesis 11: 32). I think the one hundred-twenty years is roughly the time that the human race had from Noah’s 500th birthday until the earth was destroyed by the Great Deluge (“Flood”) one hundred years later.


Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 5, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Abomination of Desolation: future event or has it already taken place?

The book of Daniel is considered such a complicated narrative that foreshadows the time of the end, but of which generation- the one in the past or is it yet to occur in the future? Jesus is talking to His disciples and describing the cataclysmic events as well as upheavals that will bring about the end of the age [world], but he says in Matthew 24: 15 these interesting words: “So when you see the ‘Desolation of Abomination’ [“desolating sacrilege” New Oxford Annotated Bible] standing in the holy place, as was spoken by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand). The rest of Matthew present a panoramic view of destruction and chaos as cosmic forces are unleashed that will shake the heavens and rend the very fabric of reality asunder. One could ask about Jesus’ knowledge or understanding of apocalyptic prophetical writings or if He even said those words at all. This study will utilize the book of Daniel as well as the non-canonical Apocryphal book of Maccabees to help shed some light on what is to come or has already passed.


Daniel 8: 1-2, 5, 8-9
In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision after the one that had already appeared to me. In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam. In the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the entire earth without touching the ground. The goat became very great but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came another horn which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and to the Beautiful Land.


1 Maccabees 1: 1, 7-8
After Alexander the Macedonian [the Great], Phillip’s [of Macedon] son, who came from the land of Kittim [Greece], had defeated Darius III, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place. Alexander had reigned twelve years [336-323 BC] when he died. So his officers [generals] took over his kingdom, each in his own territory. There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, son of King Antiochus.


Daniel 8: 10-12
It [the horn/Antiochus Epiphanes IV] grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry hosts down to the earth and trampled on them (‘figuratively’ speaking). It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host. It took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of 1rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did and truth was thrown to the ground [and trampled underfoot??].


1 Maccabees 1: 11, 20-22
In those days there appeared in Israel 1men who were breakers of the law [Torah] and they seduced many people saying, “Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them many evils have come upon us.” After Antiochus Epiphanes IV had defeated Egypt in the year one hundred and forty-three [169 BC] he returned and went up to Israel and Jerusalem with a mighty force. He insolently invaded the sanctuary [Temple] and took away the golden altar, the lampstand for the light and all the fixtures, the offering table, the cups and bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, the golden ornament on the fa├žade of the temple.


1 Maccabees 1: 41-49, 52
Then king Antiochus Epiphanes IV wrote to his entire kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs. All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king, and 1many Israelites were in favor of his religion, and they sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath. The king sent messengers to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, ordering them to prohibit holocausts [burnt offerings], sacrifices, libations in the sanctuary, to profane the Sabbath and feast days, to desecrate the sanctuary and sacred ministers, to build pagan altars, temples, and shrines; to sacrifice swine and unclean animals [on the altar], to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to let themselves be defiled with every kind of impurity and abomination so that they might forget the law [Torah] and change all their observances [ritual customs]. 1 Many of the people, those who abandoned the law [Torah], joined them and committed evil in the land.


Daniel 8: 13-14
Then I heard a holy one [‘watcher’] speaking, and another holy one said unto him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled- the vision concerning the daily sacrifices, the rebellion that causes [the Abomination of] desolation (desecration/sacrilege), and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?” He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings: then the sanctuary will be cleansed (reconsecrated).”


1 Maccabees 4: 36, 38, 42-43
Then Judas [Maccabees] and his brothers said, “Now that our enemies have been crushed (defeated), let us go up and purify the sanctuary {Temple] and rededicate/consecrate it.” They found the sanctuary desolate, the altar desecrated, the gate burned, weeds growing in the courtyard as if in a forest or some mountain, and the priests chambers demolished. He (Judas) chose blameless priests dedicated to the law [Torah]; these purified the sanctuary and carried away the stones of the [desolation of] Abomination to an unclean place.


1 Maccabees 4: 52-55
Early in the morning, on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, that is the month ‘Chislev’ [December], in the year one hundred and forty-eight [164 BC], they arose and offered sacrifice according to the law [Torah] on the new altar of holocausts [burnt offerings] that they had made. On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had defiled it, on that very day (Cp. 1 Maccabees 1: 54-55). It was reconsecrated with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success.


1 Maccabees 1: 54-55
On the fifteenth [twenty-fifth??] day of the month Chislev {December], in the tear one hundred and forty-five [167 BC], king Antiochus Epiphanes IV erected the horrible abomination [“Abomination of Desolation”] upon the altar of holocausts [burnt offerings], and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars. 1They also burnt incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant, and whoever observed the law [Torah] was condemned to death by royal decree.


NOTE: Using the lunar chronology of 30 days in a month which amounts to 360 evenings and mornings in a year, but the prophetical number seems to be a total combination of 2,300 evenings and mornings, so instead of 2,300 it should be half of that; so then it should be 1,150/360= 3.20 years more or less. This corresponds roughly to the culmination of events described by the holy one in the eight chapter of the book of Daniel as supported by the Maccabean account.



Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
April 26, 2015
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

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
robertrandle51@yahoo.com



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.

WEBSTER’S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY:

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;

CONCLUSION:
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
robertrandle51@yahoo.com