Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prophesy of the House of Israel (Part 2)

I wrote an earlier article in 2011 regarding the land of Israel (the ten northern tribes) that split away, after the united monarchy under king David fractured when Solomon’s son Rehoboam acted upon some bad advice. Actually, this event was already in the making after Solomon let his heart be led astray by marrying women from pagan nations who enticed him to introduce the worship of foreign gods among the people of Israel. The prophet Ezekiel introduces a rather interesting prophesy regarding the nation as far as the duration of this national sin that does not seem to match up with the years of their rebellion, even if one includes the years of Solomon’s reign.

Ezekiel 3: 4-5
Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin for the house of Israel.

Chronology of the kings of Israel (after Solomon):

 1 Kings 14: 20                                                
Jeroboam did evil (22 years).                          

1 Kings 15: 25
Nadab did evil (2 years).

1 Kings 15: 25, 33-34
Baasha did evil (24 years).  

1 Kings 16: 8-10

Elah did evil (2 years).

1 Kings 16: 10, 16-18                                     
Zimri did evil (7 days).                                   

1 Kings 16: 24-26
Omri did evil (12 years).
1 Kings 16: 29-34 thru 22: 38                        
Ahab did evil (22 years).                               

1 Kings 22: 40b, 51-55
Ahaziah did evil (2 years).
                                                                                                                                                                                2 Kings 10: 1, 11-25                   
Joram did evil (12 years).                            

*2 Kings 10: 35*
 Jehu did good (28 years).

2 Kings 13: 1-2                                             
Jehoahaz did evil (17 years).                        

2 Kings 13: 11
Jehoash did evil (16 years).

2 Kings 14: 23-24                                         
Jeroboam II did evil (41 years).                    

2 Kings 14: 29: 15: 8-11
Zechariah did evil (6 months).

2 Kings 15: 13-15                                         
Shallum did evil (1 month).                         

2 Kings 15: 17-18
Mehahem did evil (10 years). 
                                                                                                                                                                               
2 Kings 15: 23-24                                         
Pekahiah did evil (2 years).                          

2 Kings 15: 25-28
Pekah did evil (20 years).

2 Kings 17: 1
Hoshea did evil (9 years)
2 Kings 17: 23b
So Israel was carried away from their land to Assyria, “as it is to this day.”

NOTE: Assyria [Asshur] anciently comprised the whole region between the Armenian mountains of the North, the South country of Baghdad [Iraq], and on its Eastern boundary are the mountains of Kurdistan, and Westward it was bounded by the Mesopotamian desert as it reached the Euphrates (REFERENCE: Holman Bible Dictionary).

2 Kings 17: 6
In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and by the Habor, the River Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes (Cp. 2 Kings 18: 11).

NOTE: Halah is a region in northern Mesopotamia, possibly northeast of Nineveh the capitol city of Assyria. The Habor is a major tributary of the Euphrates River and the Gozan is a Syrian city-state and probably modern Tel Halaf in northwestern Mesopotamia on the southern bank of the River Khabut. Cities of the Medes is a designation for Media proper- An ancient Iranian people and sister nation of the “Persians.” Their empire stretched from the Southern shore of the Black Sea and Aran province (Republic of Azerbajani) to North and Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (REFERENCE: Holman Bible Dictionary).

CONCLUSION:
Although the years don’t quite add up to the 390 years as mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy, the interesting thing is that the original ten tribes who were the original settlers are never heard from again; at least as far as the Biblical record is concerned. The peculiar twist of fate called irony is that a lot of the modern anti-Semitism or adversaries who want to destroy the political State of Israel or the Jews are themselves of the same bloodline. Just think about it for a minute- the people of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Azerbajan, North and Central Asia,  the Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan, and Pakistan are undoubtedly mixed with some of the Israelites who were deported there thousands of years ago and became part of the indigenous culture.
 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
April 13, 2016

 

 

Friday, March 25, 2016

In search of the real Moses

There is probably no other person in the history of the world who is more respected than the great man Moses, with the exception of Abraham, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth, of course. Yet, was he the adopted son of an Egyptian princess as the Bible claims? The character of Moses is portrayed as greater than life, especially to those in the Western world who have had the opportunity to watch Charlton Heston’s superb acting skills of the great lawgiver in the holiday classic “The Ten Commandments.” Still, is this the man or the myth-perhaps we will never know for sure. This study will undertake the task of presenting the Biblical record and then pose some questions for consideration, always leaving it up to the reader to determine the truth for themselves.

Exodus 1:21
The Pharaoh gave this order to all his people, “Every boy that is born [of the Hebrews} you must throw into the Nile; but let every girl live.”

Exodus 2: 1-2a, 3-7
Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. But when she could not hide him any longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed it among the reeds of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

NOTE: There are several things to consider, namely, why would Pharaoh’s daughter defy a royal order to kill any Hebrew male, and even if she did feel pity for the infant, would she have someone nurse the baby instead of sending it back down the Nile to meet whatever fate was waiting? Also, it was quite fortuitous for the infant’s older sister to be not only nearby but be able to walk up to Pharaoh’s daughter and suggest that she take care of this abandoned and lonely Hebrew boy who has a death sentence hanging over his head. Was the older female sibling the same slave girl to Pharaoh’s daughter?

Exodus 2: 8-9a, 10
She [Pharaoh’s daughter] said, “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and raise him for me, and I will pay you.” When the child grew older she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

NOTE: The name Moses is apparently Egyptian and not from any Israelite tribe or clan name. In fact, the Egyptian word Moses is depicted as a hieroglyphic symbol translated as mose (s) which means “to give birth to” as stated by Stephane Rossini in her book, EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS How to Read and Write Them (p. 6). For instance, the name Rameses (Cp. Exodus 1: 1b) would be shown as the solar disc representing the sun followed by the glyph or character for mose (s); meaning the son of or born of the Sun [Ra-meses/Ra-mose (s)]. The narrator or editor in Exodus may or may not have been aware of the Egyptian meaning of the word and interpreted it according to the circumstances and placed those words in the mouth of Pharaoh’s daughter, it seems.

Exodus 2: 11a, 12a, 15a
One day after Moses had grown up he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When Pharaoh heard about it he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian.

Exodus 2: 16a, 18, 19a, 20
Now a priest of Midian had [only??] seven daughters. When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?” They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds.” Moses agreed to stay with the man who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.

Exodus 3: 1a
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian.

Exodus 6: 20
Amram married his father’s sister [Amram’s Aunt??] Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses.

NOTE: Why wasn’t Miriam mentioned?

Numbers 10: 29
Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law.

NOTE: Didn’t Reuel only have seven daughters (Cp. Exodus 2: 16a)?

Numbers 12: 1
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite [Ethiopian] wife, for he married a Cushite.

Judges 4: 11
Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab Moses’ brother-in-law.

NOTE: I would think there is a distinction between a Cushite, Midianite, or a Kenite, for that matter.

Numbers 26: 59
The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed; a descendant of Levi, who was born to the Levites in Egypt. To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam.

1 Chronicles 4: 17b, 18b
One of Mered’s wives gave birth to Miriam (??). These were the children of Pharaoh’s daughter Bithnia, whom Mered had married.

NOTE: It is unlikely that Bithnia was the Egyptian mane of Pharaoh’s daughter, just like Esther was the Persian name of Mordecai’s cousin Hadassah (Cp. Esther 2: 7). If the real name of Pharaoh’s daughter were known then it would have helped to know the identity of the Pharaoh of the Exodus who came after him.

Acts 7: 22-23
Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and deeds. When Moses was forty years old he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.

Exodus 4: 10
Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past [in Egypt??] nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

CONCLUSION:
So, is Moses a real person and if he was, are the things attributed to him, including the adoption of Pharaoh’s daughter and raised by her in defiance of a death decree on all Hebrew males a plausible scenario? The proximity to Pharaoh’s daughter by Moses’ older sister Miriam who could have been one of the attendants or the lone mentioned slave girl, and the events that transpired which changed the course of Moses’ life (literally) and certainly the Israelites who were slaves in Egypt, an historical fact or not? Also, let’s consider Moses’ talking with God, where in Exodus 3: 20, it says, But the Lord said to Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me [my face] and live.” However, it says in verse 11a, The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend (Cp. Numbers 12: 8). Be that as it may the main thing that can be gleaned from the story of Moses and his subsequent impact upon the major World Religions  as Moshe in Judaism, Moses in Christianity, and Islam (Musa in the Koran) is the certainty and unwavering faithfulness of God, and having the confidence to trust in him no matter how dire and hopeless the circumstances might appear to be; because God never fails nor does his promises not come to pass if we keep on believing; and oftentimes God will still rescue us even when we have given up on him.

 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
March 25, 2016
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

When gods cry

The title is little more than a way to engage the reader’s attention, and I admit to having co-opted the idea from Pop megastar recording artist Prince’s song “When Doves Cry.” The point that I want to offer in this brief study is that not all gods mentioned in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, are objects made from materials such as a tree, stone slab, or molded metal. It may come as a surprise to some that those idol gods mentioned in the Bible narratives are real persons or beings superior to humans. It must also be kept in mind that persons could be worshipped as a ‘god’ such as the Pharaohs of Egypt or Caesars of imperial Rome. If such were idols the carved images would not necessarily what the petitioner or suppliant believes the deity looks like but rather is an aspect of some characteristic and used as a fetish to channel, attract or draw in the power or energy from that source and is used for protection, healing, and some other benefit; or even for destructive purposes as well. The following examples are offered for consideration.

2 Kings 1: 16
He told the king, “This is what the Lord says: “Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron”?

NOTE: Baal-Zebub might be like the oracle of Delphi among the Greeks, giving a glimpse in the future by foretelling of events yet to happen and the eventual outcome. Interestingly, this same name is the corrupted form [or the other way around??] used in the New Testament concerning Jesus in Matthew 12: 24, where it says: But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub [Baal-Zebub] the prince of demons that this fellow drives out demons. It would seem that this being has the same identity and in all probability is some kind of entity or being, non-human and definitely not a carved or graven (man-made) object.

2 Kings 17: 31
The Sepharavites burned their children in the fire as sacrifices to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

2 Kings 19: 37a
One day he (Sennacherib) was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword.

NOTE: It is very possible that Sennacherib’s son Adrammelech was worshipped as a god by the Sepharvites. Besides, can a thing (idol) kill someone with a sword, or does a person have to do it?

Jeremiah 43: 12
The Lord will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; He will burn down their temples and take their gods captive.

NOTE: What would be the value of taking captive inanimate objects as opposed to teal people? Of course, even if these idols were made of gold, silver, or some precious stones (jade, rubies, topaz, diamonds, etc.) the narrative still wouldn’t make sense.

Jeremiah 46: 25
The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “I am about to bring punishment on Amon the god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on [the people of] Egypt, and on her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh.

NOTE: You cannot punish lifeless things, hurt them or make them feel pain so the god Amon and some, if not all the other gods worshipped in that part of Egypt, as well as the Pharaoh and other kings must be flesh and blood persons.

Jeremiah 48: 7b
“. . . and Chemosh will go into exile, together with his (not it’s) priests and officials.”

NOTE: Only a person can go into exile, be deported or banished.

Jeremiah 49: 1b
Why then has Molech taken possession of [the territory of] Gad? Why do his people live its towns?

NOTE: Does an inanimate object or idol take possession of some land and have people of its own? Besides, the narrative used “his” and not its people.

Jeremiah 50: 2b
Bel will be put to shame and Marduk will be filled with terror.

NOTE: Can an idol of wood, stone, or metal be shamed or made to feel terror?

Ezekiel 8: 14b
I saw women sitting there mourning for Tammuz.

NOTE: Why would women shed tears for an carved image [Tammuz the slain or crucified fertility god??]

 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11
Tacoma, WA 98402
March 15, 2016
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Canaanite settlers of Jerusalem were Black Africans

It may come as quite a surprise to readers of the Bible that the land flowing with “milk and honey (Canaan),” was originally settled by Black people, or more specifically, people of African origin. Not only that, but the holy city of Jerusalem and the “Beautiful land” were also settled by one of the Black tribal clans (groups). The tenth chapter of the book of Genesis gives much of the information.

Genesis 10: 6, 15-16, 17b-19
The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girhashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans (tribes) scattered [migrated] and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim as far as Lasha.

Joshua 10: 1, 5
Adoni-Zedek, King of Jerusalem. The Amorites were in the land.

Joshua 11: 3
Jebusites were in the hill country

Joshua 15: 8, 63
The Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem) Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.

2 Samuel 5: 6a, 7
The king (David) and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites who lived there. Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the city of David.

NOTE: It does not say that David killed everyone with the sword, like Moses or especially Joshua did. However, it is quite possible that the remaining Jebusites accepted the God of Israel or were made slave laborers like some of the other defeated Canaanite clans.

So, one last and important detail in all of this which tends to prove my point is that Noah’s son Ham is almost universally regarded as synonymous with Black-skinned (burnt of skin); which makes sense in this way- Mizraim is another term for ‘Egypt’ and Cush is associated with Ethiopia. Even Put is believed to be the name of an African tribe designated as Punt [possibly pygmy or Twa people??]. The reason I think this is interesting stems from the fact that the land or territory of disputed claims by Palestinians or the Jewish settlers who came from Europe leading to the establishment of the State of Israel may in point of fact be invalid, after all.

 
Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt B11     
Tacoma, WA 98402
February 24, 2016
robertrandle51@yahoo.com

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
For dust you are and back into dust will you return.

NOTE: 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. The apostle James sums it up nicely: What causes fights and quarrels among you, don’t they come from your desires that battle (wage war) within you [your mind]? You want [desire] something but you don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot [do not] have what you want [desire] (Cp. James 4: 1-2a).


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