Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Are the Bible prophecies about the end of the world so much hype or sobering truth?

The Bible solemnly warns about God’s day of wrath on evildoers, but when is this dreaded event supposed to happen, or more importantly, will it ever take place as the Scriptures describes? It seems that situations in the world are getting worse as there is increasing poverty, vanishing or shrinking permafrost, destruction of rainforests, pollution of water, soil, and the air, global financial insecurity, increasing crime rates and acts of violence, as well as the constant threat of nuclear conflagration or another world war; and this is just the short list. Either it is time to take the Lord’s warning seriously, or if not, and all of this doom and gloom is just so much hype, then let’s embrace the philosophy of life found in Isaiah 23: 13: “let us eat, and drink [and be merry??], you say, for tomorrow we die.” However, I think before throwing in the towel and give in to despair and nihilism, maybe the Bible can offer some perspective. Let’s begin with the words of Jesus in Matthew 16: 3b: You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

2 Peter 3: 2-3a, 4, 8-9
I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all, you must understand that in the “Last Days” scoffers [doubters] will come.  They will say, “Where is this coming,” he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you [us??], not wanting anyone to perish (Cp. Ezekiel 18: 23; 33: 11), but that everyone would come to repentance.

Now, let’s see what is written in the prophets:

Isaiah 13: 10-11a
The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil; the wicked for their sins. Therefore I will make heaven tremble, and the earth will shake from its place.

Isaiah 34: 1-2, 4a
Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the [entire] earthy hear, and all that is [are] in it, the world and all that comes out of it! The Lord is angry with all the nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. All the stars of heaven will be dissolves [shaken/moved??] and the shy will be rolled up like a scroll.

What did the Lord tell his apostles about these things?

Matthew 24: 3
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately; “Tell us,” they said, “When will this [these things] happen, and what will be (1) the sign of your coming and (2) the End of the Age [world]?”

NOTE: I think there were actually two questions asked here; the first part was contemporary in their time and the latter part reserved for the future. It is also possible that this was a compound single question which wrapped together both parts with the expectation that Jesus was going to usher in the kingdom of God and finally defeat evil when he returns in their lifetime.

Now it’s time for some details, as in the following:

Luke 21: 9
“. . . when you hear of wars and revolutions (Cp. Matthew 24: 6; Mark 13: 7).”

Luke 21: 11
There will be great earthquakes; famines (droughts??) and pestilence in various places, and fearful events [like 9/11??], and great signs from (in??) heaven [Blood Moons or unusual alignment of the planets/stars??] (Cp. Matthew 24: 7b; Mark 13: 8b).

Luke 21: 25-26a
There will be signs in the sun, moon and the stars. On the earth nations will be in anguish and perplexity and the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from [fear of or from??] terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world.

NOTE: This last part could be pulled from today’s newspaper headlines among the nations of the earth. All this uncertainly could be compounded by not only severe weather patterns, but concerns over a potential pandemic from the Zika virus, AIDS, or new strains of super bugs that are resistant to the latest antibiotics. There are no answers for the acts of terrorism by ISIL and al-Qaeda, the war in Syria and the refugee humanitarian crisis. What is to be done about an aggressive Russia and economic powerhouse China and her military exercises in the South China Sea? Will the EU hold together or will Brexit signal the exit of other countries as well?

Luke 21: 34
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and the day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap; for [assuredly] it will come upon all those who live on the face of the earth.

Luke 24: 32
I tell you the truth; this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

That generation has passed away and those things which pertained to them have been fulfilled, now there is another “this generation” of human still living on the planet and there are events still waiting to occur; especially up until the final consummation of all things when the kingdom of God will finally be among men. The main point I want to make is that the world is a lot closer than many of us want to think about regarding the day of God’s wrath. Matthew 24: 10-12 talks about many people turning away from the “true” faith, mainly due to false prophets deceiving people. Because of the increase of wickedness the love (compassion/empathy/ sympathy of people will [has] turn cold. Despite all the technological advances and social media, there is an increase in cyber bullying, shaming and other predatory practices; mostly among teens and the most vulnerable members of society. Although there is a great desire for acknowledgement, connectedness, social interaction or companionship; quite a few people feel lonely, isolated, not valued, apprehensive about the future, and more disconnected than ever.

Before I forget to  make this point: The gospel of Jesus Christ has reached the four corners of the earth but one wonders if it is the same “Good News” that was first preached by Jesus and later by those who first saw, heard and handled the Word of Life and first-begotten of the Father. Today, the preaching is mostly the politically-correct, non-offensive kind that tastes good like honey; and is sweet in your mouth as well as in your belly. The old “Fire and Brimstone” sermons of the past are not preached from the pulpit and not as welcome in modern society today as opposed to times past. It seems that quite a few Christian Churches are trying to model a welcoming, Starbucks-friendly atmosphere offering a variety of homilies in as many flavors as there are lattes and cappuccinos.

I was thinking about Micah 3: 11a where it says, “Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money.” Now, this is not to criticize those faithful stewards of God who are to be supported and teach the truth in sincerity (Cp. Luke 10: 7; 1 Timothy 5: 18), but this is my polemic against those who are wolves in sheep clothing. A final thought comes from Zechariah 14: 12b: “Their flesh will rot [turn black and discolored??] while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” This scene kinda reminds me of an episode of  “The Walking Dead” and could this possibly be a prophesy about some experiment that goes horribly wrong where a plague is unleashed on the public after spores, gas or mist from biological or germ warfare research that escapes from a containment module or chamber?

Anyway, to wrap this all up, Jesus leaves us with this sobering thought found in Matthew 24: 37-39: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
November 2, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Were there two different copies of the Ten Commandments?

Most of us are used to thinking that the stone tablets called the Ten Commandments, which received and written with the finger of God, and that Moses later smashed after coming down from Mount Sinai, were later replicated as originally given when Moses went back up the mountain to appear before the Lord, but is this actually the case? The following study will explore this question in some detail.

Exodus 34: 1
The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the [same] words that were on the first tablets, which you broke

Exodus 34: 11b
I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites
(Cp. Exodus 23: 23).

Exodus 34: 13-14
Break down their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Cp. Exodus 20: 3, 5b, 23a; 23: 24b).

Exodus 34: 15
Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land (Cp. Exodus 23:32).

Exodus 34: 17
Do not make cast idols (Cp. Exodus 20: 4, 23??).

Exodus 34: 18
Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread without yeast, as I commanded you (Cp. Exodus 13: 6-7). Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt (Cp. Exodus 13: 3-4; 23: 15).

Exodus 34: 19-20
The first offspring of every womb belongs to me [the Lord], including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from the herd or flock (Cp. Exodus 13: 12). Redeem your firstborn sons.

NOTE: This latter part of verse twenty is not found in the earlier version, as well as verse nineteen; which is found in the thirteenth chapter of Exodus.

Exodus 34: 20b
No one is to appear before the Lord empty handed (Cp. Exodus 23: 15b).

Exodus 34: 21
Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing season and harvest you must rest (Cp. Exodus 20: 9-11; 23: 12).

Exodus 34: 22-23
Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the first-fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel (Cp. Exodus 23: 16-17).

Exodus 34: 25
Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast; and do not let any of the sacrifice from the “Passover Feast” remain until morning (Cp. Exodus 23: 18).

NOTE: The Passover Feast is not mentioned in the previous account, but only “the fat of my festival offerings”??

Exodus 34: 26
Bring the best of the first-fruits of your spoil to the house of the Lord your God (Cp. Exodus 23: 19).

Exodus 24: 6b
Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk (Cp. Exodus 23: 19b).

Exodus 34: 27, 28b
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down [all] these words, for in accordance to these words I have made a covenant with you and Israel. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant- The Ten Commandments (Cp. Exodus 24: 12).

CONCLUSION: It is commonly believed that the Ten Commandments were just those statutes listed in chapter twenty in the Book of Exodus, but that just might be an oversimplification. Those statutes certainly are the main body of a moral as well as religious code for the Israelites but there is much more to it. The way I look at it, and the biblical text confirms this, some of the precepts from chapter thirteen were incorporated into the original instructions of the ten Commandments starting in chapter twenty, and then reintroduced in chapter thirty-four; but even so, there was additional material added that was not present in the original version. In Exodus 34: 1 the Lord says that he will write the words that were in the first set of stone tablets that Moses broke. It seems to me that Exodus 20: 1-17 comprises the first set of Ten Commandments and Exodus 23: 1-13 expands on those principles.

After Exodus 20: 18 thru 23: 13 appears to be an addition to the original Ten Commandments of Exodus 20. I surmise that Exodus 23: 14-33 is a somewhat altered repetition of the first set of Ten Commandments. Interestingly, or I might say oddly, Exodus 24: 7 says, “The he [Moses] took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. So, the words graven on stone tablets (“Ten Commandments”) in Exodus 20 are now, or become part of a book four chapters later. Then from Exodus 25 thru 34: 1, 27, 28b there are more instructions that are in themselves more amendments. So, it is not unreasonable to accept that the Ten Commandments were edited and expanded upon from the point when these instructions were initially given, by some unknown redactor or priestly scribe throughout generations to accommodate the evolving religious, cultural, social, and historical development of this mixed heterogeneous grouping of a specific offshoot of Canaanite clans called Hebrews or Israelites.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 28, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Which copy of the Covenant was used to inaugurate Israelite kings?

It may come as quite a surprise to many readers of the Bible that there were in fact, two sets of statutes in the Old Testament regarding how Jewish kings were supposed to behave, as well as govern. This study will provide an interesting comparison/contrast among the narrative sources as it pertains to the responsibilities that the kings were to act among the Israelite people.

Deuteronomy 17: 14-20
When you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you have (take) possession of it and settled it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. The king (1) must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself, or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them; for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back this way again.” He (2) must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He (3) must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, (4) he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him and he is to (5) read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God, and to (6) follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees, and (7) not consider himself better than that of his brothers; and turn away from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over the kingdom of Israel.

NOTE: The decrees are quite explicit in the Deuteronomist version but it seems that Solomon didn’t know about it, or instead, chose to ignore it entirely (Cp. 1 Kings 10: 14-21, 22a, 28; 1 Kings 11: 1-5). This also brings up another important point, namely, that the Torah (including the book of Deuteronomy) was not written down or orally transmitted during his reign or lifetime.

1 Samuel 8: 4-7, 9-17
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us.” This disturbed Samuel, so he inquired to the Lord. And the Lord said to him, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you: It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. Now listen to them: but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who reigns over them will do.” Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest; and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage, and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

1 Samuel 10: 25a
Samuel explained to the people the regulations of the kingship. He wrote down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord.

NOTE: This last part would imply that Samuel placed these decrees in the custody of the priests, the Levites who ministered before the Lord in the temple. It is also worth noting that Samuel‘s version doesn’t seem to be a continuation of Moses’ law but something different altogether. The source in Deuteronomy anticipates the request for a king as a natural progression, whereas in Samuel’s version the Israelites reject God ruling over them outright, using the excuse that it was due to Samuel’s old age and his sons’ bad behavior.

2 Kings 11: 12a
Jehoiada brought out the king’s son [Joash] and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the Covenant and proclaimed him king.

2 Kings 22: 8; 23: 2
And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. The king went up to the house of the LORD and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.

It seems that the Book of the Law/Torah (incl. Deuteronomy) wasn’t found until the time of King Josiah, which means that it must have been lost. This makes sense because Solomon would have devoted his heart fully to the Lord if it had existed at the time; at least, this is what I think. Jehoiada the priest probably found a copy of the scroll written by the prophet Samuel, which he used to administer the oath of office to Joash. The Mosaic commandment contained in Deuteronomy was still unknown or missing until the High priest Hilkiah discovered either the entire Torah or portions of it in the temple some eleven chapters later.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 25, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Who is the Father?

The mystery of God is not easy to understand, let alone trying to explain in a rational way based on empirical proof. The various encounters that people had with deity were unique and special. In some instances God appeared out of nowhere and stood right next to someone; God spoke from a burning bush; God has communicated in a dream or vision; God spoke from a dark cloud and fire; God is described as flying on the wind or wings of creatures called cherubim. Moses, Aaron and the seventy elders of Israel saw God and sat down and had a meal in the Lord’s presence (Cp. Exodus 24: 9-11). The prophet Micaiah saw God sitting on his heavenly throne (Cp. 1 Kings 22: 9); so did Isaiah (Cp. Isaiah 6: 1). God, or rather the Lord, is described as one of the sons of The Most High/El Most High (Heb. Elyon), who was allotted Israel as his inheritance (Cp. Deuteronomy 32: 8-8). So, all these appearances or revelations (“theophany”) of God in the Old Testament should settle the matter as to the Father; but does it? Let’s hear what Jesus had to say about the matter, and this is where the study will start with the following:

John 1: 18
No one has “ever” seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side (right hand??), has made him known (revealed him).

John 5: 37, 43a
And the Father who sent me has himself testified of me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form. I have come in my Father’s name and you do not accept me.

John 6: 46a
No one has seen the Father “except” the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

John 14: 8-9a, 10b
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and it will be enough for us.” Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me Philip; even after I have been among you such a long (short??) time?” Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. It is the Father living (abiding??) in me, who is doing his work.

John 17: 25a
[Jesus said] “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you.”

1 Corinthians 8: 6
But to us there is but one God (Heb. El), the Father (Heb. ha’ Ab), from whom are all things, and we exist for him; and one Lord (Heb. `Adonai), the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through him.

Ephesians 4: 6
One God (Heb. El) and Father (Heb. Ab) of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.

1Timothy 6: 15b, 16
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen

This last reference sums up this study nicely and reinforces what Jesus said earlier, and there can be no greater authority than his. Since the dawn of time when mankind had the first contact with God, it was like in the Greek plays, I surmise, behind a mask of sorts. It was very much like what was revealed to Moses when he asked to see God’s glory. Although the translation was a bit awkward and strained, it reveals that mortals cannot experience the awesome incorporeal essence and celestial splendor of God’s divinity in a direct sense (Cp. Exodus 33: 18-20, 23b). Even the different names associated with God had to do with a particular purpose and appearing that deity wanted to accomplish or reveal. For the most part, God was referred to as the Lord God or God Almighty. Even God’s memorial name “I AM that I AM” (Cp. Exodus 3: 14) was never invoked at any other point in the Scriptures. I think the Psalmist confirms the closest approximation to the divine name, or at least the root or cognate in Psalms 68: 4, where God’s name is Yah.  Jesus did use an abbreviated form in the gospel of John (ex. “I AM….”) but not the full expression as in the account in third chapter of Exodus. Nevertheless, even this is not revealed as the Father until Jesus introduces mankind to this aspect of deity. Lastly, in Colossians 1: 19; 2: 9, it reads: For God [the Father] was pleased to have “all” his fullness dwell (abide) in him [Jesus Christ]. For in Christ “all” the fullness of the ‘godhead’ (“Divine Nature”) dwells in bodily form.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Is everything that God does considered good?

Hardly anyone, at least those who believe in God, Ultimate reality, or Source would disagree that one of the characteristics of such a being rests in the notion of One who is the perfect Good. Exodus 34: 6-7a, says: “The Lord, the Lord the compassionate and gracious God, and slow to anger; abounding in love and faithfulness [mercy??], maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” Who can accuse God of anything outside of how God describes these qualities to the divine nature? Nevertheless, let’s look at what the Scriptures also reveal about God; as in the following:

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

Joshua 11: 18a, 19b-20
Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time. Not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites who took them all in battle. For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Judges 9: 23a, 24
God sent an “evil spirit” between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem. God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their [innocent] blood might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem.

1 Samuel 16: 14-15; 19: 9a, 11
Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an “evil spirit” from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an ‘evil spirit’ from God is tormenting you. But an “evil spirit” from the Lord came upon Saul. Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning.

2 Samuel 24: 1, 3a, b, 10
Again, the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he [the Lord] “incited” David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah” But Joab replied to the king, “but why does mu lord want to do such a thing?” David was conscious-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

NOTE: Another version of the same event is recorded in the Chronicles, as in below:

1 Chronicles 21: 1a, 8a
Satan (??) rose up against Israel and “incited” David to take a census of Israel. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this.”

1 Kings 22: 20-22
And the Lord said, “Who will ‘entice’ Ahab into attacking Ramoth-Gilead and going to his death there?” One suggested this, and another that. Finally a “spirit” came forward, stood before the Lord and said, “I will entice him.” “By what means?” the Lord asked. I will go out and be a “lying spirit” in the mouths of all his prophets, he said. You will succeed in ‘enticing’ him, said the Lord. “Go and do it.”

2 Kings 19: 6a, 7, 9a, 36-37a
This is what the Lord says, I am going to put a “spirit” in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword. Now Sennacherib received a report that Tirhakeh the Cushite king of Egypt, was marching out against him. So Sennacherib, king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword.

Job 2: 1, 3
On another day when the angels came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright; a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you “incite” me to ruin (destroy) him without a cause.

Job 2: 10b; 42: 7
Job replied. . . “Shall we accept [only??] good from God, and not evil (trouble/adversity)?”
After the Lord said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your friends because you have not spoken of me what is right; as my servant Job has.

Isaiah 45: 6b-7
I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create [the] darkness. I make peace, and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.

CONCLUSION: It seems that “good and evil” are not quantifiable in the human sense of the word as absolutes when it pertains to the Lord. The purpose for which God acts in human history is consistent with his “essential” goodness and as such, any action by God that makes us uncomfortable or which is not easily understood cannot be sufficient proof or evidence to indict the Creator of wrongdoing. Did not God say in Isaiah 55: 8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St #701
Tacoma, WA 98402
October 18, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Does the Bible mention anything about extraterrestrials?

It is a far stretch of the imagination for most people, especially Bible believing Christians, to remotely consider that the Scriptures contain anything about aliens from another planet or universe. The notion that the Earth was visited by advanced beings from outside our Solar System belongs to the genre of Sci-fi movies, comic books, or television shows, but not as real events that are included in the holy Scriptures; but is all the skepticism just a smokescreen for the fact that the inhabitants of the Mesopotamian Basin and across all the continents of Earth have had contact with scientifically advanced and/or godlike beings? This study will explore that possibility and determine if authors like Sitchin, Von Daniken, Leon, Hill, Blumrich, Bergier, Downing, Shellhorn, etal, have caught on to something profound that will dramatically alter the way we view the universe, God, and our place in the cosmic scheme of things. So, let’s begin the journey.

Genesis 32: 1
Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them he said, “This is the camp of God.” So he named the place Manahaim (“two camps”).

NOTE: Was the place that Jacob came upon some kind of observation post for a small crew of alien astronauts, and contact with them was more or less routine?

Exodus 19: 9, 18
The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come down to you in a dense (dark??) cloud. Mt. Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended [not suddenly appeared] on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like the smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.

NOTE: The cloud could be the ionized particles forming a vaporous cloud and the smoke could be exhaust fumes. The fire might be the igniting or firing of retro rockets to slow the descent of the cloaked landing craft setting down on the top of the mountain. The main thrusters would undoubtedly produce the effect of a loud thundering noise or roaring sound [trumpets/the sound of many waters??].

Exodus 24: 9-10
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.

NOTE: This would seem to be the description of some sort of spacecraft or celestial vehicle which had deployed landing gear (“feet”), and underneath was some type of material or substance which might be an energy field?? Whatever Moses and company saw, it does not appear to be that of an ethereal, incorporeal, transcendent, invisible, or conceptual being; or at least not in the usual way that God is thought of. In this instance what they saw was perhaps an inter-dimensional being of a nature that leaves very little to get a clear picture of.

2 Samuel 22: 10-12a
He parted the heavens and came down [landed/descended??]; dark clouds were under his feet [landing gear]. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared [lifted off??] on the wings of the wind. He made darkness (exhaust??) his canopy (covering) around.

NOTE: Again, this would appear to be a rocket or some kind of craft lifting off and the fuel source from the rockets igniting produce dark smoky vapors underneath retracting landing gear (feet??)

Ezekiel 10: 13-14a, 16
I heard the wheels being called the whirling (spinning/rotating??) wheels. Each of the cherubim had four faces. . .  When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground the wheels did not leave their side.

NOTE: If the two above texts are combined together it gives a picture of a type of flying craft, perhaps an inter-dimensional one where the ‘deity’ (God??) mounts (enters) the cherubim and then takes off. Could the whirling wheels be propeller blades or rotors? The cherubim could be part of the engine of a celestial transport craft of some kind??

Exodus 33: 18, 19a-21
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness (glory??) to pass in front of you but you cannot see my face; for no one can see my face and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will place you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen [why??].

NOTE: This is most puzzling- why does God not want Moses to see his face as opposed to seeing the back of deity? Later on in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the Israelites that they heard the voice of God speaking out of the fire but there was no form thereof  (Cp. Deuteronomy 4: 12)

Exodus 33: 9
As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down (descend) and stay (hover) at the entrance while the Lord spoke [from the cloaked shuttle craft??] to Moses (Cp. Exodus 34: 5).

Exodus 23: 20, 21b
See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way. . . Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion since my Name is in [not upon??] him.

NOTE: Could this “angel” be some kind of high tech protector robot, or maybe an alien probe with artificial intelligence (A.I.)? Interestingly, this angel has the “Name” in him (it) [like a set of preprogrammed instructions??] instead of ‘on’ him.

Exodus 40: 38
So, the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and the fire was in the cloud by night in the sight of all Israel during their travels.

NOTE: There is the possibility that instead of a small scout ship or shuttle, an unmanned aerial device (UAD) or drone with stealth technology and holographic capability could project the appearance of a cloud and/or a fire. Maybe the “burning bush” which did not consume itself that Moses saw was just a holographic projection- just saying!!

Now, let’s take a look at some other examples:

Genesis 28: 12-13a
Jacob had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on [not merely touching??] the earth, with its top reaching to heaven [up in the sky], and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and Isaac.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

Genesis 11: 4
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens [up in the sky], so that we may make a name {Shem??] for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.

NOTE: If the two separate accounts are taken together it might indicate that a stairway [launch tower/ramp??] was securely in place where angels [“astronauts”??] were embarking and disembarking from up there in heaven [celestial spaceship??] and after the ship de-cloaked and the hatch or door was opened the Lord was seen standing there overhead-just saying!! Maybe the ‘stairway’ is like Bifrost, the rainbow bridge in Norse Mythology linking Midgard (Earth) to Asgard (Heaven), and instead of  seeing the lone guardian Heimdall, it is the All-Father Odin standing at the top-maybe/maybe not?? If one reads Zechariah Sitchin’s novels, he alleges the Hebrew word Shem usually translated as “Name” actually means rocket (ship). Well, I don’t know if one could build a ‘tower’ that reaches the heavens but a rocket ship could go that far. What the Genesis narrative above is describing might just be the ancient counterpart to NASA and Cape Canaveral in Florida- just saying..

Continuing further:

2 Kings 2: 1, 11, 15a-16
When the Lord was about to take up Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses appeared [materialized/de-cloaked??] and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen [not horses??] of Israel!” The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, “Look, they said, “we your servants have fifty men, Let us go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or valley.”

NOTE: If the other prophets knew that the Lord would take Elijah to heaven, why would they expect Elijah would be sent back to earth? Also, Elisha saw chariots and horsemen [astronauts??] as opposed to the description of a fiery chariot [singular] and horses. The ‘whirlwind’ could be the atmospheric disturbance due to the effect of the powerful engines from the celestial craft?? This might be the most plausible example of what might be an alien abduction-or perhaps not to others.

Acts 8: 39b-40
The Spirit of the Lord took Philip away [beamed him up]. . . Philip, however appeared [he was beamed down] at Azotus.

NOTE: The narrative does not reveal the reason behind this brief snatching away [abduction] and returning of Philip, and I don’t have any good guesses, either.  

CONCLUSION: This study is not to suggest that the human race, starting with Adam and Eve and the Semitic Bedouin tribe who settled in the land of Canaan, descending from the lineage of the patriarch Abraham, progenitor of the Jewish people (Israelites), did not have contact with the eternal God and angels from the highest heaven. It is just as plausible, however, that Earth could have been visited by an advanced race of extraterrestrial astronauts and/or godlike inter-dimensional beings who manifest abilities, technology, and knowledge far exceeding the evolutionary development of the people they encountered untold millennia ago. If such events happened today as recorded in the Bible, would a moveable pillar of cloud and fire; thundering sound of a human [man’s] voice; angels [astronauts??] ascending/descending on a stairway; cherubim with retractable wings and whirling wheels; fiery chariot, the Spirit snatching someone up- would all of these situations be seen as the interaction in human affairs from the celestial realms of the Creator of the Universe or the effects of high-tech wizardry from advanced denizens from unknown worlds or universes? You can make that choice for yourself and as the old saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” Jesus said in John 5: 37, “No man has seen God at any time; you have neither heard his voice nor seen his form.”

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
June 2, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Should women preach in the Church?

I read an article that appeared in The Christian Chronicle, which is a publication of the Churches of Christ on the matter of women preaching from the pulpit. This is really an old issue that has been debated for decades, among this fundamentalist religious organization as well as others, and the verdict is a resounding, “The New Testament does not authorize women to be preachers.” This position extends beyond standing in front of a lectern and delivering the homily, but praying/benediction, Scripture reading, participation in the Eucharist, administering the baptismal rite, collecting tithes/freewill offerings, or any other activity in the presence of congregants which includes men or teenage males past the adolescent stage. The study that I will provide is to delve a little deeper into the biblical texts under consideration to help determine, if possible, what prevailing attitude might have influenced the way over one half of the world’s population and an ever higher percentage of the faithful who make up the spiritual body of Christ are regarded.

Since the apostle Paul is quoted for establishing the rule governing a woman’s role in church government or administration, let’s take a look at his perspective on women in general, as in the following:

1Timothy 2: 13-15a
Adam was formed first, then Eve. Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing. . . [what-really??]

NOTE: So, what was Adam’s excuse? I have heard preachers say Adam listened to his wife’s voice instead of God’s and that is why we are in the mess we are today. In other words, if Eve would have just kept her big mouth shut [be silent and in subjection to Adam], then. . .

-Continuing on:

1Timothy 2: 11
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission [to her head/husband]. I do not permit a woman to teach, or to have authority over the man; she must be silent

NOTE: Does the mere fact that when women deliver a word of encouragement or preach/teach in the congregation or assemblies of saints, this action in some way undermine the authority of the men? By the way, it should be noted that he does not say this was a command.

1 Corinthians 14: 34b-35
As in all the congregations of the saints, women should [must??] remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak [at all??], but must be in submission, as the law [Torah??] says, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

NOTE: A couple of things. First, I have not found anything in the Law of Moses that says such a thing. Secondly, the apostle Paul is the main one teaching that believers in Christ Jesus are not under the law, so why is he using that rule or principle; even it could be found?

Keeping the above Scripture in mind, let’s look at another, like this one:

1 Corinthians 11: 5, 16
And every woman who prays or prophesies [presumably in the church] with her head covered dishonors her head [“the man” Cp. verse 3b]- it is as though her head were shaved. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice [of this sort??]- nor do the churches of God [in Christ].

NOTE: If the apostle is giving instructions regarding praying or prophesying (in the church), then it stands to reason that “being silent” or “in subjection” doesn’t apply to the exercise of a spiritual gift- so why would preaching or teaching be any different?

There’s more:

1 Corinthians 12: 1, 4, 7, 27
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers [I would think sisters, too], I do not want you to be ignorant. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. Now to each one the manifestation [anointing/gifting] of the Spirit is given for the common good. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one [not some] of you are a part of it.

Now, taking a look at the Apostle Paul’s background:

Galatians 1: 13a, 14a
For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism. I was advancing in Judaism far beyond Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

Philippians 3: 4b
If anyone else thinks he has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more- circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law [Torah] a Pharisee (Cp. Acts 23: 6).

Wrapping this up, then, it is curious that the apostle Paul wrote in Galatians3: 28, “There is either Jew or Greek, slave nor free, male or female; for you are all “one” in Christ Jesus. In Romans 16: 3a, 5 it reads: Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. Greet also the church that meets in their house. It is rather doubtful that Aquila would have agreed to a subservient role to her husband, and in point-of-fact they might have actually been the modern equivalent of co-Pastors of their congregation (esp. Cp. Acts 18: 24-26). I
It is doubtful that Eudoias and Syntyche (Cp. Philippians 4: 2) were ‘silent’ and not having had some type of disagreements in the presence of mixed company [the brothers in the church]. In Acts 21: 8-9 the Evangelist Philip had four daughters who prophesied, and it is very unlikely that they did not exercise this gift in a public manner at the church in Caesarea; and probably in mixed company with their father’s blessing. Besides all this, are “only” men to lift up holy hands in prayer and not the women (Cp. 1 Timothy 2: 8)? While this study may not dissuade anyone from their particular POV in this matter and it is not intended to. I am just offering this information that will hopefully encourage further investigation, if needed. As in anything, it is up to the reader to determine the truth for themselves, and as a final thought, 1 Thessalonians 5: 21- Prove all things, hold fast to that what is good.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St Apt 701
Tacoma, WA 98402
May 26, 2016

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).

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