(part 1 of 4)
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies (Prov 31:10)
Thank you. I suspected that you of all people would be able to see it and understand it. Actually, it takes seeing such things with the heart to experience what the person is feeling. The eyes distort the heart's vision. How often we say "I understand," when we really have no idea at all what the person is saying or going through? But if we've had the same experience, then our eyes will acknowledge that person's sorrow, joy or whatever. Words just get in the way of what we are trying to express.
SO I'VE BEEN READING THE BIBLE AND HAVE SOME THINGS TO RUN BY YOU SINCE YOU ARE AS ANALYTICAL AS I AM...GENESIS 1 THOUGHTS: AFTER EACH PART OF CREATION, GOD SEES THAT THINGS ARE 'GOOD' I ALWAYS JUST ASSUMED THAT MEANT THAT IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT AND PLANNED. LATER, MAN DISCOVERS GOOD AND EVIL. COULD IT BE THAT NOT ONLY WAS THE CREATION GOOD, AS IN PERFECT, DID HE ALSO ALLUDE TO IT BEING GOOD IN A SENSE OF BEING VOID OF EVIL? OBVIOUS, PERHAPS, BUT EYE OPENING TO ME.
Now we're getting somewhere. You don't know how much I've been looking for someone to explore the Scriptures with. I have had times I thought I had someone, but it either didn't take, or it lasted but a very short time. There are people who want to discuss their church's doctrine, the common view of the Scriptures, but all they have to do is tell me which church they go to and I can tell them what they "believe." And if they change their church, then their system of "belief" changes also. I don't think that's the kind of belief Jesus is looking for. At least I wouldn't want to be a general of an army and have a person who changes their belief in accordance to what side of the battle line they happen to be on at the moment. I sure wouldn't let them know anything that I wouldn't want to fall into the hands of the enemy.
AFTER EACH PART OF CREATION, GOD SEES THAT THINGS ARE 'GOOD' I ALWAYS JUST ASSUMED THAT MEANT THAT IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT AND PLANNED. LATER, MAN DISCOVERS GOOD AND EVIL. COULD IT BE THAT NOT ONLY WAS THE CREATION GOOD, AS IN PERFECT, DID HE ALSO ALLUDE TO IT BEING GOOD IN A SENSE OF BEING VOID OF EVIL? OBVIOUS, PERHAPS, BUT EYE OPENING TO ME.
Good thought, It sounds good, and it is what we would expect of God when we consider the common view of God and His purposes. But let's see if we can look a little deeper into the Hebrew and into the thinking and the workings of God.
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
"And God said, Let there be light:" There's two things we should notice about this phrase. The first thing to notice is that the word used for light means, beyond the obvious, anything that gives light such as lightening. It also means happiness and by implication, joy. If you check out Job 37:11 you'll see where this word has been interpreted as "bright," in reference to a cloud. And although the word can be interpreted happiness, it hasn't been used as such in the Bible.
Why is this important? Does it mean anything? It just might for a reason you'll see in a moment.
The second thing we notice is that God is creating light here. Is that not so? What does that mean to you? How is He creating light? Is He creating the sun do you think? That's what we would assume, but let's keep an open mind to this and see if maybe God is telling us something more than meets the eye.
"And God saw the light, that it was good:" The light is good. We like light, and we have difficulty dealing with darkness. Let's see what God is saying when He tells us that the light is good: We find the word Good as used here can also be interpreted "beautiful, cheerful bountiful or precious."
1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (Psalm 133:)
David has used two words we find in the Genesis account, and both are exactly the same Hebrew word. And as we've seen, both words can also be interpreted as "cheerful" or "happy." It would seem that your observation is correct, at least to this point.
7And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter. (Esther 2:)
This is the only time the word has been interpreted beautiful, but it only takes one time to prove a point. I've seen far too many occasions where doctrines have been "proven" using words that don't correspond with the original meaning. It looks good on the surface, but when the meaning of the word is looked up, it isn't the same word used in the original language, it has merely been translated the same in the English. When I make an evaluation, I check the usage of the words as thoroughly as I can, often looking up every time the word has been used, and every word it has been translated into (like I'm doing here). Some of my many studies have turned into 40 pages or more of just references, and like "Fig Leaves," that was going to be a short study, instead it printed out to over 200 pages.
What we have so far is that God created something happy and bright when He created light, which He called beautiful and precious ("Good").
4And God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Gen 1:)
The word used here for darkness also means "misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness:" This causes me to think of something Jesus said to those who choose to become His servants should they not do as He tells them to do:
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 25:)
All too often we hear that these parables are referring to the unbaptized of the world. But Jesus didn't come to preach to the world, but to His disciples. I think trying to twist Jesus' words to fit someone other than myself is less safe than walking barefoot on hot coals. I take His words seriously, and my assumption is that the Bible is written to me, not to people who could care less about the Bible or Jesus.
God divided the light from the darkness. How did He do that? We might assume He put one side of the earth away from the sun, but is that what He is doing here? Let's look a little farther into this, but first let's look at another dividing that the Bible tells us about:
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken (Isaiah 28:)
You and I have been fed sour milk all our lives, and told it was sweet. We didn't question it because we had nothing to compare what we were told to accept ("believe") that made any more sense then what we were led to believe. But when the Holy Spirit makes the connections for us, the Bible comes alive, and it makes sense from start to finish. In church we're handed a slip of paper with something called Articles of Faith, and we're told we have to believe what's on that paper to be saved. Yet when we read the Word, we find those Articles of Faith are not Scriptural, but we have to continue believing it anyway, or be rejected by the church. We need to keep in mind that Jesus and the Apostles were not only ejected from the church, but the church wanted to, and did, kill those who were telling the truth.
It's important that we put the right line with the right precept, otherwise we run into blind alleys, and call them freeways. I think of the roadrunner cartoon where the coyote paints a tunnel on a stone, and the road runner goes through the tunnel, but the coyote trying to do the same collides with a trap of his own making. Doctrine paints fantasies around the areas where their doctrine doesn't fit the Word. If I find a place that doesn't make sense to me, I just say "I don't know." And I suspect the Lord will show me someday, if He thinks I need to know it. I have one study on the Apostles that's 40 pages long, and there's just one half of one verse that hasn't been cleared up, so I don't publish it. And I've had it sitting in a folder for over two years now. The Lord may never make the connection I need, and I accept that. It's His study after all, not mine. And that's why you won't find my name anywhere on my website. All you see is "Tumbleweed," and that could be anyone in the world.
Back to the study. We're looking at dividing, and at darkness:
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:...... 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Mat 25:)
The word used here for punishment can also be translated "torment," which is where we get the notion of the devil ruling in a pit of fire. But this isn't the only evidence of a fiery pit. Just a few verses before this Jesus Himself says where it is these people will go. But if Jesus is talking to His people, those who wear the Christian badge, as I assume Him to be, then what is this "fire" He's talking about, and where is the security of the believer?
There are those who preach that hell is separation from God, that those who are condemned will not be in hell fire, but they will be eternally out of the presence of God. I buy this, that there are people who will be in exactly this state, but I don't think it will be the non believers. But what about those who say they believe, but don't follow the Lord as they purport to do? Which they've promised to do?
As I was saying, the assumption is that Jesus is talking to the unsaved, not the baptized Christian who has taken on Jesus' name and not done as He tells us to do. I see Him talking to unprofitable servants, those who have not yielded fruit. Why would He be warning people who are already condemned to hell that if they don't serve properly they will be sent to hell? Does that make sense to anyone? Isn't that like going to a prison and telling the convicts that if they don't straighten up they will be sent to prison?
Let's take a look at some similar verses (parables) and see if they help us to better understand what Jesus is saying in the above story:
10When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 22:)
Who are the children of the Kingdom? On the surface we might assume Him to mean the Jews, but when we consider that Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and that He sent His disciples to the Gentiles to preach the Kingdom of God, that premise loses credibility. Paul made it clear that the Jews are not Jews because they are of Abraham, but rather the children of the promise are those who are of the family of faith, those who have received the Holy Spirit (Rom 9:6-7).
11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat 22:)
Again we hear preached that this man is not really baptized, and not converted. This is assumed because he doesn't have on a white robe, and that it's Jesus' job to see to it that we have our robes of white, that we're just to go along with the program, and not "work" for our salvation. However we read this:
13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:)
Notice that these people before the throne have washed their own robe and made it white, indicating their righteousness. Also take note that they have come through "great tribulation." Many people assume this means they've come out of "the Great Tribulation," but that is not what is said here, and we will see more of this further on.
46The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:)
We have several issues to consider in this parable. One, we notice that it's servants being referred to here, and that the servants who don't do what they're commanded to do will be cut asunder and be numbered with the unbelievers. Another thing worth noting is that the more we know of God's will, the more will be expected of us. This puts you and me in a delicate position since we're looking deeply into the Word of God. And since we are being led by, or at least we're claiming to be led by the Holy Spirit, this makes it just that much more important that our findings are in fact those provided by God, and not just our own assumptions. Most of us, as was the case with you and me in the past, merely claim to be studying the Bible, so the conclusions we draw, and that we teach are ours alone. But when we, as do preachers and theologians, state that what we've learned is from God, then we set ourselves up for trouble if we are not truly being led by the Holy Spirit. This is why I state over and over on my website that what I present is what has been shown to me, and I might be shown something entirely different in the future. Those who accept what I say as fact do so on their own. They will have to stand or fall according to their own decisions and actions. I don't claim to be a theologian, or to hold the truth. I'm just another person searching for the truth.
Truth is a series of steps,. We can't settle on any step, no matter how high or secure that step may seem to be. There are always many more steps to take. When we stop climbing, thinking we have all truth, as every religion and denomination does, we then lose out on the truth the Lord is leading us to. We will know more than those who settle into the pews, and into the simple doctrines of the churches, and because of this, we will be expected to do as we're shown we're to do. For me that is difficult. I fall far short of what I see in the Word. While I was in my ignorance, before I began seeking the truth, these same shortcomings I saw as being "under the blood" as I've been taught all my life, so I didn't concern myself with them. I can no longer do this, I've stepped over the line from being the complacent Christian, to one who seeks the ultimate. Because of this, far more is expected of me, yet I was unable to live up to what is required of the couch potato Christian. How much less do I live up to these new expectations.
This is something you must take into serious consideration when you venture outside the doctrine of your church. Along with this you need to know that you will be an outsider in any of the churches because you will no longer agree with any of them. I've learned to keep my mouth shut, even when I want to scream at those who are confused in their doctrine, and especially at those who are distorting the teachings of our Lord, and corrupting the understanding of those who trust in them to know (and follow) God's Word. This may seem simple enough now, but the more you learn, the more difficult it will be not to try and drag those you love out of the fire. I've had to shed a lot of tears over this, and I suspect there are others who have to do the same. And that's probably what Jesus meant when He said we have to abandon everything to follow Him, because, for one thing, everyone will abandon us. Every church member, no matter what church they are attached to, sees me as a lost sinner doomed to hell because I don't agree with them. I judge none of them, that's not my job. But they are taught that it's their job to judge those not of their faith.
Something to think about.
7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Rev 19:)
We can clearly see that it's the supper of the Lamb that being pictured here. And we see that the bride has made herself ready. Of course none of us can do a complete job of preparing ourselves, but we have to be doing everything we can, and picking our selves up and getting back in the race when we stumble if we expect to be cleansed beyond what we are capable of.
Notice those who are "called" are blessed. But we find that being called, and being blessed, is not going to satisfy the Lord once we are at that which we are invited (called) to.
According to traditional thinking, it's up to the host to provide guests with wedding garments. Besides this making no sense at all (don't we give gifts to the married couple instead of them giving gifts to us?), we see that the host here is somehow unaware of this tradition.
And did you notice how the host, which we know to be Jesus, addressed the person he is about to eject? Take a look at Mat 26:50 and you will see another person Jesus called "friend." Now, think on some songs we like to sing on Sunday. Does this give you any second thoughts? If not, consider that those Jesus said He now calls His friends, just before His crucifixion, never referred to Jesus as their friend. In every case they called Him Master, or to themselves as the servant of Christ. It seems to me this should tell us something. But the significance seems to have slipped through the cracks in the denominational wall somehow.
21So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (Luke 14:)
The Jews who had been prepared for a thousand years to be the ones to become part of the body of Christ, the Messiah, refused to enter in, just as they refused to enter Canaan land when they were brought to the border of their promise after leaving Egypt. We find this today as well, but I'll cover this a little better further on in this letter.
Jesus avoided the rich, and the educated, and the powerful, and He went to those out on the highways and the byways, to the social rejects, to do His preaching. This is where He found those open to the invitation to the supper of the Lamb.
28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 25:)
Again we're looking at what happens to those who claimed to be servants of the Lord, but haven't fulfilled their duties. We see that it's outer darkness they'll find to be their reward, rather than what had been promised them by their church. And we find that it's those servants who will be gnashing teeth in darkness, not those who have never given Jesus a second thought. We read:
4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. (Rom 14:)
34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. (John 8:)
17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1Peter 4:)
Tell me, which do you suppose God will look down on the most: The ungodly unbeliever who never promised to follow Him, or the ungodly, disobedient servant who has called himself a Christian and who has been a partaker of the benefits provided those who have been obedient and served faithfully?
We see how there's a possibility that the outer darkness God created, is not necessarily something good, and that it just might be a place destined to house those unfaithful servants. Just what the darkness consists of is not a point of this discussion, but it might make an interesting study on its own, don't you think?
Does it look as if I've strayed from the point at hand? Maybe, but please bear with me and see if I can't pull it all together.
(I'll bet you didn't expect to get so many words from a comment about a couple verses, did you? But I find the Bible is one huge, integral piece, interwoven with a vast number of connecting pieces. God's ways are far above ours, so we have to reach very high if we hope to even touch the eagle's tail feathers, leastwise capture him.)
"And the evening and the morning were the first day." You and I, when we think of divisions brought about by the rotation of the earth, consider the day to come before the night. That's because we begin our day when we wake up, and end it when the daylight is gone. God does it just the opposite, which is why the Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown rather than sun up. Is there a reason why God would have the darkness come before light? Consider for a moment. Let's say you were God. Would you do your work in the dark, and then create light? Would you create the earth, and then create the sun? The earth revolves around the sun, isn't that right? Then wouldn't God have created the sun first, then the planets that revolve around it? And what about all those other galaxies?
In and of itself this means very little since God can do whatever He wants. If He wants to work in the dark, who are we to argue? But when we consider what is said in a later verse, these questions become all the more pertinent.
"And God saw the light, that it was good." God saw the light that it was good. Good we found can also mean happy, beautiful, precious. But when God divided the darkness from the light, we don't see where He said that it was good.
We also find that when God divided the waters, and when He divided the waters from the heavens, which is the second day, He did not say it was good. Does this mean anything? Not really, for reasons we will see later. But it is interesting, and it counters the idea that He said every day's creation was good at the time He created it.
We might also consider the possibility that darkness is a description of man's condition without light. For instance, we say that someone is in the dark when they have no understanding of a subject. In the world today we find very few people who believe they are in the dark, yet we know that many of them are totally in the dark, even though they believe themselves to be the only ones in the light.
God created man a dusty piece of clay in the beginning, which we are without the Holy Spirit. Then God created a Spiritual man, Jesus, who we are to be exactly like. The first creation was earthy, sensual, selfish, and in the dark, totally into himself. The second creation is just the opposite of the first creation. The Spiritual man is loving, seeking God with all his heart, is giving to the point of great sacrifice, and is a bearer of light. A Christian is to be like Jesus, who was nothing but light, and who dwelt in the light, which we know to be the Holy Spirit, which is God Himself.
To interject a thought here, since I'm on the subject: We hear that we are to be good, to do good, to stop our habits and such, because that's what's expected of us as Christians. In times past, and even now in some denominations and religions, this is demanded of the members of that association. But Jesus didn't do what was right for rewards, nor did He go against His nature. The Spiritual man wants to do these things, because it's a part of his new nature. Of course in the beginning the flesh will war against the Spirit, because it doesn't want to let go of its habits and its desires. But the more we feed the Spirit, and subdue the flesh (become overcomers), the stronger will be our ability to be as was Jesus.
There's a story about a man who had two pit bulls, one white and one black. The man was asked which dog will win in a fight. The owner said "the one I feed." This applies to us as well. If we feed the flesh, which I see everywhere, and by those who consider themselves, and who are considered to be the best of Christian, the flesh will win out. I know you know what I mean, but most everyone else will reject the notion that participating in the things of the world, no matter how innocent they may seem, is feeding the wrong dog, and hinders our Spiritual growth.
I'm just trying to be thorough, as annoying and paper-consuming as it may be.
14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Do you see anything wrong here? If you didn't catch it, read it again. Did you catch it this time?
Didn't we just read that God had created light, and that He divided the dark from the light? Why is He, on the next day, doing it all over again? Could it be that He meant something else when He was telling us about the second day of creation? Consider these verses:
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:)
Here we have a clear view of what we were looking at above. Jesus (God) is light; and the darkness, that is those without the light, can't understand the Spiritual (Ex 14:20; Mat 6:23; John 14:35, 12:46). Jesus condemned the Pharisees many times for their blindness, and they were blind because they thought they could see so clearly. We must first admit our blindness, our walking in the dark, before we can seek the light (John 9:39-41). No one admits their blindness, they all go by what they perceive as a light provided by whatever church or religion they attach themselves to. Jesus had to leave the area of light, the Temple area, to spread His light, because the Temple of light had become totally black with darkness (Jude 13; Rev 16:10).
We are now the Temple of God, where He dwells, as Jesus was. The Temple in Jesus' time was nothing but an empty shell, a mausoleum; because the Ark of the Covenant, which we know to be God Himself, was no longer in the Holy of Holies. Where was the Ark? The Ark was in a coat of skins walking around Galilee, an outcast area of the kingdom, because He was rejected by the keepers of truth, of the Temple; just as He is today in these Tabernacles calling themselves Christian.
15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:)
Those who wish to see must first recognize their worthless condition. Instead most of the churches I've seen teach that the people in the pews are special, better than others who haven't come to believe as they do. Because of this attitude, they become blind. Another aspect of finding truth is recognizing the absolute need to repent. Repentance is at best played down in the churches, so it isn't sought after. I suspect you see the fallacy of this thinking, because you're looking outside what you're being taught, and seeking wisdom from the source of wisdom, rather than memorizing the doctrine of some church.
The best of churches (I'm not speaking of the members of any church, gold is found in ugly rock), are lukewarm, having no life to them, and seeking no more than what they already have, and that they have had for hundreds of years. Here we see Jesus telling us to be "zealous." How many Christians do you find zealous? If we want to find zealous, we don't go to church, we go to a football game, or a rock concert, or some other activity of little or no value. Why isn't that zeal found in the churches? Why is it that once the sermon is over the talk turns to the carnal? The weather holds more interest to the attenders of church than does the Word of God.
35But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1Cor 15:)
There's a lot here I'd like to stop and explore, but I'll move on.
46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (John 12:)
16But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:)
8Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1John 2:)
19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3:)
Is there the slimmest possibility that this is the light and the darkness that God created on the first day?
Here's another thought, and a few more connections:
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:)
What does this mean? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Does God just say things to hear Himself talking? Maybe there's more to this simple, unexplainable statement than what appears to us to be:
In the beginning . What does the beginning mean?
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:)
14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Rev 3:)
18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Col 1:)
Of course we know that the Genesis account is referring to the creation of the world. But I find that, contrary to popular belief, God speaks in riddles, in parables, and He speaks in circles. What might apply to one area or application, might well fit one or more other applications. For instance we have this:
11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come (1Cor 10:)
9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Eccl 1:)
A person who is smart will learn from their experience, and the experiences of others, and lay what they've learned up in their heart for the next time it happens. Unfortunately, it is not in Adam's nature to learn from past mistakes, thinking now that it's happened, it will never happen again. Because of this, Adam just keeps chomping away on that apple.
Churches find one interpretation of a verse, and they cling to it like Br'r Rabbit to the tar baby. I try to find every application possible so I can get the full impact of what God is telling us, both in words, and in the deeds of the people of old.
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Is this one statement? Or might it be two separate statements?
We looked into the possibility that darkness and light might refer to something beyond mere day and night. Taking this possibility a step farther, if the darkness is the state of man, or rather, if the state of mankind was created from the beginning, then what does this mean "Darkness was upon the face of the deep"?
"Deep" might refer to the ocean. Or it could mean an abyss.
4Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part. (Amos 4:)
It's possible that this is saying the fire evaporated the ocean, or it may mean something else entirely.
If this is in fact a two-part statement, and if something bad is happening to those who reside in darkness, then what is the second part telling us?
The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Jesus tells us:
23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:)
18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:)
63It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:)
10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. (John 14:)
Somehow someone came up with a notion that God is separate from His Spirit. And we, since we are sheep tending to follow anyone who stands up and proclaims himself a shepherd, follow and believe whatever we're told. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God is Spirit. He's not something separate from His Spirit, He is His Spirit. When the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, it was God Himself that was moving upon the face of the waters.
Is there a difference between the "deep," and "the waters"? We'll be looking deeper into this later. But consider this possibility: God created the deep, the darkness, which is upon the deep. If what we've been looking at above holds any water (I know, silly puns, but I'm just a silly guy), then mankind is born into darkness, therefore we are the deep, the darkness, in our natural, carnal nature. Then the Spirit of God moves upon that darkness that we are.
Jesus is the "beginning of creation." How can that be? Isn't Genesis a record of the beginning of creation? Yes, in the natural it is, but in the Spiritual, which is the creation that God is most concerned with, Jesus is the beginning of creation. The natural man clings to the natural, carnal creation and denies the Spiritual creation, because it (they) are not a part of that creation. Those of the Spirit reject the first creation, the carnal nature, and cling to the Spiritual.
18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:)
I don't think I have the space to count the number of times Jesus stressed the absolute necessity that we obey His commandments. Yet we continue to hear that Jesus did away with all commandments, and that we are living under grace, without any rules. Jesus plainly says here that we must obey Him, and obey the commandments if we expect to love Him, and for Him to manifest Himself to us. Jesus is the light. If we don't obey His commandments, and follow His Words, then we are in darkness. Does this ring true to you?
How can the carnal recognize something they are not a part of? This being the case, then we can recognize those who have become a part of the Spiritual by their fruit: They, the Spiritual, are living a Spiritual life, seeking the Spiritual, and rejecting the physical, the carnal aspects of life. The carnal, on the other hand, have a house full of worldly goodies, seeking to please the flesh, while the Spiritual is reserved for Sunday. The lukewarm are dabbling in both worlds, and losing out on the Spiritual gifts God has for those who diligently seek Him. The lukewarm think they are in God's will because they are blessed with worldly goods. But who do you suppose is supplying those worldly goods? King Herod was rich by any standard, while King David, for much of his life (and this certainly holds true for Moses) was living a poor life in the wilds. And what of Jesus and the Apostles, were they blessed with worldly goods because of their righteousness? Jesus tells us that the faithful will be persecuted, and live a life of bread and water. What then does this say for those who seek worldly goods and pleasures? (1Cor 1:26-29; James 2:6-7; 1Tim 6:6-9; Heb 13:5, Luke 11:3)
18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Mat 10:)
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:)
Read again what is said in the above verses. How do they read to you? Jesus says He speaks the words of the Father, that is, the Father speaks through Him. Then Jesus said we will be speaking the words of the Father. Does this stimulate any particular thought? Add to this that Jesus said the works He does, the works that are the proof that He is the Messiah sent from God, come from the Father. Then He said that we, the believer will do even greater works than He did. Does this add to the thoughts you have?
Elijah was taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot. When he was about to leave, he asked Elisha if there was anything he wanted. Elisha said he wanted a double portion of what Elijah had. We see that the mantel Elijah wore was passed on to Elisha. Does this contribute to the mystery? Or do you wonder why I would interject such a thing at a time like this?
33But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. (John 19:)
21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen 2:)
"THE RIB, WHICH THE LORD GOD HAD TAKEN FROM MAN, MADE HE A WOMAN." With a spear pierced his side. (John 19:34)
9And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Rev 21:)
2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2Cor 11:
"AND FORTHWITH CAME THERE OUT BLOOD AND WATER." 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:)
53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:)
"AND THEY SHALL BE ONE FLESH." 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5:)
"THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER," 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:)
Did you catch the implication? Actually this is no implication, it is an outright statement. We are bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh. If this be so, then where is the separation between who we are, and who He is? Doctrines try to define a separation, but as for me, I see none. And since I don't see a separation, that places a much greater burden on me to fulfill the commandments I see in the Bible, just as the wife is supposed to be at the ready to fulfill the command of the husband, a concept that has essentially been lost.
Are you seeing how integrated the Old Testament is with the New? In order to understand the New Testament, we must understand the Old, including all the laws. That is why God set it up for those He was to present Himself to, that they should live and breathe the Word of God from birth. The problem is, they memorized the words, and they fulfilled the laws, but they didn't understand or follow the heart of what God was telling them to do. Because of this, they weren't prepared when He came for them. It's in the obedience that we understand. And for this reason, this lack of willingness to obey, the looking in the wrong direction for the Messiah, they missed Him, which is happening in the churches today.
16Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Cor 5:)
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. (Rev 21:)
14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Eph 2:)
We are to be one person, with Jesus, and with one another. Jesus, we see, came to break down the wall that God had built around His people, the Jews. But we, being selfish and egotistic, have not only rebuilt that wall, but we've built walls of sectarianism and doctrine between one another until the church is nothing but a battleground where we fight one against another, condemning one another to hell. Meanwhile, those who are not part of the church at all are going willy-nilly down the path of destruction.
How do you think God is going to honor our efforts, efforts that belittle and undermine His sacrifice for us? Can you see why I dedicate so much time and effort toward exposing and trying to correct the wrong direction all the churches are taking?
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Mat 25:)
1Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled E=ve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2Cor 11:)
We have at least three issues worth looking at here. The first we've already considered: The Church is the bride of Christ. But what is Paul actually saying here? We assume we know, but let's take a full breath and see if the pond is deeper than we've realized.
In the first parable we find two groups of people waiting for their Lord. I suspect that by outward appearances the foolish are just as prepared as are the wise; they all have lamps, the all have oil, and they're all virgins waiting as they have been instructed to do. And we find that the Lord came when they were all sleeping, not just the foolish.
There must be something different between the wise and the foolish virgins that would cause half of them to be rejected at the door of the reward they've been looking for. Have you ever heard a sermon or read a commentary that says what the foolish virgins lacked? I haven't, at least not one that made any sense.
Out of curiosity I looked up this passage in the Nelson Study Bible, considered "the last word" for most of the Mainline churches. This commentary threw me fore a loop. It not only passed this parable off as insignificant, in other words, not effecting you and me, but it says these are not the bride, but attendants of the bride. And it also claims these are Israel, waiting in limbo until after the Great Tribulation. Does this make any sense to you? Jesus is talking to His disciples, those He's preparing for His return. The Jews are out of the picture, and it's His Church He's concerned with. Why would He be telling what would happen to them, the Jews (Israel) when it had already been declared what was going to happen to them? And on top of this, what good would it do for those who have already been condemned to be "faithful to the end (which I see this parable to be saying) if they have already proven their unfaithfulness? Another thing of interest Nelson said that the oil is the Holy Spirit. Interesting, and in my mind correct. What I think Nelson has forgotten is that, according to their teaching, the Church, along with the Holy Spirit, is going to be raptured before the Tribulation. If this is the case, then how can the wise virgins have their lamp filled?
Paul clarifies the meaning of Jesus' parable in the passage above. And since it's the Church that has both faithful (wise) and unfaithful (unwise) virgins, then what is it that makes one wise and the other foolish?
We see it's the lack of oil when the Lord returns, they have not kept their vessels full as we are instructed to do. Many churches do not dare consider this possibility because it means one can be rejected after conversion. Does this wash with you? Or do you see another possibility that I've missed?
I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. The word for chaste means "innocent, perfect, clean." These are the qualities we're all instructed to possess, just as Jesus possessed them. We see that all ten of the waiting "ladies" are "virgins" (which also means an unmarried woman or girl, but the assumption is that even in this case the person is chaste).
To show how completely Jesus means what He's saying here he has given us another parable, concerning servants that have performed wonderful works in His name, but they find at the end that Jesus never knew them, and they were rejected. What Jesus says to these people is, although they have done well, they also were workers of iniquity (Mat 7:-) Iniquity means "Violation of the law, unrighteousness." We think of iniquity as being the same as sin, but really it isn't. From the above definition we see that those who were rejected "broke the law." What law? Aren't we told there are no laws? If there are no laws, then why were these people rejected for breaking what doesn't exist?
Sin means "To offend, to miss the mark." Paul tell us that he struggles to make sure he doesn't "Miss the mark of the high calling." Does that mean he's trying to keep from sinning? From what we read of Paul, this is doubtful. What then is he trying for? What is the "high calling" if it's salvation we should be aiming for?
That is a subject for another study. Let's just, for now, keep in mind that sin is falling short (and just how short is "falling short"?), and what these people did, and perhaps what the foolish virgins did, was to commit iniquity, in other words, they broke the law.
That I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. The King James, unlike most of the other translations, will tell you if they've added words that are not in the original language. They do this by italicizing the added words. Notice the words that have been added. When we read this passage it appears as if there is a choice, that Paul is hoping everyone in the body of Christ, the Church, will be a chaste virgin. This opens the door to the possibility of everyone being admitted whether they are sincere followers of Jesus, or if they're merely church attenders that have taken a dip.
Let's see what this verse looks like without the added words: that I may present a chaste virgin to Christ. Paul wants to present the Church (not us as individuals) to Christs. What of those in the Church that do not qualify for being part of this "Chaste Church"? Read again the parable of the ten virgins for the answer to this question.
I may present a chaste virgin to Christ. "I may present" is one word in the Greek, and that word means "stand beside, assist." I think of two things when I read this. First I think of Mordecai in the Story of Esther, how he (along with the eunuch), took care of Hadassah (Esther), and prepared herand how Esther, unlike all the other "virgins" submitted herself to the hands of those in charge of preparing her to be presented to the king. Again I see Paul in the place of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, as He prepares us, those who are submissive to Him, not insisting on our own way, to be presented to our Lord.
3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Again we have three things to look at in this verse. First, we see that it's "The simplicity that's in Jesus Christ" Paul is talking about being corrupted from. Have you ever heard this preached before? Careful now, don't get this confused with "the simplify of the Gospel," which is nowhere in the Bible. Jesus Christ is a simple concept, and easy to be understood, by those who are willing to follow Him. But the "Gospel" is far from simple, so much so that it isn't even recognized by those preaching from the pulpits, nor will it be until the manifestation of the Manchild company. Don't get me wrong, the Gospel is plainly in the Bible, but it's just as missed, because of tradition and doctrines, as was the coming of the Lord to the Pharisees.
So your minds should be corrupted. How would our minds be corrupted? The serpent corrupted the mind of Adam and Eve. How did it (he?) do that? How might our minds be corrupted today?
As the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety. The serpent "beguiled" our first predecessors. Beguile means "adroitness, crafty." The serpent wasn't obvious in his attempt to cause the couple to go astray. All he wanted them to do is to "miss the mark." We've heard the expression "a miss is as good as a mile." If you've ever played horse shoes or basketball, you know just what this means. But any sport or activity has the same syndrome present. A tiny bit of arsenic in a glass of orange juice is just as bad as a cup full.
Satan quoted God almost exactly. In fact he quoted God much more accurately than did Eve. The little addition was all it took to allow Eve's mind to be corrupted, and thereby, to fall short. When we look at the churches, there are those we can plainly see are way off base. They may have, and they do have, some good points about them, and some of them have very fine things to be said about them. But in spite of their fine points, you and I can see how they're "missing the mark." The problem is that, while we so clearly see how they are missing the mark, we fall over the stumbling stones that are causing us to miss the mark as well. We might be (but unlikely are) miles ahead of those we see falling short. But if we miss by an inch, we might as well have missed __ _ ____.
Paul is concerned with the Church, the wise virgin, being beguiled. Who can you think of that has a lot of influence over people that could cause their listeners to fall short? Anyone come to mind? (Hint: I don't mean Satan.)
13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2Cor 11:)
10Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. (Jer 12:)
13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)
I don' think I need to add anything to this. I'm sure it speaks for itself,
1And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Rev 14:)
There's a great deal here I'd like to comment on, but this study is much longer than I expected it to be, so I'll try to keep to the point. But knowing me, I'll most likely fail in that attempt.
We see how this "Manchild" company is made up of virgins, who have not been defiled with women. Why would the Bible tell us that virgins aren't defiled with women? If this is intended to be read in the conventional manner, it wouldn't make much sense, being redundant. But if we think back to what we learned about virgins, then the first part of this passage becomes clearer. However, we're still left with the mystery of the women. What women?
Jesus, in His letters to the churches, warns us to beware of the doctrine of Jezebel who has corrupted the Church (my paraphrase). Again in the 18th chapter of Revelation we find a woman who has corrupted the whole world, including (and specially) the churches. Israel was called a woman, the wife of God. The Church is called a bride, a woman, the wife "bride" of Jesus. If this is true, and if this pattern has anything to do with the women the Manchild has stayed free from, then who do you suppose these women might be? (See Isaiah 1:21)
There are two other characteristics that set this people (the Manchild) apart from the average church, the common Christian. The Manchild follows the Lamb wherever He goes. This is what we're to do, but we don't. In fact it appears to me very few people have even heard the voice of the Shepherd, leastwise follow Him. We're all told we're securely in the hands of God, so there's no reason to seek the Lord and have Him speak to us, and to give us His Comforter. We're told that God desires to serve us, rather than us serve Him.
I would like to interject something here, while we're on the subject of what constitutes a Christian. There's something I hear a lot from people, and from what I hear I can see that many sincere Christians are confused as just what a Christian is. We look at the outward appearance to determine if a person is a good Christian or if they're not. If a person is kind, reads the Bible, attends church regularly, participates in church activities, helps the poor and needy, and other such "wonderful works," we assume them to be a "Good Christian." The fact is, the most wonderful person in the world might very well not be a Christian at all, even though they themself and everyone else would place them high on the list when it comes to being a good Christian.
Being a parent, you've more than likely seen days (or maybe even years) when you would look at your child, and then look at an obedient, loving child, and say to yourself "Why couldn't he (she) be my child instead of this one I'm raising?" Of course I'm stretching the point, but I suspect you know what I'm talking about
In spite of how wonderful that child you wish to be a member of your family may be, he or she is not, nor can he be. Why is that? The child does not have your blood coursing through his veins.
There are two very important factors that make up a Christian (and as I see it, there are no "bad" Christians, regardless of what we hear otherwise). A Christian is someone who hears, and is listening to the voice of the Shepherd, the Father, the parent. A Christian is also one who obeys, who follows the Shepherd. A person can't hear, or follow the Shepherd unless they have within them the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the One who directs us, who explains to us what the Lord is saying. And if a person is not following, then they are not in possession of the Holy Spirit, the "Life blood" so to speak of God. Using this criteria, run a mental scan over those you consider to be a good Christian. How do they stack up using this criteria? Now, do the same for yourself. What conclusion do you draw?
(Of course you might not agree with my criteria, many won't. So using your criteria, how do others, and you yourself stack up?)
Back to the study:
We're told to have the mind of Christ, that the Lord is to be our head. This was symbolized by the head band around the High Priest's head that reads "Holiness unto the Lord." In the Kingdom, anyone who makes it to that reward, will have Holiness to the Lord" on their head (by their thoughts) just as did David in His psalms (Zech 14:20; Psalm 1:). But this is not something we will be doing, as we hear and sing in the popular songs; it's something we're to be doing now, just as did the Apostles and the early Christians. We don't get rewarded for what we will do, but for what we have done. This is true in all aspects of life, and it certainly will be seen to be the case at the Judgement.
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Rev 21:)
There is so much in these next passages I'd like to stop and discuss. I'm going to try and present these streams of thought in a clear manner, but there's so many intersecting thoughts that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to do so.
1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:)
Notice that there's a "River of life." Consider that we're to have rivers of water flowing from us (John 7:38). Water is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Consider how the river is clear. Clarity indicates the lack of hypocrisy, no guile, honesty.
The chances are none of this will make any sense to you now. But in subsequent readings of the Bible understanding will pop out at you as you make new connections.
5Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Rev 21:)
3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:)
10Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:)
37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:)
In a moment I'll continue this train of thought, but first I'd like to mention this: One reason, and perhaps the biggest reason, people don't learn about the Lord and what the Bible is telling us is that they don't thirst. We're given a small sheet of paper at the entrance to the church with all the supposed answers on it, and we're told to look no farther for truth. Truth is not easily defined, nor is it easily found. It's buried deep in the Word (and I'm not talking about the mystical explorations from such books as the Mishnah and the Kabala and the like). When the truth of the Word is hit upon, it's like having a taste of water when you're thirsty. But it leads to a driving force for more. We become like a man dying of thirst in a blazing desert. Whatever is given to us only causes us to want more. It never satisfies, it only creates more questions that we must be given the answer to. At the same time we discover that the answers others have settled on, and insist we accept, are far from correct. I picture the common doctrines to be like the young football player who gets the ball and runs the wrong way with it. He's working hard, and he's confident that he's doing the right thing, and he even hears the cheers from the bleachers. What he doesn't know is that the cheers are coming from those who want him to fail, not those who are on his side.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:)
1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:)
Although many of these passages are the same as used above, it's a new thought I'm following. We're still on the river, but we're looking at the river from a new direction. See if you can find how there's a difference between the groups of people in this exposition of what we call Eternity. And while your looking for the difference, try to place yourself in the scenario and find which side of the "river" you want to be on forever.
23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Rev 21:)
Did you see something that conflicts with what you've been taught all your life? Consider: we're talking about Eternity here. The Judgement is over, the Millennium is over. So how can there be those who make a lie or deal with the abominable? Isn't everyone wearing golden wings and flying around in a golden mansion? Aren't even the laziest, most cantankerous, the most reprobate of Christian treated like saints in Heaven? Does this seem logical, or fair, that the person who led a life of debauchery, then says a few nice words on their death bed, will receive the same reward as does Jesus and the Apostles? Isn't that what we're taught on Sunday? But when we read "The Book," we neither see this in the words spoken, nor in any of the examples given.
Tell me then, if what we've been taught isn't what happens in Eternity, what does happen to those who are "saved," but not allowed to enter the gates of the city?
[I have to apologize to you. I never intended to hit you over the head with all this confusing information. You made a simple, and appropriate statement about a couple verses, and I dump years worth of study and exploration on your head. It may well be that I don't send this to you, just convert it into one of my studies. If I do send it, it will mean I've been given the feeling that you've been prepared to receive what I'm writing. If I make a wrong judgement, which I've found myself to be doing a lot of these last few years, then I apologize, and you can just dump this in your trash can. I think I've already said this to you, or something similar, and I may say it again because I'm feeling guilty for writing this letter.]
10And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Rev 22:)
Here again we have people outside the gates, people who haven't lived up to expectation. What do you make of this? We see they haven't been listed in the Book of Life, but they're here in Eternity. I think of the separation of the goats and the sheep, and those who will be weeping and gnashing teeth. I know if I was one who expected my lackadaisical Christianity to get me a golden mansion in Glory, and I found myself forever outside the city I thought I was going to inherit, I'd be gnashing teeth and weeping.
We see how the city is the bride. And the city has foundations of Apostles, and that Jesus is the cornerstone of the city. For us to assume this city is a literal city would be foolish. We might just as well assume Satan is a dragon flying around a woman sitting on the moon. But if the city is not really a city, then what are these people not allowed entrance to the city doing? What's happening here?
Questions, questions, questions. You can see why people settle on whatever they're told. Who in the world can deal with all this confusion? Martin Luther wrote a commentary on Revelation, and he said it doesn't make any sense. He believes John was having a neurotic nightmare. Other famous theologians have had a similar feeling in regard to this book. A year ago I was going to read all I could find written by commentators on Revelation so I could understand the book. Instead, the Lord led me from this place to that, and I find that now I understand the Book of Revelation. It became clear to me without my even being aware that I was learning about it. Had I read what has been written it would have only led me astray from the truth. Ignorance can lead to knowledge, but those with knowledge first have to abandon that knowledge in order to gain understanding. There's a saying that goes "Get all the education you can, then get over it." How true. Also they say "The more you know, the more you know, the less you know." And this was never more true than with the study of the Bible.
17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1Peter 4:)
30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1Cor 11:)
We're taught that we, the Christian, will not be judged. Peter seems to have somehow missed that day's lesson.
Paul says we are chastened when we go astray, and that we're to judge ourselves. Many churches believe this chastening is going to happen after judgement (purgatory). I don't see it that way. If we're judging ourselves, that judgement is taking place now, here in these bodies. So if the chastisement comes, it will also be here in these bodies. Does this ring true with you?
46The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (Luke 12:)
5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. (2 Cor 13:)
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Cor 9:)
Paul is examining himself, and he sees failures he struggles to bring under his control. He desires to be the overcomer the Lord has commanded we be. We see this struggle more clearly in Romans chapter 7, the which I think any of us who are willing to see ourselves honestly, can fully relate.
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many ["Abundant, largely, common, plentiful"] will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Mat 7:)
16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect ["Complete, of full growth"], go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Mat 19:)
In the first passage we see that "Many" will believe themselves to be saved, but will find themselves cast out. Many, according to the Greek dictionary, means a great many, most, not just more than a few. If you knew you had less than a 50/50 chance of making it into Heaven, and would have to face the other alternative if you failed, wouldn't that cause you to be all the more diligent in your quest for eternal life?
I was thinking just today how Christians are viewed as less honest, more judgmental, less concerned with the welfare of others, then are non-Christians. Do you find this to be so? Lately I have, and it's amazed me. I'm rather dumbfounded that people I'm having dealings with, who are in their own mind a dedicated Christian, can be so blind to their own condition. How can this be? How can it be that someone who has taken on the name of Christian, and supposedly is controlled by the Holy Spirit, can be less Christ-like than those who deny Him? It seems to me that it comes from the common view of the Church, of Christianity, having robbed people of the need and desire to do all they can to obtain salivation. In the Mainline Christian churches we're told that it doesn't matter how good or bad we are, if we've been "saved" by some simple process, we needn't worry any more about our sins or our behavior, it's all under the blood. If we take a look at the other Christian denominations, those deemed "unacceptable" that do not take this view of easy salvation, we see people doing all they can to make sure they follow the rules to the letter. It's these, the ones cast out by Christian society, who are most Christ-like. Don't you find it incredible that those who are following doctrines which are obviously distorted (in our eyes at least) can be the good people, good citizens, and more likely to discuss the Lord with you, more so then are the "acceptable" Christians?
Take a weed and plant it in a field of wheat, what will you have? Will that seed turn into a stalk of wheat? I think of Lambert the sheepish lion, who thinks he's a sheep. Or a dog who is raised as a family member who seems to think it's a human. Regardless of how much that dog may wish to be a human, it isn't, nor can it be. In the same way the carnal Adam can not be a Spiritual person. The Adamic person may think he's Spiritual, and may act more Spiritual than does the Spiritual man, but he's still condemned to return to earth from which he was made. Why then do people who are planted, that is, who join a denomination considered a cult act the way they should (as expected of humans), and a person planted in a Mainline church act so unchristian like? It's because of expectation. We act according to two things, one, we act like those around us, our society, our family and such. And two, we act at the lowest level, the most selfish level, that will still afford us acceptability. We try (our human nature) to stay just within the law. When the book of rules are thrown away, we tend to let our nature, our behavior go hog wild.
If you knew (I mean you personally) that you could do anything you wanted to, be any way you wanted to be, I have no doubt you would still be the best person you could. If everyone in the world was dishonest, you would still cling to your honesty. If the world (meaning the churches) condemned you for being good, and threatened your life if you didn't conform to their way, you would face death and still follow your conscience. Consider Daniel, the three Hebrew children, Jesus, the Apostles, and the martyrs throughout history. Isn't that exactly what set them apart and gave them favor in God's eyes? And isn't that exactly what Jesus warned His followers would happen to them? Today the world is speeding toward oblivion. And the churches are becoming more and more like the world. I believe that in a very short time we, in these "civilized" countries, will have to face this very same dilemma, as those in many other countries are facing even now. It's those who will, from their heart, desire to serve God and his or her fellow man that God is seeking.
17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2Cor 3:)
We, as Christians, have been given liberty (Grace). We're allowed to do whatever we want to do. This we hear in church, and we see this practiced by many, if not all church members (so they believe).
Why has God given us freedom to do whatever we want to, when it is clear in the Word that He feels just the opposite? Look what He did with the Jews. Did He give them liberty? Read the Old Testament, is it a picture of freedom? Of course not. The Jews were under the strictest of regulations. And the punishment for breaking that restriction was severe, such as death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath.
Why then has God given those who killed His only begotten Son (which it is you and I, by our sins, that caused the need for the death of a Savior) so much freedom?
You, when you raised your child, would set limits. In the beginning those limits were very confined. You placed things out of the way of the child so he couldn't hurt himself. You locked doors to keep him in where it was safe. You held his hand when you walked across the street. Eventually you loosened your hold, and allowed him more and more freedom. You allowed the child to play in the yard, but you watched closely out the window to see if he would still follow your rules even when he believed you weren't looking. You wanted to see just how much of your instruction he took to heart and made a part of his own thinking. This is exactly what God is doing with us, His Church, today. He's testing us, just as He tested the Israelites in the wilderness. There He kept them under the strictest confines, in a crib we might say. Many failed that test and never entered into the freedom they sought. They weren't allowed in the yard.
Once in Canaan, after Israel had settled in the land, the restraints were removed.... .
( A thought just came to me I would like to share. When the Jews crossed the Jordan, the Shekinah Glory, and God's provision left them. They were on their own. This crossing is indicative of the Church entering the Millennium. Why didn't the Glory Cloud, the Holy Spirit, go with the people into the Promised Land? This has puzzled me for some time. Won't the Holy Spirit be with those who enter the Kingdom God has prepared for His faithful? Could it be that, as was the case with those who crossed over (most of them, we see in Achan an example of one who failed) were led by the Spirit from the heart, and no longer needed the external guidance of the Comforter? Isn't that what you seek for your child, that he or she have a heart to do right without needing to be led by the hand? And to be able to provide for himself, instead of you having to provide for him all your life? (See John 14:16-17; "with you, shall be in you").
Another thought built upon the previous thought. God rested on the seventh day, which is indicative of His resting on the seventh day of His Spiritual creation, which is coming up for us. Why will God be able to rest during the Millennium? Isn't it possible He will be able to rest because those on the earth are controlling themselves, under the leadership of those like Himself, like Jesus, and will not need to be forced into obeying a set of rules? They will be a law unto themselves?
In life it is customary for the parent to raise and support the child. Then when the child is grown, and the parent tires, the child then takes care of the business of the parent. This is the process of adoption. Jesus, at His baptism, was "adopted" by the father, at which time He took over the running of God's business so-to-speak. In the Millennium, during the seventh day, the "son," which is the entire body of Christ, including the Head and the body, will take over the running of the Father's creation. Then the Father can rest, knowing His creation, His work, is in good hands, and those He has turned His business over to are insuring everything is run as He would run it Himself. They have "the mind of Christ," who in turn has the mind of God.)
Continuing the thought left dangling:
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