FANTASIES, FABLES AND TRADITIONS
or High Water
1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Ps 1:)
LAW IS FOR THE LAWLESS
But setting aside the "anything goes," since it might be a year or two before such an attitudes invades all the churches, I will speak as if churches were still following the Gospel.
I suspect this preacher has a Bible with many pages missing.
My Bible tells me that God is a "Fearsome" God. My Bible tells me that God was so angry with His creation (man) that He drowned all but eight of them. My Bible tells me that God wiped out hundreds during Korah's Rebellion along with others. My Bible tells me that God was so angry with His people that He told Moses He was going to wipe them all out and start over with him. My Bible says that God let millions die out in the wilderness that He led them into. My Bible tells me that God was going to use the Israelites to wipe out all the Amorites and the Canaanites. My Bible tells me that God is so angry with Man that coming up soon He is going to "spill His Wrath" upon all the earth and wipe everyone (nearly) out.
That's what my Bible says, what does your Bible say?
What! I say? God sends His only Son to us to receive that which He is due, and to bring His own to repentance - and we kill Him.... and so now He is no longer angry? Does that make sense? God's first creations, His first Son if you will, eats an apple and brings the Wrath of God upon all the earth; then when that first Son (mankind) kills His only Perfect Son, God is no longer angry? Come on now! Who are we trying to kid?
I don't know how you read the Bible, but that does not sound like God has been appeased one tiny bit.
It sounds to me like Adam's sin may be covered, but ours certainly have not!
As a Christian, we are not allowed to deny God, so we must find other means by which we may pacify ourselves whereby we may sleep, yet still do whatever we want without fear of punishment. A child can say to himself (or children to each other) that Papa won't care if he uses a ball-peen hammer on the fender of Papa's new Mercedes. But when Papa comes home and appears at the garage door....!?
Theologians and preachers through the ages have wrestled with this dilemma. And since they can not reconcile these opposites, they make up Fairy Tales to try and compensate for the apparent discrepancy.
There is no discrepancy, and there is no conflict. The problem is not with God. The problem is not with the Bible or even in the translation of the Bible. No, the problem is with us.
It is natural for us, that is we humans, to try and conceal our ignorance. God calls this "Foolishness," and He says that foolishness is a sin. But rather than reveal our ignorance to our fellow man, we display our foolishness to God.
Papa comes home and finds Junior with a ball-peen hammer in his hand and a fender that looks like a golf ball. Papa is wrathful, and Junior is red on the rear-end.
Papa comes home and finds Junior with a rag in his hand and a bucket of water by his side, and the fender of his car bright and clean. Is Papa angry? Of course not. And Junior gets a big loving hug from Papa.
Besides the reason above, it would seem to me only fair that if God was going to give such harsh and extreme punishment for even slight disobediences that He would have told us so in plain language, and often. But instead all God said is that man (Adam) would return back to dust, and did not even mention a fiery pit, leastwise one that burns for ever and ever. And, in fact, such a concept wasn't even hinted at until 4,000 years after Adam. That doesn't sound very fair to those who were born and died during that period of time. And even then, after Abraham, it was over 400 years until the laws were given, and then to just a few selected people God chose as His own. And the Bible tells us that without the law, there is no sin. You can't disobey an order (sin) you never received.
We are all gullible, and so easily deceived. And there are many deceivers waiting to deceive - both intentionally and those innocently, having been deceived themselves.
What has been added that we didn't know before is the Judgement and the Second Death. Adam and Eve were judged for their own actions, their own disobedience. Their sentence was death, which they were clearly warned would be the outcome of the only "law" they had been given.
Adam and Eve died. It was over 900 years later, but they returned to dust. 900 years does not sound like "On the day you sin," but none the less they did die. What did happen "On the Day" they sinned? They were kicked out of Heaven (the Garden) and sent out of the presence of God. If you have ever felt that loss of the presence of God, which is nothing near the extent that Adam and Eve must have had (as well as Jesus), then you have just a smidgin of understanding what it must have been like for Adam and Eve. And along with that, just a tiny taste of what it must have been like for Jesus to hang on the cross while His Father, who He had never been out of the presence of, turned His face from Him as He bore the sins of the world.
What makes for a quality pot? Good works? No, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that our works are useless. Our good works are like a pot trying to mold itself. The pot, besides having neither the skill nor the materials, has no knowledge of what the Creator wants the pot to be. It would be like the child in the illustration above, trying to reshape the new Mercedes into what he thinks the car should look like, which is what he was doing.
We are all going to hell, that is unavoidable. Hell meaning the grave, dust.
But the pit, that is the second death, is avoidable to a selected few. Who are those selected few? Some are "Chosen vessels" such as the Disciples and Paul. We have Scripture indicating that they were chosen, and did not choose their destiny. And Paul was on the fast track to hell when he was slapped to the ground and chosen.
For the rest of us, we are offered a thread of hope, a golden opportunity which has been presented to us by the phrase; "Whosoever Will" that has been repeated several times in the Bible.
Unfortunately for most of those who cling to the hope of "Whosoever Will" they have have only placed their hand on the thread (and many have withdrawn their hand having been taught it is ok) and have been kept from climbing it because their church teaches that works (climbing) is a no-no.
Is God and angry God? Yes He is.
Is God a loving God? Yes He is.
The question is not if God is angry or loving. Nor has it ever been.
The question that must be asked is; are you a loving, obedient child of God? Are you the child with a cleaning rag in you hand that will receive the love of God? Or are you the child with a hammer in his hand fearing the wrath of God?
Or, are you a church member who thinks they are a child of God, but in fact are merely an illegitimate son being mollycoddled by your church?
[ I have left out a lot of Scripture and evidence in this article. If you would like to see these, read the study Road to Hell and other such studies as they are completed.]
If you were to write a letter to one of your children saying; "Son (or daughter), when I, your father, get home I will take you out and buy you a great big ice cream." Then years later, I find the letter and take it to you and say: "Take me out and buy me the ice cream you promised me in this letter." Would you feel honor-bound to fulfill my request?
Of course not. Although I may hold your promise in my hand, and the promise was made in earnest - the promise was not made to me no matter how much hope I place in it or how much faith I had in you or your promises.
We do this all the time. From the pulpit, and in commentaries, promises that were made to the Israelites - the faithful and obedient Israelites are grabbed by us and the Ministry and applied to our heads like anointing oil.
And promises that were made to the loyal Apostles that were devoting their lives to the spread of God's Word are slithered down and applied to the barely "Christianized" Couch Potato who occasionally watches a sermon on TV, if there is nothing else to watch.
Yet the warnings and the condemnations are either ignored, or if noticed at all, are applied to the "other guy" whoever that might be, never to our selves.
And the "If"s of the Bible, the conditions are treated like parsley on the plate of goodies, hardly noticed and avoided.
God brought the Jews out of slavery, out of bondage - just as He has those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus into the wilderness. If it were just a matter of God doing the choosing and the calling, they (and we) could not be held responsible if we had no choice in the choosing. But over and over the Jews would promise to follow and obey God, then they would rebel and begin their murmuring and complaining and wanting to turn back. God would punish them harshly; the Jews would repent and once again promise to be good children - and again they would fall away (backslide) until God finally turned His back on them.
It's the same in this day and age with the Church. What applied to the Jews, now applies to us. Yet we are taught that we are different. We are taught that God is different. I guess those who teach this have not read the book of Hebrews, especially chapter 13 where Paul says:
Oh yeah? Well, maybe they are right. We shall see what we shall see at Judgment. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).
Have you ever heard this before? If you don't hear it from your pulpit there's a good chance you belong to what is called a "Cult," being told you are trying to "Work" your way to Heaven.
Are you resting on that hope?
Take a look at God's first love, His first people - the Israelites.
God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and supplied them with all their needs, and made promises to them of a wondrous land.
Many, if not almost all the Israelites wanted to turn back. And when it came to entering into the Promises of God, they were fearful and wouldn't obey. "That's ok," God said to them. "Because I love you so much I'll bring you into my Promises anyway, in spite of the terrible way you treat me."
Is that what God said? Not in my Bible He didn't. But apparently there are a lot of Bibles given to preachers where it does say that, because that is what they are preaching.
In the wilderness, which is where we are at this time - between Egypt (the World) and the Promised Land (Heaven and Eternity) - the Israelites could have turned back if they chose to. Of course to do so would have meant death in the wilderness, or death at the hands of the Egyptians if they made it back. But God only brought those into His promised land who were ready to fight, who were conditioned, who had on their full armor and knew how to use it. Only those Israelites who had learned from their experience in the wilderness to listen to God, which they learned this by falling and getting back up, thereby having faith in God - these saw the Promises offered to their rebellious parents.
Are you riders of the fence experiencing any uneasiness?
Are you preachers of: "Have it and do nothing" feeling any prick of conscience?
The Bible will be, not a set of rules as it is to the World, but a report card showing you what you are doing well, and pointing out areas which must be presented up to the Lord for pruning and further growth.
The first school has a board consisting of top-rated instructors and a highly successful athletic record. It is listed high amongst accredited schools, and the tuition is quite reasonable. In addition you discover as you study their application that you are guaranteed to receive top grades and a Diploma comparable to any of the top schools in your field of interest. The school also promises you that you will have to do nothing but pay the tuition and attend classes occasionally. Nothing more will be required of you.
The second school, which is much more expensive and time consuming, promises you the strictest of rules, requires that you maintain a straight "A" average, will provide you with excessive amounts of homework - and states you will receive the same benefits and degree at graduation as the first school.
Which school do you choose?
Which would benefit you most?
Which would you trust?
Your country has required you to enlist for Military duty. They have given you two options, that is, two units have an opening that need to be filled.
The first unit is rather loose in its discipline, allowing the soldiers to dress how they wish, to obey only those orders that appeals to them, provides good food and a large screen TV that you may watch any time you desire. This unit does not require that you learn how to use any weapons of warfare, nor stresses any form of exercise, and yet it promises rapid promotion within its ranks. And though the program is loosely applied, the unit is not exempt from combat duty.
The other unit has the hardest drill Sargent in the armed services, it demands absolute obedience and discipline, it has a reputation for serving the worst food of any unit, and it demands that you not only learn to use every weapon available, but that you keep your personal weapon spotless and at your side at all times.
Which unit do you join?
Which unit will you feel the safest with should your unit be called to battle?
You (I'm using a man for this example, but it could be either gender) have two ladies vying for your attention. The first is not only beautiful and stately, but quite intelligent as well. This girl is very popular and highly respected by all her acquaintances. Everyone tells you she is the most sought after prospect for marriage of any in your state. This girl is also quite loose with her affections, and tells you that if you marry her you won't have to worry about being faithful to her because she fully intends to live her life just as if she wasn't married at all.
The other girl is rather slovenly, is not particularly attractive, and because of her firm beliefs and convictions she is not particularly popular. This girl has shown you that she is dependable, and by her family's example you know she will be a faithful wife and a good, though strict, mother.
Which do you chose?
Do you find chunks of Scripture that seem out of place and disconnected, and perhaps often contradictory and even unbelievable at times? Do you find that you are relieved when your Sunday School teacher, Pastor or some commentary explains these in such a way that, though they still do not fit jointly together, they at least appear to have an explanation that the experts seem to understand?
Do you find yourself nodding your head with understanding when you come across passages of Scripture that appear confusing or condemning? Do you apply these judgements and condemnations to yourself as either a problem the Holy Spirit has overcome in you, or problems you recognize as something that needs offered up to the Lord in order that He might prune them from your life? Do you find you can claim the human failings presented as your own, and thereby also claim the promises of God as well?
If this is the case, just take this page to any Sunday School teacher or Pastor and I have no doubt they will fully confirm your conviction that I have the Scriptures all tangled up and confused. And if you have any doubts at all, please do have my opinion obliterated from your thoughts. I want you to sleep well tonight.
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Did you see the words: "Abide in Me"? Jesus used that phrase several times in this chapter. I wonder what He meant by that? Did you notice what will happen if a person doesn't abide in Jesus? Fire? Burn? I wonder what He meant?
Do you think you can rightly do that without abiding in God's love as Jesus did?
Here Jesus is telling His disciples (are you a disciple? If not, then none of this applies to you anyway - right?) that they should love one another as He loved them. How did He love them (His disciples)? He gave His life for them. Are you ready to "Love one another" as Jesus did? I know, you have been told that the New Testament obliterated all the commandments. But apparently Jesus didn't get the message because here He is giving a Commandment, which He repeated twice. And this Commandment requires a great deal of sacrifice it seems to me.
Do you call Jesus "Friend"? Did you follow Jesus from the beginning and hear all He had to say?
I didn't. In fact I am so far from being a "friend" by my behavior that I couldn't possibly call Him "Friend." Some day I hope to, but for now, and maybe forever, I will call Him "Lord and Master."
As for hearing what Jesus had to say, I have his Scriptures for that. Of course there is no way I can understand His Words - except for the promise He made to the Twelve that I find also applies to us in that we, too, can receive the Holy Spirit Who will instruct us of the Word's meanings.
That's hard to say off hand. I mean, we pampered Christians in a free country do not feel so persecuted and hated for our beliefs - yet. But in other countries around the globe (and in times past) that certainly is the case. Did those to whom Jesus was speaking have to endure Hatred or Persecution? If you are spending the time reading this far into what I have to say, I have no doubt you have read what happened to the Apostles. The very same thing that happened to Jesus.
And the very same thing that happened to the early Christians, and will happen to Christians during the Tribulation.
I know, I know - you have been assured by your Sunday School teacher that you will be yanked off your couch so quickly you won't even have time to turn off your TV or put down your bag of potato chips. But those poor souls who are dedicated and loyal to Jesus to the end even through great tribulation won't have that privilege. So we must consider them, mustn't we?
But of course Jesus meant those old unconverted sinners, did He not?
I don't know about your Bible, but my Bible says Jesus was talking to His disciples!
So those branches that don't bear enough fruit will be "purged." Have you ever wondered what "Purged" means? According to the Greek it means to cleanse, or more specifically, to "Prune." Anyone who has watched a tree be pruned knows what that means. If not, then think of "amputate."
Sound like fun? Jesus said in Luke chapter 14 that anyone who wishes to be His disciple should first count the cost. I wonder how many have been told that the "cost" Jesus was talking about was not only giving up their potato chips (oops, I forgot, we no longer have to give up anything do we), but also be pruned, and hated, and possibly even have to surrender their life!?
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. 3The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. 4Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. 7Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. 8And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
10Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isa 1:)
21Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isa 44:)
9Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. 10We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. 11We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. 12For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; 13In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 15Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. (Isa 59:)
6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. 10Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. 12Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore? (Isa 64:)
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