Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Meaning comes from God.

I've taken to something of a malaise, staring out of my window wondering if this is all there is to life. Don't worry, I'm not going to top myself or anything. Its just a positive inquiry into existence. Something I would vantage all Christians suffer at some point in life. What is life? Is it this humdrum of existence where we work, watch TV, read, go to church, drink ourselves silly. Or is there a greater intent for us?

I would say yes. This is indicated by the epidemic of mental illness in our society. The deep longing that causes people to become neurotic, its not for money or riches, but for a meaning to life. I find that one of the major searches for meaning comes in the form of "individuality" rather than conformity. Instead of belonging to a group, people try to be different than others. However this does tend towards conformity, due to the nature of media and its influence on the population at large. For instance:

>Media will postulate an idea/concept
> this idea/concept is received by the population
> idea/concept is stored in the mind
> idea/concept is enacted at the behest of our controllers.

It could be anything: for instance: people are killed by men with guns, therefore guns must be bad, thus guns must be banned - which would result in an unarmed population left weak and defenceless, anyone who flouted the ban and owned a gun, would potentially be king.

Another idea has been brewed for decades. The idea that both sexes are at odds. This has led to a massive increase in homosexuality in the western world, which is supported by the media and political establishment. It is the "in" thing nowadays among youth. Not only does this spit in God's face, it spits in the face of men and women who wish to marry and have children. It leaves people unable to answer. How can you answer someone who claims to be attracted to their own gender? It instantaneously closes any argument. You cannot argue for affection, you cannot make someone like you, let alone your gender. Yet it is false, and anyone who receives this answer does well to immediately step away from the situation. Avert your eyes from such wickedness. Satan is in control there. Pray for them.

As implied above, media provides meaning for the majority of people. As such the world is populated by dysfunctional, immature, judgmental children, who exist, they do not live. The bible calls these people "objects of wrath". For they don't think, they don't question. They follow what the world tells them to follow.

My request for you all is that you would think, ask yourself what you hold dear. What idols do you cling to? Is it your sexuality? Your false religion? Your guru? Does the media give you ideas to believe? Then I offer a solution:

The Cross.

The meaning given by the cross, is new life,
instead of looking to the world for meaning, we look to Jesus.
We follow his example! After all he is the one who gave us new life in his death, sealing it with his resurrection.
In revelation the voice from heaven tells us to

"Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 18:4-5". 

When we trust in Christ for our salvation, we are assured that God has forgotten our iniquities. We are new creations! God gives us new meaning in that we can now finally do what God wants us to. We are not enemies of God. We are now members of a new kingdom, when we die we will live again. So now we represent that new kingdom here on Earth.We represent this kingdom by taking upon ourselves the qualities express by Christ, and by our faith comes our deeds.

"But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18"

We don't do good to BE SAVED, but because we are saved.

The deadness of our old lives is now irrevocably changed to life in our new. We know God is real, we trust he is in control, and through sanctification become more and more representative of him and his wants. As the old hymn says

"Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed


Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!"


So what is the point of this post? It is to indicate to you that meaning comes from God. Without him nothing matters. If you are not with him you are against him. But if you repent and trust in him for your salvation, you will find real meaning. Nothing on Heaven or Earth compares to the glory of God, and to be a child of God is to share in his awesomeness and power, he will give you meaning, because as the liberal christians say "God has a great and awesome plan for your life", of course when they say that to a non-christian that plan is wrath and destruction. But if God chooses you it is glory to him! You have every reason to choose him, but it is his grace that he chooses you. If you are in the slightest bit affected by what I have said, consider that God is showing his affection for you. Turn from your sins, read the gospel. Hear if you have ears to hear.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Colorado Shooting: A tragedy with an aim.

Bill Cooper said in 2001 "They must do something terrible, because they haven't succeeded in getting the guns out of the hands of the American people".

My heart and prayer goes out to those poor people and their families. But I must question how a medical student who describes himself as "easy-going" suddenly goes on a rampage and kills a dozen or more people and maims 50. Its really quite odd, tragic indeed. But the question now shouldn't be "what drastic measure do we take to protect our children from nasty boogeymen", but: "who or what caused this person to a. Drop out of university, b. Kill more than a dozen people c. Get caught so easily on the car park"

Also How did he learn to use explosives so well? Why this film?

Questions need to be asked, who does this benefit? Immediately I think, those who would dominate us. It brings to mind Dunblane and Columbine, when Dunblane occurred in the UK, it led to the mass destruction of weapons and an immediate ban, Britain has never had the kind of revolution that led to the republic, the legacy of which is the right to bear arms so that no power could ever dominate the American people (unless its done by stealth to a weak minded population). Guns are of course part of American culture, and it would take a lot for them to relinquish their guns..that is a lot of massacres.

What are the immediate media responses? Metal detectors and gun bans. That's no joke, I have heard this on the news. If this massacre doesn't cause some sort of response from government (it likely will, using this coincidental "tragedy" as an excuse) then there will be more shootings until people A. Figure out who is causing it B. Beg the government to amend the constitution banning guns nationwide.

My belief is, intelligence agencies approached Holmes, they had assessed the best area to attack, and needed someone pliable enough. They probably offered to wipe his traffic violation (which may have affected his chance of a job) if he helped them out - after all he is a Neuroscience student. They then instituted various forms of mind control- and then sent him back into the world to live his life normally - until a month ago.

A month ago he went into training, physical and mental, ready to kill, he was set off yesterday.

This is my opinion, I would ask you dear reader to understand that I am not making light of what happened. I am in fact trying to make sense of it. Nothing occurs in a vacuum, its not a coincidence. This has a purpose! This is why many countries in the world are getting the lightest reporting on it, while America is being saturated with reports on the shooting. You must be programmed to respond as your masters wish you to.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Resurrection: Fulfilled prophecies of Jesus in the OT

Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled In Jesus' Life

by Dave Arch


There were two primary evidences which the apostles appealed to over and over again to establish the Deity and Messiahship of the Lord Jesus Christ. One was the fact of the resurrection and the other was the Old Testament prophecies which were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ.

Below is a listing of the prophecies written in the Old Testament and given to the Jewish nation so that they might be able to recognize their Messiah.


I. THE ACTUAL PROPHECIES

A. Concerning His Birth


1. Born of the seed of woman (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4; Matthew 1:20)
2. Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 24, 25)
3. Son of God (Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17)
4. Seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16) Here it is determined that the Messiah would be a Jewish descendant.
5. Son of Isaac (Genesis 21:12; Luke 3:23,34) Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Now God eliminates one half of the lineage of Isaac.
6. Son of Jacob (Numbers 24:17; Luke 3:23,34) Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Now God eliminates one half of the lineage of Isaac.
7. Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23,33) Jacob had twelve sons and each became a tribe of the Hebrew nation. Now God eliminates eleven-twelfths of the lineage of Jacob.
8. Family line of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1; Luke 3:23,32) Now God narrows it down even further by picking one family line out of the tribe of Judah.
9. House of David (Jeremiah 23:5; Luke 3:23,31) Jesse had at least eight sons (I Samuel 16:10,11). Now God eliminates all of Jesse's sons except one, David.
10. Born at Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1) Now God eliminates all the cities in the world except one, Bethlehem.
11. Presented with gifts (Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 60:6; Matthew 2:1,11)
12. Herod kills children (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16)

B. Concerning His Nature


13. His Pre-Existence (Micah 5:2; Colossians 1:17; John 1:1)
14. He shall be called Lord (Psalm 110:1; Luke 20:41-44)
15. He shall be called Immanuel ("God with us") (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
16. Shall be a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:18; Matthew 21:11)
17. Shall be a priest (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:5,6)
18. Shall be a judge (Isaiah 33:22; John 5:30)
19. Shall be a king (Isaiah 33:22; Matthew 27:37)
20. Special anointment of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16,17)
21. He zeal for God (Psalm 69:9; John 2:15-17)

C. Concerning His Ministry


22. Preceded by a messenger (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1,2)
23. Ministry to begin in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1,2; Matthew 4:12,13,17)
24. Ministry of miracles (Isaiah 35:5, 6a; Matthew 9:35)
25. Teacher of parables (Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34)
26. He was to enter the temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12)
27. He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:35,36,37a)
28. A "Stone Of Stumbling" to the Jewish nation (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)
29. "Light" to the Gentiles (Isaiah 60:3; 49:6; Acts 13:47,48a)

D. Concerning Events After His Burial


30. His resurrection (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31)
31. His ascension (Psalm 68:18a; Acts 1:9)
32. Seated at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)

E. Prophecies Fulfilled In One Day

The following 29 prophecies from the Old Testament, which speak of the betrayal, trial, death and burial of Jesus, were spoken at various times by many different voices during the five centuries from 1000-500 BC, and yet all of them were literally fulfilled in one twenty-four hour period of time in Jesus' life.


33. Betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Matthew 10:4)
34. Sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15)
35. Money to be thrown down in God's house (Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:5a)
36. Price given for potter's filed (Zechariah 11:13b; Matthew 27:7)

In the previous four prophecies we find in both prophecy and fulfillment the following:

1. Betrayed
2. By a friend
3. For 30 pieces of silver (not 29)
4. Silver (not gold)
5. Thrown down (not placed)
6. In God's house
7. Money used to buy potter's field
37. Forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50)
38. Accused by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11; Matthew 26:59-61)
39. Mute before accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-19)
40. Wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 27:26)
41. Smitten and spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Micah 5:1; Matthew 26:67)
42. Mocked (Psalm 22:7,8; Matthew 27:31)
43. Fell under the cross (Psalm 109:24; John 19:17; Luke 23:26)
44. Hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)
45. Crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
46. Made intercession for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
47. Rejected by his own people (Isaiah 53:3; John 7:5,48)
48. Hated without a cause (Psalm 69:4; John 15:25)
49. Friends stood afar off (Psalm 38:11; Luke 23:49)
50. People shook their heads (Psalm 109:25; Matthew 27:39)
51. Stared upon (Psalm 22:17; Luke 23:35)
52. Garments parted and lots cast (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23,24)
53. Suffered thirst (Pslam 69:21; John 19:28)
54. Gall and vinegar offered Him (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34)
55. His forsaken cry (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46)
56. Committed Himself to God (Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46)
57. His bones not broken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:33)
58. His heart broken (Psalm 22:14; John 19:34) The blood and water which came from Jesus' pierced side are evidences that the heart had literally burst.
59. His side pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
60. Darkness over the land (Amos 8:9; Matthew 27:45)
61. Buried in a rich man's tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)

II. OBJECTIONS ANSWERED

A. Fulfilled Prophecies Were Actually Written At Or After The Time Of Jesus

Answer:
If you are not satisfied with the date of 450 BC as the date of the Old Testament completion, then realize that the Greek translation of the Old Testament was completed in 250 BC.
Therefore, it appears evident that there were at least 250 years between the time of the writing of the prophecies and their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

B. The Fulfilled Prophecy In Jesus Was Deliberate On His Part. He Knew The Old Testament Well Enough And Just Set Out To Fulfill All Of Them.

Answer:
This might seem possible until we realize that thee were many prophecies outside of His control, such as:

1. Place of birth (Micah 5:2)
2. Time of birth (Daniel 9:25; Genesis 49:10)
3. Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14)
4. Betrayal
5. Manner of death (Psalm 22:16)
6. People's reactions (Mocking, spitting, staring, etc.)
7. Piercing of His side
8. Burial

C. The Fulfilled Prophecy In Jesus Was Coincidental, An Accident

Answer:
Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963) determines the probability of one man fulfilling eight of the prophecies of the Old Testament for the Messiah to be 1 in 10 to the 17th power.

Now let's try to imagine what this means. If we took that many silver dollars (100,000,000,000,000,000) and laid them over the State of Texas, they would cover the state two feet deep. Now mark one of the silver dollars, stir the whole mass thoroughly, blindfold a person, and tell him/her that they can travel as far as they want but must pick up one silver dollar and say that it is the marked one. What chance would s/he have of picking up the right one? It would be the exact same odds of anyone fulfilling eight of the Messianic prophecies by chance alone.

Peter Stoner then goes on to consider the possibility of any one person fulfilling 48 of the prophecies by chance. Here the odds jump to 1 in 10 to the 157th power. That number would look like this:

1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

CONCLUSION

"Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other: I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done; Saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'"
(Isaiah 46:9,10)

"I declare the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly, I acted and they came to pass. Therefore, I declared them to you long ago, before they took place I proclaimed them to you, lest you say, 'My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.'" (Isaiah 48:3,5)


Taken in full from:  http://www.askapastor.org/proph.html

The resurrection [part 1]

What is the resurrection? We see often in the epistles of Paul that the resurrection is the fundamental foundation of the gospel. If Jesus had not been raised the gospel would be worthless. But why?

Have you not wondered to yourself why the resurrection matters? Or is it something that you accept as important on faith alone?

Well I can tell you that the empty tomb is truly the fundamental of all our faith. That we will not be floating off to heaven, in fact physical resurrection is something we can all expect after our deaths, whether we are righteous or wicked.

Jesus' Resurrection is important for two reasons. Firstly, Having resurrected Jesus showed himself to hundreds of people, giving evidence of the fulfillment of what he had said previously “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up. [John 2:19]. Also in rising he showed that God's power was with him. Not only over his friends, but over himself. God raised him! Now Satan doesnt have this power, he can only destroy [there is theological debate over how powerful Satan is, despite what we may hear in the media I truly doubt that Satan is equally as powerful as God, especially when it comes to raising the dead to life]. In having Jesus rise from the dead, he [God] would not only have defeated death itself, he would have quelled any doubt to the true nature of Jesus. With confidence the disciples (who had seen him die) could tell others that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.


The people of Israel had this expectation (with foundation) that the Messiah was to be Israels true King, who would destroy all Israels enemies and rule the world from Jerusalem. So seeing and hearing a humble carpenters-son claim to be the Son of God, despite his many years in the synagogues, would be a step too far. It would be like some guy on youtube spending day after day making prophecies, claiming to be "anointed", when in reality he worked in MacDonalds. We have the same desire to be held in awe, have all our dreams come true at once, and to be able to say "have at you sir" to our enemies. This is what Jesus claimed to be, he claimed divinity, and thus many hated him. Those people hated him because he was living proof that all they had held dear was a lie. All their expectations were vanity, and that they really were no longer God's people. After all, if he wasn't going to destroy Rome and make Israel powerful again, then what were they to God? His bride or his ex?


What they didn't know, was the true nature of Israel, they were so blind, everytime a prophet spoke they closed their ears. They were not being blessed anymore because they were so self centred. The true purpose of Israel was to lead the world BY EXAMPLE. Notice that everytime Israel walked with God they were blessed. The true power of Israel came from righteousness not by simply being dependent on God "Oh God please save us". Had Israel turned, and accepted its nature as the example for the world to follow, Israel truly could have been the most powerful nation on Earth. Its possible that every nation on Earth would have looked at Israel and said "Lets abandon our gods and worship Yahweh", and this would have been that Global paradise, a new Eden! (Let me just point out that had this been the case, sin would have still existed, and God still would have had to have judged, Jesus would have had to die and be resurrected) Instead Israel said "Lets abandon Yahweh and worship other gods".


Where does the resurrection fit into this? Well Israels self-centredness missed out the prophecy of the suffering servant, and how this was Israel's salvation! You see, God married Israel, 


"I remember your first love, your devotion as a young bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in an unplanted land." Jeremiah 2:2


Now as such, God would never just abandon Israel, after all that would be a kind of divorce, and God being righteous could never divorce Israel. Well, okay he did, but for adultery:


"People of this generation, listen closely to the Lord’s word: Have I been a wasteland to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why then do my people say,
     
“We have wandered far away, we’ll come to you no longer”?

Does a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding dress? Yet you have forgotten me days without end! So skilled are you at pursuing lovers that you instruct even the most wicked." 2:31-33
  
Why then is this important? Think of it as God ending one plan and resorting to another. God gave Israel a chance to redeem itself, and she failed [Its hard to understand, but Jesus was always plan A not B]. It was as if God was allowing the covenant to run its course, to allow Israel to fully condemn itself by its nature. Those who live by the law, must die by the law.

Now, Jesus enters the mix, the pure human, not born by the old covenant or from the line of Adam but by God himself in the womb of an undefiled Israelite. Born of purity, lived in purity. Jesus of Nazareth. He was the only human being on this Earth who being human had sin nature, but was capable of not sinning. Why was he sent? To redeem Israel! He said it himself:

From there, Jesus went to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from those territories came out and shouted, “Show me mercy, Son of David. My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.” But he didn’t respond to her at all.
His disciples came and urged him, “Send her away; she keeps shouting out after us.”
Jesus replied, I’ve been sent only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel. 
 But she knelt before him and said, “Lord, help me.”
 He replied, It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.”
 She said, “Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off their masters’ table.”
Jesus answered, Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish. And right then her daughter was healed. Matthew 15:21-28

So we, as gentiles, are the dogs, eating the crumbs. Despite Israel's adultery, God worked his socks off to save her. What happened? Israel even then rejected Jesus, because Jesus did not meet their expectations. Israel fundamentally denied everything it claimed to love, even Abraham, Moses.

This next passage is viewed completely out of context, but I will present part of it as evidence of what I am saying. I believe Jesus used it to demonstrate a point, not that Hades is ACTUAL torment. but something more important:

 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:27-31

I will keep the versification in here. Lazarus here represents the righteous, in order to illustrate point Jesus had these people be conscious. It was well known at that time that Hades [Greek] was simply the place of death, as it was Sheol. But many pharisees taugh consciousness after death, basically following some apocryphal stuff, and Platonism. Anyway, you could view Lazarus as a kind of representation of Jesus [in lieu of 30] and the rich man as a generic character [camel, eye, needle ;). Jesus seemed to already know that Israel would reject the resurrection, which is why he says 31. In order to understand this, you simply have to understand, that the OT is filled with prophecy about Jesus! Now they are too numerous to list here but a link should suffice [I will also list them in another post] Fulfilled prophecies of Jesus in the OT.

The resurrection was prophecied in the Psalms:

 "because you won’t abandon my life [Soul, Body] to the grave;[Sheol, place of the Dead] you won’t let your faithful follower see the pit." Psalm 16:10

Jesus is therefore saying, that even if he is resurrected, fulfilling prophecy! They still won't be believed. Because they have never believed before.

Yet read this:" The Swiss Theologian Karl Barth said: 'Do you want to believe in the living Christ? We may believe in him only if we believe in his corporeal resurrection. This is the content of the New Testament" [emphasis added]. {World Aflame p. 129}

This is where I abandon Israel myself. I hope I have suitably emphasised the unruliness of Israel, my intention was to display why Jesus had to come. Succinctly I will endeavour to summarise: Jesus came, because Israel could not and would not save itself. and God had promised that he would save Israel [Isaiah 43]. God was fulfilling in Jesus, a promise.

This is the power of the resurrection. Which Israel had denied [but luckily Revelation shows that those Israeli's who can believe will believe].

So why is the resurrection the key factor, It promises salvation, if God can raise from death to life - he demonstrates true Godhood as creator and sustainer. In Jesus, he promises that through him he will resurrect those who believe, through his death and raising to life.

Part 2 will bring the resurrection to today, and why those who believe we travel to heaven, are denying the power of the resurrection and a fundamental of Christian faith.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Common English Bible: A positive review

Alot of the time, I am bickering and moaning about various bible translations. Often talking about cults of personality that preach that the Bible is inerrant in its translated form. Well today I am going to preach postively about a translation, and do a kind of bibledesignblog-esque review.

As the title suggests, this review is going to be about the Common English Bible. Its an example of a bible that gets alot right - especially in the Old Testament. Of course it gets some things wrong, as do all bibles, and I should add that I am wholly inadequate to call any bible "wrong", but in my humble opinion it has some flaws. But less than most!


God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. John 3:16
Its not over the top, you are likely to find the same traditional verses you would in say, an ESV -so long as they are understandable in the ESV. Otherwise they are rewritten to be understandable by, I believe a 7th Grade readership (Year 8 in the UK). Many feel this to be a cop-out, but this is where I appreciate it. To not boast, I have a high reading level, I could read say, Origin of Species, or Pilgrims Progress, without my eyes bleeding. But why struggle, if the Bible CAN be written for 12 year olds and still be the Bible, why have a high level theological tome at all?

Ezekiel has always been a hard one for me, He's my favourite prophet, but the beginning of the book is extremely hard reading, especially to comprehend. I found it much easier in the CEB.

The voice said to me: Human one, stand on your feet, and I’ll speak to you. As he spoke to me, a wind came to me and stood me on my feet, and I heard someone addressing me. He said to me: Human one, I’m sending you to the Israelites, a traitorous and rebellious people. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. I’m sending you to their hardheaded and hard-hearted descendants, and you will say to them: The Lord God proclaims. Whether they listen or whether they refuse, since they are a household of rebels, they will know that a prophet has been among them. Ezekiel 2:1-5 CEB

 And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. ESV

The english in the ESV is evidently for a higher reading level:" transgressed" , "impudent", "stubborn". Read through both and see which one you prefer. I would say that both are equally valid in my opinion. Although I prefer the easier read of the CEB, simply because it is readable.


The NEB/REB is my favourite translation, and it's a higher reading level than the ESV in some ways. So its not just a matter of vocabulary. Its stated that the CEB is made to be read, just like the KJV was. Thats also why there is a lack of theological terminology, the last thing you want is for a person to be listening to a passage and wondering what words mean, thus being distracted. This is a plus for the CEB, it means that rather than using a word like propitiation, it has to define propitiation:


Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy is found by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness in passing over sins that happened before, Romans 3:25 CEB

[Christ Jesus] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. ESV

So you see the benefit here, instead of hefty theology terms, we have terms defined for us. Its a good idea, they even passed over terms like "atonement, because it was felt that an invented theological term was no way going to surpass an actual explanation. Respect to the translators. I purchased this from Amazon, Common English Bible .

Nice size comparison. HCSB Ultrathin.
(Above) This Bible isnt leather, its a kind of imitation leather, Decotone, its high quality, and is nothing like the sort of thin, brittle stuff you get on a gift and award bible, its warm, soft and pliable. Its as good as leather, perhaps wont last as long, but it will take alot of damage. Its similar material to my HCSB ultrathin [on the left]. The text is smaller, as you will see. but if you have reasonably good vision you should be okay.
 Theres something about this title page [Above]. That splash! It denotes high quality, how many bibles have a printed photograph?



 Apologies for the tip of my finger at the bottom. This presentation page is a different sort of paper, and needed assistance. Its glossy, very nice. I like the verse at the bottom, again, classy.


  [CEB left, HCSB right]. I love the HCSB, but the font is ghastly and gives me a headache. In purchasing bibles I am going to read, I pray for decent font. Its something I have to give kudos to the CEB printers, and something I rebuke the printers of the NCV and HCSB for. If you notice on the HCSB, OT quotes are bolded, CEB they are italicised. Either way, the quotes are denoted, although it looks a bit prettier in the HCSB despite the font. differences shown below.

Common English Bible 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 [ABOVE]



Holman Christian Standard Bible 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
I wanted to compare the CEB with the HCSB because both endeavour to make the Bible as accessible to the reader, whilst the HCSB tows the line between formality and dynamism, the CEB tends towards the latter. I hope this may help you to make a choice for a bible that suits your reading level and concentration. I won't really go over the CEB's use of "Human One" instead of "Son of Man", or anything else that certain christian sects would rant and rave about, although I have mentioned it. The CEB is not yet my number one, but as an up to date translation it may just get there. I for one cannot think of those flaws I mentioned earlier. I love it! I hope you enjoyed the extra addition of lots of photos. I had to make the effort to do this wonderful translation justice.

God bless you all!

Friday, 13 July 2012

What is salvation?

Continuing from yesterday, I felt it necessary to explain salvation. Not in a New Heavens and New Earth kind of sense. But in the effect it has to us here and now. There are many preconceptions that when you are saved it is "instantaneous" and the effects are immediate. In a way yes and no.

Romans 12 verse 13, The next verse on from what we covered yesterday explains:

"None will be justified before God by hearing the law, but by doing it".

Now, remember that the law is simply an exposer of sin, and the revelation of God's expectation for us. It is like a computer monitor displaying something on a server 2000 miles away. Just a glimpse of heavenly morality.

So what does this passage mean? What is justification? Its a change in status before God. Its what follows repentance. In other words:

No one's status will change from bad to good before God by hearing the law, but by doing it.

This isn't referring to works either, as no one CAN follow the law completely, or should I say, no one can fulfill all righteousness completely- no one but Jesus.

This verse actually gives us a taste of salvation, and thus I chose this passage. The actual justification is not by doing the law, but doing the law is a sign of justification. It'd part of the salvation process, by being saved, the Holy Spirit does the work within us and thus we can "do the law".

By being saved we can be good! The NEB readers guide puts it succinctly (not):

"Basically it implies 'deliverance' from ANY kind of evil. From defeat in battle; trouble; violence; reproach; exile; death [and] sin."

I won't be so bookwormish as to define deliverance, however a little further down the guide names our deliverer, "The CENTRAL themes of the N.T. is the salvation brought by Christ.

We are still left wondering what this salvation is, is it going to heaven? I would say not, salvation is more about the battle being won by Christ, so that the work of justification can be completed in us, by our faith in Jesus.  You hear about a New Heart, well the new heart allows us to change (for the better), and this is our justification, we now are able to do the law, rather than just hear it. Of course don't expect to be perfect, but we now do the law through love rather than obligation. Remember the two greatest commandments - "love the Lord your God, with all your heart, mind, body, and spirit. Love your neighbour as yourself", we follow those two commandments and they easily cover the other ten!

Now finally, hear the next two verses:

14: When Gentiles who do not possess the law carry out its precepts by the light of nature, then, although they have no law, they are their own law; 15: they show that what the law requires is inscribed on their hearts, and to this their conscience gives supporting witness, since their own thoughts argue the case, sometimes against them, sometimes even for them.

The "law", God's expectations are in our heart. By conscience! Not only for us but for everyone. That is the power of sin, to dull conscience, and thus deafen us to what God wants. Even carrying out the law will inevitably condemn us when we don't later on!

This shows that salvation starts here, because we are now covered by the blood of Jesus. Its almost preemptive! Jesus had won the battle and cleared our debt with the judge by paying it for us. So now we work upon ourselves and our salvation with "fear and trembling". It will take many years, but we have a new nature that will grow and eventually be US.

God bless readers.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

What is sin?

A quick post just to define sin for you. Many teach that sin is a transgression of the law of Moses. This of course is incorrect, My Darby Bible defines it as lawlessness. I wasn't too sure until I was reading my REB New Testament this morning where I found a verse in Romans 2

Verse 12: Those who have sinned OUTSIDE the pale of the law of Moses will perish outside of law, and all who have sinned under that law will be judged by it.

This got me thinking, if someone can sin outside of the law, then that means that the law isn't what leads to sin, but exposes it. The law gives knowledge of sin, rather than actually being that which must be followed. If you break the law you aren't transgressing THAT law, but something higher.

Sin is, in essence, denying and defying God.

My NEB defines sin from the 3 Hebrew words as:

"Rebellion": a wrong attitude taken up by man towards a personal God who is his father and creator.
Dishonoring your father.

"Deliberate turning towards what a man knows to be evil and contrary to the will of God"
a sort of reverse repentance. This could be sexual sin, false religion.

"Missing the mark" think in terms of a bulls eye. The bulls eye is what God wants. You aim, you fire, but you miss the mark.

Now obviously we need to know what God's law is. Prior to Jesus we had no idea, the "law" wasn't written in our hearts but on tablets and scrolls in Israel. Israel was meant to be the moral beacon for the world, and the world would have viewed Israel as Kings. But Israel repeatedly defied God, and as Hosea describes, God renounced Israel as his people.

Gods law is a transcendent expectation, Its the way God is, his moral structure, his definition of right and wrong. As his creation made to reflect Him upon the Earth, it is our duty and obligation to reflect this moral standard, after all, he is the only truth there is.

That is why when Jesus came to Earth he told us to "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect". We carry his Image on the Earth. That is where sin comes in. When that perfection is ruined by "transgression". Either through rebellion, a love of lawlessness, or missing the mark. Its an absence of perfection.

So what do we do? Do we endeavour to be perfect? Do we say enough Hail Mary's and hope God forgives us?

No.

We lay it down, we accept that on our own we cannot be perfect. We accept that sin is too powerful and realise that Jesus lived a perfect life, and as such he is the only one who CAN live a perfect life. We need him to be US (in us) so instead of reflecting God on Earth, Jesus takes our sin and carries it to the cross. (He became sin - our sin). This way he takes the wrath of God upon himself, and is punished for our sin. The man who by all rights is our perfect and holy king, is tortured by man and punished by God for US.

This way when God looks at us He sees Jesus, perfect and holy, and when he looks at the cross 2000 years ago he sees us crucified. Is this what Paul meant when he said:

"For if we are become identified with him in the likeness of his death, so also we shall be of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him , that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin." Romans 6:5-6

When we repent (turn from sin, essentially declare that we want to change, MUST change) and humble ourselves before God, emotionally, mentally, physically submitting ourselves to his power and mercy. We crucify our old man, and supernaturally we are made new. We receive the Holy Spirit which changes us from the inside, and amends us, makes us into the image God wants.

Then when we die we sleep, awaiting the resurrection. Then we rise, given new bodies for our new minds and hearts, then the real adventure starts.

"Lord Jesus, I pray that what has been written may give comfort and exact change in those who read it, may Your will be done, Amen".

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Why all this KJVO nonsense?! Do we worship Jesus or the Bible?

Okay, in this particular article I am going to deal with the idea that the KJV is the Inerrant, infallible word of God. I am so tired of everyday on youtube, seeing another sermon by some preacher somewhere in the South of the US saying again "The KJV is the inerrant, infallibe blaaahh blaah blaah".
[For clarity, everything I write is normal, all quotes are in italics, headers are in bold]
Now the catalyst for this was this particular video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHKTclh8y9w

I will not answer the preacher, frankly..I wont even listen to the nonsense in it. But I will answer a few preconceptions, from AV1611.

1. God promised to preserve his Word.

"Psalm 12:6-7 says, "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Then we read in Psalm 100:5 that ". . . . his truth endureth to all generations," and Jesus said in John 17:17 that God's WORD is truth. "

There is something wrong here. What we call the "word" is the bible. But what bible calls the word is TWO things. One is what he says, i.e. thus saith the Lord. That which comes through the prophets. So here David is saying, "your prophecies are pure, proven by tribulation, you keep your promises and keep to them from now until the end", Now when Jesus says in John 17:17 he isn't referring to the Bible [For one it didnt exist then, only the OT]. This is SO annoying, to see one verse taken, and no context given. Yes, Your Word is truth! But does that mean that in John 1:1 [In the beginning was the Word], the bible is being Capitalized as if it were God? Is the bible divine? Hah!! Lets view it in context, because I feel that AV1611's pants are going to be pulled up here.

"15 I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 17 Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth."

In fact, as I said before, They are made Holy in the truth, the truth being God's promise of...SALVATION. The word that is truth is again PROPHECY, which is only part of the Bible. God never promised to preserve the KJV. It would have been easy to prove if somewhere in the Bible it had prophecied that God would preserve the KJV, God could have ensured this easily, just like he could have said that aliens exist, or that cigarettes cause cancer. But he didn't, he simply said "My promises are pure and truthful, and when I say something, I am telling the truth". Now, Its said in the bible that God's prophecies are preserved, in Daniel and in Revelation, but that has no bearing on whether the KJV is the only bible, as Daniel and Revelation, as well as Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, Nehemiah, Ezekiel...etc etc, are in every bible translation on Earth. The differences between them are translational, what you get in one you get in another. Where the seems difference, the difference is between 17th century translations and 21st century ones, usually in idiom, and based upon better understanding of Greek and Hebrew.


2. The Authorized Version was Translated under a God-ordained King.


I don't really know what to say here. Other than that the bible doesnt speak kindly towards the rulers of the Earth:


"I will make many peoples appalled because of you. Their kings will shudder violently on your account when I brandish my sword before them. They will tremble for their lives again and again on the day of your downfall." Ezekiel 32:10


- See what I did there? I took a verse out of context to prove my point.


This point is somewhat moot, The NEB and REB were both translated under Queen Elizabeth. The catholic bibles under various popes. It makes no difference. Does God support the parasitical British Monarchy? Or would he rather support Tyndale, or Wycliffe? Or the persecuted Geneva Translators?


Quite a ridiculous point to make.


"Psalm 2
King James Version (KJV)
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."




3. Because it has no Copyright.

Actually it doesn't. But it is still owned by the Royals, always has and always will. Thats why the KJV is licensed to be printed. My 1909 bible has a licence in it. thats what, 300 years? yep the licence exists. Now if you want a real non-copyrighted bible..try the World English Bible!


4. Because God always Translates perfectly.

Changes in the KJV since 1611 

God doesnt translate, he inspires. Men translate God's inspired word given to the original authors. Thats it! The KJV has never been perfect, and I am sure that since the last revision there have been scores of SCHOLARS, those men whom thou KJVOs hatest - the sort who originally translated the KJV - who would have loved to revise it further!


5. Because it produces good fruit

Has there suddenly stopped being good fruit thanks to new bibles? Are christians any less christian? Or has our own perception of what it is to be christian changed. Would the 1611 christians recognize the KJVOs as christian, or as idolators? Would the 70AD christians recognize the 1611 christians as christian? Every generation of christians has been different. Christians in the 11th century were catholics. It has never been a steady stream of people exactly like the original disciples. Almost immediately after the last disciples died, we had gnostics, pelageans on and on, all with different ideas of what it was to be christian. This desire for a perfect word has led the KJVOs into heresy, worship of the KJV as inerrant. But, HOW CAN IT BE? Only God is inerrant! God is not in the bible, God did not even write the words. Man did! God inspired Paul to write his letters, God inspired Matthew to write his Gospel. But Matthew wrote it!

This is in no way a knock against the bible. Its a call against idolatry. What is in the bible is sacred in any translation, all translations save! There are people who have been saved from childrens bibles. But who has saved more, than those saved by someone simply telling them about Jesus. The bible doesnt SAVE, God saves, and God uses people far more than he does bibles. What was it Jesus said?


"Examine the scriptures, since you think that in them you have eternal life. They also testify about me, yet you don’t want to come to me so that you can have life." John 5:39-40


Now, to be a bit argumentative..Was Jesus telling them to read the scriptures to have eternal life, or to find out about him? Was he telling them to read Hebrew or Greek translations? Or even Aramaic? What would Jesus have classed as scripture? Did he read the prophecy of Isaiah in Greek? Hebrew?
What makes the KJV the only translation that produces good fruit? I have an ASV from 1901, the preface explained that the ASV was used all over as a missional translation. I would imagine the many good fruits were produced from it. Just as were produced from every other TRANSLATION.


Its the content that matters in this case. But even moreso the person reading it. The bible is a bonus prize for us, what matters most to salvation is someone who can talk and explain in evangelism.




I will leave this here for now, Its late, and there are far too many sections for me to reply to in one night. However, I would suggest anyone who reads what was written on the AV1611 page, that sees this "Because the King James Translators Believed They Were Handling the Very Word of God". Be very wary. Every translator of Every Bible translation believes that they are handling the word of God. Its all about context. Every man and woman translating a bible, understands that what they are dealing with will be used for teaching, reproof, rebuke and most importantly evangelism. The issue with how we view our bible is that whilst we accept, love and care for our Bibles, we don't view them as God, but as God's means to speak to us, For instance: the other day I was feeling very anxious, I had a long day ahead of me and wasn't 100%, in fact I was quite depressed, alot of things were worrying me including finances. I prayed about this, I asked for help emotionally, physically, and for the strength to just carry on through the day. Then I suppose I must have felt the urge to grab my Bible, and was brought to Matthew and what did my bible say?


"Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal; but store up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust will destroy, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also". Matthew 6:19-21 REB


"This is why I tell you not to be anxious about food and drink to keep you alive and and about clothes to cover your body. Surely life is more than food, the body more than clothes" Matthew 6:25 REB


I never use the KJV, its lovely, quaint, and I'm sure useful, but there is no real reason for me to use it! I will stick to the REB and NEB and the CEB. I am no less a Christian than any KJVO, because my God is higher than my Bible! Jesus is ALIVE!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Best Bible Translations.

Okay, I was searching for the best biblical Pastors, as I wanted something to listen to whilst having a bath. Now when relaxed I want only the best. But in the search came up best bible translations..which got me thinking best for what? Reading? Preaching?

Let's divide that up.

For reading, you are going to want something READABLE. You want to be engrossed, you don't want some rubbish B movie on TV to pull you away from it. Sadly many Christians miss this, expecting mystical divine power to hold their interest, but sadly neigh..knowing that we can grieve the Holy Spirit..its evident that God isn't going to force us to be bored by a bad translation. So what's the most readable Bible? Probably a paraphrase! I know..crazy huh?! But yes, if you can find a good paraphrase such as J.B. Phillips, you would be in good company. The Good News Bible is a strong contender as well, I would discourage use of The Message because its far too loose, so much so that in the NT its almost nothing like the Greek. I've given my copy of the Message away..its near useless to me. I would also promote the NEB, it can be found on both EBay and Amazon, As well as the REB, which I've warmed to..although it still seems like a revision that went too far.

Now whilst I love those above translations, a church does need a formal translation, if a Pastor is preaching doctrinally, often a paraphrase or "loose translation", simplifies it that the strength of the Greek is missed, the NEB/REB would perhaps be okay here (REB more so), and maybe the REB would perhaps be an all round contender. I dispute any church using the KJV nowadays, may as well use the Wycliffe! So we need a modern translation that is effective for preaching and doctrinal issues - and this is where I fall flat, because - I just don't know what would be best! There is no best translation. For reading I could recommend one or two, but when it comes to church I think that the preacher should have his own translation set forth and if needs be members can bring their own. There isn't that much difference!

I suggest that you use whatever bible you understand, and a church use an NIV or ESV, use the bible you understand to explain what is being read, then let your pastor teach in exposition. Never use a KJV in church.