I think it is fair to say that today’s post contains some pretty big subjects.
I want to congratulate Iran. I think we can say for sure that they will now have the nuclear weapons they have always wanted. I wonder if we will fund the rebuilding of Israel, or just tell them to kiss off. Actually, Israel is of a stronger will and conscience than the current day U.S., and what happens to Iran, may be eventually be taken out of our hands.
For those of you who say about yourselves, I don’t vote, what’s the difference, they’re (politicians) all the same. They are not all the same and it does make a difference. Your eyes would have to be closed, and your ears plugged to not recognize the vastly different directions we take, under different leadership. What “we get out of it” is not the sole reason for having a government. There is such a thing as right and wrong.
I am not a great authority when it comes to the Bible, but I am slowly realizing that I am reaching a point of knowledge beyond what I thought possible. There are parts of the Bible where the meaning is debatable, but in my opinion, there are very few of those. It has taken me several years to be comfortable with what I know and its accuracy, and I give praise to the Lord for what I have learned. The success belongs to no person, certainly not me. I am not going to flood my opinions with a lot of verses, as I am far too slow to find and reproduce them here. Besides that fact, for many who may read this, I could be doing just what so many have done before me, and use Bible verses to say what I want them to say. I may however use one or two that are fairly obvious.
The Bible is the most misunderstood, misquoted, and slandered book ever written. It is very, very often, intentionally lied about, and it is actually ignored by many ministries, despite their claims of being Christian. Everything, whether it be good or bad, right or wrong, is carnal except the word of God, as it relates to Christianity.
If you so choose, you can make the Bible say anything you want. People have been doing that since the Old Testament, and then the New were published. Many have used the Bible to further their anti-Semitism. That always amazes me because the Hebrews (Jews) are God’s chosen people. By that I mean, they were and are those that he chose to spread the word. To evangelize others into Christianity. Jerusalem, Israel will be the home of the Savior. The evangelizing part has not worked out very well, but God of course knew it would not. During the Millennium, that too will come to pass as they will be the main preachers of the word. Hating ethnic Jews because of the Bible, can only be accomplished by those who will not see. The Savior, Jesus Christ was an ethnic Jew. Hitler used the Bible to explain why he did what he did to the Jews. In America, the Klu Klux Klan, uses the Bible to justify their anti-Semitism and especially their racism. That’s a little silly when you realize that the writers of the Bible (guided by the Holy Ghost), were Jews.
To understand the Bible, you not only should be open of mind, but be willing to work very hard. In the end, it is often that old friend, common sense that will save you. Trying to understand what the Greek , Hebrew and Aramaic actually means in English is difficult, but there are places in the internet to help you. As always with the internet, tread carefully and move slowly. Start out with a Bible that was written from the best, most original manuscripts, and/or other bibles. I prefer an old version of the King James but there is a fair amount of old English wording there, and a knowledgeable and honest teacher can be valuable…..and hard to find.
The most common misnomer about the Bible, in my opinion, is that it is written for the unsaved. Those that do not know God. With the exception of a few Old Testament verses to start people on the right path through the law, and a couple of New Testament verses explaining how to be born again, the Bible is clearly written, and I do mean clearly written, for born again Christians. All of those writings about sin, are there for those of you (and me) who are saved Christians. Sin does not have dominion over you when you are born again, but it still exists. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we all live with a “sin nature.”
Every verse in the Bible has to be understood within the context it was written. That often means you need to understand the verses that surround the one you are reading, and sometimes it means you need to understand the whole chapter. Versus can often only be understood by using other verses, not only in other chapters, but in other books of the Bible, and even in the other Testament. In the end, understanding the overall meaning of the whole Bible, and good old-fashioned common sense, will help you a lot.
Some people criticize the Bible as condoning slavery, or being sexist, and many other such things. I can understand that initially, but after some work and thought have been employed to understand the Word of God, I think you will see otherwise.
The Bible was written by men, who were supervised if you will, and guided by the Holy Spirit of God. The world of those times, just like the world of today, operated under the God-given right of free will. We always have free will.
There were slave and slave owners in those times. In parts of Africa, there still is. The Jews themselves were once enslaved. That does not mean the Bible endorsed slavery. Far from it.
The world was run mostly by men. Does that surprise you? They were operating under free will. Having said that, some of the most important stories in the Bible are those of women. God used women in a very special way. The Christian faith exists, and continues today, in many respects, because of faithful and amazing women. The point is, the world was what it was, because of free will. It is written the way it was written, because it was done in the context of the world that existed at the time.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ.
The sentiment above is repeated with different words, in several verses in the Bible. When it says Greek, it means gentile. Greece was the world’s most powerful country at the time this was written, and like everyone other than the Jews, they were gentiles. This entire verse is meant to make an eternal statement towards Christians and their equality as far as how God sees you. When it says neither man nor woman, that is exactly what it means. No matter how you think we in this world handle the equality of women, God will be perfect. When it speaks of neither bond nor free, it tells us not only that he sees no difference in slave and master, if you have come to the lord, it means that neither rich nor poor, powerful or weak, matters at all to him. In fact this verse is saying it matters not what color you are, how you speak, how tall you are or how short. If you have accepted Jesus, you are to inherit the Kingdom of God.
In other Bible verses when it states that God is not a respecter of persons, it means that he views everyone with the same love and of equal stature.
While the writers of the Bible, were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit of God, but it wasn’t dictated to them. They weren’t merely secretaries. God often uses the least likely people to further his cause, and in many cases (Paul) this was true with the Apostles. In the end, all of the New Testament Apostles except John, gave their lives for the cause. They were beaten, imprisoned and eventually killed for what they believed. You can read Paul’s statements when he is telling us, that he will soon die. His head was cut off shortly after. Sound familiar in today’s world. Even John, had survived being boiled in oil and was blind and in prison has he wrote the final book of the Bible.
You cannot truly understand the Bible, if you focus solely on the New Testament. The Old Testament, is about the same subject, sin and how Christ and the Cross and his sacrifice can save you from it. The difference is, it predates the actual coming of The Son of God (The Son of Man). Everything from the old law, to the Tabernacle and the entire sacrificial system, represent the Savior that was going to come.
One of the hardest things for all of us to understand, and for others to explain about God is, how can it possibly be God the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. How can all that exist in a world with only one God? I (finally) understand what is called the Trinity, or by some the Three God Head, but like every other human being with this understanding, I fall woefully short in my descriptions. It is almost beyond us. The description below, is disagreed with by many good Christians and of course by many “so-called” Christians as well. I stand by this in every way, even though my description, will be inadequate.
There is one God, but there are three distinct and different parts and functions of that God. For those of you in the “oneness doctrine“, keep in mind that Jesus prayed to the Father, and sits at the right hand of him today. That is indisputable in the Bible. Jesus, is indeed a man, he is also the one and only God. The Holy Ghost, is an active and incredibly important but separate part of that one God. That Spirit is what teaches you, guides you, and convicts you. Any truly born again Christian knows how important that last part is. In fact, the Spirit can and will (if you let it) work inside of you to create a joy filled existence. Those guilt tinges that you feel when you sin, be it against God or your fellow-man, come from the Holy Ghost and are what inspire you to (sincerely) repent, and feel the wonder of the weight of that sin washing away in the Blood of Jesus. If you are sincere and saved, you need no longer to carry it with you.
Jesus Christ is a man. He is also God. Notice I said is. When he walked this earth he got hungry, cold and tired just like anyone. He could have called on his deity, but he did not. I’ve heard that described as that he had full possession of his deity, but used no expression of it. He felt the pain of those spikes going into his flesh. His body had to be capable of dying. Yet, as we were told by the proclamation when he was first called Emanuel (meaning God with us), he is indeed also the one and only God. Jesus is fully man, and fully God.
All in all, three functions and personalities, one God.
I believe that it is important to know both the Old Testament (Covenant) and the New. Do understand however, that Jesus is the New Covenant. He does not merely bring it to us, or represent it, he is the New Covenant. While hanging on that cross, when he said, it is finished, it meant that he fulfilled all of the law. His sacrifice did that. It was in a sense, a legal proceeding. He made it legal for us to become saved, and go to heaven. He did, what the blood of all those bulls and goats could never do. He did what we could not do for ourselves. He is your rest. He is your shelter. Jesus and what he did for you and me on Calvary’s Cross, could not have been done any other way. Something God knew from the beginning of time. As we are told in the Word of God, it is a “better” covenant.
As an aside, when you see me refer to the Cross, I am not speaking of the beam he was crucified on, or the one you or I might wear on a lapel. The cross he died on was a common instrument of death used by the Romans at that time, and the one you wear on your clothes or see on a church, is symbolic. The symbolic crosses we use can be inspiring to us in keeping Jesus in our thoughts, but when you hear or read about the Cross of Christ, it means what he did for us and why. It is possible (and dangerous) to treat those symbolic crosses as idols or substitutes.
I felt inspired to write about what I believe the book we call the Bible means. Some of you will find it amusing, some will find it interesting but uninspired, and some of you, especially if you are religious, might well be furious with me. It is of course my opinion about the truth about the Bible and you are welcome to take it, or leave it. If any one of you, find what’s written here beneficial in your journey to meet the Lord, it is in fact, He that deserves the credit and the praise, as my meager writings are woefully inadequate.
I am still not sure what I am going to do with these sorts of articles. They really do not belong on this blog, and I am disappointed with the possibilities of most other blog providers that I have checked. I may eventually reroute these particular posts to the beginning of this blog, all kept in the order which they have been written.
One last point, although I’ve already touched on this earlier in today’s post, in that case in regards to everybody, regardless of faith. Christians should be activists, or at least vote. Those who think we are supposed to stick our heads in the sand and hide, have read a different bible than I have. Those denominations that teach this sort of thing usually fancy themselves as special in the eyes of God. Don’t let the human ego associated with a religion, keep you from your duty.
God Bless, Wayne