Saturday 15 June 2024

Sacrificial Ignorance: A response to William Hall

Time to look at a ridiculous comment:

First of all, provide a reference for this claim that if a sacrifice comes back to life, it’s not a real sacrifice. 

Second, the comment made by Stuart Federow of “Jesus gave up his life for a weekend.” is a silly and ignorant comment. Jesus talked about giving his life as a ransom in addition to pointing out he came to suffer, die and rise again.

The resurrection doesn’t cancel out a sacrifice, the New Testament writers would not have conceived of such an absurdity.

This is just mockery with no real argumentation. Do better next time.

Answering Judaism

The Lamb of God 2: Response to The Counter Missionary Voice

 There is a post I have come across which I like to provide a response to the Counter Missionary Voice. It was written by Yehuda Yisrael. Let us take a look. (italics mine)

~The "lamb" of G-d~

It's that time of year again! What's more, Pesach and Easter happened to coincide with each other this year. Many Christians look to these verses in Genesis to justify their faith that Jesus is their "Passover lamb":

Genesis 22:7 And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and he said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And they both went together.

The Christians assert that this reference to a "lamb" must refer to Jesus, since Abraham sacrifices a ram and not a lamb, later in the chapter. Never mind the fact that Jesus was not sacrificed as a burnt offering on a fire, as Isaac inquires. And never mind the fact that the Israelites sacrificed literal lambs in Exodus chapter 12 and roasted them over a fire, literally a burnt offering!

This misses the point of New Testament Typology arguments. 

Obviously Christ wasn't burned, but what was the connection that was made by Christians between Christ and the binding of Isaac? Abraham saw a ram with it's head caught in a thorn bush. A ram was provided in the place of Isaac, just as Christ was a substitute for us, to cleanse us from transgression. The subject of the method of sacrificing is not an issue that Christians think about, it's what the lamb's sacrifice was pointing to, a righteous substitute. Another thing is the hill that Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac on the altar on the very mountain that Jesus was crucified. The one who raises the point about Christ not being a burnt offering as an argument miss the entire point that Christians make regarding this point.

The Christian doesn't care to let the Torah speak to itself. This "lamb" must refer to Jesus!

What's even more incredulous about the Christian obsession with "the lamb of G-d" is that the Christians have the chutzpah to literally elevate this "lamb" to the status of a god! The ironic thing is, the Christians weren't the first to do this. The Egyptians beat them to the punch!:

Exodus 8:22 But Moses said, "It is improper to do that, for we will sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to God our Lord. Will we sacrifice the deity of the Egyptians before their eyes, and they will not stone us?

Indeed, the Egyptians worshiped the lamb as a deity, just as the Christians do today, albeit in a roundabout way. The "lamb of G-d" was never meant to be elevated to the status of G-d, but rather to be transformed into an act of service to G-d. The Christians have reverted back to the ways of the Egyptians by deifying and worshiping the "lamb." May we all gain clarity and break free from the worship of "the lamb" and devote our worship to the One True G-d of Israel!

-Yehuda Yisrael

The "lamb of God obsession" from Christians has nothing to do with Egypt and even if Egypt did it first, there is literally no connection between the two and are different contexts.

On a side note from a previous article I wrote, The Lamb of God, There were other cases where Jesus is referred to as a lamb (which was raised to me by another Jew,) such as in Acts 8:32 and in 1 Peter 3:19. With respect to the point in Peter, I am aware that unblemished lamb in the Torah refers to blind lambs or crippled or any defect. This is a point I also address in my response to Eli Cohen:

"Leviticus 4:28 and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect.

Cohen rightly points out that a female goat doesn't mean the goat is sinless, but rather defects that the interviewer alludes to. I already know this, a defect in the lamb to me would of been something wrong with it's eyes, legs or any part of his body that is broken, bruised, or battered. I am already aware of this as are other informed Christians. He also goes onto say it doesn't have to be a rightous animal, just a wholesome animal. However, what Cohen doesn't realise is that the lamb is a picture or an antitype of Jesus being our vicarious atonement." (http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-rabbi-eli-cohen-on-blood.html)

Peter is making the point that due to Christ's sinlessness, his atonement satisfied the wrath of God. He is using the blemish of the lambs to illustrate his point.

Answering Judaism.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Sunday Worship? What is actually said?

 

You are probably thinking why I posted this here. Well it's simply to respond to it. Let us take a look.

Isaiah 1:13

The passage in question is not displeasure with the Sabbath in and of itself. It is talking about the observances of the law become detestable because of the unrepentant sin of Israel. None of the observances were bad, it was the heart of the people being far from YHWH himself:

10 Hear the word of the Lord,

    you rulers of Sodom!

Give ear to the teaching[b] of our God,

    you people of Gomorrah!

11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?

    says the Lord;

I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams

    and the fat of well-fed beasts;

I do not delight in the blood of bulls,

    or of lambs, or of goats.


12 “When you come to appear before me,

    who has required of you

    this trampling of my courts?

13 Bring no more vain offerings;

    incense is an abomination to me.

New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—

    I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts

    my soul hates;

they have become a burden to me;

    I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands,

    I will hide my eyes from you;

even though you make many prayers,

    I will not listen;

    your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;

cease to do evil,

17     learn to do good;

seek justice,

    correct oppression;

bring justice to the fatherless,

    plead the widow's cause.


18 “Come now, let us reason[c] together, says the Lord:

though your sins are like scarlet,

    they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red like crimson,

    they shall become like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,

    you shall eat the good of the land;

20 but if you refuse and rebel,

    you shall be eaten by the sword;

    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Once the people repented then the worship would be acceptable again, including the Sabbath.

Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2-9, Matthew 20:1-19

The verses in question I don't have much to say, Jesus did indeed rise on the first day of the week, as to whether or not one is obligated to celebrate that day is another issue.

Acts 20:7

Gathering together on the first week was not an obligation, it was a free choice in the early church. It is only later that it became imposed on the church and even to this day it is imposed on the individual. 

The context here simply explains what Paul was going to do:

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and[b] the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

1 Corinthians 16:2

Paul is talking to the Corinthians about a collection they are to do. The context is plain and speaks for itself.

16 Now concerning[a] the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

Colossians 2:16-17

This would also apply to Sunday service. A Christian is under no obligation to keep a special day, that is entirely the freedom of a Christ, If a congregation member chooses to observe Sunday as special or a Messianic Jew chooses to observe Saturday or both or neither, I am not to act as their judge in this matter.

The Sabbath is indeed a shadow and is not obligated to be kept though the person is free to observe it in honour of the Lord Jesus Christ, it's a matter of liberty and conscience.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities[b] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.[c]

Let No One Disqualify You

16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions,[d] puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

2 Thessalonians 2:15

The traditions here are the teachings of the apostles. It doesn't tell us to hold to "apostolic tradition." I say that because much of Rome holds to that idea. The litmus test now is, Does a teaching agree with the scriptures? 

Even the full context of the passages warns against letters that seem to come from the apostles but in the end do not:

2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Stand Firm

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits[d] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Hebrews 4:8-9

Let us take a look at the context shall we:

4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.[a] 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,

‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[b] would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The Sabbath here in question is Jesus himself, He is the Sabbath rest for Christians, not Sunday, not Saturday, but He is our rest. As said before, the observance of a day is not an obligation upon Christians in and of itself. The principle however is that Christians must not forsake fellowship with other believers.

It doesn't matter what day it is, it matters if you are doing it or not. Such is found in Hebrews 10:

10:19 Therefore, brothers,[c] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 7:12

It boggles the mind how one could even read the biblical text in this way, It addresses nothing about the Sabbath, it's talking about the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus, especially because his sacrifice actually took away our sins, not merely covered it.

7 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.

4 See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers,[a] though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Jesus Compared to Melchizedek

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,

“You are a priest forever,

    after the order of Melchizedek.”

18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

“The Lord has sworn

    and will not change his mind,

‘You are a priest forever.’”

22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[b] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Revelation 1:10

The observance of a day is not even a command here nor anything remotely to do with the Sabbath and the Rest in Jesus. John is talking about when he received the vision that the Holy Spirit gave him to write the Book of Revelation.

The interpretation given in the original post makes about as much sense as Steven Anderson burning non-KJV bibles through the usage of Acts 19. (Which was talking about burning witchcraft/occult material.)

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Matthew 16:19,18:18

There is an article I have written many years ago which can read here:

https://answering-judaism.blogspot.com/2014/11/more-roman-catholic-and-eastern_7.html

While Binding and Losing is referring to the rabbinic ruling of permitting (losing) and prohibiting (binding), it's within the parameters that God has set through the apostles. It does not give the church the right to impose any holiday or special on it's congregants, which I have already said it is a matter of personal conscience.

Communion has to be taken though the day doesn't matter, even Jesus didn't observe it on the first day of the week and that again is personal freedom. The Lord's Supper should be regularly celebrated nonetheless.

At the end of the day, check the scriptures for yourself.

Answering Judaism.

Sunday 31 December 2023

Love? Examination of Spinoza.

This post was sent to me this morning and I was compelled to address it, it was a Facebook post on Love.

When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was:

- Do you believe in God?

And he always answered:

- I believe in the God of Spinoza.

Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes.

I am not one who has read Descartes, though that isn't relevant to what I am saying here.

(Spinoza) : God would say:

Stop praying.

What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I've made for you.

This automatically is a red flag, as the Bible encourages and commands prayer. God doesn't stop you having fun in the sense of an ordinary thing that isn't moral in and of itself. You could visit a city, a field, the seaside and take the sights in. You could even try a new meal you never had, so long as the Lord's commands are obeyed and the mindset of "Lord willing we shall go into such and such a town and do business." is present (James 4:13-15).

Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That's where I live and there I express my love for you.

Whether it is at home or in a church, the worship of God is encompassed in the whole of life. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) I don't even know what this post is going on about.

Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don't blame me for everything they made you believe.

God isn't blame for a miserable life, if anything we bring it on ourselves. He does bring trials to draw us closer to himself and make us holy, weaning us off the things of the world. While we can debate what hobbies we can have or what things we can do that aren't evil in and of themselves, the ultimate goal is the glorification of God. (1 John 2:15-18, James 4:1-12, Romans 14, Colossians 3:1-11)

To suggest that God doesn't tell us we are sinners is a lie, The scriptures, inspired by him tell us we are sinners in need of atonement and grace. (Romans 3:23)

Sex itself was designed as a holy gift, it's only because of the fall of man that it has been perverted into something that God didn't intend. There are specific practices that will earn the wrath of God, whether it be adultery, fornication, homosexuality and other sins that could be listed. Sex is a holy thing given to the human race in the confines of marriage, not something to be bandied about and altered (Romans 1:19-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:16-26, Revelation 21:8, 22:15.)

Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can't read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son's eyes... ➤ you will find me in no book!

If you were talking about other "holy scriptures" I could understand but how do you know God is there? He is found in a book and that same book, the Bible, tells us that man knows God exists but their consciences convict them and as such, mankind rebels and rejects this truth. (Romans 1:19-32)

Stop asking me "will you tell me how to do my job?" Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.

Love involves rebuking, correcting, condemning and judging (The irony is people who say it doesn't still engage in a moral judgement of some kind.) As long hypocrisy isn't present, that is what that matters. It also does have grace to allow the person be reconciled to God (and an offended person or party if any. (Matthew 7:1-5, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Stop asking for forgiveness, there's nothing to forgive. If I made you... I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies... free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I'm the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?

You have to ask for forgiveness, otherwise, hell is your abode, that is how it works (1 John 5-10 talks about believers confessing their sins.) The only to be saved is to call on the name of the Lord and do as he bids (Acts 17:30-31) (Though this is out of gratitude and love rather than saving yourself.) 

What things are put into us? While an ordinary pleasure isn't sinful necessarily, does it really fulfill you in the long run? If you live for it rather than treat it as an ordinary thing you can live without or the very least, recognise it could fail and treat it as a neutral thing and never let it be an idol, the thing will fail you in the end. (Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 16:13.) 

Where does it say God made you the way you are? That is incredibly nebulous and doesn't say anything.

Respect your peers and don't do what you don't want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.

My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need.

I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.

You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell.

If your life leads you in the wrong direction to hell, all your efforts are meaningless. You must have boundaries. This kind of subjectivity is very dangerous.

Christians will ending up sinning and falling short but they will grieve over it. (1 John 1:5-10.)

➤ I can't tell you if there's anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.

So, if there's nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won't ask if you behaved right or wrong, I'll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?...

God will judge us based on how we have lived. If we refuse to trust in Jesus and go our own way, we are lost. God is not mocked, he will hold us to account for every thought, word and deed. (Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 12:36, Acts 17:31, Romans 2:16, Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:11-15)

Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don't want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.

Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am?

We all called to self-denial, not belief in ourselves. (Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-35, Luke 9:23-24, John 12:25-26.) 

God isn't an egomaniac, he is our creator deserving of love, attention, worship and obedience. It is a foolish thought to refer God in this way.

I'm bored being praised. I'm tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That's the way to praise me.

God will never cease being tired of praise or being thanked. He only doesn't want either if you are in rebellion and refuse to repent. There are plenty of examples of this in the Old Testament; (Isaiah 1:1-20, 59:1-2, Micah 6:6-16, Jeremiah 3:6-14) You should take care of yourself, others and your relationships but all have to be attended to in order to bring honour and glory to God. For one who repents, his wickedness is forgotten. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 18:21-24, the latter warns that the opposite is also true.)

Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you've been taught about me.

What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations?

The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.

- Spinoza 

Everything we learn from childhood by that criteria is repeated like a parakeet. In fact, the Bible in Proverbs tells us (though this isn't always true) that something seems right at first until later examined (Proverbs 18:17). Granted, this verse refers to court cases but nevertheless, the principle in life is the same. Something you have been taught may have been right though you might have to correct yourself if you come across someone else who would examine that belief you hold. If you are correct, obviously there is no need for correction but if you are wrong, it is worth correcting that belief and behaviour.

Miracles also are not proof of something to be true. You can perform x number of miracles and still have no person believe in Jesus. In fact, Jesus actually didn't do miracles in one town because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58.) His parable of the rich man and Lazarus is also further confirmation that even if someone is raised from the dead, a person will not believe (Luke 16:19-31.) 

Answering Judaism.

Saturday 17 November 2018

What did you do with your talents?

We are going to look at the parable of the talents.

"Matthew 25:14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’"

The basic point of this parable is our servitude to Jesus. Believers of different backgrounds, rich or poor with whatever resources they have are to live holy and obedient lives consecrated to Christ. It cuts through the idea that a lack of resources means you cannot do much.

Think about it. If one is a billionaire, his or her resources can be used to help many individuals across the world, if there is a Christian billionaire. Someone of a moderate income can do what they can in their local area and possibly outside and finally, those of low income can help support their families (if possible) through their house keeping. No limit is placed on gospel preaching through your income and also, your testimony at work, your home, the club you go to (if there is one) etc., while you may not necessarily talk about God, you live your life in such a way that the individual glorifies God and some sees you as reliable and trustworthy.

It matters not to God what you have, it's how you use the resources  or talents (as in things you can do) given to you and there is no excuse for laziness and slackness.

It also makes me think it is the little things that matter as well as the big which is nothing. For example, dusting your workplace to keep it clean is just as important as keeping the stock up and making a huge profit. The man who buried his talent could have used it to get a second talent or even go the extra mile. The master would have been pleased with being given two talents or even if the man went multiple times to get more talents. Imagine the result if he had ten talents from his efforts as opposed to the one which he hid away. It cuts through the concept of being work-shy.

Rebekah Merkle's application in her book "Eve in Exile" is sure make to make housewives appreciate and have a higher view of their role as keepers of the home (Titus 2:5), especially the neglect from the church to teach it and also the foul stench that so plagues being a house wife thanks to feminism creeping into the church and the church doing nothing about it. This isn’t the whole quotation but this snippet should be of interest.

"We twenty first century American women have been materially blessed beyond our wildest dreams of most women throught out all of history, we have been given the most talents and God has given us the most blessings in order that we may turn a profit on them. If we bury the talents and just float, we know what God says to us at the end of the day "You wicked and slothful servant!" We need to look around at what God has given us and then figure our how to turn a profit on it. If we can do that, we can look forward to a "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I'll set you over much. Enter the joy of your master." So why should we run when we don't have to? Because that's what God made us to do. A Eric Liddel so eloquently says in Chariots of Fire, "God made me run fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure."" Eve in Exile, Rebekah Merkle, pg 149.

There is appreciation of little tasks, no matter how difficult it may be, they are much greater than we realise. Even the smallest gesture of service to other people can be an acceptable sacrifice, paying them a visit in person just for a chat, especially when they have had an off day or in a state of misery, even just a simple hello is a good place to start.

The point is, Christian service is still to be given, we have hard work to do, including that of witnessing to others where we are. It's one thing to have a hobby at the end of the day or watching the television for the glory of Christ, but it's quite another to let those things run your whole life. The man with one talent squandered what he had and lost out on the chance of remaining in his master's house.

Answering Judaism

Saturday 10 November 2018

Venom: Has God abandoned us?

Venom is Sony’s most recent comic book movie release not under the MCU banner of movies and while has generally negative reviews from critics, the audience response has been mixed to positive and as earned more than $500 million world wide, so far a modest hit. The movie has its fair share of issues but is not an insulting or insufferable experience but entertaining on all three occasions I saw it.

But I am not talking about what I think of it as a whole nor the Eminem song at the end of the film but a specific line uttered by the film’s villain, Carlton Drake, leader of the Life Foundation who is experimenting on individuals by binding them to Symbiotes as a means of fighting poverty and other issues. The problem is his tests beforehand and during such tests are controversial as his experiments result in individuals dying and bonding people to symbiotes is not an exception as some of the people bonded to them where either incompatible or suffered bodily degradation due to the symbiotes feeding on vital organs.

Before Isaac, one of his volunteers is killed due to incompatibility with the symbiote, Drake relays the story of Abraham and Isaac to him. He claims the story about Abraham and Isaac is not about Abraham’s sacrifice but Isaac’s and not knowing what sort of God would ask that of anyone. Drake also goes on about war and poverty being present and the world on the brink of collapse, claiming that God has abandoned humanity and he won’t abandon it, saying that it’s up to him and others including Isaac to set things right.

When ever scripture is used in cinema, no matter the intent or context, I can understand why some quotations are used but do take issue with how quotes are used.

Firstly, and putting aside for a moment original sin which I believe in, God doesn’t abandon anyone unless they continually reject him. If someone refuses to repent, God will turn his back on them until they die, after which they face judgement or if the person in question repents, to which he will return to them in mercy and grace.

The reason Saul didn’t receive any messages from God was not God refusing to forgive after repentance, it was the fact Saul didn’t repent and grew gradually worse. If Saul repented, he wouldn’t have the kingdom to rule but he would have been loved by God and God would have listened but Saul didn’t repent and in desperation sought out a medium which was the final move in his destruction. David however in Pslam 51 begged YHWH not to take his Holy Spirit away and sought God for forgiveness, he had a repentant heart that was ashamed of sinning against his creator.

Our planet is rotting because of our sins, the sin of Adam bringing “war and poverty” with it. If Carlton Drake was real, he would be very wrong in saying that God has abandoned him partially. I say partially because God would listen if Drake would humble himself. It is not God who stops caring about us, it’s the other way around. We refuse to listen and he has no time for us but if we turn to him, he will hear us. Did God not say to Jeremiah “If you repent, I will restore you so that you may serve me”?

God can intervene with the affairs of men and he has the right to but does allow men to go their own way and thus reap the consequences. In a way, we can sort out the mess in any way we can but we will never be successful in eliminating the problem completely. Only by trust and obedience to God can we get out of our ruts. We are not promised our best life now but we would be better off obeying him and being happier due to holiness rather than engaging in sin, leading to many problems which are numerous to list, including poverty which can either be due someone’s greed robbing others of their hard earned money or laziness bringing poverty upon them not to mention there maybe sickness that’s either their fault or not, a criminal conviction that’s either their fault or not. If one were to follow God’s instructions, we would have none of these problems.

Second, The type of God that would ask someone to sacrifice their son is the type of God that demands utmost obedience and praise, giving up the things we cherish the most if that’s what it takes to be loyal to him. Not an easy task but can be accomplished by God’s grace, “for with God, nothing is impossible”.

Jesus consistent with his Father, told the rich young ruler to part with what he cherished the most then follow him, a hard saying that the rich ruler couldn’t accept. Jesus may give different requests to people, he isn’t saying all are to do what the rich ruler did to his riches, again, the  principle is the willingness to part with something if that is a barrier between you and God, serving him above all else. It may be temporary or permanent, it varies from person to person and not necessarily money or possessions but can be the case.

Third, the story is not so much about Isaac himself but Abraham, it was a test from God as mentioned previously above, a proof of his faith by his deeds, thus preventing it from being a faith without works that is dead. It’s not Isaac’s sacrifice but Abraham’s although Isaac willingly allowed it, being a 30 year old or so at the time, he would be strong enough to resist but didn’t. God stayed Abraham’s hand as a result of his loyalty, after Abraham showed his willingness to obey without exception.

I am not saying Venom was a bad movie, it wasn’t, but I tend to hold films more accountable when they use the Bible in one fashion or another.

Answering Judaism.

Saturday 3 November 2018

A look into "The Time is fulfilled, How prepared are you?"

A few weeks ago, I was handed a leaflet in Kingsmead by a missionary from the group known as HOREMOW or Holiness Revival Movement Worldwide. It would be better to take a look at what it says now in this article now rather than not looking at it at all. Let us examine it.

"The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ draws near every minute and hour that passes by. It is very important for everyone who has hope of eternity to take heed now. We advancements and inventions of different types and shapes of computers and micro-chips, the unifying of financial systems, the scaricity of money denominations in place now, is indicating the antichrist preparedness to take over the world and the world bodies, the economic meltdown and down turn problems of life even in our individual lives must be a very big eye opening to all believers. These are signals indicating to humans that this age is coming to an end, that the Bible prophecies that say "The day is approaching" is at hand.

But the unfortunate thing is that many believers even the very elect are not watchful. A call for watchfulness in church of Christ  whom our Lord Jesus Christ bought with His previous blood-the groom of the Lord-the heavenly minded believers should be very, very alert in the spirit now more than ever, waiting earnestly for the raputre. Now the question is "How prepared are you"? This advices us not to sleep as do others but let us watch and be sober, for they that sleep, sleep in the night 1 Thesa 5vs6-8."

Is the leaflet here appearing to be promoting a pre tribulation rapture or that the day of Jesus' return is immiment? We'll get to that later. The scripture in question however does not say we are to be waiting earnestly for the rapture. We should be waiting for the return of Jesus. I shall give a brief explaination of the thief in the night text later on.

"As believers, we are instructed not to indulge in spiritual sleep but be watchful, putting on the breastplate of faith and love. In the midst of these happening, we should make sure that our Christian experiences are intact, living a holy and righteous life with sincerity of heart and in searching purity inside and outside our lives, homes, work, compound we live, in our businesses, run the church of God and everywhere we find ourselves also preaching urgently this sweet salvation message to others so that we can snatch their souls from destruction in hell."

There isn't anything here that is theologically bad here in this section. Seems alright. There is an emphasis on holy living that is sorely missing from many Christian congregations, namely applying holiness to every aspect of our lives rather than just to the "religious" part. For the most part, this section is fine.

"Always have the mind of Jesus, self control and unceasing prayer life Mt. 28vs19-20, Phil 2v5, Ps. 119vs33-37, Rm12v2, 1 Corinth. 9vs24-27. Do not live your Christians life base on your past experiences and achievements, rather always have "Self Check" if you are still in the faith."

Many Christians who have read scripture indeed know that it is important to self examine ourselves because it is easy for us to be lead astray. Not too much to say here. What I will say is we need to be cautious on what they may believe about grace. Paul indeed tells us to self check ourselves and not be conformed to the evil of the world either in thought, word and deed. in along with Psalm 119 being a holy poem, beseeching God to help them to be more obedient to his word and the declaration of the love of his law.

"The idea of once saved is forever saved will lead many believers to everlasting regret because that is not what the scripture says but satan's ideas to destroy human souls in hell. Are you living a careless life of backsliding, pride yourself on your past Christian achievements and experiences? Please ask yourself "Are You In The Number Of The Rapturable Saints?""

Despite not believing in once saved always saved myself, I think it's still important to realise there are two distinct views as sometimes the term "once saved always saved" is used for both. One view Perserverance of the Saints states that those who are truly saved will persevere in holiness to the end. The other view however states that you pray a prayer and you are in and no matter what you do or say or think, you are saved. The Perseverance of the Saints view that many hold to will agree that believing in Antinomianism is morally reprehensible. (Corrected on 16th of June 2024 to make point clearer.)

"The scripture cautioned believers to constantly run this heavenly race with diligent and carefulness so that we will not run in vain 1 Corinth 9vs24-27 Only Jesus that strengthens us and He alone with His glorious power qualifies us for inheritance in heaven Phil 4.13, Col. 1vs11-12

Our daily self-check is very important these days to know if we are still qualified as the Lord's day is fast approaching. Try every day to restore, reconcile, amend and restitute your life even your marriage and be in good condition with God, people and be commited to God more in word and in work because the day of your watchman and your punishment comes-now is the hour of our repentance and preparedness. How Prepared Are You?"

This section on the surface looks fine. It points to Jesus being the one who strengthens us and does encourage true repentance among the Christian ranks. The only time where reconciling your marriage would not be possible is if you remarry and the second (and subsequent other) person you married dies and you cannot remarry your previous spouse (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). The previous spouse is off limits in light of adultery being committed. The thing to be wary of is any group can claim grace but what matters is their practice. Even Rome and the Mormons speak of grace yet that's different. Maybe I could be wrong about HOREMOW but it's worth examining their teaching according to the scriptures. That's not to say Lordship Salvation is heretical (It's not) but it's worth being on the look out for someone who maybe teaching an unrighteous doctrine of works salvation.

"We should be prepared by:-
1. Always have our hearts circumcised and purified.
2. We must be consecrated and re-dedicated to God on daily basis. Always cross-checking our living and in our daily communication with God to see if their is any where we have erred wrongly and need for quick repentance and ask God for mercy.
3. Live as if there is no tomorrow for you, that now is the only time you have before rapture.
4. Always have good relationship with people. Don't keep malice or bitterness.
5. Always have eternity in view
6. Always live an upright life and be focused for eternity.
7 Always have a passion for lost souls for this is the purpose of our calling Mt 28 vs 19-20, Lk. 2 v 49, John 9 v 14

The rat-race of wealth and riches in their present age will soon pass away, considering the ungodly practices in this age, the corruption in hight places, in everywhere and the negative effects of advancement in technology, the rate of evil, hardship encounter all over the world, a true believer must try to live a transparent and holy life before all- both in secret and in the open Mt. 5v16

Let use be wise in our daily preparation for rapture so that, that day will not meet us unaware. Beware of the Lord's wrath Isaiah 13v9. THe time is about to clock 12 midnight-The fulfillment of the hour. Run fast for Jesus is already at the door. How prepared are you?"

The 7 points above are not terrible points and the point on living a holy and transparent life are certainly to be commended but again I advise caution as the group could be seen as works salvationists. As for the rapture, it is not going to catch true believers unaware or generally speaking the return of Jesus to earth.

See my article on the rapture here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-rapture-when-it-will-occur.html

The rapture itself is not an event that is imminent, it's soon. As for the thief in the night text, Jesus only will catch individuals unaware if they are not awake and following Christ. Those committed to Jesus will not be caught out, for they are watching sober and alert. We should expect Jesus return in our lifetime but we should never interpret that as he can come any minute because the apostle Paul never said such and Jesus himself never made that claim either. The tribulation as I mention in the article above MUST occur before the rapture has taken place.

As David Pawson once said "It is the delay that tests if you're ready, not if you think he is coming next Tuesday." What we do in the time before his return is what matters, whether we are serving him continually or not.

The leaflet is a mixed bag and clarification on what it believes in the book as well or instead a link that redirects us to their creeds and confessions. Some confusion in the small leaflet would lead to misunderstanding. What they believe does need clarification. It may not be the intent of the leaflet to mislead and misdirect but with false teachers running around, we must remain vigilant.

Answering Judaism.