Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2018

“Come master, I shall lead you to a seat of honour myself. My great patron has opened his doors and finest wine from Cyprus must flow. Yes indeed!” I being a stranger did not think twice. I followed my cicerone into the cool hall marbled and gilded along the cornice,- and beneath the unbroken band and between pillars festooned with rose garlands I could see the Aegean sea purple, and looking the other way the tables of viands and wine cups by the reclining lounges were lordly. Men from strange lands took their ease. The host a portly man, a cross between Midas and Lucullus, who upon seeing me came towards me and greeted, ‘Gods above and titans below but mead within our hands.’ I thanked and said, “May we live to enjoy work of our hands ever.’ My guide had meanwhile found the seat of honor and made himself scarce. He was a parasite and having done some useful service he was entitled to his share of the feast.
My host led me to my seat and next he settled himself. Pouring wine he slowly pressed me to share my experience for the benefit of all. Having quaffed enough drinks and had eaten I said,” I made so much wealth which was easier done than my three sons who having received their share went their ways. One son went in search of the world to come and that was the last of him; so I went in search of the son who went underworld and may gods forgive if he have lost his way. But the last one who was the least adventuresome decided to find his own occupation.”
The host said, “If you want to find your son, your task is a wild goose chase.” How shall you find him? Does he carry any easily identifiable feature to pick him from the crowd?” I said, “He is tightlipped except when has had more wine than he can carry. He is sure to sing the most outrageous imitation of catcalls. In between he would add crowing of a rooster as though it made his silliness any better.” Instantly the entire audience turned their necks to one corner and sure enough I understood why. There was my son ready to perform. He barely could stand but there he was my cicerone for the evening, drunk as a lord. I would not have recognized himself,-but sure as Zeus is Jove, my son in flesh! his performance was tour de force. How did he achieve it I could not say.
Benny

Read Full Post »

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matt.6:10).”

Jesus taught his disciples to pray and the above mentioned quote is taken from that short prayer which we know as the Lord’s Prayer. One interesting feature of prayer is in how not to pray. “…When you pray, use not vain repetitions, do as the heathens do.” So we are not to recite name of God hundred or thousand times. Neither do we manufacture by our own cleverness names each emphasizing an aspect of his Power and Wisdom nor imagine we are past praying. What is our power and wisdom? Shall not our Maker know of what worth it all amounts to? So a right standing with God is so simple as the prayer Jesus taught us. Even before we make petition for our failing health or sickness in the family, ‘Your Father knoweth what things you have need of, before you ask him.’ So the Lord’s Prayer is not meant as petitions but to be in the right spirit and to keep the contact with our Father as you do on earth. Prayer interceding for needs of others and our own needs are special and such ability to continue in prayer is a gift. The Lord’s Prayer however is to keep the right standing with God.
The elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk.15:11-32)would not come in because he held resentment against his Father. “He(elder son) was angry, and would not go in.” Is not our difficulty to pray, is on account of our failings than of God? The elder son as his custom was went from the field straight home to his father. On one day he is told his brother had been found and he is home. He was angry with his brother who had come having wasted all. The problem with the elder son lay in his own sense of propriety than anything else. (His self-righteousness was not from God but his own. It gave him an idea how a bad son should be taken to task by the parent for getting out of the line. Self-righteousness is such it shall not tell the truth that his father has the right to love his son no matter what. So the elder son was in the wrong for other reasons than the wrong the lost son was guilty of. It is what one tells the man has a mote n his eye while he misses the beam right in his own.)
Our Father in heaven has the sovereign right to give gifts to all liberally or deny; and the parable is intended to illustrate ‘There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth (Lk.15:10)’.

A child of God reveals his closeness to God in his communion with God. “Pray without ceasing (1 Thess:5:17). Paul prayed for believers and for their steadfastness. “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Thess.5:23). When we pray first and foremost consider it as a cherished moment where each one is in an intimate moment with ‘our Father which art in heaven.’ Celebrating such a moment is what every Christian should seek as a privilege and a gift of love. Lastly I shall quote here a passage to show whatever we do or whatever others do to us for good or bad shall have it noted in heaven as well. It is a warning not to despise meek and the weak in terms of material terms.’Little ones’ are not only in terms of age or size but the vulnerable who can easily be driven to the wall. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do aways behold the face of my Father which is in heaven (Matt.18:10).” It shall be clear to anyone that heaven is in context of the earth and nothing good we ever do for the glory of our Lord Savior shall be forgotten. It is a memorial in heaven.
Benny

Read Full Post »

“For he(Abraham) looked for a city…whose builder and maker is God (He.11:10).”

Man makes his city of habitation. In the verse quoted here above, we find a city made by God is mentioned. Throughout the Scripture we shall note a parallelism existing between heaven and the earth. Man builds a city one of the earliest mentioned is the one founded by Cain whose credentials ought to give us the quality of it. Cain settled in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden (Ge.4:16) and built a city and called it after the name of his son. It is no different from Alexandria or Constantinople to commemorate famous people. Leaving the presence of God one can imagine the city founded by him and the kind of people who would have settled there. The cities of habitation are all alike. Man creates cities and brings many to dwell in company; slowly number of people swells necessitating city limits to extend further. If the created in turn drive the creator to fall in a pattern, that is what urban dwelling would mean, are they not slaves to custom or habit brought upon themselves? Look at any city and the frenetic pace of their daily routine to understand this truism. Their urbanity and way of life go against the nature of things. Longer hours and living on caffeine or strong spirits, commuting to and from, all the while racing against time and missed deadlines it is what means to be upward mobile city dweller. Haran in the time of Patriarch was indeed a commercially thriving city as New York today. Situated on the high road, which ran from Nineveh to Carchemish its importance increased by proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. When God called out Abraham he was leaving his comfort zone, he ‘went out not knowing whither he went.’ The city of Haran is a shadow of city, which exists in heaven and we read that in eternity shall be called holy. In a vision Apostle John saw the holy city coming down from heaven. This parallelism existing between heaven and the earth can only be bridged by the article of faith. It is how we need take the whole narrative and several of symbols provided therein.

Law of Moses provided for cities of refuge in which God set apart six such cities, three of which were on the west and the other on the east of Jordan (Josh.20:7). Spiritual significance of crossing the river of Jordan is well known. For our present intent and purpose we may see such parallelism is not any coincidence but for our spiritual understanding. Under the old covenant these were for set apart for those who had shed blood unintentionally and as a place for refuge. Christ is our refuge to which the writer to the Hebrews alludes thus: “Let us go therefore unto him, without the camp bearing his reproach (He.13:12).” Jesus took away our reproach being made a curse for us and he hung on a cross was predicted by the brazen serpent on a pole. (Gal.3:13). The city is Jesus Christ and when we speak of being hid in Christ and abiding in him its spiritual significance is obvious. Like Abraham it is the ‘place where we should after receive for an inheritance’. This life in a limbo is life of faith. If we live in the most wonderful city the dictum by which we live shall be to place ourselves above. “…All things are lawful for me, but all things edify not (1 Co.10:23).”
Coming back to the Promised Land God commanded Moses to set apart three cities of refuge (Deut.4:41-43) and Joshua set apart three cities on the other side of the River Jordan. Having discussed the role of Jesus Christ as our refuge we may consider the probable significance of the words, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you (Jn.14:2).” Also significance is the context in which he conveyed this piece of news to his disciples. His time on earth was drawing near. He had already promised them a kingdom (Lk.12:32) so his mentioning of many mansions is a mystery only known to the Father. So we shall leave all conjectures over them as a sealed book to us. Joshua meaning Jehovah is salvation is same as the Hellenized form of the name Jesus.

(Reprinted from Guide To His Word of July17,2018)
Benny

Read Full Post »

Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky… (He.11:12)”

Here we see Abraham and Sara counted among the heroes of faith. A man of faith by accepting God the Son is adopted in his Father so he is counted as though he were predestined for His blessings. Things that are seen are temporal while things not seen are identified as belonging to eternal attribute of God. Faith is one such. In order to show this we have stars of the sky and sand by the seashore as symbols. One indicates the innumerable and nameless host of believers (whose faith is counted) still living or dead. Whether dead or alive they are witnesses: they are preserved as a memorial in heaven. It is similar to the seven golden lamp-stands in the first vision of John in the Book of Revelation. No church on the earth is perfect but these are indicated in heaven. Wherever these churches are fallen off it shall correspondingly show. In whichever case the seven golden lamp-stands remain as a memorial. This is Parallelism of faith. Faith of man becomes testimony of God, to be precise.
God having promised to bless Abraham brings him outside in the open and said, “Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him (Abraham), so shall thy seed be.” Abraham believed him and it was counted to him for righteousness (Ge.15:5-6). In the Book of Job we read that his Spirit garnished the heaven with stars. No man can fathom the Spirit, which like the wind is not seen but we see its effect in the night sky. Faith as evidence of things seen is held as a memorial in heaven. This is also mentioned in the creation act of God. “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven…and let them be for signs (Ge.1:14).” The point we need to understand is the stars may run out of fuel and other stars shall make appearance. Amidst such changes the sign shall never change since it a memorial of faith. It is forever settled like the word in heaven (Ps.119:89). ‘By his spirit he (God) hath garnished the heavens (Jb. 26:13)’
In the key verse we are given the seed of Abraham compared to sand, which by the seashore innumerable. God’s promise to the patriarch ‘In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Ge.12:3) has a parallel in heaven. In this connection the writer to the Hebrews in the following chapter refers to ‘ a cloud of witnesses (He.12:1)’ and from the context we can understand that it is of all those martyrs who have suffered affliction ‘not accepting deliverance.’ They all ‘…having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided …that they without us should not be perfect (He.11:39-40).’

“The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground…(Ge.4:10)” The Spirit in setting down Abel as a martyr uses his blood (‘bloods’ in Hebrew in plural form)in the verse, indicating how before God every creation stands. From Abel to the end of time each shall be counted in the cloud of witnesses in heaven as a memorial. Not even the fall of a sparrow shall escape His notice. No less is the death of a saint whose death before time is an affront to his majesty and honor. Those nine African American churchgoers who were killed in Charleston because of their color are martyrs and included in the cloud of witnesses. So are those killed in diverse places from Egypt to Indonesia because of belief. What we need to infer from the above is the timelessness of saints since faith is of such quality and their faith and their works are secure from hatred and calumny of the world. We have the testimony of God, “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth…(Re.14:13)” Significant is the context in which this verse is marked in the apocalyptic vision of John. Just before the beast is judged the angel urges patience of those living. Those hundred and forty and four thousand souls shown standing with the Lamb on the mount Sion bear the Father’s name on their foreheads (Re.14:1). Urgency of the voice from heaven is to stiffen the faith of those caught in the Great Tribulation and they have a choice of martyrdom or bear the mark of the beast on their foreheads or on hand. Those who died for their faith shall be counted as blessed and their works validated. Thus the Spirit in setting Core Will of God uses parallelism of memorial in heaven for events occurring on the earth.

Benny

Read Full Post »


Harvest-time: the good to the heaven and the tares to fire.

Mat.13:24-30

Parables are mysteries that any one may enter on condition that he is really in earnest. Where there is no vision, the people perish (Pro.29:18). A wise man asks the right questions and from right quarters. Power is in his persistence. Pearl of great price shall not be found by wayside. So man with vision is one possessed of his need and ready to spare no efforts in order to acquire it.

Power and Wisdom are the eternal qualities of the Godhead and when the Psalmist affirms ‘the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (Ps.33:5)’ he touches upon those qualities as being in full evidence. While he is so convinced why do not we see the world around us differently? A skeptic would declare that whoever is the Supreme Being has abandoned it; and a humanist shall suggest man can achieve it if he tried hard enough. Such are ideas man can play with and lacking in vision wisdom of man is like the blind leading the blind. Man being full of his own ability to manage his affairs has created a no man’s land. It is what one may call as ways of the world. Man made the earth a global village after inventing airplanes. Progress for him is motion while what he touts as progress has added another arsenal to indiscriminate killing of civilians and cities with aerial bombings, to which progress can claim equally having had an hand. Is it not the prince of the power of the air or the devil who is behind all this?
God sowed the good seed but ‘An enemy hath done this.’ In the parable servants of God ask God, ‘Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?’ Answer of God reveals his long-suffering nature (v.29). God is perfect and it means his Power and Wisdom do not contradict one another. Instead love of God is the hallmark of whatever God does. Here what he says to them: “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn”.

There shall come a day of judgment: gathering of souls is indicated by ‘the wheat into my barn.’
Benny

Read Full Post »

Matthew Ch.11:3-21

In order to understand the parable let us first examine the nature of the sower. God the Son came to the world in order to fulfill the will of the Father. ‘Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but everlasting life (Jn.3:16)’. So Jesus Christ is an apostle sent from heaven. He is also the logos aspect of God (Jn.1:1) He is the Word made flesh. We shall do well to focus the humanity of God as the message. He is the sower. He cast his seeds not meant for a few or for any particular nation but to the whole world. The word of the kingdom was for “who hath ears to hear, let him hear (v.9).”
Principle of Association existing in the Father-Son relationship would work if man sought it as necessary to be included. Seek and you shall find. It is not nature but the heart. So falling by the wayside or thorns are not features of the soil but state of the heart is what we need understand. Consequently how one prepares the ground to receive message is what the parable aims at. Make your calling and election sure. So it is vital that every hearer searches his own heart,- and it is humble and contrite, so he dd not hear it in vain.
Another point useful to remember is this: the world is his field. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (Jn.1:11).
The sower as sent to fulfill his task went his round sowing. The grains did not fall at the same place. Some seed fell on wayside but the fowls came and devoured them. The use of fowl in this parable serves a different purpose than in the parable of the mustard seed. That is why Jesus speaks about understanding what one hears. Wayside is no man’s land but a passage: mind is like a thoroughfare and thoughts flit and float carrying one after the other. On the earth we are all passing through and understanding means therefore a conscious effort to examine what is heard and place it where it rightly belongs. The people of Berea were honorable so they did not hear St Paul simply but checked its veracity in the light of the scriptures(Ac.17:11).
Parables are the means to separate the casual and those who are really seekers of truth. Fear of the Lord is the beginning wisdom. “Blessed is the man that heareth me…whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall find favor of the Lord (Pro.8:14-15).”
Benny

Read Full Post »


Parable of the Mustard Seed Matt.13:31-32; Lk.13:18-19; Mk.4:31-32

This parable clearly sets the significance of the mustard seed. It is like the kingdom of heaven or of God. Jewish background of St Matthew was strongly ingrained in his worldview that he avoided mentioning the name as far as possible. We may treat this kingdom as planted in the world after the Advent of Jesus Christ. A clue to this we have in the same chapter. ‘The field is the world (v.38).’The Son of man is the message. He gave his life in order to make it grow. A child of God is like an herb tender and lowly as he was. His spiritual growth depends not on what the worldly wise would understand. The Psalmist mentions about such a tree as the mustard tree and it is a tree planted by rivers of water (Ps.1:3). Growing in wisdom he shall be a source of comfort to many who come in contact with him. As the epistle to Philemon makes clear his hospitality shall refresh the saints who come to lodge under his roof.
In the Book of Daniel we read of a tree that is of an altogether league.
King Nebuchadnezzar is compared to a mighty tree (Dan.4:21) on whose branches fowls used to take shelter. But his oversized pride and sense of grandeur needed to be cut to size. What is man but mere breath and once it is taken away what does his glory leave in his wake? Nothing. This is what God wanted the king to realize. His subjects shall seek shelter under another king and the strangers while passing through the realm not seek his company.
Benny

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts