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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 is adopted in his Son 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 churches on the earth are 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

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In the Gospel of John we have the prayer of Jesus.  He communed often with his Father which we read in the gospels (Lk.6:12;Mt.14:23). But we are not told what our Lord Savior prayed for. So the prayer as given in the gospel of John is special for the intimacy of Father-Son relationship it gives us. Considering he had not much time left it requires our special attention. Jesus was concerned about those whom God had entrusted under this care.

Here we need to take a few steps back in order to place it in proper context of his earthly ministry. God is love and he sent his Son so whosoever believed in him should have everlasting life. God has infinite agencies to get his Will done. Leading to the Advent the Spirit has been busy indeed. A clue of this is the ministry of prophets notably Isaiah who had spoken of the coming of Messiah, his passion and Millennial Reign so on. Then we have John the baptist who was anointed specially for preparing the way. (Here we have the prophesy of Isaiah ‘Voice in the wilderness’) The epistle of Apostle Peter  speaks of the  Holy men of old who were informed by the spirit of Christ about the salvation that were to come. Coming closer the Advent we read of the Angelic host that appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. This was similarly part of the divine plan. News about the coming of Messiah was not only for the palace but for the hovels as well. We can infer from the Samaritan woman (mentioned in Jn.4) the coming of Messiah had gained currency among people in Samaria . Why God had caused these several incidents across the passage of time and all classes in Palestine attests to the God is love principle.. Coming of salvation was not for a few.  It is the jump off point and the Great Commission of Jesus was the signal,’Go!. It was intended to touch the ends of the earth.  Jesus did not have to travel east or west but principle of Association between God the Father and Son worked through the so many disciples shall achieve it. Now we can appreciate the words of Jesus, ” I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor (Jn.4:38-NIV)”. Jesus sent the apostles and the other disciples 70 in number for spreading the gospel. Whosoever believed in him were saved. Jesus came into his own but ‘his own did not received him not (Jn.1: 11) Great many who rejected him were content with Law of Moses and were complacent.

Predestination according to the Will of his Father was entrusted with the Son .”The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands (Jn.3:35-NIV).  This is what St Paul terms as Mystery of his Will (Ep.1:9-12).

When we read that God had placed everything in his hands, it is not merely a few but the whole mankind. It ties up with the nature of God and when He sent his Son with a mandate we have this  word, “For God so loved the world…(Jn.3:16). Those who hated the light lest they be shown what they really are would not receive the Son. neither would they who are self-righteous of whom were the elders of the local synagogues.

Without this whole world included in his divine Plan the theological concept of free will  divine quality of love of God would not run as natural and transparent as existing between the Father and the Son. Perfection of the Father is exemplified in the rain that He sends for the good and evil alike; the sun shines on all since God’s faith is stronger than man’s wisdom. He first trusted in the Son and he as Servant-King was willing to reconcile all to his Father.

Whoever received the Son by Association is adopted into the family quality of which is light. Children of light and children of darkness are settled by response of man.

Calvinism bases limited atonement on this basis John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all). (Calvinistcorner.com/Tulip) ‘Calvin interpreted the Scripture literally and his doctrine of Predestination is wrong. Like the buttons of a shirt front if one is out of place all the other naturally would be misplaced. Unlimited Election by the same token seriously suffers on account of it. So is Total Depravity. Without free will man shall not come to the light lest their works of darkness be reproved. For those who confess God is righteous to forgive them. Fullness of the atoning work of the Son is the key. Even those who have been called and made sons of God need to make sure their election(Make your calling and election sure’ we are warned.). Those who reject the light grow deeper into a worse condition. Despite of sexual permissiveness the world cannot get enough. The naturalness of love when debased (examples of which is a social phenomena of our times) do spiral into violent brutal bestial perverseness. They are so addicted. It is what happens to anyone who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Ro.1:20) . If it is the case of an individual what about the churches?  Look what s making news in the American churches to which Calvinism made a phenomenal impact. Has it given a good role model? Earlier activism of evangelicals was to condemn abortion and gay life style. When churches have come loose from the teachings  of Jesus and become self-satisfied what animates the Christians now? The churches that blanched at the idea of a gay pastor now brazenly defend a pedophile and child molester. They even (as the pastor in an interview with CNN the other day) speak of grace and the pastor from Alabama defended that the man had not been found guilty? The culprit against whom the victims have spoken does not feel he needs grace and outrageously defends himself as an example of  white evangelicalism; He has support from churches.  What is behind this? At this rate much more perverseness shall be tolerated under specious reasons and the congregation shall simply accept it.

Benny

 

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The Bible is written by inspiration of God. Inspiration of God is not lost but words in the Scripture in transmission can be misunderstood or make weak impression. The reader of the Bible requires the self-same inspiration in order to change his scepticism. His mind-set is often shaped by his cultural background and unbelieving society. No church is the Church founded on the risen Christ. Each church is like a workshop engaged in spiritual transformation of souls who have accepted Jesus Christ as the saviour.  When some sects do not accept atonement paid by Jesus Christ as full and covers all what shall we make of it?

If Calvinism has underpinned the capitalist society of the USA, fine. Virtue of a dollar gives rise to industry and wealth. When it has given rise to 1% of the nation cornering national wealth (and consequently leaving great many to institutionalized indigence) we ned wonder how far the wrong interpretation of the Word has played a role. Without giving Jesus Christ as focus to which all scriptural passages must fall to we are building false values. Industry of wealth where the word of God does not fully reflects is as good as coming from mammon. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Those who preach prosperity theology and made themselves prominent are heard. Their reward is only for now and this world. When these TV preachers and false preachers promote values of Trump and narrow ideology of the right we may be sure how the word has been falsified. Such is devil’s trick when Christians have been fed with interpretation of the Bible where Christ is no longer the core value.

One shall never know when Jesus Christ shall come but the signs are becoming clearer and peace is eluding the nations around the world. It is time to know the truth.

Marginalia in 2 vol. A concise guide to the Bible

Author: Benny Thomas, the Netherlands

Tags: inerrancy, sound doctrines, Faith,

 

Paperback:

Vol.1 148 pages  priced $7.00

Vol-2  265 pages   $14.25

e-books/kindle available

Vol. 1 120 pages $3.85

Vol-2 200 pages $5.06  Amazon/Kobo/Barnes&Noble/google play, Apple i-book etc.,

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“…But made himself of no reputation, and took upon the form of …in the likeness of men…wherefore God also hath highly exalted him….(Phil.2:7-11)”

In Christian theology ‘kenosis’ describes the role Jesus took on in order to do the complete will of God. He took the form of Servant and not as God. He laid aside that aspect in order to do the Will of the Father completely. Thus it is his human side we need focus on in order to appreciate this emptying process. We might say ‘Less is More if I have God in heaven’ is the motto what every Christian ought to aspire for. For those who preach prosperity theology and live as a celeb it is certain they have reaped their reward already. We are Christians because we trusted he lived as Son of man that is a good example to live by. If Jesus chose to give shape the Will of his Father (Phili.2:7) and not his own  we can also make a go of it here on earth. We have the model in him and faith that we have him in heaven.

In making himself no reputation he had the Father witnessing him to the world that he was his beloved Son.He was from above that made angels also interested party to watch the outcome. We read of angels ministering unto Jesus after temptation(Mt.4: 11), and it rings true. In growing to maturity in Christian life we need remember that when we are unappreciated by the world we are growing closer to our Saviour who went through this experience himself. Our trials of faith here and now are to show whether our faith be fine gold or fool’s gold.

Christ who once suffered for sins had a purpose: to bring us to God. Jesus says ‘Blessed are ye’, when your reward is denied to you. Mt.5:11.  If we are for a kingdom above and glory of commendation from the Father,  is it not useless to ask the keeper of worldly fame why no handclap from his claque?  The world receives its own. If we cannot be put to any inconvenience on account of being Christians we need check carefully if our faith be really set on the rails of salvation or not. The Bible is a route map that took our Lord to heaven.  We cannot reach there by half half from map that leads elsewhere. He was reviled in life and and also on the cross. He suffered it meekly. For he had made himself as nothing in order to retain God’s good testimony. We are on the earth and yet we have been translated for the heavens as he did. So we are biding our time here as pilgrims. Our conduct therefore calls for a life of separation, at least in mind. We are liberty to handle all things but all are neither convenient nor worth bothering about. Only make sure that we are clear in our conscience. In the epistle of St Peter we see how the world treats us has its corresponding response in heaven(1Pe.3:16)

Know what Jesus said to the Pharisees who wanted him to restrain his disciples? He said, “If these(multitude) should hold peace, the stones would immediately cry out (Lk.19:40).

Jesus set aside his own will. We read instances where God the Father sending help wherever was needed to help him keep his resolve (“The Father hath not left me alone (Jn.8:29) )”, Thus wherever we read of voice from heaven testifying ‘This is is my beloved son’ we can understand why. In the gravest crisis Jesus informs what he held at his disposal (Mt.26:53;Jn.19:11) God the Son but he stuck to his human aspect than escape the ignominious death of the cross. In him was fulfillment of the Will of the Father. He humbled himself or emptied himself thereby assuring salvation to whosoever believed in him….

(Reprinted from Guide to His Word)

Marginalia in 2 vol. A concise guide to the Bible

Author: Benny Thomas, the Netherlands

Tags: inerrancy, sound doctrines, Faith,

 

Paperback:

Vol.1 148 pages  priced $7.00

Vol-2  265 pages   $14.25

e-books/kindle available

Vol. 1 120 pages $3.85

Vol-2 200 pages $5.06  Amazon/Kobo/Barnes&Noble/google play, Apple i-book etc.,

benny

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What is the role of the Holy Spirit in placing the narratives from the Father and the Son into one as we have of the Scripture?

In my formative period my interest in drawing was largely from copying pictures, which served a purpose but did not improve my skill. One day my father presented me with a couple of art books to get me started. The basic lessons began with drawing solids and shapes, then on to simple objects. Coming to figure drawing the lesson consisted of breaking the figure into solids and shapes. While drawing the head I had to make it ovoid. The series of circles that cut it into so many planes were to indicate position of the eyes, ears, lips and so on. In a three- dimensional form it served its purpose. In practicing as I was instructed, it trained my eyes to think visually. Each feature was not stuck on a face but bore some relation to head in totality.

The solids and shapes that I had laboriously drawn time and time again, were only scaffolding to give the figure its volume. The Holy Spirit similarly uses signs, symbols, parables, visions and allegory to give the Word of God its volume. The believer must hold these in relation to the divine Will in totality. Getting the likeness of a sitter as truthfully is what a portraitist strives for. The Spirit similarly instructs a child of God into righteousness, which is to be made in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

The Spirit places the divine Will in totality while it narrates an episode say like the serpent beguiling Eve. It cannot be deciphered unless we understand the nature of spirit. It is like the wind that goes where it will, ‘Thou hearest the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth…(Jn.3:8).’ Jesus during his earthly ministry healed many who were demon-possessed. Of one incident we shall discuss here: ‘And he was casting out a devil and it was dumb,… (Lu.11: 14)’. When Jesus healed him he spoke like any other. Spirit can change otherwise sober and normal persons to behave uncharacteristically. Spirit as in the example of the wind moves stealthily and you see its effect on people. The man was dumb because the devil had struck him dumb. The serpent spoke because the spirit within was a seducing spirit.

“…Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God…(1Jn.4: 1).” Another place we read that Satan entered into Judas, ‘And after the sop entered into him…’(Jn.13: 30) he set out to betray his master. Here the Spirit is hinting about power that a spirit can wield over persons, in this case one who was a disciple of Jesus.

From so many instances we understand spirit can seduce people as in the case of the serpent. What empowered the serpent is clear since he casts a slur to impute bad motive to God. Satan, as Jesus says in one place, is a liar and his nature is to accuse the children of God (1). While studying the Word we need to focus very clearly of spirits that operate in the world. Some spirits are evil and would even trip if possible, the children of light.

But we need not worry. God has provided everything in his Son for our lives and godliness. (Selected from vol.II)

Marginalia, – a concise guide to the Bible in two volumes is available with Amazon

Vol I (148 pages) is priced at $7.0 and vol-II ( 265) at $14.25

 

benny

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By 27 June my book Marginalia shall be available for Kindle, Google Play Apple iBooks Kobo,Barnes&Noble Bibliotheca etc., It is priced at $3.99

Marginalia is in two volumes. It is a concise guide to the Bible.The first volume has 112 pages.

The cover shows the vision of the Woman Clothed with the Sun from the Book of Revelation (chapter12).

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Form and the function: man has a form and his function is to reveal his human nature which has truth and it must fit with the nature where each species perform specific tasks. Naturally such truth creates inevitability to which food chain is but one example. Truth is the basis by which everyone would perform tasks he is most fitted out for.

Each violin player is unique though each play on the same violin. The fact is that quality of the instrument gives its own evidence. Material nature is like the instrument, allowing each player to make his or her own individuality count. Jasha Heifetz, Fritz Kreizler or Menuhin may play the same piece and yet a keen listening ear can distinguish the subtle differences. For their fingering technique, bow pressure and speed of bow over strings are all unique which adds to the difference in quality of their instrument. Truth of our action may deal with an article as Truth but we are not revealing God but ourselves. When I speak of God I use as a Christian and on the belief that God is Truth.

Another analogy will be useful here. In a musical composition in E-flat for example the tone E- flat is the one towards all other tones seem to be attracted.

In relation to God every life form holds a position. Terrestrial beings that we are and struggling each day for a place in the sun our actions keep referring to it. All our values have time and place but they refer nevertheless to Truth, an Absolute Value. What we occupy is a relative position.

In Japan traditional houses are oriented and windows are placed in such manner to frame pleasant features of the landscape. The Japanese call it ‘borrowing scenery’ from Nature. Similarly our actions however true we might aver is most advantageous to us. A theocratic society under the authority of one,  as in the case of John Calvin who had Michael Servitus burnt at the stake for heresy is led astray. In order to prolong the agony of the hapless man Calvin ordered green wood to be used in his case. In the case of Giordano Bruno the Church had his tongue taken out first before burning him at the stake. As often the case is methods used by so-called servants of God are what advantageous to them.The city of God has gone in the way the Church of Rome bedeviled by so many evils besides heresy that they fought. When a church arbitrarily gives shape to truth it is a signal there is something far more pernicious hidden.

God is least served when man chooses to define truth arbitrarily. Consequently truth of our action has a form but it a caricature of Truth.

Once more to recall the analogy of music, a legendary conductor playing a famous piece.  Fürtwangler’s approach was different and that of Toscanini was yet another. Truth that we can hope to reveal must be in fulfilling the spirit nothing else. Great prophets have laid out the mind of Supreme Being, God or Allah or whoever. How did Wahhabism fare with billions of Petrodollars spent by the Saudi regime in the 80s and 90? This only created fundamentalism of the most odious kind we see around us. The emergence of daesh and Syrian crisis owe to their meddling. If we are vilely treated by another we are not to pray God to send fire and brimstone. The disciples once asked Jesus to punish thus and he rebuked them. Such highest examples of conduct as shown by great teachers are our guide posts.

benny

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