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(This is an excerpt from my book Marginalia, a Concise Guide to the Bible- amended)

Numbers:

In Bible numbers have many uses. We see it used for rhetorical purposes. ’For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof…(Am.1: 4).This is not what we shall discuss here. Nor are we seeking any mystical system that owes to the School of Pythagoras.

Then what are numbers for? The Holy Spirit communicating with man uses mathematical concept that he can well understand. These in the Spiritual parlance are often used as symbols. We shall see the Spirit tagging ministry and fulfillment of deeds wrought through human agencies  with corresponding numbers.

Miracle of multiplying loaves:

When we examine the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude we find that the fragments that remained were twelve baskets full (Mt.14:20).This seemingly minor detail is repeated in all the four gospels.(Jn.6:13;Lk.9:17). In the gospel of St. Mark we read the fragments of the fishes were also part of these 12 baskets (Mk.6:43). One may wonder if frugality of saving food items that are noted for their perishability is so significant to find mention in synoptic gospels? This has however a deep spiritual significance. Our free will offerings are precious in the Lord’s sight. Testimony of the Son of man in feeding the multitude was a testimony noted in heaven as well!

In the twelve stones that Joshua placed in the River Jordan where the feet of the priests bearing the ark stood, also the Holy Spirit places similar emphasis. It is an everlasting memorial. Our service to the Lord nothing of it shall be lost and death cannot dispel its sweet savour (Ro.12:1).

The numbers are used to represent specific groups. These groups also carry theological significance.

Jesus chose twelve disciples who were to spread the gospel about the kingdom of heaven among the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Later we read that he went to preach in their cities as well(Mt.11:1). Even after Judas betrayed him and forfeited his place among them we read that a substitute was found by so the number twelve remained intact. The number 12 designates the Son. ( In brackets I shall give what is to be taken with caution:  One is  God 1+2: 3 trinity and 12 the Son as reconciliation principle.)

It is the designated number for God the Son on the earth. The number is as significant as the Almighty God is symbolized by One. (Ac.1:29). Also interesting to note is the fact all the disciples gathered in the upper room on that occasion were twelve tens,-one hundred and twenty. Ministry of Jesus as the Son of man represented kingdom of heaven. He was sent by his Father for a specific purpose (Jn.3:16). His father represented the Kingdom of God into which his own kingdom must be subsumed at a later date.

Multiples of twelve bear a theological tag on the earth as well as in the City of God. Such groups of 12 in multiples of ten designate the City of God. It is not difficult to understand the significance of an hundred forty and four thousand that stood with the Lamb on the mount of Sion (Re.14:1). They were redeemed from the earth for the Kingdom of God. The symbolism of the mount, lamb and number adds to our understanding. In the new earth and the new heaven we have the city of God and the scale is given as “according to the measure of a man, that is of the angel Re.21:17” Needless to say the man is like angels in resurrection Mt.22:30)

The number 4 is the tag that connects divine intervention over the history of nations. In the Book of Zechariah we have a sign of 4 carpenters who were sent ‘to fray them (the horns)…to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it(Zech.1:21).’ In another place an angel from the Lord reveals four chariots to the prophet, who asks him what do they represent. They are four spirits of the heavens that stand before the Lord of hosts. “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts… he(the Branch) shall build the temple of the Lord(Zech.6:12-13). We get a telescoping view of the nations of the world being pressed into the temple-building to which Jesus Christ is the head(Zech.6:15). The number signifies cardinal directions which are echoed in the heavenly host that serve the Lord God(Re.4:2-3). Also noteworthy are the four beasts that are placed there to praise the Lord God Almighty without ceasing.

Thus we may conclude the number 4 speak of heavenly agencies who either stand as a memorial before the Lord or as enforcers of the God of hosts.

This number also refers to the manner the tribes camped during their wanderings in the wilderness. In the book of Numbers thy were to pitch their tents in their designated places about the tribe of Levi (Nu.2:17). Again we see the number 4 applied to angels who stood on the corners of the earth.(Re.7:1) The beasts and the elders are tagged by the number to indicate sovereignty of God over the earth and the fullness thereof. They are memorial unto God representing man and the creatures of the earth.

In the Book of Apocalypse we read of the 24 elders which are 6 groups of 4 each and their roles are different from the twelve apostles or the tribes of Israel.

Let us turn our attention from apostles to another group of seventy. The same number we first read as the elders upon whom God distributed some of the spirit resting on Moses (Nu.11:24)

In the gospel of St. Luke we read that Jesus appointed as a second wave seventy other disciples whom he sent two by two and their message was specific: the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.(Lu.10:1,9).

Perfect Atonement

On one occasion Jesus fed a crowd of four thousand. We read of that what was remaining filled seven baskets( Mt.15:32-38; Mk.8:1-9).An interesting point to note is that the number of baskets same as the number of loaves offered to Jesus. In his rebuke of his disciples for their lack of understanding (Mk.8:16-21) we may infer that there is more to it than simple telling of a miracle. Seven is perfection associated with God. And he (God) rested on the seventh day from all his work… (Ge.2: 2). The seven in this case symbolizes his broken body on the cross, the perfect atonement he could offer us. (This is reprinted from my blog Guide to His Word-selected)

benny

 

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The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an illustration of God’s long-suffering nature. He gives sinners a long rope upon which some hang themselves while some, like the younger son in the parable came to realize, just the right time to find way home. Consider God as the father and here we are talking of a share the son could claim as his. God allows his material blessings for each according to his ability. The same we find while God distributed manna from His storehouse. ‘…every man according to his eating (Ex.16:18).’ Compare this with the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus(Lk.16:19-31) and we shall see what is the significance of material wealth.

Wealth is a blessing indeed. But without God such blessings can turn contrary. The son realized without the Father his lot was suddenly thrown into misery. The younger son having to satisfy with hunger with husks is one of the most pathetic scenes one could conjure up! But God in mercy uses it to open his eyes.  What did it bring to mind? “He remembered of his patiently awaiting father and decided that it was to his parental solicitude he ought to appeal. Yes he had made a dent in the material wealth created by his sire. But love that overlooked all faults of the son was yet untried. The parable reveals the son was warmly received by the father. He puts on the best robe on the son who came back from the dead.  His righteousness is what God the Father offers to every sinner who repents.

Not so lucky was the dives who wined and dined on a grand scale never minding the sign of God had set right at the gate. Lazarus was indeed a sign for the dives as the husks of grain were for the boy.

Wealth indeed is a blessing from the Lord. But we need consider our roles. God as the maker of heaven and the earth has the right to call to account how his gifts have been put to use by every one of us. No man has come with the right to enjoy wealth not belonging to him and not having justify his actions. We need not consider how wealth is created and how man tries to hold on to privileges and wealth by stealth that over the years have become a precedent. But before God  no such man made laws, of the nation can save anyone who has proved to be bad stewards. At best we are his stewards as the many parables of Jesus Christ illustrate.

God always sets signs and symbols on the material objects that man often fails to acknowledge. Rock from which the children of Israel drank was not merely rock but holds a spiritual side. Manna similarly from heaven signified something much more than the article themselves. In these two parables we can see the Spirit relying on the husks and the beggar to teach the persons concerned something profound.

Death is the last stop before hell for those who felt no conscience prick about spending wealth with such impudence and boast over what they were not entitled to use solely for their own enjoyment. The rich man  did not bring wealth at birth and neither did he care if the wealth of others passing through his hands entitled him to carry blessings as well beyond the land of the living. When we are given gifts we need accept where they are from and set before us a warning: our accountability to God and our fellowmen shall confront us one day..

Internal evidence suggests both were Jews and observed the commandments of Moses. What the younger son wasted was material aspects of his (Father’s) living. Diaspora of Jews scattered the nation of Israel to four corners of the earth and in one such places the younger son being cast into dire straits joined to a citizen who tended the swine. It was in such a circumstance he awoke himself to the spiritual aspects of his father. Love of God is one such quality material wealth throws up.

Before we move on we need consider an aspect of spiritual life not often dwelt upon. The Prodigal Son among the swine delineates how tenuous our connection in the world is and being tempted all about us. The son had to eat whatever came in hand in order to satisfy hunger. ‘Being unequalled yoked’ with ungodly in the world how often we see children of God is constrained to live like every other in order to be as one among them. Certain cultural baggage that a believer carries around is unnecessary and often a drag on his spiritual life. There was a coarsening aspect wealth brings on people that the five brothers of the dives would not have listened to him had he gone to warn them of what agony awaited them. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (Lk.16:31). If wealth has deadened the soul what awaits man?

(reprinted from Guide To His Word)

benny

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An anglo-saxon term. At-one-ment ‘a making-at-one. Greek word for reconciliation ‘katallage’ Ro.5:11 God-> Christ <- Man

Before we go into detail by way of background  we need set the term: ‘reconciliation is an intrinsic part of the divine Essence than as a theological position one takes with regards to God. From many scriptural passages in the Bible we keep in focus it is man’s attempt to explain his position than of God.

Let us look at the Essence: God is love

God is holiness personified. When we speak of the Lord God as One this reconciliation is the basis. Deu.6:4 The Lord our God is one God Of the same substance such concepts as God the Father and of the Son need be reconciled in the Essence. God is Spirit that we speak as Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit. In human terms what shall we know of this statement ‘God is Spirit’? ‘God is a consuming fire’(Deu.4:24) makes sense to us since the quality of fire is universal. So when the Spirit inspired holy men of old to compile the Scripture the term atonement naturally found its place. These occur with meanings related to atonement around 140 times, almost always in the context of practice, as a sacrifice for sins and to provide reconciliation to God.

Quality of fire is to burn away while in blood is the life. When we combine these two in terms of a sacrifice there must be another component in the triad, that is one who is qualified to offer sacrifices. Thus in the Old Testament we see Noah building an altar and offering sacrifice. It pleased the Lord God.(Ge.8:20-21) Here we have four components that complete reconciliation. Man who wants to please God- Noah in this case.

Articles with which he may thus please God- clean beast and clean fowl representing of the earth.

Type of offering-burnt offering

Place- an altar.

Reconciliation is thus between God and man through the agency of produce of the earth Later when God gave Moses the Law we see subtle shift in the components. So reconciliation itself undergoes subtle shifts. Not any man but a High Priest on behalf of the people.

(To be continued)

benny

 

 

 

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Faith and Quantum Tunnelling

 

In the previous post Quantum World in Nature we had discussed how quantum tunnelling could connect two worlds albeit being of different worlds. An electron belongs to the world atoms and of quantum realm. It can pass through a material to jump from point A to point B in a way that seems to bypass the intervening space. How in matters of faith (I speak from Christian perspective) quantum tunneling holds out a clue  for us. Using scientific ideas it is possible how God and man could connect. Direction of science is by empirical method for example from fossil evidences to reconstruct bygone era.

In case of God time is of no consequence. He is omnipresent.

Let us examine this line from the post. ‘The electron can only make this leap through the so-called quantum tunnel if the bond is vibrating with just the right energy’. Faith can only be instilled in a reader who comes to the Word in the right spirit. Entanglement of two fundamental particles is across space while God has no space to restrict his Will being done.

When the electron leaps to the other site on the receptor as in the case of smell, it could trigger a chain reaction that ends up sending signals to the brain that the receptor has come into contact with that particular molecule.

Treat Trinity as in a Quantum realm: Word and the Spirit can exist as two entities; disappear and reappear as God as One. One day science might come up with an answer to the mysterious process of faith owes to Quantum effect. ‘Faith from the Word (Ro.10:17)

Hearing in a believing heart is powerful because heart and emotions are all engaged. When Apostle Peter addressed the crowd after the outpouring of the Spirit they were stirred up to ask,”Men and brethren what shall we do?(Ac.2:37)” Like quantum effects in the molecular centers for photosynthesis the Word and Spirit instill faith in a listener by working at multi-levels.

Quantum superposition may speed up the process of photosynthesis in a plant but faith requires conscious choice to accept the Word as true.

For those who are interested in the nature of Triune God here is my view.

God is One (De.6:4). Think of it as Will or Thought that is expressed. How shall be expressed so man may understand it? It has to be spelt out, is it not? It is the Word that accomplishes it. He is as a son who is obeying his earthly father. Since we are talking about heavenly things we shall rephrase the above as thus: God the Son obeys the Will of God, the Father. He is begotten but not created of God.

The Thought is self-conscious. God reveals to Moses as I AM THAT I AM(Ex.3:14). It has a direction. In narrative of the Bible we see it connects the nation of Israel, and gentile nations as well.

The ministry of the Word is only for man and not for angels. So in interpreting the Bible it is the Will and its focus we need to catch on. So we have God the Spirit as Inspirer and as Paraclete, the Helper. If my speech cannot be understood by others I am more like a barbarian of whom St Paul speaks as thus: ‘If I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian…’(1 Co.14:11). So role of God the Spirit is to help us understand the Will of God through the medium of the Word. Jesus manifested in the world to fulfill the Will of his Father. Jn.3:16

 

Benny

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A sign is a devise in the Biblical narrative always set by God in order to affirm his authority, in order to increase the faith of man employed for a task at hand or as marker. Of the latter I shall take up first. Having set a rainbow in the sky God said,’..I do remember My Covenant which is between Me and You every living creature of all flesh.(Ge.9:12-17) This is different from the sign he employed to equip Gideon for his task. (Jud.6:36-40)

Here I want to focus on the office of the Holy Spirit in order to show a sign is employed as a starting point, which subsequently runs into many other agencies. Firstly let us read God’s covenant with Noah, ‘Noah, and with your seed after you… to every beast of the earth.’ Ge.9:8-10) The covenant with Noah enfolds all living things on the earth as well. In similar vein God’s promise to Abraham (Ge.12:1-3) covers not only Israel but all families. ‘In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.(Ge.12.3, 28:14) God’s promises are universal and all inclusive and not limited to a few. As a sign of this divine nature we can understand the purpose of the lights from opening chapter of the Creation Account.

‘And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs…(Ge.1:14).’ When Jesus announces ‘I am the light of the World..(Jn.8:12)’ we need to see he was a sign. ‘Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel(Is.7:14). Holy Spirit is Spirit of Truth. When God the Spirit states in the Creation Account light as a sign the redemptive nature of the Son of man is implied there.

In my book Marginalia- a concise guide to the Bible I have covered at length  the manner God the Spirit has set the divine Will in signs, symbols and such like. Thus both standpoints of the God the Father and of the Son are clothed in a language which is Truth.

benny

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In our approach to the Scriptures it is of paramount importance that we focus on a few essential points. It is essential that we remember its source. It is from God to man.

1.)The Bible is Mind of God as expressed and the narrative as set down by prophets, apostles, give account, each after his fashion its operation and in fulfillment. From the first book to the Book of the Revelations we need to accept the element of time would have passed millennia but the human agency involved in collating the divine Thought in many genres,- Psalms, wisdom literature and prophetical writings took a fraction of the actual development. The crucial fact that for all that the Thought in its inception development and operation falling  under several time frames has an overall unity that cannot be refuted. To this I shall come back in the next post.

2.) When we study the divine Will in operation we are to infer the Thought has its (purpose) direction and also a mode.

‘For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited:…(Is.45:18)ASV. Here we see purpose of God in creating the earth.

God is unchangeable and Truth:

His name is ‘I AM That I AM’ When he reveals to the patriarchs as Elohim, El Shaddai and later as JHWH it is with regards to impress on man which the God the Spirit found it necessary.

Jesus Christ as the Son of God is co-equal with God the Father. ‘I and Father are One’(Jn10:30). Father and Son relationship is in terms of substance and not of biological birth as we humans know of the term. Think of a thought is expressed and in clothing it is set in human speech . It is thus Will of God shapes the Word. Thus when God commands ‘Let there be Light’ the presence of Word is implied. It is what Saint John in his gospel states. ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God(Jn1:1).

The Bible is the Mind of God and when we read for example the death and resurrection of Jesus we need to understand the inference. Jesus the Son of man is indeed the Son of God who became the first born of all creation. God the Spirit set it n a mode so that Jesus Christ in whom the fulness of God dwells has opened a new way that anyone may access that divine Mind. ‘I am the Way and Truth.’ Holy Spirit has rendered the One Who dwells in inapproachable light  accessible to man. The office of God the Spirit puts the Perfection of God in concrete images.

In short the Scriptures  is intended to make us perfect((2Ti.3:16-17).

ii

God is omnipotent and Omnipresent. But when God commands Light to shine out of darkness, we need to understand for what purpose He says if the concept of light and darkness is meaningless to him. It is what the Psalmist says, ‘…the darkness and light are both alike to Thee(Ps.139:11) KJV21.’ Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and the Holy Spirit from the first sets the Light as a sign with which the idea of children of light and of darkness will be developed ‘in the fullness of times’. If suffices to say, the creation account sets the Divine Thought in terms of God the Son and Holy Spirit clothes the Mind of the Invisible God in concrete images. As Paul would affirm Jesus Christ is the image of the Invisible God.

Creation Account is true which is stated from three standpoints of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. This being God’s version who but a fool would try to make it sound any other? Sin is in making your will and understanding above that of God. The Bible is from God to man. Amen

benny

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