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Archive for the ‘the Bible’ Category

The Bible is a God document. When we speak of it as inspiration of God it is understood that the Holy Spirit has had a role in making the Book for our instruction. Instruction in righteousness to be precise.

My thesis for both Marginalia and the Immanuel Factor are consistent. Jesus Christ is the centre of gravity in the narrative account no matter whether the narrative is approached from that of God the Father or of the Son.

The task of the Spirit is however to create a mode, on the same rationale as the parables of Jesus. Parable can be taken for a narrative. Literal interpretation of the Scripture similarly serves a purpose but in order to be instructed in righteousness one has to be inspired, meaning one discern it spiritually.

Having explained the purpose of a mode let me say such a mode shall have different layers in its significance. Symbols for example invest in natural objects the power to double for heavenly realities: not the objects themselves but the spiritual aura it casts about is what the Spirit aims at. These are spiritually discerned. Then there are also substitutionary symbols of which we shall discuss here.

The Holy Spirit works as a Herald, Paraclete, Counsellor and one who leads a believer since he is the Spirit of truth. In whichever capacity his narrative account is true and validated by the Power and Wisdom of God.

What is a sign?

For anyone who reads through the Scripture it shall become apparent that a sign is quiet something else than in its normal usage. A rainbow is a natural phenomenon and it can be explained as such. But when God sets a bow in the cloud its significance changes altogether. After he judged the earth he makes a covenant with Noah and ‘as a token between me and the earth (Ge.9:13)’ he sets the rainbow for all to see. Here was a sign, a token. What does it signify?

A sign stands for the sovereignty of God and as such it reveals certain aspects of his godhead. By bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly he made an example of his wrath. St Peter while touching upon it tells that he made an example of the consequences of living ungodly as they did. Only eight persons including Noah were delivered from the deluge (2 Pe.2; 5-6). A sign therefore brings to our remembrance of his judgment. He assured Noah that the covenant was with him ‘and with your seed after you (Ge.9:9).’ Having made the covenant he said, “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember…(9:16).” God is omnipotent and his Wisdom and Power are far beyond our comprehension. When he remembers it is understood it is not in the usual sense of the word. There is no absent-mindedness or forgetting. The sign is lifted out of its natural context to indicate his mercy. Proof of it was the eight delivered out of the flood.

Whenever signs are employed it indicates God’s mercy as well as judgment. Take the case of Prophet Ezekiel. When God gives him charge as witness to the people he has to lay on the left side according to the number of days it is significant for the iniquity of Israel shall be substituted in that symbol. (Ez.4:4-6). His action is emblematic. An emblem is willed by God to indicate events willed by Him to prick the national consciousness of Israel. Substitutionary symbol of Ezekiel to lie in so many days as to represent a period is an exception from his ministry as a minister of God. This is made more clear from the example of the Prophet Hosea. The book attributed to the prophet covers the events from 753-715 B.C.

At a period when their wickedness was peaking God commanded Prophet Hosea to speak to the people. This was an era of dramatic change for the twin kingdoms of Israel and Judah as well as for the surrounding nations of the ancient Near East. In the case of Prophet Hosea we read that Lord commanded the prophet thus: “Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms…for the land hath committed great whoredom (Hos.1:2-3).” As a sign the prophet’s choice has to be completely in obedience to God’s command. Who shall determine the choice of the sign but God? What man does as a sign is according to will of God. He or she is accountable only to God. What it boils down to is this: God shall judge according to His measure. Any human yardstick is imperfect. God struck Miriam with leprosy over her controversy with Moses. She judged Moses for taking the Kush woman to wife. One may ask: why did not God punish Aaron? He was in his priestly office a sign, a symbol for God. (Ex.4:15).

 

Now we shall examine two apostles who doubled as substitutionary symbols: Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot .Jesus Christ knew that Simon Peter was vulnerable and he reveals to him during the Last Supper. “Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you…(Lk. 22:31-32). It is clear that he is referring to his role after he is resurrected.

Let us see Peter as a substitutionary symbol: he had to fulfil what Jesus had predicted of the one who would deny him thrice that night. Also significant is his succeeding verse: “When thou art converted strengthen thy brother (vs.31).” He had to fulfil the traditional role as an apostle. Where Apostle Peter overcame the temptation Judas Iscariot fell. Did not Jesus foresee the role of Judas Iscariot as on of the twelve and the one who would betray him? Foreknowledge of God comes into his selection of instruments to reveal his sovereignty.

Jesus was aware of his role as substitutionary symbol. “…The Son of man indeed goeth as it is written of him; but woe to that the man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born (Mk.14:21).” A clue to this we have in the Gospel of John and during the Last Supper we read that Jesus turned to Judas and said, “What thou doest, do quickly (Jn.13:17). He was referring to the symbolic role whereby the Word was to be fulfilled. Against this his (Judas’) fall owed to his covetousness that led him step by step to distance from the Master and lack of sympathy for his kingdom of Heaven. In his service he discovered he was more realist than believe in an idea that his master stood for. Having betrayed his master he realized to his abject dismay his conscience was all too real. His suicide rounded off the Word concerning his substitutionary symbolism.

The Immanuel Factor is available through Amazon.com.

Benny

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Pact to the Devil- Church mayhem

When a mass shooting happens in a small town like Sutherland Springs, Texas, everyone knows a victim. “Time for worship turns to horror,” says the headline in the San Antonio Express-News. One of the locals thinks the town will heal, but it will take time. He said, “For this to happen in a little country town with 300 people, it’s inconceivable,” he says. “You kind of expect it in big cities. Not here.” When trouble erupts it can be anywhere but the tragedy is that no one sees beyond its effect. Why?

Unfortunately Christians in the US have been since late 70s very much riding the tailwind of political parties of which Pat Robertson is pre-eminent.

CNN has this interesting story about Pat Robertson in their international edition of Jan.13,2010 “Pat Robertson, the evangelical Christian who once suggested God was punishing Americans with Hurricane Katrina, says a “pact to the devil” brought on the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Officials fear more than 100,000 people have died as a result of Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.

Robertson, the host of the “700 Club,” blamed the tragedy on something that “happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it.”

The Haitians “were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever,” Robertson said on his broadcast Wednesday. “And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.'”

Pat Robertson once seriously wanted to run for President. His political aspirations are not to be curbed. In Jn.6:15 we read thus: “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again onto a mountain alone-KJ21″. He never wanted to do anything outside the will of his Father. He knew from where he had come and where he was going. Unlike the ChristianityUSA he did not want honor from man.

After all the prophecies concerning Messiah were all too real for the orthodox Jews. They were like the Evangelical right or Moral Majority of today. They were too sure of their learning and place as pillars of the community. But they were looking for Messiah to come in glory and lead them free from the yoke of the gentile Rome. Are the ilk of Jerry Falwell, Joel Osteen or Pat Robertson any different than they? When they preach prosperity theology they are more like the Pharisees of the time of Jesus. So the Jewish nation got it all horribly wrong. How wrong was it? In AD70 blood would run through the streets of Jerusalem and their pride of Temple worship will be trampled on as some filthy rags. All because they did not know the Anointed One when he came as servant-King. This is exactly happening right before our eyes.

” After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Pat Robertson suggested that God was angry over abortion. “I was reading… a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood… Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected?”(CBS News)

Foolish Pat. The evangelicals in the USA have been aborting godly seed with their pernicious but so seductive theology, still a travesty of the teachings of Jesus. They have a beam in their eye yet they are castigating less fortunate in circumstances than they for the mote in their eyes. Are they to sit judge over LGBT issues or abortion? God alone is the judge. By usurping the office of God what is their goal?

benny

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This is illustration of creation of Holy waters that makes appearance in the last chapter of Revelation. Genesis 1: 7 speaks of firmament separating waters. The waters below the firmament goes on to makes the seas. The firmament is the heaven. The waters below is seen watering the Garden of Eden. It branches into five heads creating civilizations of our ancient world. Whereas waters above  does not split but flows straight as an arrow. This  is  an emblem of Mercies of God.

IMG_4474 benny

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The Bible does not merely record history of Israel, of the Gentiles or form any treatise that smacks of human philosophy following of which man may be led to higher mode or sphere of action. Everything needful for life and godliness is there. My intent in writing Marginalia was to prove that there is much more to it. Firstly the Bible is the book of life or life+ and abundant life to be precise. It is not for me to tell what is wrong with any other man’s Bible Study helps. I can authoritatively say that it was written under inspiration of God from beginning to the end.  I can also vouch for this: Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible establishes inerrancy of the Scripture. Without getting the aspect of time any interpretation should fail.

Time is an important aspect and it brings the office of the Holy Spirit into the trinity. Before I go into it let me briefly give how the Holy Spirit has dealt with the element of time in terms of the Lord Almighty JHWH.

The Lord God is eternal while man is not. Hence the Spirit in the role of paraclete gives us two aspects by which we may benefit. We have to know the will of God and equally important is that we do them. The validity of the Trinity is in terms of man whose blessedness can only come from fulfilling the two conditions. A Jew who is circumcised bears it in his body as a seal. Notwithstanding his pride in monotheism is null without fulfilling the Will. For he does not understand in any meaningful way what it is. Similarly when a Moslem speaks his religion is peace he cannot show any worthwhile evidences to support his claim. One need only look what goes on in Yemen to prove my point. When Jesus came to the world in due time it was according to the will of his Father (Jn.3:16) He fulfilled the Will which was perfect. “For by one sacrifice he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (He.10:14

Coming back to the trinity what does the Spirit tells us? God as the divine Will expressed and God as its fulfillment are two offices of the self same substance. God the Father and God the Son are like two sides of the same coin. Jesus Christ as Word made flesh came to the world to fulfill the Will of the Father. Having done he has set himself as the way and life. Jesus Christ could therefore say, “I and my Father are one (Jn.10:30)

The Spirit in setting down the Will and Fulfillment of the Father and the Son makes the Scripture user-friendly as it were. Man shall benefit from example since God the Son took upon the form of man and showed the quality and nature of divine Intent and how it can be put in practice. Grace of God is the royal highway connecting man with the Lord almighty. Where it begins as Thought it was fulfilled as Son of man or the word of God. It is this fulness of God we have and its practical application makes our weak frame and action meet the divine Intent.  It makes the works of man to none effect. Reciting a litany of do’s and don’ts is as misplaced as fasting and a regimen of dietary laws. These are man’s best and meaningless before God who remains in unapproachable light. Instead grace and faith freely flows towards us so we shall have abundant life .

The scripture is for man and it is God document. The Spirit never draws attention to himself instead recasts two narratives from the office of the Father-Son relationship to a single narrative, which is the Bible in a nutshell.

 The Spirit sets timeframes for the Triune God

In transposing divine Will the office of the Holy Spirit has to look to the finite time as well as Time according to God’s calendar. One may well ask what is the purpose?

It is the task of the Spirit as the helper, parakletos to convict the world of sin ‘because they believe not in me (Jn.16:9)’ and to provide demonstrable proof of the divinity and nature of the Son of man. Thus we, while interpreting any scriptural passage need stick to one simple rule: Jesus Christ is the centre of gravity to which the time element of the Scripture must agree. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (He.13:8).” Whether we consider Core Will or a specific time element in divine Will this rule shall not change. He is our helper in correctly dividing the word. (While our Lord Savior assured of his role as Paraclete we need remember we have in heaven him as a ‘helper (Jn.14:16)’ fulfilling the same role as the Holy Spirit.

In setting the sun to create day and night it is plain that it follows earth time frame.

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night…(Ge.1:14). It speaks for earth time.

Now the rest of the same verse, “…And let them be for signs… and let them be for lights (vs.15)” The Spirit is not merely recording natural phenomena of sun and the moon. It speaks for God’s Time. As signs and symbols it must serve Core Will that is divine Will covering heaven and the earth. In which brief earthly ministry of the Son and our blessedness after our death must figure. Consequently the greater light and the lesser light are symbols. Glory of the Father, which is in the Son, is associated with every believer.

Holy Spirit also uses typology in order to reconcile different timescales. Adam is one Joseph is another. The Holy Spirit uses Patriarch Joseph as a lynchpin for saving the nation of Israel at the time of a great famine. It is part of the narrative where God’s covenant with Abraham runs on finite time. Alongside the Holy Spirit also has another purpose: Joseph has to be set as a forerunner of Jesus in Core Will.

It is thus we need understand the time element in the Bible. In short the Spirit reconciles two timeframes so narrative is nothing but truth from whichever standpoint it is seen.

 Two-in-One Problem

This problem involves our physical being following a certain period of time on the earth and having to account for it in terms of our actions before the throne of God. When we accept Lord Jesus as our Lord Saviour we do so in obedience to the divine Will. We avoided being lumped together with children of wrath and we escaped judgment. We are thus straddling heaven and earth at the same time.

Element of time prior to the time of Patriarchs and eschatological time is not historical time but Time, which the Holy Spirit reconstructs into a narrative where Melchisedec, the king of Salem is a prime example. ‘Without father, without mother, without descent having neither beginning of days, nor end of life (He.7: 1-3)’ he is a symbol of God’s Will, like the sweep of a swell merging into the turgid waters of history of nations. What is the Spirit telling us? He is pointing to the coming of the Messiah. Jesus in his priestly office offers peace, quality of which is not as the world gives (Jn.14: 27, Is.57: 20-21). King of Salem and Messiah-here we see two different conditions coincident in historical time (Ro.5: 21). One signifies the all-inclusive peace from God and the other the blessings under the Millennial reign. Both are in agreement as to Jesus Christ.

What are our dreams? They illustrate the same two-in-one problem. Dreams are a visual scrapbook, which defies time frame. One sees people dead and gone as though they were not, and they serve at times to warn us. We read that the Spirit in a vision forbade St Paul and Timothy from proceeding to Asia (Ac.16:6). Similarly dreams are the medium by which God forewarns us to reconsider certain course of action that we intend to take.

Dreams also hold a definite message from God as in the case King Nebuchadnezzar. In second year of his reign he had an unusual dream which having seen, on waking next morning, completely forgot it. “…Spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him…(Dan.2: 1).” No seer or         magician in all his realm could tell him what he had seen but Daniel could (Dan. 2:19). The Holy Spirit revealed it to him. Dreams in the Book of Daniel have specific time frame but also belong to Time. Does it not?

By the same token shall we reconstruct our position using the above? Our salvation in time and place finds its way in the backwash into Alpha and Omega, the first and the last of the divine Will. While we were under condemnation according to the earthly time, because of faith we are deemed the blessed in Core Will. We were under condemnation at one end and also we are justified as blessed at the other. Time and now are reconciled by God the Son. ‘Now is the day of salvation’. In Jesus Christ the problem has been solved.

For those who care to know of the word of God and benefit from it I suggest Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible through Amazon.com. Both paperback and epub (Kindle, Nook etc.,)

benny

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Symbols

Symbols are the means adopted by the Spirit to reconcile variable time scales in the Bible. Both Time and earth time of man must reconcile. Whosoever believes in the death and resurrection of the Son is of an altogether different time scale. So the Spirit has taken both narratives from the Father-Son relationship and held as one by means of symbols.

So what do we mean by a symbol? An easily recognizable object or thing is lifted from its natural context to underpin nature of God or man. Thus to indicate long suffering nature and goodness of God the Spirit uses rain as a symbol. By same token when God withholds rain it manifests divine disfavor. Lamb is another. When Jesus exhorts his followers to be perfect he speaks how He makes the sun rise on the good and evil alike. Grass and lilies of the field are also examples. In short each material object holds an ancillary spiritual significance. Manna is a symbol for bread from heaven and also specifically refers to the body of Christ Jesus broken for our salvation.

Let us consider our own body with that of the Son of man. It is the image of the earthy. In the Common Prayer when we recite ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust’ during the funeral service we are recalling the natural end of our body. Before Jesus Christ would taste death for everyone in his body God had prepared one for him. It existed in the Will before the foundations of the world began. It was but a symbol, indicating the eternal aspect of his Will. The Lamb slain was the emblem as the brazen serpent in the wilderness foreshadowing the vicarious death of God the Son. The body with which the Son of man came to the world was natural that we read that he experienced hunger and thirst as every other. God had willed God the Son would perfect his Will in his body but the symbol would never alter. It is a symbol applying to us and for eternity. Therein we trace what God had determined concerning us through the Son (Ro.8:29)”.

 

For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col.3:3). This is how we consider our body as having died to the world and its corruption. The body shall die once but on a symbolic plane it shall continue as ever because it is hid with Christ in God. In order to make a distinction between the two we shall consider the body of our spiritual life that oversees our newness of life is our inner man.

The companion volume to Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible

benny

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Trinity is beyond human comprehension. Three personalities but one substance like fire: God is described as the Father of lights, Spirit symbolised by tongues of fire in the day of Pentecost and Jesus Christ the Son as light of the world. What is significance of atoning work of Jesus? He reconciled the world unto God. This man can understand. This is only way we can make sense of the concept of Trinity. Those who deny triune God and insist on a monotheistic God are like the five blind men of Varanasi. They have their Word which does not add up for want of vision.

benny

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Chinese scientists say they have “teleported” a photon particle from the ground to a satellite orbiting 1,400km (870 miles) away.

How does it work?

Simply put, teleportation is transmitting the state of a thing rather than sending the thing itself.

Some physicists give the example of a fax machine – it sends information about the marks on a piece of paper rather than the paper itself. The receiving fax machine gets the information and applies it to raw material in the form of paper that is already there.

When we read a novel we are making sense of what words of the author convey than actually see the word transform into the author’s mind. The mind may have chosen certain patterns of words since it adds to the emotional sense he wants to create. Personality of the author has already chosen them for him. The man who reads the novel has his own say in the matter, and accordingly rather than reading words rigorously (with regards to the author’s personal preferences and rationale in shaping the narrative) he makes sense of the literary space he is comfortable with.

Our mind acts somewhat like receiving fax machine makes sense of what we read. While in India my understanding of Bret Harte and Jack London stories held a certain vagueness. For a dude having lived in the kind of milieu and climate how he will make of it naturally would be closer to the real thing.

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.

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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