Every Believer Must Do Good Works and Proclaim the Gospel

As opposed to bearing “bad fruit”, which means doing evil works,

…but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:17)

Which are sins and transgressions, such as evil works that break any of these commands in the Law,

…if she begins to fornicate…she shall be burnt with fire. (Leviticus 21:9 [JB2000])

You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol…
(Exodus 20:3-4 [NASB])

You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14 [ESV])

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak…
(Deuteronomy 22:5 [ESV])

If a man lies with a male as with a woman…they shall surely be put to death… (Leviticus 20:13 [ESV])

You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15 [ESV])

You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17 [NASB])

You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people… (Leviticus 19:16 [NASB])

“‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor… (Leviticus 19:13 [NIV])

 All who come to the belief of Jesus Christ must then begin to yield “good fruit”,

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16 [ESV])

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19 [ESV])

Which means to do “good works”, hence,

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (Colossians 1:10 [NIV])

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8 [ESV])

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21 [ESV])

that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17 [ESV])

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16 [NIV])

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.
(James 3:13 [ESV])

who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14 [ESV])

Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
(Titus 3:13-14 [NIV])

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10 [NIV])

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, (1 Timothy 6:18 [ESV])

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18 [NIV])

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, (Titus 3:1 [ESV])

remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3 [ESV])

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19 [NIV])

Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God
(1 Timothy 2:9-10 [HCSB])

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 [ESV])

but both first to those in Damascus and Jerusalem, and all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, I kept declaring to repent and to turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. (Acts 26:20 [BLB])

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give aeonial* life. (Romans 2:7 [MODIFIED-NIV])*

Interlinear Links: *αἰώνιον (aeonial), Romans 2:7

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 [ESV])

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50 [NIV])

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14 [NIV])

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 [ESV])

Share with the saints who are in need… (Romans 12:13 [BSB])

All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along. (Galatians 2:10 [NIV])

this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes. And in that it was commanded to leave the stump with the roots of the tree, your kingdom will be assured to you after you recognize that it is Heaven that rules. Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’ (Daniel 4:24-27 [NASB])

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, (Isaiah 58:6-9 [ESV])

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13 [ESV])

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”– when you already have it with you. (Proverbs 3:27-28 [NIV])

“Wash yourselves, and make yourselves clean; remove your evil behavior from my presence; stop practicing what is evil. Learn to practice what is good; seek justice, alleviate oppression, defend orphans in court, and plead the widow’s case. “Please come, and let’s reason together,” implores the LORD. “Even though your sins are like scarlet, they’ll be white like snow. Though they’re like crimson, they’ll become like wool. (Isaiah 1:16-18 [ISV])

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 [NIV])

Where good works must accompany belief, for belief without works is dead and useless,

So also the belief, if it should not have works it is dead by itself. (James 2:17 [ABP])

Yet good works are performed not because works themselves save,

not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:9 [NIV])

For all have broken the Law of God and deserve to die,

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-32 [ESV])

You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.(Deuteronomy 13:9-10 [NIV])

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 [NIV])

And there are no works anyone could do to earn mercy or pardon for having transgressed the Law of God, hence why the favor of God is called a “gift”, because God grants mercy if he wants to, or does not if he does not want to,

For by favor you are being preserved through the belief; and this gift of God is not of you; (Ephesians 2:8 [ABP])

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:15 [NIV])

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:18 [ESV])

Where this choice of God to grant mercy came before the foundation of the world, which is why it is not of works that anyone is saved, but of the election of God,

So then it is not of the one wanting, nor of the one runningbut of the showing mercy of God. (Romans 9:16 [ABP])

though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Romans 9:11-13 [ESV])

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (Ephesians 1:4 [ESV])
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30 [NIV])
Where God has chosen to grant mercy to those who merely believe,
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:14 [NIV])
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:9 [NIV])
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5 [NIV])
Where as a result of having received mercy and pardon to not be condemned to death as the Law of God requires,
If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22 [NIV])

 

“‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife–with the wife of his neighbor–both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 [NIV])

and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery… “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:4-11 [NIV])

he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10 [NIV])

A man then begins to perform good works, demonstrating his own belief, having been pardoned for previous sins,

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:14-26 [ESV])

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 [ESV])

whom God set forth as an atonement through the belief, in the one of his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the letting pass of the preceding sins, (Romans 3:25 [ABP])

Which is the purpose of receiving favor and pardon, to subsequently begin to perform good works as instruments of righteousness, as opposed to doing evil works as instruments of unrighteousness,

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4 [NIV])

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Romans 6:13 [ESV])

Where as opposed to evil works that the Law forbids, the Law also commands what good works to do,

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. (Leviticus 25:35 [ESV])

If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin. (Deuteronomy 15:7-9 [ESV])

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18 [ESV])

Where all these commands define “righteousness”,

And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” (Deuteronomy 6:25 [NIV])

Where the greatest example of a work of righteousness is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to others,

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. (Romans 5:18 [NIV])

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 [NIV])

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 [NIV])

Which is why whoever does not do good works, which is  commanded by the Law, will incur sin and transgression,

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17 [NIV])

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the aeonial* fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to aeonial* punishment, but the righteous to aeonial* life.” (Matthew 25:41-46 [MODIFIED-NIV])*

Interlinear Links: *αἰώνιον (aeonial), Matthew 25:41Matthew 25:46

For doing good unto others is doing good unto God, for man was created in the “representation” of God,

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 [ESV])

Which is why serving others is how believers serve God,

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (Matthew 20:26 [NIV])

The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11 [NIV])

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35 [NIV])

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13 [ESV])

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40 [ESV])

Which is why someone who serves money by pursuing wealth cannot possibly please God, because he is doing the opposite of what he should be doing, pursuing giving to others and serving others,

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24 [NIV])

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.
 (Luke 16:13-14 [NIV])

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25 [NIV])

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10 [NIV])

Where the Law even reveals the hospitality to house foreigners that the righteous must also do,

And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” (Genesis 18:1-5 [ESV])

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. (Genesis 19:1-3 [ESV])

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:2-3 [ESV])

and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:10 [ESV])

…Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13 [BSB])

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9 [NIV])

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. (Leviticus 25:35 [ESV])

Hence why Lot is called “righteous”, because his righteousness is evident with his hospitality towards the angels that went to Sodom,

and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (2 Peter 2:7 [NIV])

And these are the matters of the Law that the Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers of the Law discarded,

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23 [KJV])

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit aeonial* life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor? 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37 [MODIFIED-ESV])*

Interlinear Links: *αἰώνιον (aeonial), Luke 10:25

Because they only concerned themselves with lesser matters of the Law, such as tithing, wearing tzitzit, wearing phylacteries, observing Sabbaths, observing Festivals, for although these matters of the Law must not be neglected, whether someone fulfills them literally or spiritually, depending on whether the command is merely a foreshadow of a future reality in Christ or not,

But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and behold, all things are clean to you. But woe to you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint, and rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone. (Luke 11:41-42 [WBT])

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; (Matthew 23:5 [NIV])

and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” (John 5:10 [NIV])

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come;the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 [NIV])

The great matters of the Law are doing good works, which are actions of love and mercy towards others,

Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary of bearing them. And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make yourself clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do good; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:13-17 [NLT])

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6 [KJV])

For good works are in themselves the spiritual sacrifices and gifts that God desires from the elect, to be offered up to the temple that is in heaven, whose high priest is Jesus Christ,

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16 [NIV])

And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; 16 for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need. 17 Not that I seek for the gift; but I seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account. 18 But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:15-18 [ASV])

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 [ESV])

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5 [ESV])

I call upon you, therefore, brethren, through the compassions of God, to present your bodies a sacrifice — living, sanctified, acceptable to God — your intelligent service; (Romans 12:1 [YLT])
Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. (Hebrews 8:1 [NLT])
Where no one is to appear before God empty handed,

Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16 [NIV])

Where more examples of good works include helping widows, helping orphans,

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27 [BSB])

Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
(1 Timothy 5:3-4 [ESV])

Visiting those in prison, looking after the sick, clothing those who are naked, giving water to the thirsty, giving food to the hungry,

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (Matthew 25:34-36 [ESV])

does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment… walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD.
 (Ezekiel 18:7-9 [ESV])

Performing works of the power of the holy spirit to heal those that are sick,

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8 [NIV])

Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
 (Mark 3:4-5 [NIV])

And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:17-18 [NIV])

Or any type of help to someone who is afflicted or has a need. And some will do more good works than others, since all will bear different measures of good fruit,

Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:8 [ESV])

Which is why after Jesus Christ revealed how men who wish to become his disciple must humble themselves, which was by “selling their possessions”,

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions… (Luke 18:22 [NLT])

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions… (Mark 10:21 [NLT])

Sell your possessions… (Luke 12:33 [NIV])

So therefore every one of you who does not give up all that he himself possesses, is not able to be My disciple. (Luke 14:33 [BLB])

They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. (Acts 2:45 [NLT])

that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:34-35 [NIV])

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44 [NLT])

 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
(1 Peter 5:6 [ESV])

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10 [ESV])

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 [NIV])

For the LORD, who is high and lifted up, looks upon the humble, but the proud he does not know.
(Psalm 138:6 [JB2000])

He then gave the next instruction, “give to the poor”, which is doing “good works”,

…and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22 [NLT])

…and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 [NLT])

and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. (Luke 12:33 [NIV])

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
(Luke 19:8-9 [NIV])

Which is also what the “saltiness” of salt symbolizes, “good works”,

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13 [NIV])

And also what the light of a lamp symbolizes, “good works”,

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 [ESV])

Which is why Paul instructs all to work to earn wages, that they may then have something to give to those in need,

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28 [NIV])

You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:34-35 [ESV])

And even why Cornelius eventually received the holy spirit, because his righteousness, which means obedience to the Law, was accompanied by good works,

The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” (Acts 10:22 [NIV])

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. (Acts 10:1-4 [NIV])

Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.
(Acts 10:30-31 [NIV])

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.
(Acts 10:44-45 [NIV])

Where someone must then continue doing good works throughout the appointed time in this body, without ceasing, hence,

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 [ESV])

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. (Hebrews 6:10 [ESV])

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. (Luke 12:33-36 [NIV])

And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. (Luke 12:42-44 [NIV])

Which relates to the parable of ten virgins, for the light of their lamps symbolizes “good works”, where their lamps must continue burning until the bridegroom comes, where if someone stopped doing good works, which is what is meant with running out of oil to keep a lamp lit, but then again began giving their money to the poor at the arrival of Jesus Christ, which is what is meant with buying oil to light a lamp again when the groom comes, its already too late,

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:1-13 [ESV])

Which also relates to the parable of talents, where the talents also symbolize “good works”, where the initial talents anyone receives are the “first works” anyone does as a newly appointed servant of the master, when first doing “sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven”,

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:1-5 [ESV])

“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. (Revelation 2:19 [ESV])

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, 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. 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. (Matthew 25:14-23 [ESV])

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 [NIV])

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21 [NIV])

Where an appointed servant must then continue to receive more talents, which means continue to do more “good works”,

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 [NASB])

From the time he became appointed as a servant to the time of the return of the master, where talents, which have monetary value, are used in this parable because the measure of good works anyone does relates to the measure of reward anyone receives, as such, “talents” also symbolize “reward” as a result of “good works”,

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6 [NIV])

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. (Revelation 22:12 [NIV])

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21 [NIV])

A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. (Proverbs 11:18 [NIV])

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. (Revelation 3:1-2 [ESV])

Hence why the servant who was lazy and did not continue doing good works,

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.’ (Matthew 25:24-25 [ESV])

Had his talent taken away, because he lost his reward from that one good work he initially did, because he didn’t continue doing good works to receive more talents,

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?… So take the talent from him… (Matthew 25:26-28 [ESV])

And rather, his share of reward from that one good work went to those who had continued doing good works and already had reward from their own good works, for those who who do not give up will have an abundance, hence,

…and give it to him who has the ten talents. 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. (Matthew 25:28-29 [ESV])

Yet if this lazy servant had been wise, instead of earning more talents himself, he could’ve invested his talent with bankers to earn more talents,

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. (Matthew 25:27 [ESV])

Which means to teach others to do good works, and thus the “talents” they produce because of the servant that is dedicated to teaching them to do good are accredited to the servant,

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. (Romans 1:13 [NIV])

Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. (Philippians 4:16-17 [ESV])

For although all are called to do good works, only a few are called to become teachers,

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1 [NIV])

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? (1 Corinthians 12:29 [NIV])

To equip others to do “good works”,

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11-12 [NIV])

Where these teachers are laborers for the sake of the gospel, who correct, rebuke, and teach,

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Luke 10:2 [NIV])

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 [ESV])

…Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2 [NLT])

Let the elders ruling well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those laboring in the word and the teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17 [BLB])

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7 [ESV])

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17 [ESV])

Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints— be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer.
(1 Corinthians 16:15-16 [ESV])

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2 [ESV])

On account of this I left you in Crete, that you might set in order the things lacking and might appoint elders in every town, as I directed you, if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having believing children, not under accusation of debauchery, or insubordinate. For it behooves the overseer to be blameless, as God’s steward; not self-willed, not quick tempered, not given to wine, not a striker, not greedy of base gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined; holding to the faithful word according to the teaching, that he may be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to convict those contradicting it. (Titus 1:5-9 [BLB])

I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. Because of this I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, even as I teach everywhere in every assembly.
(1 Corinthians 4:16-17 [WEB])

And are worthy to make a living from teaching,

If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:11-14 [ESV])

Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
(Luke 10:7-9 [NIV])

Yet as opposed to teaching, which only a few are called for, apart from all being called to do good works, all are called to also announce the gospel, for there is a distinction between teaching believers, which only a few should do, and announcing the gospel to unbelievers, which all must do,

proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:31 [ESV])

But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming the good news, the word of the Lord, with many others also. (Acts 15:35 [BLB])

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16 [NIV])

Where the effective way of announcing the gospel to unbelievers, aside from telling them about it, is by doing good works that can be seen by them,

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (1 Peter 2:15 [ESV])

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12 [NIV])

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I can’t believe that … (4) God’s word would be so violent

The Bible has sometimes been known as the “Good Book”. But really the Bible should come with a health warning. Because for all the stories of love and compassion, there are also stories featuring truly horrific behaviour. Particularly in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible) you will find stories about murder, violence, mutilation, adultery, incest and gang rape. The worst of humanity is on display. So it is reasonable to ask in what sense is this a “good” book?

The truth is that this idea of the Bible as the “Good Book” misleads people into thinking it is just going to be a collection of spiritual sayings or moral tales. But this isn’t the case at all. “Bible” means library or collection of books, and that’s what the Bible is, it is a collection of books, each with its own style and own topic. The Bible contains books of history, of poetry, of songs, of prophecies, of visions, of stories and even some letters. And given all these different types of books, we should not be surprised to find certain things. So if someone is writing history, they will write about the stuff that actually happened not just the pleasant stuff. And if someone is describing the reaction of their people to times of trial and hardship they are not going to sugar coat it, even if their reaction doesn’t seem very Christian. Since the Bible isn’t just words straight from the mouth of God, but is words written down by men that are drawn together to form God’s book, then we shouldn’t expect the Bible to read like a heavenly voice. We should expect the Bible to sound, in places at least, very human. And humans can be pretty rubbish, at times.

A page from the Wenzel Bible From the caption:...

A page from the Wenzel Bible From the caption: Printed by the Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig. From the Manuscript (c. 1400) in the Imperial Library at Vienna. —- The passage is described there as being from the Book of Moses, ch. IV., v.4–15 (=Exodus 4:4-15). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bible certainly isn’t a book of moral fables, where each story has a clear moral lesson. Many of the stories have no moral commentary at all. Those stories that are particularly troubling, with violent and evil deeds, do not come with a command “you should behave like this”. If they did then we should be really worried. But the Bible isn’t like that. When the Bible does contain moral direction it makes plain that acts like murder and rape are absolutely wrong. So we shouldn’t try and read moral lessons from bits of the Bible that aren’t intended for moral teaching.

But these violent and unpleasant passages have a point. Take for example Judges 19-21. It is story that includes betrayal, abuse, gang rape, mutilation of corpses and pointless warfare. This is one of the most unpleasant stories that you could read. But its not there to be pleasant. It is there to provide an answer to a historical, that is, how did the tribe of Benjamin become so small. And that might not seem like a terribly important historical question – and in the grand scheme of God’s message to mankind, it isn’t – but it is one of those details from which the sweep of biblical history is composed. That’s probably the best way to regard these stories. They are there as background detail, they are not big picture stuff.

Yet this isn’t the whole answer. Because some of this violence comes direct from God. God judging people. God condemning people. God requiring death for evil men. And that can be difficult to swallow. That seems harsh, that seems cruel, that seems unforgiving – very different from the character of God as often presented. So what’s going on? Why does God kill people?

Now I don’t support the death penalty when implemented by human governments. Why? Because human justice can make mistakes. Human judges might condemn an innocent person, but they can’t take back the death penalty. In addition, the death penalty admits no second chances – no chance of repentance and a clean slate. Yet these problems are problems for God. If God is all knowing then he cannot make mistakes, he cannot condemn an innocent person, if God says someone is guilty then that person is guilty. And God also knows the heart of men, he knows if they are likely to repent or whether they are beyond reaching. So, it seems to me, the only appropriate person to administer the death penalty is God.

God is justified in putting people to death if he knows they deserve it. And it doesn’t matter whether God puts people to death individually or in a group, because he is able to ensure that only those who deserve to die will die. Take the example of God’s destruction of Sodom (you’ll find the story in Genesis 18). Abraham asks God if he would destroy Sodom if there were fifty righteous people in Sodom? And God says no, he would spare all those wicked people so that he wouldn’t kill any righteous people. What about forty-five? Or forty? Or thirty? Or twenty? Or ten? Abraham keeps asking and in every case God says that he would not destroy the city if there were righteous people in it. In the event God sends angels to rescue the only four righteous people in Sodom (and let’s face it, some of them weren’t particularly righteous). So when God destroys Sodom, we can be sure that the only people who died were those who deserved to die. And if that is the way God works then these violent passages of the Bible turn out to be demonstrations of God’s justice.

Now that doesn’t answer every problem. Some passages of the Bible are still confusing. But these ideas give the broad principles for providing an answer.

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Preceding articles in this series:

I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer

I can’t believe that … (3) miracles can happen

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Additional reading:

  1. Never making mistakes because never doing anything
  2. We are ourselves responsible

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  • The Battle Among Us (signsofthetimes.org.au)
    Those in power are not immune to such degeneration. Politicians lie and cheat, while rich businessmen move their money into overseas tax havens to avoid paying their dues to the country that protects them.
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    Society floats in a moral vacuum. We might have an amoral, “feral” culture that ignores decency and morality. But just as evil are the cultured rich and powerful who also ignore laws.

    Society today is at war. The battle-front is not in Israel, Palestine or Ukraine. It is here in our midst: it is our own inability to distinguish between right and wrong.

    Under the cloak of freedom and tolerance, we have abandoned morality grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics, replacing it with a concept of moral relativism. 

  • Does God Let His Kids Lie About Him? A Thought (or Two) on the Enns/Bell Interview (derekzrishmawy.com)

    The Israelites lived at a rough time, the Iron Age, when nations fought tooth and nail over land and resources and the gods fought right along side of them, leading the charge

    The nations that won had the mightier gods, and victory (slaughter, pillaging) gave gods honor. Losing meant your god was either a wimp or he was mad at your people for some reason and wanted to teach them a lesson in obedience. 

    The Israelites were part of this ancient Iron Age world of warring, land acquisition, and destroying the enemy. They fit right in, and to expect their God-talk to be on a totally different page is to start off on the wrong foot.
    +
    For God to deliver commands to us about not falsely representing him and taking his name in vain, through narratives that falsely represent him and take his name in vain? What kind of confusing father is that? A little exaggeration here and there is one thing, but to fundamentally miss a key component like that is kind of a big deal. I mean, especially when God seems particularly picky about the “no false images” thing (Ex. 32-33).

  • What has convinced many believers to not believe? … the bible did. (skeptical-science.com)
    EA Hanks, a writer based in Los Angeles, has written a very personal article in the Guardian that takes us on her journey from Fundamentalist born again Christian to atheist. In it we find two rather common answers to some truly fascinating questions. Why do people convert and become “born again”?
  • Unfortunately this happens to me all the time (thei535project.wordpress.com)
    Using your standard of morality that states that things that do no emotional or physical harm are good, is raping someone who is in a coma morally wrong?If it does no harm yet it’s still morally wrong then it’s morally wrong by a standard other than your own. This means that your standard is illogical.If you maintain that your standard is logical, then you cannot assert that raping a person in a coma is wrong.
  • The Abrahamic dilemma (jeremystyron.com)
    Doesn’t a believer’s response to what I will call the Abrahamic dilemma really cut to the core of a person’s faith? If, for instance, a believer says he would, in fact, sacrifice his child, or otherwise commit some violent act against another human being, for God, this indicts him as a hideous person, at least based on our set of moral principles. If a Christian says he would not raise the knife and sacrifice his child for God, then the person is not a true believer.
  • PZ Myers Has This Problem With My Post About the Terrorist Who Lost His Head (patheos.com)

    Indiscriminate cruelty and slaughter has long been a way of life for these types. I guess I’m supposed to be sad when it becomes a way of death for them too, but for once I’ll nod along in agreement with Jesus, who is said to have stated the inevitability of violence begetting violence pretty succinctly: “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.”

    Mohammed Fares was another Islamist boil on the ass of humanity. It’s an unpleasant procedure, but boils need to be lanced. Or beheaded — same thing.

  • If ISIS Is Not Islamic, then the Inquisition Was Not Catholic (newrepublic.com)
    As ISIS slaughters its way though Syria and Iraq, it became inevitable that we’d hear from apologists who claim that ISIS is not in fact “true Islam,” and that its depredations are due to something other than religious motivation.
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    Reply:Not true or True Catholicism and True Islam
  • Is there such a thing as “Biblical” marriage? (lotharlorraine.wordpress.com)
    Rachel Ford recently published an article on the website of the “Friendly” Atheist arguing that the Bible is a morally consistent evil book presenting marriage coherently as a man possessing several wifes as objects to be used and maltreated.
  • What is a “true” religion? (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
    As ISIS slaughters its way though Syria and Iraq, it became inevitable that we’d hear from the apologists who claim that ISIS is not in fact “true Islam,” and that its depredations are due to something other than religious motivation. Those motivations, say the apologists, are political (usually Western colonialism that engendered resentment),…

 

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School, view f...

Divinity Hall, Harvard Divinity School, view from Divinity Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King agrees that the fragment, written in Coptic, she analysed,

“does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married, nor does it prove that he was not married. The earliest reliable historical tradition is completely silent on that. So we’re in the same position we were before it was found. We don’t know if he was married or not.”

In the previous postings I mentioned already that when we look at the accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible and the many non-religious writings of the early centuries, there is no mention of his marital status, while the accounts do mention Jesus’ mother, father and siblings.

Darrell Bock, a senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminar said:

“There’s no indication we have that Jesus was married. One could say the text is silent on Jesus’ marital status because there was nothing to say.”

Bock agreed with the notion that the text fragment shared similarities with the Gnostic Gospels and said the text could be referring to a gnostic rite of marriage but

“it’s a small text with very little context. We don’t know what’s wrapped around it to know what it’s saying.”

King writes:

“the importance of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ lies in supplying a new voice within the diverse chorus of early Christian traditions about Jesus that documents that some Christians depicted Jesus as married.”

In “Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh” and “Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage” I pointed out to the Wife of God, indicating the Book of books speaks about God being married to Israel, but this being spiritually talking about the relationship of Jehovah God with His Chosen People, Israel, or the Israelites, the religious Jews. From the Old Testament text we can understand that Jehovah God cast Israel off as a wife, and that it was impossible for Him to marry her as a “virgin” (Jeremiah 3:1-18; Ezekiel 16; Hosea 2; 3:1-5). We can see what faithless Israel has done and find God giving her the notice or her certificate of divorce and having sent her away because of all her adulteries.

“She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.” (Jeremiah 3:8 ESV)

"Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, &quo...

“Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him…” (Photo credit: -Reji)

God had made a promise to Abraham, that his seed would multiply and God would make a people for Him out of his descendants. God always keeps to His promises. One of them, at the beginning of human history,just after the foundation of the earth, was also that He would provide a solution for the sin the first man and woman (the 1° Adam and Eve) committed. There He indicated already His special relationship with the human beings, and planned for a son to whom He would give the throne to restore the paradise and bring to fulfilment the clean and safe Kingdom of God (the 2° Adam).

” And [Psa. 102:25-27 says “Thou, Yahweh/Adonay/Jehovah”], “Lord, in the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hand. (11)  They will be destroyed, but you will remain. And they [i.e., the heavens and earth] will all wear out like an article of clothing. (12)  And you will fold them up like a robe, and they will be changed like an article of clothing. But you will stay the same and your years will never end.” (13)  But which one of the angels did God ever say [this] about [Psa. 110:1], “You should sit at my right side until I put your enemies [in full subjection] beneath your feet?”” (Heb 1:10-13 AUV)

“So [then], we [Christians] should pay closer attention to the things we have heard, so that we do not drift away from [believing and practicing] them. (2)  For if the message spoken through angels proved to be binding [Note: This is a reference to the Law of Moses. See Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19], and every violation [of it] and disobedience [to it] received a just penalty, (3)  how will we escape [punishment] if we neglect such a great salvation? [For it was] first announced [to people] by the Lord and then confirmed to us [i.e., the writer and other Christians] by those who heard Him [i.e., the original apostles]. (4)  God also testified, along with those people, by [giving them] both signs and wonders and various miracles, and by [supernatural] gifts distributed [to them] by the Holy Spirit, as He desired. (5)  For God did not place the coming inhabited world [Note: “The coming inhabited world” here probably refers to the present Christian age. It was viewed as “coming” from the perspective of Old Testament times], under the control of angels [and] that is the world we are talking about.” (Heb 2:1-5 AUV)

With regards to which of the angelic messengers “emissaries”, none where invited tocome to sit next to God, but His son Jeshua (Jesus Christ), who was first lower than the angels (remember God is, was and always shall be the Most High) was placed higher after his resurrection and invited to come to sit at the right hand of God to become a mediator between God and man. In case Jesus was God he could not be sitting next to himself nor take on the duty of mediator or intermediary. His position as arbitrator for man and woman would be of no value either when he would have been God and the end judge of it all. The third party has to be someone other than the principals who are involved in a transaction. In the Bible is also written that he would hand over the Kingdom of God to his Father. In case he himself is the same person as the Father there is no use nor any possibility to hand over the Kingdom to himself.

But in the text in front of us we hear about the world to come: the New World. The angels are ministering spirits, servants, with no royal dignity; having a subordinate role of serving God. God’s concern is not with angels, but with us, and He accordingly sends those angels or messengers of God, to bring help to those who will inherit salvation.

“And if children, then also lawfully-allotted ones, lawfully-allotted ones surely of God, moreover, lawfully-allotted-with the Anointed One, if- we -wholly suffer-with Him, in order that, we may also be given splendor-with Him.” (Romans 8:17 AS )

In the Old Times God shared His passion with His people, who kept stubborn and did not want to recognise the Promised One, the Christos, or Christ the Messiah. God placed Jesus in a higher position than His angels and by doing this God’s glory becomes Christ’s glory and finally, in measure, our glory also, because in him, Jesus Christ, we can be saved and become part of the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul brings some ‘with’ words in his 8° letter to the Romans (8:1-39), that testify of what we are and what we do jointly with Christ. There it is said the Anointed One should be from-within us, being lawfully-allotted ones,  joint-heirs with the Anointed, even when we ourselves still dare to groan inside ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the ransom of our body, we may find not such an adoption, becoming children of God, but also finding the redemption of the body we still have here on earth. (In this world.)

God did not spare His own son Jeshua, but delivered him up for us all. (Romans 8:32) This Jesus is raised up, and is actually at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:34) In the Old World the angels were in charge.

” Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, And see the reward of the wicked.  (9)  For thou, O Jehovah, art my refuge! Thou hast made the Most High thy habitation;  (10)  There shall no evil befall thee, Neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent.  (11)  For he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.  (12)  They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:8-12 ASV)

But now God choose a cornerstone in His son, to whom angels already came to minister him in his lifetime (Matthew 4:11; cp Matthew 26:53)

” You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,  (8)  putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  (9)  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:7-9 ESV)

We all share in flesh and blood, the same as the son of God Jesus Christ partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the evil, the adversary of God. For ages God’s People where thrown through and fro and often did not make a proper choice. Because of His great dissatisfaction god was not inclined any more to keep the bond of His ‘marriage’ with them alone. Too many times the Israelites were  ill-disposed to their Creator. They often behaved unlawful and that hurtled the Most High in such a way that He allowed His son to provide a New Covenant, to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:15).

God renewed His bond or covenant with His son and with the Spiritual Israel, which had to become the Church of God, the Body of Christ where the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus) would be the cornerstone, to bring the lovers of God close to Him and to put down the adversaries or hostile ones, their necks under his foot.

Besides the heavenly Bride, the transfigured, translated, and risen Church, reigning over the earth with Christ, there is also the earthly bride, Israel, in the flesh, never yet divorced, though for a time separated, from her divine husband, who shall then be reunited to the Lord and be mother Church of the millennial earth, Christianized through her. Note, we ought, as Scripture does, restrict the language drawn from marriage—love to the Bride, the Church as a whole; not use it as individuals in our relation to Christ, as Rome does in the case of her nuns.” { All the Women of the Bible » Chapter 4. Symbolic and Representative Bible Women » The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife}

In his teaching period Jesus explained that some people may prefer to stay single “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12). We should understand that by choosing celibacy to have more time to devote to proclaiming and living out God’s kingdom. They would find earthly responsibilities, such as those that go with marriage and parenting, a hindrance to their kingdom calling. This is similar to the situation of the disciples who were called away from their professions (fishermen, tax collectors, etc.) in order to follow Jesus with singular purpose. As I mentioned earlier such people consider themselves as married to Christ. They have taken Christ as their “bride“, like Jesus preferred to stay single and be the spouse or “wife of God“.

We always should remember that the Old Testament uses a lot of metaphors, and marriage is such one of them. Early Christians also used such metaphors to describe the relationship between celibate believers and Christ. Nuptial imagery is commonly used to describe salvation and heaven in the New Testament; and later Christian martyrs are sometimes called or portrayed as brides of Christ.

In the most difficult book of the bible, the apostle John describes in his vision the marriage scene in which the Bridegroom makes His Bride His wife. The ones who accept Christ as the son of God and their saviour may be glad and rejoice, and give honour now to him they wanted to follow and God raised out of the dead. He, the Lamb of God has now been taken up in heaven where the marriage of the Lamb took place. The ‘new’ wife of God or the wife for us in heaven has made herself ready in the presence of the one who is presented in fine linen, clean and white, like so many women their wedding dress. For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints, the ones who are set-apart from the world.  The followers of Christ may become part of the new Israel, the new chosen people of God, though they might have been gentiles, they are now called righteous and also sons  and daughters of God. We should know that blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus Messiah. We all better listen to the true sayings of God.  We best remember what He has done for us and whom He provided for us and how we should worship that only One True God,the Father of Jesus, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;  (8)  it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  (9)  And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”  (10)  Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:7-10 ESV )

A woman, of course, only becomes a wife on the completion of her marriage to the man to whom she has been engaged or espoused. In this age of Grace, the church is the affianced Bride of Christ. At the marriage of the Lamb, she becomes His wedded wife (Ephesians 5:22, 23; 2 Corinthians 11:2). { All the Women of the Bible » Chapter 4. Symbolic and Representative Bible Women » The Bride, The Lamb’s Wife}

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The "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a papyrus written in Coptic and containing text that refers to Jesus being married, is looking more and more like it is not authentic, research is revealing.

Conclusion

Professor King has devoted much of her scholarly career to making a case that the early church falsely constructed an orthodox understanding of Jesus that minimized the role of women. Back in 2003 she released The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, in which she argued that at least some ancient texts pointed to Mary Magdalene as an apostle. In 2012 she told the writer for Smithsonian: “You’re talking to someone who’s trying to integrate a whole set of ‘heretical’ literature into the standard history.” {It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship}

King saying

“it does not make sense that a forger with poor Coptic and scribal skills could also manage to acquire the right kind of papyrus and ink, and leave no ink out of place at the microscopic level.”

in her judgment may be right that “such a combination of bumbling and sophistication seems extremely unlikely” and that the world has a genuine old manuscript. But this does not mean it is a worthy “gospel” fragment or a sacred text.

King said.

“Is Jesus talking about a real wife, or the church, or a sister-wife? Who is the Mary—his mother, his wife, or some other Mary entirely?”

As I tried to explain in these 10 chapters is that we might understand it that when we would like to translate it with “wife” we should understand it to be a “woman” or female person in the bond of covenant-ship of being a pupil or follower of Christ.

What also might be important is that certain conservative ideas about the role of women in church herewith would be contradicted. If the papyrus fragment reflects religious writing copied from earlier texts, perhaps ones in the fourth century, it would speak to early Christian concerns about the role of the family in the early Church, which famously called upon its adherents to put aside family and civic loyalties, King suggests.

“This is not evidence that Jesus was married. We don’t know,”

Professor King originally interpreted the document as a debate about celibacy and had said:

“But early Christians were extremely interested in questions about whether they should be married or be celibate.”

Last month she added:

‘Now when I come back and read the fragment, it seems the major issue being talked about was that Jesus was affirming that wives and mothers can be his disciples,’ she said in an interview earlier this week.

The Harvard Divinity School writes:

If ancient, this tiny, damaged fragment provides tantalizing glimpses into issues about family, discipleship, and marriage that concerned ancient Christians. The main topic of the dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is one that deeply concerned early Christians, who were asked to put loyalty to Jesus before their natal families, as the New Testament gospels show. Christians were talking about themselves as a family, with God the Father, his son Jesus, and members as brothers and sisters. The particular focus in the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, however, is on women: his mother, Mary, his wife, and a female disciple. The disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy, and Jesus states that “she can be my disciple.” These signs indicate some controversy over whether women who are sexually active (mothers and wives) can be disciples of Jesus. Other early Christian writings defend marriage and reproduction against fellow Christians who think virginity and celibacy are required for all, or who argue that “women are not worthy of life.”

This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what role claims about Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family. The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife makes it possible to say that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married. This conclusion potentially has significant implications for the history of ancient Christian attitudes toward marriage, sexuality, and reproduction.

I agree with professor King that the papyrus may show that there were early Christians for whom …

“sexual union in marriage could be an imitation of God’s creativity and it could be spiritually proper and appropriate.”

For her the so-called ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ may have been thrown out

“because the ideas it contained flowed so strongly against the ascetic currents of the tides in which Christian practices and understandings of marriage and sexual intercourse were surging.”

This representation of Jesus as a man with earthly passions and needs has not survived in the doctrines of the established churches, which emphasise celibacy and asceticism as a spiritual ideal. We as Christians should remember how Jesus preached equality between man and how we all had to love each other becoming one, united. Men and women equally united in the lord Christ Jesus, having the bride Jesus, him married to spiritual Israel, the Church.

The John papyrus fragment (right) comes from the same anonymous owner as the Gospel of Jesus's wife and has the same line breaks as a papyrus transcribed in 1924 (shown on left). The papyrus and Gospel of Jesus's Wife have similar ink and writing styles, suggesting the latter is a fake.

The John papyrus fragment (right) comes from the same anonymous owner as the Gospel of Jesus’s wife and has the same line breaks as a papyrus transcribed in 1924 (shown on left). The papyrus and Gospel of Jesus’s Wife have similar ink and writing styles, suggesting the latter is a fake.

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Find in this series:

 Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

 Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

 Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

 Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

 Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment  in Egyptian Coptic

 Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

 Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

 Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

 To be continued with:

The Bride New Jerusalem

 

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Additional reading:

  1. God’s promises
  2. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  3. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  4. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  5. Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News
  6. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  7. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  8. God’s salvation
  9. Written to recognise the Promised One
  10. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Messiah
  13. One mediator
  14. Slave for people and God
  15. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  16. Kingdom Visions of Rainbowed angel, Lamb in Mount Zion
  17. The Song of The Lamb #1 Visions, symbols and suggested meanings
  18. Accommodation of the Void
  19. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  20. Angels
  21. Father counterpart of the mother
  22. Invitation to all who believe
  23. Belief of the things that God has promised
  24. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  25. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  26. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  27. United people under Christ
  28. Fellowship
  29. What’s church for, anyway?
  30. Church sent into the world
  31. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  32. Misleading Pictures
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  35. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  36. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  37. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  38. Signs of the Last Days

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Please find also of interest:

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is Still as Big a Mystery as Ever
Given that King announced the discovery at a professional conference and immediately made preliminary test results and high-resolution photographs available to the world, it is difficult to know what she could have done differently.   Certainly a more somber title—something in Latin perhaps—would have conveyed more nuance and garnered less attention, but getting attention for the discovery and the field was King’s aim. It used to be the case that papyrus discoveries were routinely announced on the front pages of the Times of London, but things have changed. It’s tough out there when you’re not a Kardashian, and a catchy title and clear message can go a long way. It’s rare for scholars to pass up the opportunity to reach a broader audience when the opportunity presents itself, even if that means giving up some precision.

It’s Back — The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” and the State of Modern Scholarship

Last week, the Harvard Theological Review released a much-delayed series of articles on the fragment. After a series of investigations undertaken by diverse scholars, the general judgment claimed by Professor King is that the fragment probably is not a forgery — or at least that it dates back to ancient times. The analysis suggested that the fragment dated from about four centuries later than Professor King had first suggested. This would place the fragment, if authentic, in the context of eighth-century Egypt — hundreds of years after the New Testament was written and completed.

The language used by the national media in reporting the story this time reveals the lack of confidence now placed in the fragment. The Boston Globe reported that the tests “have turned up no evidence of modern forgery,” but the reporter had to acknowledge that at least one of the scholars writing in the Harvard Theological Review insisted that the fragment is not only a forgery, but an amateurish effort. The New York Times ran a story that featured a headline announcing that the fragment “is more likely ancient than fake.” Note the uncertainty evident even in the headline.

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship,”
One British newspaper notes that the claims about a married Jesus seem more worthy of fans of Dan Brown’s fictional work, The Da Vinci Code, than “real-life Harvard professors.” If the fragment is authenticated, the existence of this little document will be of interest to historians of the era, but it is insanity to make the claims now running through the media.

No Evidence of Modern Forgery in Ancient Text Mentioning Jesus’s Wife,”
Specialists said, hypothetically, that a highly skilled modern forger could have obtained the right kind of ink and meticulously applied it to a blank piece of ancient papyrus.

Determining the age of the ink using conventional testing methods would destroy the tiny document, roughly the size of a business card. Groundbreaking work by Columbia University researchers may soon uncover a way to date the ink without harming the fragment, which would offer a more definitive verdict about its authenticity.

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ likely isn’t a modern forgery, scientists claim
The Vatican has previously said that the document is most likely a modern forgery, but scientists from Columbia University, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say their analysis strongly suggests that it is indeed part of an ancient manuscript and that it wasn’t edited or tampered with. The researchers used micro-Raman and infrared spectroscopy to analyze the composition of the ink, looking for clues as to whether it may have been applied after the original document was damaged.
“There is absolutely no evidence for that,” Timothy Swager, an MIT chemistry professor who worked on the project, tells the New York Times. “It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible.” The researchers dated the fragment to between the sixth and ninth century AD, noting that it bears a strong resemblance to other texts from that era.

The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Is Real: What Now?
As with all scholarly work on the ancient world, it seems impossible to ever fully resolve disputes over the text and its interpretations. This isn’t the last word on the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, but it is a fragment of understanding about how early Christians saw their savior.

No Forgery Evidence Seen in “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” Papyrus
One report in the journal, by epigrapher Leo Depuydt of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, claims grammatical errors dog the text and concludes, “The author of this analysis has not the slightest doubt that the document is a forgery, and not a very good one at that.”

Overall, he suggests that the papyrus was forged from a copy of the ancient Gospel of Thomas text, discovered less than a century ago in Egypt.

King refutes those criticisms in a response in the journal, arguing that the grammar errors are misinterpretations by Depuydt. She also argues that writings similar to the Gospel of Thomas were then prevalent in the eastern Mediterranean, so words from that gospel would not necessarily be a sign of forgery.
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In the journal reports, a chemistry team led by MIT’s Joseph Azzarelli concluded that the age of the papyrus scrap matches that of a verified Gospel of John papyrus from antiquity. The team relied on microspectroscopy of the papyrus, which found the fragment only slightly less oxidized—aged by exposure to air—than the verified gospel.

Likewise, Columbia University’s James Yardley and Alexis Hagadorn looked at the pigments in the ink on the fragment. They found it similar to “lamp black” ink used on other ancient texts.

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’: Doubts Raised About Ancient Text
In an effort to confirm the origins of the papyrus and discover its history, Live Science went searching for more information about Laukamp and his descendents, business partners or friends.

Our findings indicate that Laukamp was a co-owner of the now-defunct ACMB-American Corporation for Milling and Boreworks in Venice, Fla. Documents filed in Sarasota County, Fla., show that Laukamp was based in Germany at the time of his death in 2002 and that a man named René Ernest was named as the representative of his estate in Sarasota County. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

In an exchange of emails in German, Ernest said that Laukamp did not collect antiquities, did not own this papyrus and, in fact, was living in West Berlin in 1963, so he couldn’t have crossed the Berlin Wall into Potsdam. Laukamp, he said, was a toolmaker and had no interest in old things. In fact, Ernest was astonished to hear that Laukamp’s name had been linked to this papyrus.

Is the ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ a fake after all? Fresh doubts cast over ancient papyrus that suggested Jesus was married after another in the collection with the Same handwriting is proved to be a forgery
Fresh questions over the authenticity of the ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ papyrus have been raised after a text from the same collection written in the same handwriting was proved to be a fake, experts say.
Debate over the fragment’s authenticity is set to continue as some will no doubt question these latest findings.
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Additional tests showed that the ink’s chemical composition is consistent with other inks used by the ancient Egyptians, while microscopic imaging found no suspicious ink pooling that critics of the papyrus said was evidence of the ink being applied in more recent times.

At the same time, other papyri from the collection were tested for means of comparison. One of those was a fragment from the canonical Gospel’ of John written in a rare ancient dialect of Coptic known as Lycopolitan. A Lycopolitan version of John, which was first published in 1924, is now available online.
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Many people over the centuries have tried to work out a ‘bloodline’ for possible descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Many historians agree that there is no historical, biblical, archaeological or genetic evidence to support the idea.

New clues cast doubt on ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

Once we started carbon-dating papyrus, forgers started using authentically ancient papyrus. Once we discovered how to identify ancient ink by its chemical composition, forgers started creating precisely the same ink.

Like steroids in sports, it’s safe to assume that the best bad guys are always one step ahead of the science.

And yet, the dating of the papyrus and ink did shift the burden back on to the doubters. And just this past week, they seem to have discovered something as close to proof as we can really expect in cases like this.
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Add to this the fact that the carbon dating of the John papyrus puts it in the seventh to ninth centuries, but Lycopolitan died out as a language sometime before the sixth century. No one wrote anything in Lycopolitan in the period in which this text would have to be dated.
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This forgery was detected not through lab analysis but through good old-fashioned humanities-based detective work. This was Sherlock Holmes, not “CSI.”

‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Looks More and More Like a Fake

Just recently, Christian Askeland, a research associate with the Institut für Septuaginta-und biblische Textforschung in Wuppertal Germany, revealed new information that casts further doubt on the papyrus’ authenticity. His work is set to be published in the journal Tyndale Bulletin and is currently posted on a blog.

Askeland analyzed a second papyrus that, according to documents published in the Harvard Theological Review, was also purchased by the anonymous owner from Laukamp. It was presented to Harvard as a papyrus believed to be genuine.

This second papyrus, which has writing on two sides, includes text from the Gospel of John — and is a fake, writes Askeland, its lines being copied from a papyrus published in 1924. In addition, the researcher notes this papyrus has similar handwriting and ink to the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, making it likely that the Jesus’s wife papyrus is also fake. [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

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  • Centuries-Old Document Stirs Up Jesus Marriage Debate (fox8.com)
    A newly revealed, centuries-old papyrus fragment suggests that some early Christians might have believed Jesus was married. The fragment, written in Coptic, a language used by Egyptian Christians, says in part, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …”Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen King announced the findings of the 1 1/2- by 3-inch honey-colored fragment on Tuesday in Rome at the International Association for Coptic Studies.
  • ‘Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife’ Papyrus Is Ancient, Not Fake, Experts Say (huffingtonpost.com)
    “The main topic of the fragment is to affirm that women who are mothers and wives can be disciples of Jesus — a topic that was hotly debated in early Christianity as celibate virginity increasingly became highly valued,” King, whose specialties include Coptic literature, Gnosticism and women in the Bible, said in a statement Thursday. “This gospel fragment provides a reason to reconsider what we thought we knew by asking what the role claims of Jesus’ marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family.”The legible lines on the front of the artifact seem to form a broken conversation between Jesus and his disciples. The fourth line of the text says, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Line 5 says “… she will be able to be my disciple,” while the line before the “wife” quote has Jesus saying “Mary is worthy of it” and line 7 says, “As for me, I dwell with her in order to …”
  • The Great Debate: Death and Taxes Matthew 22:15-33 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    Jesus has boldly claimed authority as Israel’s Messiah by His triumphal entry, His cleansing of the temple, and His possession of the temple for His teaching and healing ministry (Matthew 21:1-17). It is while Jesus is ministering in the temple that His adversaries,  the religious elite of Jerusalem  choose to challenge Him publicly, demanding that He declare the source of His authority for all He has been doing (Matthew 21:23).
  • did jesus kill himself (or, maybe, have himself killed)? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Famously, some liberal theologians suggest Jesus only submitted to the cross after his example was wasted on the folk. Or, some suggest he was the first martyr. Neither of this, I think, does justice to what I am going to propose in my new dissertation. If we allow for the moment that devotio means, in its simplest form, “self-sacrifice,” then we can allow for an exploration of suicide as a form of devotio even if the proper term is not used.
  • The revelation of Jesus that John saw and heard (correctunderstandingofshinchonji.wordpress.com)
    The revelation that John saw, heard, and recorded is the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rv 1:1). Anyone who learns this revelation of Jesus is not learning from mere men; he is learning from Jesus and the angels coming in his name (Jn 14:26; Rv 10). This revelation contains prophecies and their fulfillment (Jn 14:29; Rv 21:6). The prophecies record the events of betrayal, destruction, and salvation (2Thes 2:1-3). The fulfillment of Revelation includes battles and the handling down of judgment (Rv 13; Rv 12). Revelation describes the war between God and the devil, and the battle between God’s promised pastor and the pastors of the devil (Rv 12).
  • Psalm 2 (The coming reign of Jesus on Earth) (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
    the scenario of Psalm 2:2 shows that the rulers of the earth are aware not just of God but also about Christ his anointed One. It means that the around that time (which will soon come) most people will have the Gospel preached to them as a witness. So there will be some rulers who will try to go against the Gospel teachings.
  • The Bible backs same-sex couples: Point by point, why conservatives are wrong (salon.com)
    If the essence of marriage involves a covenant-keeping relationship of mutual self-giving, then two men or two women can fulfill that purpose as well as a man and a woman can. But is lifelong commitment between two adults sufficient for realizing a Christian basis for marriage? Or is there something unique about heterosexual relationships that prevents same-sex couples from truly illustrating Christ’s love for the church?
  • The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife ~ A Rogueclassicist Perspective (rogueclassicism.com)
    We also saw some things from the Smithsonian, which may have added some gravitas to the story:

    … and it became apparent that this was connected to a documentary on the subject which was funded by the Smithsonian and which will appear on the Smithsonian Channel later this month.

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Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh

In the previous postings I talked about the torn, business card-size fragment which found instant fame when Harvard historian Karen King announced its discovery in September 2012, because it bears the startling line: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …'”

The manuscript written in Coptic, the language of early Christians living in Egypt, has the beginning and end of each line of the manuscript missing. It could be interpreted as a record of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples, in which the disciples tell Jesus: “Mary [Magdalene] is not worthy of it,” and Jesus responds that his wife — presumably Mary Magdalene — “will be able to be his disciple.”

Example Jesus

“Christ gave the example
Now you have been called to this, really, because Christ also suffered in our behalf, leaving you17 an example that you should follow in His footsteps:  (22)  who did not commit sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth;  (23)  who being reviled did not revile in return, suffering did not threaten but committed it to Him who judges righteously;  (24)  who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, so that we, having died to those sins,18 might live for the19 righteousness; by whose wound20 you were healed.” (1Pe 2:21-24 WPNT)

For many Christians Christ Jesus should give the good example. This means that a male of that age should have been married, so Jesus should have had a wife and normal sexual relationship. Most Christians take Jesus also to be god, forgetting he is the son of God and not god the son, he like the Father in heaven ‘Yahweh” would have a wife.

Essence of life belongs to only One

It is very well know that between the 10th century BCE and the beginning of their exile in 586 BCE, polytheism was normal throughout Israel. According to many scholars it was only after the exile that worship of Yahweh alone became established, and possibly only as late as the time of the Maccabees (2nd century BCE) that monotheism became universal among Jews. As a believer I do believe the Holy Scriptures and accept that there have always through history have been people honouring and worshipping the Only One True God, who later gave His Name to be known all over the world as “The I Am Who Is the Being, the Essence of Life”, the Elohim God of gods Hashem Jehovah.

Threat of false teachings

The false teachings of those who liked the plural gods soon entered the world of the followers of the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ). The apostles described already in the Acts of the apostles that their community was already under threat for this danger. The acts of Peter show more of those false teachings having been entered in the Christian faith.

Mother goddess

NMMI IMG 8966.JPG

Asherah אֲשֵׁרָה Goddess of motherhood and fertility, Lady of the Sea

One of those teachings was that the god of heaven and earth had a counterpart or Dione, which like ‘Elat means “Goddess”. Before Christ Jesus the prophets, like Jeremiah, also warned people not to fall for such “Queen of Heaven” or a “Mother god”.  In the Book of Jeremiah, written circa 628 BCE, where the people pray to ha asherah or Asherah ( ‘ṯrt; אֲשֵׁרָה‎, ʼAṯirat, Ashratum/Ashratu) the mother goddess or the Queen of Heaven Jehovah is provoked to anger. (Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:17–19, 25).

Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah” and “Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah.” are inscription been found. We should know that several polytheist also adhered Yahweh and even Romans kept a shrine for the God, Whose name they were not quite sure He had. (The unknown God of heaven and earth.)

Relation between Yahweh and other gods

Yahweh having had a temple in Samaria raises a question over the relationship between Yahweh and Kaus (Qaush, Kaush, Qaus, Kos, and Qaws), the national god of Edom. {Keel, Othmar; Uehlinger, Christoph (1998). Gods, Goddesses, And Images of God. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 228. ISBN 9780567085917. Retrieved 10 March 2014.}

It has been suggested that the Israelites might consider Asherah as a consort of Baal due to the anti-Asherah ideology which was influenced by the Deuteronomistic History at the later period of Monarchy. {Sung Jin Park, “The Cultic Identity of Asherah in Deuteronomistic Ideology of Israel,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 123/4 (2011): 553–564.}

Male or female god

For certain Christians The Hebrew God Yahweh or Elohim is conceived of biblically as a male deity, which is is of course not surprising in a patriarchal or male-ruled society. Lots of Christians seem to overlook that in the Bible is written that God the Elohim is not comparable to a human being and is an eternal Spirit and as such does not have a male or female site, no bones, no flesh with blood running through.

Susan Ackerman notes also that there are some feminizations of Yahweh in Isaiah (e.g., “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” [66:13]; see also 42:14 and 49:15). But then Isaiah also refers to kings as “nursing fathers” (49:23) and to daughters who “shalt suck the breasts of kings” (60:16), words that cannot be taken literally. In any case, Yahweh outside of some Isaianic imagery is masculine in the Hebrew Bible. In the New Testament, “God” translates the Greek Theos, with God remaining a male deity. Thus Jesus regularly uses the word Father (Greek Pater, in Jesus’ Aramaic Abba) for God (e.g., Matthew 6:8-9; Mark 14:36; Luke 10:21; John 17:1; see also Paul’s use in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6).

Masculine and feminine terms

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God-Bearer, Lady of the Sign, temper on board, 19th c., Russia – Supraśl – Museum of Icons

In the previous chapters I spoke about those Gnostic gospels where we can find the thought of the divine in both masculine and feminine terms, with Jesus referring to the Holy Spirit as his Mother in the Gospel of Thomas and in the Gospel to the Hebrews, and with the Apocryphon of John describing the Trinity as Father, Mother, and Son. It is in that trinitarian thinking that most people adhere to the mother of god-idea, taking Miriam/Miryam or Saint Mary or Virgin Mary as “Blessed Virgin Mary” being the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God or even the Theotokos, literally “Bearer of God”.

Gerunds no personal figures

Man Satan and Lady Wisdom

Several Christians do like to give nouns, substantives or gerunds a personal figure, and as such make the word ‘satan’ which means the adversary a literal figure with the name Satan. Wisdom they make into God and as such find proof that God is also a Woman. This is than affirmed for them in the Apocrypha where ‘Lady Wisdom‘ is identified with the Torah or biblical law (Sirach 24:23; Baruch 4:1). Many Christians like in the same way to use the Greek word Logos as the person Jesus, where in the New Testament the preexistent Word (Greek: Logos) at the beginning of the Gospel of John is reminiscent of Wisdom and of being God and being Christ Jesus, as such them having to be one and the same person. When the apostle Paul later calls Christ “the wisdom of God” (Greek Theou Sophia) then the cat’s away the mice will play. (1 Corinthians 1:24)

Husband and wife metaphor

The metaphor of Yahweh and the Hebrew people as husband and wife is found first in the book of Hosea, and continues in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. When there is spoken of a troubled marriage, for despite Yahweh’s “love toward the children of Israel,” they “look to other gods”  it is not about a literal marriage.

“And Yahweh said to me, Go again, love a woman loved by a companion, but [is] an adulteress, even as Yahweh loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods, and love cakes of raisins.” (Hosea 3:1 UPD)

Children of Israel

File:Figures The Golden Calf.jpg

The Israelites, god’s chosen people more than once forgot what their Protector and Redeemer had done, and committed ‘adultery’ in the eyes of God.

Yahweh or Jehovah loving the sons is not love like many would like to imagine they having to love some one. The love of Yahweh/Jehovah has nothing to do with a sexual relationship. His love for the sons of Israel which will return (Hosea 3:5) has all to do with the People God made for himself. The wife and/or the bride of which the Bible speaks God has is a figurative ‘wife‘ or ‘spouse‘. The ones that seek Yahweh or Jehovah their God, and David their king, and will come with fear to the Only One True God and to His goodness in the latter days, He is willing to take unto Him like a man would take a wife unto him.

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:  (5)  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek YHWH their Elohim, and David their king; and shall fear YHWH and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:4-5 RNKJV)

Bride Israel

In several places in the Holy Scriptures we can find “The Wife” or “the bride” as a metaphor for the Israelite people, the “Chosen Ones” or the Jews, and later for the Jews and gentiles or converted heathen who wanted to follow the son of God.

Marriage strict bond between God and Israel

As marriage is a matter of a strict bond, Jehovah wants also to have a strict bond or covenant between the two parties, Him (the Creator) and the ones who want to be connected with Him, God His people, or “Israel“. The bed or couch God wants His people to take is with Him, who is the Maker of all. In the past Jehovah had to see more than ones that His people Israel choose to have their beds down with others. For that reason He also provided a new bond or a new marriage, with His son and those who wanted to recognise him as the son of God and as the Messiah, as presenter of the New Covenant.

“For thy Maker is thine husband; YHWH of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The Elohim of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah 54:5 RNKJV)

” Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.  (8)  Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.” (Isaiah 57:7-8 RNKJV)

“For as a youth marries a virgin,  thus your sons marry you:  and as the bridegroom joys over the bride,  thus your Elohim rejoices over you. ” (Isaiah 62:5 ECB)

Israel showing no fidelity to marriage vows

The backsliding children (the Israelites) had neglected many times the pleas of the Most High, though He let them know that He  was totally connected to them like man and wife are connected with their marriage vows. he always wanted to offer the honourable and honest the safest place where they could find rest in His bed. The Elohim, God of gods is the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, and His name is Holy, and everybody should come to know His Name: Jehovah; the One Who dwells in the high and holy place, even with the contrite and humble of spirit; to make live the spirit of the humble and to make live the heart of the contrite ones.

“(1.5)  For thus said the High and Lofty One that inhabit eternity, whose Name is Holy; I dwell in the high and Holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  (16)  For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made.  (17)  For the iniquity of his covetousness I was wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart. ” (Isaiah 57:15-17 RHB)

“Jehovah also said to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen what the apostate Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every green tree, and has fornicated there.  (7)  And after she had done all these, I said, She will return to Me; but she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.  (8)  And I watched. When for all the causes for which the apostate Israel committed adultery, I sent her away and I gave the writ of her divorce to her. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she also went and fornicated.  (9)  And it happened, from the wantonness of her harlotry she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with pieces of wood.  (10)  And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but with falsehood, says Jehovah.  (11)  And Jehovah said to me, The apostate Israel has justified herself more than treacherous Judah.  (12)  Go and cry these words toward the north, and say, Return, O apostate Israel, says Jehovah. I will not cause My face to fall on you, for I am merciful, says Jehovah; I will not keep anger forever.  (13)  Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have rebelled against Jehovah your God and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice, says Jehovah.  (14)  Return, O apostate sons, declares Jehovah; for I am Lord over you. And I will take you, one from a city, and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.  (15)  And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.  (16)  And it will be, when you multiply and increase in the land in those days, says Jehovah, they will no longer say, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah! Nor shall it come to the heart, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made any more.  (17)  At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah. And all nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem. And they shall not walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.” (Jeremiah 3:6-17 LITV)

The Bed of Jehovah

The bed of Jehovah and the throne of Jehovah, are the places where those who love God should come to. We like the children of Israel should remember:

” Turn O backsliding children, declares YHWH; because I am married to you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family and I will bring you to Zion:” (Jeremiah 3:14 UTV)

Broken bond

The marriage bond was broken by those people of Israel, because they committed ‘adultery‘. Ezekiel 23 allegorizes Samaria and Jerusalem, the Israelite and Judahite capitals, as two sisters with a host of foreign lovers while both are married to Yahweh and should have known the Will of this Most High Jehovah. It are such passages which deem to be very disturbing to feminist commentators when they look at what they call the brutal punishment of the women by God. Those women symbolize Israel’s unfaithfulness. As noted by Kathleen M. O’Connor, the portrayal of physical abuse by the divine in such passages implicitly condones such behaviour in humans.

Open Invitation to non-Israelites

Kinsmen Redeemer

In the Holy Scriptures we can find the invitation of the Divine Creator God to human beings to become His People and to come and sit down. For the daughter of Babylon (the unbelievers but also the spurious church) may sit on the ground; though they might say to be on the throne of Peter, there is no throne, because they will have lured many people in their base, but would find that at a certain time they would no more be called tender and delicate. We may even see that at such a time those in high position may become  undressed. They shall be bare and many (not all) shall come to see their nakedness uncovered. In such way there might still be hope, because then  her shame (of those institutions or the church) will be seen. But no way out, Jehovah will take vengeance and He says in the Book of Jeremiah that He will not meet them as a man.  As for our kinsmen- redeemer, YHWH יהוה {Jehovah} of Hosts is his Name, the Holy One of Israel or better:  the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl.

“Come down and sit upon the dust, thou virgin daughter of Babel, sit upon the earth: no throne, thou daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt not be added for them to call thee tender and delicate.  (2)  Take the two mill-stones and grind flour, and uncover thy veil; strip off the train, uncover the leg, pass through the rivers.  (3)  Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, also thy reproach shall be seen: I will take vengeance, I will not make peace with man.  (4)  Jehovah of armies redeemed us, his name the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 47:1-4 Julia)

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Whore of Babylon (woman of Babylon) – Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553)

Virgin daughter of Babylon

We may find it cruel that Jehovah strips “the virgin daughter of Babylon” in Isaiah 47:1-4, and helps the Babylonians rape Jerusalem in Jeremiah 13:26 and that He trods “the virgin” Jerusalem “as in a winepress” (Lamentations 1:15), and that He raises up their lovers against them as a jealous husband, stripping them out of their clothes.

“For this, O Aholibah, thus said the Lord Jehovah: Behold me raising up those loving thee, against thee, whom thy soul was rent away from them, and I brought them against thee from round about  (23)  The sons of Babel and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, all the sons of Amur with them: young men of desire, prefects and governors, all of them third men, and celebrated, riding horses all of them.  (24)  And they came against thee firm with chariot and wheel, and with a convocation of peoples, shield and buckler and helmet, they will set against thee round about: and I gave judgment before them, and they judged thee with their judgments.  (25)  And I gave my jealousy against thee, and they did with thee in wrath: thy nose and thine ears they shall take away; and thy posterity shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters, and thy posterity shall be consumed in fire.  (26)  And they stripped thee of thy garments, and they took the instrument of thy glory.  (27)  And I caused thy wickedness to cease from thee, and thy fornication from the land of Egypt: and thou shalt not lift up thine eyes to them, and thou shalt remember Egypt no more.” (Ezekiel 23:22-27 Julia)

Mutilated wife

The Adonay Yah Veh, Jehovah looks at His people like a man looks at his wife. But this does not have to mean that He was really married to a wife and certainly not to Asherah, the consort of El (“god”), the supreme god of Canaan and father of the popular Baal.  Several Catholic theologians have written many books on Asherah as the wife of Yahweh. Some, not all, have overlooked these metaphors of Jehovah. For many of them the husband physically abusing his wife presents a challenge to modern biblical interpreters. Through such imagery “the Bible,” writes Sharon H. Ringe in The Women’s Bible Commentary,

“seems to bless the harm and abuse with which women live and sometimes die.”

The brutality seems hardly ameliorated by Yahweh’s assurances to his mutilated wife of a brighter tomorrow, for they make God sound like the stereotypical wife beater who minimizes what he has done and promises not to do it again:

“In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee… Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel,… and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry” (Isaiah 54:8; Jeremiah 31:4).

The French epigrapher Andre Lemaire looking at some graffiti, inscriptions dating from the eighth century BCE, found on walls and storage jars at two sites, Khirbet el-Kom and Kuntillet Ajrud, in Israel, declaring:

“I bless you by Yahweh of Samaria and by his asherah,” and “I bless you by Yahweh of Teiman and by his asherah.”

brings him wrongly to the conclusion that Jehovah should have a wife or woman goddess.

“Whatever an asherah is, Yahweh had one!”

he says.

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Preceding articles:

Marriage of Jesus 1 Mary, John, Judas, Thomas and Brown

Marriage of Jesus 2 Standard writings about Jesus

Marriage of Jesus 3 Listening women

Marriage of Jesus 4 Place of the woman

Marriage of Jesus 5 Papyrus fragment  in Egyptian Coptic

Marriage of Jesus 6 Jesus said to them “My wife”

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

To be followed by:

Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant

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Further reading of interest:

  1. God or a god
  2. God of gods
  3. I am that I am Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh אהיה אשר אהיה
  4. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  5. Lord in place of the divine name
  6. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  8. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  9. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend
  10. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  11. Who was Jesus? – Video
  12. Around pre-existence of Christ
  13. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  14. A man with an outstanding personality
  15. Jesus and his God
  16. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  17. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  18. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  19. Another way looking at a language #6 Set apart
  20. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  21. The Word being a quality or aspect of God Himself
  22. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  23. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  24. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  25. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data
  26. Archaeology and the Bible researcher 2/4
  27. How do trinitarians equate divine nature
  28. 2 Corinthians 5:19 – God in Christ
  29. Position and power
  30. Hellenistic influences
  31. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  32. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  33. Phoenicians sacrificed infants
  34. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  35. Religion and spirituality
  36. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  37. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  38. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  39. Signs of the Last Days
  40. Misleading Pictures
  41. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  42. Can we not do what Jesus did?
  43. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  44. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  45. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  46. Isaiah prophet and messenger of God
  47. Did Yahweh have a wife? Excerpt from Chapter 5: Polytheism: The Religion of Ancient Israel
  48. A New Jerusalem
  49. Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it
  50. Jerusalem God’s City for ever

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  • Asherah, Part I: The lost bride of Yahweh (farpointe.wordpress.com) >Asherah, Part I: The lost bride of Yahweh + reblog: Asherah, Part I: The lost bride of Yahweh
    The archaelogical record suggests that Asherah was the Mother Goddess of Israel, the Wife of God, according to William Dever, who has unearthed many clues to her identity. She was worshiped, apparently throughout the time Israel stood as a nation.  In many homes, images like the one above decorated household shrines.
    +
    Asherah’s image was lost to us not by chance, but by deliberate action of fundamentalist monotheists.  First Her images were torn down, then Her stories were rewritten, then Her name was forgotten.  In fact, Her name appears 40 times in modern translations of the Bible, but not at all in the first English translation, the King James Bible.  Since no one knew who Asherah was anymore in the 17th century when the King James Version (KJV) was being created, Her name was translated as groves of trees or trees or images in groves, without understanding that those trees and groves of trees represented a mother goddess.
  • The Way: Yahweh, The amalgamated Enlil and Enki (reverenddrred.wordpress.com)
    In this edition, I show how Yahweh/Jehovah may be Enlil and Enki. Not one, but two gods amalgamated into one. Sections include “Enlil” (breakdown of Enlil’s attributes), “Enki” (breakdown of Enki’s attributes), “Yahweh” (breakdown of Yahweh’s attributes), “Yahweh as Enlil”, and “Yahweh as Enki”.I only quote from one source, though many are used. There are countless verses in the Bible that may be utilized. However, I will only be stating the more well-known to prove the point. After reviewing the below information, the pattern will become evident as you read your Bible (regardless of translation).
  • Asherah, Wife of God (fractalfortress.wordpress.com)
    Do you remember the furor over Dan Brown’s depiction of Jesus in his book “The Da Vinci Code?” Fundamentalists were up in arms over the idea that perhaps God had a wife…but in ancient times, the Judeo-Christian god Yahweh did indeed have a female counterpart — and among some circles she was worshipped exclusively! Her name is Asherah, Lady of the Sea.Asherah is a Semitic “mother goddess” who appears in several ancient sources. She was loved by the Jews, Akkadians, Hittites, Canaanites, Sumerians, and possibly the Ancient Egyptians. Due to syncretism, she absorbed the traits of the Goddess Athirat. Her titles are similarly many and include Queen of Heaven, Creator of the Gods, Lady of the Sea, and Holiness.
  • Never Mind Jesus–Did God Have A Wife? (theatlantic.com)
    The recently revealed “evidence” that Jesus had a wife deserves those quotation marks. As various people have argued, a fragment of text written centuries after the crucifixion doesn’t carry much weight as a biographical source. However, when it comes to the question of whether Jesus’s father had a wife, the evidence is stronger. And I’m not talking about Joseph, but, rather, about Jesus’s heavenly father–God.

    I discussed this a few years ago in my book The Evolution of God. I argued (as had a number of scholars) that Israelite religion was for a long time polytheistic, and that full-fledged monotheism didn’t arrive until the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BCE. And, of course, in many polytheistic religions, gods have mates. So might Yahweh have had one for a time?

  • Know Your Bible Lesson 13: Warring Kingdoms (Period 5) (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    In our last lesson, we learned about how God instigated a massive civil war in Israel after the death of the idolatrous King Solomon. The nation was split into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south.
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    All the nations in this area are serving manmade gods. Every god has a bunch of folklore attached to it. Certain gods are friends with other gods. Certain gods don’t like other gods. Certain gods are stronger and other gods are weaker. It’s all a bunch of make believe rubbish, but this is how stupid people get when they reject the real God.Now you have your male gods and your female gods. Baal is a male god, and he comes up more in the Bible because he’s considered to be one of the higher ranking gods. Baal was associated with weather control, which is of supreme importance to agricultural nations. Baal is outranked by big daddy god El. We don’t hear much about El in the Bible, but El was believed to have a queen named Asherah. So Asherah was the top female goddess, also called “the Queen of Heaven” (the same title we use for Mary in some branches of the Church today—yikes!).Every god has its worshiping paraphernalia. Asherah’s equipment included some physical object which is referred to as Asherah poles (or plural Asherim) in the Bible. People are always setting these dumb things up and then later someone else comes along and takes them down. And of course Yahweh finds all of this quite exasperating.

    We learn that our good king Asa is boldly defying his mother in his war against idolatry, because mom is a very big fan of Asherah.

  • Know Your Bible Lesson 19: More Kings & the Prophet Amos (Period 5) (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    The high priest makes all the people enter into a covenant (a serious promise) that they would honor Yahweh and obey all of His Laws. Then everyone troops over and tears down the temple to Baal that is in Jerusalem. Jehoiada gets the sacrificial system back on track and little Joash is placed on the royal throne.
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    What does God do when He’s mad and no one is listening to Him? He sends prophets to convict people of their sins and show them how to return to obedience. What happens if no one listens to the prophets? Well, then He has to come up with some other form of motivation, doesn’t He? Life in Judah starts feeling very unblessed. After Joash has had enough time to notice how rotten things are going, God raises up yet another prophet to explain the obvious.
  • Who is Yahweh? (gnosticwarrior.com)
    The name of the Hebrew national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel and Judah is Yahweh  (Jahveh, Jehovah or Iehoua pronounced “yohweh” or /ˈjɑːw/ or /ˈjɑːhw/; Hebrew: יהוה‎) and In the Hebrew Bible, Yahweh is written as יהוה (YHWH). In the book of Jonah, the name Yahweh (Lord) is mentioned 22 times, , Elohim or El (God) 13 times, and the combination Lord God four times for a total of 39 references. The meaning of El in the Hebrew Scriptures is the singular form of the word God and Elohim is the noun plural version. Rabbinic Judaism teaches that the Tetragrammaton (י-ה-ו-ה), YHWH, is the ineffable and actual name of God, and as such is not read aloud in the Shema but is traditionally replaced with אדני, Adonai (“Lord”).
  • Jesus is the Messiah (darnellbarkman.wordpress.com)
    The terms Messiah and Christ have a very rich history and carry a lot of expectations to Jesus when he took that identity upon himself:
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    In practice ‘Messiah’ is mostly restricted to the notion, which took various forms in ancient Judaism, of the coming King who would be David’s true heir, through whom YAHWEH [The Creator God’s proper name] would rescue Israel from pagan enemies.
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Brunei introducing a raft of tough sharia punishments

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers his speech during the official opening of the Majlis Ilmu 2013 in Bandar Seri Begawan on October 22, 2013

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers his speech during the official opening of the Majlis Ilmu 2013 in Bandar Seri Begawan on October 22, 2013

Coat of arms of Brunei.

Coat of arms of Brunei. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah announced on Tuesday the phased introduction of tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, in the monarchy’s latest step towards conservatism.

The 67 years old looks forward to a new Sharia Penal Code which has been in the works for years to “come into force six months hereafter and in phases”. As an all-powerful figure whose family has ruled the languid, oil-rich
country of 400,000 for six centuries, the sultan first called in 1996
for the introduction of sharia criminal punishments. In this action we see the continuing of the the sultan has steps towards Islamic orthodoxy which had already the mandatory religious education for all Muslim children and all businesses in the country to be closed for two hours during Friday prayers.

Now the sultan believes:

“By the grace of Allah, with the coming into effect of this legislation, our duty to Allah is therefore being fulfilled.”

Brunei already has a dual-track system combining civil courts based on British law — the sultanate was a British protectorate until 1984 — and Shariah courts that are currently limited to personal and family issues such as marriage disputes.

Two years ago, a top official in the Attorney-General’s office said Brunei would apply an extremely high burden of proof for shariah criminal infractions under the code, and that judges would have wide discretion in applying the Islamic punishments.

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