Followers, protestors and reformers

When we read the Acts of the apostles chapter 11 we find how the first followers of Christ Jesus went on to step in the footsteps of their master.

 “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God” (verse 1).

For them it was very special to see how heathen people came to find the Way to God. In their writings they told about their experiences and where not afraid to show how they struggled with certain things. Though not always agreeing with each other over all matters they did everything to stay under the teachings and guidance of their master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) From him they had learned how important it was to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

500 years after Luther placed his 95 remarks on the Roman Catholic Church on the doors of the of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church), Wittenberg, on October 31, 1517 we can find many churches who where under the influence of him and of other theologians who stood up against the ruling Roman Catholic Church. In those times of ‘revolt’ many where not afraid to talk to others about the Word of God and to use the Bible to show others what is really written in it.

It was made possible to ordinary people to come to read and to hear about the message of the kingdom and of Christ’s return to establish it. Today we can look back at a movement which changed a lot in church-world.  The Reformation caused major upheaval in Europe, leading to wars, persecutions and exoduses, including the departure of the Pilgrims for what was later to become America. Lots of those escaping for the power of churches could find time to read the Scriptures and talk to others which came from all sorts denominations.  Some of those voyagers got an eye-opening sight. Hearing all those different church doctrines they where brought down to earth with a bump, but once run aground they continued to search the Scriptures to disentangle its secrets. From those bible searchers came active Bible Students who wanted also to step in the footsteps of the apostles, following the task Jesus had given them.

Lots of Biblestudents received the bible message into their heart and mind. But at the European continent Roman Catholics received the help from protestants to fight against those who did not want to follow the false doctrine of the Trinity. From those actions taken we can see that though the Bible had come more available and there had come preachers or pastors to show the wrong teachings of the Roman Catholic Church we can see how difficult it was for many really to “receive” the peace message. Lots of people who started calling themselves Protestant came in a similar situation as they were before in the Roman Catholic Church. They did not transformed by reading the Bible and did not find that Jesus was the way to God and that they had to share Jesus his love with those around them.

Paul spearheads the carrying of Christ’s name, God’s message of salvation through His Son. In doing this he sets the example to others like Silas, Titus and Timothy to do the same. These are among the examples that have come down to us today!

In the book of Luke about the first years  after Jesus’ dead we read of “the enrolment of the priests” (verse 17) and how “they were faithful in keeping themselves holy” (verse 18), and we can see this renewal as foreshadowing the dramatic events which must surely take place when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom!

From Daniel 11 we know that when that time of return is near there shall be lots of trouble, such as never has been” (verse 1), and then the resurrection shall take place.

After this Acts 11 and 12 seem almost an anti-climax; but dramatic events are described! We read of the conversion of the first Gentile – to the great surprise of Peter – and the first disciple killed, James. However,

“the word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24).

Sadly, we can see little of that today, but

“the ‘faithful’ must keep themselves holy”

facing the challenges of the “time of trouble such as never has been” that seems to be almost upon us! Our minds must embrace the words of the Psalmist,

“9 For evil-doers are cut off; But those who wait on יהוה, They shall inherit the earth …

37 Watch the perfect, and observe the straight; For the latter end of each is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The latter end of the wrong shall be cut off.
39 But the deliverance of the righteous is from יהוה, Their strength in time of distress.
40 And יהוה does help them and deliver them; He delivers them from the wrongdoers and saves them, Because they took refuge in Him.” (Psalm 37:9, 37-39).

Of the Protestant denominations there are only a few which teach about the spreading of the Good News. Not many of their church members go out on the streets and spread the Gospel. Lots of those who belong to the reformed churches are now like Catholics, having become very passive Christians. The evangelicals and Pentecostals being the exception. They often let others hear their voice or can be seen on television with their services which are closer to a show than a worship service for God.

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Additional reading

  1. Bringing Good News into the world
  2. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation

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Further related

  1. In 1620 The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth, Devon, England.
  2. August 15, 1620  Pilgrims
  3. The Landing Of The Pilgrim Fathers
  4. The New World …
  5. The New World & The Pilgrim Fathers
  6. George Whitfield
  7. The Pilgrim’s Bible
  8. Martin Luther and the Fear of Breaking the Rules: Sermon for October 8, 2017
  9. Martin Luther, Catholics and Jews
  10. Review: Renegade: Martin Luther, the Graphic Biography
  11. Review: Martin Luther – A Spiritual Biography
  12. Wednesday Testimony – Martin Luther
  13. History brief – M. F. Cusack on Martin Luther
  14. The Human Reformer: Martin Luther Struggled With Depression and Nightmares
  15. Martin Luther The Idea that Changed the World (PBS)
  16. Martin Luther and Me
  17. Martin Luther tells me so
  18. Learning from Martin Luther (The Kingdom Of God: Romans and Galatians)
  19. How to Spread the Gospel
  20. Faithful Congregations Share the Good News

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Application of old pagan concept of trinity

Many who believe in the trinity are surprised to learn that the idea of divine beings existing as trinities or triads long predated Christianity. Yet the evidence is abundantly documented. So let us have a look at some of the evidence.

Marie Sinclair, Countess of Caithness, in her 1876 book Old Truths in a New Light, states,

“It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine. [The early Catholic theologian] St. Jerome testifies unequivocally, ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’.” — (p. 382)

Notice how the following quotes document belief in a divine trinity in many regions and religions of the ancient world.

Sumeria

Ur III Sumerian cuneiform for An or Anu, the earliest attested Sky Father deity. In Sumerian religion, he was also “King of the Gods“, “Lord of the Constellations, Spirits and Demons”, and “Supreme Ruler of the Kingdom of Heaven”, where Anu himself wandered the highest Heavenly Regions.

“The universe was divided into three regions each of which became the domain of a god. Anu‘s share was the sky. The earth was given to Enlil. Ea became the ruler of the waters. Together they constituted the triad of the Great Gods.” — (The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1994, pp. 54, 55)

Babylonia

“The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god— as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity.” — (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22, 23)

India

Purana or “ancient, old” Manuscript

“The Puranas, one of the Hindoo Bibles of more than 3,000 years ago, contain the following passage:

‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva], becoming manifest to him, replied,

‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

Hence the triangle was adopted by all the ancient nations as a symbol of the Deity … Three was considered among all the pagan nations as the chief of the mystical numbers, because, as Aristotle remarks, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the pagan gods.” (Sinclair, pp. 382, 383)

Greece

“In the Fourth Century B.C. Aristotle wrote:

‘All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity’.” — (Arthur Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197, 198)

Egypt

“The Hymn to Amun decreed that

Re-Horakhty.svg

Re, also spelled Ra or Pra, in ancient Egyptian religion, god of the sun and one of the creator gods, who rose from the ocean of chaos on the primeval hill, creating himself and then in turn engendering eight other gods.

‘No god came into being before him (Amun)’

and that

‘All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.’

… This is a statement of trinity, the three chief gods of Egypt subsumed into one of them, Amon. Clearly, the concept of organic unity within plurality got an extraordinary boost with this formulation. Theologically, in a crude form it came strikingly close to the later Christian form of plural Trinitarian monotheism.” — (Simson Najovits, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 83, 84)

Other areas

Many other areas had their own divine trinities.

In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon and Adonis. The Phoenicians worshipped Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun. Rome worshipped Jupiter, Mars and Venus. In Germanic nations they were called Wodan, Thor and Fricco. Regarding the Celts, one source states,

“The ancient heathen deities of the pagan Irish, Criosan, Biosena, and Seeva, or Sheeva, are doubtless the Creeshna [Krishna], Veeshnu [Vishnu], [or the all-inclusive] Brahma, and Seeva [Shiva], of the Hindoos.” — (Thomas Maurice, The History of Hindostan, Vol. 2, 1798, p. 171)

Arthur Edward Pearse Brome Weigall, English Egyptologist, stage designer, journalist and author, at the Temple of Edfu, before 1913

The deception is beautifully seen by the astonishing admission of Arthur Weigall who himself is a Trinitarian. Egyptologist Arthur Weigall summed up the influence of ancient beliefs on the adoption of the trinity doctrine by the Catholic Church in the following excerpt from his book:

“It must not be forgotten that Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon [the Trinity], and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘Trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan …
The ancient Egyptians, whose influence on early religious thought was profound, usually arranged their gods or goddesses in trinities: there was the trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the trinity of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu, the trinity of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis, and so forth …
The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognised the mysterious and undefined existence of the Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One …The application of this old pagan conception of a Trinity to Christian theology was made possible by the recognition of the Holy Spirit as the required third ‘Person,’ co-equal with the other ‘Persons’…The idea of the Spirit being co-equal with God was not generally recognised until the second half of the Fourth Century A.D… . In the year 381 the Council of Constantinople added to the earlier Nicene Creed a description of the Holy Spirit as

‘the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified.’

Andrey Davidson, Kingdom of God – Arius’ non-trinitarian Christian  theology

(Arian Church Facebook Group)

Christian Doctrine of the Trinity

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Preceding

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Christianity without the Trinity

Next: A Father Who begat a son

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Additional reading

  1. Tri-union gods and Pagan, Christian, Muslim and Jewish views on the Creator God
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. A Triple God or simply a rather simple One God
  4. Trinity matter
  5. Trinity – History
  6. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  7. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  8. Altered to fit a Trinity
  9. The Trinity – the truth
  10. Trinitarian philosophy
  11. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity?
  12. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine
  13. How do trinitarians equate divine nature
  14. The Great Trinity debate
  15. Newton not believing in the Holy Trinity
  16. Inspired Word
  17. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  18. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  19. Who Is Jesus? God, or unique Man?
  20. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  21. The saviour Jesus his godly side
  22. The saviour Jesus his human side
  23. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  24. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  25. The Christ, the anointed of God
  26. Challenging claim
  27. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  28. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  29. Deity manifested in Messiah
  30. Germanic mythological influences up to today’s Christmas celebrations
  31. Problems correspondents have with the Trinity Doctrine

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Further reading

  1. Is God comprised of three persons, or is He just one person?
  2. Questions for those who believe in the Trinity
  3. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  4. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  5. Trinity in the Bible
  6. Shiva, the destroyer yet the preserver
  7. Universe according to Pythagoras – pt. 1 – Tetractys
  8. A Note on ‘Biblical’ Simplicity
  9. 1 John 5:7 And Matthew 28:19 – Fabricated Trinity Verses
  10. What is God’s Glory and Why does it Matter?
  11. Ethno-nationalism and the Christian Trinity
  12. In the Newness of Prepositions
  13. Labyrinth of the Week #2: Trinity Lutheran Church
  14. Oneness Pentecostalism and Their False Doctrine of Modalism
  15. ALiF Quotes: “Plurality of One is Duality and Plurality of Two is Trinity; everything else is their derivatives.”
  16. Embrace the Mystery: Does all of theology “make sense”
  17. The Trinity Dogma and the Worship of Angels
  18. The Lord Jesus Christ and The Divine Trinity
  19. A Glimpse of the Trinity
  20. What is the Trinity?
  21. The Trinity: It’s Not That Hard to Believe.
  22. Easy Way To Know God’s Will
  23. Trinity, logically described
  24. Trinity, Part II
  25. ​Unity of the Blessed Trinity
  26. (Study) Jesus Is God
  27. A Quick Stop at The Shack
  28. Random Submission
  29. Testament 26: His word is our bond
  30. Islam and the Doctrine of the Trinity
  31. Robert Wells Needs Help Responding to Muslims on Blogging Theology
  32. The Hospitality of Abraham: The Liturgical Witness
  33. Hays on Mark’s Jesus: The God Who “Walks By” On the Water
  34. A Dove, 3, 7, and Creation
  35. Irenaeus: Salvation is the work of the Trinity
  36. Do Not Be Anxious to Be Modern In Theology
  37.  Testament 24: how to receive grace and mercy 
  38. Virgin Birth (Symbolism, Mythology, and Mystery)
  39. Is Jesus a lesser God?
  40. No One Knows the Father Except the Son: H.R. Mackintosh on the Radical Exclusivity of Revelation in Christ
  41. Delighting in the Trinity
  42. The Good God
  43. The Curious Christian
  44. Misquoted Verses #1: Judge Not
  45. Let’s Get Lost: Mapping Religion in the 21st Century
  46. The Most Shocking Thing Ever Uttered

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Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

in the December issue of the Spectator questions where Christianity began to lose confidence (as he thinks it now has) that its teachings can offer a sure framework for day-to-day moral reasoning.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us all went wrong when the church fathers agreed to Constantine the Great to adapt their faith to the Roman faith and to include their gods in the god of Christianity, creating a three-headed god like in the Roman and Greek culture. They also were very attracted to the philosophers of antiquity. One of the greatest intellectual figures of Western history got his philosophies in the teachings of the false teachers of Christendom.

Aristotle, Greek Aristoteles  (384 bceStagira, Chalcidice, Greece – 322, Chalcis, Euboea) his philosophical and scientific system that became the framework and vehicle for both Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Even after the intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, Aristotelian concepts remained embedded in Western thinking. For him

ethical questions were soluble by the application of logic and common sense that he could advise anyone seeking to determine the ‘right’ course of action to ask themselves what a respected gentleman would recommend; and if still in doubt ask what would be going too far, and would not be going far enough, and thereby locate the mean between them as the appropriate action. The Nichomachean Ethics do not speak to me of an age of aching uncertainty about the rules for human coexistence. From those times, only Pilate’s ‘what is truth?’ calls to us down the ages with a modern ring. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

Though he was the the founder of formal logic, devising for it a finished system that for centuries was regarded as the sum of the discipline, the 4th century church leaders did not seem to have much interest to keep everything logical and to keep just to what the words of the Bible said. Though the idea of the homoousios [consubstantial, of the same substance] used by the council of Council of Nicaea in 325, to define the Son’s relationship to the Father was not universally popular, different emanations from God looked much cooler and by transferring the god Zeus into the person of Jeshua corrupting his name to Issou or Jesus (Hail Zeus),they could go with the Roman emperor his ideas and keep the minds at ease, not confronting the Roman merchants with the instructions of followers of Jeshua to their believers not to buy figurines or sculptures to have them as representation of God or gods in their house.

The raising and discussing of doctrinal difficulties became a popular pastime. It also created the possibility for church-fathers to create writings and to gain popularity in certain circles. But because they agreed to certain Roman elements they became in difficulties with the Aristotelian use of deductive reasoning proceeding from self-evident principles or discovered general truths; and syllogistic forms of demonstrative or persuasive arguments. On lie or false teaching made they had to crate an other lie or a doctrine people had to take for truth, with the saying that it is something to difficult to understand for a human mind and therefore Christians had just to believe it as a creed of faith.

writes

Early Christianity strikes me as inheriting much from Aristotle’s ‘think about it: it’s obvious’ approach. The Roman Catholic church added layer upon layer of specific rules, all underwritten by a claim to divine authority — the big ‘Because’ — as handed down by a clear and certain hierarchy of human office-holders. The Reformation at first aimed to replace Roman Catholic certainties with certainties of its own. But in time the Reformation produced so many competing answers to the big ethical questions that in the schisms, sects and splinters — the rival certainties — modern Europe’s sense of one great, shared moral certainty was lost. {The question Christianity fails to answer: ‘Who is my neighbour?’}

The early Christians had already became distressed by heresies and by men who liked to have the pre-eminence over others. This resulted in schism and fragmentation. When the apostles were alive they still could call others to order. They made every effort to rebuke and educate those in error, sometimes with success and sometimes not. Those they could not bring to order or following the teachings of Christ Jesus grew in number and as such more and more people preferred those teachers which allowed them to keep the heathen rituals and to enjoy the human traditions. Still today we see that this is the main reason why many Christians do not want to convert to the truthful Christian groups which only want to keep to Biblical teaching and not to the human doctrines.

Some people are convinced that Aristotle is the most wise man who was keenly attuned to the realm of the divine. They also want to think that the divine the philosopher was talking about would have been the same divine Jesus and other Hebrew prophets were talking about.

He might have thought the divine being the origin of the human and the human at its best approaches the divine.

The latter is a paradoxical truth at the center of human existence {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

writes who thinks

the more perfect a human life, the more it stretches beyond the human and almost touches the divine. One who sees deeply into human greatness can as it were see through it, to something beyond. For men can become like gods. Such a profound truth Aristotle saw. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Aristotle had confidence — though not certitude — that the gods will reward those who become like them, and the followers of Christ asked their disciples to become like Christ. For lots of human beings to become like God would be the most favourable and the climax in their life, the sum-mum. So, having Christ Jesus as their god would be better than the gentiles having their Roman or Greek gods, when they would equal Jesus with the God of Abraham.

All the preaching of the Hebrew prophets and rabbi Jeshua was about becoming one with the God Most High, building up a relation to last in eternity.

In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected: “when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics). It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Such idea makes some Christian philosophers or Christian teachers, also today, placing Aristotle as the visionist who not only could tell what is  truly virtuous and what is mistakenly thought to be so, but also could tell the world what the meaning of Christmas is.

And this, then, is what Aristotle has to say about Christmas, about its deepest meaning.  If men are ever to become more than just somewhat-like the divine, if we are ever (tremble at the words) to live one life with him, and thus be his friends, then something very specific has to happen. And there is no human ground to expect that it ever will. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

As you see, it was thought of that one could live with the gods and to be befriended with the gods and with God. In Ethika Politika speaks about that happening in what he calls the “first Christmas”. With that “first Christmas” he refers to what lots of Christians have taken as the birthday of Christ.

That celebration which is still popular by many Christians and is even seen as a Christian holiday by many non-religious persons is a pagan celebration with lots of figures which have nothing to do at all with the birth of the promised saviour, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

But we can see or understand why many want to bring Aristotle’s thinking to that pagan celebration and to bring it in Christendom. For man it has always been a question why they lived, why they had to suffer so much and how they could bring an end to suffering and get a better life.

Many have searched for happiness and came to the conclusion it must also have to do with having friendly relationships to living beings and perhaps also to divine beings.

According to John Cuddeback

Aristotle had the key to understanding Christmas. His master achievement was a profound understanding of human happiness. It is as though he grasped as much as can be grasped by human reason alone. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

Men are designed for greatness, a greatness that few ever achieve. True human happiness consists, simply put, in living virtuously. And virtuous living is the fundamental requirement and the necessary context for that deepest of human longings—true friendship. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

gods take an interest in the struggles of men? Here, writing in the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is more tentative:

For if the gods have any care for human affairs, as it seems they do, it would be reasonable both that they should delight in that which was best and most akin to them and that they should reward those who love and honor this most, as caring for things that are dear to them.

Remarkably, he has confidence—though not certitude—that the gods will reward those who become like them.

But this is as far as far as it goes. Surely the possibility of God and men entering into some sort of shared life never entered his mind. Right?

This is a subtle matter. In some sense the possibility of God and men becoming friends does enter his mind. It enters his mind as a possibility to be rejected:

“when one party is removed to a great distance, as god is, the possibility of friendship ceases” (also from the Nicomachean Ethics).

It is not that the notion was inconceivable to him. Rather, there was simply no ground to consider it a real possibility. For God and men to be friends an apparently unbridgeable gap would have to be bridged. For as Aristotle often points out, friends share one life together, and there is nothing for which they so yearn as to be together. {Aristotle’s Key to Christmas}

When for Aristotle the happiness meant to become wholesome, the early church argued people could become complete went hey became like Christ, though we do not know if they intentionally would say by that that people could become like God, because they came to take Christ Jesus to be God.

For Aristotle, eudaimonia was about living in accordance with reason; fulfilling our sense of purpose; doing our civic duty; living virtuously; being fully engaged with the world and, especially, experiencing the richness of human love and friendship. {Hugh Mackay, ‘Why we sometimes need to be sad’Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

Today we do not see many Christians who understand that living the life Christ calls us to live as Christians is a very logical exercise. Many Christians do not want to believe Jesus when he says who he is and who is grater than him.

A 22 year old Catholic woman writes

 if He is indeed God, then it is only logical that I need to center my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

But than she makes a funny remark as if Jesus would not be saying who he is, but than says

On the other hand, if Jesus is not who He says He is, if He is not God, then He’s not a nice man, He’s a dangerous fanatic, and therefore I would do well to avoid centering my life around Him. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

what she does not seem to see that Jesus never told lies, because according to the Holy Scriptures, which we take to be the infallible word of God, being from the Most High God of gods Who does not tell lies, Jesus would not have sinned and as such would not have told lies. Jesus tells very clearly how he relates to God and how we like him have to relate to his heavenly Father.

As a Catholic she believes that our hearts are designed for union with God. She has reason to believe that, but she takes the wrong person to be her god. She has to be in union with her brothers and sisters in Christ and with Christ in union with God, like Jesus was in union with his heavenly Father. This will not make us to become Christ nor to become God, like Jesus was also not God, though one with God like we have to be one with Him.

This unity is the purpose of our existence that is inscribed into us; to love God and to be loved by God.

St. Augustine said,

“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You”

And so, when we live in a way that we were designed to live, we experience a pervading joy and peace that the world cannot give. St. Catherine of Siena said,

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”

In other words, to be fully alive is to be who we are meant to be. {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

These days in darker times of the year man tries to look at light and hopes to find in it happiness. He has taken the day of the goddess of light as the day to celebrate and present a Santa Claus, who has taken the place of Christ and the place of God. Man has become so materialistic and thinking happiness lays in the material goods one can get, that he is blinded not seeing the light of Christ and the Way to God.

All those false teachings were many became victim of give them a false hope of their spirit leaving their body and going to a sort heaven where they shall be able to find happiness. They do forget that Christ Jesus came to safe us and liberated us already some two thousand years ago from the penalty of death. thanks to him we are able to receive here already lots of happiness and hope in a marvellous new world here on earth.

Christian joy is living in accordance with reason, in a way that fulfills our sense of purpose, living virtuously, being fully engaged with the world and experiencing the richness of love and friendship with God.  {Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism}

A reason that follows with reason the words form the most sacred Book of books, the Bible and not from human dogmatic teachings and philosophies.

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Preceding

Focus on outward appearances

Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

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Additional reading

  1. Integrity of the fellowship
  2. Gainsayers In Apostolic Days
  3. Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment
  4. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  5. Politics and power first priority #2
  6. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  7. Altered to fit a Trinity
  8. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  9. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  10. Experiencing God
  11. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  12. Focussing on oneness with Jesus like Jesus is one with God

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Further related articles

  1. In the Family Way or Aristotle’s Ethics
  2. What Aristotle Says About Christmas
  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
  4. Deterring Determinism: The Freedom of Mankind
  5. 3 Quotes, 3 Days Challenge: Round 2
  6. The Birth of Science
  7. The Good Life: You Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
  8. Four-Part Epilogue
  9. Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’s Oedipus
  10. Interrogation
  11. Happiness, Aristotle & Catholicism
  12. Imagination defines humanity
  13. Some Thoughts about Two Old Guys
  14. Happy Holidays
  15. The Smiths’ Christmas Letter
  16. A really lovely yet simple day
  17. Out with the old, in with the new
  18. Solving the Unwanted Gift Dilemma – With Love
  19. Christmas Party 2015
  20. It could only  happen at christmas
  21. Deconstructing Christmas
  22. This Christmas
  23. Tales of Christmas
  24. Christmastime
  25. Twelve days of Christmas
  26. One Last Look at Christmas, 2015
  27. Attachment and Holidays
  28. Prepare the Way for Christ
  29. grandchildren, love, and being a “gift-hero”
  30. Where is My Christmas Joy
  31. Not ‘Feeling’ Christmas This Year?

+++

Were Gnostics the original Christians?

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

 

Were Gnostics the original Christians?

There is no evidence that Gnostics were the first Christians, or that the earliest Christians borrowed from Gnostic beliefs; Gnosticism did not even exist in the first century.[1] No Gnostic documents have been found which pre-date Christianity.[2] [3]

The earliest Gnostic written works found, all date to a time long after Christianity was well established.[4] There is no evidence that any New Testament books contain references to Gnosticism,[5] [6] and no evidence that Gnosticism was a rival to the earliest Christians.[7]

Gnosticism did not exist in the first century, only pre-Gnostic ideas which later became incorporated into Gnosticism during the second century.[8]

________________________________

[1] ‘But it is now widely agreed that the quest for a pre-Christian Gnosticism, properly so called, has proved to be a wild goose chase.’, Dunn, ‘The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul’, p. 9 (2003).

[2] ‘Even if it could be proven that any of the previously discussed works or, for that matter, any of the NH tractates are non-Christian Gnostic documents, that would not in itself be evidence for pre-Christian Gnosticism.’, Combs, ‘Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism and New Testament Interpretation’, Grace Theological Journal (8.2.207-208), 1987.

[3] ‘And even if we are on solid ground in some cases in arguing the original works represented in the library are much older than extant copies, we are still unable to postulate plausibly any pre-Christian dates.’, McRae, ‘Nag Hammadi and the New Testament’, pp. 146–47, in Combs, ‘Nag Hammadi, Gnosticism and New Testament Interpretation’, Grace Theological Journal (8.2.208) , (1987).

[4] ‘Egypt has yielded early written evidence of Jewish, Christian, and pagan religion. It has preserved works of Manichaean and other Gnostic sects, but these are all considerably later than the rise of Christianity.’, Unger, ‘The Role of Archaeology  in the Study Of the New Testament’, Bibliotheca Sacra (116.462.153), 1996.

[5] ‘Some modern researchers suggest that several NT and related texts evidence contact with “Gnosticism” in various stages of its development. Texts that especially stand out are Paul’s Corinthian correspondence, Colossians, Ephesians, the Pastoral Epistles, Jude, 2 Peter, and the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (d. ca. 115) and Polycarp of Smyrna (d. ca. 165) among others. But even here the issues discussed are diverse, demonstrating a complex assortment of competing new religious movements, but no evidence of “Gnosticism.”’, Freedman, ‘Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible’, p. 509 (2000).

[6] ‘Scholarship must in all likelihood abandon the hypothesis that a cohesive Gnostic movement204 is reflected in Paul’s letters.’, Lüdeman, ‘Primitive Christianity: A Survey of Recent Studies and Some New Proposals’, p. 150 (2003).

[7] ‘If in all likelihood, with the possible exception of the Simonians, there was no such thing as a rival Gnostic movement within or competing with Pauline Christianity, the question arises whether there ever was a specific Gnostic myth as an entity of its own.’ , ibid’, p. 151.

[8] ‘The full-fledged Gnosticism of later church history did not exist in the first century A.D.21 An incipient form of Gnosticism was present, but Schmithals makes the error of reading later Gnosticism into the first century documents.’, Schreiner, ‘Interpreting the Pauline Epistles’, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (3.3.10), Fall 1999.

**

Additional note:

Tim Wallace I remember when I did ‘text and traditions’ in year 12, the teacher explaining the the gospel of John was all about fighting gnostism… i vaguely remember learning about it. I had never heard about gnostism until that class.

*

Living On The Edge It was an idea which gained some traction years ago, and took a while to be debunked. It hasn’t been taken seriously by the scholarly consensus for years, but plenty of textbooks are still being used which make this claim.

++

Additional reading:

  1. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  2. Missionaire hermeneutiek 1/5
  3. Challenging claim 1 Whose word
  4. The Song of The Lamb #3 Daniel and Revelation
  5. Marriage of Jesus 9 Reason for a new marriage

+++

  • Gnostic Media Flashback Interview: The Qabalah – Gene Odening (sgtreport.com)
    We continue our discussion on the Trivium and Quadrivium and go for a full-blown as we complete this series with the Qabalah and the mystery schools with Gene Odening.
  • Real Truth Will Set You Free (mylordmyfriend.com)
    in Colossians, the Apostle Paul, had to deal with false teaching called Gnosticism

    Gnosticism led to theological compromise, we can’t comprise The Truth of God’s Word. One of the compromises of Gnosticism was Christ Jesus was not unique, which opposes the Gospel message. If Christ is not so, Christianity is no worse but certainly no better than any other faith.

    Another compromise of Gnosticism, it lead to moral abuse, with a catch cry ‘Soma sema’, ‘The body is a tomb’. Our bodies are not tombs for the soul, but temples for The Holy Spirit to reside.

    Another compromise of Gnosticism led to false religious practices. Treating religious rules as if these rules could lead to God. If that wasn’t bad enough, early Gnosticism claimed that those who followed their teaching possessed wisdom {gnosis} and were superior.

  • An Ancient Theologian explains Tradition (notforitchingears.com) Originally posted on Dead Heroes Don’t Save:
    Irenaeus, a 2nd century theologian, defended Christianity from the Gnostic philosophies that were popular at the time. His 5 volume work, Against Heresies, dedicates the first two volumes to describing the Gnostic views and then precedes to dismantle them in the remaining volumes.
    +
    The heretics did not just offer a different worldview. They were using Scriptures to uphold their ideas – which centered on two gods – a good one and an evil one. It was the evil god who created the physical world that we must rid ourselves of.
  • Carl Jung: “Christ was referred to as the fish.” (carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com)
    Christ was referred to as the fish.

    In a papyrus which has recently been discovered and is in the British Museum he is referred to by the secret sign XP.

    The sign >!( is formed from it.

    These signs appear in Gnosticism, St. Paul’s sayings are undoubtedly connected with Gnosticism.

    On Gnostic gems we find the symbol of the vase, the vase of sin.

    The Gnosis is a disturber of the peace of the Church, but it is full of psychological truths, many yet undiscovered.

  • A Masonic One World Conspiracy – Freeman on GW Radio (gnosticwarrior.com)
    Freeman has lectured extensively on the secret signs and symbolism of Freemasonry, the ancient astronaut hypothesis, trauma-based mind control, social engineering, government conspiracy, human cloning, technologies of the future, and synchronicity.
  • New blog at Occult Minds (heterodoxology.com)
    esotericism scholars can learn from some of their colleagues studying Gnosticism.
  • Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography by Douglas Campbell (Eerdmans, 2014) (andygoodliff.typepad.com)

    Too often Pauline scholarship operates with no overarching frame, no account of how the letters are related to one another, the order they come in and the underlying account of Paul’s life which explains their contingency. Campbell’s argument is that a biography, that arises out of the data in the letters, and at the same time explains them, this will ‘ground all subsequent interpretative work on Paul rather more accurately and firmly than hitherto has been the case’ (p.404).

    Campbell argues that to construct Paul’s biography we must begin with his letters and leave to one side the account of Paul’s life in the Book of Acts. We must begin with the primary data. Too many Pauline scholars too readily accept the account in Acts or work with an approach that borrows both from Acts and the letters as equal sources. Campbell’s approach builds on that done by John Knox and John Hurd.

Is faith rational?

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

Is faith rational?

Faith is confidence for a reason. Everyone understands faith in this sense, as applied to ordinary matters. It is the same in divine matters. There is no truth in the popular view that places faith outside the confines of reason.’[1]

A typical dictionary definition rightly informs us that faith is belief which is not based on proof.[2] However, this is not the same as saying faith is blind, or that faith is belief for no reason, or that faith is not based on evidence.

Blind Faith (film)

Blind Faith (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Proof is a body of evidence which demonstrates a belief or statement to be conclusively true (typically through testing); evidence is a body of facts which provide rational reason for belief, without being conclusive. Faith is belief on the basis of evidence, where actual proof is absent.

There are many aspects of our faith which we cannot prove: we cannot prove the existence of many of the characters of the Bible, and many of the events recorded there; we cannot prove the resurrection took place; we cannot even prove the existence of God.

In each of these cases we have no opportunity to test the claim and prove it conclusively. However, in each of these cases there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief. We do not hold these beliefs without any evidence whatsoever. Throughout the Bible repeated appeals are made repeatedly to evidence, in support of truth claims; eyewitness accounts,[3] [4] verifiable historical monuments,[5] and direct personal experiences.[6] Blind faith is never encouraged.[7] [8] [9]

Early Christians appealed to evidence in order to argue that their faith was rational. Accordingly, the earliest defenders of Christianity (known as the Apologists), presented it as rational and worthy of belief,[10] and in harmony with science,[11] which appealed to thoughtful non-Christians.

The 4th century Latin commentary known by the name ‘Ambrosiaster’, identifies prophecy as ‘the first proof that our faith is rational’.[12] The famous 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas likewise argued that faith is rational and that reason could be used to demonstrate theological truths.[13] Christian belief, if it is to be both rational and defensible, must be based on a faith which is not blind. [14]

‘The certainty of and trust in the Christian faith cannot be made hard in a scientific, deductive or inductive way. But neither is it based on arbitrary opinion.’[15]

 

_______________________________________

[1] Roberts, ‘The Visible Hand of God Or Miracles, Signs, And Wonders’, The Christadelphian (18.199.16), 1881.

[2] ‘1 complete trust or confidence. 2 strong belief in a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.’, Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed. 2004).

[3] John 3:11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

[4] Acts 5:30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

[5] Deuteronomy 3:11 Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaites. (It is noteworthy that his sarcophagus was made of iron. Does it not, indeed, still remain in Rabbath of the Ammonites? It is thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide according to standard measure.)

[6] Acts 10:39 We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

[7] ‘It required a robust faith to undertake a journey of four months, cumbered with women and children, and the valuable vessels of the temple, lying through a country infested with robbers and enemies of the Jews, without making every possible arrangement for protection. But theirs was not a blind faith. God would not be pleased with such.’, Roberts, ‘Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Ecclesia’, The Christadelphian (54.633.109), 1917; Roberts is referring to the Jewish exiles who returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

[8] ‘In other words we rightly endeavour, as the early brethren did, to find the real meaning behind the English words we read and so come to the true message of God for man. This approach marks us as distinct from Fundamentalists; it has, I believe, always commended itself to  people of reason who are not prepared to follow a blind faith.’, Draper, ‘Fundamentalism’ (letter to the editor), The Christadelphian (121.1437.109), 1984.

[9] ‘But Bible faith is not blind faith. We are given more than sufficient evidence to prove that Christ was raised from the tomb.’, Cresswell, ‘Proving the Resurrection of Christ’ The Christadelphian (137.1634.296), 2000.

[10] ‘In addition to the refutations of calumnies and the presentation of Christianity as a rational faith the Apologists were also concerned withthe questionings of thoughtful men.’, Barnard, ‘Justin Martyr: His life and thought’, p. 3 (1967).

[11] ‘According to the early Fathers, science and Christian doctrine were to be developed side by side, each on independent grounds, and each in harmony with the other.’, Mahan, ‘A Critical History of Philosophy’, volume 1, p. 483 (2003).

[12] ‘Paul begins with prophecy, which is the first proof that our faith is rational, for believers prophesied when they received the spirit.’, Ambrosiaster, in Bray (ed.), ‘Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians’, p. 96  (2009).

[13] ‘For Aquinas faith is rational; it involves, like all knowing, the assent of the intellect. And reason can demonstrate the truth of some theological propositions.’, Hicks, ‘The Journey So Far: Philosophy Throuth the Ages’, p. 201 (2003).

[14] ‘We believe this, and that the Bible teaches thus and so. Both these propositions are topics of investigation, and the man accepting them as true, and acting them out in his life, is not justly chargeable with fanaticism. It is not “the blind faith of a fanatic” that impels him, but the resolution of a sane man who acts from the perception of the facts.’, Roberts, ‘Rejoinder to MacMillan’s Notice of “An Obscure Sect”’, The Christadelphian (27.316.369), 1890.

[15] Stoker, ‘Is Faith Rational?: A Hermeneutical-phenomenological Accounting for Faith’, p. 199 (2006).

+

Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

+++

Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight

A few years ago I found that I had to share with more people my belief in the one true God that I behold my steep Rock and fortress, source of insight. My life had to endure a lot of storms and I certainly was not spared a few times to be beaten against the breakwater.

Through trial and error we have to learn things. I sometimes had more than once tried to get something from the ground, something successful, others less, and still another with failure.

I wanted to bring together people, interested in the Bible. My attempt to create an association of Bible students or for those interested in Bible and history, now also appears nothing. Therefore I stop with that company to focus my energy more on the preaching work itself. For in this time and age it has even become more important that we can find people preaching the Gospel of the Good News. On the Association of Bible Scholars there are a few texts which I find interesting and worthwhile to get more views. These texts are an important part of our preaching, and it may be worth that some texts  of the Bijbelvorsers Webs website get preserved and are relocated to other websites, like this one and to the site of the Belgian Bible Students, the WordPress site of Bijbelvorsers (Biblescholars) and to the sites of the Brethren of Christ  and the Free Belgian Christadelphians ecclesia.

Location of xy province/ region/ community (se...

Location of province Vlaams-Brabant, Flemish Brabant) in Belgium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For readers of another tongue then Dutch or Flemish we apologized that most of our pages were in Dutch, because the association was founded in the Flemish part of Belgium (Vlaams-Brabant) and was intended to be an association for people in the region of the Low Countries. But we did hope the visitors (from other countries) could also be able to find some interesting English texts as well.

We also said that as Bible-researchers we know that it can take a lot of effort to remain on the narrow way!  (Matthew 7:13, 14) Only together we can be strong and shall we be able to support each other so that we, together, will be able to persevere.  Therefore it is important to follow suit, to go there forwards and to connect with serious Biblestudents.

The Word of God given to man

For those who are not sure how the world came to be and why they are here the Creator of all things has given His Words to give us knowledge and to guide us . Him we should trust and make Him to our rock, our fortress, our buckler and our deliverer. People should not fear as much the human beings but should fear that heavenly Creator. In Him should we trust and find our shield, the horn of our salvation.

The association of Bible Scholars wanted to make people aware of the importance of the Bible. Even for those who do not believe in a Creator God they wanted to show the value of those old books in which there can be found many wise words. The association also wanted to be a haven where Bible lovers could find each other to study the Word of God and to look at the historical and scientific facts. It also wanted to show it members that they could find a high tower, and refuge, and give them the assurance there was a saviour who was willing of save them from violence.

Together they wanted to call on the Most High, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah Who is worthy to be praised: so they’ll be saved from their enemies. Working together around the Holy Scriptures the association wanted to have like minded people finding each other to help each other our about text-material and questions. They hoped to have their people not put to confusion, but deliver them in God’s righteousness, Him inclining His ear unto them, and saving them.

It was in God they wanted to see their strong habitation, where-unto they could continually resort, in the knowledge that the One and Only One God has given commandment to save us.

We wanted to get more people dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, proclaiming to others that their God Jehovah is their refuge and their fortress and that they will trust in Him.

The association was also set up to give those people who felt called by God, to give them several utilities or help for the preaching work. The association wanted to be there for when for the time we ought to be teachers. We have need that one looks at each other and teach each other, helping to reach the goal, continuing stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The association also wanted to gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and the strangers that would come within our gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Most High Lord of heaven and earth, our God, and observe to do all the words of His Law, training up children in the way they should go, so that when they are old, will not depart from it.

°°°
Below, the second article in the series, a translated overview of what formed the opening speech (our first reprint) at the publication of Bible scholars on Webs.
Het openingswoord van de Webs site van Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, in juni 2010 - The opening speech of the Webs site of Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie or Bible scholars , Association for Bible study, in June 2010

Het openingswoord van de Webs site van Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, in juni 2010 – The opening speech of the Webs site of Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie or Bible scholars , Association for Bible study, in June 2010

 ***

Jehovah steep rock and fortress,
source of insight

Quotes from Gods Word


*

He said:

“Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold+ and the One who rescues me.+

 My God is my rock,+ in whom I take refuge,

My shield+ and my horn* of salvation,* my secure refuge*+

And my place to flee,+ my savior;+ you who save me from violence.

 I call on Jehovah, who is worthy of praise,

And I will be saved from my enemies.

(2 Samuel 22:2-4)

 Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold and the One who rescues me.+

My God is my rock,+ in whom I take refuge,

My shield and my horn* of salvation,* my secure refuge.*+

 I call on Jehovah, who is worthy of praise,

And I will be saved from my enemies.+

(Psalm 18:2-3)

1 In you, O Jehovah, I have taken refuge.

May I never be put to shame.+

 In your righteousness save me and rescue me.

Incline your ear* to me and save me.+

 Become for me a rock fortress

Where I can always enter.

Give the command to save me,

For you are my crag and my stronghold.+

(Psalm 71:1-3)

Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High+

Will lodge under the shadow of the Almighty.+

 I will say to Jehovah: “You are my refuge and my stronghold,+

My God in whom I trust.”+

(Psalm 91:1-2)

11 We have much to say about him, and it is difficult to explain, because you have become dull in your hearing. 12 For although by now* you should be teachers, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things+ of the sacred pronouncements of God, and you have gone back to needing milk, not solid food.

(Hebrews 5:11-12)

38 Peter said to them: “Repent,+ and let each one of you be baptized+ in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins,+ and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. 39 For the promise+ is to you and your children, and to all those who are far away, to all those whom Jehovah* our God may call to himself.”+ 40 And with many other words he gave a thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: “Get saved from this crooked generation.”+ 41 So those who gladly accepted his word were baptized,+ and on that day about 3,000 people* were added.+ 42 And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to associating together,* to the taking of meals,+ and to prayers.+

(Acts of the Apostles 2:38-42)

“Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.+ You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul*+ and all your strength.*+ These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in* your sons+ and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.+ Tie them as a reminder on your hand, and they must be like a headband on your forehead.*+ Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

12 Gather the people together,+ the men, the women, the children,* and your foreign resident who is within your cities,* in order that they may listen and learn about and fear Jehovah your God and take care to carry out all the words of this Law.

(Deuteronomy 31:12)

 Train a boy* in the way he should go;+

Even when he grows old he will not depart from it.+

(Proverbs 22:6)

 *

 

The way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the flawless, but the downfall is for practitioners of what is harmful. (Proverbs 10:29) Therefore, it is important that people know what it is to follow the right path. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah has shown us the way. God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, His Word to the people, put on the record of the Holy Scriptures, by holy men. To us it is to look at these 66 books that make up the Bible, wanting to take them in our hands to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. In the Holy Scriptures counsel is given not to be lazy with respect to the study of God’s purposes and to acquire a deeper understanding of it, and not with respect not to loosen interest to participation in the Christian ministry. Jesus followers took their tutor his words to heart and continued after his death, the study of the Torah and met regularly to do this in community together to break bread and drink the wine to commemorate the death of the Lord.

When Pentecost 33 G. T. 3000 people were baptised, they were added.

“They continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and share it with each other,”
Luke explains (Acts of the Apostles 2:41, 42).
In the New Testament, we noted in several places the study that the believers had to do with the Holy Scriptures. Yes, the early Christians gathered for Bible study and fellowship and were thus added to the Christian congregation. Early Christians attended regular meetings for spiritual education (Hebrews 10:25).
The apostle Paul admonished some Hebrew Christians who made no claims, saying to them:
because although you really had to be teachers in view of the time, you have again need someone who can learn from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God; and you become wide as those of milk, not solid food, need. “(Hebrews 5:11, 12)
He also gave the admonition now having different gifts, according to the favour which was given to us , to use them accordingly:
if prophecy, according to the proportion of belief;  (7)  if serving, in the serving; or he who is teaching, in the teaching;  (8)  or he who encourages, in the encouragement; or he who is sharing, in sincerity; he who is leading, in diligence; he who shows compassion, joyously.  (9)  Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good.  (10)  In brotherly love, tenderly loving towards one another, in appreciation, giving preference to each other;  (11)  not idle in duty, ardent in spirit, serving the Master;  (12)  rejoicing in the expectancy, enduring under pressure, continuing steadfastly in prayer;  (13)  imparting to the needs of the set-apart ones, pursuing kindness towards strangers. (Romans 12:6-13)

Realizing that The Way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the impeccable, (Proverbs 10:29) Bible scholars on the attempt to unite and to explore together the Word, honouring God, together want to say to Jehovah:

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of Shaddai.  (2)  I will say of Jehovah, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”  (3)  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence.  (4)  He will cover you with his feathers. Under his wings you will take refuge. His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.  (5)  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day;
(Psalm 91:1-5 NHEBJE)

A steep rock to build on

A steep rock to build on

For the sake of God’s name the Supreme will lead and guide us, for He is willing to be our steep rock and our fortress.

We must do our utmost to strengthen the truths of God in our minds and in those of others through Bible study and by regularly attending Christian meetings with other believers. (Deuteronomy 6: 5-9; 31:12; Proverbs 22: 6).

Of any kind of denomination you are, the bottom line is that you have to make your own choices and choose to study the Word of God or to leave it as something you do not want to be interested in. God is the one who can call you for this and can lead and provide insight. People like us can only be a tool in the hand of God. In this modern world of materialism, there may not be many people who are still interested in the Word of God, but over all the earth there are many who choose to go on the narrow road that leads to life now but even more interesting to a much better life later. They try to follow right road and to terminate the race successfully in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

We as Bible scholars know that it can cost some effort but that it is really worth to stay on the narrow road! (Matthew 7:13, 14) Together we can be strong and support each other so that we will endure together. Therefore it is important to dare to follow suit, to go for it and join serious Bible students.In the fight that we can perform better, together, the apostle Paul showed in his heartfelt exhortation:

“Fight the fine fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life firmly to which you were called.”

We have to fight this battle to “grasp firmly the real life” (1 Timothy 6:12, 19).

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  (7)  For we brought nothing into the world, so neither can we carry anything out.  (8)  But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.  (9)  But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction.  (10)  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  (11)  But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  (12)  Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:6-12 NHEBJE )
That life is not the present life of pain and sorrow and suffering brought upon us by Adam’s sin. No, it’s the life in God’s new world, the paradise, which soon will become a reality when, after the removal of this system of things, Christ’s ransom sacrifice is used for the benefit of all who love Jehovah God and his Son. We all must choose life – “the real life” everlasting life in God’s glorious new world.
That we all dare proclaim together that there is only One True God to Whom we in close friendship as brothers and sisters in Christ we have taken refuge. Together united we should not have to be ashamed because we have chosen to incline our ear to the One Who saves us, because He too was willing to hear us and to be with us.
“In you, Jehovah, I take refuge. Never let me be disappointed.  (2)  Deliver me in your righteousness, and rescue me. Turn your ear to me, and save me.  (3)  Be to me a rock of refuge to which I may always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” (Psalm 71:1-3 NHEBJE )
+
A version on the same subject in Dutch / Een gelijkaardig artikel in het Nederlands: Jehovah steile rots en vesting, bron van inzicht
Articles by the closing down of the Biblescholars association:
In Dutch you also my find:

++

Additional reading:

  1. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  2. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  3. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  4. It is not try but trust
  5. Look for your Refuge by God
  6. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  7. God my fence, my hope for the future
  8. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  9. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  10. Courage for every day living
  11. Fear and protection
  12. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  13. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  14. No good thing will he withhold
  15. Keep your heart on the right path
  16. Running the battle

+++

Writers needed to preach to non-believers

Growing Islamisation

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

It may be said that Christians seem to fail there where Muslims succeed. In Belgium we could see the Muslim community grow enormously in the last decade. Though we do not see so many preachers on the streets. In certain quarters the Islamic preachers are very actively on the street or in the parks, but in others you can’t see them. It seems a lot of youngsters do find their Islamic teaching on the net but do not find it countered by Christian teachers. Those who do have an idea that there could possibly be one God to be worshipped mostly can find Catholic and evangelical groups teaching trinitarian doctrine. Jehovah Witnesses go from door to door but most people are so much afraid of the groups and of the name Jehovah they really do not want to listen to them or to take some study material from them.

English: took it myself to illustrate open-air...

Open-air preaching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people in several western countries stopped listening to the pastors, priests, bishops and those who say they are ‘men of God’ because they saw what happened in the many churches were priest and nuns used young children to please themselves. Lots of people saw that many preachers who did use lots of words to frighten the people, did not bother to do those things they told their flock not to de because they would end up in hell, a place of torment and eternal suffering. In many denomination the pastors or priests make use of the comparatively easiness to convince a man of his sin and then to frighten him for the consequences of that sin.

Guilt is a majority of our spiritual make up.  And it is the substance that leaks out into our fleshly day. {The necessity of the Gospel}

No good answers by clergymen for searching people

No Preaching sign in Australia

No Preaching sign in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a guilty conscience many became bewildered, looking for real justifying answers. But the priests or pastors could not deliver them. By that “awakening” of getting conscious he had to do something against his sins, man becomes aware of a need to cleanse himself.  Some might than think

by that means, it is also comparatively easy to convince a man that Jesus is a necessary aspect of this cleansing.

but it does not seem to be so easy and it can not be brought over by staying in the church-walls. The preacher has to get out of those walls and come into the open to tell others what for possibilities there are and how Jesus can be found and is there for all of those who are willing to accept his ransom offer.

We read and hear of people saying that they need the Lord all day long.  Just a cursory look into the Christian announcement by His people will provide a rather overwhelming view of our sense of need.  And how can that be a fault?  All men know of their guilt.  It is a natural outcome that others should hear us speaking of our need for the Lord’s blood in decimating our sins. {The necessity of the Gospel}

Though people want to feel that they are helped and guided. The clerical people demanding from the ordinary human person to become holy, having to keep to all sorts of difficult things, therefore got lots of people stopping to listen to the men of their church because they know they cannot, or are not willing to, reach to the greatest of Christianity.

Need of human example

In The Swinging Doors is written:

Often, in a man’s frightful plight, he needs a human example.  As the little boy was reported to have said to his mother, “Sometimes I need a Jesus with skin on”. {The Swinging Doors}

Many churches made Jesus into their god and did not want to accept it was a man of flesh and blood who really died for the sins of many. They taught their believers that no man is capable to follow all through God’s commandments; So why bother many say. Many people also came to see that such teaching of a man who was not a man but was a spirit, who in one place says he cannot be tempted and in another place in Scriptures it says he was been tempted by the devil, could not be a real good teaching but only a misleading teaching.  Lots lost faith in their church of the misleading doctrines and found more clarity in the Islam teaching. The big problem is they did never tried to look at other Christian religions who do keep to the biblical Truth. Not many took time to look at the different non-trinitarian groups, because they thought all Christians are the same and do think the same. They also got frightened to look at the other denominations because they were made frightened by their own church who always told them it were heretics and not Christians.

No one willing to come down

Those who left the dogmatic Christian groups, Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, did not encounter on their path to other non-doctrinal Christians people who were confessing they only believed in Only One God. None of those non-trintiarians thought it necessary to come to them. Most of them who say they have the truth and are not a Jehovah Witness do not go away from their position in their church or ecclesia.

None will venture to ascend their hill.

They remain in their known group and are willing to give exhortations in their ecclesia, but to go out on the streets or to go to teach and preach somewhere else, not many wanted to do. so, those looking for God did not encounter people who wanted to tell them that in Christianity there may be found answers and may be found people willing to help to come closer to God.

In many of those non-trinitarian and trinitarian churches they are saying “God calls the people” which is true, but does not give you the right to sit on your ass and do nothing. Jesus was clear to his disciples and wanted all his followers to go out in the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. But in many churches the people in charge say we do have to be patient and the right people just shall come up to us. Is that so? Shall people be able to find you?

Given task

We should be prepared to bring honourable service and give ourselves into the Hands of God, offering ourselves as servants of Christ and servants of God. Faith without works is dead and true faith demands dedication to God’s sovereignty.
Preaching should be done across the entire world, every day and night regarding this subject, by those who believe in the things which are grounded in their heart. That what did not have enough opportunity to grow in the heart can not be shared. There has to be a willingness to hear others and to come to them to talk and share ideas with them. Ears have to be opened to the Word of God, but so few hear it.  So few accept it.  So few do it.   Why?

Because salvation from guilt and sin is a natural desire of the human mind.

says the writer of Words From There.

But the walk of Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit.  As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves compelled to agree with the Father in Heaven. {The necessity of the Gospel}

this should bring people united under Christ in the understanding of  the necessity to live as the Lord Jesus lived.

Servants for God

 He became a servant, though He is the Son of God.  We too are called to become servants, though we are sons of the same God.

The big question is: How many do want to become a humble servant in the hands of God? How many are willing to follow up the task Jesus has given his disciples?

Understanding the true nature of God by observing phenomena on earth is like exclusively studying shadows to examine the Sun.  The resultant assumptions would most certainly fall short. {Thoughts from Isolation}While some people ponder the very existence of a God, His people ponder His promises. {Thoughts from Isolation}

Short time to stand at the side

There are too many questions to be answered, and time on earth is too short to get all the answers right. When we do have to find out everything on our own it (perhaps) will take a long time, but when we can find help in what others can show us from the Bible we can grow with each other and come to a better understanding sooner. It is easy to say

Why is there not even a hint of concern in the majority of people?

and do nothing. Standing at the side, staying in the close environment, the safe surrounding of the own ecclesia or church is easy. It is high time to come out of the ‘building’ and to go out in the  ‘wild nature’.

Messengers with wrong motives

Soon after Jesus his death it happened already that people made use of his name and his popularity. The apostle Paul noted already that there were some that preached Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (Philippians 1:15-18) Many centuries later not much has changed. We still can find people who are more interested in their own good and their own name, instead of sharing the gospel with many for the matter of  Jesus his name. We shamefully notice that everywhere we can find people who preach Christ out of selfish ambition. But perhaps this should not bother us so much because whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this we should rejoice.

Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org, Author of Making Sense of the Bible wrote

What security in the gospel! Even if the messenger has wrong motives, the message remains unstoppable. This means that God has built into the gospel a self-correcting power for every abuse of the gospel at the hands of men. Men misused the Bible to promote slavery in Africa and America, yet the abolitionist movement came out of the church.

All of us should be thankful we are good in something. We all have been given a gift of God’s grace for the good of His people. As the least of the Lord’s people, Paul knew that these graces were not given based upon any personal merit, so stop disqualifying yourself to use the gift of grace that God has given you. God has created all things, including you and your capacity, and God wants us to focus upon him and use what he has freely given us. And each person who comes in Christ should also as a member of the body of Christ use his or her gifts to let that body grow.

Poisoned and mislead

Arthur W. Pink was aware that we should use the gifts we received more to proclaim the Word of God

those whose whole time and energies are to be devoted to seeking the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls, and the better equipping of themselves for that most blessed, solemn, and important work. Their principal tasks are to proclaim God’s Truth and to exemplify and commend their message by diligently endeavoring to practice what they preach, setting before their hearers a personal example of practical godliness. Since it be the Truth they are to preach, no pains must be spared in seeing to it that no error be intermingled therewith, that it is the pure milk of the Word they are giving forth. To preach error instead of Truth is not only grievously to dishonor God and His Word, but will mislead and poison the minds of the hearers or readers. {Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures}

Many people felt dishonoured and mislead by their common church. The Muslims seemed to honestly keep closer to the Word of God and kept more to their holy Scriptures, doing what was requested by them.

Governing bodies have taken over the Pauline churches which at early Christendom were free communities.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian.  {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3}The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

writes a a Reformed Baptist, from a Covenantal, Amillennial perspective in Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2. This while too many keep silent and do not dare to step on toes. But no congregation is free of the silent ones or of those who do not want to go out to those who do not belong to the community. This made that many in the city or at the countryside did not find it interesting enough to go to hear in the church-building what the preacher had to say. those who stayed at home and did their normal daily business did not find somebody on their path to work or to the shops who tried to convince them of the beauty of Jesus his ransom.

Unlearned men

‘Church’ wanted people to believe they could not understand the Bible, because they did not follow special university courses. In the past they had also told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it.

They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

We may not forget that in the first century of this common era, like in the centuries before people did not get a university degree to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. The disciples of Christ got their training first hand from the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ). They continued the same practice as Jesus to educate others in the teachings of Christ Jesus. They wrote down what they had learned so that others in places far away could use the writings as edifying material. We too have that educational material at hand in our own language. We can use the many Bible translations to receive the Biblical Wisdom. We should use it.

Right to read and to interpret

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

People need help in their interpretation and it are the elders and scholars who can and should help. In time the church has developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ This science and art of interpretation is our key which can keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. Not everybody is been given the art of hermeneutics but those that have received it should use it and help others to come to a better understanding of what is written in the Bible.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

But it are the communities and those in charge of the ‘churches’ who should take care their flock is trained to come to good Bible reading and good Bible interpretation. Every person in the ecclesia should try to come to a good Bible knowledge and should help others in reading and interpreting the Bible.

Not staying in own cocoon

As we go on, after we have been baptised, and grow in our faith, we do have to carry it with us and should share it with others. We cannot keep our faith to our own. We also may not stay in our little cocoon just staying safe with those we do know and with those whom we love. Out of love for the others, we should go out to reach them and to show them the Way.

Thomas Manton asked

“What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? {So much Preaching and so Little Practice – Thomas Manton}

but we wonder where all that preaching is. We can not see many Christians on the streets, in parks, in public buildings or in public transport, teaching the Word of God. It seems to stay in between closed doors.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

One of the great inspirers for many Christians and strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition: Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

We do need constant thoughts which are operative so that musing makes the fire burn. {Thomas Manton} The British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers,”  Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon in his lifetime preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons are reprinted many times and are still going strong. He knew very well the importance to go out on the streets and to take sure educating thoughts would be spread amongst many. We should remember him who said

Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power!

A Privilege to be taken seriously

Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Mary, Thomas and their son Octavius Winslow, John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. and many more understood the need of reaching to the people, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. We should take them as an example and not limit ourselves to our own community, staying only at our own ecclesia.

For sure it might be easier just to preach for people who believe the same as we do. It is easier not be confronted with people who have other ideas and want to ask questions. It is easier to avoid such questions and keeping to a close group where one is sure they all believe the same and/or do not dare to question.

Like Aiden Tozer’s passion for a deeper knowledge of God led him to study the great devotional writers of the past, we should not hesitate to look at such works from the past but always should see them in the light of the Holy Scriptures, which constantly should be the main guide.

People wanting to know God

The move of many churchgoers to become mosque goers proves that there are enough people wanting to get to know God. You can wonder how they can get to know God when nobody wants to come to them and tell about God.

Prayer and worship were the hallmarks of many previous Bible teachers  their life. but they did not stay in their own little environment, their safe surrounding of their church. They stood up and went to those who did not yet belong to their church or even did not believe in a god or the God. Like them we should come forward and present our thoughts and our writings to people who are looking for God and perhaps not belong to any church, or did not find the Truth.

A W Tozer.jpg

Aiden Wilson Tozer

Our preaching as well as our writings should simply become an extension of our faith and prayer life.

In modern evangelicalism, contended Tozer, we work, we have our agendas–in fact, we have almost everything except the spirit of true worship. He defined worship as a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe, astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of the unspeakable Majesty. He reminded the pastors, “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second; Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring souls God does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.” {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Tozer called the doctrine of the Holy Spirit “buried dynamite”. Yet he always insisted that the Spirit and the Word operate in harmony. He exhorted the overzealous to a warm heart and a cool head:

“The history of revivals in the Church reveals how harmful the hot head can be….These are days of great religious turmoil. Let love burn on with increasing fervour, but bring every act to the quiet test of wisdom. Keep the fire in the furnace where it belongs. An overheated chimney will create more excitement than a well-controlled furnace, but it is likely to burn the house down. Let the rule be: a hot furnace but a cool chimney.”

– Walter Unger {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Simply taking up the task given by Christ

We should not aim for great fame and popularity as a preacher, but we should be well aware that we do have to come together, read and study the Bible with others, preach the gospel and make new believers.

In many church services other than those of the Christadelphians not much time is given or spend at the Word of God. God’s Word in Scripture, if ever used at all, comes in sporadic bursts of verses here and there, and in evangelical churches they are just parts of phrases being shouted out repetitive whilst most of the time entertaining songs sweep up the public. Very often bible texts are stripped of their intended meaning, stifling the work of the Spirit in His sacramental function of quickening the Word, and robbing the people of blessing. At other places the sermon or the exhortation has not much to do with the Bible fragments read.

Though time has to be spend to go deeper into the reading and to give some examples of how the Bible text relates to our daily life. That we need much more, so that people can see how the stories of the Bible still have relevance today. Further we also need more stories of influences of the Bible and faith to people in our society. The Lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters would love to bring such Bible and Faith related stories. But we need more people who can bring such stories and show people what it can do to have the Christian Faith.

You to can play your role

It is high time there shall come forward more Christian believers to proof to others they are not children of the bond-woman but of the free (Galatians 4:31) and to show the world which blessings come over those who are willing to accept Christ in their life.

When the early church went out into the world, armed with the truth through which alone true unity could be effected, they, as well as Paul, met with opposition. The had to conquer their fear for speaking in public. It took time but with the aid of the Holy Spirit and with their trust in God they managed to spread the faith very well. We better take up their courage and start evangelizing like they did in the early days.

You too can do your share. For sure you too have something to tell; something that changed your life; something you feel inside, something you notice in the world; let it be known to others. We are willing to give you a platform where you can let your voice be heard so that your voice can put an other cobblestone on the big road to be made.

As time went on, however, the church no longer loved God enough to see, feel and talk about the wonders of the Divine Creator. Let those Works of God be better known. Open people their eyes and ears so that they can see and hear the beauty of nature, the Hand of God in our world. Show the world where there can be growth of true worship in the face of daunting challenges so that it can be faith-strengthening and inspiring to God’s people everywhere. Let the sun never sets on the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. Remember the prophet Zechariah his words

 “who has despised the day of small things?” (Zecharia 4:10)

and do not hesitate to join the small group of enthusiast preachers.

Declaring Good News

Let us “declare good news” like Jesus demanded from his followers. Each of us can “bear news; announce; act as a news bearer.” (1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Samuel 1:20; 1 Chronicles 16:23)

Jesus recognized that his divine commission called for a preaching work, and he carried it on publicly, in cities and villages, in the temple area, synagogues, marketplaces and streets, as well as in the countryside. (Marcus 1:39; 6:56; Luke 8:1; 13:26; John 18:20)
Do you want to go wherever you can entering into villages or cities or countryside or bring  your texts on the internet so that it can come in the homes of many people?

Jesus had stressed that he was ‘sent by God’ (Luke 9:48; John 5:36, 37; 6:38; 8:18, 26, 42), who gave him “a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak.” (John 12:49). The apostles who followed the directions of Christ knew that they publicly had to declare that Jesus is Lord, and that we have to exercise faith in our heart that God raised him up from the dead, so that we will be saved.

For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Like John the Baptist Jesus did more than preach. His teaching receives even greater emphasis than his preaching. Teaching (di·da′sko) differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, shows things by argument, and offers proofs. The work of Jesus’ disciples, both before and after his death, was thus to be a combination of preaching and teaching.(Matthew 4:23; 11:1; 28:18-20).

The writings which we present as such shall have to bring preachings and teachings, sermons and exhortations, bringing examples that show how God is at work also today and is still calling everybody who is willing to hear His Voice.

We have to share our heartfelt feeling for Christ and for each other. We have to share like Christ did, our love for the Only One God and our love for brothers and sisters in Christ, but also our love for the whole creation (man, animals and plants). As this in the old times was shared by all disciples, men and women, we too should till “the conclusion of the system of things” proclaim the Good News and share our faith with others, bringing a call to the world to join us and to become a member of the Body of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-49; Acts of the apostles 2:17; compare Acts 18:26; 21:9; Romans 16:3.)

18 And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority*+ has been given me in heaven and on the earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples*+ of people of all the nations,+ baptizing+ them in* the name of the Father+ and of the Son+ and of the holy spirit,+20 teaching+ them to observe+ all the things I have commanded YOU.+ And, look! I am with YOU+ all the days until the conclusion* of the system of things.”*+ {Matthew 28:18-20 Reference Bible}

Let us make sure that on the basis of Jesus his name, repentance for forgiveness of sins will be preached in all the nations and that you with us may be a witness of these things. Jesus was sending forth upon us that which is promised by his heavenly Father. We, though, have to follow the decree given by Jesus to be a pupil but also a teacher, a follower and a leader, always a servant, one for the people and one for God.

coming closer to the Last days we should be fully aware that Jesus said

‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit*+ upon every sort of flesh,* and YOUR sons and YOUR daughters will prophesy and YOUR young men will see visions and YOUR old men* will dream dreams;+ 18 and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. {Acts of the apostles 2:17 Reference Bbile}

Sharing and blessings for all

All sorts of men and women shall go out in those days, but we do not have to wait to the last moment be part of them. Today you can stand up and show your alertness and your vivid will to be part of that community which want to show others the way to God. You can start to speak boldly in your own surroundings and share your voice on this platform and on From Guestwriters. You can let people hear and see that they too can find a place where blessing are shared with love with all who want to come along and with all who want to celebrate the greatest love a person has ever given.

We have to show others that it is not sufficient just to take the posture of politely and respectfully listening, not doing much of anything else. Jesus wanted active followers, doers of the Word. Those who come to church or enter the ecclesia perhaps would (all) agree that they are there to learn and be challenged in the Word, but in actuality, they are very inactive in the learning process, very passive in the spiritual discipline, and very unengaged while the preacher is preaching. We have to show them that is not what is wanted form a member of Christianity, a follower of Christ. we have to stimulate them that they also get up and start showing the works of faith. doing our work not forgetting how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

All believers are still hold to the task of challenging the wider Church which is asking, struggling, journeying about how we, those who are called to be “Preachers”, “Teachers”, “Leaders” can create sacred spaces so that those outside our community feel as welcomed and share with us too, how the Good News impacts, revitalises, renews, re-forms their and others lives, and how they impart their own wisdom empowered by the Holy Spirit to encourage who we have been called to be.

All human beings, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status,every human being has sinned and falls short of the glory of God.”

Let us take many into our company, showing the blessing we receive on daily basis, and expound the way of God more correctly to them.

May your time spent here be blessed.

Isn’t this what we are called to do?  We are to ascend to our place near the Lord.  From there we are commanded to proclaim regardless the response.  Can you count the number of us who have gone into the city?  How many of those tiny houses contain artifacts of man?   How did they get there?   The Lord did not put them there, nor did He have them delivered. {The Swinging Doors}

++

Find to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Christians fail there where Muslims succeed
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. When discouraged facing opposition
  5. Christianity without the Trinity
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible for you and for life
  8. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  9. The Most Reliable English Bible
  10. The Bible and names in it: Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has Ever Been
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  13. Reasons to come together
  14. Not many coming out with their community name
  15. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  19. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  20. Not all ability to preach
  21. Breathing to teach
  22. Church sent into the world
  23. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  24. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  25. Our openness to being approachable
  26. Words to push and pull
  27. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  28. How should we preach?
  29. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  30. Good or bad preacher
  31. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Holland Week of billing
  34. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  35. It is Today
  36. Belonging to or being judged by
  37. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  38. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  39. A Society pleading poverty
  40. Dealing with worries in our lives
  41. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  42. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  43. Risen With Him
  44. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?

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Additional reading:

  1. Thoughts from Isolation
  2. To the stump
  3. Your Post
  4. The necessity of the Gospel
  5. Jehovah’s Message
  6. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  7. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  8. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2
  9. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3
  10. A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines
  11. Rev. Duncan Campbell Sermon – Action and Obedience
  12. Puritan Thomas Watson – Christian Joy!
  13. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  14. What if Jesus Preached What Modern Preachers are Preaching?
  15. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  16. Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders
  17. On Preaching “To the Men”
  18. The Primacy of Preaching
  19. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  20. How to Spread the Gospel
  21. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  22. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  23. Preaching is a two-way street
  24. What do you think about preaching someone else’s sermon?
  25. Sex, murder, and preaching: How much is too much for Sunday morning?
  26. Redemptive-Historical Preaching Vs. Moralistic Preaching in Sanctification
  27. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  28. Four Reasons You Should Go Easy On Yourself After Failure, Divorce or Abuse
  29. Preach It, Sister!
  30. What do you need…?
  31. The Mystery of Being In Christ: A Review of Paul and Union with Christ
  32. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings
  33. Proclaim Christ Thru Service to Others
  34. Cavite Hosts I-Proclaim! 3 on National Bible Week 2012
  35. Proclaim Jubilee: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century
  36. How to Proclaim Restoration

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  • Jehovah’s Witnesses descend on Melbourne in pictures (theguardian.com)
    A large sign across the turf at Etihad Stadium reads: ‘Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom’
  • Taking the plunge at Etihad Stadium into a life of faith serving Jehovah (smh.com.au)
    Cameron Dobber’s nerves had mostly settled by the time he took his place in the middle of Etihad Stadium in front of more than 65,000 people.The 27-year-old forklift driver from Sunshine had been preparing for this moment for more than four years.After months of Bible studies and a three-hour interview with church elders, it was finally his turn to step into the baptismal pool and become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    A Christian is called. To do what? “Follow me.” And the crucial part of this calling by Jesus is getting nailed – as Paris Reidhead once said – to the back of the cross; the “purpose-driven” crowd’s worst nightmare.+

  • 19. Daily Bible Verse (12160.info)
    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
  • Watch: ’19 Kids & Preaching’ Video Highlights Duggar Family’s Christian Faith (blackchristiannews.com)
    A new video called 19 Kids and Preaching shows that the Duggar family members are passionate about their Christian faith. While they often pray and talk about God on their TV program, this video shows them getting out of their comfort zone to share their faith with others.
  • Preaching What God’s Word Says about the World (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    [T]he principle that the Christian minister is to preach only the Word of God most certainly does not forbid him to apply the teaching of Holy Writ to the specific needs of his hearers and the peculiar conditions of his day. Application, as well as explanation, is of the essence of preaching.
  • 970) Whether I know what preaching is! Taught by Srila Prabhupada! (pmdasa.wordpress.com)
    A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching.
  • The Active Power of Faith (codybateman.org)
  • “Coming Up Short”; Jeffrey Sartain’s sermon, Oct. 26 (plymouthspirit.wordpress.com)
    Acts of generosity draw goodness and blessing toward us. When we give, we receive blessings far greater than what we have given.
  • “The way I finish a sermon” by Charles Spurgeon (tollelege.wordpress.com)
    I have preached this Gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way—by trying to explain what is meant by this simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead

The central event of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus stayed dead then his own predictions proved false – he was nothing more than a good man with some interesting teaching. But if Jesus rose from the dead then he is someone really special – someone worth believing. What’s more if Jesus rose from the dead then perhaps death isn’t the end – perhaps there is a way for others to overcome death too.

Jesus Resurrection 1778

Jesus Resurrection 1778 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now resurrection isn’t usual. This sort of things doesn’t just happen. Dead people do not come back to life again. So I know full well asking you to believe that Jesus rose from the dead is asking a lot – its asking you to believe in miracles. That’s a problem for some people – we’ll come back to that in Part Two. For now just consider two things: (1) if God created life then surely he is able recreate life, even after it has died, and (2) there is good reason why God might want to be resurrect Jesus, so as to prove that Jesus is God’s representative and to prove that there is life after death. So perhaps you’ll allow that this kind of miracle is a possibility. Now let’s look at the historical evidence. We can summarise the case in four points:

Firstly, Jesus died on the cross. This is not particularly controversial. It was accepted by non-Christians like Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian and the writers of the Talmud. It is, of course, also the unanimous testimony of Christian sources, like the gospels and the letters. Modern medical appraisals of crucifixion have concluded that Jesus could not have survived what he suffered and, in any case, the Romans had ways of ensuring their victims died.

14th century Byzantine Icon of the Descent from the Cross from the Church of Saint Marina in Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus. St. Joseph of Arimathea is the figure standing in the center, in blue-green robes holding the Body of Christ.

14th century Byzantine Icon of the Descent from the Cross from the Church of Saint Marina in Kalopanagiotis, Cyprus. St. Joseph of Arimathea is the figure standing in the center, in blue-green robes holding the Body of Christ.Secondly, Jesus was buried in a tomb. This is also not particularly controversial. The earliest Christian preachers described Jesus being laid in a tomb (Acts 13:28-29). The gospels record how Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and laid it in his tomb (Mark 15:46; Matt 27:59-60; Luke 23:53; John 19:41-42). The early reverence of a tomb in Jerusalem (whether or not this is actually the tomb of Jesus) is another witness of the type of burial given to Jesus. And no ancient critic of Christianity – whether Jewish or pagan – ever suggested that Jesus was buried somewhere else.

Thirdly, three days later the tomb of Jesus was empty. This is important because for both Jews and pagans “resurrection” (anastasis) meant bodily resurrection – if Jesus was alive again, his tomb must be empty. Again this is a feature of the earliest Christian preaching (cf. Acts 2:29-32) and the gospel records (Mark 16:1-8; Matt 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). But it is also a feature of the early Jewish accounts of Jesus – from the first century onwards they claimed that the disciple stole the body (Matt 28:11-15; Justin, Dialogue 108; Tertullian, De Spectaculis 30; Toledoth Yeshu 9-10). This story presupposes that they thought the tomb was empty (they would hardly tell such a story if Jesus was still in the tomb). The fact that Caesar issued a decree against moving bodies from sealed tombs and had it inscribed on a stone in Nazareth probably indicates that he too had heard the story that the tomb of Jesus was empty (this decree is known as The Nazareth Inscription).

Fourthly, the early Christians claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. When writing a letter to the church at Corinth in the mid-50s, Paul lists those who saw Jesus after his resurrection, including the twelve disciples and Jesus’ brother James. He even says there are over five hundred other witnesses, many of whom were still alive when he wrote (1 Cor 15:5-8). These claims are also a feature of the earliest Christian preaching (Acts 2:32, 3:15, 10:39-40), the gospels (John 20:11-18; Luke 24:34; Matt 28:15-17, etc.), other New Testament texts (e.g. 1 Pet 1:3; Rom 1:4; Phil 3:10; Heb 13:20; Rev 1:18) and other first century Christian texts (Didache 10:2; 1 Clement 24:1; Barnabas 5:7).

ANGELICO, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women...

Angelico, Fra Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb Fresco, 189 x 164 cm Convento di San Marco, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This evidence is early, based upon eyewitness testimony and has a consistent core – that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. The resurrection of Jesus is, by far, the simplest explanation of the historical evidence.

What about the alternatives? Well, a number of alternative theories have been suggested to explain the evidence but none has managed to convince the majority of scholars. Those scholars who deny the resurrection generally tend to not give a verdict on the evidence. But, for completeness, let us consider briefly just one oft-repeated alternative. It goes something like this: the disciples stole the body and then pretended Jesus was alive again to promote their new religion. After all, the first century Jews claimed that the disciples stole the body.

However, this alternative theory just does not work for a number of reasons. Firstly, if this was a conspiracy then it was a huge conspiracy (over 500 witnesses). Secondly, the disciples had no motivation for the deception – when other Jewish cult leaders and “messiahs” had met gruesome ends their followers had just disbanded. The early disciples gained neither money, status or fame from their preaching. Thirdly, the disciples had everything to lose from such a deception. They were persecuted, imprisoned and executed by both Jewish and Roman authorities. Early witnesses, like Peter and Paul, met their deaths refusing to renounce their faith. Would you die for a lie?

The simple fact is that the historical evidence is clear and consistent. And if the event in question wasn’t so controversial then I don’t think anybody would doubt it. Unfortunately it is controversial. Because if the resurrection is false then Christianity is false. And if the resurrection is true then Christianity (or at least its core claims) are also true. So a lot hangs on this question. And at the end of the day you’re going to have to make up your own mind for yourself. But if you think that resurrection is possible and if, like me, you think the historical evidence is strong, then you have good reason for thinking that Jesus rose from the dead.

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Note: Lucian of Samosata

 

Preceding articles:

Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

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Related articles:

  1. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  2. Glory of God appearing in our character
  3. On the Nature of Christ
  4. Certainty in a troubled world
  5. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms
  7. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  8. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  9. 14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast
  10. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  11. A Living Faith #8 Change
  12. The day Jesus died
  13. Jesus begotten Son of God #11 Existence and Genesis Raising up
  14. Jesus is risen
  15. Risen With Him
  16. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  17. Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus
  18. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  19. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  20. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  21. Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday
  22. Easter: Origins in a pagan Christ
  23. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  24. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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  • What criteria do historians use to get to the minimal facts about the historical Jesus? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Have you ever heard Gary Habermas, Michael Licona or William Lane Craig defend the resurrection of Jesus as the best explanation for the “minimal facts” about Jesus? The lists of minimal facts that they use are typically agreed to by their opponents during the debates.
    +
    There are actually a few more reasons for believing in the empty tomb that he doesn’t go into in the debate, but you can find them in his written work. For example, in his essay on Gerd Ludemann’s “vision” hypothesis. That essay covers the reasons for all four of his minimal facts.
  • Rationality of The Resurrection of Jesus (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)
    Moving from historical data to the best explanation of that data Crossan and Ehrman robustly rejects resurrections hypothesis. Their rejection is not based on historical data, but on what best explain these data. It is not a historical based rejection but a philosophical one, the impossibility of miracles.
  • The Resurrection is Believable (burrissblog.wordpress.com)
    Opponents of Christianity and skeptical minds have always questioned the resurrection, just as they question many other teachings of Christianity. Such skeptics are more common in contemporary America, but they have always been around. What is surprising is that more and more Christians are stating their skepticism about the resurrection.
  • William Lane Craig’s case for the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)

    Certain appearances have earmarks of historicity. For example, we have good evidence from the gospels that neither James nor any of Jesus’ younger brothers believed in him during his lifetime. There is no reason to think that the early church would generate fictitious stories concerning the unbelief of Jesus’ family had they been faithful followers all along. But it is indisputable that James and his brothers did become active Christian believers following Jesus’ death. James was considered an apostle and eventually rose to the position of leadership of the Jerusalem church. According to the first century Jewish historian Josephus, James was martyred for his faith in Christ in the late AD 60s. Now most of us have brothers. What would it take to convince you that your brother is the Lord, such that you would be ready to die for that belief? Can there be any doubt that this remarkable transformation in Jesus’ younger brother took place because, in Paul’s words, “then he appeared to James”?

    Even Gert Ludemann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”
    +
    Gerd Ludemann is actually an atheist new Testament historian, and he has even debated Dr. Craig on the resurrection – not once, but twice. That’s the kind of evidence Dr. Craig uses in his case. Not just what your pastor will give you, but what atheists will give you. We need to learn to debate like that.

     

  • ‘Jesus Discovery:’ Jerusalem Archeology Reveals Birth Of Christianity (fourbluehills.com)
  • What are the arguments for the histority of the empty tomb? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The concept of resurrection in use among the first converts to Christianity was a Jewish concept of resurrection. And that concept of resurrection is unequivocally in favor of a bodily resurrection. The body (soma) that went into the grave is the body (soma) that came out.
    +
    It’s significant that the belief in the resurrection started off in the city where the tomb was located. Anyone, such as the Romans or Jewish high priests, who wanted to nip the movement in the bud could easily have produced the body to end it all. They did not do so, because they could not do so, although they had every reason to do so.
    +
    The phrase “on the third day” probably points to the discovery of the empty tomb. Very briefly summarized, the point is that since no one actually witnessed the resurrection of Jesus, how did Christians come to date it “on the third day?” The most probable answer is that they did so because this was the day of the discovery of the empty tomb by Jesus’ women followers. Hence, the resurrection itself came to be dated on that day. Thus, in the old Christian formula quoted by Paul we have extremely early evidence for the existence of Jesus’ empty tomb.
    +
    Note how careful Craig is not to imply that the guard tradition is historical, because we can’t prove the guard as a “minimal fact”, since it doesn’t pass the standard historical criteria.
  • William Lane Craig debates James Crossley on the resurrection of Jesus (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The burial story supports the empty tomb

    • the site of Jesus’ grave was known
    • the disciples could not proclaim a resurrection if the body were still in it
    • the antagonists to the early Christians could have produced the body

    +
    Paul was hostile to the early church when he got his appearance
    +

    there is multiple independent attestation, then it cannot be a creative fiction invented in Mark alone
    regarding the women, even though Jesus respected the women, their testimony would not be convincing to others, so why invent a story where they are the witnesses
    the male disciples did not flee the scene, for example, Peter was there to deny Jesus three times

  • the angel is not authoritative, because the angel cannot be questioned, but the women can be questioned
    there was no response on the lack of embellishment
    there was no response to the earliest Jewish response implying that the tomb was empty
  • The Significance of the Resurrection (spyghana.com)
    The religious leaders would certainly have had enough reason for doing so. They had heard that Jesus had talked of resurrection, and were afraid of hanky-panky. So the argument runs, in order to forestall trickery, they took the precaution of confiscating the corpse. But when this is put into scrutiny, this conjecture also falls into pieces.Having placed the guards at the tomb, what would be their reason for moving the body of Jesus? If the authorities moved the body of Jesus, why didn’t they bring it when the apostles were boldly preaching about the resurrection in Jerusalem? The religious leaders did everything in their power to suppress the preaching on the resurrection. They even arrested Peter and John (Acts 4) and beat them, and threatened them in an effort to silence them.A few weeks of Jesus’ death, the disciples were boldly proclaiming the resurrection. The news spread rapidly. The new Christian movement threatened to undermine the stronghold of Judaism and disturb the peace of Jerusalem. The Jews feared conversion and the Romans detested riots. The authorities had before them one course of action. The Religious leaders could have produced the remains of the corpse of Jesus and published a statement of what they had done. They could have paraded the body of Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem, if indeed, they had it, and that would have smothered Christianity in its cradle. 
  • Guest Post – Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb (bennasmith.wordpress.com)
    Why would Matthew fabricate a Jewish cover-story and falsely suggest that it “has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matt 28:15 NIV)?  He wouldn’t.  Clearly his Jewish audience would have already heard the cover-story.  This is probably why Matthew seeks to rebut it.
    +
    It is wholly implausible that Jesus’ disciples stole his body.  They were broken and confused.  Their Messiah was dead and they had nothing to gain from stealing his body and then claiming he rose from the dead.  Indeed, they suffered greatly for this claim.No amount of cognitive dissonance could possibly motivate every disciple to claim their Messiah was alive when they knew he wasn’t.  We might at most expect them to find a new Messiah, but they didn’t.The second suspects are grave robbers hoping to make a profit.  However, the Gospels of Luke and John record that Jesus’ grave clothes remaining in the tomb. Why would any grave robbers leave the clothes behind?  Moving a body by itself would be incredibly messy.  Those looking for burial spices would almost certainly simply have carried off the wrapped body and removed the spices in a safe place. Even the clothes themselves could have been sold later on.Perhaps instead the robbers wanted body parts for magic practices.  This is unlikely since there is no evidence that stealing bodies for magical purposes was much of a problem in first-century Palestine.

     

  • John, when he reached the tomb, saw and believed (fggam.org)
    John in his first epistle testifies: What we have seen, heard, and touched we proclaim as the word of life which existed “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1-4). John bears witness to what has existed from all eternity.  This “Word of Life” is Jesus the Word incarnate, but also Jesus as the Word announced by the prophets and Jesus the Word now preached throughout the Christian church for all ages to come. One thing is certain, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, we would never have heard of him.  Nothing else could have changed sad and despairing men and women into people radiant with joy and courage. The reality of the resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to know him and the power of his resurrection. The greatest joy we can have is to encounter the living Christ and to know him personally as our Savior and Lord.the witnesses were in Jerusalem, so they were in a position to knowif the story is made up, who cares what the male disciples did, just invent them on the scene anyway

 

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

As discussed in the previous post, Jesus is mentioned here and there by some non-Christians, like the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus. But our main source of information is that provided by the early Christians themselves. This evidence comes in two main types. There are the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), which are conventionally dated from around 70 AD but may well be earlier. Then there are letters that early Christians sent to individuals or churches. There are a number of these in the Bible, many of which were probably written before the gospels. Taken together these provide us with a lot of information about Jesus and who he claimed to be.

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

Gospel sources – First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We should comment at this point about the way we’re using these sources. Though they come from the Bible, they are also historical sources and we’re going to treat them in that way. So at this point we’re not too bothered about whether every last detail of the gospels is correct or not. Nor need we be concerned about whether these documents also contain messages from God. We can leave such issues till later. For now we can just look these documents for what they are – ancient documents, which contain information about Jesus, written by people who were in a position to know. So what do these sources say about who Jesus claimed to be?

Well, the most obvious one is that Jesus was called “Christ” (or more properly, the Christ) – that’s where the name “Christians” come from. “Christ” is the Greek word meaning “anointed” , equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. The concept of being “anointed” refers to the ceremony by which someone was made king in ancient Israel. (There is a good example of this in the Old Testament when David is anointed as king – see 1 Samuel 16). By the time of Jesus the kingdom of Israel had long since been destroyed and the Jews were essentially living under Roman rule. But the Old Testament prophets had predicted that the royal line of the ancient kings of Israel would be restored and that there would be a king again. Many Jews living at the time of Jesus expected the Messiah to be someone who would lead them to overthrow the Romans so they could be an independent nation again. What is interesting about Jesus is that, though he claimed to be the Messiah – the promised king, he did not attempt to lead an armed rebellion against Rome. So whilst Jesus was claiming to be a king, he was not the king they were expecting.

The most common phrase Jesus used to describe himself as “Son of Man”. That may sound like an odd way to describe yourself, and it was even at the time. In the language of the day – Aramaic – the expression “son of man” was used to refer to humanity in general. But that’s not the way Jesus uses it. He doesn’t describe himself as a son of man but as the Son of Man. So what was he getting at? The Old Testament prophet Daniel presents a picture of human history, where nations are represented by vicious beasts (Daniel 7). But this succession of beast-nations does not last forever. At the end of the vision, a court is held with God seated as judge. Power and authority is taken away from the beasts and given to a new character who is described as “one like the son of man”. This character receives a kingdom from God that will last forever. So when Jesus describes himself as the Son of Man, he is claiming to be the future king, the one who will receive a kingdom from God. But not a kingdom like the human kingdoms that preceded it. Instead this is good kingdom that will last forever.

Jesus is often described as being the Son of God. And frequently Jesus presents himself as having a unique father-son relationship with God. He is not saying that he is a child of God in the sense that all God’s creatures are his children. He is claiming that he has a relationship with God that is entirely unique. The gospels include the stories about Jesus’ birth, whereby his mother, Mary, becomes pregnant despite being a virgin. According to the gospels Jesus had no biological father (though no doubt Joseph cared for Jesus as his own son). So in a very real sense God was Jesus’ father. But being the Son of God is not just about parentage. Jesus claimed to have a very special relationship with God. The gospel writers describe Jesus has having special power to perform miracles, special wisdom to teach people God’s ways and special authority to forgive sins. Jesus was not simply claiming to be a prophet or holy man, but God’s special representative on earth.

Lastly, Jesus took the remarkable step of claiming that he was going to die. And not in battle, or by murder, but that he was going to die to free people from sin. He says:

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)

Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ell...

The King of the Jews (INRI) Nailed to death – Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ellwangen (Jagst) Kreuzaltar, Hans und Matthäus Schamm (Ottobeuren) zugeschrieben, um 1610; detail: Christushaupt und INRI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the early Christians reflecting on the death of Jesus also recognised it as a special death. A preacher named Paul wrote to a church explaining the things he had learnt from talking to those who knew Jesus. He writes:

What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)

Now Jesus did die. He was executed. He was nailed to a cross by Roman soldiers and died gasping for air. He died the death of a criminal. He should have been forgotten by history. But his followers understood his death differently. This was not the last disgrace of a failed prophet. This was the turning point of history. When God’s representative on earth made the ultimate sacrifice to so that people could be forgiven for the things they’d done wrong and start a new life.

So that’s what Jesus claimed about who he was and what he would achieve. But is it true? Was Jesus a future king? Was Jesus God’s representative on earth? And did Jesus’ death provide a way for us to change our relationship with God? Well there is one more thing that the early Christians claimed about Jesus: that he rose from the dead – that he stopped being dead and came alive again. And if that is true then we’re no longer dealing with the claims of a human man but with a moment when God intervened in history to change the world.

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 Preceding: Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

++

Related articles:

  1. Prophets making excuses
  2. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  3. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  4. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  7. Servant of his Father
  8. Slave for people and God
  9. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  10. The Anointed One and the first day of No Fermentation
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 5/8
  13. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  14. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  15. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  16. Wishing to do the will of God
  17. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  18. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  19. Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled
  20. A Messiah to die
  21. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  22. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  23. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  24. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  25. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  26. The Song of The Lamb #6 Revelation 14
  27. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  28. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  29. Signs of the Last Days
  30. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  31. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  32. Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
  33. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  34. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  35. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation

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  • Sunday (August 24): “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    At an opportune time Jesus tested his disciples with a crucial question: “Who do the people say that I am and who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Jesus was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • Jesus is the Messiah (darnellbarkman.wordpress.com)
    ‘Christ’ in early Christianity was a title, and only gradually became an alternative proper name for Jesus. 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.
  • Christianity Fast Facts (wdsu.com)
    Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ.Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe.
    +
    On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ arose from the dead.
    +
    The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Gentiles (non-Jews) also made up a large majority of its followers, as is the case today.
  • Secular Israel vs Biblical Israel: Are they the Same? (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
    With the Gaza War resuming in earnest, now seems to be the time for a few observations about the secular state of Israel, biblical Israel, Jews, the synagogue of Satan and the deliberate Corporate (and other) Media smokescreens which obscure these subjects.
    +
    Of course, the largest mistake–and there are quite a few in the linked piece, which is relatively short–is that one cannot separate the Jews as a people from the actions taken by the leadership of the secular state of Israel.  But we know that is a lie.
    +
    We’re commanded to warn about deception; that deception includes the secular, man-created state of Israel which is NOT biblical Israel. There are observant Jews in Israel.  They are often the victims of violence. God promises He will save His remnant–and He will.  However, make no mistake: secular Israel is not biblical Israel.  Those who confuse the two will reap the unfortunate harvest of deception.  The Christian ignores Jesus’ clear warnings in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 at his own risk.
  • Matthew 1-7 (apologistmike.wordpress.com)
    The gospel of Matthew was written by an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. He was Jewish, which accounts for his emphasis on the Jewish scriptures in the work, and he was a tax collector for the Roman government. This would have enabled him to write effectively. Many early fathers such as Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Origen recognized Matthew as the author of the gospel.
  • FFOZ TV Review: Messiah (mymorningmeditations.com)
    The term Christ is one of the most important terms in all of Scripture and yet is seldom fully understood by followers of Jesus. In episode two we will explore the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures and learn about the Jewish people’s expectation of the coming messiah. We will study the Hebrew Scriptures and learn that they speak of a coming anointed one, a king who will come to redeem mankind, defeat Israel’s enemies, and set up his kingdom.
  • Simple Truth: Jesus is not the Messiah (leavingjesus.wordpress.com)
    “Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah”
    “Messiah” is the transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “anointed”
  • “The Christ is the Son of David” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
    Why did Jesus question the Jews on the claim that their Messiah or Christ would be the son of David? After all the New Testament makes clear that Jesus himself is a direct descendant from the line of David’s throne (Romans 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:8, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38). Jesus posed the question to make his hearers understand that the Messiah is more than the son of David. Jesus makes his point in dramatic fashion by quoting from one of David’s prophetic psalms, Psalm 110: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet. How can the son be the lord of his father?
  • Michele Bachmann Waiting to be Annointed Messiah (politicususa.com)
    What’s in a messiah, you ask? Like many terms it is problematic. Contrary to what many people may think, despite the origins of our word messianism is not unique to Judaism. In fact, in historical terms we can’t even speak of “Judaism” singular because there were in fact many Judaisms with different ways of life and different worldviews.[1] So not only is there not one Jewish idea (or Christian idea) of what a messiah is but not all ideas of messiahs are Jewish (or Christian).

 

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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