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Blog #0065, 05/30/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "CALLED to SERVE"

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        Jesus' "Many are called but few are chosen" statement at Matthew 22:14 may have come to your mind just now. If you were of the opinion that we're ALL called to serve, you'd enjoy the support of scripture. But who are the "chosen?" Are they our career professional Christians like preachers, missionaries, theologians, denominational officials and such? I mean, it's one thing to give your HEART to Christ but, to give your LIFE to Him...doesn't that require some form of the fulltime "ministry?" Isn't that why so many parents whose children have chosen "to serve God full time" are almost always gushing with pride?  On May 15th I received a message from an older teenager who has clearly given her heart to God and has a burning desire to give her life to Him, too. She had just finished reading Blog post #0062. Here are some excerpts from our dialog:

 

Teen—

        "I read that post called 'Reverend' and it changes some things about my career choices. I'm really going to struggle with how I'm going to sing. [She had aspired to become a career praise and worship leader, etc.] It's obvious I love to sing, but getting paid for it was never a thought to me...but of course I'd have to live off of it if I were to do that. Duh! So I'm really thinking about this. And I have to be very careful. because if I were to sing or do anything with music, it shouldn't be considered a 'job' or 'career.' Maybe I will think of something else to do. Peter [I think she meant Paul.] is such a great example and I used the scriptures from 'Reverend' to go to my Bible and read on some more. I would love to sing. It's where I connect. And I have a desire for other people to connect with God through a song like I do. And I want to lead that. But if I could do it without money, I would. How do I do that? What do I do with that? Is it crazy that I want to do that? Does it make sense? Most of the ways I found to worship is to sing a song to God."

                    

Scribe pro tem

        "I understand, [name withheld]. Many young boys and some young girls who have great personalities and are gifted for and enjoy public speaking think they're "called to preach." Some of them are. Most of them aren't. There are many secular career opportunities in public speaking and related one-on-one communication that can earn them "a good living." But their misinformed parents, mentors and preachers encourage them to prepare for careers in "peddling the word of God for profit" (2 Corinthians 2:17). In fact, most churchgoers seem to think those "Christian careers" are really "special" and the only "real" way to give one's LIFE to God. Later, those who haven't gained secular skills/vocations/careers will find it next to impossible to break free from the inevitable "golden handcuffs" when they discover that they really, really need to do that. It's pretty certain that, if Paul had recognized in himself an uncommon talent for music, he would still have earned his living by making and selling tents. Meanwhile, I'd encourage you keep singing directly to God and leading others in Godly worship, but explore OTHER ways to make a living. Then go for it all with gusto!"

 

Teen—

        "That helps me so much. Right now I sing in the youth praise team and love it. But if I got paid for it, it'd feel more like a job and I didn't want that. I know what it's like to sing and not get paid for it and I love it. It's not something that I feel that I need to get paid for. It's not a job to me. It's just something I love to do, it's how I connect. So that really helps me a lot. I'll look more into other careers. Maybe still do something with animals." [Her original plan was to become a marine biologist and nature photographer.]

 

Scribe pro tem

        "You have a good mind and a good heart, [name withheld]."

 

        To what extent do YOU think my response to her is scriptural? While you ponder that, here are some of the scriptures I had in mind as that dialog unfolded:

        > "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But

            thou, O man of God, flee these things…" —Paul, at 1 Timothy 6:10,11

        > "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." —Paul, at Acts 20:34

        > "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit..." —Paul, at 2 Corinthians 2:17

        > "...children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children." — Paul, at 2 Corinthians 12:14   (I think you’ll want to become familiar with the

            full context of this proclamation at verses 11-18.)

        > Paul ate his own bread. —Paul, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

        > "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind." —1 Peter 5:2

 

[  ]True      [  ]False

Both Peter and Paul foresaw the demise of today's visible church (as opposed to The Church)—because the organized church was to become an enterprise and "the ministry" was to become a profession.

 

        > "There will become a time when those with the 'gift of helps' [1 Corinthians 12:28] will stand before the Lord to hear 'well done' while those who just preached a good

            one will ask: 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' They will be told by the

            Lord: 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS' [Matthew 7:22-23]. So don't get it confused. Gifts are free and has nothing to

            do with you. It's the Giver of the gifts that we should be familiar with." —Chaplain Tommy Davis, Rochester, NY

 

        Bible fact: Every genuine follower of Christ is "a minister." The scriptural role of a preacher is to be the truly humble servant of other disciples—and, to avoid inevitable corruption, they must find other ways to "make a living:"  Doing well by doing good isn't characteristic of real "ministers" of our Lord's gospel.  Doubting that?  Given any Roman Catholic Pope and Mother Theresa, who do YOU think will gain the more desirable eternal reward?

 

        Conclusion: Jesus' humble disciples who simply practice "being Christian" while earning a living via secular trades and professions are special.  Preachers are not special.  Instead, their legitimate function within Christ's body is simply DIFFERENT from yours or mine [1 Corinthians 12]. Those who think otherwise cannot be effective in "the ministry." The familiar "I'm 'called and chosen' and you're not" mindset is inappropriate...even if it is subconscious. In fairness, I think it's subconscious for the most part. So who can remedy that?

 

        Your questions and scriptural rebuttals are always welcome.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0064, 05/23/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "IS JESUS GOD?"

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        You may know that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was recorded in Greek. There were no printing presses, so each time a new copy was needed a scribe was hired to copy the text, letter-by-letter. If you've ever had to handwrite a really long paper, you know how frustrating writer's cramp can be...maybe even carpal tunnel syndrome. Later, when the King James scholars were assigned the daunting task of translating the Hebrew and Greek texts into English, they worked really hard to find the very earliest manuscripts. That was to increase the likelihood of accuracy.^

 

        Is Jesus God? The short answer is yes. Did He ever actually say He was God? Again, the short answer is yes. I'll cite scriptural confirmation for those answers below but, first, let's examine the foundation for them. You may find surprises in some of what you will discover, here. The book of Genesis is a good starting place:

        > "In the beginning God[H-430] created the heaven and the earth." —Genesis 1:1

 

        Bible scholars regard Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible as the gold standard for Bible dictionaries. Per Strong's reference #H-430, the KJV word, "God," at Genesis 1:1, is transliterated 'elohiym from the original Hebrew texts.  It is the PLURAL form of the H-433 word that is transliterated 'elowahh, which Strong's defines as "God" (singular). In every verse of the first chapter of Genesis the word, "God," is from that same plural Hebrew word. Starting at Genesis 2:4, though, there's a significant change:

        > "These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD[H-3068] God[H-430] made the earth and the

             heavens," —Genesis 2:4

 

        The KJV translators recognized the addition of the original Hebrew word, transliterated Yaweh [singular], which appears before the word, 'Elohiym [plural], here, to yield the English-language translation, "LORD God." Perhaps this, from the New Testament, will help you begin to understand how God can be both plural and singular—even if you and I can't do that:

        > "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." —1 John 5:7,8

 

        Now, because this is a blog post and not a book, let's cut to the chase: "The Old Testament contains over three hundred references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. It has been calculated that the probability of one man fulfilling only eight of these prophesies would be one in ten to the seventeenth power which is 1/100,000,000,000,000,000 or one chance in one hundred quadrillion. The odds of just forty prophecies being fulfilled is one chance in 10 to the one hundred and fifty seventh power. That is 10 followed by 156 zeros. The number of atoms in the universe is calculated to be somewhere around 10 to the eighty-sixth power (10 followed by on 86 zeroes).  It would be far easier to pick out one atom, while blind-folded, in the entire universe, than to have forty prophecies fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth." —Evidence Based Faith

 

        That should suffice as a worthy answer to the first question, but what about the second one? Did Jesus ever actually SAY He is God? Muslims and Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are among those who contend that Jesus is NOT God and that He never SAID that He is God. I think you'll agree that those conclusions are truly amazing, considering this introductory evidence:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


* Key to understanding: Whenever a KJV word or phrase appears either in italics or brackets, that is to indicate that it does NOT appear in ANY of the original Hebrew or

       Greek manuscripts. E.g.: When Jesus is quoted as saying "I am [he]," what He really said was "I AM." Sound familiar? That's precisely how God identified himself in

       the Old Testament!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

        Yes! Jesus said He is God. Here are a few examples:                                                                                                                          

        > "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but

            said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." —John 5:17,18  (The Jews clearly understood that Jesus was claiming to be God.)

            > "For many shall come in my name, saying, I AM [Christ]; and shall deceive many.." —Mark 13:6

            > "And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I AM [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them."

                —Luke 21:8

        > "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all [men] should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that

            honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." —John 5:22,23

        > "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM [he], ye shall die in your sins." —John 8:24

        > "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM."—John 8:58

        > "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."— John 9:5, KJV

        > "Some said, This is he: others [said], He is like him: [but] he said, I AM [he]." —John 9:9

        > "I and [my] Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of

            those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest

            thyself God."— John 10:30-33

        > "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father,

            believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father [is] in me, and I in him." —John 10: 36-38

        > "Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I AM [he]." —John 13:19

        > "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."—John 14:6

        > "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father"

            —John 14:7-9

        > "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou

            [then], Shew us the Father?"—John 14:9

        > "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." —John 17:5

        > "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]." —John 17:11

        > "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" —John 17: 22

        > "As soon then as he had said unto them, I AM [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground." —John 18:6

        > "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last....I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root

            and the offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star" —Revelation 22:13,16

 

        Here are some examples of divinely inspired writers of Scripture who said Jesus is God:

        > "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." —Exodus 3:14

        > "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty

            God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." —Isaiah 9:6

        > "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." —Matthew 1:23

            (...from Isaiah 7:14)

        > "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and

            without him was not any thing made that was made. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" —John 1:1-4

        > "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." —John 1:14

        > "And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." —John 20:28

        > "But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him."

             —1 Corinthians 8:6

        > "For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under [him], [it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him."

            —1 Corinthians 15:27

        > "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood,

            [even] the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that

            are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before

            all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might

            have the preeminence. For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell" —Colossians 1:13-20

        > "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." —Acts 4:12

        > "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath

            purchased with his own blood." (I.e.: God purchased us with His own blood.)  —Acts 20:28

        > "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no

            reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became

            obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of

           Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is]

           Lord, to the glory of God the Father." —Philippians 2:5-11

        > "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed

             on in the world, received up into glory." —1 Timothy 3:16

        > "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" —Titus 2:13

        > "But unto the Son [he (i.e.: God, the Father) saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteous-ness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom...God, [even] thy

            God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness...And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine

            hands" —Hebrews 1:8,9

 

        Among those who subscribe to the notion that God is a singular being are many who insist that Jesus is that singular being. Parcel to their seriously flawed and purely presumptive premise is the notion that, at Revelation 5:6, the Lamb is situated in the center of the throne—occupying the exact same space, location and position as God, the Father, and coexisting together with Him as One. Reexamine that verse in your Bible to understand that the Lamb was in the midst of the four beasts and the elders, who were also in the midst of the throne. That observation is confirmed in verse 7: "The Lamb came (i.e.: moved toward) and took the book out of the right hand of him that SAT UPON the throne, to take the book from him."

 

        The "three in one" concept is difficult for our human minds to comprehend, yes; but our inability to fully comprehend it does not preclude God's ability to enjoy it. The more sensible conclusion is that Jesus is the second most important of the various singular manifestations of our plural God.  (You may recall that God, the Father, continues to withhold knowledge of the day and hour of Jesus' own return to gather the saints.)

 

        Learning from God's written word can be reciprocal.  Your comments and scriptural rebuttals are welcome.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

^ To learn why the KJV is still the best English-language Bible available to us today, be sure to find and read G. A. Riplinger's book, New Age Versions.  The first printing

     was in 1993.  I have a copy of the eleventh printing, 2000. ISBN #0-9635845-0-2.  Library of Congress catalog card #93-92561.


Blog #0063, 05/16/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "The  WARM  FUZZIES"

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        If you've ever fallen in love, you're familiar with the warm fuzzies. If you've ever seen "Old Yeller" or "Bambi" or most any another poignant movie, you've felt the warm fuzzies. If you've ever done something really nice for another person, "just because," you've enjoyed the warm fuzzies.  If you're religious the warm fuzzies are likely a part of that, too. So let's invest a couple of minutes to explore those religious warm fuzzies: Pentecostals and other evangelicals often equate those feelings with the Holy Spirit. Justified? If so, exactly how might you describe the specific differences between them and the warm fuzzies yielded by all those other stimuli?

 

        You may learn the answer to that question by examining the answer to this question: WHY are you Pentecostal or Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or Catholic—or Muslim or Hindu? For starters, it is highly likely that your parents were Pentecostal or Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or Catholic—or Muslim or Hindu. Remember those multiple occasions when you KNEW you had done something to please your parents? Nostalgia! Warm fuzzies nostalgia! That phenomenon is clearly what Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) had in mind when he wrote, "In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand and without examination."

 

        In 2006, I embarked on a long-term mission to discover why I had become so staunchly supportive of the teachings of my own denomination. What I've learned, so far, is NOT pleasant. Frankly, it's embarrassing! My rationale had been no more sensible than those of the most ignorant of Muslim jihadists. Oh, I could quote scriptures in defense of what I had believed so strongly but, on close examination, those scriptures were nebulous^, at best. They had been systematically drilled into my consciousness by others who had sought to secure my loyalty. I had trusted them. I had respected them. When I had repeated those scriptures while mentoring others, I knew my mentors were (or would have been) pleased. That had yielded pleasant ongoing episodes of the warm fuzzies...to which I had become addicted.  If Samuel Clemens was right, then I'm not alone: You're probably addicted, too.

 

        It took me a while to learn that my beloved religious mentors had all been mentored, themselves, by others who had sought to secure THEIR loyalty. By mentoring me, they enjoyed long series of the warm fuzzies of their own, because they knew that their mentors were (or would have been) pleased that they were carrying the gospel torch forward. In my case and likely in your case, too, they were carrying a torch forward—but not the 1st-Century gospel torch of Jesus and his early disciples. The unfortunate consequence? At least four dangerous Weapons of Mass Deception have slithered into the mainstream of Christian teaching. Yes, they exist in the fringes of modern Christianity, too. Most disturbing, though, is how readily they've been welcomed into the mainstream visible church. The teachings of the visible church have "evolved." Much of what masquerades, today, as "old time religion" is actually quite new.

 

        How to discover whether you're a victim? The primary objective of our www.DYPK.org site is to help you do that and then to help prepare you for the soon-coming grandest masquerade of human experience. Visit the site several times to get a feel for it and then participate in the ongoing dialog to gain as much eternal value as you possibly can. Okay?

 

        Should you ask your preacher about all this? Upton Sinclair wrote something you may want to take into account, at least: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

^ "Nebulous," per Dictionary.com:

     (1) hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused: a nebulous recollection of the meeting; a nebulous distinction between pride and conceit;

     (2) cloudy or cloudlike; (3) of or resembling a nebula or nebulae; nebular.


Blog #0062, 05/09/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "REVEREND"

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        It is unfortunate that some of Martin Luther's 16th-Century Reformation contemporaries coveted the enormous potential for controlling followers and followers' dollars. They copied the organization of the Roman church and the pomposity of its clerics. They elevated the Protestant clergy to "special" status. To reinforce that scripturally unjustified perception among their followers some clerics, even today, adorn themselves with "special" attire. Most rank-and-file Churchians perceive their clergy as "special" with or without such pompous attire, thereby helping to perpetuate the error, themselves.

"Pomposity," per World English Dictionary:

        1.  vain or ostentatious display of dignity or importance

        2.  the quality of being pompous

        3.  ostentatiously lofty style, language, etc.

 

        > "These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood..." —Proverbs

            6:16-19

 

        Shall we move, now, to level the playing field? Isn't that what Jesus intended? Shouldn't we start calling preachers by their first names – especially those who love being called "the reverend doctor" and such? Wouldn't that help to erase our personal contributions to the widespread myth that they are somehow "special" within God's family? Can you imagine 1st-Century believers calling the apostle, Paul, "Reverend Paul" or "The Right Reverend Paul" or "Bishop Paul" or "Father Paul" or "Arch Bishop Paul?" And would they really have called Peter "His Eminence" or "Pope Peter?" Those men likely encouraged believers to call them by their first names. That's because they were fully aware of the eternal danger of thinking more highly of themselves than they ought. Of possible greater importance is that they knew that people are a lot more inclined to invest their Faith Equity(SM) in preachers they can see than in God, whom they cannot see:

        > "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man…" —Jeremiah 17:5

        > "...to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think..." —Paul, at Romans 12:3

        > "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at

            feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.  But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master,

            [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.  And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for one is

            your Master, [even] Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble

            himself shall be exalted." —Jesus, at Matthew 23: 5-12

 

        God, alone, is worthy of any lofty name that would tend to assign glory—or "special" status [See Psalm 111:9]. The widely-coveted "reverend" title is from the word, "revere." To revere a person is to regard him as worthy of great honor or worship. To covet or to even tolerate such a title for oneself or to clothe oneself in a manner or to speak in a manner that might even suggest such an elevated status is to think more highly of oneself than one ought to think. In short, to present oneself as "special" within God's family is sin. The ultimate consequence of that sin results from others perceiving one as "special."

        > "In the visible church, there are 'special' people. The playing field is level in THE Church: Correction, reproof, rebuke and exhortation are reciprocal." —T. C. Newsome

 

        Chaplain Tommy Davis of Rochester, NY, is a treasured Facebook acquaintance. Currently a doctoral candidate at Chattanooga's Tennessee Temple University, his posts consistently reveal uncommon wisdom.  Here are three of the more recent examples of posts on this topic. (I am quoting him without his permission, but he'll probably forgive me.):

        > "In Jesus' time very few people wanted to be a shepherd (pastor). It was the lowest occupation on the totem pole...The honorable careers were among the Pharisees,

            Sadducees, Herodians (politicians) and tax collectors (IRS agents). The office doesn't make the man. It's the man that makes the office! Now everybody and their

            grandmomma want to be pastors with only [sheep's] wool on their minds." —05/01/14

        > "I have learned long ago to measure the effectiveness of my ministry by how much I am hated by the loftiest of clergy. The people that gave Christ the most trouble

            were 'people of the cloth.'" —04/28/14

        > "...People are running around shouting "don't judge a book by its cover" but we really don't believe it. If we don't want to be judged by our 'covers' then take off the wigs

            and makeup. Take off the clergy collars and robes as if you are closer to God than I am. Get a real doctorate. Stop choosing what you think is the best ministry gifts

            (apostle, prophet, pastor) and let the Holy Spirit tell you who you are." —04/26/14

 

        Thanks for reading! Your comments, questions and scriptural rebuttals are always welcome! Click HERE to contact us.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0061, 05/02/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "SAVED"

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        As a young child, I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I felt clean. But was I "truly 'saved'?" As a young adult, I turned my back on Jesus—and EVERYTHING I had learned about God and the Bible. For twelve years, I was an Agnostic. Agnostics are Atheist wannabes. Atheism is religion. Some Atheists are evangelical. Agnosticism is sort of a noncommittal intermediate state in between two religions.  Had I lost my "salvation" or was my childhood "getting 'saved'" experience eternally secure? There's a hot debate on that question among the "experts." Do ANY of them know?"

 

         Some readers will be quite shocked to discover that they have never heard the following scriptures from any of their pulpits.  Is it possible that our preachers on both extremes of salvation theology have been so busy believing and defending what our seminary "experts" teach that they have ALL missed the clear and consistent Gospel salvation message?  These are just a few of the pertinent scriptures.  For info on how to get the complete list – parcel to our Link1(TM) Bible Research Team's exhaustive scholarly research paper – just follow this link: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/research-papers:

 

         > Endure to the end [a future time] to be saved —Matthew 24:10-13 & Mark 13:13

         > "And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and DO not the things I say?" —Luke 6:46-49

         > "...power to BECOME [a future condition] sons of God." —John 1:12

         > A good life = eternal life.  An evil life = eternal death.  —John 5:24-29 (v.29)

         > IF you keep my commandments, you'll never taste death. —John 8:52

         > "...SHALL BE saved" [a future condition] —Romans 5:9,10

         > You belong to the one you obey. —Romans 6:16

         > Continue in his goodness or be CUT OFF. —Romans 11:22

         > "And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation [a future condition] nearer than when we believed." —Romans

             13:11

         > Defile your body and be destroyed. —1 Corinthians 3:16,17

         > "TEN (10) SPECIFIC SINFUL LIFESTYLES that will preclude salvation —1 Corinthians 6:8-11

         > I won’t be brought under power of any sin. —1 Corinthians 6:12

         > "Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may

             receive the things DONE in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." —2 Corinthians 5:9,10

         > FOUR (4) SPECIFIC SINFUL LIFESTYLES that will preclude salvation —Ephesians 5:5

         > ELEVEN (11) SPECIFIC SINFUL LIFESTYLES that will preclude salvation —Colossians 3:5-9

         > "... putting on the breastplate of...the HOPE of salvation [a future condition]." —1 Thessalonians 5:8

         > Believe a lie and be DAMNED. —2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

         > ...SHALL BE saved [a future condition] IF they continue... —1 Timothy 2:14,15

         > …author of eternal salvation to all that OBEY… —Hebrews 5:9

         > …IF we hold…steadfast to the end…[a future time]  —Hebrews 3:6-13

         > DO the will of God to receive the promise [a future time]. —Hebrews 10:36

         > Doers; not just Hearers... —James 1:22             

         > Even the DEVILS "believe." —James 2:17-26

         > We are kept through faith UNTO salvation [a future condition]. ready to be revealed in the last time —1 Peter 1:5

         > "The END [a future condition] of your faith is salvation. —1 Peter 1:1-25  (v.5,9)

         > If again entangled…the latter is worse than the beginning. —2 Peter 2:20,21

         > "He that sayeth, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him...he that DOETH the will of God abideth forever." —1 John 2:1-29

            (vs. 4 & 17)

         > EIGHT (8) SPECIFIC SINFUL LIFESTYLES that will preclude salvation —Revelation 21:7,8

         > DO…to gain the right to Tree of Life…and enter the city [New Jerusalem]. —Revelation 22:14

         > SIX (6) SPECIFIC SINFUL LIFESTYLES that will preclude salvation —Revelation 22:14,15

            (Note: Those who may ever have, once-upon-a-time, gotten "truly 'saved'" are NOT excluded from this lock-out.)

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0060, 04/25/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "MENTORS"

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         > "Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.'" —Charles M. Schulz

 

         It took me a while to learn how to study the Bible "as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means." That'll probably take some time for you, too. Why? For me, it had nothing to do with reading comprehension or even a capacity for cognitive reasoning. It had everything to do with love and respect for my Christian mentors, past and present. There is something about Human Nature that causes us to want to trust others, especially those who appear to be genuine and sincere. In following through on that natural tendency, we inevitably accept the "filters" through which those others have come to perceive the human experience—and man's relationship to God.

 

         I was a preacher's kid. My dad was ordained by a large, mainstream Christian denomination. My maternal grandfather was one of three clergymen who founded another large, mainstream Christian denomination. Because I loved and respected them both, I gained much eternal value from them both. But was my trust in them and in other like-minded "men for God" too complete? Here’s what Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) said about that: "In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination." But what does God have to say about it? "Thus saith the LORD; 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man...'" —Jeremiah 17:5

 

         It was after I had retired from a rewarding secular career that a critical fact finally registered with me:  "Human Nature is the Sin Nature." I was shocked…and embarrassed! For Christian believers and every other human being, "doing what comes naturally" comes all too naturally. Because human nature is the Sin nature, Christians are instructed in God's written word to crucify it. Remember? What comes naturally for us is captured in a well-intended, but dangerously misguided religious cliché, "Follow your heart." The Old Testament is clearly a record of God's effort to teach the Hebrews why and how to THINK rationally—to use their minds, instead of their hearts, for making choices: "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things] and desperately wicked: who can know it?" —Jeremiah 17:9

 

         In a nutshell, God's entire Old Testament message is justly characterized like this: "O.K. guys, these are the boundaries for your behavior. Stay within these boundaries to enjoy my blessings and my protection. Step one foot outside them and you're on your own. Step back inside with plans to stay and you can, again, enjoy my blessings and my protection." The Gospels record Jesus' modeling – and confirmation – of that mindset for us: He never even once permitted his feelings to interfere with his thinking. Want to be like Jesus? Here's how: Use your MIND for sound reasoning. Reserve your HEART for love and compassion: At Philippians 2:5 Paul wrote, "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." And, at Romans 12:2 he wrote, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND…"

 

         > "God’s gift of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste." —T. C. Newsome [See 2 Timothy 1:7.]

 

         Neither my parents, nor my grandparents, nor any of my pastors or other religious mentors intentionally imposed the "filters" on me that been imposed on them by others whom they had loved and respected. But in defaulting, albeit sincerely, to a given "What 'We' Believe" franchise, they effectively restricted my ability to easily comprehend what God's written word really says…until I finally grew up and started learning how to exercise personal accountability for gaining the original truth.

 

         I think it's okay to teach a young child WHAT to think but, at some point, that child will need instruction on HOW to think.  After all, critical thinking skills are essential to real success in life...especially in religion.  Doubt that?  Muslims and Hindus and Atheists teach their children WHAT to think.  Do your children and grandchildren know precisely why they believe what they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  If not, then are they any better off than the children of heathens?

 

         While it's true that my religious mentors lit a fire within me, that fire was best characterized as a zeal for God—but not according to knowledge.  (See Romans 10:1,2.)  Are you still reading through those "filters" imposed by your mentors?

 

         Every church/denomination owns a "What 'We' Believe" franchise. All their seminaries teach it, their graduates preach it and those who warm their pews buy it. Let the buyer beware.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0059, 04/16/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "EASTER SUNRISE SERVICES"  (Blog 3 of 3 in the 2014 Easter Series)

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         As established in the two previous Easter 2014 Series blogs the word, "Easter," appears just once in the KJV Bible—at Acts 12:4.  There, the KJV scholars mistranslated the original Greek word, pascha: The correct English translation is "Passover."  That was the highest of the Hebrew holy days.

 

         We also established that eggs and bunnies are Pagan symbols for sexuality and reproduction...and that all the religious-sounding "Good Friday" rhetoric is a joke.  But what about those traditional Easter Sunrise Services?  What’s their origin?  Are they Christian or Pagan?  They're Pagan, too.  Here's a worthy introduction to the rest of that story:

 

         You may recall from the previous blog, [http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/BLOG/0058.pdf] that the Roman Emperor, Constantine, considered it to his strong political advantage to claim Christianity.  (Know of any politicians who've done that in recent years?)  A strong and growing contingent of Christians was gaining a political voice in Constantine's territories.  He and most of his subjects were sun worshipers, but he sought to appease the Christians...before they had gained far too much clout for his comfort.  He succeeded.  But, at no, point did he surround himself with the kinds of symbols and behaviors that might have identified him as a true Christian.  His royal jewelry, his clothing and the castle decor, etc., all bore the symbols of sun worship. 

 

         Then, through his skillful manipulation of dialog at the Roman Church's Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, Constantine succeeded in convincing the pompous church leaders that they could benefit from such political savvy, too!  "After all," he might have reasoned, "if you want to convert all those heathen sun worshippers under my rule, you'd be really smart to be a bit more flexible!"  And that's why, how and when the Roman Church set its own dangerous precedent of corrupting Christianity with Pagan symbols and practices.  Among those practices are the Easter Sunrise Services that naive Protestants and their equally naive clergy continue, today. 

 

         > "The popes filled the place of the vacant emperors at Rome, inheriting their power, their prestige, and their titles from PAGANISM." —Stanley's History, p. 40

 

         And, then, there is this: "The Jews during the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel had blended sun worship with the worship of God, as we can see in the Scriptural references in regard to the 'queen of heaven.'  Ezekiel 8:15-16 talks about men standing with their backs to the Temple of God, facing the east and worshipping the sun.  Albert Pike wrote that all pagan religions worshipped the sun...The Jewish Temple faced the east, so that when they worshipped God, they would be turned away from the rising sun in the east." —http://www.remnantofgod.org/easter.htm#God

 

         Someone asks, "But what HARM can a good old-fashioned Easter Sunrise Service do?  It's another form of worship of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!"  This is how God addressed that, in response to the Ezekiel 8:15,16 practice of sun worship, above:

         > "Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, [yet] will I not hear them."

             —Ezekiel 8:18

             Does the practice still sound pretty harmless to you?

 

         The familiar Easter Lily?  It's a Pagan phallic symbol, relative to the "fertility" focus of the Springtime celebrations of the "vernal equinox." —per Controlled by the Calendar, p. 49

 

         > "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen... For the customs of the people are vain." —Jeremiah 10:2-3

 

         Still, the naive Churchian mindset is that Satan corrupts everyone else little-by-little, but never US.  Will you continue taking your children and grandchildren to Easter Sunworship Services...and teaching them to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection with bunnies and eggs?


         Per 1 Corinthians 5:7, Jesus became our Passover.  The celebration of His Resurrection is a GOOD thing.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman


Blog #0058, 04/14/2014; Key Word/Phrase: " GOOD FRIDAY ? "  (Blog 2 of 3 in the 2014 Easter Series)

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         A group of scribes and Pharisees once asked to see a sign that Jesus was who He claimed to be.  This is what followed: 

         > "But he answered and said unto them, 'An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

             For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.'" —Jesus, at

             Matthew 12:39,40

 

         I'd be willing to bet that you've always been taught that Jesus died on Good Friday afternoon and arose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning.  Would I be right?  Then, grab a calendar and count those days and nights for yourself!  Wouldn't that be just one day and two nights?  Got it?

 

         Once Constantine and the religious compromisers at the council of Nicea in A.D. 325 had subscribed to sun and moon worship for setting the date for "Easter," it was not difficult for them to further reject the words of Jesus and create their Good Friday – Easter Sunday combination.  [Constantine established a dangerous precedent (for U.S. presidents?) by claiming Christianity...for political reasons.  His only religion was worship of the sun and the moon.  History confirms that.]

 

         Wouldn't you think some of our celebrated professional Christians would've given us the straight scoop on that by now?  Shouldn't they know that Jesus died and was buried Wednesday and arose at or just before 6:00 PM on Saturday?  He had declared that that would be the ultimate proof of His identity.  Before sunrise on Sunday morning, when those ladies got to the tomb, Jesus was long gone!  Here’s why one can understand those facts with certainty: The Hebrews of Jesus’ time measured their days differently. Their "day" had twelve hours [John 11:9].  Their "night" had twelve hours, too.  Their days were measured from sundown to sundown.  "The sixth hour" of John 19:14 was, thence, the equivalent of our midnight.  "The third hour" of Mark 15:25 was our 9:00 AM.  "The sixth hour" of Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44 was our Noon.  Our 3:00 PM was represented as “the ninth hour” at Matthew 27:45,46, Mark 15:33,34 and Luke 23:44.  Check it out for yourself: 

Click HERE to view the trial/crucifiction/resurrection CHART.

         It's true! "Easter" is a Pagan celebration of sun and moon worship!  Nothing Christian about it—by any stretch of the imagination!  You may have noticed that the date for Easter has always been hard to figure out.  You have to use a calendar to see which Sunday it falls on every year.  The simple reason for that confusion is that Pagans observed festivals at the "vernal equinox," which was and is still considered to be the real first day of Spring, when the length of the day and the length of the night are equal, as the sun climbs in the sky of the northern hemisphere.  In A.D. 325, Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire, presiding over the large church council at Nicea, set the date as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.  It can range from March 22 to April 25 on our calendar.  The date set by spiritual fornication between a Pagan king and churches tied this "Christianized" celebration of Paganism to the movements of the sun and moon, all of which is condemned in the Bible: Deuteronomy 12:29-32, 2 Kings 23:5, Jeremiah 10:2 and Revelation 17:1-6. 


         Good Friday?  No.  But, per 1 Corinthians 5:7, Jesus became our Passover.  To celebrate His Resurrection is a GOOD thing.

 

         Still, the naive Churchian mindset is that Satan corrupts everyone else little-by-little, but never US.  Will you continue taking your children and grandchildren to Easter Sunworship Services...and teaching them to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection with eggs and bunnies? http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/BLOG/0057.pdf   (The next blog topic is "Easter Sunrise Services.")

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0057, 04/11 & 24/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "EGGS and BUNNIES"  (Blog 1 of 3 in the 2014 Easter Series)

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          For followers of Christ, the upcoming holiday isn't about bunnies or the incredible notion that bunnies lay and distribute eggs, nor is "Easter" even a legitimate Christian holiday…Pagan.  [Google "Easter" and then "Ishtar" for confirmation.]  Given that, the powerful secular liberal progressive wing of the U.S. Democrat party who're enjoying apparent success in their long-planned takeover of our once Christian republic have fallen, this time, for a worthless diversion.  I say, “Let them run with it!”  Maybe it’ll steal some of their momentum and give the rest of us some time to plan a successful counter-attack regarding the really important issues.

 

         The word, "Easter," appears just one time in the KJV Bible:

         > "And when he had apprehended him, he put [him] in prison, and delivered [him] to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter[G-3927] to bring

              him forth to the people." —Acts 12:4

              Strong's G-3927, pascha: "...the paschal feast, the feast of the Passover, extending from the 14th to the 20th day of the month Nisan"

              Conclusion: The KJV scholars mistranslated^ the Greek word, pascha: The correct English translation is "Passover," the highest of the Hebrew holy days. 


         The word, "Easter," is from a hot old gal known as ISHTAR:

         > "Ishtar was the ancient Sumero-Babylonian goddess of love and fertility.  She is often described as the daughter of Anu, the god of the air.  In most of the myths

             concerning her, she is described as an evil, heartless, woman who destroyed her mates and lovers.  Her greatest lover was the farm god Tammuz, who is similar to

             the Greek Adonis.  After he died she went into the underworld to retrieve him but her efforts were vain and she returned to the living world alone.

             "Later, in the great epic of Gilgamesh, she tried to make Gilgamesh her husband, but he refused her and reminded her of her former lovers, whom she mercilessly

             killed or left injured.  She reported this to her father, Anu, and he gave her the mystical bull of heaven to avenge herself.  Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu stopped

             and killed the mighty creature and threw its headless body at her feet.  They also insulted her, and she responded by sending disease to kill Gilgamesh's best friend

             Enkidu.  She is one of Aphrodite's counterparts." — http://www.pantheon.org/articles/i/ishtar.html


        Per 1 Corinthians 5:7, Jesus became our Passover.  The celebration of His Resurrection is a GOOD thing.


        The naive Churchian mindset is that Satan corrupts everyone else little-by-little, but never US...  Still teaching your children and grandchildren to celebrate?

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

^ To learn why the KJV continues to be our best-available English translation of God's Word, find and read G. A. Riplinger's New Age Versions.  It was first published in 1993.  I have a copy of the Y2K

    eleventh printing.  The Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number is 93-92561.  ISBN0-9635845-0-2.  Publisher: A.V. Publications Corp., P.O. Box 280, Ararat, VA, USA  24053.

Blog #0056, 04/11/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "ALONE ?"

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         If you are ever alone you may already know that loneliness can destroy you...and that one can even be lonely in a crowd.  Solitude, by contrast, can build richness of character that you and others will admire—always and forever.  Same circumstance; different choice.  Meditation is defined as continued or extended thought, reflection or contemplation.  Some of the world's greatest critical thinkers are known to have gained that skill by frequently choosing solitude and meditation over loneliness.  By choosing solitude, they learned to be comfortable in their own skin.  Through meditation some of them also gained peace with God.

 

         What you choose to meditate about can be critical, too.  The term, "premeditate," is often associated with negative connotations; e.g.: premeditated murder.  But our focus, here, is on the kinds of meditation that are positive and uplifting.  In meditation you can conceive, evaluate and establish personal goals.  Your reflective contemplation of those goals can yield positive "visualizations" of their achievement.  See Proverbs 29:18 to confirm the value of visualizing the achievement of your goals.  When you choose to meditate, frequently, on what you've read in God's written word – as opposed to what you've heard about it from others – you immediately set yourself apart from the vast majority of the world's people who claim Christianity.  Most of them have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (See Romans 10:2.)  It is only through solitude and meditation that you can progress toward the solid foundation of Bible knowledge for your faith.

      > "My people are destroyed for lack of [sincerity?] [prayer?] [worship?] [regular church attendance?] [holiness?] [righteousness?] [faith?] [hyperspirituality?] [getting

             "truly 'saved'?"] [believing "what 'we' believe?"] knowledge…" —Hosea 4:6

 

         Can you gain such knowledge "in church?"  Most believers think that's possible.  Unfortunately, though, it isn't:

         > "Thus saith the LORD; 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man...'" —Jeremiah 17:5

 

         Here's some important Bible confirmation for your contemplation:

         > "And Isaac went out to MEDITATE in the field at the eventide." —Genesis 24:63

         > "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt MEDITATE therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is

             written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." —Joshua 1:8

         > "But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he MEDITATE day and night." —Psalm 1:2

         > "Let the words of my mouth, and the MEDITATION of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." —Psalm 19:4

         > "...I remember thee upon my bed, [and] MEDITATE on thee in the [night] watches." —Psalm 63:6

         > "I will MEDITATE also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings." —Psalm 77:12

         > "I will MEDITATE in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways."  —Psalm 119:15

         > "Princes also did sit [and] speak against me: [but] thy servant did MEDITATE in thy statutes." —Psalm 119:23

         > "My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will MEDITATE in thy statutes." —Psalm 119:48

         > "Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: [but] I will MEDITATE in thy precepts." —Psalm 119:78

         > "Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might MEDITATE in thy word." —Psalm 119:148

         > "I remember the days of old; I MEDITATE on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." —Psalm 119:148

         > "MEDITATE upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all." —1 Timothy 4:15

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0055, 04/06/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "HUMILITY"

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         > "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." —C. S. Lewis

         >  Humility is a prominent Christian grace:

                 —Romans. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 4:11-13

         >  Humility is a state of mind well pleasing to God:

                 —1 Peter 3:4

         >  Humility preserves the soul in tranquility:

                 —Psalms 69:32, 33

         >  Humility makes us patient under trials:

                 —Job 1:22

         >  Christ has set for us an example of humility:

                 —Philippians 2:6-8

         >  We should be led into humility by a remembrance of our sins:

                 —Lamentations 3:39

         >  We should be led into humility by the thought that it is the way to honor:

                 —Proverbs 16:18

         >  The greatest promises are made to the humble: 

                 —Psalms 147:6; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; 1 Peter 5:5

 

"HUMILITY," a poem by T. C. Newsome

 

Humility's a quality that few of us possess.

A lot like chasing butterflies—but without a net!

For once one thinks, "I've got it, now!" one has the thing much less.

Our Lord has set it up that way so we will not forget

That it's a thing not to be sought, but rather to possess.

Preserves the soul's tranquility; yields patience through hard trial.

Like dynamite with unlit fuse, one's enemies confess

Humility's an awesome power that's clothed as something mild.

Humility can hide great strength and steer the proud amiss:
When they perceive the meek as weak and leverage that for gain

Surprises are in store for them to rob them of their bliss.

(The weapons formed against the meek are always formed in vain.)

Our Lord has shown us how and why we all must find restraints,

Although we know we've gained great power once Jesus dwells within.

The Bible tells of some who failed but later were called saints

For they had learned the consequence and conquered prideful sin.

That state of mind that pleases God and benefits us all

Eludes the ones who seek the gifts that edify themselves

And rests on those who seek it not, but see themselves "on call"

To do small, selfless things that others leave on shelves.

A few of those whom I have met while following my road

Who demonstrate humility are giants in my sight.

Most of them do not perceive the value of their role

In prompting me to emulate their mindsets and their plight.

 

         Humility is the only mindset that will lead one to glory.  For Christians, humility is synonymous with holiness.  Here are some other synonyms:  acquiescence, calmness, composure, constancy, constraint, cool, decency, deference, demureness, delicacy, diligence, discreetness, endurance, forbearing, fortitude, grit, guts, heart, long-suffering, modesty, patience, poise, propriety, purity, quietness, reserve, resignation, restraint, reticence, self-control, serenity, staying power, sufferance, tolerance, unpretentiousness and virtue.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0054, 03/28/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "JESUS—COMING SOON?"

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         You've often heard it said that Jesus could come "any day, now."  Here's some critical insight that may cause you to seriously question the truth of that claim:

         >  "And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I AM [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them."

              —Jesus, at Luke 21:8

 

         You may or may not have noticed that the word "Christ," there, appears either in brackets or italics in all KJV Bibles.  That's to indicate that neither the word nor any Greek language equivalent of it appears in any of the original texts.  The literal translations (the Interlinear Bibles) reflect that.  I'll share an example, below.

 

         In New Testament times, the written Greek language had no punctuation marks.  The KJV translators tried to make the scriptures more reader-friendly for us by adding punctuation.  They added words and phrases, too, where they thought it might be helpful.  It behooves us to know that they were human beings and prone to mistakes, just like the rest of us.  Do this: Take away the punctuation and the bracketed or italicized word, "Christ," from the text at Luke 21:8b and then read it.  If Jesus had spoken the same thing in today's English language He might've said, "Many will come in my name saying, 'Jesus is Lord!'" or perhaps, "Many will come in my name saying that I AM." 

 

         That proclamation, "I AM," may sound familiar:  At Exodus 3:14 God said, “I AM THAT I AM…”  He told Moses to tell the Hebrews, "I AM hath sent me unto you."  In the New Testament there's this:

         >  "...verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." —Jesus, at John 8:58 

 

         Those deceivers (who, like true disciples, carry the "Jesus is Lord!" banner) that Jesus spoke of at Luke 21:8 are the same people He warned us about at Matthew 7:15.  There, he called them "Wolves in SHEEP's Clothing."  There's a really BIG difference between those who're with us today and the Wolves in SHEPHERD’s Clothing who're to appear later.  Jesus identified that second group at Matthew 24:23 and Mark 13:21,22.   Each of those guys will claim that he, himself, is Christ.  If they were to appear today, though, they couldn't do much deceiving.  The timing's not right.  Very few people would follow them.  Do you know anyone who might even think about following somebody who claims to be Jesus?  But today's wolves in sheep's clothing have already deceived millions—especially concerning the sequence of end-time events.  Their deception is enabled because they proclaim "Jesus is Lord!"^  Their primary message, like at least three other weapons of mass deception, is easily traced back in the historical record to the mid-19th Century.  1830 was a year of uncommon magic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

^ Lest someone misunderstand, there are preachers, teachers and theologians out there who're dispensing the original truth about all this.  God will always have a remnant He can count on.  To my 

   knowledge, though, none of those trustworthy servants have attained "superstar" status...

   In the interest of fairness—Most of today's deceivers are, themselves, deceived.  They have typically trusted denominational "experts," for their info.  Some of those "experts" are malicious.  Those you

   trust, who do they trust?  "Thus saith the LORD; 'Cursed be the man that trusteth in man...'" —Jeremiah 17:5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

         The sequencing of words and phrases in New Testament Greek is quite different from the sequencing of words and phrases in English.  That's why the literal translation that follows was awkward for me, at first.  I was able to remedy that by focusing on the key words and phrases (i.e.: those I've emphasized, below) and then researching each of them in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.  You should be able to comprehend what Jesus really said, too.  I think you'll conclude that what He said is strikingly different from what we keep hearing from most of today's pulpits:

         >  "Watch lest you be led lead astray Many for will come on the name of Me saying I AM and the time has come not Therefore go after them" —Jesus, at Luke 21:8

              [The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Volume IV of The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible, 2nd Edition, © 1985 by Jay Green, Sr.]

 

         The word, "I," there, is Strong's G-1473.  It is correctly translated in the KJV.  Strong's makes a special point of noting that this particular Greek word for “I” was used only when the speaker was being emphatic.  From that, one might logically surmise that Jesus may have pointed to his own chest when he uttered this word, "I."  If he had intended to say that each deceiver would proclaim himself to be Christ, the Greek scribes would more likely have chosen quite another word, here, perhaps Strong's G-846, G-848, G-1438 or G-1992.  (I suggest that you verify all that for yourself.)

 

         The word, "AM," is Strong's G-1510—the conjugated first person singular verb "to be," in the present progressive (or, possibly, the present perfect) tense.  It is correctly translated, "am," in the KJV.  Strong's again makes a special point of noting that this particular Greek word for “AM” was used only when the speaker was being emphatic.  From that, one might justly assume that Jesus may have continued pointing to his own chest when he uttered this critical word, "AM."  Otherwise, the writers would likely have chosen the much softer New Testament Greek word that is Strong's G-1511.  That word is translated "am," too, at Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27, Luke 9:18 and Acts 13:25.

 

         The phrase, "has come," is Strong's G-1448.  It means to approach; be at hand; come (draw) near; be (come/draw) nigh.  Given Strong's entry, the logical conclusion is that the KJV translation of this Luke 21:8b phrase, "and the time draweth near," is more accurate; i.e.: "any day, now."

 

         Paul was also quite concerned about the inevitable deception and confusion concerning the end-time sequence:

         >  "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  Let no man deceive

             you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition*...so that he as God

             sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." —2 Thessalonians 2:2-4   (Can unbelievers "fall away?")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

* "Who's the son of perdition?" Follow this link to learn the answer to that burning question: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/Appendices/Appendix%204.pdf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

         Paul's message, here, is simple and straightforward: "The day of Christ is not 'at hand'."  Many Bible scholars think someone had convinced the Thessalonian church people that the day of Christ had already come and that they had missed it.  My research hasn't fully confirmed that, but I concede that it is certainly a possibility.   In either case, both Jesus and Paul described some significant events that must occur before Christ's return to gather the saints unto himself.  NONE of those events have happened yet.  Could they all happen, rapid-fire, tomorrow?  No. (Keep reading...)  Many will be surprised to learn that the "final countdown" events do NOT include blood moons, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and rumors of wars or even the apparent rise of Gog (Putin?) and Magog (Russia)—although those things must happen, too, before Jesus returns.

 

         Satan will SUCCESSFULLY masquerade as Jesus Christ: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is AFTER the working of Satan…" —2 Thessalonians 2:8,9 

 

         That word, "after," will become extremely important to you as you continue your study to gain original truth about the relative timing (not to include the day or hour) of Christ's return to gather the saints.  Superstar prophecy SPINmasters seduce the uninformed: "Trust me: What's written, there, is not really what Paul intended for us to understand…"  Even the preachers who follow them fall for it.

 

         Please keep in mind that Jesus told us, at Luke 21;8, that we must not follow those people who claim "Jesus could split the eastern skies any day now," no matter how "spiritual" or spine tingling the message.  Jesus will NOT come "any day now."  How can we know that, definitively?  Read Revelation 11:3-15 for full comprehension.  Questions?  Just ask.

 

         I think you'll also want to read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.  Here are the last two verses of that critical passage:

         >  "…because they received not the love of truth [about when Christ will come back to gather us], that they might be saved…God shall send them strong delusion, that

              they should believe a lie [about when Christ will come back to gather us].  That they might all be damned who believed not the truth [about when Christ will come

              back to gather us]… —2 Thessalonians 2:10-12    (The italicized and bracketed text, here, is mine.  My intent is to leave no doubt about the context of what Paul

              wrote.)

 

         Many wolves in sheep's clothing honestly don't know they're Satan's misinformation agents.  But should they not, as professional Christians, know there is not even one credible scripture to support their message?  Their faithful followers who fail to figure that out for themselves will worship the wrong "christ."  When they finally discover that, they'll be on a fateful flight into outer darkness (deep space?).  Their weeping and gnashing of teeth won't be from flames licking at their bottoms and toes, though.  It will be from their anguish of knowing they had fallen for the great con.  These are the tell-tale talking points:

         "Get ready! Jesus is coming!"

         "Christ's return for his Bride is imminent."

         "The time for our Lord's coming draws near!"

         "Jesus could split the eastern skies any day, now!" 

         "There is no prophecy that must be fulfilled before our precious Lord and Savior comes to Rapture his Bride."

 

         That's a really attractive and comforting message, to be sure.  It's the one I grew up believing.  The "christ" who will come for them soon is Satan, himself.  Like the real Christ, Satan will also ride in on a figurative white horse [Revelation 6:2], but at the 6th Vial, the 6th Seal and the 6th Trump.

         >  "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." —Paul, at 1 Thessalonians 5:4

 

         My teachers did the same thing your teachers have done: They taught me what their teachers had taught them.  Where did their teachers get it?  From their teachers.  That's reminiscent of the children's party game called "Gossip;" isn't it?  The religious-sounding fables grow more and more absurd with their year-in-year-out repeating.  Might it be worth your while to invest some personal time in prayerful meditation on that...?

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0053, 03/20/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "ALL THINGS NEW"

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         Many of us get really excited when we start observing the signs of Springtime.  I am personally prompted to reflect on those wonderful times when, as a child and then as an adult, I fully yielded to the Holy Spirit's drawing to repentance.  There was pure exhilaration.  The emotions were remarkably similar to those I associate with the arrival of Spring to replace the discomforts of Winter.  Perhaps that's familiar in your experience, too.

 

         My preachers told me those feelings are common when a person gets "saved."  They even pointed me to some of the scriptures that confirm it:

         > "THEREFORE IF ANY MAN [be] IN CHRIST [he is] A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.  And

             all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ,

             reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors

             for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew

             no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." —2 Corinthians 5:17-21

 

         For me, "accepting Christ" as an adult was quite different from "inviting Jesus into my heart" as a child.  Maybe that's because I soon read these wise passages for full comprehension:

         > "My people are destroyed for lack of [sincerity?] [prayer?] [worship?] [regular church attendance?] [holiness?] [righteousness?] [faith?] [hyperspirituality?] [getting

             "truly 'saved'?"] [believing "what 'we' believe?"] knowledge…" —Hosea 4:6

         > "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things] and desperately wicked: who can know it?" —Jeremiah 17:9

         > "These [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of MIND, and searched the scriptures daily,

              whether those things were so." —Acts 17:11

         > "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND…" —Romans 12:2  

         > "Brothers, STOP THINKING LIKE CHILDREN.  In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults." —1 Corinthians 14:20 [NIV]

         > "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." —Philippians2:5

         > "...not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound MIND..." —2 Timothy 1:7

         > "...Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same MIND…" —1 Peter 4:1

         > "God's gift of a sound MIND is a terrible thing to waste." —T. C. Newsome

         > "In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination." —Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark

            Twain

 

         It didn't take long before I started learning that, although it had all sounded and felt really religious, much of what I had learned "in church" is simply NOT supported by sensibly interpreted scripture.  Among the really important things I have discovered are these:

 

         That critical "IF" in "...if any man [be] in Christ [he is] a new creature" at 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, above, indicates that a person must be "in Christ" and "reconciled to God" to be a new creature.  The state of being "IN Christ" is substantially different from believing Christ is who He said He was, enjoying a "getting 'saved'" event and publicly acknowledging Him.  Those two operative phrases "in Christ" and "reconciled to God" are both in the PRESENT PROGRESSIVE TENSE; not in any variation of the Past Tense.  And Paul addressed that message to church people; not unbelievers!  Many will be surprised to learn that the verb "believeth" at John 3:16 is also in the Present Progressive Tense... 

         > "...for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed." —Paul, at Romans 13:11

 

         The scriptures – individually and collectively – confirm that "saved" is a FUTURE state.  If you want solid scriptural confirmation to eliminate all doubt about any of this, get a copy of our Link1(TM) Bible Research Team's extensive scholarly research and analysis paper, "Salvation Scriptures Objectively Analyzed:"

 

         > "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new

            Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the

            tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe

            away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed

            away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he

            said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  HE THAT

            OVERCOMETH SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  BUT THE FEARFUL, AND UNBELIEVING, AND THE

            ABOMINABLE, AND MURDERERS, AND WHOREMONGERS, AND SORCERERS, AND IDOLATERS, AND ALL LIARS, SHALL HAVE THEIR PART IN THE

            LAKE WHICH BURNETH WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE: which is the second death." —Revelation 21:1-8

 

         Sorry: No scripture offers an exception for a person who has ever gotten "truly 'saved'."

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

                                                                                                                 

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Blog #0052, 03/15/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "CHILDREN'S PARTY GAME"

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         Why do Atheists believe what they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  Why do Muslims believe what they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  Why do Buddhists and Hindus and Jews believe what they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons—Why do they believe what they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  Why do Pentecostals and Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Episcopalians believe what they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  Why do you believe what you believe about the Bible and Christianity?  Do you teach others?

 

         Quick!  How many different children's party games can you recall?  Ever play the one called "Gossip?"  If so, the following description of it will amuse you all over again.  If you are not yet familiar with it you may catch up on loads of fun and gain some valuable human nature insight, to boot.  Read on for a brief description of the fascinating children's party game called "Gossip."

 

         With the children lined up single-file, an adult leader explains the game's simple rules and its two objectives.  She might say, "The important thing is (A) to listen very carefully, so that you'll be able (B) to whisper the message, accurately, to the next person in line.  Then, from the last player in line, we'll learn how well you've all listened and how accurately you've delivered the original message, as a team."  After reading a short written message, the first player gives it back to the game leader and the game begins.

 

         More players mean longer games.  Longer games always yield hilarious distortions of the original messages.  Remember that, please—and this, too:  Throughout most of the 2,000 years since Jesus walked here, literacy was the exception.  Today, literacy is the norm.  Still, though, the uninformed trust their preachers for interpretation of scripture, as if they can't read with understanding.  The people they trust with all their hearts, their preachers, trust denominational theologians, "experts."  The theologians of each denomination hold one another accountable to their respectively franchised "what 'we' believe" platforms.  What could have possibly gone wrong with that scenario over a period of 2,000 years?  Suffice it to say that Lucifer is ecstatic.  The gates of Hell have observably prevailed against the visible church.

 

         You may know that there are shocking contrasts in the interpretation of critical scriptures among Christian denominations.  Seems our professionals, the religious elite, have been playing multiple separate games of "Gossip" for 2,000 years.  Those long games have predictably distorted God's original message, even in our mainstream denominations.  That's no surprise, of course, but there's great news: We still have God's original message—in writing!  Shouldn't we throw out all the new stuff?  Some of it is hilarious.

         > "Today's new time religions masquerade, successfully, as old time religion." —T. C. Newsome

 

         Our religious teachers often seek to bedazzle us.  Assertively, they utter things like, "What this scripture means is…"  And when they wish to project exceptional spiritual credibility they say things like, "God showed me that this scripture means…"  Uninformed believers nod faithfully in blind agreement.

 

         Often, when a discerning parishioner questions an interpretation of Scripture, a self-serving teacher will respond cleverly (like a politician) with something like, "In matters like this, dear sister, you just have to have faith."

 

         That's an awful lot of faith to invest in other human beings; don't you think?  To invest that much Faith Equity(SM) in God and his sensibly interpreted written word would be the smart thing to do.  But these are those last days, when people will not endure sound doctrine.  Popular doctrines somehow feel more spiritual...and they're more comfortable and convenient, too, you know.  It's just that human nature (i.e.: the Sin nature) is like water; consistently and predictably it follows the course of least resistance.  That profound insight prompted the apostle, Paul, to write his bombshell messages about using our minds – instead of our hearts – when it comes to rightly dividing of the word of truth:

         > "Change the way you think!" —Paul, at Romans 12:2, sensibly paraphrased

         > "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." —Paul, at Philippians 2:5

         > "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." —Paul, at 1 Thessalonians 5:21

         > "God has given us the spirit of a sound mind." —Paul, at 2 Timothy 1:7, sensibly paraphrased

The prophet, Jeremiah, was even acquainted with the folly of thinking with one's feelings:

         > "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?" —Jeremiah 17:9

 

         You can do this!  Your own literacy and intellect can get you the original truth.  The written message of truth is actually rather simple and easy to understand—for those who will learn to study God's written word as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.  Those who would have you believe it is too complex and difficult to understand seek to preserve their own employment / income security.  For multiple centuries, members of the clergy were delighted that parishioners couldn't read.

 

         The lofty, intellectual, Pharisee-like theology and all that "deeper meaning" stuff can surely wait long enough for us to put an end to the 2,000-year games of Bible "Gossip."    We can do that by getting the very basic critical stuff straight, first.  (One of my favorite quotes is from Vince Lombardi: "Gentlemen, this is a football.")

 

         There are critical differences between sincere Believers and fruitful Disciples.  The visible church has done a respectable job of making Believers…

 

         Many, including clergy, may not consciously know why they believe whatever they believe about the Bible and Christianity.  It is likely that most have passively subordinated their personal understanding to one of the theologically elite societies, each of whom claims a divine monopoly on scriptural interpretation.  Observably, many of the uninformed have simply defaulted to the doctrine to which they were respectively first introduced; e.g.: "Momma was a saint!  Her religion's gotta be the right religion!"  Sad.

 

         In 2006, I organized a group of multi-denominational friends for some serious Bible study.  Jointly and severally, we have been prompted to reexamine our own respective beliefs on several important Bible topics.  In the process of following through on that objective, we have gained compassion for others who will feel compelled to embark on their own active (as opposed to passive) searches for original truth.  Might that include you?

 

         Each must acquire truth, for himself.  Active searching for truth is effective.  Passive searching is more comfortable, but it can only yield confirmation of denominational dogma.  While denominational theologies may feature elements of Bible truth, their foundations are typically constructed of collections of derivative works.   This series can help you learn WHY and HOW to search effectively and efficiently for God's original truth.

 

         You are literate.  You are intelligent.  You have no rational reason to think the religious elite have a greater ability to interpret the really important parts of God's word for you.  Yes, many of them have studied for "deeper meaning" and we should honor and respect them for that.  But, if they are fellow servants of God they will be delighted to learn that you have decided to begin a new study of critical scripture, this time as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.

 

         My Bible study colleagues and I have discovered that much of what we had respectively been taught in our various church experiences is simply not true.  Some of it is dangerous.  Our teachers were educated and sincere, just like yours.  So were their teachers…and their teachers …and their teachers!  We were disappointed to learn that they all gained most of their understanding from others.  Those you trust, who do they trust?

 

         "Gossip."  Gotta stop that game.  But don't make up your mind about any of this until you've done what those more-noble Bereans did, at Acts 17:11.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0051, 03/10/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "TREES of EDEN"

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         On Friday evening, March 7th, my wife convinced me to watch "Family Feud" with her.  I have to admit that Steve Harvey is much more entertaining than the previous host had been.  There were two shows, back-to-back.  One of the questions during the second show got my attention: "What from the Garden of Eden might Eve have held in her hand?"  The winning answer was "an apple or another piece of fruit."  Most people throughout the world would give that same answer, I think; but is it the Bible answer?

 

         That tree from which the presumed apple or other piece of fruit came was...well, quite unusual.  Most will be surprised to learn that it wasn't a "tree" tree, at all.  Because this may come as quite a shock to you, perhaps I'd be wise NOT to tell you what it was, but to let God's written word speak for itself:

         > "And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and 

         the tree of knowledge of good and evil." —Genesis 2:9

 

OBSERVATIONS:

         1.            So, there were actually two "special" trees.

         2.           God uses things with which we're familiar in the natural world to help us understand concepts that would be hard for us to comprehend, otherwise.  Here, he

                        made a clear distinction between the trees that grow out of the ground and those two "special" trees.

 

         If NOT an actual tree, then what exactly was that tree of knowledge of good an evil?  This is what Ezekiel wrote about that:

         > "The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the

            garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.  I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that [were] in the garden of God,

            envied him...To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden?  Yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether

            parts of the earth..." —Ezekiel 31:8,9,18 

            You'll want to read the full context of these excerpted verses to gain critical insight—Ezekiel 31:1-18.  For a long list of other characterizations of Satan throughout the

            scriptures see the footnote at the end of this article.

 

         For those who'll remain objective as they continue to study, it will become more and more apparent that the tree of life is Jesus, a.k.a. Yaweh in the Interlinear texts and YHVH in the Old Testament Hebrew texts, and that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is Satan.

 

         Subsequent scriptures often symbolically characterize men as "trees."  Here are a few examples:

         > "...neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I [am] a dry tree." —Isaiah 56:3

         > "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion... that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." —Isaiah 61:3

         > "The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, [and] of goodly fruit..." —Jeremiah 11:16

         > "I knew not that they had devised devices against me, [saying], Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his

             name may be no more remembered." —Jeremiah 11:19

         > "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river..." —Jeremiah 17:8

         > "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive

             tree" —Romans 11:17  (See, also, Romans 11:24.)

 

         Here's some critical additional insight from God's written word:


         > "And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled[H-5377] me, and I did eat." —Genesis 

             3:13

             [H-5377]   "beguile(d)" —nâsha', at Genesis 3:13: "to lead astray: i.e.: (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce:—beguile, deceive, X greatly, X utterly." < to

                              totally/greatly/utterly/morally seduce


         In precisely the same context that word, "beguiled," appears just one time in the New Testament:

         > "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by

            any means, as the serpent beguiled[G-1818] Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." —2 Corinthians

            11:2,3

            [G-1818]   "beguile(d)" —ěxapataō, at 2 Corinthians 11:3: "to seduce wholly: —beguile, deceive." < "to wholly seduce"

 

         Ever wonder why Adam and Eve felt the need to "cover themselves" with fig leaves after they had eaten the fruit of that "tree" of the knowledge of good and evil?  Would an apple have caused that?  Carnal knowledge would have.  Adam and Eve raised Cain, but Cain is NOT listed among Adam's descendents.   Read Genesis 5 to confirm that.  What motivated Satan's evil in the Garden?  Was it the same objective that motivated some of his angelic followers at Genesis 6:1-4?

 

         You may have wondered why so much of God's written word is hard to understand.  That's largely due to the fact that without this knowledge (and so much else in Genesis, chapters 1–9) the scriptural "dots" just don't "connect!"  Perhaps it's understandable that neither Steve Harvey nor the producers of "Family Feud" are aware of all this, but shouldn't every Christian preacher know it?  If they do, then why do you suppose YOU are just now learning about it...? 

         > "My people are destroyed for lack of [sincerity?] [prayer?] [worship?] [regular church attendance?] [holiness?] [righteousness?] [faith?] [hyper-

             spirituality?] [getting "truly 'saved'?"] [believing "what ‘we’ believe?"] knowledge… —Hosea 4:6

 

         Soon, we'll publish an extensive research document: "Genesis, Chapters 1–9, Scholarly Research & Analysis."  Follow this link to learn more about that: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/apps/webstore/products/show/4263370.

 

NOTE:    Because of the unusual nature of this article you may have some burning questions.  Some readers may even feel the need to offer scriptural rebuttals.  We're

                           receptive to both: "From those who're inclined to always agree with me, I learn not much. From those who rationally explain why they disagree, I learn

                           volumes." —T. C. Newsome    http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/contact

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

>  Abaddon / Appolyon —Rev. 9:11  >Accuser of the Brethren —Rev. 12:10  >Adversary —1 Pet. 5:8  >Angel of Light (impersonator, actor, stage performer; masquerader) —2 Cor. 11:14  >Angel of the

    Bottomless Pit (ruler of darkness) —Rev. 9:11  >Anointed Cherub That Coverth (winged angelic defender) —Eze. 28:14  >Antichrist (opponent of the Messiah) —1 Jn. 4:3  >Beelzebub (Lord of the

    Flies; a god of Babylon) —Mat. 12:24, 27; Mk. 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18-19  >Belial(worthless one) —2 Cor. 6:15  >Devil; False Accuser; Slanderer —Mat. 4:1-11, 9:33, 11:18, 12:22, 13:29, 15:22, 17:18,

    25:41; Mk. 5:15-18, 7:26-30; Luke 4:2-13, 4:33-35, 7:33, 8:12, 8:29, 9:42, 11:14; Jn. 6:70, 7:20, 8:44-52, 10:20-21, 13:2; Acts 10:38 13:10; Eph. 4:27, 6:11; 1 Ti. 3:6-7; 2 Ti. 2:26; Heb. 2:14; James

    4:7; 1Pet. 5:8; 1 Jn. 3:8-10; Jud. 1:9; Rev. 2:10, 12:9, 12:12, 20:2, 20:10  >Dragon (fabulous serpent) —Rev. 12:7  >Dragon, Great (fabulous serpent) —Rev. 12:9  >Enemy (adversary) —Mat. 13:39 

    >Evil One (malicious wicked one) —Jn. 17:15  >False Light (the opposite of the true light, Jesus) —1 Jn. 2:8  >Father (i.e.: male parent) —John 8:44; Acts 13:10  >Father of Lies (fabricator of truth)

    —Jn. 8:44  >Fiery Flying Serpent —Isa. 14:20, 30:6  >Fiery Serpent —Num. 21:8; Deu. 8:15  >Frog (unclean spirit) —Rev. 16:13  >Fox (cunning spirit) —Luke 13:32  >Goat, He (Hebrew word for

    he-goat) —Lev. 17:7; 2 Chron. 11:15  >God of this World (ruler of the night) —2 Cor. 4:4  >Great Red Dragon (serpent of increased power) —Rev. 12:3  >King of the Bottomless Pit (ruler of the

    darkness) —Rev 9:11  >King of Tyrus (ruler of the rock) —Eze. 28:12  >Leviathan (serpent monster of Babylon) —Isaiah 27:1  >Liar (falsifier; deceiver) —John 8:44  >Lucifer / Bright and Morning Star

    —Isa. 14:12-14  >Man of Sin (man-faced trespasser) —2 Thes. 2:3-4  >Moon Ruler of the Night —Ps. 136:9; Rev. 12:1  >Oppressor (he who makes sick) —Acts 10:38  >Perdition (the destroyer) —2

    Thes. 2:3  >Power of Darkness (superhuman ruler of the night) —Col. 1:13-14  >Prince of the Devils (ruler of evil spirits) —Mat. 9:34, 12:24; Mk. 3:22  >Prince of the Power of the Air (ruler of the

    authority of spoken words) —Eph. 2:1-2  >Prince of this World (ruler of the evil darkness) —Jn. 12:31-32; 14:30; 16:11; 1 Cor 2:6-8  >Roaring Lion (powerful-sounding king of the beasts) —1 Pet. 5:8 

    >Ruler of the Darkness (moon who rules the night)—Eph. 6:12  >Satan: the Accuser; the Opponent; the Adversary—1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Ps. 109:6; Zec. 1:3:1-2; Mat. 4:10, 12:26, 

    16:23; Mk. 1:13, 3:23-26, 4:15, 8:33; Luke 4:8, 10:18, 11:18, 13:16, 22:3, 22:31; Jn. 13:27; Acts 5:3, 26:18; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor. 5:5, 7:5; 2 Cor. 2:11, 11:14; 1 Thes. 2:18; 2 Thes. 2:9; 1 Tim. 1:20,

    5:15; Rev. 2:9,  2:13, 2:24, 3:9; 12:9, 20:2, 20:7  >Seducing Spirit (imposter; deceiver) —1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Jn.4:1  >Seraphim (fiery serpent) —Isa. 6:2  >Serpent (symbolic name for Satan) —Gen. 3:1;

    Rev. 12:15  >Serpent, Old (symbolic name for Satan; first ruler of the earth) —Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:2  >Son of Perdition (destruction’s child) —2 Thes. 2:3  >Son of the Morning (Satan a son of God’s

    first or early light) —Isa. 14:12-14  >Spirit, Foul (perverted spiritual being) —Rev. 18:2  >Spirit, the (Satan, a spiritual being) —Eph. 2:2  >Spirit, Unclean Leprous Spiritual Being —Luke 9:42; Rev.

    16:13  >Star (angel cast down to Earth) —Rev. 8:11; 9:1  >Star, Great (angel cast down to Earth) —Rev. 8:10  >Star, Wandering (he who departs the path) —Jude 1:13  >Tempter (he who proves and

    tests) —Mat. 4:3  >Thief Robber; Burglar —Mat. 24:43; Luke 12:39; Jn. 10:10  >TREE (All the other trees envied him, because he was the most beautiful tree in the Garden of Eden.) —Ez. 31:8,9,18 

    >Viper (the serpent, Satan) —Isa. 59:5  >Waster, the (he who destroys) —Isa. 54:16  >Wicked (law-breaker; evil degenerate) —2 Thes. 2:8; Eph. 6:16  >Wormwood (a type of bitterness) —Rev. 8:11


Posted February 25, 2014, in lieu of Blog #0050
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Blog #0049, 02/22/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "EQUALITY"

 

         "The good people of the Ukraine voted for government-prescribed equality.  Today, they don't like it.  They're rioting.  Why?

         "The fine folk of Venezuela voted for government-prescribed equality.  Didn't work.  There's blood in their streets, too.  Why? 

         "Half the voters in the U.S.A. are grasping for government-prescribed equality.  Will they drag the other half down with them?  Why?

         "Was Abraham Lincoln right about all men being created equal

         "Has there ever been, is there now and will there ever be equality in the human condition? 

         "Did Jesus favor equality of wages for workers?  Read what He said about that at Matthew 20:1-16."

 

—T. C. Newsome

Blog #0048, 02/21/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "PRAISE GOD!"

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         When one praises another person one proclaims or describes the admirable qualities of that person.  So what does the oft-heard evangelical expression, "Praise God!" mean?  Well, actually, it's a command...one of several worn-out Christianese expressions that users have likely never examined.  But many of the non-Christians who hear it have examined it.  That's one of the reasons why they've determined that we Christians are ignoramuses.  And it is our objective to win them over to Christianity?  Holding your breath?

 

         To praise a student, one might tell others about that student's good grades.  To praise a husband, a wife might tell her friends about how he always takes out the garbage, fixes things that get broken and helps her cook and do the dishes.  (Hope my wife doesn't read this...)  To praise an employee, an employer might tell other business people about how that employee comes to work early and does whatever needs to be done when it needs to be done without being told.  The ultimate praise of an employee by an employer to his peers might be telling them things like, "I'm certain he could run the entire business with no problem at all if something were to happen to me."

 

         So, then, how might one praise God?  Same way!  Well, two ways:

         (1)  Tell others about God's wonderful works; e.g.: "...we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God."—Acts 2:11

         (2)  Recite God's admirable attributes...to God; e.g.: "Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done, and thy thoughts [which are] to

                us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: [if] I would declare and speak of [them], they are more than can be numbered." —Psalm 40:5

 

         Per Psalm 22:3, God actually inhabits the praises of his people.  To understand that, recall that He created us in His image.  It appears that one of the important characteristics we have in common with Him is the desire to be respected and admired by others.  Imagine this hypothetical scenario:

 

         You're walking toward a small group of people who're engaged in lively conversation.  As you get closer, you detect that they're talking about YOU.  Now consider two alternate possibilities:

         (a)  They're saying things about you that are not nice.

         (b)  They're saying lots of really great things about you.

Which group would YOU feel drawn to and want to "inhabit?"  Want to have God draw closer to you?  Say lots of really praiseworthy things about Him.  That's how.

 

         > "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." —Jesus, at Matthew 18:20

 

         Many evangelicals, today, get caught up in the excitement of "praise and worship services."  Search the scriptures all you will and you'll never find a credible First-Century precedent for that.  In the Old Testament, there were times of celebration that included songs of praise to God, but there is no evidence of those people ever lapsing into trance-like states.  Only the heathens did that:

 

         "...the path of glossolalia led from the [Golden Age Greek] festivals of Eleusis to Delphi where the oracle sat in the sulphurous mist, her throne the tripod of Apollo, whose messenger she was...Here she prophesied and often when the ecstasy came upon her, her voice was taken over by Apollo [See Revelation 9:11, re: that name, Apollo.] and her words would be unknown even to herself.  Men said she was intoxicated with the presence of the god, but a city grew up around Delphi because of her.  Delphi—where men drank of the sacred stream and stood at the water's edge and spoke in tongues." —The Inner Ecstasy, p.75, by Dr. Marcus Bach

(You can download Dr. Bach's book: http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/Bach2/id/8112.)

 

         So?  So if you're going to praise God, then PRAISE him.  The motions of mindless mysticism don't qualify.  (See 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1 for confirmation.)

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0047, 02/13/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "EVOLUTION v. CREATION"

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         Many who viewed the 2014 debate between Bill Nye, "the science guy," and Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum, will agree that Ham is the more skillful debater.  Still, though, some are asking whether the observable facts were/are always in agreement with Ham's claims.  If you're among those people, here are just a few facts to help you begin to sort it all out:

 

         1.            If "evolution" were science, then there should be thousands of "transitional fossils" in museums and scientific laboratories throughout the world.  Oops!  Not                                  even one "transitional fossil" has ever been found.  Evolutionists keep hoping one will be discovered, for then they'd claim scientific "proof" that all living

                        species "evolved" from a long, long series of primitive ancestors.  (With just one tiny fragment of evidence they'd claim that...)

         2.          The carbon dating of rocks and bones and such is consistently unreliable, at best.  False readings are the rule, not the exception.  Even when the formation                                         dates of those things are KNOWN, the carbon dating of them is all over the charts, as evidenced below. —Prentice Hall 2000, p. 264.

         3.          Rocks from the 1801 lava flows in Hualalai, Hawaii were carbon dated twelve times.  The dates ranged from 325 million years ago to 3 billion years ago.                                                   —Science, 10/11/68 and Journal of Geophysical Research, 7/15/68

         4.           Rocks from the 1949-1975 lava flows from Mount Ngauruhoe in New Zealand were carbon dated at 270,000 to 3.5 million years ago. —Geochron Labs

         5.           Rocks from Mount St. Helens that formed between 1980-1986 were carbon dated at 500,000 to 2.000.000 years ago. —Cen Tech Journal, 10/2001

         6.           "To suppose that the eye came about through natural selection seems I must freely confess to be absurd, to the highest degree." —Charles Darwin

         7.            "Legitimate scientists acknowledge an especially important and repeatedly observable fact: Order cannot and has never been scientifically observed to emerge                            from chaos.  Order always deteriorates into chaos.  Hence, the aging process, etc." —T. C. Newsome

         8.            Ham's argument that Earth is just 6,000 years old is naive.  There is way too much Bible evidence to the contrary.  Follow this link for info about that:                                                       http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/apps/webstore/products/show/4263370

         9.            "The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments." —Friedrich Nietzsche

 

         "Science" says God doesn't exist—no observable evidence, only faith.  "Science" acknowledges heat and cold and light and darkness, because there is observable sensory evidence of each.  The glaring flaw with that logic is that cold and darkness do not and cannot exist as entities unto themselves.  Cold can only be sensed and measured as the relative absence of heat.  Darkness can only be sensed and measured as the relative absence of light. 

 

         The theoretical process of the "evolution" of the multitude of species from a common ancestor has not and cannot be observed.  Per the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, credible scientists acknowledge that "evolution" is not science—no observable evidence, only faith.  Those who teach the theory of evolution, then, are preachers.

 

         Evil is the absence of God's love in men's hearts.  It's like the cold we perceive when there is little or no heat, the darkness that falls when there is little or no light and the death that engulfs a man when his life escapes.  It's tantamount to the nothingness that would exist without God.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0046, 02/07/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "OTHER CHRISTIANS"

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         Other Christians and their preachers:  Much of what they believe has become a part of the fabric of their very being.  It is their "old time religion."  They trust completely in it.  How do you think they would react to a long list of pertinent scriptures, none of which could be shown to support what they have come to believe so strongly?  How do you think they would react if every pertinent scripture in God's written word were to contradict what they believe with all their hearts?

 

         Those were the only questions I needed on a warm Saturday morning in 2009, to fuel an exceptionally lively Bible Discovery ExperienceSM that was characterized by fully interactive, multi-denominational Christian learning.  I think you would’ve enjoyed being a fly on the wall, that morning.

 

         What we all concluded from the subsequent interaction was that most, if not all other Christians would effectively block out any challenge to their "old time religion," including the clearly and plainly written words of God, himself.  Why?  Sweet nostalgia and their feelings are knitted together tightly and seamlessly around their church's "what 'we' believe" franchise.

 

         Why would those feelings become even more important to them than God's written word?  Because they associate their feelings with things spiritual.  And those feelings are from God's precious Holy Spirit…well, aren't they?

 

         While it can be argued that human emotions and the human spirit are one and the same, it cannot be intelligently argued that the human spirit and The Holy Spirit are one and the same.  Do those feelings resemble one another?  Surprisingly for most in that Saturday morning group, they do. 

 

         Those human-emotions-driven feelings are far from an exact duplicate of the Holy-Spirit-driven feelings all those other Christians experienced when they were first drawn to repentance, mind you.  But they do mimic those feelings, especially with the passage of time.  Have you ever been brought to tears by a poignant story?  In a book?  On television?  At the movies?  Felt almost spiritual, didn’t it?  But, as you will soon understand, those resemblances are only the tip of an incredible iceberg.

         >  "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" —1 Timothy 4:1

         >  "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." —1 John 4:1

 

         When it comes to the year-in-year-out practice of a religion that does not enjoy the full and clear support of the written words of God, those feelings and experiences are substantially and progressively reinforced and intensified.  They gradually take on a whole new character.  Why?  That would be because "spirits of private interpretation" empower them.

         >  "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." —1 John 4:1

 

         If you've ever driven a car without power steering and/or power brakes, then you can understand the significance of added power.  Is that to suggest that those "other spirits" also have power?  Well, yes.  Paul said they do, at Ephesians 6:12.  Although the power of those other spirits cannot approach the power of The Holy Spirit, they regularly mimic the feelings that, arguably, almost all Christian Believers associate with The Holy Spirit.  That may have been one of the problems Paul had in mind when he wrote his landmark "Change the way you think!" message at Romans 12:2.   

 

         A rational thinker, Paul knew that "the heart" is more susceptible to malicious manipulation by those "other spirits" than is the mind. To confirm that, read Matthew 4:1-11 and/or Luke 4:1-13.  Those are about Jesus' post-wilderness-experience temptation:  Lucifer enticed Jesus to rationalize but Jesus chose to be rational.  Lucifer enticed Jesus to be subjective.  Jesus chose to be objective:  His every response was prefaced by the proclamation, "It is written."  Lucifer enticed Jesus to consider his feelings (a.k.a.: his broken spirit).  Jesus chose to use his intellect—to reason logically and to be pragmatic rather than "spiritual" – or hyperspiritual – in responding. 

 

         Why did he do that?  He had but one purpose:  That was to establish an important precedent for you and me. 

         >  "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things] and desperately wicked: who can know it?" —Jeremiah 17:9

 

         What group(s) of sincere Christian believers will be most easily and most-quickly deceived during the early reign of Anti-Christ?  It will be all those who reason with their hearts instead of their minds. 

         >  "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the

              gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." —Jesus, at Matthew 7:13,14

         >  "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?…and fools hate knowledge?" —Proverbs 1:22

 

         If my conclusion sounds rather extreme and farfetched to you, consider this: How many Christians do you know who have come to a rational and objective understanding of why they believe whatever they believe about Christianity and the Bible?

 

         Would you be surprised to learn that all those other believers would respond exactly how YOU would respond?  I know, it's much easier to identify irrational reasoning in others.  That's precisely why I chose to position those summertime, 2009 Bible Discovery Experience (SM) questions like that.  So, who will Anti-Christ not deceive?  That will be God's "elect."  [God’s elect are likely NOT who you've been told they are: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/Appendices/Appendix%205,%20Exhibits%20C-G.pdf.]

 

         God's "elect" will acknowledge the feelings of the heart, but they will have learned to leverage rational thinking for latching onto original truth, exclusively from God’s written word…and the pertinent historical record.  Jesus established for us the precedent of subordinating the feelings of heart to the rationality of a sound mind.  Remember?

         >  "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound MIND." —Paul, at 2 Timothy 1:7

         >  "God's gift of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste." —T. C. Newsome

 

         Knowledge is acquired intellectually.  Knowledge is acquired actively.  Knowledge is acquired objectively.  "It is written."  Because it is written, we must each be aggressive in our objective search for it.  Must actually READ it (for comprehension) first, though, as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.

 

         Near Atlanta, GA, our premiere Bible Discovery Group began its fifth season in January, 2010.  Our 2009 season had been pivotal.  That was partly because our leadership team had decided that we should tackle some of the more critical doctrinal topics.  We defined "critical" as any mainstream doctrine that may have the potential to make people susceptible to consequential deception during Anti-Christ's early reign.  Because we were multi-denominational (including mainstream laymen and clergymen), that yielded some exceptionally lively interaction and some profound Bible Discovery ExperiencesSM for us all.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0045, 02/01/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "JESUS, The Numbers"

 

More than three hundred Old Testament references to Messiah were fulfilled in the First Century.  The probability of one man fulfilling just eight of them is just one in ten to the seventeenth power.  That's one chance in a hundred quadrillion.  --Evidence Based Faith

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0044, 01/24/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "ATOM or SOLAR SYSTEM?"

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         It was an Autumn 1978 PBS video that brought me back to God.  I was in Savannah, Georgia, recruiting dealers and distributors for a small electronics manufacturing company of which I was a principal.  The video aired while I was waiting for the next applicant to arrive.  Just 18 minutes long, it was about the relative sizes and designs of things in the universe.  Its title was "Powers of Ten."  It must've prompted some serious thought among lots of others, too, because Pyramid Film & Video started offering the VHS for sale more than 10 years later, in November of 1989.

 

         Only half-interested at first, I gazed as the camera focused and then zoomed in 10 times closer to a couple on a picnic blanket in New York's Central Park.  With that first zoom-in, the couple's facial features and their clothing and food, etc. were clearly visible.  Upon the second zoom-in to the 10th power, the man's hand was in clear focus...with an ant crawling across it.  The third zoom-in revealed a clear picture of the skin pores of the man's hand.  That was followed by a fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh zoom-in.  With the seventh zoom-in, as I recall, there was in clear view the structure of one of the atoms that made up the living cells in the man's hand.  That's when I became fully engaged.  I thought "That looks a lot like our solar system!"  And then there were seven rapid-fire zoom-outs, each to the 10th power, back to the original view of that family on a picnic blanket.  The camera was at airplane level, in the sky.

 

         From that starting position, there was then a series of zoom-outs to the power of 10.  After about five of those zoom-outs, most of our solar system was in view.  With a couple more zoom-outs, I remember seeing our solar system within its Milky Way galaxy.  I thought, "Wow! That looks a lot like the atom in that man's hand!"  With the remaining zoom-outs to the power of 10, my amazement grew.  Couldn't shake the memories of it for days, weeks, years, decades...even today.  Why had it impacted me so heavily?  That's because, for a full twelve years, I had been an Agnostic.

 

         Agnostics are wannabe Atheists.  So why hadn't I graduated to full-blown Atheism?  Because I had consciously and very carefully avoided all thought about God or the whence of man and the vast universe, visible and invisible.  Occasionally, when others had tried to engage me in conversation about any of that, I had promptly shut down the dialog.  Sometimes, I was rude.  Such was the force of my personal resolve to forbid myself the luxury of meaningful thought.  What had I thought about?  Things and stuff and the nurturing of a voracious appetite for acquiring of both—primarily as bait for attracting other people from whom I might gain pleasure and satisfaction and more things and stuff and such.

 

         Hadn't shed a single tear during that 12 years.  The compassion that had characterized my childhood had vanished.  Didn't try every vice known to man, but experienced lots of them.  Why?  I though it was the more intelligent path for the "worthy" among us.  That video had forced me to do what I had refused to do: Think!

 

         The images from that short video continued non-stop in my head throughout the morning, the afternoon and into the evening of that pivotal day.  I'm certain that thousands of neurons in my brain that hadn't been stimulated for at least a dozen years had become active...and interactive again. 

 

         That night I knew that the power of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste.  That night I knew that all that is real is the product of supreme intelligent design.  That night I knew.  That night I prayed.  That night I repented.  I changed.  I grew.  I expressed extreme gratitude.  I cried. 

 

         Charles and Ray Eames, the producers of that video, may not even have been Christian.  Maybe they were Atheists, for all I know.  But God knew.  And God knew me.  That's because I had once been His friend.  He knew exactly how and when to renew our friendship.  He used a short secular video to yield ears-to-hear and eyes-to-see within me.  He's really smart like that.  I'm glad.

 

         As a young adult, I had become disenchanted with the feelings-based religion with which I had grown up.  Frankly, it was mindless mysticism.  During the decades that have followed my repentance I have learned that, while it's true that Christianity requires faith, Agnosticism and Atheism and Secular Humanism require much more faith.  They're religion, too.

 

         Here's a brief preview of some of the truth I've learned about Bible-prescribed Christianity, as opposed to the enormously popular "religiously correct" Christianity of the visible church, with which you are possibly familiar:

 

         God and his written word are fully comprehensible, reasonable, logical and completely rational.  In not even the remotest sense have I found Him or His Word to be incomprehensible, illogical, irrational, unreasonable or hyperspiritual. 

         > "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND…" —Romans 12:2  

         > "Brothers, stop thinking like children.  In regard to evil be infants, but in your THINKING be adults." —1 Corinthians 14:20 [NIV]

         > "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." —Philippians2:5

         > "...not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound MIND..." —2 Timothy 1:7

         > "...Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same MIND…" —1 Peter 4:1

 

         You may be wise to read Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.  Those are about Jesus' post-wilderness-experience temptation:  Satan enticed Jesus to rationalize—Jesus chose to be rational.  Satan enticed Jesus to be subjective—Jesus chose to be objective:  His every response was prefaced by the proclamation, "It is written."  Satan enticed Jesus to consider his feelings (a.k.a.: his broken spirit)—Jesus chose to use his intellect to reason logically and to be pragmatic rather than hyperspiritual in responding. 

 

         Want to be like Jesus?  That's how.

 

         Some readers will have been exposed to the unfortunate religious cliché, "Always follow your heart."  Here's what God's written word has to say about that:

 

         > "The HEART [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?" —Jeremiah 17:9

 

         Doubting some of this?  Ask your preacher to give you a list of all the scriptures that command Christians to put on the HEART of Christ...

 

         > "...whatsoever things are true...honest...just...pure...lovely...of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK on these things." —Philippians

             4:8  

 

 "The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but

 those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."—Alvin Toffler, American futurist

 (former associate editor of Fortune Magazine)

 

                     —Scribe pro tem, an informed layman                     

Blog #0043, 01/19/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "Bad Things – Good People"

                      Click HERE for larger type and reader-friendly formatting.

 

         So why do really bad things happen to really good people?  Not a new question.  Really good people and their friends and families have wrestled with it for centuries.  David must certainly have asked it when a very jealous King Saul was chasing him with the intent to kill.  Those three Hebrew boys (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) must have entertained it during the minutes before they got thrown into that super-hot fiery furnace.  Daniel must've pondered it, at least, as he was being tossed into the lions' den.

 

         Those tormented ones who're experiencing grief and anguish, today, though, may have difficulty relating to those ancient Bible people—or even to the blood-curdling accounts of human torture in Medieval times.  After all, we're in the 21st Century, here!  So let's bring the question closer to our time.  You're, of course, familiar with some of the horrible dictatorial atrocities that have been reported already (and are still happening) during the first 13 years of this Century.  Many others may be able to recall a long, long list of good people who suffered the personal pain and anguish of death during the 20th Century.  Here's a quick refresher:

 

         Adolf Hitler was responsible for the killing of roughly six million Jews and ten million Christians.  The USSR's Joseph Stalin killed almost 20 million people.  Prime Minister Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge killed a full third of Cambodia's people from 1975-79.  Francisco Solano López Carrillo, Paraguay's president from 1862 until he died in 1870, presided over the killing of more than 90% of that country's male population—and more than half of the total population, including members of his own family.  Some people might add China's Mao Tse-Tung, Belgium's King Leopold II, the USSR's Vladimir Lenin, China and Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Italy's Benito Mussolini, Yugoslavia's President Tito and Uganda's Idi Amin.  You may be able to expand that list, but there are two burning questions that demand credible answers.  Both questions are about the victims of those evil tyrants.  The second one comes later, but here's the first one:

 

         Question #1—                                  

         (a)  Were they good people...most of them, at least?

         (b)  What's the likelihood that they also asked, "Why does God allow such bad things to happen to good people?"

 

         Most readers will agree that the majority of those 20th-Century victims were probably good people.  Many of the Christians among them were possibly familiar with the words of 1 Corinthians 10:13 that say, "…God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]."  They were likely to have believed that before they were tortured and/or killed...but did they believe it during their final hours on Earth?  Given even a small measure of their anguish, would YOU have believed it? 

 

         During times of extreme difficulty, we are take comfort in the knowledge that there WILL be a way of escape and that we WILL be able to bear it.  To bear it or not to bear it, then, becomes a personal choice.

         >  To choose to bear it may mean to adopt David's Psalm 27:5 mindset: "For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall

                  he hide me..."

         >  And there's the familiar Psalm 23: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they

             comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy

             shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."

 

         Admittedly, though, both time and timing are factors.  When really bad things happen they test our resolve.  It's easy, in those times, to slip into a "Why, God!?  I can't handle this!" pity party.  It can help to remember that "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man." —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 10:13a.

 

         At John 17:15 are these words: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."  Jesus was clearly aware that life in this world is TOUGH (His words about that at John 16:33 are quoted, below).  He didn't ask that we be shielded from all the hard knocks, but that we would choose our after-the-knock-down mindsets wisely; i.e.: avoid the evil "God lied about giving us stuff we can't handle" mindset. 

 

         Question #2

         (a)  Were some of those 20th–Century tyrants' victims convinced that nothing could ever be worse?  Were the Christians among them thinking they were

                    experiencing The Great Tribulation—and that the dictatorial tyrant du jour was the Anti-Christ they had heard and/or read about? 

         (b)  How do YOU think they might respond to the notion that there will be a truly extra special group of 21st-Century super Christians who're gonn'a get raptured out'a

                    here before anything bad like that starts happening?  Could they have cited scriptural support for such a notion?  Can YOU? 

 

         I'll leave those questions with you.  Be aware, though, that I have submitted them to quite a large number of career professional Christians, none of whom have been able to cite credible scriptural support for the pre-tribulation escape fable.  Perhaps you'll get your preacher to help you find and submit all the supporting scriptures...

 

         Here are some words to examine and contemplate while you're waiting for that:

         >  "...when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for  

             a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended." —Jesus, at

             Mark 4:16,17 (This is a part of His explanation of the parable of the sower to his closest disciples.)

         >  "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." —Paul, at 2 Timothy 2:3

         >  "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions..." —Paul, at 2 Timothy 4:5

         >  "Behold, we count them happy which endure.  Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and

              of tender mercy." —James 5:11

         >  "For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye

              shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God.  For even hereunto

              were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." —1 Peter 2:19–21

         >  "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." —Jesus, at Matthew 24:13 (also at Mark 13:13)

         >  "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried...be thou faithful unto

             death, and I will give thee a crown of life." –Revelation 2:10

         >  "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have

             overcome the world."  –Jesus, at John 16:33

         >  "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." –Robert Frost

 

         Oh! I almost forgot to include these important refreshers: David escaped Saul's aggression, but he still had to endure it.  Daniel escaped the lions' den, but he still had to endure it.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego escaped that fiery furnace, but they still had to endure it.

 

         God's M.O. hasn't changed: Those who're to be saved will escape from The Great Tribulation...after having endured it to the end.  Otherwise, God will have dealt unjustly with all those other good people that are the focus of this article.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0042, 01/12/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "J"

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         There was no letter "J" or "j" in Bible times.  Our Lord was never called "Jesus.God was never called "Jehovah."  It's true: There was no "J" or "j" in any language until it was added in 14th-Century England.  The "J" and "j" didn't become widely used until the 17th Century.  The name, "Jesus," first appeared in the fourth edition of the King James Bible.  That was in about 1630.  In the original 1611 edition of the KJV, our Lord's name was spelled, "Iesus" and "Iesvs," from the Latin, Iesous.  It was pronounced, ee-ay-soooce. Still, today, it is pronounced something like that in Latin (i.e.: Spanish-speaking) countries.

 

         There were no Hebrew vowels—and no punctuation marks, chapter numbers or verse numbers in any of the original Hebrew (O.T.) or Greek (N.T.) manuscripts, from which all credible versions of the Bible were translated.  The translators added all that.  They did it hoping to make it easier for you and me to read God's Word with added comprehension.  That'd be a good thing...except that those translators were human, just like you and I are human.  Why is it important to acknowledge that?  There are at least two reasons: (a) Human beings aren't perfect and (b) "'Human Nature' is 'The Sin Nature'."  So?  So they were apparently successful in accomplishing that objective most of the time.  But they were not always successful.  Here are just a few examples:

 

         1.  An unfortunate chapter separation—

              Most Bible scholars agree that chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew should NOT have been separated.  Why?  Because chapter 25 is clearly a CONTINUATION of

              Jesus' answer to his disciples' Matthew 24:3 question, "How can we know when you're coming back, Master?"

 

         2.  Examples of unfortunate punctuation, etc. (Good punctuation is essential to our reading comprehension.)—   

 

              a.  "Let's eat grandma."

                    What's the message?  We're cannibals? 

                    Would some well-placed punctuation and appropriate capitalization help?  Try this:

                    "Let's eat, Grandma!"

                    Grandma should get the message that we're really, really hungry NOW—but that she's safe.

 

               b.  "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." —Jesus, at Luke 23:43 [KJV]

                    Take away the punctuation and capitalization that the KJV translators added and we're left with, "and jesus said unto him verily I say unto thee to day shalt

                    thou be with me in paradise."

                    The KJV translators also re-sequenced Jesus' original words.  Properly sequenced, they read like this:

                    "and jesus said unto him verily I say unto thee to day thou shalt be with me in paradise."

                    So, now, let's re-apply some capitalization, punctuation and English word sequencing to reflect the ORIGINAL meaning of what Jesus said (original per the

                    literal translations):

                    "And Jesus said unto him, 'Verily I say unto thee, to day, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise."  In the colloquial American English tongue that might read,

                    "...'You'll be  with me in Paradise'!"

                    To verify the accuracy of that, review the scriptures that tell us WHERE Jesus went when he died on that same day: It was neither Heaven nor Paradise, but He

                    spent a full three days somewhere...Look for that and you'll find it.

 

               c.  Mark 13:6 and Luke 21:8 both include Jesus' phrase, "...many will come in my name, saying I am [Christ]." 

                    When you're reading a KJV text and come across a word that is either in brackets ("[...]") or italics ("italics") that is ALWAYS an indication that the bracketed

                    or italicized word or phrase does not appear in ANY of the original Bible manuscripts.  Instead, the translators added them.

                    With that critical knowledge in place, here's a quote of that KJV text, but without the word that's either italicized or bracketed:

                    "...many will come in my name, saying I AM.

                    That's precisely how the literally translated Greek text, adjusted for our English-language word sequencing, would read. (You can verify that by checking most

                    any online Interlinear Bible—one that includes the original language text along with the transliterated and translated English texts.)

                    You're, of course, familiar with that "I AM" proclamation: God told Moses to tell the Hebrew people that ""I AM" has sent you.  But few people are aware that

                    Jesus also proclaimed it:  "...verily, verily, I say unto you, 'before Abraham was, I AM'. " —Jesus, at John 8:58


THREE CRITICAL QUESTIONS:

         > Are there MANY, today, who're claiming to be Jesus?

            You may safely answer "No."

            With a very rare exception, today's deceivers all carry the "Jesus is Lord!" banner.  At Matthew 7:15, Jesus characterized them as "wolves in SHEEP'S clothing."

         > Those who're claiming to be Jesus, are they deceiving MANY? 

            You may safely answer "No."

            Who do YOU know that would follow someone who claims to be Jesus?  To deceive MANY, today, a deceiver must carry the "Jesus is Lord!" banner.  (That banner,

            itself, is their sheep's clothing.)

         > But didn't Jesus also say there will be false Christs?

            you may safely answer "Yes."

            Jesus characterized that very different group of deceivers – who're to come later – as “wolves in SHEPHERDS' clothing."  You can read about them at Matthew 24:3

            and Mark 13:21,22.  (If they were here today, they simply could NOT deceive many.)

         > Has anyone ever told you, "There is no prophecy in Scripture that must be fulfilled before our precious Lord and Savior returns for his Bride?"

            Given what you know at this point, is that statement true or false?

            Want a lot more information on that?  Anticipate 2-3 of our e-books on Amazon.com this year.  The first one should be available by the end of March, or earlier.  

            Meanwhile, you can just become a member/subscriber at www.DYPK.org.

 

         If you're among those who seek God's original truth you must understand, first, that not all "bibles" are credible translations.  Some of the most popular "bibles" are paraphrases!  (No potential for personal bias, there; huh?)  Others are from subsequent and, therefore, different manuscripts.  Why "different?" Have YOU ever tried to handwrite a copy of a really long document?  That's how all of the manuscripts were created.  Writer's cramp.  Lapses of attention.  Blurry vision.  Got it?  Among some of the most popular and widely used "bibles" are some whose translators were managed by known Occult practitioners and Secular Humanists.  Why on Earth would those people ever become involved with the "translation" of God's word?  Chew on that question for a few minutes to get the best answer.

 

         Finally, to learn why the KJV continues to be our best-available English translation of God's Word, find and read G. A. Riplinger's New Age Versions.  It was first published in 1993.  I have a copy of the Y2K eleventh printing.  The Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number is 93-92561.  ISBN0-9635845-0-2.  Publisher: A.V. Publications Corporation, P.O. Box 280, Ararat, VA, USA  24053.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0041, 01/4/2014; Key Word/Phrase: "DAY STAR"

                      Click HERE for larger type and reader-friendly formatting.

 

         I was reflecting on the impact Christian television has had on the perceptions of non-Christians about the credibility of our faith when I started humming the tune to that song, "Day Star Shine Down On Me."  That may not be the correct title, because I wasn't able to find the lyrics online.  (I didn't search very long.)  While looking for them, though, I stumbled across a link to Isaiah 14:12.  I clicked on it and then one thing led to another.  I think you'll appreciate knowing what I learned from just a few minutes of online research, so here goes:

 

         ˃   "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [H-1966], son of the morning! [fn] [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"

              —Isaiah 14:12 [KJV & NKJV]

              H-1966 shining one, morning star [fn], Lucifer

              fn Literal translation:  "Day Star"

 

         ˃   "How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning!  You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world!" —Isaiah

              14:12 [NLT]

         ˃   "How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!  You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!" —Isaiah

              14:12 [NIV]

         ˃   "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!  How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!" —Isaiah 14:12 [ESV]

         ˃   "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!  You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!" —Isaiah

              14:12 [NASB]

         ˃   "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!  How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!" —Isaiah 14:12 [RSV]

         ˃   "How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations!" —Isaiah 14:12  

              [ASV]

         ˃   "How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one, son of the dawn!  Thou hast been cut down to earth, O weakener of nations." —Isaiah 14:12

              [YLT]

         ˃   "How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning! Thou art cut down to the ground, that didst prostrate the nations!" —Isaiah 14:12 [DBY]

         ˃   "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" —Isaiah 14:12

              [WEB]

         ˃   "How you are fallen from heaven, Heylel, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low!" —Isaiah 14:12 [HNV]

 

         That certainly confirmed some of my notions about the relative value of Christian television—but then I learned there's debate!  How'd I learn that?  From a family member who found it on an Internet Blog site.  I haven't taken the time to look at that site yet...perhaps you'll find it.  Anyhow, here's my understanding of the essence of that debate:

 

      In defense of the name, "Day Star"...

         Oh! That's true; but when Satan fell from Heaven, Jesus took over that wonderful name!  So we Christians are free to use it as a righteous banner for our precious Lord

         and Savior, Jesus Christ.  (Sounds religious enough: doesn't it?)

 

       In opposition to the name, "Day Star"...

         Oh! So Satan has already fallen from Heaven; huh?  So then, using that logic, Jesus had already been physically tortured when the same Old Testament author wrote

         this about Him: "But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes

         we are healed," at Isaiah 53:5!

 

         Finally this—for those who'd like to know: The archangel, Michael, and his host will boot Satan out of Heaven at the sixth Trump, the sixth Vial and the sixth Seal:

         —"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was

             their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole

             world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the

             kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And

             they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye

             that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath

             but a short time." —Revelation 12:7-12


         Here's some critical additional insight:

 

         1Satan resides in Heaven TODAY—with easy access to God's throne room.  He couldn't be our "accuser," today, if that weren't the case [Revelation 12:10]:

               —"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" —1 Peter 5:8

 

         2Satan's "prosecutor" role has not changed since Old Testament times.  (Jesus serves as our advocate; our "defense attorney.")  Doubt it?  Remember that

              fireside chat between God and Satan in the first chapter of Job?  Here's the essence of their Job 1:7-12 dialog:

                 God:  "Whence comest thou?"

             Satan:  "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."

                God:   "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 

             Satan:   "Doth Job fear God for nought?  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed

                            the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy

                            face."

                 God:   "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."

 

         3.  The archangel, Michael, currently "letteth" Satan continue to reside in Heaven with regular access to God's throne room:

              "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he [i.e.: Michael] who now letteth will let, until he [i.e.: Satan, a.k.a. Day Star] be taken out of the way."

              —Paul, at 2 Thessalonians 2:7

              [Bracketed italicized text within Scripture quotes is always mine.]

 

         I know, some folk are probably hearing (reading) about this for the very first time.  That's because those who heap unto themselves end-time prophecy "experts" my NOT have noticed that those teachers consistently try to steer clear of the chapter-two texts of 2 Thessalonians.  Why?  That's because the sensible interpretation of that Scripture is not "religiously correct;" it flies in the face of their enormously popular end-time fables.  (If you know how "political correctness" works, then you can also understand how "religious correctness" works.)

 

         Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians chapter two because some of the church people at Thessalonica thought they had missed Christ's return to gather the Saints.  What had confused them?  The text of chapters four and five of 1 Thessalonians still confuses the uninformed and misinformed today, so that was the likely first Century culprit, too.

 

         Want personal confirmation about why our pied-piper prophecy pundits purposely preclude 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 in their preaching and teaching?  Read that in your own Bible, as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.  After you've done that, grab a pen and paper and write out YOUR paraphrase of it. 

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

PS:  Anticipate 2-3 of our brand new e-books on Amazon.com later in the year.  The first one should be available before the end of March (perhaps even earlier).  Want

        more info about that?  Just ask: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/contact

Blog #0036, 11/30/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "AIR & CLOUDS "

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Scholarly Analysis of a Scripture That

"Rapture" Theorists Consider Critical to Their Doctrine,

Using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

 

"Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the AIR: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

—1 Thessalonians 4:17


         CAUGHT UP —Strong's G-726, harpazō: "from a der[ivative] of [G-]138; to seize (in various applications):—catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force)."

         G-138, haireō —"to take for oneself, to prefer, choose."

                   When Jesus died, he became "the firstfruits of them that slept [1 Corinthians 15:20]."  Upon his resurrection, he became the firstfruits of them that will be 

                   resurrected [1 Corinthians 15:23].  As the "firstfruits" of our resurrection, Jesus' experience is our benchmark; i.e.: our best example of what our own resurrection

                   experience will be like.  His resurrection was not accompanied by "rapture."  Instead, Jesus was "caught up" (harpazō'd) into a wonderful new spiritual

                   body.   That's the "twinkling of an eye" change that those who are to be included in the "first resurrection" of Revelation 20:6 can anticipate.

                   "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed [G-236], In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for

                   the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed [G-236]." —1 Corinthians 15:51,52

            G-236, allassō: "to change, to exchange one thing for another, to transform"

                   Note: The "last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15:51,52 and the "trump of God" at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are the trumpet of the seventh angel of Revelation 11:15 —"And

                   the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his

                   Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."

 

         CLOUDS —Strong's G-3507, nephelē: "a cloud [singular] used of the cloud [singular] which led the Israelites in the wilderness:"

                  "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:"

                   —Exodus 13:21  [See, also, Num. 14:14 & Deut. 31:15.]


         AIR —Strong's G-109, aēr: "From aemi (to breathe unconsciously, i.e. respire; by analogy, to blow)."  Here's the how aēr is defined by Strong's: "the air, particularly

                  the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and [thinner] air...[i.e.] the atmospheric region." 

                  This is not the "air" in which birds, airplanes, kites or any special class of raptured christians might fly.  If it were, then Paul would have written the Greek word,
                  ouranos [G-3772]:

            "Behold the fowls of the air[G-3772]: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much

            better than they?" —Matthew 6:26

            G-3772, ouranos: "the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it...the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and

                        where thunder and lightning are produced."  (This is not the low-level, much denser air that we typically breathe.)

 

OBSERVATIONS

         (1)  If Paul had chosen to use the Greek word ouranos [G-3772], instead of aēr [G-109], at 1 Thessalonians 4:17, then the rapture "experts" might have a

                reasonable basis for rebuttal.  He didn't and they don't.  Take that to the bank.

         (2)  Those who've never been taught the importance of using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible to discover the meanings of the original manuscript

                words/phrases can easily be misled on topics like "rapture."  Most of those who mislead the uninformed are, themselves, uninformed.  Shouldn't they have done

                their basic homework?  Some of those who mislead the uninformed are fully uninformed... 

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Follow this link to gain critical information and insight into why the KJV translators, though probably not malicious,

made at least a few mistakes in their rendering of the first good English-language Bible: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/BLOG/Blog%2028.pdf.

 

To learn why the KJV is still the best English-language Bible available to us today, be sure to find and read

G. A. Riplinger's book, New Age Versions.  The first printing was in 1993.  I have a copy of the eleventh printing, 2000.

ISBN #0-9635845-0-2.  Library of Congress catalog card #93-92561.

Blog #0035, 11/23/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "JUDGE NOT"

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Five True or False Questions—

         (1)  "Christians should never judge anyone."  [  T   F  ]

         (2)  "Christians should never judge people who are not a part of 'the church'."  [  T   F  ]

         (3)  Christians should never judge one another."  [  T   F  ]

         (4)  "Laymen should never judge professional clergymen."  [  T   F  ]

         (5)  "Professional clergymen should never judge laymen."  [  T   F  ]

 

         Go ahead and write your answers to those questions.  Revisit each question after you've finished reading and either confirm each answer or change it.  If you're bold enough to share your final answers, we'd certainly like to read them—along with your scriptural rationale: BibleExplorers@yahoo.com.  As you're reading, you may want to compare each of the scriptures that follow to your initial answers:

 

         (a)  "Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

                   —Jesus, at Matthew 7:1,2

                   Observation:  Don't judge anyone unless you're prepared to be judged by the same standard.  But if you can handle that without going ballistic, go ahead!...if you're

                   confident that your judgment is sound.

 

         (b)  "Ye shall know them by their fruits." —Jesus, at Matthew 7:16

                   Observation:  Jesus gave us some of the rationale for judging other believers.  But there are times and circumstances when we should probably keep our  

                   judgments to ourselves.  At other times, though, we are to instruct, correct, reprove or rebuke others, based on sound scriptural judgment.  Wisdom is a

                   requirement.

 

         (c)  "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." —John 7:24

                   Observation:  Knee-jerk judging is not okay.  If and when one determines that instruction, correction, reproof or rebuke is appropriate, one must be certain to have

                   done one's scriptural homework, first.  Nobody is ever "called" or "chosen" to be a judge.  The only exceptions were in Old Testament times.

 

         (d)  "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?" —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 5:12

                    Observation:  We are clearly not to judge those who don't claim to be followers of Christ.  Per this writing of Paul, though, we are to judge those who profess

                    Christianity.

 

         (e)  "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that we

                   shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least

                   esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?"

                   —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 6:2-5

                   How might you paraphrase that?

 

         (f)  "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 14:29

                  Care to paraphrase that one?

 

         (g)  "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]..." —Ephesians 5:11,12

                   Observation:  Some are surprised to learn that, if you've done your scriptural homework, you must not even have fellowship with other believers (clergy or laity)

                   who preach or practice things that aren't in full alignment with rightly-divided Scripture?

 

         (h) "Whosoever...abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God...If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house,

                    neither bid him God speed:  For he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds." —2 John 9-11

                    Observation:  "Godspeed," per the World English Dictionary, is "an expression of one's good wishes for a person's success and safety."  Given that, then wouldn't

                    contributing a tithe or even a small offering be an even stronger expression of one's good wishes for that person's (or that organization's) success?

 

          (i)  "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]." —Paul, at Colossians 2:16

                   Observation:  When on the receiving end of the instruction, correction, reproof or rebuke of another believer, one should sometimes rebuke an errant judge.

 

          (j)  "Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren." —Paul, at 1 Timothy 5:1

                   Observation:  If by the term "elders" Paul meant church leaders – especially older ones – rebuke may be too harsh.  But if we're ever to hold anyone accountable to

                   purely scriptural preaching and teaching, we must certainly include those in whom others blindly invest their Faith EquitySM.

 

          (k) "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." —Paul, at 1 Timothy 5:20 

                    Observation:  For some errant Christians, public rebuke is scripturally appropriate.

 

           (l)  "All scripture is good for instruction, correction and reproof." —Paul, at 2 Timothy 3:16 

                    Observation:  One of the primary reasons why we have God’s word in writing is so that we can objectively measure the behavior of others who claim Christianity

                    by what is written, and then use Godly wisdom to determine whether (and/or when) to offer instruction, correction, reproof or encouragement.  Caution, though 

                    —Before you rebuke a clergyman whom you think hasn’t done his scriptural homework, make absolutely certain you've done your scriptural homework.  

                    Clergyman?  Please be aware that there is now a major grassroots uprising of laymen who're doing their homework:

 

           (m) "...reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." —Paul, at 2 Timothy 4:2

                       Observation:  Unless one has already judged another believer and concluded that a reproof, a rebuke or an exhortation is scripturally in order, how might anyone

                      satisfy the requirements of this scripture?

 

           (n)  "...Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith." —Titus 1:13


           (o)  "The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: But he that harkeneth unto counsel is wise." —Proverbs 12:15

                     Observation:  A rebuke should never be designed to tear down or to fully discourage another Christian.  Instead, it is the facility by which we are to keep one

                     another (including our clergymen) between-the-scriptural-ditches.  In government, that's called checks and balances.  Without such checks and balances,

                     everyone says and does what's right in his own eyes.  That can only result in dangerous error:

 

           (p) "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no man despise thee." —Titus 2:15

                     Observation:  Those who instruct, correct, reprove and rebuke other believers should do it boldly and with the voice of authority.  That’s only appropriate, though,

                     for those who’ve done their scriptural homework.  Otherwise, it can (and should) backfire.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0034, 11/16/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "IS GOD PERFECT?"

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         When readers submit questions I like to address them personally.  This one was no exception.  It came from a teen who, along with her boyfriend, is a regular participant in our weekly small group Bible Discovery ExperiencesSM in Atlanta, GA's Southern Crescent region.  I think you’ll find it easy to follow the sequence of our brief exchange:

 

         “I have a question,” she wrote, “Do you think God is perfect?”

 

         “Yes. What prompts your question?”

 

         “He regretted making Adam and Eve...He made a mistake, Mom said.  So she asked, ‘Is God perfect since He also makes mistakes?’  Or would you call it a mistake?”

 

         “You might want to revisit the reason why God created man—for the friendly companionship of beings who would choose him over any alternative.  What disappointed him was that, at the very first opportunity, Adam and Eve both chose Satan’s companionship over God’s companionship.  That broke his heart...just like it might’ve broken your heart or mine.  I’m convinced that He created Satan just to make sure we’d have attractive OPTIONS.  Only those of us who choose God over the other attractive options are the friendly companions he can count on.  There have always been a few of us, and there will always be a few.  Hope that helps!”

 

         “Okay that helps a lot, and I read that to mom!”

 

         “Good.  Make sense to her, too?”

 

         “Yes it does!”

 

         Hope you’ll also find value, here.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0033, 11/9/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "CHARLES SPURGEON, re: CLOWNS"

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         "A time will come when, instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats." —Charles H. Spurgeon


         Informed and fully objective students of the Bible know there will be "a great falling away" (a.k.a. apostasy) before Christ returns.  Deductive reasoning prompts the question, "WHO will 'fall away'?"  Given the assumption that those who do not follow Christ cannot "fall away," that leaves millions of faithful churchgoers to "fall away," doesn't it?  Who else? 

 

         Fully choreographed "church" is all the rage, today.  Examine the foundational essence of the typical megachurch or an uncommonly popular televangelist to rediscover a long known fact—entertainment sells.  Highly polished motivational speakers are the headliners and musical "praise and worship" productions are their opening acts.  Choreographers of those weekly musical productions even have their own professional career paths: Megachurch praiseologists enjoy salaries that often rival those of pastors of medium-sized churches. 

                    

         Please, if you can, share one 1st-Century precedent for any of that.  The only precedent I've been able to find is the scenario that yielded Paul's blistering rebuke of those quintessentially foolish church people at Corinth.  Regarding their apparent preference for "super apostles" who conned them out of their money he wrote this:


       > "I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the 'super-apostles' [21st-

                Century 'super-preachers?'], even though I am nothing...How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you?  Forgive me this

                wrong! [an apparent sarcasm]  Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. 

                After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.  So I will very gladly spend for you

                everything I have and expend myself as well.  If I love you more will you love me less?  Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you...Did I exploit you by any of

                the men I sent you?  I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him.  Titus did not exploit you, did he?  Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the

                same course?...everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening." —2 Corinthians 12:11,13-19 [NIV]

 

         Paul also wrote all of this:


       > "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." —Acts 20:34 

             Paul earned his living, not as a preacher, but as a tent maker.  He worked for and ate is own bread.


       > "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit..." —2 Corinthians 2:17 [NIV]


       > "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  

           But thou, O man of God, flee these things…" —1 Timothy 6:10,11 [KJV]


       > "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind." —1 Peter

                5:2 [KJV]


       > "Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we

                have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not

                work, neither should he eat.  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  Now them

                that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread." —2 Thessalonians 3:8-12 [KJV]

                Given this context refresher, do you still think Paul was talking about "regular" people who won't work to put food on their own tables?  You might want to read that

                again—in multiple translations if you like.  Paul's critical message is to busybody clerics and self-proclaimed Bible teachersTake it to the bank.

 

         While I've got your attention, can you cite even one implication that Jesus ever slapped anyone on the forehead and yelled anything like "Loose him!" or "Be healed!" or "Heee-aaahlll!" or anything else like that?  If he'd had microphones, would he ever have "growled" anything into them?  Except when he clearly needed to project – for large crowds, etc. – isn't Jesus characterized in Scripture as a very soft spoken, gentle and humble man?   E.g.: "Take up your bed and walk" and "According to your faith be it unto you." 

 

         Can you cite anything in the Scriptures that might suggest that anyone ever fell down and/or jerked about when Jesus touched them?  Did Jesus' closest disciples practice showmanship?  Consider Peter's "Silver and gold have I none, but of such as I have I give unto you..."

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0032, 11/2/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Bucket or Faucet"

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         If Believers were like buckets and Disciples were like water faucets, would you be a bucket or a faucet?  Not a rhetorical question.

 

         Did Jesus proclaim "The Great Commission" only to professionals in the business of Christianity?...and if only to the professionals, did he tell them to fill their churches with Believers (buckets) or with Disciples (faucets)?  It may help you to revisit Jesus' own words.  They're at Matthew 28:19,20.  He originally spoke them in Aramaic, but they were recorded in Greek and later translated into English.  There are several English versions.  Here are three of them:

 

         (1)  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things

                   whatsoever I have commanded you..." [KJV]

         (2)  "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey

                   everything I have commanded you..." [NIV]

         (3)  "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I

                   have commanded you..." [ESV]

 

         See anything at all, there, about making Believers (buckets)?  Then, why is it so easily predicted that the next message you will hear from a pulpit will be either a "Come to Jesus for Salvation" sermon, a "Feel Good About Yourself" sermon, an "Expect a Miracle" sermon or an "Invest Your Cash and God Will Double It" sermon?  Ever notice the similarities in the words "disciple" and "disciplined?"    D I S C I P L E

                                                                                                    D I S C I P L I N E D

 

         "Disciple" is often defined as a person who follows Christ, but that's clearly an oversimplification.  It's one thing to become a Believer, but to become a "follower" of Christ – i.e.: a Disciple – a Believer must be actively working to fulfill Jesus' "The Great Commission.”  That means to become a Student of, an Adherent to and a Teacher of the doctrines of Christ.

 

         To become a worthy Student, one must study (2 Timothy 2:15) to gain the knowledge of Christ's doctrines.  But that takes time, so how can one become an Adherent to a set of doctrines of which one has little knowledge?  By progressively applying what one has learned: "Walk in the light that you have."  And how can one become a Teacher of Christ's doctrines without a seminary education?  By progressively sharing with others what one has learned: "One of the most effective ways to master a subject is to help someone else learn it."  And that's in perfect alignment with one of the signature principles of Christianity—Those who give freely from their abundance will receive more, in abundance.

 

         "But don't people have to be called and chosen for ministries like Teaching?"  That Matthew 22:14, "For many are called, but few [are] chosen," scripture is commonly misinterpreted.  Some use it to reinforce a presumption of their own elevated professional status.  Jesus' "The Great Commission" is not a command to any "special" group, but to us all.  (Take that to the bank.)

 

         No one can "teach" young children how to ride bikes.  Shepherds can't produce sheep; only sheep can do that.  Nobody can "make Disciples" from a pulpit.  The making of Disciples is not a preacher's calling.  It's a COACHING assignment...to us all.  Disciples are made one-at-a-time, by other Disciples, and that takes time, too.  So where are the Coaches?  If you can reasonably conclude that no one is actually "making Disciples" at your church, then what's the purpose of "church" at your church? 

 

         Are you on the playing field or in the bleachers?  Bucket or faucet?  Active Disciple or pew potato?  How long have you been in that role?  Who can fix that?  Time for another Reformation?

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Here's a pertinent and brilliant Facebook post by Chaplain Dave Sparks, Riverside, CA —Truckstop Ministries, Inc., on October 28th:

         "The problem with evangelism vs. discipleship is that evangelism is only a subset of full discipleship.  Evangelism, by itself, leaves the church with a lot of infant, milk-drinking Christians.  And then, to compound things, these same immature believers are 'trained' in evangelism.  It's like multi-level 'pyramid' marketing where you become a distributor to sign up more distributors.  The 'product' (if any) is secondary.  Not all believers are called to be evangelists, but we're all called to be disciple-makers which is much broader than just evangelism.  The 'product,' if any, is seldom more than 'fire insurance' – keeping people out of hell.  As important as that is, it's far from being God's total will for us!  And taking immature believers with a VARIETY of gifts and trying to provide rudimentary training in becoming 'junior evangelists' falls so far short of God's intentions for us."

Blog #0031, 10/26/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "BIBLE CANON"

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          No, the Bible Canon is not a big gun.  Here, the word has just one "n" in the middle of it.  Got your attention, though; didn't it? 

 

          The word, “canon,” is often used by Bible scholars in reference to the books that were divinely inspired and "belong" in the Bible.  The Bible, itself, doesn’t give us a list of the books that belong in the Bible—so who made those decisions and how did they go about it?  Jewish rabbis were among the first to embark on the process of deciding which books belong.  Early Christians contributed to the process, too.

 

          As you may imagine, there was a lot less controversy over the canon of the Old Testament than of the New Testament.  While there was some debate regarding the Old Testament canon, there was widespread agreement on the canon of Hebrew Scripture by A.D. 250.  However, debate continues on whether some books of "the Apocrypha" should've been included.  Hebrew scholars tend to view the Apocrypha as good historical and religious documents, but not on the same level as the Hebrew Scriptures.  (“Apocrypha” is defined below.)

 

          The process for recognizing and collecting books for the New Testament canon began with 1st-Century Christians.  Some Christian scholars insist that the apostle Paul considered Luke's writings, for example, to be as authoritative as the Old Testament.  Peter recognized Paul's writings as Scripture, per 2 Peter 3:15,16.  According to Colossians 4:16 and 1 Thessalonians 5:27, some of the New Testament books were being circulated among the1st-Century churches.  Clement of Rome, in 95 A.D., mentioned at least eight New Testament books.  Ignatius of Antioch acknowledged about seven books in 115 A.D.  In 108 A.D., Polycarp (a disciple of John, the apostle) acknowledged 15 books.  Irenaeus mentioned 21 books in 185 A.D.  Hippolytus recognized 22 books during 170-235 A.D.  (Google® any of those names to learn about their respective historical significance.)  The most controversial of the New Testament books were Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 John, and 3 John.

 

          The first New Testament canon was The Muratorian Canon, of 170 A.D.  It included all of the New Testament books except Hebrews, James, and 3 John.  In 363 A.D., The Council of Laodicea stated that only the Old Testament (along with the Apocrypha) and the 27 books of the New Testament were to be read in the churches.  The 393 A.D. Council of Hippo and the 397 A.D. Council of Carthage also affirmed the same 27 New Testament books as authoritative.  Questions similar to these were used by those councils to guide participants in the process of determining whether a New Testament book had been truly inspired by the Holy Spirit: 

          (1)  Was the author an apostle or did he, at least, have a close connection to an apostle?  For example, Mark was not an apostle, but is known to have spent much of 

                 his time with Jesus and his 12 closest disciples, many of whom were to become apostles.  (He was considerably younger than they were.)

          (2)  Is the book accepted by the body of Christ at large?

          (3)  Is the book's message consistent with orthodox doctrine?

          (4)  Does the book demonstrate evidence of the high moral and spiritual values that would be consistent with inspiration by the Holy Spirit?

 

          So what are the Apocrypha (a.k.a. "Deuterocanonical" books) of the Old Testament?  The word, "apocrypha," means "hidden."  The word, "deuterocanonical" means "second canon."  Roman Catholic Bibles have several more books in their Old Testament than Protestant Bibles have.  Those extra books are the ones called the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books.  The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals were written primarily in the time between the Old and New Testaments, as were some additions to the books of Esther and Daniel.  Those extra books are named: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees.

 

          Hebrew scholars have typically always treated the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books with respect, but they have never accepted them as true books of the Hebrew Bible.  The early Christian church debated the status of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, but few early Christians believed they belonged in the canon of Scripture.  The New Testament quotes Old Testament scriptures hundreds of times, but there are no quotes from the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books in the New Testament.  Further, there is an amazing collection of proven errors and contradictions in the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals—including many things that are simply not true and not historically accurate.

 

           While many Catholics accepted the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals previously, the Roman Catholic Church officially added them to their Bible at the Council of Trent in the mid 1500’s A.D.  That was primarily in response to the Protestant Reformation.  The Apocrypha/Deutero-canonicals support some of the things the Roman Catholic Church believes and practices which are not in agreement with the Protestant Bible.  Examples are praying for the dead, petitioning "saints" in Heaven for their prayers, worshipping angels, and alms-giving for the atonement of sins.  Some of what the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals say is true and correct but, due to the historical and theological errors, the books must be viewed as clearly fallible historical and religious documents, and not as the inspired and authoritative written Word of God.

 

          But there are other books that are referenced in the texts of the Old Testament canon that aren't included either in the canon or in the Apocrypha.  Here are two significant examples:

          (A)  "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the

                  sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day." —Joshua 10:13
                  "(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)" —2 Samuel 1:18   Follow this hot link to view

                  the entire text of the book of Jasher: http://www.bibleufo.com/jasher1.htm.

          (B)  "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints," —Jude 1:14   This hot link will 

                  take you to the full text of the book of Enoch: http://www.bibleufo.com/anomlostbooks6.htm.

 

          So why should you care about all this?  Because – contrary to popular Christian belief – laymen are to be held just as accountable as their preachers for knowing precisely why they believe whatever they believe about the Bible and Christianity.  Don't agree with that?  Consider this:  Of what possible value is a fully literate believer who pays others to get onto the playing field while he/she sits comfortably in the bleachers as a spectator?  Isn't that about as intelligent as paying someone else to work out for you at the gym every day...hoping to get the muscles and the body tone and the stamina, yourself?  "Pew potato?"

          

> "In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case

gotten at second hand, and without examination." —Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark

             Twain

 

          > "God's gift of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste." —T. C. Newsome

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0030, 10/19/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "God's HOUSE"

                      Click HERE for larger type and reader-friendly formatting.

 

          Overflowing with the zeal of anticipation, a former pastor opened our Sunday AM service by growling into his microphone, "I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go unto the house of the Lord!'"  The faithful in our "Amen!" section were both audibly and visibly ecstatic, to his observable delight.  ("Amen!" means, "You tell'em, Brother!")  Personal friends with that pastor, I asked him about that event over lunch on the same afternoon:

 

          "That scripture you quoted at the opening of today’s service, where is it found?"

 

          "It's the first verse of Psalm 122," he replied…with a smile that betrayed his enormous professional pride.

 

          Finding no reason not to milk that, I continued, "Is there a similar New Testament scripture?"

 

          Quickly perceiving my mischief he blushed, "I can't think of one right now, Brother."  He fully anticipated what was to follow.  He knew me pretty well, you see.  It had taken me months to convince him to stop calling me "Brother anything" and that I should also use his first name, unless, of course, he considered himself my superior, or something silly like that. 

 

          The operative phrase of Romans 12:3 was the essence of my method.  I had repeated it to him over and over and over again until he had finally gotten the point: "You are not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, sir.”  Pious arrogance in the pulpit does not resonate well with a self-confident Baby Boomer.  Like many other Boomers, I'm skeptical of "experts" in any field or context. 

 

          "So where's God's house today?" I quizzed.  His wife blushed, then.  She had finally become aware of my mischief.  My wife had, too.  She kicked me under the table.  Ouch!

 

          Visibly conceding defeat he acknowledged, "In the hearts of men."

 

          My wife kicked me, again, harder, when I prodded, "So why do you think almost all preachers say things that lead their naïve followers to believe that God's house is a church building?"

 

          His tail-between-the-legs reply was, "Well, I really don't think they do it maliciously.  I know I certainly don't."

 

          Feeling some compassion for him I responded, "I know you don't, [first name].  And that's why I think informed laymen, everywhere, should be diligent to hold their preachers accountable to the truth of God's word." 

 

          Off the hook, he said, "I am very fortunate to have a church member who's willing to hold me accountable…and I agree that every preacher should cultivate relationships like ours.  The problem is that it's really hard to find laymen who have the competence and the self-confidence and the boldness and the compassion that you demonstrate."  (Not sure, but I probably blushed, too, at that point.)

 

          Having observed the expressions of relief on their faces, my wife patted me on the knee.  That reminded me of Shakespeare's "All’s well that ends well."  Whew!

I didn't dare disturb that time of peace by asking three more questions that burned hot within me and still burn, today.  Perhaps you've privately nourished similar questions: 

 

          (1)  Might repeatedly referring to a given church building as "God's house" have anything at all to do with our clergy's ability to get great bags of dollars for those

                    aggressive building programs?

          (2)  Where in the Bible does it say, or even imply that the mission of the church is to get people "saved?"  What, exactly is the mission of the church?  Isn't it to make

                 disciples...per Jesus' "the great commission?" 

                 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all the

                 things I have commanded you..." —Matthew 28:19,20 [NIV]

                 Wouldn't trying to make disciples from the pulpit be about as intelligent as trying to teach groups of toddlers how to ride bicycles...from behind a podium?  Not

                 possible.  Must be coached.  One-one-one.  So, who's making disciples?  Are any of today's visible churches fulfilling "the great commission?"  Or do they only 

                 make Believers? ...big, big difference.  And what possible role might a multi-million-dollar church campus play in the fulfillment of "the great commission?"

          (3) That scripture, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, If a man won't work, he shouldn't eat—doesn't the context clearly suggest that Paul was talking about preachers and

                teachers?  If not, then why did he preface it by reminding those church people at Thessalonica that he had earned his own living (as a tentmaker) while among

                them...eating his own bread, so as not to be a burden to them?  In Paul's writings to other churches, his message was remarkably consistent, as confirmed by the 

                scriptural examples below.  (You may agree that very little commentary is needed.):

          > Paul was a tentmaker. —Acts 18:3

          > "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." — Paul, at Acts 20:34

          > "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit..." — Paul, at 2 Corinthians 2:17

          > "I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the 'super apostles,' [Today,

                        that'd be "super preachers."] even though I am nothing ...How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you?  Forgive me this

                        wrong! [an apparent sarcasm]  Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but

                        you.  After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.  So I will very gladly

                       spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.  If I love you more will you love me less?  Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you.  Yet,

                       crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!  Did I exploit you by any of the men I sent you?  I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him.  Titus did

                       not exploit you, did he?  Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?"  —Paul, at 2 Corinthians 12:11,13-18 [NIV] 

                       [Note: All emphasis within quotations of Scripture throughout the Scribe's BLOG series is mine.  That includes the bolding of quoted text and the insertion of

                       italicized bracketed text, as above.  Also, all scripture is from the KJV, except where noted otherwise, also as above.]

           > "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" —Paul, at Galatians 4:16

           > "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through

                      with many sorrows.  But [thou], O man of God, flee these things..." —Paul, at 1 Timothy 6:10,11

           > "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre [i.e.: money...or

                          even "a living?"] but of a ready mind." —1 Peter 5:2.

 

                 Have you ever heard a pulpit sermon that included those scriptures?  Nor have I. 

"Saint Peter don’t you call me 'cause I can't go; I owe my soul to the company store."

                   —song lyrics from Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons," on the charts-topping "Classic Country" album, 1950-64

 

          All that aside, we become “The Church” (a.k.a.: Christ’s Body) only when we are assembled together, at least in small groups.  Synergy can emerge.  Eventually, that can become mutually rewarding Holy Spirit synergy. 


          Does that mean we must meet in church buildings?  No, but we are to join our hearts and minds together for the purpose of gaining the original truth and then acting on it, together, to fulfill the mission that
Jesus assigned to us: to make disciples of the people that God adds to the church.

 

          Finally, God dwells not in buildings, today, but in the hearts of people who love Him and do their best to follow Jesus' example for mission-driven living.  If that includes you, then you are the house of God and, when together in His name, we are God's house.  No church building can compete.  Take that to the bank.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0029, 10/12/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "CONFUSING Words & Phrases"

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          Ever get a customer service rep who used her company's internal jargon to explain why she couldn't be helpful to you?  Why would she have done that?  Do you sometimes think your preacher is speaking in a foreign language...using unfamiliar words and phrases he learned in seminary?  Why would he do that?  Here, I won't attempt to explore their possible motives, except to observe that the primary motive should always be to communicate efficiently and effectively – to the benefit of one's listeners.  What other motives can you imagine?  What kind of words and phrases do you think they should use?  Are there exceptions?  I can think of just one.  I've cited it below.

 

          In this post I will try to bring you up to speed with just five of the seminary-prescribed theological terms you are more likely to hear from the pulpit.  If you're a preacher, perhaps you'll consider using some of the simpler terminology, here, instead of the "educated" words and phrases that can intimidate your flock or, at least, diminish their comprehension and even stunt their growth.  Is this an indictment?  Not an indictment, but a sincere attempt to be helpful to you and to those who trust you for Truth.  In fact, a man whom I think is among the smartest thinkers/communicators alive today posted this to Facebook on August 31, 2013:

 

          “I remember years ago when I asked the Lord to give me the opportunity to preach and He showed me the WORLD.  Many of us are asking the same question while our neighbors, family and friends are walking right past us on a daily basis.  We stride right by the WORLD on our way to the pulpit to preach to the choir.  Want to practice apologetics?  Defend the faith when honest critics have questions.  Want to practice homiletics?  There is always a platform somewhere waiting to hear Jesus' name.  Want to engage hermeneutics?  There are plenty of baby Christians around looking to be taught.”  —Chaplain Tommy Davis, Rochester, NY

 

          I suspect that Chaplain Davis' intended audience was his perceived peer group; i.e.: other preachers.  By exposing that message to thousands of non-preachers in his reading audience, though, he multiplied the potential effectiveness of the message.  How?  It's like this, you see:  "Amen!" originally meant "So be it!"  Today, it has come to mean "You tell'em, brother!"  Many of the non-preachers who read Chaplain Davis' post quickly recognized a classic "Amen!" opportunity.  Then, though, they started feeling guilty...for having savored the "Amen!" response without having fully comprehended what they had just read. 

 

          Many of those smart people then Googled® "apologetics," "homiletics" and "hermeneutics."  After that they felt a lot better about themselves.  Whew!  Some of them even began to comprehend the critical fact that preaching is NOT the exclusive domain of "preachers"—that they, too, are to be held accountable for practicing "apologetics," "homiletics" and "hermeneutics."  A few of those good people may even self-initiate a study of each of those disciplines.  I'm not certain that Chaplain Davis, himself, knows how effectively and productively he had ministered to some in that much larger unintended audience.  He had ministered effectively to me.  My response is to extend the benefit to you.  Let's start with the three terms in Chaplain Davis' Facebook post and then include just two more, for now:

 

APOLOGETICS

To study and rationally defend the Christian faith to anyone who asks.  "...[be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..." —1 Peter 3:15

 

          Not a "preacher?"  Should you have to call your preacher whenever someone asks?  Should you just invite them to come and hear your wonderful preacher?  Know anyone who'd answer "yes" to both of those questions?  Does that person even know why they believe whatever they believe about the Bible and Christianity?  "In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination." —Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain

 

HOMILETICS

To prepare and then preach sermons. 

 

          It may surprise you to learn that Jesus' "The Great Commission" includes nothing at all about "getting people 'saved'."  It's all about making disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of @ NIV] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." —Matthew 28:19,20

 

          In the visible church there are lots and lots of believers but very few disciples.  So who's gonna start fixing that?  You or your preacher? 

 

HERMENEUTICS

To rightly divide the word of Truth. 

 

          Seminaries tend to complicate this discipline: They reason that it's "a science" and only "professionals" can learn it and practice it.  Big problem there, too: Every denomination owns a "what 'we' believe" franchise.  Thence, all seminaries indoctrinate their students with "what 'we' believe" bias.  Who, then, is better equipped to read God's word as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means?  Wouldn't that be a critical foundational mindset for rightly dividing the word of Truth?  While you're pondering those two questions, this may help you answer them:  "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." —Upton Sinclair

 

          Ever notice the amazing similarity between the words  D I S C I P L E  and  D I S C I P L I N E ?   Given all that, should you abdicate your personal responsibility for the disciplines of "apologetics," "homiletics" and "hermeneutics" to your preacher?  Are you a believer or a disciple?  Disciples get onto the playing field; a.k.a. the battlefield of the Lord.  Believers sit in the bleachers; they're spectators.  Some writers call them "pew potatoes."  Google® that term for some fun reading.

 

EXEGESIS

The objective and critical interpretation and explanation of Scripture; i.e.: to rightly divide and truthfully explain the word of Truth, without bias. 

 

          There are lots of polished motivational speakers out there who claim to practice exegesis.  Some of them have gained enormous popularity: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." —2 Timothy 4:3,4

 

          Given your current insight who, today, is practicing exegesis?

 

EISEGESIS

The subjective and biased "interpretation" and explanation of Scripture; i.e.: to wrongly divide and falsely explain the word of Truth, with bias. 

 

          Given your current insight who, today, is practicing eisegesis?

 

THE CRITICAL TAKE-HOME MESSAGE—

 

          It matters not that you may perceive your preacher's knowledge of Scripture to be amazing – and even without bias.  It matters not that your preacher may be acclaimed as a highly polished and visibly successful motivational speaker.  It matters not that your preacher may be known as more of a "teacher" than a "preacher."  It matters not that you may perceive your preacher to be more "spiritual" than most other preachers.  It matters not that you perceive your preacher to have a major heart of compassion for the downtrodden...or for the "unsaved." 

 

          All that matters is that your preacher CANNOT make disciples from the pulpit.  That's absolutely impossible.  Doubt that?  Ask him to teach 100 young children how to ride bikes from behind that podium.  Nobody can "teach" even one kid how to ride a bike.  Nobody can "teach" a believer how to become a disciple, much less groups of believers.  Making disciples is the job of compassionate, well prepared, unpaid COACHES.  But where are those guys hiding...?

 

          "Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of @ NIV] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." —Matthew 28:19,20

 

          Submit your questions!  There's quite a long list of theological terms that, on the surface, sound complicated.  I'll try to simplify them for you.  Submit your scriptural rebuttals!  Much value can emerge from collaboration.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0028, 10/05/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "The KJV Bible —a one page history"

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          Mary Queen of Scots, mother of James VI of Scotland, was deposed by Elizabeth I of England in 1567 and then executed in 1587 after 19 years in prison.  James' father, Lord Darnley, was murdered in 1567.  James was just 13 months old in 1567 when he became King of Scotland.  He was to become King James I of England at the age of 37.  Ann, of Denmark, was to become his queen.  They were to have nine children together.

 

          Few historical figures have been as brilliant and as highly educated.  Like the also-highly-educated apostle Paul, James was multilingual—fluent in Greek, Latin, French, English and his native Scots.  He was somewhat fluent in Spanish and Italian, too.  William Shakespeare was one of his subjects.  Learning and writing thrived under his reign.

 

          James' rise to the English throne resulted, partly, from his having formed the foundation for what was to become known as the British Empire.  To accomplish that, he united the warring tribes of Scotland and then joined the crowns of Scotland and England in 1603.  He was the first to call England "Great Britain."  Reformation leader John Knox read James' coronation sermon.  The KJV (a.k.a. AV – Authorized Version of) the Bible was first published in 1611.

 

          James was born during the time of the Reformation.  He held the Roman Catholic Church in contempt.  He was fully aware of the popery's atrocities.  Roman clerics tried to kill him more than once.  In 1536, the popery had burned William Tyndale to death for distributing the Bible.  The popery was extremely angry with James, too, for his authorization of a Bible in the English language.  Roman Catholic Ambassador, Nicolo Molin, said this about King James: "...He is a Protestant...The king tries to extend his Protestant religion to the whole island.  The King is a bitter enemy of our religion (Roman Catholic)...He frequently speaks of it in terms of contempt.  He is all the harsher because of this last conspiracy (The Gunpowder Plot) against his life...He understood that the Jesuits had a hand in it."

 

          James wrote this in Basilicon Doron: "I am no papist as I said before...Now faith...is the free gift of God (as Paul sayeth).  It must be nourished by prayer, which is no thing else but a friendly talking to God.  Use oft to pray when ye are quiet, especially in your bed..."

 

          Roman Catholic Bibles were in Latin.  Except for those who were skilled with Latin, even fully literate laymen couldn't read them.  James was captive to and driven by a strong desire to make the Bible readily available to people in their own native languages.  He reasoned that if the common people could read God's word for themselves they'd no longer have to be systematically oppressed by an observably gluttonous, disgustingly corrupt, control-hungry, money-hungry, murderous clergy.  So he set out to change things.

 

          Imagine the logistics of such an undertaking!  Who to hire?  The translators had to be fluent in English and in ancient Hebrew (for Old Testament scriptures) and/or 1st-Century Greek (for New Testament manuscripts).  If you had to round up 1,500 or so people with those qualifications today, where would you find them?  Might a few of them be fully proficient, most of them just somewhat proficient and a few more of them barely proficient?  Would you promote those who're fully proficient to Supervisors and Managers and Directors?  Wouldn't that leave only the somewhat proficient and barely proficient to do the day-to-day translations?  It's a good thing for us that King James I was a really smart guy, because that's precisely the scenario he wrestled with.

 

          Given that scenario, he had to know there'd be at least a few inevitable errors in translation.  That's why any serious student of God's word must become familiar with (and comfortable in using) some other resources for full comprehension of what was originally written in the most important book ever in the history of mankind.  A good resource to start with would be the global platinum standard publication for the original meanings of Hebrew and Greek words and phrases, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.     A good Interlinear Bible is another must-have, must-use tool—featuring LITERAL ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS from the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.  There are easily-accessible online sites for both of those resources.  I'll be happy to email you hot links to the sites I use.  Just ask.  There is also a document on our web site that can be very helpful to you: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/Deer%20Panteth/08%2002%2001%20HowStudy.pdfThat may be your best place to start, but there's a must-read book, too:      New Age Bible Versions, by G. A. Riplinger: ISBN 0-9635845; Library of Congress Card Number 93-92561.

 

          Someone asks, "But don't we pay our preachers and theologians to do all that for us?"  Wisdom might respond, "King James reasoned that if the common people could read God's word for themselves, neither they, nor the original messages of God's written word would necessarily be held captive by ANY organized religion or its beholden representatives.  Power corrupts."

 

          There are errors in translation.  They were inevitable.  King James knew that.  He also knew that God has given us the spirit of sound minds...and that a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Still, though, the vast majority of literate lay Christians and surprisingly overwhelming numbers of their clergy continue in the naïve mindset that "We pay experts to do our Bible research and critical thinking for us."

 

          Of what possible value is a fully literate believer who pays others to get onto the playing field while he/she sits comfortably in the bleachers as a spectator?  Are they the same people who'd pay someone else to work out for them at the gym every day...hoping to get the muscles and the body tone and the stamina, themselves?  "Pew potato?"

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0027, 09/28/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "JUST PRAY"

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          "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  You're likely familiar with that scripture.  It's at James 5:16.  But does it mean what you've always been told it means?  Can't recall what it was that piqued my curiosity, but I went to the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible to find out what it meant...in the New Testament Greek tongue.  It's Strong's reference #G-1756, and the Greek word for the KJV phrase, "effectual fervent" is transliterated, energeō:

          1.  to be operative, be at work, put forth power

          2.  to effect

          3.  to display one's activity, show one's self operative

 

          Surely enough, its meaning is not a good match for what I had always been taught.  And then I remembered this verse:  "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." —Paul, at Ephesians 6:13

 

          Perhaps you can see why my perspective on prayers of petition started evolving.  I began to contemplate the notion that "effectual fervent" petitions might actually include observable goal-oriented action and prayer.  Then I remembered this profound observation: "When the Holy Spirit enables a person to achieve a goal that he'd normally NOT be able to achieve, it's a lot like driving a car with power steering and power brakes.  That person must go through the exact same physical motions as with manual steering and brakes, but the task becomes a lot easier." —T. C. Newsome

 

          For some reason, then, this verse came to mind: "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take [it], and likewise [his] scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." —Jesus, at Luke 22:35,36   A purse was a money bag; but I had to look up that word, "scrip."  Strong's reference for it is #G-4082.  The transliterated Greek word is pēra—"a leathern sack, in which travelers and shepherds carried their provisions."

 

          From that point forward, Jesus clearly expected his followers to do a lot more than just PRAY for protection and safe passages throughout their lives and ministries.  For their journeys they were to take extra pairs of shoes, changes of clothing, food and water.  But wait!  He also told them to carry swords!  Why?  Some may naïvely argue that the swords were only for killing animals for food.  You may suspect another important application—self protection.  That's why large numbers of practical realists in the U.S. keep firearms...for self protection.  Plenty of intelligent (and now scriptural) rationale to support that practice and the mindset.

 

          All that's in the New Testament.  Are there Old Testament parallels?  Consider this: God fought many of the Hebrews' battles for them, but He still expected them to maintain a well-trained standing army that was able and ready to do battle at a moment's notice.  Sounds like God's M.O. is unchanging; doesn't it?  "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." —Paul, at Hebrews 13:8

 

          Given all that, why are so many Christian believers NOT involved in the effectual fervent battle to salvage the once-Christian U.S.A.?  Some may be of this mindset: "I hate my government and the anti-Christian Common Core curriculum in our public schools, but I live too comfortably to get motivated enough to do something about it."  But millions of others fully trust in their preachers who're telling them, "Just pray!"

 

          Just pray?  Really?  Is that scriptural?  "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." --Ezekiel 33:6

 

          After reading the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes just before the Revolutionary War a preacher named Peter Muhlenberg declared, "There is a time to preach and a time to pray but there is also a time to fight, and that time has now come!"  When the smoke cleared, America had won.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0026, 09/22/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "PENTECOSTAL TONGUES,’ etc."

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          Some claim the 1st-Century church was "Pentecostal," but only the church at Corinth is scripturally credited with the practice of "tongues," etc.  Because their practices were a near perfect match for modern pentecostal practices, Paul was overwhelmed with anger toward them.  His blistering rebukes at 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 confirm that.  Still, he recognized the need to control his fury, yielding 1 Corinthians 13.  But their "pentecostal" perversions weren't the only foolishness that was characteristic of those church people.  Some of them were apparently also in the habit of getting falling-down-drunk on the communion wine!  See 1 Corinthians 11:21,22 to confirm that.  Paul asked them, "Don't you have houses to eat and drink in?" (my paraphrase)

 

          Per 1 Corinthians 14:4, one who speaks in a "tongue" edifies only himself; i.e.: feeds his own ego.  It feels really religious—evokes "the warm fuzzies."

 

          Per Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14:2, the content of a genuine "tongue" is always directed to GOD; not to man.  Given that, can a Holy Ghost inspired "interpretation" ever be a "message" from God to man?  Can it ever begin with something like, "Thus sayeth the Lord, thy God!"?  Can Holy Ghost blasphemy be forgiven?

 

          Add to that the critical message of 1 Corinthians 14:22 – that a genuine "tongue" is never for the benefit of believers, but always for unbelievers.  Acts 2 is our only credible precedent.  There, the unbelievers who were converted were either bi-lingual or multi-lingual.  What they heard on that fateful morning were "the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11).  There were no "messages;" just praises to God.  The CONTENT of what those devout Jews heard was NOT what pricked their hearts to repentance.  What got their attention was the fact that the speakers were all unlearned Galileans, whose ONLY language was typically Aramaic.  That's the "tongue" Jesus always used when conversing with his disciples, too.  All of them were Galilean, except for Judas.

 

          There is no Holy Ghost gift of "a 'tongue'" in the Bible:  The genuine gift – for extremely rare use – as at Acts 2, is always a DIVERSITY of (i.e.: multiple) tongues, per 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 12:28. Those are the ONLY two scriptures that mention such a gift.  I was born into the pentecostal faith.  With not even one exception, every "tongue"-talker I've ever heard simply recycled the same "unknown" phrases and accents over and over again.  That used to give me "the warm fuzzies," too; but then I read about the SEDUCING spirits of 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1.  Entertainment sells.

 

          And then there's this: There are NO scriptural "unknown 'tongues'."  That word "unknown," when it precedes the word "tongue(s)" in the KJV, is always represented either in brackets or italics – to indicate that the word appears in NOT EVEN ONE of the original Greek-tongue manuscripts.  Each of the Acts 2 converts heard declarations of the Joel chapter 2 "wonderful works of God" in his own native language and hometown dialect.  No hyper-spiritual assistance needed.  At verse 4, the KJV calls them "other" tongues; i.e.: languages.

 

          Lest any modern pentecostal believer presume this article to be blasphemous, the profane proliferation of counterfeit "pentecost" suggests that there must surely be the genuine—and there is:  "Wherefore brethren, covet to prophesy [i.e.: to teach the truth of God's written word], and forbid not to speak with tongues [i.e.: because there just may occasionally be an other-language-speaking unbeliever present]." —Paul, at 1 Corinthians 14:39  (The editorial notes, here, are also mine.)

 

          Is sincere ignorance a good excuse?  At 1 Corinthians 14:38 Paul wrote, "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."  But here's the glitch: Once a pentecostal believer has been exposed to these Bible facts, he can no longer claim ignorance. 

 

          "MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF [sincerity?] [prayer?] [worship?] [regular church attendance?] [holiness?] [righteousness?] [faith?] [hyper-spirituality?] [getting "truly 'saved'?"] [believing "what ‘we’ believe?"] KNOWLEDGE… —Hosea 4:6

 

          Follow this hot link to learn much more:  http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/Intro%20Docs/Intro%203%20of%205.pdf

 

          Objective SCRIPTURAL rebuttals are always welcome.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0025, 09/14/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "The WHEAT"

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          It's fairly certain that you've read Jesus' end-times illustration, "The Tares and the Wheat."  In some bible versions it's called "The Weeds and the Wheat."  You'll do yourself a really big favor to read it again, though—this time as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.  If you'll do that you'll notice some really important stuff you are likely to have missed before.  It's at Matthew 13:24-30.  Jesus explained it at Matthew 13:36-43.

 

          Next, ask yourself these five easy questions:

          1)  Jesus' Tares/Weeds: What group of people do they represent?

          2)  Who are the Wheat in this parable?

          3)  Which group does Jesus say will get "TAKEN" without warning and what does He say will happen to them next?

          4)  Which group will get "LEFT BEHIND" and what does Jesus say will happen to them next?

          5)  Why did Paul write this and what does it mean? "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night...But ye, brethren, are not

               in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." —1 Thessalonians 5:2,4

 

          There are some really critical reasons why your answers will probably NOT match what you've always been taught about this parable. To discover those reasons and much more, you can start by following this PDF document link: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/Intro%20Docs/Intro%202%20of%205.pdf.  Be aware, though, that that's only an extremely brief introduction to the pertinent volumes of credible information and insight you can find on this unique web site.  The "INTRODUCTORY DOCUMENTS" tab, near the top of each web page, can help you start building on a foundation of solid, objectively defensible Bible truth about this topic and much more.

 

          "MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF [sincerity?] [prayer?] [worship?] [regular church attendance?] [holiness?] [righteousness?] [faith?] [hyper-spirituality?] [getting "truly 'saved'?"] [believing "what ‘we’ believe?"] KNOWLEDGE…" —Hosea 4:6

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0024, 09/09/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "OPINIONS"

 

          The prevailing RC/EC (i.e.: Religiously Correct / Ecumenically Correct) mindset is that "Christians have honest differences of opinion as to how to interpret various parts of the Bible, and that's okay!"  Can't argue against the facts:

It's partly true.

It's certainly "tolerant."

It sounds really "religious."

 

          But there's this: Fully literate Christians (and especially the professionals they trust) don't legitimately have the luxury of opinion on at least three critical Bible topics.  On each of these topics the scriptures are more than clear, and always in agreement:

End-Times Prophecy

Modern Pentecost

Salvation Theology

 

          Contrary to what you may have been taught, those scriptures aren't subject to casual or even expert "interpretation."  If you've heard differently, you're part of a rapidly growing majority.  Fear that.  At 2 Timothy 4:3,4 Paul wrote this about it: "...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."  Many [most?] of the sincere believers who buy into the enormously popular "expert" spins on those scriptures are substantially more likely to be among those who'll worship the wrong christ...sincerely believing him to be Jesus. [See 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12.]  Here's a primary example of the scriptural FACTS that endure in stark contrast to the enormously popular fables that run amok, even within the mainstream of today's visible church:

 

          FACT 1:  Jesus will arrive on a white "horse" [Rev. 19:11] at the 7th Vial, the 7th Seal and the 7th (i.e.: last) Trump. 

                          That'll happen precisely 3-1/2 days after the two murdered Witnesses come back to life [Rev. 11:3-15]. 

 

          FACT 2:  The premiere wrong christ will also arrive on a white "horse" [Rev. 6:2], but at the 6th Vial, the 6th Seal and the 6th Trump. 

 

          Question:  Are those "horses" really horses? 

              Answer:  They're vehicles similar to the one Ezekiel tried his best to describe in the first chapter of his book.

 

          Please take this very seriously.  There is an abundance of tragic misinformation into which millions of very sincere believers are buying.  Most of the professional Christians who dispense it simply don't know that what they're preaching is false.  You may agree that they should, though.  For them, this may be a critical continuing education opportunity.

 

          The observable mission of today's visible church is to teach people what to study in the Bible, to confirm "What 'We' Believe."  Our assignment is to help people learn how to study the Bible, to gain the original Truth—especially the scriptural truth about "End-Times Prophecy," "Modern Pentecost" and "Salvation Theology."  Perhaps the best place for you to start is here:  http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/introductory-documentsBut, please keep your Bible open and reference it frequently.  That’s because you wouldn't be smart to take our word – or the word of any other human being – for stuff like this:

 

"Thus saith the LORD; 'Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man...'" —Jeremiah 17:5

 

          Professional representative of Christ?  If you catch yourself leaning in the RC/EC direction you'll do well to recall this: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thence-forth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." —Jesus, at Matthew 5:13

 

—Scribe du jour, an informed layman

Blog #0023, 08/31/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Gotta Be Me!"

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          "Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong, whether I find a place in this world or never belong, I've gotta be me.  What else can I be but what I am?  I want to live, not merely survive.  I can't be right for somebody else if I'm not right for me.  I've gotta be free.  I'll do it alone, that's how it must be.  Daring to try, to do it or die, I've gotta be me."  Those lines are from song lyrics of the Sammy Davis Jr. rendition of "I’ve Gotta Be Me."

 

          Both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Pressley are often identified with "I Did It My Way."  With that song they elicited lots of spine tingles and crocodile tears, even more so after their deaths.

 

          Older folk will remember "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly," from the 1946 musical, "Annie Get Your Gun."  The troupe sang about how the Oakley family and their community lived happy lives despite their lack of education and wealth: "Still, they're as happy as can be, doin' what comes natur'lly."

 

          Odds are that at least one or two of those songs inspire feelings of pleasant nostalgia for you.  There may be a myriad of possible reasons for that, but this one thing's for certain: We're all creatures of Human Nature.  We've each learned that it can be painful to replace what comes naturally with behaviors that others may expect...or even prescribe for us.  Along the way we've also discovered that we must endure a lot of that pain in order to become functionally productive and reasonably successful within a civilized society. 

 

          Remember learning how to prepare for a job interview?  How to dress?  How to behave?  What to think about?  How to answer anticipated questions?  Remember finding out that table manners and good English can either get you a job promotion or cause you to lose out?  How about dating etiquette?  Adjusting your personal ambitions to become a valuable TEAM member can also be painful.  In none of those contexts will doing what comes naturally yield a truly favorable outcome.

 

          So how does one gain all that painful, but critical knowledge efficiently?  Twentieth-Century American moral and social philosopher, Eric Hoffer, wrote, "When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other."  A little known philosopher, T. C. Newsome, said this: "While it's true that experience is a good teacher, learning from other people's experiences can be considerably more efficient and a lot less painful."  Seems to me both of those guys knew what they were talking about.  But here's something of which apparently very few people are aware: God knew all that a long time before either of those guys figured it out.  That's one of the primary reasons why He put His word in writing for us—so that we can learn why and how to align with His superior thinking in order to experience abundant life, now and later, with a lot less pain.

 

          Most of the Old Testament heroes had substantial character flaws.  We can relate to that.  Many of the New Testament characters did stupid stuff, too.  We can relate to that.  In both testaments, the individuals and the nations always dropped the ball only when they were engaged in the stinking "gotta be me" thinking that's joined-at-the-hip with Human Nature.  When they recovered, it was always after they had discarded that stinking thinking and replaced it with the fully-informed thinking that God still prescribes today.  Painful?  Yes.  "No pain; no gain."  

 

          Fully informed?  Yes:  "My people are destroyed for lack of [sincerity?] [prayer?] [worship?] [regular church attendance?] [righteousness?] [hyper-spirituality?] [faith?] [holiness?] [getting "truly 'saved'?"] [believing "what ‘we’ believe?"] knowledge…" —Hosea 4:6

 

          For every human being, "doing what comes naturally" comes all too naturally.  Why?  Human Nature is the Sin Nature.  Christians are instructed to crucify it.  What comes naturally for us is captured in a dangerously misguided religious cliché, "Follow Your Heart."  The Old Testament is clearly a record of God's effort to teach the Hebrews why and how to THINK rationally...to use their minds, instead of their hearts, for making choices.  At Jeremiah 17:9 in the KJV translation is this: "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things] and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

 

          Here's a worthy thumbnail sketch of God's entire Old Testament message:

"O.K. guys, these are the boundaries for your thinking and your behavior.  Stay within these boundaries to enjoy my blessings and my protection.  Step one foot outside these boundaries and you're on your own.  Step back inside with plans to stay and you can, again, enjoy my blessings and my protection."

 

          The Gospels record Jesus' modeling of – and confirming – that mindset for us:  He never once permitted his feelings to override his thinking.  Want to be like Jesus?  That’s how.  Want proof?  Read about his post-wilderness-experience temptations at Matthew 4:1-11.

 

         Now that your knowledge includes the critical fact that human nature is the sin nature, can you afford to continue being "you?"...doing it "your way?"..."doing what comes naturally?" 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0022, 08/20/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Get It?"

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          “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.” --Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain

 

          Get It?

 

          Some “get it.”  Some don’t “get it.”  The Acts 17:11 Thessalonians didn’t “get it.”  They were skeptical.  But those people from Berea “got it.”  They had been skeptical, too.  The difference?  Suffice it to say, for now, that skepticism is a good thing—especially in matters of politics and religion.  The lone alternative is mindless gullibility.

 

          “Surely that can’t be true, Linda.  I mean, I’ve always heard that we shouldn’t be a ‘doubting Thomas’.” Elizabeth reacted.  “Every time I find myself questioning things I hear or see in church or on Christian TV I always pray for forgiveness!”

 

          I used to do that, too, Elizabeth.  But then I read something that turned me around 180 degrees,” offered Linda.  “Look! It’s right here in your Bible.  Read it!”

 

          “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to

          see if what Paul said was true.” —Acts 17:11 [NIV]

 

          “But isn’t that out of context?” Elizabeth snapped.

 

          “There!  You’ve just done it!  You’ve been a skeptic!  That’s great!  Do you feel guilty?” asked Linda.

 

          “No.  Well, yes…a little, I guess...I don’t know!” Elizabeth blushed.

 

          “Have you ever thanked the Lord for giving you a brain that lets you sort things out…you know, figure stuff out for yourself?” Linda asked.

 

          “Well, yes.”

 

          “See? Linda continued, “You have the spirit of a sound mind!  According to 2 Timothy 1:7 it’s a gift from God!  To not use your good mind fully, especially when searching for truth, would be a senseless waste of God’s gift to you!

 

           “Listen, Elizabeth: As long as there are human beings in the church, there will be error and deception.  And please remember that some of those human beings are in positions of leadership and authority and control, and often even fame and respect.”

 

          Elizabeth looked into Linda’s eyes.  She saw light there.  She felt the calm warmth of Linda’s demeanor.  “Yes. But are you saying that Thomas did a good thing?”

 

          “Do you think your church’s doctrine can withstand objective scriptural scrutiny, Elizabeth?”

 

          Why were the Bereans of Acts 17:11 said to have been of more noble character than the Thessalonians?  It was partly because they listened eagerly as their strong beliefs were being challenged on multiple points.  But it was what they did next that demonstrated the enormously desirable characteristic that distinguished them:  They went to their homes and studied the scriptures, again, every day, to learn whether what they had heard just might be true. 

 

          To learn whether your mindset is Thessalonian or Berean, something you believe strongly must be challenged.  How will you react?  Having itching ears instead of studying to discover truth, the Thessalonians among us heap unto themselves teachers; a.k.a. preachers.  They develop a strong preference for polished motivational speakers and feel-good teaching instead of sound doctrine.  They turn away from the truth and acquire a fondness for fanciful fables…and for their teachers…and for the warm fuzzies

 

          “...After their own lusts shall they heap unto themselves teachers, having itching ears.  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

          —Paul, at 2 Timothy 4:3,4

 

          Per 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12  God, himself, will send them strong delusions to help them believe lies.  Really?  Really.  Read it in your Bible.

 

          Fables sound good.  Fables feel good.  Fables often sound and feel more religious than truth.  That’s precisely why fables enjoy enormous popularity today in the visible church.  Few today will endure sound doctrine:

 

          “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate,

          and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” —Jesus, at Matthew 7:13,14

 

          Although covering a variety of topics of interest to every sincere Christian believer and every sincere member of the clergy, the underlying theme of the entire www.DYPK.org site is this:

 

          “How to make sure you will NOT be among the multiple billions of sincere people, worldwide, who will be fully convinced that the christ who’ll arrive at the 6th Trump is the Christ who has told us to expect him at the 7th Trump—a.k.a. the last Trump.” 

 

          Think you can’t be deceived?  Even God’s elect might be duped if that time were not to be shortened.  Read it in Jesus’ own words at Matthew 24:22,24 and Mark 13:20,22. 

 

          If you’re among the millions who’ve been assured that the church won’t be here to be deceived you should eagerly anticipate the first Subscribers-Only series on the web site.  This link will take you to a printable introductory document: http://bibleexplorers.webs.com/Intro%20Essays/Intro%202%20of%205.pdfWill your subsequent responses to those Bible Discovery OpportunitiesSM rank you with the Thessalonians or with the Bereans? 

 

          While those with a Berean mindset will not initially agree with each of the conclusions published here, they will do what the Bereans of Acts 17:11 did:  They’ll dig, afresh, into God’s written word to determine whether what they will have read just might point them to the truth.  They will examine each learning point by studying the pertinent scriptures in their own Bibles, reading as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.  And they will come to a full understanding that original truth cannot safely coexist with ANY sectarian “what ‘we’ believe’ franchise.

 

          “God’s gift of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste.” —T. C. Newsome

 

          It is my prayer that you will “get it” —that you will discover within yourself an already-existing Berean mindset.  For those not so fortunate I pray that your curiosity will be piqued so strongly that you cannot help but become informed, at least.  Perhaps, then, you will permit the Holy Spirit to work within you to yield a mindset worthy of the Acts 17:11 Bereans.

 

          Given the lessons of Acts 17:11, it possible that Thomas was Jesus’ most noble disciple?

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0021, 08/12/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "WHY Do Others Believe?"

 

          Click HERE to view a chart that depicts estimated world populations by religious affiliation.  If you were to Google® the phrase “list of world religions,” you would find numbers that may differ from those, but not substantially.   Please review the chart and then answer the following seven questions, privately and prayerfully:

 

(1)  The Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus you’ve encountered―how do you think they each arrived at the conclusion that their respective faith is in the only true

        religion...or, at least, the primary "path to God?"

 

(2)  Those of the Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist faiths [etc.] that you know―what do you

         think was the typical process that led each of them to conclude that their respective division of Christianity is the “true” (or, at least, the best or “safest” form of)

         Christianity?

 

(3)  How and at what point did you decide to invest the rest of your life in believing whatever you personally believe about the Bible and Christianity?

 

(4)  Are your answers to the first and second questions the same―or are they different?  If different, how and why are they different?  If they are the same, what should

         those people do about that?

 

(5)  Are your answers to the first, second and third questions the same―or are they different?  If they’re different, how and why are they different?  If they are the same,

         what must you do to fix that?

 

       > “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.”―Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark

           Twain

 

(6)  Was Mark Twain right?

 

(7)  Which of the following do you think will get you a “pass” on Judgment Day?

        “But I was really sincere!  I felt in my spirit (or in my heart) that what we believed was true!”

        “But I trusted my church to dispense truth!”

        “But I trusted my preacher!”  Why would he have told me something that he hadn’t personally verified to be true?”

        “But I trusted my family and friends!  Why would they tell me anything that they hadn’t checked-out?”

        “With family and career I just didn’t have time to search for the original truth, so I had to trust others for that.”

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0020, 08/06/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "To Be Like Jesus…"

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          Tears flow fancifully down the faces of many followers of Christ as they sing the lyrics, "To be like Jesus...To be like Jesus...That's all I want...To be like Him." What most of them fail to recognize, though, is that Jesus never even once permitted his "feelings" to interfere with his critical "thinking" and his actions. Want to be like Jesus?  That's how.

 

          > "The HEART [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?" --Jeremiah 17:9

 

          > "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND…" --Paul, at Romans 12:2

 

          > "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." --Paul, at Philippians 2:5

 

          > "...not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound MIND..." --Paul, at 2 Timothy 1:7

 

          > "...Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same MIND…" --1 Peter 4:1

 

          For Christian believers and every other human being, "Doing What Comes Naturally" comes all too naturally.  Because human nature is the Sin nature, Christians are instructed to crucify it.  What comes naturally for us is captured in two dangerously misguided religious clichés: "Follow your heart" and "Let your conscience be your guide."

 

          The Old Testament is clearly a record of God’s effort to teach the Hebrews why and how To THINK rationally—to use their MINDS, instead of their HEARTS, for making choices:  In a nutshell, God’s entire Old Testament message is justly characterized like this: "O.K. guys, these are the boundaries for your behavior.  Stay within these boundaries to enjoy my blessings and my protection from your enemies.  Step one foot outside these boundaries and you’re on your own.  Step back inside with plans to stay and you can, again, enjoy my blessings and my protection." 'Tis blasphemy to "spiritualize" such a pragmatic concept. 

 

          An uncommonly insightful Facebook friend, Stanley Levy of Torrance, CA, posted this on Saturday, March 16th:  "When I look back over my life, though I can recall my emotions at different times, the overriding question that comes to mind is the one I am persuaded that God will put to me on that day. It is not, when one thing or another occurred, 'How did you FEEL?' but rather, 'What did you DO?' My Lord, help me not to let my deceitful heart decide my actions, that my answer to You, when You call upon me, is as clear as the mind you gave me, and not muddled by the ramblings of a wandering heart."

 

          "God's gift of a sound MIND is a terrible thing to waste." —T. C. Newsome

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0019, 07/29/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Ears to Hear"

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          Yes, it’s really true: Jesus never shared any of the important stuff with anyone until after they had demonstrated “ears to hear.”  Why?  Because he only had three years to accomplish his mission.  If he had shared the important stuff with everyone – most of whom wouldn’t have had “ears to hear” – it might have taken him 3,000 years to complete his assignment.  Clearly, the efficiency of his sharing was as important as his message!  So, how did he know when a person had acquired “ears to hear?”  This is how:

 

          Meteorologists confidently forecast stormy weather when barometric pressures fall.  The lower the barometric pressure, the more intense the storm.  That’s because nature abhors a vacuum.  Adjacent areas of higher air pressure rush frantically towards a low-pressure area, in an effort to equalize the barometric pressure.  That causes wind...and other familiar weather phenomena.

 

          When a person gets really, really curious about something he/she starts asking questions...questions that appear to arise from a burning way down deep inside.  That’s because human nature also abhors a vacuum.   When those kinds of questions emerged from a person, Jesus knew he wouldn't be wasting his extremely valuable time in sharing critical information with him/her...because the timing was right: That person's listening efficiency was at its very highest point.

 

          There were some notable occasions when Jesus used a brilliant technique for purposely YIELDING a piqued listening efficiency in people who didn’t already have “ears to hear.”  His intentional encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well is an excellent example of the technique he used to do that.  That High-Vacuum Ministry TechniqueSM can be taught, coached, practiced and mastered.  Shouldn’t that sort of discipleship skill-building replace the currently observable emphasis on entertainment in the visible church?  Shouldn’t “To be like Jesus,” be much more than the poignant words of a song?  Shouldn’t Christians be learning the methods Jesus used and mastering the skills he demonstrated for building the Kingdom?  Isn’t our time short, too?

 

          You?  Do you have "ears to hear?"

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0018, 07/22/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "How to ANSWER"

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Early this morning, a 16-year-old female reader wrote this:

          "If someone asked you why you're a Christian, what would you say and why would that person need to be one, too?  A few times I've had people ask me why I believe what I do.  But I never could answer it because it's just what I've grown up on.  It's a hard question.  I could say some great things about being a Christian.  I'm forgiven, I'm loved, I learn such great knowledge from what he put for me, I have an eternal home and a living God I praise.  But why?  Some people that aren't Christians wonder how we get here and what's the point of staying in that type of belief.  But how exactly would you explain that to someone who doesn't even know where to begin?  Or why on earth we even believe what we do?  It sounds crazy, but it's like a[n] [East] Indian who'd grow up on something different.  Maybe we're curious on why they believe what they believe and where's [the] proof.  I can't prepare myself for people like that with questions, so when they ask, how am I supposed to get them anywhere?"

 

This is how I responded:

          Hey, [name withheld as a courtesy].  

          No matter what the religion, almost NO ONE would be able to come up with an effective answer for those who ask. 

 

          Here's a memorable quote: 

          "In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination." --Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark

          Twain

 

          Here's a pertinent scripture that I've never heard from ANY pulpit:

          "...[be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that ASKETH you a reason of the hope that is in you..." --1 Peter 3:15   (Emphasis via capitalization is mine.)

 

          I think the reason why most preachers choose to ignore that scripture is because they'd rather teach their people to VOLUNTEER the gospel message.  They call it "witnessing," but that's a classic oxymoron.  (You may want to look up "oxymoron" in a dictionary.  You may also want to look up the words, "witness" and "witnessing," too.)  First of all, "volunteering the gospel message to others is "pushy."  Second, it is horribly inefficient; i.e. a waste of time for BOTH parties.  That's because, until a person ASKS, they don't have what Jesus called "ears to hear:"  Jesus NEVER shared any of the really important stuff with anyone until after they had clearly demonstrated "ears to hear."

 

          The very fact that you're aware (and concerned) that a person who asks deserves a credible answer is evidence that you've ALREADY distinguished yourself from at least 95% of the world's religious population.  I think you can build your own standard answer by following the apparent pattern of Jesus' first disciples and apostles:

          (1)   They cited the Hebrew [i.e.: Old Testament] scriptures that foretold the coming of the Messiah.

          (2)   They shared critical stories about the life and ministry of Jesus.

          (3)   They talked about his capture, mock trials, scourging, crucifixion and resurrection.

          (4)   They spoke of "The Great Commission."

          (5)   If they thought the other person/people STILL had "ears to hear," they shared the plan of salvation.  For us, that might include John 3:16,17.

 

          All this will require some short-term and long-term study and practice on your part, but I'm confident that you can master this skill.

 

 

Within a few short minutes, I received this response:

          "Thank you for all that information! I'll be going over it and going to the Bible.  I figured that I should wait 'til a person asks me, because I wouldn't like to be told or pushed into something like that without wanting to know in the first place; that is, if I were someone else.  When someone asked me recently, I just all of a sudden had that question. And I've never heard that scripture, either, come to think of it.  I'll definitely have to do some studying on this subject too!  Thanks so much!"

 


          Might you have responded differently?  If so, how?  What must I share, next, with this impressionable reader???

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

 

READERS  RESPOND

 

Adult reader, Becky W., sent the following response via email on 07/23/13:

          "That scripture in 1 Peter immediately came to my mind even before I read your column.  Telling my story of redemption as well as God's love in John 3:16,17 would be good as well.  I believe that God gives us the words to help bring others to Him.  I also include God in regular conversations even if people don't ask--without beating them about the head and shoulders with a Bible because (obviously) that won't work.  Giving God glory at every opportunity is my way of praising Him, and it could be an opportunity for someone to ask me about my faith at that moment or during a time of need later on.  I believe we need to live in such a manner that we don't have to shout that we are a Christian for people to see it.  Our words and our actions should speak it loudly every day of our lives.  Thanks for your ministry!"


Blog #0017, 07/21/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "CONTRADICTIONS"

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          Like many others I once concluded, privately, that the Bible was loaded with contradictions.  Some of those perceived contradictions are in the very first book of the Bible.  Here are four primary examples:

 

          A.  Genesis 1:3-5 says that God created light and "day and night" on day one.  But Genesis 1:14-19 declares that God divided the day from the night by creating the sun

                and the moon and the stars on the fourth day.

 

          B.  We read at Genesis 1:26-31 that God created mankind (male AND female) on day six.  They were clearly "hunters and gathers."  Later, per Genesis 2:5, God

                observed that there was nobody suitable for farming.  For that initial task he formed a man, according to Genesis 2:7, but not yet a woman.  Genesis 2:18,21-23 is 

                where we get the story of Adam's Missing RIB—the topic of Blog #16, below. 

 

          C.  Did Eve really eat a piece of fruit – maybe an apple – from a literal fruit tree and then convince Adam to take a bite?  Really?

 

          D.  Cain migrated East after having killed Abel, per Genesis 4:16, and apparently married a wife from the Genesis 1:26-31 "hunter gatherer" people.  He is NOT listed

                as one of Adam's offspring in the 5th chapter of Genesis.  Why?  And what caused God, at Genesis 4:3-7, to consider Abel's sacrifice "good" but Cain's sacrifice

                "bad?"  Does that make good sense to you?

 

          I was always afraid to ask questions like these.  You?

 

          If you're the least bit curious and would like to participate in one or more of the Link1TM Bible Research Team's upcoming assignments, there are just two hurdles:

          (1)  Read "How To Study The Bible" for full comprehension.

          (2)  Convince us that you can participate interactively and objectively.

 

          Once you've cleared that first hurdle, email us at Link1research@gmail.com  to learn how you may clear the second hurdle.  (Please Note: That's different from our usual BibleExplorers@yahoo.com  "Contact Us" address.)

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0016, 07/14/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Adam’s Missing RIB"

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          Insatiably curious even as a very young child, I wondered about the differences between girls and boys.  One of several burning questions I could hardly wait to explore was, "Do girls have more ribs?"  My ordained pastor/evangelist dad's response to that question went something like this: "God's word says he formed Eve from Adam's rib and we have to accept it, by faith."  Today, I still wonder whether he had ever counted his ribs and my mom's.  Could he have been afraid that he might discover something that may disturb his faith?  In fairness, though, today we're privy to some critical knowledge that simply wasn't available to people then…on this Bible topic and on a surprising number of others, too.  Volumes of that kind of knowledge await your discovery on this web site.

 

          Many Christian believers and their preachers think Genesis is a book of "poetry."  For them (and for millions of others who've invested boatloads of priceless Faith EquitySM major surprises await!

 

          The rib counting is now complete:  Boys and girls have exactly the same number of chest cavity ribs.  Does that disturb your faith?  Hope not, because there are at least two other possible physical "ribs" God may have taken from Adam to create Eve.  Click HERE for much more on this topic.


—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

Blog #0015, 06/29/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "DECISIONS"

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          Do the scriptures prescribe precisely how Christian believers should go about making decisions?  How about life-or-death decisions?  Some will be amazed to learn that they do!  Here's that two-part prescription:

 

I.  Ignore  Your  FEELINGS:

       A.  Some who're wise in their own eyes will tell you that you should always follow your heart.  Sounds really good, but it's nothing more than a time-worn cliché.  In no

               way is it even remotely aligned with scripture:

      B.  "The HEART [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?" —Jeremiah 17:9

      C.  The Old Testament Hebrews' problems were always a direct result of their having favored their feelings over God’s precise instructions for national success.  There

              were no exceptions.

 

II.  Use  Your  MIND:

          A.  "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power…and of a sound MIND." —2 Timothy 1:7

          B.  "Let this MIND be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." —Philippians 2:5

          C.  "…arm yourselves likewise with the same MIND..." —1 Peter 4:1

          D.  So, what MIND was in Christ Jesus?  Revisit his post-wilderness-experience temptation for a refresher: 

                  1.  His response to each of Satan’s temptations was not emotional or “spiritual,” but practical: “It is written…” 

                 2.  The fact is that our Lord never permitted the unreliable feelings of his HEART to override the pragmatic function of his MIND.

                 3.  In no scripture (O.T. or N.T.) is there even so much as an implication that believers should put on the HEART of Christ.  You've heard differently?  Go figure. 

                        Skeptical?  Why not ask your preacher to help you find such a scripture?

           E.  "...be ye transformed by the renewing of your MIND, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." —Romans 12:2

                   1.  This scripture may be the KEY to your understanding:  Instead of wringing your hands and praying to God, "Please show me what my decision should be!" just

                        use your brain.

                   2.  If you have acknowledged the Lord in everything you have become and in everything you do, He will make sure your decision will be the right one:  "In all thy

                         ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." —Proverbs 3:6 

            F.  "God's gift of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste." —T. C. Newsome

 

          Given such a clear and plainly-written scriptural prescription, here’s something I’ve used to HELP me use my brain to make important decisions:  On a blank sheet of notebook paper, draw a really big “T.”  On the left-hand side, list all the reasons why you think decision #1 might be best.  On the right-hand side, list all the reasons why you think decision #2 might be best.  Then do a tally.

 

          Finally, "...having done all,...stand." —Ephesians 6:13

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0014, 06/24/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Entertainment Opiate"

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Entertainment in all forms is the OPIATE of the uninformed masses...to include regular churchgoers.  Danger!

Entertainment in the visible church includes the ever-popular, highly-polished motivational speakers and their positive-thinking messages.  They build mega-churches and/or attract massive groups of fans and followers.  They masquerade as God's handpicked emissaries, elevated with pomp and circumstance substantially above all other believers.  Most of them demonstrably know little or nothing about the scriptures beyond what their respective denominations prescribe.  They preach "What 'WE' Believe."

They're a lot like medical doctors who think they've "arrived" after having graduated from med school and completing a residency. Paul characterized them as "Super Preachers" at 2 Corinthians 11:5-15 and 12:11,13-19. (You might want to read those scriptures for some critical additional insight.)

Is that the primary reason why so many naïve Christian believers don't get involved in the political process?  Here’s something fresh and new about that from a 3rd-party blogger friend: http://blackmanthinkin.com/2013/06/22/are-you-willing-to-act/.


Like our Facebook Page to see weekly "Something's NEW" updates. There's always something new!  Today, for example, you can find a brand new page for those interested in Small Group Bible Studies.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0013, 06/18/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "SALVATION Theology"

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Little-Known Bible Fact:

Knowing how to determine the verb and predicate phrase TENSES is critical to the correct interpretation of those verses that relate to the Christian concept of "salvation."  John 3:16 may be a good starting place:  The KJV word, "believeth," there, is in the PRESENT PROGRESSIVE tense; not in the Past tense. 

 

Hmmm...

How and why have so many highly educated Bible "experts" missed that?

 

Click HERE for a worthy introduction to our exhaustive scholarly research re: "Salvation Theology."

 

Click HERE for an easy-to-use 2-page tool that can help you determine verb and predicate phrase tenses for yourself. 

(It’s not rocket science.  I learned everything I know about it in a 7th-grade public school English class.)

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0012, 06/14/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Zionist"

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          Think of yourself as a "Christian Zionist?"  Will you share your scriptural feedback on the following?  (Please withhold any "what 'we' believe" or "This is what my favorite Bible expert teaches" rhetoric.  Clear scriptural feedback and/or sound logic can be mutually beneficial.):

 

          At chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation are the critical letters our Lord dictated to John for delivery to the symbolic end-time churches.  Jesus cited NO fault with just two of those seven churches.  They were Smyrna (2:8-11) and Philadelphia (3:7-13).  The ONE thing those two churches have in common is that they teach against "them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan" (2:9 and 3:9).

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0011, 06/05/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Extra-Biblical Revelation"

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          Extra-Biblical "revelation" is, at best, dangerously destructive.

 

          Many, even in the mainstream visible church, have fallen – and continue to fall – for ridiculous fables because they’re focused on trying to "get messages" from the Spirit.  That's especially dangerous when they do it before they've acquired the KNOWLEDGE that's required for determining whether a given messenger is The Holy Spirit or another spirit.  In my long-term and short-term observation, it's almost always another spirit...that mimics the "warm fuzzies" that uninformed believers associate with The Holy Spirit.  How and why are those other spirits so enormously successful at that?  They're the DECEIVING spirits of 1 Timothy 4:1 and 1 John 4:1.

 

          "My people are destroyed for lack of  [sincerity?]  [prayer?]  [worship?]  [regular church attendance?]  [holiness?]  [righteousness?]  [faith?]  [hyper-spirituality?]  [regular participation in trance-like praise and worship? (Can anyone cite a scriptural precedent for that -- OT or NT?)]  [getting "truly 'saved'?"]  [believing "what ‘we’ believe?"]  KNOWLEDGE… —Hosea 4:6

 

          "...For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to KNOWLEDGE..." —Paul, at Romans 10:1,2

 

          "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray...if you receive a different spirit...or a different gospel...you put up with it easily enough [i.e.: You’re waaayyy too gullible!].  But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those 'SUPER APOSTLES.'  I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge..." —Paul, at 2 Corinthians 11:3-6

 

          (So, what were Paul's true feelings about those "super preachers" and their gullible followers?)

 

          Today's "super preachers" draw the largest followings -- and successfully mine their followers' dollars – because their stock and trade is entertainment; i.e.: they're little more than highly polished motivational speakers.  They succeed by making sheeple FEEL good.  Some of the most popular among them clearly don't even have a good BASIC understanding of God's written word.

 

          Would it be reasonable to label those who follow today's super preachers "naive?"  Yes; because per 2 Timothy 4:3,4, THEY WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE.  They're motivated only by their insatiable appetites for "the warm fuzzies."  Their ears itch!

 

          CRITICAL THINKING is an almost indispensable skill in this Information Age.  Today's schools (public and parochial, grade school and college) teach their students WHAT to think.  The visible church teaches people WHAT to think.  Shouldn’t someone be helping people learn HOW to think...and HOW to study God's written word as-if-no-one-had-ever-told-them-what-it-means?  This still-new web site may be uniquely positioned to do that.  Like the Facebook page to see weekly "Something's New!" updates.

 

          "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." --Alvin Toffler, former associate editor of Fortune magazine

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

NOTE:  In this post and all others, emphasis within quoted scripture (via bolding, capitalization and extra bracket text, etc.) is mine.  You can click on the blue hot links to see the original scriptural quotes.

 

Blog #0010, 05/30/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Sabbath"

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          In NO scripture – Old Testament or New Testament – was the Sabbath Day ever for going to church; e.g.: "See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."  —Exodus 16:29

 

          So why are denominational "experts" still arguing, today, about which day is the Sabbath?  Click HERE to get the Bible facts.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0009, 05/24/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Gaining TRUTH"

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          Gaining God's ORIGINAL TRUTH is not a destination, but a journey. That's why long-term careful observation has taught me to distrust those who behave as if they've discovered it, but to learn as much as I can from those who behave as though they're still working diligently to acquire it (original truth). All of THOSE people I've encountered would love to be proven wrong on any of their conclusions...with sensibly comprehended scripture and sound logic. Enjoy the JOURNEY.

 

--Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0008, 05/22/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Modern PENTECOST"

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          Viewers of Christian TV can easily get the impression that modern pentecost is overwhelmingly the predominate doctrine of mainstream Christianity.  It has not yet achieved that goal, but some researchers are predicting that it will soon overtake the various doctrines of modern catholicism in that race to the top, worldwide.

 

          We've heard several recent questions and concerns about modern pentecostal doctrines and practices…from pentecostal believers and non-pentecostals, too.  Objective readers should be able to find answers to most of those questions and resolution for many of those concerns in the "Members Only" documents on this site.  Those will be accessible soon.  Meanwhile, you can find some really helpful foundational reading at the "Intro Essays" page.  We hope you will quickly discover that it matters not at all what anyone believes about any of this.  All that matters is what's clearly written – or clearly not written – in the scriptures about any of this.  (Extra-biblical "revelation" is dangerous, at best.)

 

          You will find it important to keep in mind the fact that the "Modern Pentecost" and "End-Times Prophecy" [i.e.: "Pre-Tribulation Rapture"] topics are joined-at-the-hip, having both FIRST debuted in early 1830 at and near Port Glasgow, Scotland, and orchestrated by some of the same really colorful characters.  Please write us about any questions or concerns that may linger after you've read those essay collections and I will attempt to address each of them from a purely scriptural perspective.  You may also want to read the very first Scribe's BLOG post, below, to get a good feel for the mindset that drives our continuing search for knowledge and understanding.

 

          Finally, before I ever began my personal scholarly research on the web site's three primary topics, I started practicing what my many preacher friends and relatives call "exegesis."


          A delightful Southern Baptist lady started attending our Sunday morning adult Bible study classes on the invitation of a friend who had promised that she might learn a lot.  She appeared to be learning, and really pleased about that.  Then came Pentecost Sunday...

 

          I prepared and then taught from the A/G's literature (and the prescribed Bible passages) about the doctrines and practices in which I had believed since childhood.  The concerned look on that fine lady's face was followed by some of the most serious questions and concerns about the scriptural rationale for our modern pentecostal doctrines and practices that I had ever encountered.  Of course I had encountered questions, but not such intelligently articulated questions.

 

           That FORCED me into the pertinent scriptures.  What I began to discover, then, took the form of validating that fine lady's questions and concerns—ALL of them.  For months, I searched for scriptures with which to credibly defend our pentecostal faith

 

          Click here to learn more.

 

Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0007, 05/11/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Saved"

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          There is a popular notion among surprisingly large numbers of Christian believers that, for them, Jesus' sacrifice took care of ALL sin and/or its consequences.  They clearly think their sins of the past, present and future are forgiven.  There is no scripture in the Old or New Testament to support such a naïve presumption; e.g.: "...[he] has forgotten that he was purged from his OLD sins…" —2 Peter 1:9

 

          Regarding the modern religious cliché, "I'm 'saved'" or "he/she's 'unsaved'," here is a little-known fact: The scriptures consistently characterize Salvation as a FUTURE condition.  Here are a couple of examples:  (A) "...for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed." —Paul, at Romans 13:11   (B) "...for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee…" —Paul, at 1 Timothy 4:16

 

          Still curious?  Don't believe it?  Does your preacher know?  There's an abundance of sound scriptural confirmation on this site.  A good place to start is with this hot link to INTRO ESSAY #4: "Salvation Theology."

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0006, 05/04/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "10 'Lost' Tribes of Israel"

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          Any "Europeans" in your family tree?  If so, you may be descended from one or more of the 10 formerly "Lost Tribes of Israel."  Click HERE to find out.  (That will take you to Appendix 5, Exhibits C-G on the ALL ACCESS page.)

 

          Meanwhile, please be aware that a very small percentage of Hebrews are/were Jews.  To be a Jew one must be a genetic descendant of the Hebrew tribe of JUDAH or BENJAMIN or, occasionally, the tribe of LEVI.  Just a remnant of those people ever left Egypt to repopulate and then to rebuild the province of Jerusalem.  Only they are Jews.  Take that to the bank.  In fact, without this specific knowledge historians, Bible scholars and the rest of us simply cannot connect-the-dots for the Old Testament and even for much of the New Testament.  Those who try to connect-the-dots objectively without this understanding typically come away with the clearly mistaken conclusion that the Bible is filled with glaring contradictions. Does your preacher know that?

 

          You may recall that in the letters at chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, there were just two of those seven churches for which Christ could find no fault.  They were Smyrna and Philadelphia.  What one thing did those two churches have in common?  They taught against "...them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan."

 

          The modern nation of Israel, the one that was established in 1948—65 years ago.  Can we be sure it's the prophesied permanent home for God's chosen people?  How long is a Biblical generation...?

 

          Get the facts today!

 

 —Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0005, 04/27/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Left Behind"

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          Are you concerned that one or more of the people you love with all your heart may get "LEFT BEHIND" when Christ returns?  Here's something that can encourage you and even help you know how to pray and prepare:

 

          Study Jesus' parable of the Tares/Weeds.  Study it this time; don’t just read it again.  You'll find it in two (2) parts: The end-time illustration, itself, is at Matthew 13:24-30 and then Jesus' very clear explanation of the illustration is at Matthew 13:36-43

 

          After you've studied those passages answer these critical questions, quietly and prayerfully:

 

          1)  Jesus' Tares/Weeds: What group of people do they represent?

 

          2)  Who are the Wheat in this parable?

 

          3)  Which group does Jesus say will get "TAKEN" without warning and what does He say will happen to them next?

 

          4)  Which group will get "LEFT BEHIND" and what does Jesus say will happen to them next?

 

          5)  Why did Paul write THIS and what does it mean?  "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night...But

                  ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." —1 Thessalonians 5:2,4

 

          If any of your answers are not perfectly aligned with what you've always been taught, there are some really critical reasons for that.  To discover those reasons and much more, you can start by reading Intro Essay #2, "End Times Prophecy," an extremely brief introduction to the pertinent volumes of credible information and insight you can find on this site.

 

          "My people are destroyed for lack of    [sincerity?]    [prayer?]    [worship?]    [regular church attendance?]    [holiness?]    [righteousness?]    [faith?]    [being hyper-spiritual?]    [regular participation in trance-like praise and worship? (Is there any scriptural precedent for that—Old Testament or New Testament?)]     [getting "truly 'saved'?"]    [believing "what ‘we’ believe?"]   knowledge —Hosea 4:6

 

          Comments?  Questions?  You can email them to us at BibleExplorers@yahoo.com or from the "Contact Us" page.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0004, 04/15/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Need to Feel WELCOME"

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          One of God’s observable characteristics that He passed on to ALL his living creation is the overwhelming need to feel welcome.  God, himself, is THRILLED when two or three of us make him feel welcome; remember?  Clearly, Satan is driven by that same emotion: Per James 4:7, all we have to do to get rid of him is to make him feel UNWELCOME.  But what may come as a surprise to many Christian believers is the fact that three (perhaps four) of the visible church's most popular doctrines and practices make Satan feel very welcome.

 

          Learn about the three primary WMDs (i.e.: Weapons of Mass Deception) and much more as you continue to explore this site.

 

 —Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0003, 04/06/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Scriptural 'MEAT' v. Scriptural 'MILK'"

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          Our HOME page text has changed as of today:  Although formatted differently, this is how it now reads:

 

          Why is it that such large and rapidly growing numbers of Christian believers, today, are describing themselves as “becoming more and more uncomfortable with organized religion.”  The vast majority of them are thinking that maybe there is something wrong within themselves.  For those people, there is help here.  Others can tell you precisely why their disenchantment with “church.”  Many of them will find confirmation here.  Both groups can find encouragement here.

 

          Churches and seminaries teach people what to study in the Bible...to confirm “What ‘We’ Believe.”  By contrast, our very clear assignment is to help people learn how to study the Bible...to gain Truth.

 

          Once you have used our tools to learn how to read God's word as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means, you can discover a vast storehouse of scriptural "meat," with which to replace the steady diet of Bible “milk” that is widely distributed by the visible church.  Then you may ask, "Why hasn't someone told me about all this before now?"

 

 —Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog #0002, 03/30/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Easter"

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          For followers of Christ, tomorrow’s special day is not about the bunny or the incredible notion that bunnies lay or distribute chicken eggs, nor is “Easter” even a legitimate Christian holiday…but Pagan.  [Google the term “Easter” for more insight.]  Given that, the secular liberal progressives who’re enjoying apparent success in their long-planned takeover of our once Christian republic have fallen, this time, for a worthless diversion.  I say, “Let them run with it!”  Maybe it’ll steal some of their momentum and give the rest of us some time to plan a successful counter-attack regarding the really important issues.

 

          So!  I hope you find more spring eggs this weekend than anyone else on your block.

 

 —Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

 

Blog  #0001, 03/15/2013; Key Word/Phrase: "Christian MENTORS"

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          “Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night.’” —Charles M. Schulz

 

         It took me a while to learn how to study the Bible “as-if-no-one-had-ever-explained-what-it-means.”  That’ll probably take some time for you, too.  Why?  For me, it had nothing at all to do with reading comprehension or even a capacity for cognitive reasoning.  It had everything to do with love and respect for my Christian mentors, past and present.  There is something about our Human Nature that causes us to want to trust others, especially those who appear to be genuine and sincere.  In following through on that natural tendency, we inevitably accept the "filters" through which those others have come to perceive the human experience—and man's relationship to God.

 

          I was a preacher’s kid.  My dad was ordained by a large, mainstream Christian denomination.  My maternal grandfather was one of three clergymen who founded yet another large, mainstream Christian denomination.  Because I loved and respected them both, I gained much eternal value from them both.  But was my trust in them and in other like-minded “men for God” too complete?  Here’s what Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) said about that: “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.”  This is what God has to say about it: “Thus saith the Lord; ‘Cursed be the man that trusteth in man...’”  —Jeremiah 17:5

 

          It was after I had retired from a rewarding secular career that a critical fact finally registered with me: “Human Nature is the Sin Nature.”  I was shocked…and embarrassed!  For Christian believers and every other human being, “doing what comes naturally” comes all too naturally.  Because human nature is the Sin nature, Christians are instructed in God’s written word to crucify it.  Remember?  What comes naturally for us is captured in a well-intended, but dangerously misguided religious cliché, “Follow your heart.”  The Old Testament is clearly a record of God’s effort to teach the Hebrews why and how to THINK rationally—to use their minds, instead of their hearts, for making choices: “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things] and desperately wicked: who can know it?” —Jeremiah 17:9

 

          In a nutshell, God’s entire Old Testament message is justly characterized like this:  “O.K. guys, these are the boundaries for your behavior.  Stay within these boundaries to enjoy my blessings and my protection.  Step one foot outside these boundaries and you’re on your own.  Step back inside with plans to stay and you can, again, enjoy my blessings and my protection.”  The Gospels record Jesus’ modeling of – and confirmation of – that mindset for us: He never once permitted his feelings to interfere with his thinking.  Want to be like Jesus?  Here’s how: Use your MIND for sound reasoning.  Reserve your HEART for love and compassion:  At Philippians 2:5 Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”   And, at Romans 12:2 he wrote, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

 

          “God’s gift of a sound mind is a terrible thing to waste.” —T. C. Newsome  [See 2 Timothy 1:7.]

 

          Neither my parents, nor my grandparents, nor any of my pastors or other religious mentors intentionally imposed thefilterson me that been imposed on them by others whom they had loved and respected.  But in defaulting, albeit sincerely, to a given “What ‘We’ Believe” franchise, they effectively restricted my ability to comprehend what God’s written word really says…until I finally grew up and started learning how to exercise personal accountability for gaining the original truth.

 

          Every church/denomination owns a “What ‘We’ Believe” franchise.  All seminaries teach it, their graduates preach it and those who warm their pews buy it.  Let the buyer beware.

 

—Scribe pro tem, an informed layman

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