Friday, November 20, 2009

Something to chew on

Christian in the West, has you ever stopped to ponder why things seem so lost in the church? Do you search the Scriptures, seeking YHWH’s face? Do you earnestly seek Jesus, to walk in the path of righteousness?

Take a moment to read Amos 8. After you read it, let me offer a translation for today. Please, examine your heart if you see similarities in your life. Ask yourself, “what do I place as important in my life as compared to what is truly important in this life”?

Coming Day of Bitter Mourning
8:1 This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, 
  “The end has come upon my people Israel;
I will never again pass by them.
3 The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,”
declares the Lord GOD. 
  “So many dead bodies!”
  “They are thrown everywhere!” 
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
 5 saying, “When will services be over,
that we may go eat lunch?
  And the Sermon,
that we may get home to watch football,
  that we may make God small and the game great
and deal deceitfully with false priorities,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
  “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it, 
  and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”
9 “And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentation; 
  I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head; 
  I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
  not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
  they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
13 “In that day the lovely virgins and the young men
shall faint for thirst.
14 Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria,
and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’
  and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’
they shall fall, and never rise again.”
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. Bold is author’s adjusted translation

For those who say the Bible has no relevance these days, I humbly ask you to reread the above and reconsider where your heart is in relation to God, repent of your arrogance and turn back to the only one who can sustain you in this world, Jesus.

Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5), He remains the same; past, present and future (Hebrews 13:8). Do you not think He is offended by our halfhearted worship (Isaiah 1:10-17, Revelation 3:14-22)?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No, He is NOT your "boyfriend"

I'm sorry, but the trite, overused phrase "Jesus is my boyfriend" makes me twitch. But don't take a puny armchair theologian's word for it. Let's see what D. A. Carson has to say regarding our "friendship" with God.
Then the passage explicitly harks back to John 5, which we have been thinking through. Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (15:14–15).
Observe that Jesus makes a distinction between slaves (δοῦλοι; not “servants”) and friends. But the distinction initially surprises us. We are Jesus’ friends if we do what he commands. This sounds rather like a definition of a slave. Certainly such friendship is not reciprocal. I cannot turn around to Jesus and thank him for his friendship and tell him he is my friend, too, if he does everything I command him. Strange to tell, not once is Jesus or God ever described in the Bible as our friend. Abraham is God’s friend; the reverse is never stated.*
Carson, D. A. (2000). The difficult doctrine of the love of God (41). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.
*Emphasis mine.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Riddle me this...

People constantly look at Christians like we are crazy for believing that a Jewish man named Jesus was really God incarnate, was murdered by the Roman government and then rose to life three days later.

Why do we get that reaction, but things like this do not have people's jaws hitting the ground?

Tulsi, which is Sanskrit for "the incomparable one", is worshiped throughout India, most often regarded as a consort of Vishnu in the form of Mahalakshmi. There are two types of Tulsi worshiped in Hinduism—"Rama Tulsi" has light green leaves and is larger in size; "Krishna Tulsi" has dark green leaves and is important for the worship of Vishnu. Many Hindus have tulsi plants growing in front of or near their home, often in special Tulsi pots. It is also frequently grown next to Vishnu temples, especially in Varanasi.

In the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah, Tulsi is ceremonially married to Vishnu annually on the eleventh bright day or twelfth of the month of Kartika in the lunisolar calendar. That day also marks the end of the four month cāturmāsya period, which is considered inauspicious for weddings and other rituals, and so the day inaugurates the annual marriage season in India. The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartika includes the worship of the Tulsi plant, which is considered auspicious for the home. Vaishnavas especially follow the daily worship of Tulsi during Kartika.

Vaishnavas traditionally use japa malas made from tulsi stems or roots, which are an important symbol of initiation. Tulsi malas are considered to be auspicious for the wearer, and believed to put them under the protection of Vishnu or Krishna. They have such a strong association with Vaishnavas, that followers of Vishnu have long been called "those who bear the tulasi round the neck".

Just further proof of the fallen nature of mankind. And further shameful proof of how poorly we have stewarded the Gospel and how hard we have let our hearts get when it comes to the desire to share this precious gift of Christ with others.

Article taken from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Something to meditate on

Rejoice Christian, for each new day YHWH gives us without the return of Christ. For it means that there is at least one more soul out there whose name is written in the Book of Life that has not heard the voice of the Great Shepherd.

Repent Christian, for this new day without the return of Christ may be our fault. For our actions, walking not with YHWH, but with the World may have spooked that lost sheep.

How often we lose sight of YHWH and spook members of the flock by our sojourns outside the narrow path.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Little Levity in the Storm

Things have made an difficult turn in our family recently as we are currently living through Matthew 10:34-39 / Luke 12:51-53.

It is times like these that strengthen our faith, but also bring some interesting thoughts to mind...

Like, the fact that I think that there must be something fundamentally warped about the way my mind works, that I find the writings of Jonathan Edwards and John Owen to be much easier to follow than most modern authors (either fiction or non-fiction).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Questions from the Mirror

Christian, what altar is central when you go to church services?

Is it the altar of the Most High God, where the blood of Jesus blots out all record of your sins, where you can fall to your knees in gratitude and love for what He took upon Himself?

or is it your altar of "I can/will only worship to certain music"... "I will only accept a certain style of preaching"... etc.

Excepting teaching of false doctrine, your opinions regarding how church services go mean nothing. If you take the time to get to know God, any puny notions of "your needs" should burn away like leaves in an incinerator. Your only need is God and you can only reach the Father through the Son. The only thing going through your mind during church services should be, "I get to worship God and I desire to!" Any thought below this shows a lack of knowledge of God and what happened on that cross almost two-thousand years ago.

God save us from our puny view of You!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Way of Looking at Things

There are many out there that look at the way the Doctrines of Grace and Election are explained by John Calvin (ie.: a Calvinist position) and state that this view cancels any desire for missionary work.

I look at it this way: God knows where His sheep are located. He has graciously invited us to take part in a "scavenger hunt". If we do not join in, He will NOT leave one of His flock lost, someone else invited will be sent after them.

But how sorrowful will be that day when you Stand before Him and if you even have the strength to speak, have only this to say: "Even though the invitation came from the Creator of All, my time was more important for my tasks than to take part in some "silly scavenger hunt"."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ubuntu, almost two weeks in

Well, the laptop has been running Ubuntu Studio 9.04 (64bit) for almost two weeks and so far the verdict is: Bye-Bye Vista!

The improvements in the laptop's performance using Ubuntu vs Vista is quite noticeable. The biggest difference has been the heat. I recently had to go out and get one of those cooling pads for the laptop due to the excessive heat. Running Vista for longer than about thirty minutes would make the bottom of the laptop almost hot enough to cook eggs on. The cooling pad was the only thing keeping the hardware from locking up from excessive heat and keeping me from having a broiled lap. After unstalling Ubuntu, the laptop runs so cool, that there is almost no noticeable change in the temperature of the bottom of the laptop even after being on all night (this is without the cooling pad)! Note, I have seen several forum posts mentioning the exact opposite, so actual results may vary.

Another improvement seen is in hard drive speed. I partitioned the drive using ext4 and let me tell you, ext4 is very peppy as compared to NTFS. Microsoft really needs to seriously look into updating the file system its OSes are using. One of the things that drove me to Ubuntu was the horrendous file transfer speeds I had in Vista (and XP after SP2). When I was backing up media files before this switchover, I transferred about 57GB from an external drive to my desktop computer (much more muscle and HD speed compared to the laptop), it took Vista 8 hours to transfer the files! With Ubuntu on an ext4 drive, it took just over 1 hour!

Unfortunately, I cannot break all Microsoft fetters from the laptop. One of the programs I will not go without cannot (and according to their support people, will never) run under Linux (either natively or through emulators like WINE), and that is Libronix (which I use for most of my Bible study). This being the case, I pulled out my dusty copy of XP, installed VirtualBox and setup a 20GB virtual drive for XP, Libronix, Bibleworks 7 and iTunes. Unfortunately, VirtualBox only supports 1 core, so I lose half of my horsepower, but honestly XP runs just fine for these applications with the one core and only 512MB ram dedicated to it (need to upgrade to 4GB on the laptop when finances are available).

The biggest surprise in the switchover has been Denita. She has not complained once! While she is not a novice when it comes to computers, she is only used to Windows systems and previously when I had experimented with other OSes, her ire was tweaked rather quickly. This time around, she seems to have settled into the new environment without a hitch.

The one drawback to the whole thing was the initial setup. Standard Ubuntu has a very slick and easy to use installation interface when you first go to put the OS on your system. Ubuntu Studio has not gotten this feature yet. It still uses the old text based installation and the partition manager was not intuitive and took most of the install time getting the drive partitions correct. I would not recommend people new to computers or Linux to try to install Ubuntu Studio without help. Regular Ubuntu is another thing entirely, the installation interface there is even easier to use than Vista or XP's.

For standard computer use, I would highly recommend Ubuntu to anyone out there, especially if you do not wish to get caught in the Microsoft Upgrade Trap™. Ubuntu and the software that runs on it upgrade easily. In fact, if you use the built in package handler to handle installations, you can update your OS and all your other software at the same time instead of tracking down each individual update file for every program you own (think Windows Update for ALL your installed software).

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Been playing around with Linux again

I recently took the latest version of Ubuntu (9.04) out for a test drive and was impressed enough to migrate the laptop to it.

My favorite feature so far is the "throttle Windows" feature (my personal name for the feature).

Have you ever wanted to take your OS and just grab it by the throat and shake it like Homer does to Bart? If you combine Compiz and VirtualBox you can get the same effect. Just setup a virtual machine running the offending OS (for me it is XP [would be Vista except for the install size]), grab the title bar on the VirtualBox window and shake the crap out of it! Great fun for the whole family.

Seriously though, Microsoft should start looking over its shoulder...

A serious look at the latest from Ubuntu is coming soon.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A FREE Easter Gift from The Listener’s Bible

For those who would like a copy of several of the Scriptures related to Jesus’ work to atone for our sins for personal edification or to share with others, head over to The Listener’s Bible website.

For a limited time, The Listener’s Bible is offering The Easter Story in MP3 download format for free.

Track Listing:

  1. Introduction - Max McLean
  2. The Triumphal Entry of the Son - Mark 10:33-45; Mark 11:1-10, 15-18
  3. The Anointing of the Son - Mark 14:1-9
  4. The Betrayal of the Son - Mark 14:10-26, 32-50, 53-65
  5. The Trial of the Son - Mark 15:1-20
  6. The Crucifixion of the Son - Luke 23:32-43; John 19:25-27; Mark 15:33-35; John 19:28-30; Luke 23:46; Mark 15:38-39
  7. The Suffering Son - Isaiah 53:1-12
  8. The Resurrection of the Son - Luke 24:1-8
  9. The Conversation with the Son - Luke 24:13-32
  10. The Son's Startling Appearance - Luke 24:33-49; Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:52
  11. The Son's Redeeming Power - Colossians 1:13-20

A huge word of thanks to The Listener’s Bible for offering this to the world for free!

H/T to the Puritan Fellowship for pointing me to this wonderful recording.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fallen & Flawed – Reader Dissent: Christ is not God response

I normally do not make posts like this, but the volume of information I was wanting to convey in a comment (and the necessary HTML coding to keep things readable) pretty much required this.

I have been involved in a debate regarding the standard orthodox Christian view of Christ versus the Jehovah’s Witnesses view of Christ over at the blog Fallen & Flawed. The debate can be followed in the Reader Dissent: Christ is not God post.

Below is what I have to say in the debate following Comment #100.

For those who do not know, NWT stands for the New World Translation of the Bible and WTS stands for the Watch Tower Society. All Greek NT quotes have been taken from the Wescott-Hort Greek New Testament, which is the Greek text used by the WTS to make the NWT.

I have to admit, I was extremely surprised to find after looking through almost 100 comments that I had managed to answer almost all questions directed towards me. I do have one series of questions in a comment that I need to address, and then I would like to leave off with just a few of my own. After this, unless Jehovah guides me to specific passages during my studies, I will not add any new questions, I will just post rebuttals to any comments raised.

First, a word of response to Shawn. I’m sorry that you felt that I was being arrogant and condescending. However, seeing that you were either confused with the question regarding Isaiah and John seen through the lens of your hermeneutic, or were not willing to look seriously at the question, I thought it best to break things down bit by bit to make my point. If you are offended by my response asking Kellie about her ignorance of Scripture, then please note that, as I said, her passages had nothing to do with the point I was debating. I was debating the Savior and redemption of man’s souls not the physical saviors of men.

The remaining unanswered comment is this:

Don’t you think the scripture here: Proverbs 8:30: Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him would seem to correlate with this one: 1 Corinthians 8:6: for us there is only one God, the Father, from whom everything came into being and for whom we live. And there is only one Lord, Jesus the Messiah, through whom everything came into being …AND all the others that prove he was a tool, an agent that His God and father used in the creation of all (yes OTHER) things? The word “other” is absolutely implied in Col ch 1 because we know he didn’t create either Jehovah or other is an acceptable word to bracket there. Jesus was possessed by Jehovah,a servant OF Jehovah, an agent of Jehovah and a son of Jehovah. Can’t dance around it.

Actually the WTS society adds the [other] in the NT passages regarding the creation of things to emphasize their doctrine that Christ was a created being. A curious note: [other] is strangely absent in John 1:3 – which states almost exactly what Colossians 1:16 says (why is the implied other so important in Colossians, but not in John?).

I must say that it was a nice dodge (or dance around if you want to call it that) on the created argument of Jesus in your statement of:

we know he didn’t create either Jehovah or other is an acceptable word to bracket there. Jesus was possessed by Jehovah,a servant OF Jehovah, an agent of Jehovah and a son of Jehovah.

The WTS teaches that Jesus is a created being, created by Jehovah. The wording of John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 states that all things that were created, were created by Jesus. Of course Jesus could not create Himself, because he was eternally present with Jehovah in the beginning. Do you believe that Jehovah was created? To use Paul’s emphatic, by no means!

John 1:1-5 mirrors the literary construction of Genesis 1. In the beginning, Elohim (plural word in the Hebrew) created the heavens and the earth (Genesis); In the beginning, the Word was with God, and all things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence (John). Note the apart from him not even one thing came into existence (NWT) in the text. Not one thing that was created, was created outside of the work of the Word. This clearly proves that the Word was not created. If the Word was not created, then neither was Jesus, since He was the Word.

Now, as to Proverbs 8…

Wisdom throughout Proverbs is personified as a woman (see Proverbs 1:20). Is Jesus a woman? Again, by no means! Also, Proverbs 8 nowhere states that things were created through or by Wisdom. In fact, Proverbs 8 shows wisdom passively watching the creation, not taking part in it. Is Jesus wise? Of course! Is he the personification of Wisdom found in Proverbs? No, that is poor hermeneutics.

As to I Corinthians 8:6… Yes, there is only one Father, and only one Lord. In fact we have a Father seen in Isaiah 9:6, but you refuse to see the context correctly. Again, this begins to mirror the Savior argument. There is one Father like there is one Savior like there is one Lord.

I wish to address a few things Kellie brought up before asking my final question.

Kellie, you referenced John 1:18 in an earlier comment, and I find it interesting that an inactive JW (who stated that they wish to return to active duty) would go to a translation other than the NWT for their argument. Are you embarrassed by the NWTs handling of this text?

No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him. (NWT)

There is a big problem with the teachings of the WTS and the Greek of this passage.

θεον ουδεις εωρακεν πωποτε μονογενης θεος ο ων εις τον κολπον του πατρος εκεινος εξηγησατο

Notice μονογενης θεος ο. We have a definitive article in this section which points to θεος. By the WTS methodology for translating ο θεος (and proper Greek methodology), this would be rendered “the God” (articles in Greek do not have to be before the word they reference, you have to check the gender, number, etc. to find the word the article references). We have “the” and we have “god” in the NWT, but what about μονογενης?

μονογενής, ές, Ep. and Ion. μουνογενής, (γένος) the only member of a kin or kind: hence, generally, only, single, παῖς Hes.Op.376, Hdt.7.221, cf. Ev.Jo.1.14, Ant.Lib.32.1; of Hecate, Hes.Th.426.

2. unique, of τὸ ὄν, Parm.8.4; εἷς ὅδε μ. οὐρανὸς γεγονώς Pl.Ti.31b, cf. Procl.Inst.22; θεὸς ὁ μ. Sammelb.4324.15.

3. μ. αἷμα one and same blood, dub.l. in E.Hel.1685.

4. Gramm., having one form for all genders, A.D.Adv.145.18.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (1144). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

We have μονογενης used in Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38; John 1:14, 1:18, 3:16, 3:18; Hebrews 11:17 and 1 John 4:9. The interesting things here are in the NWT translation notes. Every time this word is used for a normal person the following note is included (except for Hebrews 11:17, no note here): “Or, “only one.” Gr., mo·no·ge·nes′.

Note the root of the word μονογενης:

γένος, εος or ους, τό, race, stock, kin;

as opposed to:

γεννάω, fut. Med. γεννήσομαι in pass. sense, D.S.19.2 (but -ηθήσομαι Id.4.9): (γέννα):—casual of γίγνομαι (cf. γείνομαι), mostly of the father, beget, ὁ γεννήσας πατήρ S.El.1412; οἱ γεννήσαντές σε your parents, X.Mem.2.1.27; τὸ γεννώμενον ἔκ τινος Hdt.1.108, etc.; ὅθεν γεγενναμένοι sprung, Pi.P.5.74; of the mother, bring forth, bear, A.Supp.48, Arist.GA716a22, X.Lac.1.3, etc.:—Med., produce from oneself, create, Pl.Ti.34b, Mx.238a.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (344). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

However, the times the same word is used for Jesus, no note is included until you reach 1 John 4:9, where you see something interesting: “Only-begotten.” Gr., mo·no·ge·ne′; Lat., u·ni·ge′ni·tum. Now the Greek has a different translation than used before by the WTS. Setting a standard on translation and then changing it (in the notes) is dishonest. Yes context factors into translation, but what is the difference in context for these passages?

To summarize: we have the only member of a kin, a unique: the god… or, more appropriate… the unique God in John 1:18.

Shawn, you stated in your blog post on John 8:58:

Now why, someone may ask, would the Jews get so worked up over Jesus' claim of being older then Abraham?
The answer is found in the Jewish view of Abraham. Abraham was so important to them that he was the equivalent of Christ for us. Abraham was so important to the Jews because they claimed that being children of Abraham was a special title reserved for them. For Jesus to claim that he was older then Abraham was sacrilegious to the Jews. When someone is older, they have more power and authority. In short, they are better then a younger person. To any Jew, Abraham would have been better then Jesus mainly because Abraham was older. For Jesus to say that he was alive before Abraham was alive would mean that Jesus was better then Abraham.

The problem with your argument is that the Jews were more than “worked up”, the Bible states: “they picked up stones to hurl [them] at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple.” (NWT)

Jesus was in the Temple, surrounded by not just your average Jews, but the scribes and Pharisees as well. The act of picking up stones to hurl at him was a statement that he had broken one of the Mosaic laws, where the penalty was death by stoning. Insulting or saying that you were greater than one of the patriarchs was not a breach of the Mosaic law, but blasphemy was.

If you do not see this in John 8:58, lets go to John 10:33, “The Jews answered him: “We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy, even because you, although being a man, make yourself a god” (NWT).

Again we have a problem with the Greek and the NWT.

απεκριθησαν αυτω οι ιουδαιοι περι καλου εργου ου λιθαζομεν σε αλλα περι βλασφημιας και οτι συ ανθρωπος ων ποιεις σεαυτον θεον

The translators of the NWT required the definite article (ὁ) to be present before they would render θεὸς as God (θεὸς was translated as “a god”, while ὁ θεὸς was translated as “God” [see the NWT rendering of John 1:1]). θεόν however, the translation committee translated as “God”. Except in a crucial place. They translated it as “a god” in a passage that spoke of blasphemy. Is blasphemy in the Mosaic law against “a god” or “the God”, Jehovah?

Leviticus 24:16 states: “So the abuser of Jehovah’s name should be put to death without fail. The entire assembly should without fail pelt him with stones. The alien resident the same as the native should be put to death for his abusing the Name.” (NWT).

A proper rendering by the NWT translating committee’s rules, and by handling the definition of blasphemy properly would be: “The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” (ESV)

Now moving on to a rebuttal of Kellie’s comment:

As for what you said about Christ not being an angel, he is actually called an angel in the septuagint at Isaish 9:6 and I think he was the angel of Yahweh in the OT. (that would harmonize with his being the “word of God”,as chief messenger) When Jehovah said those words to him,he wasn’t an angel.. and he certainly wasn’t a God-man. He was a miraculously conceived human being who was about to be exalted above his partners! Now let’s think about this for a minute.. who would his partners be? And if Jesus was Almighty God would it really be appropriate to say he has partners that Almighty God will exalt him above ONLY BECAUSE of his obedience and faithfulness and conquering of the world and saving man? And if one Almighty God exalts another Almighty God above his partners how many almighty Gods is that exactly? I don’t think Jehovah has partners.. I think he has servants and sons and subordinates. I don’t think Jehovah can learn obedience and be exalted, but apparently you do.

Jesus was “the second Adam”.. Now if one perfect man had the power to cause the fall of all men then another perfect man, on Jehovah’s scales of absolute justice, had the power to buy back the lives that the other had lost. Remember, as Maribel poignantly pointed out earlier, God cannot die and you are robbing us of atonement.. because you don’t believe Jesus REALLY died do you?Just a human nature but Jesus was REALLY alive siomewhere right? If Jesus,all of him,wasn’t dead for three whole days in that tomb,not only are you preaching a different Jesus,but your atonement is null and void.

First and foremost, if Christ was only a “miraculously conceived human being” as you claim, then His death could have only redeemed one other person… in his place. You see, the weight of sin a single man has is incredible. The choosing of something over God (which we all do on a regular basis) is treason against a Holy and Almighty God, in which the penalty is death (Romans 6:23). One sin is enough to condemn us to death.

As Psalm 49:7-8 states: “Not one of them can by any means redeem even a brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; (And the redemption price of their soul is so precious That it has ceased to time indefinite)” (NWT). If Jesus was just a “miraculously conceived human being”, the only redemption you could have is a Tale of Two Cities style switching of places. [editied for labeling Psalm 47:7-8 instead of Psalm 49:7-8]

The offence of sin against God for the entirety of mankind is near infinite. If it requires being perfect in all aspects of God’s law to stand before Him and survive (Ezra 9:15 “O Jehovah the God of Israel, you are righteous, because we have been left over as an escaped people as at this day. Here we are before you in our guiltiness, for it is impossible to stand before you on account of this.” [NWT]), then Jesus, being just a “miraculously conceived human being” would be able to stand before God because of his perfect adherence to the Law of God, but stand alone. His righteousness would “pay” his way to stand before God in His full Glory, but being human only, his death on the cross (or stake as the WTS prefers) would not redeem anyone else. How could a mere finite man pay the price of almost infinite sin? His perfection only covers himself.

A soul of a man is worth the soul of a man, not more. For Jesus’ sacrifice to cover more than himself, he would have to be more than just a man.

Also, how could Jesus be just a “miraculously conceived human being” if he was the Word of John 1? The Word was in the beginning with God, yet the Word was born approximately 2000 years ago to a young woman in Bethlehem… Please explain how the Word could just be a “miraculously conceived human being”.

My final question is regarding a winepress. Remembering that Scripture cannot be broken… Who treads the winepress of God’s Wrath?

In Isaiah 63:1-6 we have this:

1 Who is this one coming from E´dom, the one with garments of glowing colors from Boz´rah, this one who is honorable in his clothing, marching in the abundance of his power? "I, the One speaking in righteousness, the One abounding [in power] to save." 2 Why is it that your clothing is red, and your garments are like those of one treading in the winepress? 3 "The wine trough I have trodden by myself, while there was no man with me from the peoples. And I kept treading them in my anger, and I kept trampling them down in my rage. And their spurting blood kept spattering upon my garments, and all my clothing I have polluted. 4 For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the very year of my repurchased ones has come. 5 And I kept looking, but there was no helper; and I began to show myself astonished, but there was no one offering support. So my arm furnished me salvation, and my rage was what supported me.6 And I kept stamping down peoples in my anger, and I proceeded to make them drunk with my rage and to bring down to the earth their spurting blood." (NWT)

In Revelation 19:11-16 we have this:

11 And I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. 12 His eyes are a fiery flame, and upon his head are many diadems. He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, 13 and he is arrayed with an outer garment sprinkled with blood, and the name he is called is The Word of God. 14 Also, the armies that were in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. 15 And out of his mouth there protrudes a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron. He treads too the winepress of the anger of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 And upon his outer garment, even upon his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (NWT)

Again, we have a problem with the NWT when we look at the Greek text for Revelation 19:11-16:

11 και ειδον τον ουρανον ηνεωγμενον και ιδου ιππος λευκος και ο καθημενος επ αυτον πιστος [καλουμενος] και αληθινος και εν δικαιοσυνη κρινει και πολεμει 12 οι δε οφθαλμοι αυτου φλοξ πυρος και επι την κεφαλην αυτου διαδηματα πολλα εχων ονομα γεγραμμενον ο ουδεις οιδεν ει μη αυτος 13 και περιβεβλημενος ιματιον ρεραντισμενον αιματι και κεκληται το ονομα αυτου ο λογος του θεου 14 και τα στρατευματα τα εν τω ουρανω ηκολουθει αυτω εφ ιπποις λευκοις ενδεδυμενοι βυσσινον λευκον καθαρον 15 και εκ του στοματος αυτου εκπορευεται ρομφαια οξεια ινα εν αυτη παταξη τα εθνη και αυτος ποιμανει αυτους εν ραβδω σιδηρα και αυτος πατει την ληνον του οινου του θυμου της οργης του θεου του παντοκρατορος 16 και εχει επι το ιματιον και επι τον μηρον αυτου ονομα γεγραμμενον βασιλευς βασιλεων και κυριος κυριων

Breaking down the Greek we have:

καί, Conj., copulative, joining words and sentences, and; also Adv., even, also, just, freq. expressing emphatic assertion or assent, corresponding as positive to the negative οὐ (μή) or οὐδέ (μηδέ).

αὐτός, (Cret. ἀϝτός GDI4976, al.), αὐτή, αὐτό (also αὐτόν Leg.Gort.3.4, al.), ἀτός PHal.1.130 (iii b.c.), PTeb.812.9 (ii b.c.), SEG29.771 (Thasos, ii b.c.), reflexive Pron., self:—in oblique cases used for the personal Pron., him, her, it:—with Art., ὁ αὐτός, ἡ αὐτή, τὸ αὐτό (also ταὐτόν), etc., the very one, the same. [edited for missed color highlight at him,her,it]

πᾰτέω, Delph. βᾰτέω Plu.2.292e; Aeol. μάτημι [ᾰ] Sapph.54: (πάτος):—tread, walk, π. ὁδοῖς σκολιαῖς Pi.P.2.85; πρὸς βωμόν A.Ag.1298; ὑψοῦ π. walk on high, of a king, Pi.O.1.115; π. ἐπάνω ὄφεων Ev.Luc.10.19:—Pass., οἱ ἔχεις πατηθέντες Porph.Abst.1.14.

την  lemma is: ὁ, ἡ, τό, the definite Article, the, to specify individuals

ληνον lemma is: ληνός, Dor. λᾱνός Theoc.7.25, IG14.150.5 (Syracuse): ἡ:—anything shaped like a tub or trough, Hp.Mochl.38; esp.

     1. wine-vat in which the grapes are pressed, IG13.422.189, 425.34, 426.148 (cf. Poll.10.130) PCair.Zen.300.15 (iii b.c.), Theoc.7.25, 25.28, D.S.3.63.

     b. storage vessel for wine, POxy.1569, PFlor.253 (iii a.d.).

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. "With a revised supplement, 1996." (Rev. and augm. throughout) (282)(857)(1045)(1194). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.

Where is the too or also in the original text? It does not exist, it was added by the translators. The correct translation of this section of Revelation 19:15 should read as: He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty (ESV). Now, who is the he in this passage… the Word of God.

Maribel, contrary to your statement: “He can share his glory with whom ever he pleases”, Isaiah 48:11 clearly states, “For my own sake, for my own sake I shall act, for how could one let oneself be profaned? And to no one else shall I give my own glory” (NWT)

Isaiah 63:1-6 contradicts Revelation 19:11-16 as to who treads the winepress. In Isaiah, Jehovah states that He will be the one to tread the winepress by Himself, but in Revelation we have the Word treading the winepress.

Scripture cannot be broken.

The only way to solve this contradiction is to bring things back to John 1 and translate things properly.

In John 1:14-18 we have the Word, who is Jesus Christ, who is the unique God in the bosom with the Father. We have the Word as the unique God. Who is the unique God in Scripture?

The Word is God.

Twist your scriptures as much as you want, you are denying the Truth if you deny this.

To be fair in ending, I will give Shawn’s page to everyone as a rebuttal to what I have posted in the original comments at Fallen & Flawed and here. Here he has posted 115 Scripture passages he states refutes the orthodox Christian view of who Jesus Christ is. I have looked through these Scripture passages before and I honestly do not have the time to go verse by verse and answer all 115 here. God brought me to the Greek texts for study two years ago (as a non-Christian) to bring my wife out of the WTS. So yes, to those who may want to argue, I have a bias, but the JWs debating this subject are just as biased.

I thank Shawn for taking the time to post all of these Scriptures, and I sincerely think people should look at them and let the entirety of the Bible speak to them. However, “sound bite” Scripture reading must be taken in context. Not looking at what is being said in the entirety of a section of the Bible that is being quoted can quickly lead to distorted interpretations of the Bible.

So please, for the sake of others in this debate, continue the comment thread at Fallen & Flawed not here. If you wish to comment here, please mirror you comment as well at the original post that started this debate. Any responses of mine to comments posted here will be made over at Fallen & Flawed.

I am not a professional apologist nor am I a pastor, elder or deacon. I am but a follower of my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus and I humbly pray that in my writings, I have not besmirched His Holy name.

Jeremiah 25:4-7  You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying, 'Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever.  Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.'  Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. (ESV)

Jeremiah 31:33-34  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.'” (ESV)

John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (ESV)

Mark 4:23   If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (ESV)

Friday, March 20, 2009

An Answer to my last Question

Apparently a few people have gotten their feathers a bit ruffled by a recent article and its follow-up from Mark Dever.

People have forgotten, as Mark Dever has stated: “That a Baptist thinks infant baptism is wrong was no news to earlier generations of paedobaptists”.

While this should not be a dividing issue in the Church, it is something that should be thought about and discussed rationally.

Unfortunately, some of those who have taken issue with Mark Dever’s stance have ran to their Confessions as defense instead of the Bible. In order to not continue any Baptist/paedobaptists flame wars (because that is NOT the point of this post), I will not be posting links to those responses.

Now, while I concede that the Bible is not absolutely clear on the correct mode of baptism, I agree more with the Baptist stance (Mark 16:16).

The interesting thing is that this touches on another post I was thinking of writing on: how does your reading of Scripture change if, instead of having βαπτίζω transliterated as baptize, you translate it into what it means… immerse?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Questions from the Mirror

Christian, what to you do when you hear or read something that challenges the teachings of your tradition?

Do you thoughtfully consider the point brought up and walk in the discernment given to you through the Holy Spirit? Do you head to the Scriptures to see what God has to say, or do you instantly run to the comfort of the teachers of your tradition and blindly parrot doctrine you may have not examined thoroughly?

Remember, all man's doctrine has flaws due to our fallen nature. The only perfect Doctrine was in Christ. Putting more emphasis on man's confessions over God's Word is a sure way to fall into apostasy. 

Confessions and traditions are fine as long as they never place themselves over God's Word.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

There are times when a writer should be forced away from their keyboard

Denita sent me an e-mail the other day regarding some bible version surfing she was doing and passed on this "gem" from "The Message":

Romans 8:1-4
The Solution Is Life on God's Terms

^1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

^3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
My brain hurts just trying to read this. Christ's "being-here-for-us", "low-lying black cloud", "disordered mess of struggling humanity", "Band-Aid on sin"....

Sin and death are just low-lying black clouds?!?! Where/what is the offence of "low-lying black clouds"? Why should God feel wrath regarding "low-lying black clouds"? Why is eternal punishment a requirement for "low-lying black clouds"? Why is this author considered a Godly man if he removes the offense of our unrepentant existence before God from the Bible?

When we live in sin, we are a horrid stench before God. We are not like the old cartoons, just a bothersome rain cloud that hovers over the Almighty's head, occasionally irritating Him with a little bolt of lightning. Our very existence offends Him. He tolerates this only so that His Glory will be fully revealed to all in the end.

This watering down of the Word is 2 Timothy 4:3 in action. The more you pore over the style of writing in "The Message" you start seeing the man-centeredness of "The Message" as opposed to the God and Christ exalting message of the Bible.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Questions from the Mirror

Christian, do you ever ask yourself the question, "Why me"? How often do you reflect on the fact that you were called and chosen by God, but others are not.

When this question comes into your thoughts, do you spend time churning it over in your mind? And when you churn it over, what answer do you arrive at?

If your answer has anything to do with you, then repenting of your arrogance and spending a long time in God's Word would probably be a wise thing.

One final question...

When you arrive at the answer, what does it motivate you to do?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Do these people get anyone to proof their articles?

Being a Christian and well schooled in science, I cannot say I see any leg to stand on for someone arguing the point that life "evolved" from a series of completely random accidents.

Someone just try to argue that the complexity of this is from random chance:

But I digress, let me get to the real reason for this post...

It just makes me shake my head when "evolution" scientists in their own interview inadvertently admit that God setup the process.

Read this article in its entirety. Can you spot the admission? Highlight below for the money-quote.
"It's evolving. It's doing what we designed it to do," said Benner, a biochemist with the Gainesville, Fla.-based Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution.
All these guys are doing is proving that someone HAD to have setup the experiment. This is a perfect example of Romans 1:19-23.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This was going to just be a comment, but it became more as soon as I got to the keyboard

Kat, Romans is what gets me out of bed in the morning and what gets me to sleep at night.

Jeremiah is specific comfort for me right now. There are too many parallels with what is happening in this country.

We have the false prophets claiming that "All is well, just trust us to fix things".

We have the spiritual whoring, the rampant sinning and the fact that so many refuse to admit that what is happening is a glimpse of the Wrath of God to come upon all who refuse to repent and believe in Christ.

As much as people want to believe that America is a "Christian Nation" or was founded as a "Christian Nation", those are huge lies. Most of the founding fathers were deists, not Christians (a huge difference). Most people in this country have no idea who the God of the bible is. And the fault lies solely at our feet.

As Christians, we must ask if we really are following Christ if we are not following his example in Matthew 4:17.

As John Piper has stated: "Missions exist because worship doesn't". As Christians, we have been called to be a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). While Christ sat down after his work was finished (Hebrews 10:12), we were not given that option.

Our option is found in Matthew 28:16-20.

Unfortunately, too many people who call themselves Christians in this country are like the servant with the one talent (Matthew 25:14-30). They have taken what was given to them, the Gospel, and have hidden it instead of "investing" it in others. The important thing to realize here is the final outcome of that servant:
So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:28-30)

The ones who call themselves a Christian but do not share the Gospel are not Christians. They are selfishly hoarding the Gospel as a "get out of Hell Free" card. They have buried the Grace of God, awaiting the time He arrives so they can present it back to Him, with no evidence of change in their hearts. They do not care about Christ, they only want the gift to save their own hides.

If the Spirit has truly moved, and replaced some one's heart, then they will realize how precious this gift is, and will be moved to let others know how close is the time when non-Christians will face the Wrath of God alone, and without any defense.

Now that I am finished with my soapbox here, I must step down and fall upon the ground and cry out "Lord, help me start behaving like I should! Let not the fear of man seal my lips! Let the realization of the cancelled consequences my former condition, through God's grace, spur me on in love of Him and others to proclaim the Gospel to those who walk in this world dead to God."

This was hammered home last night through the observations of a six-year-old boy.

Since my conversion, I have said many times, to many people, that I just don't feel alive unless I am talking about God, Christ or the Bible. During a conversation with Denita last night, we were discussing what our witness to Christ was like, something profound hit me...

I am dead when I am not talking about God, Christ or the Bible. When I seal my lips around others, I am no longer walking in faith. When my mind is not on the things of God, I have no purpose in this life.

I have my son to thank for how he always brings up his friends at school in conversations. His innocent love for his friends keeps them in his thoughts. And because of this love he talks about them all the time. The Spirit took this as a spiritual 2x4 and beat me about the head with the Truth.

How foolish we adults are, to let the world beat this expression of love out of us. The Gospel is an incredible gift, and for those who have been given this gift, how dare we deny the one who gave us that gift by not proclaiming the Gospel.

I believe, Lord help my unbelief! Remake my mind that I may rekindle this kind of love for You and Your Son, and that I will proclaim that love loudly! (Luke 18:16-17) Thank you for using my son to teach me this lesson!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Questions from the Mirror

Christian, in the tough times in your life, where do you dive into God's word to find reassurance and comfort from your Father?


The Gospels...

a particular epistle?

Right now, many Christians in America are getting their first taste of just a small iota of God's discipline. We (I will admit, myself included) have squandered our blessings and gifts. God, in his infinite kindness and mercy, is using this economic downturn to strip us from some of the false idols we worship... comfort, gluttony; and move us back to the position of being a servant to others.

As to my answer to the question above, I am seeking the Lord's wisdom and love in the book of Jeremiah. Seeing the discipline given to God's People back then and knowing that He will be there to support me at any time, if I keep turned towards him, has been a great comfort. Knowing that there is nothing outside of His control helps banish those fears and anxieties that relying on my abilities instead of relying on His tends to bring.

My prayer for you is that you heed God's word in these times, draw closer to Him and be ready to explain to others the reason for our joy when it seems like the world is falling apart around us.

This world is not our home, we have a better one waiting for us, hold fast to that Promise. Let us finish our jobs as ambassadors well, being guided by the Holy Spirit as we are conformed to the image of Christ, so that the Glory and Love of God is proclaimed to all.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Attack of the RSV

No, this is not a post regarding bible version wars… it’s about human respiratory syncytial virus.

Last Friday, Tabitha started getting a bit of a cough, considering the amount of dust and pollen in the air and the rest of the family (and county’s) issues with allergies, we did not think it was anything too bad. We kept her home, and ran the humidifier to help cut down on the dust and pollen in the house. By Monday however, this “innocent” little cough had turned into a horrible, gag inducing, phlegm-ball spewing illness. Denita had to call EMS out while I was at work to have Tabitha checked out.

By the time the EMTs had checked Tabitha out, her vitals were stable and she had calmed down. Denita called Tabi’s doctor first thing in the morning to setup a checkup for her. I got Tabitha to the doctor at about 2:00pm and her PulseOx reading was about 88%. They put her on an O2 line and her PulseOx reading would go back up to 98%, but when the O2 was taken away, her level would drop to 88% again. She also had a serious mucus buildup going on in her sinus cavities.

After a few breathing treatments and several attempts to remove the mucus with a bulb syringe, the pediatrician got the results back from the nose swab test… Positive for RSV.

For adults and older kids, RSV is just annoying, but for babies (especially those just over a month old), it can become life-threatening due to the mucus buildup leading to further complications like pneumonia. Tabitha’s pediatrician arranged transportation via EMS to Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin so there would not be any chance of her choking on mucus during the trip.

Thankfully, the infection had not reached the point of mucus getting into her lungs, so with just a lot of vacuum line work with her nose and overnight observation, Tabitha was able to return home Wednesday afternoon.

Since then, we have gotten some better air purifiers for the house (to cut down on the irritants in the air) and after just one hour of these things running, there was a noticeable difference to the air quality (in fact, I was actually getting a little light-headed from extra oxygen due to the fact that I was breathing easier than I probably had in years! [for those interested, the Therapure 201M is well worth the investment]).

Tabitha is now sleeping easier and able to keep down her food (Thursday, we almost had to take her back to the hospital because, while the mucus buildup was not as bad, she was still getting into coughing fits that would cause her to eject everything she had eaten). Things are slowly returning back to normal here at home. Tabitha will be confined to the house for a while as this virus runs its course. The doctor said that it might be 10 days or so before the mucus issue goes away, and it might be up to 6 weeks before the cough finally goes away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Can Anything Good Come out of Nazareth Hip-Hop?

For those out there that think that Hip-Hop is only evil, has nothing good to give to this world... take a listen to this young man:

One of the side effects of my recent fast was to awaken an even greater hunger for the Truth in my life. Especially in the things I listen to and watch.

Unfortunately, I have to say that I still find most modern, Christian themed music to be incredibly uninspired or lacking in creative talent.

Then, of all genres of music, I found Christian Rap!

Until just recently, I NEVER would have thought that I would like any rap song other than Anthrax's "I'm the Man". But listening to the Truth in the words of some of these rap artists (yes these guys actually do, through God's Grace, elevate rap to an art form), I am floored, and hooked.

The young man featured above is the rap artist Lecrae. What the Lord is doing in his, and other rap artists' lives is nothing short of awesome. Do yourself a favor, even if you do not like rap in the slightest, head on over to Reach Records or ReachLife Ministries and see the wonders of the Lord's power and Grace.

May the Lord continue blessing these Godly men in their mission to bring the Gospel of Christ to the inner cities.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Problem with the Mountain

I don't have a lot of time right now, but Denita wanted me to post this thought I had soon after finishing my fast.

Many religions state that God is on the top of the mountain and that there are several paths to the summit, all eventually leading to God.

Problem: God is NOT on a mountain, He is in Heaven. The top of the mountain gives mankind a place above man's workings, to survey all of his works... but it is still below the view of all of God's workings.

God HAS to come down to meet mankind!

If God has to come down to mankind, then God must choose where to meet man... Christ Jesus.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

I know New Year's Day is really just an arbitrary date, but having milestones in life help keep things in perspective. 2008 was a whirlwind ride for the family with blessing after blessing for us.

We had Denita's pregnancy and then Tabitha's arrival.

We had Denita's mom and my aunt and uncle being affected by Hurricane Ike. God provided strength for them to get through the worst times. Even though my family members are living in a FEMA trailer, still fending off looters, my aunt was able to visit her mother in New Braunfels for her 90th birthday celebration at Thanksgiving and was able to take the time to make a beautiful little dress as a gift for Tabi.

God continues to provide us support and love through the little church he brought us to.

And most importantly, God brought us closer together as a family, not just between Denita, Zane, Tabitha and I; but also bringing us closer to HIM as well.

May everyone realize that even in the worst of times, there are always blessings from God there to help us through the trials.

Happy New Year to all of you!
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