December 15, 2014

Dispensation 6: A Change of Heart

Posted in Salvation, Terminology, The Church, The Dispensations tagged , , , , , at 11:48 AM by E. M.

Changed_heartThe dispensations are God’s contrastive way of proving that His plan for man is right, by allowing mankind the opportunity to choose to be Godly on their own. In the first three dispensations God allow men fairly free reign during periods of complete innocence, vast knowledge, and full cooperation. Each time mankind chose themselves over God by thinking comparatively. Furthermore, each dispensation resulted in men becoming more evil!

In the 4th and 5th Dispensations, God provided progressive guidance though earthly representatives and by giving them His Law, culminating in the advent of a divine Redeemer. Again men choose themselves over God by rejecting (and ignoring) the guidance.

Since in the previous two dispensations God gave men guidance through external sources, the next just and logical step would be to make that guidance intimate and internal.

The 6th Dispensation asks the question: What if God’s presence was housed inside us, and gave us day by day guidance on how to be like Him? Would we choose God over ourselves?

Its an intriguing proposition, and its one of the many ways that this dispensation is so special and unique. But how would this work? How does God presence get “inside” us (and how much space does He need?)

It all starts with Salvation.

When a person’s “gets saved”, it’s not a one-way proposition. When the decision to accept the gift of redemption is made, God doesn’t just give a wink and a thumbs-up. God begins the work of actively changing your entire life!

Salvation makes us a new creation. We are given a new heart by God, and His Law is written on our hearts. Why our hearts and not our brain/mind? Because the heart is where your integrity comes from.

Like the brain, the physical heart has neural connections that make it function like a “mini-brain”. Your heart has its own independent nervous system consisting of over 30,000 neurons.. Like the unconscious brain, the heart is part of the body that can respond and make decisions based on intuition and feelings.

But its effects on us are more primal and less influenced by the things that can affect our conscious minds. The heart is much more binary. You can fake all kinds of things with your conscious brain, but you can’t fool the heart. Whatever is true about you flows from your heart. That’s why in salvation, God is much more concerned with what you believe in your heart than in your mind.

The problem is that before salvation, man’s heart is evil! It reflects the fact that man is not always and completely right and just. That heart rejects the Godly thought process (contrastive thinking and growth) and embraces destructive thoughts (comparative thinking and comfort). Fortunately man has free will and can choose to act outside of his nature.

Accepting redemption is an act of free will. But even with that acceptance God knows that is would be a losing battle to try to influence through our old heart, and He certainly can’t dwell there – so He gives us a new one!

Of course I’m not speaking of replacing the physical organ (becoming a Christina does not require major surgery), I’m speaking of the spiritual housing of the heart – the part that affects and is affected by our thought process. This new heart can hear from God and can be influenced by God

This is the definition of grace – the Divine influence on the heart and its reflection in life.

The 6th Dispensation is unique in that it is a direct conduit to the meaning of life. How is it connected to the meaning of life? Remember, in order to be with God, we have to be like God. The only “man” who has ever managed to be like God is Jesus during his earthly incarnation. How? He lived by grace! He ONLY did what God told him to do. This is how he was fully man and fully God. The sixth dispensation gives us all that same opportunity!

The Problem is we get all kinds of inner notions and urges influencing us constantly. Sure we get a new heart through salvation, but the rest of us (specifically our minds) are still under Adam’s curse. We are still not always and completely right and just in our nature. So how do you know if it’s God’s influence that we are hearing?

Unsaved man is influenced by three sources, the “World”, the “Flesh”, and the “Devil. Two are external (world and devil) the other is internal (flesh). All three sources have two things in common – they all oppose God, and they are all “loud” (they all influence us aggressively).

The “voice” of the World focuses you on the pursuit of external things to replace God in your life. The World steers you toward comfort, self-justification, religion, and conformity. The World is the system that wants to deny uniqueness and get you to embrace a Godless Eden.

The Flesh is the enemy within. Is our human nature that is the polar opposite of Godly thinking. The Flesh wants us to be comparative, which is the source of pride, fear, and evil.

The Devil is the demonic influence (“devil” is from the Greek “diabolos” which means “one who hurls thing at you”  In the Biblical context, it is translated as “Accuser”). The Devil’s goal is destruction in long term. The devil works in the opposite manner to God. The Devil is constantly hurling seductive/destructive thoughts at your Flesh (as opposed to the heart), which you must make the moment-by-moment choice to accept or reject. Whenever an evil, destructive thought enters you mind and you think “where did that come from?” It was probably the Devil.

But, when you get saved a fourth influence is added – the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised would live in the hearts of believers! The influence of the Spirit is focused on growth and faith, through contrastive thinking. The voice of the Spirit is the most difficult to hear. The Spirit speaks in a quiet, still, small voice. If the world pulls at you, the flesh yells at you, and the devil jabs you; the Spirit gives you a gentle nudge.

But why does God, the most powerful force of them all, choose to be so subtle?

Because he wants us to choose him! He wants us to love him – and that takes effort! Unlike the other influences that bombard us constantly and consistently, we have to be intentional to hear from God. We have to actively seek Him and intentionally block out the other voices. We have to pursue God. He wants us to love him enough to sacrifice our comforts, our lusts, and our natural desire to prosper without him.

Why?

1. Its a reasonable response to the sacrifice of redemption. Salvation is offered freely, but it wasn’t free. Jesus paid the price, and to live the redemptive life justly requires effort on our part.

2. The meaning of life requires it! Remember, the meaning of life is marriage. Jesus didn’t just come to save mankind, he came to redeem a bride! And he naturally wants a bride who wants Him and loves Him enough to be conformed to His image. His bride must be like Him – always and completely right and just.

And that’s the whole purpose of the 6th Dispensation, to find a bride for Christ!

This Bride consists of a group of people who are willing to accept His redemption, and intentionally and consistently allow themselves to be conformed to His image by heeding the voice of grace and be transformed into unique individuals who flourish in their individual greatness, adding the value of that greatness to the overall body of believers, thus creating a Bride worthy of God’s Son.

(Grace is personal, the guidance given to each person while always and completely right and just, also guides them to be the royal image bearer that was lost when Adam fell.)

This group of believers who are to be the Bride is called “the Church”.

If the 6th Dispensation were to be a success, the Church would be completely sanctified and conformed to Christ by obeying the voice of the Spirit completely.

However, logically, we know that this dispensation will fail like all the rest. But since we’re still in it, we don’t have the benefit of history to tell us exactly how and when it will end as we had with the other dispensations.

However we have enough knowledge of the dispensational pattern to take a theoretical stab at it. If success is tied to the Church hearing and obeying God’s voice, then failure would be the opposite -to ignore His voice.

But it has to be more than that. Dispensational failure means choosing ourselves over God. So then, in line with that pattern, this dispensation will fail when the Church chooses to be guided by ITS OWN voice instead of God’s!

I’ll address HOW this can happen in an upcoming post. As to WHEN this failure happens. . . I would contend that it ALREADY HAS!

Obviously that is a VERY provocative position that I’ll need to back up, and I will do that in an upcoming post as well.

But before we go there, we need to take a deeper look at this unique and mysterious entity called the Church. What is it? What are its origins? What is its purpose? Why does Jesus consider it his Bride? And what has it been doing the last 2000 years? We begin examining these questions next time.

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November 24, 2014

Kingdom Come…later

Posted in Bible Prophesy, Jesus, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 4:12 PM by E. M.

THE PHARISEE MESSIANIC FANTASY

THE PHARISEE MESSIANIC FANTASY

The 5th Dispensation failed because the Jewish leadership failed to recognize and accept Jesus as their Messiah, despite the enormous evidence that that proved Jesus was the ONLY person who could be the Redeemer.

As with the previous dispensations, the failure was due to the people choosing themselves over God – specifically, they chose the version of the Messiah that THEY wanted, as opposed to the one God actually sent.

But what if the Jews HAD accepted Jesus? This question is interesting for a couple reasons. First, the aftermath of a successful 5th Dispensation would have been unique due to the promises God made to Israel. And secondly, the end of this dispensation will greatly impact the future, as we’ll see later in this post.

Before we get to the answer, we need to revisit some background information. In the 4th Dispensation, God made an unconditional, unbreakable promise to Abraham (the father of the Jews and Israel) that He would make them a great nation and that all the nations of the world would be blessed through them.

That promise was amplified later in the 5th Dispensation through Old Testament prophets who foretold that the Messiah would set up a world-wide kingdom and would rule the nations from Jerusalem.

But this Kingdom would be preceded by God judging, punishing, and generally going all “Old Testament” on the enemies of Israel (I acknowledge that this may be the first appropriate usage of that term).

And this is what the Pharisees were looking for from their Messiah – a Jewish Super hero who would make all their jingoistic fantasies a reality. And their desires weren’t illegitimate! Just ill timed.

In fact, Jesus began His ministry by quoting this Messianic prophesy from Isaiah 6:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me, To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God;

Except He stopped at the last comma and closed the book. He left off the part about “The day of vengeance of our God”! Or more accurately, He postponed it since the first part of His ministry was to fulfill the law and die unjustly to redeem mankind.

So what would have happened if the Jewish leadership had been contrastive and recognized their Messiah?

First of all, they would have accepted Him as King when He presented Himself as such on the exact day prophesized. His unjust execution would then have likely been initiated by the Romans (who wouldn’t have looked favorably on someone elevating Himself above Caesar) instead of the Jews.

And while they would have been distraught by the brutality of His death, they would have anxiously awaited His resurrection on the third day. The risen Jesus would have presented Himself in the Temple for all of Israel to see (the people would have still been in Jerusalem for spring feasts), and the Jews would have believed on Him and accepted salvation.

Then the entire gentile world would have likely heard this voice coming from heaven. Followed by righteous Judgment raining down upon the enemies of Israel, as well as Satan and his minions for 7 years.

Finally, the long awaited Kingdom would commence with the Jews ruling alongside Jesus.

But as we know, this didn’t happen. Worse, by rejecting their Messiah, the Jews opened themselves up to the curses that God pronounced would occur if they ultimately rejected Him. Jesus cried in despair for His people knowing the horrors and misfortunes that they would have to endure throughout their history as a result of their failure to recognize the Redeemer

Moreover, because they intentionally refused to see the evidence that was staring them in the face for hundreds of years, God justly blinded them to the knowledge they rejected.

[Note: the blindness pronounced by Jesus was a “corporate” curse on national Israel. Individual Jews could obviously be saved since the Jews were almost exclusively the only Christians for several years after Jesus’ resurrection.]

But while the failure of the 5th Dispensation was a tragedy for first-century Israel, it was a boon to the rest of us, because we have the opportunity to fill in the gap. What “gap” you ask?

Allow me to explain:

You see, the aforementioned prophesy in Daniel 9: 24-27 not only gave the exact date of Jesus’ presentation as the Redeemer, it gives timing of the end of the reign of sin and evil in the world!

The prophesy basically said that everything would be wrapped up in 490 years (70 “weeks of years”). As we’ve seen, Jesus presented Himself as Redeemer/Messiah/King after 483 years (69 “weeks of years”). That just leaves 7 years (one week of years) yet to be fulfilled.

But Daniel 9:26 shows that there is an indeterminate gap of time between the 69th week and the 70th week, wherein certain things happened including the crucifixion and resurrection, as well as the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. (so we know the gap was at least 40 years since the 69th week ended around 30 A.D.)

Now, if the 5th Dispensation had been successful, the gap would have been much shorter – primarily encompassing Christ’s death and resurrection (and probably not the destruction of the temple). However because that dispensation failed, God had to move on to the 6th Dispensation.

But what about those final 7 years?

THEY HAVEN’T HAPPENED YET!!

That’s right, the entire 6th Dispensation occurs in the gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel’s prophesy! That a 2000 year (and counting) gap of time!

This gap of time benefits us because everyone reading this blog was born during the 6th Dispensation and has the opportunity to receive the salvation and redemption offered by Jesus and rejected by first century Israel!

This idea obviously has a ton of implications for us that we will begin to explore in the next post, but before we go there, we need to address a couple of burning questions left over from the end of the 5th Dispensation – namely, what happens with the final 7 years, and what’s to become of Israel?

Here’s the thing, as with all the dispensations, God knew the 5th would fail. But since He is Righteous, He had to be contrastive and give Israel the opportunity to succeed. And since He is Just, He had to judge them with blindness because of their failure.

But remember, the promises God made to Abraham and his descendants are unconditional and unbreakable! Those promises HAVE to be fulfilled. That means that God is NOT done with Israel!

There are still 7 years left to account for and those 7 years WILL happen. In fact, those 7 years are among the most documented periods of time in Bible Prophesy! After the gap (the 6th Dispensation), the 5th Dispensation will come back! The blindness WILL be lifted from the eyes of Israel. God WILL judge their enemies. There WILL be a worldwide Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.

We will delve into the 70th week of Daniel later, but in the next post we will begin to explore the Dispensation that is the most meaningful to us (because we currently live in it). What is the 6th Dispensation? Why is it unique? And how (and when) will it end? Next time…

 

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August 8, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 1: Tomb Raiders (cont.)

Posted in Jesus, Religion, Salvation tagged , , , , , at 3:51 PM by E. M.

Jesus myth2We’ve been examining some of the more popular myths and theories used by Satan and his minions in an attempt to discredit and/or deny the resurrection of Jesus. However since these myths are in blatant opposition to the truth and the historical evidence of the resurrection, they tend to be improbable at best or ludicrous at worse.

We looked at two of them in the last post. This time we will examine one of the silliest, followed by one that could eventually prove to be the most dangerous of all.

Myth 3: The Swoon Theory

This one is my favorites – primarily because it’s the most ridiculous. This myth purports that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, because Jesus never actually died! The “Swoon Theory” states that Jesus didn’t DIE on the cross; He just fainted (swooned) due to the extreme pain. Because He was so weak and brutalized, the Romans mistook His fainting spell for death and plopped Him into the tomb. Therein, the cool air of the tomb revived Him. He then walked out of the tomb, retired from the ministry, shacked up with Mary Magdalene, and sired a whole bunch of children who went on to be the progenitors of the royal families of Europe.

No, I’m not making this up. My imagination is not that fertile.

So let’s look at all the things that are wrong with this idiotic theory. First of all, the Romans didn’t just start crucifying people the week before they hung Jesus on the cross. They were EXPERTS in this form of execution and they knew how to tell if their victim was dead. When a person dies, their blood separates into the red cell platelets and the relatively clear plasma. The soldier who stuck a spear in Jesus’ side at the end of the crucifixion wasn’t being sadistic; he was making sure Jesus was dead! When blood and “water” (plasma) came out, it proved His death.

As we saw a couple posts back, crucifixion has a devastating effect on the human body. The nerves in the hands and feet are irreparably damaged, the lungs fill with fluid, most of the major organs fail, and the heart ruptures. According to the Swoon Theory, not only did these injuries NOT kill Jesus, it only took the “cool air” of the tomb to heal him enough to hop out of His burial clothes. Then He managed to hobble over to entrance of the tomb on unusable feet, push the boulder out of the way with useable hands, sneak past the aforementioned Roman Guard, and go stud Himself off to Mary Magdalene.

It looks like people have been wasting their time in spas and clinics all these years. Apparently nothing heals and refreshes like cool tomb air!

So does anyone actually take this nonsense seriously? Believe it or not the answer is yes! In fact variations of the “Jesus wasn’t dead when they took him off the cross” variant is the prevailing theory in academia (and Islam) and has been popularized in such mainstream books as Holy Blood Holy Grail, and Da Vinci Code. And if that isn’t proof that contrastive thinking leads to brain damage, I don’t know what is.

Myth 4: The Pristine Corpse

This last myth is actually quite a bit different from the others. It is the most inconspicuous, and seemingly innocuous – but it has the potential to be the most harmful. It’s not a direct assault on the truth of the resurrection, and I’m not even certain that it comes from Satan (although he can and does make use of it where possible).

This myth is tacitly endorsed and encouraged by Christians, which likely makes it the most controversial and uncomfortable. In fact, I’ve never presented it to a Christian who did not find it disturbing if not offensive. It will be especially repulsive to any reader who is religious. The best way to present it is to examine a few post-resurrection narratives from the Bible:

As I wrote earlier, when Jesus rose from the dead, the first person to encounter Him was Mary Magdalene who had come to the cemetery to tend to the body. When she first encountered Jesus, she mistook him for the gardener and only seemed to know who He was when she fully recognized His voice. Later the disciples were out fishing when Jesus called them to shore for breakfast. They seemed to discern His identity only (apparently) because he miraculously produced fish for them, which is something he had done before. On another occasion, Jesus joined two of His followers on a 7 mile walk, and they just assumed He was a stranger visiting the area. It was only after they invited Jesus in for dinner and he broke the bread, did they know who He was (presumably because they saw the nail prints in His hands). Lastly, in the famous “Doubting Thomas” incident, Jesus abruptly appeared in a room full of disciples who thought He was a ghost! Only after He submitted to Thomas’ request to examine His hands and feet did they know it was Jesus.

Are you noticing a pattern here? It seems that after the resurrection, people have a difficult time recognizing Jesus. Why is that?

The popular theory is that the resurrected Jesus had such a “glorious” form, that even His closest companions were blinded by His heavenly appearance. This idea partially stems from our human tendency to disproportionately value physical appearance (which has its roots in comparative thinking).

But why would Mary mistake this “heavenly” figure for a cemetery gardener? The Jewish laws against touching dead things would relegate that job to only the lowliest of people. And why would a “glorious” Jesus scare the crap out of the disciples when he appeared?

While the “glorious” resurrection visage may be a possibility, I’m going to argue against it by looking at a couple verses that describe what Jesus suffered during the crucifixion.

The prophet Isaiah wrote that Jesus would have his beard torn off by His torturers. If you’ve ever known anyone who had a full beard and shaved it off, you know that they look quite different than before. In an even more disturbing prophesy, Isaiah, wrote that the beatings Jesus received during the crucifixion were so brutal that his face no longer looked human!

And now we come to the myth. The common assumption about Jesus’ appearance after the resurrection is that the only physical evidence that He retained from the crucifixion are the nail scars on His hands and feet, and the scar from the spear He took in His side. Other than that, He looked exactly the way He looked before Calvary (if not better).

But the reason for that assumption is NOT because the Bible says or implies that those are the only scars Jesus retained, but because those are the SPECIFIC wounds that Thomas required as evidence!

There is no logical or Biblical reason to think that Jesus didn’t retain ALL the scars from His suffering – Including the massive scar tissue from having his beard ripped off and some degree of facial deformity and additional scarring from the beatings.

If this is true, it would explain the reactions of His followers. It would make sense that Mary would think a disfigured man in a cemetery would be the gardener, and someone would such aesthetics would understandably make the disciples drop a brick in their robes if he suddenly appeared out of nowhere. And while part of the reason the men on the Emmaus road invited Him to dinner may have been a matter of middle-eastern hospitality, they also may have been taking pity on what they thought was an unfortunate stranger.

But why would Jesus choose to retain ANY physical evidence of His horrific death, let alone such disturbing ones? The answer may come from a story I once heard:

There was a little girl whose mother would drop her off for school every morning.   However, the other school children would tease the girl about her mother, because the mother’s face had been badly burned.

One day the little girl asked her mother if she would start dropping her off a couple blocks from the school so that the children would not see the mother and the girl would be spared their teasing.

“I’ve never told you the reason I look like this have I?” The mother responded. “The accident that caused my burns happened when you were a baby, but I think you’re old enough to know now.”

“One day, after you had fallen asleep in your crib, I went outside to do some gardening. After a while, I smelled smoke. I looked up and noticed that the house was on fire! It turned out that there was an electrical surge near your bedroom that caused it, and it was burning out of control.”

“I rushed into the house in a panic. I could hear you crying so I knew you were still alive, but there was a wall of flames between me and your room. I covered myself a best I could and charged in. It was very difficult to get to you and my coverings and clothes began to catch on fire.

“When I finally got to you, I covered you as best I could and shielded you with my body as I ran out. I could barely see due to the smoke so I had to keep my face uncovered. By the time I made it outside, I had third degree burns over most of my body, especially my face. But it didn’t matter, because you were safe. Saving you was all that mattered.

From that point on, the little girl was no longer ashamed of her mother’s looks. In fact, they became a point or pride and comfort. Because now, every time she looked at her mother’s face, she saw the evidence of how much she was loved, and how much someone was willing to sacrifice to save her.

It could be same for that those who choose Salvation and the Meaning of Life. If so, they may spend eternity looking at the face that shows evidence of how much they are loved and how much was sacrificed for their redemption.

But why do I consider this myth so dangerous? On the surface, the worst outcome would simply be the fact that we embrace an incorrect physical image. The problem is that any level of delusion, especially in regards to Jesus and the importance of His redemptive work, can open the door to Satan’s favorite tactic – deception!

In this case, it’s the deception of idolatry – a deception that could eventually cause the LOSS of the Meaning of Life! I’ll explain more in the next post…

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May 31, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 3: Blind in One Eye

Posted in Jesus, Organized Religion, Religion, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Law tagged , , , , , at 11:44 PM by E. M.

HOW MYSTICS INTERPRET THE BIBLE

We’ve been looking at the advent and incarnation of The Redeemer from the perspective of His spiritual enemies. From the point of view of Satan and his minions, Jesus was a hostile force who had come to conquer them and take their territory.

Having failed to prevent Jesus’ advent and being unable to personally defeat Him physically or spiritually, Satan turned to his next line of defense – human Mystics.

As we’ve seen in previous posts, Mystics are individuals or small groups who claim to have and hold secret/hidden knowledge, and they use this knowledge (or the perception thereof) to rule over people.

Religious Mystics specifically claim (and sometimes actually have) special knowledge and/or power from spiritual entities.

Since their beginning, Mystics have found their way into every society and culture – and God’s nation of Israel wasn’t spared of their contamination. The priests of ancient Israel were often guilty of mixing God’s Law with the surrounding pagan practices – starting with the very first priest of Israel!

As with other Mystics, the Jewish religious leaders began to modify and add to God’s Law. The promoted themselves as the only ones who truly knew, understood (and therefore could interpret) the actual meaning of the Law. Thus, as the true “authority” on the Law, the people should follow them instead of actually learning the Law for themselves.

During Jesus’ time, these Mystics were called “Pharisees” (but Jesus had a more accurate name for them).

After Jesus had been baptized and anointed by God to begin His mission, He charged right into the flank of Satan’s second line of defense by doing something that the Pharisees would consider the most vicious frontal attack possible – Jesus taught people the Bible!

Not only did He teach the Bible, He taught it with authority! Jesus’ first major doctrinal sermon was a detailed lesson that amplified and clarified the Law. He juxtaposed the traditions that the Pharisees had ingrained in the people over the years with the true spirit of the Law. And it was brutal!

Jesus’ teaching amazed people because it stripped away everything that the Pharisees had piled onto God’s word (or took away from it) and reduced back to the original intention of the Law – to prove man’s nature and depravity and his need for a redeemer.

As His popularity grew, Jesus went from being an annoyance to a major threat in the eyes of the Pharisees – a threat that had to be dealt with. Unfortunately, the Pharisees thought they were just dealing with a street preacher from the sticks instead of the Son of God.

Their first tactic was to reinforce their authority by challenging Jesus’ understanding and observance of the Law. But they didn’t realize they were confronting the person who embodied the Law. Again and again Jesus showed His superiority to the self-proclaimed experts.

Since Jesus popularity was due to His knowledge (granted, the miracles didn’t hurt), the Pharisees next tactic was to show that He wasn’t the smarty pants that everyone thought He was. The Pharisees came up with one conundrum after another in an attempt to outwit Jesus, but when you challenge someone who has access to all the knowledge in existence, your chances of victory are pretty low.

Not only did Jesus answer every challenge, He gave them a taste of their own medicine by presenting them with a conundrum so challenging that they completely abandoned any future attacks!

But Jesus didn’t just play defense against the Pharisees, He directly confronted them and their errant teachings personally! Jesus called them out for being the deceptive, destructive hypocrites that they were and publicly admonished them for the damage they were doing in the “name of God”. If anyone believes that God categorically endorses someone just because they stand up and claim to be a “Man of God”, they have never read Matthew 23.

It was obvious that the Mystics could not defeat Jesus. With each successive public humiliation, Jesus’ stature grew and the Pharisees’ diminished. They only had one alternative left to preserve their illegitimate status. They had to commit the ultimate evil – They had to kill Jesus.

Looking at the narrative of Jesus and the Pharisees begs one huge question – if these Mystics were experts on the Old Testament, and the Old Testament contains over 300 prophesies that Jesus continuously fulfilled, then why didn’t the Pharisees recognize who He was?

The Pharisees spent their entire lives studying the scriptures and Jesus was the long awaited fulfillment of the Law. They should have been Jesus’ greatest supporters and most sincere disciples, not His greatest adversaries and erstwhile murderers.

Why did they reject Him?

Comparative thinking! Specifically the hyper-comparative thinking known as religion (and the inherent brain damage it causes).

The conflict is that in the 300+ prophesies of the Redeemer, there is a significant distinction in how Jesus is presented. In some of them, He is depicted as the suffering servant who is depised and rejected by men; the Lamb of God who must die a torturous death for man’s sins.

In other prophesies, He is the conquering King who thoroughly defeats the enemies of God and Israel, brings justice to the world and sets up a world-wide kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem.

How are these distinctions reconciled? The descriptions seem to contradict each other, but we know that contradictions don’t exist. Contrastive thinking would lead to the resolution that since there are two distinct descriptions and missions prophesized, then there must be two district advents of the Redeemer! Once as a suffering servant, and another as a conquering King.

When confronted with the two distinct advents of the Redeemer, instead of trying to reconcile them contrastively, the Pharisees decided to ONLY accept the advent they liked and completely ignored the less appealing one! They only embraced and taught the idea of their Messiah as a conquering King!

The result of this brain-damaged thinking was that the Jewish Mystics and the people who followed them were completely blind to the first advent of the Redeemer even though the Bible gave the exact date!

Even worse for the Jews is that God held them accountable to recognize their Messiah. Their failure to do so would have many dire consequences…

Jesus’ enemies were now ready to enact their final and seemingly most effective strategy to defeat Him – murder. But as has been the case throughout this war, apparent victory for the enemy would lead to great defeat. Next time

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October 25, 2013

The Law Myth – part 3: Grumpy Old God

Posted in Religion, Terminology, The Dispensations, The Law tagged , , , , , at 2:57 PM by E. M.

NOT AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF GOD

NOT AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF GOD

We’ve been looking at some of the myths about the Law and the 5th Dispensation.  In this final post on the subject we’ll discuss a set of myths that are both pervasive and controversial – the idea that God’s Law is meant to make us feel bad about stuff that makes us feel good.

The myth is that God is a cosmic kill joy who gets perverse pleasure out of telling us “Thou shall not…”    And the perception is that all the stuff God doesn’t want us to do are things we find enjoyable.  It’s almost like He set us up to fail by telling us not to do things we are naturally inclined to do.  But is this true?

We’ve seen over the last two posts that the rules of the Law are not meant to be repressive or religious.   But they actually have positive intentions – namely helping prepare the world for the advent of the Redeemer.

So where does this myth come from?  Frankly, much of it is self-serving.  Because of our nature and our tendency toward pride, we tend to desire things that are evil.  Evil leads to destruction.  God is not being repressive; He’s trying to protect us from destruction by identifying our evil tendencies and steering us away from them.

But since we don’t like anyone telling us that we are wrong, it’s easier to cast God in a negative light than admit that we like being evil.

The myth is also acerbated by religion. Mystics heap up additional religious laws on men in order to stifle uniqueness and retain their power.  But these superfluous rules aren’t from God.  Worse, since people ascribe them to God (because they believe the mystics who claim to speak for Him), they begin to believe that in order to follow God they have to be in constant compliance with innumerable arbitrary rules.

Sometimes well intentioned non-mystics are guilty of this too.  Ever hear your grandmother say things like “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, or “God helps those who help themselves”, or “an idle mind is the devils workshop”?   Being tidy, self-reliant, and focused are nice attributes, but these rules didn’t come from God, and ascribing His name to them doesn’t make them Biblical.

But let’s focus on the area that has been the biggest source of the “God is a big ol’ prude” myth – Sexuality.  The myth is, that generally speaking, God doesn’t like it when we have sex.  It’s a low, dirty desire that we mammals are cursed with and He’d just as soon we not even speak of it.  It should only be done for the express purpose of procreation.  And even then, it should only be done in a locked room.

In the dark.

Missionary style.

Completed as quickly and quietly as possibly.

And we should bath ourselves in bleach afterwards.

Honestly, the source of this myth is rooted in the very detailed sexual morality rules of the Law.  Its clear that God only approves of sex in the marital relationship.  BUT within the confines of marriage, sex is encouraged.

Sadly, well-intentioned (and some not so well-intentioned) people made the myth that “God hates sex” even more pervasive by going overboard in enforcing sexual morality and vilifying the sex act in any form.

So if this is a myth, how does God really feel about sex?  I would contend that God thinks sex is pretty damn awesome!  Why? Well, first of all He created it!  He created it to feel good to us!  And He created us to desire it!

After God created the first man and woman, He told them to “be fruitful and multiply”.  He commanded them to have sex!  He basically said “Adam, here’s your wife.  Eve, here’s your husband.  Now go get some!”

Moreover, the fact that the Song of Songs in even in the Bible proves that God delights in the joy of our sexuality.  The entire book is about a bride and groom who physically desire one another and delight in sex.  Here’s a snippet of the grooms description of his bride’s body.

How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your thighs are like jewels,
The work of the hands of a skillful workman.
Your navel is a rounded goblet;
It lacks no blended beverage.
Your waist is a heap of wheat
Set about with lilies. Songs of songs 7: 1-2

To get the full impact of this passage, it’s worth mentioning here that the word “navel” is mistranslated due to the desire of the translators to be polite.  Notice that he’s working his way UP her body in the description.  There is an, ahem, “opening” on the female body between the thighs and the waist. . . but it ain’t her navel.  I’ll just leave it at that.

But if God thinks sex is so awesome, why are we only allowed to do it with the person we’re married to, and them alone?  That’s actually not a valid question.  God doesn’t see sex and marriage separately. The “marriage ceremony” we do today is a man-made tradition.  To God, sex isn’t something you do with the person you’re married to.  The sex act is what makes you married!

Technically there is no such thing as “sex before marriage” because sex IS marriage.  The act of sex is the consummation of the marriage covenant.  So technically, in God’s eyes, you married the first person you had sex with (I’ll give you a moment to recover from the horror).  And you are committing adultery with any person you have sex with subsequently.  So you see why God wants us to take sex seriously?

God is strict about sex because of the tremendous value he places on marriage and what it symbolizes.  The joy and ecstasy of sex is God’s earthly representation of what Heaven is going to be like!  Kind of makes you anxious to get there, doesn’t it?

And as mentioned above, the rules of the Law are God’s way of protecting us from ourselves.  Again our tendency is toward evil so we have strong desires to be sexually immoral.  But the consequences of that immorality is destructive.

Promiscuity, infidelity, and adultery are emotionally devastating.  They break hearts, break up families, and ruin childhoods.  Sexual immorality can also lead to physical damage (disease) and physical dependency – the neurochemicals released during sex are identical to the ones released when addictive drugs are used.  God intended this function to bond you physically and emotionally to your spouse.  But illicit sex leaves you empty and constantly in search of your next “fix”, be it at the local bar or in front of a computer screen.

Lastly, let’s tackle the big controversy (at least in the eyes of contemporary society) – homosexuality.  I’m not going to sugarcoat the subject, because God doesn’t.  God calls it an abomination.  It’s listed as one of the effects of intentionally disregarding God and our inherent knowledge of Him.  Is this because God “hates” homosexuals as some zealots proclaim?

No, it goes back to how important marriage is to God, and how He defines it.  God defines marriage as the sexual covenant between a man and a woman.  Period.  And He considers anyone or anything that intentionally perverts that definition an affront to Him.  I know that’s not politically correct, but I kind of doubt God is terribly concerned about popular opinion.  The question is, should God conform to the whims of His creation, or should His creation conform to Him?

I won’t argue with someone who says they were born with a desire for someone of the same sex, any more than I would argue with someone who says they were born with a bad temper, or a predisposition to substance abuse, or even a desire for heterosexual promiscuity.   The issue is not the desire.  It’s what you choose to do with that desire.  We are creatures with free will – AND the responsibility that goes along with it.

The bottom line is that homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes – like every other sin we all commit.  It has the same source, the same consequences, and the same remedy.  Presenting it as anything more or less than that is misrepresenting God.

Now that we’ve addressed some of the major myths of the Law, it’s time to focus on the major outcome of the Law – the advent of the Redeemer.  Considering the extraordinary and eternal impact of the event, it’s safe to say that the Redemption of man is the most important even in our history.  Understandably, this advent is the most well described event in the bible.  In fact, much of this description was detailed hundreds of years before He even arrived!  We’ll begin to explore all this next time.

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October 1, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 4: To Rival the Devil

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , , at 11:45 AM by E. M.

 “From now on we are enemies, You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because You are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You, I swear it. I will hinder and harm Your creature on earth as far as I am able!” – Salieri, “Amadeus”

Satan’s pride and desire for worship led him to rebel against God. He was defeated and cast out of Heaven.  With this in mind, its understandable, that Satan’s position toward God is one of animosity.  But when you look through the Bible (and the world in general), its pretty clear that Satan has a healthy dose of antagonism toward us as well.

Why does Satan hate us so much?  Well obviously if Satan hates God, he’d naturally want to destroy anything that God loves.  But I think there is more to it than that.  Satan doesn’t just see us as cannon fodder in his war with God.  He sees us as his rivals.

In fact, the creation of man may have been a part of the impetus for Lucifer’s rebellion.  We don’t know exactly how it happened; however during a recent beer run in Nepal (no one makes ale like the Nepalese) a street merchant sold me a parchment that detailed a conversation between God and Lucifer that may shed light on the subject (and of course we know that if something is written on a mysterious ancient parchment, it MUST be true.  Right?).  Here is the transcript:

Lucifer – “Oh glorious Lord, your Angels all agree that your creations are a worthy reflection of your holiness and perfection! (None more so than me, of course, since I am your ultimate creation).”

God – “That’s true, but  I’m not done.  What I’m about to do next will be the pinnacle of my creations.”

Lucifer – “…but…I’m the pinnacle of your creations…right?”

God – “Well, yes.  Currently.  But I’m going to create Man.  And Man will be greater than you.”

Lucifer – “But I’m the Seal of Perfection!  How can this  “man” creature be greater than me?!  Nothing is greater than me!”

God – “I’m greater than you.  And I’m going to make Man in my image.”

Lucifer – “Why would you do that?”

God – “To add another Person to my Trinity – to increase Our love.”

Lucifer – “So you’re going to make Man in your image…but he will be created equal to me, right?  After all, I’m your ultimate creation.  Technically you can’t create anything higher than me.”

God – “ Actually I’m going to create Man a in a lower form than the Angels.”

Lucifer – “You’re kidding!”

God – “I don’t kid.  Men will have free will.  I want to give them the opportunity to choose Me, my righteousness, and my love.  If they do, they will become one with me and share my Throne.”

Lucifer – “Are you serious?!”

God – “I’m always serious.”

Lucifer – “How do you expect me to deal with these creatures?!”

God – “I expect you and the rest of the Angelic host to serve and minister to men.  Man will eventually rule over you.”

Lucifer – “No way!”

God – “Way.”

Lucifer – “You expect me to serve these things?!”

God – “Yes.”

Lucifer – “Do you know who I am?!”

God – “Uh, yeah.  I made you.”

Lucifer – “These are absolutely unacceptable working conditions!  I won’t stand for it!  I demand to speak to my union rep!”

God – “What are you talking about?  Where are you going?”

Lucifer – “I need to make some calls.”

Adam was created in God’s image. That is a claim that no other created being, including Satan could make. Moreover,  we’re destined to have all the things that Satan desired before he fell:

For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven.  I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. – Isaiah 14:12-14

However, it is God’s human children who will ascend to Heaven. We will be in a position of authority over the stars [angels] of God . We will share God’s authority .  We will be like the Most High.

So what do you imagine someone as vain, destructive, and temperamental as Satan would do if he felt that someone has stolen what was rightfully his?  He’d steal the things that have been given to them by God!

And Satan has actually been pretty successful in that venture to the point that he has taken possession of much of what God originally gave to man.  How?  We’ll examine that question next time

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November 20, 2011

Human Government part 2: A Unique Problem

Posted in Government, The Dispensations tagged , , , at 12:41 PM by E. M.

THE GOAL OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT

In the last post, we saw that the human government created by mystics is man’s comparative attempt to recreate the paradise of Eden without God.  However human government is doomed to failure for two primary reasons.  First, perfection requires righteousness (the opposite of comparative thinking).  Secondly, all human beings have Adam’s desire to rule, not just the mystics.

There’s an old saying, “great men can’t be ruled” (which I quoted to my parents every time they grounded me as a teenager).  But that saying is not just an ineffective justification for teen rebellion.  It’s a truism that gets to the core of why human government always degenerates into totalitarianism and eventual failure.

What makes a person great?  Greatness is the rare, the different, and the exceptional.  Many people can play basketball, but the great ones are in the NBA.  Many people can cook, but the ones with great skill become chefs.  Many people can lead, but the great ones become generals and CEO’s.  Many people lie, but exceptional liars become politicians.

Great people are “great” because they have a combination of skills, abilities, and gifts not shared by others.  In other words, great people are unique.

Great men desire to rule (control) their own lives so they have the freedom to operate in their uniqueness and be of value to themselves and others. But the subjugation inherent in human government is antithetical to that kind of freedom.

In human government, only the rulers can be great.  The rest of us are the chattel to be ruled over.  The mystics’ desire to hold all the value in society denies the reality of the value that great men offer.  Human government cannot tolerate the existence greatness outside the circle of mystics.  Therefore mystics do everything in their power to discourage, suppress, and control great men.

Herein is the HUGE problem that mystics and their government have – we are ALL unique!  Our spirits are composed of principles that are unique to each of us. We all have unique skills and gifts.  No two Human beings are the same.  If we operate in our uniqueness, we all have the potential to be great.

We are all potential threats to the mystics, so a key to their methodology of rule is to suppress uniqueness. The central role of human government is to make everyone the same!

The Mystics of Force do this through laws.  These laws are used to control and homogenize the behavior of the masses through fear of the physical punishments for noncompliance.  The Mystics of Spirit use a more subtle (but arguably more effective) method. They take advantage of mans inclination to think comparatively and fear of social/religious alienation to get us to homogenize ourselves!

People naturally know and understand that we are all unique – that we are all different from each other.  So the Mystics of Spirit condition people to believe that uniqueness is unjust!  They endeavor to convince us that “sameness” is good and uniqueness is bad.  They use (or intentionally misuse) socially reactionary terms and concepts such as patriotism, nationalism, equality, community, race, class, social justice, political correctness, etc. to advocate that we all think and act the same.

If anyone tries to express their uniqueness in thought or action, they are ridiculed, ostracized, demeaned, discouraged and rejected for deviating from the “norm”.  Acting in your uniqueness makes you “abnormal”.  “Normal” is acting and thinking like everyone else.

But if we are all unique, why is it so easy for mystics to manipulate us into suppressing our uniqueness?  Because on a certain level the idea of everyone being the same is appealing! Our desire to be great and appreciate the greatness of others competes with our comparative tendencies.  Comparative thinking leads you to fear that your uniqueness may be less valuable than someone else’s.

Comparative thinkers hate great people because comparative thinkers fear (or mystics have taught them to fear) that another’s greatness is a threat to their own and their relative sense of value and self worth.  And since they can’t “rise” to the level of another’s greatness, they are content to bring the great person down to a “normal level”.  Modern day mystics call this “equality”.

Through manipulation and intimidation, the mystics of human government want everyone’s lives to be dedicated to them and their rule.  Why?  Because when you dedicate yourself to another man – be it king, dictator, priest, or concepts like “the people” or “humanity”, – you will lose your “self”.  You will lose your uniqueness.  And you can be ruled.

But doesn’t God want us to choose Him over the mystics and ourselves?  What happens when you dedicate yourself to God?  When you are dedicated to God, you are dedicated to the One who wants you to be unique!  God’s plan is for us to rule with Him not under Him.  God’s plan for us is meant to result in more of what He already has, and the only way to do that is if we have the ability to grow.  By definition, growth means that we cannot remain the same.  We have to become greater and more valuable than what we are.   And we can only do that by operating in our uniqueness.

God’s plan requires us to be unique!  God’s plan is antithetical to the goals of human government, and that is why the governments of the mystics are always hostile to the God of the Bible and violently oppose His followers.

As an aside, it should be mentioned that the United States was founded on the Biblically based ideas of individual liberty, and inherent human value (uniqueness) from God.  However, founding father Samuel Adams maintained that this type of government could only be successful if the people were moral (righteous).  For those who believe that America has less liberty than it should.  It might be interesting to examine the inverse relationship between the county’s immorality and its liberty.

In the first three Dispensations, God gave man every reasonable opportunity to choose Him on their own, and each dispensation ended with an increasingly damaging failure.  The just thing for God to do in the next dispensation would be to provide some guidance and parameters for men to operate in.  In the next post, we take a look at the Fourth Dispensation.

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October 18, 2011

Human Government part 1: Chasing Eden

Posted in Government, Organized Religion tagged , , , , , at 12:39 PM by E. M.

Man was originally made for Eden.  And even though we fell from that position, we still long for the perfection of paradise.  In fact, I contend that man’s intrinsic desire to return to an Eden-like existence is the primary motivation for our actions, (both good and evil), and the root source of the world’s miseries.

In Eden, man had perfect fellowship with God, perfect fellowship with each other, and authority over creation.  That all ended with Original Sin and the fall.  Man is now born spiritually dead, our relationships are broken, and creation will no longer yield to our rule.  (All together now: “Thanks Adam!”)  The fall left us with a deep and abiding ache to get back what we lost.

God is not indifferent to our pain.  He wants us to be back in paradise with Him, and He has a righteous plan to bring it about.  But as a creature with free will, man can choose not to follow God’s plan and try to recreate Eden on his own.  However in a world that will no longer obey him, the only way man can attempt to reclaim Eden is by force;  forced fellowship with other men, and forced rulership over creation.  We call these attempts “government”.

The Third Dispensation was man’s first and most successful organized effort to recreate Eden in his own image, under the rule of Nimrod and Semiramis.  Instead of a connection to the true God, Semiramis elevated herself to godhood.  And as we saw in the last post, her heirs, the Mystics of Spirit, have carried her legacy forward.

Nimrod, on the other hand, ruled the world and the people in it through his strength.  He is the father of government, rulers, and politicians (for that alone he deserves a special place in Hell).  Babel functioned during its time because the people were of one mind and united in their purpose.  When God confused their languages, that unity was lost forever.

Flawed as it was, Babel was the closest to Eden that fallen man was (and could ever be) capable of achieving.  Since then, man’s comparative goal has been to recreate Babel.

Like the Mystics of Spirit, Nimrod’s philosophical heirs, the Mystics of Force, sought to rule over the new nations.  But instead of using religion, they used the sword.  Their goal was to recreate the unity of Babel by force.  Their method was the physical conquest and subjugation of men through war, occupation, intimidation, confiscation, and control.

We’ve known them through history by their various terms of rulership, from singular emperors and dictators, to oligarchies, councils, congresses, guilds, and ruling families.  The Bible simply refers to them as “kings”

The reason that Nimrod’s heirs can be considered “mystics” is because their ultimate weapon is the same tool of control used by the Mystics of Spirit – fear!  The Mystics of Spirit inspired fear of the spiritual, while the Mystics of Force relied on fear of the physical.

The Mystics of Spirit convinced people that disobedience to them would result in the wrath of the gods.  The Mystics of Force ruled by the threat of tangible retribution: war, executions, confiscation of land, denial of food and resources, incarceration, taxation, deportation, or social rejection and isolation (like being labeled a traitor or an “intolerant Christian”).

The goals of both groups of mystics have always been the same; the subjugation of others in order to create their own personal Eden – with themselves in the role of “God”.

As the Mystic of Spirit wanted men to be dependent on them as the replacement for God’s knowledge, the Mystics of Force want men to be dependent on them (and their government) as a replacement for God’s’ power and provision.  Governments seek to put men into a state of constant dependence on them, just as in Eden, Adam was in constant fellowship with God.

Because of their similar goals, the two groups of mystics have an adversarial, sycophantic, and symbiotic relationship with each other.  The Mystics of Spirit use the Mystics of Force to add muscle and physical intimidation to their machinations, and the Mystics of Force use the Mystics of Spirit to reinforce their physical rule by adding the subjugation of the minds of men to their subjugation of men’s bodies.

This is why kings often have priests and mystic councilors at court, who elevate the king to a level of godhood or divine appointment.  Or use religious retribution to discourage any challenge to the king’s edicts.

This is also evident in the rulers’ adoption of the clandestine and insular practices of the Mystics of Spirit, exemplified by “Royal Bloodlines”, political intrigue, and the various Secret Societies (both real and imagined), trumpeted by conspiracy theorists.

There have always been two hallmarks of the rule of the mystics throughout history:

  1. Comparative thinking that allows them to justify any means – no matter how evil or abhorrent – to their Edenistic ends
  2. Abject failure

Despite the best efforts of man, he can never overcome the curse of Adam.  Every attempt to rule the world ultimately fails.  Every empire, be it “holy” or secular, eventually collapses.

There is an intrinsic reason why kings and clerics can never successfully rule the masses:  the desire to rule doesn’t just exist in the few who appoint themselves kings and priests.  We ALL share Adam’s genetic predisposition.  ALL men desire to rule!  Thus men will only succumb to the subjugation of the mind or by the sword for only so long.  Then our inherent desire to be the kings of our own world leads to rebellion against the rulers.

In response, the mystics increase their tyranny, but that only increases the desire of men to throw off their yoke.  Eventually the masses rebel.  Civil wars, revolutions, and invasions are the result.  Then the one government is replaced by another, and the cycle of futility continues.

Man’s attempt to recreate Eden epitomizes the classic definition of insanity.  In spite of his unbroken string of failure, man keeps trying over and over, expecting a different result.  Such is the result of rampant brain damage.

If man was willing to be contrastive, he’d admit the glaringly obvious fact that he cannot govern himself perfectly, and only a perfect being could do so.  That kind of contrastive thinking could actually lead to world peace.  But such is not the case.

In the next post, we will conclude our examination of the Third Dispensation by looking at the defining characteristic of man’s nature that makes it impossible for us to be ruled by other men, but is intrinsic to our ability to be ruled by God – our individual uniqueness.

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March 29, 2011

Faith part 4: Fear Factor

Posted in Faith, Terminology tagged , , , , , at 7:36 AM by E. M.

In the last few posts, we have been examining faith. Generally speaking, faith is the willingness to rely on something that we do not have full knowledge of.

Biblically speaking, faith is the expectation of something good, from a source or object that is not fully known, based on some previously validated knowledge and/or experience with the source

There is another “faith based” reaction to that which is not fully known.  There are circumstances where we react to what we do not know with some level of trepidation instead of hope.  This reaction is called “fear”.

Like faith, fear can be reasonable or irrational depending on whether or not it is based on knowledge and/or experience.

It is reasonable and sensible to be afraid if you are walking in a high crime area, being tailgated by a teenage driver, or swimming in shark infested waters.  Why?  Because we have knowledge (or experience) that crimes tend to happen in high crime areas, teenagers are clinically insane, and sharks tend to bite the living  $#!&% out of people whenever they get the opportunity.

Reasonable fear can be defined as the rational mindfulness of something that has the power to affect us.  Another word that can be used as a definition of reasonable fear is “respect”

The type of fear that will be the focus of this post is irrational fear – Fear that is not based on knowledge and experience – fear of the unknown.

Irrational fear is that general, undefined dread that people often feel without any logical reason.  This fear is so common that it has become a major aspect of clinical psychology where it is known as “anxiety”.  It can manifest as anything from simple anxiousness, and obsessive-compulsive activity, to debilitating panic attacks.

This type of fear is actually the antithesis of Biblical faith.  Biblical faith is the expectation of something positive based on knowledge.  Fear is the expectation of something negative based on the unknown.

In the Bible we are told to “fear God”.  It doesn’t mean we are to quake before Him in primitive dread of His arbitrary whim.  It means we should demonstrate a rational respectfulness based on our knowledge of His power and His nature.

There are nearly 200 admonitions in the Bible that we not be fearful or anxious.  Those admonitions generally refer to fear that is not based on knowledge.   For example, just about every time people witness the appearance of a supernatural being in the Bible, there first reaction is to be paralyzed with fear (or worse) because they don’t understand what they are seeing.  At this point, the being quickly tells them not to be afraid, and then gives them knowledge to help them understand.

Why is admonition against irrational fear so prominent in the Bible?

If you have no knowledge of a situation that is causing you fear, then you have a choice to be comparative or contrastive.   The contrastive choice is to either cognitively acknowledge that it is pointless to fear the unknown, or rely on a source that has some level of knowledge of the unknown thing you fear.  The comparative choice is to rely on yourself to deal with the unknown situation; but since you have no practical knowledge, you will either become paralyzed by the fear or you will take destructive (evil) actions.

The Bible does offer a remedy to fear – that remedy is love!

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

How does love remedy fear?  Remember we defined love in an earlier post as the willingness to give without expectation of getting anything in return.

The common theme in love and fear is “expectation” – fear expects something negative.  Love expects nothing.

Therefore, if you are focused on love (no expectations) then you can’t have negative expectations – you can’t love and fear at the same time!

We will conclude our discussion of faith by focusing on the cognitive process that acts as the gateway to faith and fear.  Next time, we will examine  “belief”.

February 20, 2011

Faith part 3: The Ballad of Jungle Joe

Posted in Faith tagged , , , , , at 4:20 PM by E. M.

God has all the knowledge in existence.  In order to fully know God we would have to have all the knowledge in existence.  But since we don’t, we can only believe in God by faith. And as we saw in the last post, faith in God can be considered reasonable faith because it is based on knowledge and experience.

But God doesn’t JUST ask that we believe in His existence, He wants us to believe in in Him TOTALLY!

Based on the fact that there are almost 400 references to faith in the Bible, faith is obviously a critical part of a fellowship with God.  Why is faith so important to God’s plan?  Let’s look again at the components of faith.

Rational faith seems to be the willingness to rely on something that we do not have full knowledge of, based on some degree of prior knowledge/experience that we have had with the object of faith. In order to have faith, you must intentionally choose to ask the question “what don’t I know?”  That is a contrastive question!

The reason that faith is so important to God’s plan is because Reasonable faith requires humility and contrastive thinking.  And contrastive thinking is the way to become more righteous.

On the other hand, comparative thinking is antithetical to faith in this case because when you are comparative, you are relying only on what you do know. And again, since our knowledge is limited, we cannot fully believe in God if we are comparative.  This is the reason why the second dispensation failed!

If a person should reasonably believe in God because of their knowledge and/or experience of God, then the converse must also be true – one should NOT reasonably believe in God if that person has NO knowledge or experience with Him.

This brings up one of the skeptics’ favorite “contradictions” concerning faith in God and salvation.  It takes a form similar to the encounter below, which I have heard so many times I have come to refer to it as “The Jungle Joe Paradox”.  It goes something like this:

“You Christians say that all people are doomed to Hell from birth and the only way to be saved into Heaven is to believe in God.  Well that’s fine for people in America where there is a church on every corner and 24-hour Christian television, but what about the people who live in primitive jungles?  They may go their entire life without ever meeting a Christian or reading the Bible.  According to you, God is going to send them all to Hell because they never believed in Him.  That’s totally unfair and I can’t believe in a so called “loving God” who would operate like that.

When a cynic or an atheist presents this argument, it is usually not out of a sincere desire to know God’s plan, but more as a deflection to take the focus off of their personal unbelief and project it onto the hypothetical “Jungle Joe”.

The silliness of that objection can easily be shown by asking them a few questions.  I first ask them if they’ve had an opportunity to choose a college, a career, a place to live, and a spouse during their life.  The answer is usually yes.  Then I ask them if the relative predicament of an anonymous person living in the jungle played a role in any of these decisions.  The answer of course is no.  Thus they acknowledge that they are fully capable of making choices that have great impact on their lives without taking Jungle Joe into account, and the decision about their eternity should be no different.”

However, essence of the dilemma does deserve to be addressed.  If there are people who have no knowledge or experience with God, it would be unjust of God to hold them accountable to have reasonable faith in Him. However, the Bible makes it clear

For what can beknown about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1:19-21 ESV

What this verse is saying is that the nature of creation itself testifies to God’s existence.  The first 8 posts in this blog proves God’s existence based solely on logic and reason. The reason Jungle Joe can be held to the same level of accountability as someone in the “civilized word” is that man has an innate knowledge of God whether he has been exposed to organized Christianity or not.

No matter what geographical, political, or social situation in which a human being exists, they are universally aware of six things

  1. There is a transcendent being who is all powerful and created the universe – People are inherently theistic, you don’t have to convince a young child or “uncivilized” man to believe in God; it’s natural to them.  Atheism has to be taught.
  2. This transcendent being is not indifferent to his creation and interacts with it/us – People in primitive societies acknowledge that deity(s) intervene in their lives.  There are no deists in the jungle
  3. There is an absolute right and wrong (good and bad). – Moral relativism is another creation of “civilized society”
  4. The rightness (righteousness) originates in the transcendent being and wrongness (unrighteousness) is all that is in opposition to him – We all inherently know that we need to be justified
  5. Like righteousness, justice exists, is absolute, and is mediated by the transcendent being – We all inherently know when we are being treated unfairly and we all expect justice to be equaled out.
  6. Man’s natural tendency is to be unrighteous and unjust (sinful) – all societies and cultures have to impose rules/laws to enforce good behavior.

Here’s the most important part – if, after realizing that it is impossible for him to be always and completely righteous and just by his own power, Jungle Joe contrastively appeals to the transcendent being (and Him alone) to rescue him from his unconquerable desire to do evil, then he has shown the faith that God desires, and it is counted to him as righteousness in the same manner as the Old Testament saints [Galatians 3:6-9]. But if he decides to justify himself and/or appease the deity by his own actions, his situation is no different than any other unbeliever.

Everyone has enough knowledge of God to have reasonable faith in Him.  Whether or not we choose to have faith is up to us.

Biblical faith is based on hope that something good will occur.  But there is a darker form of “faith” that is actually the opposite of Biblical faith and can result in evil.  Next time, we take a look at “fear”.

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