Monday, December 27, 2021

What Did Jesus Mean by "But I Say..."?

The phrase "but I say" or "but I tell you" appears in the Gospels quite a few times.  But what does it mean?  Let's examine the first time it appears, which is in Matthew 5:22.

21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister [without cause] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. [Matthew 5:21-22; NIV]

It appears that Jesus is quoting from the Law.  And indeed, the Law does say, "you shall not murder" [Exodus 20:13].  However, the Law does not say, "anyone who murders will be subject to judgement".  It says the one who murders is to be put to death [Numbers 35:16-21]!  Is Jesus making the Law harder to follow?  Not at all.  For the Law says, "love your neighbor as yourself" [Leviticus 19:18] and, "do not bear a grudge against anyone" [Leviticus 19:18].  What Jesus is doing here is linking Leviticus 19:18 with Exodus 20:13.  If you break the later, then you've broken the former in your heart.  This wouldn't be the only time that Jesus linked two different commands together, so that breaking one means you break the other in your heart.  In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus linked coveting with adultery.

So what about the next example?  Here's a verse where Jesus appears to be overriding God's Law.

31 "Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."  [Matthew 5:31-32; NIV]

The Law does indeed say that anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce [Deuteronomy 24:1].  But here's the question:  Is Jesus forbidding what God has previously allowed?  Or is the intent behind the command in question being misused?  Remember the Deuteronomy 13 Test.  And the fact that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for nullifying the Law of God:

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!"

3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.' 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is 'devoted to God,' 6 they are not to 'honor their father or mother' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. [Matthew 15:1-6; NIV]

So according to Jesus himself, anyone who nullifies the Law of God is guilty of sin.  This means that it can't be that Jesus is nullifying Deuteronomy 24:1 by forbidding adultery.  So it must be that the intent of Deuteronomy 24:1 is being ignored.  What's the intent?  The word translated as "uncleanness" is the Hebrew word "erva", which means "nakedness" or "shamefulness".  If you read through Scripture carefully, you will find that sin is always linked with shame, with the former justifying the latter.  In other words, the intent of the command is to allow a man to divorce his wife if he finds out that she has been sexually immoral.

So then, what's with Matthew 19:8, where Jesus appears to be saying that the commands concerning divorce are not of God?  If Jesus was doing just that, it means that the inerrancy doctrine is wrong.  Also, remember Deuteronomy 13?  Moses could not have put that command there if God had not approved of it!  Otherwise, Jesus would be guilty of sin by forbidding what God's Law has allowed.  The issue here is the intent of the command, which agrees with what Jesus is saying.

Here's another example of Jesus apparently contradicting God's Law.  Mind you that Jesus is God, and God does not change (if he does change, then he cannot be eternal).

33 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." [Matthew 5:33-37; NKJV]

If we take a careful look at the Greek text, you will notice that the "not" in verse 34 is a qualified not.  The most likely qualifier is the word "falsely" between "swear" and "at all".  What's going on here is that the Pharisees (in typical fashion) are saying, "If you swear by the Lord, you are bound by that oath.  But if you swear by other things, then the oath means nothing."  Jesus had a few things to say about the Pharisees rules concerning what you may or may not swear falsely by.  To paraphrase, "anyone who swears by anything is bound by the oath that they swear."

One more thing.  I noticed that the NIV says in verse 37, "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."  Notice the clear change in meaning between the two translations.  The saying, "let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'" means we are to speak truthfully when we swear.  But the saying, "all you need to say is simply 'yes' or 'no'; anything further is from the evil one" is a clear violation of Deuteronomy 12:32.

To summarize, when Jesus said, "but I say", he either contradicted a human rule by what he said, or brought to light the intent of God's command, or linked breaking one command (one that cannot be enforced) with breaking another command (one that can be enforced) in your heart.  Never did Jesus speak against God's Law.  For he gave the Law and told King David through the Holy Spirit that the Law is eternal [Psalm 119:160].

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Paganism of Christmas

From the beginning, Satan's goal is to keep people away from God.  And he does that through any means necessary.  From deceiving people into believing that the Bible is scientifically and historically inaccurate, to following human traditions and rules under the guise of "this is what the Bible requires", even to leading people to follow other gods which at best, don't exist.  And that's without mentioning the repeated use of the trick of making God's Law look burdensome.  There is no shortage of ways that people have been kept away from God.

The reason I mentioned the deception of making God's Law look burdensome is because it makes it easier to lead people to do things their own way, just as Adam and Eve did things their own way by trying to obtain a type of knowledge that God never indented for us to have.  Take this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees, for example:

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!"

3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.' 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is 'devoted to God,' 6 they are not to 'honor their father or mother' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'" [Matthew 15:1-9; NIV]

The elders of the day put in place a tradition of washing ones hands before they ate, and the Pharisees expected everyone to follow that tradition (along with many, many other human traditions) as if it was equal to God's Law.  Some of these traditions even broke God's Law as you can see from the quoted verses.  Jesus points this out, then quotes Isaiah 29:13, exposing the system for what it really is:  A set of human rules!  To drive the point home, Jesus outright said that the Pharisees cannot escape being condemned because of their system that keeps people far from God [Matthew 23:13-36].  How does it keep people far from God?  By keeping them in rebellion against God's Law, in direct violation of Deuteronomy 13.  Isn't it interesting that the Pharisees tested Jesus against Deuteronomy 13, but never tested their own?

What does this have to do with Christmas?  Only everything.  Christmas is nothing but human tradition built upon human tradition.  These traditions are in place as a means of worshiping God, in direct violation of Deuteronomy 12, which, in summary, says that we shall worship him the way he wants to be worshiped [12:1], not as the pagans worshiped their gods [12:4], nor as we see fit [12:8].  And that we are to keep his commands, not adding to them or diminishing from them [12:32].

So, you think Christmas is not a pagan holiday?  Let's say, for argument sake that it isn't.  Does that change anything?  God did not authorize us to worship him in the ways that are done on Christmas (violates Deuteronomy 12:1).  That in and of itself disqualifies Christmas as a Christian holiday.  What about why Christmas is celebrated?  Isn't it because it's viewed as okay in the eyes of man because "God never forbade it" or "the Disciples did it"?  Strike two, violation of Deuteronomy 12:8!  In other words, Christmas being Christian in origin would mean nothing!

As mentioned in a previous post, the Catholic Church is part of a much larger, satanic cult that is bent on ruling the world.  So if you trace any teaching or tradition back to the Catholic Church, you are, by definition, tracing that teaching or tradition back to paganism.  For the Catholic Church is a pagan Church.  We, as Christians, should be doing nothing that originates from them.

The Catholic Church never creates anything new.  All of their practices come from somewhere.  They just modify these practices to suit their counterfeit version of Christianity (if that).  When it comes to Christmas, they took the winter solstice practices of the surrounding pagan cultures, condensed it down to a single day, and named the modified practice "Christmas".  These days were the Saturnalia and Sol Invictus (and perhaps a couple others).  These practices are themselves modifications of the pagan practices of the Babylonians, Egyptians, etc.  Practices that long pre-date Christianity.  Even the date that Christmas is celebrated is the same as Sol Invictus.  And if it wasn't for the fact that the calendar tends to drift about 1 day every 100 or so years, the winter solstice would still be on December 25, as it was when the Julian calendar was established.

Let's talk about the Christmas Tree.  Those who wish to defend it will trace its origins back to the Catholic Church, which we already discussed why that doesn't work.  But the practice of using trees in the worship of the pagan gods long pre-dates Christianity.  In fact, if you've read the historical documentation contained in the Bible, you'll realize just how prevalent tree worship was in the pagan societies.  Deuteronomy 12:2 commands us to seek-out and destroy all of the pagan alters under every green tree.  Deuteronomy 16:21 commands us not to plant any trees next to any alter of Yahweh.  Deuteronomy 12:4 commands us not to worship God the way the pagans worshiped their gods.

So the mere fact that the pagans used trees to worship their god is enough to make the Christmas Tree a satanic practice.  But did you know that what Christians do to pine trees is exactly what the pagans in the middle eastern regions did to Cedar treesIsaiah 14:8 notes the type of trees used in idol worship:  They are indeed evergreen trees!  Jeremiah 10:1-4 gives a perfect description of a Christmas Tree.  And it's rather interesting how the practice evolved over time.  The ancient pagans carved images into the tree.  Christians do not.  The ancient pagans used Cedars (and Junipers, and sometimes even Pines), Christians use Pines.  Some modern trees are made of metal or plastic and are stored when not in use.  What about the claim that the trees in Jeremiah 10 aren't Christmas Trees?  That claim is a lie!  By the way, here's another description of pagan practices surrounding trees!  Isaiah 44:14-19.  Notice that most of the trees listed are evergreen trees (the exception being the Oak).

The Catholics didn't invent the Christmas Tree.  Some pagan convert to Catholicism brought an existing custom into the Catholic Church and it stuck.  Also notice in the passage in Isaiah that these people don't know why they are worshiping trees.  They never stop to think about the absurdity of their practices!  Christians do the exact same things that Isaiah was mocking 2,500 years ago!  Those who set up a tree in the name of Yeshua (Jesus) are worshiping the tree, not the Son of God.  Those who put an angel on top of the tree are worshiping the angel.  Those who put a star on top of the tree are worshiping the star (which represents the pagan sun gods, but was renamed to "Star of Bethlehem" after being adopted by the Catholic Church) and the pagan sun gods that are associated with it.  Those who set up a manger scene worship the manger scene, not the one that is allegedly represented by it.  These are all golden calves.  And I already pointed out how much God hates setting up images in his name!  The one who sets up a "golden calf" does not worship God, but the calf, even if they say in their heart "I'm worshiping God."

Every single thing that is done at Christmas time is a human tradition, including the date.  The rationalization for the date is also an appeal to human tradition.  Some have appealed to a Jewish tradition that a prophet of God lives an exact number of years.  They even admit in their argument that it's a human tradition!  The evidence that this tradition is true:  None that I've seen!  They just assume that this tradition is true, and state that because a prophet lives an exact number of years, and because life begins at conception, and because Jesus died on March 25, and because human gestation is 9 months, Jesus must have been born on December 25.

There are so many holes in this argument that it's astonishing that it's even believed!  Where to begin?  How about the fact that the tradition actually uses the Hebrew calendar (which typically has 355 days in a year), while those justifying the December 25 date are applying it to the Julian or Gregorian calendar.  If the tradition is true, then you need to calculate from the Hebrew calendar when Jesus would be born, not the Julian or Gregorian calendar.  Even if his death was on March 25 (it was not), you would have to find the Hebrew date that year, then calculate back to the year of his conception to get the actual Julian date of his conception.  And the same for the date of his birth.  Except there's one problem:  Birth can happen anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks from conception.  That's a span of 1.5 months!  So we can't know for sure when he was born just by knowing when he was conceived.

The next problem is that the years that a person has been alive is counted from birth, not conception.  It is true that life begins at conception, but the years of a persons life are counted from birth.  In other words, according to the tradition being appealed to, it is the day of birth that is also the day of death.  Oh, and did I mention that this appeal began with the Catholic Church?  Add that to the list of traditions that the Catholic Church modified to suit their agenda.  Anyone who uses this argument is not appealing to a Jewish tradition, but a Catholic one.

Because the Catholic Church hated the Jews, they set up Good Friday and Easter Sunday to never fall on the same day as Passover or the Feast of Firstfruits.  Granted, they still sometimes fall on the same day, but this is rare by design.  So we can know for sure that whatever day Good Friday fell on in the year that Jesus died is not when Passover was (which is when he actually died).  So without even looking for when Passover that year was, we know that the March 25 date is wrong.  Also, 33 AD is not the year that Jesus died.  It was 30 AD.  And March 25 did not land on a Friday that year.  And neither did Passover.

The fact that the Church appeals to tradition rather than the Bible or other period documents to determine the day that Jesus was born tells you everything you need to know about the December 25 date.  In fact, it is impossible to determine the day of the Messiah's birth from the Bible or any other documentation of the time.  That should tell you all you need to know about how God feels about our celebration of his birthday.  If God wanted us to celebrate his birthday, he would have revealed to us when it was.  God hid it from us because he does not want us to celebrate it.  Why?  Because the pagans celebrated the birthdays of their gods.  And Jesus' birthday is irrelevant to the gospel message.

Want to see just how demonic Christmas really is?  Here's a documentary produced by Passion for Truth Ministries showing just that:

Here's another documentary from 119 Ministries, also showing the paganism of Christmas:

There's also more evidence for those who care about searching for the truth instead of justifying unbiblical and demonic traditions.

Friday, December 17, 2021

The Lie of Dressing Modestly

So, the Bible has a lot to say about modesty, right?  Well, according to some teachers, the answer is yes.  But according to our English translations of the Bible, it's just two verses.  Which don't say anything concerning what the Church says concerning modesty.  And there's a mistranslation in one of them.

9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. [1 Timothy 2:9-10; KJV]

The word translated as "modest" in this passage is the Greek word "kosmios".  It appears twice in the New Testament, both times in 1 Timothy.  Here's the other instance:

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; [1 Timothy 3:2; KJV]

If we just go by how this word is translated, we see that there is one standard for men, and a different standard for women.  For men, it's just about behavior.  For women, it's about behavior and choice of clothing.  God calls those who have such double standards abominations! [Deuteronomy 25:13-16]  So it's either the case that Paul is setting two different standards (one for men and another for women), or there is something that is being missed.

Turns out, it's the latter.  The word "kosmios" literally means "orderly".  It's derived from the Greek word "kosmos", which means "orderly array".  Knowing this solves most of the apparent double-standard, as it means that the same standard is being applied to both men and women.  But why is it specifically women who are told to dress in "orderly apparel"?  If you take a look at what Paul said they should not be wearing, then you have your answer.  The women that Paul is addressing here are wealthy women who love showing off their wealth through expensive clothing and hair styles.  Some have suggested that they were competing against each other for bragging rights on most elaborate clothing.  Such behavior and clothing is obviously disorderly.

Let's assume though, that "modest" is the correct translation.  The issue of modesty in the above passage is not whether the women are wearing enough, but whether they're wearing too much.  The former is a cultural norm that is read into the text based on a grossly-incorrect understanding of Scripture, especially in the area of "lust", which has nothing to do with a woman's clothing (or lack thereof).  The definition of modest that Paul gives is to not wear expensive clothing, jewelry, or hair styles.  That is it.

But the word is not "modest", the word is "orderly".  If you read the passage carefully, you will notice that what is defined as orderly is one's behavior and character.  Shamefacedness means humility, and viewing yourself less highly than others.  Sobriety means self-control.  In other words, this passage is all about behavior, and has nothing to do with physical clothing.  The same rule holds true for any other passage in the New Testament that is misinterpreted as addressing the issue of modesty.

In fact, the Church's rules concerning modesty not only are in direct violation of Deuteronomy 24:16, since the woman is held responsible for the sin of the man, it is also a direct violation of Deuteronomy 12:32, since it adds to God's commandments.  Even Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:8 admitted that his rules concerning orderly apparel are his own rules, not God's commandments.  Again, it is sinful to blame the woman for the sin of the man, regardless of the reason she is being blamed.  It is also sinful to hold a cultural norm (the Church's vague rules concerning modesty) as equal to the Law of God.

Also, the Greek text of 1 Timothy 3:15 uses the phrase "house of God", which appears to be able to have either of the meanings I listed in a previous post about the word Church, but not both at the same time (The distinction I made is only in some English translations, not in the Greek text.  Oops!).  So it is possible that the rules that Paul gave before this verse only apply to the behavior expected within the Church setting (some argue exactly that point).  I have my doubts that this is the case, but if is, then the Church should not be applying its rules on modesty outside of the Church setting.

Even if the rules laid out prior to 1 Timothy 3:15 are meant to always apply (which I believe to be the case), the fact that the passage uses the word "orderly" instead of "modest" should be enough to prove that the setting determines what is or is not orderly.  But to leave this on a somewhat positive note:  The Church does have some concept of different settings calling for different standards of acceptable (or required) clothing.  And most will probably agree with me to a point that what is acceptable in one setting may be completely unacceptable in a different setting.  The problem here is that the Church is restricting what these standards can be on a perceived moral ground that does not exist in Scripture.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Go to Jail to Fall-Away

It is typically believed that if a minister is sent to jail even though he has done nothing wrong, that the prisoners within the jail will be saved.  And the minister who was falsely jailed will come out stronger in faith than ever.  But I've noticed two cases where a minister is falsely jailed, and when he got out, ended up going off the deep end.  These two ministers are Dr. Kent Hovind, and Pastor Jim Staley.

Before we get started, keep in mind that just because someone is mentioned in a positive light on this blog, or one of their teachings are featured on occasion, doesn't mean I agree with all of their teachings.

Dr. Kent Hovind is a Young Earth Creationist who was arrested for tax evasion.  Well, tax evasion is the official story.  He not only taught about YEC, but also about government and corporate corruption.  And made many predictions about what these corrupt entities would do in the future.  All of these predictions that I know of have come true, by the way.  When it comes to YEC, Kent Hovind actually got a lot of things wrong.  For example, the blood vessels in the eye are not in front of the photoreceptors.  It's the nerve fibers that carry signals from the receptors to the brain that are in front of the receptors.

Kent Hovind wasn't jailed for what he got wrong.  He was jailed for what he got right, which has very little to do with YEC.  After he got out of jail, he wound up reading a New Age book, and accepted its demonic teachings as biblical.  And he did not listen to his viewers who warned him about the deceptions in that book.  To this day, I do not know if he has since renounced those teachings since then (probably not).  By the way, this is an excellent example of the point I made in a previous post:  Either learn to obey the whole Word of God, or you will fall away.

Next, we have Pastor Jim Staley, who was charged with fraud, investigated by his own state, and cleared of all charges.  Many years later, some women who hated Jim Staley accused him of the exact same crime that he was cleared of many years earlier, but this time, he was jailed.  This jailing is an example of something known as "double jeopardy", and it's illegal.  Jim Staley is not your traditional Christian.  In fact, he's hated by the Church for exposing the pagan traditions that exist within Christianity.  But he is (or was?) a Christian by the standards set forth in the Bible.  His teachings are mostly Messianic in nature last time I checked.

So what went wrong?  The 2020 election.  Although I can no longer find the video, Jim Staley prophesied in God's name that Biden was celebrating his victory too early and that Trump would be declared the winner of the 2020 election.  He compared it to Adonijah declaring himself king over Israel, only for King David to declare Solomon king over Israel.  Apparently, the idea that his arrest brought him closer to God went to his head.  So although he passes the Deuteronomy 13 Test, this single, failed prophesy makes him a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18.  Also, some time later, I went back to that video to find that the comments were disabled.  It's because of this that I said, "his teachings are mostly Messianic in nature last time I checked."  And if I ever feature any of his teachings on this blog (which I have in the past), it'll be one from before the 2020 election.

Monday, December 13, 2021

What Sins are Not Covered by the Blood of Jesus?

The Bible makes it clear in many places that whoever believes in Jesus will have their sins forgiven and will be saved.  But is this forgiveness conditional or unconditional?  And if it's conditional, then what are the conditions?  Well, Hebrews 10:26 says that when you learn something is sin, but deliberately continue in it anyways, then you have no atonement for your sins.  In fact, if you keep reading past that verse, you'll see just how dangerous it is to rebel against God's commandments once you learn what they are.  The very next verse literally says that the enemies of God will be BURNED! UP!  Jesus himself said, "Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." [John 5:14; NIV]  And we know from a previous examination of Scripture what that "something worse" is.

So one of the conditions is that we cannot continuously, deliberately do something that we know is sin.  If we learn that what we are doing is a sin, we must stop if we want to be forgiven.  Is that the only condition to being forgiven?  No.  Jesus made it very clear in several places (eg: the Lord's Prayer) that if we want God to forgive us of our sins, then we must forgive those who have sinned against us.  In other words, if you hold a grudge against someone who wronged you, even if they have repented, you will be counted among the wicked and the fate of the wicked will fall onto you.

By the way, what does it mean to forgive?  Psalm 32:1-2 gives a good definition.  It means to not count or hold something against someone.  When God forgives us of our sins, he no longer counts those sins against us.  If someone offends you or harms you, and you forgive them, then you no longer count that offense or harm that they have caused you against them.

Are there any more conditions for our sins being forgiven other that what we discussed, and the need to continuously believe in Jesus?  There does appear to be one more condition:  "One can say something against the Son of Man and be forgiven; but whoever keeps on speaking against the [Holy Spirit] will never be forgiven, neither in the [present age] nor in the [coming age]." [Matthew 12:32; CJB]

Note:  Because of the translation I quoted from in the above passage, I translated the Hebrew phrases in the translation to English.  The word I translated as "age" can also be translated as "world" or "eon".

So, blaspheme against the Holy Spirit means complete disqualification from having your sins forgiven.  Now, nearly all translations that I know of does not have the word "keeps", implying that one mistake in this regard condemns you with no hope of redemption.  However, it appears that the Greek word translated as "against" (kata) has something to with a continuous action.  So the CJB is probably correct to include the word "keeps".  So one mistake won't do it.  But the continuous action of blaspheming the Holy Spirit will indeed disqualify you from eternal life.

So, there are three conditions for being forgiven, not counting the obvious condition of believing in Jesus.  These conditions are:  (1) When you learn of your sin, stop deliberately doing it.  (2) Forgive those who sin against you.  And (3) do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit.  What about all of those "what if" scenarios concerning sin?  Well, if you're not deliberately sinning, then you show that you do not want to sin.  The fact that you do not want to sin proves that your faith is the type that God wants from you:  A faith that drives you to naturally obey his commands.  Jesus himself advocates for us [1 John 2:1-2].

Those who learn of their sins, and initially deliberately continue in it, but later stop doing it and repent of it, they will also have complete forgiveness of their sins.  But if anyone uses that as an excuse to start deliberately doing what they know is sinful, because they can later "stop and repent", is that repentance even genuine, since they planned to sin from the beginning?  Such people put themselves into great danger!  Nobody who genuinely believes in Jesus wants to sin.  Nobody!  They all want to live in full obedience to his teachings!

One more thing:  If for any reason, there is a command that you cannot keep, then failure to keep that command is not a sin.  Using this as an excuse to break a command that you can keep however, is a sin.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

What Does Believing Moses Really Mean?

A common (and 100% correct) argument used to refute theistic evolution is the fact that those who don't believe Moses will not believe Jesus.  When Young Earth Creationists (which I am one) make this argument, they are quoting Jesus directly, from John 5:46.  Again, this is 100% correct, but not just for the reasons that creationists give.

Most of the time, when a creationist invokes John 5:46, they're talking exclusively about believing what Moses wrote concerning the origin of everything.  And while they are right that you need to believe what Moses wrote concerning the origin of everything in order to believe Jesus, where they go wrong is the exclusion of the rest of what Moses wrote.

Some will point to Genesis 3:14-15 as being where Moses wrote about Jesus.  This is indeed a prophesy about Jesus written by Moses, but there is so much more that Moses wrote than a single prophesy in a single book.  In fact, Genesis as a whole is a mirror image of the Messiah (both literally and figuratively).  The literal part because of the fact that Hebrew scrolls are striped (to guide the scribes on where to write) and pierced (to bind the different scroll pieces together to make a single scroll) just as Jesus was striped (by whips) and pierced (by thorns and nails).  The figurative part because many of the lives of those who are recorded in Torah mirror the life of Jesus.

Here are some examples of people who's lives mirrored that of Jesus:

  • Noah's Ark saving Noah and his family, and two of every kind of animal from God's judgement is a mirror of Jesus saving us from God's coming judgement.
  • Noah's Ark being the only means of salvation from God's judgement is a mirror of Jesus being the only means of salvation from God's coming judgement.
  • Isaac being born by the Spirit of God is a mirror of Jesus also being born by the Spirit of God.
  • Isaac nearly being sacrificed is a mirror of Jesus actually being sacrificed.
  • Joseph being betrayed by his brothers is a mirror of Jesus being betrayed by a close friend.
  • God using the treason against Joseph to save the world is a mirror of God using the treason against Jesus to save the world.
  • Joseph is never recorded to have sinned even once, mirroring Jesus never sinning once.

In addition to that, many of the things which are found in Moses' writings point directly to Jesus, including:

  • Jesus is the Passover Lamb that caused God's wrath to pass over us (the Passover meal).
  • Jesus is the Unleavened Bread, leaven representing sin (Feast of Unleavened Bread).
  • Jesus is the First Fruits from the dead (Feast of First Fruits).
  • Jesus is the Sabbath (seventh day) rest.
  • Jesus is the Atonement for our sins (Day of Atonement).

There is quite a bit more in Torah that points directly to Jesus than what I've listed here.  Go search for yourself!  As you can see from this sample, Genesis is only a small part of what it means to "believe Moses".  If you believe Moses concerning Genesis, but not the rest of what he wrote, then you really don't believe him.  For nearly everything recorded in Torah is a picture of Jesus our Lord and savior!  In fact, according to the biblical definition of faith, merely believing what Moses said is not good enough.  You must also obey him!

Again, believing Moses about Genesis, but not the rest of what he wrote is not believing Moses.  Believing Moses only starts with believing Genesis.  And believing all of what Moses wrote without obeying him is also not believing Moses.  For Moses told us how to live holy (set apart) lives dedicated to God.  Obeying him shows that you believe he was truthful concerning holiness, while disobedience shows that you believe he was mistaking or lying about holiness.  And Jesus obeyed Moses!  Isn't it interesting that those who do not obey Moses (who wrote exactly what God commanded him to write [Exodus 24:4]) also do not obey Jesus?  And that those who cherry-pick Moses' teachings also cherry-pick Jesus' teachings?

Monday, December 6, 2021

Can the Church be Reformed?

Churches more and more are falling away to Universalism and New Age mysticism.  This falling away is not happening by the individual congregation, but by the denomination.  There is a desperate need to reform the Church.  But, can the Church even be reformed?

To answer that question, we just need to take a look at history, when a Catholic Priest by the name of Martin Luther tried to reform the Catholic Church with his 95 thesis.  Little did Martin Luther know at the time that the Catholic Church is run by those who are not hungry for the Word, but by corruption up to the highest levels in the Church (yes, he did have some idea of the Church's corruption, but only a small portion of it).  The resulting movement was not a reformation of the Catholic Church, but a break-away from the Catholic Church and its many, many heresies.

Also, note that the Catholic Church is not Christian by any stretch of the imagination.  It is but one branch of a satanic cult bent on ruling the world.  Those that run the Catholic Church (both in the past and in the present) do unimaginable acts of wickedness in secret.  And the wickedness that they do in public, and teach their members to do in the name of Jesus, is just the tip of the iceberg.  The Catholic Church, as Martin Luther found out the hard way, cannot be reformed.

Martin Luther's movement resulted in many people abandoning some of the Catholic Church's practices.  But this move to return to God's commandments would be greatly incomplete and short-lived, as most who are in the Church are governed by the flesh.  This is also why the Puritan's move to outlaw the counterfeit holidays of Christmas and Easter ultimately failed.  Those who are governed by the flesh worship God their own way, rather than God's way.

Over the past several decades, the Church has been infiltrated by the same, satanic cult that runs the Catholic Church.  But this time, that which was previously done in private is more and more being done in public for all to see.  And the means of deception have only gotten better, so that those who would otherwise be convinced of the intolerable nature of these acts are instead committing them themselves!  And by the way, we're still talking about the tip of the iceberg!

The teachings of these abominations have to do with gratification in this life, or hope only for this life.  Sin is rarely, if ever discussed, and the message of salvation and the promise of eternal life is reduced to allegory.  And there is absolutely no concept of being held accountable to God on Judgement Day.  Their teaching is ultimately one of hopelessness with the "perk" of no accountability or condemnation on Judgement Day.  In other words, their teachings add up to this:  This is the only life you have and when it's over, it's over for good, with no hope of eternal life, and no accountability for what you have done.

Contrast that with the numerous warnings in Scripture given by both Jesus and his disciples:

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. [Matthew 7:21-23; KJV]

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. [Matthew 12:36; NIV]

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, [Hebrews 9:27; NIV]

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. [Romans 3:19]

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. [Matthew 3:10; NIV]

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. [Matthew 3:12; NIV]

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

As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. [Matthew 13:40; NIV]

That's just a small sample of the numerous warnings about what will happen to the wicked.  Get the picture?  The one who does not have their sins atoned for will be BUNRED! UP! on Judgement Day!  Those who trust in Jesus for this life only instead of for the remission of sins and his promise of eternal life will BURN! UP! on Judgement Day!  Once this life is over, you will be raised from the dead to face God's Judgement!  The righteous will inherit eternal life, but the wicked will perish in the lake of fire!

14 Then death and [the Grave] were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. [Revelation 20:14-15]

It would seem that the mission of these wicked pastors is to make sure that people are blind to the danger of the impending judgement.  Any Church run by such people cannot be reformed until all those who teach against the Judgement by not mentioning it are removed from said Church.  Even then, as we've learned from history, most of those who call themselves "Christian" are governed by the flesh, which compels them to worship God their own way instead of God's way.  Even those who are supposed to be teaching people how to live by God's Word are instead governed by the flesh.  So the Church as a whole cannot be reformed.  And the extremely few congregations that may reform will incur a great financial loss.

Your best option is to leave a Church as soon as you recognize that it's falling away, and form your own Bible study group.  And to study the Bible for yourself and to obey it!  And to test everything against it.  Also, any Church that refuses to learn to obey the front of the book will eventually stop obeying what little of the back of the book that they are currently obeying.

Friday, December 3, 2021

The Truth About Lust

Ever heard of the term "lust" before?  Chances are the answer is yes.  And chances are that nobody has given you a definition for the word "lust".  And when it is defined, it's rarely defined according to what the Bible says it means.  All it takes is a simple internet search to see that the Bible, while often used to explain the definition given, is not used as the source of the definition.  In fact, if you read the articles in the link carefully, you'll notice that each source gives a slightly different definition of lust.  And some of these sources are closer to the biblical definition than others.

So, which one is correct?  As it turns out, none of the definitions given on the first page in the above-linked search results are correct.  Some are close, but they all fall into the same trap:  Namely, associating lust with strong, sexual desire.  And I'm just talking about all of the Christian resources that appear in those search results.  They're all wrong to some degree, and all in the same way!

To understand why they're all wrong, we first need to understand some of the verses used to support the given definition of lust.  We'll start with Matthew 5:28:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. [KJV]

It is admirable for people to try to get the definition from the biblical text.  But often, the text is mistranslated or not read carefully.  Or both.  And in this case, it's both.  Many Christians believe that merely looking at a woman is lusting after her, especially if she's wearing revealing or form-fitting cloths (or is entirely naked).  But if we read the passage carefully, we'll notice that it's not looking at a woman that is lust.  Instead, it's looking at her with lust, that's the problem.  Her clothing (or sometimes lack thereof) is completely irrelevant to whether the man is lusting after her.

So that clears-up some of the misunderstanding of the text, but it doesn't give a solid definition of what lust is.  It just tells you what lust is not.  The KJV actually does a good job of providing a definition in Romans 7:7:

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. [emphasis mine]

Lust is the same as coveting.  And coveting is a strong desire.  Notice that some of those search results listed above do give this definition, but with an emphasis on sexual desire, and stating that the desire is always sinful.  Let's take a look at what the Greek words translated as "lust" and "covet" mean.  The word in question is "epithymeo", which means "to desire" (usually a strong desire).  The KJV and other translations translate this word as "desire", "covet", or "lust" based on the context.  If the context is negative, it's translated as "lust" or "covet" depending on whether the translators believe the text is referring to a sexual desire.  If the context is positive or neutral, then it's translated as "desire".  But it's the same word.

By the way, the Law of God does not say "You shall not covet."  What Paul is doing here, by quoting part of the commandment, is invoking the entire commandment which he is assuming the reader knows.  Here's what the full commandment being invoked says:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. [Exodus 20:17; NIV]

As you can see here, the command is not, "do not covet, period", but rather gives a list of things that you are not allowed to covet.  The things listed here are all things that you cannot legally obtain.  Notice that there are human beings on this list.  Namely, your neighbor's wife, and male and female servants.

And here's one of the misunderstandings about lust.  Lust is not a strong sexual desire.  Lust is when a man strongly-desires that a woman be his own wife.  It can also be when a man strongly-desires having sexual relationships with a woman.  So in this instance, part of the definition given is correct, especially if the source points out that the desire is a choice.  But the desire is not simply to derive sexual pleasure just by looking upon her.  The desire is to actually have sexual relationships with her.  And this is one of the main points where nearly everyone who defines lust gets it wrong.  That is not to say that the former is beneficial or good (it certainly is not, nor is it what God intended), it's just not what the word "lust" means.

Jesus' teachings against lust is actually him linking the 10th Commandment "you shall not covet your neighbor's wife" to the 7th Commandment "you shall not commit adultery".  That is, you shall not desire that your neighbor's wife be your own wife, nor shall you desire to have sexual relationships with her.  For if you do, then you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.

Note also that this means that one can lust after a woman who is not married to anyone and not be guilty of sin.  In other words.  Lust is only sinful in the context that acting upon it would be a case of adultery.  If a man acts upon his lust of an unmarried woman, he, by definition, is not guilty of adultery and therefore, not guilty of adultery in his heart.  If the woman is married, but the man does not know it, then when he finds out that she is married, he must stop desiring her immediately.  Because if he continues to desire her, knowing the truth, he then becomes guilty of having committed adultery with her in his heart.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Is Esther History or Fiction?

So, in a previous post on Hanukkah and Purim, I noticed some rather interesting claims that I said I would need to investigate.  While writing that post, I did an internet search for the "pagan origins of Purim" just to be thorough, not expecting to find anything.  I did however, find quite a bit.  I also did some searching for evidence both for and against the historical accuracy of Esther.  I found this document (a PDF file) which goes into detail about the timing of events according to the records of the period that we have available and how they line-up with the book of Esther.  Before we go any further, I do want to point out that the historical accuracy of the book of Esther has absolutely no bearing on the historical accuracy, or the authority, of the rest of the Bible.

The book of Esther is written as a historical document.  While it may be the case that the book is intended to be historical fiction, I believe it's more likely the case that it's intended to be an actual historical document, meaning that the document being proven false would prove it to be a fraud.  Now, one of the arguments to support the claim that the book is historical fraud is known as an "argument from absence".  The argument from absence is that if we don't find any evidence in favor of a claim, then that is evidence against the claim.  This is a fallacious argument in most cases.  The rare exception being concerning what is or is not sin.  If it's not contrary to God's Law, then it is, by definition, not sin.

So far, I have not found any credible historical evidence contradicting the book of Esther.  But neither is there any definitive evidence in support of the book.  There is circumstantial evidence in favor of the historical accuracy of the book.  And there's also circumstantial evidence against the historical accuracy of the book (eg: the names of the two main characters).  Some arguments I've read in defense of Esther, and explaining the lack of extra-biblical evidence is this:  that these events were embarrassing to the Persians, so they either (a) did not record these events, or (b) they expunged the record of those events.

Another argument used in defense of Esther is that there were too many witnesses that could contradict the narrative, and that there are details that only a government official would know.  This however, ignores the argument that the book was written long after the events it claims to record; long after all the witnesses had died and long after the fall of the Persian empire when nobody would be able to verify the details.

It should be noted that for these types of claims, there is typically a chain of authentication that exists that refutes such claims.  For example, some claim that Torah was written during the Babylonian exile or shortly after.  But this fails to take into account the historical documentation referring back to Torah that existed long before the exile ever happened.  This historical documentation produces a chain of authentication that goes back almost 1,000 years before the exile, which is about the time of Joshua, thus refuting the claim.  That and the fact that there are manuscripts of the Torah that date back to before the exile.

Unfortunately, no such chain of authentication exists for the book of Esther.  And I have not been able to find any evidence either supporting or refuting this claim.  All the evidence supporting Esther is circumstantial, and all the evidence against Esther is circumstantial.  What about the pagan origins of many of the practices of Purim?  Those practices aren't recorded as being part of the original celebration.  Sure, it may be an indication that the holiday is a sanitized pagan holiday, but it could also be that the day has been paganized through thousands of years of tradition.  What about the trend of the biblical accounts eventually being proven correct?  This has not happened with the book of Esther, unlike everything else in the Bible.  Esther told us exactly where to look for the evidence and the evidence was not found there.

I cannot give a definitive answer to the question of Esther's authenticity.  But in my opinion, it is probably authentic.

Change of Heart, Change of Style

A while ago, on social media, a posted a rather harsh reply to something that a pastor posted, and got rebuked for not making my reply in a ...