Saturday, December 5, 2015

For Sin is the Transgression of The Law

1 John 3:4
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
This verse is popular with the people who insist they're not Legalists but sure talk like they are.  Who feel as long as they aren't saying it's necessary for Salvation they don't qualify as Judiazers.   Problem is I know too many people who started out that way and then slowly slid into full blown legalism.

They usually only quote the second half.  In context an argument can be made this means every Sin is a transgression of the Law, but not every transgression of The Law a Sin.  At the very least the cause and effect they have reversed, they like to say if there is no Law there is no Sin.  In fact The Law exists to tell us what is sinful, Paul said in Romans 1 the Romans were without excuse even though they were Pagans who never knew the Law of Moses.

And they insist this verse should tell us what Paul means by Sin every time he used the word, even though this isn't a Paulian Epistle.  Regardless of the validity of that lexical assumption, there is a deeper issue.

There is this popular Video online of a Pastor putting a row of kids on stage to demonstrate a deconstructive chain reaction that begins with saying there is no Sin without The Law.  The full testimony of the New Testament, (however you view this verse of 1 John) says that The Law exists to help us know when we're Sinners (Romans 7:7, Galatians 3:19).  So that destroys his entire chain reaction, The Law exists because of Sin not the other way around.

They think the word "Law" must mean the Law of Moses every time it's used even in the New Testament.  Forgetting that the Book of Esther spends a lot of time talking about Laws that aren't Hebraic at all.

But they insist on defining ever use of the word Sin based on this verse, how about we define every use of Law based on Galations 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.".  Which has a second witness in what Jesus said about the two greatest commandments.

Jeremiah 31 foretells a new Covenant coming, and says in verse 33.
"But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
Now to this day Rabbinic and other Jews insist this refers to merely a re-instituting of the Mosaic Covenant.  But Paul clarifies this in the Book of Hebrews. In Chapter 8 where he explains that the Law of Moses was always imperfect, and the New Law is written on our Hearts not in Stone.

Romans 13:10 refers to the Law of Love.  James 1:25 and 2:12 refer to the Law of Liberty.

In 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23 Paul says "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me," and then the following statement is different.

I can again recommend reading Romans 14.

But I keep hearing people equating saying we're not under The Law of Moses to Christians arguing we don't have to Obey God.  It is important we obey God, but his instructions come from The Holy Spirit now.  The Word is still a useful guide to help The Holy Spirit in instructing us, but it is not a means for us to Judge other people, fellow Believers or not.

But still the word Obey never occurs in John's Gospel.

Now people like to quote John 14:15
"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
What is ignored is the very next verse where He promises to send the Comforter (The Holy Spirit), the Commandments He means by that are those which come from The Holy Spirit.

A Believer letting The Holy Spirit lead them while following The Golden Rule and what Jesus called the Two Greatest Commandments should have little trouble keeping from doing the most obviously evil things.

But there are grey areas, and areas where His instructions may be different for different believers depending on the different plans God has for them.

Things like the Dietary Laws, and Keeping the Sabbath and the Holy Days are by no means a vital issue worth being divisive over.

Now I am also against the Reverse-Legalists as I like to call them.  Independent Baptists and others who think keeping Jewish Holidays and getting Circumcised as an adult is somehow now a Sin.

It is certainly never a Sin to do what Jesus did because Jesus was without Sin, and He observed Tabernacles in John 7 and Hanukkah in John 10.

Choosing to keep The Law under no delusion that it effects Salvation can be good for spiritual Growth, so long as you don't try to impose it upon others or think it makes you better (more right with God) then anyone else.

I close with 1 Timothy 1:8-9.
"But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners,".

Friday, October 9, 2015

Jesus talked about Hell more then Heaven???

This is a claim often made by Hellfire preachers.  One that has me thinking there must be a Fifth Gospel I'm not familiar with.  I've never seen them give a mathematical breakdown of how that claim is accurate.

Part of the problem here may of course come from people forgetting contemporary Heaven is NOT the paradise we're looking forward to, we're looking forward to the New Heaven and New Earth.

Jesus talked about the Kingdom constantly, it's in mind in almost every speech He gave, including the ones about Hell.  He definitely talked about it way more then Hell, even if we include the Outer Darkness references that I disagree with interpreting as about Hell.

Now a simple word search can be misleading.  But still the three different words translated Hell appear in only 24 verses of the entire New Testament.  15 verses in the KJV use some word form of Damn, and only 7 refer to "weeping and gnashing of teeth", among those 7 are every reference to "outer darkness".  And only 5 verses mention the Lake of Fire.  Again that's the entire New Testament.  Also Perdition appears in the KJV only 8 times and only one of those is by Jesus being a unique statement about Judas.

Heaven appears 141 times in the Four Gospels alone.  Kingdom appears 121 times in the Four Gospels alone.  Among those are 32 verses in Matthew's gospel that use Kingdom of Heaven.

Some people like to say everything you need to know to be saved is in John's Gospel.  That seems to be based on some of what's said at the end.  I know the Pastor I do not like to name uses this argument against saying repentance is necessary for Salvation, he is one of the vilest of all Hellfire preachers.  However the word Hell is never used in John's Gospel.  But there are three verses in John where Jesus talks about His Kingdom, 3:3-5 and 18:36.  And Heaven appears 17 times.  The couple times Jesus says negative things about Judas are dwarfed by His promises to the other disciples.

Protestants and Evangelicals like Chuck Missler love to call Romans the definitive statement of Christian Doctrine.  But Hell isn't mentioned in Romans.  In fact the only time any of the three words translated Hell is ever uttered by Paul (in his Epistles or speeches recorded in Acts) is in 1 Corinthians 15:55, which is also the only time any of the three words in question is NOT translated Hell by the KJV, because I suspect the organized Anglican Church didn't like this being part of the Hell doctrine.  So it's instead translated Grave.  But it's not majorly distinct from other uses of Hades in the Greek, in fact the specific spelling is identical to the parable in Luke 16.
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
The opposite of trying to tell us to be afraid of it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monarchism and The Bible

Occasionally, American Christians will point to how Israel wanting a King in 1 Samuel is not a portrayed as a positive thing.  But then equally American Christians like Chuck Missler will point to how Jacob was promised Kings would come out of him, and to instructions for Kings in The Torah to say that is taken out of the grander context of The Bible and argue the problem was only they couldn't wait for David.

The problem is that the demand for a King is equated with rejecting God as King.  And whenever Israel wants to do what the other nations are doing it is always presented as bad.  Monarchy in principle also seems to be vilified in the Abimelech narrative.

God knew this would inevitably happen, and so He planned for the bloodline He was going to incarnate into to become Israel's Royal Family.  But Israel wanting a human King is still inherently a rejection of God.

Throughout the Book of Judges the narrative voice often says "and there was no King in the Land" which gets interpreted by Royalists as like the "everyone did what was right in their own eyes" comment as an explanation for why Israel kept falling into Sin and Idolatry during this period.  Again that is consistent with their not respecting God as their King being the problem.

Instructions for The King are in The Torah, but not till Deuteronomy, which otherwise mostly only repeats or expands on laws given earlier.  This suggests it was a very low priority.

The references to the Messianic Era in Ezekiel 40-48 and Zechariah 14 define it as The LORD ruling Israel as King again.  Which I consider Old Testament proof that the Son of David would have to be God in The Flesh.

Shiloh was where The Ark and The Tabernacle were during the Judges period.  Ezekiel 40-48's geography I feel places the vicinity of Shiloh as being where The Temple will be during The Messianic Kingdom.  I think that is a good symbolic suggestion that in-spite of all that period's problems the Judges system is the ideal form of Human Government God intended for his people.

In Ezekiel The LORD is King and there is a "Prince" but the word for "Prince" here isn't Sar or Nagyim either of which could be viewed as a royal title, it's Nasi.  Nasi is the title the Hasmonean leaders used originally before they started calling themselves Kings with the sons of Hyrcanus.  It's also the term used to refer to the head of the Sanhedrin.  It seems Nasi was the title used by the Exilarchs often as well.  It's been suggested it's most accurate English translation would actually be President.  Interestingly Ezekiel 34-37 seem to identify this Nasi as David himself resurrected.

Bible skeptics usually don't consider the NT era Sanhedrin to be a descendant of the council of 70 Elders mentioned in Numbers, but a development of Greek influence during the Hellenistic era.  In Jesus time the Pharisees controlled the Sanhedrin and controlling that was the source of their power.  Jesus said they sit in Moses seat, so He endorsed the notion of a line of descent.

The Sanhedrin in the NT is sometimes just called "the Elders of the people" if you search for similar references to "elders" in the Hebrew Bible you'll find their presence throughout Israel's history can be felt.  Exactly how it was organized and manifested may have changed, but it was always there.

Monarchy isn't the only from of government that can go bad, and it's possible for an Absolute Monarch to be pretty good.  But over all it is very risky to give any one man that kind of power.

Reason why I feel the false perception of Biblical support for Human Monarchy can be dangerous among American and politically non Monarchist Christians is I feel it can overlap with the desire to give the office of "Pastor" too much power.

Jerry Fawell said he wouldn't run for President because he wouldn't accept the demotion.  That reminded me of the Justice League Unlimited episode were Luthor said to The Question "Do you realize how much power I'd have to GIVE UP to be President".  Saying something like that is a sign of a megalomaniac.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'm rethinking Universalism

I made a post on Universalism before.  Where I argued against it.  My admitting to on some level wanting to believe it gives a certain context to my changing my mind on it.  The reason I wanted to believe though is because I feel the way 1 Peter 3:9 said God feels, it is His preference that none shall perish.  Still at this moment I'm still not willing to consider myself entirely convinced.

Really the word Eternal was the main thing keeping me from becoming convinced.  And while I argued in my prior post about the whole Ageless analogy for the meaning of Aionion, I had no evidence for it, and in other areas I've been aware that ending with an "on" in Greek tends to be a way of making a word plural, more then one age is not the same as ageless.

Only that the same word is used to describe our Eternal Life was my argument.  Because as much as I want to believe in Universalism I am equally certain the Life promised to Believers will never end.  Well I looked at this thread on a Universalist forum where they discussed the word.

People there argued that a word can refer to something Eternal without meaning Eternal.  And suggested lasting as a more accurate translation.  I later made my own thread on that forum about Lamentations 3:31.  Lots of interesting pro Universalist arguments were made.

Then there is this Blog post.  He does not consider himself a Unviersalsit but holds a view that can indeed be described as Universalist.  He makes lots of good arguments particularly about how to define what being Lost means.

But the reason he does not consider himself a Universlaist is because traditional Christian Unviersalists believe that everyone will EVENTUALLY by Saved.  He believes in terms of eternal Salvation everyone already is, and everyone referenced as "Shall be Saved" in The Bible is about physical death or punishment in this world.  He does not believe in an "After Death Gehenna" and believes Revelation is all allegories so does not take the Lake of Fire seriously at all.

It is absolutely true that many uses of "Shall be Saved" are about physical salvation, particularity in the Olivite Discourse.

But Jesus told certain people "They Faith has Saved thee" that makes no sense to be about something Physical.  When Paul talks about us being Justified by Faith, and Saved by Grace through Faith, he is talking about us being saved from the Second Death.  And I firmly believe when you accept Jesus you are Saved from ever entering The Lake of Fire at all.  How permanent being in the Lake of Fire is is a separate debate.

His insistence that believing you need Faith is itself a work is Biblically invalid, it may by logical to Secular Logic but not Biblical logic.  Because every time Paul talks about Faith and Works is all about differentiating them and contrasting them virtually as opposites.  But indeed it is not intellectual belief that Saves us, it is a change of Heart.

I return again to 1 Corinthians 3:15.  "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."  This is the Bema Judgment, and this proves some Believers will fail to earn rewards but are still Saved.

This is used as a verse supporting Purgatory sometimes, and that affiliation is why I think many Protestants avoid it.  But the Catholic view of Purgatory is all about getting people in this world to think their prayers and money can effect the fate of people already dead.  That has no Biblical support at all.

A Universalist who has a different chronological view of Prophecy then me may argue that the Bema and White Throne Judgments are the same and this proves you can enter the Fire but still be Saved, because it does refer to Fire.  I will even agree that this Fire and the Fire of The Lake have the same source, God Himself, which I argued for in a post I'll link to later.

The difference is for the Saved person at the Bema Judgment this Fire won't be painful, or at least.... well.... ya know what I'm going to use Game of Thrones to make an illustration here, Season 1.  It's like the difference between Viserys Targeryen and Daenerys Targaryen.  One is Burned by fire, the other is not.

Chronologically I feel Revelation 11 clearly places the Bema Judgment after the 7th Trumpet, the White Throne Judgment is after the Millennium and the Gog-Magog War.  I do theorize both Judgments will take place on Yom Kippur.

In my prior Universalism post I linked to my Outer Darkness post.  I did not really refute the Unviersalist usage of Revelation 21:27, just provided an alternate explanation.

A number of Bible verses do imply different states of damnation among the damned.  Jesus said it would be better for the Men of Sodom on the day of Judgment then it will be for the Pharisees.  He makes similar statements about Tyre and Sidon.  Sometimes though it's not how evil someone is but how much of an opportunity to believe they had that makes the difference, which is an odd thing for Calvinists to deal with.  In fact we're told certain people would have believed if they'd seen what the Jews of Jesus day saw, is it really fair to permanently damn those people?

If the Judgment on the Unbelieving is Eternal Fire, it's hard for me to comprehend the Judgment being different, that the flames are somehow more or less hot in different parts of the lake is difficult to see mattering if it's Eternal.  But if the matter is how long they are in the lake, that makes more sense.  The worst human sinners, The Beast and The False Prophet, entered it first and are still there when Satan is cast in at least one thousand years later.

For many Christians the rejection of Universalism seems to come down to "what's the point of the Great Commission then?", "Why bother spreading The Gospel".  Well for starters I think saving people from entering The Lake even momentarily is a big deal.  Even if for most it is only an hour, being burned a whole hour by even normal fire is an unimaginable pain, and even after it's over it'd be psychologically scarring besides physically.  But the Fire of God?  Imagine how much worse that is.

But there is a benefit to Believing too.  What we are supposed to be doing is recruiting people for The Kingdom.  Not all Believers will even get the rewards, but you have to be a Believer to be eligible for them.  We have the opportunity to Co-Rule with him.

So a lot of it comes down to different statuses we'll have in the New Heaven and New Earth (or for some the Millennium but I believe The Church skips that), and the Unsaved who die before that are also not Resurrected till after.

The difference between Church Age believers and other ages is mostly geographical, there is more to it then that but that how it's easiest to explain here.  We of The Church are New Jerusalem, but there are Nations of The Saved outside New Jerusalem.

Believers who aren't of the Church either because of when they were Saved or perhaps losing inheritance will dwell in other Nations, some ruling, some not.  Israelites in the other parts of Israel outside Yahweh-Shammah, and Gentiles in other lands.  In the lands promised to Abraham but not included in the Tribal allotments of Ezekiel are where the Ishmaelites and other Abrahamic saved will live.  And beyond that Isaiah 19 describes a special arrangement between Egypt and Assyria.

Based on the Parable of the Sower I argued the Saved have at least 3 Categories.  Those who earn Crowns will be Co-Rulers, Kings and Priests with him.  Believers who are in mind in 1 Corinthians 3:15 will not be Co-Rulers but will not lose Sonship.

There is a possible difference even between Believers who were just worldly and didn't do much works, and those who fell away.  While neither can lose Sonship, it's possible there could be a further distinction between that and losing your Citizenship of The Kingdom.  Meaning there are at least 3 basic statuses.

All that is just what I believed as someone still firmly NOT a Universalist, but someone who as much as I wanted to believe that still thought it was impossible.

In light of what I'm considering now, it could be for the Christians who fully lose their Citizenship by falling away, that their status once in the New Creation is not any better then the best of those who never believed, but they still will never enter the Lake of Fire.  It can also be possible to have different social statuses even among the non citizens, which means even the unbelievers could earn something from the good they do.

Going back to the idea of how long people are in the Lake of Fire being different.  A major skepticism of the Unvierslaist view is that Revelation 20-22 don't seem to show anyone getting released from there.  I've argued before that I think the White Throne judgment happens on Yom Kippur, and that New Jerusalem descends on the first day of Tabernacles, and on the Eight day of Tabernacles is when Time (as we know it at least) ends.  All of that is something to consider.  Yom Kippur was also supposed to be the day the Jubilee happened, which among other things included debts being forgiven and slaves being set free.

It could be the perception of time is different within The Lake of Fire, it comes from God who is timeless after all.  And so maybe to the perspective of those outside it all happens on Yom Kippur.

One disagreement among Universalists is if Satan, the Fallen Angels and Demons will also be saved eventually too.  I'm inclined to believe that our eligibility for Salvation is possible only because of our kinship with Adam and Eve.  It's interesting that the Fire is defined as being for The Devil and his Angels, that men will be cast into it is merely something extra.

My mind remains unmade on this now, so if anyone wants to offer their own arguments for or against feel free to leave a comment.

Update: September 5th 2015

Jude 1:7 describes God's Judgment on Sodom and Gommorah as Aionion Fire, same term Jesus used in Matthew 25.  But Ezekiel 16:53-55 says Sodom will be restored to her former estate.

Sodom being restored is a pretty telling example.  Sodom had no survivors, Lot was a stranger living among them to start with, and his descendants became their own nations, Moab and Ammon.  So it's not a City being restored to future descendants of Sodom.  It must be the same people God destroyed, not one of whom was Righteous, that are being restored.

Actually the Sheeps and Goats Judgment is the only place that Aionion Fire is used in a clearly eschatological sense.  And I like others have seen that as a Judgment of those still living after Armageddon has happened, before The Millennium.  But maybe I was wrong on the timing of that and it is the same as the White Throne Judgment, but a less literal depiction being a parable.

Thing about the Sheeps and Goats Judgment is that Goats are still Levitically clean Animals, acceptable offerings to God.  There is no Biblical Basis for representing Satan as a Goat, Satan has claimed the Goats because he wants to claim title of Jesus, Jesus is the Yom Kippur Sin Offering (a Goat) as much as he is the Passover Lamb.

Maybe it's even a wrong assumption that everyone who waits til the Second Resurrection to be Resurrected goes into the Lake of Fire.  It says all who's names are not written in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire.

In the past I'd rejected the view that the Book of Life and the Old Testament Book of The Living are the same, but maybe I should change my mind on that.  Believers have a promise our names won't be blotted out in Revelation 2-3.  But maybe that doesn't mean we're the only ones who's names don't get blotted.  I still of course believe having your Part taken out (in Revelation 22) isn't the same as being . Blotted out.  They are in the same book, if they meant the same thing the same term would have been used.

There is a difference between having your name in the Year Book (which itself requires graduating) and having accomplishments under your names.

That PureUnadulteratedGrace Blog has a study on Luke 16 and the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, arguing it's a parable.  Good argument but I must reject his mention of saying Satan/The Devil isn't a literal entity, The Bible is unambiguous on them being real.

Update: September 7th 2015

This video has an interesting discussion of Universalism that starts at 43 Minutes in.
Update: September 12th

I started another thread on that Forum about Judas, and had a pretty interesting discussion.

Update 2016:  I have a follow up post on Universalism now.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The problem with people who oppose Capitalism is

The problem with people who think they oppose Capitalism is, they think that's what we have. 

Is it what we have? Any Economic System involves Capital so you can argue yes. But when people like Ron Paul advocate Capitalism they mean Free-market Capitalism.

Free Market does NOT mean NO Regulations, "There can be no Freedom without the Law"-Moses form DeMille's The Ten Commandments 1956.

The current Super-Rich and mega Corporations do NOT want a Free Market because a true Free Market is founded on competition, and when your already on Top you want the Competition to be over. John D Rockefeller once said "competition is sin".

A Central Bank is the 5th Plant of the Communist Manifesto, and we have had one in the from of The Federal Serve since 1913. We had NO Central Bank from 1836 to 1913, and it was during that Period this nation went from an experiment that might fail at any moment to a World Super-Power. People like to think the 50s where the height of our prosperity, it was so only in a very superficial way. It was in fact during the 1880s that this country was the Richest in the World.

I'm not even sure I support Capitalism as much as I used to.  But this distinction still needs to be made.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Eternal Security and Homosexuality

I haven't yet discussed Homosexuality with someone who agrees with me on Eternal Security.  I'm sure most Eternal Security supports hold the traditional view, but it seems the people who feel compelled to conform me on not viewing Homsoexuality as a Sin for even the most casual allusion I might make to it are people who think Salivation can be Lost, or Calvinists or that they can tell I'm not truly saved over such a disagreement.

If you hold the correct view on Eternal Security, then no matter what you think of Homosexuality you think it's possible for a Homosexual to be a truly saved person and continue being engaging in homosexual acts without losing his/her Salvation.  Because Repenting of Sin is not required for Salvation.

If you don't hold the right view on Eternal Security then I frankly don't even consider your thoughts on Homosexuality worthy of listening to, because you don't even have the right Gospel.  You have bigger problems.

Discussing the Homosexuality issue with people who aren't right on Eternal Security inevitably dovetails the issue to Eternal Security, because they question my Salvation.  It amazes me, all the incredibly theologically conservative views I lay out in my Statement of Faith, yet they think this issue addressed in 5 random verses is worth labeling an apostate.

I'm not a Homosexual even, just  Ciz-Het white male defender of Homosexuals against tyranny, who they assume must be Gay to even consider defending them.

So for once I'd like to try and discus the issue with someone willing to concede from the start that I am a fellow Believer.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hospitality is an important Biblical Value

While this might effectively just retread some of what I've said before, I want to talk about what the Sin of Sodom was as opposed to what it wasn't.

Because I feel, and have felt even way back when I held the traditional view, that even if you do think Homosexual acts are wrong and has something to do with why Sodom was so wicked.  It's really bothersome that many in the Church trivialize the Value of Hospitality, the Bible talks about it in way more then just 6 isolated passages.
But you shouldn't have to be in the Middle East to value it.

I really like the Hammer movie Scars of Dracula, staring the late Christopher Lee.  That movie often makes me think of Sodom.  I love the Irony, how the presumably Christian population of that small Eastern European town is constantly rude and unwelcoming to strangers who travel through it.  But the Prince of Darkness tries very hard as a distinguished nobleman to honor the old world concept of Hospitality, but fate keeps screwing him over.

It's not just when Sodom comes up The Bible is concerned with it.  God also repeatedly told the Israelites to be hospitable to strangers "Because you were once strangers in the land of Egypt".  Like in Leviticus 19.

That is why when Revelation 11 calls Jerusalem "Spiritually Sodom and Egypt" it is when they are celebrating the death of God's witnesses.

Also the Sheep and Goats Judgment.  Isn't that a Judgment that seems to be based on Hospitality?  Or the Parable of the Good Samaritan for that matter, hospitality is certainly part of the message of that.

When Jesus said "As the days of Noah were" and "As the days of Lot were", everyone wants to see that as an opportunity to read their conjectures about those days into it.  But Jesus explained what he meant, and there nothing about Sexuality or Nephilim.

It amazes me how some people will use other references to Sodom as references to homosexuality rather then reading the context of those references to see if they contradict their narrative about what the Sin of Sodom was.

Ezekiel 16:49 defines the Sin of Sodom.  But people tell me I'm ignoring verse 50 which uses the word Abomination.  The word for Abomination there refers to all idolatrous practices.  It is Biblically never a synonym for unnatural.

Then you got people who act like my argument about Sodom is inconsistent with itself, saying "So was the Sin of Sodom Rape or Inhospitably? Make up your mind?"

Okay, tell ya what, arrange for your town to gang rape two strangers passing through it and then ask them if they thought you were hospitable to them.

So, btw, I agree 100% that the Sin of Sodom is something modern America is highly guilty of.  My understanding of certain parts of Leviticus 19 has lead me to believe the Christian thing is to support open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens, the Hebrew and Greek words translated stranger are their words for aliens.

Update July 22 2016: I wonder if these two cities tendency towards hating aliens even applied towards each other.  I'm imagining now a politician in ancient Sodom saying.

"We're gonna build a Wall, and Gomorrah's gonna pay for it".

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Septuagint should not be trusted

We got lots of normal Christians using the Septuagint to make apologetic points.  We have people using the Septuagint rendering to support their particular interpretations of certain verses.  And we got some Christians (who clearly aren't KJV only) saying Christians should reject the Masoretic Text, that it was altered by the Jews after the NT was written to contradict Christianity.  Saying the Septuagint was what the New Testament authors and other early Christians used.

Claims are made that the DSS manuscripts often agree with the Septuagint over the Masoretic text.  This is highly misleading and mostly based on nothing more then that the DSS contains some of the Apocryphal books that were included in the Septuagint.  Which includes stuff written to be added to Daniel and Esther.  The Isaiah Scroll certainly matches the Masoretic text far more then the Septuagint.

I defend Almah meaning Virgin without appealing to the Septuagint at all.  In fact using the Septuagint to prove that is undermined by that the Septuagint also used Parthenos of Dinah after she is raped in Genesis 34.  The Hebrew uses neither Almah or Bethulah in that chapter.

I'm going to quote from a Jewish website incorrectly asserting that Almah doesn't mean Virgin because of some important facts it points out about the Septuagint.
The original Septuagint, translated some 2,200 years ago by 72 Jewish scholars, was a Greek translation of the Five Books of Moses alone, and is no longer in our hands. It therefore did not contain the Books of the Prophets or Writings of the Hebrew Bible such as Isaiah, from which you asserted Matthew quoted. The Septuagint as we have it today, which includes the Prophets and Writings as well, is a product of the Church, not the Jewish people. In fact, the Septuagint remains the official Old Testament of the Greek Orthodox Church, and the manuscripts that consist of our Septuagint today date to the third century C.E. The fact that additional books known as the Apocrypha, which are uniquely sacred to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church, are found in the Septuagint should raise a red flag to those inquiring into the Jewishness of the Septuagint.
Christians such as Origin and Lucian (third and fourth century C.E.) edited and shaped the Septuagint that missionaries use to advance their untenable arguments against Judaism. In essence, the present Septuagint is largely a post-second century Christian translation of the Bible, used zealously by the Church throughout its history as an indispensable apologetic instrument to defend and sustain Christological alterations of the Jewish Scriptures.
For example, in his preface to the Book of Chronicles, the Church father Jerome, who was the primary translator of the Vulgate, concedes that in his day there were at least three variant Greek translations of the Bible: the edition of the third century Christian theologian Origen, as well as the Egyptian recension of Hesychius and the Syrian recension of Lucian.1 In essence, there were numerous Greek renditions of the Jewish Scriptures which were revised and edited by Christian hands. All Septuagints in our hands are derived from the revisions of Hesychius, as well as the Christian theologians Origen and Lucian
Accordingly, the Jewish people never use the Septuagint in their worship or religious studies because it is recognized as a corrupt text.
The ancient Letter of Aristeas, which is the earliest attestation to the existence of the Septuagint, confirms that the original Septuagint translated by rabbis more than 22 centuries ago was of the Pentateuch alone, and not the Books of the Prophets such as Isaiah. The Talmud also states this explicitly in Tractate Megillah (9a), and Josephus as well affirms that the Septuagint was a translation only of the Law of Moses in his preface to Antiquities of the Jews.2
Therefore, St. Jerome, a Church father and Bible translator who could hardly be construed as friendly to Judaism, affirms Josephus’ statement regarding the authorship of theSeptuagint in his preface to The Book of Hebrew Questions.3 Likewise, the Anchor Bible Dictionary reports precisely this point in the opening sentence of its article on the Septuagint which states, “The word ‘Septuagint,’ (from Lat. septuaginta = 70; hence the abbreviation LXX) derives from a story that 72 elders translated the Pentateuch into Greek; the term therefore applied originally only to those five books.”4
In fact, Dr. F.F. Bruce, a preeminent professor of Biblical exegesis, keenly points out that, strictly speaking, the Septuagint deals only with the Pentateuch and not the whole Old Testament. Bruce writes,
The Jews might have gone on at a later time to authorize a standard text of the rest of the Septuagint, but . . . lost interest in the Septuagint altogether. With but few exceptions, every manuscript of the Septuagint which has come down to our day was copied and preserved in Christian, not Jewish, circles.5
I btw believe Matthew was originally in Hebrew so certainly not quoting The Septuagint.

There are also quotes of the Septuagint version of the Torah in the Talmud that do not match the standard Septuagint texts we have today.

At any-rate it is wrong to claim that the Masoretic Hebrew text was written by the Rabbis, in fact they are Kariate texts, Kariate websites love to point out that the Hebrew Texts the Rabbis use today are based on Kariate preserved manuscripts.  Kariates can at times be just as hostile to Christianity as the Rabbis, but they are the Sola Sciprtura believers of the Jewish world, they revere The Word and would have preserved it accurately.  When it comes to respect for Scripture I certainly trust them more then the Eastern Orthodox Churches, or the Alexandrian Early Church Fathers.

The Holy Spirit sometimes works though unbelieving individuals, like Balaam.  So I have no trouble believing He used the Kariates to preserve the proper Hebrew TNAK.

There is also a somewhat older then the standard text of the Septuagint that does not have Kenen added to the Genesis 11 genealogy like our standard texts do.  This shows me that Kenen was added by Christian copyists who thought it's absence from Genesis 11 was a problem for Luke 3.  But I believe the issue is that Luke's is a genealogy that is willing to sometimes go through Women, but always naming the male of that generation.  I think Kenen was an at least 15 years older brother of Selah and that Selah married Kenen's daughter.

Likewise Josephus and many Early Church Fathers who seem to be using the Septuagint as their source for this genealogy don't include the added Kenen either.

The reason the New Testament often seems to match the Septuagint is because Christian copyists conformed the Septuagint to match the New Testament references.  As for why they may seem to not match the Hebrew, I think many NT quotations of the OT were not meant to be exact word for word quotes.  If Deuteronomy can express the Ten Commandments differently then Exodus then I certainly have no problem with Jesus expressing things a bit differently during his ministry.  Jesus own quotes were expressed differently at different times he said them (and thus recorded differently in different Gospels).

And these people making a big deal out of where the Septuagint seems to match the NT ignore places where it doesn't.  Like the spelling used for Solomon, Solomon is the spelling Luke used, no NT spelling puts an Alpha in there.  But the Septuagint spells is Salomon.  Also the Septuagint never uses the same word for Comforter that John's Gospel and Epistles used.

The Septuagint "translates" Tarshish as Carthage, which is clearly wrong, Carthage didn't exist yet in Solomon's day.  And was a Canaanite/Sidonian colony in Phut's territory, not Japhethite.

The Septuagint adds references to Gog that sadly some people today want to build their Gog doctrines on, but really don't make sense.  One replaces Agag in Balaam's oracles.  Balaam talked a lot about Amalek in those oracles but never Magog.  The other is in Amos in a context that people use to identify Gog with Apollyon. 

Also I couldn't even find in the Septuagint the Elam Prophecy of Jeremiah 49.

Also the Septuagint numbers for Genesis 5 fail to match the meaning of Methuselah's name (his Death shall Bring) by having him die the same year as The Flood like other versions do.

The standard texts we have of the Septuagint are in the exact same Manuscripts as the Alexandrian Bibles used by modern Scholars to justify all kinds of mutilations to the New Testament.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jude did not quote a Book of Enoch

Jude did not say "it is written in the Book of Enoch" he said Enoch said something.  And he presents that something as a specific Prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus. Jude 14-15
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Paul once quotes Jesus as saying something The Gospels don't record in Acts 20:25.  Not every quotation is something found earlier in Scripture.  Jude as an Apostle may have been given a special Revelation about Enoch.  Or it may be a known Prophecy of Enoch from Antiquity that The Holy Spirit made sure Jude wrote down just before the Canon was closed.

What's in the so called Book of Enoch or First Enoch doesn't exactly match what Jude said.  It varies in different translations of Enoch, but in none is the context actually a Prophecy of The Messiah.  The first Chapter of Enoch includes a similar saying in a prophecy in the first chapter, but presents it's fulfillment as happening within the events documented in that book, in about chapter 14.

Now you could argue that the variations in the expression are no different from how New Testament quotations of the Old Testament seem to have variations (which I believe Christian copiers conformed the Septuagint to) or Deuteronomy expressing The Ten Commandments differently.  Or that the Book of Enoch has gone through scribal errors since our main text of it is Ehtiopian.  But the Ethiopic texts were preserved by Christians who did consider it canon, they'd have an investment in wanting this to match Jude.

BTW there are some variations in how Enoch's chapter divisions are handled.  In the 1880s translation this quote is the entirety of Chapter 2.
Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.
In the 1917 translation it is verse 9 of the first chapter.
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of ⌈His⌉ holy ones
To execute judgement upon all,
And to destroy ⌈all⌉ the ungodly:

And to convict all flesh
Of all the works ⌈of their ungodliness⌉ which they have ungodly committed,
And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners ⌈have spoken⌉ against Him.
I don't know why that Copy/Pasted that way.

More recently scholars have insisted both these are wrong.
"Behold, he will arrive with ten million [ten thousand times a thousand] of the holy ones in order to execute judgment upon all. He will destroy the wicked ones and censure all flesh on account of everything that they have done, that which the sinners and the wicked ones committed against him".-James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume 1: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1983).
I have not yet been able to verify if the quote in question is even attested among the Dead Sea Scrolls Aramaic manuscripts of Enoch.   But the DSS discovery did happen between 1917 and 1983.  So that could be a factor in Charlesworth's differences.  And I notice that it is the least similar to Jude of the three variations.  Suggesting maybe the Ethiopians tried to conform it to Jude as much as they could.

Now that Jude says "The Lord" not "he" isn't a big deal.  But Jude has no reference to destroying wicked ones.  Jude makes clear the ones He will come with are Saints, resurrected believers,  Enoch doesn't directly contradict that, but plenty interpret the context in Enoch as describing Angels.

What they do have in common is more then enough to make me doubt it's a coincidence.  Satan wanted a kernel of Truth in this massive lie he constructed.

But First Enoch gets plenty wrong.

First Enoch has only 200 Angels fall in it's depiction of the Genesis 6 events, who later get chained in the Abyss.  Revelation 9 I firmly believe reveals at least 200 Million are imprisoned there.  200 Million fallen angels are used in Second Enoch/Slavonic Enoch/Book of Secrets of Enoch, the one no one thinks Jude quoted.  But that is in reference to a heretical Pre-Adamic fall of Satan, called there Satanel.

Also it's because of the Book of Enoch everyone thinks of Watchers (Grigori in Aramaic) as a term for a type of Angel is inherently bad, that they're fallen angels.  But the only time The Bible has an Angel called a Watcher it is a good Angel in Daniel 4.  Doesn't mean it's impossible that some fallen angels once held that same position, and I could certainly see a fallen angel wanting to claim to be the same Angel as Daniel 4.  But I find it interesting how Enoch is the opposite of The Bible here since it doesn't seem to have any good Watchers, Michael and Gabriel and Uriel are not called by that term and seem much higher ranked.

Speaking of them.  I find it interesting that the Old and New Testaments are consistent in only having two named Angels.  (contrary to popular views of Isiah 14, I don't think we know Satan's personal name).

Daniel introduced the idea of naming Angels, Gabriel in chapters 8 and 9, and Michael in 10-12.  The Book of Enoch and other inter-testamental apocrypha used those two names and added many more, often trying to keep a consistent pattern of ending the names with El.

But The New Testament, in-spite of how much skeptics claim Christianity simply evolved naturally out of the development of Hellenistic Judaism, or skeptics and certain believers both insisting the NT authors must have been repeatedly referencing Enoch.  Never uses any of the other Angel names, only Michael and Gabriel.  And the New Testament endorsements of those names are scattered across three different books.  At least 8 different Authors writing 27 books, plenty of appearances of unnamed angels.  But none of those Enochian Angel names are ever used.  I consider that a wonderful testimony to the consistently of Scripture.  But it's undermined when people want to make Enoch quasi-canonical.

The Book of Enoch also confuses the Lake of Fire and the Abyss.

The Book of Enoch also defines the Moon as being a Female entity.  This is further proof of how influenced it is by Greek Pagan and/or Philosophical thought.

The Hebrew word for the Moon is Yerach/Jerah, strong number 3394, it ends with Het/Chet not with Heh, it is grammatically Masculine.  It is also the name of one of the sons of Joktan in Genesis 10, which further proves it's a male name because Old Testament genealogies usually don't list females.  Another Hebrew word associated with the Moon is Kodesh, strong number 2320 is also grammatically masculine.

Thinking of the Moon as feminine rather then masculine is unique to the Greeks and the Romans who copied the Greeks (and Etruscans of northern Italy).  Linking the Moon to Pheobe, Selene, Artemis, Hecate, Diana, Luna, Trivia ect.

Everywhere else the pagan cosmologies either have both as male like the Sumerian cosmology (Ningal exists as a secondary moon goddess, but her only purpose is to be Nana's consort) and Egypt.  Or the Moon is Masculine while the Sun is feminine, like in Japan with Amatersu and Tsukuyomi, or the Germanic/Norse with Mon and Sunna (who were the basis for Tolkien's Tilion and Arien).  And from what I've read it was the same among the Arabs, though the "Allah is a Moon god" stuff is misleading with some bad scholarship..

The Hebrew Bible uses masculine words to refer to both the Sun (Shamash) and Moon.  The Pagan Canaanites and others around Israel that used essentially the same language, used the exact same name The Israelites did for the Moon but a feminine one for the Sun.

The Greek New Testament uses the Greek word for the moon which happens to be Feminine, Selene.  But the Hebrew is what I will consider God's original intent, if He intended us to think of them as having genders at all.

Still the NT authors could have easily made a masculine form of Selene if they wanted to, like Seleno or Selenos, like how they used Ge rather then Gaea for the Earth..  So for that reason I'm certain gender doesn't matter because the Sun and Moon are inanimate objects, not sentient beings.

Indeed whenever a pronoun is used of The Moon in The Bible it's "it" not he or she.  Like in Job 25:5 and 31:26.

The KJV adds "her" to Isaiah 13:10 and Ezekiel 32:7, but that is not in the Hebrew text, it shows how the translators were influenced by Roman thought.  Same with Matthew 24:29 and Mark 13:24, there the Greek word rendered "her" is really gender neutral.

The Book of Enoch was lost to everyone but the Ethiopians for over a Millennium, I don't think God would let that happen to something that was authentically His Word.

And since I know Enoch is popular with certain conspiracy theorists, I want to point out how it was devoted Freemasons who were the architects of it's rediscovery.  I know this because I remember it coming up in Graham Hancock's The Sign and The Seal, where he was speculating on the Masons inheriting their interest in the Auxumite claim to the Ark that he believes The Templars had.

And Enoch has become an important figure in Masonic Lore, and especially in heretical Christian doctrines inserted into Christianity by Masons.  Like the Giza Pyramid being built by Enoch heresy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dietary Laws and Pork

So there are people out there seeking to deny even that the Dietary Laws don't apply to Christians.  Especially in regards to Pork.

They say Acts 10/11 isn't about food at all.  That is indeed not the main point, the main point is about not excluding Gentiles.  But the fact remains Jesus told Peter to Eat.

Even under the Old Testament it was not something required of Gentiles.  If you were not circumscribed dietary laws didn't apply to you.  Pork is included in no scholar's version of the hypothetical Noahide Laws.  The only dietary law to predate Moses is the law against eating live animals and drinking blood from Genesis 9.

I'm fully aware that it actually is healthy to follow the dietary laws.  Pork isn't healthy.  The issue is beneficial vs unlawful.  In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul says "all things are lawful unto me but not all things are beneficial".  People want to take the last part as undermining the first, but it's only in regards to Biblical Laws people play that game.  The fact that it's legal to smoke tobacco but not healthy doesn't mean cops are gonna arrest you anyway.  (They might actually under our horribly corrupt government but that's not how a just legal system works).  The ramifications for doing something unhealthy is that your health will be hurt.  Nothing more and nothing less.

They point to lots of references to Pigs being a favorite animal to use in pagan sacrifices. (I didn't see any sources but I'll take their word on it for now).  Then point to the commands not to eat foods sacrificed to animals and say, that means Pork.

No, it means don't eat the meat of an animal sacrificed to an idol.  Sacrificial meat does get eaten, including in Biblical sacrifices.  Pig, lamb, beef, or even vegetables doesn't matter eating food offered to idols we are told we shouldn't do.

It doesn't mean any animals considered eligible for a pagan sacrifice.  Lots of the same animals that are Biblically clean were eligible also.  Especially Bulls, I've read a lot in the past about Bulls in pagan sacrifices.  In Egypt bulls were offered to Apis their bull god.  Apis was probably what inspired the Golden Calf, which in turn inspired Jeroboam's calf Idols he built at Bethel and Dan.

But even on the subject of meats sacrificed onto Idols, Paul clarifies.
1 Corinthians 8:4 "As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one."
 1 Corinthians 10:25-26 "Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.  If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.  But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:  Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?
We're to refuse to eat it only if we're specifically told it was offered to an Idol  And the issue is setting an example, not the meat itself.   These same teachers of Paul are discussed in this article.

Now I've seen people say that "The Jews didn't even think of Pork as food" to try and render verses like the above irrelevant.  If it wasn't thought of as something eligible to be food God would never have commented it in any dispensation.  Just as he never goes out of his way to condemn eating dirt or feces.

Rob Skiba, who is actually the main person I've had in mind this entire post (and some guests he's had on his show), actually refers to when Antiochus Epiphanes offered a Pig on the Altar as if that event is recorded in the Book of Maccabees.  It's not, I've read first and second Maccabees, there is no reference to a pig being offered there.  There is no verification Anitochus was personally in Jerusalem at all when the Idol was consecrated.  It refers to sacrifices to the Idol on the Altar but not what kind of animal was sacrificed.  Since second Maccabees implies it was Dionysus festivals celebrated in the Temple, it seems more plausible the sacrifices made were animals sacred to Bacchus.

Nor is the whole Menorah burring for 7 days on 1 days worth of oil story in them. Nor is either incident mentioned in the Biblical authentications of Hanukkah, not in Daniel not in Haggai not in John 10.  Both events would be included in the Epic miniseries I want to make about the Maccabean Revolt, because they're things the audience will want to see.  But their historical foundation is non existent, they're more pharisaic fables.

Now I don't want to accuse Rob of lying, but it's difficult when he specifically says the Book of Maccabees defines the Abomination of Desolation as being when the Pig was killed on the Altar. Maccabees doesn't mention a Pig but it mentions the Idol, Dios Olympos placed in The Temple.  The Hebrew word for Abomination used in Daniel isn't the one from Leviticus 18 that can mean any unclean act, it's the one used when it's a derogatory term for the Idol itself, like in 1 Kings 11.

That was the first Abomination of Desolation.  The future one will be a Man deifying Himself in the Holy Place.  Proclaiming himself to be God. In the Holy of Holies.

If the Pig being offered did happen.  That it was a Levitically unclean animal only added insult to injury.  The point was it was an offering made to an Idol.

I did find a reference to Swine's Flesh being sacrificed in I Maccabees.  But it's not directly connected to the Abomination, to the Temple or said to be something Antiochus did personally.  However I did find in Josephus Antiquities of The Jews Book 12 Chapter 5 a reference to Antiochus sacrificing Swine's Flesh on the Altar, and a similar claim exists from a Pagan POV in Diodorus Siculus.  None of that changes that the Abomination of Desolation is defined as being the Idol, not the Swine's Flesh.

Now they go on to insist that eating Pork isn't even discussed in Acts 15 as something those Gentile believers were doing.  That's irrelevant.  In the end there are only three restrictions we are held to.  No idolatry, no prostitution (that is what fornication meant in 1611 and what Proneia means in Greek) and no eating Blood.

Eating Blood was distinct from the other dietary laws.  Being the only one with a basis that goes back to Genesis 9.  And likewise it is in Acts 15 treated as distinct from the food offered to Idols.

These people trying to undermine how we aren't under the Law of Moses like to say things like "does God change" as if saying yes to that would be a horrible heresy.  Actually The Hebrew Scriptures record God repenting (repent means a change of mind) many times.  I point this out elsewhere to refute those who think repent always means repenting of Sin.  He repented in Numbers and He repented of what he was going to do to Nineveh in Jonah.

It's actually a Gnostic heresy to see God as completely unchangeable.  Augustine of Hippo was a Gnostic and the main thing keeping him from converting to Christianity was that he was uncomfortable with the Old Testament depicting an emotional God who sometimes changes his mind.  It was when Ambrose convinced him those emotions could be allegorized away that he became a Christian but brought much of his Platonism and Gnosticism with him.  And thus both Catholicism and Calvinism were born.

When God makes a Promise or a Covenant or swears an Oath then He won't change on that.  Which is why you can be assured you are saved by faith and salvation can't be lost.  So yes in certain senses God doesn't change as Malachi said, but Calvinists take that verse out of the grander context of Scripture.

Specifically on the idea of God changing what people are or are not allowed to do.  That He does change those can be proven form The Torah alone.

Before The Flood we weren't allowed to eat meat at all, not just certain meats, read Genesis 1 and 2 carefully.  After The Flood God gave Noah permission to eat animals.  We have this movement of people acting like it's insulting to The Torah to suggest a restriction on Pork could be lifted, but an even bigger restriction was lifted in Genesis.

God ordained Capital Punishment in Genesis 9, when in Genesis 4 he goes out of his way to protect Cain form being killed for his murder.  Now I believe it's disallowed again.

Abraham was married to his Sister and it wasn't a problem.  Adam and Eve's first children only had that option.  But brother-sister incest was condemned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  1 Corinthians 5 I feel shows that Incest restrictions still apply.  But that was not a purely ceremonial or cleanliness issue.

So yes Malachi says God doesn't change.  But the greater testimony of Scripture shows what is and isn't legal clearly is not what is meant by that.

The dietary laws are exactly the issue in Romans 14.  Where Paul goes on to explain not to judge someone either way on keeping or not keeping the dietary laws.

That is important. There is in response to people like Skiba, others, (like the pastor I do not name) who want to act like it's a Sin to keep any Jewish laws.  That is absurd, to suggest you can Sin by following Jesus example in observing Passover, Tabernacles and Hanukkah.  These people are the other side of the same coin.  So I've coined the phrase Reverse-Legalism.

As long as you're not under any delusion that it matters one way or the others to your Salvation keeping the Jewish laws is fine, imposing them on others is not.  Colossians 2:16 makes clear not to let any man judge us either way in regards to "meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days."  Now the Reverse-Legalists will point to the next verse calling them mere shadows of things to come.  That does mean we don't have to keep them, but we can observe them as long as we remember that are fulfilled in Jesus.

Back to regular legalists, they engage in the Lexical fallacy by wanting to read 1 John 3:4 into every verse that uses the word Sin.

They also objects to the word legalist, saying it should only be used of Judaizers.  The word Judaizer I would only use of Judaizers, but I tend not to use it at all because I don't want to sound anti-semitic.
Legalism is an illness with three levels, each level can manifest differently.

The top level is believing the Law particularly circumcision is required for Salvation.  The Judaizers were top level.

Middle is thinking it's needed to keep salvation or to prove salvation, hence denying Eternal Security.  And I include "perseverance of the saints" as a denial of Eternal Security.

The low level is I think where Rob Skiba is, he's certainly not top level. Saying that the Law is needed for qualifying as a good faithful Christian.  That too is wrong, at the Bema Judgment we'll be judged based on our obedience to The Holy Spirit, not keeping a written law code, yes I mean even specific New Testament commands when I say that.

Low level can be harmless.  But I know people who started there and were in time lured into the higher more dangerous levels.

The Law of Moses was always imperfect.  Now it is done away with.  Jesus fulfilled the Law by living a perfectly sinful life.  Now the Law is written on our Hearts not in Stone.

As commander William Riker once said "When has Justice ever as simple as a rule book".

If The Holy Spirit is personally convicting you to do or not do something then you should listen.  But the Holy Spirit has different plans for each individual.  The Spirit convicts me often, but my enjoyment of Pork it doesn't convict.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Genesis 9 and the Curse on Canaan

This is one of the most abused passages of Scirpture.  In addition to how it has been and still is used to Justify Racism, Slavery and Imperialism.  I've now seen it thrown into (by the pastor I do not name) the list of clobber passages against Homosexuality.

Genesis 9:18-27
And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.  These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.  And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.  And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.  God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
The first error is thinking it was Ham who did something to Noah.  The problem is the more limited meaning "son" often has to modern readers.  Hebrew had no word for Grandson, Son can mean any male descendant.  Every time this particular narrative mentions Ham it refers to him as the father of Canaan.  Canaan is the youngest of the 4 descendants of Noah named in this narrative, while we know from Genesis 10 that Ham was older then Shem.

Because Leviticus used "uncovered nakedness" as an idiom for various sexual relations.  The Mishna, Midrash and The Talmud (Jewish Fables, Titus 1:14) began playing games to add to what this narrative says about Ham.  And Christians have gone and played along.  One popular theory is to cite the reference that you uncover your father's nakedness when you sleep with your father's wife.

But this passages isn't using the word nakedness is any such Levitical or poetic sense.  It's a straight forward narrative.  Noah became uncovered, Ham saw it and informed his brothers that there was a problem.  Noah became uncovered before Ham saw anything.  We are reminded at this moment that he is Canaan's father.  It's possible he entered that area because he was looking for his son.

The curse is placed solely on Canaan, not Ham or Ham's descendants in general, just Canaan.  Ironically, in light of how this would be used later, the ONLY one of Ham's sons who didn't go to Africa.  The people we tragically enslaved were mostly descendants of Cush, kin to Nimrod who has also been unfairly slandered.

This "curse" is really a Prophecy.  It was strictly speaking I feel fulfilled when David finished conquering the land.  That is when Israel's military expansion period was over.  If it goes beyond that at all it could include when Alexander finished fulfilling Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre, or Rome conquering and enslaving the Phoenician outpost of Carthage.  After that I firmly believe Canaanites ceased to exist as a distinct people.

Regardless of Canaan committing a Sin and misfortune befalling his descendants because of that, being descended from Canaan does not make one automatically Evil.  Rachab was from Canaan as well as Uriah The Hittite.  Both named in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus.  Also Hiram King of Tyre who was an ally of Solomon, and the other Hiram who was the architect of The Temple was paternally a Tyrian.

For more refutations of Racism go here.

Now to address what it was Canaan did.  The pastor who I do not like to name says (assuming Ham did it) something homosexual was done to Noah.  I'm sure plenty others have viewed it that way too.  This pastor adds that it demonstrates an inherent link between homosexuality and drunkenness (I wish I knew how to add an eye roll emoji to this blog).

If something sexual was done to Noah, which does seem plausible, the problem is that it was done to him while he was asleep making it Rape.

Another theory is that he castrated Noah, this is usually suggested by bizarre theories trying to make Noah Ouranos of Greek mythology and Ham (who they assume did it) Cronos.  This being justified by that Japheth became a Titan as Iapetos in Greek mythology.

All we know is Noah became uncovered, Ham's interruption may well have prevented Canaan from entirely finishing what he was doing.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Bishops of Alexandria were called Popes before the Bishops of Rome were.

The first use of the term "Pope" is in reference to Heracles of Alexandria (232-248). And he's refered to as such by the Bishop of Rome of all people.
I received this rule and ordinance from our blessed Pope, Heraclas
According to Eusebius Church History Book 7 Chapter 7.4.

Then his successor Pope Dionysus.
Saint Dionysius of Alexandria, named "the Great," 14th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark from December 28, 248 until his death on March 22, 264 after seventeen years as a bishop. He was the first Pope to hold the title "the Great" (before aBishop of Rome even). Dionysius' large surviving correspondence provides most of our information about him. Only one original letter survives to this day; the remaining letters are excerpted in the works of Eusebius.
Very interesting considering Alexandria was the Hot Bed of Gnosticism, and what I've observed about some earlier Bishops of Alexandria.

Catholicism took a long time to become what we know it as.  But the Seeds of it were there even in Pre-Nicean Christianity.

Jesus said to "call no man Father".

Eugenia of Rome

Eugenia of Rome
she was converted by and martyred with Protus and Hyacinth, her Chamberlains, during the persecution of Valerian. She was said to have been the daughter of Philip, "duke" of Alexandria and governor of Egypt. She had fled her father's house dressed in men's clothing and was baptized by Helenus, bishop of Heliopolis. She later became anabbot, still pretending to be a man. As the story goes, while she was an abbot and still dressing like a man, she cured a woman of an illness, and when the woman made sexual advances, which she rebuffed, the woman accused her publicly of adultery. She was taken to court, where, still disguised, she faced her father as the judge. At the trial, her real female identity was revealed and she was exonerated. Her father converted to the faith and became Bishop of Alexandria but the emperor had him executed for this. St. Eugenia and her remaining household moved to Rome where she converted many, especially maidens, but this did not prevent their martyrdom. Protus and Hyacinth were beheaded on September 11, 258, and Eugenia followed suit after Christ appeared to her in a dream and told her that she would die on the Feast of Nativity. She was beheaded on December 25, 258.
"She" continued dressing and living as a Male even after her conversion to Christianity.  Very interesting.

The so called Book of Jasher is not authentic

When it comes to the desire of some Christians to flirt with deeming certain Extra-Biblical texts quasi authentic, The Book of Jasher is the big one since it's the one perceived as being quoted by The Bible itself.

Now I don't know what the Book of Jasher in Joshua 10:13 and II Samuel 1:18 was, but I know it's not any book available today with that name.

The main text people cling to is one that scholars recognize as a medieval rabbinic text.  That has 90 or so Chapters and chronicles the history of the world from Creation down to the time of Joshua.  It's dates seem to agree with the Masoretic text over the Septuagint or Samaritan Pentateuch (which a Medieval Jewish produced text would) though it makes the mistake of viewing Abraham as born when Terah was 70 rather then 60 years later.  The New Testament in Acts 7 clarifies this by making clear Abraham left Haran at 75 when Terah died.

A lot of people like it.  They like it verifying the assumption that Nimrod was evil.  But it makes lots of claims about Historical Chronology that are frankly absurd.

Here is the death nail, on the subject of the two quotes, the Samuel one could make sense.  But with the Joshua one, you need to first understand that in Joshua 10 it's not the narrative voice citing Jasher it's Joshua's own quoted speech.

The Book of Jasher's narrative goes past the point in History where he made that Speech.  And the only thing in it that seems like what Joshua could have been quoting is Jasher 88:63-64, which is in fact it's own account of those same events.  Not a Prophecy of them written before they happened.  In fact it is recording the same speech minus the citing of Jasher.

So it makes no sense, it cannot possibly be what Joshua was quoting.

I would absolutely expect a forgery to include those quotes.  It's surprising to me how bad this forger was at deciding how to incorporate the Joshua one.

The so called Jashers are all collections of Jewish Fables.  Which Paul told us to pay no heed to in Titus 1:14.

Chapter 9 says Nimrod created 12 idols and named then after the 12 months of the year.  This clearly shows a post Babylonian Exile origin as it was after the Exile that the Hebrew months took their current names. some at least came from Babylonian gods, like Tammuz.  Those weren't their original names however.

Jasher identifies Nimrod with Amraphel which is stupid.  Also Jasher refers to Melchizedek of Genesis 14 not by that name but as Adonizedek, a villain from the Book of Joshua.  That I think is very suspicions.

In chapter 12 Jasher included the extra-Biblical legend of Abraham being thrown not a fiery furnace.  A legend that is known to have it's origin in an Aramaic mistranslation of "Ur Kassadim" (Ur of the Chaldeans) in Genesis 15.   Just read Abraham and the Flame of the Chaldeans.  I'm not sure how much I agree with the traditional assumption of which City, but it was a City.

This Jasher's author was clearly familiar with Manetho as he clearly wanted to make Melol seem like Pepi II.

But in chapter 77 this book claims it was the custom of all Kings of Egypt to take the name Pharaoh, that is wrong.  The Bible is a large part of why we use that word how we do, it wasn't till the 19th Dynasty that the Egyptians started using it as a name or title for their King.   Originally it was just a word for the house the King of Egypt lived in, The Bible using it how it does is basically the same as referring to The President of the United States as The White House.

If the real Book of Jasher whatever it was, was Inspired Scripture God would have preserved it.  And if He had preserved it, it would have been included in the Masoretic Hebrew Canon.  It is not so it was not.

Jasher 1:19-20 Contradicts Genesis teaching that Man was not allowed to Eat Meat before The Flood.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The refusal to accept the claims of Transgender people in The Church really annoys me

With Homosexuality, I get the basic logic behind saying "God made genders for a reason", it's not Biblical so I reject it, but I get it.

I don't get this notion that claiming you were assigned the wrong gender somehow insults God.  Not if coming from a fellow Six Day Young Earth Creationist.  But that one Calvinist blog has been obsessing over Caitlyn (who they insist on calling Bruce) Jenner lately.  Endorsing outdated secular evolutionary psychology.

Saying "God didn't create you the wrong gender" is to me shows a horrible lack of Biblical literacy.  God only directly created two human beings.  Adam, and Havvah/Eve who he cloned from a sample of Adam's DNA.  They were ordered to reproduce before The Fall, but it seems they did not succeed in conceiving any offspring until after it.

All of us are merely imperfect copies of Adam, all to some degree corrupted by The Fall, but many with more blatant errors then others.

People are born Blind (John 9), born Deaf and Mute, born with physical and mental handicaps, born with extra-limps and lacking limbs, born conjoined, born with all kinds of mutilations and deformities like The Elephant Man.

Because of The Fall no Creationists consider any of that evidence against intelligent design.  But some have trouble with the Idea of Sex and Gender getting messed up?  Genetically it's mostly a matter of how the chromosomes interact, really a far simpler thing to become screwed up then what causes all the above.

Transgender people aren't labeled Intersex, because there seems to be no physical differences between them a Cis person assigned the same gender they were assigned based on merely studying the anatomy or even DNA (Though we actually understand less then 10% of the Genetic code).

However many brain scans of Transgender people have shown that their Brains do operate like the gender they identify with, not the gender they were assigned.

Being Transgender is an issue The Bible doesn't directly address unless you see it in some way relevant to the crypt statement about being Born Eunuchs.

To all these people who think gender should be determined by physical anatomy only and has nothing to do with the mind, soul or spirit of a person, while also agreeing with Genesis 1 that God made only two genders.  How do you determine the gender of intersex people? particularly those who fully have both sets of genitalia?  But there are also people who look unambiguously female but have a Y Chromosome.

We have people who want to make verses about crossdressing relevant.  Even if such verses did condemn any and all gender divergent dress, transgender people are by definition irrelevant to those verses if their claims are true.  Or if anything they may feel (if Bible believers) like they're violating them when they dress as their assigned gender.

But we are not under The Law, and those commands were there to condemn specific Canaanite ritual prostitution related pagan practices.  This idea among some legalists that they condemn women wearing pants is frankly absurd.  Just as absurd as the Rabinics who think "don't boil a kid in it's mother's milk" refers to Cheeseburgers.

My personal belief that the Holy Spirit has lead me to, is that Transgender people who are saved will be in The Resurrection the gender they identify as, not the gender they were assigned.

And as Paul made clear in Galatians, in the Church there is neither Male or Female just as there is neither Jew or Gentile.

Update: Here is a website trying to deal with Trans issues from a Rabbinic Jewish perspective.  It's an interesting read.  But not entirely in agreement with my views. Since I'm not Rabbinic, and since I consider a Trans person the gender they identify with even before transition.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Is believing in Eternal Security a license to Sin?

First of all I want to say I'm really annoyed at all the people who claim to believe in Eternal Security, but undermine it with some variation of misunderstanding the point of works as evidence of faith in order to get around this accusation.

If they aren't engaging in some full "Perseverance of the Saints" doctrine, they will still try to insist believing in Eternal Security is itself a motivation to do good out of appreciation.  Even suggesting the Christians who do fall into Sin probably aren't believing in Eternal Security.  But we should not bet on that.

The accusation of this post's title is not a valid criticism at all, it is irrelevant to if Eternal Security is true.  The purpose of The Gospel is not to inspire good behavior, it's to inform people of what Jesus did.  It's the religions of men that want to use the threat of eternal hell-fire or annihilation to keep people in line.

What should be our chief incentive to try and be faithful obedient Christians is that it will help spread The Gospel and get people Saved.  The great commission says in the Greek to "Be a Witness".  Evangelism isn't all about door to door soul winning and street preaching.  Only certain people are called to be full time Evangelists.  Hebrews 11 and James Epistle is about us justifying our faith to others.  Being credible witnesses so people will consider our beliefs credible.  Yet today it's popular to insist that you're NOT a good Christian if non believers don't hate your guts.

Let me give Biblical Proof to fellow Eternal Security believers that yes, some who are right on Eternal Security will take the Licence to Sin attitude even though they shouldn't.  And that we therefor should not waste time trying to prove to our critics that none will.

I know it's popular to try and make Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 characteristic of Liberal Christianity.  But reading the account without bias I have no doubt that one thing this Church does get right is Eternal Security.  Doctrine is not exactly why they are doing so bad.

What I would say to those who'd use the message to Laodicea against Eternal Security is that their problem isn't being secure in their Salvation, but being Secure in their Reward.  While Paul made clear in 1 Corinthians 3 some of the Saved will have no rewards.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
When Jesus speaks of spitting them out of his Mouth it's not Hell but the Outer Darkness.

As I've said before I do believe there are ramifications when a Believer Sins.  That is our second incentive.

Some who are right on Eternal Security even without the fifth point of Calivnism error, and acknowledging believers can sin.  Want to limit those ramifications to only this world.  Who take offense to the obvious fact that not all of the Saved are in New Jerusalem.

That is an error, and one that has allowed some Christians to become very hateful.

More Pre Augustine examples of Greek Philophical ideas infecting Christianity

This is meant to lend further credence to the thesis I presented in Plato, Augustine and Traditional Christianity.

Aristides of Athens, He is believed to have died in the 130s AD his only surviving writing is an Apology to Hadrian.  Eusebius and Jerome both agree he had studied Philosophy before his conversion, nothing wrong with that, but it can have an influence.  He could be cited as the first Christian writer to unambiguously condemn Homosexuality.  Yet in fact his allusion to Romans 1 in Section 9 paragraph 3 isn't definitive, the grander context is also emphasizing the Paganism.  But those who would seek to cite him as not condemning all homosexuality would have to be consistent and say he didn't condemn all incest which he mentioned right before.

However since he is writing that Apology to someone known to have engaged in Homosexual behavior, he certainly didn't share the popular modern IFB "Reprobate" doctrine that says Gays aren't eligible for Salvation and thus shouldn't be evangelized at all.

At the end of the Apology he identifies himself as a Philosopher.  Still I feel any negative impact that Philosophy had on him was minimal.  But it is difficult to determine from this writing what exactly his soterology was.

Clement of Alezandria. his passages cited as condemning Homosexuality (the two I'm aware of at leas) I already addressed in an earlier post.  They are not necessarily condemning all Homosexuality either, but also do not contradict the notion that he condemned it as broadly as Plato did.  He expresses in his writings an admiration of Plato and Euhemerus and other Rationalist Greek philosophers.

Some of Clement's views include.

His belief that matter and thought are eternal, and thus did not originate from God, contradicting the doctrine of Creatio ex nihilo.
His belief in cosmic cycles predating the creation of the world, following Heraclitus, which is extra-Biblical in origin.
His belief that Christ, as Logos, was in some sense created, contrary to John 1 but following Philo.
His belief that Eve was created from Adam's sperm after he ejaculated during the night.

Origen Adamantius.  Had been greatly influenced by Clement.  He was raised Christian yet his parents also gave him a Hellenistic education.

Origen, reportedly trained in the school of Clement and by his father, has long been considered essentially a Platonist with occasional traces of Stoic philosophy. Patristic scholar Mark J Edwards has argued that many of Origen's positions are more properly Aristotelian than strictly Platonic (for instance, his philosophical anthropology). Nonetheless, he was thus a pronounced idealist, as one regarding all things temporal and material as insignificant and indifferent, the only real and eternal things being comprised in the idea. He therefore regards as the purely ideal center of this spiritual and eternal world, God, the pure reason, whose creative powers call into being the world with matter as the necessary substratum.

He believed in the Pre-Existence of Souls which is unBiblical.  And he's been cited as supporting Prayer for the Dead.

Origen [185-254] Director of the School of  Alexandria. Origen alluded to
homosexuality in the context  of a discussion  of temptation in his  book "On

He proposed that God does not give us over to temptation with the intent that
we should succumb. God  does not  direct anyone to  evil. "Good  orders every
rational soul with a view to eternal life . .  . it always maintains its free
will and of  its own direction either mounts  ever higher and higher until it
reaches  a  pinnacle   of  virtue,   or on the    contrary  descends  through
carelessness  to this  or that excess   of wickedness. If persons persist  in
sinful activities, they become ensnared by their sin, exchanging the glory of
the immortal God for image made to look like mortal man."  [Romans 1 :23] And
thus  being  of a "depraved  mind"  they  turn to  sexual  and  other  social

Origen was the first to teach something like the modern "Reprobate" doctrine and connected it to Romans 1 ignoring Romans 2.

Both Origen and Clement were often condemned centuries later as Heretics, but that didn't happen immediately.

The Bishop of Alexandria and their successor at the time of the Council of Nicaea was Athanasius.  He seemed to be free of their influence when it came to theology, as the leading opponent of Arianism.  But he is also to my knowledge the only attendant of that Council to condemn Homosexuality.