Archive for the ‘The Peaceful Kingdom’ Category

“…And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” That is from Luke 2:14 in the King James Version of the Bible. It was a message meant for all mankind, carried by angels to announce the birth of the long-expected Messiah, the peace-offering of God. Most of us use the name “Christ,” rather than “Messiah,” due to influence of the Greek language. I hope that you believe the message the angels brought.

Most ancient cultures, in the form of stories and myths, have retained some memory of God’s prophecies concerning the Savior of mankind. The mythological records don’t give us the detailed record that we have in the Bible however. I wish that all the prophetical and historical information concerning Jesus could be pulled together into one panoramic writing about Christmas. I guess it’s better to do something halfway, rather than to do nothing at all, so I’m writing a few inadequate words for the sake of Christmas.

After Adam and Eve chose to rely upon their own fragmentary comprehension of “knowledge” rather than to trust God, God gave us (Genesis 3:15) the first biblical hint of the virgin birth of a savior. It is the “seed” of the woman who will crush the serpent’s head, and finally bring peace to the earth. Only this “Seed” can fulfil the promise of God. The leaders of nations have long promised world peace, and the Antichrist will promise world peace, but only Christ can bring it to pass. Sad to say, that will only happen after mankind has brought the world to the brink of total destruction.

Unless you have studied genetics somewhat, you probably will not completely understand the following statement. According to the biblical account of his birth, Jesus would have received all of his human DNA from his mother, none at all from a human father. He would not have had the normal Y-chromosome DNA inherited from a human male, but only what he directly inherited from God. That’s why the Bible didn’t say “the seed of the man,” in Genesis 3:15 (reference Y-chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve, and my April 2012 post, “Genetics and Jesus”).

The prophet Isaiah may have been considering Genesis 3:15 and other such verses when he understood that a child would be born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). It is foretold in that verse that the child will be called Immanuel (God with us). In that name, “El” is the short form of the Hebrew word for God, and you also see the word “man.” “Man” in Hebrew however, is the word for the bread from heaven that fed the Israelites during their wilderness trek. We get our word “manna” from this.

Amaryah is a biblical name meaning God has promised. What has God promised? The secret is in the name itself. “Amar,” means “promise.” “Yah,” is the shortened form of “YHWH,” the personal name of God. “MarYah” is an Aramaic name for Jesus. In “MarYah,” you can see the name of the virgin mother Mary, and Yah, the name of God the Father. God has promised himself (Immanuel, or Emmanuel) to us.

When an angel informed Mary of her conception, she questioned how that could happen without seed being implanted by a man, yet she believed the answer that she was given. In Matthew 1:20-23, an angel told Joseph in a dream to give Mary’s child the name “Jesus.” The angel then reminded Joseph of the prophecy of Isaiah. I haven’t the time to go into detail but according to Old Testament prophecy, the Christ’s given name would be “Jesus,” (ref. the Septuagint translation of the name Joshua as “Jesus”). The name “Immanuel” (or Emmanuel) tells us who he really is, “God with us.”

In Luke 2:10, the announcement of the advent of Jesus the Christ is called, “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The fact that we don’t yet see peace on earth doesn’t mean that God has abandoned his desires and plans for the earth. In the song, Bells on Christmas Day, there is a line; “Then in despair I raised my head, there is no peace on earth, I said.” We will all probably feel that way at one time or another in our lives, but the way we feel will not cancel God’s promise. Ideals should not be abandoned just because they are difficult to establish, and God is not a quitter.

Sometimes in the past, for just a little while, the coming of Christmas has interrupted the bitter conflicts of war. In some cases, common beliefs in Christ between countries have prevented them. A great monument called the “Christ the Redeemer of the Andes,” (not the great statue in Rio with a similar name) is erected at an elevation of 12,572 feet on the border of Argentina and Chile. It commemorates a peaceful resolution avoiding a war between the two countries because of their common submission to Christ.

One meaning of the word “mass,” refers us back to the communion, the bread from heaven broken for us (Matthew 26:26), the word “mass,” being taken from “maza,” a Greek word for a barley cake. Merry Christ’s mass! Spend the Holyday with your family, and remember the birth of our Lord and Savior. He will yet bring “Peace on Earth.”

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The life of God is more important than my own. I can hardly do anything to help myself or anyone else, but God can bring us back to life. He lives to mend our hearts desires, and to give them to us in a world without end. Obviously, the existence of God is more important than my own.

On the day that we meet our maker, nothing will shine except that which we have sacrificed to help our fellow human beings along their way to God. There is much done “in his name” that doesn’t reflect God’s love for the world. Such ignorance, and any “sacrifices” that were for our own glory do not qualify as self-sacrifice. Only that which is done for his good name’s sake is real. It is then part of the Lord’s own cross, and of his own sacrifice.

God could have done nothing more noble than to come into this world as one of us, and die drawing us into reconciliation. While the evil things of life are evidence that something is seriously wrong, good things are evidence that God is good. That is plain scientific reasoning, but every good thing that I can think of is often misused. There is no further need for proof of the existence of evil. We can each see the evidence in our own mirrors.

All of us need however, to know that God is good, and that he cares for us in spite of the way things are at the moment. There is nothing that can show the love of God so plainly as his cross, either today or in the world to come. Now that I have understood this, when life is painful, as it often is, I can look at Jesus on the cross and see that he bears our blame too much already. I can’t rightfully blame God for anything. He’s not the cause of our problems, but along with us is a target of them.

It is very important that we treat other people with fairness and compassion; for love, beauty, and the good things of life, when not abused, can help us to see through the mists into another world. There will be a new world where we can truly belong. If we could only grasp how important our lives and happiness are to God, it would make a tremendous difference, even now in this world.

It is as simple as Matthew 1:23. Immanuel; God is with us, in the joy, and through the pain of life and death, and into the Everlife (ref. “Come To The Everlife” by Stryper).

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There is a lot of basic doctrine to be found in the pattern for prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13. It is usually called “The Lord’s Prayer,” but it is actually a general prayer guide for his followers. It was given at the request of one of his disciples (Luke 11:1-4). I don’t see anything in the Bible that annuls this pattern or supersedes its particular doctrines. As usual, please forgive my inconsistent grammar in this writing.

“Our Father in Heaven,” I am glad that you have a haven where all would be welcomed if all would welcome you; a place where you can take us when this world becomes more than can be borne. Evolutionists believe in “Father Time,” but time is not our father. Time is a creation of God, our caring Father.

“Hallowed be your name.” The name of God; the name of Jesus, is despised, dishonored, and dragged through the mud.

“Your kingdom come.” The peaceful kingdom where the lion eats straw like the ox will become a reality. This earth whose nations now reject you, and wage war upon each other, will one day become a world where there will no more hurt or destruction. Your kingdom will become a physical reality (Isaiah 11:6-9).

“Your will be done on Earth as in Heaven.” Jesus is Lord, but we don’t yet see all things in submission to his will (Hebrews 2:8). We are far from it, which is why we are to pray for it. The perfect will of God has not permeated this world since the day Adam and Eve undertook to reinterpret all knowledge. Things are not beyond God’s control, but God is not a puppeteer.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Sustain us Immanuel (manna and man, Man of Heaven); bread that is broken for us.

“Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We all offend in many ways (James 3:2), but love covers a multitude of sins (1st Peter 4:8).

“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” A man in the Old Testament (Proverbs 30:8-9) prayed for God to give him “neither poverty nor riches,” but only that which was sufficient for him. He recognized the fact that just about anything can lead to trials for us. Lead us in some other way Lord. Let us not enter temptation. God tempts no man (James 1:13), even though all are tempted by life itself. Do we really want what we feel like we want? Sometimes our freewill does not feel free. Deliver us from the evil one.

“For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to forever.” You have the right, and the power when you choose to exercise it. Hallowed be your name. One day your name will be cleared. Man’s assumptions and accusations against God will be proven false, and the truth will be evident. That is the true definition of the “glory of God,” not the vainglory of human definition. One day Jesus will be seen in his own true light, without our shadows casting doubts and deceptions about him. “For your’s is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, to forever. Amen.”

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In this world, things which God must suffer to exist often overshadow that which he desires. We don’t always enjoy this world, and we can get many mistaken ideas about God’s will, but he doesn’t like the way things are either. God must even allow us the freedom to doubt him if we are so inclined, and many false beliefs arise in this mist of misunderstanding.

The following verses show a difference between the desire of God, and that which he must allow. Jesus said in Matthew 9:13, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In that verse, mercy is the thing desired, whereas sacrifice is something that must exist. Just as we sometimes must do things that we would rather not, so it is with God, and his cross is heavier than ours.

Second Peter 3:9 says the Lord is, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” According to that verse, everyone would be saved if God’s heart’s desire were fulfilled. Many wonderful things simply do not happen because even though God is willing, we are not (Luke 13:34). We need to pray for God to help us in spite of our reluctance.

I’ve been writing about Genesis 8:20-9:17, Noah, and sacrifice in particular, but I’m going to leave that subject for now. Genesis 9:2-6 is about God suffering man to attempt to govern the earth. Those verses hint of civic duty in regard to other people, and of responsibility to God. The idea is for man to become involved in establishing order to offset the natural tendency toward chaos. In the process, man should learn something about God, and about himself.

God desires human beings to exercise self-control, but when that fails, some form of law must come into play. Galatians 3:19 tells us that the law was “added” because of transgressions. Laws and rules don’t make anything perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but they allow society to function. We’ve heard the argument that morality cannot be legislated, and that’s true of the inner morality of the heart which God desires, yet all laws are an attempt to control outward morals.

By the same token, love cannot be legislated, yet God tells us to love. Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40 that all biblical law can be summed up by the commandments to love God, and to love our neighbor as ourself. Commanding us to love doesn’t make it happen, nor is love always an easy thing, but it lets us know where God stands.

Genesis 9:2-6 doesn’t give a lot of rules, but in those verses, God states his opposition to “the shedding of man’s blood.” At the same time, he upholds the right of man to exact judgement rather than restraining it as he did in Cain’s case (Genesis 4:8-15). God suffered the establishment of governments, even though his own blood would be shed in a terrible misapplication of justice under the Romans. The alternative to government is chaos, and “every man for himself.”

In spite of chance, and God’s gracious intervention at times (Ecclesiastes 9:11, and Romans 9:16), history furnishes endless records of injustices forced upon people by those more powerful than themselves. The animal kingdom also suffers under man. In Genesis 9:2-4, which I wrote of in an earlier post, God sanctions the use of animals for food to sustain human life. A commandment is given that the animal not be eaten alive. You might think that such a command would be unnecessary, but maybe we should take a closer look at man’s appetite.

On 3-21-14, there was an article on foxnews.com about animals that are eaten alive by humans around the world, so, this wasn’t something done only when man was less civilized. Debates about animal cruelty are currently occurring over these practices. Man’s dominion is over that of the animal kingdom, but that doesn’t mean that God approves of man’s cruelty.

Genesis 9:2-4 is often taken only as a command against the eating of blood (ref, Leviticus 17:11-12, Hebrews 10:4-10), but I believe in a stricter interpretation of the verse. Without its blood, the animal is dead, and released from further suffering. God cares for all his creation, and his covenant in Genesis 9:12-13, is not only with man, but with all living creatures. One day, when God’s dominion over the earth is finally established, peace will come to our world, and to the animal kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9).

This is a world in transition, and earth’s creatures are transient beings, but this is only the beginning for us; not the destination, and not the end. There is a rainbow; the token of the promise of God. I’m praying to write something about the rainbow next, but the truth seems to be as elusive as the rainbow itself.

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Without thinking, many times I’ve assumed that I knew the meaning of a word when I actually only understood it in a general sense. The difference can sometimes be important.

An old Webster’s dictionary states that sin is “an offense against God,” and a “misdeed, or fault.” That definition seems to convey the idea that sin is harmful to others, and to God. That is how life actually is, though only God is aware of all the repercussions of our actions. Only God can rightly define sin.

A Webster’s from a later date defines sin as “the breaking of religious law or a moral principle, especially through a willful act.” That definition isn’t quite so good, because people invent all kinds of conflicting “religious” and “moral” rules. The religious leaders of the day called Jesus a sinner (ref. the ninth chapter of John, esp. 9:24,25) though he was actually God in human form. Sin distorts our view others, ourselves, and God.

The same dictionary gives a definition of “innocence,” as “freedom from guilt or sin, especially through lack of knowledge of evil.” That’s a pretty good definition, but innocence is another word with many shades of meaning. It doesn’t mean a total absence of potential for sin. Webster’s gives the origin as the Latin word “nocere.” By attaching the prefix “in,” the literal meaning becomes “without harm.” “Nocere” means “to harm,” and is related to “gnosis,” the Greek word for knowledge. Knowledge is a tool often used in harmful ways.

Before going any further, I want to say that I’m afraid we sometimes try to define words and doctrines to such length that we unintentionally hinder the Lord’s desire. When there is so much fine print, the most important meanings can sometimes be overlooked. I don’t want to minimize the importance of correct doctrine, but interpretations of Bible doctrine cannot take the place of Jesus. Jesus is alive, and he is the savior.

I am sure that God had given Adam and Eve a high level of intelligence before they ate from the tree of knowledge, but there was an absence of guile. Now our world has become one great altar of the innocent. The innocent seem to get caught in the middle of everything, and even though God extends special grace to them, they yet suffer along with the guilty. They are dragged into the guilt.

God is often blamed for the suffering of the innocent, but the evils of this world are caused by the freewill of man, and not the ill will, or non-existence of God. We abuse our freedom of will in every way imaginable, and then blame God for failing to prevent us. Sometimes God, who is guilty of nothing, does interfere with us, and then we blame him for interfering.

Although we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and God has made all of us of one blood (Acts 17:26), a divisive force called sin separates us from one another, and from God. A person who has wronged someone will often try to avoid that person due to feelings of guilt, even if the injured party is seeking reconciliation. If the offending party feels no guilt, that makes reconciliation even more difficult. If the truth were told, most often there’s enough guilt for everyone to share.

Obviously, man is not “good enough” to inhabit a perfect world for eternity. For a heaven to exist for us, God must alter (altar) the physics of our very being. We must be given a new “heart,” and even a new body (1st. Corinthians 15:40-57), or we would spoil paradise just as quickly as did Adam and Eve. The teaching of evolution is that the suffering and sacrifice of the innocent will continue so long as life exists, but the Bible predicts a very different future.

The day of at-one-ment has not yet been realized in the physical world, but the Lord who knows the potential of every child, and the secrets of every soul, has become the sacrifice of the atonement. The idea of the world being “as one,” was first the dream of God himself, and it is the height of vanity for us to imagine that we can achieve this without God and Christ. There is not only sky above us, but also the living God, who has shed his own innocent blood for us. Only he can deliver us into lasting communion.

To repeat something said in an earlier post; Noah was told (Genesis 6:14) to pitch the ark inside and out with pitch (Hebrew “kopher”), a substance formed along with tar (ref. my preceding post). You can see in that word the origin of our words, “coffer,” and “cover.” Noah’s ark was the only vessel to carry survivors to safety in the new, post-flood, world. In other cases, forms of the word are translated as “ransom,” or used in speaking of sin that has been purged, and as the name for the golden cover of the ark of the covenant (the mercy seat). The same basic Hebrew word (kaphar), is used for that which is known as the sacrifice of the atonement (at-one-ment).

Can God “cover” us within, and without, so that we can be “one,” and our sin become as if it had never been? Paul, in Galatians 2:20, speaks of himself as being crucified with Christ, and yet living, and Christ living within him. I think that God would experience a “crucifixion” just by living with man, and certainly by coming to live “within” us. Colossians 3:3 says of the believer, “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” No matter how wild the storms may grow, those who are “in Christ” are ultimately as safe as Noah and his family were in the ark.

God has become one with us in the suffering of this world. The innocent, and the forgiven, will someday live in at-one-ment with God in a world far beyond the reach of suffering (John 3:16). The physics of the atonement are a mystery, but the existence of sacrificial love helps us to believe in it. People who love each other must believe in each other, and because of our human weakness, we must sometimes believe in something beyond each other.

P.S.   I’ve tried retyping a section of the text of this post where the font size appears different. It will not come out right, no matter what I try. I will have to leave it as it is.

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The dove has universally become known as a symbol of peace. I suspect that’s primarily because of the ancient influence of the writings of the Bible upon many nations, but also because of the dove’s gentle nature. Doves have long been sacrificed as food for man. Until I did some research on them, I had no idea that they were so often hunted for food and sport. Pigeons are of the dove family, and the Passenger Pigeon was hunted to extinction in the early 1900’s.

The scientific name for the dove family is Columbidae. Columbine, the Colorado community where several school children were shot and killed by two other students in 1999, is named after the Columbine flower. The flower in turn, received its name from the scientific name for the dove family. That apparently came about because the individual petals of the flower can resemble a dove when viewed from a certain angle.

I certainly don’t believe that our names, or the names of places, determine our fate. That would be contrary to the Bible’s call for us to have faith in God, but strange things do occur. I don’t believe that everything can be dismissed as coincidence. God knows beforehand that the freewill of man will lead to tragedy after tragedy (Matthew 18:6,7). It’s possible that God, foreseeing the Columbine tragedy, could have suggested the name for this flower and community. It’s even possible that he could have created this flower beforehand because of these children.

God is identified in the Bible with a gentle bird that is sacrificed by man, and the dove has become a symbol for the Spirit of God. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Spirit of God came down in the form of a dove and rested upon him (Matthew 3:16, John 1:32-33). Jesus is the resting place of the dove.

Incidentally, in the Old Testament sacrifice (Leviticus 1:17), after the dove was killed, its wings were pulled out of joint much as the arms of Jesus would have been on the cross. I believe that this Old Testament sacrifice offered a prophetic picture of the crucifixion of Jesus. At least the dove was killed before its wings were torn apart.

The Hebrew word for “dove” in Genesis 8:8-12 is “jonah.” Jonah means dove, though the biblical prophet Jonah wasn’t very dove-like. “Jonah,” is the English form, or transliteration, of the Hebrew word “yownah.” The Hebrews didn’t actually have a “j” in their alphabet. I intend to write more on the substitution of letters in the transliteration of words later.

In answer to demands by certain people for Jesus to prove by signs that he was the Messiah (Matthew 12:39,40), he said that no sign would be given except the sign of the prophet Jonah, “for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly (or hollow) of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Both doves, and ravens are highly intelligent birds. I’ve never heard of a raven being awarded a war medal as homing pigeons have, but ravens are generally thought to possess greater intelligence. Ravens and crows are from the same family, and are among the birds that can imitate human speech. Ravens are more at home with the violence of this world than are doves. The old poem, “The Twa Corbies,” has two crows talking about a knight who has fallen in battle becoming their next meal.

The Hebrew name for a raven is “oreb.” There are several interesting words that come from this same word family. I mentioned in my last post that the name Noah (Noach) means “rest,” and that a similar Hebrew word was used for the resting place of Noah’s ark. “Arabets,” (compare to Ararat) is a word from the same family as “oreb” and also means “rest,” but in the darker sense of something lurking around. “Oreb,” also means “dusk,” or “dark.”

In myths, ravens have long been associated with the forces of darkness. Naturalists tend to look upon the ravens as simply performing a necessary function in the cycle of life. Superficially, the Bible sometimes seems to go along with this view, but at its core the Bible teaches that things are no longer as God created them to be. The Bible also teaches that one day God will restore nature to a state where nothing harmful exists ( Isaiah 65:25).

It’s interesting to me that it was orebs (ravens) that brought bread and meat twice a day to Elijah when he was hiding in the wilderness (1st.Kings 17:5,6). I would have been concerned about where the meat came from if it had been me. I’m thankful that I’ve never been in Elijah’s situation. A little later when Elijah was running from Queen Jezebel, he fled to Horeb (1st. Kings 19:5-8), the mountain where Moses saw the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-3) The name Horeb, means “desolate,” and is from the same word family as “Oreb.”

The type of information in my last post, and in this one, has sometimes been taken to be Bible trivia. I suppose it could be. I believe however, that the keys to unlocking great mysteries are sometimes hidden behind that which may seem trivial about the Bible. I don’t know if any of this is relevant to whether remains of Noah’s ark yet exist, or its location; I’m mainly taking note of some things that are interesting to me about the Hebrew names for ravens and doves, the birds that Noah released while the waters of the great flood were receding (Genesis 8:4-12).

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Sometimes words are defined and redefined to the point of meaninglessness. “Species,” is one such word. It wouldn’t matter much except that it’s used to deceive people into thinking new “species” are evolving. Much of the argument over evolution is really about semantics. All scientists are actually seeing is variety within the “kinds” of things that were created.

The mechanisms created by Elohim, to produce individuality within each species, are sometimes given credit for all life. The actual mechanism used by Elohim to generate life is not yet known. By “mechanism,” I mean that he probably established pre-conditions for the generation of life. If science discovers how he created life, many will claim they’ve discovered the secret of evolution.

There are possibly different methods that could have been used in creation, but life was no accident. The Script records that Elohim called specifically for certain types of life. The careful way in which the opening chapters of the Script are written is evidence that the arguments against it were anticipated. That’s one of the reasons I’m calling it the Script. It isn’t just a collection of writings. It is an ancient writing that foretells the major moves that mankind is going to make, from the beginning to the end.

Living things weren’t intended to reproduce carbon-copies of themselves. The Hebrew word “miyn,” (see note below) is usually translated “kinds.” The words “species,” and “kinds,” can mean pretty much the same thing. The Script gives a short scientific definition of “kinds,” by the references it makes to reproduction (Genesis 1:11,21,24-25). If animals can reproduce, they are from the same kind, or species. Sterile hybrids wouldn’t be excluded from their particular kind.

The fact that a lion and a tiger can produce a “liger” shows that both came from the same “kind.” To me, a liger looks very much like the saber-toothed tigers have been depicted, only without the great fangs. Ligers are strange-looking creatures, especially when grown. A cat and a dog cannot reproduce because they are different “kinds” of creatures. The different kinds cannot cross unless science interferes with their very nature.

Sometimes when I’m writing about the Script, I will mention something that appears to me to be strange, though I may not know what it means. The Script reads as though fish and birds were created out of water, while other types of animals were made out of earth (Genesis 1:20 & 1:24). That seems significant to me, though too much is often “read into” the Script.

Here is another strange thing about the Script. Elohim is said to have spoken to the animals that he created, “blessing” them, telling them to reproduce (Genesis 1:22). So, he talks to the animals. I like that. The last book of the Script has animals speaking to him (Revelation 5:13). I don’t think that is just fanciful writing, but a fascinating fact.

Atheistic science laughs at the Script because of this sort of thing. They seem blind to the research that proves them wrong. Scientists have learned to communicate with honey bees. By using a robotic “bee,” they can tell honey bees which direction to go to find food. These scientists are talking to insects, and the bees can understand the robotic bee just as they do other bees.

Another strange thing recorded in the Script is that all creatures were originally designed to eat only plants (Genesis 1:29,30). Something has gone terribly wrong, and creation has grown wild. The Earth is no longer the garden that it was intended to be.

Note: The Hebrew word “miyn,” may be the origin of several English words, though they may come to us through other languages. The prefix “mini,” could have come about because baby animals are mini-versions of the parents. “Many,” is probably another related word. A similar word “mene,” means numbered (Daniel 5:25,26). “Mean,” (middle) and “mine” are likely other words derived from “miyn.”

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The origin of the name Easter is probably the morning star; the east star. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus calls himself “…the bright and morning star.” The Greek word for “star” in that verse, is “Aster.” A kindred word, “Stauros,” is the Greek word for cross.

Jesus is the promise of a brighter day. Some people claim that day is already here, but 1st. Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see through a glass, darkly…” Jesus is the light of the world, but even so, those who believe are yet seeing through dark shades. Then, there are those who promise enlightenment to the world as Lucifer did, but are only a “will of the wisp,” leading others deeper into darkness.

So, who is enlightened, and who is yet in the darkness? That argument will continue until the full light of day. “Eos,” is a Greek word for dawn. Romans 1:21-25 says that when mankind knew God, they didn’t honor him as God, but changed the truth into myths. In Greek Mythology, the name Eos is also given to the “goddess” of the dawn. Over the centuries, Eos became Eostre, or Eastre, but it still means dawn. There are several ancient words for dawn, east, and the spring and summer seasons that are spelled similarly. Queen Esther of the Bible was probably given that name by her Babylonian captors in honor of the “goddess Ishtar.”

The name for an ancient Pagan festival may be from the same origin as the word Easter, but that really doesn’t mean much. You can find or create multiple meanings for each day of the week, every week, every month, and every year, but God created time itself. If the world were to last long enough, people of the future could someday argue that Christians created Easter from the Earth Day celebrations. No matter what it’s called, Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies embodied in the sacrifice of Passover.

The first chapter of Genesis is the oldest recorded history in existence, though it can be argued that our copies aren’t the oldest. God created the heavens and the earth. He created man; male and female. According to Genesis 1:14, one of the reasons God created the stars is for “signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” I don’t believe Christians should just hide somewhere because it’s this day or that, because God has given us every day.

There are dark nights yet to come for the world, and for each of us. In the dark nights I’ve gone through since I accepted Jesus, he’s continued to give me hope for the dawn. Christians have a wonderful future, whether we can feel it right now or not. Jesus is recorded as saying one more thing after the morning star verse; Revelation 22:20, “Surely I come quickly.”

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I firmly believe that God wants to treat us as equals, and that’s why he became a man. I believe he wants to be able to meet with us as friends, just as he did with Adam and Eve. I also believe that we would never be his equals, even if making us his children were, at some point, to give us equal power. We will always bow before the Lord. I believe that he had to die to live with us; that it absolutely crucifies him, either to live without us, or within us. It is God who must save us, and not the other way around.

The Bible opens up huge topics and equality with God is one of them. That’s what this whole rebellion on earth is about; the grasping for something that we can neither earn, nor take, but only receive as a gift. It is like love in that way.

I mentioned to a friend that I was planning to write something about Phillipians 2:5-7. My friend doesn’t believe we should consider the Son as being equal to the Father. Just because we disagree on this doesn’t mean that one of us isn’t “saved,” or that we’re not equals. We both believe that Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ), and our savior.

Those verses in Phillipians say, “…Jesus…being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of…men.” I left a few words out of that quote for the sake of space, but that doesn’t change the meaning. I looked at those verses in several translations, and they all read much the same. Phillipians 2:5-7 parallels John 1:1-3 and 10 (I think the K.J.V. best translates those verses).

The case with Jesus is different from ours. He is the “only begotten Son.” Unlike us, he existed in the form of God before he became a man (John 16:28, and 17:5). My “Page”, “Trinity,” has more on this subject. The “Word” in the first chapter of John is just another name for Jesus. You could say it this way. Jesus was in the beginning, and he was with God, and he was God. He became flesh and dwelt among us… Jesus was with God, and was God in the beginning, and didn’t think that was any sort of robbery, but he didn’t even struggle to hold onto that. He became a man for our sake.

The New Testament isn’t alone in identifying Jesus as God. The prophecy about Jesus in Psalm 45:6-7 calls both the Father and the Son, “God.” “Your throne, Oh God, is for ever and ever…therefore God, your God has anointed you…” There is a fear that sometimes tries to rise against us when we first consider whether we should think of Jesus as “God in person.” I think that particular fear arises because there’s a spiritual force seeking to separate the Son from the Father in our eyes, and keep us from understanding God better. John 5:22 says, “…The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgement unto the Son.” If we want to know what God is like, we need to look ever more closely at Jesus. He said in John 14:9, “…He that has seen me has seen the Father.”

Jesus called his disciples his “friends.” In Matthew 26:50, Jesus even called Judas “friend” on the night that Judas betrayed him. The prophecy in Zechariah 13:6 speaks of the wounds that Jesus would receive, “…in the house of my friends.” God wants to be friends with us. He wants to treat us as equals, but that’s something that he cannot do if it is in our heart to always grasp for more.

We crucified God when he became equal to us. Being equal to us on this plane of existence is different from mankind being equal to God on his level. What would happen if he made us equal to himself with our attitudes as they are. It couldn’t work. We are never good enough to earn it, and never strong enough to take it. Whatever God gives us must be received gratefully.

Equality with God would not mean a competition, as we would make of it, and it wouldn’t mean any sort of division. For us, equality with God should mean a union with him, communion or oneness with God, atonement. Without a change of heart, mankind wouldn’t be satisfied with that sort of equality. Man wants to be the highest being, able to set his own standards, able to compete against God.

Mankind fell by grasping for that very thing through knowledge (Ref. ” the Tree of Knowledge” under Pages). The fact that mankind “fell,” means that Adam and Eve once were on a higher plane with God than we are now. In grasping for more and more we most often lose something. Love is left behind and lost, and without love we could never begin to be like God, for “God is love.” Jesus showed that love to us.

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In Romans 13:1-7, Paul is trying to prepare Christians for the trouble that he sees building in Rome. He knows that persecution is coming and that Christ’s kingdom cannot be established by physical resistance. He doesn’t want the Christians to give anyone an excuse for persecuting them, so he reminds the believers in Rome of several things.

In Chapter 12, he tells them to live their lives like a sacrifice. He tells them to live peaceably with others (12:14-19) to the extent that is within their control, and to bless those who persecute them, not attempting to avenge themselves. We can look back to this time in history and see that the Roman Christians heeded Paul’s advice. It’s obvious that they were horribly persecuted only because they wouldn’t worship Caesar.

Many times in history, laws have been intentionally contrived to use against Christians. Law abiding citizens suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. It happened to Daniel and his friends. It happened to Peter, to Paul, and to Jesus. Christians have an enemy that seeks to portray them and their Lord in a bad light. Many times Christians, and those who call themselves Christians, unwittingly bring trouble upon themselves.

God instituted human government for the good of mankind. That doesn’t mean that governments are always good, or function as they should. Romans 13:1-4 doesn’t mean that God approves of all rulers or forms of government. Neither does it mean that Christians should bow to the governments under which they live. No doubt some Churches in Nazi Germany used verses such as Romans 13:1-4 as an excuse to compromise with Hitler.

Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” It is one thing to bend to the will of government in particular matters, and another to bow to government instead of to God. Governments very often try to take the place of God, as several of the Roman Caesars did. They make use of propaganda in as many ways as possible to miseducate their citizens. God becomes an outlaw in their eyes, and worshipping God becomes a criminal act.

The correct Christian response in that case is to simply try to imitate the behaviour of Jesus when he was in that situation. Goverments are formed because of abuses, and they are changed constantly because of abuses. God wants to prevent as much of this as possible. That’s why we have chapters twelve and thirteen in the book of Romans.

There are absolutes taught in the Bible, but there are also general rules that don’t always apply to every situation. Some apply to particular people in particular times. Most of Chapter 13 falls into that catagory. Paul wrote in 1st. Timothy 1:8, “…The law is good if one uses it lawfully.” Even verses of the Bible can be used in the wrong way.

This section of the book of Romans has been used to try to prove that God pulls all the strings, and orchestrates all the details. Even within this section though, there are reminders that we have freewill. We would not be reminded to behave in a certain way if the possibility didn’t exist that we could behave differently.

First Peter 4:14-16 says, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evil doer…” Within certain bounds, God allows man to to devise his own laws and government. He has given man every chance to get it right but it never happens. Sometimes we make it better, but it always fails somewhere.

In all of that, sometimes we can see how badly we need God. In the final analysis, Jesus is Lord and will someday exercise his sovereign authority. Hebrews 2:8, “We do not yet see all things put under him.”

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