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Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

Much of the meaning is shrouded in mystery. Who has slain the Lamb? Who has murdered innocence? Man is wearing the bloody clothes, but in one way or another, all things have been twisted around to make it sound like God is to blame for everything. Theists get it turned around, and Atheists get it turned around, but God himself is the Lamb (Acts 2:22-24, Revelation 22:3, John 1:1-3, 1:14, & 14:6-10).

Many Atheists make use of the theistic teaching of “predestination” to turn people against God. Some of them have personally objected to the way I read the Script, telling me that I am misinterpreting the Bible. That is because it weakens their argument to consider that God is good, and that the Bible can be shown to make sense.

We can truly understand God only in the light of the Lamb (Revelation 21:23). There is nothing else in all the history of creation that reveals God in his true colors as does his suffering on the cross. It is the only way that he can reach us, touch us, change our hearts and minds (John 3:16, Genesis 3:21).

Man gets everything turned around when he eats of the tree of knowledge, makes his own moral judgements, and reinterprets all matters for himself (Genesis 3:5). It is this alienation of mankind from God, and the blame which man places upon him that slays the Lamb. I have read the atheist’s proclamation, “God is dead, we killed him,” but we are all just as guilty. Our rejection of him is the murder weapon. Some of us, having understood this are filled with regret. We become repentant, and are glad that he is back alive.

The English word “repand,” from the Latin word “repandus,” means bent backward. To feel sorrow and regret is considered a “secondary” meaning of the word “repent,” but being sorry is primary to the process of changing from our bent (or bias).

Contrary to what you may have heard preached, God took no pleasure in the suffering of Christ; it’s his own skin. That doctrine is an example of misinterpretation due to the multiple meanings that words have come to have. Because of multiple meanings, the correct interpretation of many Bible verses is not the first thing that comes to mind when it is read. That is one reason why it is so critical for us to trust God. It is similar to the need for us to trust one another in order for understanding to exist.

The literal meaning of the word translated as “pleased” in Isaiah 53:10, (It pleased the Lord to bruise him) is “to bend.” A secondary meaning is “incline.” “Pleased,” is a figurative meaning. There are other meanings but “pleased” is the most commonly used. The Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, translates Isaiah 53:10 to indicate the Lord’s pleasure is not in the suffering and death, but in the great deliverance from it. “The Lord also is pleased to purge (to remove) him from his stroke.”

The same Hebrew word (in its original spelling) is translated as “purpose,” in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” God takes no pleasure in our pain, or death (Ezekiel 18:32). Death is an enemy (1st Corinthians 15:26). Multiple meanings of words are often used by the Lord’s enemy to cause misunderstanding and rejection of God.

The thing that pleases God is that some of our hearts are won by what he has endured, and that is a great comfort to him. Despite the suffering of this world, some of us no longer reject God, even if we don’t understand parts of the Bible. We can begin to see what our mistrust has done to God and our fellowman. Who has slain the Lamb? Man’s DNA is at the crime. Our DNA was in Adam, when he dressed himself in leaves and hid among the trees.

We still have that reaction to God. We need a long walk in the Light. It is God’s desire to walk with people (Genesis 3:8); to live in them, to find them where they are (Mark 2:15-17), and help them. He wants to be born in them, and we never know who will become his child. That is his great desire, his primary will, though he must allow us freedom even when our paths become painful.

People call this God’s “permissive” will, but it is not something that he desires. There we encounter more words with multiple meanings, but I don’t think we should think of that type of thing as “God’s will.” That is like saying that a student’s misbehavior is the teacher’s will when she steps out of the room, or that it is the will of the policeman for us to break the law when he isn’t around.

Sometimes, there seem to be no perfect words to use, for all the words have taken on unfortunate meanings. It isn’t completely right to say that God tolerates, or allows evil, or that he is permissive, assenting, or consenting. God’s momentary silence doesn’t mean that he condones our behavior. “Forbearing” is probably one of the best words to describe God.

He “endures” our world (2nd Peter 3:9), temporarily not fully enforcing that which is right (ref. The Lost Child of Freedom, in my August 2012 archives). The longer that God simply endures us, the harder we become. The Greek word “endurece(r)” is the origin of our word “endures.” It is translated as “hardens” in nearly all English versions of Romans 9:18. That is another verse often taken out of context and misunderstood.

God either endears us, or he endures us. We should all be endeared to God, but if he must only endure us, then there is good reason for it. Time will tell. Anyway, to the extent that God does not intervene, bad things may happen to anyone. That doesn’t mean that it is “God will.”

The paths that we choose in difficult circumstances are often not what we desire, but are influenced by other factors. It is the same way with God. Nevertheless, God is deeply involved in the intricate details of our lives, and our desires and prayers influence certain outcomes in ways that we can’t conceive. We should remain thankful.

In (or through) everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1st Thessalonians 5:18). The first word of that verse, “in,” is one of many words that could have been used. According to The New Strong’s Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words (for the KJV), the Greek word “en,” is translated as “by” (141 times), “with” (134 times), “among” (117 times), “at” (112 times), “on” (46 times), “through” (37 times), other miscellaneous words (321 times), and “in” (1874 times).

In spite of our circumstances, it is the desire of God for us to find things to be thankful for. I thank God that he is with us through all these things. Though man has slain the Lamb (Acts 2:22-24), I am thankful that he loved us enough to bend to save us. I thank God that we can still make sense of the Bible, in spite of (or sometimes, because of) the multiple meanings of words. I pray that we all have a happy Thanksgiving.

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I love learning, but much that is called “knowledge” is either incomplete or false, and even that which is true is often misapplied. Greater knowledge and endless data won’t solve all our problems (1st Corinthians 8:1-2). Adam and Eve would tell us that today, but we wouldn’t necessarily believe them.

Sometimes we are simply unable to do that which we know should be done. I know that my family needs more money coming in than we have going out, but that knowledge doesn’t help me. Organizations that know more about making money than I do are stealing my lunch money. What can I do about it? The devil can keep us so busy swatting at flies that it can become our way of life. Regardless of what I know, try, or pray, I’m living on the verge of simply reacting to the next crisis. The future depends upon the intervention of God.

There is some truth in the saying that it takes money to make money. Instead of striving to make necessities as affordable as possible, the focus of most of those with money is on the greatest return on investments. This means trouble for the “working poor.” It means trouble for our country, for money goes where money is to be made, whether it in the best interest of our neighbors or not. Knowledge doesn’t prevent greed; it only makes it smarter.

Misapplied knowledge is hurtful, but so is a lack of knowledge. Partially conceived doctrines, chiseled into law, can prevent us from understanding the real reasons why the world is as it is. That is true of secular doctrines as well as religious. Man’s abuse of God-given freewill, along with a quest for knowledge and fulfilment apart from God, creates an environment where many evil things happen unforeseen. The Bible says that “time and chance” happen to all of us (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Calling the consequences of all of humanity’s wrong choices “God’s will,” keeps people from understanding the goodness of God.

In many cases, laws intended to counteract evil come to stand in direct conflict with God, even to the point where God and truth are criminalized. Jesus was “counted” with the transgressors (Mark 15:28, Isaiah 53:12). Laws don’t always work out the way they were intended. Just as knowledge fails us, so does the rule of law. At their heart, both knowledge and law can be said to be good, yet both fail due to problems of the human heart, and ultimately the only thing that can pull us through is the grace of love (“God is love,” 1st John 4:16).

Since “God is love,” it follows that a doctrine that isn’t tempered by love can never be purely “Christian.” Doctrines that lift their bearers above question are almost always questionable, and doctrines devoid of love can’t express the character of the inventor and creator of love. Such doctrines can inhibit a real understanding of God, of ourselves, and our fellow human beings.

While I’m on the subject, no human being has ever mastered the art of consistently being sensitive to the feelings of others. That is something that every Christian, on every day of the week, could repent of.

Unfeigned love for others is critical in communicating truth and doctrine. If we “have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge…, and have not love,” we are nothing (1st Corinthians 13:2). It is possible to be versed in correct doctrine without possessing the thing that really counts. Without love our doctrines can become a clanging symbol just as incomprehensible as any unknown tongue (1st Corinthians 13:1).

Some parts of the Bible are “hard to understand,” and can be interpreted in a destructive way (2nd Peter 3:15-16). It follows that if we destroy someone spiritually with our “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:14), then according to Romans 14:15, we are not “walking in love.”

It is so easy to miss the trail when we speak of “walking in love.” Love rejoices in truth, thinks no evil, and seeks the good of others before its own. We often “miss it.” That is what the word sin means; a missing of the mark (ref. the Hebrew word “chata,” and the Greek “hamartano”). Sin is a lack, or an abuse, of love. Other people use the fact the we “miss it” as an excuse to embrace “no religion,” or to invent new religions, or new denominations, but Jesus died for us, and the reason that Christianity exists is because all human beings miss the mark.

Forgiveness must exist because we all fall short of perfect love. By our hand, love is sacrificed, but love is sacrificial. That is what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is all about. Knowledge branches out on all tangents, but can never quite explain the sacrifices of love. According to 1st Timothy 1:5, the goal of the commandment is love, but no law can make us love anyone. The chain of the law can’t bind our heart to the heart of God.

Romans 10:4 says that Jesus is the end of the law for the believer. The broken link between Heaven and Earth is drawn together in the crucifixion of Jesus, one hand holding yours and mine, and the other in the hand of the Father of love.

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A picture of a starving child is a picture of the greed, ignorance, and apathy of man. It has always been the policy of man to starve enemies into subjection, and to ignore the undesired. That is not what God wants (Matthew 5:43-45). It is not the will of God that has led to the suffering we see in the world today, but the policies of man. We are self-willed, and we sin.

Long ago, in the garden of Eden, the first human beings chose to know good and evil, and to make their own decisions about all things as if they were gods. Because of that decision, evil is loosed to walk the earth, and human beings create many “impossible” situations, where there are no pleasant answers. We live in the shadow and consequences of prior human choices, and others will walk in ours. It is a long walk in the darkness.

Jesus said that whatever is done to others is done to him (Matthew 25:42-45), so a picture of a starving child is also a picture of God. God starves with the starving. It was God who created the empathetic and sympathetic qualities that human beings sometimes exhibit. Those are characteristics of God. In fact, the only way to hurt God is to harm his creation. The enemy of all humanity knows that when he targets a person, he nails the Messiah. God has been the primary target all along.

As any caring person knows, love draws us into the pain of others (1st Corinthians 12:12,26, and 13:4-7). Love makes God vulnerable along with us. The cross of Jesus is the physical manifestation of that phenomena. The crucifixion of Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s entanglement in our world’s problems. Where is God when we are hurting? He is there on the cross.

The name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23) means “God with us.” “El,” in the ending of the name, is a Hebrew name for God. The Greek spelling is Emmanuel. In Greek, “eme” means “me.” The Greek word “manna” comes from the Hebrew “man,” the word for the bread (Exodus 16:14-18) that fell from the heavens during the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. Jesus compared himself to this manna (John 6:32,33) which came down from heaven. He is the broken bread (1st Corinthians 11:23-24), the antidote for the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. “Manuwn” is a little used Hebrew word meaning “heir,” or “son.” I think all these words and meanings are implied in the prophetic name Immanuel.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is the physical manifestation of God. In John 14:8, Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it is enough for us,” but nothing is ever quite enough for man. The world is not enough. The next verse gives the answer of Jesus, “Am I with you so long, Phillip, and you haven’t known me?” “The one seeing me has seen the Father.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus wept (John 11:35), and that God was in Jesus reconciling the world unto himself (2nd Corinthians 5:19). The tears of Jesus were the very tears of God. Jesus displayed emotions, and his emotions are those of God. Evil denies all of this, and either claims that God does not exist, or it presents him as being distant and unaffected. Evil uses every possible angle against God, but it all comes into focus at the cross.

“I like pain,” a man once said to me, “It keeps me on my toes.” “I like pain,” said another. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t know I was alive.” The statements were an attempt at humor, but they are sad words nevertheless. Another man said to me, “I don’t think that other people feel things like I do, and it makes me want to hurt them.” I tried to convince him that his thoughts were not true either of man or God. How many people want to hurt God because they think that God does not feel? God sees, God hears (Psalms 94:9), and God feels (Luke 13:34).

I’m sure that God does not like pain, and I don’t like it. A man once tried to convince me that Jesus didn’t really suffer when he was crucified. That man’s professed view was that Jesus was so spiritually exalted that he was beyond physical suffering, but love doesn’t make one immune to suffering. It magnifies it instead, yet love gives us purpose.

Jesus faced the cross in spite of the suffering, because that was the way to get us to face the truth, and it is the way to change our hearts. Why doesn’t God simply force all of us to do the right thing? Well, where do we want him to start, and where do we want him to stop? Can we get a consensus on our guidelines for God’s conduct, and would that agreement be the right one? Love must be voluntary.

We hurt ourselves when we harm others, and we hurt others when we harm ourselves. We hurt God when we harm ourselves and others, and we harm ourselves and others when we hurt God. That is life on Earth in a nutshell. Is that what we want, or is evil using, and confusing us?

Jesus said, “If I am lifted up (crucified), I will draw all mankind unto myself.” This he said signifying what death that he would die (John 12:32-33). The Messiah’s death on the cross might seem to us like the all-time low of his eternal existence, and it was, but at the very same time, it is the all-time high mark of sacrificial love. Jesus, on the cross becoming one with every one of us, (2nd Corinthians 5:21, becoming sin for us) taking all our wrong into his own body, and destroying it in his death while saving the souls of all who will believe in him, is the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love.

We cannot see God in his true light (glory) if we do not see the depth of Christ’s suffering. There is a tendency in the churches to gloss this over, and only glory in the resurrection, but if we don’t acknowledge the communion of the suffering of God for man (1st Corinthians 11:26), we are missing the reason for his long journey down to Earth. If we do not see the suffering of the Messiah, we won’t be as able to deal with our own suffering, and we can’t see very far into the heavens of God’s love. This earth is a world of suffering, but it is not our final destination.

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Some people believe that humans possess a sixth sense which is stronger in some than in others. If that is true, then it yet interacts with other realms of the mind in a similar way to our “conscience.” Many debates take place in our minds as information from our senses is processed. We get ideas, notions, and feelings that we either build upon or dismiss (see Whispers in the Mind, in my December 11, 2011 archives).

Artistic expression and invention often develop around these mental suggestions. Some argue that it is truer to say that humans have a spirit that enables us to discern certain things through inspiration. Some people claim to actually be able to make contact with spirits. Others say that intuition is no more than an evolved brain function.

My Webster’s Dictionary defines “intuition” as, “the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without rational thought or inference.” In other words, the mind sometimes skips to conclusions, which can often be brilliant, without possessing all the information that it needs to do so. Though this sort of thing has sometimes led to scientific discoveries, it is a very fallible process. People make most of their mistakes by jumping to conclusions, or thinking that they “just know” the correct answers.

The word “con-science” means “to know,” but that doesn’t mean that we actually know everything we think we do. Our conscience can be deceived. The conscience can make us conscious of things we would not otherwise comprehend, but it can blind us to others.

Is extrasensory perception really a different thing from inspiration, or the workings of the conscience? ESP may seem more other-worldly and mysterious only because of its association with the occult and unusual happenings. There are often anomalies involved, and though science knows that anomalies exist, it isn’t very good at dealing with such things. They are most often ignored (see “Out of Place Data” in my November 2013 archives).

I personally believe that the word “supernatural” should be defined as, “the natural which is beyond our present scientific understanding.” If science happened to physically detect God at this point in time, it would yet be unable to determine what was being sensed, even though God is just as real and natural as the nature that he created.

A couple of months back, I wrote about our senses, and how the good things of life are evidence that God is good. In that post, I mentioned the idea of the existence of a sixth sense. My post preceding this present one was about deception and evil. The existence of evil is evidence that the Bible is truthful about man and his world. The fact that we are yet wondering about a sixth sense is also evidence for God.

Science believes in the existence of other dimensions, but doesn’t accept that intelligent beings, some of which are hostile toward us, could populate another dimension. If God didn’t restrict them, it would be simple for such beings to deceive us, whether or not they revealed themselves to us.

The Bible tells us that we have a spirit (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Ezekiel 13:3, 2nd Corinthians 5:8), and while it teaches that God has at times made contact with man in a direct, physical manner, he most often speaks to our spirit through the conscience. Mainstream science is currently experimenting with wireless transmission of information directly to the human brain, but yet science doesn’t accept the Bible’s testimony that this is already happening.

In Hebrews 1:7, the angels are called “spirits,” and there is a being that the Bible calls “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). That description indicates that this “prince” uses all forms of communication to broadcast misinformation. The Bible warns us of the danger of flirting with the occult (1st Timothy 4:1), and tells us to “try the spirits whether they are of God” (1st John 4:1).

There was a woman who had a spirit of “divination” (Acts 16:16-19) who guided her employers to financial gain. After she followed Paul and Silas around, day after day proclaiming in a mocking manner, “these men are servants of the most high God,” Paul commanded the spirit to “…come out of her.” Her employers afterward made trouble for Paul and Silas when she was no longer of value to them. The Greek word “Puthon” (Python) translated as “divination” in Acts 16:16 was also the name of the area where the seat of the “Oracle” of Delphi was located.

It would be simple for an angelic being or spirit to manipulate the mind of a person dabbling in the occult. They know what is around the next curve of the road. They could give you déjà vu, or foretell the future to a limited degree. They know many things about people of the past, and could convince someone of reincarnation. While we might think that we are only playing a game, the game is playing us.

Be that as it may, I think that at some point in our lives, most people experience something that causes them to wonder about the existence of the “supernatural.” There’s a big difference in studies concerning the percentages of people (31% to 96%) who have experienced déjà vu, but it averages out to be two-thirds of us. That amounts to a lot of people.

Science “explains” the experience of déjà vu as an anomaly of memory, but it is really beyond the capability of science at the present time to prove very much about it. Studies indicate that most of those who have experienced déjà vu are college educated, and that the incidence of occurrences decrease with age. Because these things can be viewed as evidence in favor of the Bible, I’m going to list a few things from my own experience and that of others that I have confidence in.

I am by nature a very skeptical person, and I don’t expect to persuade someone to believe me if they themselves have not had similar experiences. Personally, I have only had a few déjà vu experiences, and they haven’t been too remarkable. Once however, when a stranger was introducing himself, I knew his name before he said it. I’ve also had the experience of knowing the buildings that I would see around the next bend of a road where I had never been. In my experience these things have been totally sporadic, and I don’t see how science could verify that sort of anomaly. I have experienced feelings of “déjà vu” less as I have grown older.

I have experienced other kinds of unusual coincidences, or anomalies. For instance, I chose the name for my younger brother, but we didn’t know at that time whether Mom was expecting a boy or a girl. I already had younger sisters, and Mom didn’t tell me until after my wife and I were married that if she had another girl, she was going to give her a feminine form of the first and middle names that I had chosen. You can make of it what you will, but I did not choose my wife because she was named what Mom had chosen for another daughter. I didn’t even notice it at the time.

I had noticed that the girl who became my wife, and the girl I dated previously, had the same first and last initials. They both had these initials in small letters on their eye-glasses, and when I first met my wife, besides thinking she was very pretty, I kept looking at her and wondering what seemed familiar about her. I don’t think she will be offended at my telling of this.

I’m not going to give the name of a christian man because some people would automatically be skeptical of him for telling this story. Many times, for this same reason, credible people will not tell something if it seems incredible. This man bought a little house several years ago, and one day looking off his front deck, he thought he remembered his parents taking him as a child to a house that once stood about 300 yards away on the hill across the road.

This was not in the area where his family had lived, but his dad did odd jobs and work around town. He verified with his parents, who were still living at that time, that he had been to a house that was once there. As a child, his parents had told him about a woman who had predicted his birth and that of his siblings, and he was reminded of this story.

The man doesn’t know if the woman was a christian who happened to get a bit of inspiration, or if she was someone who just happened to get it right. There was someone, perhaps the man’s uncle, who thought that this woman was a witch. She probably was just a quaint little lady.

Anyway, my christian friend’s parents had wanted children for some years, and his father was building a fence for this woman. The subject of children came up and she told him that he would father a family if he would quit smoking cigarettes. Science today seems to verify that smoking interferes with conception, but I don’t think it was known in those days. My friend’s father felt like the woman’s saying was a prophecy, and he must really have wanted children. He buried his pack of cigarettes in a post-hole in the lady’s yard and never smoked again.

My friend doesn’t think that he was subconsciously drawn to buy a house in this area because of some childhood memory, but he thinks it is more than just a coincidence. He says that when he looks across the road, it feels like he is looking across a valley of time. He feels that the woman’s prediction has something to do with him coming to believe there is more to life than meets the eye. God alone knows the whole truth.

I’m not going to tell any ghost stories, but I lived for a short time in a small duplex where some strange things were thought to take place. I do know that people who lived there had toyed with the occult. Not long after I moved out, in the middle of the night, a neighbor from up the little hollow awakened all the occupants of the duplex screaming that the attic was on fire. There was no fire, and he went home looking like a fool. A friend who yet lived there told me about it. A few weeks later, when no one was home, the house burned to the ground. I can think of a few possible explanations, but nothing that makes much sense. There was no suspicion of arson or anything.

So, maybe esp exists but I’m not sure that we know much more than we would otherwise. Life is a mystery, and so is the Bible (the Script), and Science is far from omniscient. We know more about the brain than we know about our mind.

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Clear communication is difficult, and when it’s concerning a difficult subject that people have strong feelings about, then it can become nearly impossible. People start trying to shut each other up. At the tower of Babel, God divided man’s one original language into several (Genesis 11:1-9). It seems a strange thing for God to have done, but language barriers have made it more difficult for dictators to control the world’s population (ref. The Tower Code, my post of Oct. 12, 2014).

For us to have a real understanding of one another, and of God, we must have freedom of speech, even if we must begin with different languages. The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution recognizes the necessity of the freedoms of Religion, Speech, Press, Peaceable Assembly, and Petition. Without these things, there is no forum for reason, but only for fear and war. Yet today, all around the world by use of force and intimidation, terrorists seek to suppress basic human rights and freedoms.

If they could do so, by deception, violence, or whatever means, terrorists and dictators would silence all testimony of Jesus Christ. That will be a priority for Antichrist when he rises to power. Regardless of their claims, those who silence others by force are not following God’s example. Love and understanding cannot find full expression without freedom. These are things that God seeks to teach us that cannot simply be forced upon intelligent beings.

Man doesn’t want to play by the same rules, however. One of the most deceptive effects of man’s interpretations of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-13), is that we mistakenly come to believe we can readily distinguish between the two. In reality, only God can clearly do so. Evil often does not recognize itself as evil, and the only hope for its enlightenment is God, therefore God seeks depth of communication, and the freedom to reason (Isaiah 1:18) with man. The living God seeks to reveal himself to a lost world, while the world endeavors to shroud that revelation in secret.

Because of the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel, and due to the fact that languages evolve, as well as devolve, there is much confusion over the identity of God. What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if you can tell (Proverbs 30:4)? What if God were to visit the earth as a man (ref. “Immanuel,” Isaiah 7:14, & 9:6)? What if he told us his name beforehand, but over time it became confused?

My mention of the name of Jesus isn’t intended to offend anyone, but is an attempt to offer a helpful line of reason. In prophecy, the name “Jesus” is associated with “the righteous Branch,” (ref. Septuagint translation, Zechariah 6:11-12). Where does a branch grow? What if the world didn’t recognize God, and we killed him by nailing him to a tree.(Psalm 22:13-31, Isaiah 53)?

God, in the form of a man, didn’t have to turn the other cheek to man of course, but that’s what the Old Testament predicted would happen, and history records its fulfillment. Information on the fulfillment of these prophecies by Jesus is primarily recorded in the New Testament, but also in other religious writings of the era, as well as in a few secular records.

Mostly in the corrupted form of myths, much of the ancient world remembered the promise of God to send a deliverer. Most of the world did not, and does not however, accept that Jesus is that deliverer. Connected with a prophecy in Amos 6:10 (RSV), is the statement, “Hush (Shhh)! We must not mention the name of the Lord.” I don’t fully understand that particular prophecy, but it seems to me to contain an allusion to the Jewish practice of not speaking the personal name of God (YHWH) aloud, but saying “Lord” (Adonai) instead. My post, “Yud Heh Vav Heh, The Secret of YHWH,” in my November 2011 archives, is very important to the understanding of this present post, as well as those intended to follow.

In some areas of the world today, just as in the days of Rome (Revelation 6:9-11), Christians may be beheaded for confessing the name of Jesus. In the academic world, you might only encounter ridicule and censorship. “Shame,” is a Hebrew word that means “name,” but it’s ridiculous for the world to be ashamed of Jesus. That is like being ashamed of love, or of good behavior.

Relating to God, and to life, there is more confusion to be found in the present babble of propaganda and opinion, than in the multitude of languages. In the interest of freewill (Luke 2:25-35), God is allowing “the thoughts of many hearts to be revealed,” but someday, God will speak again. The thoughts that we dwell upon, other thoughts that we suppress, the words that we speak, and all our actions, have consequences. Whether for better, or for the worse, these things change the world that we live in. Many of these things serve to shroud the truth in mystery.

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Difficulties arise whenever ancient writings are translated into other languages. Many words may not have an exact equivalent, and the meaning of some words may be unknown. In such cases the original word may be adopted into the new language. The translators will attempt to represent the pronunciation of the word, to whatever degree it is known, using letters of their own alphabet. Even this can be a challenge because of the lack of exact equivalents.

The result is often a variety of spellings. As an example, the name of the river “Pishon,” in Genesis 2:11 of the Bible (ref. Rivers of Eden in my October 2011 archives), comes to us from the Hebrew language. The Hebrew letters Pe (or Phe), Yowd, Siyn (or Shiyn) Vav, and Nuwn, are used in the spelling.

Even the spellings representing pronunciations of foreign letters vary, and sometimes arguments develop over their correctness. Pe may be written “pey,” and yowd may be “yud,” “yod,” or “jod.” Siyn and shiyn become “sin” and “shin,” and vav becomes “vau,” or “waw.” Nuwn becomes “Nun.” Note that we are not using the Hebrew alphabetical symbols here, but an English transliteration of the symbols.

Multiple spellings of Pishon exist; Pison (King James Version), Phisom (Septuagint), Phison (Josephus), and others. All of these are recognizable representations of the original word, and such differences usually aren’t very important. A serious disagreement develops however, over the transliteration of the Lord’s Hebrew name Yahweh, into the English Jehovah. I hope to write something on that subject soon.

Procedures of transliteration used when adopting foreign words vary over periods of time, and also depend upon the languages which the words pass through. Information sometimes reaches us that is a translation of earlier translations, and we may be altering marks of authenticity whenever we attempt to harmonize spellings and content of various records.

Human speech was first given to man by God, though Adam soon began to adapt his language. For instance, God allowed Adam to give names to the animals (Genesis 2:19). At the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), God translated man’s original language into several branches, and Genesis 10:32 tells us that the nations were divided according to their families.

More than simply a monument to man, the tower represented an uprising against God. I also intend to write more on this later. Anyway, the building of the tower ceased when suddenly, the workers could no longer understand each other. God has many ways of performing that which we call miracles, but in the final analysis, he’s using some principle of science in some way that we don’t currently understand. He has created the rules of science, and has the ability to circumvent them. Science is aware of these possibilities.

Keeping the tower of Babel in mind, and the miracle of the second chapter of Acts involving several different languages, it would be interesting to study the human brain searching for a scientific mechanism that might have been involved. Such scientific knowledge would be a very dangerous thing in the hands of man however.

Computers, with access to the right programs and information, can perform either encryption, or translation tasks quickly, so accepting the event of the confusion of languages should not present any great challenge, even to an atheist. Atheists should also easily understand the motives of the designers of the tower. While the confusion of languages ended the futile attempt at building a “tower to heaven,” it also made Bible translation a necessity.

If we can learn a little about the Hebrew and Greek languages of the ancient Bible, and the history of its translation, we’ll have a fuller understanding of it. Actually, I think that would apply to translations in all languages. It could be easier for a particular people, because of their language, to grasp some facet of understanding. Some people are quick to point out to me, that we don’t have to know any of this stuff, but only to have faith. I understand that, but I think that some people also need to understand more about that Bible before they can believe it. Faith and understanding go hand in hand.

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The Script (the Bible), with its foreknowledge of the course of the world, could not have come into being if God did not exist. In the background of its brief histories of notable people and events runs a plan, and there is a plot that comes together over the course of the book. Sprinkled, here and there, are bits of knowledge beyond the capacity of the people of the time to know.

From the beginning of this blog, I have collected evidence to support that viewpoint, and my plan is to continue as I can. As much as possible, I want people to understand the mystery of the Bible’s existence.

Obviously, the pace of my writing has slowed, and I could never begin to cover all the material of the Bible at any rate. As I’ve said before, an army of cooperating experts of all kinds could not do the job. Along with the daily struggle to make ends meet, I’m hindered by my lack of writing skills. There are also other things, seemingly endless, that arise out of nowhere to interfere with my studies.

I often feel defeated, but I intend to continue as long as I can (2nd Corinthians 7:5). Since I can’t cover it all, I plan to skip some chapters in order to focus on things that seem more interesting, or extraordinary. As I’m looking at the tower of Babel, in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, this might be a good time to list some of my resources.

Someone asked about my sources recently, and I didn’t have time to answer. When I use study materials particular to the post that I’m writing, I try to give that information in the post. In matters directly related to science, I often refer to multiple internet sites to compare information and data. I can’t afford the time to list every source that I check, but whether they are secular or not, I try to name the most important ones.

Besides checking secular sites, I frequently study materials from the Answers in Genesis organization. Their science is generally well researched, and though human beings often disagree about details, I have found few areas of disagreement with them. I’m sure there are other Creation Science organizations equally dependable that I’m just not familiar with.

I consult multiple translations of the Bible, but for Bible word studies, I primarily use the King James Version. It is a more basic “word for word” translation than most modern versions which concentrate more on the interpretation of the “thought” of the sentence. It also has a larger vocabulary, which can make it easier to study in depth (some words may be used only once).

Its varied spellings better reflect the original wording which makes the study of word transliteration simpler. For instance, many modern versions homogenize the New Testament Greek spelling of names to match that of the Hebrew Old Testament. In many ways, the King James version of the Bible stands alone. Modern English versions may be easier to read, but original information (evidence) is sometimes obscured by the process of simplification.

The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which I use often, works best with the King James version. Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek, and Strong’s includes dictionaries of both languages. Strong’s numbering system of Bible words is used by many later works.

A wonderful example of this is The Interlinear Bible. That version, by Jay P. Green Sr., gives us the Old Testament in the Hebrew language (which is written from right to left) with the corresponding Strong’s dictionary number printed above each Hebrew word. Beneath the Hebrew writing, Green gives a direct English translation for the word. Then, because that direct translation (written backwards) is difficult to read (but wonderful to study), he gives an easier to read English version in a column to the left.

He does the same thing with the Greek New Testament. This makes a large, heavy, book with fine print, but I can’t begin to tell you how I love it. It has never received the attention that it deserves however. I’ve seen a few typographical errors in it, but what is that in such a tremendous work.

I also study a parallel Greek-English (Brenton) version of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament made during the interval of time between the two Testaments. Then, I have Whiston’s translation of the works of Josephus, the ancient historian. William Whiston succeeded Isaac Newton at Cambridge University in 1703, though he later lost the post due to his unorthodox religious views.

Josephus includes a lot of information found in the Bible, and compares it to information given in other ancient histories. Josephus is one of the few secular writers living in New Testament times who mention Jesus. Jesus was not a very widely known person during his short life on earth. I also have a couple of old collegiate level Webster’s dictionaries that are helpful in the study of word origins. I believe that God is my primary source, and resource. Though I strive to be absolutely correct, I believe that he has sometimes made me aware of oversights in my writings before I posted them.

I wish I could promise that I’ve heard him in every case, but 2nd Corinthians 4:7 tells us that “we have this treasure (the light of God) in earthen vessels.” Very often, I don’t know what God’s plan for my writing is until it takes shape. We have plans, and so does God. That may lead us to wonder if things that people do, or neglect to do, ever prompt God to go to another plan. Contrary to what is often preached, there are many examples in the Bible where God seems to have done that very thing. Why would 1st Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit,” be in the Bible if God’s Spirit could not be quenched?

I do believe that God always has a plan, and that he’s working at all times for the greatest good that can be done. At any rate, the fact that it takes me a month to write a few lines doesn’t mean that’s the way I plan it. I don’t blame God for it either. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have a little more time and energy to write.

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