What is Faith

January 20, 2009

Hebrews says that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But, I’d like to offer another definition. Faith is obedience in action. Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness. Yes, Abraham believed God. But, the important thing is thae he believed God enough to act on it. Abraham actually got up and moved to another place. If Abraham had simply said, “Yeah, I believe you”, but had not followed up with action, would that have been faith?

God calls us to do absurd, rididuclous things. When God sent Moses to Pharoah, he already gave Moses several signs. There was the burning bush, the rod that became a serpent, and Moses’ hand that changed. But Moses still wanted a sign. God told him to go and tell Pharoah, “Let my people go” and when Pharoah refuses, that will be a sign. It’s like God saying go tell the bank to loan you a million dollars because your new idea is going to be the biggest thing ever. But, when they laugh at you and escort you out to the sidewalk, THAT will be a sign unto you that yyou will succeed.
Think of the shepherds who were met by angels and told to go to Bethlehem and find a babe lying in a manger. As if the angels weren’t enough! So what if there was a child lying in a manger of stable outside an inn in an overcrowded city full of people travelling to take a census. That really isn’t any more out of the ordinary than today finding a child left in a dumpster. But, to believe that that child is going to be a King is something altogether awesome.

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Table of Nations

January 7, 2009

The Table of Nations is one of the most overlooked passages in the Bible. Most people look over it without really looking at what it says or its implications. The Bible says that God has made from one blood, all nations of man. Also, I can remember a National Geographic article several years ago that discussed the evolution of race.

But, the genealogy of man is not the only reason to study the Table. Some of what’s discussed in Genesis 10 comes back later as prophecy.

8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10.

Nimrod being a “mighty hunter” is discussed in another of my articles. This mighty hunter was a hunter of men. He captured men by beguiling them. “before the LORD” means “in the face of the LORD” or “in opposition to”. Incidentally, Nimrod, is said to come from the Hebrew Ni murud which means “the fool” or “the rebel”. Nimrod is thought be an insulting nickname for Gilgamesh, the first king of Babylon.

The Table can also reveal to us who the Magog are as they play an important role in prophecy. See Ezekiel 38-39 and Revelation 20:8. Also, the Table will help us know about the relationships between the various nations and how they related to Israel.
Noah
Japheth Ham Shem
Gomer
Magog-(modern Russia)
Madai,
Javan,
Tubal
Meshech
Tiras
Cush—(Ethiopians or Africans)
Mizraim
Put (Egypt) and Canaan Elam Asshure Arphaxad Lud Aram
Sons of Gomer
Ashkenaz
Riphath
Togarmah Sons of Cush
Nimrod
Seba
Havilah
Sabtah
Raamah
Sabteca Sons of Aram
Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech

Sons of Javan
Elishah
Tarshish
Kittim
Rodanim Sons of Mizraim
Ludites
Anamites
Lehabites
Napthuhites
Pathrusites
Casluhites(from where the Philistines came)
Caphtorites Sons of Arphaxad
Shelah
Shelah was the father of Eber from which we get the name “Hebrew”

Eber had two sons, Peleg and Joktan
Sons of Canaan
Sidon
The Hittites
Jebusites
Amorites
Girgashites
Hivites
Arkites
Sinites
Arvadites
Zemarites
Hamathites Sons of Joktan
Almodad, Sheleph
Hazarmaveth, Jerah ,Hadoram,
Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah
Jobab

 

 

The Legacy of Cain

November 18, 2008

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”  And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Gen 4:8 NIV) www.biblegateway.com

Cain is an interesting character.  He is what is most essentially human in us all.  He is self-centered, jealous, and tempermental.  Cain has also ganrered much discussion in some religious circles that look to conspiracy theories, evil empires and government cover-ups.

Let’s look at some other things about Cain.

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? (1 John 3:12 emphasis added).  Some have use “belonged to the evil one” as saying that Cain was  the son of Satan.

15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so [e] ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, [f] east of Eden.

 17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

The interesting thing is that Cain went out into the land of Nod (which means wondering) and he built a city.  First one wonders exactly who taught Cain how to build a city.  And building a city is much more than just bricks and mortar.  A city is a place with an infrastructure.  It is also a place where men rule over other men.  The city of Babylon is an example where “Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the LRD”.  That “before the LRD” means “in the face of the LRD” as in getting up in one’s face and being the defiant (Note: Nimrod is Hebrew for “the fool” or  “the rebel”)

Any way, this not to say that I am certain of these things but I find it interesting that Cain was of the devil, and he went out building cities.  God did not create government–men did!  Cain lived to be 800 years old at a time before the continental divide.  Many have associated Cain with building the pyramids of Giza to the ziggurats in South America.

http://www.ancientdays.net/nimrod.htm

http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterThree/TowerOfBabel.htm

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/case1.html

http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/definition-of-christian-terms/satan-seed.html

http://www.ichthys.com/mail-Cain.htm

One of the things I often tell people is to read the Bible like you’re reading it for the very first time.  Often, we subconsciously read stuff into stories from our subconscious because that’s the way we think its supposed to go  or that’s what it’s supposed to say.  For example, Genesis says that “the serpent is more wiley than any of the wild animals”.  People get hung up on the idea of a literal serpent losing his legs and having to crawl on his belly.  But notice that the Bible doesn’t say that the serpent was more wiley than any of the OTHER wild animals.  So, he’s not counted as a “wild animal”.

God Revealed in Creation

August 18, 2008

Sorry for the extended hiatus.  But life gets in the way of the important stuff, does it not?

I wanted to continue on the commentary of Genesis with the story of Creation and the Fall of man.  A lot of stuff is something you’ve heard before.  But, I feel most of it bears repeating.

First,  as I’ve heard before the creation story is a great guide for getting organized.  Loot at how God seperates, categorizes and judges. (e.g. “it was good”).

One of the things that has always struck me about this story is that with everything else God did, he spoke into existence.  But with man, that wasn’t good enough.  No, he had to reach out with His hand and do that part.  God has only used His hand a few times in the Bible.  They are:

To make Man

To make Woman

To write the Ten Commandments

The Writing on the Wall (in Daniel)

Moreover, what I see about God and his organization is that he puts the important stuff first. Remember when Christ says, “I go to prepare a place for you. . .”  Well, isn’t that what God did here in Genesis?  He prepared a place first then brought man into the garden.

Also, we have the fall.  Satan tempts Eve then Adam.  I think most people realize here we find the first prophecy of Christ (Gen 3:15) You will bruise his heel but he will crush your head.  ( I love that scene in the Garden of Gethsemane in Passion of the Christ).

But what’s more.  We see what judgment will be like.  (I’m working late so please excuse my lack of references) but I know that the Bible says that its bad enough to give in to sin, but whoa to the man who tempts another.  Adam was judged for his sin; Eve for hers, and for leading her husband astray, and ultimately Satan for his evil.

The Bible Part I

June 26, 2008

My original intent in creating this blog was to discuss the Bible. Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and seen (and heard) a lot of criticism pointed at the Bible. Probably no more so than just a few years ago when Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was all the rage. People would ask me if there was any possibility that Brown’s premise might be right. Some even got mad when I shot them down. One co-worker made the comment that the Dead Sea Scrolls had been intentionally omitted from the Bible as part of some Catholic conspiracy to cover up “the truth”.

Well, as part of my first discussion on the Bible itself, I wanted to discuss the Bible, its origins and how we got it in its present form. I am speaking of the Protestant Bible without the Apocrypha, because I know next to nothing about the Apocrypha.

The Bible is composed of sixty-six books written by more than forty men spanning three continents over a period of about sixteen hundred years.

The Bible is of course comprised of the Old and New Testament. Much of the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew Tanak, which is an acronym representing the three parts of the Hebrew Bible. These are the Torah (teachings), Nevi’im (prophets), and the Ketuvim (writings)1.

The Torah is the first five books of the OT. These are traditionally thought to have been penned by the hand of Moses himself. But, these original writings called the autograph no longer survive.

After the Torah, there are a number of other writings, some not included in the Kevitum. These writings make up the history of Israel. Then there are the poetic books, which are Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Song of Solomon. These are followed by the prophets.

Understanding why some ofthe above mentioned books would be listed in the Bible is easy. These were for the most part official history and legal documents that have been preserved for centuries. Also, in about 300 BC, much of what makes up the Old Testament was organized into what’s called the Septuagint. These books were converted into the Greek language of the time by seventy rabbis.2

One of the things I want to touch on here is around a comment a friend made to me one time. He said that certain parts of the Bible became confusing because they kept retelling the same stories over and over. He couldn’t remember which “parts” he was referring to, but I’m making an educated guess here to say that he was probably referring to Kings and Chronicles. These four books repeat a lot of the same stories with different viewpoints and different details.

Throughout the historical timeline presented above, many other books were written. I’m talking about the prophets; guys like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel. The prophets covered periods from before, during and after the Babylonian Exile. Much of what the OT prophets wrote became popular, and was distributed and read among the Israelites.

Now, the creation of the New Testament was a little different. Techincally speaking, you could basically break down all of the NT into two categories: History and Letters. (I am referring to the Gospels through Acts as History). Everything from Romans to Revelations is a letter written by someone to some person or group of people. Now it is commonly accepted that none of the Gospels were actually penned pior to about 60 AD, thirty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. But many of the letters of Paul were written before that.

The letters of Paul, Peter, and others were distributed to churches and copied. The original letters, called autographs are lost to the ages. But, the copies were distributed and preserved by the early churches.

The New Testament was finally canonized until the fourth century, but it was mostly settled as early as 130 AD, and it’s basic form was recognizable by 150. A fellow named Marcion started a controversy because he only accepted Luke and the Pauline epistles as scriptural. Marcion had many followers and churches began to set down a canon. Every canon included the four gospels, the letters of Paul, the Book of Acts, James, Jude, 1 Peter and John’s three epistles. Several works continued to be dsiputed into the third and fourth centuries. Moreover, the early church worked hard at historical criticism. Nothing in the modern canon was written after 130 AD and most works are much older than that. Many books claimed to be old, but the early church was able to distinguish them from the true accounts of the 1st 100 years after Jesus.3

Sources Cited

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible

2 http://www.septuagint.net/

3 http://everything2.com/node/727167

Other Links

http://www.juliantrubin.com/biblefacts.html

http://bibleresources.bible.com/afacts.php