Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

Most, if not all of the folks that have ever picked up a bible is somewhat familiar with King Ahab, Jezebel and Elijah, but how many people are familiar with Elijah’s propensity for showmanship in his service for The Lord?

In both 1st and 2nd Kings, we read of Ahab, the seventh King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Israel had some very crummy kings, but Ahab wins a nomination for one of the worst of the lot. One of his first horrible decisions he made was to align himself with Sidon, by marrying Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon. When Jezebel moved to Israel, she just happened to bring the worship of her gods Baal and his consort Asherah with her, along with 450 priests of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. Baal was a chief god amongst her people and Asherah was some sort of “mother god of fertility”.

It is pretty clear to me reading the account of King Ahab and Jezebel that Ahab’s wife Jezebel dominated him and ruled the roost while Ahab seemed to do nothing but pout when he didn’t get his way. Not only did Jezebel introduce these strange gods to the land, but she made sure the worship of Baal was enforced throughout the land of Israel and set up altars and groves of worship in the high places around the landscape and ordered the prophets of God be killed1. One of the attributes of Baal was control of the weather and the people were supposed to offer sacrifices to him to create favorable conditions for their crops and animals. Before you know it, we find Ahab building a temple to Baal in Samaria, the capitol of the northern kingdom of Israel, and it was after this abhorrence that The Lord decided enough was enough and sent His prophet Elijah to have a chat with King Ahab about actions and his gods.

To prove which god actually elicited control of the weather, Elijah informed Ahab that the One True God was shutting up the heavens (which means no rain) for three years, causing a huge drought throughout the land. For three years the prophets of Baal went through all their rituals and gyrations to try and make it rain and for three years the only thing they achieved was to look like a bunch of clowns before the starving populace whom also had turned their backs on The Lord.

Finally at the end of three long, painful years, God sent Elijah back to Israel to see King Ahab and to issue a challenge to the 450 priests of Baal, as well as 400 prophets of Asherah to come to Mount Carmel to see who’s god could actually control the weather by making it rain and to save face, Ahab had his priests and prophets agree to the challenge.

Almost like an old west showdown, the day of the challenge came and on Mount Carmel Elijah challenged the priests, in front of a horde of spectators, to see whose god could build a fire under their respective altars. For most of the day, the priests and prophets of Baal prayed, hooted, hollered and slashed themselves while Elijah mocked their efforts as he lounged around sipping tea, doing crosswords and playing solitaire.

Finally, by late afternoon, it was Elijah’s turn and after he rebuilt the broken down altar of The Lord, and had his servants douse the altar with so much water it filled the surrounding trenches. After all this had been done he prayed to the one true God and The Lord sent down fire that consumed the burnt sacrifice on the altar as well as all of the water around it. Suddenly the people that had allowed themselves to be duped by the false priests and prophets, started praising the Lord and Elijah ordered them to seize all 850 priests and prophets which he then killed by his sword.

Afterward, Elijah told Ahab the Lord decided to end the drought and it began to rain upon the land for the first time in 36 months. Now I don’t know where Jezebel was throughout all this but it apparently came as a shock to her when Ahab informed her that all her priests and prophets had been put to death by Elijah, which didn’t go over very well with her, for she swiftly sent word to Elijah (to paraphrase) that by sundown tomorrow either he would be dead or she would be (again, it sounds like a gunfight challenge). Elijah and his servants escaped to Judah and Jezebel wasn’t able to exact her revenge, though her promise that it would be either him or her would come back to bite her in the end.

Of course, even though it looks as I am giving Elijah the credit, all of the prophesies and miracles that Elijah performed came directly from God and I believe Elijah’s gift of flair and drama came directly from the Lord also. All praise should always go to The Lord, regardless whose hand or mouth is being used to transmit His will. Elijah had a challenging, fruitful and spirit filled life in service for The Lord, but this awesome display of showmanship is most definitely Elijah’s greatest hits.

Jim 7-12-21

(1) The man in charge of Ahab’s house, Obadiah, was a God fearing man and secretly hid 100 prophets of The Lord in caves, thus saving them while apparently neither Ahab nor Elijah were aware they were still alive.

From the time I became old enough to attend Sunday school, I became aware of Satan, the universe’s ultimate bad guy. Early in the book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve were still wet behind the ears, Satan first pops onto the scene hawking his wares of doubt and deception to the gullible housewife Eve, who feel for it hook, line and sinker. A little later in life I discovered by reading the book of Job that we really get a flavor of the purpose of Satan in this book that is a basic microcosm of the history of man on earth and where it seems were are just pawns in the spiritual warfare going on all around us in this, “I think he will, I know he won’t” scenario.

How much do we know about Satan? Just who is Satan and what can we find out about him? I believe we can gain some awesome insights to the character of Lucifer (Satan’s name) from two complimentary chapters in the bible…Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

I had read the passages from Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 a few times before, but for some reason, I had never read them to the depth that I explored them this time…there are some deep insights and inferences here within these passages that really reveal the character of the Oppressor (as Satan is referred to in Isaiah 9).

I’ll begin my journey in Isaiah 14 simply because it comes first in the list. In the first verse of Isaiah 14 the Lord is talking about His people after they have regathered in their land (something that the nation of Israel has done once again) as we all know. In verse three it says He will give them rest from their sorrows and fears that had plagued them for centuries. Who was the oppressor that was plaguing them?

Isaiah 14:4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! ESV

It appears in verse four that the oppressor is the king of Babylon. This verse gives us a clue about something deeper, for there was no king of Babylon, to speak of in Isaiah’s day, especially as a political entity for Isaiah lived in the eighth century BC which was about one hundred years prior to the rise of Nebuchadnezzar II, the first king of the Babylonian Empire…who then is being referred to as the king of Babylon? Satan is referred to as the king of Tyre in Ezekiel’s comparable passage and, by inference, I believe Satan is who the Lord is referring to here in this passage in Isaiah. There are several places in the bible where we get either direct references, or inferences that Satan is behind the rulers of this world. Below I have listed seven attributes of Lucifer that I find in both Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Attribute 1 Satan is referred to as a king in both Ezekiel and in Isaiah (Isaiah 14:4 and Ezekiel 28:12)

Attribute 2 It seems that Satan was the top dog in the cherubim hierarchy from Ezekiel 28:13, 14.

Attribute 3 However we find he was lesser than Christ in two ways; he was a created being (Ezekiel 14:13), as were all  the other angels, and he was the son of the morning (Isaiah 14:12) Christ is referred to as the morning star in Revelation 22:16, therefore son of morning is and underling position, in my opinion.

Attribute 3 Satan is very beautiful from Ezekiel 28:12-13

Attribute 4 and his vanity, or pride because of his beauty caused his downfall, we find in Ezekiel 28:17

Attribute 5 Even though the scripture implies The Lord was proud of Satan and trusted him in Ezekiel 28:14 and he was considered perfect, this wasn’t good enough for him and his sense of self-worth created a delusion of equality with The Creator of all things…(what a delusion)

Attribute 6 Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth from Ezekiel 28:17-19 and Isaiah 14:12.

 Attribute 7 Satan is intrinsically evil toward the people of the earth we find in Isaiah 14:6, as well as the whole book of Job.

There are several more we can dig out of these interesting passages, and I combined a few, but these are the first attributes of our most powerful adversary that popped out at me. All I can say, is I’m happy the Trinity is on our side as our defenders, because folks, we have no chance against Satan.

What is Satan’s origin? He was created as a Cherub, a top level angel and was apparently given a position as top dog in the hierarchy. He was created with amazing beauty and he was extolled and trusted by Our Lord.

What is his agenda? His agenda is to become, and to prove that he is equal in all respects to The Lord. That didn’t work out very well in the beginning and he was booted out of heaven when his plot was discovered, so part of that agenda is to turn the creation that he is in charge of…that he is king over…against the Creator and to have them worship him instead…something that, in part seems to be working…at least temporarily.

What is his destiny? His agenda seems to be working temporarily, but we have read the last few pages and we know the eventual outcome of the story…he is utterly destroyed in the end.

God Bless Jim

11-16-20

  1. We read throughout the scriptures about Satan and it teaches us about the deep, malevolent nature of this evil super angel enough for us to hate him and that is good. However, Jude 9 is an astounding verse that should cause us to step back a bit, for this verse teaches that regardless how evil, how dastardly or how horrible we may think Satan is, we are not to maliciously disparage him, for he is still a creature of rank. Despite how Michael the Archangel felt about Satan, he dared not revile him. That verse has made me aware of how I should think before framing my words about Satan or any dignitary I may not care about.

Disrespecting the country

Posted: October 23, 2020 in Christian

A few years ago, Michelle Obama stated how she was ashamed of our country (while serving as First Lady) and she and President Obama went on to prove their disrespect by their actions, such as refusing to either stand for the pledge, or refusing to place their hands over their hearts, showing disrespect and disregard for the Marines attached to the White House, etc.

That wave of disrespect toward our country grew even more vitriolic and vicious after Trump was elected president. It seemed as if it were a competition to see who could show the most disrespect toward the 45th President of these United States between the media and the celebrities and even members of the electorate from both parties.

Michelle Obama said she was ashamed of her country…I am ashamed of those that openly chose to disrespect the office of the presidency, regardless who happens to be in the White House. I am ashamed of those that mock, and laugh at and openly disparage my country by disparaging the leadership of my country.

I didn’t like President Obama because I thought his policies hurt America, but I refused to disparage him because I respect the office of the President of the United States. If Biden is elected, I feel it would end up as a disaster for our country, economically as well as constitutionally…but if he is elected, he will be my president, because I chose to respect this great republic of ours and its leadership.

The book of Jude teaches that we are not to disrespect dignities and those in positions of power…but hey, they are trying to erase all semblances of Christianity from this country anyway, so what does it matter what God thinks about it, right?

Throughout the history of the human race, we can find multitudes of ways that Satan has tried to thwart the plan of God. There are the obvious and overt ways that we know in the bible, but what immediately came to mind when I thought about this subject was one way that Satan has tried to thwart the plan of God that is still continuing to this day. The way I am referring to is to sow derision, doubt and conflict within the Body of Christ.

All the different groups or denominations within Christianity, for the most part, are philosophically separated by seemingly insignificant differences. We find these differences begin to crop up in the first few years of The Way(1), as the group of people that followed the teachings of Christ were called in the book of Acts. Even in the very infancy of the Church, Satan was able to successfully insert false prophets and start to sow doubt and deception within the Christian movement. Small, subtle changes here and there, a doubt about the real meaning behind this passage or that passage and Satan’s ability to convince scholars and teachers that taking passages out of context is OK all resulted in the beginnings of the division of the Body of Christ. The letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians churches were penned by Paul partially to calm them and answer their nervous questions and doubts that were being whispered in their ears by false prophets and those intent in creating discord within their local congregations. Satan was also very successful in his campaign to deceive the early church fathers into questioning the meaning of the scriptures, which allowed them to start creating their own interpretations of the Word, which resulted in a more palatable form of religion for the leaders of Holy Roman Empire. The disgust with the end product of the religious/political superpower that these continued interpretations morphed into resulted in the protestant reformation movement in the sixteenth century.(2) Part of the problem that the reformation movement left us with is many of the reformed protestant religious entities that were formed didn’t take the reformation far enough, which has resulted in many of our ‘siblings’ in the Body of Christ still firmly believing in the long time Catholic view of allegorizing the scripture, just as they did in fourth century Constantinople to make the watered-down lessons and commandments of the Word of Our Lord easier for the masses to digest and accept, making them little less rigid, and a lot less ‘black and white’. Therefore many of our brethren teach traditional interpretation instead of what the scripture really says. To do this effectively, they have to do several things. One of the first things that needs to be done is to ignore the fact that the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is a single, cohesive message system with a single stranded woven web of meaning and purpose about God, his people and his Son. Once this is accomplished, the rest is easy. From that point on, it becomes simple to take and chop the word of Our Lord up into individual sections that don’t relate to each other significantly or not at all to be able to build the traditions and religious philosophy the the church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people referred to as replacement theology(3) that many of our brethren teach weekly from their pulpits as gospel.

This watered-down version of the gospel may pass inspection at the microscopic or planar level, but if you were to get high above it and inspect it from a distance, I believe you would see a nasty conglomeration of square pegs sticking out of round holes and non-matching puzzle pieces, hammered and taped together to form a Picasso style picture instead of a smooth flowing message system that easily fits and continues from end to end, the way the Holy Spirit wrote it and the way the Creator of All Things intended. This form of religious interpretation opens itself up to attack from Satan who can squeeze in between the gaps and cracks and, in my opinion, I’m afraid that is what happened to the early Church when it started using this formula in the fourth century to please the masses.

We as the Body of Christ are much like extremely dysfunctional siblings that are constantly fighting and squabbling over minor issues and irrelevant things to the point that most of our energies are absorbed in this in-fighting instead of taking the Word to the lost of the world. This has to be one of Satan’s more successful campaigns in his plan to thwart the plan of Our Lord.

Jim
02-19-20

1 Acts 9:2 and Acts 19:9, 23

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Reformation

3 http://www.gotquestions.org/replacement-theology.html

I have a non-traditional view of the scripture (to put it kindly, according to some) and in my mind’s eye, I see God discussing with the others in the Trinity over steaming cups of nectar, his script for our universe before zapping us into existence. We all know what happened…Satan immediately threw a wrench into the works and by appearances this caused the Lord to rewrite the script of the complicated sim game that is our existence and reality1, so to speak, with that in mind, I want to discuss patterns I see.

I look for patterns everywhere, and the bible is no exception as I see them peeking  out at us from the scriptures as I peruse the pages of this awesome book. On my journey through the testaments, I find many patterns from the beginning of the scriptures, to the end. For instance, one pattern that I see is that after the Jews turned chicken and refused to invade Canaan the first time, The Lord sent them wandering for thirty eight years around the Median wilderness before they were allowed to occupy the land. Fast-forward several hundred years and we have the Jewish nation reject God again by rejecting His Son. Thirty eight years after the rejection and crucifixion (see the pattern?), in 70AD, the Roman siege began, causing the destruction of the temple and the horrendous massacre of over a million Jews during this lengthy siege and subsequent occupation of Jerusalem. In my minds eye, I can’t help but wonder if this was simply a modified script from the original one, the original script possibly being one where the Jews accepted him as the Messiah as Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem and thirty eight years later, the chosen people, with Christ as their King, started the rule of the earth from Zion instead of watching it being destroyed, just as they had captured and occupied the promised land so many centuries before.

I also see potential patterns that would have been fulfilled, if they hadn’t been broken. An example of this was Moses and the water from the rock during the wilderness wanderings. If you recall, the Lord asked Moses in Exodus 17 to strike the rock and after he did so, a great volume of water came gushing out to give sustenance to the people and their animals in the Median desert. If you carefully read the second account in Numbers 20, the second time Moses was asked to provide water from the rock the Lord asked him to speak to the rock, but because of the grumbling of the people, Moses became annoyed and frustrated with this ungrateful horde and struck the rock again out of anger at the people. Water did spew forth from the rock, but this wanton act by Moses landed him in the penalty box and prevented him from entering into the Land of Canaan. If  Moses had spoken to the rock, it would have established a pattern relating to the plan of salvation where the first time the Jews struck Christ (as Moses struck the rock the first time as requested). The second time if Moses had spoken to the rock, it would have related to the passage in Hosea 5:15 relating to the second coming where we read of the Children of Israel asking Christ to save them when they acknowledge their offense and Christ returns to rule from Zion as we read in Hosea 5:15…think of who is referred to as the Rock throughout the scriptures…Christ is called the rock. See the potential pattern that never was?

Jim

02-18-20

1 I personally think we are some sort of giant SIM game where our reality is all smoke and mirrors and the real reality is what we refer to as the ‘spirit world’. The apostle Paul supports that view, by the way in Ephesians 6:12