SabbathPosts 2023/12/23

Usually signs in front of churches have very simple messages like “Jesus is Lord” (“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” Mt 7). But there is a church sign near us which has a refreshing level of biblical specificity; it says:

“The peace of Christmas fills the hearts of those who follow God.”

We celebrate Christ’s coming to earth, and peace on earth – but did Christ come to bring peace?

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Mt 10

Then, did he not come to bring peace at all? He came to bring peace – to those who follow God. This condition is vital.

“it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these” Ex 14

This is why when we sing the Wexford Carol, we alter a line: “the Lord of Life, who came on earth to end all strife”, and say instead: “to end our strife”. Because there is strife he came on earth to end – but most certainly according to Scripture we cannot say he came to end “all strife” by any means – he himself specifically and directly casts out such an idea in emphatic terms.

So remember, if we would receive the peace of Christmas, we must humble ourselves, submit to Yahweh’s commandments and his ways, and obey, obey, obey.

“They shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” Mt 12, “Walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6.

#SabbathPosts 2023/12/23

SabbathPosts 2023/12/16

If you really want to be obedient to God’s commandments – have you read them?
There’s more than ten. There’s not 613 (could be vastly more or vastly less depending on how you count them, and frankly the 613 list was a stupid way to count them). What matters more than how you count them is that you read them, and obey.
They are not just in the Greek Scriptures. They are not just in the writings of Moses. You have to read the entire Bible.
This doesn’t mean that every part of Scripture is a command. And it absolutely doesn’t mean that an individual part of Scripture cannot stand alone (the discussion of so-called “context” is warped beyond recognition at this point). It means that you’ll have to look through the whole thing to find all the commands that you are to obey – that’s not a problem. (Imagine the Creator of the universe giving his own word to sinful children of dust, and someone’s response is, “Do I have to read all of it?”)
He didn’t have to spell it out for us. He didn’t have to tell us what we already knew, and urge us to do it. We were already without excuse. That he spoke to us anyway should humble our stiff necks to the earth, and receive our immediate and utter attention.

#SabbathPosts 2023/12/16

SabbathPosts 2023/12/09

There is a temptation for people to confuse ‘nature’ (the wilderness) with nature music videos – which they watch wistfully on polished screens. If they actually set foot in the wilderness, there’s a likelihood they would set their foot in dung.

Let’s say you take a thousand pictures of the wilderness, just looking any which way; then pick out all the nice shots: the flower, the sunset, the silhouetted tree – and get rid of them. You’ve already seen those. All the 99.99% of the pictures – random shots into twigs and weeds and mud and dust – are equally wilderness, and 99.99% percent of it. No rule of thirds, no golden rectangle, no balanced or framed shots – the selection and composing of these is indeed man-made art, and what is man-made is not wilderness any more than a skyscraper.

Skyscrapers are a part of nature – the natural world, God’s creation – as much as any ragged bird’s nest. The fake idea of the wilderness being pristine and pretty has been used to fuel an arrogance of man-made prettiness and tidiness, and at the same time despising of things man-made as being not of God’s creation.

Prettiness is not wrong – blanket despising of man-made things is wrong. And arrogance, whether on behalf of neatness and prettiness or any other reason, is deadly wrong. Neatness and polish are a gift of God – which, like wealth, must be rigorously kept in its place, because it is beset with temptations to evil against God.

Can God trust you with this gift?

#SabbathPosts 2023/12/09

SabbathPosts 2023/12/02

Wastefulness is to dishonour God: if there is anything you would sacrifice for God, it means nothing if you would sacrifice the same thing for nothing.

“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Pr 12

Unless something is precious to you, you can give nothing precious to God.

It is a temptation to confuse greed and desire, and so to excuse ingratitude as contentment.

“he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” Pr 21

Note that he is saying “not be rich” as a consequence. If you love the Giver of wealth, then you love wealth as a good gift from the good Giver.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” Ja 1
“I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour” 1K 3

Rejoice in substance, let it be precious to you, because it is a gift given in love from someone you love – and only for that reason. That is the only reason anything is good.

If you put the cart before the horse, and love wealth above or rather than the Giver, this is to “worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator”, and thus is covetousness idolatry:

“covetousness, which is idolatry” Col 3

If instead of loving wealth more than God we love God more than wealth – but do not love wealth at all, this is ingratitude, and says nothing good about our love for God. It is not enough to simply Love wealth less than we love God – we must love wealth not at all, except as a gift from God – and our love of wealth for that reason, because it is a gift, reflects directly on our love for the Giver.

If we love wealth even the smallest amount as something separate from God, then it is that much greed and idolatry. “You cannot serve God and mammon”. If we love good things as from God, as part of our love for God, any lack we have in this love is that much ingratitude and indifference towards God, a lack in our love for him.

“Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which Yahweh thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house” Deu 26

#SabbathPosts 2023/12/02

SabbathPosts 2023/11/25

An appropriate subject entering this season. 🙂

Believers are sons of God by adoption, Adam and the angels are sons of God by direct creation, Christ is the only begotten Son of God: “his only begotten Son” (1J 4), the only Son that is begotten rather than created.

Rather than being created, Christ created all things that ever were created:
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Jn 1
Which also shows his oneness with the Father, for the Father created all things through Christ:
“his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” Heb 1

So the Trinity is two physical bodies, the Father and the Son, and the one infinite Spirit of the Father through which the Son and the Father are the same person. This proves the infinity of the Father’s Spirit, in that he gave all his Spirit to the Son (“God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” Jn 3, “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” Col 2), and yet both Father and Son equally have the same Spirit (“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” Jn 14).

Did Christ not create his body in Mary’s womb? He did, as he created all things. At first the egg cell was not Christ, but part of Mary’s body, part of the creation Christ made in the beginning. In the moment of conception, when all the fullness of the godhead entered that cell, like when Christ gave life to his own dead body in the tomb, he gave life to the unfertilised cell in Mary’s womb. He, the Father, did not create a thing, a creation, something separate from himself. He, the Father, sent out himself, he himself took form: the Son. So, like the Father’s body, whose back Moses saw in the holy mount, the Son’s body is also God’s own form.

(I needed a quick post ’cause it was really late, so… thoughts on the Trinity. 🤷‍♂️)

#SabbathPosts 2023/11/25

SabbathPosts 2023/11/18

“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God” 2Thes 1

When people ask, “What about those who haven’t heard the Gospel?” they are misunderstanding the Gospel.

“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Ro 1

Everyone knows the God and his law, and to keep his law is the whole duty of man (atoning for our sins is not our duty but God’s, our duty is obedience).

“Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecc 12

No one has any excuse; the only sense in which anyone does not know God is in being willingly ignorant:

“Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” 1J 3

Those who know not God, which is only through their willing ignorance, it is on them that shall come the vengeance of God in flaming fire. It is in the same sense that Christ, who knows all things, knows them not.

“I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Mt 7

#SabbathPosts 2023/11/18

SabbathPosts 2023/11/11

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, his prayer also shall be abomination.” Pr 28

It is interesting that this comes so near before a giving of the Gospel:

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Pr 28

The prayer which is an abomination could be a praying of the sinner’s prayer; it could also be any psalm of praise.

Before you dare open your mouth to praise, open your ear to the Law.

The devils tremble at God’s glory – God cares nothing for it. When they threw themselves down before Christ, proclaiming him to be the Holy One, did he have any need of that? He silenced them and cast them out of his presence.

Is this you? Is this you, falling down on your knees, lifting your hands on high, trembling in every joint, in deep sincerity proclaiming the holiness and godhead of Christ – silenced and cast out of Christ’s presence because you weren’t even curious at the very least to listen to his commandments?

It is said that we should be in church to worship.

“…when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

Even if your hands are not full of blood, Christ says that if thy brother has anything against you,

“leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Mt 5

Anything amiss, and God says to forget about worship. To obey is better than sacrifice.

“herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” Acts 24

This is the prerequisite. Only saints can offer worship.

“golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” Rev 5

If you do not have the desire even to know what God has commanded much less to keep it, songs of praise are not for you to sing.

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isa 1

Be in church to search your soul, to repent of anything contrary to God’s Law, to take responsibility for obedience as God truly desires – then, and only then, to worship.

#SabbathPosts 2023/11/11

SabbathPosts 2023/10/28

{Edited from a conversation I had a while back about foul language (if you don’t mind reading some foul language).}

On foul language specifically, in the past it was a category of “strong language”, anything shocking lumped into one category, simply as what would be impolite to say in front of women and children. This is one reason it is more associated with soldiers and sailors – people who spent larger amounts of time away from women and children.

Within that category, as you would expect, were things which one should not say, such as of course blasphemy, and flippantly swearing oaths or flippantly cursing – a line should justly be drawn between cursing things and cursing people as well. God cursed a fig tree because he was hungry and upset that it didn’t have any figs. Obviously not an excuse to be careless or flippant – nothing is an excuse not to have self-control; what it does confirm is that this is a natural and innocent action to take when one is upset (again, deliberately, not lashing out as so many do with curses).

Also in the category of shocking language were simple references to such things as blood, or hell. Obviously not wrong to mention, but obviously fall in the shocking category. It all got lumped together, and lines were blurred.

As well, false “Christianity” has often been associated with women and children in the worst ways: effeminate and puerile, a kind of dainty, flowery, sweet, pretty religion, if not limp, prissy, pouting, doe-eyed, insipid, and lame. Thus much worship offered to Christ tends to resemble goddess worship. And then you have cherubs depicted as pudgy baby heads with tiny wings, rather than the fire wreathed winged oxen ridden to war and desolation – the contrast makes your head spin.

False “Christianity” has also been associated with the upper-class: the elegant society, genteel, proper, aristocratic – which is again associated with rejection of shocking language as a whole. In the end, even listening to such language was condemned.

One reasoning for this which has merit in some cases is that it can become a bad habit (like anything done outside of self-control), and you don’t want to be influenced to form such habits. This is of course mainly important for those who are impressionable like children, or those who already have problems with such habits.

In my family I’m the one who edits out the foul language with a video editor and then those of us who are old enough for the scariness level watch them together. Papa said that in Princess Bride when Inigo says, “I want my father back you son of a bitch”, we’d leave it in because it was really so appropriate. 🙂

Another aspect, particularly for writers, is that vulgarity rarely adds anything; it’s generally cheap and lame, and people spend enough time with their head in a toilet, if you know what I mean. But there is an old book I like, The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson, which has a lot of coarse language in it. Some of his other books have none at all.

{I would add that I knew a pastor who said “bitch” all the time – because he was also a dog-breeder. 🙃 In “The Last Battle”, C. S. Lewis humorously had it that dogs considered the word “girl” an offensive word. Brad Stine pointed out once that the address used by John the Baptiser, “son of a snake”, is a rather more intrinsically strong term.}

#SabbathPosts 2023/10/28

SabbathPosts 2023/10/21

{Edited from a conversation about the extreme exceptions in which divorce is biblically justifiable.}

If both spouses are unbelievers, children of Satan, then if one commits even one of the greatest crimes, however great the punishment may be, this would not have an effect on the covenant they made to each other. If the woman directly broke the covenant itself, such as by having sex with another man, only then would the man, though also an infidel, be justified in putting her away.

If one of them is a believer, then “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel” comes into play. Even so, Paul counsels that it is usually best to remain together – but if the unbelieving depart, let him depart (1Cor 7).

If a person claims to be a believer, actions that would prove them otherwise would be what John terms “sins unto death”, such as murder, idolatry, and, again, adultery.

I would add that if someone is dangerous, then the obvious necessity getting away from them is a separate discussion, not an excuse for breaking covenants.

#SabbathPosts 2023/10/21

SabbathPosts 2023/10/14

Black Israelitism and “Christian Identity” (basically White Israelitism) share many of the same flaws in their thinking.

According to Scripture, if someone cannot trace their entire unbroken father-son genealogy by name, they cannot be considered an Israelite. In Nehemiah’s day, there was a group who could trace their genealogy back to the time of David, over a century before their time. But because at one point there were those who took the genealogy of their wives (Jewesses), and could not trace their father-son line back to Jacob himself, they were counted as polluted, because they “could not show their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel” (Neh 7).

Also, biblically, circumcision is an inheritance: you receive circumcision from your father, or you are uncircumcised. Ishmael was of the circumcised, but he did not pass it on: his millions of descendants are as uncircumcised as any other, regardless of being of the blood-line of Abraham himself. The same is true of Esau and his descendants. The uncircumcised descendants of any circumcised person are not less uncircumcised because an ancestor was circumcised – as well when those of another nation became circumcised, they were not less circumcised. Indeed, all of Abraham’s servants were circumcised, at the command of God.

Further, the uncircumcised are today commanded not to enter the covenant of circumcision: “Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised” 1Cor 7 (no doubt because of the judgement upon the circumcised after they crucified the very one with whom they had made the covenant of circumcision). The circumcised are obviously to keep the covenant they are in, and obviously the remnant, the circumcised who believe, can be grafted into the new covenant: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? Not so. For I also am an Israelite” Ro 11.

Apart from such ideas as Black or White Israelitism being categorically unbiblical, their arguments trying to connect themselves with Israel are obviously nothing. For example, if someone did prove that all Israelites were black, this would create no connection with anyone today, as there have always been black people who were not Israelites. To say, “If Israelites were black, then black people are Israelites”, is the same as saying, “Jake Jones is black, therefore anyone who is black must be Jake Jones”.

#SabbathPosts 2023/10/14