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An Eye for an Eye According to the Bible

The context in the Bible, dictates a literal application and not figurative as some have suggested. Civil matters were settled by some form of monetary compensation or damages as is the practice today. In criminal offenses causing bodily harm the law required justice, not mercy. The Sanhedrin became a religious court of sorts.

The concept of “an eye for eye,” sometimes called jus talionis or lex talionis, is part of the Mosaic Law used in the Israelites’ justice system. The principle is that the punishment must fit the crime and there should be a just penalty for evil actions: “If there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:23-25). Justice should be equitable; excessive harshness and excessive leniency should be avoided.

We have no indication that the law of “an eye for an eye” was followed literally; there is never a biblical account of an Israelite being maimed as a result of this law. Also, before this particular law was given, God had already established a judicial system to hear cases and determine penalties (Exodus 18:13-26) a system that was not followed changed by the Pharisees, Essenes and Sadducees by oral law, or what they thought God had said as stated by Jesus. Although capital crimes were repaid with execution in ancient Israel including stonings, on the basis of multiple witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6), most other crimes were repaid with payment in goods if you injured a man’s hand so that he could not work, you compensated that man for his lost wages.

Besides Exodus 21; the law of “an eye for an eye” is mentioned twice in the Old Testament (Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21). Each time, the phrase is used in the context of a case being judged before a civil authority such as a judge. “An eye for an eye” was thus intended to be a guiding principle for lawgivers and judges; it was never to be used to justify vigilantism or settling grievances personally.

In the New Testament, it seems the Pharisees and scribes had taken the “eye for an eye” principle and applied it to everyday personal relationships. They taught that seeking personal revenge was acceptable. If someone punched you, you could punch him back; if someone insulted you, he was fair game for your insults. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day ignored the judicial basis of the giving of that law.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus counters the common teaching of personal retaliation: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you . . .” (Matthew 5:38-39). Jesus then proceeds to reveal God’s heart concerning interpersonal relationships: “Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:39-42).

In giving this “new” command, Jesus is not nullifying the Old Testament law (Matthew 5:17). Rather, He is separating the responsibility of the government (to punish evildoers justly) from the responsibility we all have on a personal level before God to love our enemies. We should not seek retribution for personal slights. We are to ignore personal insults (the meaning of “turn the other cheek”). Christians are to be willing to give more of their material goods, time, and labor than required, even if the demands upon us are unjust. We should loan to those who want to borrow, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (verses 43-48). Enforcing “an eye for an eye” is the magistrate’s job; forgiving our enemies is ours. We see this played out today every time a victim stands up in court to publicly forgive a convicted criminal the forgiveness is personal and real, but the judge still justly demands that the sentence be carried out.

Jesus’ limiting of the “eye for an eye” principle in no way prohibits self-defense or the forceful protection of the innocent from harm. The actions of duly appointed agents of the government, such as police officers and the military, to protect citizens and preserve the peace are not in question. Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek applies to personal relationships, not judicial policy. The principle of “an eye for an eye” is meant as a judicial policy, not as a rule for interpersonal relationships. The believer in Christ is guided by Jesus’ words to forgive. The Christian is radically different from those who follow the natural inclination to respond in kind.

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In the Exodus the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night Signified

In the Exodus the Pillar of Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night happened while Moses and Aaron was leading the Israelites during their exodus from Egyptian bondage.

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (KJV)

The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night guided the Israelites during their exodus from Egyptian bondage. This allowed them to travel by day and by night. Exodus 13:21-22 explains that God gave them the pillar of cloud by day to lead them in the way He wanted them to go and the pillar of fire by night to give light. The pillar was not just symbolism but a real phenomenon. We have no way of knowing how God made the pillar, but it was obviously a miraculous event that God used to lead them for their forty years in the wilderness. During the day the pillar guided their journey. During the night it gave light and, no doubt, comfort.

In addition to guidance for the Hebrews, the pillar was a testimony to other nations concerning God’s involvement with and protection of His people Israel. In Exodus 14:24 God troubled the Egyptians through the cloud, and Moses used this in Numbers 14:14 in his plea to God to not destroy the Hebrews because of their sin. God’s provision of the pillar was remembered in the prayer of the Jewish leaders in Nehemiah 9 as an instance of God’s care and provision for His people.

Exodus 13:22 says, “Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” The pillar is a picture of God’s faithfulness and a lesson to us that God never leaves nor forsakes His people. He reminds us of this in Hebrews 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.”

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LORD, GOD, Lord, God, Name used in the Bible. Why they are Used in place of God’s Name.

“God” is the deity. “God” is not a name. “Lord God”.  This is the Creator God referred to also in John 1 as LOGOS, who incarnated to man-Jesus, Yeshua or YHVH ELOHIM and was called “God”

“Lord” is a title, also not a name. Another name that is specific to the person is the Hebrew word “Adon” (singular) Adown, or “Adonim” (plural),  Adonai. This is translated into English as “Lord” in the OT (Ex.34:23), the God of Israel. There was no attempt to duplicate this Hebrew in the NT.

“Elohim” is the ancient Hebrew for “God”, therefore not a name. In the Old Testament, the word “God” is translated from the original Hebrew non-capitalized word “elohim” in Genesis 1 (0430 Strong concordance). This is a “uniplural” word that means “multiplicity of powers”, plurality of powers or majesty, the most supreme of all powers”, otherwise Supreme God, the epitome of all. This uni-plural Hebrew word “elohim” contextually means “above all gods”

“The Almighty” is an attribute. For instance, Isaiah 44:6 reads: ” Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” There are two personages mentioned, 1. the LORD the King of Israel and 2. His redeemer the LORD of hosts. Each/both are the first and the last and are also God.

“El” is short for “Elohim”, also not a name.

“El Shaddai” is Hebrew for “The Almighty”, an attribute. “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua”

“Creator” is a role.

“Father” is a person.

“Adonai” is Hebrew for “Lord”.

 “YHWH” is God’s Name as revealed to Moses. “I AM THAT I AM” is the English translation for “YHWH”. “I AM” is short for “I AM THAT I AM”. “Yahweh” is how “YHWH” is pronounced in Hebrew. “Jehovah” is a wrong pronunciation of “YHWH”. Ask the Jews. “Yah” is short for “Yahweh”.

It can be very confusing to understand how the different titles used for God are used in the Bible. Part of the problem is that different Bible translations use the terms somewhat differently. The primary reason for the use of LORD in place of God’s Hebrew name is to follow the tradition of the Israelites in not pronouncing or spelling out God’s name. So, when God’s Hebrew name “YHWH” is used in the Old Testament, English translations usually use “LORD” in all caps or small caps. Also, since ancient Hebrew did not use vowels in its written form, it is not entirely clear how God’s name should be spelled or pronounced. It could be Yahweh, or something else.

As stated above, when “LORD” in all caps or small caps occurs in the Old Testament, it is a replacement for an occurrence of God’s Hebrew name “YHWH,” also known as the Tetragrammaton. This is fairly consistent throughout all the different English translations of the Bible. When “Lord” occurs in the Old Testament, referring to God, it is usually a rendering of “Adonai,” a name/title of God that emphasizes His lordship. LORD/YHWH and Lord/Adonai are by far the two most consistent renderings throughout all the different English Bible translations.

In the Old Testament, when “God” is used, it is usually a rendering of the general Hebrew word for God, “Elohim.” When “LORD GOD” or “Lord GOD” occurs, it is usually a rendering of a dual name for God “Adonai YHWH.” The Hebrew term “YHWH Sabaoth” is usually rendered “Lord of Hosts.” The Hebrew term “YHWH Shaddai” is usually rendered “LORD Almighty.” The Old Testament uses many different names and titles to refer to God, to emphasize certain aspects of His person and attributes. This can result in confusion in translation, but in the original Hebrew, it was done entirely in an effort to glorify and magnify God’s name.

The usage of “Lord” and “God” in the New Testament is much less complicated. Almost universally, “God” is a translation of “theos,” the general Greek word for deity. Also almost universally, “Lord” is a translation of “kurios,” the general Greek word for a master. The key point in all of this is that whether we use His actual Hebrew name, or refer to Him as God, or Lord, or Lord God, we are to always show reverence to Him and His name.

I am constantly amazed and humbled to realize that the Almighty GOD of creation would condescend to incarnation and subject himself to torture and death for a rotten sinner like me!

” For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:6-9)

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How does the Bible describe the glorified bodies we will possess in Heaven

The most important of these prophecies is Eze 44. Here we see the matter prophesied in the form of the priests’ clothing. This same symbolism is seen in the garments of the Levitical priesthood. This passage is simply a deeper explanation of these symbols. In Eze 44:17, 18 we see that when they enter the inner portions of the temple and serve in God’s direct presence they are to wear the linen clothing (spiritual nature). Rev 17:5 tells us the linen of the garment is the righteousness of the saints. We only surmise this is a spiritual nature from Jn 4:24 which says God is spirit; therefore the assumption is that only spirit can enter the place where God is. (For those that might bring this up, remember Jesus is also God!) We must always be careful when making assumptions, but I believe we can agree with those who make this assumption.

Ezekiel 44:19 says that when the priests leave the inner courts and go out to the outer court where the people are they must remove their linen garments and put on the other garments. By comparing this chapter with historical sources to find that the primary garments of the priests were made of wool (animal hair). Hair, which is dead cells, is often used in scripture to symbolize the mortal nature of our bodies, so these clothes are usually called the mortal nature. Yet because this is part of our glorified body it is not a mortal nature, but a body that appears in every external way as the mortal body does. Yet when he described his post resurrection body Jesus said he was flesh and bone (symbolism of spirit — Heb 4:12), not flesh and blood, so there is some substantial difference that is apparently not visible externally.

While the Bible doesn’t describe in detail the glorified bodies we will receive in heaven, we know that they will be like that of Jesus’ resurrected body. Our human bodies are described in 1 Corinthians 15:42-53 as perishable, dishonorable, and weak, all due to sin. Our glorified bodies will be imperishable, honorable, and powerful. Our new bodies will be no longer “natural” bodies, but “spiritual” bodies, no longer focused upon the natural senses but at one with the Holy Spirit.

As imperishable bodies, they will no longer suffer from sickness and death, nor will they ever be subject to heat and cold or hunger and thirst. Our new bodies will be honorable in that they will not be shamed or shameful because of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing they felt was shame because of their nakedness (Genesis 3:6-7). Although the Bible doesn’t portray glorified bodies as being naked, but rather clothed in white garments (Revelation 3:4-5, 18), they will be pure and undefiled by sin. Our earthly bodies are “weak” in many ways. Not only are we subject to the natural laws of gravity and time/space, we are weakened by sin and its temptations. Our glorified bodies will be empowered by the Spirit that owns us, and weakness will be no more.

Just as our earthly bodies are perfectly suited to life on earth, our resurrected bodies will be the same for life in heaven. We will have form and solidity to the touch, yet with no hindrance to travel (John 20:19, 26 Luke 24:39). We will be able to enjoy food, but will not be driven to it by necessity for nourishment nor fleshly desire (Luke 24:40-43). And like Moses and Elijah, we will be able to bathe in the glory of our Maker in the fellowship of His dear Son (Matthew 17:2-3; Philippians 3:10). The bodies we inherit will be more like what God had originally made us to be, rather than what we now abide in through the infirmity and weakness of our sinful flesh. We will be glorified with Christ, and that glory will extend to the bodies we will inhabit.

This is the form we most often see for the angels when they appear in scripture. While there are exceptions, most often those interacting with them cannot tell at first that they are speaking with angels instead of men. Something they do later is responsible for that revelation. Think of Abram’s three visitors, the angel Jacob fought, the angel that announced Samson’s conception, the angels (and Jesus) at his tomb AFTER his resurrection, and the angels at Jesus ascension.

Some have speculated that instead of blood these glorified bodies have light running through their veins. I understand the reasoning for this speculation but don’t know that it is valid for anyone to make such an assumption. In the visions of the throne of God and many others where spiritual being appear we find them described as having the appearance of molten bronze. In other words, they have a glow of fire within that shines through their skin in much the same way molten metal glows.

He Is ComingWe see this same glow in Moses face after he spent 80 days in God’s presence on the mountain. As a result he had to wear a veil in the presence of the people who feared the presence of God shining out of him. He removed that veil when he entered the tabernacle into the presence of God and placed it over his face when he went out to the people. This is a direct correlation to the priests leaving the spiritual realm in the tabernacles age temple in Eze 44 to enter the outer courts and serve among the people. The woolen garments are what make them look like the rest of the people, and hides the spiritual nature from obvious view. It may shine through at times such as with Moses, the ascension in the fire of sacrifice of the angel that announced Samson, the ability of the three Hebrews to walk with Jesus in the fiery furnace, Jesus at his transfiguration, and any other example I may not have mentioned, but at most times we do not have that nature in this life, and they do not reveal it to us.

God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24) God is a spirit suggests that those who inhabit the heavenly realm are void of a mortal physical body. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable, says 1 Corinthians 15:50 For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality (1Corinthians15:53). so our physical bodies will be exchanged for immortal spiritual ones.

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Perfect

Strong’s defines the word ‘perfect’ as: complete. Aside from the finished work of Jesus’ death on the cross, to my knowledge there is only one thing in the NT that is completed. In 1 Jn 4:17-18 we find that agape love is perfected/completed (v17) and upon completion it casts out fear (v18). Fear is still with us today. Obviously the ‘perfect’ is not here yet, but those resurrected at the Rapture will receive their glorified bodies, and be perfected/completed in the express image (Heb 1:3 NKJV) of God’s nature, the radiance of His glory (Heb 1:3 NASB).

Greek: teleios (G5046) is used to refer perfect/that which has reached an end. 1) It means Prophecies that have been fulfilled have reached an end. 2) Tongues and knowledge will be superseded by a more complete knowledge and means of communication.

The ‘perfect’ will be the eternal state, when we in glory see God face to face. However, this is more of a commitment to the timing of the ‘perfect’ and not a description of the actual essence of the ‘perfect’. The eternal state ties the ‘perfect’ to God’s glory, but what is His glory? The short answer is His agape love.

When the Trinity said, “Let us make man in our image” their intent was to rid man of his sinful nature over a protracted period of time, and change him into a spirit being, completed in the glory of God. This is not exclusive to man, but it pertains to the whole Creation as shown in Romans 8:18-25. It states “ For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” Rom 8:20-21.

God’s glory and His agape love go hand in hand. This can be seen in Jn 17:21-26. In verse 21 Jesus asks the Father that those whom the Father has chosen would be one as the Father is in Him, and He in the Father. In verse 22, we see that the mechanism for being one is the gift of God’s glory to those whom God has chosen. It reads, “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one” This has to be the Holy Spirit. He is given to us as “the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” Eph 1:14. Then in Jn 17 verse 26, we see that the glory that is in us, and makes us one with the Father and the Son, is equated to God’s agape love: “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

From 1 Corinthians 13:12 we know that the ‘perfect’ comes when we are face to face with Jesus. It is then that we will be the righteousness of God and know the power of His resurrection (Phil 3:9-10). It is at the resurrection that we shall be perfected (Phil 3:11-12). 1 Jn 2:29 tells us that when we know (eido: to see, be aware, behold) that Jesus is righteous, we will know (gnosko: be aware, perceive, understand) that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. And 1 Jn 3:2 tells us that when Jesus is revealed, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Jesus is revealed at His Second Coming. It is at the Rapture that the mystery of Christ’s will, will be made known to those on earth and in heaven, that our inheritance is to be completed in His glory (Eph 1:7-12). 1 Pet 5:4 tells us “when the Chief Shepherd appears, we will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. And, Col 3:4 tells us “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” It is then that we will be forever free from our sinful nature. The victory is declared in 1 Jn 3:9 “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” And the reason is declared in 1 Jn 3:8 “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

First Corinthians 13:10 says: “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” “That which is in part” refers to the gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues (vs. 8-9). What Paul is saying is that there will be a time when these sign gifts will cease because something better (the “perfect”) will replace them. There is some debate as to what the word “perfect” refers to. The two most common views are the completion of the Bible and the glorification of believers in heaven.

There is a difference between how prophecy and knowledge come to an end, and how the gift of languages (tongues) does, as indicated by the Greek verb forms used. (Prophecy does not mean forecasting or telling the future. The gift of prophecy in its true biblical definition means simply “speaking forth,” or “proclaiming publicly” to which the connotation of prediction was added sometime in the Middle Ages. Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation, but is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word.)

PerfectProphecy and knowledge are both said to “be abolished,” the verb indicating that something will put an end to those two functions. What will abolish knowledge and prophecy, according to verses 9 and 10, is “that which is perfect.” When that occurs, those gifts will be rendered inoperative. The “perfect” is not the completion of Scripture, since there is still the operation of those two gifts and will be in the future kingdom (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17; Revelation 11:3). The Scriptures do not allow us to see “face to face” or have perfect knowledge as God does (v. 12). The “perfect” is not the rapture of the church or the second coming of Christ, since the kingdom to follow these events will have an abundance of preachers and teachers (Isaiah 29:18; 32:3, 4 Joel 2:28; Revelation 11:3). The perfect, therefore, must be the eternal state, when we in glory see God face to face (Revelation 22:4) and have full knowledge in the eternal new heavens and new earth. Just as a child grows to full understanding, believers will come to perfect knowledge and no such gifts will be necessary.

On the other hand, Paul uses a different word for the end of the gift of languages, thus indicating it will “cease” by itself, rather than being abolished by something, as it did at the end of the apostolic age. It will not end by the coming of the “perfect,” for it will already have ceased. The uniqueness of the gift of languages and its interpretations was, as all sign gifts, to authenticate the message and messages of the gospel before the NT was completed (Hebrews 2:3, 4). “Tongues” was also limited by being a judicial sign from God of Israel’s judgment (Isaiah 28:11, 12). Tongues was also not a sign to believers, but unbelievers, specifically the unbelieving Jews. Tongues was a means of edification in a way far inferior to preaching and teaching. In fact, chap. 14 was designed to show the Corinthians, so preoccupied with tongues, that it was an inferior means of communication (vv. 1″12), an inferior means of praise (vv. 13″19), and an inferior means of evangelism (vv. 20″25). Prophecy was and is, far superior (vv. 1, 3″6, 24, 29, 31, 39).

First Corinthians 13:10-12 declares, “but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

When shall we see face to face? When shall we know fully, even as we are fully known? This will occur when we pass from this life and enter God’s glorious presence in Heaven. First John 3:2 tells us, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” It is when we are glorified in Heaven that we will truly have put childish ways behind us, till then we as children will mess up, not on purpose but as children.

One more thing, some have said we need to learn Hebrew now, for it will be the kingdom language, I don’t know for sure but I do think there will be a far superior language than Hebrew, though Hebrew is a more advanced language right now, but just as we cannot fathom the expanse of God’s creation now, we also cannot fathom the expanse of God’s language that He will teach us!

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Does Acts 22:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation

This is the argument used by some people, even some theologians, for Baptism is necessary for salvation:

“Without obeying Scripture, there’s no salvation. The bible clearly and directly teaches that without baptism, and the general obedience that follows hearing the Word, there is no salvation. Mark 16:16, “He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved;” Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, AND be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” Eph 4:4-6, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Mat 3:15, “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” Jesus travelled about 40km to get to John for baptism, so that He could leave us an example. There is the case of the thief on the cross – he was saved because of two principles at work. One, he had no time to be baptized, but you and I have. Two, God is Sovereign, He’s not answerable to man or to any being, animate or inanimate. And He exercised that Sovereignty in the case of the thief. He has also commanded that we baptize all who believe – that’s the bible’s teaching. Matt 28:18-19 There’s no single case in the bible where anyone accepted the teaching of the apostles, then went without being baptized as a saved person. None whatsoever. EVERYONE who believed was baptized – by full immersion in water. A. Acts 8:38, “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” B. Acts 10:46-48, “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” C. Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:” D. Acts 8:12, “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” E. Acts 9:18, “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” (Paul himself was baptized, after Jesus was resurrected). I could go on and on. Yet there’s no single incident where anyone was accepted into the faith any other way other than through baptism.”

WELL! A little pompous a person can be, and is arrogant and conceited. It’s an inflated ego attitude! Would you agree?

But what does the Bible really say?

As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first filtering it through what we know the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation, is a faulty interpretation. For more information, please visit our webpage on “Is baptism essential to the Christian life?

I also need to answer the question: “Origin of Baptism

Acts 22:16, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” The first question that must be answered is “when was Paul saved?”

water-baptism-whatshotn1. Paul tells that he did not receive or hear the Gospel from Ananias, but rather he heard it directly from Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 says, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” So, Paul heard and believed in Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul had already believed in Christ when Ananias came to pray for him to receive his sight (Acts 9:17).

2. It also should be noted that Paul at that time when Ananias prayed for him to receive his sight that he also received the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17)–this was before he was baptized (Acts 9:18). Acts presents a transition period where God’s focus turns from Israel to the Church. The events recorded in Acts are not always normative. With regard to receiving the Holy Spirit, the norm is that a person receives and is permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation.

3. The Greek aorist participle, epikalesamenos, translated “calling on His name” refers either to action that is simultaneous with or before that of the main verb, “be baptized.” Here Paul’s calling on Christ’s name for salvation preceded his water baptism. The participle may be translated “having called on His name” which makes more sense, as it would clearly indicate the order of the events.

4. Concerning the words, “be baptized, and wash away your sins,” because Paul was already cleansed spiritually at the time Christ appeared to him, these words must refer to the symbolism of baptism. Baptism is a picture of God’s inner work of washing away sin (1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter 3:21).

5. It is also interesting that when Paul recounted this event again later in Acts (Acts 26:12-18), he did not mention Ananias or what Ananias said to him at all. Verse 18 again would confirm the idea that Paul received Christ as Savior on the road to Damascus since here Christ is telling Paul he will be a messenger for Him concerning forgiveness of sins for Gentiles as they have faith in Him. It would seem unlikely that Christ would commission Paul if Paul had not yet believed in Him.

6. LastlyHe exercised that Sovereignty in the case of the thief.” Wow some say that God can contradict Himself! That’s a dangerous slippery slope to try to stand on!

Can I get an Amen?

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Jesus’ Siblings & Mother

Jesus’ Brothers, Sisters & Mother

Four men—James, Joses, Simon, and Judas—are mentioned as the brothers or siblings of Jesus. (See Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3.) There has been much discussion through the centuries as to the exact relationship of these men to Jesus. This is the most natural way to understand the various references to these brothers; also that this is the most obvious intent of Matthew 1:25; Luke 2:7.

Jesus’ siblings are mentioned as accompanying Jesus and his mother to Capernaum after the marriage at Cana (John 2:12). Later Mary and these brothers are recorded as seeking an audience with Jesus (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21). Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry, His brethren are mentioned as urging Jesus to prove His Messiahship, which they themselves doubted (John 7:3-5). That they were later converted is clear, for they are described in Acts as uniting with the disciples and others in “prayer and supplication” prior to Pentecost (Acts 1:13-14). Paul implies that they were all married (1 Corinthians 9:5).

Many commentators hold that the author of the epistle of Jude, who identifies himself as the “brother of James,” was one of these brothers (Jude 1). It is also generally believed that the leader of the church at Jerusalem was James the brother of Jesus, (see Acts 12:17; 15:13). This seems to be confirmed by Paul’s reference to his visit to Jerusalem, in which he states that he saw only Peter, and “James, the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:18-19).

James was a son of Mary and Joseph and therefore a half-brother to Jesus and brother to Joseph, Simon, Judas, and their sisters (Matthew 13:55). In the Gospels, James is mentioned a couple of times, but at that time he misunderstood Jesus’ ministry and was not a believer (John 7:2-5). James becomes one of the earliest witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). He then stays in Jerusalem and forms part of the group of believers who pray in the upper room (Acts 1:14). From that time forward, James” status within the Jerusalem church begins to grow.

James is still in Jerusalem when the recently converted Saul arrives to meet with him and Peter (Galatians 1:19). Several years later, when Peter escapes from prison, he reports to James about the miraculous manner of the escape (Acts 12:17). When the Jerusalem Council convenes, James is the apparent chairman (Acts 15:13, 19). He is also an elder of the church, called a “pillar” in Galatians 2:9. Later, James again presides over a meeting in Jerusalem, this time after Paul’s third missionary journey. It is believed that James was martyred about A.D. 62, although there is no biblical record of his death.

Bless YouJames is the author of the epistle of James, which he wrote somewhere between A.D. 50 and A.D. 60. James identifies himself by name but simply describes himself as “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1). His letter deals more with Christian ethics than Christian theology. Its theme is the outworking of faith”the external evidence of internal conversion.

A study of James’ life provides some important lessons for us. His conversion gives testimony to the overwhelming power that came from being a witness of Jesus’ resurrection: James turned from being a skeptic to a leader in the church based on his meeting the resurrected Christ. James” speech at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:14-21 reveals his reliance on Scripture, his desire for peace within the church, his emphasis of grace over the law, and his care for Gentile believers, although he himself ministered almost exclusively to Jewish Christians. Also worthy of note is James” humility”he never uses his position as Jesus’ blood relative as a basis for authority. Rather, James portrays himself as a “servant” of Jesus, nothing more. In short, James was a gracious leader through whom the church was richly blessed.

 

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Some Have Said God Created Evil

Evil is what is morally wrong, sinful, or wicked. Evil is the result of bad actions stemming from a bad character. Biblically, evil is anything that contradicts the Holy nature of God (see Psalm 51:4). Evil behavior can be thought of as falling into two categories: evil committed against yourself or other people (murder, theft, adultery) and evil committed against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the disobedience in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) to the wickedness of Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of the existence of evil.

For many centuries Christians have struggled with both the existence and the nature of evil. Most people would acknowledge that evil is real and has always had devastating effects on our world. From the sexual abuse of children to the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11, evil continues to rear its ugly head in our own time. Many people are left wondering what exactly is evil and why does it exist.

The existence of evil has been used as a weapon by opponents of theism and Christian theism in particular for some time. The so-called “problem of evil” has been the subject of various arguments by atheists in an attempt to demonstrate that a God who is good simply cannot exist. By implying that God must be the creator of evil, God’s holy character has been called into question. There have been many arguments used to indict God as the cause of evil. Here is one of them:

1) God is the creator of everything that exists.
2) Evil exists.
3) Therefore, God is the creator of evil.

The logic of this syllogism is sound. The conclusion follows logically from the premises. But does this syllogism demonstrate that God is the creator of evil? The problem with this argument is its second premise, that evil is something. For evil is not a thing; it is a lack or privation of a good thing that God made. As Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland has noted, “Evil is a lack of goodness. It is goodness spoiled. You can have good without evil, but you cannot have evil without good.”

Evil-whatshotnGoodness has existed as an attribute of God from all eternity. While God is perfectly Holy and just, He is also perfectly good. Just as God has always existed, so too has goodness as it is a facet of God’s holy character. The same cannot be said for evil. Evil came into being with the rebellion of Satan and subsequently entered the physical universe with the fall of Adam. As Christian apologist Greg Koukl has said, “Human freedom was used in such a way as to diminish goodness in the world, and that diminution, that lack of goodness, that is what we call evil.” When God created Adam, He created him good, and He also created him free.

However, in creating Adam free, God indirectly created the possibility of evil, while not creating evil itself. When Adam chose to disobey God, he made this possibility a reality. The same scenario had previously played out when Satan fell by failing to serve and obey God. So it turns out that evil is not a direct creation of God; rather, evil is the result of persons (both angelic and human) exercising their freedom wrongly.

While evil is certainly real, it is important to recognize that evil does not have existence in and of itself. Rather, it only exists as a privation (or a parasite) on the good. It exists in the same way that a wound exists on an arm or as rust exists on a car. The rust cannot exist on its own any more than cold can exist without the existence of heat or darkness can exist without the existence of light.

Despite the horrible effects of evil on our world, the Christian believer can take comfort in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded for us in the Gospel of John, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). More importantly, we look forward with great anticipation to our home in heaven where the ultimate evil, death, will finally be destroyed along with the “mourning, crying and pain” which it inevitably produces (Revelation 21:4).

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God command the Extermination of the Canaanites, Including Women and Children

This is a ‘written sermon’ that I think everyone needs to read and ‘slowly allow to sink into their hearts, mind and spirit’ so that their soul may be enriched with a deeper understanding of the many, many ways He is there for us in our times of need.

God is all Mercy, Grace, Love, but He’s also a God of Wrath. Sin is destroyed in His Presence. God is Holy and darkness is expelled in His the Presence of His Holy Light. It is because of His Mercy why a lot of us is not consumed.

When people lost sight of God and began to worship the planets, demons, and hero gods, they practiced horrifying acts of cruelty, obscenity, and perversion (unnatural sexual acts). Even sons and daughters were burned in the fire (Lev 18:21; 2 Ki 3:26-27; 16:3; 17:17, 31; 21:6; 23:10-11; Chr. 28:3; 33:6).

Seven general sins having death penalty:

1. Incest (Lev 18:6-18, 24-30)

2. Sex relations with a menstruous woman (Lev 18:19)

3. Adultery (Lev 18:20; Ex 20:14)

4. Idolatry (Lev 18:21; Ex 20:4)

5. Blasphemy (Lev 18:21; Ex 20:7)

6. Homosexuality (Lev 18:22; 20:13)

7. Bestiality (Lev 18:23; Ex 22:19)

All “the nations of Canaan” practiced these things (Lev 18:24, 27-29) and for such sins they were destroyed as predicted, and their land was given to Israel (Lev 18:24-30). God warned Israel that He would spew them out also if they practiced the sins of nations that they were dispossessing (Lev 18:28-30). That God did reject Israel and spew the nation out when they backslid and went into the sins of the Canaanites is clear. He raised up sixteen different judges to deliver them from seven servitudes to other nations because of sin.

The laws regulating warfare with the cities of Canaan and the whole promised land were different from those regulating war with foreign cities (cp. Deut 20:10-15 with Deut 20:16-18). Inhabitants of the cities of all nations inside the promised land were to be totally destroyed so there would not be a remnant left to teach Israel the abominations for which these inhabitants were condemned to destruction (Deut 20:18). Fruit trees and crops were not to be destroyed during sieges of cities (Deut 20:19).

In 1 Samuel 15:2-3, God commanded Saul and the Israelites, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” God ordered similar things when the Israelites were invading the promised land (Deuteronomy 2:34; 3:6; 20:16-18). Why would God have the Israelites exterminate an entire group of people, women and children included?

This is a difficult issue. We do not fully understand why God would command such a thing, but we trust God that He is just, and we recognize that we are incapable of fully understanding a sovereign, infinite, and eternal God. As we look at difficult issues such as this one, we must remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9; Romans 11:33-36). We have to be willing to trust God and have faith in Him even when we do not understand His ways.

Unlike us, God knows the future. God knew what the results would be if Israel did not completely eradicate the Amalekites. If Israel did not carry out God’s orders, the Amalekites would come back to trouble the Israelites in the future. Saul claimed to have killed everyone but the Amalekite king Agag (1 Samuel 15:20). Obviously, Saul was lying-just a couple of decades later, there were enough Amalekites to take David and his men’s families captive (1 Samuel 30:1-2). After David and his men attacked the Amalekites and rescued their families, 400 Amalekites escaped. If Saul had fulfilled what God had commanded him, this never would have occurred. Several hundred years later, a descendant of Agag, Haman, tried to have the entire Jewish people exterminated (see the book of Esther). So, Saul’s incomplete obedience almost resulted in Israel’s destruction. God knew this would occur, so He ordered the extermination of the Amalekites ahead of time.

In regard to the Canaanites, God commanded, “In the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them – the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites – as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). The Israelites failed in this mission as well, and exactly what God said would happen occurred (Judges 2:1-3; 1 Kings 11:5; 14:24; 2 Kings 16:3-4). God did not order the extermination of these people to be cruel, but to prevent even greater evil from occurring in the future.

Probably the most difficult part of these commands from God is that God ordered the death of children and infants as well. Why would God order the death of innocent children? (1) Children are not innocent (Psalm 51:5; 58:3). (2) These children would have likely grown up as adherents to the evil religions and practices of their parents. (3) (3) These children would naturally have grown up resentful of the Israelites and later sought to avenge the “unjust” treatment of their parents.

Again, this answer does not completely deal with all the issues. Our focus should be on trusting God even when we do not understand His ways. We also must remember that God looks at things from an eternal perspective and that His ways are higher than our ways. God is just, righteous, holy, loving, merciful, and gracious. How His attributes work together can be a mystery to us – but that does not mean that He is not who the Bible proclaims Him to be

In the Old Testament, God did indeed order the annihilation of the Canaanite tribes in the cities He had given to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). These Canaanites appear to have been involved in abominable practices that God feared would be adopted by His people were they to be allowed to in any way mix with the Israelites. Some of the practices included promiscuity, ritual temple prostitution as a form of worship of their gods, child sacrifice, ritual incest, bestiality, witchcraft, astrology and so on (Deuteronomy 18:9-14 and Leviticus 18).

The Greek historian Herodotus (not in the bible) indicated that the people of those regions “have sexual intercourse openly like cattle”. So you can imagine that God felt that the Israelites would adopt these evil practices if He allowed the Canaanites to live among His chosen people. (Exodus 23:33). Now, it must be noted that God did not despise the Canaanite RACES but rather the Canaanite PRACTICES. In fact, during the times that the Israelites went astray and chose to adopt some of these idolatrous and immoral practices,they would endure plagues, or be attacked by Canaanites and others, sometimes they were decimated by war or enslaved by foreign tribes until the surviving remnant repented then they would be restored once more. (Judges and Jeremiah 44.)

God command the Extermination of the CanaanitesThis happened several times, until God finally decided (as he had done to the Canaanites), to utterly destroy the nations of Israel and Judah through the Assyrians and the Babylonians by 586 BC. Ever since that time, Israel was not a proper nation again until recently in 1948 AD. Remnants of Israelites remained in the region and all over the world and were always distinguished from the other tribes by their monotheistic practices (one God), their refusal to fashion any representation of their God in the form of an idol or carving, their dietary practices and their circumcision. Finally, it must be noted that God kept His promise to Abraham that ALL nations of the world will be blessed (Genesis 22:18) under his plan for humanity because there are several Canaanites and other foreigners in the genealogy of Christ listed in Matthew 1. Firstly, the wives of Israel (Jacob) were Syrians; Leah and Rachel, that is. Judah, the son who formed the most important tribe of Israel (the Chaldean “nickname” Jews is derived from Judah’s name) had a child with the Canaanite woman Tamar so she is effectively the mother of the tribe of Judah. Rahab the Canaanite woman from Jericho is also named in the genealogy. Ruth the Moabitess woman is also in the genealogy.

So effectively, King David’s great grandmother was a Moabitess and his great great grandmother was the Canaanitess Rahab. Solomon’s wife and mother of his heir to the throne Rehoboam was an Ammonite, yet the Ammonites were among the most detestable tribes with their god Molech who demanded child sacrifice. During the time of King David, we see that he murders one of his mighty men, Uriah the Hittite for his wife Bathsheba. The Hittites were amongst the most hated foreign tribes yet God almost destroyed David’s reign because of what he did to this Hittite man (2 Samuel 12 and 15 and 16). The wife of Joseph and mother of the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh was an Egyptian woman. These are just a few notable foreigners in Jewish ancestry. Among other notable non-Jews who experienced God’s favor are: Naaman the Syrian General, Moses’ wife was an Ethiopian woman (Numbers 12), Obed-Edom the Gittite /Philistine (2 Samuel 6:11). God’s favour was on all those who worshipped Him, regardless of origin, and His punishment fell upon all those who engaged in abominable practices, Israelite and Canaanite alike.

God gets no pleasure when he destroys man. He always offers an alternative to judgement. God brought ten plagues to Egypt, nine of which were just “nasty”. There was no loss of life. Due to there stubbornness, the last plague resulted in death. God gave the people of Jericho two choices, leave or perish. Co-habitation with the hebrews was not an option. Joshua circled Jericho once a day for seven days. The Talmud teaches us that Joshua was commanded by God to allow the inhabitants of Jericho to leave, unharmed, anytime during that time.

They perish due to there own stubbornness. God felt the same compassion for those people as we feel for them now. It is hard for you and I to realize there are far worse things then death, that is eternal suffering. Think of it as if you brought your herd of sheep into an area with which is home to wolves. You don’t hate the wolves. You don’t want harm to come to them, but if they remain your herd of sheep will be totally destroyed. So you do your best to get them out of the area. If they refuse to leave, they will have to be destroyed, puppies include. Not a pleasant task. That is what God was faced with. He choose to protect his chosen people.

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Hosea’s proverb, sow the wind and reap the whirlwind!

Hosea 8:7 makes the enigmatic statement, “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” This proverb is known in modern times for its use in military speeches and as a title for a science fiction novel. What did Hosea mean?

The proverb uses an illustration gleaned from the agricultural process of sowing and reaping. A farmer would sow seed. Of course, the type of seed he planted determined the type of plant that would grow and be harvested. This is the principle of duplication. In Hosea 8:7, God says that Israel had planted wind and would harvest a whirlwind. Taking the “wind” to mean something worthless and foolish (see Job 7:7; Proverbs 11:29; and Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17), we can surmise that Israel’s foolishness in the past would result in a veritable storm of consequence. Indeed, in the previous verses, Hosea decries Israel’s idolatry (verses 4-6). Their foolish pursuit of false gods would reap a severe judgment from the Lord, or in other words suffer serious consequences as a result of one’s actions..

Also at work in the proverb is the principle of multiplication: a farmer may plant one kernel of corn, but he will reap much more than that; a whole ear. In the same way, Israel’s sin of idolatry would bring forth an amplified consequence that would sweep them all away.

The rest of verse 7 notes the results of this “whirlwind” of judgment: “The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it.” So, the crop would yield nothing. Outsiders would steal anything that did happen to grow. Israel would have understood Hosea’s words well. A poor or stolen crop would be devastating. Here, God is warning His people that their idolatry would lead to ruin.

sow the wind, reap the whirlwindIn addition to following idols, Israel was seeking help in other, equally sinful ways. “For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild donkey wandering alone; Ephraim has hired lovers” (Hosea 8:9). Israel had made ill-advised treaties with Assyria for protection from their enemies. Instead of trusting God, they relied on their wealth and the help of pagan nations.

The “whirlwind” came upon Israel in 722 B.C., when Assyria invaded Israel, destroyed the capital city of Samaria, and deported the Israelites. Yet Hosea 14:4 promised future grace: “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.” A whirlwind does not last forever, and God’s judgment would not be unending. God would later renew the relationship between Him and His people.

Today, we can see the truth of Hosea’s proverb in many ways. Those who live in unrepentant sin can expect to suffer the consequences of their sin-consequences that both “fit the crime” and exhibit a stunning intensity. Also, this statement by Hosea is a clarion call to avoid idolatry. Anything that steals our trust in the Lord, lessens our devotion to Him, or controls us can be considered an idol and should be abolished from our lives.

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