AND GOD SPOKE

AND GOD SPOKE

Sunday, July 1, 2018

If You Want to “Make America Great Again” You Need Repentance and Jesus


 (I Like Donald Trump But)

I like Donald Trump.

I like it that jobs are coming back to America so that people no longer live off of handouts but can earn a living and, by doing so, have some dignity.

I like it that he’s cutting back on unnecessary regulations so that small business owners can run their businesses and not spend all of their time filling out paperwork.

I like it that he wants a strong military because a strong military means that you’re less likely to have to use it.

I like it that he, at least temporarily (and hopefully permanently) averted a nuclear showdown with North Korea.  I pray that this might lead to the freeing of the people of North Korea from slavery to a dictator.

I like it that he affirmed Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel, a fact substantiated by myriad Biblical and archaeological evidence.

I like it that he wants to control who comes into the United States so that no harm can happen to her citizens.

I like many things about Donald Trump

BUT

I don’t like his apparent arrogance and bombast, and I’m alarmed by his tendency to attack people personally (‘though I, myself, have been overly reluctant to excuse it) and perhaps you don’t like some of the policies mentioned above which I like.  That’s OK.  I understand why you might have genuine areas of concern and even fear.

And

It takes far more than jobs, a great economy, a strong military and secure borders to Make America Great Again (M.A.G.A or M.A.G. if you’re of the opinion that America was never great).  It takes people, who in spite of their differences in ethnicity, gender and even opinions, living together harmoniously regardless of their politics.

Jesus said:
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
(Matthew 5:22)

Translation?  Don’t marginalize people and don’t classify them!  People may have a liberal-leaning or a conservative-leaning.  They may vary in gender or ethnicity.  On issues, they may have their reasons for what they think, and they may feel passionate about them.  In that case, agree to disagree and walk away.  But never think of them as anything less than human.  Jesus never did. 



Monday, March 26, 2018

If it Weren’t for SIN, We wouldn’t be Talking About GUNS



Scripture tells us that because of jealousy a man by the name of Cain killed his brother Abel.  This event happened such a long time ago that it goes without saying that he carried out this murder even before the invention of the gun.  One might presume that Abel never suspected that his brother would cause his demise and therefore never took precautionary steps to prevent that from happening.
            Later on, the Bible tells us that as the population of the world grew, it became exceedingly violent.  It says:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)

God created a flood that would destroy the population of the entire world save for one man by the name of Noah and his family.
It is important to pause and think about that verse mentioned above. God saw that “every,” not some, but EVERY thought and intention of the heart of man was continually evil.  Nothing man even so much as thought about did not come with some malevolent motive even if seemingly altruistic.  Hence, God proceeded to do what the human race was already bent on doing eliminating itself from the face of the earth.  But Noah found favor with God, so God spared him and his family.
            Noah was not innocent, however.  The Bible tells us that he became drunk one day and unwittingly embarrassed himself in front of one of his sons who consequently mocked him behind his back.  Sin was still prevalent in the life of Noah and his sons.  That one family is the progenitor of every person living since then including every person living today.  Sin still existed in the seed and heart of Noah and history tells us that since his time, there have been countless wars and murders and incidences of man’s inhumanity to his fellow.
            What was true before Noah’s time is evident today. “Every intent of thoughts of his [man’s] heart is only evil continually.  The Shaliach (Apostle) Paul wrote

“… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:23)
The Shaliach John wrote

 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 
(1 John 1:8)

It is sin which results in murder.  James confirmed this when he wrote

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.
(James 4:1-2)

Rather obviously throughout history, guns have not been the only instruments people have used for killing others, but in this present era, they seem to be the instrument of choice. A vast number of people rightfully wish that guns might cease to exist.
One can empathize with idealists who would like a world without guns.  Hey, I would like that!  It’s not unlikely, however, that many of these idealists perceive of NRA supporters as evil “war-mongers” who don’t want peace and don’t want a world without violence.  But as well-intentioned as this mindset might be, it is unrealistic. People are violent.  And just perhaps, NRA members are realists.  Whereas Able probably never anticipated that his brother would kill him, history has shown that we humans really ought not to be so naïve.
 I recently saw a video in which idealists got extremely angry with an NRA supporter.  One of them said to the NRA supporter “We need to get rid of you.”  The vitriol that this man was spouting in the video was breathtaking.  I rhetorically ask “how does this idealist plan on getting rid of the NRA member?”  Is it with a gun?
It is almost a cliché to say that “guns don’t kill people.  People do.”  But it’s true.  Guns, like bows and arrows before them, and spears before them and rocks before them are only instruments used for fulfilling the whims of men which is to kill other men either aggressively or in self-defense.  People like that angry man in that video would not even dream of the possibility that he might be violent.  But he refused to listen to the NRA supporter’s argument that he only uses guns for protection.  The idealist can’t even bring himself to consider that this world has a lot of evil people in it.  He can’t even imagine his potential for violence because he has an inaccurate understanding of himself.  He can’t see himself objectively.  He got angry on camera beyond a level he probably imagined that he ever would.  He is the type of person who says “he has no sin, thus deceives himself.”
The answer to the problem of violence is not “do we keep guns or get rid of guns.”  The problem is SIN and people need to admit that they’re sinners and turn their lives over to Jesus who died because people sin.  None of us has an accurate understanding of ourselves.  Some of us think too highly of ourselves, and some of us undervalue ourselves.  And most of us don’t wish to admit that we sin.  But we do.  And the major part of the problem of violence is that people don’t admit it.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

If You Think Sukot is Fun Now Wait ‘Till Jesus Returns


Most Gentiles (non-Jews) don’t know what “Sukot” is so I’ll try to explain.  “Sukot” is what Gentile Christians commonly call “The Feast of Booths” or “The Feast of Tabernacles.  It was ordained by God through Moses, in Leviticus 23:39-44, and like the other festivals outlined in that chapter of the Torah (Pentateuch) it was to be observed annually during the seventh month of Tishre on the Hebrew calendar.  Because the Hebrew Calendar is Lunar, Sukot falls roughly between late September and early October on the Gregorian solar calendar.

Although Sukot is mentioned frequently in the Bible, including Deuteronomy 16:13-15, the way that Sukot is supposed to be observed from a Biblical standpoint is most thoroughly discussed in the Leviticus reference to it.  There, it explains that it was to begin on the 15th day of the month, 5 days after the Day of Atonement (Yom HaKippurim) and after the completion of the summer harvest. The first and eighth day of the festival were to be days of complete rest from entrepreneurial labor.

On the first day, the fruit of beautiful trees, date palm branches, boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook were to be gathered and there was to be rejoicing before the Lord for seven days.  The rabbis took the “fruit of beautiful trees” to be an “esrog”, a lemon shaped and fragrant citrusy species of fruit, and they took “the boughs of thick trees” to be branches of myrtle.

Traditionally, the myrtle and willow species are attached to the lulav, or palm branch.  The esrog is held in the left hand while the three-leafy species are held in the right.  They are brought together and waved before the Lord in a manner indicating the omnipresence of God.

According to Ari Greenspan and Ari Z. Zivotofsky all four of these species require copious amounts of regular irrigation in order to thrive and survive and yet each of them is found in a different ecological habitat… (the palm – desert; willow – river beds; myrtle – mountains; esrog – plains).  The need of these species for water coincides interestingly with other rituals associated with this feast, including thanksgiving and prayer for rain and the pouring out of water libations.1

This emphasis on water finds its way into the New Testament where Jesus, at the Temple during Sukot, launching off the ritual of the water libation, cries out…

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From ihis innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 2
John, in this account, goes on to point out that Jesus’ reference to water, a much-needed commodity, was an allusion to His Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) whose necessity for true life, eternal life… salvation as it were, dwarfs even that of water.
Isaiah reinforces this association of water being linked as a type to salvation when, pointing to the future he writes…

Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you,
‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;
And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
‘For I will pour out water on [a]the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;
3
During the seven days of this feast, the Children of Israel were commanded to live in Sukot or “booths” which were essentially huts made from sticks.  The apparent reason for this was, in God’s own Words,

so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’” (Lev. 23:43)
I believe that there are other reasons for this feast which, to me at least, are even far more exciting. 

The Prophet, Zechariah writes of a time after the last war has been fought and there’s finally peace on earth that

it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.4
What I find striking about this passage is that in that day, there will be a universal consensus concerning the nature of God.  Furthermore, former enemies of Jerusalem and consequently of one another (seeing that they’re from different nations) will be required to come to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukot.  And, again, how is Sukot supposed to be celebrated?  It is supposed to be celebrated by living for seven days in huts made of sticks!  Now, if my next-door neighbor were my enemy I would want a nice solid brick wall between us.  But how are these former enemies supposed to spend their time in Jerusalem?  They’re supposed to be “camping out” in huts made of sticks, vulnerable to one another and most certainly vulnerable to the one true God of the universe whom they’d been called upon to worship.

And what happens when nations don’t comply with this demand?  The one who controls the weather will give them no rain!  Again, water and salvation are intrinsically tied to Sukot.

In this end-time to which Sukot points and which Sukot will be ultimately celebrated in its fullest, there will also be a great feast of choice wine and meat.  Spiritual blindness will be removed from the eyes of people, death will be swallowed up and God will remove tears from the eyes of all people.

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain (Jerusalem);
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.
And it will be said in that day,
“Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”
5

1 Greenspan, Ari and Zivotofsky, Ari Z. “The Extraordinary History of the Etrog” The Jerusalem Post http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/The-extraordinary-history-of-the-etrog-2179 October, 2015
2John 7:37-38 New American Standard Translation.
3Isaiah 44:2-3 New American Standard Translation.
4Zechariah 14:16-17 New American Standard Translation.
5Isaiah 25:6-9 New American Standard Translation.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Fact that You're Reading This is Evidence Enough to Explain the Miracles of the Bible

Quite often, I'm asked...

"Do you really believe that this guy, Jonah, was three days in the belly of a whale and then got coughed up and made alive again?"

or

"Do you really expect me to believe that Noah could fit all of those animals on an ark?

My answer is, more often than not,  "You know, you're really not much more than $2.00 worth of chemicals.  You're just a combination of Carbon and Nitrogen and Phosphorus and Oxygen, with a little bit of Iron, Potassium and a few other elements like Zinc and Strontium thrown in there.  By all accounts, you should be just an inanimate mass laying on the ground waiting to be blown away by the wind.  But since you had the intelligence to ask me that question, you must be more than just an inanimate mass.  In fact, I would argue that you're a miracle!"

If, as this video shows, the structures that are found in every cell of the body are so beautiful and complex, why is it that such an amalgam of structures can exhibit life at one moment and the same structure fail to exhibit life in another moment (which we commonly call death)?

I suppose that we can attribute the workings of the single cell to laws of chemistry and physics, but in the end, when all is said and done, King David had it right when he said: "I am wonderfully and fearfully made". (Ps. 139:14)

And if, in fact, there is a God who designed not only the intricacies of a cell but the amazing variety of life forms that we know of as well as YOU, my reader, and gave life to $2.00 worth of chemicals, than He can most certainly restore life to a man who'd been in the belly of a fish for 72 hours, or find a way to fit two specimens of every "kind" of animal that exists into a boat of exactly specified dimensions..

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Confession

It is not with reluctance but with a serious level of shame that I have a confession to make.  During Barak Obamas 8-year tenure in the White House I could count the times I prayed for him on one hand if I ever prayed for him at all.

Whether Mr. Obama believes the things he says, or not, only he knows. 

Whether Mr. Obama’s motives are altruistic or intentionally sinister, I believe only God knows.

Personally, and I believe that there’s evidence as far as the eye can see, I would argue that he’s a member of a cabal committed to the destruction of the United States as a major part of an effort to institute a one world government run by self-appointed elitists who’ve already shown themselves to be murderers and liars.

But that does not excuse me from praying for him. 

Hell is a very hot place, it is an understatement to say that those destined to reside there reside there for a very long time, and I shouldn’t wish it on anybody which is perhaps why Paul said to Timothy…

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-3

In fact, it is the very reason why Paul inserted the words “…who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  He also implied that there are consequences for not praying for “kings and all who are in authority”.  The implication is that if we fail to pray for them we will NOT lead tranquil and quiet lives!

And so, for 8 years I conducted a wrestling match with the Holy Spirit…

Me: “But he promised shovel-ready jobs and he knew there were none.”

God: “My Word is a lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy path. Oh, by the way… 1 Tim. 2:1”

Me: “But God… Look what he did with Fast & Furious, smuggling guns into Mexico, resulting in the death of Brian Terry and he lied about Benghazzi, promoted anarchy, sexual immorality and contempt for police.”

God: “I have ordained My precepts so that you might keep them diligently. Oh by the way… 1 Tim. 2:1.  That’s one of them”.

Me: “But God… his foreign policy has resulted in the deaths and rapes of hundreds of thousands of Christians and Yazids throughout the middle East and North Africa and I have prayed for these people and supported causes to rescue and shelter them”.

God: “Have you not read ‘Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Oh by the way… 1 Tim. 2:1”

Do you get the picture?  In one very teeny but important manner, let alone many others I’m sure, I have refused to heed the Word of the God who is the judge of the whole earth.  I can rail against Mr. Obamas policies.  I can be angry at him and I’m allowed to be angry, but as the text says… “be angry but sin not”. And how am I sinning? I sin and have sinned by being so angry with the man that I subconsciously attempt to usurp Gods place as his judge and refuse to pray for the mans’ repentance and salvation.  To be honest, I am caught up in my own self-righteousness.  And I did not come to trust in Jesus because I was so smart or so talented or such a fantastically good person.  I came to trust in Jesus because I knew that I was a sinner and I needed His atonement for my salvation before a holy and just God.   

And the mighty King… the ruler of the universe… the one who holds the key to death and hades in His hands, because His Word is unquestionably true, wins the wrestling match.  “You’ve not prayed for kings and all in authority?  I will send you civil war so that you will not have a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity”.

And I assure you, rumblings of civil war are on the horizon.  The future of the United States from one threat or another seems ominous.

I will make a pledge to you.  Yes, I will continue to hate and oppose the agenda of Mr. Obama and his cabal, but I will begin praying for the man and his salvation in the hopes that he might repent and seek the will of God.  Yes… his repentance seems, to me, unlikely, but I’m still commanded to pray for him knowing that God does hear prayer and knowing that God, “not willing for any to perish but for all to come to the knowledge of the truth”, will honor those prayers one way or another.

I also ask a difficult thing of you. If you are an “anti-Trump” kind of guy or gal, you may believe that you have every reason to hate the man and even his policies, but I beg of you to begin praying for him, for wisdom and repentance so that he seeks God’s will and desires His salvation more than anything else. Just maybe God will be gracious and we can avert a civil war. But I dare say… God’s Word is sure and true and sharper than a two-edged sword. Yes, providence is providence, and God’s will will be carried out regardless of what we necessarily want, but failure to play our respective roles not as I, but the Apostle Paul himself, has outlined, and pray for our leaders will only result in disaster.


Oh, by the way, I’ll also be praying for Bill and Hillary.


Thank you for “lending me your ears”.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

HATE = MURDER

Some of us tend to be critical of God for sending a flood to destroy the earth and kill all the people on it.  Of course, some people don’t necessarily believe in that God but would nevertheless argue that if He did exist, they would still be critical of Him for sending that flood.  But, to be honest, what’s there to be critical about?  As an introduction to the “story” of Noah and the ark, there was a small phrase inserted… “and the earth was filled with violence”.  To put it another way, people were killing each other.  What God did by causing a flood was to simply speed up the process of what mankind was already doing to himself, yet in the meantime, rescue one family that was not party to all the violence so that they would not also fall victim to the carnage that was going on at that time.

Even that one family that survived the flood had some make-up within its spiritual DNA that aroused a tendency toward evil.  The descendants from that one family still were prone to selfishness, anger, defensiveness, lack of forgiveness and all those elements that make us prone to violence.  But one might say “I’ve never practiced violence.  I’ve never felt hatred towards anyone.”  I ask rhetorically, “what if you had no police or army to keep you from being exposed to that violence?  Would you still have a heart filled with pure benevolence towards those who’d harm you because of the absence of military or police protections? Can you guarantee that you would have no feelings of revenge in your soul?”

Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
 (Matthew 5:21-22)

Simply put, Jesus said, “if you hate others, or think even so much as to have an attitude of dismissiveness towards others as (thus, in disdain calling them a fool), you’re guilty enough to go to hell”.

What Jesus said is not anything new.  God, through Moses, said:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people (members of your nation), but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
(Leviticus 19:19)

The importance of this law is punctuated with God’s declaration… “Ani YHVH”  (I Am… the ineffable Name of God… poorly translated as Lord and often somewhat flippantly mispronounced in many circles).  Putting God’s Name on this law is a declaration as to how utterly important it is to not even bear a grudge but to love instead.

As I’d written here, http://onlyholybook.blogspot.com/2017/05/liberal-guilt-moral-relativism-and.html God had intended for Israel to be a model nation characterized by such a level of peace and prosperity that the other nations could not help but emulate it and, by so doing, discover that there was indeed a God who was worthy of universal worship.  After all, it was this God who himself, had written the constitution for that nation.  This constitution not only had specific verifiable laws such as “leave some of the grain on the fringes of your fields behind after harvesting so that the poor and needy will always have food available to guarantee their well-being” (Leviticus 19:9-10) and “build a fence around the roof of your house so that no one whom you are entertaining will fall off” (Deuteronomy 22:8) but it also had less verifiable laws such as “don’t harbor hate”.

The United States Constitution has no such unverifiable law… “don’t harbor hate”, but the Mosaic law presumed that the author of their constitution, God Himself, being all knowing, also knew the thoughts and intentions of every human heart.  Where the enforcers of law could not accuse an individual of hating for lack of evidence, the omniscient God could and was capable of discerning whether an individual harbored hatred.  And thus, a fearful awe of this God would hopefully inspire the one who’s doing the hating to repent, ask God for forgiveness and seek to rationally, dispassionately and in a non-accusatory manner, seek reconciliation with the one who is the object of his hatred. 

And why would this law against hate (which cannot be perceived by the senses) be inserted as part of ancient Israel’s constitution which we call the Torah?  Because ultimately hate cannot be hidden.  It does manifest itself tangibly eventually in one way or another.  It manifests itself in the form of violence whether it be the result of the hater murdering the object of the hatred directly, or the result of a chain reaction of people taking their aggressions and frustrations out on one another.  It tears people apart, forces people to take sides and ultimately creates unrest, dissention and chaos.  And hate which pervades among the citizens of a nation ultimately results in the nations demise. 

The Law of God given to Israel and reiterated through Jesus is a universal law.  It is applicable regardless of geography, background or time in history.  Hate yields death and seems to be the element that is dividing the world.  And so, allow me, if you will, to ask some rhetorical questions.

Do you hate black people?  If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.
Do you hate white people? If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.
Do you hate Hispanics or Asians or Jews?  If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.

Let’s say there’s a more tangible reason for hatred…

Do you hate conservatives? If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.
Do you hate liberals? If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.
Are you black and never experienced slavery but hate whites who’ve not only never owned
            slaves but whose ancestors never owned slaves either? If so you’re a murderer in the
            eyes of God.
Are you black and hate whites because they have “white privilege”?  If so you’re a murderer in
            the eyes of God.  The likes of Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Thurgood Marshall and
            Condalisa Rice may just bear witness to the fact that your failure is not because of
            white privilege but the fact that you’d never applied yourself.
Are you Jewish and hate Nazis? If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.
Do you hate Muslims? If so you’re a murderer in the eyes of God.  (I would hold that they are
            deceived by an erroneous world view but it is the world view that I’m obligated to hate…
            not it’s adherents.)

Let’s get even more personal…

Do you hate your former spouse because he or she was abusive or a druggie or alcoholic or
            even beat your children?  If so you’re still a murderer in the eyes of God.

No doubt, wrongs done to you can create deep wounds and may make it very easy to harbor hate.  But there is absolutely no justifiable reason for harboring hate.  Hatred has no place in the human heart.  Hate is man’s natural way of responding to being offended.  But God does not want people to react to being offended as they normally do but as they are supposed to react.  And just suppose you were very deeply hurt, you do have a choice… to take it personally and harbor hatred or regard it as a test to see just how much you love God.

If there was one person who deserved to or had an excuse for hating it was Jesus.  He did nothing but good for everyone, yet He was unjustly accused as being evil.  He was whipped so that his raw flesh was exposed.  He was mocked, crucified and mocked some more.  Yet, while dying, He cried out to God “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing”. 

You may have experienced terrible persecution or pain of some sort at the hands of others.  But don’t hate!  You will only accumulate the guilt of murder to your own soul.  There is such a thing as justice.  If you can, pursue justice in a rational and just manner, but without the attitude of pursuing vengeance or vindication.  Ultimately, though, trust that God will mete out perfect justice in His time.  And remember.  You’ve never been as innocent as Jesus.  Neither have you ever endured more than Jesus who nevertheless was quick to forgive.


Do not hate.  Love.  And if you discover that you can’t love, ask Jesus to love for you. As you trust Him, He will.  Your soul depends on it.