When Bad Things Happen

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

“When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?” Amos 3: 6

When bad things happen, it is because the Lord purposed it.

“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that Job has is in your hand…'” Job 1:11

In effect, God handed Job over to Satan. As a result, disaster struck his house.

“…another also came and said, ‘Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ ” Job 1: 18, 19

“Then Satan… smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head…” Job 2: 7

THE HANDING OVER

God doesn’t hand anyone over to the dark forces unless such a one has sinned. And all of us have sinned, so we’re all fair game.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3: 23

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51: 5

Many will say that Job was a righteous man and always made sure his sins and the sins of his family were covered.

“When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.” Job 1: 5

Job's children killed by Satan

Job’s children killed by Satan.

Were Job’s children sinning? Of course. So why the use of Perhaps? It was Job thinking, fooling himself, like many parents do today.

So even though the bible doesn’t openly reveal it, deep down Job knew about the unrighteous ways of his children. Parents always know.

Otherwise, what was that obsession or custom Job had in offering a burnt sacrifice for each of them?

It’s also no surprise God allowed them all to be killed.

They were most likely spoiled beyond redemption, with hearts lifted up, souls that ignored their Maker (hence Job offering sacrifices for them instead of them for themselves), and a lifestyle that welcomed excess – causal effects of their father’s unfathomable success, not unlike the sons of the prophet Eli.

“His (Job’s) sons used to hold feasts in their homes…” Job 1:4

“Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God…” Deuteronomy 8: 11 – 14

“Now the sons of Eli were corrupt and did not know the Lord… the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.” 1 Samuel 2:12, 4:11

Job might have been “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1), but he was also sinning in a way only God could see.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7

He was conceited and arrogant, a sin that finally surfaced during the handing over.

“Know then that God has wronged me…” Job 19: 6

Really? God wronged Job?

At that point, Job had lost sight of the fact that none of us is righteous on our own. Therefore we cannot be wronged by God. Our righteousness solely comes from God’s election of us as His children, and as such only said choice causes us to become righteous.

When we become Christians, we become righteous through Jesus’s doing, hence neither righteous nor good in our own right.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5: 21

Even when we follow His commandments, we are not following our will but His, and therefore whatever good deed we end up doing becomes His since it was set in motion by His law.

“When you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which was our duty to do.'” Luke 17:10

So, to set Job the Aramean straight, in addition to handing him over to Satan, God sent a Buzite fellow, a non-Hebrew like Job, purposely named Elihu or “my God is He” – shade of Jesus – to point out Job’s flaw to him.

“Elihu’s wrath aroused because Job justified himself rather than God…” Job 32: 2

Elihu realized there was more than a hint of vanity in Job’s life.

“In this you are not righteous… for God is greater than man.” Job 33:12

Prosperity and success had caused Job to become prideful and self-righteous.

“He was the greatest of all the men of the east.” Job 1: 3

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16: 18

Job had become so full of himself that he thought he was on par with God, a Prince who could approach the Almighty on an equal footing.

“Behold, here is my signature; Let the Almighty answer me! And the indictment which my adversary has written, Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it to myself like a crown. I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him.” Job 31: 35-37

He injected the poison of his conceit and self-righteousness in what was his true righteousness, the righteousness of God.

God appears to Job

God appears to Job.

But when Jehovah appeared to him, the Glory and Holiness of the Almighty made Job realize how small, insignificant, and wretched he really was.

“My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 45: 5,6

As sin takes control of us, it spoils the righteousness we have been handed. It’s the fly in the ointment, the leaven in the lump.

“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment…” Ecclesiastes 10: 1

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Galatians 5: 9

Even the Apostle Paul experienced the handing over. But in Paul’s case it was a preemptive strike.

“In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7

That is why Paul was so strict with Christians of his time. He knew sin needed to be dealt with. And many times the only way to deal with it is for the sinner to be handed over to the dark forces.

“I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:5

When our flesh is destroyed, our sinful nature is henceforth dashed to pieces like pottery; and God’s iron scepter is made evident in our lives as he keeps us in line, away from sins.

“You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Psalm 2:9

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

THE MARK OF PERFECTION

When we sin, we basically tell God He’s not our Father.

Consequently, our sinful actions identify us as belonging to a different household, that of the dark forces. So, like the father of the prodigal son, God says, “You want it, you got it.”

Job and his wife

“Why don’t you curse God and die?” Job 2:9 Job’s wife curses him.

The handing over may seem harsh, but it is to help us get rid of sin, thus making us perfect.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5: 48

To be perfect is to rule over sin. And how do we do that?

1) Constantly judge ourselves and recognize our sins.

“But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged by God in this way.” 1 Corinthians 11: 31

2) Wholeheartedly repent to God and other offended parties (not to a “catholic priest”). The prodigal son sinned against God and against his father, so he repented accordingly.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'” Luke 15: 21

3) Follow God’s commandments.

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” John 14: 21

Unfortunately, sin is quite insidious. It is a disease that’s always at the door, always at the ready to entrap.

“But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4: 7

It sometimes hides itself so deep within our hearts that, like Job, we don’t even realize we’re neck-deep in it.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17: 9

So God many times resorts to the handing over in order to remove it.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1: 2-3

The handing over is a mark of God’s love. He orchestrates it to help those who will learn from it turn their lives around for His glory.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrews 12: 7

CONCLUSION

Bad things don’t happen to good people.

“There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3: 10

Bad things happen to sinners, all of us. But in their wake, if we truly repent, we let go of our unrighteousness or self-righteousness and become the righteousness of God.

“But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? May it never be!” Romans 3: 5,6

Once we learn our lesson, and when we’re ready for it, God hands us the pot at the end of the rainbow, containing only the blessings we can handle.

“Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” Job 42: 12

It would do us no good for God to bestow upon us all the blessings in the world and in the process lose our soul.

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16: 26


ADDENDUM: PREEMPTIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The following questions will surely pop up.

1. Does this mean when someone is killed during an accident or a catastrophe that person was beyond redemption?

The answer is Yes and No.

“I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked…” Ezekiel 21: 4

Yes, it could be. And No, it could also be this:

“No one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.” Isaiah 57: 1

When the righteous are taken away in such a fashion, it simply means that God was done with them, that their mission was accomplished, and that God no longer wanted them to endure the evil in this world. But in the case of Job’s children, it is quite doubtful that they were righteous.

So how can one know which is which?

No one can, except God. He purposely made it thus so there would be no formula to figure Him out.

“God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” Ecclesiastes 7:14

It’s one of the reasons those who preach church tithing are sinning, because what they’re saying is that tithing is the guaranteed formula to be financially blessed by God. In the end, even Job wasn’t blessed because he tithed. He didn’t tithe. He was blessed because God chose to bless him. And today God acts no differently, especially as the New Covenant changes everything. See Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie.

Even when we’re doing all that God wants us to do, there’s no telling what will transpire in our lives.

“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:17

True faith is the understanding that God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants.

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Romans 9: 15

2. Why does the bible mention the righteous if none is righteous?

When God mentions the righteous, it is to be grasped as those who understand that their righteousness is of God and not of themselves.

Even in Job’s case God knew He could turn Job around, and that in the end he would become the righteousness of God. That’s why He told Satan not to take his life.

And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” Job 2: 6

3. Who created the Devil and why does God use him?

God created the Devil and his demons. God uses them to bring about His ultimate plan and purpose, which is to challenge man’s free will and put through the fire unbelievers, atheists, and Christians alike in order to test their zeal for either the truth of God and Jesus whom He sent or the lies of the evil one and his minions.

4. Doesn’t God violate His own commandment of “Thou shall NOT kill”?

What kind of a stupid question is that? 🙂

That commandment is for us who are the Thou or YOU. He didn’t say You and I shall not kill. He said “YOU shall not kill”. Period. Many have a bad habit of either taking bible verses out of context or adding to God’s word.

From the very beginning God told us we would die if we ate of the forbidden fruit. See The Consequences of Sin.

“…for when you eat from it you will certainly die…” Genesis 2: 17

Man saw fit to disobey and chose death. No need to spin it otherwise. And whether we die of old age or in an accident or by any other means before old age is irrelevant. Death is death.

The “inconvenient” means and timing of our demise don’t make death any less a result of our wrongful choice. So don’t be like Job and say God wronged you by not following the Thou Shall NOT Kill command.

We will all die or be killed someday, it’s just a matter of time. Our death – whether we see it as God “killing” us or not, same difference – and its timing thereof are dictated by the Almighty who uses whatever method and schedule He sees fit to bring about our demise, a consequence of our sinful nature.

We were never given any assurance that we would live beyond the instant we emerged out of our mothers’ wombs. From the moment we came into the world, a death appointment has been scheduled. So every day is a gift. Count your blessings.

“For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.” Philippians 2: 13

Some point to the various killings in the Old Testament to somehow “prove” that God always had a blood lust, and that He often commanded the ancient Hebrews to kill in wars.

What they don’t understand is that the Hebrews then were an extension of God’s army on earth. God used them to remove the wicked from the face of the earth. So when they killed on God’s order in specific and directed circumstances – which cannot be transferred to today’s circumstances –  it was God’s doing, not theirs.

“The LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you…” Deuteronomy 20:4

But, as the prophet Zechariah prophesied, with the advent of Christ everything would change.

” ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6

Now it’s no longer by the might of the sword nor by the power of one’s army, but by the Spirit of Christ that things truly change for the better.

“The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20

Ever since Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection the world has not been the same.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5: 17

Those who really know God understand how He operated then and how He operates now, just the way Jesus understood and did not fear those who could kill the body.

“Pilate said to Him, ‘You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.’ ” John 19: 10-11

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10: 28

The only ones who utter such nonsense about the 6th commandment are those who hate God and fail to see that physical death is nothing compared to the eternal death of the soul in hell.

Such a harmful disposition prompts them to spit on the Father’s authority to do as He purposes, and to ignore Jesus’s sacrifice which was offered for the renewal of the world through peace and for the salvation of man’s soul through the New Covenant in His blood.

“But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” Proverbs 8: 36

Consequently, remember this:

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13

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Speaking In Tongues

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels…” 1 Corinthians 13:1

There’s quite a polemic within the body of Christ regarding the gift of speaking in tongues.

VARIOUS TONGUES: OF MEN AND OF ANGELS

Biblically speaking, to speak or pray in tongues is to speak or pray in a celestial language. When said language or tongue is being spoken, each endowed individual strikes a unique cadence of sound and heavenly words – hence tongues, plural.

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues” Acts 19: 4-7

Day of PentecostHowever, at the first Pentecost, speaking in tongues took on a different aspect as well.

Judahite Hebrews, who were born and lived abroad, like the Apostle Paul who was born in Tarsus, Cilicia, were visiting Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks, and heard the disciples speak in their various native dialects.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Judahites from every nation under heaven... Every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all this which speak Galileans? ” Acts 2: 5 -7

The speaking of foreign languages, as prompted at that time by the Holy Spirit, was for the benefit of these men who were part of the Hebrew House of Ancient Israel.

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2: 36

It was also for the benefit of spreading the Gospel worldwide, especially as many foreigners from around the world constantly traveled to Jerusalem, a major trade center at the time.

“And how hear we every man in our own dialect wherein we were born? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and the parts of Lybia, about Cyrene, strangers of Rome, Judahites and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.Acts 2: 8-12

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8:4

The Holy Spirit saw the need at that particular junction to supernaturally prompt many of the disciples to speak in various foreign dialects.

The bestowal of said gift (i.e., to speak in a foreign dialect) still occurs today, albeit not supernaturally like at the first Pentecost but as a talent or an aptitude, since many individuals all over the world are now fluent in more than one language. It thus recalibrates the event at the Tower of Babel where God confounded man’s one universal language into various dialects, and caused them not to understand each other.

“Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” Genesis 11: 7

Man’s hope at the Tower of Babel was to reach Heaven (Gen 11:4). Now Heaven reaches down to man in the person of Jesus, using not only the aforementioned gift but a new universal language as well, a heavenly tongue, which itself reaches to the once unreachable Heaven, even unto God Himself.

Christ - el Greco“For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God…” 1 Corinthians 14: 2

However, unlike the supernatural outpouring of common languages at the First Pentecost, the heavenly tongue has kept its supernatural endowment, as it is God’s umbilical cord whereby He supplies His children with divine mysteries.

“…one who speaks in a tongue… utters mysteries in the spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14: 2

As such it is mostly for the benefit of oneself in prayer.

“One who speaks in tongues edifies himself…” 1 Corinthians 14:4

“Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

Praying in tongues is something many Christians don’t do for whatever reason, whether out of traditional bias, ignorance, or unbelief. However, it’s one of many spiritual tools or gifts available in the Christian arsenal – just like God created many kinds of fruits and vegetables for all those with different tastes and gustoes.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another mighty works, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of languages, and to still another the interpretation of languages. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Cor 12: 7-11

But the day one desires the gift of speaking in heavenly tongues, which increases wisdom in the things above, all one has to do is ask God who gives to all liberally.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all [men] liberally, and without reproach; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

When one speaks in a heavenly tongue, something is birthed deep inside the spirit man and one is edified.

“For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14: 2

Yet, when we congregate it is better to prophesy in a common language and not speak in tongues.

“But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself, but he that prophesieth edifieth the assembly.” 1 Corinthians 14: 4

The one who prophesies in a common language edifies the body of Christ. But that doesn’t mean he is forbidden to pray in tongues when he’s on his own.

“So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” 1 Corinthians 14: 39

“I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.” 1 Corinthians 14: 18

In a congregational setting speaking in heavenly tongues should only occur with the presence of a gifted someone who can interpret.

“The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the assembly may be built up.” 1 Corinthians 14: 5

Otherwise, it’d be a waste of the congregants’ time if someone is edifying himself at the expense of others who can’t be edified at that moment. See Church Services ARE NOT Biblical.

“Nevertheless, in the assembly I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.” 1 Corinthians 14: 19

CONCLUSION

Many harbor a bias towards speaking in tongues, and fight tooth and nail not to speak it.

They spin the fact that when one speaks to God in a tongue, one actually speaks in one’s native dialect, and therefore others who don’t speak said dialect do not understand what is uttered. But that’s not true. If one speaks one’s own dialect, one’s mind is fruitful, but if one prays in a heavenly tongue, one’s mind is not, but the spirit man is.

David Praying in the Night“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.” 1 Corinthians 14: 14

Besides, isn’t it silly to babble in one’s native dialect in a congregation where no one else speaks that language?

And if one suddenly starts speaking in a foreign dialect that he doesn’t understand, prompted by the Holy Spirit like at the first Pentecost, how does he edify himself? He doesn’t. He edifies others who speak that language. But if he speaks in God’s heavenly tongue, he is edified by God Himself as “he utters mysteries in the spirit “.

Speaking in tongues, as Christians came to describe it since its advent at Pentecost, is different in scope than speaking in common dialects or languages. It is of angels while the other is of men. It edifies oneself while its counterpart edifies others.

“The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the assembly.” 1 Corinthians 14:4

To speak in a heavenly tongue is God-given to build us up individually. As with any gift anyone can choose to accept or reject it.

But why would anyone reject a gift from God?

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1: 17

Click here to know how to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and pray in tongues.

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Jesus And The Sword

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Many are under the impression that Jesus Christ was a promoter of violence.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason they think so is because of certain passages in the bible, which they either misunderstand or take out of context.

SWORD # 1

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to this land. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ ” Matthew 10: 34-36

Jesus mocked by the soldiers

Mocking Jesus

The sword Jesus was talking about in those verses was not a physical sword to wage war willy-nilly. That sword was to be the conflict within the Hebrew house over who Jesus was. That’s why immediately after, Jesus said this:

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10: 37

When a household is divided over who Jesus Christ is, it is a household that cannot stand.

“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3: 25

Further, Jesus (or God) had a contract with the Hebrews. They were supposed to love Him and follow His commandments, which they never did.

However, there was a stipulation in the contract in Deuteronomy 28:

15 “But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you:

25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies…Your corpses will be food for all the scavenging birds and wild animals, and no one will be there to chase them away.”

So when Jesus brought up the subject of the sword, He was also telling the Hebrews that the curses of the contract were about to fall on them, because by rejecting Him and refusing to listen to Him they were not fulfilling their end of the bargain.

The curses did fall on them as God allowed Satan, their father, to unleash his war upon them using the Roman Army in 70 AD.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning…” John 8:44

In that sense God “brought the sword” in that specific situation, which was covered under biblical laws and contractual obligations of the Old Covenant. He therefore removed His protection and allowed them all to be killed – all  who had rejected and crucified Him.

“For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off.” Psalm 37:22

Consequently, the Hebrew house did not survive.

“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” Matthew 23:38

That desolation was the Apocalypse of 70 AD by the Roman Army that saw the end of the Old Covenant and the total annihilation of the Hebrew race – except for those who became Christians and fled beforehand.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city.” Luke 21: 20,21

SWORD # 2

The following verses are strangely used to promote gun ownership, violence, and even war:

“And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one…’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’ ” Luke 22: 36, 38

Obviously, those who misunderstand those verses would also misunderstand the modern expression “batten down the hatches”, which means “prepare for a difficult or dangerous situation”. When somebody uses that expression, does someone actually go and literally batten down the hatches? Of course, not.

In the same vein, Jesus was warning the disciples of dangerous times ahead (again, the Apocalypse of 70 AD). He wasn’t ordering them to literally go and buy a sword. It was just an expression like “batten down the hatches”.

Betrayal of Jesus

Betrayal of Jesus

Still, when the disciples showed Him the two swords, He said “It is enough” or “It is plenty”.

That answer was Jesus setting up the disciples in order to truly demonstrate how anti-violence He was. As it turned out, when one of the disciples struck the servant of the High Priest with one of the swords, Jesus without flinching commanded them to put the weapons away.

” ‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’ ” Matthew 26:52

He then helped the one who was struck by miraculously healing his ear, even though the wounded was an enemy who came to arrest Him.

Jesus was God who became flesh, and thus always knew what was about to transpire. He was wont to set things up in order to bring about an event or a discussion.

“He asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’ ” Mark 8: 27

“Go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.” Matthew 17: 27

” ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ ” John 1: 48

Further, Jesus always spoke in parables. The “sword” metaphor of Luke 22:36 can be compared to the “leaven” metaphor, which the disciples also misunderstood.

“Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.’

“And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’

“And he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’ ” Mark 8:14-21

CONCLUSION

Do you not yet understand that Jesus is anti-violence?

” ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” Luke 22:51

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The Meaning Of Dreams

And The Déjà Vu Phenomenon.
C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

A dream is simply a God-given glimpse of the future, near or far. It’s usually very cryptic and very symbolic, even when it appears to be quite terrene.

“For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds.” Job 33:14,15

A FEW BIBLICAL EXAMPLES

Joseph’s Dream

“Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had:  We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.’” Genesis 37: 5-7

Joseph pardons his brothers

Joseph pardons his brothers.

The interesting thing about Joseph’s brothers is that they instantly knew what the dream meant, but refused to believe that their brother could have actually been chosen by God.

“His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.” Genesis 37: 8

Then the dream became real.

“Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.” Genesis 42: 6

In the dream Joseph and his brothers were depicted as “sheaves“, symbolic of the individuals. It was an image of the time they could all grasp.

Pharaoh’s Dreams

Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank.  And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.” Genesis 41: 1-4

Joseph and Pharaoh

Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams.

That was the first biblically recorded dream of Pharaoh. Then came a second.

He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk.  After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind.  The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.” Genesis 41: 5-7

Just like Joseph and his brothers, Pharaoh knew that these dreams meant something. So he began a frantic search for someone who could explain them.

“So Pharaoh sent for Joseph... Then Joseph said to Pharaoh… God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.” Genesis 41: 14, 25, 28-32

The healthy grains and cows were the images that God used in the dreams to depict the good years, while the scorched grain and gaunt cows were chosen for the lean years.

Then the dreams materialized.

The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food.” Genesis 41: 53, 54

YESTERDAY AND TODAY

Before the modern era everyone instinctively knew that a dream was God-given and meant something.

When a person is asleep, God allows the spirit man to steal a glimpse of the future. That glimpse is either very clear, somewhat muddied, or extremely muddied. That’s why we either remember our dreams or they come off ratatouilled.

Oftentimes, when one of our dreams – even a muddied one – is becoming reality, our spirit man is immediately pricked to the dream’s in progress materialization. That prickling has a name. It’s called a déjà vu, French for already seen. And where have we seen it before? In a dream.

Does that mean every single dream is a glimpse of the future? Yes.

Think of it this way. We are God’s computers. He’s the programmer, and every night He uploads the Updates (i.e., new and current data, not passé). Sometimes they’re coded (a message or a road map), and sometimes they’re not (just a straight glimpse of a futuristic event). Often we download the stream with no hitch (very clear dreams), but at other times the stream appears (only appears) to hang up (muddied dreams).

Given that some actually think that science and technology are anathema to the Almighty, the following question will surely pop up: why are we using God and computers in the same metaphor? Such a sad question deserves to be answered with another question. Where do you think mankind gets all his innovative and ingenious ideas from?

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

“In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” Exodus 31:6

Since we’re already on the subject of computers, let’s continue with that line of thought and present another metaphor. Let’s compare what a dream and its subsequent materialization look like.

Any time you’re reading a post on this site, you’re likely to see the visual immediately below; or for our metaphor, “the materialization of the dream in the wake-up reality” if you will:

However, here’s the HTML source in its actual text arrangement; or for our metaphor, “the dream sequence” if you will:

As you can see, our dreams are processed in an almost similar fashion: a lot of apparent gibberish that in the end makes perfect sense. In other words, what we see in a dream is not image literal to its actualized counterpart.

JUNK THEORIES AND THE DÉJÀ VU PHENOMENON

Unfortunately, as spurious scientists and self-appointed experts inundated the minds of modern age folks with counterfeit theories (i.e., forged and unproved assumptions or conjectures), they indubitably erected pseudo-intellectual barriers between God and man.

Some of these barriers are their many begrimed understandings of what dreams are. Simply put, they fabricated out of whole cloth views and explanations that are intended to destroy God’s nighttime conversation with His creation.

For instance, the déjà vu phenomenon is interpreted by some to be the “illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time” (Webster). How a phenomenon experienced by millions of people can be labeled an illusion is not only disingenuous, it’s sheer idiocy. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of confused and half-baked explanation that comes along when God is dismissed outright.

Others believe said phenomenon to be a quick, momentary throwback to a similar juncture in a previous life. Now if past lives were real, why can’t we remember them with absolute clarity? Especially if we are dearly paying in this life for past life misdeeds – karma, they call it. What is the point in paying for some obscure mistake one is not aware of, or reliving our existence over and over if we can’t remember the previous ones and the reasons we keep coming back? It doesn’t make any sense.

“It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27

Another example is Sigmund Freud’s rubbish theory that dreams are conduits for our urges and impulses. Can you imagine what he would have made of the sheaves in Joseph’s dream if he took a swing at it?

Flail and threshing

The Flail and the Threshing

He would have convoluted the whole thing: “The sheaves represent the threshing that took place with a flail; and the flail is symbolic of…” 😮 Never mind.

What a giant fraudster that man was! And yet the 20th century has been called the Freud century. We kid you not.

According to George Dvorsky, “… the 20th century has often been called Freud’s century… But his legacy is a shaky one. Freud has, for the most part, fallen completely out of favor in academia. Virtually no institution in any discipline would dare use him as a credible source. In 1996, Psychological Science reached the conclusion that ‘[T]here is literally nothing to be said, scientifically or therapeutically, to the advantage of the entire Freudian system or any of its component dogmas.’ As a research paradigm, it’s pretty much dead.”

What a powerful indictment of junk theories!

However, Freud is not alone in his capacity to script fantasies. There is an extremely long list of pretend scientists in almost every field. One “scientist” in particular that glaringly stands out alongside Freud – albeit not in psychology, but in supposed importance – is Albert Einstein, whose name has strangely become synonymous with “genius.”

Einstein

Seriously?

Nevertheless, we couldn’t find one thing that man invented or came up with that made our lives better or that was not a fraud. NOT ONE THING! Even the equation E=mc^2 that is attributed to him is apparently from an Italian named Olinto De Pretto who published it in the scientific magazine Atte in 1903.

Yet everyone knows who Einstein is. His face and name are plastered on everything that hints at “sheer ingenuity.” Even his so-called “accomplishments,” besides being theories to begin with, were unsupported conjectures that amounted and led to NOTHING, especially his Theory of Relativity (including the GPS & Relativity myth). Nikola Tesla, a real scientific genius, categorized said theory as “the greatest historical aberration of scientific thought.”

Here are some true scientific geniuses and visionaries: Johannes Gutenberg, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Auguste and Louis Lumiere, Charles Babbage, Reginald Fessenden, Guglielmo Marconi, Thomas Edison, Karl BenzWilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Wright Brothers, Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce, Tim Berners Lee, Alexander Fleming, and Steve Jobs,  just to name a few.

All of them either invented or contributed to the invention of not useless theories but of things that improved our lives and catapulted humanity to a higher level of productivity. Yet none of them is uplifted like Freud and Einstein. Then again unlike Freud and Einstein they were not and are not Jews (some are still alive), so the Jewish-controlled media inflate their own to godlike status – even when they’re fake – in order to propagandize their misappropriated appellation of God’s “Chosen People.” See How the Ashkenazi Jews conquered the West.

Therefore beware of so-called scientists and experts and their unproved theories and conjectures.

OUR OWN TEST SUBJECT

A trustworthy Christian brother, who wishes to remain anonymous (like us) and whom we know quite well, has been for over two decades studying and cataloging his dreams and visions (visions are similar to dreams, except we’re meditating when they occur).

“How blessed is the man…(whose)…delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1: 1,2

Not only did this Christian brother help us with this article, he also allowed us to incorporate herein one of his dreams and one of his visions to bolster our understanding of their presaging quality.

Our Brother’s Dream

A couple of years after joining a church, our brother had the following dream:

“I climbed a tall, tower-like church steeple all the way to the last crosspiece. I held on firmly to the last rung to keep me from falling. Suddenly, the last rung came unglued as if it had a mind of its own. I held on tight to the detached rung as I fell in a body of water. I then saw myself swimming across a vast ocean where I spotted an older woman on a small raft who helped pull me out of the water.”

He went on to explain the sequence of events that led to the full materialization of the dream through a period of almost 10 years:

“I was part of a ‘church’ where duty-wise I steadily climbed the ladder all the way to a ‘leadership’ position (i.e., climbing the church steeple). Then God began to open my eyes about the mammonish ‘pastor’ of that place. However, I foolishly chose to ignore the many red flags God waved at me, as well as refusing to leave when over and over He nudged me to.

“The main reason for my reticence was the fact that I really enjoyed the fellowship of the brethren. God then put me on a sickbed for a month where He made it quite clear in my spirit that I had to leave, otherwise I would not be healed. After meditating I finally relented. I then emailed the ‘pastor’ and let him know of my decision to leave the church (i.e., the last rung with a mind of its own came unglued). I was fully healed one week later.

“Not too long after, the mammonish ‘pastor’ sold the entire church property and pocketed over $12 million from the sale. His goal of becoming a millionaire finally came true. (Beware of prosperity teachers! They’re out to prosper themselves.)

“Knowing that I unwittingly took part in his Machiavellian scheme as a member of the leadership left me devastated as I collapsed emotionally (i.e., I held on tight to the detached rung as I fell in a body of water [or tears]). At least God made sure I was not there when the sale went through and its proceed misappropriated. I am grateful that He forced me to jump ship before it capsized. Subsequently, I left the country and visited my aunt in a small Caribbean island where I stayed for a year (i.e., the older lady on the small raft in the middle of the ocean) to recharge and refuel spiritually.”

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book… In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56: 8,11

Our Brother’s Vision

Our Christian brother explained to us why he finally decided to leave that “church” when he was on his sickbed:

“I was reticent to leave for the reason mentioned earlier, but I also wanted to be obedient to God. Consequently, a battle waged inside me and disturbed my peace. So I had a frank conversation with the Almighty. I basically asked Him to show me whether He was really the one nudging me to leave.

“As I meditated, I had a vision so vivid it’s still etched on my mind: ‘I saw myself walking on a paved road that strangely and speedily became steeper and steeper until I could no longer stay on its sheer vertical slant. I jumped off and landed on a tranquil dirt road that led me to a well.’

“Here’s the meaning of the vision: ‘The man-made paved road represented the man-made ‘church’ I was a part of, which like every other man-made church system elevated a sinful mortal man on an altar above God’s flock – hence its man-made, paved-like quality. I was to jump off because that road was to become not only unbearable, but a spiritual abomination, represented in the vision by a hovering vertical road which no dedicated Christian would be able to walk on. The tranquil dirt road I landed on symbolized the God-made road that would lead me to the well of living water, Jesus Himself, with no man hovering above it to pollute His word and disturb the tranquility and peace that He gives.'”

“…your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17

See Church Services Are NOT Biblical.

HOW TO HANDLE YOUR DREAMS

If you want to fully grasp your dreams (visions included), keep a journal.

“And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets…’ ” Habakkuk 2:2

Write them down as soon as your waking mind has got a hold of them, otherwise they’ll slip right through. However, don’t try to decipher them at once or you’ll find yourself all over the map. Let them percolate. Then they will become quite transparent as God readies to materialize them. Your understanding of them will come during or right before or right after their actualization.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

To decode a dream prior to its materialization is in actuality inconsequential. When God encodes your dream with a hidden message or a road map – as opposed to just a straightforward glimpse of the future – that message (e.g., forgive your brother or sister, careful with so-and-so, etc., which in turn generates “intuition”) or that road map (e.g., idea, invention, breakthrough, plan, etc.) will – unbeknownst to you – penetrate your spirit man in a way that will cause you to heed to said message or road map. In other words, the encoded dream will materialize in your life whether you’re aware of it or not.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Still, as you faithfully catalog your dreams and visions to match the goings-on in your life, God in turn will be faithful to open the eyes of your understanding.

Dreams are always about the future, near or far, not the past. To help you understand them, we have a few tips.

+ Dream Images

God uses familiar images to draw your attention to the upcoming events He wants to share with you. That’s why many times they feel like things you’ve already seen or gone through.

For instance, the setting of the dream that involved Joseph and his brothers was in the field they daily toiled. However, the actual bowing down of the anthropomorphic sheaves (i.e., Joseph’s brothers) took place in Joseph’s Egyptian palace and not in the field. Consequently, everything in your dreams is dramatized with familiar images and characters, even when it’s about a simple phone call, a text, or an email.

+ Dream Examples

If you see yourself kissing someone, it might just be that a) you’ll be talking to someone on the phone or in person or b) you’ll be watching a couple kiss on TV or in a movie.

You’ll be surprised how much of TV shows, movies, and news makes it into your dreams before you actually watch them. Those nightmares are not because of what you ate or what you watched on TV or at the movies, but because of what you will be watching.

A great amount of your sensual, violent, and scary dreams are directly related to the kind of media you will be consuming, of which you are getting a futuristic glimpse. Many times you’ll see yourself and some of those you know as the “protagonists” in those kinds of dreams – maybe it’s God’s way of saying “you are what you watch.” At other times, they’re connected to the words you’ll speak, the jokes you’ll tell, the anger or frustration you’ll experience, the books/magazines you’ll read, the games you’ll play, the deeds you’ll commit, etc.

Let’s say you get shot in a dream, and you’re frantic and frustrated as you look for someone to help dress your wound; it could very well be that you’ll soon experience a wrong such as theft or fraudulent credit card charges, and you’ll frantically try to redress that wrong while simultaneously throwing your frustration at whoever you’ll be arguing with.

+ Common Dreams

If you see yourself:

a) in the air flying like an angel (without wings), you’ll probably be driving on a highway or flying in an airplane;

b) naked or wearing only underwear in a public place, you’ll most likely be involved in a situation where you’ll feel vulnerable or exposed; or it could be that you’ll be going either to the beach or the pool wearing swimwear, which is technically underwear; or at one point you’ll be walking around your house naked, or in underwear or something like it.

+ Symbolic Representation

When you dream of:

a) brothers, sisters, cousins, etc., they are many times symbolic of interchangeable family members with similar characteristics that you’ll soon interact with;

b) dead folks, they are definitely symbolic of people with similar characteristics such as nationality, race, family relation, etc.;

c) actors, they could be symbolic of other actors you are fans of, or people in the entertainment business in general.

+ Patterns

Try to detect patterns, for instance, a dream with a recurring dog. A gentle dog might very well be a project dear to your heart that you’ve been faithfully working on.

However, if the dog is rabid, it might represent someone – or the symbolic composite of various individuals – who’s been repeatedly antagonistic, and whom you might have referred to – in your heart of hearts – as a “dog” or as an “animal.” Nevertheless, if you prefer cats, God might just replace the dog image with a cat. 🙂

+ Mundane Glimpses

Don’t forget that dreams are not only symbolic, but most often than not are about quite mundane things.

A dream in which you squash a cockroach could very well mean that you’ll probably be squashing a spider or blasting ants with bug spray or… squashing a cockroach.

You might also dream of cleaning your bedroom or bathroom, especially if God is trying to hint at something. 😉 Still, even these mundane dreams will be full of symbolism.

+ Layered Episode

At times, divers future events fuse into one dream. It’s like looking at a stack of transparent pancakes from above.

+ Opposite

Occasionally, the opposite of what you dream materializes instead.

For example, if you literally dreamt that you got a business contract, it could very well be that you won’t get it. In actuality, if you were about to win a business contract, the dream would be very symbolic, like “catching a bird under your bed.”

Those “opposite” dreams often come off ratatouilled, leaving you with just a “feeling” or a “partial glimpse” of the whole futuristic view.

+ Clear As A Bell

On the very rare occasion, God might give you a dream with a very clear view of the future and with no symbolism, to boot.

It’s His way of helping you cope with a major upcoming event. Whatever that event may be, always take it in stride and apply biblical principles. After all, you might be wrong. So be wise.

+ Random Voices

Many times, just when you are falling into a deep sleep, a voice wakens you, calling out your name. It is often masked with the familiar vocalization of someone you know, usually a family member or close friend or associate.

“A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy.” 1 Samuel 3:8

It is God warning you of an impending verbal confrontation with that particular individual. Do your best to take heed to it and keep your anger under control, even though it’ll prove difficult, nigh impossible, to avoid said confrontation.

“’What was it he said to you?’ Eli asked. ‘Do not hide it from me. May God deal with you, be it ever so severely, if you hide from me anything he told you.’ So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him.” 1 Samuel 3:17,18

+ Description

Every detail is important. Therefore, stay faithful to your dreams as you describe them in your journal, especially those dreams you feel are so symbolic they must mean something.

+ Time

Be patient as you endeavor to decipher your dreams. It will take time (or not, depending on your spiritual condition). So don’t get frustrated, it’ll bear fruit.

+ Materialization

Most dreams will materialize right after you dreamt them, some within a few days. Quite a number of them will take months or years before they actualize.

Revisit your journal entries often so you can match them with their real life equivalents, as you look back on the events of your life or as you experience the déjà vus.

+ Your Dreams And Visions

They are for you alone. God will not give you a “message” for someone else. If God wants to tell so-and-so something, He can tell so-and-so Himself. Learn from Joseph. He wanted to give his brothers the “message” that they would soon bow down to him, and so his brothers kidnapped him and sold him into slavery.

+ Enigmas

Many of your dreams will remain lasting enigmas. It’s okay. We can’t win them all. God likes to keep us on our toes. After all, He’s the only omniscient one.

CONCLUSION

Joseph dreams and the Angel speaksDreams are visual and audial conversations about the future that God undertakes with His creation.

He uses them to generously fill us with glimpses of the long and winding road that is the rest of our earthly existence. It’s His loving way of alleviating our anxiety about what lies ahead.

Consequently, even when we are oblivious of them, they still leave an undeniable and hopeful imprint on our souls, which somehow relays to us that tomorrow is brimming and waiting.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

So don’t let pseudo-scientists and dream crushers destroy that link. They’re atheists who have learned to hate the spiritual side of our nature.

No matter what they do, they can’t hide from God nor thwart His appointed purpose. Ironically, they themselves are also recipients of said purpose, even of their God-given dreams.

“Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:24

“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45

If you tenaciously apply yourself to understand your dreams, you’ll become aware and wide-eyed to their materialization, at least to a good number of them. Your faith will then catapult to a whole new level.

“Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Daniel 1:17

In this era of Jesus’s New Covenant, so can all of us.

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” Hebrews 10:35

Continue reading

The 11 Commandments

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

MosesGod started His legal system when He gave Moses the 10 commandments.

From Exodus 20 – with our commentary:

Commandment 1:

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

This commandment comes into sharper focus when we understand that Jesus is God who became flesh and dwelt amongst us.

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30

See The Trinity Doctrine is NOT in the Bible.

Commandment 2:

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Many Christians take this commandment as if God forbade the sculpture or painting of His likeness. That’s not the intent of the 2nd commandment at all. What God was saying was that we must not take the sculptures or paintings of things in heaven, like the sun many once revered, or the earth beneath, like the calf the ancient Hebrews worshiped in the wilderness, or in the waters below, like Dagon the fish-god the Amorites adored, and bow down to them.

By the same token, we must not take the painting or sculpture of the likeness of Jesus and bow down to it either, as if that sculpture or painting were Jesus Himself.

Still, God did not forbid the depictions of Himself or angels or things on earth or in the waters as art. God Himself asked for sculptures of cherubim to be placed not only on the ark of the covenant, but on the walls of the Temple (Old Testament) as well.

“You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.” Exodus 25: 21-22

“On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers.” 2 Chronicles 3:11

God is everything: a scientist, an engineer, a musician, an artist, etc.  He has freely distributed these gifts of His to all under heaven with the express purpose that we use them.

“In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” Exodus 31: 6

Commandment 3:

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

The way people take God’s name in vain or misuse it is by:

1) attributing to Him things He neither said nor commanded – like the erroneous tenets of church tithing and church services, and the mistaken belief that modern-day Israel is the fulfillment of God’s prophetic word in the bible;

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37

2) swearing by God when mere mortals are generally skittish and fickle, not to mention sinful and definitely not omniscient or omnipotent; that’s why Jesus reiterated the 3rd commandment in the following manner:

“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes ‘ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” Matthew 5: 34-37

See Pray for the Peace of which Jerusalem?

Commandment 4:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

The Sabbath is for man and not man for the Sabbath. In other words, God gave the Sabbath to man as a gift so he can rest. Jesus Himself had to put this in perspective.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?’ Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’ ” Mark 2: 25-27

The Sabbath might be a day of rest, but if there’s a need that we must take care of, the Sabbath is not to be worshiped to the point of ignoring that need.

However, employers are not gods and therefore must respect the fact that their employees have the God-given right to their day of rest, whenever that day may be following the six days of work.

In general – as a society, not necessarily as a biblical rule – we have come to establish that our 6 days of work are broken down thus: 5 days dedicated to satisfy the demands of our employers or our own businesses and 1 day to satiate the obligations of our households, or if in financial strait or seasonally busy that 6th day is instead geared towards our employers or our businesses.

Commandment 5:

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Commandments 1 to 3 focus on God. Commandment 4 focuses on the individual.  Commandment 5 focuses on fathers and mothers. Commandments 6 to 10 focus on others. That’s the order God chose. As can be clearly seen, government and religious “leaders” did not even make it.

In addition, God singled out the 5th Commandment by attaching a promise to it, thus emphasizing its importance.

“‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise).” Ephesians 6:2

“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you.” Deuteronomy 5:16

Commandment 6:

13 “You shall not murder.”

This is another commandment that is pretty straightforward, one that Jesus reiterated with a warning to all – Christians or not:

” ‘You shall not murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ ” Matthew 5:21

Murder is usually the result of a hatred so powerful it can’t be controlled.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matthew 5: 43-46

See All Wars are evil. Period.

Commandment 7:

14 “You shall not commit adultery.”

Preachers” have messed up the meaning of adultery, and the catastrophic result has been that many Christians are now living in adulterous relationships.

See Of Fornication, Divorce, and Adultery.

Commandment 8:

15 “You shall not steal.”

And yet so many “Christians” are helping modern-day Israel steal land that does not belong to them, especially since Jews are not even the Israelites of the Bible.

“Do not trust in oppression and do not vainly hope in robbery…” Psalm 62:10

See How the Ashkenazi Jews conquered the West.

Commandment 9:

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

False testimony is not only forbidden in a court of law, but in gossips and rumors as well.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

See The Heart Adjustment.

Commandment 10:

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

If you catch yourself noticing that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, beware.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 11-13

See Has God Planned BIG Things for our Lives?

ADDITIONALLY

The above 10 commandments were given to Moses by God, but when God became flesh and dwelt amongst us He added another one.

Commandment 11:

Jesus and the poor“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

If we live our lives truly loving one another – Commandment 11 – we actually end up fulfilling commandments 4 to 10. Furthermore, by loving one another we actually love God Himself because in following His command to love one another we show that we love Him, the one true God, and thus fulfill Commandments 1 to 3. Consequently, we fulfill all 11 commandments when we genuinely love one another. That’s why Jesus summarized the laws thus:

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 34-40

The Apostle Paul understood how these two commandments fuse together as one and put it this way:

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Galatians 5:14

The Apostle John summarized it thus:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20

It is so much more difficult to love our siblings and those within our family. It’s been thus from the very beginning since Cain killed his brother Abel. We expect them to conform to our disposition when God actually expects us to conform to theirs by making allowance for their faults.

“Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ ” Matthew 18: 21,22

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

No genuine need in our family is to be rejected.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” 1 John 3:17

Let us make sure our hearts are conditioned to accept and not reject those who are in need.

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5: 42

Beware lest we camouflage our hardheartedness with excuses and unforgivingness. God will not be mocked.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6: 7

Love is not a goosebumpsy feeling or emotion. To love is to actually do the things we’ve been commanded to do, no matter how hard they may be.

See Who Should Christians Give their Money to?

CONCLUSION

All enduring biblical laws are now sub-laws to the 11th Commandment.

They delineate and detail its intrinsic content in order to help us succeed in applying the Greatest Commandment of all.

God gave them to us so we can obey them. Those who choose to ignore them do so to their own detriment. See Of Legalism and Christians.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

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Where Is Satan Now?

A Concise Explanation Of The Book Of Revelation, The End Of The Age, And The End Of The World.
C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Satan in the Abyss

Satan in the Abyss by Vigovsky

Satan is currently chained and imprisoned in the bottomless pit.

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed…” Revelation 20:1-3

The abyss is a horrific place, even for demons.

“For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man… And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him. They implored Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.” Luke 6: 29-31

THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

After Christ rose from the dead and went up to heaven in 30 AD, He patiently waited 40 years for the disobedient Hebrews to accept Him as Messiah. The reason He waited was because the Hebrews were:

“…beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.” Romans 11: 28-31

But, in 70 AD, Christ unleashed hell upon the disobedient ones. He opened the abyss and allowed its resident demons to escape in order to devour them (through war).

“Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Revelation 9: 1-4

4 Horsemen

The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse of 70 AD

All the chalices in Revelation were curses God poured on the disobedient Hebrews who refused to acknowledge Him. The trumpets that blasted their introductions along with the four Horsemen were all designed for those Judahite Hebrews who crucified the Lord. However, those who accepted Him fled Judah/Judea before the beginning of sorrows and of the Apocalypse in AD 70.

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city.” Luke 21: 20,21

Soon after Pentecost, Christians took Jesus’s warning very seriously. They started selling everything they had with an eye towards leaving Judah or Judea.

“They began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” Acts 2:45

Those Christian Hebrews who escaped the infernal LAST DAYS of the Old Covenant embodied 1) “all Israel shall be saved” of Romans 11:26 and 2) the grass of the earth… (the) green thing… (the) tree of Revelation 9:4 that were not to be hurt.

Consequently, those Christian Hebrews were the ones who did not have the mark of the beast. Their symbolic number in Revelation is 144,000 (12 tribes squared/Father & Son x 1000/many or 12² x 1000). Those with the mark of the beast were annihilated.

In other words, there are NO LOST TRIBES of Israel roaming about. They’re all DEAD. Besides, if they’re lost, why don’t they pick up a cell phone and call someone. After all, this is the 21st century. 🙂

The Apocalypse of 70 AD was the day of reckoning for those who killed the Messiah, and the end of the age of the Old Covenant and of Satan’s dominion upon the earth.

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:20

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers…” 2 Corinthians 4:4

While God poured the chalices of His wrath on the disobedient Hebrews and shut down the Old Covenant, the whole earth felt the ripples of the dying Old Order and experienced the birth pangs of the New Order or the New Age as the physical war spread.

“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

“Then they will deliver you to be persecuted, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24: 6 – 14

That end was not the end of the world, but the end of the Old Covenant with Satan the Serpent as god of this world.

Once that age or that order came to an end, Christ zoomed in on that sly devil and had him bound and thrown into the abyss.

Why?

So he would deceive the nations no more the way he deceived the Hebrews and the world.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

However, only Satan was bound and thrown into the bottomless pit. The locusts or demons that were released therefrom are still rummaging about, like chickens without heads or in this instance without their head Satan. In other words, their capacity to wreak havoc and their deceptive prowess are limited, but to the spiritually naked (i.e. those without Christ) they still pack a punch, albeit not as impactful as before.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

Satan’s incarceration is for a thousand-year period – not a literal thousand, just like the thousand in the following verse is not literal either.

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:10

The word thousand in these instances means many or a great amount. The cattle on the thousand and first and second and third hills do not belong to someone else, they still belong to God.

With that same understanding, Satan is bound for a thousand-year time as Christ reigns as King over the earth through the New Order or the New Age, and no one but God knows when that unlimited period will end.

When it does, God will release Satan for a little while.

“…he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.” Revelation 20: 3

Upon his discharge the following will take place.

“When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” Revelation 20: 7-9

The beloved city is the spiritual New Jerusalem, not the physical Old One. It is comprised of the Saints of God or Christians.

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem…” Revelation 21:2

Christ will intervene in that final spiritual war by “raining fire from heaven” to destroy the enemies of His Bride, the Church Assembly, and by shutting down the course of history, thus bringing about the end of the world. This is how Jesus described it.

“…at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ” Matthew 13:30

The tares will be gathered first. Not the Saints.

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17

“We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15: 21,22

Then finally:

“… the devil who deceived them (will be) thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20: 7-10

Satan’s angels, along with those not found in Jesus’s Book of Life and those who supposedly follow Christ but reject His commands, will also partake of the eternal fire.

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…’ ” Matthew 25:41

[See How to Become a true Christian and avoid that eternal anguish.]

Those who follow Christ and obey His commands will be rewarded.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ ” Matthew 25: 34

And then Christ will start everything over.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” Revelation 21:1

No longer any sea is symbolic for no longer any abyss, the pit wherefrom came the demons.

“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.” Revelation 13:1

Therefore, there will be no more demonic and destructive forces in the new earth to contend with.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

Crushing Satan

Crushing Satan by Guido Reni

CONCLUSION

Satan is currently in jail, just like an incarcerated mafia don whose goons are running amok in the streets.

That is why the Apostle Paul penned the following.

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 16: 20

That crushing was the expected binding of Satan who was subsequently thrown into the abyss.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’ ” Luke 10:18

Following Satan’s crushing defeat, Christ’s millennial started in earnest and is now in play. Meanwhile a certain manifestation of the new Heaven and the new Earth, in preparation for their prophesied upcoming transformation, is already being exhibited: the Earth is now under new management with Jesus reigning over it in Heaven.

“To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:11

“Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!” Revelation 14:3

Bringing His dominion to bear, Christ is at work, preparing and PERFECTING a special group of people, a multitude from every generation and every nation under heaven that will inherit the New PERFECT Earth He will bring forth.

“I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.” Revelation 7:9

Note

Remember, the entire New Testament – including the Book of Revelation – was written prior to 70 AD and must be read with that context in mind in order to understand many of its passages.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together… and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

Daniel’s prophecies, which were precursors and confirmations of John’s prophecies in Revelation, also pertained to 70 AD and not to a distant future that has yet to happen.

“Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 Corinthians 13:1

Every prophecy in the bible has already been fulfilled, except for those concerning the end of the world as explained in the body of the article above.

In addition, the Word JUDAHITE, not JEW, is in the Bible. The word JEW is a mistranslation and causes quite the confusion about the Book of Revelation, especially since Jews are NOT the Hebrews of the bible – all the Hebrews are irrevocably dead. Therefore, the bible is not talking about the Jews nor about modern-day Israel, but about the Judahite Hebrews of old.

“God is not the author of confusion…” 1 Corinthians 14:33

Special Note

Satan may be in the Abyss, but his legacy continues. See The Star Of David? and Judaism or Pharisaism.

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Of Adoption And Surrogacy

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Adoption and Surrogacy in the bible are very scarce, so scarce in fact that there are no stipulated laws about them. They’re always choices made by biblical figures who were either desperate or had to help those in despair.

And desperation is not a way of life God wants us to rely on because it is the loss of hope, a debilitating state whereby we take our eyes off God Himself, the God of hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

ADOPTION

Adoption is a noble and sacrificial deed that many people choose to make. However, it has become so prevalent in this modern world that we feel obligated to broach the subject.

Crying Boy

Crying Boy

Though there are instances where adoption is a necessity or even a selfless act by those who undertake it, it is however something we must work hard to relegate to the smallest and infinitesimal quotient, as opposed to the brisk business it has become today, especially given the way many adoptions are currently being processed.

In a perfect world, every child would be brought up by their real parents. In fact, it is the way that God Himself intended it from the very beginning.

“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice…” Genesis 18:9

However, there are harsh circumstances that push people to either adopt or give up their children. And by harsh we mean harsh.

Let’s check these biblical circumstances.

Moses rescued from the Nile

Moses rescued from the Nile

Moses had to be given up, otherwise he would have been slaughtered. Yet, her mother, under a false identity, was the one who ended up taking care of him anyway. Therefore family was involved in his upbringing. But when Moses realized he was adopted by the Egyptians, it did not turn out good for them.

Esther is the only other biblical figure who was adopted, but she was not a baby when Mordecai took her in, and he only did so because her parents had died. Thus, Mordecai, a cousin, a family member, was the one who took care of her. Still, she never called him “daddy”, even though she afforded him the respect due a parent.

“He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Esther 2:7

Consequently, the bible shows us only one reason why “breathing” parents should permanently give up their children for others to care for – if they’re about to be slaughtered.

And the only example the bible gives us as a reason for anyone to adopt a child as one’s own is if that child is family and his parents have passed away (i.e., the child is an orphan). Accordingly, that child knows that those who adopt him are not his “parents”, though he still gives them the same respect as if they were. In other words, the adopted child knows the truth from the get go.

Adopting an orphan is the biblical duty of the extended family.

“But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” 1 Tim 5:8

That is why Christian families are commanded to take care of orphans.

However, if these children have no extended families, then an orphanage ministry can be set up, with a system of checks and balances to prevent depravation and abuse, and with the following goals: to provide food, shelter, clothing, education, mentoring, health care, and spiritual guidance.

Christian families are biblically commanded to visit these orphans and help them financially and relationally in their upbringing.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

The Greek word for visit is EPISKEPTOMAI which means to inspect, to go to see, to relieve, to visit. Thus to visit an orphan is to care for them, to protect them by making sure no harm is done to them, to relieve or soothe their needs, and to surround them with new “extended” families with each visit.

If certain families wish to bring in some of these children in their homes to be cared for, it’d be up to those at the orphanage ministry who are caring for them to prayerfully and carefully consider such requests.

Though there are no biblical directives that allow or disallow such a move, the bible in its totality, however, favors the adoption of an orphan by members of the orphan’s extended family or household. Releasing children to the care of total strangers is always a risky proposition, as there are many unscrupulous people and even weirdos out there.

Even Abram/Abraham, when he was childless, was rebuked by God as he was thinking of leaving his inheritance to one who was not of his blood.

“But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a servant in my household will be my heir.’ And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’ ” Genesis 15: 2-4

People must understand that even if they get to adopt orphaned children, they are not and can never become their “real” parents. Many push these kids to call them “mommy” and “daddy”, which is basically a lie.

In these situations, the worst cases are the children adopted as babies. When they grow up and discover that those they’ve been calling “mommy” and “daddy” their whole lives are not their “real” parents, the majority of them usually become emotionally unstable and launch a search for their biological parents. Such a reaction is quite natural and to be expected; it is one that God intentionally designed in order to draw our attention to the importance He places on blood family.

Even Jesus, as a boy, knew who His real Father was. See how He indirectly rebuked His mother:

“His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.’ And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?’ ” Luke 2:48-49

However, many Christians use the following verse as if God had it carved for adoption purposes:

“To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:5

These Christians have a bad habit of taking something God says in one circumstance and arbitrarily applying it to another (like old testament tithing vs church tithing or Ancient Israel vs the modern state of Israel). It’s exactly like comparing apples with oranges.

Just because God adopts all of us Christians into His family is not a general command for Christians to go out there and start adopting left and right. The circumstances that made God “adopt” us are different.

From the very beginning God created all of us to be His own children; but then we rebelled, and sin separated us from Him as we became by our actions subservient children of the Devil.

“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isaiah 59:2

So God had to “adopt” us back into the fold through the sacrifice of His son Jesus the Christ.

“To all who did receive him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” John 1:12

The word adopt comes from two Latin words: ad (towards) and optare (to choose). Therefore God moved TOWARDS CHOOSING to take us back as His own. The Greek word in the bible for adoption is itself HUITHESIS which means the placing as sons.

As sinners we were misplaced and under the sway of the evil one, but with Christ we have been established once and for all as the Sons of God we were created and predestined to be from the very beginning.

“He predestined us to be placed as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…” Ephesians 1:5

Further, the way many organizations (some Christian ones included) are pushing the adoption process entices many feeble and financially-challenged parents-to-be to give up their babies (who are not orphans), so they can be adopted by well-to-do folks.

When one adopts a non-orphan child, one forever takes that child away from those who were destined to be his parents.

The mission of these organizations should not be to pull families apart, but to keep them together. That’s why their goals should be:

1) help orphans find their extended families, and care for those with none;

2) support parents and parents-to-be who can’t financially take care of their children.

Unfortunately, many of these organizations or agencies have actually constructed themselves as businesses disguised as non-profits, whose fuel is the wholesale adoption by strangers of newly born babies and toddlers.

An average adoption costs anywhere between $5,000.00 when one does it personally and up to $40,000.00 when an agency is hired. Ergo, most of these agencies are nothing but businesses.

Usually the reason people lean towards letting go of their babies – the preferred option of adoptive parents – is because of dire financial circumstances. So why not use these moneys and help these folks become parents to their offspring as God intended?

More often than not these organizations end up facilitating (willfully or not) the giving up of these young creatures to be adopted by total inconnus. To put it bluntly, they are actually ripping these children from their God-assigned parents.

Instead, if financial help were provided to these individuals, God’s command to care for the poor would be fulfilled, and their despair would instantly be replaced with hope as they would get to keep their children. That way the God of hope would shine through.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

To facilitate children to stay with their biological parents or family is the better course of action and the more natural one. However, by making it easy for people to give up their babies, mothers (and fathers) are thus “encouraged” to let go of their own flesh and blood.

“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:7

Again, there are circumstances which call for adoption, and if they are not within the bible’s parameters, we can always rely on the Holy Spirit’s guidance to help with such an important decision, while keeping in mind the understanding that the word of God provides.

SURROGACY

Abraham and Hagar

Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away

The first surrogate mother in the bible is Hagar. She was the maidservant of Abraham’s wife, Sarah.

When Sarah realized she couldn’t get pregnant she panicked and sent her husband to sleep with Hagar who got pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael. But when Sarah herself got pregnant, she regretted that fateful decision and forced Abraham to send Hagar and her child away.

The other two famous surrogate mothers of the bible are Bilhah and Zilpah, maidservants of Jacob’s wives Rachel and Leah.

When Rachel couldn’t bear children, out of frustration she sent Jacob to sleep with her maidservant Bilhah. To compete with her sister Rachel, Leah, Jacob’s first wife, also sent her maidservant Zilpah to sleep with her husband. The four women ended up giving Jacob twelve sons who later became the twelve tribes of Ancient Israel. See Can a man have many wives?

These surrogate mothers – especially the last two – were used by healthy women who were impatient and could not wait on God. Their frustration proved futile since later on they ended up getting pregnant.

Surrogacy the old fashioned way may be a viable option for women who can never have children (i.e., women whose biological clocks have run out or with birth defects or are sterile for various medical reasons, etc.).

However, the drawbacks in today’s western society can be numerous, especially for the surrogate mother – not to mention the remote possibility of it ever happening. Still, it could happen, and unless the arrangement is legally binding, it may create some nasty surprises.

In other words, it may engender conflicts that not only affect the children themselves, but those who are involved as well. Its negative effects, if materialized, could actually be more widespread than those of adoption since the different mothers may end up hating each other, which would then extend the strife to the fathers and the children they fathered along with their birth mothers.

That is why surrogacy, western style, has become not just a contractual affair, but also a clinical and medical experience that may wind up costing up to $150,000.

Men deposit their sperms which are used to fertilize surrogate mothers’ eggs. These eggs are then implanted inside the wives or inside the surrogate mothers themselves, following legal paperwork.

In the same manner, many single women, and even some married ones with supposedly impotent husbands, also use sperm banks to buy anonymous donors’ sperms in order to fertilize their own eggs.

Such procedures are so impersonal and so detached from basic human behavior and emotions that they usually leave the participants feeling probed, hopeless, and impotent; worse, it leaves the spawned children, who later discover the truth, desperately searching for nondescript fathers or mothers they may never locate.

The psychological, emotional, and spiritual impacts of such procedures leave behind a trail of wounded and lost souls frantically searching for their origins.

CONCLUSION

Adoption and Surrogacy are not solutions the bible dwells on because they are not God’s perfect problem solving methods, though in the very rare occasions they may be, especially when it comes to biblical adoption as previously described.

In general, God’s perfect solution for couples facing either dilemma is faith. God wants us to believe that He is the God of hope who can make the impossible happen, and that is usually why He allows these problems to surface in the first place.

“You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” Psalm 77:14

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

He wants us to rely on Him, within the confines of His established and created physiological rules.

For example, a ninety-year old woman cannot expect to ever get pregnant, even though Sarah was around the same age when she got pregnant for Abraham.

There is a difference.

God personally appeared to Abraham and told him that one day Sarah would get pregnant. Now if your wife is 90 years old and you want her or she wants to get pregnant, God had better show up at your doorstep – personally and “physically” – to tell you it will happen, otherwise your faith will be in vain. But if your wife is a healthy thirty-year old who can’t get pregnant, then you’d both better get on your knees and pray and have faith.

Still, the bible does provide solutions for single women who are having difficulty getting married and would like to have children, and for men who want children their wives are neither willing to breed nor capable of giving them. Click here to read it.

” ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

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