Friday, March 16, 2018

1st Timothy, part 3, Linking the Hebrew Letter Yod

Hebrew letter "yod"

We’ve been showing the links between the 22 Hebrew letters and the corresponding 66 books in the Bible. See CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES for the complete study. We’re on the tenth letter, yod, whose symbol is the hand. The alphabetic verses for the letter yod (KJV) show this clearly:

Psalm 119:73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.Proverbs 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.Lamentations 1:10 The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things:Lamentations 4:10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children

The symbol of the hand naturally represents power, might, ability, and authority because with it we handle, control, possess, and manipulate (from the Latin manus = hand) everything in our world. In fact, yod is translated as power twelve times in the KJV and when God gave dominion over all creatures to Noah and his sons, he said "into your hand are they delivered." A ruling king has the land under the "power of his hand" and God freed the Jews from their Egyptian bondage "with great power, and with a mighty hand" (Exodus 32:11).

We saw several instances of “hand” in our other two yod books, 2nd Samuel and Jonah. Now look at 1st Timothy 2:8: 4:14; and 5:22:

 8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

I don’t know about you, but this stuff gives me chills. How awesome is the Word of God! 

Friday, March 9, 2018

1st Timothy, part 2, Does Your Church Have Bishops or Deacons?

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

Now on to bishops and deacons. Chapter 3: 1-7:

 1 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

This translation uses “overseer,” some say “bishop.” The original Greek word is “episkope” which implies overseeing, observing, examining the state of affairs of something. If your church has bishops here is where you can see the criteria you should hold them to.

 8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
 11 In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
 12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Deacons can be men or women. Verse 11 indicates that women are included as candidates for this office (Phoebe is called a deacon in Romans 16:1). The high standards for both bishops and deacons are strict. The difference in these 2 offices seems to be that overseer (bishop, elder) should be able to teach (vs.2). Both offices have a hand in the affairs of the church.

Friday, March 2, 2018

1st Timothy, part 1, Choking on Women’s Lib/Feminism

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Our third yod book is 1st Timothy, a letter written by St. Paul to Timothy to instruct him on how to deal with the growing problem of false teachers in Ephesus. There are only six chapters; in chapter 1 legalism and unsound doctrine are rebuked; chapter 2 deals with prayer and worship; chapter 3 gives the qualifications of elders and deacons; chapter 4 has instructions to Timothy; chapters 5 and 6 are full of advice for the work of the good minister of Jesus Christ.

Read chapter one. Paul tells us in chapter 1 that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers, rebels, the ungodly, murderers, adulterers, perverts (literally sodomites – think about it, it may make you uncomfortable because it is not “politically correct” to call gay people perverts, but you cannot argue with God), perjurers, slave traders and liars. Oh, and the unholy and irreligious. I think he covered all the sinners and if he didn’t he added “whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” Now if you think Paul sounds a bit arrogant, he goes on to say that he was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man, but that he acted in ignorance and unbelief. He claims that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, among whom he is the worst. So he’s not arrogant, but rather quite self-aware.

Here’s chapter 2: 8-12:

 8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

Okay, ladies and gents, let’s examine these verses carefully. Right away in verse 8 there is a reference to our 10th Hebrew letter that matches up to this book and means hand. We are to lift up “holy hands;” Young’s Literal translation says “kind hands.” Is this just for the men? No, because verse 9 actually starts in the original Greek with a word that means “in the same way” or “in like manner.” So, women should lift up their hands, too, plus dress modestly and, to give it a modern interpretation, they should not look like they are vying for a cover shot on a magazine about Hollywood glamour. Nope, instead they should adorn themselves with good deeds – do something to make God proud. (Extra info: three 1st century writers, the poet Juvenal, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder, and Philo a Jewish Hellenistic philosopher, all wrote about the women of their time who dressed extravagantly. From prostitutes to the wife of Caligula, they describe the jewelry, clothing and makeup of these pagan women. Paul probably wanted to caution Christian women to avoid being mistaken for one of them and compromising their witness. Wearing jewelry, makeup and nice clothes is not prohibited anywhere in the Bible.)

All right, verse 11 brings out the women’s libber in the majority of Americans. How do we deal with Paul’s statement that a woman should learn in quietness and full submission? Well, first of all this is really pretty liberal in that he’s saying that women should learn, up until then women didn’t get much education, if any. Learning in quietness means just that. Full submission (or subjection, as some translators have used) does not mean that Christian women are not free and equal to their husbands – they are – but Paul is worried about the danger that a wife might usurp the husband’s authority; that would not please the Lord because He has placed the man as head over the woman in the marital relationship. So ladies, don’t get your feathers ruffled over these verses, there is a perfect order here and Paul is not relegating women to second class status any more than the letter g is less important than the letter f just because it comes behind it in the order of the alphabet.

The problem with verse 12 is that the word “woman” is actually “wife” in the Greek and the word “teach” in this instance means “to teach continuously.” Paul is saying that if the husband is present then the wife should not undermine his position in public; she should never encroach upon his role. When you understand the original intent of the language then you can avoid misunderstandings. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

THE TIME STOPPER, chapter one excerpt

is now live on Amazon

This is book 3 in THE TIME BENDER series and is the alien Marcum's story. Here are the first few pages:

WHEN KLAQIN’S TWO moons pass in retrograde orbit above our farm in Turlektrad, making the mists rise from the lakes and ponds, it’s time to help with the harvest. There are several entrances to the reaping caves, but tradition dictates that we go to the middle of the field and find the oldest opening, the one with precisely measured stone steps that descend into a well-lit cavern. My mother Krimar has already placed baskets at intervals and my father and I have to pull on the dangling roots to cause the crops to slip through the spongy ground and drop into the baskets. Occasionally we hear the sounds the vegetables emit above as we yank them from their constant sun and daily mistings.
“This will be your last harvest, Marcum,” my father Pauro says. “Krimar and I have decided to let you train.”
I know I should thank him, but the words catch in my throat and my ears uncontrollably wag like a weediq’s tail. All I can do at first is grunt a civil “Ehk.” I stretch to reach a particularly short root and tug gently. “Krimar made you change your mind, didn’t she?”
“No.” Pauro picks up his full basket and walks toward a shaft. “I met with a leader of the Gleezhian refugees.” He looks over his shoulder to judge my reaction. But I am brave, as I’ve been bred to be, and I show no concern over this startling revelation. In my head my thoughts are whirring. Without realizing it I pluck the pechans too close to their stems.
 “You know a little of the last invasion, Marcum, but at the Academy you’ll study more and learn to fly.”
Learn to fly. I am certainly old enough. At last. Sixteen solar orbits, no longer a child.
“There’s a transport through here in two double-moons. You’ll go then. They’ve received your genetic analysis and one Commander in particular is quite eager to have you.” Pauro returns for my basket. Tiny droplets of moisture glisten on his lashes and coat his cheeks with a wetness like tears. He carries my basket off and repeats the system of sending the full containers of produce down the deep shaft to the food processing plant ten stories below. A skeleton crew of workers slaves to change the colorful harvest into condensed pills or liquid vials that will sustain the Klaqin space Commanders for extended periods of time. I yearn to be one of those Commanders.
I finish another basket and carry it past my father as I calculate all I’ll need to do in the next two double-moons. I am not sorry I’ll miss the animal harvest scheduled for four double-moons from now; it’s a difficult time for me because I’ve befriended most of them, even hidden some in my room for training. But Pauro has always depended on my help since mother refuses to go near the house processor.
My thoughts dart from pets to flying to invasions and alien wars. “But what did meeting with a Gleezhian refugee have to do with your decision?” I ask, wondering how safe my mother will be if there are exiles around.
“The refugees are gaining political ground. I stumbled upon some females prowling the area. They’ve been here a long time and still can’t speak our language.” He shakes his head. “They were armed, of course, and forced me to one of their sites where their leader spoke a fair bit of Klaqin.” He clucks his tongue as is our custom and snaps two fingers before he pulls down a triple root of yellow plickken. I see by the wiggling of his ears that he is excited to tell me this. “I got the feeling that something unexpected and dangerous is in the works. They threatened me … wanted me to join them. I pretended to sympathize with them for our safety, which brought me to my decision. I want you to be a trained and accomplished Commander and not just some farmer’s son who doesn’t know an arc-gun from a spike-rod. I want my child to be daring, courageous in battle … heroic.”
He still calls me a child and I hate that. But I cluck my tongue in agreement and smile on the inside. I’ve heard many stories about the resistance, the refugees, the anti-Commander factions and of course the Interstellar Combat Academy. The Academy used to be highly regarded and extremely difficult to earn a place in, but not now. The First Commanders, it is rumored, plan to draft all males above childhood age. There is private talk of acquiring females my age, though that will be for the females’ protection and for population insurance. There is no longer a test to pass for entrance. But there should still be plenty of competition. I want to join not out of patriotism or obligation, but because I want to explore the farthest regions of space.
I spend the rest of the harvest time speaking sporadically to my father while daydreaming about flying the latest spacecraft. He admonishes me not to join any clubs; there are ones, he says, that addict a man to mechanical pain inducers. I contemplate the warning for a moment then turn my thoughts back to piloting. He counsels me against taking leave to the Fringes of the big cities such as Plickkentrad or Cormenor. The Fringes, he says in a voice loud enough to interrupt my daydream, are gateways to banishment. That piece of information is new to me, but I can ignore it since I don’t expect to take any breaks from the Academy.

   ***end of excerpt***

If you haven't read THE TIME BENDER you're missing out on my favorite series to date. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

1st Thessalonians, part 4, Links to Hebrew Letter

Hebrew letter het

We’ve looked at what’s in 1st Thessalonians for a few weeks, but we haven’t shown how it links up to the Hebrew letter het. Remember that this Hebrew letter symbolically means fence or hedge. Its original pictographic form looked like two fence poles with two or three rails across.

The two other het books in the Bible are Amos and Ruth. Amos has some links back to Ruth and forward to 1st Thessalonians. In Ruth we saw the wall of warmth that surrounded Ruth in her relationship with family and in Amos we saw the fire on the wall and the Lord standing by it. Now I’ll show you some more links:

Friday, February 9, 2018

1st Thessalonians, part 3, Do's and Don't's

Now let’s look at 1st Thessalonians 5: 14 – 28:

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
 25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Paul packs a lot into his final instructions.

Friday, February 2, 2018

1st Thessalonians, part 2, the Rapture verses

We looked at chapter 1 of 1st Thessalonians last week. In the chapters following Paul covers the believer’s walk and sanctification and hope. Please read and carefully study this letter. We’ll look at just a couple of other things here. Read chapter 4: 13 – 18:

 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

These are the “rapture” verses.

Friday, January 26, 2018

1st Thessalonians, part 1, the Doctrines of Christian Faith

Hebrew letter het

The New Testament book of 1st Thessalonians links up to the Hebrew letter het. Remember that this letter symbolically means fence or hedge. Its original pictographic form looked like two fence poles with two or three rails across.
1st Thessalonians was written by St. Paul. It is the earliest of his letters. He wrote it shortly after he preached in the Thessalonian church for about a month. The young disciples in this church needed confirmation in the foundational truths and Paul gives it here. He also exhorts them to go on to holiness and he comforts them regarding those who had died.
All of the great and wonderful doctrines of the Christian faith can be found in this epistle. 

Let’s look first at chapter 1 where we find the subjects of election, the Holy Spirit and assurance, the Trinity, conversion and also the second coming:

1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
   To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
   Grace and peace to you.
 2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Colossians, part 2, What Should Husbands Do?

Let’s look specifically at the rules for holy living found in chapter 3 of Colossians. Read the chapter and then see if you can fill in the answers:

1.         Where should you set your heart?
2.         Where should you set your mind?
3.         Should you “put to death” sexual immorality?
4.         Should you “put to death” impurity? What is impurity?
5.         Besides lust, evil desires and greed, what else should you “put to death”?
6.         What are the 5 things you should rid your lips of?
7.         What are the 5 things you should clothe yourself with?
8.         What should wives do?
9.         What should husbands do?
10.       What should children do?
11.        What should fathers not do?

12.       How can you make verse 23 central to your life?

So, what should husbands do?
Answer: Love your wives; do not be harsh with them.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Colossians, part 1, Linking to a Hebrew Letter

Hebrew letter "zayin"
Zayin is the 7th Hebrew letter and means weapon or sword. In Modern Hebrew it means to be armed and that is the primary theme of the 7th book, Judges, but our third zayin book, Colossians, is void of weapons. However, being related to the 7th letter is apparent in its relationship to the number 7 itself. In Biblical symbolism 7 represents fullness, completeness. Throughout Colossians the theme of God's fullness is apparent in the 18 times it occurs. 

all wisdom, all things, all fullness, all treasure, all wisdom, Christ is all in all, etc.

Colossians was written by St. Paul to the Christians at Colosse. Paul had not visited Colosse, but he often prayed for the Christians there. In fact he says early on in his letter (1:9) that he had not stopped praying for them. This is a short book and you can easily read it straight through right now before reading on.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Philippians, part 2, Pure Stuff, Lovely Stuff

Look at Philippians 4: 4 – 9:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Okay, let’s do the old list exercise for this passage.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Philippians, part 1, Linking to a Hebrew Letter

Hebrew letter "vav"
The book of Philippians links up with the Hebrew letter vav. Remember that the symbolic meaning of this little letter is nail or hook. It plays a very important part in Jehovah’s name. (I’ve written before about the symbolic meanings of the four letters in God’s Hebrew name. The name Jehovah or Yahweh is made up of the letters yod hey vav hey. These letters have symbolic meanings and they are Hand, Behold, Nail, Behold.)
Hebrew name for God (read right to left)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas Post

This is our first Christmas away from Big Pine Lodge (hence a picture from last year), but celebrating Christ's birth is just as exciting and wonderful as long as there is family around.

Thank you, Jesus, for being born to die for me. I could never pay for my owns sins, except through death and eternal damnation. You conquered death and washed my sins away, never to be remembered again. Thank you, thank you. I marvel at the cost to you to bear the sins of billions. I bow at the cross, but right now, in this season, I rejoice in your humble birth and sing the wonderful songs of Christmas.