Friday, July 14, 2017

Acts, part 1, a Quick Summary


Tav is the last of the 22 Hebrew letters and it links up with Song of Songs in the Old Testament and Acts and Revelation in the New Testament. The symbolic meaning of this letter is mark, sign or cross. We saw in the first tav book, Song of Songs, that there is a strong correlation between these books and this letter having to do with consummation and marriage. The number one major theme of the book of the Acts of the Apostles is the receiving of the Holy Spirit followed by the profession of Christ to the Jews at Pentecost and then to the Gentiles. This was the beginning of the Christian church which is, in all respects, the beginning of the Bride of Christ.
In Acts the first nine chapters recount the rise of the early church with Peter being the prominent character; the rest of the book follows with the conversion and ministry of the Apostle Paul. The book of Acts is written by the physician, Luke, who spent much time alongside Saint Paul, traveling and witnessing. In his previous book Luke wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the ascension. That book was written to a certain Theophilus, a man who was probably wealthy enough to help Luke get his information published, and Acts is also addressed to this same Theophilus. His name, by the way, means “lover of God” or “loved by God.” With that in mind I like to think that these books were written personally to me.
The thesis verse of Acts is found in chapter 1, verse 8, when Jesus says the following:

Friday, July 7, 2017

John, part 4, The Irrefutable Logic of a Blind Man


Jesus brings Light and Life. The blind man in John chapter 9 is in for the surprise of his life. Watch how he gets physical sight and how he gains another sense, too: spiritual sight. If you don’t know the story here it is in a nutshell:
Jesus and his disciples come across the blind man, Jesus heals him, the Pharisees are in an uproar because He healed on the Sabbath, there’s an investigation and the Pharisees kick the formerly blind man out of synagogue, and the story ends with Jesus revealing His divinity to the man who then gains spiritual sight.
Now, you be the blind guy:
You’ve heard the scriptures read, you know the prophecies, you hang around the temple all the time begging and listening. You hear some men talking about you. They’re asking their leader if you or your parents are responsible for your blindness. The leader says neither you nor your parents are responsible; he says that you’re blind so the work of God can be displayed in your life. You’re more alert. You hear them get closer and the leader puts something on your face over those rounds things that are called eyes, but have no function for you. He tells you to wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. You have some faith so you do.
What is this?! Is this sight?! This is unbelievable! You cannot contain your excitement. You find your way home and your neighbors think you’re an imposter. You tell them what happened. They ask how this could be. You say it was “the man.”

Friday, June 30, 2017

John, part 3, Jesus is God


As I studied this book I found several outlines by various commentators. They tended to divide the book up into 5 or 6 parts: 1st the opening or foreword in chapter 1 with the theme of the pre-existence of Christ, 2nd the beginning of his ministry, the “big reveal,” so to speak, up through chapter 6. Then the 3rd section is the next year of his ministry and how his claims were rejected (through chapter 12). I noticed that the verses with the word light stopped abruptly then (see last week’s post). The next section contains Holy Week, the passion, the crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The last section (chapters 20 – 22) is of the 40 days following His resurrection.
Back in verse 1 of chapter 1 we found that Jesus was eternal, was with God and was God. Let’s look at his claims found in John that He is God:
John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 6:32-35 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Friday, June 23, 2017

John, part 2, The Light of the Son vs. the Light of the Sun


Remember how in Ecclesiastes we found more instances of the word sun than in any other Bible book? There is not one instance of the word sun in John even though both books are linked by the Hebrew letter shin. And look at how John compares with the other three Gospel books:

There is no reason for such an absence other than to show God’s precision in His design of the Bible. Despite the absence of the sun look how the light shines in John:


The following are from the KJV:
John 1:4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:5: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:7: The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
John 1:8: He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
John 1:9: That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 3:19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Friday, June 16, 2017

John, part 1, the Pre-Existence of Jesus


The fourth book of the New Testament, JOHN, was written by the beloved apostle John around A.D. 90. This book is sharply different from Matthew, Mark and Luke. First of all it was written much later and most of the church already possessed copies of the other Gospels. These Christians wanted deeper truths and there wasn’t anyone better to write them than someone from the Master’s inner circle. John was the one who leaned on Jesus at the last supper, the one who didn’t flee from Christ’s judgment, the one who stood at the cross and received Jesus’ request to care for Mary.
Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they include many of the same stories in the same order, thus they are synoptic (one view, of the same eye), but John doesn’t follow that pattern. In fact, we don’t even find the parables that are so prevalent in the other gospels. In John the themes are deeper, such as the pre-existence of Christ, His incarnation, the work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ relation to the Father.
The book of John can be divided into several major parts. It begins with the pre-existence of Jesus.

Friday, June 9, 2017

EXOTIQA by M. Black


BOOK: EXOTIQA
GENRE: YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia

BLURB: 
When the nation is controlled by a popular online program, those that deviate risk their lives. But that never stopped Fione. 

Read the second release by author M. Black, which fans of Divergent, Freelancer, iRobot,and The Glitch will enjoy. Filled with haunting questions of consciousness and artificial intelligence, identity and self-awareness, politics and love, life and death, the reader will be engaged in an entertaining story filled with futuristic technology. 

Set in the cyberpunk year 2055 in British Columbia, Canada, where humans are part robotic and robots are becoming more humanlike, the line dividing the two is becoming less clear. 

When sixteen-year-old Fione meets Maci, a twenty-one-year-old Flexbot who escapes from ImaTech located along the crust of the Coast Mountains, Fione’s life is taken on a roller-coaster ride of events that begins with trying to save Maci from ImaTech Corporation and ends with trying to save the country.

Friday, June 2, 2017

SCORPION from The Myriad Series by Cindy Stone


SCORPION from The Myriad Series by Cindy Stone
Displaying Scorpion-front-jacket.jpg



SCORPION 

An ancient power. A modern mystic. The enemy unleashed. 

It began as a day like any other, when Avery Adams, daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest and most influential men, is pushed from a crowded subway platform into an oncoming train. Is it chance, or the wheels of destiny set in motion, when Aiden Kane, expert martial artist saves her, and they are thrust into the apex of a ten thousand year old battle for power. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cool Words in the Gospel of Luke

Last week we looked at how Luke lines up and links with the Old Testament book of Proverbs. We saw how the word wisdom occurs noticeably in Luke and not the other gospels. I wondered if there were other words that would show up in greater numbers in the three resh books (Bible books that line up with the same Hebrew letter, in this case Proverbs, Luke, and 3rd John) if I did a search. Of course they would have to be words that started with this Hebrew letter. In The Bible Wheel by Richard Amiel McGough words such as physician (ropheh), to heal (rapha), friend (reyah), and racham (mercy, compassion and with different vowel points womb) are given as key words that link to these three books. I chose “friend” and did a search. Here’s my chart of what I found:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Linking the Gospel of Luke to Proverbs


Luke is our third gospel account of the life of Christ. Luke writes from a perspective different from the others because he was not an apostle, however, as a Greco-Syrian physician who traveled with St. Paul and spoke with many eyewitnesses, his accounts are accepted and authenticated. Luke was a well-educated man as evidenced by his command of the Greek language. His Latin name hints that he was probably not Jewish. Scholars believe his Gospel was written between 70 and 80 A.D.
Right away I’m going to link Luke to Proverbs, because Proverbs (a book of Wisdom) is the 20th book in the Bible, matching up to the 20th Hebrew letter, resh, and Luke appears 22 books later, also matching up to resh. In my research I found instances where writers referred to Luke as the “Proverbial Gospel” so I did my own chart to see if I could corroborate this claim. I found 41 parables in all in Matthew, Mark and Luke. John doesn’t have a single parable though it does contain allegories. There are 41 different parables, 23 in Matthew, only 9 in Mark, and the most, 29, in Luke with 17 of those being unique to this Gospel.
First I want to show you how the word parable relates to the word proverb. In Luke 4:23 we find this:

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Different Look at the Gospel of Mark



The Gospel of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Mark, the author, belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem where he became a Christian. He worked with both Paul and Peter. His gospel is unique because it emphasizes Jesus’ actions more than His teachings, moving quickly from one episode to another. Mark does not begin with a genealogy as Matthew did, because he is writing for the Gentiles who would not care about His lineage. He starts with John the Baptist preparing the way, then Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples. Then Mark gives us healings and parables and miracles.  We follow Our Lord’s journeys through Galilee, the surrounding areas, and then to Judea at a rapid pace. In fact, the swiftness is revealed in the actually telling of the events. An example of this unique swiftness presents itself early on in chapter 1, verses 10 – 14. This is from Young’s Literal Translation so you can see the fast pace exactly as it was written. I eliminated the verse numbers and put the "swift" words in red:
  And it came to pass in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John at the Jordan; and immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens dividing, and the Spirit as a dove coming down upon him; and a voice came out of the heavens, `Thou art My Son -- the Beloved, in whom I did delight.' And immediately doth the Spirit put him forth to the wilderness, and he was there in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by the Adversary, and he was with the beasts, and the messengers were ministering to him.
Whew! Notice the punctuation? Just two sentences. Now let’s compare other nearly identical scenes recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke and see how Mark uses a particularly “swift” word:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Matthew, part 2, Jesus' Last Public Speech

Let’s look at Matthew chapter 23 and really examine it. This is the last public speech that Jesus gives. It is Wednesday, two days before the crucifixion. In my Bible this chapter is headed the “Seven Woes” and it starts with a big slam of the current teachers of the law and the Pharisees. Read 23: 1 – 12:
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
   5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Wow, what a speech. Jesus denounces the false leaders. He says in verse 2 that the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat which gives them great authority. The Greek word here is kathedra which means bench and is the basis of our word cathedral. In verse 3 he says to obey them and to do what they preach, which is the Law, but don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they preach. There’s trouble coming otherwise; just look at verses 13 – 36:

Friday, April 28, 2017

The First Book of the New Testament, An Overview of Matthew

Mathew, part 1
Matthew’s name means “gift of Jehovah” which is interesting since we know that he was a tax collector. There is some evidence that he wrote this book originally in Hebrew and maybe in both Hebrew and Greek. There are 23 parables in Matthew, 11 of which do not appear in the other gospels. Of the twenty miracles recorded, three are unique to this account.
There’s a lot to cover in Matthew like the genealogy of Jesus, His birth, the story of the wise men being guided by the star, and the escape into Egypt. Then Matthew jumps thirty years ahead to John the Baptist preparing the way, Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the disciples. There’s the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ ministry, including many healings and miracles, many parables and a lot of teaching. Matthew records Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, the arrest, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
What’s particularly interesting is the explicit use of the word “righteousness.”
First compare the beatitudes as presented in Matthew with the equivalent verses in Luke. Matthew 5:6 says:
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled
Whereas Luke 6:21 says:
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
One after another the parallel passages in Matthew include the word “righteous” or "righteousness," but those words are absent from Luke.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Malachi, part 2, Its Chiastic Structure

Malachi has a chiastic structure or pattern. That is, an artistic effect is achieved by balancing reversed clauses against one another. Here’s the chiastic structure in Malachi:
Message (1:1)
B Proof of God's Love (1:2-5)
C Condemnation (1:6—2:9)
D Marital Infidelity (2:10-16)
D' Marital Infidelity (2:17—3:6)
C' Condemnation  (3:7-12)
B' Proof of God's Love (3:13—4:3)

A' Message (4:4-6) 
(Stuart, Douglas. "Malachi." In The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expositional Commentary, 3:1245-1396. 3 vols. Edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992, 1993, and 1998.(p. 1250))

Isn't that cool? Here's what each section is about:
A Superscription (1:1): Yahweh has a message for Israel.
B First Disputation (1:2-5): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
C Second Disputation (1:6—2:9): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
D Third Disputation (2:10-16): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.
D' Fourth Disputation (2:17—3:6): The Lord is witness to marital fidelity, and Judah is unfaithful.    
C' Fifth Disputation (3:7-12): Condemnation of improper, begrudging offerings, promise of reversal of blessing, and the greatness of Yahweh's name among the nations.
B' Sixth Disputation (3:13—4:3): God distinguishes between the good and the wicked. The proof of His love is His sparing the righteous and condemning the wicked.
A' Summary challenge (4:4-6): Yahweh has a message for Israel.