Some Things Never Change

Astoundingly, in this day and age, after all the Jews have suffered, they have the audacity to engage in religious persecution.

Court hears Messianic Jews’ suit against Beersheba chief rabbi

It seems that the Chief Rabbi and the orthodox Jews of Beersheba are no better than the Jews of the 1st century who persecuted the Christians then. It is little wonder that it is recorded in Scripture:

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:  Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (I Thessalonians 2:14-16)

Some things never change.




Playing a Game – Part 3

So then, Not only do we find that the Calvinists/Reformed adherents believe that God intended for evil and sin to exist, but that He intentionally created a person who is highly intelligent, beautiful, powerful, very capable in music, with an unparalleled ability to persuade: for the express purpose of rebelling against God. Moreover, this was done so that the glory of God, His holiness, righteousness, mercy, longsuffering, lovingkindness and grace would be glorious in its contrast to the wickedness and evil of the creature(s) who rebelled.

So are we here to understand that God cannot be glorious without some wicked, evil thing to contrast His Righteousness and Holiness against?

Are we also to understand, as Jonathan Edwards tells us:

So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.

And as Joseph Smith confirmed, concerning man:

2 Nephi, Chapter 2 (Book of Mormon)
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

If we compare the thought pattern of Jonathan Edwards (and John Piper, for he agrees fully with Edwards) to that of Joseph Smith, the author of the Book of Mormon, we can plainly see that both men believe that it is not possible for knowledge of righteousness and holiness to exist and be understood, (and even going so far as stating righteousness and holiness cannot exist) without the existence of evil and wickedness. Both men plainly state that “evil is necessary” either by direct statement or by reasoning, like Smith’s “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” in which it is plain that we could never know, nor appreciate the righteousness and holiness of God, and the joy such knowledge imparts — except we become evil wicked creatures, upon which “God” could bestow “his” mercy. Indeed, both men also acknowledge that man was innocent, but without comprehension of the happiness and joy of the knowledge of “God’s mercy.”

However, the most egregious part comes from the statements of both men, in which they say all this was accomplished:

“in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”

And:

Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed;”.

This John Piper agrees to totally by stating:

“Rather he “wills that evil come to pass . . . that good may come of it.””

Which is also no different that Baal Shem Tov’s:

“Nevertheless, evil that exists has an inner power giving it life. And this [inner power] is total goodness. So if you look at the inner aspect of evil, you will only see the good in it.”

This is really no more that the philosophy of Unity of Opposites and is expressed in various different ways, with artificial distinction, depending upon the perspective of the person. Under one philosophy it is called Taoism and is expressed thus:

Taoism
The Yin Yang symbol:
This is a well known Taoist symbol. “It represents the balance of opposites in the universe. When they are equally present, all is calm. When one is outweighed by the other, there is confusion and disarray.” ((Taoism))

And if the person’s point of view is materialistic, then it is expressed this way:

Dialectical Materialism (the root of Communism)
Fredrick Engels — Dialectics of Nature ((Dialectical Materialism))
“Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, or motion without matter, nor can there be.”

Though the words may vary, and the focus different, all that has been done with Augustinian/Calvinist/Reformed/Sovereign Grace/Primitive Baptist doctrine is take the idea and thought processes of the ancient philosophy of “unity of opposites” and try to make the Scripture conform to it.

Should we be so surprised? After all, Augustine, though raised to be a “Christian” chose a heathen system of belief as his own (underlining and emphasis mine):

Unfortunately, his faith, as well as his morals, was to pass though a terrible crisis. In this same year, 373, Augustine and his friend Honoratus fell into the snares of the Manichæans. It seems strange that so great a mind should have been victimized by Oriental vapourings, synthesized by the Persian Mani (215-276) into coarse, material dualism, and introduced into Africa scarcely fifty years previously. Augustine himself tells us that he was enticed by the promises of a free philosophy unbridled by faith; by the boasts of the Manichæans, who claimed to have discovered contradictions in Holy Writ; and, above all, by the hope of finding in their doctrine a scientific explanation of nature and its most mysterious phenomena. Augustine’s inquiring mind was enthusiastic for the natural sciences, and the Manichæans declared that nature withheld no secrets from Faustus, their doctor. Moreover, being tortured by the problem of the origin of evil, Augustine, in default of solving it, acknowledged a conflict of two principles. And then, again, there was a very powerful charm in the moral irresponsibility resulting from a doctrine which denied liberty and attributed the commission of crime to a foreign principle.

Once won over to this sect, Augustine devoted himself to it with all the ardour of his character; he read all its books, adopted and defended all its opinions. His furious proselytism drew into error his friend Alypius and Romanianus, his Mæcenas of Tagaste, the friend of his father who was defraying the expenses of Augustine’s studies. It was during this Manichæan period that Augustine’s literary faculties reached their full development, and he was still a student at Carthage when he embraced error.

His studies ended, he should in due course have entered the forum litigiosum, but he preferred the career of letters, and Possidius tells us that he returned to Tagaste to “teach grammar.” The young professor captivated his pupils, one of whom, Alypius, hardly younger than his master, loath to leave him after following him into error, was afterwards baptized with him at Milan, eventually becoming Bishop of Tagaste, his native city. But Monica deeply deplored Augustine’s heresy and would not have received him into her home or at her table but for the advice of a saintly bishop, who declared that “the son of so many tears could not perish.” Soon afterwards Augustine went to Carthage, where he continued to teach rhetoric. His talents shone to even better advantage on this wider stage, and by an indefatigable pursuit of the liberal arts his intellect attained its full maturity. Having taken part in a poetic tournament, he carried off the prize, and the Proconsul Vindicianus publicly conferred upon him the corona agonistica. ((St. Augustine of Hippo, From his birth to his conversion (354-386) ))

And of course, when converted, his “conversion” was to utterly corrupt Catholicism. But even the Catholics admit:

Augustine gradually became acquainted with Christian doctrine, and in his mind the fusion of Platonic philosophy with revealed dogmas was taking place. ((St. Augustine of Hippo, From his conversion to his episcopate (386-395) ))

To be continued . . .




Playing a Game – Part 2

Here then we have it plainly stated by the those holding to Calvinist doctrine: that absolutely nothing is done, no act ever committed, and no thought ever made that God does not directly, actively control by way of causing it to be, or giving permission and causing “agents of His will” to perform His exact will. For they, the Calvinist/Reformed scholars and adherents, said:

In Genesis 45:5 and 50:20, God plans the attempted murder and enslavement of Joseph so that God can eventually save millions of people from famine. Joseph tells his brothers that their paln(sic) was wicked, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ((We’re Pagans I Tell You, Rev. John Samson, quoted by Aaron Curry, unattributed.))

“Ok, Good. Every decision a person makes good or evil fulfills God’s will.” ((E-mail from Aaron Curry, dated 26 November, 2008))

“WHO DECIDES? GOD DOES, AND HE DOESN’T CARE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT.” ((ibid))

Due to the above quoted admissions of Calvinists, we can now apply the Calvinist/Reformed doctrine of the sovereignty of God to the fall of Lucifer and see what the ramifications of that doctrine are.

In beginning to examine this, the relevant portions of the passages from Scripture are excerpted to specifically show Satan and his fall from his position as covering cherub of the throne of God.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)

Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (Ezekiel 28:15-17)

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:3-4)

As we can see in the particular excerpts, Lucifer was a covering cherub of the throne of God, and was made highly intelligent, very beautiful, very talented, and very powerful. Unfortunately, all this ability and beauty got to him and Lucifer became proud of who and what he was, forgetting who made him: he then set about to turn all Heaven against the LORD God. As a result, a full third of the angelic host believed Lucifer over the LORD God and chose to follow him. They were summarily cut off and cast down, eternally condemned awaiting the Lake of Fire. For the fallen angels, there is no hope of reconciliation with the LORD God, they are forever lost, bound for destruction.

If we are to believe the Calvinist/Reformed theologian and advocate, we must then believe that the LORD God “ordained” Lucifer’s rebellion to take place, and that Lucifer really had no choice in the matter. Before Lucifer was ever created, he was ordained to rebel and fall, introducing evil and sin into creation, and in the process, taking a full third of all the angels with him.

Thus, the LORD God ordained evil and sin to enter into His perfectly righteous and sin-free creation through the rebellion of Lucifer, where no sin existed before.

Surely there would have to be a purpose to this? After all, if the LORD God exercises sovereignty the way the Calvinist/Reformed adherent believes He does, then the LORD God intended for Lucifer to bring evil into a perfect heaven, which was the only creation that existed at the time, corrupting a perfectly righteous place, and committing a third of the LORD’s created angels to follow rebellion and destruction. After all, it was “ordained” of God, otherwise it could not happen.

So then, the Calvinist/Reformed advocate is asking you and I to believe that the LORD God intended to corrupt His perfect and righteous creation through the agent of Lucifer.

Can this be true?

To answer that, we need only go back to one of the more famous Calvinists: Jonathan Edwards. The following is an excerpt from an on-line article by John Piper in which he quotes Jonathan Edwards extensively and approvingly:

2.2 Why Does God Ordain that there Be Evil?

It is evident from what has been said that it is not because he delights in evil as evil. Rather he “wills that evil come to pass . . . that good may come of it.” What good? And how does the existence of evil serve this good end? Here is Edwards’ stunning answer:

It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory to shine forth; and for the same reason, it is proper that the shining forth of God’s glory should be complete; that is, that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beauty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all. . . .

Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.

If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God’s holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he bestowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and admired. . . .

So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.

So the answer to the question in the title of this message, “Is God less glorious because he ordained that evil be?” is no, just the opposite. God is more glorious for having conceived and created and governed a world like this with all its evil. The effort to absolve him by denying his foreknowledge of sin (as we saw this afternoon) or by denying his control of sin (which we have seen this evening) is fatal, and a great dishonor to his word and his wisdom. Evangelicals who are seeking the glory of God, look well to the teaching of your churches and your schools. But most of all, look well to your souls. ((Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?, Jonathan Edwards on the Decrees of God, John Piper – Desiring God Ministries.))

Now, if you read carefully, you should have noted that Edwards stated:

Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.

If it were not right that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there could be no manifestation of God’s holiness in hatred of sin, or in showing any preference, in his providence, of godliness before it. There would be no manifestation of God’s grace or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no misery to be saved from.

Meaning that the LORD God’s glorious righteousness and holiness cannot be really glorious unless there is some evil to contrast it against. Else, the glory is just not that glorious, and the righteousness isn’t really all that spectacular. After all Edwards did also state:

Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested.

And this simply was not possible without some wickedness and evil to set it against:

But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; . . .

And Edwards justification for this follows:

So evil is necessary, in order to the highest happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that communication of God, for which he made the world; because the creature’s happiness consists in the knowledge of God, and the sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imperfect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably imperfect.

Hence, righteousness is not really righteousness, and we could not perceive it so, unless evil exists.

To this, John Piper agrees:

So the answer to the question in the title of this message, “Is God less glorious because he ordained that evil be?” is no, just the opposite. God is more glorious for having conceived and created and governed a world like this with all its evil. The effort to absolve him by denying his foreknowledge of sin (as we saw this afternoon) or by denying his control of sin (which we have seen this evening) is fatal, and a great dishonor to his word and his wisdom.

So then, ultimately, evil becomes NECESSARY, and serves a good end as everyone ultimately does the will of God, to the glory of God.

So, now I ask:

Does the logic of Jonathan Edwards seem strangely familiar? Does it have a “ring” to it which seems just too familiar?

It should:

From the Book of Mormon:

2 Nephi 2:10-12
10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement–

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

And again from Baal Shem Tov:

Hasidic Judaism (Founded by Baal Shem Tov)
4. Having no [divine] source, evil does not come down from heaven. Nevertheless, evil that exists has an inner power giving it life. And this [inner power] is total goodness. So if you look at the inner aspect of evil, you will only see the good in it. ((The Ten Principles Of The Baal Shem Tov))

Here we see a commonality of thought process – a logic borne of a way of thinking. That way of thinking states that righteousness and holiness cannot really exist, or be really perceived to exist without some oppositional process occurring. Hence, righteousness and holiness cannot really exist, except wickedness and sin exist. Otherwise, there is no real perception of just how glorious righteousness and holiness are.

After all, the language is plain, whether it is Jonathan Edwards “necessary” existence of evil, or Joseph Smith’s “must needs be an opposition”, or Hasidic Judaism’s “evil that exists has an inner power giving it life. And this [inner power] is total goodness.”, all speak plainly to the belief that God “ORDAINED” evil to exist and ultimately controls evil, causing it to be, or holding it back as He sees fit.

And, we are told by the Calvinist/Reformed theologian, God is doing all this to obtain glory by and through His creation and the triumph over the evil he ordained.

In short, it’s all a monstrous game, in which God will be glorified, and to hell with all the rest. After all, Aaron Curry’s statement is not out of line with Calvinist thinking:

“WHO DECIDES? GOD DOES, AND HE DOESN’T CARE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT.” ((E-mail from Aaron Curry, dated 26 November, 2008))

To be continued . . .




A Departure: Pt. III

NOTE: This is a continuation of a series that began with the post A Common Approach, and looks at the departure of the Jews from the truth of the Scripture and the Gospel. This series will also examine how the LORD God has dealt with His people, the Jews, particularly in the 20th Century.


As is shown in the Old Testament, the Jews plainly knew the very same gospel that we know. Throughout the Old Testament there are references to the Redeemer to come and that individuals were saved simply by believing in the Messiah to come. In fact, it was made very plain by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself when Nicodemus came to the Lord Jesus to ask about Him:

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (John 3:1-10)

Here we find that the Lord Jesus Christ expected Nicodemus to understand the new birth, the differences between the physical and the spiritual, and that one only enters into the kingdom of God through the new birth. The question the Lord Jesus asks of Nicodemus: “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” refers to the incredulous response of Nicodemus to the Lord’s statement: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” and the Lord’s subsequent explanation: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Though He knew Nicodemus did not know these things, there is a plainly expressed expectation from the Lord Jesus Christ that Nicodemus ought to have some working understanding of the new birth.

Indeed, the throughout the rest of the New Testament there are references to salvation in the time of the Old Testament. In every case, the message of salvation referenced in the Old Testament is referred to as “the gospel.” This is significant as the term “gospel” is used by the Lord Jesus Christ to refer to the salvation that is in Him by grace through faith. He plainly expressed to every one who would hear, that upon repentance, one would be saved if they believed in Him. Thus, there exists a continuation of the message and means of salvation between the Old and New Testaments. In the following passages of Scripture, the fact that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was preached in the Old Testament is clearly expressed:

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:1-3)

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Galatians 3:8)

For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 3:16-4:2)

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (Romans 10:12-16)

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:6-7)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Hebrews 13:8-9)

Therefore it should be well understood that the evidence from the Old Testament itself, the references to gospel in the Old Testament that are found in the New, and the plain reference in Revelation to the everlasting gospel, that salvation has always been, and always will be the same, and that Christ to come was preached unto the everyone, and particularly the Jews, during the time of the Old Testament. This also makes clear the egregiousness of the departure of the Jews from a proper understanding and belief in the LORD God, and in the Messiah, or Saviour. In Galatians, chapter one, the seriousness of this departure is plainly expressed:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Which is to say that anyone who departs from the gospel as it is expressed in Scripture, is accursed. Since the gospel has never changed, and the message delivered to the Jews by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and others was consistent with the gospel the LORD preached unto Adam and Eve after the Fall, for the Jews to depart from that specific message meant that whosoever of them departed, were accursed of the LORD for doing so. This would also be the same for anyone else in the world who knowingly departed, or departs from the gospel, whensoever in history they live.

However, since the Jews were chosen because of Abraham, and agreed to carry the gospel unto the world, they occupy a particular place insofar as the LORD is concerned. After all, they agreed with the LORD that they would carry forth, and maintain His gospel and a specific witness of the righteousness of God to this world under penalty of sanction and retribution if they failed in the covenant. Thus, the magnitude of their departure from the truth can really only be understood in light of the following two passages of Scripture, both of which the Jews openly declared:

And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. (Exodus 24:6-8)

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. (Matthew 27:20-25)

To be continued . . .




A Departure: Part II

This is the third article in a series that begins with A Common Approach. This series addresses how the LORD God has dealt with His people, the Jews. This series addresses the departure of the Jews from the word of God into Judaism. It particularly focuses upon the LORD’s dealing with them in the 20th century. This series is continued with the post A Departure, Pt. III.


In the previous posts it was outlined how the Jews had departed from the doctrine of Salvation by grace through faith in the Messiah to come. Moreover, this salvation required no works of righteousness, but was and is wholly dependent upon the work of the Messiah to come. It was also detailed how this information was available to everyone, all the way back to Adam and Eve after the fall. In tracing this back, I began with the testimony of Job, who was a contemporary of Abraham.

In the passage from Job, chapter 19, Job testified that he had a Redeemer, and that Redeemer was alive, and would one day walk the earth. Moreover, Job testified that he would indeed see his Redeemer with his own eyes one day, even though his body would be destroyed in the grave. If we understand the doctrine of the resurrection, we should certainly understand this is what Job is referring to, and that Job had a good understanding of most of the doctrines we know of today.

Additionally, Elihu testified to Job and his three friends of the salvation God offers to everyman, and that salvation is effectual upon repentance. Moreover, Elihu revealed that the troubles of an individual’s life are frequently due to the LORD God trying to show man that pride does not profit, and in fact will cause one to go to the grave without the ransom being applied to their life, and thus that individual ends up in Hell. In short, young Elihu preached the Gospel.

However, the book of Job is not the only place in the Old Testament where we find the Gospel preached. If we go back to Genesis we find several instances where the terminology used plainly indicates salvation by grace through faith in Christ (or the Messiah) to come. If really won’t matter much where we begin, so I choose to begin with Noah and the testimony of the LORD God about Noah:

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:8)

The Scripture testifies in the verses leading up to this that all the earth had become utterly wicked “and that every imagination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5b) But Noah chose to believe God and thus grace was bestowed upon Noah. Of course, we would have to ask what Noah believed and what caused God to bestow grace upon him. However, that answer is quite simple so long as we do not take this passage in isolation and look at the totality of Scripture concerning those who are justified before God. Certainly then, we could understand that Noah would have known what the LORD told Adam and Eve in the Garden after the fall:

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:14-15)

And Noah would certainly know of the proper offerings and what they meant, as the correct (acceptable) offerings were made by Abel:

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:3-5)

We can then understand that Noah knew all this, as Noah himself offered up acceptable offerings after the flood:

And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20)

If we then put together the above bits of information, we can see the LORD had specified a certain specific type of offering that required a blood sacrifice of a certain sort of animal that was counted as being “clean.” This takes us to the Levitical sacrifices that were required of Israel:

When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty; Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish: And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 4:22-26)

If we care to observe, we find a commonality between Abel’s offering, Noah’s offering, and the Levitical sacrifice that was commanded above. The common elements were that the beast was to be a “clean” beast, the fat was to be offered, and it was always to be a blood sacrifice. Thus, the concept that a certain type of worship was acceptable to the LORD God was known from the very beginning, and was not specific to Israel. However, by all accounts, that was not what justified Abel, Noah, Abraham, Job, or anyone else throughout the Old Testament. What we find in Genesis tells us that being justified before the LORD God was the very same thing it is today, in that the Scripture testifies of both Abraham and Jacob and how they were justified:

And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:2-6)

If we note the last sentence in the above passage, we find that simply believing the LORD God was cause for God to justify Abram (Abraham) in His sight. Because Abram believed and trusted the LORD God, the LORD God did for Abraham what He also did for Abraham’s grandson Jacob:

And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (Genesis 48:14-16)

In Israel’s (Jacob) blessing of his grandsons, he testifies that God redeemed him from, not some evil, but all evil. In so doing, Israel bears the same testimony as Job, Noah, Elihu and Abraham. In each case, they testify of a redeemer, a ransom being paid for them, and that they were made right before God. Plainly, God counted Abraham righteous, Israel testifies that he was redeemed from all evil, Noah walked in grace before the LORD continually, Job knew that he would one day stand face to face with his Redeemer, and Elihu testifies that if one repents, then the LORD God delivers him from going to the pit, and gives that person the LORD God’s own righteousness. Clearly, these all speak of justification before God without works, and salvation by some other means than blood sacrifices and worship services, no matter how detailed and carefully done.

Before continuing on, there is a point the LORD God wished for Israel and all the world to consider, which He delivered through the prophet Isaiah. We would do well to consider it today:

Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:20-22)




A Departure

This post is the second in a series about the LORD God’s dealing with His people, the Jews. This series addresses the departure of the Jews from the word of God into Judaism and how the LORD God has dealt with them, particularly in the 20th century. The next post in this series is A Departure, Part II.


A couple of days ago I wrote a post detailing the common logic underlying four distinctively different religions: Mormonism, Hasidic Judaism, Dialectical Materialism, and Taoism. What should have been plain from the quotations given is summed up by the following:

Good and evil are intricately intertwined such that good (righteousness) cannot exist without evil (unrighteousness) and unrighteousness cannot exist without righteousness. Moreover, in all good there is some wickedness and in all wickedness there is some good.

Now, the only distinction that could be drawn between the four religions would be between Dialectical Materialism and the rest. But that distinction exists only due to Dialectical Materialism being focused solely on the physical world and denying the existence of anything spiritual. But the underlying logic of intertwined opposites is central and core to Materialism just as it is with Mormonism, Taoism and Hasidic Judaism.

I ended the post with a quote from Proverbs as it highlights a grave problem man has:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)

This is the problem when man uses his physical senses and reasoning to determine what is right, and how the world functions. Moreover, we take these observations, draw conclusions about the world we inhabit, and then apply those conclusions to understanding the very nature of God.

Now, I was not and am not surprised about three of the four religions named above having the same common logic about the world and God, and how everything works. What surprised me was finding that same logic in Hasidic Judaism. After all, unlike the other three religions, Judaism has long had the Scripture (at least the Old Testament) and they should know what it states. Unlike Mormonism, which started with an incredible presumption, Judaism originally was simply following the Old Testament covenant the LORD God had with Israel. Where Judaism went awry was in holding that following the Torah (the Law) would justify one before God.

However, the Jews were warned about following their own understanding, and were repeatedly exhorted to repent and believe the Gospel, even as we are today. In Proverbs the following counsel is given:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Thus, one would expect the Jews to heed this admonition and seek after the LORD in the Scripture, seeking to understand the righteousness of God and how that it is impossible for man to attain that through mere works. I would not, and do not expect that out of the other three religions for the following reasons:

Dialectal Materialism rejects the existence of the spiritual and focuses solely on the physical. Hence, any mention of God is summarily dismissed.

Taoism came about as the result of one man’s understanding of the world around him, based upon his observations and reasoning — absent any input from the Scripture or faith. At the time Tao Te Ching was written, that portion of the world had long since rejected the Gospel and the things of God.

Mormonism is also the result of one man’s view of things. Even though Joseph Smith was able to convince others to believe him, had the evidence of the Catholic Church’s persecution of Christians for over 1200 years been put before all those around him, he could have never made the outrageous claim that the New Testament church was somehow “lost” and he was “selected” to “recover” it. Thus, it is no surprise that he distorted the very nature of God, as he distorted 18 centuries of church history to make the claims he made in founding the Latter Day Saints.

But the Jews are different in that the LORD God has dealt with them for a very long time. Indeed, to them it was expressly given to witness to the world of salvation by grace through faith in the Messiah to come. To them was given the responsibility of holding fast the Scripture inviolate, and teaching everyone about the LORD God. In Psalms, the distinctiveness of the Jews as a nation is recorded:

He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 147:19-20)

Even though there were Jews who did preach the Gospel, and hold fast salvation by grace through faith, as a nation, the Jews departed seriously from the truth of the Scripture. The extent of that departure is laid bare by the tenets of Hasidic Judaism, which holds the form of Judaism and of serving God, but has departed to the point of being no different in its logic and understanding than those who deny the very existence of God.

Before continuing, it is essential to understand how the Jews, as a people, had the truth of the Gospel in the first place, and what it meant to depart from it. In so doing, perhaps we can understand what it means to actually have the Gospel, how precious it is, and how critical it is to hold fast every aspect of what the Scripture teaches about salvation. Otherwise, we are subject to experience the same loss of understanding. However, it won’t fall on us, but on our children and grandchildren.

Now, it is plain that all the Jews had was the Old Testament, and they did not have all of it during the entirety of their covenant with the LORD God. However, evidence from Scripture indicates that it was not essential to have the Scripture to know of the Messiah to come, and that one could be redeemed by grace through faith in the Messiah to come. Our specific evidence comes from the oldest book of the Bible — Job.

In all of Job’s complaint about what happened to him, he makes some surprising statements concerning where he stood with God. In the 19th chapter, Job declares the following:

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:23-27)

At this point, we should understand that Job was a contemporary of Abraham, which was long before Israel entered into covenant with the LORD God at Mount Sinai, and long before Moses penned the Pentateuch under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Thus, as far as we can see, there is no Scripture for Job to go to and point out where he got his understanding of being redeemed, and that his savior would one day come and walk upon the earth. Moreover, Job’s understanding was not limited to Job alone as a young man, Elihu, was sent of God to preach to Job and his three friends concerning the LORD and why He does what He does. Elihu made it very plain that repentance was necessary for salvation:

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. (Job 33:14-30)

To be continued . . .




A Common Approach

This post is the first in a series on the LORD God dealing with His people, the Jews. This series particularly focuses on the LORD’s dealing with them in the 20th century. This series takes a scriptural view of God’s judgement and how He views Judaism, which is a deviation from the truth of the word of God. This post is continued with the post A Departure.


I don’t generally watch documentaries any more. However, when it was expressed to me that a documentary existed concerning the Holocaust and what happened in Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine, I wanted to see it. My interest was moved by two things:

First: what happened in Eastern Europe is not well known as that was Soviet territory for the longest time. The destruction of the peoples of Eastern Europe, particularly the Jews was not allowed to be told by the Soviet Union, and thus was almost lost. It is essential that we remember that man is a brutal, evil creature, and this does remind us of that.

Second: The documentary focused on the particular sect of Judaism which was predominate in this region — Hasidic Judaism and its effect upon the people. It was an opportunity to understand the mindset of a people that did not seem to grasp the danger of the Nazi regime.

After being told about the documentary, I watched it. Fading Traces is an eye-opener on a level that I find hard to describe, except to say that I now know why certain events took place in history. However, this understanding is only realizable through the Scripture and understanding the judgement of God, and why it comes. For that, a study of the Old Testament is essential. It is in the Old Testament where we learn how the LORD God deals with nations.

However, before going further into that, which I will in later articles, I discovered a commonality between several different religions. Now, I knew that a common logic exists between Mormonism, Taoism, and Dialectal Materialism, but I was surprised to find another religion having that same common basis — Hasidic Judaism.

What is presented hereafter are quotes from each of the above named religions (yes, dialectical materialism is a religion) and their core logic. Please understand, this is NOT what the Bible teaches about LORD God and His intrinsic righteousness. Rather, all these religions make God no better than man, and are blasphemous.

Mormonism
2 Nephi 2:10-12
10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

Hasidic Judaism (Founded by Baal Shem Tov)
4. Having no [divine] source, evil does not come down from heaven. Nevertheless, evil that exists has an inner power giving it life. And this [inner power] is total goodness. So if you look at the inner aspect of evil, you will only see the good in it. ((The Ten Principles Of The Baal Shem Tov))

In all that is in the world dwell holy sparks, no thing is empty of them. In the actions of men also, indeed even in the sins that a man does, dwell holy sparks of the Glory of God. ((The Baal Shem Tov))

(2) In the story of creation it says, “Indeed, it was very good.” But in the exhortation of Moses it says, “See, I have placed before you this day life and good, death and evil.” But from where has evil come? The answer: evil, too, is good; it is the lowest rung of perfect goodness. If one does good, then evil too becomes good; but if one sins, then it becomes really evil

[INTERPRETATION: God is the creator of all things, and in all things is trapped a Holy Spark, yearning to return to its unity with Him. As with the Tao — in which there is Yin in Yang, and Yang in Yin — there is good in evil and evil in good, and only the preponderance of one over the other differentiates them. Therefore, one cannot perform a “good” act without liberating from it the “evil” it also contains; similarly, one cannot turn from evil without liberating the good trapped within it.] ((The Baal Shem Tov page))

Dialectical Materialism (the root of Communism)
Fredrick Engels — Dialectics of Nature
“Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, or motion without matter, nor can there be.”

Change of form of motion is always a process that takes place between at least two bodies, of which one loses a definite quantity of motion of one quality (e.g. heat), while the other gains a corresponding quantity of motion of another quality (mechanical motion, electricity, chemical decomposition).

Dialectics, so-called objective dialectics, prevails throughout nature, and so-called subjective dialectics (dialectical thought), is only the reflection of the motion through opposites which asserts itself everywhere in nature, and which by the continual conflict of the opposites and their final passage into one another, or into higher forms, determines the life of nature.” ((Dialectical Materialism))

Taoism
The Yin Yang symbol:
This is a well known Taoist symbol. “It represents the balance of opposites in the universe. When they are equally present, all is calm. When one is outweighed by the other, there is confusion and disarray.” 4 One source explains that it was derived from astronomical observations which recorded the shadow of the sun throughout a full year. 5 The two swirling shapes inside the symbol give the impression of change — the only constant factor in the universe. One tradition states that Yin (or Ying; the dark side) represents the breath that formed the earth. Yang (the light side) symbolizes the breath that formed the heavens.

However, since nothing in nature is purely black or purely white, the symbol includes a small black spot in the white swirl, and a corresponding white spot in the black swirl.

Ultimately, the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ can symbolize any two polarized forces in nature. Taosts believe that humans often intervene in nature and upset the balance of Yin and Yang. ((Taoism))

Chapter 1
The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of myriad things. Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence. Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations. These two emerge together but differ in name. The unity is said to be the mystery. Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders. ((Tao Te Ching))

Surely one must be moved to question why such supposedly different religions would all have the same common basis for their belief. After all, on the surface, each of these religions seem quite at odds with each other. Perhaps I will leave it with this admonition from Scripture:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)