In Search of an Ideal Government 

Throughout history, this search is on-going.  From the narrative in Genesis, Adam & Eve did not subject themselves to a theocratic government, disobeyed God and were subsequently driven out of the “government in the garden of Eden”. Nimrod (the rebel), in a way, wanted to substitute his autocratic reach to the heavens (Gen. 11:1-9) through the Tower of Babel to make a “name for themselves”. Saul, David, Solomon, etc. also had a government that appeared to be aligned with God’s government. Yet, even these biblical patriarchs, supposed to be chosen by God, had a fleeting loyalty to him and “their kingdoms” succumbed. And throughout history, men of high esteem had leadership and moral compass yet were not durable nor lasting.

The Egyptian and Assyrian empires did not last. From the successive Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires, the common denominator they all shared are disintegration and short life span. The 15th through the 20th century saw the demise of Spain, France, Germany and England as a world power. In WW II, Germany attempted to dominate Europe and even Russia. While in the Asian continent, Japan tried to sell a propaganda of Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. All of these nations over-extended themselves and failed. Coming out of the ashes of WW II, the League of Nations did not see the “light of day” and was quickly replaced with the United Nations. Will the latter succeed? In Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC/Common Market) was originally established as an economic integration by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, became European Community(EC) in 1993 by Maastricht Treaty, and eventually transformed into more than economic alliance, the European Union (EC) by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. Even this EC will not last as England chose to exit (Brexit), and others may follow. As an aftermath of 911, Al Qaeda was introduced to the world stage and swiftly dislodged from hegemony in Afghanistan with their Taliban alliance. With the vacuûm left in the Middle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant (ISIS/ISIL), came into being and is a threat to global peace, security and refugee dislocation, especially in Europe. Will these human geopolitical race for dominance succeed or end much like the Tower of Babel and the “image of Nebuchadnezzar” that will “break in pieces” as prophesied in Daniel 2?

Now remains the U.S.A. as an undisputed world power with the $US as “reserve currency”, money held to pay international debts, since 1944 Bretton Woods agreement setting exchange rate of 1oz. of gold to US$35. Yet, in spite of this currency advantage over other countries, fiscal and monetary policies to address mandatory and discretionary demands took the US to an unprecedented $18T debt and social programs like Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps, Obamacare to an unsustainable trajectory. Is the U.S.A over-extending itself, like others historically, to suffer through this vicious cycle towards oblivion? With additional socio-political unrest, racial division, illegal immigration within an atmosphere of terrorism and wars in multiple fronts, it becomes questionable whether the best form of government, a Constitutional Republic, will also be “transitory”.

These successive events should make one wonder. Did God really plan for us to have the best form of “human government” (aka “human kingdom”) as the ultimate in governance? Are there indications that point otherwise? Are humans, in their present composition,”the pinnacle of creation” or just “an image or likeness of him”, perfect yet temporary? What role are humans destined to play in “world government”? It may take a suspension of disbelief, for one to reconsider traditional teaching of biblical verses written millennia ago.

Consider that governance started off in the Genesis account, as a “theocracy” and not a democracy, not even a Constitutional Republic. One may argue that a supreme and powerful human leader, answerable to no one, maybe the answer. Yet, history belies that even a benevolent king, or a charismatic dictator could be the answer. There is still something missing in a human leader. Undoubtedly, God is the best leader. But, why did it not work with Adam & Eve? After all, didn’t God have the power for theocracy to work by force at the garden of Eden? Puzzling indeed !

But is it really an enigma wrapped in mystery? It is clear that God did not use force for compliance and man’s “free will” prevailed at the garden of Eden. But why did Adam’s disobedience occurred ? Could that have been prevented or was that a “given” and expected by the Creator? Could the reason be that man himself, his nature, when and how he was originally and purposely created, was perfect yet temporary? After all, the omnipotent and omniscient God knows the limits of his creation.

Going back to the narrative in Genesis about the creation of man, may help answer this question. Gen. 2:7 states that he was formed from the “dust of the ground”, meaning that his composition was “material”, not spiritual. Continuing the verse, Adam was not alive when created from dust, but became alive only when the “breath of life” was breathed into him by God. Therefore a “living person” is now composed of “dust + breath of life” to become a “living soul”. The “dust” is the material part of man but what about the “breath of life”? Is this like the “air” we breathe? Remember, that without this “breath of life” the dust-body has no life, i.e., dead. In James 2:26, “the body apart from the spirit is dead”, suggesting that this “breath of life” is the “spirit of man”, therefore “spiritual” and given by a spiritual God. Unlike the dust/body “made by hand so”, this spirit of man was “breathe” into his nostrils and came directly from God. This “breath of life” is not the material gasses that we breathe like oxygen,nitrogen, etc. Rather, it is a God-given “component” of man that “initiates life”, the spiritual component that “energizes” all human functions, like breathing, heart pumping, thinking, moving, feeling, etc. It is a “spirit-energy” much like the mechanical, electrical or nuclear energy that provides power for things to function. A living man or a “living soul” is thereby made up of “material and spirit components”, the body which is material and the spirit(breath of life) which is spiritual. Zech 12:1 attests that God formed this spirit in man. This spirit in man imprints the memory of everything one experienced through the 5 senses(1 Corinthians 2:11). It can be parallel to the “operating system” in a computer, without which all components are defunctionalized.

Death of man happens when this “breath of life”, this spirit of man, leaves the body. The two can be divided (Heb. 4:12); “the soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Also, Eccl. 12:7 explains that when man dies, “Then the dust (our body) will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit ( breath of life) will return to God who gave it.” Having thus stated, and that while man was created “perfectly” like God’s image (Gen. 1:27), it was nevertheless created only from “matter” (dust) and therefore “weak”. Notice what Jesus said, ” truly, the spirit (of man) is willing but the flesh is weak…” (Matt. 26:40-43). Not only is man “weak” (the body), but also only “a temporary dwelling”. Remember that the “tabernacle” in the Old Testament is a “temporary dwelling” of God. Read through Exodus chapters 35-40 about the tabernacle of God. See also the temple during Solomon’s time (1 Kings 8:11-12), the Temple rebuilt under Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:12; 6:15, 16). By Jesus’ time, the Temple had become a den of thieves. In A. D. 70, the Roman General Titus destroyed Herod’s Temple.

The message in all of these is God showing that these tabernacle and Temples are “temporary dwelling” of God. But notice that these temples are merely “types” of us and we are the actual temples that God planned to dwell in. Read Acts 17:24,”God who made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of Heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” Also, Acts 7:48, “the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands”. Both preceding quotes show where God will dwell, i.e., in the “spirit of man”, that component of man “not made by hands” but came directly from God through breathing into that “dust-body”.  It was prophesied that God, through the Holy Spirit will dwell in us, the “temple not made by hands; and specifically in the “holy of holies” (Lev. 16:2), in the “spirit of man“. Read Matthew 3:11, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit …”  and “…you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38); [See also Acts 5:32; James 4:5; Rom. 5:5; Eph. 5:18.]

Essentially, man needs another component that was already planned by God from the beginning to imbue in us to assist the “weak flesh”, to be “strong” to overcome evil. “What is man that God is mindful of him?”, so asked David in Psalm 8:4-6 and repeated by Paul in Hebrews 2:6. God, as a Potter, has desired to work on his “clay” again as in Jeremiah 18:4, with the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, God desired to dwell in us, the temple not made by human hands, through his Spirit. This Spirit will again “energize and empower” our “weak flesh” by working with and guiding the “spirit of man” (breath of life) which was already given before. This is another vital component, a newoperating system” that is given by grace and as a gift that can empower us to overcome evil. The first “operating system” that initiated life to Adam, the spirit of man/breath of life, needs this add-on new O.S. for update. 

The Holy Spirit “updating” by teaching that one must believe (Hebrew 11:6), repent (Acts 2:38), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16). Also, the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, will “seal, sanctify, guide, teach, and give us power” to have the “mind of Christ”(Rom 12:2; Phil 2:5-11; 2 Tim 1:7) and be “conformed in the likeness of his Son Jesus”(Rom 8:29). Yes, we shall be likehis Son”(I Jn 3:2-3), different from each other and unique, yet “one” with Jesus(I Cor 12:12 ; Rom 12:4), as we will be “one” with the Father.

God has a timetable and a purpose for man. And that purpose is for the “Spirit of God” to dwell in us, the temple (I Cor.3:16). The spirit of man with the Spirit of God. In fact, Jesus died and resurrected, for us to receive this Holy Spirit of God. See John 16:17, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Also, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). This “spirit baptism” first occurred in the river Jordan on Jesus and subsequently, on the Day of Pentecost, to the apostle. It is happening ever since, to the “church of God“.

In summary, all human governments will fail as they have never been the plan of Almighty God who knows what is best. In taking the Genesis creation of man into consideration, God has initially created an “image and likeness of Lord God (YHVH ELOHIM”). This “image” or flesh-body however was temporary, just a “temple or template” and therefore “weak”. As presently composed, man can not govern “self”, much less govern others with consistency of goodness. The “missing link” is for the Holy Spirit to in-dwell and proven after first in-dwelling in Jesus at the river Jordan. Eventually, God planned for mankind not to stay as “an image” only and not to stay “weak”. Instead, we will be “empowered” like him in our current state. Eventually, in the future, to receive a spirit-body, “put on immortality”, “one with him” as the “future world” will not be subjected again to angels but to us (Heb 2:5). As in I Cor. 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God” (the Father). Also, Eph 2:22 “…builded together for an habitation of God(Father) through the Spirit.” After creating the universe, plant and animal kingdoms, however with man, God is not creating a “human kingdom”, but a “God-kingdom” , all with immortal bodies, with Jesus as the Head and us with him as one. At the end of time, the Father will be over all and in all.

This world government will be a “theocracy”, a God-Kingdom. The theocracy in the garden of Eden did not work because of man’s deficient and temporary  composition. Humans will have a role but only after having been transformed by the Holy Spirit working with the “spirit of man”, and be “one” with Christ, in an “immortal” state (not physical), at resurrection., with immortal bodies as that of God. He that has “eyes to see and ears to hear”, may he be blessed to recover from blindness and deafness.

Original Post: 7.26.2015

Revised and posted: 12.27.2016

Son of God …What Does it Mean?

Son of God …What Does it Mean?


The blockbuster movie “Son of God” which was supported and encouraged for viewing by mega churches (1) had its world premiere on February 28, 2014. As a miniseries in History channel, it was touted by many to be phenomenal but even more awe-inspiring this time as a movie. Directed by Christopher Spencer and starring Diogo Morgado, “Son of God” is being marketed as a major motion picture event that “brings the story of Jesus’ life to audiences through compelling cinematic storytelling that is both powerful and inspirational, complete with exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score” (2). The interview of producers Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey in Hannity/Fox on 2/21/14 (3) was no less riveting. The film tells the story of Jesus’ birth, his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. The focus was about the fact that Jesus is unequivocally the “Son of God”.

However, the presentation did not delve further into the “truth or reason” behind this fact. And, this is a common inadequacy one finds in sermons/homilies that stop at merely identifying Jesus/Y’SHUAH/Ha-Mashiach (4) as the “Son of God”. As vital as that fact is, it does not equate with the far-reaching blessing from the “truth or reason” behind that fact. Hopefully, as we all acknowledge him as such, we will not be distracted from the underlying ultimate message and thus be haunted by the admonition in Matt.7:21-23:

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Because of time constraints intrinsic to the creation of any movie, it was understandable that a number of crucial and essential truth was left out. What was missing though in this movie was the provision for the reason why he had to become”Son of God”? What is the underlying message behind that fact? What is it to us and to our future, for this human being, the “Son of Man” to become the “Son of God”? What for is that descriptive title in relation to the future of the human race? Moreover, after the proclamation of Jesus as the “Son of God”, when did that title actually become a reality? Pre-incarnate, incarnate or post-incarnate? These are questions that are so important as they form a narrative to know why you and I are here in this world… the very reason for our existence, albeit our destiny. 

As already indicated in the miniseries, movie, gospels, prophecies, apostolic letters, revelation, secular writings (5), etc, Jesus in fact existed and walked on this earth and was proclaimed to be the “Son of God”. All Christian churches are well-equipped to prove that fact. But the purpose of this commentary is to explore and expound the proposition that there is more to this titular fact than meets the eye. And, although alluded to in the Bible and its significance not fully appreciated by mainstream Christianity, the truth behind this title is even more outstanding, faith-enhancing and grace-encompassing.

At the outset, as we continue to grow in understanding, let us consider the following:

A. Prophesied


His identity was already prophesied long before He came to this world. This WORD-Creator/El Shaddai/YHVH (John 1:1-3, 14, Colossians1:16-17/Ex 6:3) took off his spirit-composition and glorious body to become flesh-and-blood. However, as a human being, he is identified as the Messiah(Isaiah 9:6-7), the Son of man(Matt 8:20), born of a virgin(Isa.7:14), a Nazarene(Matt 2:23), priest after the order of Melchizedek(Heb. 5:6,10), Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, Immanuel(Matt.1:23), Passover-lamb(I Cor.5:7), etc.(6, 7). These are descriptive declarations when he was “flesh-and-blood”, i.e., as a human being. And this human incarnation of YHVH was for this purpose, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”(Hebrew 2:17). On the side, it is not inconceivable for the descriptions “priest after the order of Melchizedek, Prince of Peace and Everlasting Father maybe timed after his resurrection.

B. DECLARED Son of God



This Messiah, the”flesh-and-blood” Passover-lamb/Christ was also declared/identified as the “Son of God”.
Ps.2:7,12 “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him”. Notice the word “begotten” (derived from “yalad”), i.e. not yet born, still in the womb being developed. Also, that the Father-Son relationship is yet future.
Matthew 3:16-17 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”



Matthew 16:15-17 “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”



Luke 1:35 – “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”



Hebrews1:5 “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”



While these preceding verses identified and declared the Man-Jesus/Messiah/Christ /Passover-Lamb as “Son of God”, they did not give us a definitive inkling as to when the realization of this “Sonship” occurred. If anything, it connotes a future (shall) timetable. Was that title achieved at that time when he was “flesh-blood” or was it yet in the future? Notice that the identification and official acknowledgment of Jesus at river Jordan as Son of God by the Father was technically as “begotten“, i.e.,  not born yet (yalad) as in Heb. 1:5.

C. Born again to see the kingdom of God?

From a human being, one has to be  “born again” to see the kingdom of God. This is a must according to Jesus. YHVH Elohim himself has to incarnate to man-Jesus before becoming Son of God to fulfill what was required. Does the Bible support these requirements?
The story of Nicodemus in John 3:1-12 gives proof. In the narrative, Nicodemus was asking how could man be born again. Notice verses 3-6 ” 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.”
Here, it is obvious that Jesus was referring to 2 births, viz., first human birth to flesh as in “born of water”(from the uterus) and subsequently a second birth as in”born of the Spirit”. There had to be 2 births, otherwise John 3:3 states, no one (including Jesus) will not see the kingdom of God; no salvation without those requirements. He differentiated the 2 births in v-6, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The mechanics therefore of YHVH’s incarnation is, from his previous immortal composition, he has to become flesh through the human process of inception, growth and development in-utero of a mother, be delivered from the womb to become an actual live mortal person. This human process is different from any known human existence. Jesus “came from above”, heavenly; unlike other humans that came from the ground, “earthy”. 

After human inception, birth (born of water), growth and development, then, and only then can a person, including man-Jesus, be “born of the spirit” through a process of “adoption-Sonship “, starting with “spirit-baptism”. And Jesus went through the process as “first of the firstfruits” for his “church-body” that will individually also has to go through the same. As YHVH-Creator, he created all. When he became Son of God at resurrection, from mortal man-Jesus to immortal, then he received from the Father, the spirit-power to create “his body-church”, “spirit-composed” children of God, a “God-kingdom”. 

As a potter, with the spirit-power given to him by the Father, the prophecy in Jeremiah 18:1-4 (RSV) is being fulfilled:

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”

He died and resurrected to receive this power as in:
John 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 
This is the “power (needed) to become sons of God”, as in: John 1:12-13,12 

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

D. Son of God, when?

 The title “Son of God” came to fruition only after resurrection. At which time, he transcended from “begotten” to “firstborn”, the first of the “first-fruits” (wave sheaf Lev. 23:10-13) with spirit-body, spirit-composed, albeit with the power to manifest as human (8). This did not happen after his death and through 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb as a corpse. It achieved reality only after he was transformed from “flesh-blood” to a living “spirit-composed being”,
capable of showing as “flesh-and-blood”. Consider the following verses:

Romans 1:4″And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”N.B. Again declared “by resurrection”..

Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn (prototokus”) from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” N.B. “Firstborn from the dead”

Colossians 1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creation.”

Revelation1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”. Note: we have to be “begotten” as man-flesh before being “son” with spirit-composed body. As Jesus said to Nicodemus(John 3), 2 births are required to see the kingdom of God: “born of water”( born as flesh), before “born in spirit” (with spirit-composed body). 

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”

Hebrews 1:6 “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”

Acts 26:23 “That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. ”

I Cor 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

Rom 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

Rom 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”

Hebrews12:23 “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”


SUMMARY

The reason for the spirit-composed El/Shaddai/YHVH to change into Jesus/Y’SHUAH ( partaker of flesh and blood, lower than angels, Heb 2:7) is for him to fulfill:

A. The 2-births requirements to see the kingdom of God and 

B. The promise and undertaking of a Passover-Lamb/Messiah to suffer the penalty of mankind’s sins which is eternal death”(Hebrew 2:17). 

As all mankind’s sin was imputed to the sin of the “first” Adam(Rom.5:7-21), so was mankind’s penalty of death imputed to the death of the “last” Adam/Christ (1Cor 15:45), by grace as promised on faith of Jesus/YHVH Elohim and not by “works”( even of Jesus) so no one “can boast” ( Eph. 2:9 ). At resurrection, being spirit-composed, Jesus/Y’SHUAH then fulfilled the reality of being the “Son of God”, no longer “begotten”. 
Rather, he became the “firstborn” of a new creation-kind, created or made higher (Heb. 1:4) than angelic beings. Moreover, as he is the firstborn (the first of the firstfruits, the “wave-sheaf offering” Lev. 23:10-14), he will then get others (Rom 8:19) to become the “sons/children of God” also by resurrection or “twinkling of an eye” ( I Cor. 15:52 ) at his return to earth to commence the Millenium. A newcreation”(Gal.6:15; 2 Cor. 5:17) above angelic beings ( Ps. 8:4; Heb.2:5-18) is being composed, through this mechanism of “Sonship”. Jesus, the first-born “Son of God”, the first of the firstfruits (I Cor. 15:20) and afterwards “bringing many sons to glory”(Heb.2:10), the other firstfruits of the “spring-harvest” at the start of the Millenium in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4,5; I Thes. 4:16,17), then the “latter-fruits” in the latter-harvest at the second resurrection. Based on this and “on this rock” ( the rock-solid meaning of “Son of God” Matt. 16:16-18), I will build my church (body), all spirit-composed. Through this rock-solid process of “sonship”, a new creation of spirit-beings will be realized, albeit a God-kingdom. 

This is the essence of the commission to proclaim the gospel (Matt.24:14) of the coming”kingdom of God”. The overall plan is to create a kingdom composed of spirit beings higher than angelic spirit-beings, the “God-kingdom”. While (9,10,11) there is a “plant-kingdom” and an “animal-kingdom”, there is nohuman-kingdom” created by God. In fact, all the ” human-kingdoms” from Adam who on his own “works” wanted to be like God (Gen 3:1-24), Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), Israel-kingdom divorced by YHVH (Isa 50.1;Hosea 2:2; Jer.3.8), successive heathen kingdoms represented by Nebuchadnezzar’s dream(Daniel 2:1-48) have no longevity. As a “stone” will destroy the last human kingdom represented by 10-toes of iron and clay, only the kingdom created by God, spirit-composed “sons/daughters of God” (Kingdom of God) will be everlasting.

This present world is under subjection (11) to angels (Gal 3:19, Heb. 2:2). But, the “world to come” will not be under angelic-spirits but under the “kingdom-of-God”, spirit-composed “Sons/children of God”, all higher in category than angels. This is why  YHVH ELOHIM has to incarnate to man-Jesus and to be “born again” into spirit-composed “Son of God” with power to create sons and daughters of God , all spirit-composed. As it is written in Hebrews 2:5-17 “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (by angels). For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”




This is the deeper and final essence of the title “Son of God”, with Jesus/Y’SHUAH the firstborn/wavesheaf firstfruit by resurrection, taking on this new category, higher than angels. Subsequently, othersons/daughters” will follow through this mechanism of “rock-solid Sonship”, as Jesus/Y’SHUAH builds his “body/church”. What an awesome gift and blessing from the Father by grace and not “by works” of anyone, a destiny that we are looking forward to!

Will there be a sequel in the offing that embodies this truth and message behind the title “Son of God”? Let us hope so.


References:

1. Megachurch Pastors Lead ‘Son of God’ Campaign to ‘Take Over’ Multiplex Theaters Nationwide: http://www.christianpost.com/news/megachurch-pastors-lead-son-of-god-campaign-to-take-over-multiplex-theaters-nationwide-114732/
2. Producers: “Son of God ” will appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike:http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/02/28/son-god-movie-jesus-bible-american-audiences-religious/
3. Hannity/Fox on 2/21/14: https://74.217.254.62/tivo-tco/program/show.do?collectionId=tivo:cl…
4. Hebrew names of God. http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Yeshua/yeshua.html
5.Early Secular writings regarding Christ:http://www.nelsonprice.com/early-secular-writings-regarding-christ/
6. Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled:

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm
7.Ten prophecies about Jesus birth:https://theresurgence.com/2012/12/24/10-prophecies-about-jesus-birth
8. How many times did Jesus appear after ….resurrection:http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/resurrectionofchrist.html

N.B. While the Son of God is higher than the angelic-spirits, the latter can also manifest as humans as in Gen. 19:1-5
9. Destiny of Man: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-destiny-of-man/
10.Deification of Man: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/26/deification-of-man-2/
11. Passion of Christ: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-passion-of-christ/
12. The law was given by angels: http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess003a.htm

Original post: 6.18.2014

Revised & Reposted:1.15.2017

Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy

Teaching graduating medical students at a University Anatomy Dissection Lab who chose their path towards a specialty in Surgery or its subspecialty, provides me with a depth of perspective, complexity and marvel of the structures of human anatomy that I never had before. It was in this environment that it came to mind the Pharisees’ confrontation with Jesus in Luke 17:20-21:“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
 

Question and Answer?

Notice the question about the time “when the kingdom of God should come“. Yet, the circuitous answer given was about when in the future and he was directly defining what and where it is. That, it does “not come with observation, not here or there“, meaning, we cannot see it, being invisible. In other words and strictly speaking, Jesus was referring to the intangible and where it is. Also, in answering the question as to when, Jesus pointed us towards the beginning and origin of the kingdom of God, it is “within you“. Interesting, it is.

Commonly, we understood the kingdom of God as a place or government of God in heaven or way into the future here on earth. While this teaching from childhood has truth in it, what is being introduced here for the first time by Jesus is awesome and seminal. This goes conceptually to the deepest root of what and where it is. Meaning, that the basic element or attribute of the God-kingdom, much like the brick-and-mortar in building a house, is already in us to start with. Really?

Pharisees and “us”, what we share in common?

How could the “kingdom of God” be “within you“, i.e., in the Pharisees, when they were actually against Jesus? Hardly, can they have this, so we can all wrongly assume. Yet, Jesus was clear as daylight that it is in them. Arguably, this answer to them can only be taken in a general sense, i.e., as it relates to humans, including all of us.
Since what we share with the Pharisees is this flesh-body anatomy that is visible and external, not internal and not “within“, what is that invisible aspect that is also common to all humans? Jesus was specifically stating a matter of fact: that the “kingdom of God is within” us, referring to where it is in our common human anatomy, our human body. He was in fact referring to where the “kingdom of God” is, i.e., in our human composition.

Within you, what?

What then is “within you“, in our human anatomy, that is related to the “kingdom of God”? What is “within” the Pharisees that is also “within” every human anatomy? If one analyzes the composition of man at creation it was composed of “dust“, matter, from earth. All ingredients necessary for life are composed of matter, whether gross, microscopic, enzymatic, immunological, electron transfer, etc. But, the matter-composed body was not yet “living“(no life), until God “breathe into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen. 2:7), aka, the spirit of man. This was the spirit-component that “quickened” or “energized” all physical elements of the human body to be alive. It initiated all life processes, i.e., metabolic, humoral, cerebrovascular-spinal, cardiovascular, endocrine, and other life systems. It is this “spirit of man” given to human to “quicken” him to life. Unlike the matter-composition from earth, and therefore “earthy“, this “breath of life” is from heaven, and therefore heavenly, from spirit-God and therefore spirit-composed. Man at creation in the garden of Eden was earthy, matter-composed and did not have life until the “spirit of man” was given by breathing through his nostrils the “breath of life”. Then and only then did man become a “nephesh” or “living soul/person”, a live creature. This “spirit” in humans could only be the thing referred to as “within you” since this is the “only part” of man that came directly from God, heavenly not earthy. Hence, the “kingdom of God is “within you”.

From Potential to Kinetic Energy

Notice, that this “spirit of man” started the life of the person. It is a life-giving energy that can be infused into humans. By analogy, the home will be pitch-dark without an electric energy and no mechanical device can function without mechanical energy. Nor will there be any manifestation coming from fossil-fuel, wind or solar power. Notice that all these powers from our material body are “potential energies” that are hidden and intrinsic but can be activated/”quickened” or harnessed to become “kinetic energies“. One has to flip an electric switch to have light from an energy source and turn on an ignition to activate electrical-mechanical energy to start a car. No gizmo like cell phone or iPad, even when fully charged, will function without being turned on. Our Creator was very precise in describing that all components of our material body have “potential energy” sans life when it was created from “dust“. It took God to “breath into” Adam at his creation, this life-activating energy, a spirit-power, before life begins. 

Human Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomically, man is a sensory-motor system. Learning comes through our sensory system, viz., by seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. Action is through motor system via central or peripheral nervous system. All our experiences are captured by the material components of our brain through complex neuronal connectivity of cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, medulla, etc. Decision-making as to what to do, draws from what was learned and manifests into action, voluntary or involuntary, through our motor system.We are a composite of our unique growth and development. Where we draw from our past experiences has to be from where the memory is stored. Storage has to be in some kind of “cloud” that is separate from the brain. Could memory be embedded in the “spirit of man“?

Where is Memory Stored?

When a person dies, the matter-composed body in “hades” or grave, with all of its material components, decays or rots. A dead person no longer thinks, as in, his “thoughts perished” (Ps. 146:4). Whereas, the “spirit of man” goes back to the Creator (Eccl. 12:7; Job 33:18,30). The dead body “knows nothing” (Eccl. 9:5;James 2:26) and stays on earth, not heaven (Acts 2:29, 34). No one ascended to heaven except the Son of man(John 3:13). As regards the “spirit of man”, nowhere does it say it is dead; only that it “goes back” to the Creator. This spirit has been in the person through his/her lifetime and for what? Also, for those who are blessed to participate in the “first resurrection“, e.g., Paul, Peter, the apostles, how do they keep their unique identity? How do they know who they actually are when resurrected to life? It has to be from memory. And, there is only one logical place for memory to be stored. Not in a dead body but in the “spirit of man“. By analogy, much like a “thumb drive” where everything from the computer can be stored, the computer itself like our body can be destroyed. and the thumb drive like the “spirit of man” with stored memories can be expressed or “downloaded” into a new computer or body. The same mechanism may happen when the “spirit of man“, with stored memory, gets into a new and immortal body at resurrection. Moreover, much like a “memory chip“, this “spirit of man” imprints all that were learned throughout our life, even in-utero, and keeps our unique identity.

All-knowing God

God knows precisely what, where and when to start the building-block of the God-kingdom. He already created celestial and terrestrial, a plant-kingdom, animal kingdom; all of them matter-composed. Only angels are spirit-composed, not matter-composed; invisible, although they have the capability of being visible (Gen. 18:1-3; Heb. 1:7,14). But, when it came to man, the goal was not to create a human kingdom. Instead, notice Genesis 1:26-27,

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image..”

Nothing in the creation of anything, whether planets, plants nor animals, is in the image or likeness of Him, unlike that of man. Man has been created in the “image and likeness” of the Creator YHVH(Gen. 1:27). But, eventually, this “image” will become a “new creation” different from others. Man started as an “image“. But, from an “image“, the final future of man is to be in the “God-kingdom“, not plant, animal nor human kingdom. We did not evolve from an “animal kingdom“. We will be different, even from spirit-composed angels, a third of which (Heb. 12:22), went with Lucifer (Rev. 9:1; Isa. 14:12) and against their Creator. In fact, humans will even be higher than angels; see Ps. 8:4-6; Heb. 2:5-18 and be like the “Son/Firstborn” within the hierarchy of the “God-kingdom“. We were created “in the image of” YHVH/Creator/Logos who incarnated to man-Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). By being human himself, he is showing the path towards how humans, from an “image“, can be in the “God-Kingdom” as “sons/daughters“; like, but not the same as, YHVH/Creator God. The key attribute or element of a God-kingdom is already “within us”, that “spirit of man”, which serves as a template, a starting point, for this “new creation“(2Cor. 5:17).

Temporary Abode

Before taking up how this “template/spirit of man” becomes the “kingdom of God”, let us consider first the historical “transient abode” of YHVH. 

From the beginning when YHVH/God wanted to show himself to Israel, it was through a “transient abode“. It was a tent (I Chr. 15:,16:1; 2 Sam.7:2), then tabernacle (Ex. 25:8-9) and subsequently in a temple (Deut. 12:2-27) in Jerusalem. See also, Heb. 11:9-10. But, notice Acts 17:24:(NIV) 
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.”

Similarly, the nation of Israel was to stay in a temporary dwelling (Jer. 35:7). All of these to signify that our current physical body is temporary abode for the “spirit of man” and that the latter will have in the future an immortal body. Notice 2 Cor 5:1-4 

“Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are (made) in heaven and will last forever. While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked. These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.”

2 Peter 1:13-14 “I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling”
Clearly, the preceding intimated that tents, tabernacles and Jerusalem temples are only temporary abodes for God. Long term, he will dwell, not in the body which is earthy but in the “spirit of man” which is heavenly. Not even in the “flesh-composed body” that he created with his own hands. The location for him to get into our body is specifically in the “spirit of man”, the anti-type of the precursor/type signified by the “holy of holies”, the most sacred of 3 divisions of the Temple (I Chron. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chron. 3:1; 6:27; 6-7; I Kings 5,8, 7:48; Heb. 9:3; etc). This, to fulfill the promise in Jer. 31:32-34, 2 Cor 3:3, that through his Spirit, he will dwell in the “spirit of man”, the element that is not earthy, but heavenly. He will take abode in the “breath of life”, in the “spirit of man” not made even by his own hands, but directly came from him and delivered through human’s nostril. 

 
As the preceding has noted, God’s abode was transient and He does not “live” in temples or buildings built by humans, not even in anything made “by hands“. The matter-composed body of Adam was “made by God’s hands using earthy elements”. In contrast, the “spirit of man” came from God and was expressed through Adam’s nostrils. But, as planned, God wanted to immerse in the “spirit of man” through “spirit-baptism. Spirit of God interacts and binds with the spirit of man, which was not made by hands from earth but came from God and breathed into us. This appears to be “how” the creation of God-kingdom is to start…by baptism with the Holy Spirit, the bonding of God’s spirit and the spirit of man. Specificity is the hallmark of bonding in the science of Chemistry. 

Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Who, When, How and Why?

As to who will baptize, was identified by the Father through John the Baptist, in John 1:25-34. None other than the Lamb of God, Jesus. Because of the “faith of Jesus” (Rom. 3:21-22; Gal. 2:16,20; Phil. 3:9) in the plan of the Father as promised to him before the foundation of the world, He became the first human immersed with the Holy Spirit after he came out of water baptism (Matt. 3:16). This spirit-power helped him overcome Satan’s temptation (Luke 4:3-13). Miracles were performed by man-Jesus since spirit-baptism because of this spirit-power in him. Prior to this and as an adult human, he did not perform any of the miracles although with perfect understanding of the Torah and Tanach. While Jesus as a human still had his own “will“, he did not follow himself but followed the “will of the Father”(Luke 22:42). Likewise, the apostles did not have spirit-power until Pentecost when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit of power (Luke 24:49;Acts 1:4-5). In fact prior to Jesus’ death, as they were “weak“(Matt.26:41; Mk. 14:38), they abandoned him. This Pentecost spirit-baptism became possible for Jesus to do because after resurrection he went to the Father to get the “Comforter” as promised to him (John 14:16,26;16:7). Subsequently, the Holy Spirit has come to humans to reside in the “spirit of man“. 

Why Start in the “Spirit of Man”?

Remember that humans learn from in-utero and throughout his/her lifetime. How the person responds, what the beliefs are, mental processes, judgment, etc., come through years of learning and getting experience. What is learned is innately human understanding and thoughts. Education makes one a composite of who he/she is, good or bad. Like in the Broadway musical South Pacific the message behind the song “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” supports what comes to the mind at an early age. Similarly, Proverbs 22:6 advances early education:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it

But even in our very ultimate best, “our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, not human thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).Without this re-education of the spirit of man by the Holy Spirit, all that we are doing are “works of the flesh”(Gal. 5:19-21).The Father wanted humans to be “one” with him (John 17:21) as Jesus is one with him (John 10:30). And for him to do that, God’s Spirit has to be in the specific place in humans, in the “spirit of man”, where learned memories are stored and to be re-educated. As the human “spirit is willing and the flesh is weak“(Matt.26:41; Mk. 14:38), God’s Spirit has to dwell in and empower/quicken it. Human spirit can then choose to follow his own will or God’s direction and wisdom. Jesus showed us what decision to make, “not my will but yours” (Luke 22:44), not human-will but God’s. We have to follow his way to develop his wisdom, not ours. And all of these occur through the Holy Spirit in us. Also, the Holy Spirit fulfills its other functions, viz., as a seal of ownership or identity (2 Cor. 1:22;Rom. 8:9,14;Eph. 1:13-14), leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4;Jn. 16:8), to truth (John. 16:13), bear fruits(Gal.5:22-23), resurrection(Rom.8:11), etc. These are works of the Holy Spirit, with us following its will, not ours, in much the same way man-Jesus followed. 

The man-Jesus, with the “spirit of man” baptized with the Holy Spirit coming out of river Jordan and followed the “will of the Father“(Luke 22:42), was then declared or became the Son of God through resurrection (Rom. 1:4) by being the “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:15,18) of many brethren. Yes, “born again” means “born from the dead“, Jesus, being the the”first of the firstborn” or “first of the firstfruits“(Eze.44:30; I Cor. 15:20-23; James 1:18), the “wave-sheaf offering” (Lev. 23:10-14). This is the same path for us, the “image“, to become ” like him“. After becoming “one” with the Father and the Son, through following the Holy Spirit and developing wisdom through this mechanism, eventually we will have an immortal body like them as in:

2 Corinthians 5:1″For we know that if the earthly tent (mortal-body) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house (immortal-body)not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

1 Corinthians 15:23 “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”

SUMMARY:

Salvation is a process for humans to be in the God-kingdom, a position much higher than plant or animal kingdom or angelic species, starting with man-Jesus (Ps.8:4;Heb.2:6). And no one can achieve this goal until “born of water (by natural birth) and of Spirit” by resurrection(John 3:3-7), i.e., to be born as human first as a “begotten son of God”, then born as “son of God”. Much like being born as a human being, it takes time for growth/development and maturity in the uterus of a woman as it is in becoming a “begotten son of God” through nurturing in the church(Woman) with guidance of the Holy Spirit. And becoming “son of God” equates with being spirit-bodied and saved from eternal, irreversible, or “second death” which was a consequence of Adam’s sin. “Thou shall surely die” in Gen. 2:17, gives a hint to this particular death and as in Romans 5:12-21, Adam’s sin and punishment were imputed to all. As bad as our own sins are, the key determinant was the sin of one person Adam, not our personal sin, so that also through one man, Jesus, all mankind’s sins can be covered by death with his blood as a Passover Lamb. Being flesh-bodied and not because of sin, humans will die the “first death” as “it is appointed for man to die and after this the judgment (Heb.9:27). Our flesh-composed body is matter and earthy and can therefore deteriorate, unlike the “spirit of man or breath of life” that came from God, and is heavenly. At death, our dead body will be in “hades“(grave) to rot and only the “spirit of man, the “ruach“, not earthy but heavenly, will go back to the Father (Eccl. 12:7). Proof that man’s “first death” is not because of sin, is the death of sinless man-Jesus, “tempted but who knew not sin”(Heb.4:15). The death of YHVH/CREATOR became possible by incarnating into man-Jesus. Being flesh-composed, Jesus/YHVH died the “first death” and not because of his own sin. But this death, as promised by the Father, was to pay for the “second and eternal death” of mankind due to Adam’s sin. Jesus’ death was propitiation for sin that reconciled mankind to the Father. Also as promised by the Father, Jesus, having died, was resurrected for the purpose of proof of resurrection for eternal life and receiving the promised Holy Spirit to then be given to humans at time appointed. 

The statement in Luke 17:21 that “the kingdom of God is within” us, refers to the ethereal “spirit of man” within our terrestrial physical body. This is the template or temple, not made by hands, where the promised/planned God-abode through the Holy Spirit, will dwell in for our sanctification. As the human “spirit is willing and the flesh is weak”(Matt.26:41; Mk. 14:38), God’s Spirit has to dwell in and empower/quicken it.  This power has to be given to become “sons.daughters of God (John 1:12). The spirit of man has to be re-educated on the ways of God. By being obedient to His guidance and by having faith and trust in God, we will then fulfill what is required for salvation, i.e., following the Law, not by our own power or personal goodness, but with the power that comes with the Holy Spirit given to us by faith of Jesus and therefore by grace. Our personal human-flesh goodness, like that of Job, is as “filthy rags” (Isa.64:6)..This fulfills the promise that the Holy Spirit will be the mechanism to “put the Law in their minds and write it in the tables of our fleshly heart” and no longer on “tables of stones” as were given at the time of Moses suggesting that the time was not yet (Jer.31:33; 2 Cor. 3:3).This was affirmed by Jesus and the apostles (Rev. 12:7; Matt. 7:21-23; 19:16-24; 22:36-40; Heb. 10:26-31; Gal. 5:19-21). And that, to bear “fruits” of Holy Spirit(Gal. 5:22-23), have experiential knowledge of God (John 17:3) and be “one” with the Father and Son. Without ” bearing fruits” we will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matt. 7:19). 
 
At resurrection with an immortal body that will replace this “earthly tent” and thereby becoming sons/daughters of God, we will then be members of the God-kingdom (not human kingdom) as the Father has planned from the “foundation of the worlds“. This is the mechanism of salvation and for building the “God-kingdom”, with Jesus as the builder or carpenter, the “pioneer and perfecter” (Heb. 12:2) and his faith in the Father as the foundation. All these “good news” are a gift by grace and an expression of love of the Father, not because of our own works but by the works of the Holy Spirit of power in us, so “no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9; I Cor. 1:29). The Holy Spirit is the power-tool given by the grace of God through the faith of Jesus. As exemplified by Jesus, we should also have faith, i.e., from “faith to faith” (Rom. 1:17).

Original post:12.16.2016

TRINITY DOCTRINE: DECONSTRUCTED?

TRINITY DOCTRINE: DECONSTRUCTED?
As a foundational teaching, the Trinity doctrine has been woven into mainstream Christianity since the Council of Nicea convened by Emperor Constantine in 325 C.E. in Bithynia(1). Because of disputes among church leaders, the first ecumenical council of Nicea was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.(2). Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the nature of the Son of God and his relationship to God the Father (3). It describes the belief in Christian theology that the “one” God of the universe is comprised of  “three” persons: the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit (4). The early church father Tertullian (c. 155-230), who wrote in Latin, is believed to have first used the term trinity to describe the God of the Bible (5).

While this doctrine is “radioactive” to bring up, Pres. FDR in his first inaugural address has a wise rejoinder, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”(6). Indeed, in an atmosphere of freedom, fear should not paralyze anyone as we search for the truth. How this theology came about is a subject worthy of review for all students of history. Knowing what happened at the time it was established gives us an inclination of the controversy that gave rise to this doctrine. Can those questions that were contentious and overwhelming at that time among church leaders be resolved with what we know today? What was the basic underlying concept and difference among them that was the crux of their contention?

This doctrine was formulated in the 4th century during the Christological debates between Arius and Athanasius. At the core of the controversy was the nature of the Father and Son and their relationship. The terms “homoousios, homoiousios and heterousious” (same substance/cosubstantial vs. similar and different substance) developed and came to be used to explain varying interpretations. All of these positions and the almost innumerable variations on them which developed in the 4th century AD were strongly and tenaciously opposed by Athanasius and other pro-Nicenes who insisted on the doctrine of the homoousian (or as it is called in modern terms consubstantiality), eventually prevailing in the struggle to define the dogma of the Orthodox Church for the next two millennia when its use was confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople in 381 or 383. Origen Adamantius (184/185 – 253/254), along with the prominent “Origenists” Didymus the Blind and Evagrius Ponticus, were declared anathema in 553 CE by the Second Council of Constantinople (7). Origen seems to have been the first ecclesiastical writer to use the word  “homoousios ” in a nontrinitarian context, but it is evident in his writings that he considered the Son’s divinity lesser than the Father’s, since he even calls the Son “a creature“(8). The controversy continued through centuries that followed, even to this day.

From the preceding prolegomenon, let us explore excerpts from historical vignettes. On the subject of Arianism, the Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica wrote (9):

Arius’ basic premise was the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot be God. The controversy seemed to have been brought to an end by the Council of Nicaea (AD 325), which condemned Arius and his teaching and issued a creed to safeguard orthodox Christian belief. This creed states that the Son is homoousion to Patri (“of one substance with the Father”), thus declaring him to be all that the Father is: he is completely divine. In fact, however, this was only the beginning of a long-protracted dispute. From 325 to 337, when the emperor Constantine died, the Arian leaders, exiled after the Council of Nicaea, tried by intrigue to return to their churches and sees and to banish their enemies. They were partly successful. From 337 to 350, Constans, sympathetic to the orthodox Christians, was emperor in the West, and Constantius II, sympathetic to the Arians, was emperor in the East. At a church council held at Antioch (341), an affirmation of faith that omitted the homoousion clause was issued. Another church council was held at Sardica (modern Sofia) in 342, but little was achieved by either council. In 350 Constantius became sole ruler of the empire, and under his leadership the Nicene party (orthodox Christians) was largely crushed. The extreme Arians then declared that the Son was “unlike” (anomoios) the Father. These anomoeans succeeded in having their views endorsed at Sirmium in 357, but their extremism stimulated the moderates, who asserted that the Son was “of similar substance” (homoiousios) with the Father. Constantius at first supported these homoiousians but soon transferred his support to the homoeans, led by Acacius, who affirmed that the Son was “like” (homoios) the Father. Their views were approved in 360 at Constantinople, where all previous creeds were rejected, the term ousia (“substance,” or “stuff”) was repudiated, and a statement of faith was issued stating that the Son was “like the Father who begot him.” After Constantius’ death (361), the orthodox Christian majority in the West consolidated its position. The persecution of orthodox Christians conducted by the (Arian) emperor Valens (364–378) in the East and the success of the teaching of Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus led the homoiousian majority in the East to realize its fundamental agreement with the Nicene party. When the emperors Gratian (367–383) and Theodosius I (379–395) took up the defense of orthodoxy, Arianism collapsed. The Emperor Theodosius had published an edict, prior to the Council of Constantinople, declaring that the Nicene Creed was the legitimate doctrine and that those opposed to it were heretics (10). In 381 the second ecumenical council met at Constantinople. Arianism was proscribed, and a statement of faith, the Nicene Creed, was approved.”

Coalescing of Powers

Notice that this changing adoption of religious concepts was influenced to a large degree by secular powers at a particular time, e.g., Emperors Constantine, Constans of the West, Constantius II of the East, Valens, Gratian and Theodosius. Civil and religious authorities were together, akin to  “cronyism” and “symbiosis“, to impose religious beliefs using secular power. On those who committed heresy, “heretics did not work outside the Christian community – they counted themselves as faithful Christians attempting to explain the gospel in terms their contemporaries might understand”.

Without taking either side, one sees that the trunk-of-the-tree controversy of Trinity Doctrine emanates from two postulates, viz.,

1. Reconciling with “monotheism” the concept that the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God and the Spirit is God.

The doctrine of the Trinity was formally developed in the early church in reaction to “errant teaching” on the nature of God as found in Arianism. Arianism attempted to protect monotheism (the belief in one God) by denying the full deity of Jesus, a belief most Christians hold at this time. Arianism taught that Jesus was divine, but that he was a lesser deity than the Father. To affirm the Church’s stance on the nature of God, the Trinity was formally stated in the Nicene Creed(325 A.D.) and the later Athanasian Creed. As a result of these early ecumenical creeds, any departure from the Christian doctrine of the Trinity was considered heresy. These creeds affirm the early Christian conviction that Jesus was God. Arianism caused the church to dogmatically affirm what was already believed and inherent to the earliest of Christian theology (12).

Essential to the Trinity Doctrine is that there is one and only one God. It is essential because it was the conviction of monotheism (Shema doctrine)- that there is one God – that fact drove the early Christians to formulate the doctrine of the Trinity from Scripture. More importantly, monotheism is the teaching found in the Bible.(Trinity is not in the Bible) Scripture is clear that there is only one God: “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21-22; see also 44:6-8; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4-5; 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Kings 8:60).

Fundamental to the Judaism of the OT (and of today) is the Shema. It is found in Deuteronomy 6 and part of it says, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one,” (Deut 6:4). The understanding of monotheism is at the heart of this passage, and it was at the core of the early Christians’ understanding of the nature of God.The three persons of the Godhead share the same spirit-essence. With this understanding, the doctrine of the Trinity continues to assert monotheism, an essential and easily found belief within the Scripture. Ontologically, each of the three members of the Trinity possess the same essential nature. Again, along with a monotheistic understanding, there is one and only one being, that is, God. The doctrine of the Trinity must remain grounded in God’s Word. Roger Olson sums it up when he says, “While it is true that no passage of Scripture spells out the doctrine of the Trinity, it is also true that the whole of Scripture’s witness to who God is and who Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit make no sense at all without the model of the Trinity and that all alternative concepts end up doing violence to some essential aspect of revelation, Christian experience and possibly even reason itself,”(13).

2. Nature of the Father/Son and which one has self-existence.

Notice that Arius’ belief countered that of others, especially Athanasius, because of his concept at that time of what constitutes the word “God“. The Son cannot be God according to Arius, because there is only “one God“, Jesus is not self-existent and therefore created. On the other hand, Athanasius and other pro-Nicene who believe that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Spirit is God reconciled monotheism through a “new concept of Trinity

Key is knowing what is God?

But, can all of these Arius-Athanasius discrepancies be resolved by knowing exactly ” What is God?” What really constitutes the word “God“?. Do we really grok what the etymology of the original word translated to English? The answer may have been “lost in translation“. In the article “What is God?” (14), this controversy may finally be resolved by restoring the meaning of the original Hebraic words Elohim, YHVH, El Shaddai. In its summary:

1.Elohiym/Theos refers to a composite of powers, the sum of divine and powerful beings, the totality of all attributes of deity. It is a generic term that may apply to a particular being. When it does, the specific name of that Elohim is identified, e.g., YHVH ELOHIM.

2. Most of the time, Elohiym in the Old Testament refers to a specific YHVH Elohiym and Theos in the New Testament refers specifically to God the Father. At other times, it refers to those others in the generic Elohiym/Theos, i.e. Jesus, angels, humans, especially leaders with powers.

3. In general, Elohiym/Theos is collective and not a selective term; common and not a proper name; inclusive and not exclusive; generic not proprietary; composite and not specific.

4. The usage and/or context of the word explains the intended meaning, whether plural/singular or numerical plurality/multiplicity of power, rank or position/function.

5. The word God/Elohim, as originally written, includes different species, levels, class or rank. At the highest level is the Father, followed by Son(s) of God, then angelic rank, and the lowest is man. However, man will be transformed into “sons/children of God”, spirit-composed at resurrection and higher than angelic-class.

In “FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014“(15), the God of Old Testament was introduced to Abraham as El Shaddai, but to Moses he was YHVH ELOHIM. He was identified with specificity. This God in the Old Testament, the God “above all gods“, was the only one Israel was commanded to worship thus directing them away from polytheism of that era. The “Shema doctrine” was based on this. According to John, YHVH the Creator was also the “Word” who incarnated into the Messiah, the Christ. In contrast, in the New Testament, when the word God was used it almost invariably refers to the “Father” of Jesus and of us all. Truly, “God is one” (Shema) because it referred only and specifically to El Shaddai/YHVH/Word/Christ Jesus. He was “above all gods“known at that time; no one then knew about the “Father” we know today. Israel knew that the Creator and the One who Fathered them was YHVH. The Israelites did not have knowledge that YHVH/Jesus has a Father. But, when the “Father/Son” relationship was introduced in the river Jordan at Jesus’ baptism,(16) Jesus understood and deferred to the authority of a higher power, i.e., the Father. They are clearly separate and distinct from one another. Angels, kings and humans are classified as “gods“. In the New Testament, Jesus, while full of the “Spirit of the Father“, was completely human and flesh-composed for his purpose as a “sacrificial Lamb”. As a human being, he was also classified as “god“, yet he died because he was flesh-composed. After his resurrection, he took on a “new creation“, “Son of God“, spirit-composed, eternal, and with all the powers given by the Father (17). The Father, as He has created all “visible and invisible” through the Son (YHVH), is now creating a “kingdom of God”, composed of spirit-beings higher than the angelic-class (18). What is being created is “Sonship“, children of God. This “new creation” is not a plant- kingdom, not an animal-kingdom nor a human-kingdom. Rather, it is a “God-kingdom” with a specific kind much higher than angelic “species of god”. Our GOD the FATHER is expanding that kingdom into manyfirstfruits“and “latter-fruits“. 

 In contrast, the Trinity Doctrine limits that God-kingdom into three. Whereas, the truth is that many are in the process of developing into the “body of Christ“, this “new creation“, Jesus first, then others. This is the destiny of all mankind (19). The ” world to come” will not be “subject to angels” as our current world is, but to this “new kinds“(Heb. 2:5).

Retrospective analysis

Looking back with a “retroscope”, we can now understand how and why well-meaning church leaders of earlier centuries have variance in understanding. Arius et.al stumbled because of his assumption that Jesus, being subservient to the Father and that God is One (Shema doctrine), cannot be God also. Contrariwise, Athanasius et. al misapplied the facts that the Father is God, Jesus is God and extended divinity even to the Spirit, so that a new concept emerged, the Trinity Doctrine, a doctrine that is limiting instead of expansive. By observation, we can see that knowledge is progressive; God does not give out all truth at the same time. Truth has a timeline. Even Israel did not recognize the  incarnate Jesus was YHVH CREATOR ELOHIM. Peter did not realize that even Gentiles can be “grafted” to Israel and receive the same promise to Abraham.(Romans11:11-36, Acts 15:7-9), as well as their differences about circumcision. But, in time, they were united in understanding these aforementioned things. In much the same way, early in the Christian era, there were disputes on interpretation. But, now that we know, “What is God?, the Trinity Doctrine has been “deconstructed“. There is no need to “personify” the Spirit as it is active in all members of the God-Family. As Job said, before I “hear” you, now I “see” you (Job 42:5).

With these foregoing facts of history and biblical references, one can now explain how the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God and still reconcile with “oneness or Shema” doctrine without concocting a concept as “Trinity Doctrine“. The Shema refers to only one God of the Old Testament, specifically identified as YHVH, EL SHADDAI, CREATOR, WORD, JESUS CHRIST. Israel did not know and was not introduced in an official manner to the FATHER by Jesus until his ministry in New Testament times. This generation is blessed for receiving this understanding unlike our Christian predecessors.

May God bless all of us in search of the truth.

References:

1. Retrieved from:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bithynia</p&gt;

2. Kieckhefer, Richard (1989), “Papacy”, in Strayer, Joseph Reese, Dictionary of the Middle<

Ages 9, Charles Scribner’s Sons, ISBN 978-0-684-18278-

3. “Council of Nicaea”, p.39, Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014

4. Retrieved from:http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/trinity.htm

5. Ibid.

6. Retrieved from: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/

7. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (Detroit: Gale, 2003). ISBN 978-0-7876-4004-0

8. Pelikan, Jaroslav (1971), The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine 1,

The Chicago University Press, p. 191.

9. Retrieved from: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/34124/Arianism.

10. Friell, G., Williams, S., Theodosian Code 16:2, 1, Theodosius: The Empire at Bay, London,1994.

11.Gonzalez, A History of Christian Thought, p. 121

12. Retrieved from: http://www.theopedia.com/Trinity.

13.The Mosaic of Christian Belief, p. 139.

14. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/

15. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/06/13/fathers-day_usa-3/

16. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/08/06/passion-of-christ/

17. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/03/25/son-of-god-2/

18. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2014/07/12/deification-of-man-3/

19. Retrieved from: https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-destiny-of-man/

Original post:8.8.2014

Reposted:12.20.2016

Death and Taxes:A Time for Reflection

Death and Taxes: A time of Reflection:

Lent season is upon us and so is filing income tax. Ash Wednesday is over and the death/resurrection of Christ will be memorialized with much reverence, while some are already preparing their tax return. As Benjamin Franklin says: “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

This reality of death comes close and personal to us in Chicago with the demise of a dearly-beloved Jose B. Delfin, MD an FEU alumnus, class ’68, at a recent PMAC medical mission in Olongapo City. This was followed about a week later by another surgeon, Andres Botuyan MD UST alum, a pioneer in improving medical practice laws in Illinois for foreign medical graduates. To them, goes our deepest debt of gratitude.

This season is a time of reflection about the inevitable…death and taxes. But, how about resurrection? Is that a surety as well? Some are “freeloaders” and don’t pay tax, about 49% of USA population. But for those who do pay, some get a tax refund quickly or later, while others receive none. As an analogy, is there a correlation between death and taxes. Do some die and others don’t? Are there parallels between these 2 realities and resurrection? Metaphorically, those who gave up their life (by analogy, pay up in taxes), do some get their life back (resurrected) sooner than later (get a tax refund) while others don’t?

Consider the following facts. Even in the first century during the time of apostle Paul, there were people in the church, intelligent though they are in the secular world, who denied Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. More so now, there are some who claim that the man who died at the cross was not Jesus but a substitute; he was not the one who died because “God does not die”, so they proffer.

It is an eye-opener to read through the logic behind Paul’s arguments in I Corinthians 15:12-34:
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

Yes, their is resurrection for humans from the dead. Jesus (God-incarnate) is living-proof by his death as a man, and based on that evidence that we will also be resurrected. But when will our resurrection occur? Notice what Paul said, “everyone in his own order”, first Christ as “first of the firstfruits” ( I Cor. 15:20; Leviticus. 23:9-10), then others. Rightly so, as Jesus is the “pioneer”of our salvation; the author, originator (Hebrews 2:10-11), he has to be first, then us (I Corinthians. 15:23).

There is a first and second resurrection for humans who died (Revelation 20:4-6; Acts 24:15). The first resurrection is described in I Thessalonians 4:16 that will occur at the second coming of Christ, at the last trump, the “dead in Christ shall rise first”. They will then rule “a thousand years”(Millenium) on earth. Those “in Christ” who were baptized by the Holy Spirit, bearing the spiritual fruits and who are alive at the time of Christ’s return on earth will “be changed”, i.e., not die, from mortal to immortal, from flesh to spirit-bodies ( I Cor. 15:52; Phil. 3:20-21).

With the preceding having been considered, indeed an analogy can be made between death/resurrection and taxes:, viz.,
1. Some will die before Christ’s return as some, not all, will pay taxes.
2. Some may not die, still alive, at the time of Christ’s return to change from mortal flesh to immortal spirit-bodies as some may not pay taxes. Almost 49% don’t pay taxes, although nobody knows how many will live through that time.
3. Some will receive tax refund sooner as some will participate in the 1st resurrection at Christ’s return; others will receive their tax refund later as others will participate in the 2nd resurrection. As the Paul said, “everyone in his own order”.

Eventually, innumerable people will have eternal life than those who will die eternally. As Jesus said, John 17:12, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” Also, Genesis 15:5, ” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”.

These verses are an indication that many will be saved versus few that will experience eternal death. These will come to fruition because of God’s grace and love for us. And, while our “own” faith is required, all of these came about because of the “faith of Jesus” (Romans 3:22, Galatians 2:16, 3:22, Philippians 3:9) in the Father that what was promised will come to pass.

Original post:3.9.2016

Reposted:12.20.16

UNIVERSAL SALVATION, WHAT IS

UNIVERSAL SALVATION, WHAT IS?

Directly from the link (1) that supports this doctrine: 

Universal Salvation is eternal life for everyone, including Satan and the demons. All are to be given eternal life and the very nature of God. It means that everyone who has ever been created or born has a future. It means that you will definitely see all your loved ones again. And think about it, if everyone is one day going to be eternal, then death is only temporary. We often say at Christianworld Church, that death is no more than being temporarily out of order. ….If you turn to John 6:39 it says this. “This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing”. Please note that the will of the Father is for Jesus to lose nothing of what He has given him. What exactly has the Father given him? John 3:35 tells us. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand”. Can you see what is being said? The Father has given Jesus all things, of which he is to lose nothing. It could not be stated any more clearly than at Colossians 1:16 “For by him (Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him” You can not get it any plainer than that. All things were created for him, in heaven and on Earth, both spirit and human. Again, can you see what is being said? The Father commissions the Son to lose nothing of what He has given him. What has He given him? If all things were created for him, in heaven and on Earth, both spirit and human, and the Father has given all things into his hands, then the Father has given him authority over every single thing in the universe, apart from Himself. Jesus has authority to save not just human beings but also spirit beings. In fact he must save all, because his Father commissioned him to lose nothing. Paul tells us at 1 Timothy 2:6 “Who gave himself a ransom for all”. The fact is that Jesus can lose no one. That is the greatest message you have ever heard. You can not save more than everyone, can you? And Jesus is not allowed to save less. The wise man Solomon said at Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Now is the time for this good news to be preached. Now is the time for the greatest message on Earth to be proclaimed. Universal Salvation, eternal life for all.”


Are these assertions true?

1. Eternal life for everyone, including Satan and the demons;

2. Everyone is one day going to be eternal, then death is only temporary. 

3. The will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing.

4. That Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:6 “Who (Jesus) gave himself a ransom for all”.

5. Jesus is not allowed to save less and can lose no one


Universal salvation or apokatastasis is a disturbing concept especially since a good number of intelligent and well-meaning Christians have this belief. On its surface, it is a very enticing proposition that emphasizes attributes of God, viz., immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, etc. Moreover, it acknowledges that salvation is by grace without “works”, the supremacy of God’s will and power, his divine love and mercy. But most especially, love for all. It is an inclusive philosophy of salvation, instead of only to some, exclusively. And, there are preachers opposed to “universalism” who limit eternal life only to them and their flock. As such, this doctrine therefore deserves evaluation and analysis to know the truth. To do this, one may need to start with its history, go through the pros/cons, meticulously combed through them with questions about implications and form a tentative summary.

History:

It has been claimed that apostle Paul preached Universalism. In the fifth chapter of The Inescapable Love of God by eminent Christian Universalist and Philosopher Tom Talbott, he makes a case for Universalism from Paul’s writings, especially Romans (2). Also, that in the 1st century, Origen likewise may have taught this belief. These are “claims” as interpreted from their writings and may not necessarily be true. It is a fact that during that period and even now, there are people who twist and misrepresent teachings, especially that of Paul. We need to take all these claims with “a grain of salt”(Matt. 7:15).
On the North American continent in 1770, Universalism started when a man named Tom Potter allegedly heard God speak to him about this ‘revelation’ that everyone was already saved (3). Potter shared this with another man named John Murray, they began preaching this message in churches, and it spread very quickly. A man named Hosea Ballou considered the great theologian of American Universalism promulgated this teaching. Ballou was a ‘hyper-universalist’ and wrote hundreds of sermons about how everybody was going to get saved in the end. A growing consortium of Christians today are simply ‘rediscovering’ Ballou’s teachings, and they think they have some new ‘revelation’ that is going to change the world for Christ. From there, the concept persisted and the universalist movement led to the formation of the Universalist Church of America, which later merged in 1961, with the American Unitarian Association. Thereafter, it formed into the religious organization known as the Unitarian Universalist Association. In Unitarian Universalism’s brand of church, there is no official church dogma, but most of its members adhere to the “no punishment in the afterlife” theory, as do many Anglicans (Church of England, and in North America, Episcopalians). 

Pros in the Bible:



The following are excerpts that were interpreted to support this concept:

Romans 5:18 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”  
Colossians 1:19-20 “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Philippians 2:10-12 “…so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”  

1 Timothy 2:4-6 “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 

1 Timothy 4:10 “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Isaiah 45:22-23 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear..”

John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Romans 5:15-19: “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (To me, this states that God’s grace overflows to the many in the same way that the trespass of Adam was given to many; in other words, every human being.(?) why many instead of all ??

Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all”

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive

Colossians 1:15-20: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullnessdwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Revelations 21:5 “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

I Peter 3:18-19 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,”
“The verses in which God expresses his intent to save everyone are also foundational”, so they say. It is God’s desire for everyone (including fallen angels I Pet. 3:19) to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), for Jesus to be “a ransom for all” (1 

Timothy 2:4-6), and for all to be saved. The idea is that if God wants to save everyone, He can do just that because “with God everything is possible” (Matt. 19:26) and works all things according to the council of his will” (Eph. 1:11). Those who believe in this theology states that ” though there may be some level of judgement/punishment in the meantime, he will eventually save all”.

“The Christian Doctrine of Universal Salvation, or Universal Reconciliation, states that all people, no matter how evil they may be, are created by God; and that God the Father, acting through His Son, Jesus Christ, will eventually bring all people back to Himself and into Heaven, by means which we cannot know or understand. After death, each person will be judged by God according to his deeds.There is punishment for evildoing, according to God’s desire for justice. But this punishment is temporary and not eternal. Eventually, everyone comes back to God the Father, by Jesus Christ, His Son.(4)
Books of the Bible argued to possibly support the idea of full reconciliation include the First Epistle to the Corinthians. The sections of 1 Corinthians 15:22, “As all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ”, and 1 Corinthians 15:28, “God will be all in all”, are cited. Verses that seem to contradict the tradition of complete damnation and come up in arguments also include Lamentations 3:31-33 (NIV), “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love”,[9] and 1 Timothy 4:10(NIV), “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

Similarly, the Epistle to the Colossians receives attention, with Colossians 1:17-20 reading: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”

In a nutshell the Christian Universalism basic scriptures were compiled by Rev. Bill McGinnis InternetChurchOfChrist.org which support the Christian Universalist doctrine of Universal Salvation and the Christian Universalist faith. “Please note the use of “every” and “all.” These Scriptures apply to all people, not merely some people. And what they say is that all people will eventually come to Christ and be saved. ” . . . every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” “I . . . will draw all men to me.” ” . . . the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” ” . . . in Christ shall all be made alive.” Isaiah 45:22-23 (KJV) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. John 12:32 (KJV) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 1 Timothy 4:10-11 (KJV) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

In essence the bases for the preceding dogma stem from these verses:

John 6:39 it says this. “This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing”.

John 3:35 tells us. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand”. 

Colossians 1:16 “For by him (Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him” 

1 Timothy 2:6 “Who (Jesus) gave himself a ransom for all”.

Once saved, always saved?


A subset of “universalism teaching” is a common preaching that “once saved, always saved”. That, people are predestinated for salvation and God, being powerful, will implement his will. Notice that the core basis of these beliefs hang on the word “all”.And that God will do his “will” no matter what. Really? But, if all or everyone’s going to be ‘saved” in the end, why not eat, drink, and be merry? Why not “have fun” and continue on sinning when after all, punishment is just temporary and not eternal ? Doesn’t this appear to be enabling sin? How then can these beliefs be reconciled with Revelation 21:8, Galatians 5:19-21, and other verses that speak against evil and enjoins everyone to “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), as the tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down (Matt.7:19)? It is obvious then that for one to get the true meaning of what was stated, the context of what was referred to, has to be analyzed and reconciled /aligned with other basic principles.

Additionally, while God is all-powerful and can do whatever he wants, He also has wisdom and plans regarding what is the best approach to salvation. And the plan of salvation is being implemented even now, without being “forced down our throats”. For further dissertation, please access Salvation Series posts, all 6 of them.

Cons in the Bible:(5)

Ezekiel 18:1-5, 9 “And the word of Yahweh came to me saying, “As I live, proclaims the Lord, Yahweh… “See, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is Mine: death will be the fate of the sinner’s soul. But if a man is upright, {he is} living rightly and doing righteousness… and has been guided by My rules and has kept My laws and done them: he is upright, life will certainly be his,” says the Lord Yahweh.’ TAT

 

 Ezekiel 18:20-24 “The soul which does sin will be put to death: the son will not be made responsible for the evil-doing of the father, or the father for the evil-doing of the son; the righteousness of the upright will be on himself, and the evil-doing of the evil-doer on himself. But if the evil-doer, turning away from all the sins which he has done, keeps my rules and does what is ordered and right, life will certainly be his; death will not be his fate. Not one of the sins which he has done will be kept in memory against him: in the righteousness which he has done he will have life. ‘Have I any pleasure in the death of the evil-doer,’ says the Lord, ‘am I not pleased if he is turned from his way so that he may have life?’ 24 But when the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, will he have life? Not one of his upright acts will be kept in memory: in the wrong which he has done and in his sin death will overtake him.” (1985 Bible in Basic English)

 

Revelation 2:11 “Let every listener hear what the Spirit says to the Churches: The victorious cannot suffer the slightest hurt from the second death.”

 

Revelation 20:6 “Happy and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death cannot touch such men; they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him for the thousand years.”

 

Revelation 20:14 “Then death and the grave were themselves hurled into the lake of fire, which is the second death.”

 

Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowards, the faithless and the corrupt, the murderers, the traffickers in sex and sorcery, the worshippers of idols and all liars––their inheritance is in the lake which burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 20:4-21:5″And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 1The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This isthe second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (New King James Version)

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 “This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our LordJesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed — for our testimony to you was believed. To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”(New American Standard Bible)

Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Implications:
From the preceding verses, it is clear that evil has consequence and death is destined for evil doers. God has no pleasure in the death of the evil-doer and is pleased if the individual turned from his way to have life. But when the upright man, turns away from his righteousness and does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, he will not have life, death follows. The “firstfruits” who are living at the time of Christ’s second coming together with those who previously died will participate in the first resurrection and have immortality. For those who are alive and not “firstfruits”, they will experience the Millenium government of Christ and the “firstfruits”, and more importantly the power of the Holy Spirit for them to choose to become “sons of God”. Those in the Millenium who still reject the Holy Spirit will not partake of immortality. The rest of the dead will wait until after the Millenium for their resurrection to life or perdition. From among them, those who willingly grow “in spirit” will become “sons and daughters” of the kingdom of God.

Summary:

Collating all the preceding data, one may conclude the following:
1. When the Bible says “all” it really means all but does not suggest necessarily at the same time and may confirm a precise schedule in time. When it says God loves all, that is a fact. However, that God wants all to be saved, may be predicated on a specific strategic plan and timing for each one. But, certainly this awesome gift of salvation will not be forced on anyone. When someone rejects it, this does not suggest that in the future, the person will continually reject it; may accept it willingly as the best option. 
2. When the Bible says “eternal”, it does not necessarily mean forever and may sometime mean only for that time period which does not include all the future. 
3. Punishment for evil doers may refer to first death that one can be resurrected from. But, may also refer subsequently to second death from which there is no resurrection. As to which one is referred to, can be deduced from the context.
Altogether, no one can divine the decision of the Father being the final arbiter of what is best. He reserves the right of a decision-maker as he reserves to himself the timing of the “end times” ( see Matt. 24:36). As Jesus said, “let your will be done”(Lu. 22:42). For the sake of argument, that Jesus was given all the powers after his resurrection (Matt. 28:18) even to know all, much like us, we defer certain things to show respect and awe to our Father. Still, the Father is the ultimate judge as to the fate of anyone, either ending the person’s life temporarily or permanently depending on his wisdom. 

The bottom-line for this research is this: let us not second-guess or pre-empt the Father as to whether all will be saved. A universalism concept that precludes the Father’s ultimate sovereignty and final decision should remind us of the experience of Job (Job 38-42). The essence of Job’s indictment tells us, who should we think we really are. 

Let us all be respectful of the Father and join the chorus with Jesus to sing… “let your will be done” (Lu. 22:42).

References:

1. Universal Salvation: The Greatest Message on Earth. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.universalsalvation.org/page2.htm
2. Retrieved October 10, 2016 from http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/525/what-is-the-biblical-basis-for-universaluhsswd&nbsp;
3.Christian Universal Salvation – THE BIG LIE By Craig Bluemel. Retrieved October 16, 2016 from http://bibleanswerstand.org/universal.htm
4. Christian Doctrine of Universal Salvation. Retrieved October 17, 2016 from http://www.loveallpeople.org/universalsalvation.html
5.Ibid. Retrieved October 16, 2016. http://bibleanswerstand.org/universal.htm

Original post:12/13/2016

Revised: 1/10/17

ADAM, THE FIRST HUMAN? … What difference does it make?

ADAM, THE FIRST HUMAN? … What difference does it make?
If there is one thing we owe our Founding Fathers, it is the freedom endowed by God to think and entertain thoughts even those deem to border on heretical. Yes, even venturing on the one that questions sacrosanct teaching as Adam (1) created about 6,000 years ago. The fate of Copernicus (2) and Galileo (3) could have been different were they to live today. And, church leaders like Origen Adamantius (184/185 – 253/254 C.E.), along with the prominent “Origenists” Didymus the Blind and Evagrius Ponticus, would not have been declared anathema for their different beliefs in 553 CE by the Second Council of Constantinople(4).

 

That said, the article by Dr. C. Reyes in FEU/ FEUMAANI News vol. 6, no.7 July 2014, is illuminating as it is challenging. To quote,

“Native Americans have always looked like us: Asian origin… pioneers…17,000 years ago …that entered the Americas from land mass called Beringia…” This was reaffirmed with “the uncovering of an almost completely intact 12,000 yr old skeleton of a 15 or 16 yr old girl … in the underwater cave near Mexico”. It was also claimed that migration from Asia to the Americas through Beringia occurred “between 26,000 and 14,000 years ago”.

 

As a corollary, “It is believed, on the basis of genetic evidence, that all human beings in existence now descend from one single man (woman) who lived in Africa about 60,000 years ago.” (5). Spencer Wells’ book Journey of Man, is “a brief but thorough survey of human population genetics in the vein of Cavalli-Sforza’s The Great Human Diasporas and Bryan Sykes’ Seven Daughters of Eve. While Sykes focused on Europe and mitochondrial DNA lineages (the mother line) Wells puts the spotlight on Y chromosomal lineage (the father line). Wells gives a few reasons why the Y chromosomal lineage can yield more information-there are more points for mutations to build up and human patrilocality tends to skew toward male genetic localization and diversity”(6). 

 

From the biblical account, it is indisputable that Adam in Genesis was created by YHVH God (7). The genealogy and reality of the historical Jesus depend on this. This is traceable back to Abraham (Matt. 1:1-17) who was the tenth generation removed from Noah, being a direct descendant of Shem, (Noah’s son), the father of all the “Semitic” peoples (8) and all the way to Adam (Luke 3:23-38). See also (9, 10).

 

But, as to whether the first human is this Genesis Adam or another person much earlier than him, remains to be the bone of contention. The subject of “who the first human is”, evolution and creation, evoke consternation and emotional distress that recently sparked a debate on February 4 between Bill Nye (the “Science Guy”) and Creation Museum CEO & Pres Ken Ham (Australian Evangelist) (11). 

 

These scientific discoveries are undeniable and pose a problem for those who may have lived before the Genesis Adam as they in fact maybe humans like him. Religious punditry marginalizes these “finds” as misinterpretation and an existential threat to the inerrancy of the Bible. For how can they be saved? Does the sacrifice of Jesus Christ apply to them as well? If so, then on what basis can this be? Debate then continues. These concerns must be unsettling and disturbing to Christians who hold traditional beliefs. But, they do not have to. Whether the first human started 6,000 or 60,000 years ago, rightly or wrongly, may not need to make a difference, as far as salvation is concerned and Jesus being the Savior. The “doctrine of imputation”, when understood to its fullest, explains:

 

Romans 5:12-21 (NIV)

“12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned– 13 for before the law (Mosaic) was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. (NLT: But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.) 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, (NLT: even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did) who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

I Cor.15:22 (KJV): For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

The preceding Bible verses explained that death to mankind is imputed upon the sin of Adam in the garden of Eden, as in, “through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners”. And, no one else’s, as in, “by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man”. Also, “by the offence of one, judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation”. That is, the sin committed by anyone, whether 60,000 years before or after Adam’s, did not matter an iota. Anyone’s sin, as bad as it is, did not condemn the person, per se, nor mankind. It was only “by one man’s disobedience”,(Adam’s sin, NLT) that we were all condemned to die, as in, “even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression”(NLT). 

 

Why specifically directed to Adam? The answer is, Adam “is the figure of him that was to come”(NLT), which is Jesus. Moreover, “…not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence, death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”(NLT)

 

This imputation is very specific, not only to the person Adam towards mankind, but also to its timing. Notice, “for before the law (Mosaic) was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. “. Meaning, that even before the Law was given to mankind through Moses, “sin was (already) in the world” and “death reigned from Adam to Moses”(KJV), as sin and death also reigned before the Genesis’ Adam. But imputation was not assigned nor activated until the Law was given. Only after the Law was given, did God assign and impute that “disobedience” of Adam in the garden of Eden, as sin for all. But, why wait till then? For 2 reasons, viz.,

 

1. So that through the Law that defined sin, “law entered, that the offence might abound”(KJV); “law was added so that the trespass might increase”(NIV).The word “abound” comes from the Greek word “pleonazo”, i.e., worse or bad or superabound. The Law made sin to be viewed even worse and be counted from sins committed by many.

 

2. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. ”

 

                                                        SUMMARY

 

In a nutshell, God defined what sin to impute, who to impute it to, the extent it encompasses and when to assign. Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden was imputed as sin of the whole mankind and consequently death for all. This, so that through one man also, Jesus Christ in the genealogy of Adam, his death would be counted for all mankind. The Mosaic Law has to be given first before imputation is assigned so that all of mankind’s sin be counted ( for sin to “abound”). Because of the “doctrine of imputation”, who the actual “first human” does not matter, as far as salvation is concerned. The sacrificial death of Jesus is effective and extends to all mankind, whether before or after the Law was given to Moses and, for that matter, even before Adam’s creation in Genesis. 
Indeed, we are all blessed to participate in this arena of free-thinking colleagues. Assigning this imputation to include all humans, specifically even those “pre-historic humans” before Adam’s creation, has not been shared nor posited, until now? Truly, God be thanked for this “world premier”. Abandoning the cacophony of debate pitting one over another, we can now with one voice join the chorus “what difference does it make?”. With retort from George Will, we can now “…speak … to improve the silence.”(12). Let us continue to be tolerant with scientific discoveries, synchronize when appropriate and adjust, “with fear and trembling”, our long-held religious beliefs in the furtherance of truth.

 

References:

1. Genesis 1:26. Holy Bible

2. Retrieved from : http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/retrograde/copernican.html

3. Retrieved from: http://www.biography.com/people/galileo-9305220

4. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (Detroit: Gale, 2003). ISBN 978-0-7876-4004-0

5. Spencer Wells,The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, p. 55. Random House, ISBN 0-8129-7146-9

6. Retrieved from : http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/000240.html

7. Gen1:27;2:7. Holy Bible

8. Retrieved from : http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2435072/jewish/Miraculous-Journey.html

9. Arthur Charles Hervey (1853), The Genealogies of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

10. Jacques Masson (1982), Jesus, fils de David, dans les généalogies de saint Mathieu et de saint Luc, Paris: Téqui, ISBN 2-85244-511-5.

11. Retrieved from : http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140205-creationism-debate-bill-nye-ken-ham-opinion/

12. Retrieved from : http://m.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-the-2016-presidential-candidate-we-need/2014/05/23/77d599ae-e202-11e3-9743-bb9b59cde7b9_story.html