Death, what is?

#Death, what is?

What is death and what happens at death? Do we know the exact mechanism that occurs at death? Do only good people go to heaven after death as many of us have been taught?

When can someone declare a person dead? The usual answer, in management school is, “it depends”. No pun intended, but it is true.

Different Concepts


Concepts of death are different in secular, religious groups and even among themselves in the same groups. In secular parlance, one considers death when the person is unconscious, not breathing on his own and there is no pulse. However, with today’s technology, a person maybe in coma, artificially breathing on respirator, heart beating because of pacemaker, blood pressure maintained on medications, bodily functions intact, and still can be pronounced dead legally when EEG is “flatline”; not having brain waves. Yet, among religious groups, what is commonly defined as a dead person in the tomb at any length of time, that state may still be defined as “sleep”.

Unanimity in Christian Tenet

Death considered as “sleep”, is a well-entrenched tenet for Christians. It is taken as a temporary state, much like sleep, as we wake up even after a long sleep. A waking-up period is a given because of the “hope of resurrection”. When a person dies, according to this teaching, at resurrection the person will not know events in-between, as in being “asleep” sans dreams. While they believe in eventual “eternal death” for non-believers, there is hope of resurrection for those who believed in Jesus. Hence, death is only “sleep”. Similarly, among live Christians, being “dead to sin”, is a state to be in as an admonition against sinning and to reckon themselves as in:

Rom. 6:11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus“.(NIV)

A Christian is expected to follow the Ten Commandments and not commit sin.

What happens at death?

While death’s definition depends upon how each person perceives it, the ultimate mechanism that brings about death, in a religious sense, is shared by many. To grasp the mechanics of this truth, one has to understand how a person comes to be and becomes alive before knowing how one dies.

Going back to the narrative in Genesis, human evolution is “fake news“. We were informed that there is a Creator by the name of YHVH Elohim (Lord God), who is an “intelligent designer” of man, as in:

Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul(being)”.


Notice that man has 2 components, viz, dust + breath of life. That dust, which is the body, came from the ground and therefore matter-composed. Whereas, the breath of life, which is the “spirit of man”, the mind/psyche, comes from a Spirit-Being/God (from above) and therefore spirit-composed. The body, of and by itself, was not alive until the “breath of life” was “breathed into his nostrils.” Therefore, a living soul (nephesh) is composed of body + spirit of man (mind or psyche). In other words, man is composed of body which is matter as it comes from earth/mud/dust and a “breath-of-life”, mind or psyche which is spirit as it comes directly from a spirit-composed God breathing into man’s nostrils.

Now see how death is described and what happens to the 2 components of man at death in Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV)

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”

Also, in Gen. 3:19 ” for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead,…”

Essentially then, the mechanism of death is that the spirit component of man, whether good or bad in life, separates from the matter component flesh-body; the former goes back to God where it came and was “breathed” from; the latter goes to hades/grave (buried in the tomb to rot) to dust, where it was formed from. Scientifically, although an assumption, the sudden electrical burst in EEG at time of death may find basis for this “separation”( 1,2,3). Notice that, whether good or bad, this “spirit-of-man” goes back to Creator God.


Where Differences Lie

Let us then examine this concept of death in light of where the differences lie among biblical teachings of different sects in Christianity. In so doing, we may re-evaluate, optimize our current understanding of this subject and hopefully limit animosity. After taking up what teachings Christians (Catholics, Protestants, etc) align with, we can now enumerate where they differ from, viz.,

1. Is anyone who died, currently living in heaven?

It is a common belief that when we die, we immediately go to heaven or hell. This teaching was based on what Jesus at crucifixion said to the criminal and robber in the cross with him, as in:

Luke 23:43: “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

In the original Greek text, there is no “comma’ before the word “today”. This “comma” was an English grammar construction and interjected interpretation. Thus, with this comma before the “today”, Jesus went to heaven with the criminal on that “day” or immediately at death. With this teaching, one has to explain how could this happen when Jesus was still in the tomb for “3 days and 3 nights” and not “in paradise”. Moreover, a teaching that a criminal goes directly to heaven had to assume that Jesus forgave him at the cross, without proof that he actually said so and does not need to do any “good works of the Holy Spirit”.

Alternatively, it may well be argued that the “comma” should follow the word “today” which then changes the connotation, as in:

Luke 23:43: “Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

With the preceding rendering that the “comma” was placed after the word ” today”, the meaning changes to another interpretation. That is, Jesus said those words on that day, but the criminal would have that “rendezvous in paradise” in the future; yet, another conjecture. Or, wherever the comma is placed before or after the word “today”, it may just mean that both of them will die the same day and both their spirits(spirit of man) would go back to the Father in heaven, following the same mechanism that defines death.

Going back to the 1st question whether any man (the whole body and spirit) after death is currently living in heaven, one only has to listen to Jesus words, viz.,

John 3:13 “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.”


Also, consider what apostle Peter said on the Day of Pentecost:

Acts 2:29, 34 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day…For David did not ascend into the heavens…”


Notice that the context refers to the whole person, body + spirit. When the text says, no one who died is in heaven, it therefore refers specifically only to the body. David, and for that matter anybody, is still buried, i.e. his body. The claim that no one who died ascended into heaven, refers to the body-component. However, while the whole person did not go to heaven and the matter-composed body is still in the tomb, we learned (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Gen. 3:19; James 2:26) that the active spirit-component went to God where it came from. The spirit-component of man although active is “naked“, unclothed, as in 2 Cor. 5:3, i.e., not having a body and therefore “nobody”. At death, like any human, Jesus’ spirit went to the Father in heaven and was restored after 3 days and three nights on earth with a resurrected immortal body. Only Jesus, who came from heaven, ascended into heaven with a “glorious body“, i.e., his mortal body did not rot in the tomb. Instead, after “three days and three nights”, it was changed “in a twinkling of an eye” into a glorious/spirit-composed body that is immortal. And with his spirit-composed body combined with his psyche/spirit, the whole person ascended into heaven, (compare John 20:17, Matt. 28:9, Mark 16 and Luke 24). This new body of Jesus can be visible or invisible to human eyes.

2. Can the dead (body) speak?

The following verses are self-explanatory:

Psalm 115:17 (ESV), “The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence”.

Psalms 6:5 “For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave?

Psalms 30:9 “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?

Isaiah 38:18For Sheol (grave) cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.”

How about in Rev. 19:1? Did not Apostle John hear “a loud voice from heaven” as in:

After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power to the Lord our God!’

Did John hear the voice of dead saints? Compared with Revelation 5:11-12, this voice clearly came from a multitude of angels, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

How about the “voices of the slain” in Revelation 6: 9-11

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”


Knowing what we know now that only the psyche/spirit of man goes to God at death, not the body nor the whole person, one maybe able to explain this event. By itself and without a matter-composed nor spirit-composed tongue, the psyche/spirit is incapable of talking and vice-versa. For one to speak, both psyche/spirit and body have to be together. Like “faith without works is dead being alone“(James 2:26), the body is dead being alone.

Nothing was said about the psyche/spirit that goes to God whether alive or dead. In this narrative, only the psyche/spirit is with God as the body of the slain is still in the earthly tomb. Since the psyche/spirit has stored memories, what is in there can be accessed and can be expressed, not by the psyche/spirit itself as it has no body to be used to vocalize with. This is akin to “dream” where through the mind we appeared to be talking or walking, but actually still asleep; not vocalizing using our tongue nor walking using our legs. This verse that says “the slain cried out with a loud voice“, must be taken as an allegory with memories of the slain longing and hoping for the resurrection with new immortal body. Not that the “slain” actually spoke and voice heard.

3. Do dead people know anything?

Here again, the following are self-explanatory:

King David said, “for the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing… their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, NKJV, see also Psalm 146:4; 115:17

Eccl. 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol (grave)where you are going”

The preceding has to refer to the body, not the “spirit of man that separated from the body at death and went (with all its memories) to the Father.


4. Jonah praying in the belly of whale

Here is the narrative:

Jonah 1:17Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Jonah 2:1-10 “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look againtoward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”


The common teaching was that while in the belly of the big fish, Jonah was alive and praying to God. Was he really alive in the belly of the fish and praying? Remember that he was there in the “belly” for “three days and three nights” after having been swallowed. The answer lies in the actual testimony of Jesus and what happened to him.

Matt. 12:39-40 “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Jesus used the story of Jonah as an example of his death and how long he would be in the tomb as the only sign to “a wicked and adulterous generation”. No one disputes the fact that Jesus was dead and was buried. And so, shouldn’t we extrapolate that while in the belly of the big fish, Jonah was dead and was not alive praying? This was confirmed by the description that Jonah was “brought up my life from corruption“, i.e. from death. It is therefore conceivable that while he was still alive, drowning and about to become unconscious, he was praying. He was then resurrected after 3 days and 3 nights like Jesus was.

5. Lazarus/Rich man-story?

When does this narrative find application? The common teaching is that after death, they were still “alive” but Lazarus was in “comfort” at Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was tormented in flames. A number of areas are conflicted here. We now know that when a person dies, he is actually dead, not alive. Also, which hell is referred to? When was this resurrection? Which of the 2 final resurrection was referred to? Let us then go through the whole account for analysis:

Luke 16: 19-31: “There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.”


This narrative speaks about their death and subsequent resurrection. Lazarus went to “Abraham’s bosom”, while the rich man was resurrected and found himself “in torment”, and “in anguish in this flame”. To begin with, there are 3 types of “hell”, viz., Hades where dead people are buried(entombed), Tartaros where rebellious angels are and Gehenna fire, the final death. Only Gehenna has unquenchable fire. Hades does not have “flame” of fire nor does Tartaros. What was referred to, could only be “Gehenna fire“, which has flames of fire that living people can be tormented till death. The following are other English translations of this story:

Luke 16:23 “While being tormented in the place of the dead, he looked up and saw Abraham at a distance with Lazarus at his side.”(CEB). Notice, that the place of the dead was not specified as to any of the 3 types.

Luke 16:22-23 (CPDV) “Then it happened that the beggar died, and he was carried by the Angels into the bosom of Abraham. Now the wealthy man also died, and he was entombed in Hell. Then lifting up his eyes, while he was in torments, he saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.http://bible.com/42/luk.16.22-23.cpdv

Notice from these alternate English translation, that the place where he was buried was in “hell” or Hades-Sheo. But where he was resurrected or “lifted up his eyes” and was in torment, because of the flame, was not specified.

Luke 16:21-23 (DRC1752)”And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell. And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:” http://bible.com/55/luk.16.21-23.drc1752. Again, notice here that the place where he was buried was in “hell” or Hades-Sheol but where he was resurrected or “lifted up his eyes” and was in torment because of the flame was not specified.

Considering all the preceding, the timing of this resurrection had to be the “second resurrection”(Rev. 20:12-13), post-Millenium; in contrast to the “first” resurrection to immortal spirit-composed bodies at the beginning of the Millenium(Rev. 20:4-6; I Cor. 15:20; I Thes. 4:16; Rev. 20:4) This is a resurrection of the dead to flesh-composed bodies where people are judged whether to accept the “good news” of salvation and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Those who did, went to Abraham’s bosom for spiritual growth and development to attain salvation/immortality. Those who rejected this final offer, gift and grace of God, were thrown in the “Gehenna fire”(hellfire) to be tormented till consumed to die. This could only be the reason why Abraham said “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead”; some finality to this punishment.

6. Do we now have immortal soul?

Only God is immortal (see 1 Timothy 6:15, 16). Paul says that the righteous “seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7). If we now have immortal souls, why would the righteous seek after something they already have? Moreover, the “spirit-of-man”(psyche/mind) can be killed as in:

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


Summary:

When man was created, YHVH ELOHIM (Almighty God) made the body, all parts of it, which is matter-composed from the ground/earth. This “body” of man was not alive until “the breath of life” was breathed into his nostrils by God. This life-giving component came from a spirit being (YHVH Elohim/Lord God)and therefore spirit-composed. These are the 2 components of man, viz., matter-composed body + spirit-composed mind/psyche (aka. spirit of man).

At death, these 2 components separate; the body which is matter-composed goes to the grave (hades), entombed and rot, while the psyche/mind which is spirit-composed goes back to the Creator, whether good or bad. The body is dead without the spirit while the mind/psyche without the body cannot speak, praise, vocalize, pray, etc because it is “nobody“. Yet, it is still active, although non-functional, and has embedded memories, desires, longings that allegorically can be expressed. This spirit-of-man (psyche/mind) is not immortal and can still be killed. This “spirit-of-man”(not matter-composed) is the “real you”(4), the essence of the “kingdom of God in you” (Luke 17:21).

To be functional, this spirit/psyche/mind combines with either a “glorious, spirit-composed body”, immortal (made by God) at first resurrection that commences at the Millenium and reigns with Jesus on earth. Or, with a “flesh-composed, mortal body” at the second resurrection after the Millenium to have a chance to believe the gospel, receive the Holy Spirit of power, be guided by that Spirit for spiritual growth and development and eventually to become “son of God” with immortal body. Those who rejected this last chance will be thrown in “Gehenna hellfire” to be consumed and die forever, not tormented forever,i.e., both body can soul can be destroyed in hell (Gehenna fire).

The new heavens and earth will therefore be ruled, not by angels, but by the “sons of God” with Jesus as the head of this “kingdom of God”, all spirit-composed. This is the gospel of the “kingdom of God”, the destiny planned by God from the foundation of the world.

May God bless us with this knowledge to enhance our faith in Him.


References:

1. Stokes, Mark, Brain Metrics: Retrieved 5/4/17 from:

http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/brain-metrics/could_a_final_surge_in

2. Horizon Research Foundation: Spikes in EEG at time of Death. Retrieved 5/4/17 from:

http://www.horizonresearch.org/learning-zone/past-featured-topics/spikes-in-eeg-at-time-of-death/

3. Tsakiris, Alex, EEG Expert Can’t Explain Near Death Experience Data… and, Dr. Penny Sartori Finds More Than Hallucinations in NDE Accounts. Retrieved 5/4/17 from:

http://skeptiko.com/eeg-expert-on-near-death-experience/

4. Who and where is the “real you “. Retrieved 12/5/18 from https://fact-s.net/2018/08/30/who-and-where-is-the-real-you/

Original post:4/25/17

Revised:12/5/18

DEDICATED to a friend whose funeral we attended Dec 2012 in Inverness, Illinois

Gospel “about” and “of” Christ, what?

Gospel “about” and “of” Christ, what?

To all Christians, the gospel is foundational to their belief. This is where they “stand or fall”. Without the gospel, their evidence-based faith has no anchor, is baseless and rudderless.

What really is the “gospel” (good news) “of” Jesus? This is a corollary to the gospel “about” him. It is what he himself was a messenger of, i.e., his message. The good news “about” Jesus has already been proclaimed in prophecies way before his human existence. These prophecies “about” him were spoken through prophets (Hebrews1:1 ), confirmed by apostles (Mark 8:29;John 1:1-36; Matthew 1:1-25;Luke 1:1-80) and by Jesus himself (Exodus 3:14;John 8:56–58)during his time on earth.

However, the message to us, the “good news”(gospel) spoken directly by Jesus, in his mortal and resurrected immortal bodies, is something else. It was not “about” him. It is way more complete, fulfilling, revelatory and copacetic. Indeed, that he is YHVH incarnate (John 1:1-14), the I AM (Exodus 3:14;John 8:56–58),the Christ (Mark 8:29), the Passover Lamb (1Corinthians 5:7) who died as a consequence of our sins imputed on one man Adam for our reconciliation (Romans 5:6-21) with the Father, are teachings that are essential to our evidenced-based faith. But, as important as they are, still they are comparatively “milk for infants” (1Corinthians 4:1-2). On the other hand, the fullness of the gospel, the “meat for adults”(Hebrews 5:12), goes beyond who Jesus is “about”.

Gospel “about” and “of” Jesus are prophecies

As the gospel “about” Jesus has been prophesied and fulfilled, the essence of the gospel “of” Jesus is also a prophecy that points to the future, although “still coming” and “ongoing” (1). The gospel preached by him (Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 4:23;9:35;Luke 4:43) and on which he instructed his apostles (Mark 16:15; Matthew 10:7) was the coming God-kingdom. Read also this message of Jesus, his “good news” in Luke 8:1, 16:16-17; Matthew 24:14.

But, it is not just “about the reign, the rule, the dominion, of God the Father, as well as of the Son…” in the Millenium on earth and afterwards. (2). More completely, it was about the “how” the God-kingdom will come to reality. It is the mechanism of forming or creating a God-kingdom (3,4) that is sine qua non to our salvation. This is how to have “eternal life”, aka be immortal. It is the mechanism of how to achieve a change in our “mortal bodies” into being spirit-composed in a “twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

How, is the gospel “of” Jesus

The mechanism of how salvation/immortality (5) is achieved is first and foremost through the in-dwelling of the “Helper-power” (Parakletos/John 14:26) in us. As a mortal man, a major sequela of Jesus’ advent, the gospel “about” him, was his death. But, “how much more” important than that, was his resurrection to life as in, Romans 5:10

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!.”

With his resurrection, he received the Holy Spirit of power from the Father. He had to be “alive” to receive it and through his resurrected life, we are in the process of being saved through the help of the Holy Spirit of power given by Jesus to us. The “spirit-of-man” that was breathed into the nostrils of Adam in Genesis was the “power-spirit” directly from YHVH/Jesus to make the matter-composed body a “living being”. That was a life-giving power. On the other hand, this Holy Spirit of power received by the resurrected Jesus, at time of his Sonship, and given to those “called at appointed time” is , a “life-sustaining spirit” to develop a “new creation of beings“. It is a “Helper/Comforter”, to strengthen and guide the “willing spirit but weak flesh” towards becoming “one” with the Father. So that all will be “one” altogether. In effect, this Holy Spirit is a “oneness-power”, that empowers us to be “one” with the Son and, by extension, with the Father.

Power to create humans into the God-kingdom

And, for what end was Jesus’ resurrection? The purpose was for Jesus to directly receive the promised Holy Spirit from the Father(John 15:16-17). This is the the power to create the members of the God-kingdom, through guiding, teaching, goading, advising towards good vs evil (John 14:26; 16:13). The YHVH in Genesis who created all “visible and invisible” (Colossians 1:16) including spirit-composed angels and human beings have to be given this additional power only after incarnating as man-Jesus, then him having gone through the process of in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit at river Jordan (Luke 3:22; Luke 4:1), be “perfected through sufferings”(Hebrews 2:10; complete, finish his goal) to reconcile humanity to the Father by his death. And having been resurrected by the Father, Jesus was given this “power” (the Holy Spirit) to re-create and as a Potter re-mold(Isaiah 64:8;Jeremiah 18:1-6) us into the God-kingdom of “many sons(daughters) to glory”(Hebrews 2:10).

Post-resurrection event

When the Father raised Jesus from death (Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37), he went to the fallen angels/devils in hell/tartaros (1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:4; ) as proof that he triumphed and proclaimed victory by having a mortal man becoming immortal. As a “trailblazer/pioneer/captain ” mortal human(Hebrews2:10), Jesus was made immortal and so shall other humans. His immortal spirit-composed body has the capability to be seen by our naked eyes as in (Luke 24:13-53;John 20:16, 19-30; 1 Corinthians 15:6) and altogether for 40 days (Acts 1:3;John 21:25) “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” before ascending to heaven.

Gospel of Power to in-dwell in us

The gospel “of” Jesus is the good news of the power that will in-dwell in us to strengthen our “willing spirit and weak flesh”(Matthew 26:41), as a “Helper/Comforter”(John 16:7). It is the power “unto salvation” as in Romans 1:16 “...the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek….”

Similarly, John 1:12 “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

The end-goal is to be “sons(daughters) of God” as members of this developing God-Kingdom. Not an angelic kingdom nor plant or animal kingdom. But, the “image of God”, the “temple” or “template” is being re-molded into a spirit-composed being, as “one” with the Son and the Father.

Summary

Whether it is “about” or “of” Jesus, the gospel is a prophesied event. What was “about” him was fulfilled already, while the essence of the gospel “of” Jesus is still ongoing. This continuing work of Jesus to mold us (as a Potter)into a “new pot” refers to the mechanism towards eventual salvation, immortality. He received this additional power directly from the Father only after he was resurrected. With this power, he is giving it to humans for in-dwelling in the “holy-of-holies”, in the “temple not made by hands”(Acts 7:48), “temple not made by hands”,(instead came through breathing into the nostrils of humans, Acts 7:48),to bind with our “spirit-of-man”,to help, comfort, guide and teach and be “one” with the Father. Notice that both life-giving spirit given to man in a Genesis creation of human Adam (the spirit-of-man) and the “Holy Spirit” to in-dwell in man, came directly from a spirit-composed Creator of man in Genesis and Creator of “sons and daughters of God”(Hebrews 2:10).

As Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “…time and chance happen to all”. Similarly, as in Psalm 75:2 “When I select an appointed time, It is I who judge with equity.” And because of the preceding principles regarding timing for each and everyone of us, those who are called in this dispensation, has to take very seriously this in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit and follow its teaching, direction and guidance. Do not “vomit it out”(Proverbs 26:11; 2Peter 2;22) leading to unforgivable sin as in (Matthew 12:24-32.;Hebrews 6:4-6). There will be others who will have this opportunity to be offered this gift of the Holy Spirit at and after the Millenium. And then, when all is in subjugation to Jesus, the Father will come down to earth from heaven.

References

1. Ongoing Creation. Retrieved November 16, 2018 from https://fact-s.net/2018/06/30/ongoing-creation

2. The gospel Jesus preached. Retrieved November 16, 2018 from http://www.biblicaljesus.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/basics.tour/ID/8/Gospel-Jesus-Preached.htm

3. What is the Kingdom of God? Retrieved November 19, 2018 from https://fact-s.net/2018/09/12/what-is-the-kingdom-of-god-2/

4. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. November 19, 2018 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

5. Salvation,Series 1:what? Retrieved November 19, 2018 from https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/

Original Post: November 21, 2018

A Nation Without Borders, when?

A Nation Without Borders, when?

Recently, construction of US-Mexico border wall is in dispute especially as to its funding “directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico” (1). In the 2016 campaign for POTUS, the question of sovereignty came up and advanced the notion that without a border wall, one loses the country. Illegal immigration, addictive drugs, sexual predators, human traffickers, violent MS-13 gang and terrorists going through a porous or non-existent border were purported to be prevented with enhanced border control to protect and provide safety to US citizens. In a post 911 era, majority of the population is sensitive to a repeat of NY Twin-Towers’ horrific catastrophe. Suffering the most number of innocent people killed by terrorist in one day, it was indeed “a day of infamy”.

Opponents of the wall argue against its cost, human toll, ineffectiveness to bar illegal immigration, environmental impact and the wrong message to the world (2,3). Intention for having a wall historically gives an inkling as to whether a border wall is good or bad.

All around the world countries are building walls. In all, over 70 different countries have fortified their borders.”(4). While building it depends on the purpose, it can also result in unintended consequences.

Why these needs and aspirations?

Safety, protection and tranquility are strong impetus to build a wall. Why these needs? Similarly, legal or illegal immigration is a powerful determinant for anyone to improve expectations of quality of life. These are reasonable goals for everyone. But, why do people get drawn to these aspirations and move out from their place? Could it be because of our nature, what we are made of, seeking what is best for us? Could it be because of our mortality and drive for self-preservation? Yet, somehow, can we truly achieve these ideals? If not, then why, how and when to reach these goals.

Our mortality and what was done about it?

To understand why we aspire to be the best and move from one place to another, a look back at our creation, how and what this “living being” did to achieve his goals, may provide some clues as to where these needs emanate.

In Genesis 1:26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:”. This event happened after God created angels, and the universe(Job 38:7). Moreover, this occurred after God created the plant-kingdom and the animal-kingdom(Genesis 1:11-27). He was not creating a human-kingdom but a god-kingdom, with man as “an image”, a reflection and a precursor of the future, a template. (See references 5,6,7).

In Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Notice that man has 2 components: dust(from the ground, earthy, flesh-composed) + breath-of-life(breathe in by God,a divine spirit-being and so spirit-composed). At death,these 2 components separate: the flesh goes to “hades”(grave) to rot, while the breath-of-life (spirit-of-man; mind) the divine and spirit-composed part of man, goes back to God(8,9,10). Mortality of the material-part of our 2 components is a basic part of our created nature.

Then, Genesis Adam was tempted to aspire to be “like God (Elohim;Creator-God)knowing good and evil” the as in,

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”(NIV).

Adam was prohibited to be “like God” on his “own works”, (by eating the proverbial fruit) as the man to be the “trailblazer” towards this end was already planned to be “man-Jesus”, the 2nd Adam “from above”, incarnated Creator God, the Yahweh Elohim, El Shaddai, Logos. And this was planned to happen before the foundation of the world, not on any man’s “works” but is faith-based or evidence-based as prophesied, promised and resulted from the grace and love of the Father (John 1:1) towards humanity. (11,12,13,14)

The 1st Adam sinned and made a mistake on “how to become like God”. It was the 2nd Adam, the prophesied man-Jesus who would do this by first incarnating from Yahweh Elohim to human, be a Passover-Lamb to take the consequence of sin, which is death, for mankind towards reconciliation to Father God, then be resurrected to be given the promised power of the Holy Spirit from the Father that humans lack and will receive to empower man’s “weakness” of the flesh and to be a Helper(John 14:26; Philippians 2:13;Philippians 4:13;Hebrews 13:21) to the “willing spirit-of-man”(Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-44).

This power of the Holy Spirit will in-dwell in the “holy-of-holies” in man, in the “spirit-of-man” “not made by hands”, to “write the laws in the fleshly tables of our heart” to fertilize /sanctify for growth and development in the “church womb” to be “one” with the Father. (Acts 8:49, 17:24; 2 Corinthians 3:3; Revelations 12:2,18). The “mortal bodies” of those with the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of power, who became “overcomers”(Revelations 2:10,17,26;3:21; 21:7-8;Romans 12:21; Ephesians 6:12) shall be changed at the start of the Millenium “in a twinkling of an eye”(1 Corinthians 15:52) into a glorious immortal body (2 Corinthians 5:1-4) to rule with Christ on earth. During this time, those living mortals who were not “called” to have the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of power will then have this chance to receive it and “bear fruits”. And the dead after the millennium(Revelations 20:5), as prophesied in Ezekiel 37:12-14 “valley of bones”, will resurrect as mortal to have their chance to partake and bear fruits of the Holy Spirit. The preceding strategic plan started and will reach finality with Jesus according to what was promised by the Father.

A nation Without Walls or Borders

The fulfillment of borderless nation is in the Millenium where “them living without walls and without gates and bars.”

And yet, “Gog and Magog” and many more will invade this “nation without borders”. Ezekiel 38:11

You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people–all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.” (NIV)

They and Satan will be met with overwhelming power towards ultimate victory(Ezekiel 38).

Summary

Our needs and aspirations to have a better life will not be achieved by legal or illegal immigration from one place to another. Neither will our safety and protection come with border walls. And this, because of the mortality and needs of the material-component of our created being, our “flesh” that was formed from the “ground, earthy”(Genesis 2:7). The root cause of all of these emanate from the “weakness/deficiency”(Matthew 26:36-46) of our “temporary dwelling” created on hope(Romans 8:20) of future “re-make/re-work”(Jeremiah 18:1-4) We will all die when the time comes. Additionally, while “our spirit is willing”, it needs to be empowered by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of Father God that can only be given by the resurrected Son of God(Jesus). This power will be a “Helper” (for us during this period of sanctification towards becoming “one” (John 17:21)with the Father.

All of the preceding ideals will be fulfilled when our composition changes “in a twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52)from mortal to immortal and spirit-composed bodies at resurrection that will jump-start the “millennium era”. This is our “hope and change” that emanate from faith-based trust in the Father that started with our “trailblazer” (captain/author finisher)Jesus(Hebrews 2:10;12:2). This was planned from the foundation of the world out of love for mankind and when we were yet sinners. Promise made , promise kept as delivered to us by his Son Jesus.

Even with that at the start of the Millennium, evil has to be curtailed temporarily (Revelations 20:2) and subsequently and finally when Gog and Magog with the Devil go after the “borderless Israel”. A “new heaven and earth”(Revelations 21:1)will be created thereafter and the Father will be with us for eternity.

References

1. How Trump plans to make Mexico pay for the wall. Retrieved 10/6/18 from

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailyrepublic.com/all-dr-news/wires/how-trump-plans-to-make-mexico-pay-for-the-wall-yes-really/%3famp=1

2. Weighing the Pros and Cons of U.S.-Mexico Border Barrier. Retrieved 10/6/18 from https://www.thoughtco.com/mexico-border-fence-pros-and-cons-1951541

3. To build or not to build the wall. Retrieved 10/6/18 from https://ndpnews.org/commentary/2016/12/07/to-build-or-not-to-build-the-wall/

4. Building walls may have allowed civilization to flourish. Retrieved 10/6/18 from

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/10/wall-mexico-trump-book-talk-news/

5. Destiny of Man. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2011/05/21/the-destiny-of-man/

6. Son of God-What does it mean? Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/23/son-of-god-what-does-it-mean/

7. Born Again. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2017/03/12/born-again/

8. Death, What is? Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

9. Resurrection. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2017/05/18/resurrection/

10. Salvation Series 1. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/

11. Ongoing Creation. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2018/06/30/ongoing-creation/

12. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

13. Who and Where is the Real You?Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2018/08/30/who-and-where-is-the-real-you/

14. Legacy that Lasts. Retrieved 10/13/18 from https://fact-s.net/2018/10/01/legacy-that-lasts/

Original Post: October 16,2018

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?

History

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 non-trinitarian 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., YHVHELOHIM(Lord God)

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 destined to be higher than angelic-class.

In “FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014“(15), the God of Old Testament was introduced to Abraham as El Shaddai(Almighty God)but to Moses he was YHVH ELOHIM(Lord God). 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 (there being many gods) 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) to be worshiped because it referred only and specifically in the Old Testament to El Shaddai/YHVH/Word/Logos. He was “above all gods” known at that time; no one then knew about the “Father” that we know today. Israel knew that the Creator and the One who Fathered them was YHVH Elohim(Lord God; I AM). 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 acknowledged and deferred to the higher authority, the Father. They are clearly separate and distinct from one another. Angels, kings and humans are classified as “gods“. And Jesus taught us to pray to the Father (John 16:23; James 1:5).

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) as proximate Creator, 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 his kingdom with many firstfruits“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. Jesus the “trailblazer“, the “captain” (Hebrews 2:10) has gone through this process. 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 kind“(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 and understanding that Jesus, being subservient to the Father and that God is One (Shema doctrine), cannot be God also. Contrariwise, Tertulian, Athanasius et. al misapplied the facts that the Father is God, Jesus is God and extended personality even to the divine 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 an active power in all members of the God-Family, writing the Law not in “tables of stone” but in the “fleshly tables”of our heart and mind for guidance(2 Corinthians 3:3). 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(Lord God), EL SHADDAI(Almighty God), CREATOR, WORD(Logos). 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.

Summary

The one powerful God “above all gods” introduced to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Old Testament times was “El Shaddai“(Almighty God). This was the same one known to Moses and Israel but with a different name, “YHVH Elohim“(Lord God). The early church believed that the Father is God, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit (the Helper) is of God, the power that comes from God. There was no “trinitarian concept” from those days forward until later.

In the 3rd century, Tertulian constructed and introduced the concept of “trinity” to align with the Shema doctrine of “one God“. For how could the Father be God and at the same time Jesus and the Holy Spirit be God unless they are in this “triune concept”? This suggested that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-substantial, Son is homoousion to Patri, (of one substance with the Father), “three-in-one-body“. This teaching was carried through the 4th century and canonized in the Council of Nicaea and subsequently reinforced in other Councils. The alternative concept of God championed by Arius, Origen, and others at that time did not flourish; it also has flaws.

The Trinity Doctrine is a bedrock doctrine that historically survived because of human power through the Roman Empire because of conquest, subjugation, intimidation and educational system favoring this concept. It continued through subsequent Empires with power to control “religious thoughts”. Through all these years, it is still a predominant teaching in the Christian world to this day.

This time, though, this Trinity Doctrine has been challenged. One among alternative concepts is this post. It opined a concept similar to that during the patriarchal and apostolic era. The Shema doctrine is consistent with this concept so long as one considers the manifestations of God, at the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob named differently than at the time of Moses and Israel. El Shaddai and Yahweh Elohim names were the same Elohim/God, one God and not “two persons-in-one“. Moreover, after YHVH (who was with the Father at creation) incarnated to man-Jesus, he introduced Father God (Mark 1:10-11) as he was the only right person to do that, being with him from the foundation of the world. That time there were 2 persons that are separate and unique, not “”two persons-in-one“. Jesus as flesh-composed at that time was God incarnate, who previously manifested as the El Shaddai and YHVH Elohim in the Old Testament. Not only that, but Jesus also introduced the “Holy Spirit” aka “Helper” (John 14:16-18; v-26;Romans 18:26; Micah 3:8-10; Acts 2:4; I John 2;19-27) that will come as the “power” to strengthen the “weakness” (Matthew 26:40-45) of the flesh inherent in it when we were created. Again, that time, not “three-persons-in-one“.

Everything happens because of power. Just look around us. Will any car drive without mechanical and electric power? How about any of our appliances, gizmos and light bulbs? Will anything stay grounded on Earth without gravitational power? With what we now know about the Anatomy and Physiology of the human body, can any of our parts function without energy, like end-plate mechanism for nerve-muscle function, Na-K pump for cellular activity and so on? Energy that comes from power drives all human organ systems to function. This energy is “potential” that becomes “kinetic” when used.

That being said, can the most important creation, a human being, (from the ground, earthy) become a “living being” unless energized by the power of the spirit”breath-of-life, given by a spirit-composed God? This is the “spirit-of-man”, the power that was breathed into man to become a “living being“. Being a living person, Adam as narrated in Genesis 2, wanted to be “like God”. And to do this, he was fooled by Satan to do it on his own power by eating the forbidden fruit. He did not realize that the right man to go through this process was man-Jesus, the incarnated El Shaddai, the YHVH Elohim, as planned and as a gift. FThereby, he sinned, sentenced to eternal death and was driven out of the garden of Eden, away from the “tree of life”. A Passover-Lamb was then required to take on this consequence of sin (eternal death) which was fulfilled by man-Jesus. However, Jesus’ death was only for that purpose of sacrificing his life for mankind. It was one step towards the process for us to receive the promised gift of eternal life. The Father has to resurrect him as promised to receive from him directly the power that will be used by the “potter” (Creator Jesus) to re-create and mold this “clay” as prophesied in Jeremiah 18:1-6) from one “marred vessel to another vessel”. 

In much the same way that the “breath-of-life” changed the non-living “clay” to be a “living being“, this is the spirit-power to in-dwell in humans to energize our “spirit-of-man” for growth and development, changing it towards becoming “like him” and be “one” with the Creator, alive for eternity. No one has this power except the Father who promised and has given it to resurrected Jesus, the Son of God, and then from him to us. This power is called holy and spirit because it came from a holy spirit-composed God Father. Truly the same as the “breath-of-life” that was the spirit-power that energized the created Genesis-Adam to become a “living being”. As man-Jesus “came from above“(John 3:31) as a perfect Passover Lamb that the Holy Spirit in-dwell at River Jordan to make him the “trailblazer and captain“(Hebrews 2:10) towards sonship, so shall we go through this process proven to be the “way, the truth and the life”(John 14:6). The word “Holy Spirit” is not in caps in the original manuscript. It is the power that in-dwells and guides (John 16:13) people to understand the truth to be “one” with the Father and Jesus, in “thoughts” for “my thoughts are not your thoughts“(Isaiah 55:8-9). There is no need to compose a “Trinitarian” concept of God just to align with the Shema doctrine.

Currently, many are not called at this time as each one has time appointed (Ecclesiastes 9:11); their time will come. As prophesied, our “spiritual blindness, deafness and muteness” will be changed by this in-dwelling power as in the prophecy:

Isaiah 29:18 “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see

Isaiah 35:5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped”

Matthew 11:15 “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

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

Revised and reposted 10/6/2018

Transparency in Cost vs Price, Key to Successful Health System Reform

Health System Reform_ Competition in Cost aside from Price ; Key to Reform Payment System of Healthcare]

Change in Trading Dynamics: The Key to Successful Health System Reform

After $6B spent on federal campaigns, the country has chosen its leaders. Yet, problems with our health system still linger and fester. Physicians, the last bulwark of patient advocacy, have a ubiquitous role in reforming the system and must pick up the cudgels.

Even after passage of PPACA (Obamacare), issues like access to care, quality of service, insurance coverage, malpractice, over-utilization of resources, etc. continue to be at the forefront of the debate. Current efforts by medical establishments’ punditocracy focused on efficiency to cut costs, viz., reducing length of hospital stay, preventing “never-events”, quality guidelines, utilization criteria, accountable care organizations and the like. The converse of lack of efficiency is synonymous with waste. Since the base is financial, all of these segmented issues boil down to 3 general categories, viz., waste, fraud and abuse in the system, mired by “moral hazard” of having health insurance. Hopefully, all the preceding contending interests will be addressed with civility.

In my humble opinion, shaped by years of experience in the system, the above general categories do not constitute the root or core problem facing the entire healthcare industry. Worse yet, the proposed measures for reform will arbitrarily limit provision of services cloaked behind “evidence-based medicine” and will make future payment based on outcome that is uncertain or performance that is unpredictable. Moreover, responses by even well-meaning people will ration care and control eligibility to provision of healthcare services.

Assuming, for the sake of argument that all these issues come close to an ideal solution, these will still default to where they started due to the structural nature of the problems that rests on human nature. People take action based on rational choice and personal interest unique to each person. The strategy then for health system reform is to accept this reality of human nature and align it to an understanding about a key flaw in the financial underpinning related to payment methodology of our current health system. Human nature being what is, the only remaining recourse is to change the structure of trading dynamics that initiates payment.

To start with, our current payment system, whether public or private, healthcare or otherwise, is oblivious to the opaque pricing mechanics and corresponding arbitrary payment. Global markets thrive in such a scenario. “Buyers” have needs, wants and expectations of quality and service that have to be filled by “sellers”. Only the “sellers” determine and set the price. The buyer either pays that price, wait for discount or not buy altogether. When both “seller and buyer” agree with the price, trade is completed and payment is made. Unfortunately, the nature of this trading system favors more the seller than the buyer because of asymmetric costing information. To illustrate, a seller may price a product or service for $100 and may discount it down by 50%. As price went down to $50, the buyer sees a 50% discount as a good deal, and pays up. If the production cost of the product/service amounts to $10, but hidden from the buyer, then he just paid the seller a 5x profit mark up. This fog in “costing” and lack of transparency in “pricing determinant” favor the seller as he is the only one who knows the production cost and the spread/profit.

Extrapolating this to healthcare product/service, exorbitant medical inflation occurs as “suppliers” mark-up the price way above their costs. True, profit is crucial to the viability of any business. But there can be overpricing, overcharging, some call “gouging” that affects the entire spectrum of the healthcare system. Supplier-to-end-user, each along the supply-chain, marks up the price to profit from the trade. No wonder, healthcare expenditures turned exponential since private insurance came into being and in 1965 when a federal insurance, i.e., Medicare, became an entitlement program.

Historically, patients are generally insulated from the actual healthcare expenses as they are either insured or not at all. Payment is made, by and large, from decision of bureaucrats in the federal or private insurance based on the price charged by the provider of the product or service. They get that money from federal income taxes or private insurance premiums. As payment comes not from their own money but from others’, public and private insurance just “opened there wallet”. Their “skin not in the game”, little effort is expended to negotiate down the price and even when done through contracting, the “spread” may still be too high. When it became apparent that the upward trajectory of spending is unsustainable, cost control measures were instituted, akin to price control. Federal responses like RBRVS and SGR for physicians and DRG for hospitals came into being. Private insurance increased premiums, tweaked qualifying requirements through adverse “selection bias” and/or exclude pre-existing conditions. Other providers like pharmaceuticals, device companies and different suppliers responded in a similar fashion to maintain profitability.

What is apparent in these arbitrary responses is a pervasive theme of a pricing structure sans openness as to production cost. Only when there is transparency in production cost in relation to price charged, can a more rational payment system develop through a change in trading dynamics. When the buyer knows the “spread” between actual cost and selling price, he is in a level-playing field with the seller and can better negotiate down the price. This is the essence of a competitive market-based economy. Medical inflation will be replaced throughout the whole gamut of trading by deflation in prices, while profit will still be made, although lesser than before. The eventual agreed price will then be more affordable and the health system sustainable and durable. With “information symmetry” between buyer and seller, the trading dynamics will change. As in the preceding illustration when the seller priced a product or service at $100, but discounted it down to $50, now that the production cost is transparent and is actually $10, instead of the buyer happily paying $50 as before with 5x profit, he can now negotiate the price even lower. The ability of buyers to participate in the decision as to how much actual profit comes from the trade, brings parity to the parties involved in the trade.

In summary, reform of the healthcare system is complex when all the “moving parts”, as important as they are, detract us from the core problem, which is a payment system that marginalized and ignored trading dynamics. The payers, public or private, must fulfill their fiduciary responsibility and obligation to taxpayers and premium payers by demanding information about production cost and selling price before paying up. Knowledge of %Profit (spread) should be part of “buying drivers” for consumers to be in equal footing with the seller. One should not limit “price determinants” to supply/demand, needs, wants, expectations and ability to pay. They should include price differential with production cost. Physicians are the only ones that have costing-transparency with RBRVS which slowed down the rate of medical inflation. Other larger components of healthcare expenditures, i.e, hospitals, allied personnel, pharmaceuticals and device companies continue to wrap themselves in mystery. Even when the political winds sway towards conservatism or progressivism, the moral imperative is to bridge this chiasm. The challenge to our present generation is whether to keep the same culture in “buying/selling” or develop a new one, parity or disparity, opacity or transparency in the trading system. Which world and global market do we want to create? Shall we think outside-the-box or not? Only by looking at the culture and foundation of “buying-and-selling” through the prism of impartiality and even-handedness, will the payment system in healthcare system be equitable and reformed. With more healthcare dollars saved, a new dawn is in the horizon when payment is equitable, services not curtailed and access to healthcare available to all, whether the economy is yawning or booming.

Excerpted from Thesis in Master in Health Care Administration

Submitted: New England College

98 Bridge St, Henniker, NH 03242

By:

Aladin Mariano,MD, MHA, FACS, FCCP

Legacy that Lasts

Legacy that Lasts

Do you remember the common saying that aside from taxes, the only thing certain in life is death?

Indeed, our time to “kick the bucket” is sure and the only question is when.

So then, what should our legacy be for those we leave behind? Many have opted to store wealth for the bereaved and have taught decision-making, wisdom and moral values to their children. However, even these children will die at their appointed time and will not take an iota to their grave. Anything that we leave behind does not last. One only has to go back in the history of heads of human kingdoms, viz., Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Roman empire and other governments, David, Solomon, to see the evanescence of our human legacy. To quote Dr Philip S Chua(1), it has to be “…more valuable, ..lasting and more powerful than material things we could leave behind….their impact on …humanity as a whole…..a capsule of memories that people would remember us by”.

So what should our legacy be that is eternal?

No library, books or people can we muster to help us unravel the key to lasting legacy. Yet, there is one man, Jesus, who already has been there and showed us the path to an eternal legacy. But, before this was paved to completion, there were 2 things he did:

1.Incarnation to die as a consequence of Adam’s sin for reconciliation of humanity with the Father. As Yahweh-Elohim (Lord God, El Shaddai (God Almighty) and as Logos(Word) from the beginning of time, he incarnated when the time has come to man-Jesus(John 1:1-51; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2;Matthew 2:4-6). Therefore, he “came from above” (John 3:31) and did not have the genealogy or similitude of Genesis-Adam who came “from the ground/earth” and sinned(Genesis 2:7; 3:1-24). Therefore rightfully, being a perfect Passover Lamb(1 Corinthians 5:7), Jesus was the only man who can take the consequence of eternal death sentenced on the whole mankind. And his death, reconciled us to the Father, whether born before or after Adam(2). Having been reconciled, we then “shall be saved by his life”(Romans 5:10),i.e., after he got resurrected to life.

2.Resurrection to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for us. It takes a live person to receive anything, much more a crucial gift for mankind’s eternal life. After Jesus was resurrected, as Jonas was 3 days and nights in the belly of a big fish, he then went to the Father in heaven to receive this Holy Spirit of power(John 14:15-31; Acts 2:33), the key tool of power towards attaining eternal life. Nothing happens in this world without power which is the ability to do things, whether gravitational, mechanical, electrical, nuclear, solar, or through electron transfer(3). He then subsequently has given this power to in-dwell in humans starting at Pentecost(Acts 2).

Continuing to work humans into his body/church.

After these 2 seminal events, Jesus now has the power tool, the Holy Spirit of power, to finish his creation. He has now embedded this “Helper”(John 14:26) by “writing his laws in the fleshly tables of our human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3) to empower us towards our sanctification and glorification, which is a process of “spiritual growth and development”. While in this life, we may experience obstacles and falter towards sin. But we have a “High Priest“, Jesus the Son of God(4), who constantly intercedes for us(Hebrew 4:14-16). Let us move on and not go back to our own vomit(Proverbs 26:11;

2 Peter 2:22).

Summary

There is “ongoing creation” (5) that Jesus (the Creator God) is doing to mold “his clay” (Isaiah 64:8;Jeremiah 2) into someone that is “one” with the Father(John 17:21;Ephesians 4:6) as Jesus already is. He has proven this path to become “one with the Father” as he is the “builder(tekton), trailblazer, the captain, the author and finisher” of our salvation(Hebrews 12:2; Mark 6:3). So that, all will be “one” body(Romans 12:5). This is now happening as predestined. First the “firstfruits” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23;Romans 8:23; James 1:18), then the “latter-fruits”(James 5:7(Joel 2:21-27) who become “overcomers” (James 1:12;Revelations 2:7-11, 17,26) because of this Holy Spirit of power, as a “Helper” in-dwelling in the “real us”(6). That, being said, the “good works” that we manifest due to the power of the Holy Spirit, then becomes “fruits of the Holy Spirit(Galatians 5:22-23). Strictly speaking, these are not “our righteousness” per se, which to God are “filthy rags”(Isaiah 64:6). As such, since the Holy Spirit is a gift (given when we were yet sinners Romans 5:8) from the Father, we are saved by grace, through faith as in:Ephesians 2:8-9

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

This is the legacy that lasts. It is eternal and was revealed for us to understand and focus towards what the Father and Jesus did. This is the legacy, the knowledge of this “good news”(gospel) that we should impart to our family and leave for our loved ones.

References:

1. Legacy? Philip S Chua Ectopic Murmurs Vol 27, Number 2, pp. 5,12; July 2014 issue. Retrieved 9/29/18

2. Adam, First Human. Retrieved 9/30/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/10/adam-the-first-human-what-difference-does-it-make-2/

3. Electron transfer. Retrieved 10/1/18 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_transfer

4. Son of God, What Does it Mean? Retrieved 10/1/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/23/son-of-god-what-does-it-mean/

5. Ongoing Creation. Retrieved 10/1/18

https://fact-s.net/2018/06/30/ongoing-creation/

6. Who and Where is the Real You. Retrieved 10/1/18 from

https://fact-s.net/2018/08/30/who-and-where-is-the-real-you/

Original Post; October 1, 2018

***Dedicated especially to my wife, but also to our family, loved ones and to those who are blessed to read this post.

What is God?

What is God?

Sounds ridiculous? Yet surprisingly, many of us may be misinformed about what the word God is. Some may be atheist and denies existence of God. Others are agnostics and still groping for the answer. Admittedly, others know who their God is, one way or another, one religion or another. But, do we really know what the word God is? This question is not about the attributes of God, viz., omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. Rather, it is about whether we comprehend what comprises or constitutes the word translated in English as God. Can this understanding help us in resolving the conflict between those who prove that Jesus is God and man versus those who has equally compelling proof that he is only human? And, there are other “God’s”? Why did Jesus say in John 10:34 “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? The man Jesus classified himself as well as other human beings as gods, for which reason they accused him of blasphemy, stoned him and subsequently killed him because uof this outrageous claim. Is Jesus right in classifying humans as gods? Does it really matter, who we are and where in creation do we belong? We are not in the plant-kingdom nor are we in the animal-kingdom. Are we really in the god-kingdom as classified by Jesus for which claim, he was persecuted and eventually died? This issue maybe so basic, yet so fundamental that the answer maybe so eye-popping as to help us understand the future and destiny of man. As the Bible says, “the only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is…” Rom. 12:3(The Message, Colorado Springs, Navpress, 1993)

To know the facts, we need to get to the original word in Hebrew (for the Old testament portion of the Bible/Tanach) and Greek (for the New Testament) that was translated into the English word God. Anyone who has a comprehensive concordance will be able to compile all the original words translated as God. Afterwards, to know the truth behind those words, one then looks at the usage/context of how the original word was used and whether other text or verses can confirm the true meaning of the original word.

Following this format of research, one may be surprised about discovering many things that we were taught as a child/adult may indeed be deficient and fall under the category of misinformation, not intentional mind you, but misleading and confusing, nevertheless. As we delve into this critical subject, we will know what comprises the word “God”, concepts of polytheism/monotheism, variations/levels of powers, and where is the rightful position of angels, man, sons of God, Christ and the Father. And from these, we will then appreciate the spiritual significance behind knowing this subject well, and the hierarchy of creation.

POLYTHEISM/MONOTHEISM :

At the outset, let us look at the concept of polytheism/monotheism and verses that may appear confusing yet may eventually help us in exploring this subject: The startling fact is that the Pentateuch introduces the concept of plurality of the word God.

Notice :

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.(Gen.1:1) Here, the word God translated from Hebrew is plural and this numerical concept is reiterated in (Gen.1:26) Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness, …

But also, consider the following verses:

If after all, there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),( I Cor.8:5 )

God stands in the assembly of El ,in the midst of the gods he renders judgment (Ps. 82:1)

None can compare to you among the gods, O sovereign Master! Your exploits are incomparable! (Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O lord) (Ps. 86:8)

Yes, I know the Lord is great, and our sovereign Master is superior to all gods.

(YHVH is above all gods ) (Ps.135:5),

For you, O Lord, are the sovereign king over the whole earth; you are elevated high above all gods.(above all gods ) (Ps. 97:9)

You shall have no other gods before me (Ex.20:3 Decalogue)

You must burn the images of their gods,(graven images of their gods ) (Deut.7:25),

…on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment (many deities ) (Ex. 12:12)

For thou, LORD, [art] high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods (Ps. 97:9)

The preceding verses from the Old/New Testament tell us that, indeed, there are many gods, but a Supreme Being among them is above all of them.

Traditional Christianity denies the reality of many “gods”. But, there are indeed many “gods” and with different names. To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob his name was El Shaddai (God Almighty) and to Moses, YHVH (Lord/Yahweh/Jehovah); see Exodus 6:3. To Muslims, the name is Allah, to Chinese and Hindus there are many names as well(1,2).

While there are many gods, only one should be worshipped above all and others not.

These verses affirm and did not deny the existence and reality of many gods. Polytheism is a fact in as much as there are many gods, and so is monotheism, in so far as there is One Supreme Being and One Above All gods is concerned. If in fact the preceding statement is true, and using this premise as a base, it then becomes imperative to get to the original word in Hebrew and Greek that was translated God . This will then help us understand what constitutes or comprises the word God, not only from the transliteration of the word, but also its context and usage.

ELOHIM:

In Genesis, the Hebrew word translated God in English comes from the word ELOHIM/ELOHIYM. This is plural and a derivative of “El/Eloah(singular) meaning strong, mighty, power, POWERFUL ONES (3).

Likewise, in Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance, comes the following Hebrew words:

430 ‘elohiym el-o-heem’ plural of 433 ; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:–angels, X exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

433 ‘elowahh el-o’-ah; rarely (shortened) >eloahh {el-o’-ah probably prolonged (emphat.) from 410; a deity or the Deity:–God, god. See 430.

426 ‘elahh el-aw’ (Aramaic) corresponding to 433; God:–God, god.

410 ‘el ale shortened from 352; strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):–God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

Why is Elohiym plural ? Some think this is numerical plurality but others take this to mean multiplicity or majesty of powers, functions or rank, the latter being more in line with the context of one proximate Creator.

Which, if any, could it be?

In Gen. 1:26, “And ELOHIYM said, Let us ….our likeness…” suggest there were others of the same likeness or image during this creation narrative, hence Elohiym is a word that connotes numerical plurality , but also that a particular being (not beings) actually did the creation itself or spoke the word of creating, e.g., using he in

Gen.1:27 So ELOHIYM created man in his own image, in the image of ELOHIYM created he him; male and female created he them.

1:31 And ELOHIYM saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Gen. 2:2 And on the seventh day ELOHIYM ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

V-3 And ELOHIYM blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which ELOHIYM created and made.

V-8 And YHVH ELOHIYM planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

and using I in Gen.1:29 And ELOHIYM said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

V-30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

YHVH ELOHIYM:

The identity of this particular Elohiym, was specified as YHVH ELOHIYM or Lord God in

Gen. 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that YHVH ELOHIYM made the earth and the heavens,

V-5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for YHVH ELOHIYM had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

V-7 And YHVH ELOHIYM formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

V-8 And YHVH ELOHIYM planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

V-9 And out of the ground made YHVH ELOHIYM to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

N.B. Also see chapters 3,4,5, etc. that specifies that the particular Elohiym was in fact YHVH.

YHVH is the creator in contradistinction to the other Elohiym, as in, Gen 6:2 sons of ELOHIYM. This specific and particular Elohiym is YHVH, who is the creator and the one who said “…Let us…our likeness ..” in Gen.1:26. This same person is the one who spoke to Moses and the one known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shadday. Notice the following:

Ex 6:2 And ELOHIYM spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am YHVH:

V-3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of EL SHADDAY (God Almighty) but by my name YHVH (Lord) was I not known to them.

V-7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a ELOHIYM: and ye shall know that I am YHVH (Lord) your ELOHIYM(God), which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Deut 10:17 For YHVH your ELOHIYM is ELOHIYM of gods, and ADOWN of lords, a great EL, a mighty, …

Incidentally, the traditional English version of this was quoted in the prayer by Col. Oliver North who was a keynote speaker at the National Day of Prayer gathering at Washington, D.C. on May 6 2004

This is the Elohiym(God) of Israel, and specifically identified and named YHVH / El Shadday

This again is confirmed in the Shema doctrine found in

Deut.6:4 Hear, O Israel: YHVH our ELOHIYM is one YHVH:

V-5 And thou shalt love YHVH thy ELOHIYM with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Micah 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of YHVH our ELOHIYM for ever and ever.

Yes, there is no other specific Elohiym known and introduced to Israel to be worshipped but YHVH / El Shadday who is ONE. The One and ONLY ONE above all gods.

From the preceding, one can see that the plural word Elohiym is a generic or common name for a powerful being with majesty of powers and that it includes the creator as well as others of like image or likeness. But to specify the identity of this particular Elohiym as a creator of heavens and earth and the being who dealt with Abraham, Isaac,Jacob,Moses and Israel , the proper name YHVH / El Shadday was used.

Angel as ELOHIM:

To confirm this concept that Elohiym/God is generic/common name, notice the following:

Worship him, all ye gods (430, elohiym)Ps.97:7 and juxtapose this with the reference…angels (32 aggelos {ang’-el-os} of God worship him in Heb 1:6

The elohiym/gods in Psalm 97:7 is definitely referred to mean aggelos/angels. See also the scene when Jesus told an angel (Satan) to worship him and speaking of himself towards Satan :

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matt.4:10

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.Lu. 4:8

And to identify which of the elohiym or angels is specifically referred to:

…. for Satan himself is transformed into an angel (32 aggelos {ang’-el-os} of light.

II Cor.11:14,

…prince of this world be cast out John 12:31

… god (2316 theos) of this world (Satan) II Cor 4:4.

See also Ps. 8:5 angel(elohim, Strong’s #43)

Yes, even angels are classified in the Elohiym/God. This could be the reason why “us” and “our” are used in Gen.1:26 as angels were there during man’s creation, as the “serpent” (Lucifer,Satan) was in the garden of Eden

Man, Jewish leaders, Judges as ELOHIM:

Following the same concept of commonality of the word Elohiym/God, notice these verses:

John 10:31 The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death.

V-32 Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?”

V-33 The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.”

V-34 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?

V-35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

Ps.82:6 I have said, Ye are gods (430 elohiym); and all of you are children of the ELYOWN (God).

N.B. Children of Elohim/God are classified gods as well, as Jesus, the man, the son of God is God, as other humans who were stoning him are called gods as well. Jesus classified “…those people to whom the word of God came …as… ‘gods’ in v-35. The word of God came to humans, you and me, and not to plants nor to animals. That’s why we are gods ! See also, Ex. 21:6; 22:8-9,28 where judges are called elohim (Strong’s#430)

MOSES reckoned as Elohiym:

Ex.4:16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of ELOHIYM. See also, Ex. 7:1

Kings of the House of David likened to Gods:

Zech.12:8 In that day shall YHVH defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as ELOHIYM, as the angel of YHVH before them.

Yes, even men/women are classified in the Elohiym/God. Notice also that in Zech. 12:8 both man(house of David) and angel are classified as elohiym.

Again, looking at the facts and deducing the truth from the usage and context of the verses quoted, there is no doubt that Elohiym/God constitutes and comprises:

1.YHVH/El Shadday – the creator ,above all gods, one and only god to be worshipped by Israel , and by extension all gentiles.

2. Angels(including Lucifer), and other “gods” of different religions.

3. And man/woman

.

This specific and inclusive concept is not “pantheism“. It is not that “God is all and all is God” and not “all reality is infused with divinity”(4). Christ was specific and excludes plants, animals and innanimate beings. Distinction among the “gods” is maintained,i.e. there are levels and ranks of powers. Moreover,Elohiym is a word that connotes numerical plurality but may also mean multiplicity or majesty of powers, function or rank, as in Adonai in Gen 42:30,33, Isa. 22:18; 51:22; Ezra 10:3; Malachi 1:6

THEOS:

This same concept in the Old Testament is carried through in the New Testament. Notice, that in Greek, the word God is translated from “theos” This word is singular, masculine, and in the nominative case (The New Analytical Greek Lexicon ,p. 201)

And yet, THEOS , by context and usage, is a composite and includes:

1. God the Father: When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. Now this is eternal life—that they know you, the only true God(theos,Strong’s#2316), and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. John 17:1-3

2. God, the Son/Jesus: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God(theos,Strong’s#2316), and the Word was fully God.(theos,Strong’s#2316) The Word was with God(theos,Strong’s#2316) in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.(John 1:1-3).

She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God(theos,Strong’s#2316) with us.” (Matt. 1:21-23)

For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign. Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel (Isa. 7:14)

Isa.7:14 Therefore the ADONAY himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

3. Angel:

II Cor 4:4″among whom the god(theos,Strong’s#2316) of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. … theos,Strong’s#2316 of this world (Satan)

4. Man/woman:

John 10:34-36 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’(theos, Strong’s #2316) ? If those people to whom the word of God (theos,Strong’s #2316) came were called ‘gods’(theos, Strong’s #2316) and the scripture cannot be broken, do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?” (theos,Strong’s #2316)

N.B. Jesus was human and was made in the image of the invisible God as we all are (2Cor 4:4.). Jesus as man incarnate is God as He is also God in the pre-incarnate and post-incarnate state.

The preceding verses show that “theos“, while singular, is a composite word as the plural “elohiym” is. Now comes the question, why is Elohiym plural but can be singular, while Theos is singular but maybe plural? This is because by usage/context the Elohiym/Theos maybe specific or generic. When the word is specific then it is described and identified, e.g. YHVH / El Shadday or Father, Son, angel, man.

This contextual usage is equivalent to the rendering of “ekklesia”(plural) as exemplified in:

I Cor. 12:12 For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body—though many—are one body, so too is Christ.

Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church

CoL 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which (is) in his house.

1Thes. 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which (is) in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Tim. 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which (is) the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Heb 12:23 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

Notice that when the plural word is modified by a singular verb, it coalesces the plural into singular connotation. Ecclesia , while plural, is one but composed of many members; as our body is one, yet made up of many members. This usage is akin to the United States is one country but composed of many states; as Israel is one nation but with 12 tribes and with the grafting of the gentiles could be even more.

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, as in 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.

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.

SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE:

Why know what the word “god” is ? Now that you know the facts and the truth behind the facts, the screaming spiritual significance of this truth can out-decibel anything ever heard of before! This has not been emphasized in traditional Christendom. Man is planned and classified by Jesus himself, to be categorized in the Elohiym. This classification of man in the Elohiym has far-reaching potential, seriousness and gravity that Jesus risked being stoned, charged with blasphemy and eventually gave his life for us to comprehend the magnitude of our destiny. Human beings are in the Elohiym/Theos-kind, not in the plant-kind, nor in the animal-kind. We did not “evolve” from plants nor animals! In Genesis, you can see that after plants were created, they were planned to reproduce after their own kind. Likewise, when animals were created, they were to reproduce after their own kind. But, notice, after plants and animals were created to reproduce their own kind, God said, in Genesis,

1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness, .”

1:27 God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

Yes, humans are in the image of God, as Jesus the man, was in the image of the invisible God.( “… Christ, who is the image of God… 2 Cor 4:4) God is reproducing and multiplying the numbers that compose the Elohiym, aside from angelic beings. We are created in the Elohiym/Theos. We are in the GOD-KIND ,the God-Kingdom ! This is the context of the gospel of the Kingdom Of God. Kingdom of “man” was not planned. In fact, all human kingdoms from the Tower of Babel through the succession of human kingdoms represented by the ” image of Nebuchadnezzar”, will all perish. While in the class of Elohiym, as man ,like Jesus was, we are currently below the level and rank of angels(see Heb. 2:7) But as Jesus is now in the right hand of the Father as “Son of God“, our High-Priest, man will also be in that position, higher than the angels(Heb. 1:4; 2:10), as we will be in Christ, as “Son of God”, who will bring ” many sons to glory”. The head, who is Christ, has to be with the body, which is the ecclesia, composed of many members. When this kingdom of God, the ecclesia, the priests of Melchizedek are finally composed and is delivered to the Father, then all of us, including Jesus, will bow down before the supreme God of all…the Father, as in:

And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all. 1 Cor.15:28

Thank God, this human destiny was decided even before man’s creation, and before man has done anything right or wrong. Being in that category or class of Elohiym is a gift, not of works, but of grace through faith and out of the love of God.

Brethren, the spiritual meaning of this concept that man is in the class of Elohiym is of enormous significance worthy of praise and glory of the Father. For centuries, we were distracted from this concept and now, through the blessing of the Spirit, the time has come for all of us to see our direction and destiny.

References:

1. Tianzhu, Chinese name of God. Retrieved June 1, 2004 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianzhu.(Chinese_name_of_God)

2. List of Hindu deities. Retrieved June 1, 2004 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hindu_deities

3. Brown,Driver,Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon, pp.42-43

4. Who made God? Ravi Zacharias,pgs.41-43,2003 Zondervan.

Complementary Articles:

Destiny of Man, https://fact-s.net/2018/05/13/destiny-of-man/

Deification of Man, https://fact-s.net/2014/07/12/deification-of-man-3/

Passion of Christ. https://fact-s.net/2014/08/06/passion-of-christ/

CONTACT:

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Original Post : June 17, 2004

Revised: June 29,2014

Reposted: September 15,2018