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

Destiny of Man

The Destiny of Man

Why am I here? Did I exist because of evolution or creation? Why was I born? Is there any purpose in my life? These are questions people are asking themselves for guidance and direction in seeking self-worth, value and introspection.

Since the average lifespan is about 70-72 years, is that all there is to our longevity? Is our life on earth limited to a finite duration of time? Do telomeres predict our death? After death, then what? Should one care about whether there is life after death?

Different religions, whether Buddhism, Hinduism, Muslim, Judaism, Christianity , etc., profess that there is an after-life, although they differ in details. Knowing what the future has in store for us, brings perspective to how we value our present life and helps us understand our responsibilities and obligations, as well as what attitude and behavior we all need to adopt and express.

Creation or Evolution?

Since time immemorial, philosophers, seers and thinkers come and go. Yet, no reliable answer from them to these questions is forthcoming. Granted, they are all intellectually endowed and respected by the society and era that they lived in. Nevertheless, they are all farther from the truth for reasons that are obvious. Introspection and use of their own judgments and human abilities to search for answers, only left them with more questions. Answers to these pivotal issues are not forthcoming if we anchor our existence on evolution. Logic and wisdom lead us to a Creator. Had they turned to their Maker, their eyes could have been opened to the truth. For “…my thoughts are not your thoughts…. my ways are higher than your ways..Isa:55:8-9. Also, isn’t it logical to listen to the Creator, as described in Job Chapters 38 and 39? We listen to others and believe their writings, scientific or not, yet why is it repulsive to believe in those who personally witnessed God?

Source of Education:

Learning comes either passive or active. The active mechanism to learn is via our sensory somatic experience, viz., fire burns or heat is hot, when one touches a burning wood or the light of a candle. Also active learning comes from what we see and hear from a primary source and/or personally experienced. Passive learning on the other hand is when what we see and hear are from secondary sources, e.g., being instructed/lectured that an item is in fact hot and does burn, without actual personal experience. This is a first lesson in faith/trust in God who tells us the truth, instead of relying on our own finite brains, feelings, sight or hearing. Adam/Eve chose to learn the hard and active learning way by an actual experience of eating the “forbidden fruit, instead of heeding the verbal admonition of God against it, via the passive learning process. They both paid an ultimate and heavy price of eternal death for their bad choice. Sometimes, it is wiser to learn from an instructor than experience the aftermath of a bad choice and decision. Whether one believes it or not, there is a living God who is our Creator, who totally and completely knows us and has plans for us from the very beginning. As this subject is about destiny, it is vital to go to the instruction book of our Maker, the Holy Bible, for an eye-opening reality. And, there is no better place to start than from the beginning.

Sequence and Pattern:

In the book of Genesis, it is essential to consider the pattern being set by GOD/YHVH-ELOHIM in the process of creation, viz.,

1. That first, there was darkness followed by light… non-living things were created, then living things, as after death will follow life.

Notice, that….darkness was upon the face of the deep…” [1] then there was light. He first created non-living things, e.g. the planets and stars of multiple galaxies, then the living things, e.g. plants and animals. These are facts as narrated in the Holy Scriptures. But, what is the truth behind these events? It appears that this narrative has spiritual and functional meaning. GOD is showing this pattern of death (darkness, non-living) to be followed by life everlasting, that is to say that there is hope of life (light) after death (darkness, chaos ), in the same pattern that after lies,deception,confusion, and different interpretation will come the truth…that from mortality (death) will follow immortality (life forever)…that our current physical nature is temporal and will change to spiritual which is everlasting. Isn’t this a very powerful message of hope and renewal being taught to all of us from the beginning of time? Yes, our destiny is not eternal death and oblivion but eternal life.

2. Every living creature reproduces its own kind or likeness or image…..foundation of genetics.

Notice that before there was any other living entity, GOD/YHVH and angelic beings were already there as the only living entities ( see also fact-s.net/2011/05/21/what-is-god/). As the scripture says “…In the beginning, God created…” [2].

To establish this pattern of reproducing like-for-like, kind-for-kind, class-for-class, and same image-for-image, GOD created the plants and animals. He showed that they can only reproduce after their own kind or likeness or image. And, within this concept is “adaptation changes” depending on stimuli. After the plants and animals were created, at that particular moment, there were only three living classes of creatures, viz., GOD, plants and animals. After the principle of genetics was established that plants and animals can only reproduce after their own kind or likeness or image, what did GOD say?

Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness…” [3].

The plant-kind can only give rise to a plant, as the animal-kind can only reproduce the same kind. The same is true with the GOD-kind. Yes, God is reproducing himself thru the creation of man, human beings, flesh-composed, mortals. Man was created in the image of God..in the GOD-KIND, the highest and ultimate class of living entity. Not even was man ranked among the angels as Paul emphasized [4]. Man, although currently lower than angels, in the future will be higher than them. Starting from a “template“/temple of flesh-composed, the “spirit of man” the breath of life” was put in there to experience life. This flesh-composed body is only temporary and will die. Subsequently, those who have “fruits of the Holy SPIRIT and are “overcomers” will be resurrected with “spirit-composed bodies”, immortals with eternal life. (See, https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/).

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45-48).

This is indeed an awesome destiny for man to be in the GOD-KIND,, or KINGDOM of GOD, not Plant-kingdom nor Animal-kingdom but GOD-FAMILY…GOD-KINGDOM. No wonder Christ prayed that man be”ONE WITH HIM” [5], as he is one with the Father, that Paul testified that we will be”…like his glorious body…” [6] that this flesh will change in a “…twinkling of an eye …” in the future to become spirit, from mortal to immortality…that man will “have dominion “…”overall” [7] … as GOD is over all. Yes, GOD is a family, with Jesus as quoted by Paul, the “…first of the firstfuits…” [8]… “the firstborn among many brethren” [9], with Jesus as our elder brother, and his/our FATHER being all-in-all and above-all. And to think that this was all planned even before the creation of the world, before you and I were born, before anyone committed evil nor has done any good work, is a remarkable and compelling proof of GRACE and unwarranted GIFT to be in the GOD-KINGDOM and GOD-FAMILY.

SUMMARY:

Our destiny far-surpasses our imagination (2 Cor. 4:17-18; Eph. 3:20.) Our flesh-composed body is temporal, merely a template. It has the spirit of man which is a “temple” ( I Cor.6:19-20), the “holy-of-holies” for the Holy Spirit to dwell ( Acts 1:8; Lev.16:2, Matt. 27:51) so that man will be “begotten son/ child of God”. At the resurrection, this flesh-composed body will change to “born son “, “from mortality to immortality” from carnal to spiritual as “sons/children of God”. What happened to Jesus from flesh-composed man to now spirit-composed will be our destiny. He is the precursor for all of us. He is our Elder-brother, head of the church/body and we “are one”. Indeed, grace and love manifested !

References

[1] Gen. 1:2 [2] Gen. 1:1 [3] Gen 1:26 [4] Heb. 2:6-18 [5] John 17:21-23

[6] Phil. 3:21 [7] Gen. 1:26 [8] I Cor. 15:23 [9] Rom. 8:29

CONTACT:

For any questions, comments, or article contribution for publication, please e-mail foundationacts@yahoo.com

Original post:06/27/2003

Reposted:5/21/2011

Revised:4/24/2017

Revised:5/13/2018 Mother’s Day

Cloning and surrogacy, a look into the past, present and future

Cloning and surrogacy, a look into the past, present and future?

Going through spotlight news the past few years, one can’t help but be in awe at the amazing progress science has made.

Dolly the Sheep(July 5, 1996 – February 14, 2003), a ewe, was the first mammal successfully cloned at Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland, from a nucleus of an adult mammary frozen somatic cell of a six-year-old Finn Dorset sheep transferred into a “surrogate” de-nucleated ovum (egg cell) of a Scottish Blackface sheep. The two cells fuse and then develop into an embryo (1). No sperm were involved(2). Her birth proved that specialized cells could be used to create an exact copy of the animal they came from (3).

Not only do they look alike but also similar in performance with the animal they came from. This was the observation made also about cloned Cuatetera horses from a mare surrogate by Argentina’s high-level player Adolfo Cambiaso(4).

While these examples claim exact copies in looks as well as performance, other factors like external influences can modify gene expression/activity and help explain why even identical twins aren’t truly identical(5). They are the same in many ways but also different in many respects.

In the same vein, CRISPR technology (6)

provided a powerful tool that revolutionized editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops.

Human surrogacy, traditional and gestational, is now a reality(7). The difference is that in the former, the embryo is related to parents, with surrogate as the mother. Whereas, in the latter, the embryo has no relation at all to the surrogate mother.

Questionable and Controversial?

It was only a few years ago when these topics were questionable and controversial until now. Truly, “time and chance happen to all”(Eccl.9:11).

If anyone told us before the turn of the century that these will happen, we could have “laughed” at the thought as that could only happen with a”miracle”. This response reminds me of Abraham and Sarah who “laughed” when told that in their old age, 100 and 90 years old (Gen. 17:17-19) respectively, that they would have a son (Gen. 17:17; 18:12). Isaac’s conception, indeed took a divine miracle that could only come through spiritual power.

Now, these topics are no longer “miracle” and “impossible “ because we have the tools, wherewithal and know-how that enabled us to do these things. Anything becomes a miracle only when we could not do it at that particular time. But, why only at this point in time does the world get to be generally aware of cloning and surrogacy which are truly amazing feats? Why do these capabilities occur this time, not before or centuries later?

Understandably, scientific knowledge takes time and builds on established principles that lead to another. Although, these can occur immediately as “miracles”. Similarly, spiritual reality and understanding can also “miraculously” come immediately or slowly through building on some facts, as in:

Isa. 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”

YHVH ELOHIM (Lord God) created with his spirit-power, the “image of God”, mortal man-Adam. But, it was the Father who gave YHVH ELOHIM (Lord God) this creative power; any power that he had, came from the Father(John 3:13). Subsequently, he incarnated voluntarily to man-Jesus, devoid of divine powers, and the Father himself created him to be the “Son of God” This started at river Jordan when he received the Holy Spirit of power until he was manifested as “Son of God” by the resurrection from the dead. But now, the Father, after his resurrection, gave him the creative spiritual power, the Holy Spirit, to bestow it to those who “believed” (Acts 19:2) and was “called”(Matt. 22:14).

Only the “Son of God”, the resurrected Jesus, was given this power to create us from merely “an image of God” which was mortal, this time to an immortal “clone” of him. As humans were created mortals by YHVH-Elohim (Lord God), this time, as Jesus-Son of God, he is building his church to be “one” with him and the Father as “children of God”, all spirit-composed, immortal-bodies for eternal life.

Immaculate Conception, Surrogacy and Cloning?

Could it be that our present generation is getting these know-how to explain some intricacies of the spiritual realm?

Like the incarnation of YHVH ELOHIM (LORD GOD) to man-Jesus, how could there be immaculate conception? How can humans (flesh-composed) be “children of God”, spirit-composed? How can humans be “one” with God. These are just some questions that now maybe explained to a certain degree.

As regards Jesus, his conception is different from Isaac who came from an infertile Abraham and barren Sarah, ages 100 and 90 respectively. Isaac came about as promised but through a mechanism that “energized” and made alive the “dead” sperm of Abraham and egg of Sarah. The mechanism appears to be similar to the “dead” body of Adam that came to life with the energizing power of the “spirit of man” breathed into his nostrils. Also, dead people came to life like Lazarus.

In contrast, man-Jesus was the incarnated spirit-composed YHVH ELOHIM(Lord God), who “came from above”(John 3:31), heavenly, sinless(2 Cor. 5:21), without any sin imputed to Adam. While his lineage (Matt. 1:1-17) was from Adam, Abraham and along the lines of David, man-Jesus did not have a human DNA contribution from parents, even from Joseph and Mary. There was no sperm from Joseph nor egg from Mary. In a manner of speaking, it was spirit that incarnated or became physical embryo that was conceived through a process of “gestational surrogacy”. His origin was not tainted with human origin since he was the incarnated YHVH ELOHIM, the Lord God, the Word. If he had DNA that came from human parents, he would have the imputed sin of Adam and subject to penalty of death, like any human. As such, he could not be a Messiah for mankind as he, himself, needed a Savior. Only a sinless Lamb can be a Passover to take on ( not take in sins) the penalty of mankind’s death.

Knowing that for a Messiah, Passover Lamb, to have sinless origin (I Pet. 1:19), this had to come from a sinless spirit-being the Lord God of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, David… the El SHADDAI(Lord Almighty), the YHVH ELOHIM(Lord God), the Word(John 1:1). He incarnated to man-Jesus and was conceived in Mary’s womb as a surrogate mother of Jesus. This “gestational surrogacy” never happened ever before.

In physical cloning, it became possible for nucleus of one cell to fuse with another denuclearized cell and turned into a single complete cell that turned into an embryo, developed and grew into maturity and delivered full-term. As a parallel reality, the Father (with the consent of YHVH ELOHIM) can transform spirit-composed YHVH ELOHIM into a complete human flesh-composed cell that reached maturity in the womb of Mary.

Jesus as Pioneer, Beginner, Captain, Author, Finisher

In setting up this segment, one needs to consider the following verses:

Heb. 2:9-13,

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. “

Heb. 12:2,

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

All the promises to Abraham, Isaac, Israel and the rest of humanity (Gen. 25:18-21) hinge on the incarnation of YHVH ELOHIM to man-Jesus. As such, he is the trailblazer that initiated and will finish what he started.

He was conceived through a process of “gestational surrogacy “ in the uterus of Mary. After delivery, growth and development, he was then baptized with the Holy Spirit after coming out of water baptism in the Jordan River, i.e., it dwelt fully in him. With the guidance of the Spirit, he was empowered and sanctified to follow the will of the Father and “not his will”(Luke 22:42). He took on the penalty of death for mankind for reconciliation of the same to the Father. After resurrection to a glorified spirit-composed body, he was given the Holy Spirit of power by the Father, to be given to those who were called and believed.

In much the same way, we follow the path of our pioneer Jesus. So, those who were called and believed in him will receive the promise of Holy Spirit baptism. As a “spiritual sperm”, the Holy Spirit will dwell in the “holy of holies” (spirit of man; Lev. 16:2; innermost segment of the temple) of our temple(body;I Cor. 3:16) to “fertilize” the “spirit of man”. And this, to write the “laws of the spirit in the fleshly tables heart and mind” (2Cor. 3:3) for sanctification in the “church” (womb of Mary; maturity through growth and development). Those who endure (as Jesus endured; Matt. 24:13) through the end, the overcomers, (Rev. 3:21)will then be glorified (Rom. 8:28-30)and manifested (Rom. 8:19)by resurrection as “sons and daughters of God”, all spirit-composed.

We will be as “clones” of God in a way, yes, being “one” with him in decision making yet, voluntarily and not as a robot, while maintaining individuality, freedom of thought and circumspection.

Summary

The preceding ideas are an attempt to parallel material and physical events in this world, past, present and future with the spiritual realm. Association was made with what we now know in surrogacy and cloning with immaculate conception of the past through harmonizing biblical events and principles that project into the future. They are by no means conclusive but hopefully will help understand the subjects in another perspective.

The plan for humans as originally expressed to Adam “to have dominion over” (Gen. 1:26) everything on earth, and the promise to Abraham and to his “seed” (Gal. 3:16) placed their turning point in the incarnation (8) of the God of Adam, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob into man-Jesus.

Immaculate conception of Jesus in a human womb, is explainable through the mechanism of “gestational surrogacy” wherein the parents, Mary and Joseph did not have any contribution to his physical DNA. Christ was “from above”(John 3:13) , heavenly, and is sinless as Passover Lamb (I Peter 1:19) should be. This was an event purely of a God’s grace and love for mankind (Titus 3:4).

Our destiny(9) was planned from the beginning. We were made “an image of God”, i,e., man, classified as “god” (10) but not to be worshipped and our completion (11) for “deification“ requires a process of justification (12) for the sins of mankind imputed to the first-Adam, for us to be reconciled to the Father. Having been reconciled by the “blood of our Passover Lamb-Jesus”, those who were “called”(Matt. 22:14) to “believe” (Acts 2:38) will receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit for our sanctification (2 Thes 2:13), following and walking willingly by the Spirit. Those who endure and overcome will be victors to be glorified as “children of God”, the “kingdom of God”(13),all spirit-composed, “one” with God, although separate and distinct from the Father, the only God to be worshipped in the name of Jesus.

God Bless.

References

1. Dolly the sheep. Retrieved 5/5/2018 from https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/dolly_the_sheep.htm

2. Healthy Clones. Retrieved 5/5/2018 from https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1061Z9

3. Life of Dolly. Retrieved 5/5/2018 from

http://dolly.roslin.ed.ac.uk/facts/the-life-of-dolly/index.html

4. Cloned horses. Retrieved 5/5/2018 from http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/six-cloned-horses-help-rider-win-prestigious-polo-match

5. Identical Twins are not really Identical. Retrieved 5/5/2018 from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123820029

6. CRISPR explained. Retrieved 5/5/2018 from

https://www.livescience.com/58790-crispr-explained.html

7. Surrogacy. Retrieved 5/8/2018 from https://www.hrc.org/resources/overview-of-the-surrogacy-process

8. Incarnation, questions and Controversies. Retrieved 5/8/18 from https://fact-s.net/2017/01/12/incarnation-questions-and-controversies/

9. Destiny of Man. Retrieved 5/8/18 from

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

10. What is God? Retrieved 5/8/18 from https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/

11. Deification of Man/Completion. Retrieved 5/8/18 from https://fact-s.net/2014/07/12/deification-of-man-3/

12. Justification, Reconciliation, Sanctification and Glorification. Retrieved 5/8/18 from https://fact-s.net/2018/05/01/justification-reconciliation-sanctification-and-glorification

13. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. Retrieved 5/8/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

Original Post: May 9, 2018

Dedicated to a Judge in Paranaque/Las Pinas 1972

FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014

FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014

Ever since it was championed by Sonora Smart Dodd, Father’s Day has been commemorated throughout the U.S.A. on the 3rd Sunday of June since 1910 (1). Today, on Fathers’s Day, what could be more apropos and timely to honor it than to know who the “Father” in the Old Testament is? Is he the same or different from that referred to in the New Testament? Is the Father in the Old Testament the same as the Father of Jesus in the New Testament? To provide context to these questions, consider a parallel question:

Who is the God of the Old/ New Testament?

Many grew up in a Christian family and were taught that the God of the Old Testament is the Father of Jesus. And, that of the New Testament is Jesus and/or his Father, as they “are one”. It may as easily be interpreted as Jesus and YHVH ELOHIM in the Old Testament “are one” and the same, by incarnation. Does being “one” mean indistinct or inseparable? Are they similar or different? In what way if any or when are they the same or distinct from each other? Is this issue a mere exercise in futility, unnecessary minutiae, pure semantics or “splitting hairs”?

Although not a recent phenomenon, these questions are confusing and distracting to many today. Even in mid-second century Rome, a prominent Christian leader by the name of Marcion who had a thriving shipbuilding business at the time of Justin, was confused (2). Does it really matter who is the God of the Old and/or New Testament? Yes, it does. In fact, about 90 C.E., John who wrote “I and Father are one”(John 10:30) also said that life eternal hinges on this understanding: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The Father, “the only true God” and Jesus are distinct and separate from one another, even when they “are one”. Always remember what Paul said in Heb 11:1,

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”

We need “assurance” that depends on evidence-based facts, not empty promises, unsubstantiated teaching, nor hope against hope. The answer to these questions may help enhance our understanding of the subject, thus solidifying even more our handle on the truth and fortifying our faith.

Old Testament God

There are many so-called “gods”, and polytheism is more than a phenomenon; it is a reality. While it is tempting to deny this fact, the presence of manygods” is acknowledged to be true. And yes, this has been a crucial fact in the Old Testament, such that Israel has to be directed away from these real “gods” and commanded not to worship them. Instead, worship has to be to one particular and specific God. There was/is only one God to be worshipped. This is the basis from where developed the Jewish “Shema” doctrine of,

Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Ex.20:3) …above all gods”(Ps 95:3; 135:5)(

See also Reference #3)

Who, was the God of Adam, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses?

This question maybe resolved if one accepts the fact that this God introduced himself with different names at different times. Strong’s Concordance helps in finding the derivation of the original words translated in English. And, while names are different, they refer to only one, the Creator. Getting right to the point, consider these documentation and confirmation:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heaven(s) and the earth”.

Here, without doubt, this God was introduced as the Creator. But, this particular God was not identified and was described as a uni-plural generic “Elohiym” (Strong Concordance 0430/plural form being supreme). But, in Ex.6:2-3, this God was identified with different descriptive names,

And God (Elohiym 0430) spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Yhovah 03068) : And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God (0410 El) Almighty (Shadday/07706), but by my name JEHOVAH (Yhovah 03068) was I not known to them”.

This Creator God was God Almighty/ “El Shadday” to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was known as Lord/”Yahveh:YHVH. Moreover, in Isa 45:11-12, this Creator God was also referred to as Lord,

Thus saith the LORD (03068/Yhovah), the Holy One (06918/qadowsh) of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

That particular Creator God was The Lord God, the Holy One of Israel. Post Old-Testament times, this Creator God was also identified more specifically as the “Word”. In John 1:1-3, he said

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John then went further to identify this Creator God to be The Begotten Son, as in

So the Word became human and….And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father” (John 1:14, NLT).

To make it even clearer, John reiterated that this Creator God was Jesus, as in

The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

The Creator God was Word God. Paul also testified, that the Creator God was Jesus ,

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of creation. For by Him all things were created…all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15-17 NASB).

This Creator God, who “fathered” all creation, incarnated into Jesus, the Christ/Messiah, as in Isa:9:6,

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father(01,ab), The Prince of Peace.

From the preceding verses, one sees the “evidentiary facts” that the same specific and distinct person is known as: God:(Elohiym 0430) LORD: (Yhovah 03068) God (0410 El) Almighty (07706 Shadday) The “Holy One (06918/qadowsh) of Israel” The “Word” (3056/logos) “Begotten Son” (monogenes/3439) The “only Son of the Father” Jesus Christ, the Word of life (3056) First-born of Creation (prototokos/4416) Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father(01,ab), The Prince of Peace.

Changes in Name, Position and Function

All these descriptive positions, tasks, functions and changes in name at a particular time are no different from our own experience as humans. All of us have been children and have parents and grandparents. As we ourselves became parents, we left our description as children. After we have grandchildren, we are now called grandparents. Our position and function changed but we are still the same person. Likewise, previously, one maybe secretary in an organization, but then can become vice-president or president. That person is no longer addressed as Mr Secretary; rather called Mr. President. The same person but different function, task and time. In general, unless described otherwise, when the word “God” is used in the Old Testament, it refers to El Shaddai/YHVH ELOHIM who incarnated to Jesus, the Word; in the New Testament, it refers to the FATHER of Jesus. The Creator God and the only one commanded to be worshipped in the Old Testament was “El Shaddai” to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was “YHVH“. The same person was the “Word Creator” even before there was any creation. Subsequently, he incarnated, dwelt among humans and assumed a different function and name as “Jesus-Yhusuah/Massiach-Messiah, the Redeemer” (John 4:26). As an incarnate/ flesh-composed person, he was “begotten Son”.

This first official introduction ever, of the Father-Son relationship took place at the river Jordan when Jesus was baptized (Matt.3:13-17;Mk 1:9-11; Luke 3:21). The Synoptic gospels testified that the Father introduced the Son, and conversely the Son also “declared” the FATHER (John 1:14,18) ; rightly so, as they knew each other from before the beginning of time. As he is the only one who had seen him, he was the perfect person to introduce his FATHER and ours as the “only true God” and commanded us to worship only his Father. No doubt, this is fool-proof identification of both of them as distinct and separate (I Cor.8:6) , even when they “are one”. Subsequently, he was then “declared Son of God” (spirit-composed) by the resurrection from the dead ( Rom.1:4 ) He is also now “head of the spiritual church…firstborn from the dead (Col.1:18), the “head and elder Brother” (Heb. 2:11) of his “fellows” (Ps.45:7; Heb.1:9 ) , the other “firstfruits” (I Cor.15:23; Rev. 14:4).

As a Creator God/Word of all that is known, whether angelic spirits, inanimate universe and all living things, this ” Son of God” is now creating from humans, “spirit-composed firstfruits/harvest” to be his “body/church” and subsequently in due time, the ” latter-fruits/harvest”. Indeed, an “upgrade” of his position and glory, all given by our “FATHER” and planned from the beginning, much before “time”.

Mechanism of How we are “Saved

The Word/El Shaddai/YHVH has to dis-empower himself, take-off his power, and incarnate as Jesus so that by being human, he could die as our “Passover” ( I Cor. 5:7 ). YHVH, being spirit and eternal, could not have died unless incarnated. Jesus’ divine power, being “flesh-blood” was not inherent in him but was spiritual powers/abilities given to him, at baptism in river Jordan, by the Father much like us humans with measured spirit-power given by the Father through the function of the Spirit ( Compare John 8:28, 19:11; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Luke 4:1 ). As the “FATHER” imputed the sins of mankind on the sin of the first Adam (I Cor. 15:45-50) at the garden of Eden and eternal death to all mankind, so was Jesus’/last Adam’s death (a consequence of sin) imputed to mankind ( Rom.5:12-21). His death was the propitiation/atoning sacrifice for our sins ( I John 2:2 ) and reconciled us to the “FATHER” ( II Cor. 5:8; Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20-22 ); put us “at-one” with the “FATHER“. His death was only the beginning so that “death, where is thy sting?” ( I Cor. 15:55 ), will no longer have a hold on us. Having been reconciled, we are now “saved by his life” ( Rom.5:10 ). But, how are we saved by his life? How is this knowledge and understanding “life eternal” as in

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)?

Here is how: Now that from “flesh/human” incarnate, Jesus was subsequently created by the Father as spirit-composed “Son of God” by the resurrection from the dead (higher than angelic spirits), Jesus “by his life” (after resurrection) is now creating his “body/church” of fellow “firstfruits“, “sons/daughters/children of God” and subsequently the “latter-fruits”. All spirit-composed, as in I Cor. 15:53,

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

He has to be first, a “Son of God” before he can bring other “sons/daughters” to glory as their “Elder-Brother and “Head of the church”. He is developing us into his “body/church” through the workings of the Spirit in us that he could not have sent until after his resurrection from the dead, (saved by his life) as in:

When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about Me. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 14:25,26; 16:7).

This Spirit was sent at Pentecost (Acts 2) and getting into us to have power to develop into the “body/church” of Christ. We know about the preview of this mechanism in the garden of Eden. Eve was taken from “the rib” of Adam to show that the future church(Eve) will come from the “second and last Adam/ Jesus“. When the human Jesus resurrected from death and became spirit-composed as Son of God, he then sent (his) Holy Spirit of power to create the woman/church/Eve in a spiritual way to be his body. As the flesh Adam/Eve “… shall be one flesh”, so shall the spirit Adam/Christ/Son of God shall be “one” with the spiritual church/Eve and be “one body“. And all shall be “onewith the Father. Amazingly, all of these as planned and implemented by God through his “first-born Son of God“.

SUMMARY

In the Old Testament, the Father and God that was commanded to be worshipped was the Creator God, El Shadday/YHVH, Jesus the Messiah/Christ. Since then, in New Testament times, Jesus himself introduced hisFATHER“; and rightly so, as he was the only one who saw the “FATHER“. As incarnate Messiah/Christ, he instructed us to pray to his “FATHER“, but through Jesus and in his name (John 15:16).

Who to worship? In the Old Testament times, YHVH/El Shaddai/Jesus was commanded to be worshipped as he was “above all gods”(Ps 95:3; 135:5) known to all creation at that time. But today and for all of us, the “FATHER” of Jesus, the only one referred to as God in the New Testament, is the only one to be worshipped and prayed to, but “in the name of Jesus”. The “Father” is the God and Father of Jesus and of us all (Eph.1:17). As the Creator God/El Shadday/YHVH took off that glory, honor and position by incarnating into “flesh” as Jesus/Messiah/Christ, by so doing he shifted and directed/introduced all of us to his Father as the only God to be worshipped today. The Father is greater than Jesus; they are not co-equal as in John 14:28

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away,…for my Father is greater than I.”

On the side, this particular “FATHER” of Jesus, started a “new creation” (2Cor.5:17, NKJV), from the human “first-begotten” son Jesus (John 3:16) who then became the “first-born” (Col.1:18; Rom. 8:29) spirit Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead. Indeed, a position of “sonship” which is higher than the angelic category (compare Ps 8:4-6 and Heb. 2:6-18). Jesus is now the “the first/wavesheaf of the firstfruits” ( compare I Cor. 15:10,20,23 and Ex 34:26, Ezekiel 44:30; Lev. 23:10-12 ). After him, will follow the remaining “firstfruits” (Rev.14:4) at the resurrection to commence the “Millenium”. As the “FATHER” through (I Cor.8:6) Jesus/YHVH/Word created the “first known creation” (all non-living and living things including angels), the “FATHER” is now creating a “new creation” of “sons/daughters and children” of God, Jesus the “first of the firstfruits“, then through Jesus, “fellow firsfruits” will follow “at the last trumpet” ( I Cor. 15;52) , all of them spirit- beings, higher than angelic spirit-beings, and after the Millenium, the “latter-fruits“. This is Jesus’ “body” the church, being “one” yet with many members that are distinct/separate from each other ( I Cor.12:12-20) as we are altogether “one” with a distinct and separate “FATHER“. As incarnate Jesus/Passover, his death paid off mankind’s penalty for sins, reconciled us to the Father so we will all be like him. Everyone at their own time , first is Jesus becoming the Son of God (the first of the firstfruits), then fellow firstfruits at this dispensation to be manifested at the start of the Millenium, then subsequently after the Millenium will manifest the “latter-fruits”….all with “life eternal” ( John 17:3 ). Buttressed with these facts, our appreciation of God”s love for all of us, hopefully, will be magnified and enhanced. We can have confidence and trust in God because of these facts. i.e., faith which is “evidence of things hoped for.”

Remember, that this is the plan of God, the “FATHER“, even before the first creation by YHVH, before any of us have done anything right or wrong. Even our will to do good and to act are from God ( Phil. 2:13) so that “no one can boast” (Eph.2:9; I Cor. 1:29). Truly, grace and love manifested. Glory to God, our “FATHER“.

HAPPY FATHER’s DAY.

Original post: 2011

Revised 2014

Revised and reposted 5/3/18

References

1. Father’s Day.http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father’s_Day

2. Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus, p.33-34, 2005.Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St. NY, NY 10022.

3. What is God? https://fact-s.net/2018/05/03/1208/

Promise made to the “seed” of Abraham and his children?

Promise made to the”seed” of Abraham and his children?

It has been a traditional teaching in Judaism & Christianity that they were promised a visible and tangible place on earth to live forever. This is generally accepted as true but to what extent does this promise cover? And, how, when and who can this be initiated and reach fruition?

Who is the “seed” of Abraham?

To begin with, this promise in the gospel was preached to humans, and not to any other created living entity, whether plants or animals. Although “the angels desire to look into” or prophets of old “searched diligently”, this was not understood because it was “not for themselves” (I Peter 1:12), at that time. This was first promised to a human Abraham (Genesis 15:18), then confirmed or re-promised to his son Isaac (Genesis 26:3), and thereafter to Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 28:13), Abraham’s grandson (1). Does it strike you as odd that it was again promised and re-promised? Notice these verses:

Gen. 15:18 “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: “

Gen. 22:17 “I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendantsbeyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies.”

Gen. 26:3 “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; “

Gen. 26:4”I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”

Gen. 28:13 “And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; “

Clearly, the promises were made to Abraham and extended or re-promised to his descendants. Whether only along the line of Isaac and excluded the line of Ishmael, may not matter at all. Because, according to the understanding given to Paul, while these promises were spoken by the Lord YHVH to humans, first to Abraham and to his descendants, the “seed” (not seeds) specifically referred to was man-Jesus, the incarnated YHVH Elohim. And, this was “based on promises yet future” at that time, as in, Gal. 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.”(New International Version)

Interestingly, while the promise was clearly and undeniably spoken to Abraham and his descendants, Paul emphasized the promise was to a specific human seed, Christ. One seed and, following the principle in Isaiah 28:10, this does not necessarily ignore or marginalize other descendants of Abraham nor contradict other verses but gives context to whom the promise was specifically addressed for the start of implementation.

Rather, Paul’s understanding of these written words, in light of what he knew at that time, was intimating and signifying the one person to whom these promises would begin and to reach fulfillment. In other words, Paul’s focus about the promise was to explain about the implementation of the promise which did not commence nor fulfilled with Abraham, or with his other descendants, but a specific one. History of Israel proved that Abraham and his offsprings did not attain nor start the fulfillment of the promise until man-Jesus came into being. That was why it was promised again and again for continuity until Christ, the “seed“. The timing of when this promise would start unraveling was with man-Jesus, the one seed of Abraham, to whom the promise would begin the process of fulfillment. And this is a miracle that would happen in the future.

This divine parallel and look into the future, were alluded to previously in the narrative of the conception of Isaac in the womb of Sarah.

Genesis 18:10-14 “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. “

In Genesis 17:17,

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

Gen. 18:12 “So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Gen. 21:5-6 “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

What happened to Abraham and Sarah was a miraculous demonstration of the power of God, i.e, there is nothing “…too hard for the LORD” and will commence “at the time appointed”. They did not have Isaac until the “time of life”, i.e., the appointed time. Similarly, the Lord YHVH incarnated to man-Jesus at the “time appointed“. Jesus was the “pioneer”, the “beginner “ of this process. The appearance, identity and anointing of this Jesus/Messiah was prophesied in Daniel 9:24-27; Matt. 3:17, 17:5; Luke 3:22.

Who are the children of Abraham?

While genealogy defines who the children of Abraham are, God specifically defined it differently (through Paul), not from flesh, but as “children of faith” in Gal. 3:7-9, as in:

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Foresight of God was to justify also the heathen, i.e., outside of Abraham’s stock. Moreover, while Abraham’s physical children were Isaac from Sarah and Ishmael from Hagar, the key defining attribute of being a descendant is one of “child of promise”,as in:

Galatians 4:22-31 “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar(aka Hagar). For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Currently, Israel and others of whatever religion, are of the “bond woman of Sinaiunless begotten of promise and faith to be qualified in the true definition of “children of Abraham

Summary

Promises made in the Old Testament were spoken first to Abraham who did not see the fulfillment of that promise for himself because it was for the future. So, it was promised again to Isaac & Jacob, who likewise did not see fruition. Paul subsequently explained that the promise had to wait for an appropriate time until LORD YHVH was incarnated to man-Jesus, the “seed” of Abraham, the “pioneer and finisher/perfecter of our faith”(Heb. 12:2). Jesus initiated and is the first human to which the promises will be fulfilled to the fullest extent, before others. He was a man of “faith” and a “child of promise”. He came through the genealogy of Abraham although he was not of “earth but heavenly”; came from above as incarnated Lord God/YHVH ELOHIM. He believed in the Father’s promises and was baptized (as the Father promised) as in “the Holy Spirit fully dwell in him” at river Jordan(Matt. 3:16; Luke 4:1-13). For anyone, including Jesus, to receive the Holy Spirit, what is required is to believe (John 7:39; Gal. 3:2). He was resurrected, as promised, to receive the Holy Spirit to be “baptized” into us (Matt. 3:11); no one will have the Holy Spirit until The Father gives it to Jesus first. He changed from mortal man-Jesus to an immortal Son of God. The same immortality will “clothe” (I Cor.15:53) those believers who overcame(Rev. 2:26;3:21) and persevered/endured (Matt. 24:13) through the end. Towards the end, he will rule in Jerusalem, here on earth, with the “firstfruits”, fellow children of promise/faith, for a Millenium (Rev. 20). Then, after all come under his subjection, he will then subject the same, (I Cor. 15:24) including him before the Father (I Cor. 15:28). So, at the end, the Father will be over all in a “new heaven and new earth” (2Peter 3:13; Rev. 21).

The children of God are “children of promise”, “children by faith”, no matter what race, genealogy, sex etc, even those created human beings before Adam, all heirs according to the promise. God by his Holy Spirit has written his laws in the mind and heart of those he “called” and opened their eyes to “believe “. In contrast to Israel and others of “Sinai”, those with the Holy Spirit have “circumcision of the heart” as the sign of the New Covenant to receive immortality and to live forever on earth and the universe. This is the extent of what the promise covers. They are brothers and sisters who are not children of the bondwoman, tethered to be “under the Law” given in Sinai in “tables of stone”, but of the free. Having been freed from eternal death(exacted by the Law of Sinai attributed to one man-Adam’s sin in the garden of Eden),through the death also of one man-Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter”, we are now free to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring “ fruits of the Spirit”, against such, there is no law. (Gal. 5:23). So, follow the example of Jesus, our pioneer. Unlike Adam in the garden of Eden, Jesus correctly decided to follow the Father’s will, not his, in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). Let us all endeavor to have “fruits of the Holy Spirit“.

Remember, without fruits, the tree will be cut down (Matt. 7:18-19; Luke 13:9).

God Bless.

Original post: April 28, 2018

What does “naked” mean and why were Adam & Eve “afraid” and “ashamed”?

What does “naked” mean and why were Adam & Eve “afraid” and “ashamed”?

In the Garden of Eden, the narrative regarding Adam & Eve was that , before they sinned, they were naked but not ashamed, as in:

Gen. 2:25 The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.”

The word naked was an English translation of the Hebrew word “arowm”, also meaning “nude”. Whereas, the etymology of the word ashamed is “buwsh”, aka “pale” or “dry”.

In the garden of Eden, they were instructed in:

Gen 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

They then violated God’s command. It was only after sinning did Adam & Eve become aware their “eyes opened” that they were “naked“…. “afraid” and ..”ashamed” as in,

Gen. 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Gen. 3:10 “…I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

They “hid” and “sewed figs for covering” are actions that expressed their “fear” and “shame”.

The origin of the body and spirit.

What do all these mean? To help understand this narrative in the garden of Eden, one has to start from the beginning of human creation, cautiously and precisely.

We can see how man was composed in:

Gen 2:7, “The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Clearly, man is composed of a body that came from the “soil of the ground” plus “breath of life” that came directly from the Creator’s breath, not matter from “soil”, i.e., non-matter or “spirit” from a “spirit-being”(Creator-God).

So man is made up of matter(the whole body from head to toe) and spirit. By itself, the body is lifeless, i.e., dead. And, infused into the body through the nostrils, is a “spirit of man” , aka, the “breath of life” that has intrinsic life, having come directly from a living God. Subsequently, the body + breath of life(spirit of man) ”became a living being”. In other words and strictly speaking, the body, per se, is dead and only the “breath of life,the “spirit of man” has life because it came directly from a living God, not from the “soil of the ground” which is inert. And a living God has to connect or fuse them together(turn them on)to become “ a living being”. It was this connection by God that made it a “living being/soul”.

A living person has to turn it on

This connecting/turn-on mechanism has parallels, although not strictly equivalent to the relationship between body and spirit:

1. Before we see light, there has to be light bulb, electric cord, socket where the cord is plugged in and electric wire towards the switch; all components to bring light. All the preceding elements, by themselves, do not bring on light. Essentially, they are “dead”. Only when one (a live person) turns on the switch or “connects” all these parts that light will come on. Or, some living being, automatically turns it on, as a reflex, using a “timer”.

2. A computer with all its parts are “dead” or not useful unless someone, who is alive, turns on the power.

3. With all the parts of a car, it will not start even with an ignition unless a living person turns it on.

Separation and connection

Connectivity as a step in this mechanism to bring on life is also proven by:

1. Death comes when there is disconnection or separation between the body and “spirit of man/breath of life”, as in:

Eccl.12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

The dead body decays and turns to dust or soil on earth, while the “spirit of man” returns to God who gave it; they separate.

2. A dead body that is “matter-composed” can be restored to natural/physical life when the “spirit of man” is infused back to him/her again.

An example of this is Lazarus, who has been dead,i .e., the spirit left him 4 days already but he was resurrected, as in:

John 11:38-44 “Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

3. The same physical resurrection in:

Daniel 12:2: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, …some to shame and everlasting contempt”

Revelation 20:12-13: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.

So the spirit that returned to God can then be retrieved back into the physical body, although previously dead will have life, through the power of God.

This “spirit of man” that returned to God at death, is devoid of a physical and matter-composed body. As a parallel, it is like the thumb-drive that has all the memory downloaded from a computer, which represents the body, and can be destroyed. The thumb drive can be inserted into a new computer with all the memories and activities of the previous destroyed computer. In the future, this “spirit of man” maybe given another type of body. This time a spirit-composed body as in the “first resurrection” to eternal life. This is proven by:

Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, …”

Rev. 20:4-6 “...They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ,…”

Notice that, by itself, the “spirit of man” does not have “everlasting life”. It is not eternal until given a new and immortal body,i.e., it and can be destroyed and cease, as in:

Matt. 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul(psyche/breath/spirit). Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul (spirit) and body in hell(Gehenna fire , not hades).”

Essentially, the “spirit-of-man” (while not eternal and can cease or be destroyed) is the living component of man separate from the non-living/lifeless body-component. But God, a living person, caused them to fuse/connect/combine that turned them into “a living being/soul”. At death, they separate, the “spirit-of-man” goes back to the Creator while the dead body goes to the grave/hell/hades to rot.

4. The same principle in healing . If dead body can be alive by this mechanism so did people with sick bodies. Notice that these people already have intact “spirit-of-man” but with sick body. Yet they were healed. A living God had to “turn on”or “activate” the “flesh-composed body”. Read the narrative about the crippled (Mark 2:9-12),leprosy (Luke 17:12-16), blind (John 9:6-7),bleeding disorder (Matt. 9:20-2), and every kind of disease and sickness (Matt. 9:35)

Who and where “we” are, the real “us”, the real man?

With that said, what is the true interpretation or rendering of “body”, “naked/nude”, “clothed”? What or where is the “real us”, the “real man” referred to? Before and after separation of body and spirit ?

As words may have different meaning depending upon time-culture, viz. gay which before means happy but now understood to be homosexual, can we be assured of the meaning of these words?

Yes, we can and were given proof of what these words mean today. The true understanding was expressed by Paul in that same time-period, within the first century. These 2 separate components were also understood by Paul, as in:

2 Cor 5:1-4 ” Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are (made) in heaven and will last forever. While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked. These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.”

King James Version with original Greek word translated:

2 Cor 5:1-4

For we know that if our earthly house (okia/residence/abode)of this tabernacle (skenos/temporary tent) were dissolved, we have a building (oikodome /base of structure) of God, an house (oikia/abode)not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) upon with our house which is from heaven:

If so be that being clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) we shall not be found naked(gymnos/nude). For we that are in this tabernacle (skenos/temporary tent)do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed(ekdyo/sink out/divest), but clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”

Clearly then, the body is a temporary dwelling, a tent/tabernacle. And, that the “we” referred to is the “spirit of man” in this earthly tabernacle ( the temporary body). This, suggestive of our future “immortal spirit-composed body” that we will put on or be clothed into “us”, is the “spirit of man/breath of life” that returned to the Father God, at natural death. The body is considered a cloth, temporary or eternal. Without a body, the “spirit of man” is nude or naked. Real “self” is really the spirit-component of man as the natural/physical body is transient.

Further proof of the above concept that, by usage as understood by Paul, the human spirit is the real “us”/“we” , (the real person), is what Jesus himself said, as in:

Matt. 15:12 “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

What goes out comes from the psyche/spirit or mind determines and defines sinful acts that defile the “us, we”; not the natural body.

Currently, “we”(the human spirit) is in this physical matter/composed body/cloth which is temporary tent. But, also now, Father God gave us the Holy Spirit through Jesus because of our belief in the promises to him, as a “deposit”, an “earnest” for it to grow and guide us into the fullness of the immortal body, as in:

2 Cor 5:5-10 “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the (earthly)body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away (dead) from the body and at home (immortal body) with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us (immortal body)for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

The Holy Spirit then is “baptized” into “us”( the spirit of man), binds, connects and fuses in “us” for sanctification.

Summary

We now know the 2 components of humans when created as explained in the narrative in Genesis at the garden of Eden. The body(soma) is natural, physical, earthy and comes from soil, mud, ground and therefore temporary as a tent/tabernacle. This is the “temporary clothing” that will die a natural death and decay in “hell/hades/grave”, as in:

Heb. 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once, to die but after this the judgment

Whereas, the spirit(psyche/mind) of man is spirit-composed element of man that came directly from a spirit-composed God Creator; heavenly but not yet immortal. This is the component that returns to God, at natural death. It can be killed in “hell/Gehenna fire”. Without the body, it is nude/naked, and needs to be clothed in the future with an “immortal, spirit-composed body”.

Gen. 3:7-10 can now be understood as to why Adam & Eve became aware of their nakedness, were afraid, ashamed, hid themselves and clothed themselves. It is because they knew that they violated God’s command, sinned, and their physical body is temporary and will die in hades but their “spirit“, even if it goes back to the Father at death, can also be destroyed later in “hell/Gehenna fire”. Sin separated them from God. They need to be covered again. Meanwhile, they were driven out of Eden to die a natural death and, because of Jesus’ trust in the promises of the Father, hoping for a future immortal body to clothe them again for eternity.

Original post:

April 10, 2018

In Search of an Ideal Government 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Post: 7.26.2015

Revised and posted: 12.27.2016