Faith OF/IN Jesus or Both?

Faith OF/IN Jesus or Both?

Different translations from original Greek to English, whether faith ”of and in” Jesus, caused people’s confusion. What is the truth? The answer has major effect on Christian teaching. It is therefore a question that deserves an answer. Here are the verses referred to:

Faith of Jesus?

  • Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
  • Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
  • Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
  • Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Faith in Jesus?

Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Galatians 3:26
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people–

Faith “of” and “in” Jesus

Taking all things into consideration, one can see the harmony of the truth behind these verses. It is clear that faith has to be started by a man (anthropos-Jesus), not a spirit-being like an angel. From Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and on through centuries, no human was chosen to be the Passover” for man’s sin but a man, Christ. For which reason, incarnation came about. The El Shaddai/Yahweh (God Almighty/Lord God), aka Logos(Word), became man. He was the only man chosen by the Father to be the “author and finisher of faith“, (Hebrews 12:2). By “faith of Jesus” was the righteousness of God anchored on, not by works. And, this righteousness of faith is for propitiation and justification through his death, by taking the consequence of mankind’s sin accounted from Adam , as in:

Romans 3:22-31 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Jesus is the “carpenter and builder” of the “God-Kingdom“. And rightly so, this has to start with faith of Jesus, which is evidence-based and process-planned. He was with the Father from the very beginning as Word to see evidence of the Father’s wisdom, power and love. He was the God whose name was El Shaddai (Almighty God)to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was known as YHVH (Lord God/Yahweh/I AM), as in Exodus 6:3.

As he started our salvation as faith-based through the “faith of Jesus” so shall we follow this “trailblazer man” and have to anchor our salvation by havingfaith in Jesus” as well. As the scriptures said, “from faith-to-faith“(Romans 1:17).

Summary

The death of the Passover-Lamb (anthropos-Jesus) is imputed as payment and consequence of mankind’s sin which was accounted to Adam’s sin. This promise that Jesus’ death will pay for the sins of mankind has been made by the Father. This promise is the pathway/trail to achieve justification for mankind’s sin, reconciliation of mankind with the Father, Jesus’ resurrection (our’s,too) and for Jesus to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit to in-dwell subsequently in us. All of these were based on the “faith of man-Jesus” who was the only man chosen specifically for this immense task on “hope” that he would follow his Father’s will, and he did, most especially in the most pivotal moment at the garden of Gethsemane. The “faith of Jesus” is his “faith in the Father” that what was promised would be fulfilled. Being the pioneer/captain/author/trailblazer, Jesus will help us go through the same path by being empowered by the Holy Spirit (Helper/Advocate)which guides us, as hislaws are written in the fleshy tables of our heart“.

The “faith of Jesus” is the predicate (based on evidence) for his “faith in the Father”, that made him believe and trust with confidence and assurance. So should we also have “faith in the Father” which is predicated by “our faith in Jesus” . Indeed, “from faith-to-faith”.

Ultimately, both “faith of and in Jesus” are a requisite towards our immortality and salvation from eternal death.

God bless 🙏🎂

Original post: May 14, 2019

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

If there is any particular person who has done more for the future of humanity, it is the mother. An overwhelming number of people will undoubtedly recognize and put her in that pedestal. And rightly so, as her sacrifice for the children (and spouse) will never be surpassed. As written in a poem by William Ross Wallace, “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world“. Therefore, as a token of gratitude, a special day was set to commemorate her immense role in society. For 2019, it is celebrated May 12 in the USA.

History

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the motherof the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. The modern Mother’s day began in the United States, at the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century. Many traditional celebrations of mothers and motherhood have existed throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration (originally a commemoration of Mother Church, not motherhood). This is to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

“The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

 “Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.”

“However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all U.S. states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday?(the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910). In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.”

Religious Celebration

“In the Roman Catholic Church, the holiday is strongly associated with revering the Virgin Mary. In some Catholic homes, families have a special shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In many Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, a special prayer service is held in honor of the Theotokos Virgin Mary.”

“In Islam there is no concept of Mother’s Day, but the Quran teaches that children should give priority to loving their mother over their father.”

“In Hindu tradition, Mother’s Day is called “Mata Tirtha Aunshi” or “Mother Pilgrimage fortnight”, and is celebrated in countries with a Hindu population, especially in Nepal. The holiday is observed on the new moon day in the month of Baisakh, i.e., April/May. This celebration is based on Hindu religion and it pre-dates the creation of the US-inspired celebration by at least a few centuries.”

“In Buddhism, the festival of Ullambana is derived from the story of Maudgalyayana and his mother.”

Metaphorical Mother?

“The symbolism of the “church as mother” is used throughout early church writings, continues into the medieval period, and, though it may surprise some, was embraced by the reformers. John Calvin quotes Cyprian and refers to the motherhood of the church throughout his Institutes.

While motherhood is gender-specific, and refers to female parenthood, metaphorically, it includes all of humanity, as a composite of mother Jerusalem above, betrothed/prepared for a wedding as a church and individually. This is what the Bible prophetically renders us all to be.

Consider, what was the takeaway understanding, of Paul regarding “mother” in:

Galatians 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

Our “mother” is identified as “Jerusalem that is above”. She is the spiritual nurturing city/place for all, an allegorical place where we are now. We were “born after the flesh”, of the bondwoman/slave (flesh-composed); but our future is to be born (again)by promise” as “children of the free“(Galatians 4:22-31), spirit-composed. This is figurative and being in the “womb of the church“, we are now considered “children of promise“. Those still “in fetal development” are considered “children” before “born/delivery”.

Moreover, the function, responsibility and role of the church is expressed in:

Proverbs 31:26-27 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:25Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come

Ezekiel 16:44 “Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’

1 Thessalonians 2:7.”But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children”

Proverbs 31:25-31(ESV) “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Wedding of the Lamb

Being in the “womb of the church“, we are being nurtured for a “wedding“. Like any wedding ceremony, the “virgin bride” (spiritual members of the church), .”has made herself ready, as in:

Revelations 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”

And this preparation now is for us to be in “oneness with God” through the guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit in us, “writing the laws not in tables of stone but in the fleshly tables of heart and mind”.

Members of the spiritual church are being “formed“(Galatians 4:19), for the prophesied wedding ceremony at the “last trump” when our “flesh-composed body” will change into spirit-composed firstfruits and will meet Christ in the air to come down on earth with him towards Jerusalem. Together, they will have more children to be “formed” in the Millenium and post-Millenium as “latter fruits”.

Summary

No one has influenced the family more than our mother. It is therefore fitting to commemorate a special day for her, a gesture of respect and acknowledgment of her role in humanity.

Figuratively, the mother is a “spiritual church that nurtures and develops children from cradle to grave. And this is in the context of the power of the Holy Spirit in us and given by the Father to Christ as a gift for our “oneness“. This Holy Spirit is a “Helper” to the weaknesses of our “flesh-composed body” as emphasized three times in the narrative of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane. Thebride” has to be prepared with the help of the Holy Spirit. After having formed” us from a “marred clay” to one befitting a “virgin bride”, the spiritual wedding ceremony will manifest at resurrection as “firstfruits” in a “twinkling of an eye” at Jesus‘ second coming. The “spirit-composed” mature children, his body/church, will meet Christ in the air and descend on earth to rule a Millenium and forever in the “new heaven and earth”. After firstfruits had manifested, more children will be prepared/formed from “marred clay at their own time for the marriage between the “bride and the Lamb” as “latter fruits“. Then will be fulfilled the promise to the seed in:

Genesis 22:17: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. …,(NIV).

All those in the family of spiritcomposed God-kingdom that came out from an “image” are no longer temporary like a temple, but eternal/immortal beings. This is human destiny as members of the God-Kingdom ; not plant nor animal kingdom.

God Bless 🙏😇

Original post: May 12, 2019.

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Dedicated to Motherhood.

Firstborn, what is,who is, why, when, for what and how to?

Firstborn, what is,who is, why, when, for what and how to?

What is, who is and why?

Students of the Holy Bible have encountered this word firstborn“. First off, to take up this subject, it is essential to know its derivation and what it entails in both books of the Holy Bible.

In the Old Testament(Tanakh), “firstborn” is translated in English from Hebrew” bekor“, It refers to whofirst comes out of the womb”. The Hebrew root bkr has the general meaning “(to be) early“. It is used of people and animals, cognate terms being employed for firstfruits, person or animal, male or female, singular or plural, collective or. figurative.

The first-born was regarded as “the beginning of strength, see Genesis 49:3Psalms105:36) and ‘the opener of the womb’ see Exodus 13:2 of human or animal; redeem the unclean Numbers 18:15,(as we all are and needs redemption)!from both paternal and maternal lines. The pre-eminent status of first-born was also accorded to Israel as in Exodus 4:22 and the Davidic line as in Psalms 89:27.

This generally refers to the fact that this son is the first son to be born of his father. Also, it refers to the rights and authority of a person, because they are the firstborn. In the Old Testament, the firstborn son was the one who normally received a double inheritance, and was the one who would inherit his father’s role as head of the family. God sometimes reversed this order, as he did with Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21-26), and as Jacob later did with Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:13-22). Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, but his rights as the firstborn were taken away because of his sin (Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:3-4.). This is notactual reversal“, as though this change was a mistake. Rather, the Father planned and wanted us to see that He is sovereign, the only one, through the example made by YHVH-Creator, who chooses who the “firstborn” should be.

As to human sacrifice done by non-Israelites at that time, consider these quotes from https://bible.org/question/what-significance-“firstborn”-bible

Jeremiah denies that the offering of human beings could have been an instruction from Yahweh (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5). The prophetic conception of God had rendered such a doctrine inconceivable. Clear evidence of the spiritualization and humanization of religion among the Israelites is furnished in the replacement, at an early stage, of the actual sacrifice of the firstborn by their dedication to the service of Yahweh. At a later stage the Levites were substituted for the firstborn. Just as the firstlings of unclean animals were redeemed with money (Ex 13:13; 34:20), for the dedication of the firstborn was substituted the consecration of the Levites to the service of the sanctuary (Nu 3:11-13,15). On the 30th day after birth the firstborn was brought to the priest by the father, who paid five shekels for the child’s redemption from service in the temple (compare Lk 2:27; Mishna Bekhoroth viii.8). For that service the Levites were accepted in place of the redeemed firstborn (Nu 3:45). See note. According to Ex 22:29-31the firstborn were to be given to Yahweh. (The firstborn of clean animals, if free from spot or blemish, were to be sacrificed after eight days, Nu 18:16 ff.) This allusion to the sacrifice of the firstborn as part of the religion of Yahweh has been variously explained.

it is interesting that the service of Levitical priest substituted for redemption of the firstborn and remember that the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies once a year. Moreover, that the clean firstborn animal is sacrificed, while the sinfulfirstborn (all firstfruits) has to be redeemed. Why? This is predictive of Jesus sacrificed as “passover” and the future redemption eventually of all, as “all have sinned”(Romans 3:23).

When, for what and how to?

In the New Testament, the word firstborn is referred to, from the Greek “prototokos“. This Greek word is translated twice asfirst-begotten” (Hebrew 1:6Revelations 1:5) in the KJV, but otherwise, and always in the RV as firstborn“. Jesus Christ was Mary’s firstborn (Luke 2:7; Matthew 1:25 ) before her other children. It includes men and animals (Hebrews 11:28). This is in contrast to “monogenes” which translates to only child in the New Testament or Septuagint.

Not only was Jesus, the firstborn of Mary historically and literally, but also (prophetically) is the “firstborn of many brethren” (brothers and sisters;make and female) as in Romans 8:29

Christ, is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15), not only in time, but also in power and authority. “All things have been created through him, and unto him” (Col 1:16). He is “sovereign Lord over all creation”,

Jesus was identified, named and described as “Son“(first begotten/firstborn) of the Father in Matthew 3:17, which was revealed to Matthew and written by him after Jesus’ resurrection. But, time wise, when did Jesus actually become “firstborn“? When was he declared firstborn? It was after resurrection, as in “declared/appointed/shown firstborn from the dead” (Romans 1:4). And, for what? So he will have “supremacy” as in Colossians 1:18. He is the “first of the firstfruits” as in Leviticus 23:20, the 1 lambs representing the sacrificed anthropos/flesh-composed Jesus and the resurrected, victorious spirit-composed Christ.

And how to be “firstborn” is a process that Jesus, the “captain:author/source (trailblazer)”, has gone through. Remember what he said, “I am the way , the truth and the life”(John 14:6). Jesus was the “first” who received the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of power at river Jordan (John 1:32). From then on, as a human, (anthropos-Jesus 1 Timothy 2:5) he was empowered to overcome Satan’s temptation, (1st expression of power of HS against spirit-being) and convert water into wine in the wedding in Cana, (1st miracle about non-spirit matter) suggesting that before in-dwelling of this Holy Spirit of power, he would not be able to do this. This was a new-power, in the sense that it was not in-dwelling to humans before. After his death and resurrection, he was then given this gift-power directly by the Father to be gifted back for/to us-ward, as in John 16:7. In like manner, with this in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit into us which started at Pentecost, we will then be empowered to overcome evil as we walk “in the spirit, not the pull of the flesh”.

We were created flesh-composed and therefore “weak“, on “hope/confidence ” based on Jesus’ faith and works(our builder and carpenter) so we need a “Helper/Advocate/Comforter“. At the end, we will then “be clothed with immortality“, in “a twinkling of an eye” if we “persevere” in following the will of the Father as Jesus did, especially and profoundly in the garden of Gethsemane.

Together with Jesus, we will be “firstborn/firstfruits”. Salvation from eternal death requires the “real uscurrently with mortal bodies to be changed into immortal-spirit-composed bodies, becoming members of “God-kingdom”

The “marred clay” that mankind became because of Adam is being re-shaped (as planned) by the “Potter” and our re-creation with the new power given by the Father to Jesus to “re-create” is still “ongoing“.

Summary

The introduction of the word “first born” has been defined in Genesis. This knowledge has been developed for us to understand the depth and breath of this word.

The “anthropos-Jesus, is the first man to receive the Holy Spirit at river Jordan, empowered to overcome evil and pull of the flesh, died and resurrected to receive the gift of Holy Spirit, directly from the Father, for us to be re-shaped by “writing the laws in our heart and mind” (not tables of stone) using this Holy Spirit-power, to be “firstborn” from the dead. We will then be “church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” (Heb 12:23).

God bless🙏😇

Original Post: 5/2/2019

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Dedicated to my firstborn:

Blessing and AJ

Holy Bible, what is the bottom line?

Holy Bible, what is the bottom line?

Nary a person who is a “believer” in a Supreme Being and Intelligent Design ignores the Holy Bible as the foundation of religious beliefs. Some will even doubt any religious teaching that is not biblically based. Even the Bereans had, too: examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

In our daily lives, there will be a time when we come across people who will ask what is the Holy Bible, what is it for and why. For some atheist, who may just be confrontational, then follows the question, what is the “bottom line message? As apostle Peter said, “...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect“(1 Peter 3:15).

This is how important it is for anybody who claims to be a Christian to give the gist of the scriptures, as he/she was blessed to understand the takehome message. And, it is more than an “ice-bucket challenge for each one of those who are fulfilling thegreat commission(Mark 16:15).

At the pulpit and Bible study schools, we learned about many things about creation, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and their personal experiences with God, eschatology, Christology and others. But, simply, the challenge is what is the Bible for and about. And here is what I, respectfully and humbly, currently know:

Summary, in a nutshell

1. There is one God and Father of all, who is over all…”Ephesians 4:6) who planned even before the beginning of time to create everything. But, He did not actually do it himself. Instead, He did it through a proximate Creator God (Genesis 2:7) of all “visible and invisible things”(Colossians 1:16) in heaven or on earth. The specific identity of this “proximate Creator” has been emphasized. This proximate Creator is YHVH Elohim(Lord God) aka El Shaddai(Almighty God), also known as Logos(Word), who incarnated into a human “anthropos-Christ Jesus” (man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5), who was declared/appointed the Son of God by resurrection(Romans 1:4). The one who actually created everything as narrated in Genesis was “one separate and distinct divine being“, not 2 or “triune” beings in one, though in “oneness with the Father”. But, his power to create was by and through a “spirit-power” as in Genesis 1:2, which is not another “being or person“. Yes, only “one proximate Creator“.

2. Life is inherent only in the Father. But, he granted/gave life also to his Son(John 5:26-27), the incarnated YHVH Elohim into man-Jesus, to die and be resurrected to receive a special “spirit-power“, not given before for “re-creating or re-making” other humans, the Holy Spirit power, to be in his body/church, all spirit-composed as God-Kingdom. He first created man in Genesis with “spirit-power“, a “template“(temple), i.e., a place for the Holy Spirit(a new spirit-power) to in-dwell in man as a process for an “ongoing creation of “spirit-composed body of Christ”, in “oneness” with the Father.

3. The ultimate goal is for the Father to create a God-kingdom through Christ.

Jesus is the “way, truth and the life”, the “author and finisher” of our salvation, who experienced the path to salvation, having the in-dwelling of this “new Holy Spirit” first given at River Jordan, as a “trailblazer” example for other humans into “building” a “God-kingdom“, all spirit-composed, immortal and in “oneness with the Father”. He died as a penalty of our sins imputed to the “sin of one man Adam“, so that also through one man’s death, his death, he became the “propitiation/atonement for our sins”, so “eternal death” will “passover mankind”.

God Bless 🙏😇

Original hyperlink version posted:

April 28, 2019

Dedicated to those with birthday on this day.

God’s sovereignty, power and wisdom with man’s free will ?

Being sovereign for God is not an anachronism to the concept of free will. Both free will and sovereignty can interplay, be consistent and aligned with one another. God can impose his sovereignty based on his good judgment and wisdom that one option is better than the other.

An example of this “forceful imposition” of his will is the story of Jonah. He did not like to go to Nineveh and went instead opposite from the direction towards that city. He was then swallowed by a big fish, died and found himself in the shores of Nineveh to prophesy against that city. He may still refuse (based on “free will“) to follow God’s will, but he did not because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom“.

Contrariwise, in the narrative of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, his personal will was not to go through with his prophesied death by crucifixion. But, he was “not forced” by the Father. Nevertheless, voluntarily, Jesus said, “not my will but yours will be done“, i.e., his Father’s will (Luke 22:42). 

In both circumstances, they had freewill to disobey but did not. And, their impetus was different. While Jonah’s motive to follow maybe because of fear to disobey and be swallowed again by a “big fish” and die, Jesus’ was based on “faith in the Father” (before his death) that his promises to him will be fulfilled. This is suggestive that the exercise of “free will” to follow ultimately has to be “faith-based“,

God of All gods

True, YHVH Elohim (Lord God) is “above all gods”(Psalm 95:3) and “God does what he pleases” as in Psalms 135:6.

Also, God’s sovereignty is a given, as in:

For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ ” (Isaiah. 46:9–10).

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ ” (Daniel 4:35).

“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

The preceding verses clearly show God has control overall. But does God’s sovereignty actually extend to what we do and the choices we make? As God is in charge of our lives, even down to the smallest detail, this truth maybe misconstrued and stretched to extend to the same broad-stroke assumption that “God ordered your steps” and “nothing happens at random”, regarding what the succeeding verses actually mean:

But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah . 64:8).

The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11).

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4).

Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37–38)

The preceding verses are indeed true. But, altogether, the precise message is confined to his control and he has the power to do anything. He is omnipotent and omniscient.

God’s sovereignty also extends to the decisions we make. The scriptures do not have ambiguity here, too:

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:1).

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand. ” (Proverbs 19:21).

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).

“I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

All that the preceding verses emphasize is that God is the ultimate being who ultimately chooses and decides what is best for man. Nowhere should these verses be interpreted as “God violates our free will” to be saved within the context of “time appointed” for his calling. Some Christians take a position that “unless God violated our ‘free’ will, no one would ever be saved.”

And that teaching is a stretch, and was based on: “everyone is born dead in sin” (Ephesians 2:1), “alienated from God (Ephesians 2:3), “lives in a natural state of rebellion against God such that no one seeks Him on their own” (Romans 3:11), “all humanity is enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:20), hostile towards God (Colossians 1:21), and “unable to come to Christ unless the Father draws them” (John 6:44, 6:65). Instead, the preceding verses simply state man’s total depravity and cannot attain salvation on his own as Jesus is the only “way, truth and life”(John 14:6). Nothing in these verses should be extended to suggest lack in man’s “free will”. And, since man is “weak on our own”,(Matthew 26:36-46) we need the gift of the Helper/Advocate (John 16:7).

While Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith” and our “carpenter and builder of the God-kingdom, we ourselves have a role in our salvation. As Paul said, “continue/persevere to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”(Philippians 2:12),with “God’s Holy Spirit of power working in us”(Philippians 2:13). Jesus is continuing to build his creation from physical to spiritual, for us to “be one”, eventually into a “God-kingdom”. , all “spirit-composed“.

God imposes his will, when and who to blame?

True, there are verses that proved God can impose his will as in regard to Egypt’s Pharaoh whose heart was “hardened” by God himself, as in Exodus 4:21 also “I have raised you up for this very purpose” (Exodus 9:16) and “One of you will say to me: “One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” (Romans 9:19).

But do these verses mean that God really “order all your stepsall the time and in every circumstances? Sometimes, yes, depending on God’s wisdom, but not necessarily always. Indeed, we can not blame him as we ourselves have to choose and decide. Things happen even without God’s will, although allowed. Even, random things occur, like earthquake, hurricane, other personal disasters, and not necessarily because of him, although, again “allowed as he can intervene” dependent on his wisdom and ultimate plan.

His sovereignty also allows him to chose whether to limit his powers. In fact, as omniscient as he is, he can still chose to remember “our sins no more”, as in;

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)

Summary

Indeed, God has sovereignty which is an expression of his omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. He can do anything he pleases, anytime, anywhere and whatever the circumstances are, although his action may not necessarily be for everyone at all times. Sovereignty does not make him powerless to decide on every circumstances. He may chose sometimes to limit his awesome powers.

Evil thoughts of humans are actionable by them and do not necessarily need God to put them in their mind, although he may do or allow those to occur. Remember:“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.(Galatians 5:16-17).

Love and wisdom are predicates of timing his final action. The Father is the final arbiter (John 6:44) as to who will be in Christ’ body and who, with “free-will”, voluntarily follows His will after having been given the gift of the Holy Spirit of power and be an “overcomer“(Revelations 3:21). All told, he decided from the very beginning as to who will be “called“, at his appointed time, to receive the Holy Spirit of power, whether in the ” spring harvest or fall harvest” of “spiritual fruits“.

God bless 🙏😇

Original Post: April 28, 2019 Hyperlink version

Dedicated to those celebrating birthday today.

Ice-Bucket Challenge: Defining when Life Begins and Ends

Ice-Bucket Challenge: Defining when Life Begins and Ends

Pouring ice-cold water onto ourselves is indeed a “bone-chilling” challenge. This has picked up steam nationwide with participation from regular folks, celebrities and even billionaire Bill Gates(1). Funds “have come from 1.7 million donors.The ALS Association (as of August 25) has raised $79.7 million to combat Lou Gehrig’s Disease since July 29, as the Ice Bucket Challenge continues to encourage people around the world to dump ice over their heads and send in money.”(2). This did not come without detractors from animal rights’ supporter like Pamela Anderson and others of different views , including those against embryonic stem cell research (3).

McClaren & Beeson (4,5) commented that “much recent interest has focused on whether stem cell therapy could alleviate or even cure common degenerative diseases. This has been accompanied by debate on the ethics of destructive research on early human embryos. Stem cells derived from various sources raise different ethical issues, but their contribution to medical research could be immense.” While there are tailwinds in using placental and adult tissue sources, headwinds to embryonic stem cell research surfaced and related to an issue not dissimilar to debates between pro-life vs. pro-choice and questions related to the other end of the spectrum, end-of-life.

When life is defined as beginning at conception, rights are conferred at that time and had to be championed and supported (6). Similarly, end-of-life issues bring to bear the rights of those still “living” even in a “vegetative state” or, for any other reason, at the throes of death. In our healthcare system, private and public resources are at stake to fund efforts to support, terminate or prolong life. Reflexively, what then follow are moral values, religious overtones, socio-political agenda, personal upbringing and citizenship that stoke the fire of controversy. When does life really begin and when does it end, are questions that rise to a decibel of priority for society , whether personal or national.

This post is not about casting aspersions nor endorsing the merits of either side of the debate, a controversy aplenty (7,8,9,10,11,12,13). Rather, the goal is to give pause to the animus, make time for reflection and provide salutary perspective. Some may not like to hear the truth, but somehow, one needs “to tell how the cow ate the cabbage”, a Southern catchphrase. This subject is a difficult one to resolve in its entirety and we will not be able to “carry forests on my back” but at least let us put a “crack” on this “nut“(14). People have to muster gumption to tackle this dilemma of “when life begins and ends“. It is a yeoman’s task to venture on finding a balance among different perspectives, biblical or secular, cerebral or emotional they may be. That said, one recognizes the consequences emanating from issues about pro-life/pro-choice and life/death dilemma.

Consequences

Incidents of violence have included destruction of property, in the form of vandalism; crimes against people, including kidnapping, stalking, assault, attempted murder, and murder; and crimes affecting both people and property, including arson and bombings” (15). In the U.S., violence directed towards abortion providers has killed at least eight people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort” (16). “Another abortion doctor, George Wayne Patterson, was shot and killed outside an adult movie theater in Mobile, Alabama on August 21, 1993, but authorities attribute his death to a botched robbery“(17). Other links are accessible regarding the problem (18,19,20).
End-of-life issues also affect society’s responses to longer longevity that “presents unprecedented ethical and fiscal challenge“, rationing healthcare, hospice care, etc.(21,22,23,24). Disregard for life may lead to the horrors and slippery slope of euthanasia and assisted suicide according to Krauthammer (25, 26,27).

Who defines?

All things considered, the trunk-of-the-tree origin of these conflicting positions stems from the question “when does life begin and end?“. While progress in scientific knowledge, like ultrasound, helps us determine a “functioning entity” in the womb, does life really begin “at conception“? Pro-lifers use biblical passages frequently to make the case for human life beginning at conception(28,29). Consider the following excerpts:

Luke 1:39-44: Mary’s visit to Elizabeth: “…And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy”. (N.B. Does heart beat, motor function like “fetal kick”, response to pain sensation or Mozart effect in the womb constitute or define “life”?
And for that matter, do dummy patient simulators with heart beat, etc.,have life?(30)

Psalm 139:13–16
For You formed my inward parts:
You covered me in my mother’s womb….My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret….Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed….The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

Jeremiah 1:4–5
…“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;….”

Psalm 51:5
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”

All the preceding verses confirm the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of God Almighty. They are related to specific people who were already born and were living. They did not define when life begins, as these verses also include the period ” being yet unformed, “as yet they were none of them, “before formed in the womb“. It appears to be a stretch of one’s imagination to assume that the preceding verses support that “life” begins at conception. Moreover, this extrapolation minimizes other verses that actually define it. Let us now consider the following and comments that follow:

Gen. 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 a fully formed Adam from the “dust of the ground” was still “non-living” until the “breath of life” got into him from God. Then, he became a “living being“. This is akin to a “still birth” baby who was not breathing and therefore “non-living“. Or, a fully formed baby immediately after delivery, cyanotic and not breathing , no life in it although with heart rate and brain activity, “non-living“, but after a few seconds, with or without resuscitation, started to breathe in natural air as an evidence of “life“. This also reminds us of patients that are “brain-dead“, in a vegetative state, with flat-line EEG, sustained only by life-supporting means like ventilator and/or therapeutic interventions. Yet, when ventilator is turned off, they do not breath spontaneously, no natural breathing and subsequently declared “dead“, i.e., not breathing or no breath of life. Atmospheric air has to be breathe into, “before life begins”. It is arguable that by virtue of the oxygen derived from the mother, i.e., fetal respiration, that this is “breathing“. But, this denies the biblical definition of “living“, viz., presence of functional lungs (mature or premature) that have to breathe in natural and environmental air. The breath cycle continues until the last breath at death. Breathing air defines and sustains life. “In with your very first breath, out with your very last”(31). Without this “breath of life“, a person is “non-living”, as in:

Job 34: 14-15
“If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust“. ( N.B. Without breath, the flesh is dead).

Ecclesiastes12:7
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

Psalm 146:4
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.”

Also, notice the function of this “breath of life” to the “non-living“:

Ezekiel 37:9-10, 13-14
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.”
(N.B.the word “spirit” comes from “ruwach” from 07306 in Concordance meaning breath or wind).

Schwartz concurs, “there is nothing in the bible to indicate that a fetus is considered to be anything other than living tissue and, according to scripture, it does not become a living being until after it has taken a breath” (32).

Also, notice the following controversial verses:

Exodus 21:22–24
If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” ( NB. When the “child” is viable and delivered prematurely but “no harm” done, then compensation maybe sought by the husband since the fetus did not mature to full term; if any “harm” follows after birth as when the fetus perished, then life for life, etc. In this accidental death after birth, the key point is viability by natural means to exact redress at that time. Today, by artificial means, fetal viability can be extended as a dying person’s life/suffering can be prolonged. However, this example should not be used to justify voluntary/intentional abortion, especially to viable fetus still in the womb).

Numbers 5:11-31
…. And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; ….. ” (N.B. This is what is generally known by biblical scholars as an “adultery test” by ritual of intentional abortion performed by a priest through drinking “bitter/curse water“. But this is not done anymore, even by priest; it has ceased a long time ago(33). Similarly, if Jewish priest discontinued this practice, all the more reason for this not be used to justify abortion by anyone, through pharmacological means.)

Job 3:3, 10-11, 16
“Let the day perish in which I was born. … Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from my eyes. Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the spirit when I came out of the belly? … Or as an untimely birth I had NOT been; as infants which never saw light.” ( NB. According to Martin & Sielaff (34) in their commentary, “…fetus was reckoned as “NOT HAVING BEEN” — and that is how God and the Bible defines the status of the fetus.”

Nonetheless, I do not support the connotation of outright disregard for fetus nor should it be summarily disrespected. The alternative interpretation may well be that Job may just be too remorseful for his suffering that he wished “NOT HAVING BEEN”; this was Job’s wish and not God defining the status of the fetus or how we should regard it.) From the same link, (which I could not confirm,) “An April 8, 2004 United Press International reported about this limitation:
At what point is a human fetus viable? … a government witness testified in U.S. District Court in Nebraska that a 20-week fetus can feel pain, suggesting the fetus is a living being. Neonatology specialists have countered, however, that a 20-week fetus cannot yet survive outside the mother’s womb. … [Dr. Avroy] Fanaroff 2 [notes], ‘There may be a beating heart, there may even be some gasping attempts at breathing, but this is not a baby that can be resuscitated — it is not viable,’ … ‘such signs of life typically ‘last only seconds.’ …What, then, differentiates between live birth and viable birth? The maturity of the lungs, Goldsmith said. ‘It is the ability of the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide,’ he said, which explains the reason why a non-viable fetus in 1973 can be a viable baby today.”On viability 3 See http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20040406-051104-8080r.htm.

Difference in counting child’s age among cultures
In Jewish culture, “.…it is their day of birth (or the year in which they first exited the womb) that gives them a legal existence. Thus, for a man to be able to go to war he had to be twenty years of age, or a priest to commence his official duties had to be thirty years of age. These ages for legal purposes were always reckoned from birth, not from conception. The reason for this is plain. No one could be sure in all cases just when conception took place, and even if one knew the exact moment of conception, for legal purposes one had to wait to be born to enter human society.“(35).

In Korea, China and East Asia, “..the countdown of children’s age does not begin with the birth of a child, like in the West, but starts in the beginning of the year, rounding up the time spent by a child in the mother’s womb. In addition, people become older not on the day of birth, but on January 1st, according to the lunar calendar. For example, a child born in late December of 2013 will turn two on January 1st, 2014“(36).

Summary

Now that the major elements firing the debate have been presented, the question still remains as to what the correct response should be? The decision to act, one way or another, for anyone at the crossroads of this question may still be problematic for any particular set of circumstances. Without being facetious, when one reaches “the fork of the road“, Yogi Berra(37) quipped,”take it”. But which side of the fork should one take? Even the advice from Apostle Paul about moderation (Phil. 4:5) may not suffice to confer peace of mind. Raw courage is needed to face criticism of whatever action one takes, as there will always be “Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley’d and thunder’d” as in “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Tennyson (38).

As one may now deduce, the operative word for when life begins and ends, is “natural“,i.e., natural development to viability, not ex-vivo or in-vitro; natural breathing, not fetal respiration nor through artificial means; natural air, even augmented, but not artificial. How then should one respond to the biblical truth that breathing air defines and sustains life? “In with your very first breath, out with your very last”. The advice from Martin & Sielaff resonates well, “Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his [God’s] reward” (Psalm 127:3).

Adoption should always be considered, so someone else can receive the “reward” from God. Life is important. Christians should respect it very highly. Not only should they recognize the sanctity of their own lives, but they should acknowledge that God has granted the same life to all in the world. All people should be honored and respected. This is a Christian duty which no one can deny.”(39). When the choice is between the life of mother vs. the fetus, there should be no hesitation that life of the mother takes precedence; there maybe exception even on this that we may not know, as in, the mother gives up her life for the fetus. As to rape and incest, adoption is a better alternative; here again, there can be exception and the victim needs tremendous emotional support to overcome an excruciating experience. A non-breathing baby just delivered and an adult who had a cardiac arrest should also be resuscitated to life. After sometime, how long artificial breathing should continue would depend on other factors, most especially the ability to be weaned off respirator and breathe spontaneously. Currently, with technology, the status of brain activity helps in decision-making. Similarly, judgment has to be made regarding sources that potentiate stem cell research depending on overwhelming evidence for “overall good”. Failure to act can delay progress to the detriment of population that needed it most. Vaccine and immunization have detractors, yet society as a whole decided in favor of general use; again this has exception, especially invoking the 1st( religion) and 4th ( privacy) amendments rights. When it comes to “euthanasia and assisted suicide”, our stance should be to advise against these methods. But, who will have the final say? Should it be the patient and/or immediate relative, society or the “death-provider“? Not privy to all the facts surrounding every case and in whatever action is decided by the “stakeholders“, one should not be judgmental but, in love, be commiserating and (sans approval) empathizing with the difficulties in arriving at any decision. True, one should not be dogmatic nor flexible every time and be mindful of the cautionary verses in

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 :
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Defining when life begins and ends just opens doors. What action plan for any specific situation may still leave us with conflicted conscience and second-guessing. Hopefully, people will choose life and seek an obstetrician, rather than death from an obitiatrist (death-doctor)(40). Flee from temptation. Decide we must, is an “ice-bucket challenge” for all of us.

References:
1. Retrieved from: http://youtube/XS6ysDFTbLU

2. Retrieved from:http://time.com/3173833/als-ice-bucket-challenge-fundraising-total/

3. Retrieved from:http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/ice-bucket-challenge-haters-110298.html

4. Retrieved from:Anne McLaren. Nature 414, 129-131 (1 November 2001) | doi:10.1038/35102194

5. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648310606475

6. Retrieved from :http://www.nrlc.org

7. Retrieved from:Why is abortion so controversial? http://news-basics.com/2011/abortion/

8. End of life controversies. Retrieved from:http://ajcc.aacnjournals.org/content/18/5/401.1.full.pdf
85% of hospital trusts adopt controversial end-of-life care regime

9. Retrieved from:http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/85-of-hospital-trusts-adopt-controversial-endoflife-care-regime-8273345.html

10. Baby Joseph.Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/baby-josephs-treatment-sparks-controversy-pediatric-end-life/story?id=13032001

11. Terri Schiavo case. Retrieved from:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo_case

12. Survey of Controversial Issues.
Retrieved from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24093519

13. New and Lingering Controversies in Pediatric End-of-Life Care. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/4/872.abstract.

14. The mountain and the squirrel: retrieved from: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/the-mountain-and-the-squirrel-by-ralph-waldo-emerson#ixzz3AvpOfLJS

15. Retrieved from:http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence

16. Retrieved from:Clinic violence and intimidation”. NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation. 2006. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010.

17. Man Arrested in Killing of Mobile Abortion Doctor. Retrieved from:The New York Times. September 5, 1993.; H. Kushner, Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Sage Publications, 2003, p.39.

18.”Mental Health Risks of Abortion: Scientific Studies Reveal Significant Risk of Major Psychological Sequelae Of Abortion” . Retrieved from: http://www.wprc.org/21.46.0.0.1.0.phtml.

19. “The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion”. Retrieved from: http://www4.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/medicalinfo/abortion/fact-010600-emoteff.xml#1097838460671::-3808445079817008491.

20. Retrieved from:http://www.justfacts.com/abortion.asp#%5B184%5D

21. Callaghan, D. and Lawler, P., Ethics & health: Rethinking end-of-life care, Retrieved from:http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/07/ethics-and-health-care-rethinking-end-of-life-care

22. Shepherd, Lois Rationing health care at end-of-life. Retrieved from: http://web1.millercenter.org/debates/whitepaper/deb_2010_0324_life.pdf

23. Ration end-of-life care. Retrieved from: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/iq2-tv/item/769-ration-end-of-life-care

24. Debate on hospice care. Retrieved from: http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/4/3/153.full

25. Krauthammer, Charles. The Dutch example, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics – 13 edition, Chapter 9, ISBN13: 978-0385349178
ISBN10: 0385349173, Publisher: Crown Business, Published: 10/22/2013

26.The lady of Assen and Dr Chabot in Holland. Retrieved from:http://articles.philly.com/1997-01-15/news/25560299_1_terminally-euthanasia-dutch-doctors

27. A Judge In Washington State Says The People Had No Right To Veto Mercy Killing by Charles Krauthammer. Retrieved from: http://articles.philly.com/1994-05-17/news/25826934_1_personal-dignity-and-autonomy-physician-assisted-suicide-abortion-decisions

28. Tommy Mitchell,Retrieved from:https://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/when-does-life-begin/)

29. When life begins. Retrieved from: http://www.openbible.info/topics/when_life_begin

30.One Smart Dummy: Patient Simulators Help Save Lives. Retrieved from: http://rushnews.rush.edu/2014/09/02/one-smart-dummy-patient-simulators-help-save-lives/

31. Life Begins at Breath, Not Conception
, originally posted by Will McLeod on Mar. 19/2014 ; http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/19/1285933/-Bible-Life-Begins-at-Breath-Not-Conception

32. Retrieved from: http://joeschwartz.net/life.htm

33. Retrieved from: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordeal_of_the_bitter_water

34. Abortion and the Bible by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., July 1991
Edited and expanded by David Sielaff, February 2005.
Retrieved from:http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050201.htm

35. Ibid

36. Retrieved from:http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/16-07-2013/125145-korea_children-0/

37.Retrieved from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/y/yogiberra105761.html

38. Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Tennyson. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html

39.Retrieved from:
http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d050201.htm

40. Obitiatrist: Goodman, Ellen. Retrieved from:http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-12-28/news/1993362063_1_word-for-death-happy-mistakes-column

God bless🙏😇

Original post: September 10, 2014

Hyperlink version posted April 22, 2019

Resurrection

Resurrection?

Death is a somber and incapacitating event especially if it happens to someone you dearly beloved. The grief and sorrow that come with it is heartbreaking and considered to pose the worst stressor for anyone to experience. How we wished and longed for our loved ones to grace our presence again!

Is there hope for the dead? Some say once a person is dead, that will be the end. Others say the dead is not actually dead but continues to live in a certain place called “heaven” to enjoy or “hell ” to be tormented forever. And, other religions teach the dead continues to live on earth but in a different mortal body, some even in animal bodies. What is the truth? One can surmise with some certainty that the only hope for a dead body comes with restoration to life. But, how could this be? And, in what form? Is there really resurrection of the dead?


Resurrection, you can bank on it:

That there is “life-after-death”, is a teaching that all traditional Christians are unanimous to share as a core belief. And, this is on faith which is evidenced-based confidence and assurance (Heb. 11:1) anchored on very credible witnesses; not assumption or baseless hopes or expectation. As we believe in secular people witnessing events during their time in history as recorded in books, electronic media, etc., so should we be open to others, consider and mull over recorded events written by religious icons in the Bible.

Resurrection from death to a physical, flesh-composed, mortal bodies are well-documented by biblical historical records:

1 Kings 17:17-24 Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow. Notice V-21, let this child’s soul(nephesh) come into him again and V-22 and the soul(nephesh) of the child came into him again, and he revived. By usage, nephesh in this context means “life”or life-giving element of man, the “spirit of man”.

2 Kings 4 Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman

2 Kings 13:21 Dead man came back to life when he touched Elisha’s bones.

Luke 7:13-15 Jesus resurrects the widow’s son at Nain

Matthew 9:25 Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead. See also Mark 5:42, and Luke 8:55

John 11:43-44 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

Matthew 27:52-53 Saints resurrected and seen by many after Jesus’ resurrection

Acts 9:36-42 Peter raises a female disciple named Tabitha from the dead

Acts 20:9-12 Paul raises Eutychus from the dead.

The preceding resurrected individuals, were restored to life in a flesh-composed body. They did not go to heaven or hell after death, nor did they inhabit the bodies of animals. And, they all died again to undergo future resurrection.


Better Resurrection:

There is another type of resurrection that the Bible calls the “ better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35) evidenced by and confirmed by apostles and other witnesses. In contrast to resurrection to a flesh-composed body, this is to an eternal life with immortal spirit-composed bodies. The pioneer of this type of resurrection was man-Jesus. See Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-11, and John 20:1-10.

Replacement of Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples that betrayed Jesus, was done so that “one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection”(Acts 1:22). In Acts 4:33, “with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”. 

The apostle Paul personally saw and talked with the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8; Acts 22:6-10), confirming the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. Even supposed learned person like King Agrippa was skeptical because he did not witness it. Paul asked King Herod Agrippa II, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8). He told him, “To this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great . . . that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead” (Acts 26:22-23), implying that no one rose to spirit-composed body from the dead but him and that others will follow.  While we generally believe others who wrote history books, electronic media stories without personal confirmation, somehow we are dismissive of biblical witnesses and relegate them to purveyors of “fake news”. Go figure !

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The apostle Paul explained that Jesus is “the firstborn over all creation,” “the firstborn from the dead” and “the firstborn among many brethren” (Colossians 1:15, 18; Romans 8:29), indicating others will follow. Moreover, Paul explained how the resurrection of God’s firstfruits will occur:

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly [physical, material] body that it may be conformed to His glorious body”(Philippians 3:20-21; compare 2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

It is sown(buried) a natural [physical] body, it is raised a spiritual body . . . as we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus Christ]. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ” (1 Corinthians 15:44, 49-50). Notice that our current flesh-composed body cannot enter the Kingdom of God; we need to change structurally, i.e., into spirit-composed body. 

For those who will still be alive at Christ’s return, notice 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16

The preceding confirms from recorded witnesses of the surety of a future “better resurrection” into a glorious, spirit-composed, immortal bodies. But, who will bring this to pass and what is the timing of these different resurrections.



Millennial and Post-millennial resurrection:

Only the Father and the Son Jesus have the power to bring life to the dead. Christ plainly stated: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:21).

When Christ returns to start the Millenium, the “firstfruits“, the “overcomers“, will manifest in this manner: those who are alive at that time will change in a “twinkling of an eye” into immortal spirit-composed bodies; those who were in the graves will resurrect with immortal spirit-composed bodies. They will then meet Christ “in the clouds”(I Thes. 4:17) and come down on earth, in Jerusalem to start the Millenium. The earth has to be ruled and displace the “god of this world“, Satan (2Cor.4:4).

Revelation 20:4“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them . . . And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” .“This is the first resurrection.”

Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

Revelation 5:9-10You [Christ] were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (New International Version)

The preceding verses refer to the firstresurrection, which is coming back to life with immortal, glorious body. And, this augurs the start of the Millenium.


The second resurrection :

Coming back to life has its own time. After the first resurrection with immortal, spirit-composed, glorious body then what follows after a Millenium, the second resurrection. Notice:

Revelation 20:5But the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished”

John 5:25, John 5:29-30I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live . . . for the hour is coming in which all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth” .

John 5:28-29Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out — those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment”.

Daniel 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Acts 24:15..and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” 

Revelation 20:11-12 Then I [the apostle John] saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened . And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”



All the preceding verses refer to the second resurrection, post-Millenium.


Summary:

Before the start of the Millenium, there will be plagues, earthquake, and celestial signs (Revelation 6:1-17, 8:1-9; 11:15-19;16:1-21) leading to the “battle of Armageddon” in the valley of Megiddo in Israel (Rev.16:16; 20:1-3). At the “last trump“, the spirit-composed “church of Christ” will meet him in “the air/clouds” and descend on Jerusalem, the center from where to rule the world. In the Millenium, they will teach the remaining mortals about the “gospel of the kingdom of God” and fulfill the “great commission” (Matt. 28:16-20) through the “end of the world”. 

While there will be devastation on earth, there will still be people from others areas of the world who will survive. Those who are alive, but still flesh-composed during the Millenium, will be taught, given the chance to receive the truth of the gospel and the gift of the Holy Spirit to grow and develop spiritually. Being mortal, during their time of judgment in the Millenium, they will still die. Subsequently, when their “time” comes, they will be resurrected to life or changed in “a twinkling of an eye” with immortal bodies. The rest of the dead who did not participate in the first resurrection to life, will be resurrected with mortal-bodies after the Millenium. They will be given a chance to hear and see the truth, experience the power of the Holy Spirit to develop, guide them spiritually. Thereafter, those who are righteous will be given a glorious-immortal-spirit-composed bodies to live eternally. Those who rejected the gift of the Holy Spirit, an “unpardonable sin” (Matt.12:31) will be thrown to Gehenna fire to perish and die forever.

There will be “chance and time” for death and resurrection to happen for all. As Eccl. 9:11 says “…but time and chance happen to them all.” At an appointed time, we will all be resurrected, most to life like innumerable stars (Gen. 15:5), some to judgment and chance to change. Eventually, reward to eternal life and punishment to eternal death. Then comes the “new heavens and earth” in Rev. 21:1.

See also: https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

Original post: 5/18/2017

Hyperlink version posted 4/21/2019

Dedicated to a good friend, an outstanding clinical pathologist, who “slept” and went to God on December 4, 2017.