The Sin of Hybridizing our Food

I have been doing a lot of reading concerning food and diet recently. One of the things I have learned is that the wheat that is most commonly grown has been hybridized.

Many years ago we knew a banker who had owned a company that had experimented with corn. He was proud of the fact that they had manipulated corn to grow much taller, seven feet. I can’t remember his answer to my question as to whether they had increased the number of ears. Years later I learned more about the problems with hybridized plants in that their fruit usually lacked nutrition as compared to the non-hybrid or heirloom plant.

So my reading has shown that most of the original wheat crops grown in this country and most of the world have been replaced by semi-dwarf wheat, a very hybridized plant. It was heralded as the answer to the problem of starvation and promised to end hunger. It has in fact made a great stride in that direction. However now we are finding out that at the expense of having plenty of wheat we have created a monster.

This dwarf type of wheat contains Amylopectin A that spikes blood sugar and is very fattening. It also contains more Gluten proteins that cause inflammation and it is also addictive.  All of this I have read from several articles. They say the inflammation is what causes many major diseases the least of which include obesity and diabetes. Also according to what I have read poly-unsaturated fats from things like margarine have a connection to cancer and the production of free radicals.

So what does all this have to do with God’s Law? The seventh commandment forbids hybridization. Thou Shall not commit adultery includes the idea of adulterating farm seed. God made everything and said it was good. Man, in his arrogance, believes that he can improve on God’s creation. God does not make arbitrary law. Much of God’s law is for our protection and our health. Man has corrupted God’s creation once again. In the book of Jasher that is one of the reasons for the flood of Genesis chapter 6. The hybridization of our food is just one aspect of this corruption.

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The Old Testament is Important Scripture for Today.

In my discussions with people over the years I have perceived that many people might not really believe that the old testament is scripture. Verbally people will include it as scripture, but they don’t always seem to treat it as such. I have known some who will only acknowledge that it has a nice moral stories and some history, but nothing truly important for new testament Christians.

I would like to just briefly point out two scriptures.

Romans 1:2  “Which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures”.

Here Paul calls what we know as the old testament, scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16  “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice”.

Paul told new testament Christians that the old testament is profitable for reproof, correction and instruction in equity or justice. I do not think that most Christians give much credence to the last item in connection with the old testament. Most would tell you that the new has replaced the old for that purpose. Many would include reproof and correction as well.

The English translations make Paul seem very difficult to understand. That is why we have so many different groups teaching so differently about Paul’s writings. Some disregard him all together when the problem is the translation. If you believe that Paul’s writings are inspired then you must also give the old testament the respect and attention it truly deserves as scripture.

Tim

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Worship?

Over the years I have received numerous email questions concerning what we today call the “worship service”. Questions have included the items in this list.

  • Should we start with prayer?
  • Is it ok to have two songs before we have prayer?
  • Is it ok to sing or have a song during communion?
  • Is it ok to have singers sing for the congregation after the opening prayer and before the closing prayer?
  • Is it ok to have communion during the Sunday evening “worship service”?
  • Is it ok to have communion in a separate room during or after the evening “worship service”?
  • Is it ok to have Sunday school?
  • Is it ok to have women teach women Sunday school?
  • Is it ok to have women teach young boys Sunday school?
  • Is it ok to have separate classes for Sunday school?
  • Is it ok to have Sunday school?
  • Is it ok to eat in the building?
  • Is it ok to use an instrument?
  • Is it ok to use an instrument after the “worship service”?
  • Is it ok to ever listen to instrumental religious music?

I suppose I could go on, but that is what I could remember just sitting here writing this.

The truth of the matter is that none of the above items are addressed by the scripture in the context of these questions. The only reason that people are even concerned about such is that we still have very deep ties to the “service” found in the Catholic church. The service that most of Protestant Christianity, including the churches of Christ, is at it’s root Roman Catholic in origin and tradition.

Here is one verse concerning what we do know from the new testament scripture about worship. Worship is something that we do as individuals all of our lives. Our entire lives are to be worship to God.

Romans 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.

The word service in the Greek is actually worship. We can worship in a group, but it is not something we should always leave for the group to direct. Singing and praying are just a portion of how we can worship God.

Here is what we know from the new testament scripture about gatherings of Christians. When they came together they prayed and sang. They shared some scripture and teaching with each other. They ate together.

People get distracted by the admonition Paul gave the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11 as if they were never to eat together. The admonition was given because they were not being considerate and polite in their gatherings. They were not waiting for each other. Paul then tells them that the gatherings are for fellowship and to remember the death and resurrection of the Anointed one. It was not a time for a drunken fellowship.

I tell people to consider the youth gatherings of the late seventies. It was during those years that I was able to attend many such gatherings. They were fun with good fellowship, but they were also great times of learning and praising God. We called them devotionals. They were very informal and all participated in every aspect of what we did together. It was always best when we shared a meal. You can not share a meal with an enemy. Meals are shared among those with whom you share a common goal, in this case the continuation and spread of Christianity. That is what I believe scripture teaches us concerning gatherings.

Tim

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What is Food?

I could just as easily ask the question, “What is Murder” or “What is Bearing False Witness”. Where do we find the correct answer for any of these three questions? If your answer is the government or the dictionary then I would ask you where they found the correct the answer to those questions.

God is the source for the answers to all of these questions. Many of our government laws were originally formed based on the answers we find in the scripture. Unfortunately those laws can change based on the whims of the people or the government. We can become used to things changing to the point that we forget that our God does not change. He does not change his morals, thus he does not change what is right or wrong, his law.

Food is not just anything you can put in your mouth. One could try to swallow every metal spoon they have, but the result would not be nutritious or healthy. One could try to swallow anything that they could put on a spoon, but that would also not be nutritious or healthy. Some might argue the health benefits of dirt so I will mention any mushroom one might find in the woods and perhaps rats for examples. Some have argued that since some do eat rats and live that it is fine. They will argue that anything that has been prayed over is safe to eat. If that were the case then no one would ever get food poisoning or an upset stomach from eating something that has been prayed over, but we all know of incidents that would negate that idea.

The false assumption is that scripture, specifically the new testament, makes anything you can eat, and not immediately die, food. Under a closer look scripture is very precise about it’s wording. It refers to food in Romans and Corinthians, but the subject is food that is offered to idols, not the definition for the word food. In 1 Timothy 4:3-5 the word food is used and we are told not to refuse food as it is sanctified by the word of God.

The problem that many do not see in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 is that scripture is not telling one that anything they put in their mouth becomes food because it has been sanctified by the word of God. Rather we are being told that we should not refuse anything that the scripture has set apart or sanctified as food.

1 Timothy 4:3  “who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

This verse is specifically mentioning foods that God created for us to eat not things that men decide should be food. I grew up Catholic and we were forbidden to eat meat, other than fish, on Fridays. Later I found that this law of the church was only followed in certain countries thus making it arbitrary. God does not make arbitrary law. Every law of God has a purpose. In the case of food it is a health law to protect us.

If you go back now and look at all those other scriptures, especially with the aid of the Greek, you will see that non-food items are never called food. “Things” is often found, but that is often italicized. The real problem that hinders understanding is Romans 14:14 that is mistranslated.

Rom 14:14  “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing by itself is common; except to him who esteems anything to be common, it is common.”

I don’t normally check different bible versions, but prefer to look at the Greek. I was able to find only three versions, two of which were by the same man, that had the rendering agree with the Greek. Above is the quote from the Modern King James Version. Akathartos, the Greek word for unclean is not found in Romans 14:14. The MKJV above has common correctly translated from the Greek koinos. So how many have made an incorrect decision concerning the definition of food based on an incorrect translation of Romans 14:14?

What is food? Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 should help you decide. The basic theme is for one to avoid scavengers. Scavengers were made by God to clean his world. If we eat the trash eaters two bad things happen. One is that the world is not cleaned properly. The second is that we become sick and weak. As such we have an unhealthy and shortened life. One can not evangelize when we have some of the many diseases associated with eating non-food “things”.

Tim

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Bible Versions

If you have read any of my post or articles you may know that I do a lot of complaining about the English translations that we have available. I am aware that there is no perfect English translation, but here is a short explanation.

The King James Version is the oldest version that has common availability and is in regular use. While the translators did not have access to all of the manuscripts that we have today they did have a  knowledge of the Greek and access to good manuscripts. Even with this they still made some decisions that leave many wondering. Those in the churches of Christ are well aware of the translators creation of a new English word baptism. They took the Greek baptizo and rather than translating the word into the English immersion they just left people guessing. Those who pour or sprinkle water on a person then did not have to explain why they called it baptism.

When I was in my early teens I remember reading several novels that had French phrases, sometimes at key points in the story. At that time there was no easy way to look up those phrases. So most of the time I read on having no clue as to the meaning of what I just read. Sort of reminds one of the way “tongues” are practiced today among some churches, no benefit to the observer. The King James Version (KJV) did the same with the inclusion of a few Latin words. The one in particular that is most misunderstood today is the word Gentile. Jerome used that word correctly in his Latin translation of the scriptures, but today most have been incorrectly taught that it means non-Jew, or as anyone who is not a Jew. Jerome’s use was approximately, “others of the same kinship”. The word race as we understand it would not be entirely correct, but closer than the way Gentile is used today. The Greeks understood the word race a little bit more like we use the word nation today, but the definition required that those nations were always made up of those of the same general kin. That is consistent with how we used to use the word.

It has been pointed out in several instances in the KJV that words that are verbs or adjectives have been translated as nouns for example. In other places the meaning of a word is distorted and misunderstood because the English translations have used another word in some locations that make one think the words are equivalent. This is shown in my argument concerning the words divorce and put away. If they truly mean the same thing then Christ divorced a few crowds of people when he separated himself from them or “sent them away”.

Another popular translation, the New International Version (NIV) has continued many of the problems of the KJV and while correcting a few words has added some errors of it’s own. Both translations are guilty of adding words and phrases that are not found or even implied in the Greek manuscripts.

Through some study I am aware that not everyone who was involved in the translation of scripture necessarily had the best interest in it’s accurate translation. For example, near the beginning of the last millennium in England there were men who pretended that they were Protestants. They did this to gain access to colleges in order to train men to doubt what they believed. Today many religious colleges invite in men who are considered authorities in some biblical area, but who use the opportunity to mislead with half truths. Many false church doctrines have been promoted through improperly translated scriptures and footnotes. This sounds a bit too cloak and dagger for many, but just keep in mind what Paul warned in Galatians 2:4 and Jude 1:4.

Everyone must do their own research, but this is why I insist on checking the Greek or Hebrew meanings of words and try to learn something of the times when the writings occurred. I also keep in mind that the people living in a land today were not necessarily the same people who lived there in the times of the scriptures.

Tim

 

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Malachi 2:16 and Mark 10

It is a sad fact that most people want to hear what is comforting to them over what is truth. Hearing doctrines that one has heard since childhood is comforting. Hearing something new for most people can be distressing.

We visited a church in Tennessee one Sunday morning and heard a lesson on Malachi 2:16. It was the typical “God Hates Divorce” lesson. After the congregation was dismissed to Sunday school I went up to the preacher and asked him if he knew that Malachi 2:16 does not say “God Hates Divorce” in the Hebrew. He said that he knew that to be the case. I told him that it was dishonest to preach “God Hates Divorce” when the original text does not teach that. His response was that it was alright to preach it since he believed that there were other verses that supported his message. I told him that he should use the 0ther verses and not distort what any verse says.

I just left it at that, but I did ask him what other verse taught that God hates divorce. He mentioned Mark 10. I was unable to challenge him on it, but what Mark 10 teaches is an extension of Malachi 2 in the original language, not what he preached.

Malachi and Mark teach that God hates separation with out divorce which is quite different. Men were forcing their wives out onto the street and then taking other wives. They knew they had no justification to divorce their wives so they just kicked them out. The women became separated from their husbands, not divorced, they were only put away. Then when their separated wife went to be with another man she and her new husband became adulterers. God then counted the original husband guilty as well as he was the one who caused it to happen. This is what the phrase “commits adultery against her” found in Mark 10:11 means.

Much of the misunderstanding comes from not knowing the proper definition of the word adultery and some simple logic as well. I have stated it elsewhere, but the marital type of adultery is adulteration of the husband’s seed with another man’s seed in the wife. That is why it is called adultery, because there is a mixing of seed.

I did happen to mention the false teaching to a couple of people and it ended up getting mentioned in the adult class I attended. The people who heard it were more distressed that someone was questioning their preacher than the idea that he might have taught a lie. Actually then regardless of who is right about any subject the preacher in some churches has the final say, not scripture.

Tim

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The Eldership found in the New Covenant

In the land of Israel in old testament times we read many times about the elders sitting at the gate of the city. It was these men who were looked to for wisdom and understanding and sometimes the need for a public action. Remember Boaz went before the city elders to publically obtain his relative Ruth as his wife.

It is my belief that today’s church eldership is intended to fulfil this role once an area becomes Christian enough to obtain political control. Much of the justification for this is found in Corinthians.

My main intent though is to discuss what we currently find in churches today. Usually instead of a group of mature men leading and shepherding the body of Christ we find a hired man who dictates and controls the congregation. I am still trying to find the position of hired preacher or a single pastor in the scripture. The vast majority of churches today run on this non-scriptural model.

Even still we hold to the Catholic model partly due to the misuse of terms. The office of bishop is found in both the scripture and the Catholic church, but they are not the same.  We often hear terms and suppose that the user holds the same understanding we hold. This is not the case more often that one might know. Even the true scriptural definition for many words has been modified by poor choices in the English translation. Sometimes Strong’s Concordance does not show the full or true meaning as well. Always check the Greek. Even checking with Strong’s can help, but look for other sources. I understand one that is respected is Liddell and Scott.

So what is an overseer? He is a man who has experience in dealing with family matters because of his age and actions over his life time. He is a man who’s opinion and guidance are welcome by those of whom he has oversight. He is a man who is irreproachable in his character. He is married and has children who are in subjection to him because of his love for God. He is vigilant for the church with sobriety. He is discreet with those he counsels and is hospitable. He is orderly and a teacher of the truth regardless of church doctrine. He is not a drunkard, a brawler or contentious, but reasonable and a reasoner. He is not a lover of money. He is a teacher.

One item in the list of qualifications is that an elder be inclined or apt to teach. This one qualification seems to be disregarded or down played many times. I will not suggest any one item being more important, but I do feel like it is one of the more important qualifications and very few elders teach.

I hope that I have not overstated or understated the guidelines for an elder, but shown that an elder is one because others look to him for leadership because of his faith and love for God.

Why bring this up? I have seen far too many congregations where the main focus of the eldership was to decide when to fix the roof, mow the lawn or support the preacher in his usurped leadership of the local congregation. I would rather that the church have no formal meeting place if their main concerns are custodial. That is perhaps the job of the deacons. Many congregations might consider selling the building, getting out of debt, and just renting one or several meeting locations. Those are not hard to find right now.

Tim

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Romans 10:4 and The End of the Law.

“Christ is the end of the law”. We hear that phrase very often. It is common for people to quote that ignoring the rest of the verse and thus remove the context intended. With out the end of the verse people can be misled as to it’s true meaning.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.  Romans 10:4

The second word “for” lets us know that Paul is going to explain what he meant. For righteousness to all who believe is very important.

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly…  1 Timothy 1:9

Now if the law is no longer in existence then why did Paul talk about the Law being for the lawless? Maybe Paul forgot?

But we know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully.  1 Timothy 1:8

How can the law be good if it does not exist? Well the problem is that most who promote the law is ended theory do not understand what God’s law is or what is meant by the word law. The law is not just a set of rules. When you see the word law in scripture you need to keep in mind that there is something else being alluded to than just a set of rules.

The law consist of commands. Thou shall not kill. That is one commandment, but what does it mean? Are we in violation when we swat a fly? Well the law also consist of statutes to explain every law. Most of those are found in the old testament. You will not find the complete explanation for “Thou shall not kill” in the new testament. I hope one does not plan to rely on the dictionary or the laws of governments. Those change and can be rather anti-Christian. Each law must also have a judgement or punishment.

Now to the basis of the point. We must look at Romans 10:4 with the rest of scripture in mind. Romans 10:4 has it’s emphasis, not on the whole law, but rather the judgements.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23

Since all of us sin we all deserve the judgement of death. Because of Christ we have the end of the judgement of death to everyone that believeth. If it was simply a matter of Paul being happy that there was no longer any law then he would never have made the statements found in 1 Timothy as well as many, many more. Start reading through the new testament watching for, can we call it, “pro-law” verses and I think one will be amazed at the number of them. There are actually more than those that seem to tell us there is no law.

(I always have to add that Christ is our high priest and sacrifice thus satisfying, not ending, but satisfying the requirement of the priesthood and sacrifices.)

Now here should be one very good reason that the law still exist. It is a part of the new covenant. What are the specific terms of the covenant? They are repeated from Jeremiah twice in Hebrews. Here is one.

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  Hebrews 10:16

What Law was God referring to when he originally said this in Jeremiah? So you see that God’s law is now written on the heart and not just on stone. If there is no law, there is no new covenant.

Tim

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Sheep and Wolves

Recently someone recommended that I listen to a preacher from their local church. I downloaded the lesson and once I converted it to a useable format I gave it a listen. Usually most lessons are nothing to write home about. This one had some wisdom that is missing from most Judeo-Christian churches.

The preacher had been stationed overseas while in the military and learned first hand some of the basic principle of sheep herding. He learned about sheep, goats and wolves. The scripture teaches important principles in regard to the behavior of people. The problem is that political correctness and general preacher teaching downplay the truths that scripture teaches.

One of the important truths is that a sheep can not change into a wolf and a wolf can not change into a sheep. They are as God created them. Sometimes the sheep of God’s kingdom try to behave as wolves, but eventually conscience or God’s chastising usually wins out and the sheep behaves as a sheep. Sometimes the wolves in the world try to behave as a sheep, but eventually they show their true nature and behave like a wolf.

Without repeating the story remember the frog swimming across a river with a scorpion riding on his back. God, after all, is the potter and we are just clay. Who are we to question or disagree with God’s reason and motives for this truth. Romans 9:21-24 explains that some were made for destruction and others for glory. So why is it taught that everyone can choose Christ and be saved?

Joh 6:44  No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. [MKJV]

Think about it. Who does the compelling or choosing? The Greek word translated “compel” or “draw” has the literal meaning “to drag”. God draws or drags us to Him. It should really be no surprise as several times in scripture we are told that God is the one who saves us. We do not save ourselves. Our job as sheep is to behave as sheep and not as goats or wolves. It is also our job to be wise enough to note wolves when we find one and keep our distance.

Tim

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Questions Getting Better

I receive email questions from a couple of religious websites. It occurred to me that I have not seen any questions regarding the order of worship in quite a while. I used to receive questions having to do with whether is was alright to have two songs before the prayer or a song during the communion. One might consider that people are becoming more informed and enlightened. Perhaps it is just that no one cares anymore?

I still receive questions. Many questions have been very good questions. So I have to think that there is hope for those who do care. Perhaps we are going through a weeding process? The churches may be much more empty than they were a few years ago, but those, whether a part of a church group or not, who care might be deep in study. That is encouraging to me.

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