Knee Jerk Reaction

We had just moved, to a new town, in a new state, for a new job. So we started visiting a new church of Christ. They are always happy to see a new family and when we said that we home schooled our three children they were quick to point out that there was one other family that did that as well. We met them in the parking lot and I remember saying a few things to let them know where we stood on a few doctrinal issues. If I remember he didn’t catch those, but we later found out that we were of a similar mind.

As time went we would go to early worship, Sunday school and then meet up at Wendy’s for lunch. They lived way out in the country so this was almost the only time we saw them. We became friends and eventually every Tuesday I would go by his work in Nashville, pick him up and we would go eat lunch together. We did this for about twelve years. This was great because it not only allowed two mostly like minded Christians to fellowship, but also bounce ideas off each other. I have learned that this is very important.

A person who is off by themselves all the time with out any fellowship has the possibility of coming up with some possibly very strange ideas. Having one person who you can freely mention all of your weird ideas to without worry is so very helpful. One funny aspect was that I would mention something to him. Then anywhere from six months to four years later he would come back to me with this new thing he had learned which of course was what I had told him earlier. This happened many, many times. I finally did tell him in the last couple years that I had told him those things earlier.

So we moved, to a new town, in a new state, for a new job. Really in both cases it was just a new location, same job, same company. Now neither of us have the old fellowship, the opportunity to bounce new ideas off each other. He is not much for emailing although I did send him some of my new ideas by email so he is pretty much up to date with me. It was nothing too out of line with what he already knew about my beliefs. However he has made a very major change in that he has dropped Paul and all of his writings. I feel badly because I was not there for him to bounce those ideas off of and hear some reason. I have told him that most of the problems with people’s understanding of Paul is due to bad English translation. That I think is the case with maybe sixty percent of all doctrinal problems. Forty percent then is left for bad definitions and having the wrong people identified in history as it all relates to scripture.

A few years ago an old friend from Harding called and said hi. He has been preaching in the church of Christ for the last twenty years. He was explaining to me that many had begun to question or had already changed their belief on the need for immersion or baptism for the remission of sins. This has been a major church of Christ doctrine. He was now in that crowd. I told him that I didn’t see how one could get around Romans 6:3-4. Then I made the mistake of telling him some of my changes, pointing him to one of my web sites to read further. I haven’t heard from him since. He is a good man and I wish he had had the desire to chat with me further.

He likely had a knee jerk reaction. It is a natural reaction to any new information. It is natural to reject new ideas before one has the opportunity to logically study something new. The Bereans were noble people in this regard. Preachers are taught to identify some doctrine and “pigeon hole” it. That training keeps the preacher safe from the possibility of losing his job and keeps him ignorant of what possibly might be important truth for him to learn. I have noted that most of the text books that identify these doctrines are rarely accurate and are very good about picking out the worst examples of any doctrine considered false by the group.

I have another friend who shares a hobby with me, but works in Christian radio. Excluding family I have probably known him longer than anyone else. About fifteen years ago he heard about a one minute explanation of just some of my beliefs. I am pretty confident that he has never given any of those ideas even five minutes of consideration. In that regard I guess I am amazed that he is still my friend. We pretty much only talk about our hobby. He would lose his job if he started to believe any of what I believe.

So as I want to share ideas with anyone new I understand that it is almost impossible to do so. What we think we know is comfortable. I know all the old arguments and was successful with them. I was there once upon a time. For those of us who have had to make changes for conscience sake it is a lonely road, but quite exciting to see how wonderfully scripture all works together and even matches history once the fairy tales taught in the churches are done away.

Tim

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The Twelve Tribes, Not Just the Church.

People generally know that the ten northern tribes were divorced by God and sent into exile among the Assyrians. What most do not know is that most of the twelve tribes actually went into that exile. Only Jerusalem and a couple towns nearby were spared that captivity. Even so many believe that the northern tribes became amalgamated into the Assyrian empire and disappeared from history.

James, really Jacob, knew the word that we translate as church. James 5:14 has the phrase, “let him call for the elders of the church”. So James knew the word we translate as church.

Unfortunately these days there is a tendency to spiritualize anything in scripture that is not understood or does not fit with doctrine. In James 1:1 he wrote:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Many will teach that James was writing to the church. This is partly true, but James wrote “twelve tribes” and that is what he meant. As I mentioned earlier James knew the word for church and if he had wanted to write church he would have. So to teach that James wrote to the church because one’s understanding is lacking on why he would write what he did is not honest study or teaching of scripture.

The twelve tribes were in existence. The Pharisees knew where many of them were living. Josephus wrote, “…wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the Ten Tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.” The ten tribes were in Europe. Also Ptolemy spoke of the western isles of Britain and Ireland writing, “They were peopled by descendants of the Hebrew Race .” An early name for Ireland was Ibernia which meant “new land of the Hebrews”. Europe is scattered with grave markers declaring the tribe and family of those buried there. History also records that many of Israel were in the United States. One grave site was found near Knoxville, Tennessee . Those buried there were from the time of Christ.

So the point is that we have been spiritualizing anything we didn’t understand when we should let the scripture writer’s meaning stand. Take a look at John 3:16 and the word perish for another example.

Tim

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So Much of Our Past History is Almost Lost.

I have been reading Tracing Our Ancestors by Fredrick Haberman. The last half of the book has been very interesting.

I knew about the tradition that the prophet Jeremiah took the daughters of King Zedekiah with him when he left Egypt and that one of the daughters, Tea or Tamar Tephi married the king in Ireland. The ancient name of Ireland was Ibernia, meaning new land of the Hebrews. That marriage reunited the lines of Judah’s sons Pharez and Zarah thus continuing the several promises that David would never lack a man on the throne. See Ezekiel 17 and note the twigs, the daughters, being carried away.

Here is what I didn’t know. At that time in Ulster, about 580 BC, Zarah’s descendants had a religion based on Bel and serpents. Jeremiah demanded a renunciation of that religion and an acceptance of the Mosaic law and Yahweh as their God. Once this was done he gave his charge, Tamar Tephi to King Eochaidh the Heremon for wife thus continuing the lineage of King David.

This line eventually moved to Scotland and thus from there to the throne in England. Now when ever a man is crowned as king in England he must recite his lineage back to King David of the tribe of Judah.  The harp has been a symbol in Irish history and the stone of Scone has been a part of the lineage of the kings. It is said that Jeremiah brought David’s harp and the stone with him.

Quoting now from the book, “From this eradication of the serpent worship appears to have grown the legend that the Patriarch, St Patrick, drove the snakes out of Ireland.” Later the Catholic church changed this tradition to their favor.

Tim

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Abraham Was a Godly Man and a Friend of God.

There are times when I feel badly for Abraham. He has been maligned by many Christians.

James 2:23 “And the Scripture had been fulfilled which says “And Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness”, and he is called a friend of God.

Who else do you know who was called a friend of God?

I have heard people say that Abraham was was an idol worshiper and a pagan. Thanks to a translation error and misunderstanding of how terms were used in his day people also believe that Abraham married his true sister.

Knowledge and wisdom makes one wise to see truth. Although not inspired the Book of Jasher is a historical document that the scripture twice tells us to examine for more information. According to Jasher, Abraham grew up in the house of Shem learning God’s law. Terah, Abraham’s father, was an idol worshiper and at one point Abraham gave his father some grief about that. Terah also gave Abraham some grief about that grief.

Concerning Abraham marrying his sister here is the quote from Genesis 11:29.

Genesis 11:29
And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

Let’s take a look at two verses dealing with Abram and Lot.

Gen 14:12
And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Gen 14:16
And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Did you notice that in Genesis 14:12 Lot is called Abram’s brother’s son or his nephew, as we would say today, and then in Genesis 14:16 Lot is called Abram’s brother. So one might suggest that in Abram’s day the word brother could be understood to also include nephews. Let me suggest that the same is true for the word sister.

In the Hebrew language a noun can be singular or plural based on the context. Strong’s says that the Hebrew word for daughter is bath, 1323. If you do an Englishman’s search for this word you will see that quite a number of the instances are translated as daughters and also some are daughter. So now here is Genesis 11:29 with the word daughters instead of the singular daughter.

Genesis 11:29
And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughters of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

Interesting! So now let’s get a second source for this idea from the Book of Jasher.

Jasher 12:44
And at that time Nahor and Abram took unto themselves wives, the daughters of their brother Haran; the wife of Nahor was Milca and the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai. And Sarai, wife of Abram, was barren; she had no offspring in those days.

Haran had just died before they took his daughters as wives. Abram then also took upon himself the care of his nephew Lot. Abraham knew God’s law very well and would have known it was improper for him to marry his sister. Sarah was actually Abraham’s niece. Leviticus 18 does not prohibit the marriage of a man and his niece. So it is helpful to remember how Abraham understood the word sister when reading the following. Keep in mind that daughter can also include grand daughter.

Genesis 20:12
And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

Tim

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A Comment about Missionaries and Giving.

The scripture has a lot to say about giving. Much of it is in the old testament, but is unfortunately ignored or not understood for what it is. It is not outdated if you understand and believe the meaning of 2 Timothy 3:16.

It is scriptural to ask for support to preach the gospel. We as a people are generally very eager to give. We give much more than is required and perhaps a lot more than we should. Then one should consider the meager results that come from most foreign missions.

Scripture says that we should give based on our increase. When a farmer plants a garden he receives an increase on his investment in that garden if it grows well. When a man goes to work he exchanges time for pay. That is not an increase. That is hopefully fair exchange.

It has been my opinion for many years that if we preached the gospel here at home and returned this to being a Christian nation then others would come to us and ask. As is we go to foreign nations and in their eyes push our beliefs on them. When they come to us it is something they want.

The gospel is really mostly already available to the world. The world does not really need more missionaries. Once the gospel is preached and accepted in an area then it should grow and flourish on it’s own after a point. Missionaries have been preaching through out the world for centuries. If after they leave an area and the gospel immediately dies there then it wasn’t because we didn’t water, but God did not give the increase. He is the potter and we can’t force people to become and remain Christians on their own. Seems we haven’t learned how to shake the dust from our feet and move on.

Let’s encourage those who want to preach to do it right here and they don’t have to leave their own congregation. Their local congregation may need and appreciate more help than any congregation in Ghana for example. They just don’t realize it. What we need are more people who dig into the scripture and seek the truth in the Hebrew and Greek with out letting church doctrine stop them.

Tim

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Politically Incorrect Scripture

In the previous post I stated that much of the non-politically correct scripture was hidden in the Greek and Hebrew. There is quite a bit that is not hidden. It is either read over or not understood for what it is I guess. Here is one example.

The churches teach that Christ came to save the whole world.

Matthew 15:24  But he answered, “I wasn’t sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Remember the event? Christ was ignoring a Canaanite woman. When she came and worshiped before him his response was..

Mat 15:26  But he answered, “It is not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

So Christ’s response to this woman was to say that it was not appropriate to giver her the blessing that belonged only to the children (Israel) calling her a dog. Because of her response he made an exception. Remember, his intent at the beginning was to ignore her.

You can’t read through Romans chapter nine with out realizing that there are some who God has raised up to show his power. God is the potter and indeed there are some he has created for dishonor, infamy, that is the state of being well known for some bad quality or deed. Scripture makes it clear that God does not love everyone.

The Bible says that God hated Esau. Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:13
The Bible says that God does “hate all workers of iniquity” (lawlessness). Psalms 5:5
The Bible says that God hates “A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren”. Proverbs 6:16, 1

It’s not fun to have to write about what many would consider the darker side of truth, the ignored side of scripture. There is a lot more of it too. The churches only teach what is pleasant to hear with the exception of the occasional hell fire sermon to increase attendance and contributions. By the way, there is no eternal bar-b-que pit misnamed hell. Go read what is the symbolism behind the lake of fire. Then go read John 3:16 and see what it really says and not what is taught that it says.

There is one simple thing we could do that would have God over look a whole lot of sin and future punishment for us in this life. Simply, it is to observe a scriptural Sabbath. Don’t go looking to those who say they keep it today. Only go to scripture to find the correct answers. There was a time in the old testament when God said he would not punish Israel if they would only observe His Sabbath. Churches today teach that it is done away and in most new testaments it is hidden in the translation. The WEB translation got this one right.

Hebrews 4:9  There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

More information concerning the Sabbath. There are two articles there. I actually forgot I had already written one of them when I wrote the other. For more information about true Israel, those with whom the new covenant was exclusively made, see Christian Israel.

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The End of Christianity in America?

I have actually spent a few minutes this afternoon reading some of the current political and societal commentaries. Some of it talked about the decline of Christian America and Christianity in America.

Churches today teach a watered down love and feel good religion. I’ve been told by several preachers and teachers in churches that we only focus on Jesus. These teachers would never ever include the Jesus that said, “But bring those enemies of mine who didn’t want me to reign over them here, and kill them before me.”, Luke 19:27.

It’s time that the preachers teach the full gospel. It’s not all love and good times. There is a lot of non-politically correct and even racial teaching. It’s hidden in the Greek and Hebrew, but it’s there. Most churches don’t even know or teach the real meaning of adultery, adulteration, yes even mongrelization. It’s in the language, but is ignored.

If we don’t get with it and proclaim true Christianity, one that treats all fairly, but holds to the whole word of God maybe God will let us fall until a new generation has had enough of the nonsense and returns to God with their whole heart.

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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 in 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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