Key precept: Freedom is the ability to choose one’s actions.
A state trooper once told me, with deep regret, how he had a stopped a young college student for speeding well over the limit. In fact, his driving was so reckless that the standard response called for taking away his license until he went to court for sentencing. However, it was a holiday weekend and the young man was on his way to join friends at the beach, he had no prior infractions, he was very respectful and remorseful, and he promised with great sincerity that he would keep to the speed limit for the rest of the way. The trooper, identifying with this young man’s zest for life and promising future, didn’t want to spoil his weekend or his driving record, most of all his college and work life with possible long-term loss of his license, so he let him go with just a warning. Within minutes he heard across his radio that this young man had crashed at high speed just a few miles down the road, and was killed instantly. The trooper couldn’t stop thinking that he should have arrested him. I ask you – was he to blame?
People are quick to blame God when things go bad, even faulting him for having the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden because, being omniscient, he knew full well that human beings would eat the fruit and become captive to sin.
The reality is that the tree gave us freedom – defined as “the power to determine action without restraint.”
- Freedom is not being able to do whatever you want.
- Freedom is being able not to do actions being forced on you.
Freedom is not being oppressed by evil, either from an outside authority or an inner uncontrollable drive to use drugs, overeat, rape, plunder and murder.
Without the opportunity to choose, provided by just one fruit tree, humans would have been drones, always under the control of our Creator. But God doesn’t force anyone to submit to his control. In contrast to the bad guys, God isn’t a control freak.
We make choices because of the intended desired consequences. In Adam #2’s case the intended consequence from eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was becoming the authority. Separation from Creator God’s authority is plainly the unavoidable consequence of being one’s own authority. God clearly stated this consequence when he introduced Adam to the tree.
“And the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath / spirit of life, and man became a living being…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it surely you shall die / become separated from the source of life .” (Genesis 2)
Not only does the same passage that defines life as God breathing life / his spirit into a human allow us to logically induce that death is God taking the breath / his spirit out of a human, this is frankly stated elsewhere.
“Remember now thy Creator…man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit / breath shall return unto God who gave it.
In other words, our Creator formed our ancestor and brought him-her to life with his own spirit. Then he gave mankind the opportunity to choose.
- Stay linked in to his power and authority
- Or disconnect.
We can deduce from this primary premise that both desired and undesired consequences can result from choices we make. In Adam #2’s case, it was discovering that
- humans are in fact powerless to sustain life by ourselves, and that
- we don’t know enough to be our own authority, but
- our only real choice is deciding which higher authority we will trust.
Knowing and following spiritual laws that define the right way vs the wrong way to act, like knowing and following the laws of physics that define stable vs unstable processes, prevents chaos and saves lives.
We understand this is auto mechanics – to keep the car running we must keep gas in the tank, oil in the engine, air in the tires. The same idea is expressed in business, social work, ecology, politics, etc. as Systems Theory.
In systems theory, it is argued that the only way to fully understand something is to understand the parts in relation to the whole. Systems thinking concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the elements that compose the entire system. By taking the overall system as well as its parts into account this paradigm offers us fresh insight that is not accessible through the more traditional reductionist approach.
The opposite of Systems Theory is Chaos Theory.
And this is what Adam #2 brought to all of creation as the unintended consequence of his/her choice.
“For the earnest expectation of the creature / creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature / creation was made subject to vanity / instability / ineffectiveness, not willingly / from what it had willed or chosen, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Because [creation is one interconnected system] the creature / creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation [science is just catching up with this] groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:19-23)
What about you? Do you like having a good life, being productive, meeting your goals and having your plans come to fruition?
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
There is always the most basic toggle option to every decision we face:
- align our plans with the Creator’s / Author’s system design by doing the right thing – i.e. be right-eous,
- or not.
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth…And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
Can you translate this passage in 15th century English set in 15th century BC culture to the story of the trooper and the college boy?
“Now take me seriously man! Do you sincerely and honestly promise you’ll keep to the speed limit from now on? Because if you don’t, and pull out of the slow lane to get in with the speeders in the fast lane, I guarantee you will get in trouble. A ticket will be the least of your problems, do you know how many accidents happen on holidays weekends, even fatalities?”
Cain is a good case study of freedom gone awry. He knew that God had ordained blood sacrifices for the remission of sin, a life for a life, but he chose instead to promote the quality of his good work with a fruit basket.
“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering [undoubtedly indicated, as with Elijah, by fire from heaven consuming the sacrifice]: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Gen 4:3-7)
The reality is that no human, in our own ability, can atone for our myriad offenses and omissions of just behavior, more simply called sins, against God and other humans. No amount of penance can cancel out the bad things we’ve done, or reparations give back immaterial things like lost time, lost opportunities, unborn children. We understand this in human relationships. Only forgiveness – offered and accepted – and atonement – offered and accepted – restores a relationship.
The same truth applies to our dealings with God. It’s a relationship. The only way we have the kind of relationship that allows us to live in peace with him is the one in which we have asked for, and received, his forgiveness for all the wrong actions we committed against him as Creator and Sustainer, and accepted the atonement he has provided for all the kinds of deadness – disconnection – our many sins have caused not only ourselves but others.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:11-15
Of all the works found written in the books, the one that matters most is our acceptance of God’s gift of life. A reality-based / right / right-eous relationship with God is based on faith – believing and acting in accordance with the evidence that he is the Creator and we are his creation who can only live through sustained connection with the source of life.
“Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psa 100:3-5)
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
- Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God…Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2)
Through faith – evidence of designer and sustainer – we understand that the worlds were framed / formed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh…But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb 11:1-6)
This passage is not defining faith as blind belief. It is not the opposite of believing science’s or philosophy’s or religion’s claims of unproven “evidence”. It is true science – making a logical deduction about things we can’t see from what we can see.
“The just shall live by faith…For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;” (Romans 1:17-20)
Faith is based on the evidence of creation, available to anyone whether they have read a word of the Bible or not.
- We can’t see God or the future, but we can logically deduce the existence of a unfathomably powerful designer from the immeasurably and thoroughly interconnected universe.
- The Bible provides an accurate history of humanity from the beginning of time, giving a basis for trusting the account of the future fate of mankind.
- From our own personal experience we can believe the record that humans cannot, by ourselves, overcome our self-centered nature therefore constantly bring damage and destruction to ourselves and others, AKA “sin.”
When we finally admit the existence of, and our need for, the all-powerful Creator to rescue us from the problems we invariably find ourselves in, all we have to do is call upon him. We will discover him one-on-on and be saved from the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into in this life, not just from a future hell – IF we submit to his authority and power to allow that to happen. Obviously, if we continue to insist on doing things our way we’ll just keep getting the same results!
” As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD / Yahweh shall save me…He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me…Cast thy burden upon the LORD / Yahweh, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55)
“I am poor and needy…O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee…For thou, LORD / Yahweh, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee…In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord / Yahweh; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Yahweh; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O Yahweh; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalm 86)
The opposite of faith in God’s revelation of his power and desire to bless us is not science. It is schizophrenia – AKA insanity by laymen – demonstrably inaccurate conviction in one’s own perception of reality, which bottoms out to utter arrogant rebellion against all authoritative explanations of reality in both spiritual and physical domains.
Well then, Richard Dawkins, if the Bible is just fiction and the God of Abraham is just an invented character, why do you make it your life’s work to discredit him? Why not vilify Simon Legree or some other fictional character? Your capriciously malevolent tirades against the Abrahamic God – note, no other historical gods many of whom demanded massive numbers of human sacrifices – betray that these are not your true feelings, but symptoms of a reaction formation defense mechanism against your anxiety that God is real. It would just be so uncool for a sophisticated, handsome man to believe in God, wouldn’t it? And the memes wouldn’t work so well to draw people to identify with them if they pictured a homely man, would they? Advertising.
Reality – truth – rightness – righteousness is for us to know and obey God and glorify God for what he has done. For us to glory in our own pathetic achievements is to be delusional, out of touch with reality.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:4-10)
For us to believe that in the world to come we can claim the right to be subjects in God’s kingdom when we rebelled against him in this world is truly delusional.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mat 7:13-23)
“The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure...Now will I rise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself…And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the [permanently live with the neighboring] devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings [that forever don’t touch us]?
- He that walketh right-eously, and speaketh up-rightly;
- he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,
- that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off…For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us…And…the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. (Isaiah 33:5-24)
Every individual has the freedom to choose in what to trust to be saved from the blatantly destructive forces – AKA sin – in their lives: God’s revelation or their own judgment. The following quote about human prehistory from prestigious Perdue University is a shining example of this opportunity to choose.
Through analysis of mitochondrial DNA obtained from females of various ethnic backgrounds, researchers have determined that all humans alive today descended from one female, commonly referred to as ‘Eve’,
So pure scientific evidence supports the biblical account of creation.
who lived approximately 7600 generations ago.”
Immediately a number of assumptions are imposed to calculate this time frame by the anthropologists, beginning with what conditions altered Eve’s DNA, when, and how quickly, to differentiate the various ethnicities. It is impossible, scientifically, to go back in time to detect this, while existing scientific studies of extremely powerful current conditions subjecting genes to rapid mutations are ignored.
“…the RERF studies include a large and representative population sample, rely on a fairly accurate estimation of a single irradiation dose, with a wide range of exposure within the cohort, and have been able to follow in detail this population (as well as its offspring) for more than half a century. They have, in fact, been essential to defining the legal limits for radiation exposure from nuclear activities, which are currently 1 mSv/year for the general public and 20 mSv/year for workers in the nuclear industry.
The picture obtained from these extensive and careful studies is very different from the impressions that prevail…even among many scientists [emphasis added] (Perko 2014)…it is generally thought that…extensive mutations are common among the children of irradiated survivors, when in fact the follow-up of 77,000 such children (excluding children irradiated in utero) fails so far to show evidence of deleterious effects (Douple et al. 2011; Grant et al. 2015).
Analysis of male Y chromosome samples obtained from throughout the globe reveals the existence of some 10 “descent groups” or haplotypes that presumably descended from a common male ancestor who mated with Eve. Eve, her hypothetical mate, and these 10 males were not the first, nor the only modern humans living in Africa at that time. Rather, these were the only people from a much wider population of modern humans whose progeny survived until today.”
This finding, minus the limitation of only 10 groups which can be attributed to lack of capture in the study, is actually reported in the Bible. In Genesis 10 the sons of the only four male survivors of the world-wide pre-flood population became the ancestors of the nations or haplotypes that repopulated the earth as we know it today.
“These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations / ethnicities divided in the earth after the flood.” (Genesis 10:32)
Wilson felt uneasy about using the term “Eve” because it caused many to think that she was the only woman living at that time, much like what is written in Genesis of the Bible concerning Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
the usual evolutionary time-scale for man did not allow such a short time as 200,000 years. Rather, it is believed that man has been around for a much longer period of time.
Another assumption factored into this mathematical formula deriving 200,000 years from 7600 generations is that each generation is separated by 25 years. This anthropological allocation is inconsistent with the other social sciences which arbitrarily assign only 10 years to each generation for study purposes. It is common knowledge that new generations are born every single day to different families, and generations can even leapfrog over each other within the same family, so this accounting system is patently rigged. This is clearly done to avoid matching the results of this study with the biblical account of creation.
Any person with some knowledge of how to conduct a scientific study should be able to recognize at this early point in the presentation that Perdue University starts with researcher bias, rejects consideration of the parallels of the data with the biblical account of creation, and inputs unprovable data to remain consistent with its a priori “theory” of evolution. And here the “theory” of evolution is demonstrated to be, not a scientifically “ for objective truth“ at all, not in the scientific realm at all since it is unprovable by science’s own standards, but in fact simply one of many religious belief systems from which people seek self-empowerment.
Evolutionists have come to believe that Eve must have been one of many women of her time, in a genetic bottleneck.
The story of the mitochondrial Eve is not what paleoanthropologists wanted to hear. [So much for scientific objectivity.] They did believe that man came from Africa, but they believed it happened one million years ago.
So, there seems to be no way for all the data to presently fit together. It is true, as “Kip” Thorne from Australian National University, mentioned: “The fossil evidence is really scrappy. There just isn’t enough of it.”
Nonetheless, the need to provide a godless alternative to a Creator God outweighs scientific integrity and the idea of evolution is presented as scientific fact.
Wow. That’s quite an unscientific assertion for someone who claims to be scientific.
- To be ignorant is to be unaware of the facts. Where are the facts of evolution?
- Calling someone stupid is just insulting.
- Mr. Dawkins is not qualified to diagnose mental illness, and in any case, no professional calls a mentally ill person “insane”.
- And how can anyone be “wicked” if there is no God defining good and evil? Ahhh, apparently Richard Dawkins is god.
- And there’s that cute grin. Apparently that’s what people are putting their money on.
Just imagine how the New York Times would report this if a well-known preacher, such as Billy Graham, made the reverse statement (which he didn’t), for which, I might say, there is biblical evidence.
“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody to claims to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
The difficulties encountered in, 1) learning the truth from one who already knows it, then, 2) breaking free from an entrenched existing belief system is entertainingly depicted by Neo’s/ New man’s faltering trust in Morpheus / God dreams in The Matrix, but is in reality accomplished by placing trust in God’s Word. From day one, God has given humans the same message of salvation from sin and death.
“Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay…I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me…Behold in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him?…If there be a messenger with him / man, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his [God’s] uprightness: then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit [eternal death]: I have found a ransom…He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness…if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit…to be enlighted with the light of the living. ” (Job 19:6-30)
“To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice [accepts and responds to, like a Nanny to the cries of her charge – “I hear you, I hear you!” as she hustles to the toddler’s side].” (Jesus Christ quoted in John 18:37)
As Job and other witnesses explain, being saved from evil, whether inflicted by others or present in our own inescapable impulses, means being restored to right -eous – ness: healthy physical, emotional, social, and spiritual functioning – in this world and the world to come.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
- he leadeth me beside the still waters.
- He restoreth my soul:
- he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
- thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
- Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
- thou anointest my head with oil;
- my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23)
Rather than re-pent / re-think his course of action, and be restored to the good life, Cain continued to rebel against God’s way of doing things, ultimately requiring his expulsion from orderly society in order to protect others from his wicked actions.
“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain…What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth…And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” (Gen 4:8-16)
This wasn’t the end for Cain, however. God was merciful to him, a sinner.
“And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” (Gen 4:13-15)
It is only through God’s mercy and grace that anyone becomes righteous and qualifies for acceptance into God’s presence. It’s that blood sacrifice that allows a God of integrity to grant us forgiveness and and redemption after we’ve broken the law.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ: According as he hath chosen us [humans instead of angels] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; ” (Ephesians 1:3-7)
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Yeshua Messiah / 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 Yahweh’s Chosen Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus: whom hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past…that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus.” (Romans 3:20-26)
We find that the people most willing to accept salvation as a gift of God are those who have reached the end of their own resources, and are facing the stark reality of their helplessness to save themselves from the misery of drugs, broken family ties, poverty – the worstening consequences of a spiraling decline of bad choices.
The people who have the hardest time admitting their need are the ones, like Job, who don’t do anything wrong according to their legalistic standards, meticulously following the rules. But! Notice how judgmental Job was, always assuming the worst about others. He was missing the point that right-eousness is not so much what you don’t do as it is what you do – losing your own sense of self-worth, entitlement, and value in order to merge your identity with a merciful God, whose greatest defining likeness is love.
God loves every individual no matter how contemptible in society’s estimation. Self-righteous individuals need sinners to whom they can contrast themselves to feel good, while God’s righteousness is to elevate each individual to equal standing with him.
The religious rulers in Jesus’ day were like Job – clinging to self-righteousness and their authority over others by constantly passing judgment on them.
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, is a good case study of a man who had to choose between putting his faith in God’s Word or his own, admittedly high, standards of behavior under the Mosaic law. Nicodemus met with Yeshua / Jesus to try to negotiate a peaceful end to the growing challenge he posed to the ethnic rulers of the nation of Israel, AKA “the Jews“. He starts by trying to minimize Jesus as a mere teacher. Despite the fawning compliment, Jesus knows what’s in his heart and cuts to the heart of the matter, forcing Nicodemus to chose between 1) relinquishing his superiority complex and accepting a demotion to student with Jesus as truly rabbi / master, or 2) rejecting him.
John Chapter 3
“…a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews [think Senate Majority Leader]…came to Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus by night, and said unto him,
- Rabbi [possessive “My” Master], we [the ethnic therefore politico-religious rulers of the province of Judea within the Roman Empire] know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. [starting the win-win negotiation strategy with a positive – we know you are one of us]…
- Yahweh’s Savior answered…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…[Immediately shoots down this talking point. I am not part of your petty kingdom allied with the Roman Empire, I am in the Kingdom of God.]
- Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? [The middle part of the negotiation, the negative – establish authority. “Come on now, what you’re teaching is ridiculous.”]
- Yeshua answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. [You’re not the authority and I’m not one of you and somebody is going to walk away the loser.]
- If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not [demonstrated by rationalizing away the miracles despite their supposed Master Moses’ prophecy that another miracle-worker like him would come to lead them], how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven…
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Seed of the Woman / Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believed on him is not condemned:
- but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name [Yeshua, which defines his attributes- Yahweh’s / Creator’s Savior] of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
- For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. [Yeshua just condemned Nicodemus and the ruling Jews and negotiations failed.]” (John 3:1-20)
Yeshua gave Niodemus and his colleagues three and a half years to gather evidence regarding his claim to be Yahweh’s Promised Savior as prophecied in scripture.
We have to reference back to these hundreds’ and thousands’ years old writings, supposedly revered, definitely read in the synagogues, to understand Yeshua’s claims as they were understood by the people who heard him as he tirelessly preached this message.
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And…as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the LORD / Yahweh is upon me, because
- he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
- he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
- to preach deliverance to the captives, and
- recovering of sight to the blind,
- to set at liberty them that are bruised,
- To preach the acceptable year of the LORD / Yahweh…
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness,” (Luke 4:14-22)
Unfortunately, the rulers’ response, not just to his single, oft-repeated message, but to the proofs provided in scripture as well as in his miracles, was to reject his authority. John’s gospel, like his later Revelation, relates escalating conflict between The Seed of the Woman / Promised Deliverer / Christ and his loyal followers and the Seed of the Serpent / Antichrist and his rebels until the climax in which the winner takes all.
There is so much more than just the soft-pedaled message of chapter 3 verse 16 in John’s tension-filled account of the Messiah’s battles with the enemy. Read this like the World War documentary that it is!
John Chapter 5
“After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Yeshua went up to Jerusalem…And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years…he saith unto him…Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
- The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
- He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. [In essence, “You’re not the boss of me.” This guy knows the scripture. You want the healing, do what you’re told.]
- Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? The man told the Jews that it was Yeshua, which had made him whole.
- And therefore did the Jews persecute Yeshua, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. [That’s their justification, since they can’t very well “accuse” him of healing. This goes along the lines of “It’s not what you said (which they can’t deny was true), it’s how you said it.”)
- But Yeshua answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
- Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he…said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. [Which clearly he was in working miracles transcending humanity’s limitiation to four dimensions, just like their founder Moses, who had told them that another Prophet, just like him, would come to them in the future.
- Then answered Yeshua and said unto them, [no new idea, just a logical proof from accepted truth demonstrated in human relationships as explained in depth in the post Father Abraham] Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth / teaches, demonstrates, makes known to him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
- For the Father…hath committed all unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not Father which hath sent him. [Again, no new concept. This is standard practice in passing on inheritance rights of property and authority.]
- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
- Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
- And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of (hu)man / Seed of the Woman.
- Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
- I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
- If I bear witness of myself, my witness [by itself] is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me...ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth…He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
- But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. [Just like he sent their founder Moses, proven by the miracles – but mainly the plagues – heads up!.]
- And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me…ye have not his word abiding in you…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life…
- Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words [as he quotes Moses]?
John Chapter 6
“And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh…Yeshua then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him…in number about five thousand. And Yeshua took [five barley] loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the [two small] fishes as much as they would…
- Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Yeshua did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world…
- When Yeshua therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed…
- the people therefore…came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him…
- Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour / work not for the meat which perisheth [rebuking them for dropping everything to run after him looking for another free meal], but [work] for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed [with signet ring, authorized, guaranteeing ownership].
- Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
- Yeshua answered and said unto them, [Seriously people? Were you not listening at all when I preached all day yesterday?? Deep sigh…] This is the work of God, that ye believe on him he hath sent.
- They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert [hint, hint, for forty years, not just one meal]; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. [So if you are like Moses feed us again!]
- Then Yeshua said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father [who also] giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger [unlike the Israelites who went out daily to collect more manna]; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst [unlike the Israelites who were always in need of fresh water]. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.
- For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will [unlike you guys who are trying to set me up as earthly king] but the will of him that sent me…And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him [as being the Promised Seed of the Woman], may have everlasting life [restored as promised]: and I will raise him up at the last day [when death therefore time is ended].
- The Jews then murmured at him, because [picking for a rationale because the real reason is that he’s not letting them control him] he said, I came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Yeshua, the son of Yusef, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
- Yeshua therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him [through the written word, as]…It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread / purveyor, transformer from one carbon-based form to another carbon-based form of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead [so don’t you get it that it is pointless for me to simply feed you more earthly bread and fish?] This [pointing to his body vehemently] is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my [carbon-based life form of] flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
- The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
- Then Yeshua said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is [life-sustaining] food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
- Eww, gross!! as they’re all visualizing this concretely. Clearly the millennia’s-long Passover – which was nigh – had degenerated into a cultural festival and had lost its abstractly hyperdimensional purpose.
- [Deep sigh, explaining the abstract hyperdimensional concept here] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood [consumes, unites himself with] dwelleth [is permantly as opposed to sojourns temporarily] in me, AND I in him [the two life forms become one, like shrimp and flamingos, united by the carotenoids in the shrimp that turn the flamingos’ feathers from gray to pink]. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live [am one with, connected to] by the Father: so he that eateth [becomes one with] me, even he shall live by me…
- Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? [Bear in mind, this is a deeply literate spiritual culture understanding abstract concepts. The hard saying is not about cannibalism, but losing one’s identity and freedom of action to a totally authoritarian leader. Just when they were convinced that the Messiah was going to give them FREEDOM!]
- When Yeshua knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life….
- From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
John Chapter 7
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jew’s feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea…shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. [Like Joseph’s brothers’, they wanted him to get rid of him, even to kill him, as proven by Jesus’ response to them.] Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come [to die]: but your time is alway ready [to believe in me]. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come [Jesus knew that like Judas did, they were going to turn him in to the rulers]...when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned [in our school]?…
“Then cried Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua in the temple…[iin open challenge to the politicized and corrupt high priest and his entourage]
- Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: [the Seed of the Woman, Yahweh’s Savior promised since Day 1]
- “And the Lord God said unto the serpent…I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed [Caesar at this time] and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)
- and I am not come of myself…
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” (Matthew 3:1-8)
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: [that was John the Baptist] and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts…And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:1-3)
- whom ye know [identify with, are in unity with] not. But I know him: for I am from him…
- as the Son, i.e. the Seed, the very image and likeness of the Father, equal to the Father. And they got the message as the progression of events shows.
- And many of the people believed on him, and said, When The Anointed One / Messiah / Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
- “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me [miracle-working Moses, through whom God released the Israelites from bondage to the Egyptians, the world empire at that time]; unto him ye shall hearken [respond to]…And the LORD said unto me…I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)
- The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent [police] officers to take him…
- In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst,
- [you know they must have been, after standing and walking for hours in crowds] “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I Yahweh will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17)
- let him come unto me / Yahweh, and drink. He that believeth on me / Yahweh, as the scripture hath said [allegorically in a number of places especially Isaiah, but not quoting exactly], out of his belly [inner being] shall flow rivers of living water.
- “And Yahweh shall…satisfy thy soul in drought…and thou shalt be like a…spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (Isaiah 58:11)
- (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:
- “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen. Thus saith Yahweh that made thee…I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:” (Isaiah 44:1-3) ( for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus was not yet glorified.)
- “And ye shall know that I am / Yahweh in the midst of Israel and that I am the LORD / Yahweh your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed [let down, disappointed, hopes dashed]. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and…whosoever shall call on the name / the revealed character of the LORD / Yahweh shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance” (Joel 2:27-32)
- Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Appointed One / Messiah / Christ…
- And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. Then came the [police] officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
- The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
- Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
- Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
- They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee?”(John 7:28-52)
All the rulers of Judea had a choice to make – to accept Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua as the Son of God and King of the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth, or to continue to operate in the delusion that they could be in control of their little sphere of influence on earth.
And Yeshua gave them all the evidence they needed to prove he was who he said he was. And – most importantly! – who the scriptures said he would be: The Seed of the Woman, Yaweh’s Promised Savior from the curse of sin and death.
John Chapter 8
“Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha…When Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby…he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
- Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
- His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews / Rulers of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
- Yeshua answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him…
What?! Sounds like totally disorganized thinking, what psychiatry labels as “flight of ideas” no sequencing of thoughts at all. “The Jews are trying to kill you” followed by “There are twelve hours in a day.” But no. You have to keep Yeshua’s foundational message in mind, which he repeated over and over as the fundamental premise for faith in his message.
Yeshua is calming his disciples – “I still have time to accomplish my work before darkness / destruction, death has its time. This is absolutely consistent with his work recorded in Genesis 1. See the post “In the Beginning God” if this isn’t making sense to you. This is absolutely consistent with the theme of the Bible as described in this blog – Battle for Control of Creation.
Back to the Lazarus incident.
- Then said Yeshua unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; [His allotted 12 hours are running out, time for the piece de resistance, the grand finale.]
- Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. [Yep, even Yeshua’s disciples can’t take him at his word yet, they need to see another miracle.]
- And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. [His main audience. How Yeshua wants to convince them, because God PARTNERS with HIS HUMANS!”
- Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Yeshua was coming, went and met him: Then said Martha unto Yeshua, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But! [That doesn’t matter because] I know [WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED AND AM PERSUADED] that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee [like the other prophets Elijah, Elisha, etc.].
- Yeshua saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. [Fact – I have the power. I don’t need to ask a higher power because I am God.]
- Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
- Yeshua said unto her, I – I! – am the resurrection, and the life – [the Promised Seed of the Woman Savior]: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
- She saith unto him, [slowly, falteringly, staring up into his intense eyes] Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
This is it! Martha is not basing her faith on what this preacher has said, but on what the word of God says, the promise that God would send the Seed of the Woman to rescue humankind from the curse of sin and death. And this is what Yeshua is waiting for – humans to believe and receive him as the Savior of mankind.
Mankind has dominion including FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. If an individual doesn’t CHOOSE to believe, Yeshua can’t save him from the consequences of his free choice or there isn’t really freedom, right?
- And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him…she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
- When Yeshua therefore saw her weeping [hopeless], and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled…wept. [Is there going to be enough faith in the mix to empower a miracle? Miracles, like magic, require hyperdimensional forces to override the four dimensional laws of physics, some of which are the spiritual attributes of faith, hope and love.]
- Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
- Yeshua therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Yeshua said, Take ye away the stone.
- Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
- Yeshua saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if – IF – thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? THEN they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid.
- And Yeshua lifted up his eyes, and said, Father [prayer, another hyperdimensional force], I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
- And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin.
- Yeshua saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
What proof that Yeshua is the Promised Savior who frees mankind from the bondage of sin and death!
But – DESPITE all the evidence, Nicodemus’ legal colleagues decided to secure their petty political power by eliminating Yeshua altogether.
- Then many of the Jews / Rulers which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua did, believed on him.
- But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Yeshua had done.
- Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place [top of the heap, highest authority] and nation [brotherhood of rulers].
- And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel [conspired] together for to put him to death [assassinate their rival].
- Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons…
- Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
- Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people…The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
- Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
- Oh yes, early. Hustle Yeshua in and out privately before the adoring public gets wind of this.
- Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
- You can imagine him with a napkin in his hand, brushing toast crumbs from his mouth just like he intends to brush off this annoying interruption on a day that would develop into major turmoil with the crowds for the Passover alone, not to mention those zealots against Rome!
- They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. [Hustle, hustle, just take our word for it and get on with it!]
- Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. [Why are you bothering me!?]
- The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death; [Oh, I knew today was going to be rough!]
- Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Yahweh’s Savior and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
- Yahweh’s Savior answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” [As with Nicodemus previously, and with the thief later on that same day, even in the midst of his own suffering, Yahweh’s Savior remains focused on his purpose of bringing salvation to each individual he encounters.]
- Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
- Yahweh’s Savior answered, My kingdom is not of this world [unequivocal statement of spiritual nature of his kingdom, which Pilate, raised in paganism and acknowledging the godhood of Caesar, would understand]: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews [clearly in context this means the leadership, not the whole nation]: but now [emphasis added] is my kingdom not from hence [terrifying implication that it will be at some future point when will there be awful retribution for this travesty of justice].
- Pilate therefore [he’s getting very nervous] said unto him, Art thou a king then? [No longer posing the question on behalf of the Jews, but asking for himself regarding our Savior’s spiritual nature. There was that mayhem with Augustus Caesar’s good friend and ally Herod the Great’s wholesale slaughter of babies only 30 or so years earlier when Herod believed in a king rising out of Israel. Now that he is ready to deal with the real issue – which is not a mere political accusation by jealous Jewish leadership in the backwater province of Judea, but a real challenge to Caesar’s claim to be the son of God with power to rule the world – the Savior cuts to the heart of the matter.
- Yahweh’s Savior answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. [The Savior doesn’t get sidelined with questions. He puts the ball right back into Pilate’s court when he responds to actions which speak louder than words. Pilate after all is taking him seriously enough to interrogate him, he didn’t shoo the Jews away.] To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
- Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? [Sophistry, trying to sound clever but really evading the issue.] And when he had said this, [he then admits that he knows the truth] he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all…will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? [Deliberately antagonizing them, no doubt because Jesus made him feel foolish and helpless. This seals the Savior’s fate.]
- Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man…
- Then Pilate therefore took Yahweh’s Savior, and scourged him [after judicially declaring him innocent. He has lost control and is using displacement coping mechanism against his rising anxiety.] And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him with their hands.
- Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Yahweh’s Savior forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe.
- And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! [thinking their blood lust might be assuaged at the sight of this broken human being.]
- When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, [on the contrary, their blood lust was inflamed] saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
- Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
- The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
- When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid [this is exactly what he feared]; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Yahweh’s Savior, Whence art thou? [Are you divine?!]
- But Yahweh’s Savior gave him no answer [because Pilate has all the data he needs to conclude for himself – all the signs and miracles the Savior had done, and the Jewish rulers’ rivalry against him].
- Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? [You can hear his voice rising an octave as his anxiety skyrockets and he begins overcompensating to shore up his failing confidence.]
- Yahweh’s Savior answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
- And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him [using up his precious time negotiating with his quislings on this most turbulent day in Judea because he half-way believes that this man is indeed the son of God. After all the Caesars rose from obscurity to immense power with claims of divinity.]:
- but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend [but his enemy, accomplice to treason]: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
- When Pilate therefore heard that saying [he fears Caesar of Rome more than the God of Israel], he brought Yahweh’s Savior forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover: [and where are the chief priests who are supposed to be supervising the great sacrifice? At the ultimate sacrifice…] and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
- But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him!
- Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? [Politically antagonizing them.]
- The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. [Pilate makes them pay for forcing him to do their dirty work by forcing them to make a political concession. And so they yielded themselves servants to Caesar / Antichrist.]
- Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified…and two other with him, on either side one, and Yeshua in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Yeshua Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.
- This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
- Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. [You got what you wanted but you are going to pay for it.]
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [Choice one – self-centered objectives.] But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God [choice two], seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Yeshua, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:39-43)
In spite of the most extreme circumstances casting doubt on his identity, this common criminal believes that Yeshua is the Promised Savior who will resurrect and restore creation to original wholeness in God’s Kingdom. And that’s what it takes – fearing God’s righteous judgment on sin and accepting the Son of God as your savior from the consequences of of your un-right-eous acts.
Turning to God usually only happens when we come to the end of our ability to manage our problems. In Nicodemus’ case he faced an existential crisis at this point as he was forced to make a choice between
- participating in further corrupting a system of law upon which he depended for eternal life, or
- trusting that Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua of Nazareth was indeed who he said he was – the main character in all of the Jewish writings from Genesis to Malachi.
It ended well for Nicodemus, who took the most public stand possible – separating himself from the corrupt rulers, honoring the teacher who had been unjustly put to death, and accepting Jesus as his lord and master in the process.
“And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple / student of our Savior, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus…And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. [In today’s currency, costing about $200,000] Then took they the body of Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus…as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” (John 19:38-40)
What could possibly drive these two men from the extremes of society – a law-breaking criminal and a law-abiding ruler – to give a public testimony of their belief that this Yeshua was the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of God as he died? There is only one possible explanation – faith in God’s word.
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
- He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
- Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
- He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
- for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
- Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
- by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities…because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53).
Notice, the Lord only justified “many”. Our Savior’s death did not bring an immediate end to Satan’s control. The battle to reclaim dominion from Satan, sin and death is still raging.
“But now is The Consecrated One / Messiah / Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept…But every man in his own order:
- The Consecrated One / Messiah / Christ the firstfruits;
- afterward they that are The Consecrated One’s / Messiah’s / Christ’s at his coming.
- Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.“ (I Cor 15:20-26)
What is taking so long for the last enemy to be destroyed and the full restoration of the Kingdom of God? God is giving humans time and opportunity to get saved.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness…?” (II Pet 3:9-11)
The answer to that question is – we should be bringing people into the kingdom of heaven. Yahweh’s Savior accomplished his work by dying and resurrecting, then he handed responsibility for recruiting citizens into the kingdom of heaven to the born-again sons of God.
“And Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mat 28:18-20)
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Act 1:6-9)
“…God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Yahweh’s Anointed Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in The Anointed One / Messiah / Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ…” (II Cor 5:18-20)
When we side with the Savior, we’ve joined an ongoing battle against the enemy Satan, and it is not an easy life.
“If in this life only we have hope in The Consecrated One / Messiah / Christ, we are of all men most miserable. …If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die…Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” (I Cor 15:19, 32-34)
“But I [Paul] fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in The Consecrated One / Messiah / Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Savior / Yeshua / Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him…For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works…I say again, let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little…For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face…Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the congregations / churches…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of The Consecrated One / Messiah / Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for The Consecrated One’s / Messiah’s / Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (II Corinthians 11:3-28, 12:7-10)
What? What kind of paradox is that – when I am weak, then am I strong? One way to understand this is that the power of The Consecrated One / Messiah / Christ only becomes apparent when we are at the end of our own resources. If you’ve never experienced this, then you’ve never experienced the ultimate power trip.
There is another dimension to this paradox, however, that is consistent with what we’ve learned so far, and I believe explains God’s motivation behind the whole rather perplexing plan of salvation. Part of being made in God’s likeness is having freedom of action. In order for God to truly, in reality, have human sons of God who are actually “chips off the old block”, there must be humans who choose voluntarily to act as he chooses to act, out of deep love and commitment to the beloved’s welfare. Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus, as God, chose to suffer and die for his beloved humans, created in his own image. God’s children love like he loves, proving our love by staying committed despite worsening circumstances, sickness, poverty, even death. This can only happen as we respond to circumstances. This character trait doesn’t get zapped into us at the moment of the new birth, any more than at the physical birth. It has to be developed as we respond, in faith, to challenging circumstances.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (I Joh 4:7-11)
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven..” (Mat 5:44-45)
Developing God’s likeness – his character traits – in this life is what qualifies us to take dominion in the world to come.
“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?…Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted…And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But The Chosen One / Messiah / Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Heb 2:5-11,18; 3:5-6)
Adam was only the first who chose to suffer and die rather than separate from his beloved. Moses was another one who chose to suffer afflictions and risk death rather than lose his identity as a man of God.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of The Anointed One / Messiah / Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26)
Every true believer who has merged his/her identity with the Savior can expect to be be faced with opportunities to develop love for God, expressed as staying faithful to him just as he stays faithful to us, forgiving trespasses against us and loving our enemies, and bringing his kingdom into play within our sphere of influence.
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
“…ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Yahweh’s Anointed Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Yahweh’s Anointed Savior/Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Yahweh’s Anointed Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 1:7-9)
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends...I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me...He that hateth [rejects] me hateth [rejects] my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated [rejected] both me and my Father.” (John 15:12-24)
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Yahweh’s Anointed Savior / Messiah Yeshua / Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Yahweh’s Savior/Yeshua/Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yahweh’s Consecrated Savior / Yeshua Messiah / Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:4-11)
There is another way in which God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. He could simply have squashed Satan like a bug when Satan defied him, but he didn’t deign to battle Satan directly. God’s choice of weak humans to rule the world is validated, and his kingdom is staffed and strengthened at the expense of Satan’s, with every human who renounces the kingdom of darkness and is born into the kingdom of God.
In the next post, we’ll look at the kingdom of darkness.
To summarize what we’ve discovered so far:
God created the universe and gave dominion to mankind, one of whom allowed Satan to insinuate his way into power by following his leadership. God knew that would happen, and already had planned a dual-nature appointed Savior who, as God, had the power to overcome sin, and as human could provide for remission of sins, redemption from Satan’s ownership, and restoration of God’s righteousness for all humans who will believe on, and identify with, him. We don’t see full restoration of dominion yet, because God is pro-choice. He allows free will. God doesn’t force his company on anyone, he waits for people to voluntarily accept his offer to have a love relationship with him. At this stage, it’s the job of redeemed humans to share that message of life – now and forever – with as many humans as possible.