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Belief in God Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Only in Jesus is found the way, the truth and the life

In John chapter 14 Jesus tells His disciples not to be worried because He has a plan and that plan includes a place (actually a ‘residence’) in heaven prepared for them.

John 14:1-4 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Firstly, Jesus identifies Himself as God  (verse 1). He speaks with full knowledge as only the omniscient God can. Here He speaks in absolute terms. He does not say “If you stay away from sin, or if you are good, then I will give you a mansion in heaven”. No, His language is definite. The disciples were chosen and from the moment they were saved they had this promise of eternal life in heaven. But they were not saved until later, which we read in John chapter 20. That was after Jesus’ resurrection.

John 20:21,22 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you: as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you. 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive you the Holy Ghost:

It was then they were born again as real Christians. Jesus breathed His Spirit into them that they might be saved and have the Holy Spirit indwell them. This was a pivotal point in the lives of the disciples as it is in the lives of those saved by God now. All saved Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives the believer an understanding of spiritual things (John 14:26). But at this time, in John 14, they did not have that understanding. Jesus said,

John 14:4,5 And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we know not where You go; and how can we know the way?

Even though Jesus spoke of preparing a place for them in heaven, they did not understand.  Jesus even said that they knew where and the way they knew also. But they didn’t have the understanding of the Holy Spirit to recognise it at that time.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him [Thomas], I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.

Categories
Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Holy Spirit: Indwelling or Filling?

All saved Christians receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes some get a big dose of it at salvation, sometimes some get it at another time, but all believers have the Spirit of God dwelling in them otherwise they are not of Christ. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

romans-8-9Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit upon their rebirth–their salvation.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel [good news] of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

No believer can be without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh [i.e. not controlled by the flesh], but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

The Apostle Paul hits it from two sides. If you are saved the Spirit of God dwells in you and if you don’t have the Spirit of God in you then you are not saved. God wanted the message to be very clear.

Some ask for the Holy Spirit, others just get zapped the moment they receive Jesus Christ, but all get the Holy Spirit regardless of their circumstances. Read Holy Ghost Baptism. It is given as a seal (or proof) of salvation and as the power to witness for Christ.

Categories
God hermeneutics

When did God first appear on Earth?

Soon after arriving in Indonesia in the early 1980’s I remember when I first heard the Indonesian expression Roh Kudus meaning the Holy Spirit that I had the impression it gave me the feeling of a soft gentle loving God. The Indonesian word ‘roh’ meaning ‘spirit’ is probably derived from Arabic as are many Indonesian words. And since Arabic and Hebrew share a common source, both being semitic languages, it is no coincidence then that ‘roh’ sounds very similar to the Hebrew word רוַּח ruach.

The first time the Hebrew word appeared in our history was in the first words in the book of beginnings–the book of Genesis verses 2. Here we read Genesis 1:1-2 where the first bolded Hebrew word (reading right to left) is Ruach.

 בְּ·רֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַ·שָּׁמַ֖יִם וְ·אֵ֥ת הָ·אָֽרֶץ׃
וְ·הָ·אָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָ·בֹ֔הוּ וְ·חֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־ פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְ·ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־ פְּנֵ֥י הַ·מָּֽיִם׃

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)

The second verse there, Genesis 1:2, is transliterated as follows:

wə·hā·’ā·reṣ, hā·yə·ṯāh  ṯō·hū  wā·ḇō·hū,  wə·ḥō·šeḵ  ‘al-  pə·nê  ṯə·hō·wm;  wə·rū·aḥ  ’ĕ·lō·hîm, mə·ra·ḥe·p̄eṯ  ‘al-  pə·nê  ham·mā·yim. (Strong’s meaning are actively linked)

The Hebrew words,  רוַּח אֱלוֹהִים  Ruach Elohim, describe God’s presence in the beginning of the world. The Hebrew word ruach can mean either ‘wind’ or ‘spirit’. So how do we know which meaning is intended in this most very important verse?

Hovering eagle

Categories
Belief in God Bible prophecy Book of Revelation

Revelation 5

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The ‘book’ with 7 seals is introduced from the throne room of God. It is actually in the form of a manuscript, rolled up into a scroll, and sealed with 7 seals (v.1). The ‘book’ must be constructed is such a way that seven scrolls are connected together, but each individually has a seal that must be broken to read it. The scrolls are written on both sides. In the following chapter (chapter 6) these seals are opened one after another, up to the sixth seal, each allowing a part of the book to be read. In chapter 7 the final seal is broken and the last book is opened.

Verse 2 opens with an angel asking “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”  To which it is replied ‘no one’ (v.3). In verses 3 and 4 the word ‘man’ appears in the KJV, but there is no word in Greek for ‘man.’ At the time of the translation ‘man’ had a generic meaning referring to ‘one’ as used today. In the traditional Greek text translation KJ3 the expression used for ‘no man’ is ‘no one’, as is found in many other translations. Thus it would seem to imply ‘no one regardless of who or where they are.’ St. John says he wept (v.4) because no one was found to open the book.

Categories
Belief in God Bible prophecy Book of Revelation

Revelation 4

The book of Revelation chapters 4 and 5 introduce us to the throne room of God with 24 elders, 4 strange four-faced beasts, and the Lord God who lives forever and ever.

Verse 1 opens with the Lord God speaking. The “first voice…as of a trumpet” uses the same expression as in v.10 “a great voice as a trumpet”, which from v.11 we know is clearly identified as the Lord God. Thus John is given a vision of the throne room of God (v.2) set in the heavens as with the rainbow (Ezekiel 1:28). The Lord God who sat on the throne appeared to shine like “a jasper and a sardine stone” (v.3). From Revelation 21:11 we learn that a jasper is not the same as we know today but is a clear crystal that has a brilliant shine. So it could be a diamond. God’s throne is described also by Isaiah (chapter 6)  and Ezekiel (chapter 1 & 10).

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Throne room of God

There are 24 elders seated around the throne of God (v.4). Who or what they represent is debated still. They have “white raiment” which often signifies salvation and “crowns of gold” where the Greek word for ‘crown’ here is ‘stephanos,’ meaning laurels, the prize won in public games, or a symbol of honour. This is not the same as ‘diadema’ the Greek word for a kingly crown. This word for crown (stephanos) was used in v. 3:11 in relation to the believers enduring the trials and tests of life unto the end whence he/she will receive a crown (a reward) as a winner, but not meaning to win salvation, which can only come through grace.

Categories
Belief in God Biblical doctrines

What is the meaning of Repent?

John the Baptist and Jesus Christ opened their ministries on Earth calling for repentance (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15). Jesus, in His Revelation to John, called the church of Ephesus to repent.

Revelations 2:5 Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place, except you repent. (KJVER)

The Revelation might be shrouded in symbolism but Jesus was clear in His admonition. They need to μετανοέω (metanoeo) the Greek word translated ‘repent’ in the New Testament. Do ‘the first works’? Believe, for those who have not yet believed, and for many, get back to God!

Categories
Belief in God

On faith of believers and apostates

Faith Defined, And Its Properties Described

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. A great part of the world, when they hear the word faith, conceive it to be nothing more than a common assent to the evangelical history. And even those, who say God is the object of faith, tend to mislead miserable souls through their vain speculations. It is true, that faith relates to the one God; but there must be added a knowledge of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. God Himself would be altogether concealed from us, if we were not illuminated by the brightness of Christ. Paul, when he speaks of faith in God, does not contradict his frequent inculcation of faith in Christ; and Peter most suitably connects them together, when he says, “by Him [we] do believe in God” (1 Peter 1:21).

2. The evil of concealing Christ must be attributed to the schoolmen [philosophers, theologians]. These schoolmen have not only concealed Christ, but fabricated the notion of implicit faith, that is, a blind faith of submitting their understanding to the Church. Implicit faith breeds ignorance and eradicates knowledge. But true faith is based on knowledge and understanding, yea, even explicit knowledge of the Divine goodness (Romans 10:10).

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Belief in God

By the water and the blood and the fire

What is Declared Concerning Christ Rendered to Us by the Secret Operation of the Spirit

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. What Christ has received from His Father is nothing to us, till we are united to Him. Though it is true that we obtain this by faith, we see that the communication of Christ, offered in the Gospel, is not embraced by all. This leads us to inquire into the secret energy of the Holy Spirit, by which we are introduced to the enjoyment of Christ and all His benefits.

In 1 John 5:6,

This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (KJVER)

it is declared that Christ came by water and blood that the Spirit may testify concerning Him. It is the Spirit that seals the ablution [cleansing] and sacrifice of Christ. For which reason Peter also says, that believers are “elect . . . through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2). This passage suggests to us, that our souls are purified by the secret ablution of the Spirit, that the effusion of that sacred blood may not be in vain. For the same reason also Paul, when speaking of purification and justification, says, we enjoy both “in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). The sum of all is this—that the Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ efficaciously unites us to Himself.

Categories
Bible prophecy The Papacy Trials and temptations

Matthew 24 prophecy

In recent years I have read and studied the eschatological beliefs of the Reformers and of Sir Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) as well as Henry Grattan Guinness (1835 – 1910). As a result I have changed my view of Bible prophecy from the futurist view to that of a historical view, where I now see that a lot of prophecy has already been fulfilled.1

A lot of Matthew chapter 24 has been fulfilled but one very important aspect–the Return of Christ in final judgment–still remains unfulfilled. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER)2 used.)

Matthew 24:1,2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show him the buildings of the temple.  2 And Jesus said to them, See you not all these things? verily I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (All bold are emphases added)

Here Christ predicts the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, around which all Jewish life revolved. This was fulfilled exactly in 70 A.D., which is 40 years after His death on the Cross and is within what we could call the generation of those He was speaking to—His disciples.

Categories
Belief in God Creation New Age religions worldview

A Letter to a New Age mother

Dear Mum

The [New Age related] news clipping you sent me claiming that we, humans, are all gods I believe is utterly deceptive and of Satan. Though, what the author states is not really anything new. It is very ancient. The idea started in the Garden of Eden when the Devil tempted Adam and Eve, telling them that they could become as gods, knowing good and evil. Read Genesis chapters 2 & 3.

It is a lie of the Devil that says “you are god” (Genesis 3:5) or “god is in you”. That is not so. God is extant to His creation. We are part of His creation. Can the created say to the Creator ‘we are gods’? No, but that is the lie of the Devil.

Jesus called the Devil a liar from the beginning of time.

You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44, KJVER)