Thursday 31 December 2009

Calling on the Name (part 2)

17 Tebeth 32/40

We have already concluded that the name should be held in honour by those it was invoked upon. And it is a matter of fact that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20). On one hand, notice the word ’where’. This does not need to be a place where a claim is made to be the ’house of God’, specially built for meeting purposes. It may be in the houses we live (Rom.16:5; 1Cor.16:19; Col.4:15; Phm.1:2). The house-churches are simply people of God gathering together in fellowhip. If there is no such chance in a house we may go to the ’river-side’, where and if there is not too much disturbance (Acts 16:13).The main purpose of any gathering is the apostles’ doctrine, fellowhip, breaking of bread (eating our food together with delight) and prayers (Acts 2:42). Alas! There are many professed Christians who do not even pray in their families, even as believing, married couples. Their houses are very divided on this matter. What a nightmare! I remember a lady who, several years ago, divorced her husband, saying „he is not walking in faith, but in hope”. And she claimed that her pastor actually talked about this in church. What sort of asinine infatuity! What a mere craziness! The believing husband and wife, including their children, if any, are the smallest group in which the promise of the Christ is in effect, when they are gathered in his name. Most of them neither fellowship nor pray together, until they go once in a week to their designated ’spot’, which is actually a building. However the worship of the Father is meant to be „in spirit and in truth” and not restricted to any type of edifice. As saints of the Most High, we are „...not to forsake the assembling of ourselves ... (Heb.10:25). While aseembled, we get to know one another, share things, weep and rejoice together. We simply share one another’s burdens. Yet there are instances when one belonging to a mega-church or a bigger gathering think that what makes a church is how plenty they are. But this is absolutely wrong. The situation prevailing in John Mark’s mother’s house reinforces the word of the Lord and through their prayers a miracle took place (Acts 16:16). Is that not a fellowship? Hence the church of God may convene at any place. The fellowship of the saints, based on the apostles’ doctrine, is what defines a church – wherever that may be - and the local church is only one in any settlement by name, but fellowhip may take place at several places within that area. Look at how our Lord addresses the churches of Asia in the revelation God gave him! We cannot have two types of churches in any one settlement, and still expect both to belong to the Lord, while they have noting to do with each other. That is contrary to the spirit of Christ. It is either only one or none is of the Lord. On the other hand, this promise of our Lord (Matt.18:20) is true irrespective of whether or not you have certain sensations, as it is usual to say in mega-churches, where there is little or no trace left again of a real fellowship. There are occassions when the Lord is present with more power and glory, for example, to heal the sick or the broken-hearted, but this does not mean each and everyone experiences him in the same degree. Someone sitting-by may not be experiencing anything, and to make inferences that such a person is not devoted to the Lord enough is pure madness.

All the above sound true of two or three gathered together in the Lord’s name, but what is the situation with an individual? Every act of turning to the Lord whether in thansgiving, praise and worship, or in intercessions and requests is an equivalent of calling on the name by those who trust in him. This is much more true of people who are always on the move – on errand or because of the nature of their daily activities. We are here not talking about self-appointed busy-bodies who call themselves ministers and they suck-out (by force) the milk, even the life-blood of the sheep. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Elijah and others (cf. Gen.12:8; 26:25; Ex.17:15; Judg.6:24; 1Kings 18:32 ) called upon YHVH by building altars to Him. Those who belong to YHVH cannot forget Him, not even when they are moving from one place unto another.

I was, with my wife, mistakenly at a Christian service (should I have said fellowhip? Nay, it was not one) more than two weeks ago and there was ’praise and worship’, in which the designated leader was, at a particular time, telling the choir what song to sing with what musical instrument. He came to a point where he commanded a song to be accompanied only by piano. Then the manipulation was complete. They were all trying to conjure up something, in mantra-like format, repeating the name of Jesus many many times, but fortunately nothing much succeeded, only with a handful of individuals, one of which was healed in her right ear. The question is, would this miracle have happened without their mantra? I do not know. One thing is that repetition of the name of our Lord may make things happen, but that does not mean they are from God. In such a circumstance as the above miracles, freedom from demon possession and prophecy may all take place in the name of Jesus, but should the conclusion always be that the Lord is using the speaker? On the face of it nothing can happen unless the Father sanctions it. But to conclude that it happens because it is the will of God may not be the right mindset. We have heard many a people saying they believe an individual to be of God because mircacles happen through them. They may as well accept either Simon the magician or the witch of Endor or Balaam the man of divination.

We have encountered on many occassions when an usurper of authority (an anti-Christ at heart who calls himself a chief pastor) was even issuing commands to the holy Spirit to heal and fill certain individuals by name, in the name of Jesus. Such people have turned themselves into ’intermediary controllers’ of the Spirit, a role which only belongs to the Christ after his resurrection, when all authority was given to him in heaven and on the earth (Matt.28:18). This is blaspheme at best, of which there are plenty. Haven’t you heard in certain circles that at the start of their service they do bind the Devil in the name of Jesus? Who can bind the Accuser for now? Is it yet time for him to be bound? (Rev.20:2) To which place are they binding him? What a blaspheme and waste of energy and time? Still some are often ready to make a throne for Jesus or crown him as king whenever they come together. You cannot make him king - he is already one under the Father’s authority and he sits on the Father’s throne, and rightly so whether this fact is accepted or not.

Matt 7:
21 . Not everyone saying unto me, Lord, Lord!, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but he who is doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens. 22 Many will be declaring to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out demons and in thy name done many powerful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you! depart from me, workers of lawlessness.

Saturday 21 November 2009

Calling on the Name

6 Kislev 32/40

Several years ago a brother I was in fellowship with rebuked me for sometimes using ’in the name of Jesus’ at the end of my prayers. He said that should only be said by the person going to conclude all prayers and put an end to it. I have thought about this recently, but in a different context. I have pondered on it many times if I was using the name as a magic, meaning like a rubber stamp without which my prayers would not be answered. My reflection tells me that I have used it in such a way before, not actually trusting the Lord, but just using his name to accomplish something or getting results.

It is recorded in Genesis 4:26 „And to Seth, to him also a son hath been born, and he calleth his name Enos; then a start was made of calling on the name of YHWH.” But what sense should be made of this particular statement? Does it mean that there was never a worshipping of YHWH before then? What in fact were Cain and Abel doing when they both presented offerings, in which YHWH gave heed to Abel and not to Cain, and for the reason why Cain murdered his brother (Gen. 4:3-5)? Were their offerings act of calling on the name of YHWH, despite that the name was not yet made known by the Owner himself (Ex. 6:3)? How could the time of Enos then be a start for calling the name of YHWH? Does it rather mean a profanation of the name? A profanation seems more likely in the sense of taking and using the name in vanity or in the form of swearing. The people of Enos’ days may have been using the name for other purposes rather than worshipping the Owner. They might be using it in their magic spells through the influence and control of the Adversary; conjuring things up with the name.

Whatever the case may be this topic here is all about using the name, either legally or not for a particularly purpose; either for help or for profanation.

It must be admitted that the name YHVH was not declared until the records of Exodus.

Nevertheless in the book of Enoch, one called Shemyaza – one of the rebels – whose name means „he sees the name” may have been instrumental in declaring the name to human conterparts of the rebellion. And if the name was not yet made known through the proper channel, then we are actually talking about a wrong usage; a profanation indeed, or should we say the taking of the name for futility, in vain (Ex. 20:7). Taking the name for futility is not the same as not calling on it at all, fearing we might end up using it in vain, just as YHVH was many times in Scriptures altered to Adonai by the Sopherim, and read and pronounced as such to avoid irreverence. If we were to do a transliteration in English, both would be Lord, but there is still a difference. Adonai has a common usage, while YHVH does not. Taking the name in futility is a conscious activity. There are some who swear in the name and haste to make things happen using the name. The name should be held and called on for help, in honour, dignity and majesty by those who know Him.

But what name are we referring to, and what is in the name? The name is YHWH, belonging to Him who inhabits all Eternity. The name carries the authority of Him who is the only Good, the One True God; Him who no man have seen nor can see --- the Invisible, the Wise, the Immortal, Him who is the Absolute Light and the Father of all spirits and spirit-beings. From the pages of Scriptures, the name -YHWH - is clear beyond doubt. And this is the basic tenet of the derivative name we know as Jesus the Christ (Yah’shua Ha-Maschiah) or, in plain language, The Anointed Salvation of YHWH. It means the Arm of YHWH which Saves. It is the Anointed YHWH our Salvation (our Saviour). All beings and entities authorised to carrying the name may show up as if it is their own name. They bear the name under the authority of Him who sends, and one of the bearers is anointed above his fellows (Ps.45:7).

Let me say that we are to call on the name on different occassions, but with a better understanding and not as a magic. The name is invoked on the baptized by immersion, signifying the death and resurrection of the Lord, and not as ’in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Sprirt’, since this phrase in essence is referring to the Name – one name – which carries the authority of the Father, in obedience to the Son, in the power of the holy Spirit. The name was given before our Lord was born. The Lord kept his first disciples in what he called „Thy name to those You gave me” (John 17). The same thing applies to the prayer he taught the disciples: „Hallowed be Thy name”.

The name, as said earlier, carries the authority of the Father. It has nothing to do with the Trinity doctrine, in which certain people are baptized „in the name of God the Father and God the Son and God the holy Spirit”. That formula, at best, portrays polytheism, but this is a different matter. The authority of the Father was portrayed in many instances. Whatever it is that Jesus is and has, including his name, originates from God (John 5:43; 17:7). This is what is meant by the name YHWH (12:13, 28). Jesus refers to it as his own name and that the Spirit will be sent to bear witness in his name (14:26). In the book of Acts it is seen that the name referred to for baptism is simply and unanimously that of the only-born Son of God – Jesus the Christ. This is the name invoked on us (James 2:7). The name invoked on us is the name we put on and bear, because we have been made new creatures in him. This name is the name that is above every other name, as is recorded in Phillipians 2:5-11

5 For, let this mind be in you that is also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God, 7 nevertheless did empty himself, the form of a slave having taken, coming to be in likeness of human, 8 and in fashion having been found as a human, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death - death by the cross, 9 wherefore, also, God did highly exalt him, and gave to him a name that is above every name, 10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing - celestial, and terrestial, and subterranean - 11 and every tongue should be confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father.

Thus it is and will be. We should see to it that the name is not blasphemed because of us. The name of Jesus inspires songs of praise and adoration.It is a shield and bulwark; it is a strong tower into which the righteous and holy ones run, and are saved and delivered. It is the name to which we gather for fellowship and worship. It is this name of the Father that His son declares to us as his brethren, and, as one of us, sings praises (hymns) (Heb.2:12-13).

Saturday 17 October 2009

Towards an understanding of worship

1Heshvan 32/40

The word translated worship in most cases in Scriptures is one of the least understood because of our Western mindset which has nearly succeeded in restricting its use. Indeed this word in Hebrew or Aramaic may mean any of the following, according to Strong:

„to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God):--bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

From the Greek language Strong provides us also with its various meanings:

from G4314 and a probable derivative of G2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand);

to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage

(do reverence to, adore):--worship.

I believe some of us have seen how Arabs, some Africans and Japanese greet one another. The way these people greet themselves is a sign of mutual respect to one another. Some African boys and men, if not all, (nearly) flatly prostrate to the ground to greet their parents and the elderly, and their girls and women bow the kneel or literally kneel to do the same; also remember how Saddam Hussein’s subjects revered him in his palaces?; take another glance at the various kissings of the right hand or ring of the cardinal of Rome called Pope!; observe the repeated bows Japanese render to one another; and finally how beggars on the streets do reverence, in request to have our mercies (help) in meeting some of their needs. All these are examples of what the language of the Bible would have called worship, and indeed they are.

It is very easy to understand worship in a context related to God, but not when it is related to men, at least not for all in the Western world. Is this probably because of our human equal rights, or due to ignorance, or our poorly designed democratic settings? Let us now see worship in the human and / or angelic context in verses below.

Gen 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men (mortals) stood by him: and when he saw [them], he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground

We would not deal per se with who these mortals are, but it is enough to say they are messengers sent on errand by YHVH, and for that matter they carry that name, because they have the authority and the power of that name in their message. As these were heavenly (angelic) beings how could they have appeared to Abraham in human form, even eating food prepared by his family? This is the question that had bothered many that they do not even understand the irruption of angels recorded in Gen.6:1-4, just as Augustine of Hippo tried to explain away the obvious.

It is two of the three mortals (see their other titles as angels, meaning messengers, below) that arrived at the entrance to Sodom, where Lot was sitting. This verse reveals what worship is in deed. It is to fall on one’s face to the ground. It is not our Western thing – we have been ’psyched’ to accept - which looks one another eyeball to eyeball. What we are discussing is rather a God-given respect. It is like bowing the neck, so to speak.

Gen 19:1 And coming are two of the messengers to Sodom in the evening. And Lot is sitting in the gateway of Sodom. And seeing them is Lot, and rising is he to meet them. And prostrating is he, nostrils to the earth.

Gen 23: 7 And Abraham rose up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, [even] to the children of Heth. 8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in the midst of you for a possession of a burying-place. 10 Now Ephron was sitting in the midst of the children of Heth. And Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 Nay, my lord, hear me. The field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee. In the presence of the children of my people give I it thee. Bury thy dead. 12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land.

Est 3:2 All the king's courtiers in the king's gateway were bowing down and prostrating themselves before Haman; for so were the instructions the king had given concerning him. As for Mordecai, he did neither bow down nor prostrate himself.

Est 3:5 When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing down nor prostrating himself before him, Haman was filled with fury.

This verse is carrying exactly the same notion as that seen in the case of Abraham and Lot above. Haman had the authority of the king for the people to be worshipping him. There was this man who denied him worship, because the exercise was not ordained of God. Haman went mad because of this. It is a way of saying that Mordecai refuses to give Haman the respect he was looking for. This is an opposite example of what we have been discussing so far.

Ps 45:11 The king yearns for your loveliness, For he is your lord; worship him.

It is very easy for us, after the redemption wrought by Christ on our behalf, to see and read everything as solely applicable to the Messiah. To be sure Scriptures testify of him, but that does not mean it is not applicable to others also, as his type. He is the son of David, hence the reality is in him, but David equally had the same type of manifestation. The relationship portrayed in this Psalm is that of love between the king and his wife, the princess (a daughter of Zion), which is the same between Christ and the Church, the same essence between husband and wife in this present age. This Psalm applies to David while he was alive, in the fist instance. He is the lord (head) of this daughter of Zion, just as the God-ordained hierarchy in 1Cor.13:3 („But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.”) shows GodàChristàhusbandàwife.

Josh 5:13 . And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, [Are] you for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, No; but [as] captain of the host of the YHVH am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

Whether the entity referred to here is human or angelic does not make any difference. It is Joshua’s understanding of the situation to be commended, having the right attitude that someone greater than him is in front of him. He asked his questions and was given the right answers. What made him to fall on his face, to the commander (captain) or prince of YHVH’s host? Is it not because the commander carries the authority of YHVH and act on His behalf? Is it not because he is on errands for God Shaddai? Even Balaam the Apostate [was compelled to] understand what worship is.

Num 22:31 Yahweh exposed the eyes of Balaam so that he saw the messenger of Yahweh stationed in the road with his drawn sword in his hand. So he bowed his head and bowed himself down, with his nostrils to the ground.

Dan 2:46 . Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

People trying to undermine our religion would say this is not possible. All they need to really see is the notion behind it. It is God that exalted Daniel, and when Nebuchadnezzar saw the mighty acts of God (Heb: Eloah) in Daniel, he came to the conclusion that this is the God of Gods. He is the Highest God, the Most High. God makes ones enemy to be at peace with him in such circumstances, at least for a while. And that may not be a life-long thing, but it does happen. Paul talks about brothers who glorified God in him. Such events are very common in the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

There are cases in which God gives promises to his faithful servants how their enemies will prostrate and worship them. God reveals his glory in this way several times just to show His power and authority. He is the holy, happy and blessed God. He did it in Joseph’s life, after giving him promise through a dream, despite rebutal from his father and brothers. God does this to make a ’show’ of the people He loves. The book of God’s revelation to Jesus Christ (1:1) even tells us a similar thing. All of them will be saying the same thing: ’We have come, because we have seen the One and Only True God, the Light in you. We acknowledge that the God you serve is the God of Jesus Christ the Saviour. Glory to His name now and for all ages. Amen’

Gen 37:10 And relating it is he to his father and to his brothers. And rebuking him is his father, and saying to him, "What dream is this which you dream? Shall I and your mother and your brothers come, yea, come to prostrate to you to the earth?"

Isa 49:23 and kings become your foster fathers, and their chiefesses your wet nurses. Nostrils to the earth, shall they prostrate to you, and the soil at your feet shall they lick up. Then you shall know that I am Yahweh, and those expecting Me shall not be ashamed."

Isa 60:14 And go to you to prostrate shall all the sons of your humiliators, and worship at the soles of your feet shall all your spurners. And they call you the city of Yahweh, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Re 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

We are beginning to see how worship is first a sign of respect and reverence for another. Secondly we can now see how it is a revelation of how He deserves our worship, through humans or angelic beings. That happens only because God sanctions it. As sons of God, just like Jesus the Lord and the angelic host, the Father deserves our worhip, and we should always admonish one another with HalleluYah! Praise YAH! Praise the LORD! There are hundreds of calls to worship in the book of Psalms. We have to worship Him with our whole being, for He is good, and His mercies endures forever. The LORD God Almighty is the goal of every worship. The entire universe – the heavens, the earth, the stars, the moon, the sun, the waters, the deeps, the mountains, etc - reels with His praise and worship. The heavens declare or rehearse His glory with different utterances, yet in utterances beyond human words (Ps.19).

Ps 95:6 Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before Yahweh, our Maker.

Ps 132:7 Let us go to His Grand Tabernacle; Let us worship at His footstool.

Ps 22:27 All the limits of the earth shall remember and return to Yahweh; All the families of the nations shall worship before Him.

Ps 86:9 All nations which You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Yahweh, And they shall glorify Your Name.

Rev 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God.

And now we come to the last section about how worship relates to our Lord Jesus Christ. We have seen certain aspects of how it relates to him pre-incarnate (Gen.18, Josh.5, etc), but here below we will consider him incarnate and after that. In his earthly life we see him being worshipped in the ways we have seen above, especially as one sent on errand by his God, to take human form, die on the pole to reconcile us back to God. These are recognitions that God was working mightily in him. As a prophet? Nay, more than a prophet. As the son of God, as the only-begotten, the only-born God (Jn.1:18).

In the not-too-famous song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb (Deut. 31:14 – 32:44; Rev.15:3) we could see something spectacular.

Dt 32:43 Jubilate, O heavens, together with Him, and worship Him, all the messengers of Elohim! Jubilate, O nations, with His people! For the blood of His servants shall He avenge, vengeance to His foes shall He return, and a propitiatory shelter shall He make for His ground for His people.

We could see from this conclusion to the song of Moses that the heavens are being called upon to rejoice with him, and all messengers of God are to worship him. In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer says „whenever He (God) may again be leading the Firstborn into the inhabited earth, He is saying: And worship Him, all messengers of God!” (1:6). Worshipping the Messiah is under the direct authority of God based on the following: 1) he was ordained as the redeemer and 2) he was obedient and faithful to the Father in all his dealings at all times. If there is any other who deserves our respect and obedience, he deserves them the most. So when he first appeared in human form the Father received praise and worship through him through his teachings, preachings, actiions and miraculous powers. And so when he again comes into the world all the messengers of God will worship him. We would see the authority of the Father in him, and all who sees this will give God the glory through him.

What is also easy to see after Jesus was born is that Herod was jealous, like Haman was, and nearly lured the wise-men to let him know where he is. This king Herod could not imagine another person as king. He murdered many children because of his jealousy over the Lord.

Mat 2: 2 Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel. 7 Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found [him,] bring me word, that I also may come and worship him. 9 And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

As already pointed out there is a ’natural’, God-ordained line of respect, for example the 5th commandment. And within the family the husband is the head of the wife. This does not mean that the husband should not love and respect his wife. The Christ is the head of every husband and God is the head of Christ. Hence in all objectivity Chist should be worshipped as the son of God. The same continued after his resurrection.

Mat 14:33 Now those in the ship worship Him, saying, "Truly, God's Son art Thou!"

Mat 28:9 Now, as they went to report to His disciples, lo! Jesus also meets them saying, "Rejoice!" Now they, approaching, hold His feet and worship Him.

Mat 28:17 and having seen him, they bowed to him, but some did waver.

Despite all this the Lord Jesus should not be confused with the Lord God Almighty. This fact cannot be more clearer than the verses below. Jesus makes us holy in our walk with him. At the same time the sanctifier and we, the sanctified, have one and only one Origin. We are from the same Father of lights. For this purpose our Lord is making the Father’s name known to us. This is our experience in the sanctification process. It is a part of our growth in holiness. Amongst us and as one of us he sings praises (hymns) to the Father. We should rather be saying that our Lord Jesus has a God and Father. He is a God who worships the Almighty God. Hence he is a subordinate God, and the Almighty God is the ultimate object of our worship, Jesus’ included. Jesus is our head, the head of the ecclesia of God.

Heb 2:11 For both He Who is hallowing and those who are being hallowed are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to be calling them brethren 12 saying, I shall be reporting Thy name to My brethren, In the midst of the ecclesia shall I be singing hymns to Thee. 13 And again, I shall have confidence in Him. And again, Lo! I and the little children who are given Me by God!

In the domain of the Adversary things are done semblance to the kingdom of light, since the Devil transforms himself as an angel of light. That is just an imitation as could be seen in the following verse that the Dragon gives authority to the beast, and both the Dragon and the beast are worshipped. Remember that the Dragon is using hijacked authority, that which is originally God’s. He is a rebel, and all who follow him are rebels. They are rebelling against the God whom Jesus the Christ is obeying. And all who are and will be worshipping the Devil and all that belong to him will surely be rewarded to know they are but loosers, because the Enemy is and has deceived them

Rev 13:4 and they worship the dragon who did give authority to the beast, and they worship the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to war with it?

Re 16:2 and the first did go away, and did pour out his vial upon the land, and there came a sore-bad and grievous-to men, those having the emblem of the beast, and worship his image.

To whom respect, honour and prostration is due let it be given to them, in a way that we do not compromise the truth which comes from the God of all spirits. We should always remember that God has ordained respect in a certain way in the family, community and society at large. All this respect is meant to point to the Lord God Almighty, who is the ultimate and sole object of our worship and that of the Lord Jesus. Hence whatever we do to our parents, friends, neighbours, associates, school-teachers, bosses, governors, magistrates and king should be a reflection of what God commands, so that He is praised in our lives.

Re 14:7 saying with a loud voice, "Be ye afraid of God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judging came; and worship the Maker of heaven and the land and the sea and the springs of water."

Re 19:4 And the twenty-four elders and the four animals fall and worship God,Who is sitting on the throne, saying, "Amen! Hallelujah!"

Wednesday 16 September 2009

The approved, the qualified

32/40 Elul 28

There is a lot of futile talk these days in Christian circles towards the classification of Christians. Several years ago a presbyter of a christian organisation died. Before his death, he fell out of grace with the Chief pastor. Be reminded that the Chief pastor in this case does not refer to our Lord Jesus Christ, but rather the head of the organisation where this man belonged to. We heard the story that this pastor paid to have him taken to so-called „big men of God” around the world. None of them was having the power to have him healed. Then he died.

The pastor started narrating how he was not walking with the Lord while still alive. He gave allusions to how he talked with him to amend his ways and have the right relationship with the Lord, or words to that effect. Nearly everyone I knew at that time within the organisation agreed with the pastor and they parroted what he said whether rightly or wrongly. If we assume that this pastor actually said what was reported of him, we could then ask if this is the right mindset or not. Does it agree with the mind of Christ? Later on it became a doctrine in that organisation that if you, as a christian, are sick of any type of disease then it is as a result that you are not walking with the Lord. But how should this madness be dealt with?

James 5:11 Lo, we call happy those who are enduring; you heard the endurance of Job and you have percieved the consummation of the Lord, that very compassionate is the Lord, and pitying.

You must have seen Christians suffering around you, either physically, spiritually or both, and in certain instances they do not have any explanations for their conditions. And neither you. Lest we jump into conclusions there are several reasons why Christians are tried. Whatever the case s/he who have endured trial becomes approved; hence s/he is [called] happy.There is no such thing as someone either exclusively having it fine or under trial for the rest of their lives, but these are like passing through peaks and troughs, walking on the mountain and sometimes down in the valley. For those who have experienced both there is no need to introduce them to atmospheric conditions prevailing in those places. „On the mountain and in the valley, on the land and in the sea, the Lord is the portion ... „ of his beloved, goes the song. And make no mistakes, there would be trials. It is one of our promises as followers of the Christ. And if you are not having any trials, I have no good news for you. You are simply not walking according to the Anointed. But why do trials come?

It is good that trials come, because they make us know the depth of our own hearts. You may say that God knows how we are going to react to trials, so why does He still allow it to happen? Do you mean to say that what God knows should not come into material existence? How would it otherwise be plain to you? How would you know the depths of your heart? It is in those circumstances that you would be able to see how much you love God or how much you are lagging behind? Trials might become for us ’writing on the wall’ that „We are weighed and are found wanting.” Even with such a language the righteous stands upright, shakes himself from the dust, repents and moves on in the grace of the Anointed Lord. The believer, in such situation, learns not to depend on the „arm of flesh”.

There are germs in our souls, from which we should be purified. They are in various forms. They may be in the form of what we desire and are lusting for, deep down within us. They may be greater than God, in the subjective sense, that we do not even know. Hence they become idols, graven images. And not knowing what is in our souls, we would even make staunch confession of the name of Jesus, not because we are false, but because we do not have absolute control over the reins of our lives. God allows those things to be brought to surface, so that we have some understanding and bow down before Him in the name of the Christ.

Abraham was tried, and he did not fail. He endured in his trial. And he was rewarded for standing the trial. Job was tried. His was very severe and we have some serious lessons to learn from what he endured. He was a man who walked with God. He was flawless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil. Satan, the Adversary seemed to have singled Job out. Why? Because he was upright. Simple and straightforward. Because of Job’s flawlessness Satan asked for him to be tried. Satan got his request. Job was tried. In many ways, not only Job suffered in the trials. His possessions were destroyed, his children died, as well as all his cattles. Everything he had was gone within what would be the „twinkling of the the eye”. All that happened because of a righteous man. So when you see someone died or something destroyed, it is not necessarily because of sin, but the opposite. When people die or things destroyed, we always grumble like atheists, who take God, who does not exist in their rhetorics, responsible for all calamities. And this is the point. You do not know why many things happen the way they do, unless revealed to you. Every answer belongs to God, and He does not owe you any explanation. You may think He does, but you cannot take Him to court. You are not His counsellor or adviser.

Most modern Christians would have dubbed Job a curse from God. In fact they may have said Job suffered because he did not walk with God and was living in sin. There is no reference that Job was living in sin. The opposite is what is recorded about him. He was a God-fearing associate who shuns evil. Modern Christianity, on the way of destruction, have no understanding how someone walking with God could be undergoing such difficult times. The fact is that modern Christianity is creating its god in its own image. Modern Christianity seeks for a god to command, who does all that it requests, at the push of the button, in the magical name of Christ. It tries to make an errand boy out of God and His Christ.

When you, as a follower of the Christ, are undergoing such trials, because Satan asked for you as the righteous of God, things you have possessed and built for many years may begin to fall apart like a house of cards. Remember that you bring nothing to this world – not even your children – and you take nothing with you when you die. You came naked, so also when you go. In trials strive to become cleaner and be at peace with the Father Eloah. We also do have a record of Satan asking for the first disciples of our Lord.

Lk 22:31 Now the Lord said, "Simon, Simon, lo! Satan claims you men, to sift you as grain. 32 Yet I prayed concerning you, that your faith may not be defaulting. And once you turn back, establish your brethren."

In the case of Job and that of Peter it is clear that Satan was at his business of accusation. He is the Accuser of the brethren. He asks, he claims, he makes intercessions before God day and night to get you, the righteous (Rev.12:10), but we have our High-Priest, Jesus making intercessions for us. And since our Lord is the High-Priest we are priests. We pray and make intercessions as well. We should not allow the voice of our Adversary to be heard, but rather our voices.

As a summary, trials happen because of what we are, and that may be due to sins within us, or because we are the redeemed of the Lord, the righteous of God in Christ Jesus. I know it is both. Stand firm in the Lord and endure whatever it is that comes your way till the end, in order to enter into His rest.

James 1:12 Happy is the man who is enduring trial, for, becoming qualified, he will be obtaining the wreath of life, which He promises to those loving Him.

Sunday 26 July 2009

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

6 Av 32/40

I recently heard a message – through an audio CD of a friend who visited me after several years – by a pastor-teacher (I can’t remember exactly what his title is) of a popular charismatic Christian circle. I have to admit, there are certain points for which I deem him to have things right. And there are few on which I think he was off the track. It is one of these vital few I would hereby want to address briefly.

The title above could have suggested that this is all going to be about the Islamic religion. On the contrary it is about a fact, the importance of which has been lost on modern, Hellenistic Christianity. It is about the name Allah. The speaker – mentioned above - was very unfair in his rhetoric about the name. He even misrepresents what he does not know, making a railing accusation regarding it. And I quite understand the premises from which he is coming. That is probably what he has learnt from childhood.

To be sure the name Allah brings a lot of confusion for many Christians of today, since, in the foremost, they lack the basic background required for its understanding. Secondly, Allah cannot be digressed from the Islamic religion. And rightly so. Thirdly, knowing that our Western political landscape is making an enemy of Islam, whether deceitfully or justified, majority of the people have bought into this, Christians included, through the so-called Christian world. But references to Allah in the Hebrew Bible may become very disturbing after all if they would understand language differences. For clarification sake, there are quite some words transliterated as God in the Bible, one of which is Eloah in Hebrew (Elahh in Chaldean). We would dare not go into others, so as not to step beyond our scope.

In Chaldean language Eloah would originally be Elahh as already mentioned.The plural is Elohim (in Hebrew) and Elahhin in the Chaldean. This eastern version of the language, which became Eastern Aramaic and then Arabic, is the reason why Islam says the name of God is Allah'; the double h becoming h' as an aspirant. In the context of Islam, the name Allah, used in the Qur'an, seems to have a linguistic cognate relationship with the Hebrew word "Eloah (אלוה)". If this point is disputable, it could easily be said that nations will always call the Supreme Deity by a name which carries that connotation in their language, and it does not make any difference if the language is English, Hebrew, Chaldean, Aramaic or Arabic. The name of the Supreme Deity is Allah in Arabic. In the verses below you will find original renderings of God in Hebrew and Chaldean for anyone to verify. The Chaldean sounds closest to the Arabic. There are certain books of the Bible which use the name frequently in the form we are hereby discussing. Such books are Ezra-Nehemiah and Daniel, and few instances could be found in Deuteronomy (for the first occurrence), Job, Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah and Habakkuk.

Deut 32:15 When Yeshurun grew stout and kicked (you will be stout, thick and burly), then he abandoned Eloah Who had made him and disgraced the Rock of his salvation.

Deut 32:17 They sacrificed to demons, not Eloah, to elohim--they had not known them before--to new ones that came from nearby; your fathers were not horrified by them.

2Chr 32:15 `And, now, let not Hezekiah lift you up, nor persuade you thus, nor give credence to him, for no elohim of any nation and kingdom is able to deliver his people from my hand, and from the hand of my fathers: also, surely your Eloah does not deliver you from my hand!'

Ezr 4:24 Then the work on the House of Eloah in Jerusalem was halted. And it remained halted until the year two of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezr 5:1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo, prophesied to the Judeans in Judah and in Jerusalem in the name of Eloah of Israel Who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Yeshua son of Yozadak arose and began to rebuild the House of Eloah in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of Eloah, giving them aid.

Ezr 5:5 Yet the eye of their Eloah was over the grey-haired elders of the Judeans; so they did not make them halt while a report went to Darius; then they would reply with a dispatch about this matter.

Ezr 5:8 Let it become known to the king that we departed to the province of Judah to the great House of Eloah. It is being rebuilt of dressed stone and timber placed in the sidewalls. This work is thoroughly done and prospering under their hands.

Ezr 5:11 This is the rescript of what they replied to us saying: We are the servants of Him Who is Eloah of the heavens and the earth. And we are rebuilding the House that had been built a huge number of years before this, when a great king of Israel built it and completed it. 12 Only because our fathers angered Eloah of the heavens, He granted them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon; and he demolished this House and deported the people to Babylon. 13 But in year one of king Cyrus of Babylon, king Cyrus promulgated a decree to rebuild this House of Eloah. 14 And also the vessels of gold and silver of the House of Eloah that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had transferred them to the temple in Babylon--king Cyrus removed them from the temple in Babylon, and they were granted to Sheshbazzar; this was the name of him whom he had appointed viceroy. 15 And he said to him: Carry these vessels with you; depart and put them down in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the House of Eloah be rebuilt on its site. 16 Then this Sheshbazzar arrived and laid the foundations of the House of Eloah in Jerusalem. From then on until now it is being rebuilt; but it is not yet accomplished. 17 And now, if it seems good to the king, let a quest be made in the house of depositories of the king there in Babylon to see whether a decree was actually promulgated from king Cyrus to rebuild this House of Eloah in Jerusalem. Then let the king send his decision in this matter to us.

Ezr 6:3 In year one of king Cyrus, king Cyrus promulgated a decree concerning the House of Eloah in Jerusalem: Let the House be rebuilt, a place for sacrificing sacrifices, and its foundations should be retained. Let its height be sixty cubits and its breadth be sixty cubits,

Ezr 6:5 Also, the gold and silver vessels of the House of Eloah should be returned that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and had transferred to Babylon. Let each go back to the temple in Jerusalem to its place; you shall put it down in the House of Eloah.

Ezr 6:7 Leave the viceroy of the Judeans and the greyhaired elders of the Judeans alone for the work on this House of Eloah. Let them rebuild this House of Eloah on its site. 8 So a decree is being promulgated from me as to what you shall do for these grey-haired elders of the Judeans in the rebuilding of this House of Eloah. Out of the king's resources, from the tribute of the province Beyond-the-Stream, disbursement shall be fully granted to these masters, so as not to halt the work. 9 And what is needed, such as young bulls, rams and lambs for ascent offerings to Eloah of the heavens, wheat, salt, turbid wine and oil, according to the word of the priests in Jerusalem, let it be granted to them day by day without fail, 10 so that they may be offering fragrant incense to Eloah of the heavens and be praying for the life of the king and his sons.

Ezr 6:12 May Eloah Who made His Name tabernacle there, overturn any king or people that stretches out his hand to disobey this rescript by harming this House of Eloah in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have promulgated the decree. Let it be carried out thoroughly.

Ezr 6:14 So the grey-haired elders of the Judeans and the Levites were rebuilding and prospering because of the prophecy of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. Thus they rebuilt and completed the work due to the command of Eloah of Israel and due to a decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Ezr 6:16 The sons of Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the sons of the deportation held the dedication of this House of Eloah with exhilaration.

Ne 9:17 yea, they refuse to hearken, and have not remembered Your wonders that You have done with them, and harden their neck and appoint a head, to turn back to their service, in their rebellion; and You [are] a Eloah of pardons, gracious, and merciful, long-suffering, and abundant in kindness, and have not forsaken them.

Job 3:4 That day! may it be darkness; Let not Eloah from above inquire of it, And let not a light beam shine on it.

Ps 18:31 For is there any Eloah apart from Yahweh? And is there any Rock except our Elohim?

Ps 50:22 Now understand this, you who are forgetting Eloah, Lest I should tear you to pieces, and there be no rescuer.

Ps 139:19 O that You would despatch the wicked, O Eloah, And bloodthirsty men would withdraw from me,

Pr 30:5 Every saying of Eloah is refined; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

Isa 44:8 You must not be afraid! And you must not fear! Have I not hitherto announced it to you, and told it? And you are My witnesses. Forsooth, is there an Eloah apart from Me? And no other Rock is there. I fail to know of any.

Dn 2:18 He is charging them to petition for compassions before the Elahh of the heavens concerning this secret; that Daniel and his partners not perish with the remaining wise men of Babylon. 19 Then to Daniel in a vision that night, the secret of the king is revealed. Then Daniel blesses the Elahh of the heavens. 20 Responding is Daniel and saying, "Blessed be the name of Him Who is the Elahh, from the eon and unto the eon, for the wisdom and the mastery, they are His.

Dn 2:23 To Thee, Elahh of my forefathers, am I acclaiming and lauding, that wisdom and mastery Thou dost grant to me. And now Thou dost make known to me that which we petition of Thee; for the king's matter Thou hast made known to us."

Dn 2:28 Actually, the Elahh in the heavens reveals secrets, and He makes known to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. O king, live for the eon! Your dream, even the visions of your head on your bed; it is this:

Dn 2:37 "You, O king, are king of kings, seeing that the Elahh of the heavens grants a safeguarded kingdom to you, and might and honor and esteem.

Dn 2:44 "In their days, that is, of these kings, the Elahh of the heavens will set up a kingdom that for the eons shall not come to harm. His kingdom shall not be left to another people. It will pulverize and terminate all these kingdoms, and it shall be confirmed for the eons. 45 "Forasmuch as you perceived that a stone severs itself from a mountain range, that is, not by hands, and it pulverizes the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great Elahh makes known to the king what shall occur after this. Certain is the dream and faithful its interpretation."

Dn 2:47 Answering is the king to Daniel and saying, "In verity, your Elahh, He is the Elahh of elohim, Lord of kings, and only Revealer of hidden secrets, seeing that you can reveal this secret."

Dn 3:12 Actually, the Jewish masters whom you assigned over the administration of the province of Babylon--Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego--these masters did not act on your decree, O king: Your elahhin they are not serving, the golden image that you set up they are not worshipping."

Dn 3:14 Responding is Nebuchadnezzar and saying to them, "Is it intentional, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you are not actually serving my elahhin, the golden image that I set up you are not worshiping? 15 Actually, should you now be ready, then, as soon as you are hearing the sound of the horn, the pipe, the lyre, the sambuke, the psalteries--all sorts of music in concert--you shall fall down and worship the golden image that I made. And should you not be ready, you know that if you are not worshiping, in the same hour shall you be heaved into the midst of the glowing, flaming furnace. And who is the elahh that will deliver you from my hands?"

Dn 3:17 Should it actually happen, our Elahh in the heavens, Whom we are serving, can deliver us from the glowing, flaming furnace; and from your hand, O king, will He deliver us.

Dn 4:2 The signs and the amazing deeds that the Supreme Elahh does with me, it is seemly before me to disclose to you:

Dn 4:8 Further, last of all, Daniel comes in before me, whose name is Belteshazzar, after the name of my elahh. Now, seeing that the spirit of the holy Elohim (Elahhin) is in him, I state the dream before him also:

Dn 5:2 When tasting the turbid wine, Belshazzar says to bring hither the gold and silver vessels of the house of Elahh which his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, that they may drink from them--the king and his grandees, his consorts and his concubines. 3 Then they bring hither the gold and silver vessels which they had taken from the temple, the house of the Elahh in Jerusalem. And they drink from them--the king and his grandees, his consorts and his concubines.

Dn 5:18 "You, O king! The Supreme Elahh granted the kingdom and majesty and esteem and honor to Nebuchadnezzar your grandfather.

Dn 5:21 From the sons of mortals was he shoved, his heart was made equal to an animal's and with the wild donkeys was his abode. Herbage are they feeding to him, as oxen, and by the night mist of the heavens was his frame streaked, till he knew that the Supreme Elahh is in authority in the kingdom of mortals, and whom He is willing is He setting up over it. 22 Yet you, his grandson Belshazzar, you abase not your heart in Eloah's sight, forasmuch as all this you know. 23 Over the Lord, the Eloah of the heavens, you exalt yourself; the vessels of His house they bring hither before you; you and your grandees, your consorts and your concubines are drinking turbid wine from them. Also elohim (elahhin) of silver, gold, copper, iron, wood, and stone who are not perceiving and not hearing and not knowing, these you laud, yet the Elahh in Whose hand is your breath, and for Whom are all your paths, Him you do not honor.

Dn 5:26 and this is the interpretation of the matter: MNA, an accounting has the Elahh made of your kingdom and He balances it;

Dn 6:5 Then these masters are saying, "We will not find any pretext against this Daniel, unless in the edict of his Elahh we find it against him."

Dn 6:7 Counseling are all--the chancellors of the kingdom, the prefects and satraps, the retinue and the viceroys--to set up a royal statute and to issue a mighty interdict that everyone who is petitioning a petition from anyone--whether elahh or mortal--for thirty days, except only from you, O king, shall be heaved into the vault of the lions.

Dn 6:10 When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house. Now the windows were opened for him in his upper chamber toward Jerusalem. Thus at stated times, thrice in the day, is he kneeling on his knees and praying and acclaiming before his Elahh just as formerly--this he is doing. 11 Then these masters foregather and find Daniel petitioning and supplicating before his Elahh.

Dn 6:13 Then they respond and are saying before the king, "Daniel, who is of the sons of the deportation of Judah, does not promulgate for you, O king, the decree, the interdict that you signed: At stated times, thrice in the day, he is petitioning his petitions before his Elahh."

Dn 6:16 Then the king says the word, and they bring hither Daniel and heave him into the vault of the lions. Calling is the king to Daniel and saying, "Your Elahh, Whom you are serving in abidance, He will deliver you!"

Dn 6:18 Then the king departs to his palace and remains in his house, fasting. Diversions are not brought before him, even though his sleep flees from him. Yet Elahh closes the mouths of the lions and they do not harm Daniel.

Dn 6:20 In a fluster he departs to the vault of the lions, and, as he is near the vault, he cries out to Daniel in a staunch voice. Calling is the king to Daniel and saying, "Daniel, servant of the living Elahh, your Elahh Whom you are serving in abidance, He could deliver you from the mouths of the lions?"

Dn 6:22 My Elahh sent His messenger, and he closed the mouths of the lions that they could not harm me; forasmuch as before Him it is found that I am purged; and indeed, also before you, O king, no harm have I done." 23 Then the king feels enormously relieved, and as to Daniel he says to hoist him from the vault. When Daniel is hoisted from the vault, no harm at all is found in him, seeing that he believes in his Elahh.

Dn 6:26 From before me is promulgated this decree: In every authority of my kingdom be they stirred and terrified before Daniel's Elahh: He is the living Elahh and is set up for the eons. His kingdom shall not come to harm and His jurisdiction is till the terminus.

Dn 11:37 Concerning the Elohim (Elahhin) of his forefathers he shall not understand, nor concerning the coveting of wives, nor concerning any eloah shall he understand; for he shall magnify himself over all.

Dn 11:38 Yet the eloah of the strong in his post shall he glorify: An eloah whom his forefathers did not know, he will glorify with gold, silver, precious stones and coveted treasures.

Hab 1:11 Then he will pass on as a wind, and he shall trespass and be guilty. This, his vigor, becomes his eloah.

Hab 1:12 Are You not from aforetime, Yahweh? My Eloah, my Holy One, You shalt not die. Yahweh, for judgment do You place him, and, O Rock, for correction, You do found him.

Hab 3:3 Eloah is coming from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. {interlude} His splendor covers the heavens, and His praise fills the earth.