Blogs this year (2017)

On January 1, I started a new page titled 60 and beyondIt will be my daily blog for this year as I journey to and from my 60th birthday.  I’ll get back to occasional blogging after I’m done getting over my 60.

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A.D. 95 Revelation

Finally!  I’ve completed my reading of The New Testament:  As It Was Written (reading through the New Testament in the order of which the books and epistles were written, approximately).  Here are my notes for Revelation:

Ch. 1 – How long is shortly (v. 1)?  Does that mean it will happen soon or will happen quickly?

Does reading Revelation out loud bring blessing to only the orator or must a hearer be present (v. 3)?  Perhaps to claim this blessing, we (believers) should read Revelation to each other AND commit to keep that which is written in it.

What does it mean to have pierced Jesus (v. 7)?  That obviously doesn’t just mean the soldiers who crucified him.  Who, then, are those who pierced him, and is the piercing spiritual or physical?

What does the “sound” of the Word – the voice of Jesus – sound like (v. 15)?  That is, what is the sound of many waters?

Chs. 2 & 3 – The Manly Response to the Seven Letters of the Asian Churches:

The Ephesus Letter – Men, lead your church to repent of walking away from her first love, that of loving Christ.  He knows your works and how well you have done, but works do not mean that you love Him.  Return to loving Him.  (2:1-7)

The Smyrna Letter – Men, lead your church to not fear the works of Satan.  Model how to endure suffering, testing, and tribulation with your faith still intact, and with a conquering and overcoming spirit.  You never know…  (2:8-11).

The Pergamos Letter – Men, lead your church to repent of following and falling for false doctrine.  Return your church to the Truth.  Hate evil.  Jesus hated it.  (2:12-17)

The Thyatira Letter – Men, lead your church to turn away from sexual immorality.  There are some who do not know the depth of the depravity Satan has unleashed on the world.  Protect them.  (2:18-29)

The Sardis Letter – Men, wake up!  Strengthen the things which are on the verge of dying:  purity and honor.  (3:1-6)

The Philadelphia Letter – Men, you have an open door for ministry.  Only God can close it – no one and nothing else can do so.  Go through it.  Keep the Word.  Do not deny the name of Jesus. Others will learn the hard way that I love you.  Just hang in there.  Do not lose hope!  (3:7-13)

The Laodicea Letter – Men, lead your church to repent of her puffed up, boastful ways.  Get on fire for Jesus before it’s too late.  Listen to Him.  Walk through the open door and meet with Him.  Eat with Him.  This is more valuable than gold, more appealing than fine garments, more healing than the best medicine.  Lead your church to be rich in His mercy, clothed in His righteousness, and healed by the washing away of sin by the Blood of Jesus.  (Oswald Chambers said, “Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a baby.”)

Ch. 4 – Note that all things exist and were created (v. 11).  However, the tense here is that all things existed.  Has time ended by now?  Are things in a suspended time?  Has creation and existence of things come to an end or are they in the process of coming to an end at this point in Revelation, or is the timeline not as we would think?

Ch. 5 – Prayers of the saints do not vanish or go unheeded.  They are collected and kept in at least 28  golden bowls which are presented before Jesus when He opens the un-openable scroll at the end of days (v. 8).

Ch. 6 – Wild animals on the earth will take the lives of many people at the end of days (v. 8).

Ch. 7 – Saints in heaven are innumerable (v. 9).  They come out of the great tribulation (v. 14).  When does this tribulation occur?

Ch. 9 – Those who are sealed – Christians – are not harmed during the events (or at least during some of the events) at the end of days (v. 4).

Time is apparently still ongoing when the end of days is drawn to a close.  Note that there is an exact time for end of days events, known only by God for He is the one who prepared and will release the four angels who will kill a third of mankind.  (v. 15)

Ch. 10 – When the seventh trumpet sounds (see 11:15), then the mystery of God will be fulfilled (v. 7).  Is this the final end of days?  What is the mystery of God?

The mystery of God is that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel (Ephesians 3:6).  Paul elaborates on this mystery in Romans 10:24-25, specifically:  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  Other Scripture mention this mystery:

– Mark 4:11
– Romans 16:2
– I Corinthians 15:51
– Ephesians 1:9; 3:1-13; 5: 32; 6:19
– Colossians 1:26-27; 2:2; 4:3
– I Timothy 3:9, 16

Ch. 12 – If this birth is Jesus, and the woman is Mary, where is Joseph (the earthly father of Jesus) in this story (verses 1-6, 13-17)?  Is the earth (v. 16) a reference to the earthly fatherhood of Joseph over his Son, Jesus, perhaps being the only man who was man enough (and the only man equipped by God) to protect the Christ-fetus/Christ-baby/Christ-child?  (At least until John was charged by Jesus from the cross to take care of Mary – after all, where was Joseph then?)

Ch. 13 – That which has been set in motion from the beginning, that is, from the foundation of the world, cannot be changed, except by God (verses 8-10).

Ch. 14 – About those 144,000…  Could Melchizedek be of this order?  (v. 4)

Ch. 18 – Note throughout the judgment on the great city Babylon that it is said that the devastating downfall will occur in a single hour (verses 10, 17, 19).  Is there still the telling of time at this point?

The great city Babylon deceives everyone by sorcery, that is, somehow by use of drugs.  (v. 23)

Ch. 21 – Men, note the seven types of evils that God calls out (closely related to 22:15):

  • cowards
  • unbelievers
  • abominable ones
  • sexually immoral ones
  • drug users/abusers/dealers (sorcerers)
  • idolators
  • liars

A cubit is the measurement system used by angels.  One cubit was measured from the tip of the middle finger to the end of the elbow.  What significance is there in this, from an angel’s perspective?  (v. 17)

Ch. 22 – Just as in the beginning God created all things (Genesis 1:1), Jesus’ grace is to all.  (v. 21)

 

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Nativity

Homes and hotels fill with family, friends, and native travelers.
A harmless, helpless baby lies in the feeding trough of cows.
While tables fill with food and drink, and walls contain the warmth and laughter,
there, in the barn is barely found safe rest.  Yet one man bows
to offer thanks for life and to worship Whom the manger
holds above the dirty ground, and yields Him to His mother.

He looks into His mother’s eyes and grins, and also cries
for He, like any mortal baby, has need to eat and need for love.
He looks into His father’s eyes; He looks into His Father’s eyes,
and offers hope, though yet to come.  The livestock moves,
the father guards the manger so his son will not die.
The Father knows His Son will die, yet still He sends His love.

The cool air smells like sheep.  The newborn covered with cloth,
those strips of cloth, gently wrapped around His body, keep Him warm
and safe.  Throughout the night, Mary lifts Him from the trough,
cleans the straw from His hands and face, wanting nothing sharp to harm
her son.  But in her heart she knows that one day He will yearn for her soft
touch, on a dreadful day a few miles from this barn.

Shepherds live out in the fields.  The Father’s glory shines around them.
An angel of the Lord proclaims a Savior born, and gives a sign:
Placed in a manger, wrapped in cloth, among the sheep in Bethlehem.
The angels praise the Heavenly Father.  Shepherds race to seek, to find
what they believe the Lord made known.  And at a feeding trough they find Him
with His parents.  The Lord’s salvation brought to all mankind.

Lives lived away from God; all are sinners, without hope.  But Christ has come
to forgive, to heal, to wrap with Love.  He takes the sins of many lives
upon Himself.  Mary watches as her son endures what He won’t have undone,
on that dreadful day a few mile from the barn.  He looks into His mother’s eyes,
He looks into His Father’s eyes, and says, “It is finished, it is done.”
Peace on earth has finally come.  The baby, now a man, is God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

(Copyright 2005.  Don Hamlin.  All rights reserved.)
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90-95 A.D. – Letters of John

My notes from the Letters of John:

I John, Ch. 1 – Jesus is from the beginning (v. 1).  Does this mean the beginning of time or the beginning of His introduction by John the Baptizer, or what?

I John, Ch. 2 – Jesus is the propitiation for our sins (v. 2), and not just ours, but for the sins of the whole world.  That means everyone.  Apparently, there is no Divine choosing or selecting (predestination?).  God’s forgiveness is for everyone.

Verses 12-14 give another Biblical outline for a lesson in fatherhood.  If we as Christian men are to be like God – Christlike – then we have this to follow:

1.  Know Christ.  Fathers, confess Him as Lord.  Learn everything you can about Jesus.  That means living in and by the Eternal Word, Jesus.

2.  Overcome Satan.  Young men, live for Jesus, not like the devil.  Be strong.  That means living in and by the Eternal Word, Jesus.

3.  Be intimate with your dad.  Sons, adore and admire fatherhood, even if your dad is dead or deadbeat.  Your Christian father, or at least the knowledge of Biblical fatherhood, can help you overcome the wicked one.  Dads, be aware of your Godly responsibility to your son.

Verses 15-17 appear to elaborate more on Godly manhood, both fatherhood and sonship.

Verses 18-19 tell that many antichrists have gone out from “us.”  Are these the “disciples” who turned back, no more to follow Jesus (John 6:66)?  Whoever they are, they have been plainly known (manifest, v. 19).  How do we recognize them?

I John, Ch. 3 – When Jesus comes (again) and believers see Him as He is, we will be like Him.  What is Jesus like now, post-resurrection and post-ascension?  What will He be like at His next coming.

Jesus not only forgives our sin (and has already) but He also takes it away (v. 2).  How does He take it away?

Satan sinned from the beginning (v. 5).  Was that  before creation?  Jesus must – and has – destroyed the works of Satan.  He’s the only One who can (or did).  What were/are the works of Satan?  How much does Satan even know about his ultimate demise?

Satan has children (v. 10)?  Who is a son of Satan?  Cain is the example (v. 12).  He is a murderer, that is, he lacks love for life.  The son of Satan has works of evil and lacks love for life.

I John, ch. 4 – The test for an antichrist (verses 1-3):

  1. He denies that Jesus is God.
  2. He denies that Jesus is from God.
  3. He denies that Jesus came in the flesh.

An antichrist cannot know God at all under these denials.  Those who deny are deceivers (II John 7).  They are ungodly and worldly.  These include “religious” people like Jews, Muslims, theists, etc.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God (v. 15).  The confessional statement is “Jesus is Lord.”  This equates to confessing that Jesus is born of God (I John 5:1).

I John, Ch. 5 – How to overcome the world:  Believe that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 5).


II John – Do not compromise Biblical doctrine (verses 10-11).  Be spiritually pure.  Have nothing to do with false and opposing doctrines (but see I Corinthians 5:8-13).


III John – The greatest joy a man has is knowing that his children walk in the truth (v. 4).  These include his own children and his children-in-the-faith.

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Terrorism- just calling it as I see it

Years ago when my children were young, I instructed them on how to react during a terrorist attack.  This was pre-9/11, pre-terrorist jargon, pre-radical Islamic militant worries, but nevertheless, amidst bullying and oppression by assorted individuals and groups.

I taught my children that attackers – we didn’t call them terrorists then – would try to hurt them with guns, knives, fire, vehicles, clubs…  literally anything they could get their hands on.  (In hindsight, I’m not a prophet, just a street-smart sinner who can also think wicked thoughts).  The main thing is to ACT:

  • Keep moving when being shot at.  It’s harder to hit a moving target.
  • Throw things at an attacker.  Anything:  chairs, books, pictures, lamps.  Keep chucking things at them until the attacker retreats or they are knocked out.  And then throw a few more things at, or on, them (couches, desks, refrigerators, etc.).
  • Bust windows to escape.  My son thought it was cool that I gave him permission to throw his stereo through a bedroom window should he need to depart quickly.  I told him to choose wisely if he wished to rehearse a scenario.
  • If you have a gun, do not pull it out unless you are committed to pull the trigger.  And if you do pull the trigger, keep shooting INTO the attacker until they no longer move.
  • Be aware of your surroundings (it’s now called situational awareness).  My wife and I had one incident happen to us many years ago during which we were able to escape thanks to a state trooper making his routine patrol of a parking lot.  I was aware, I just wasn’t armed.  We had an incident happen just the other day, again in a parking lot, during which I was aware AND armed with two guns, a ball bat, a special cane (don’t ask), two sarongs (yes, they are good weapons), and grit.  I’m not sure of the man’s intent but he quickly walked away.

These days, we’re faced with true terrorism, domestic and foreign, here and abroad.  Guns and bombs seem to be their weapons of choice, until recently.  Of the terror attack on the campus of Ohio State University yesterday, in which an Islamic terrorist drove his car into a group of people and got out stabbing and slashing with a butcher knife (and was quickly shot dead by a campus police officer), Fox News reportsThe Islamic State group has urged sympathizers online to carry out lone-wolf attacks in their home countries with whatever weapons are available to them (emphasis added).  Again, I’m not a prophet but I saw it coming.

And just as a reminder to my fellow Americans, and the terrorist ilk out there, I gladly read this in the United States Constitution:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  (emphasis not needed)

Remember, terrorism is SIN.  It doesn’t matter if it’s bullying at school or work, or home or ball field.  It doesn’t matter if it’s oppression in your country, county, city, classroom, or cubicle.  It doesn’t matter if it’s abduction, abortion, illocution, molestation, or genitaliation (okay, I made that one up – just drop the last syllable and you’ll get the idea).

Terrorism is SIN:  racial and radical, Islamic and incestuous, Pharisee-like and publican-like.  And there is only one answer.

His name is Jesus, and a lady in the Bible made the most eloquent confession about Him:  Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is come into the world.  (John 11:27)

For the ones who terrorize, who oppress, who bully…  I really do wish that you would take to heart these words from a Jewish woman.  That would avoid a lot of grief between you and me, and between you and my children and grandchildren.

Until then, I’m still standing and still guarding the Kingdom.  (Ephesians 6:10-20)

 

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85 A.D. – John

Ch. 1 – Everything that exists was filtered through the Word of God:  Jesus (verses 3 & 10).

Life was not in the molecular makeup of the universe.  It was in Jesus (v. 4)

The Light of Jesus cannot be deflected from shining to each and every man.  Light cannot be imparted selectively – it is for every man, although not everyone will want it shone upon themselves, nor much less receive it (verses 9+).

Ch. 2 – Where was Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus (verses 1 & 12)?  Since Jesus was also invited to the wedding, does this infer that He was now the patriarch of the home because Joseph was gone (having died)?

Jesus, the Second Adam, was the best of human men – the ultimate begotten Man – God’s best given after the first Adam failed (v. 10).

Ch. – 3 – Believers are born of the Holy Spirit (v. 8).  We do not know where our spirit comes from nor do we fully understand where our spirit goes (no man has seen heaven, and cannot explain it).  Because man has the capacity to begin life (and are so created and sanctioned by God to do so), might we also have the capacity to begin the spirit at the time of life, thus every man who is born of the flesh is born into sin?

Ch. 4 – Why did not Jesus baptize but rather left it up to His disciples to do so (v. 2)?

How did the Samaritan woman know that Jesus was a Jew (v. 9)?  Speech?  Dialect?  Attire?  Behavior?

Ch. 5 – To call God “Father” made Jesus equal with God (v. 18).  Think of the implications this had between Jesus and His earthly father, Joseph.  A son is the equal of his father; or, a man is the equal of the father-figure in his life.  It is the duty of men to make boys our equal.  How shall we be a father to boys on behalf of the Heavenly Father as He is Father to us?

Points for fathers to consider, from verses 19-23:

  • Boys do nothing of themselves – they do what their fathers do.
  • Fathers love their sons and show them how to be men.
  • Fathers show sons the meaning of life (eternal life).
  • Fathers do not judge, but they teach their sons to discern and to apply the Scriptures fearlessly:”God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede…  to be keen in sensing the Scriptures which bring the truth straight home and to apply them fearlessly” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 23 & December 20).
  • The honor of the father is the honor of the son.

In verses 39, and 46-47, we find Jesus affirming (of course) that which Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:3-4, that is, that Jesus died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures.

Ch. 6 – Where else did the Jews want to make someone king instead of just believing and obeying God (verses 15 & 29)  For that answer, see the story of the choosing of King Saul in the Old Testament.

Was Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, alive at this time since the people said they knew him (v. 42)?  Was this a present knowledge or a memorial statement of a deceased Joseph?  And were the Jews talking about Joseph in 8:19 & 27, and now didn’t know where he was, dead or alive?

Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life and abides in His Word.  Period.  (verses 47; and 8:31)

Ch. 8 – Who did Satan murder in the beginning (v. 44)?

Ch. 9 – The blind man’s parents “threw him under the bus…” or what!

Ch. 10 – The Jews lied.  They wanted to kill Jesus because they didn’t like Him doing the good He did because it flew in the face of the Law.  Now, in verses 31-33, they have a new excuse:  He said He was God.  That’s blasphemy worthy of death!

Verses 34-36 make reference to Gods and sons of gods (or, sons of God?).  Who are the sons of God and daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-7)?  Does Jesus provide a clue here in verses 34-36?

Ch. 11 – Even the worst things that happen to believers can glorify God (v. 4).

Perhaps the greatest, strongest, statement of faith found in the Scriptures was uttered by Martha in v. 27:  Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is come into the world.  Compare others, like the Ethiopian eunuch and the centurion at the foot of the Cross.

It is the nature of men to be more concerned about their status than their nation (v. 48; and 12:43).  Be UNNATURAL MEN, by virtue of the supernatural way of the Savior.

Ch. 12 – Not only were the Jews plotting to kill Jesus, notice that they had Lazarus in their sights, too, because he drew men to Jesus (verses 10-11).  Lazarus single-handedly threatened the Jewish leaders – liberals of their day – and their positions in the nation and how they wanted the nation to lean.  Lazarus is a great example for Christian men who need to be at the forefront of reducing, reversing, and totally undoing the unchristian liberal agenda in America.

Ch. 14 – Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would cause (or remind) the disciples of everything He said to them (that is, everything He taught them, v. 26).  Therefore, we have accurate accounts of the work of Christ because the Holy Spirit brought to the minds of disciples and apostles the very words and actions of Jesus.

Ch. 16 – What does it mean:  They will put you out of the synagogue, and he offers God service (verses 1-3)?

Believers have direct access to God, in the name of Jesus (or, through Jesus, v. 23).

Ch. 17 – Twice in this chapter, Jesus mentions pre-creation being with Father God, in verses 5 and 24.

Ch. 19 – From the personal encounter Pilate had with Jesus, what was it about Jesus that caused Pilate to exclaim, unwittingly albeit sarcastically, “Behold the Man!” (v. 5)?

Three Marys were near the Cross:  Mary the mother of Jesus, her sister Mary (!), and Mary Magdalene (v. 25).

John (presumably) took Jesus’ mother, Mary, to his home to care for her after Jesus died (v. 27).  Does this indicate that Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, had died by now, and thus was not around to care for her himself?

Do we fully comprehend what it takes to break the leg bones of a man (v. 32)?

Ch. 20 –  A couple of things in verses 1-8:

  • The falsehood that Jesus’ followers secretly took His body is merely that:  false.  It is extremely unlikely any of them would have defiled themselves that way, especially on the Sabbath, and a high Sabbath at that, that is, the holy day of the Passover; and this was probably the very reason that John, being the disciple whom Jesus loved, did not enter the tomb.  Peter, however, didn’t hesitate to go in as he had nothing to lose by now (see the Law and it’s content about contact or nearness to dead bodies).
  • About the Shroud of Turin:  another falsehood.  The cloth that covered Jesus’ face lay separate from the linen that wrapped His body.  I think that the Scripture here was intended to counter any future attempt to prove the death and resurrection of Jesus outside of the true testimony of the Cross and empty grave.
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Double ἀνδρίζομαι, 7 & 8

ἀνδρίζομαι – It’s a Greek word that means “be the man.”  It rings with a sense of acting like a man, and being strong and brave like a real man, regardless of the world around you.  It’s pronounced this way:

än-drē’-zo-mī

I continue to use ἀνδρίζομαι to salute men and boys who show qualities of character and manhood far above their adversaries or equals.  Here’s a double andrizomai shout-out to two guys who I’m proud to call MEN:

#7 – As reported on October 18, 2016 by Fox4News (WDAF), while the Millikin (IL) University football team chose to remain in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem, Connor Brewer, an offensive lineman, chose to head to the sidelines and stand.  Without fanfare, without comment, this young man stands tall above his teammates.  He’s a big man above little men, that is, if these guys are so equipped with man parts.

Connor, stand firm.  Your teammates, coaches, and their ilk just got out-stood by an outstanding young man.  ἀνδρίζομαι

#8 – Speaking of standing for the flag, while some backward-thinking people think that sitting or kneeling (or not showing up) is their right as a way to protest, Fox 35 News in Orlando, FL, reported on October 25, 2016, that 16-year-old Arek Trenholm stood at a parade when his school’s color guard marched by with the American flag.

That would be insignificant for the most part, except Arek has spina bifida.  He hasn’t been able to stand for years.  But he pushed himself up from his wheelchair with his arms to stand for the American flag.

He didn’t need legs to show that he’s more of a man than any of the male species who remain seated or kneeling or conveniently out of sight when the flag is posted or during the National Anthem.  What’s wrong with their legs?  Simple:  While they have a spine, they’re spineless.  While Arek has spina bifida, he has backbone.

Arek has courage, the heart of a lion, pillars of iron for legs.  Asked why he decided to stand when the American flag passed by, he said, “I didn’t want to be disrespectful.”

Now there’s a lesson weak-kneed men can learn from this teenage patriot.

Arek, stand firm.  ἀνδρίζομαι

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68 A.D. – Jude

Just finished reading and taking notes on the letter by Jude.  For such a small work, it is rich with truths.  Here are my observations:

V. 3 – Salvation is common.  It is for all, but clearly not received by all.

V. 4 – What does the Bible mean when speaking of men who were long ago marked (or appointed) for the purpose of turning the grace of God into lewdness?  Are some men, indeed, “positioned” by God to do this, or are they doing this because of their position, the position of which God declares evil by its very nature, as well as all who embrace that position?  (The same can be said of angels in the next few verses.)

What is lewdness?

Verses 6-7 – Angels have a proper domain, much like humans have a proper domain, that is, earth.  Some left their own abode.  The actions of these angels are compared to the Sodomites’ and Gomorrahites’ sexual immorality and pursuit of strange flesh.  Did these angels pervert their own unique nature, in which God created them, by pursuing strange spirits?  If so, how did they do this?  They are spirits (Hebrews 1:7).  Are spirits subject to engaging in immoral activity that is unique to their realm (acts of which are unknown or not understood by humans), and which would be known and judged by God to be immoral in their world?  Can the angels have relationships with each other that can be perverted?

I firmly believe that spirits cannot have sexual relations with humans, with the exception of the Holy Spirit by virtue of coming upon Mary, the mother of Jesus, and causing her to be pregnant with God’s Son, but this is hardly a sexual experience; and in fact, it is not at all a sensual one.  It is a unique occurrence.  No other spirit of any nature has ever done this nor can claim to have ever done this.  If so, it would make the virgin birth of Jesus less than unique.  Thus, angels having relations with humans, as some contend took place in Genesis, cannot have happened.  (And if it did happen, what would prevent angels from still doing this today?)

Perhaps one of the ways bad angels pervert themselves is by seeking after strange flesh, that is, possessing a human, thus contending with the Holy Spirit doing so.  While I believe that is true, I see no sexual reasoning in this.  But do not some humans (bad people) seek after the strange flesh of spiritual wickedness?  Yes.

V. 9 – Michael the archangel contended with Satan, the angel formerly known as Lucifer, over the body of Moses.  This was one of many spiritual battles that took place on planet earth, of which we are certain.  But even Michael, perhaps the most powerful spirit next to the Trinitarian nature of God, did not speak evil of one of the order of dignitaries (angels).  Michael understood.  He knew how to handle pure evil; but as Jude observed, these evil men (v. 4) speak evil of everything, to their own destruction.  They are “flirting with disaster.”

V. 12-13 – How do we recognize those who have sneaked in among us to turn God’s grace into lewdness?  Jude gives us some strong hints:

  • They are spots in our love feasts.  First, what is the believers’ love feast!?  Second, in whatever feasts these are, these brute beasts will serve only themselves.
  • They are clouds without water.  As big and fluffy and magnificent, and beautiful, as they appear, they produce nothing.  There is no spiritual hydrological cycle.  These brute beasts do not invest in others with the intent of others being discipled to come full circle and spiritually investing in others.
  • These brute beasts are fruitless trees, especially when you’d think that their fruit should be abundant.  It’s all about them.
  • They are raging waves of the sea.  They churn up their own shame.  With violence and chaos, these brute beasts rage and grumble and complain (v. 16).  What is the nature of their shame?  Lewdness perhaps?  Self-aggrandizement?
  • They are wandering stars to be eventually cast in eternal darkness.  But what does a wandering star do?  It gives off a spectacular “tail” that soon fades away and is easily blotted out by light.

Jude says that these brute beasts pervert God’s grace in three ways (v. 11):  They act out of unholy character (Cain), they dash headlong to speak deceitfully for their own gain (Balaam), and they plunge headlong into rebelling against the Lordship of Jesus (Korah).  These give us plenty of warning signs for whom these evil ones really are.

V. 15 – If there are ungodly sinners, are there not then Godly sinners?  Yes, those sinners saved by the grace of God, the grace that evil ones – brute beasts – desire to turn into lewdness.

Verses 16-22 – The ungodly ones are those whose evil deeds are fleshly, self-centered, and worldly-focused.  Believers are to keep themselves in the love of God, NOT in the love of worldly, fleshly contaminants.

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68 A.D. – II Peter

I’m working my way to the end of reading The New Testament: As It Was Written.  Here are my personal observations from II Peter:

Ch. 1 – Peter cites a progression of discipleship in verses 5-7 that begins with faith, then virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, Godliness, brotherly kindness, and finally love.  While all of these are disciplines to be learned and practiced simultaneously, the believer would do well to intentionally learn each one in an orderly discipline as he grows in Christ.

Peter directly infers that these things are abundant, useful, fruitful, incorruptible, truths that pertain to life and Godliness (verses 3-13).

Ch. 2 – We have among us today false teacher (v. 1) who sinfully covet to exploit people for selfish purposes.

Angels are capable of sinning against God, which is simply disobeying Him (v. 4); and, of course, they will be punished, too, as some have been already.

In verses 10-12, these false teachers and sinful indulgers speak evil of things they do not understand and will utterly perish in their own corruption.  These people are among us practicing their acts in the open (v. 13).  These are the type of people they are:

– Full of adultery (v. 14)
– Talking in evil, deceitful ways but pompous and empty (verses 17-18)
– Lusting after fleshly things, as in homosexual, sexually perverted (v.18)
– Practicing lewdness, that is, in the sense of filthiness (v. 18)
– Lying about liberty while enslaving the innocent (v. 19)

Ch. 3 – Peter states that God is not willing that any (person) should perish but that all should come to repentance.  (v. 9)

How long is the day of God (v. 12)?  Is it the same as forever (v. 18), which is also translated in other versions as the day of eternity?

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67-68 A.D. – I Peter

Here are my personal notes and questions about I Peter as I continue reading The New Testament: As It Was Written

Ch. 1 – The elect (v. 2) are believers then and now whom God knew and knows, of whom the Holy Spirit sanctified and sanctifies, and for whom Jesus shed His blood.  The Three-in-One is not bound by time in the work of salvation.

Genuine belief in Jesus obtains the outcome of faith:  the salvation of our souls (verses 6-9).

God judges impartially (v. 17).  This reminds me of Elihu’s desire to speak impartially to Job (Job 32:21).  Is impartiality a feature of being holy like God is holy (v. 16)?  Yes.

If before the foundation of the world refers to before creation, as I believe it does, then Jesus, as One of the Three-in-One, had perfect, eternal knowledge of His salvific destiny, and before the Three-in-One created time, He was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).  But it wasn’t until these last times that He was made known to creation (v. 20).  In the spiritual realm then, all knowledge is eternal and all things having occur, and have occurred and will occur, as if simultaneously in the realm of this perfect knowledge.  At the creation  of physical stuff, the matter that made up the human body of Jesus was spoken into “existence” (as we know it), ultimately being made manifest in these last times for God’s glory.  It’s as if at the moment of Holy conception, the scattered particles of Christ’s humanity merged in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Were my particles floating around in the universe since the day of creation until I, too, merged into a human being – a being whom God knew before creation (that is, before the foundations of the world) because He created my particles and knew exactly how they were going to move through His time and His space to become me and then become His again, whole, through a volition of my faith in Jesus?  And if so, and I think so, did this foreknowledge of the Three-in-One “move” them prepare a place for believers like me to reside with them forever?  Is this predestination of the elect and adopted sons of God – the spiritual knowing before the physical materializing?

Ch. 2 – Unbelievers are destined to stumble because of their disobedience to the Word, not because God destined or destines them to stumble.  (v. 8)

Believers are called to be an example of suffering.  (v. 21)

Ch. 4 – Judgment (God’s judgment) begins with His house, that is, believers, and we are scarcely saved (verses 17-18).  If believers “barely make it in,” then unbelievers will completely and utterly be cast out.  There is no middle ground in this.  But any unbeliever can believe, yet the Three-in-One knows who they were and are and will be.

Ch. 5 – The crown of God’s glory does not fade (v. 10).  Men (believing men) are the glory of God.  We were created in His image to not fade away (I Corinthians 11:7).  Because God’s glory never fades nor weakens, His glory was always in eternity past.  He placed His glory in His dearest creation – men – to bear His glory into eternity to come – led by the Man of men Himself, Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.  God does not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8) and therefore His glory was borne into His likeness.  His glory was not created, it was and is carried by those whom He knew and knows loves, worships, and adores Him.  This is wildly fantastic stuff.

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