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Posts tagged ‘Apostle Peter’

Matthew 8:14-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-law

Matthew 8:14-17 – Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-law

|| Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41

MT8:14 Upon arriving at Peter’s house[1] Jesus saw his mother-in-law[2] down with a burning fever. MT8:15 Jesus touched her[3] and the fever left her. She rose and began serving Jesus.[4] MT8:16 Now when evening arrived they brought to Jesus many demon-possessed[5] and he exorcised[6] the spirits[7] with a mere word; and those suffering badly he cured.[8] MT8:17 This [was done] so that spoken by Isaiah[9] the prophet might be fulfilled: “He took [upon himself] our sicknesses and our diseases he carried.” [Isaiah 53:4]

[1] Peter’s house: Possibly owned by Peter. It is also possible he later sold it to obey Luke 12:33 thus setting his example in Acts 2:44, 45; 4:34-37.

[2] Mother-in-law: Most understand that Peter was married as Paul later mentions (1 Corinthians 9:5). We are told nothing of Peter’s wife.

[3] Jesus touched her: Some of Jesus’ healings involved touch (Matthew 20:34).; others did not, as in the case of the centurion’s servant. Regarding Jesus’ touch (or, others touching him) see: Matthew 8:3, 15; 9:20, 21, 29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luke 5:13; 6:19; 7:14, 39; 8:44; 18:15; 22:51.

[4] Serving Jesus: That is, showing hospitality as in preparing food and drink. We wonder what goes through her mind.

[5] Demon-possessed: The Greek is DAIMONI-ZOMENOUS and is also rendered: WEY: demoniacs; KJV: possessed with devils; BAS: had evil spirits. The word occurs ten times only in the Synoptic Gospels.

[6] Exorcised: The Greek is EXEBALEN and is variously rendered: KJV: cast out; NOR: drove out; KIT: threw out (Compare Matthew 9:33; Mark 1:34; 16:9).

[7] Spirits: The Greek is PNEUMATA and is rendered “demons” by some (MON).

[8] Cured: The Greek is ETHERAPEUSEN and may be translated “healed.” The word occurs three dozen times in the Gospels.

[9] Isaiah: That is Isaiah 53:4. Isaiah is quoted by name 21 times (Matthew, 5; Mark, 2; Luke, 2; John, 4; Acts, 3; Romans, 5). 1 Peter 2:24 alludes to this same verse.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

Matthew 8:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus a Miracle-working Son of God

Matthew 8:5-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Servant of Army Officer Healed

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Additional reading

  1. Oh god, this is never going to end!
  2. Commemorating the escape from slavery

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Further reading

  1. Day 12 – Unwavering faith
  2. Matthew 8 (When life takes flight)
  3. Jesus is not only our Redeemer, He is also our Master
  4. Though He Delay, He Will be Faithful
  5. Experiencing Jesus’s Touch
  6. That special touch. Blog 12-2017
  7. Jesus, Thursday November 16, AD 29
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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

|| Luke 12:22-31

MT6:24 “No one can slave for two masters,[1] for either he will hate one and love the other[2] or embrace[3] one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Riches![4] MT6:25 For this I tell you: Do not be overly concerned[5] about your soul[6] as to what you might eat or what you might drink,[7] nor about your body as to clothing.[8] MT6:26 Look well to the birds[9] in the sky, they do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns.[10] Your heavenly Father feeds them.[11] Are you that much different?[12] MT6:27 But, who among you can add one minute to your life-span[13] by being overly concerned? MT6:28 And, why are you overly concerned about clothing? Learn something from how the flowers of the field[14] grow. They do not labor or spin.[15] MT6:29 But, I tell you: Solomon in all his glory[16] was not clothed as one of these. MT6:30 But, if The God clothes the fields of grass,[17] here today and tomorrow tossed in the oven, how much more you,[18] ones of little faith? MT6:31 So, do not be overly concerned,[19] saying, ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’[20] MT6:32 For all these the Non-Jews overly seek.[21] Your heavenly Father knows you need all these.[22] MT6:33 But, you, seek first His Kingdom and righteousness[23] and all these will be added to you. MT6:34 So, do not be overly concerned about tomorrow.[24] For tomorrow will have its own concerns. The hardships of each day are enough![25]

[1] Two masters: Or, masters. 2 Timothy 2:4 expresses a similar idea by Paul.

[2] He will hate one and love the other: Various renderings are: TCNT: attach himself; BECK: be loyal to the one. Hate here means to love less of two, much as a man with two maidens to please. Woe to him if the other finds out. The disciple who slaves for Mammon, or sticks to riches by his conversation and agenda, though unknown to himself, despises his true Lord.

[3] Embrace: Or, “stick”. On the word “stick” see Deuteronomy 30:20 where it equals love and obedience. Rather than try to balance the two, God and Riches, the Friend of the Nazarene is better off sinning on the side of God and poverty than on the side of Riches and self. Better to die penniless with God as your Business Partner than end life wealthy with a lost soul as your only investment (Luke 12:20).

[4] God and Riches: It is not, “God or Riches,” but, “God and Riches.” The Nazarene says it cannot be done, though untold numbers of Christians have attempted it miserably (1 Timothy 6:7-10, 17-19). Various renderings are: KNX: you must serve God or money; you cannot serve both. This is an impossibility illustrated by the mental image of a poor servant running back and forth between the two demands of two different lords. He is obediently with the one when the other requires his service. Riches can easily become a taskmaster greater than God. Riches can become God itself.

In the modern Western capitalist world there are millions of Christians trying to do the very thing the Nazarene said cannot be done: serve God and Riches. There are those Prosperity Preachers who speak in the voice of Revelation 3:17 and who insist riches are proof of God’s blessing. They particularly encourage tithing and giving one’s money to them in promise of God’s blessing. The Nazarene Saint has only to look at the life-style of the Master and those early disciples to see what Jesus meant.

[5] Overly concerned: Various renderings are: KJ: take no thought for your life; WMS: stop worrying about your life; NEB: put away anxious thoughts. Stop! This is a negative command of the Nazarene, and based on John 15:14 and John 14:15, a failure to obey this directive proves one does not love him, nor is a friend of the Lord. To persist in anxiety and worry is a desertion of Christ. For those hapless and bedarkened souls who suffer physical and chemical ailments are captive to frightening insecurities and paranoia. Note Paul’s “secret” at Philippians 4:6, 12.

The affects of worry, anxiety, and being overly concerned about material matters, can have a strong influence on neighbor love, for one may be so occupied with these secular things as to ignore one’s neighbor.

[6] Soul: The Greek is PSYCHE and many translate this “life.” It is interesting that it is the “soul” linked to the functions of eating and drinking and then the “body” (SOMA) with clothing. In Hebrew and Greek the “soul” is the living, breathing creature itself and at death becomes “a dead soul.” (Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6, 11: dead soul) To Paul the “soul” is the animal, physical, earthly, dusty, corruptible, mortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). See lexicons and dictionaries on “soul.”

[7] Drink: Usually this does not mean water but wine or milk as both were staples.

[8] Clothing: In the world of the Nazarene the majority of people possessed a single set of clothes meant to last a life-time. Note Matthew 5:40; 9:16, 20, 21; 11:8; 24:18; Luke 22:36; John 19:25. The “naked” state mentioned in Matthew 25:36 can infer improperly clothed for the conditions.

[9] Birds: In Luke 12:23, 24 these “birds” are “ravens,” the bird which Noah released first (Genesis 8:7), and which fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4, 6). The raven is considered the smartest of birds, mate for life, and is the most wide-ranging of all birds. It is found on Mount Everest, in the worst of deserts, and the Arctic. Job 38:41 is a foreview of the Nazarene’s words,

‘Who provides the ravens food when its young cry to God for help?’

[10] They do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns: According to the Nazarene birds do not toil, but they survive. Jesus is encouraging the simple life in which toil is non-existent. For three and a half years Jesus did not toil, nor did his disciples until that day they lost faith and returned to their fishing businesses (John 21:1-19).

[11] Father feeds them: The Nazarene credits God for feeding the birds even as Job 38:41 states. If the Nazarene has this kind of conviction, how can one of his disciples not trust God to care.

[12] Different: Many translate DIAPHERETE as “worth” and this may be well, but one can see the English corruption “different” in the word. Regarding “worth” each person has a value or worth and in the Nazarene’s absurdum the disciples can see their true value in the eyes of the Creator of sparrows which sell for little in the market (Matthew 10:29).

[13] Add one minute to your life-span: Various renderings: GDSP: which of you with all his worry can add a single hour to his life span; TCNT: prolong his life a single moment; PHI: make himself an inch taller. Note Psalm 39:4, 5: life; Psalm 90:10: seventy or eighty years. Unknown then, but presumed by human reasoning, and now confirmed by medical studies, anxiety does not prolong life, but shortens it, in a painfully slow and a daily agonizing death.

[14] Flowers of the field: Some identify the flower with the lily. Compare Matthew 11:28 and Proverbs 23:4: toil. These beauties of the field neither toil nor sow and are an example for the Nazarene disciple (Matthew 6:26).

[15] They do not labor or spin: The bird does not gather or store, and the flower does not labor or spin, and the Nazarene infers this is an example for his disciples. The storage and labor here are of a material kind. No one could argue that the Nazarene or Paul did not labor and toil, but this they did in the Master’s harvest. Compare Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 9:3-18.

[16] Solomon in all his glory: Note Solomon’s wealth at 1 Kings 10:5 and read of his endeavors in Ecclesiastes ch 2, where he admits the futility or vanity of what appears to be security in material things. Note his conclusions at Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The Queen of Sheba, so overcome at Solomon’s wealth, may have been unimpressed by the humble lifestyle of the Nazarene.

[17] The God clothes the fields of grass: The Nazarene credits God for the carpets of flowers.

[18] How much more you: See Luke 12:28. The standard clothing of the poor in the days of the Nazarene was three layers of covering, the outer of such a nature to serve also as a night blanket, or a tent in foul weather. This served a lifetime and was so well made and needful as to be a guarantee against a debt (Matthew 5:40). Such a pledge had to be returned before night. It is doubtful Jesus had a wardrobe that allowed a daily, weekly, or even monthly change of apparel. Note Matthew 11:8 where soft or fine garments are found in king’s castles and splendid, luxurious dress in royal houses (Luke 7:25). These fine clothes may be beautiful and carry a delicate feel to the skin, but useless for the night bivouac of a wandering troop of itinerant teachers spending the occasional evening under the stars with God as their blanket, their only entertainment the nocturnal crickets, frogs and owls. Who among those genuine disciples of the Nazarene would not give everything they possess to spend one such night under the open celestial darkness with Jesus. Then to listen to his restful breathing in that Innocent’s sleep, only to wonder of such divine dreams?

In the Western world much time is spent in shopping at luxurious malls, which would rival the pyramids in their architecture, and absorb untold hours of dressing and undressing, only to have clothes hang limp in the darkness of a closet.

[19] Not be overly concerned: See Luke 12:29: worry. Various renderings: PHI: do not worry. ‘Stop worrying!’ is a Nazarene command (John 14:15). To worry or be unduly anxious is a desertion of Christ. Better to die of starvation or thirst or nakedness than to give in to anxiety over transient things.

Note the austere sincerity of Peter’s haste to build a mountain bivouac from available boughs, for those august personages of Moses and Elijah, so they had some shelter from the lofty mountain’s night – a heart so sweet and swift in its goodness. Such an enthusiastic suggestion is unthinkable in the modern Western world where one would rather worry about the credit limit on a gold bankcard and where the nearest luxury hotel was, let alone have the knowledge to build such a temporary shelter (Matthew 17:1, 4).

[20] ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’: These questions seem out of place to a Western reader where these are the least of one’s problems. In Third World Countries these are still timely questions of daily concern. In the West most are struggling with various weight programs, drink too much, and have closets filled with unused clothing. A woman dressing for the evening may go through a dozen changes before the mirror, try on several pairs of heels, select from drawers of jewelry and choose from dozens of perfumes.

However, the spirit of the Nazarene’s teachings ought to ring in the ears of the Saint living near the top of the social and economic pyramid: seek a life of simplicity with a generous eye toward the less fortunate. It is Paul who instructs the missionary Timothy to “give orders to the rich.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Who dare do that today? What Christian pastor has the courage to even read these words without rationalizing to his affluent congregation?

[21] Non-Jews overly seek: And the Nazarene would have to admit, and perhaps he avoids saying so, many Jews of his world sought the same. Various renderings: BECK: the people of the world run after all these things. These words were not lost on the Nazarene’s beloved when John writes

‘Do not love the world and its things… for all worldly things (fleshly desire, greedy eyes, and self-assuming materialism) are not of the Father.’ (1 John 2:15, 16)

Here “things” are merely food, drink and clothing and this is ludicrous in a modern Western society where payments for debts on autos, mobile phones, TV cable-hookups, electricity for refrigerators, and other modern conveniences make economic slaves of men, their wives and families. Jesus’ sermon would be meaningless to a modern audience in America or Europe accept for those unfortunate living on the street and who have fallen outside the sumptuous table of capitalist and social democratic orders.

[22] Father knows you need all these: The comforting thought that God knows our needs saturates the Psalms. If there is one group of peoples the Almighty pays close attention to, it is the poor (1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:12). The word “poor” occurs 117, times with Psalms having the most occurrences (23 times). A comparison of a concordance on the words poor, poverty, affliction, or oppressed, will reveal God’s loving care for such multitudes.

[23] Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness: First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom). Various renderings are: PHI: set your heart on his kingdom; RIEU: pursue the kingdom; BECK: first be eager to have God as your King; GDSP: but you must make his kingdom and uprightness your greatest care. When the Nazarene here uses the word “kingdom” he first means that opportunity to gain entrance into the kingdom or realm of the Son which is the Church, the Nazarene Community of Christian Saints with its heavenly call (Matthew 13:41; Colossians 1:12; Hebrews 3:1). This “righteousness” is not that of the Law but those commandments of the Lord (John 14:15; 1John 3:23).

[24] Do not be overly concerned about tomorrow: Apparently he does not mean ‘give no thought of the morrow’ for the Nazarene himself prepares for the future day on occasion. The Greek MERIMNESETE may be rendered anxious or worry. It is often used in the context of “concern” and thus the use of “overly concerned.” Some reasonable concern is necessary as shown in Jesus’ instructions regarding the colt and the upper room. Compare Job 14:1 and Exodus 16:4, 19: depression. Various renderings are: MOF: so never be troubled; KNX: do not fret.

Note a practical commentary on this verse at Philippians 4:11-13. It takes a certain natural or developed bent of mind to trust in God to such an extent and the majority of Christians who ever lived were not of this caliber. Paul, after the Nazarene’s model, was such a person who took the Lord’s word at face value and lived his life accordingly. An unnamed scribe, overcome by the crowds, and the healing works of this wandering Rabbi, offered, ‘I will follow you anywhere.’ Jesus’ simple reply pointed the difficult way,

‘Foxes have dens, birds have roosts, but I have nowhere to sleep. Come, follow me!’ (Matthew 8:18-22)

Words and promises are big but deeds and examples are few. Today millions are spent on treatment for anxiety and depression. It is obvious the more things one has to care for or worry about, the more anxiety occupies and distracts, leading to those modern ills. In the end, even the most security conscious have no control over his finances, his life, his inheritance. For an example, a commentary on this verse, there is none better than Luke 12:13-34.

‘Tomorrow will have its own concerns.’ You can rely on this as much as death and taxes! One day at a time, as the AA phrase goes, is right out of the Nazarene’s teachings. Most anxieties are not worth the time and energy wasted on them, for those real fears do not materialize in most cases; and in those justified cases, the majority of time there is little that can be done about them. Each day’s badness, evil, or anxieties is sufficient, so why fret about those which have not yet appeared? Why add to it all by anxiety and those attitudes and actions which it creates?

[25] Hardships of each day are enough: There are those “hardships” which are beyond our control, like an earthquake, or the outbreak of war, or a wave of persecution, or sudden illness. There are those hardships which we bring upon ourselves by bad decisions, laziness, stupidity, or poor preparation.

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Preceding articles

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Man enticed to long for more

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Additional reading

  1. 19° century Londoners, religion and heretical opinions
  2. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  3. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  4. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  5. When discouraged facing opposition
  6. Fearing the right person
  7. Dealing with worries in our lives
  8. Give your worries to God
  9. Look for today
  10. Rejoicing in the day
  11. God Feeds The Birds
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity

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Further reading

  1. Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2016
  2. Sermon on Matthew 6.24-34 (Audio)
  3. Two Masters
  4. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: God or Mammon
  5. Seek First The Kingdom Of GOD: Two Masters – What is Mammon?
  6. FAact Food #673 The English word ‘mammon’ is a direct rip-off from Latin’s ‘mammona’ meaning ‘wealth’. In the New Testament of the Bible, the term ‘mammon’ is associated with greedy pursuit of profit through …
  7. Seek First The Kingdom Of God: Two Masters – You Can Serve Only One
  8. The Idols of the Nations
  9. Mammon: Word of the day for September 13, 2016
  10. Do You Know The Word Mammon?
  11. “Mammon : The desire for wealth personified as an evil spirit or a malign influence. Often mammon:…”
  12. Mammon
  13. Mammon 2
  14. Mammon 3
  15. Mammon, Mountains and Donations
  16. God or mammon?
  17. God and Mammon (Revisited)
  18. God or Money
  19. 24 October: Mammon, money, need and greed
  20. Duchies of Hell: Mammon
  21. Mighty Mammon vs. Almighty God
  22. Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas
  23. The Betrayal of Jesus: Then and Now
  24. Should Christians Buy Stocks?
  25. Immanuel Kant Interlude – Compulsory Idleness
  26. Daily Mass: Whom do you serve, God or mammon? Catholic Inspiration
  27. 12 April, Relics X: Blood Money
  28. James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 4:1-17
  29. Help Us Dear Lord Not To Call You A Liar – Part 3
  30. Money and Happiness
  31. The greatest world religion? – materialism!
  32. The Almighty Dollar
  33. Do You Love Money?
  34. Need
  35. God Almighty, or the god of money?
  36. God wants us to be free from bondage to greed
  37. You Cannot Serve Both God & Riches
  38. Christianity held hostage
  39. Propensity for Prosperity
  40. Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz?
  41. Christianity Targeted by Corrupt Government
  42. Worship only God
  43. Prosperity Preachers
  44. The False Doctrine of Prosperity Preachers
  45. I Wrestled With A Preacher In My Dreams

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Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

MT5:38 “You heard it said: ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’[1] [Exodus 21:24] MT5:39 But, I tell you: Do not resist[2] wicked authority. But, whoever slaps your right cheek,[3] turn to him the other. MT5:40 And, the one with a legal settlement against you for your inner garment, let him have the outer. MT5:41 And, whoever impresses you to go one mile,[4] go two. MT5:42 Give to those asking[5] and do not turn away from the one wanting to borrow.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (portret omstreeks de late jaren 1930)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence from Great Britain, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

[1] Eye for eye and tooth for tooth: Ghandi commented that all this Law did was make a world of blind persons. There is no case of this ever being done literally in the Hebrew Bible. The subject is “revenge” which the Nazarene discourages.

[2] Do not resist: The principle behind the Civil Rights Movement. Compare Romans 12:17 and 1 Peter 2:23: yielding. Most do not see the Nazarene teaching pacifism, others do. NJB ftn:

“The gospel does not forbid reasonable defense against unjust aggression.”

Though we do not find the Nazarene making use of this (John 18:22, 36).

The subject may be “wicked authority” represented in either the Roman occupiers or the harsh religious hierarchy. There are three examples within this context of “wicked authority”: a) an insult; b) legal matters; and, c) forced civil service. Here are the sources for “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile.” (Note Mark 15:21: authority)

Large outdoor gathering

World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, 2011

[3] Slaps your right cheek: An open-handed insult. The Nazarene experiences this (John 18:22).

[4] Impresses you to go one mile: Such rights by the State are current in most countries. For example, in the United States the police may command one’s vehicle or the fire department may impress one into fire-fighting.

[5] Give to those asking: A hallmark of the Nazarene’s teachings. Various renderings: MOF: the man who begs; WMS: keeps on begging. Compare Acts 20:35 in a rare allusion or quotation of the Nazarene by Paul. These include interest free loans (See Deuteronomy 23:19 and Luke 6:32-34: loans). Luke the Physician is stronger on this matter than Matthew the Tax-collector, the former discouraging loans completely and stressing giving. A real test on the Nazarene Saint is the pocketbook and is demonstrated in being ‘liberal’ (Romans 12:8, 13; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). The Nazarene Saint who refuses to share that good bounty God has given is in serious danger (James 1:27; 2:15-17; 1 John 3:16-18).

Luke includes the giving nearer the context of love for enemies. The Good Doctor includes interest free loans and not expecting any repayment (See Deuteronomy 15:7; Proverbs 21:26; Matthew 5:42: giving).

Does all of this suggest a commandment for all Friends of the Nazarene to divest themselves of their possessions or property? Judging from the descriptions in the Book of Acts this was not a command but a voluntary matter. Peter tells Ananias,

‘When it was unsold, did it not remain your property; and after it was sold, did not the value remain in your control?’ (Acts 5:4)

Peter nowhere argues:

“Did not the Nazarene teach you to sell everything and give to the poor.”

It was completely voluntary, though one can sense a degree of peer pressure from the Nazarene Community of Saints. Later when Paul argues these matters with the Corinthians and then with Timothy, he never resorts to the authority of the Nazarene about selling all. He merely tells Timothy, ‘To command the rich’ and then gives a list of strongly suggested items (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Certainly the Nazarene, and also God, encourage a “simple eye” on “guard against covetousness” (Luke 12:15), always remembering that the Father is paying close attention to how the Nazarene Saint uses material possessions.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 5:33-37 – 4. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Numbers 30:3

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

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Additional reading

  1. In a world which knows no peace sharing blessed hope
  2. A man who cannot forgive others
  3. When discouraged facing opposition
  4. God should be your hope
  5. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  6. Ability (part 7) Thought about the ability to grow as a member of the Body of Christ
  7. When having taken a new direction in life, having become a Christian
  8. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  9. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  10. Church sent into the world
  11. Fellowship
  12. Love is like playing the piano
  13. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  14. How do you keep people from stealing your joy?
  15. Work with joy and pray with love
  16. What Does Love Look Like?
  17. Overcome division with core values
  18. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  19. A true sermon is a real deed.
  20. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Further related reading

  1. City on a Hill
  2. Psalms 13: Has God Forgotten Me?
  3. 10 Biblical Passages That Radically Shape My Worldview
  4. Christians, It’s Time to Stop Saying “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.”
  5. Chiseled for Change: Part 2
  6. Jesus interprets the Law through love
  7. Letting the Bible study you – Part three
  8. The point is…do you know Love?
  9. The hermeneutics of love – part two
  10. Jesus’ Subversive Kingdom – Part Four
  11. Give me dove’s eyes
  12. It’s Not About Chick-fil-A–It’s About You Standing For Christian Values
  13. Be Strong Be Courageous
  14. There is more to life than meets the eye.
  15. The heart has an ” inner eye ” …..
  16. With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony…

2015 the year of ISIS

Forces of Evil

Behind Acts of Terror

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

CroppedStalin1943.jpg

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Holding the post of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was effectively the dictator of the state. – Stalin at the Tehran Conference in 1943.

The past century was one of unprecedented evil: 20 million killed in Stalin’s purges, Hitler’s extermination of six million Jews, 1.7 million massacred in the killing fields by Pol Pot, and the millions of lives lost trying to defend or defeat these ruthless leaders. And the carnage escalated quickly into the 21st century as mankind witnessed the fiery deaths of over 4,000 from suicide missions perpetrated against the United States on 9/11 by Al-Qaeda extremists. But an even more sinister and illusive foe has been terrorizing the world with random, demonic acts of evil. The Salafi jihadist militant group that follows an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam, ISIS has become more organized, more powerful and more evil than all other religious extremist groups.

2015 has been a year full of different terror attacks. We were shocked by those in Paris, San Bernardino, which has long battled high crime rates but got its mass shooting in 2015, where the perpetrators were “homegrown violent extremists” inspired by foreign terrorist groups. When we look at all the terror attacks effectuate we may wonder if the the hideous acts of terror around the world by radical Islamic militants were simply the function of an evil twist of character fueled by false religion, or are they provoked still further by a malicious, invisible force? Will the One true God bring an end to all this evil and terror?

Satan, Evil and Intelligent Beings

The Word of God leaves no doubt there is evil in the world. It tells us where it came into the world. It was by the greed of man that man was overtaken to rebel against God.

In the Bible we are told that by the years more and more people came into existence rebelling against their Most High Power. We also come to find out that even by the followers of Jeshua (Jesus Christ) there were those who were taken by fear and by lust of power and money, so that they doubted what Jesus should (Peter) do or betrayed their master teacher for some money (Judas). The apostle who resisted Jesus, Peter, was therefore called a Satan by Jeshua.

Going against the Will of God is considered being an opponent or adversary, which is being a Satan. In several languages it is translated as a personification of an evil doer or evil bringer. In English such a person or being, is also called a ‘devil‘. In the bible we are given several examples of such beings who do evil or who oppose God. As to the existence of a personal devil and his legions of demons, we can see that those possessed with ‘demons‘ are the ones who have a psychological illness. The Bible gives a comprehensive description of Satan, his emissaries and his aims. Satan is represented in Scripture as being the orchestrator and source of evil in the universe — the unrelenting enemy of God and man.

In the Book of books, the Bible, we are shown that even some men of God became a victim of that Satan. Those books show clearly how it is from within those people that filth or evil came over them. They were weak and let themselves being seduced by their own thoughts. We can see that they them selves were at fault and that nobody outside them was to blame for they  going wrong.

A god of this world

From the Scriptures we do know that several men opposed the Divine Creator and placed themselves higher than Him. Though we may not forget that nobody can be greater than God. Even Jesus knew very well that God was the greatest and that he could do nothing without God. Throughout history many people got an important position and as such became gods, i.e. higher placed people. As such we can find angels, Moses, Pharaoh, Apollo, Zeus being called gods, like Jesus was also called a god but none of them were the God of gods. Several of those higher placed beings also became worshipped as gods, whilst others rule the world as a god.

The Apostle Paul recognized the existence of a personal, invisible devil and gave him or them the title “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Paul also called Satan

“the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2)

These words imply not only that there are evil principles at work, but that behind them there are invisible evil powers opposing all that is good.

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Rulers of the darkness of this world

We must not think evil is something of one specific being, a singular “Satan”. In all of us sits a Satan. We all can become victim of Satan, the evil within. If we are not careful and let our imagination go, and let our lust being taken over by our inner lust, we shall also become a Satan, an adversary of God like Peter at one time also was called a Satan.

Today we can see many adversaries of God at work. They are the Satan spoken of  in the Hoy Scriptures. We are also warned of those who oppose the Almighty God, that they will be the rulers of the world and that there shall come a “prince of the devils“. It shall come so fart that the world shall be put in chains by those adversaries of Allah or God. Even the angels, the celestial beings, shall come to see what happens on the world, and they too shall not be able to stop it. It shall continue until the Great or Last Day of this System of things.

Satan may have gained ‘legions of angels’, those beings who have actively supported his evil schemes, they shall be looked on by the faithful to God. Though the world shall continue to bring the unfaithful together trying to get more lovers of God away from Him. We are even told they would not mind to use all tricks to lure those people into their net. that is also what we are seeing today. Several people who have doubts about God and religion try to find a solution for their own life. They think those people from Islamic State or IS, can give them the right answer and give them an eternal happy life.

Islamic State does as if it is fighting for God, but when we look at their works, raping innocent girls, selling women as slaves, burning holy books and prayer houses (mosques and churches) we can see that those actions are against the Will of God. Their aim is to rule the world by creating their own state, the Islamic State. They do know, people are gone far away from God, and as such they are also an easy prey. In this world there is a lot of darkness and they make use of it to gain their power over all those who do not believe in the One True God.

Though they forget there are also others who as opposer of God want to rule the world. And in the bible we are told they too shall rise up against each other and claim to have the right to rule the world. as part of the signs of the last days we shall come to see that there shall start the Big Battle in the land of Euphrates and Tigris (Iraq and Iran) and that religion shall come up against religion, situations we can see today.

Together all those opposed to God shall do their best to have people to believe that either we should do away with all sorts of religion and should not believe in Allah or God, whilst others shall do their best to have people coming to their false religion.  Satan or satans, the adversary or adversaries of God shall come to cooperate as mischief workers amongst men. For them the most important is that nobody shall be a follower of Jesus Christ (a Christian) or would worship God as a united Body in Christ. The Islamic fundamentalist group “Islamic State” is the Satan which shall never let up their unrelenting desire to create a society under their control. (Matthew 9:34; Isaiah 14:12-15)

Continued malicious meddling

What we see happening today is a result of continued malicious meddling by “Satan and the demons”, the adversaries of god and those who are not sound in mind, as they prey upon the weakest of humanity. While fallen man is much to blame for these acts of violence, “wicked spirits” often enter sick or deluded minds, suggesting hideous acts of violence. The Scriptures describe in detail such incidents and the misery caused by evil spirit influence and possession. (Matthew 8:16; Mark 5:15; Luke 4:41; Luke 22:3)

Those who are inclined toward evil leave themselves open to suggestions from these wicked spirits. There are enough ‘lunatics’ or mad people who want to get their ideas into the mind of others. Some succeed cleverly to bring others in the ban of their thinking. Muslim extremists wreaking worldwide panic through acts of terror have been brain-washed by doctrines of ‘demons’, persons who have evil inside and want to bring that evil unto others, them believing that they have a God-directed mission to execute their victims. (1 Timothy 4:1) But, unlike the god of Muslim extremists, the God of real Muslims and the Judeo-Christian God, Jehovah, is a God of love, and He has told His children that there are seven things which are an abomination to Him — among these are hands that shed innocent blood, hearts that devise wicked plans, feet that run swiftly to evil and those who spread strife. (Proverbs 6:16-19) These activities describe well the acts of hateful extremists — no matter their religion.

16 There are six things that Jehovah does hate;+ yes, seven are things detestable to his soul:+ 17 lofty eyes,+ a false tongue,+ and hands that are shedding innocent blood,+ 18 a heart fabricating hurtful schemes,+ feet that are in a hurry to run to badness,+ 19 a false witness that launches forth lies,+ and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers.+ (Proverbs 6: 16-19)

While there are relatively few radicalised Muslims waging a war of terror, it is important to understand that the majority of Muslims are peace-loving. Christians must not succumb to the hysteria that creates fear of the entire Muslim community — most of whom are peaceable and reasonable. Remember Jesus’ admonition:

“Love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39)

Escalating into devastating worldwide violence of our day

Today’s Headlines Written Nearly 2,000 Years Ago

In His foreknowledge, God could look down to our time and see the hate and greed in the human heart that would escalate into the devastating worldwide violence of our day. In His wisdom, God has permitted this extreme level of evil under “Satan’s temporary reign” that it might teach an everlasting lesson to all mankind. god has given the world in the hands of man. It was man who accused God of not being fair and not giving him liberty. Now man has the liberty to choose how to rule and how to live. History has proven that they made a mess of it. This limited experience living in a world with evil is teaching mankind to hate iniquity and to long for a better day under a righteous ruler — Messiah.

Therefore, to provide hope to His people, God placed in His Word prophetic indicators which would point to the time when Satan’s kingdom of evil would begin to collapse. Four signs were given to the prophet Daniel which would mark the time of the end — the end of this present evil world under the dominion of Satan. (Daniel 12:1, 4; Galatians 1:4)

12 “And during that time Miʹcha·el*+ will stand up,+ the great prince*+ who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people.+ And there will certainly occur a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time.+ And during that time your people will escape,+ every one who is found written down in the book.+ And there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up,+ these to indefinitely lasting life+ and those to reproaches [and] to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.+

“And the ones having insight will shine like the brightness* of the expanse;+ and those who are bringing the many to righteousness,+ like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.

“And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book,+ until the time of [the] end.*+ Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge* will become abundant.”+ (Daniel 12:1-4)

He gave himself for our sins+ that he might deliver us from the present wicked system of things*+ according to the will+ of our God and Father, (Galatians 1:4)

Signs for us to take heed

“many shall run to and fro”

In the past 100 years, numerous modes of transportation have been invented, increasing the speed of travel from 20 mph to over 18,000 mph. This has been a blessing to most of humanity, but it has also brought with it a means for terrorists to spread their evil rapidly far and wide.

“knowledge shall be increased”

Science and Invention magazine cover, November 1928

More than ninety percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today, and more than fifty percent of the world’s inventions have been created within the last three decades. Additionally, sophistication in communications allows man to see and hear global news instantly. This has created amazing tools to benefit mankind, but it has also provided terrorists the tools to spread their hate.

• Messiah will begin to “stand up” for Daniel’s “people”

Israel’s rebirth as a nation is a miracle of history. Never before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth and then — nearly 2,000 years later — regathered and reestablished as a nation. But, one of radical Islam’s most hated enemies is Israel. This horrible reality of terror has been playing out almost every day since Israel’s formation as a nation in 1948. And now, the other countries of the world are experiencing firsthand the fear of living their daily lives in expectation of yet another terrorist attack.

“a time of trouble such as never was”

Yalta summit in February 1945 with (from left ...

Yalta summit in February 1945 with (from left to right) Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. Also present are USSR Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (far left); Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham, RN, Marshal of the RAF Sir Charles Portal, RAF, (both standing behind Churchill); Field Marshal Alan Brooke and Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, USN, (standing behind Roosevelt). Note ornate carpets under the chairs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unprecedented trouble is the hallmark of our time and is confirmed by these recent tragic events. True, the world has always had trouble, but, prior to 1940, the potential for the annihilation of humanity by the single flick of a switch was unheard of. In the first three quarters of the 20th Century at least 100 million lives had been lost to war (Time Magazine, March 9, 1970). Thirty-four wars were being waged in 1988 alone. And today, “the weak say I am strong.” (Joel 3:10) A few, “the weak,” have brought the strong nations of the world into a state of extreme distress. Weakness, fuelled by jealousy, hatred, misinformation and prejudice punctuates Daniel’s vision of unprecedented trouble.

Maintaining Faith in an Unstable World

All four of these signs given to Daniel should give God’s people hope that the end of Satan’s evil regime is near. Yet, it is still hard to maintain faith in this unstable and frightening world. This makes it even more necessary that we, as Christians, take up the whole armour of God that we might be able to

“withstand in the evil day… having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God…” Ephesians 6:10-17

Yes, in this unstable world it takes an extreme, educated faith to believe that God’s plan will provide a constructive end to all the tears caused by evil — to believe that God is not indifferent to every sorrow. The Scriptures declare that He desires mankind to live in a world without fear, but He now allows Satan (God’s adversary) to rule for a limited time in order that each individual may learn valuable lessons — experiencing the results of evil and selfishness.

The world is quickly learning that it is helpless to win a war against evil. Thus we read,

“This sore travail has God given to man to be exercised therewith.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13)

It is comforting to know that when God finally says through His Son, It is enough — peace be still, we can rest assured that there will be great changes in the earth, and all will begin to see that the permission of evil was both educational and preparatory to the ushering of mankind into the ages of blessing to come, wherein

“all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 28:14)

The promise is that once God, through His Son, puts an utter end to all evil,

“affliction shall not rise up the second time.” (Nahum 1:9; Job 34:29)

What will YOU men think up against Jehovah?+ He is causing an outright extermination.

Distress will not rise up a second time.+ (Nahum 1:9)

29 When he himself causes quietness, who, then, can condemn?

And when he conceals [his] face,+ who can behold him,

Whether it is toward a nation+ or toward a man,* it being the same thing? (Job 34:29)

In other words, the harsh lessons of evil will never be necessary again when all the families of the earth learn, by contrast, that love, peace, righteousness and unselfishness are far more preferable than living in this present evil world. The depth of God’s wisdom is shown in His foresight to devise a plan that provides for man’s free choice and experience with evil, but nevertheless brings redemption through Christ which will result in eternal happiness.

The Desire of All Nations Shall Come

Though God has permitted Satan’s evil influence for a relatively short time, He will soon put a stop to all evil and usher in His everlasting righteous Kingdom. Then the Scriptures assure us that all of “the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness” when the “knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep.” (Isaiah 26:9; 11:9)

The path of the righteous one is uprightness.+ You being upright, you will smooth out the very course of a righteous one.+ Yes, for the path of your judgments, O Jehovah, we have hoped in you.+ For your name and for your memorial+ the desire of the soul has been.+ With my soul I have desired you in the night;+ yes, with my spirit within me I keep looking for you;+ because, when there are judgments from you for the earth,+ righteousness+ is what the inhabitants of the productive land* will certainly learn.+ 10 Though the wicked one should be shown favor, he simply will not learn righteousness.+ In the land of straightforwardness he will act unjustly+ and will not see the eminence of Jehovah.+ (Isaiah 26:7-10)

They will not do any harm+ or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain;+ because the earth* will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.*+ (Isaiah 11:9)

The time is coming when Jehovah, the Almighty God shall certainly bring home the world its own badness upon the productive land. The adversaries of God shall receive the consequences of their own error. Badness shall also come upon the wicked themselves. It is also written down that Jehovah shall actually cause the pride of the presumptuous ones to cease, and the haughtiness of the tyrants or ʽa·ri·tsimʹ  Jehovah shall abase. (Isaiah 1:11) Then there shall come the moment that the adversary or all those who are under the spell of the adversary will be destroyed — never to hurt nor deceive the world again. Babylon and the defiled ones with all people shall be paid back according to their activities. According to all that they have done.  The love of God will abundantly bestow blessings of life, peace and happiness upon all.

20 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss+ and a great chain in his hand. And he seized the dragon,+ the original serpent,+ who is the Devil+ and Satan,+ and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss+ and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After these things he must be let loose for a little while.+(Revelation 20:1-3)

Yes, the influence of God’s benevolent Kingdom will have an overwhelming transforming effect on the hearts of men. Of this mighty future work we read,

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

There is great cause to rejoice, for it is the severity and hopelessness of the world’s problems that mark us at the threshold of these promised Kingdom blessings. Just as the terror of today was prophesied, the resurrection of all who have ever lived is also assured in prophecy. Then, all those who perished in the terrors of this day will be reunited with their loved ones, and

“The desire of all nations shall come.” (Haggai 2:7)

Legitimate Desires

What are Some of These Legitimate Desires?

Ask the homeless family living in times of unemployment,

“What is your desire?”

Their answer will be,

“If only we had a place to call home.”

God promises:

“They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit. They shall not plant and another eat.” (Isaiah 65:21-23)

Ask the father of a child dying of cancer,

“What is your desire?”

His answer will be,

“If only there were no sickness and crippling diseases, no cancer, no blindness, no pain and suffering.”

Thank God! These desires will be fulfilled in His Kingdom:

“And no inhabitant will say I am sick.” “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.” (Isaiah 33:24; 35:5,6)

And what will be the desire of the young man on the field of battle,

“If only there were no wars and man could learn to live in peace.”

The Kingdom promise is:

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)

Ask the Mother of the young man killed at the hand of a terrorist,

“What is your desire?”

and she will say,

“If only I could hold him and see him happy again.”

Yes, the most blessed promise of all, lost loved ones will be united once again in the resurrection.

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave…” (Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8)

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

These are but a few of the legitimate desires, which shall be satisfied. This is the promise of God’s Kingdom to come, where His will shall be done on earth, as it is even now done in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

Close your eyes for a moment to the scenes of misery and woe, degradation and sorrow that yet prevail on account of sin, and picture before your mental vision the glory of the perfect earth.
Not a stain of sin will mar the harmony and peace of a perfect society, not a bitter thought, not an unkind look or word.
Love welling up from every heart will meet a kindred response in every other heart, and benevolence will mark every act.
There sickness shall be no more — not an ache nor a pain, nor any evidence of decay — not even the fear of such things.
Such will earth’s society be, and weeping bereaved ones will have their tears all wiped away, when thus they realize the resurrection work complete. (Revelation 21:4)

The year of God

2015 might have been the year of ISIS, in 2016 they shall not be off the radar. We know that everything may become worse but those who believe in god have good prospects and may build on their hope which is build on those prophesies from the Holy Scriptures.

Let us use that bible to guide us through the times coming and let us look forward to the return of Christ.

For sure to all the suffering shall come an end. Looking at the signs described in the Bible we do know we are not so far off from the Last Days. Than we shall have the Day of Jesus, when he shall judge all. Let us make sure that we shall be by the ones justified to enter the small gate of the Kingdom of God, being pleased to be united as partakers of God’s promise, united in the Body of Christ in the Year of God, notifying that the years of ISIS are over.

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Preceding article:

Belgian Bible Students review of 2015

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Additional reading

  1. What is life?
  2. Kitty Werthmann her account of grewing up in Austria under Nazi regime
  3. 150 Years after the 13th Amendment
  4. 2014 Religion
  5. Social media a destabilisation tool in the Middle East and Syrian conflict
  6. Islamophobic hate crimes rise in UK following terror attacks
  7. Wrong choices made to get rid of Assad
  8. Stronger than anything that wants to destroy
  9. Being Charlie 8
  10. French Muslims under attack
  11. Syrian but also Belgian connection to French attacks
  12. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear
  13. Massive police operation in northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis
  14. Coming closer to the end of 2015 and the end for Donald Trump as presidential candidate
  15. Summary for the year 2015 #1 Threat and fear
  16. Summary for the year 2015 # 2 Strewn with corpses and refugees
  17. 2015 Human rights
  18. Stepping Toes 2015 in review
  19. Is ISIS a product of American in-action or a product of direct action
  20. Islamic State forcing the West to provide means for Kurdistan
  21. Paris attacks darkening the world
  22. Brussels-born Salah Abdeslam key suspect Paris terrorist attacks
  23. Trump brand of migrant demonization #2
  24. Bijbelvorsers Blogging annual report and 2015 in review
  25. The Existence of Evil
  26. Evil in the bible
  27. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  28. The “Mighty Ones”
  29. Angels in Old Testament History
  30. Guardian Angels?
  31. The Angels in World Affairs
  32. Evil in the bible
  33. Satan or the devil
  34. Lucifer
  35. Satan the evil within
  36. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  37. Where does Satan lives?
  38. October month of witches and spirits
  39. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  40. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  41. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  42. The Importance of the Prophetic
  43. Al-Fatiha [The Opening] Süra 1: 4-7 Merciful Lord of the Creation to show us the right path
  44. Arguments about believe and About Christianity versus Atheism
  45. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  46. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  47. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  48. The Soul confronted with Death
  49. Intellectual servility a curse of mankind
  50. Running away from the past
  51. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  52. Challenging claim
  53. Remember the day
  54. A voice cries out: context
  55. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  56. God of gods
  57. The Song of The Lamb #1 Visions, symbols and suggested meanings
  58. Remain lovingly = No path for softies
  59. The chosen ones to fear or not to fear
  60. God my fence, my hope for the future
  61. Jesus Christ is the perfect security in storms
  62. Understand what the will of the Lord is
  63. Kingdom of God what will it be like

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Further reading

  1. A Clash Within Civilization
  2. ‘US Doesn’t Understand What It’s Doing in Syria’ – CIA Veteran
  3. PA security forces warn of permeation of ISIS ideology; Laud Israel-PA-US cooperation
  4. Swedish govt in “panic” after ISIS letters give 3 days to convert to Islam or be decapitated
  5. Christian mothers, wives take up the fight against ISIS, whose women serve as suicide bombers and slaves
  6. Too Great a Sacrifice? The KDF Pull-Out Debate
  7. A Job far away from completion
  8. Indonesia: ISIS considers country un-Islamic
  9. Nearly 19,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq Since 2014, U.N. Reports
  10. From Paris suburb to bloody attack, portrait of IS jihadis
  11. Isis will fail to emulate Islam’s great conquests. Here’s why
  12. Stop ISIS by Welcoming Refugees
  13. Isis Develops ‘Alrawi’ Encrypted Messaging App for Android: Report (1)
  14. Isis Develops ‘Alrawi’ Encrypted Messaging App for Android: Report (2)
  15. Alarming Evidence Suggests ISIS is Now a US-Israel Proxy Army
  16. ‘It’s a criminal gang pretending to be a state’: Discontent grows in ISIS ‘caliphate’ as oil funds dry up
  17. The Great ISIS Recession
  18. The Long Fight Against ISIS
  19. David Cameron criticises BBC for use of ‘Islamic State’
  20. Meet the New Gangster Warlords of Latin America
  21. In God We Trust
  22. The War on Nothing
  23. Today’s Victory Reminder: God Redeems Sinners
  24. Verse of the day – Forsake me not, O Lord
  25. Behold the Lamb of God!
  26. Redemption in Christ
  27. Grace, Redemption, and Bearing Fruit
  28. Looking Back at Life through the Lens of Romans 8:28
  29. Terorisme tidak harus dilihat dari lensa agama
  30. Dunia Orde Baru Akan Menguasai Dunia Dengan Teror

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Election of the Apostle Matthias

Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were the two candidates suggested as possible replacements for Judas Iscariot as an apostle. The lot fell to Matthias. Even though Justus was not chosen, his being considered for the office shows he was a mature disciple of Jesus Christ.—Ac 1:23-26.

(Mat·thi′as) [probably a shortened form of the Heb. Mattithiah, meaning “Gift of Jehovah”].

Judas Hangs Himself

Judas Hangs Himself (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disciple selected by lot to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle. After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, Peter, noting that not only had the psalmist David foretold Judas’ deflection (Ps 41:9) but David had also written (Ps 109:8) “his office of oversight let someone else take,” proposed to the approximately 120 disciples gathered together that the vacancy of office be filled. Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were put up for selection; after prayer, lots were cast, and Matthias was chosen. Occurring just a few days prior to the outpouring of holy spirit, this is the last instance reported in the Bible of the lots being resorted to in determining Jehovah’s choice in a matter.—Ac 1:15-26.

According to Peter’s words (Ac 1:21, 22), Matthias had been a follower of Christ throughout Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry, had been closely associated with the apostles, and was quite likely one of the 70 disciples or evangelists whom Jesus sent out to preach. (Lu 10:1) After his selection, he was “reckoned along with the eleven apostles” by the congregation (Ac 1:26), and when the book of Acts immediately thereafter speaks of “the apostles” or “the twelve,” Matthias was included.—Ac 2:37, 43; 4:33, 36; 5:12, 29; 6:2, 6; 8:1, 14; 9:27; see PAUL.

– it-2 pp. 354-355

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Though having strong conviction and proofs as to his own apostleship, Paul never included himself among “the twelve.” Prior to Pentecost, as a result of Peter’s Scriptural exhortation, the Christian assembly had sought a replacement for unfaithful Judas Iscariot. Two disciples were selected as candidates, perhaps by vote of the male members of the assembly (Peter having addressed himself to the “Men, brothers”; Ac 1:16). Then they prayed to Jehovah God (compare Ac 1:24 with 1Sa 16:7; Ac 15:7, 8) that He should designate which of the two he had chosen to replace the unfaithful apostle. Following their prayer, they cast lots and “the lot fell upon Matthias.”—Ac 1:15-26; compare Pr 16:33.

There is no reason to doubt that Matthias was God’s own choice. True, once converted, Paul became very prominent and his labors exceeded those of all the other apostles. (1Co 15:9, 10) Yet there is nothing to show that Paul was personally predestinated to an apostleship so that God, in effect, refrained from acting on the prayer of the Christian assembly, held open the place vacated by Judas until Paul’s conversion, and thus made the appointment of Matthias merely an arbitrary action of the Christian assembly. On the contrary, there is sound evidence that Matthias was a divinely appointed replacement.

English: Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Is...

Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot as apostle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Pentecost the outpouring of holy spirit gave the apostles unique powers; they are the only ones shown to have been able to lay hands on newly baptized ones and communicate to them miraculous gifts of the spirit. (See Apostle [Miraculous powers].) If Matthias were not in reality God’s choice, his inability to do this would have been apparent to all. The record shows this was not the case. Luke, the writer of Acts, was Paul’s traveling companion and associate during certain missions, and the book of Acts therefore undoubtedly reflects and coincides with Paul’s own view of matters. That book refers to “the twelve” as appointing the seven men who were to handle the matter of the food distribution problem. This was after Pentecost of 33 C.E. but before Paul’s conversion. Hence Matthias is here acknowledged as one of “the twelve,” and he shared with the other apostles in laying hands on the seven designates.—Ac 6:1-6.

Whose name then appears among those on the “twelve foundation stones” of the New Jerusalem of John’s vision—Matthias’ or Paul’s? (Re 21:2, 14) One line of reasoning would make it appear that Paul is the more likely one. He contributed so much to the Christian congregation by his ministry and particularly by his writing a large portion of the Christian Greek Scriptures (14 letters being attributed to him). In these respects Paul ‘outshone’ Matthias, who receives no further direct mention after Acts chapter 1.

– it-2 pp. 585-590

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Who replaced Judas Iscariot as a twelfth apostle?

Because of the defection of Judas Iscariot, who died unfaithful, there were only 11 apostles remaining, and during the 40 days from Jesus’ resurrection until his ascension to heaven he made no appointment of a replacement. Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill the vacancy left by Judas, not simply on the basis of his death but, rather, on the basis of his wicked defection, as the Scriptures quoted by Peter indicate. (Ac 1:15-22; Ps 69:25; 109:8; compare Re 3:11.) Thus, by contrast, when the faithful apostle James was put to death, there is no record of any concern to appoint anyone to succeed him in his position of apostle.—Ac 12:2.

It is evident from Peter’s statements that it was then considered that any individual filling the position of an apostle of Jesus Christ must have the qualifications of having been personally conversant with him, having been an eyewitness of his works, his miracles, and particularly his resurrection. In view of this it can be seen that any apostolic succession would in course of time become an impossibility, unless there were divine action to supply these requirements in each individual case. At that particular time before Pentecost, however, there were men meeting these requirements, and two were put forth as suitable for replacing unfaithful Judas. Doubtless having in mind Proverbs 16:33, lots were cast, and Matthias was selected and was thereafter “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Ac 1:23-26) He is thus included among “the twelve” who settled the problem concerning the Greek-speaking disciples (Ac 6:1, 2), and evidently Paul includes him in referring to “the twelve” when speaking of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances at 1 Corinthians 15:4-8. Thus, when Pentecost arrived, there were 12 apostolic foundations on which the spiritual Israel then formed could rest.

The Boppard Room:  Pashal Candle Holder: Saint...

The Boppard Room: Pashal Candle Holder: Saint Matthias (Photo credit: peterjr1961)

Congregational Apostleships.

Matthias was not a mere apostle of the Jerusalem congregation, any more than the remaining 11 apostles were. His case is different from that of the Levite Joseph Barnabas who became an apostle of the congregation of Antioch, Syria. (Ac 13:1-4; 14:4, 14; 1Co 9:4-6) Other men also are referred to as “apostles of congregations” in the sense that they were sent forth by such congregations to represent them. (2Co 8:23) And, in writing to the Philippians, Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as “your envoy [a·po′sto·lon] and private servant for my need.” (Php 2:25) The apostleship of these men was clearly not by virtue of any apostolic succession, nor did they form part of “the twelve” as did Matthias.

The correct understanding of the wider application of the term “apostle” can help to clear away any apparent discrepancy between Acts 9:26, 27 and Galatians 1:17-19, when applied to the same occasion. The first account states that Paul, on arriving in Jerusalem, was led “to the apostles” by Barnabas. In the account in Galatians, however, Paul states that he visited with Peter and adds: “But I saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” James (not the original apostle James the son of Zebedee nor James the son of Alphaeus, but the half brother of Jesus) was evidently viewed as an “apostle” in the wider sense, namely, as “one sent forth” by the Jerusalem congregation. This would allow for the Acts account to use the title in the plural in saying that Paul was led “to the apostles” (that is, Peter and James).—Compare 1Co 15:5-7; Ga 2:9.

– it-1 pp. 127-130

The Election of Saint Matthias

The Election of Saint Matthias (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

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15 Now during these days Peter rose up in the midst of the brothers and said (the crowd* of persons was all together about one hundred and twenty): 16 “Men, brothers, it was necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled,+ which the holy spirit+ spoke beforehand by David’s mouth about Judas,+ who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus,+ 17 because he had been numbered among us+ and he obtained a share in this ministry.+ 18 (This very man, therefore, purchased+ a field with the wages for unrighteousness,+ and pitching head foremost*+ he noisily burst in his midst and all his intestines were poured out. 19 It also became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that that field was called in their language A·kel′da·ma, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his lodging place become desolate, and let there be no dweller in it,’+ and, ‘His office of oversight* let someone else take.’+ 21 It is therefore necessary that of the men that assembled with us during all the time in which the Lord Jesus went in and out* among us,+ 22 starting with his baptism by John+ and until the day he was received up from us,+ one of these men should become a witness with us of his resurrection.”+

23 So they put up two, Joseph called Bar′sab·bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Mat·thi′as. 24 And they prayed and said: “You, O Jehovah,* who know the hearts of all,+ designate which one of these two men you have chosen, 25 to take the place of this ministry and apostleship,+ from which Judas deviated to go to his own place.” 26 So they cast lots+ over them, and the lot fell upon Mat·thi′as; and he was reckoned along with the eleven+ apostles.

+

Proverbs 16:33

33 Into the lap the lot is cast down,+ but every decision by it is from Jehovah.+

Proverbs 18:18

18 The lot puts even contentions to rest,+ and it separates even the mighty from one another.+

+

Act 6:2:

2 So the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them and said: “It is not pleasing for us to leave the word of God to distribute [food]* to tables.+ 3 So, brothers, search out+ for yourselves seven certified men from among YOU, full of spirit and wisdom,+ that we may appoint them over this necessary business; 4 but we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”+ 5 And the thing spoken was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit,+ and Philip+ and Proch′o·rus and Ni·ca′nor and Ti′mon and Par′me·nas and Nic·o·la′us, a proselyte of Antioch; 6 and they placed them before the apostles, and, after having prayed, these laid their hands+ upon them.

Acts 9:26, 27:

26 On arriving in Jerusalem+ he made efforts to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a disciple. 27 So Bar′na·bas came to his aid+ and led him to the apostles, and he told them in detail how on the road he had seen the Lord+ and that he had spoken to him,+ and how in Damascus+ he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

***

*

 

v 23: Joseph, also called Barsabbas (perhaps a family name or merely an additional name) and surnamed Justus, was a witness of the work, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A Levite surnamed Barnabas and a native of Cyprus. (Ac 4:36, 37) He was a close associate of the apostle Paul.—See Barnabas.

v 24: Jehovah: “Jehovah.” Heb., יהוה (YHWH or JHVH):

There is evidence that Jesus’ disciples used the Tetragrammaton in their writings. In his work De viris inlustribus [Concerning Illustrious Men], chapter III, Jerome, in the fourth century, wrote the following: “Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed. Who translated it after that in Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Beroea to copy it.” (Translation from the Latin text edited by E. C. Richardson and published in the series “Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur,” Vol. 14, Leipzig, 1896, pp. 8, 9.)

Matthew made more than a hundred quotations from the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. Where these quotations included the divine name he would have been obliged faithfully to include the Tetragrammaton in his Hebrew Gospel account. When the Gospel of Matthew was translated into Greek, the Tetragrammaton was left untranslated within the Greek text according to the practice of that time.

Not only Matthew but all the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures quoted verses from the Hebrew text or from the Septuagint where the divine name appears. For example, in Peter’s speech in Ac 3:22 a quotation is made from De 18:15 where the Tetragrammaton appears in a papyrus fragment of the Septuagint dated to the first century B.C.E. (See App 1C §1.) As a follower of Christ, Peter used God’s name, Jehovah. When Peter’s speech was put on record the Tetragrammaton was here used according to the practice during the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.

Sometime during the second or third century C.E. the scribes removed the Tetragrammaton from both the Septuagint and the Christian Greek Scriptures and replaced it with Ky′ri·os, “Lord” or The·os′, “God.”

v 24: who know the hearts of all:

(1 Samuel 16:7): 7 But Jehovah said to Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance and at the height of his stature,+ for I have rejected him. For not the way man sees [is the way God sees],*+ because mere man sees what appears to the eyes;*+ but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart+ is.”*
(1 Chronicles 28:9): 9 “And you, Sol′o·mon my son, know+ the God of your father and serve+ him with a complete heart+ and with a delightful soul;+ for all hearts Jehovah is searching,+ and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.+ If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you;+ but if you leave him,+ he will cast you off forever.+

(Jeremiah 11:20): 20 But Jehovah of armies is judging with righteousness;+ he is examining the kidneys* and the heart.+ O may I see your vengeance on them, for it is to you that I have revealed my case at law.+

(Acts 15:8): 8 and God, who knows the heart,+ bore witness by giving them the holy spirit,+ just as he did to us also.

(1 Kings 8:391 Chronicles 28:92 Chronicles 16:9Psalm 7:9Proverbs 24:12; Jeremiah 17:10)

v 25: apostleship: (John 6:70): 70 Jesus answered them: “I chose YOU twelve,+ did I not? Yet one of YOU is a slanderer.”*+

v 26: they cast lots: (Proverbs 16:33): (Proverbs 16:33): 33 Into the lap the lot is cast down,+ but every decision by it is from Jehovah.+

with the eleven+ apostles: (Matthew 28:16):  16 However, the eleven disciples went into Gal′i·lee+ to the mountain where Jesus had arranged for them,

+ by the lot / drawing lots: (Numbers 26:55; Joshua 18:10; Proverbs 18:18)

+

Compare:

The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 1

Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1

Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1 v23-26 Choice of Matthias

Dutch version/ Nederlandse versie: Verkiezing van Matthias

Afrikaans: Matti′as is gekies als een van “die twaalf

Deutsch: Da warfen sie Lose und das Los fiel auf Matthias

Français: Élection de Matthias

++

Please also do find:

+++

  • Commemoration of the Apostle Matthias, Martyred in Colchis, and Apostolic Succession (georgianorthodoxchurch.wordpress.com)
    there is evidence that the Apostle Matthias was martyred in Colchis  (the ancient name for Georgia’s Black Sea regions) and buried in Gonio, near Batumi.
    +
    The elevation of Matthias from the Seventy to the Twelve Apostles is interesting, as it is one of the first written accounts of Apostolic Succession
  • *Apostolic* (motivation1000.wordpress.com)
    Furthermore, for a person to profess to be a Christian (one who is like Christ) and do not obey God’s word in the bible is to make that person a hypocrite – hence, a hypocrites teachings is hypocrisy. In a narrower since, Doctrine is Teachings, and Teachings is Doctrine! Every movement has a doctrine, every religion has a doctrine, the Christian’s doctrine is the Holy Bible (God’s words passed on to His people by the Prophets and Apostles of the bible.
  • Acts 1 (sisterspray4me.com)
    23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen 25 as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.
  • Acts 14-15 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
  • Wait Upon The Lord (rootstothestream.net)
    Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
    +
    Consider if there are any aspects of your life that may be best served with simply waiting on the direction of the Lord.
  • Intro to the Book of Acts and the choosing of Judas’ replacement (sundayschoolbiblestudy.wordpress.com)
    Luke gives us a brief introduction and then summarizes the 40 days after His death and resurrection when Jesus prepares the Apostles for ministry. He instructs them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see The Holy Spirit and the Day of Pentecost).
  • Acts of the Apostles 4.32-5.11
    Thus far in the Acts of the Apostles the narrative has primarily been concerned with the formation of the Messianic community that would eventually become known as the Christian Church and the opposition to this community by the Jewish leaders and some of the Jewish people.
  • Acts 6:2-4…”So the Twelve gathered all the disciples
    New Testament model, and biblical clarity in the deacons’ role and function is invaluable for promoting peace and unity in our congregations.

  • It is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you
    Paul knew well the importance of God’s holy spirit when it comes to speaking the truth. He even entreated the congregation in Ephesus to make supplication for him that “ability to speak” might be given him. (Eph. 6:18-20)
  • The Greatness of the Apostle Paul / Die Größe des Apostels Paulus
    Among people critical of Christianity, the apostle Paul has a pretty bad press. Whilst quite a few of them recognize that Jesus had an exceptionally high ethic (at least for his time), Paul is generally regarded as a villain having sort of corrupted the message of his master.
    +Während nicht wenige von ihnen anerkennen, dass Jesus eine außenordentlich hohe Ethik (zumindest für seine Zeit) hatte, wird generell Paulus als einen Bösewicht angesehen, der irgendwie die Botschaft seines Meisters verdorben hat.

Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v14-20 Pentecostal Sermon

Acts 2:14-21 – Peter Begins his Pentecostal Sermon

AC2:14 Now Peter rose with the eleven[1] and raised his voice, declaring to them: “Men, Jews,[2] and all those dwelling in Jerusalem, all of you know this, listen to my words! AC2:15 For these men are not drunk[3] as you suppose, for it is only nine in the morning!

AC2:16 This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel[4] AC2:17 and what will occur in the Last Days:[5] ‘The God says, “I will pour out my Pneuma on all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesy.[6] Also, your young men will see visions,[7] and your elders will dream dreams.[8]

AC2:18 And in those days I will pour my Pneuma upon my male slaves and female slaves, and they will prophesy. AC2:19 And I will give wonders in the heavens above, and on signs on the earth below[9] – blood and fire and columns of smoke.[10]
AC2:20 The sun will be transformed into darkness and the moon into blood[11] – before the arrival of the Day of the great and glorious Supreme Being.[12] AC2:21 Then everyone whoever calls upon the Name of YHWH will be saved.”’”[13] [Joel 2:28-32 LXX]

*


Continuation of: Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v1-13 Working Spirit

Continued with: Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v23-26 The Choice of Matthias


[1] Now Peter rose with the eleven: Likely indicating only these twelve were present.

[2] Men, Jews: Here the Greek is ANDRES IOUDIOI [males, Jews] because the crowd has already been identified as “pious Jewish men” from all over the world. Peter is talking to Jewish men. Compare also Acts 2:22.

[3] These men are not drunk: The Greek is masculine suggesting Peter speaks of the eleven male apostles who have been accused of drunkenness.

[4] Spoken by the prophet Joel: Peter now quotes from Joel 2:28-32. Most think he draws upon the LXX, though it is also clear Peter is doing this from memory and so there are slight paraphrases here or there.

[5] What will occur in the Last Days: Most versions place the quotes before “last days” but this does not occur in Joel. The solution may be that “last days” are Peter’s own words. Only about a month and a half before Peter and three other apostles asked Jesus about “the end.” [Matthew 24:3] Jesus continues to outline what will happen at the “desolation of Jerusalem.” In the Christian Bible the term “last days” is always used of the end of the Jewish Temple period. The phrase only occurs at 2 Timothy 3:1, Hebrews 1:1, James 5:3, and 2 Peter 3:3. Compare also Hebrews 9:26 and Jude 18. For more details on last days see Nazarene Commentary 2000© on Revelation.

[6] Your sons and daughters will prophesy: That is, Jewish children. The words “prophet” and “prophesy” have a wide range of meaning but generally refer to speaking before others. For details see notes on 1 Corinthians 12:28. Both men and women may “prophesy” but see Paul’s restrictions in 1 Corinthians 11, 14, and 1 Timothy 2. See notes on Acts 21:9. On Christian prophets in Acts see Acts 11:27; 13:1; 15:32; 21:10.

[7] Young men will see visions: While both men and women “prophesy”, it is young men who are foretold to see “visions.” The application of Joel’s words to this crowd of Jewish men must have moved their hearts toward their sons and daughters who they could see so blest. Indeed, just that is what happened when thousands of them returned home – now disciples of Jesus Christ. See “vision” in Acts 9:10, 12; 10:3, 17, 19; 11:5; 12:9; 16:9, 10; 18:9. A vision is generally understood to be a daytime trance experience, while dreams occur during sleep.

[8] Your elders will dream dreams: Or, older men. There is no case of such a “dream” mentioned in the Christian Bible. The word “dream(s)” occurs 126 times in the Bible, first at Genesis 20:3 and most often in the two books Genesis and Daniel. Of particular interest are Job 7:14 and Job 33:15, 16. In the Christian Bible dreams occur at Matthew 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22; 27:19.

[9] Wonders in the heavens above, and on signs on the earth below: Peter, in quoting Joel to these Jewish men, has mentioned the good news. Now he proceeds to the bad news – the coming doom on Jerusalem. These heavenly wonders and earthly signs will be described in the following phrases. Compare the Nazarene’s own warning in notes on Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:24. Josephus records similar phenomena upon Jerusalem in 70 AD.

[10] Blood and fire and columns of smoke: Whether the “blood” refers to Jewish blood shed at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, or to the color of the moon when veiled in smoke is a matter for interpretation. In the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in 70 AD one million people died, so indeed, blood ran in the streets, and great columns of smoke blocked out moon and sun.

[11] The sun will be transformed into darkness and the moon into blood: Compare similar language from the Nazarene at Matthew 24:29 where similar images apply to both the desolation of Jerusalem and to signs appearing before the Return of Christ. [Mark 13:24]

[12] Day of the great and glorious Supreme Being: The phrase “Day of the Master,” or, “Day of Jehovah” is used for a number of periods, including the “Day of Wrath” in Revelation. [Revelation 6:17] The Hebrew Text of Joel – and likely original LXX translations – has YHWH, but the Greek here does not precisely call for it. On the designation “Day of Yehowah” see Isaiah 13:6-10 and Amos 5:18, 20. Joel the prophet mentions it several times. [Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11; 3:14] As does Zephaniah 1:7, 8, 14, 18; 2:2, 3. The Jews were very familiar with Malachi 4:5.

  • Pentecost, What’s That? (thelifechurchofdesplaines.wordpress.com)
    Pentecost in the Old Testament was not a religion. It was a feast, a celebration. Israelites were told to remember their bondage in Egypt and their freedom from slavery.
    +
    It was a shadow of what was going to happen, is happening today! Pentecost didn’t end in Acts 2. It is happening today! People prophecy and are filled with God’s Spirit today.
  • Unstoppable Faith (thursdaythoughts4ct.wordpress.com)
    In the beginning of the book of Acts, Jesus goes back up into Heaven and the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This is their incredible experience that truly sets them on fire. They go out and start preaching and spreading the word and performing these incredible miracles in Jesus’s name.However, as is almost always the case, the apostles were almost immediately met with opposition from people who wanted to stop them.
  • “It’s only nine in the morning!” (rootstothestream.net)
    Peter is certainly one of the Bible’s most colorful characters. He is rash and passionate, human and sometimes almost divine (see walking on water). However, through it all Peter is given a double edged sword with his words. Here after pentecost some who were watching thought the apostles might be drunk. Another man might have quoted scripture about the perils of too much wine, but not Peter. His simple response is that it’s just too early in the day. What a great line! However, Peter is not just about wit; he is about to deliver one of the most effective sermons since one that occurred on a mound.
  • For many it seems not easy to understand that it was God who brought insight in Jesus his pupils. In the article The Holy Spirit-Empowered Apostles (on yourgodmoments.wordpress.com) the writer rightly remembers the promise of the Nazarene Jesus (Jeshua) to his followers. But he misunderstands that Jesus, who is the son of God and the Messiah, would become the mediator between men and God and that it was he (Jeshua or Jesus Christ) who had demanded his Father (Jehovah, the Only One God) to send a “Comforter”. The writer of the article says “It is here that Jesus completes His gospels through the Holy Spirit by filling His disciples hearts with the remainder of the knowledge that He wants all of God’s children to know in order to pursue a path of righteousness and a life filled with God moments…” But it is not Christ Jesus who fills the hearts and minds of the apostles. That is the work of the Holy Spirit: the Power of God. it was God and not Christ who enlightened the apostles and gave them the power to go out in the world to preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God.
  • Acts of the Apostles (fellowshipofthebelievers.com)
    Special attention is given to the Promise of the Father regarding the apostles being baptized by the Holy Spirit, who would empower them as witnesses for Christ in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and even to the end of the earth (1-8).
  • Links to OT prophecies in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    At Post Tenebras Lux Andrew G discussed Acts 2:17, where the apostle Peter, while addressing the Jews at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, quoted from a prophecy of Joel, beginning his quotation using the words of Isaiah rather than those of Joel.
    +
    Luke probably included this subtle link to Isaiah 2:2 in his account of Peter’s message on Pentecost to suggest that Isaiah 2:1-3 was fulfilled, when Jesus ascended to heaven, where he was exalted and “made Christ” by God. [Acts 2:36] Being “made Christ” implied that Jesus was given a perpetual throne, in Jerusalem, reigning over all Israel, like David, and that Jerusalem and mount Zion were raised up, and “established in the top of the mountains, above the hills,” (in heaven, and in a spiritual sense) according to Isaiah’s prophecy. After Pentecost, the Jerusalem to which OT prophecy applies is the heavenly city. This is confirmed in other New Testament scriptures. [Galatians 4:26, Hebrews 12:22] Paul taught that believers are “raised up together” and “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:6]
    +
    Isaiah 2, Joel 2, Acts 2, and the Eschatological Temple of the Church
    Concerning this substitution of the phrase “in the last days” and to prophecy to which it alludes, G.K. Beale writes, “Thus, Peter appears to interpret the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost upon the Christian community in fulfillment of Joel also to be the beginning fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the end-time temple, under the influence of which the nations would come.”[3] The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost therefore is seen to be the official inauguration of the end-times temple-building project.
  • The Books of the New Testament (chbt.wordpress.com)
    The Acts was written by Luke the Evangelist; it is a narration of the Apostles’ work, which he wrote to tell how the Church spread rapidly throughout the world.
  • Acts of the Apostles…chapter Nine…part Three (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    The accounts in the epistles add some details to Acts and omit others. The accounts are complementary and not contradictory. Luke’s work is historically accurate an independent account, not simply copied from Galatians or 2 Corinthians. The different purposes of Luke and Paul affect the selection and shaping of the facts of the Damascus-Arabia episode. In Galatians, Paul’s primary concern is to establish the fact of his apostolic authority as coming directly from Christ…Galatians 1:11-12…The details of his Damascus and Arabian missionary activities are irrelevant, though he mentions them in passing…
  • Acts of the Apostles…chapter Nine…part Four (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    Later, when Barnabas needs assistance in building the church in the Antioch area, he goes to Tarsus to find Paul, and brings him to Antioch..Acts 11:25-26.. From then on, Paul becomes the central focus of Acts…
  • Intro to the Book of Acts and the choosing of Judas’ replacement (sundayschoolbiblestudy.wordpress.com)
    The disciples are in obedience, they are in fellowship, and they are in prayer.”
    +
    Peter feels called to stand up and make the case that they now should allow God to choose a successor to Judas Iscariot. Notice that this is the first time in the Bible that we see Peter quote Scripture. He is now relying on the Word of God to steer him through ministry just like Jesus had demonstrated through His earthly ministry and had taught them to do.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger steps down as Pope Benedict XVI

We can not avoid talking about the news of the day. Yesterday the television-programs had their mouthful of the resignation of 85-year-old Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger alias Pope Benedict XVI.

English: Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Squa...

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome (2007).(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roman Catholic church has always claimed to be the rightful bearer of the Church of Christ and having the right to have the follower of the apostle Peter, whom they consider to have been the first Pope. though if they would read the Holy Scriptures more carefully they would notice that there was not such an hierarchy in the first faith-group which tried to follow the teachings of Christ.

when Jesus was alive he also did not place one pupil in front of the other and taught them that they should be humble, respecting each other and trying to use all the gifts they received from the Father above to do their duties as good as possible. In the united body to honour God and to be followers of Christ, there is no such order that one person would be above or under the other. All have to be united as brothers and sisters in Christ. All having Christ Jesus as the cornerstone and the example to follow.

“for any other foundation can no one lay than the [one] being laid, who is jesus christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 MKJV)

The last few months we could notice that more than one person in that Catholic Church tried to cover up the crimes of their priests. Also Benedict, when he still was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this cardinal not only covered paedophile crimes, when he had become Pope, he and the Vatican office did first as if they did not know about such things. Only when letters proofed that they should have been aware of those crimes and did not the right thing, they agreed to the letters, but said they did what they could do, but forgot to warn the juridical powers.

In archdiocese documents released under a court order earlier this month, Mahony is revealed to have taken actions deliberately contrived to avoid legal prosecution of priests who had sexually abused — and even raped — children. The documents were so damaging that Mahony, now retired and once thought to be a contender for the papacy, was publicly rebuked by current Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, and stripped of any public duties, an unprecedented censure of a cardinal archbishop by his successor.

Amid the cache of church records, released as part of a settlement between the archdiocese and 500 sex-abuse victims, are several letters to Ratzinger from Mahoney, in which the California prelate reports to the Vatican his reasons for various actions (such as defrocking) taken against the offending priests. The records amount to some 30,000 pages, so their full contents have yet to be pored through by investigators and journalists.

What is clear, though, is that Mahony repeatedly failed to act on concerns about the sexual abuse of children by priests that brought to him by pastors and church officials throughout the diocese, and that when he did, his actions were designed to avoid criminal prosecutions of the predator priests. And it is also clear that in his Vatican office, Ratzinger was the recipient of letters from Mahony informing the Holy See of what actions he had taken.

Back in 1045, the irredeemably outrageous Benedict IX – the only man to be pope more than once, and the only one ever to sell the papacy – also stepped down, essentially for the cash. Accused by St Peter Damian of “feasting on immorality”, by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of committing “many vile adulteries and murders” and by Pope Victor III of being a pope “so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it,” Benedict ostensibly resigned to get married – but not before he had sold the office to his godfather, who became Gregory VI (and had to resign himself the following year because, even by the standards of the 11th century, buying the papacy wasn’t really on).

In 1415 we also find an other resignation.  Bishop of Castello from 1380 and titular Patriarch of Constantinople in 1390 and pope on 30 Nov., 1406, forsaken by most of his cardinals, Gregory XII resigned. At that time there was also a rival pope in Avignon, Benedict XIII. The schism erupted in 1378 one year after Gregory XI was named the Pope in Rome, ending the sixty-seven year reign of the ‘Avignon Papacy’ during which time seven pontiffs ruled from that city in southern France. (Gregory XI was actually named Pope in 1370, as the last of the seven ‘Avignon popes,’ but he did not move to Rome until seven year later).

Following the death of Gregory XI in March 1378, under pressure from Romans to elect a Roman leader of the church, the cardinals named Pope Urban VI who was from Naples. Urban VI quickly fell out of favor, leading to the election of a ‘rival pope,’ Pope Clement VII, in September of that year, who re-established the papacy in Avignon – meaning the Catholic Church now had a pope and an ‘anti-pope,’ thereby dividing the European continent.

After Clement VII and Urban VI died, the schism continued through their respective successors, Pope Boniface IX (who became the ‘Roman’ pope in 1389) and Benedict XIII (the Avignon antipope who was crowned in 1394).

H.H. Pope Innocent VII

H.H. Pope Innocent VII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Upon the death of Boniface in 1404, some hopes for a resolution to the schism emerged when the cardinals in Rome offered not to name a new pope immediately if Benedict would resign and give up the Avignon faction’s claims on the papacy. When Benedict and his representatives refused, the Roman Cardinals named Pope Innocent VII as the new pope in Rome. Upon Innocent VII’s death in 1406, Gregory XII was named his successor (while Benedict XIII still ruled in Avignon).

The dispute deteriorated into further complications in 1409 when a church council in Pisa elected yet another anti-pope, Alexander V, who lasted about a year, until he was succeeded by John XXIII.

The issue was not resolved until 1414 when the Council of Constance pressured anti-pope John XXIII to resign and excommunicated the Avignon Pope, Benedict XIII.

File:Gregory XII.jpg

Gregorius XII

Due to his great piety and his earnest desire for the end of the schism after the death of Innocent VII the cardinals at Rome unanimously had elected Angelo Corporrario pope on 30 Nov., 1406. The split that divided the Catholic church for nearly 40 years and had, by the stage Gregory did the decent thing, reached the point where there were three different claimants to the papal throne: Roman Pope Gregory XII, Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII, and Pisan Antipope John XXIII.

However, Gregory XII’s resignation was not, strictly speaking, voluntary since it involved various behind-the-scenes machinations and intrigues, complicated by the Avignon and Pisa claimants.

Thus, perhaps the last truly voluntary resignation by a Pope occurred decades earlier, in 1294, when Pope Celestine V quit after serving only five months.

Succeeding Pope Nicholas IV in July 1294, perhaps Celestine V’s most notable achievement was issuing a decree which granted the right of a pope to abdicate (a step he himself took in December of that year).

Explaining his wish to resign, Celestine V said he was motivated by “the desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, [and] his longing for the tranquility of his former life”.

Pope Benedict XVI who stunned the world by becoming the first Pope after World War II to step down earlier. Since no pope has retired in almost 600 years, there is no formal retirement plan for popes. However, as a bishop (and possibly a cardinal), Benedict will continue to have access to the Vatican’s lavish healthcare plan and probably also to the private doctors who currently manage his medical treatment. The pope does not officially receive a salary, though his needs are seen to by the Holy See. Canon law requires each diocese to provide support and housing for its priests after they retire, though the details of priests’ and bishops’ pension plans vary from country to country.

Dr. Donald Prudlo of the Vatican says about the significance of this decision of Ratzinger to resign:

“The important thing is that the Catholic Church is such an historically rooted church that we do have things to look to in order to deal with an event of this type. As unusual as it is, we can look back at other examples and know that the laws which govern these things have been long established in Catholic canon law (canon 332 of the Code of Canon Law). And so, for instance, the rules regarding the conclave that is to come up have been rehearsed for nearly a millennium. And the Pope, Blessed John Paul II in his Constitution Universi Dominici gregis, once again re-affirmed these things that have been thought about and discussed for an exceptionally long time. So while we have, what is to us, a very, very shocking, and something that makes us certainly have concern for Pope Benedict himself, we know that the church has the resources and has the things from her history to be able to meet these challenging situations.”

This occasion calls for looking into the reality of figures allowed or chosen by God to rule his church. The Roman Catholics do have their Pope, the Jehovah Witnesses do have their Watch Tower Society which receives the same infallibility as the Catholic Pope.

Jesus himself did not know when he would return, and for many things he said the people around him it was a matter of his Father. How on earth would other people receive more knowledge or power than Jesus? He himself also did not appoint anybody or wanted to have one person in a higher position than the other. The opposite, Jesus wanted all his followers to be humble brethren and sisters willing to be the slave of others, working as servants for God.

The apostles and prophets mazy be used for the foundation of a working community in Christ but that community at to be build up by the teachings of Christ Jesus making every person fit to be part of the building stones, fitting each in brick by brick. Stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that should hold all the parts together. As the apostles could see it taking shape day after day — a holy temple built by God, we too, today can still find people gathered together, willing to be under Christ, as one body of faithful believers.

The church or Christian community does not need a sorry bunch — pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers — posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. The church of God should be made up by people who really love God and accept His son for what he really was and is. It should be people who call others also to be welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. People who know that it is God who knows the heart and God who chooses His people, His workmen. And those who may feel to be called should be humble workers for God and not for themselves or worldly organisations. God should be the priority, and the telling of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.

It is  God who sets in the place of honour. Every believer has to present him or herself as building stone for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which they’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:

“4  As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by

God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being

built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual

sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture

it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone,

and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”” (1 Peter

2:4-6 NIV)

“20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:20-21 NIV)

“But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles”.” (2 Corinthians 11:5 NIV)

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13 NIV)

The apostle Peter knew that Christ was the ultimate rock.

“8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’” (Acts 4:8-11 NIV)

Also the apostle Paul was aware that he was not the most important apostle, nor peter whom he even rebuked at a certain point. (Galatians 2:11)

“23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25 NIV)

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9 NIV)

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.” (Ephesians 5:23 NIV)

“22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV)

When we look at 1 Corinthians 3:11 where we are called to remember that there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ, how can it than be that there should be special throned people who can be Pope and call themselves the main Leader of the Church?

“For no-one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11 NIV)

When the Catholic Church or the Jehovah Witnesses claim that only the faithful slave, either the Pope for the Roman Catholic church, or the Watchtower Society, can be the one spokesperson and the one bringing infallible teaching to the flock, than you could wonder why Jesus is called the one mediator between god and man. Jesus, the son of God is namely sitting at the right hand of Jehovah God, and has taken the role of mediator, so that he can speak for the earthly beings, whom he also shall have to judge at the end-times.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

God does not want an other mediator and Christ Jesus should be for us the most respectable and most perfect spokesman. We do not need a Pope when we trust that Christ Jesus also would lead his church here on earth and will follow it up from above in heaven. As Jesus trusted his Father we should trust God, giving to those who he thinks necessary to give guidance in the ecclesia and God providing people with the necessary gifts to proclaim the Good News and the Kingdom of God.

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Read also:

Pope Benedict XVI resigns
Yesterday the Vatican has confirmed that Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger’s papacy began in 2005 will come to an end at the end of the month, because Pope Benedict XVI is to resign. This is reportedly only the second time a head of the Catholic church has stepped down. The last time was nearly 600 years ago.

The Pope Resigns
The Roman Catholics claim that Jesus Christ appointed Peter, one of his disciples, the first Pope, and since then there has been a handing on, or a succession, to this office, right down to Pope Benedict himself.
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They claim that here Jesus pronounces that Peter is to be the leader of the church. But a careful reading of what he is saying reveals that Jesus is actually saying that the rock on which the church is built is his confession and understanding of who Jesus is.

Virtually unprecedented: papal resignation throughout history

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