Archive for the ‘Persecution’ Category

Feast of Firstfruits

The image points to an annual Jewish feast recorded in the Bible, and Christ as the firstfruit from the dead through his resurrection.

 

Today, reply is on the observance of annual feasts by the Jews of the early church, and the transformation of the character and nature of their beliefs from ethnic, cultural, secular, and social to standards and values that are sacred, spiritual, and universal.  Passover and other annual gatherings of the heads of families in Israel focused on lawful inheritance, and the obligations of those who were firstborn and heirs through birth order.  All Israel were to acknowledge that a single tribe (all the males across several age groups of the Levites) represented and served as a living sacrifice to GOD on behalf of all the firstborn from the other eleven tribes.  In addition to the proclamation of changes in the traditional priesthood whereby Jesus Christ is to be obeyed as an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, the new testament in the blood of Jesus proclaims a coming harvest from the earth, the fulfillment of sacred promises, salvation, and eternal life.  A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” Religion and Spirituality forum using the ID “?” (Level 1 with 4 points, a member since May 10, 2016) posted the following:

 

Apostle Paul observed/kept the annual Holy days: Pentecost, Atonement + Feast of Unleavened bread, AFTER Christ died. True? Why was that?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  (1st  Corinthians 5:  6-9 King James Version (KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Changed And Made Christ-like? (06/19/2018); Firstborn Of Every Creature (05/09/2018); A Threat Against Judaism (07/17/2017); Differences Among Sacred Events (04/10/2017); The Firstborn of GOD (01/02/2017); Frequency of The Lord’s Supper? (10/30/2016); A True Apostle? (09/20/2015); The Spirit and Pentecost (03/27/2013); The Passion at Gethsemane (03/28/2013)

 

“?”, the feasts observed by Israel commemorated and foreshadowed sacred events that included deliverance from Egypt for the firstborn of Jacob as well as Jesus Christ being  the firstfruit from the harvest and resurrection of GOD’s people from the dead.  Observance of the annual feasts commanded by GOD ensured that the Nation would have strong currents of communication and structure promoting leadership.  The heads of families, those who were firstborn and the heir, would regularly assemble. 

Saul of Tarsus, a Roman citizen, who later became known as the Apostle Paul, had to undergo multiple sacred operations and permanent changes whereby sinners repent, experience being born again through baptism (the death, burial, and rebirth of their inborn spirit), and grow-up again to mature/become ripe for harvest from the earth by the Lord at his appearing (the Advent; the Rapture; the Second Coming).  Saul had an experience of the resurrected Christ while traveling on the road having authority from the Temple at Jerusalem to identify and stamp out the Christians he might find at Damascus.  The Temple community wanted the Christians dealt with as a cult; however, their doctrine, history, and practices were increasingly being examined and studied as a new, legitimate sect within Judaism. 

In the same way GOD divided those at Babel confusing the language in order to complete the plan to overspread the earth (be fruitful and multiply), GOD brought persecution against the church at Jerusalem to spur evangelism and the spread of the Gospel.  Believers today must be built up and edified to become full persons endowed with the imparted, indwelling Spirit; and we are then exhorted to go forth and share what we have received.  Paul had to discover and gradually learn that those in Christ are a new creation.  The Christians who all began as Jews were challenged to acknowledge and operate on the basis of their Spirit from GOD, rather than their culture, ethnicity, gender, national origin, scholarship, station, or wealth.  Christian believers have a new covenant relationship to the Father through the Son that continues and fulfills eternal purpose, and that features new promises, prophecy, the new testament in the blood of Jesus, and fresh streams of sacred truth.  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Exodus 13:  11-15, King James Version (KJV):  11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,  12 That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’s.  13 And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck:  and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.  14 And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:  15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast:  therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.

(2.)  Zechariah 14:  16-21, KJV:  16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.  19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.  20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.  21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts:  and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein:  and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

(3.)  Acts 8:  1-4, KJV:  1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.  2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.  3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.  4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Acts 11:  19-26, KJV:  19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.  20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.  21 And the hand of the Lord was with them:  and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.  22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem:  and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.  23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.  24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith:  and much people was added unto the Lord.  25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:  26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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Jerusalem Visit by Paul the Apostle
A depiction of James, the brother of Jesus, and the Elders in Jerusalem meeting with the Apostles Paul and Peter

 

Today, reply is made on James, Paul, Peter and Matthias; authority; and succession within the early church.  The criteria for being acknowledged as an apostle was more than simply having been in association with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry to his dying on the cross.  The apostles all were chosen and installed to testify and witness to the resurrection of Jesus, to authentic the falling of the Holy Ghost, and to certify the genuine manifestation of sacred gifts.  Jesus did not bestow on his disciples dominance and power to demand the obedience of others so much as he provided a fresh endowment of spirit substance from the makeup of divinity along with the consciousness and willpower to serve others while practicing self-government.  The leadership within the body would be acknowledged and recognized on the basis of such features as their humility, industry, meekness, and unselfishness.  One of the fighters in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile data shared) posted the following:

 

Did the Early Church operate under valid central authority?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:  and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:  so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  (1st Corinthians 12:  3-13, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Flesh As Divine Vessels? (01/14/2018); Meanings for “Apostolic Church” (05/08/2017); A True Apostle? (09/20/2015); How Many Apostles? (04/30/2014); The Ruler Of the Earth? (05/01/2014); Succession (02/05/2014); On Youth Doing Enough (02/06/2014)

 

“Anonymous”, the Holy Spirit (we also say, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth) was present as the spokesperson for Jesus Christ in the early church.  Responses that rely on secular knowledge will present the church as an ordinary institution, and a formally structured social organization.  Reponses that rely on sacred knowledge shared among Christian believers will describe the church as a body, or a fellowship having many distinct members with Jesus Christ as its head.  In that view, the church is most correctly portrayed as active, alive, diverse, developing, organic, and personal.

When the continued existence of the church became threatened by persecution, the believers that came to number in thousands were scattered; however, they also began to evangelize, go out, and spread the gospel in ways that otherwise would not have occurred.  It was then that James, the brother of Jesus, and others who remained in Jerusalem began to be recognized as a legitimate body to give counsel on issues of doctrine and practice, to address the challenges of embracing both Gentiles and Jews, and to resolve recurring conflicts.

While the Book of Acts reports that Peter preached a sermon on the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had fallen upon the 120 men and women in the upper Room, who had fasted and prayed together awaiting the promise, Peter was not acknowledged at that time as the “successor” to Jesus, or as the chief spokesperson.  The early work among these believers included nominating candidates to fill both the office of apostle, and of bishop (elder) that had been vacated by Judas Iscariot.

A device used among the Hebrews from ancient times was employed to select the new apostle from the two proposed candidates.  The casting of lots was used with the understanding that the will of GOD would be indicated by its outcome.  This technique was akin to that used for judgment by the High Priest in the tabernacle and in the temple that involved his consecrated garments and full regalia, the breastplate, ephod, urim and thummim (also called, Lights and Perfections).  At Pentecost, the early church received multiple gifts to nourish and expand the community of faith that would establish the will of GOD in a similar way:  the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, prophecy, the working of miracles, and discerning of spirits (there were no gifts of reading minds, or predicting the future).  Consider the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Numbers 27:  20-23, King James Version (KJV):  20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.  21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD:  at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.  22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him:  and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:  23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

(2.)  Acts 1:  13-16, KJV:  13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.  14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.  15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)  16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

(3.)  Acts 1:  22-26, KJV:  22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.  23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,  25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.  26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Acts 15:  12-20, KJV:  12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.  13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:  14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.  15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,  16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:  17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.  18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.  19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:  20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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Today, reply is on prophecy and persecution, the deliberate, organized and systematic opposition to the existence of Christian assemblies and communities of faith.  Holy boldness, faith, and longsuffering are the tools granted for maintaining victory against persecution.  The church is commanded and encouraged to not be intimidated, and to continue to prosper despite persecution that sees the alignment of powerful and wealthy institutions that have controlling influence over vast numbers of people.  While persecution breaks up the body of believers; may bring false accusations, death, fear, martyrdom, pain, slander, and suffering; and does not allow development of centralized, open, and stable public worship (particularly as seen with “mega-churches”), persecution serves divinity by crystallizing “oneness” without “sameness”, and dispersing believers as missionaries to carry the sacred lifestyle and message to many different and new locations.  A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum using the ID “HeLovesUsAll” (Level 4 with 4,268 points, a member since September 30, 2009) posted the following:

 

He that “endureth” to “the end” of what shall be saved?

“…but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:  for great is your reward in heaven:  for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.  (Matthew 5:  10-12, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Most Important Thing (12/28/2017); GOD Protects the Faithful (12/19/2017); A Threat Against Judaism (07/17/2017); The Peace to Endure? (03/28/2017); Sadducees and The Cross? (03/13/2016); Night Cometh (06/11/2013); Missing Information? (06/12/2013)

 

“HeLovesUsAll”, be encouraged!  There are many operations of GOD in covenant relationship with created beings and living creatures that are ongoing, endless and eternal (e.g., atonement, divine love, mercy, salvation, sanctification).  The phrase and verse you are focusing on appears as Jesus is delivering prophecy to his disciples regarding the persecution that will arise against his church.  He is giving guidance by describing the pattern of events that will follow his dying on the cross.  He is not foretelling or predicting future events, here, for he does not say the day and the hour, and he names no names.  Also, he is not teaching on the routine challenges and problems we encounter as life experience.  (For example, Some are quick to call it “persecution” when the landlord raises the monthly mortgage or rent, when they can not find a parking spot, or when the price of a bus ride is increased.)

Correctly understood, persecution pertains to the survival and uninterrupted service by the community of believers (we say, the body; the church).  With genuine persecution there is the coalition and combined attacks by government and religious institutions:  the church is a tool of the state, the state is a tool of false belief.  Policies, laws, and practices are put into effect intended to destroy, discredit, and eliminate the things from GOD through Jesus Christ.  Believers are to persevere, and to remain anchored, committed, and steadfast.

The process of prophecy continues revelation (making divinity knowable, known, accessible and approachable).  Prophecy imparts sacred knowledge rather than secular knowledge; and is one of many devices used by GOD to comfort, edify (build up; nourish; reinforce) the imparted Spirit, and exhort (move and stir the will; compel immediate action) believers.  Opposition to prophecy by religious institutions is buttressed through academic and scholarly institutions, popular culture, and the entire system of interrelated meanings, standards and values we call “the World.”  The Sanhedrin and Temple elders of Jesus’ day were ruled by the Sadducees, who denied the existence of angels and spirits; while the Pharisees, in their effort to uplift the law, denied the spirit of prophecy (also called, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth).  Their seeking support from the Roman governor and the laws of men intended to rule the then known world depicts the meaning and process of persecution.  Consider again the following:

(1.)  Matthew 13:  18-23, King James Version (KJV):  18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.  19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;  21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while:  for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.  22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

(2.)  James 1:  12,  KJV:  12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:  for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (3.)  Matthew 10:  26-28, KJV:  26 Fear them not therefore:  for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.  27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light:  and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:  but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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Today, points are shared on why the apostle Paul served as a persecutor of the early church.  As we see in modern times, many responded to Jesus and his teachings with rejection and skepticism in place of careful study and thoughtfully listening to receive sacred knowledge.  While multitudes witnessed healings, miracles, and prophetic demonstrations, the Temple establishment and government officers were stirred more by political ambitions, fear, exaggerated pride, and beliefs that were stagnant and spiritually unfruitful.  The writer at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Sally” (Level 6 with 22,200 points, a member since March 26, 2016) posted the following:

 

Why did the apostle Paul just go around killing and persecuting Christians before he was born again? What was the reason for this?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus:  and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:  it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.  And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man:  but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.  (Acts 9:  1-9, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Proclaiming A New Kingdom? (04/13/2017); Benefits of His Kingdom? (04/11/2017); The Spirit and Prophecy (01/04/2017); The Cross and Judaism? (05/27/2016); Priesthood and The Cross (03/20/2016); Sadducees and The Cross? (03/13/2016); A True Apostle? (09/20/2015); Saul of Tarsus (03/26/2014); The Nature of Scripture (03/27/2014)

 

“Sally”, in Paul’s time, the ministry of Jesus Christ was condemned as corrupting and divisive of the covenant relationship with GOD that had been established through Moses and those who left Egypt.  Paul would be recruited to identify and completely destroy the Christian believers as a special agent of the Temple community at Jerusalem.  While Jesus, in fact, introduced few teachings that were not on record as “the law and the prophets,” thousands of years had been spent promoting customs, traditions and interpretations that advanced institutional practice, rather than the full expression of faith from GOD.  (For example, Jesus was charged with blasphemy for presenting himself as a son of GOD; yet, Moses and King David both are recorded in the holy writings acknowledging GOD as “our father.”)  The High Priests and leadership in the Sanhedrin Court of 70 Elders that insisted upon crucifying Jesus, condemned doctrine on angels and spirits; and they rejected most of the Savior’s important teachings that proclaimed the promises of GOD as the foundation of faith, and the coming gifts from the Holy Spirit (we also say, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth).  As a member of the Pharisees, who sought to be the “caretakers” of the law, Paul was keenly aware of various principles that gave overwhelming force and weight to the process and presence of divine law.  Examples are (a) the principle that sacred promise by GOD is continued and fulfilled after ones death through their heirs (we say, inheritance or dynasty); (b) the rule of joint accountability (the entire body will come under punishment for the error of one member); and (c) for the sake of survival (as occurred with Babylon), those in captivity or exile must cooperate with foreign oppressors as the agents of GOD for good.  Consider again the following:

(1.)  Joshua 22:  15-20, King James Version (KJV):  15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,  16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the LORD, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the LORD?  17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD,  18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.  19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, wherein the LORD’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us:  but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the LORD our God.  20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

(2.)  Deuteronomy 14:  1-2, KJV:  1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God:  ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.  2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

(3.)  1st Chronicles 29:  10-13, KJV:  10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation:  and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.  11 Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:  for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.

(4.)  John 11:  47-53, KJV:  47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.  48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him:  and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.  49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,  50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.  51 And this spake he not of himself:  but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;  52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.  53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, the words from Paul (5.)  1st Timothy 1:  12-17, KJV:  12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;  13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.  17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
Director Mel Gibson with Actor Jim Caviezel

 

Today, focus is on how Christian believers are to respond to recurring insults and persecution in Social Media.  In the same way the challenges for maintaining security for data and files shared over  the Internet have become a major obstacle to its use, the difficulty of enforcing online user agreements, continuing genuine etiquette, and maintaining standards of common decency now discourage many from using the forums provided by the World Wide Web.  For those who are born again through Jesus Christ, concerns about communication, disappointments, false accusers, mockers, and frustration when seeking to teach or share with others should be carried to the Lord.  Increasingly, there are those (called “trolls”) who express anger, bitterness, imbalance, irrational hostility, malice, venom, and vulgarity.  Even though their behavior may be seen as arrogant, cruel, hateful, and without compassion, because mockers are deceived, they often are sure they will be amusing to others, will be well thought of, and will become popular.  When not clearly asked for advice and counsel, rather than seeking to tell the mocker what he must do, the response of believers must be their own return to GOD, and intercession for those who are victims of callousness.  The peace for Christian believers to endure the abuse by trolls also is called being grounded in sacred knowledge, faith, joy, longsuffering, divine love, strength, and trust.  A writer at “Yahoo! Answers (New Zealand)” using the ID “JayNat” (Level 3 with 1,212 points, a member since March 01, 2017) posted the following:

 

What can be done to stop the “Romans sodomizing Jesus” questions once and for all?

I believe that initially just one person was asking that question. But now several trolls are continuing that trend.

Such questions are becoming more vulgarity and gross these days.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  (Colossians 1:  9-18, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Passion of Christ? (03/16/2017); The Peace of Christmas? (12/25/2016); When GOD Never Forgives? (12/28/2015); Martyrdom and Tribulation? (09/30/2015); A Price for Religious Liberty? (06/30/2015); Guilt and Ignorance? (12/04/2014); Joined To Christ Through Faith (12/05/2014); Denying Oneself (05/17/2014); From Such Turn Away (05/18/2014)

 

“JayNat”, our continuing need, even as mature Christians, is for peace (the strength) that allows us to endure.  Until sin is completely eliminated and erased there will be those proclaiming error, exaggerated pride, ignorance, and lust.  Before his death as well as through the apostles, Jesus instructed believers to expect insults, opposition, persecution from government and religious institutions, concealed thrusts against the doctrine, and efforts to kill his steadfast disciples and followers.  Many who repeatedly post accusations, blasphemy, insinuations, and slander against Jesus Christ, his Church, and the Holy Spirit do so because they are apostate, immature, simple (i.e., underdeveloped), and capable of showing respect only to things carnal, inanimate, material, and social.  They are sinners and blind to the sacred spirit content in events, other persons, the holy writings, and themselves.  That these offensive writers justify themselves, and are not justified by GOD, is evident, for even by obedience to divine law, no man is justified before Deity.  Despite appeals, shared instruction, and warnings, these sinners can not comprehend that they are hurting many others who are sensitive people by their disrespect and irreverence.  Some are now enslaved as minions of the Adversary whose awareness and self-will are dominated by the operations of sin that generate death, destruction, nonexistence, and return to the conditions that were in place before Creation.  The recourse granted believers is that we focus more completely and correctly upon Christ through contemplation, duty, fellowship with other believers, prayer, study, and unselfish service.  Consider again the following:

(1.)  John 16:  1-3, King James Version (KJV):  1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues:  yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

(2.)  Matthew 5:  10-12, KJV:  10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:  for great is your reward in heaven:  for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

(3.)  1st Timothy 4:  1-2, KJV:  1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;  2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 

(4.)  2nd Timothy 3:  1-5, KJV:  1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (5.)  Galatians 5:  19-23, KJV:  19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:  of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  23 Meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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Today, reply is made to a question insinuating that GOD will continue bias, exaggerated pride, and racism on the earth as practices in heaven.  In the holy writings, GOD repeatedly proclaims his love to the Jews as a peculiar people whom he chose to be preeminent upon the earth.  Many mistakenly take this to mean that, denying sacred law and divine integrity, GOD will favor the Jews in judgment, and will be hostile and prejudiced against Gentiles.  Correctly understood, intimate relationships with the Creator are by covenant, incarnation, inheritance, judgment, divine law, promise, and truth.  Judgment is also an aspect of the full revelation of divinity, for just as authority, justice, mercy, and sovereign majesty must come into view, the righteousness of GOD also must become known and visible to all.  None need envy the Jews, for disfavor and the wrath of GOD has come against many of them through covenant-breaking, idolatry by worship of the Golden Calf, and rejection of Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.  To say, GOD is “no respecter of persons,” is to declare the fairness and impartiality both of divine love and of sacred judgment.  One of the fighters at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information shared) posted the following:

 

Is there a black heaven?

For black people?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father:  and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:  them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  (John 10:  15-17, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Can Christians Be Racists? (07/25/2016); The Provision Against Racists? (01/19/2016); Correctly Knowing Israel? (03/01/2015); The Curse of Black Skin? 02/05/2015); Not Yet Delivered From Racism? (12/21/2014); Racism Is Not From GOD (12/22/2014); Beliefs, Customs and Racism? (09/24/2014)

 

“Anonymous”, many Christians believe that the presence of racism indicates the love of the Father is not in a person (see 1st John 2:  15, King James Version, KJV).  The eternal purposes of GOD revealed through Jesus Christ speak to establishing enduring oneness without sameness.  Where blacks, or whites, or Native Americans, or Asians, or island people do not appear in heaven it will not be because of their origin, nationality, and race.  It will be that their lives did not display genuine godly essence (i.e., breath, spirit, word).  Mature Christian believers do not encourage or endorse the many political ideas intended to build a strong community through division, oppression, and persecution of a minority group.  Such practices and phenomena as “caste”,  “balkanization” (breakdown of larger regions into separate subgroups and mutually hostile units), “egocentrism” (belief that the world centers and revolves around oneself), and interracial hatred must be correctly recognized as promoting death and nonexistence, rather than eternal life, as opposing the continued existence of divine law, and as contrary to the character, nature, and substance of divinity.  Diversity appears in the earth, in part, as a device that reveals the endless possibilities of Deity who also remains immutable, incorruptible, unbiased, and unchanging.  The GOD we serve is a GOD of judgment, and therefore must display such qualities as balance, fairness, honesty, impartiality, patience, and truth.  More than this, the GOD we serve is a GOD of love and therefore will display compassion, kindness, forbearance, forgiveness, longsuffering, and respect.  There is nothing in the holy writings to suggest that there will be discrimination on the basis of ethnicity in access to housing, jobs, marriages, or building of communities within the City of GOD (the New Jerusalem) that will exist forever upon the earth.  Consider again the following points from the Bible:

(1.)   Isaiah 63:  15-16, King James Version (KJV):  15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory:  where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?  16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not:  thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

(2.)  Colossians 1:  12-22, KJV:  12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by him, and for him:  17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  18 And he is the head of the body, the church:  who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (3.)  Colossians 3:  9-15, KJV:   9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:  but Christ is all, and in all.  12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any:  even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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Growing pains, persecution and suffering as aspects of Christian belief are in view, today.  It is a common error among those who lack sacred knowledge that “grace” also may mean license, material things, wealth, and “do what you please.”  A fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “esachica” (Level 1 with 1 point, a member since September 02, 2015) posted the following:

 

You believe in God and then go heaven & get everything. Isnt that TO GOOD TO BE TRUE? You dont even have to work a day for that Lamborghini.?

Any one can believe if they will get EVERYTHING as a result.

Don’t brainwashed religious people think its too easy & too good to be true?

All you do is BELIEVE and then you get mansions, Palaces, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce etc in heaven and you never have to work a day for it.

Are religious people dumb?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world:  but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift:  for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  (Romans 5:  10-19, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  About Other People’s Beliefs? (06/22/2016); Guided By Divine Truth (06/20/2016); Satisfaction by The Cross? (05/31/2016); A Guarantee of Judgment? (04/15/2016); Money Is No Object? (10/14/2015); Prosperity Destroys Fools (09/25/2012); Life and Death (09/26/2012)

 

“esachica”, for mature Christian believers the image of Jesus dying upon the cross calls forth truth that is inescapable for all who submit to GOD through his Son.  In addition to the “growing pains” they must endure as those who are “born again” and committed, believers are to expect the loss of loved ones to death, to unbelief, and to the pain of various separations as well as the routine life disappointments for those upon the earth, persecution, and personal suffering.  Through the operations of divinity, in water baptism the inborn spirit of a believer “dies” and is “buried”.  Because believers are reborn from divine DNA (so to speak), they must “grow up again” and become mature as divine offspring while still living upon the earth.  The sons and daughters of GOD are to become “ripe” and be gathered when the Lord takes his harvest of lives from the earth (some say, the Advent, the Rapture, the Second Coming).  In addition to the usual stress and tension that comes by hard work, believers who are developing as the seed of GOD in Christ also must face the many challenges that come when seeking to perfect a relationship.  Consider again how these points are stated using language from the Bible:

(1.)  1st Peter 5:  6-11, King James Version (KJV):  6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

(2.)  Hebrews 12:  7-9, KJV:  7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:  shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

(3.)  Ephesians 2:  8-10, KJV:  8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

There is far more that should be carefully said, thoughtfully examined, and spiritually understood.  (For example, (4.)  Romans 8:  5-9, KJV:  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.)  Even so, I am sure this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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