Archive for the ‘Persecution’ Category

King-Darius

The image depicts King Darius signing a decree that would damage and persecute the Prophet Daniel and the Jews in captivity.

Today, reply is on government, idolatry, law, and persecution. Government through a chief or monarch (e.g., king; emperor; pharaoh) was modeled after the divine institution of family ruled by patriarchs and sacred law that appeared through a priesthood administering offerings and sacrifices of blood. As the tribes of the Exodus sought to enter the promised land, the seer, Balaam, acknowledged that “the shout of a king” and “the strength of a unicorn” was among the tribes of Israel as though there was already a centralized government described by a crown and stable domain, led by a recognized champion, located by a fixed seat (the throne), and administered from a permanent residence (a castle keep). Joshua and the tribes removed more than 30 kings; yet, during the time of Samuel (who is called the last of the Judges, the first of the Prophets) the people demanded rule by a king who would be a civil officer. Israel rejected divine counsel that the errors and infirmity of temporal kings include greed, self-promotion, taxes, and waste. Thus, it is written: 1st Samuel 8: 4-9, King James Version (KJV): 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” public forum on Religion and Spirituality, who uses the ID “PeTer” (Level 3 with 1,478 points, a member since March 31, 2009) posted the following:

 

Daniel 6 Why would the king establish such a foolish law of worshiping him for 30 days?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13: 1-5, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: An Account of Lawlessness (11/16/2018); Called “The Anointed One” (05/08/2018); Politics and The Kingdom? (05/31/2017); The Peace to Endure? (03/28/2017); GOD’s Answer to Injustice? (04/28/2016); Martyrdom and Tribulation? (09/30/2015); GOD Rules (07/07/2015); A Price for Religious Liberty? (06/30/2015)

 

PeTer”, it was not foolish; and the accounts on government that appear throughout the Scriptures should not be taken as discrete and unrelated. In those times, it was believed that the judgment of GOD would reside within the king; and the king would be an embodiment of the law. Yet, the demand that Daniel petition only the king is no less the persecution of his faith than a demand that he worship a huge image of gold erected on the plain of Dura. The account from the Book of Daniel that petitions and requests (we say, prayers) be made only of the king for a period of 30 days has generally been seen as expressing envy, personal conflict, malice, “dirty politics,” and exaggerated pride by rivals in government directed against the Prophet, who was one of three Presidents within a one-world empire. On surface, a temporary suspension of activity surrounding the many idols, vanities, and worship communities would encourage allegiance, assimilation, unification, and commitment to the state. The empire expanded by using military force, and relocating the manpower, resources, and skills from conquered states within its own territory. That such government and practice is contrary to divine intent, and eternal purpose is always covered and obscured by arguments for economic increase, improving the quality of life, and an insistence there will be peace. Where men rely on government and civil legislation for survival, they often respond to a man-made abomination where they otherwise flee from idols and idolatry. It remains that peace is the outcome of judgment, not war; and there must be resolution of conflict and settlement of disputes by applications of divine law. Persecution is systematic behavior by government endorsing or being manipulated by a religious establishment to destroy, legislate against, and undermine developing belief within new faith communities. Because of the cruelty and violence that appear, persecution often is labeled as injustice, the denial of religious liberty, oppression, and terrorism. Consider the following that uses language from the Bible:

1. 1st Samuel 10: 17-21, King James Version (KJV): 17 And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; 18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: 19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. 20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.

2. Isaiah 10: 1-3, KJV: 1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! 3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?

3. Daniel 4: 30-37, KJV: 30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. 32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. 34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

4. Ecclesiastes 5: 8, KJV: 8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, 5. Ephesians 6: 10-17, KJV: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For 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. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

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Partakers of His Holiness

 

Today, reply is on divine chastisement, respect, and student responses to teacher autonomy and behavior to continue a formal atmosphere for learning. Lessons that fit us for eternal life are acquired on a regular basis through many of our ordinary, daily routines. Even so, Christian teens and young adults may express angry feelings of being unfairly imposed on in school settings, and may mistakenly receive assignments, discipline, practice, and study as detention, penalties, persecution, or punishment. Some are overly quick to complain and label as malicious the necessary requirements for instruction and classroom order. These may even attribute and label confiscation of their Bible, interruption of their time for prayer and praise, and restriction of proselytizing as malicious, and “from the devil.” Discernment of spirit content from GOD must be developed; and it is correct to acknowledge Hebrews 12: 1-8, King James Version (KJV): 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 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. A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” public forum on Religion and Spirituality, who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile is shown) posted the following:

 

My teacher took away my Bible?

We were in class today during study hall. The teacher took away a Muslims book and then my Bible. She said no religious books, do it at home. Can I sue this old bat?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2: 13-15, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: How GOD Is Communicating (10/31/2018); Those Apt To Teach? (06/20/2018); Opposing The Divine Will (03/30/2018); Proper Training For Belief? (01/10/2018); The Spirit of Meekness (12/15/2017); Discernment, Focus and Meekness? (07/07/2017); Discipline and The Cross (06/16/2016); Divine Discipline? (12/24/2015)

 

Anonymous”, developing and mature Christian believers all have begun as sinners, and as those in need of transformation, guidance, sacred knowledge, and spiritual training (we also say, discipline). Multiple sacred operations must be completed that establish fellowship and joining among those entering covenant relationship with divinity, who eventually will appear as part of a community or household of faith; and there must be divinely provided opportunities and possibilities for discovery, gradual growth, continuous learning, practice, and unselfish service. Believers who are “born again” also must “grow up again” to become mature (balanced; complete; consistent; ripe; stable) for harvest by the Lord at his appearing (Advent; the Rapture; the Second Coming). Through the sacred operations of baptism that depict death of ones inborn spirit and rebirth from divine DNA so to speak, believers receive fresh endowments of life essence (breath; spirit; word) from the makeup of divinity. Included are faith, holiness, impartiality, longsuffering, lovingkindness, meekness, personhood, purity, restraint, wisdom, and wrath against sin. Increasingly, believers show themselves willing to be held accountable and “teachable” during the period for mastering skills and preparing to minister to others. Often for priests and kings, there are unwanted yet unavoidable challenges, duty, hardship, service, and suffering that will draw upon their inseparable deposits of godly strength. Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.) Zephaniah 2: 2-3, King James Version (KJV): 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.

(2.) 1st Peter 2: 1-3, KJV: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

(3.) 1st Peter 2: 19-25, KJV: 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (4.) Romans 13: 1-8, KJV: 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

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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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