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About ~=Ron=~
  1. ~=Ron=~

    The Mission Of Jesus

    The life and death of Jesus have presented profound and unfathomable questions. Did he reveal to mankind everything he intended? Was his crucifixion the consummation of his mission? For what purpose is the Second Coming, and how will that be accomplished? If his teaching was the ultimate revelation and his mission was completed, why do Christians still pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven". Let us examine Jesus' life and teachings in the light of new insights. This will be new and challenging for many of you, but I know it will help you understand the Heart and Will of God and Jesus more clearly. John the Baptist Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, prophesied: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes." (Mal. 4:5) The prophet Elijah was a most powerful spiritual champion. His mission was to subjugate Satan and drive evil out of Israel in preparations for the advent of the Messiah. Elijah defeated all the false prophets in his great battle on Mount Carmel. But after he passed on, the Israelites united with Satan by again worshiping idols. Therefore, Elijah's work had to be redone. In order to prepare for the Messiah, another Elijah was needed, as Malachi prophesied. Hence, the people expected Elijah to come prior to the coming of the Messiah. According to Jesus' explanation, John the Baptist was the anticipated Elijah. That is, Malachi's prophecy concerning Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist. He came to complete Elijah's mission of subjugating Satan and to make preparation for the Messiah. John had been chosen even in the womb. The angel Gabriel had announced to Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son who would prepare his people for the Messiah. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared. (Luke 1:16-17) God sent special people to pave the way for the coming of the Messiah. Patriarchs, judges, kings, and prophets exhorted, guided, and prophesied-all to this end. John the Baptist was the last and greatest of these forerunners. It was he who was to read the signs and point out the promised one to the Israelites. Everything in John's life was directed to prepare him for this mission. His period in the wilderness, his course of study and meditation, his life of asceticism, and his understanding of the plan of God-these were essential to the success of his mission as the forerunner of the Messiah. As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:15-16) The people were so struck by John's dynamic message that they considered him the greatest prophet, and even wondered if he were the Christ. The Pharisees, upon hearing that Jesus was the Messiah, immediately wondered where the prophesied Elijah was. Jesus' disciples brought the question to him, and Jesus replied that John was Elijah. (Matt. 17:10-13) Then the priests and Levites came to John to find out by his own words whether he was Elijah, as Jesus had declared. Contradicting what his father had received about him, John denied that he was Elijah. Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ". They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah? He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No". ( John 1:19-21) Whatever John uttered the people deemed very important, and he became exceedingly influential. His voice had far more authority than that of Jesus, who was only a humble carpenter and was unknown to most people. The people could have accepted Jesus as the Messiah much more readily if John had proclaimed himself to be Elijah, thus bearing witness to Jesus. By denying that he was Elijah, however, John made Jesus appear as an imposter to those looking for validation from Elijah, and finding none. John made it difficult for the people to follow Jesus. That was not John's mission. When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John immediately sensed that he should be baptized by Jesus. John later told his disciples that he had seen the spirit of God descend and remain on Jesus, and that Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) It is therefore apparent that John knew the identity of Jesus. John's mission apart from Jesus should have culminated with his baptism of Jesus. He thereupon should have joined Jesus, become his disciple, and served him as his Master, thus drawing people to Jesus, not to himself. But apparently John was not convinced, for he took a position apart from Jesus. John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) Why should John decrease while Jesus was increasing? If John had truly followed Jesus, he would have been with Jesus in his triumph and glory. However, doubts came to John's mind as he compared his life with that of Jesus. It seemed to him as if Jesus were abolishing the Mosaic Law. Jesus' disciples were simple fishermen and his friends were tax collectors, harlots, and sinners. Jesus and his disciples ate and drank, whereas John and his followers were ascetic. John might have even expected the Messiah to come in glory on the throne of David. But Jesus was a man of humble background. In prison, however, having heard of Jesus' miracles, John again wondered about him. John sent two of his disciples to inquire. Their question, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" offended Jesus. Jesus answered them, saying: Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me. (Luke 7:22-23) John should have recognized Jesus at least by his works. John was the greatest prophet of all, in terms of his mission, for he was the very one to give direct witness to the Messiah. Jesus said: I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28) John The Baptist was untimately beheaded by Herod, and did not: "make the way straight for the Lord". In terms of serving Jesus, John was the smallest of all because he did not follow or attend Jesus as the Lord although he had been chosen for that very purpose. Had John followed him after baptizing him, and testified to Jesus ardently enough, the whole of Israel would have turned to Jesus. But John, the principal forerunner of Jesus, failed in his mission of preparing the way. Because John did not lay a foundation for Jesus, Jesus himself had to withstand the attacks of Satan throughout his forty days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness. Luke 4:16: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; 17: and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19: to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 20: And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21: And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." In the mind of Jesus, and in the heart of God, that time was to be the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, and all the other passages in Hebrew scripture that articulate the promises of a glorious Kingdom in Israel. Dual Messianic prophesy, as it’s been understood, has explained that the Glorious Israel, and the Glorious Kingdom prophesies are meant for the Second Coming, and that the Suffering Servant prophesies were meant to be fulfilled first in Jesus’ time 2000 years ago. But according to Jesus own words, Isaiah 61 was meant to be fulfilled in that time, that day, in Nazareth and throughout Israel. There is no conflict in dual prophecy if you understand the context, and the position of mankind, in possessing his own portion of responsibility. The Law Covenant always spoke of two possibilities based on the response of faith, or of no faith. Blessings and glory, or suffering Curses. So the fate of Messianic providence is likewise determined by the extent of human participation, or the lack of it. The Kingdom of Heaven Jesus had come in Adam's place to restore the lost Garden of Eden, to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. He chose twelve disciples and seventy men, with whom he undertook this task. From the beginning of his ministry Jesus proclaimed, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17) As Luke reported, "He went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God." (8:1) Jesus gave many parables pertaining to the kingdom of heaven. He compared it to sowing good seeds in various soils; to a tiny grain of mustard seed which would grow into a large tree; to leaven hidden in meal; to a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found with joy and then bought at the cost of everything he had; to a merchant who, finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it; and to a net thrown into the sea. He compared the kingdom of heaven to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son and invited all people, but they would not come; to ten virgins, five wise and five foolish, who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom; to a man who called his servants to account for the talents which he had entrusted to them. In the Beatitudes, Jesus described the nature of those who would enter the kingdom of heaven. To his disciples Jesus partially revealed the secrets of the kingdom, but to the public he spoke always in parables. (Mark 4:11) Jesus said that it was not easy to enter the kingdom. One must be like a child, showing that quality of obedient acceptance. For a rich man it was particularly difficult, so that Jesus compared a rich man entering the kingdom to a camel going through a needle's eye. Jesus came to bring a physical kingdom into the world, and not merely a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of his followers. Because the kingdom's foundation had to be laid during Jesus' lifetime, its establishment was imminent and urgent. Therefore Jesus directed his followers to seek his kingdom and righteousness first, without giving undue thought to what to eat or wear. Jesus sent out his disciples, urging them to preach that the kingdom was at hand. In fact, the time was so urgent that Jesus commanded: "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60) At another time he said, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) In teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus' first petition to God was "Thy kingdom come." Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of heaven because he was the one by whom the kingdom was to be established. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven was the entire theme of his message. To enter the kingdom, one must be perfect. As Jesus said, "You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) After man attains perfection, he comes under God's Direct Dominion in marriage blessed by Him. Perfected men and women have no need for forgiveness because they have in themselves no sin. Jesus came to subjugate Satan, thereby freeing men from evil and from original sin. He came to raise them to perfection-to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. This kingdom was to be much more than the reign of God in peoples' hearts. He meant to establish a tangible, visible kingdom. It was to be built by the efforts of men filled with divine love and truth. It was to be a Garden of Eden in which true families of perfected parents would live with God in a full relationship of reciprocal love. This world, it's creatures and beautiful landscapes was meant to exist as the Kingdom of Heaven with humanity, man, woman and all their offspring, taking their places as divine beings, living in the direct dominion of God's Heart. This would all have happened had Jesus been accepted in Israel 2000 years ago. Glorious Prophecy for the Messiah God's purpose in sending the Messiah was to establish His kingdom on earth, beginning with Israel. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah's role in God's kingdom. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. (9:6-7) From the throne of David, the Messiah was to govern his people with justice and righteousness. He was to reign with wisdom, as Wonderful Counselor; with power, as Mighty God; with love, as the Everlasting Father. And the peace of his kingdom was to last forever. Not only his human followers, but all nature was to dwell in his peace, as Isaiah foretold. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (11:6-9) Isaiah further prophesied the glorious days the Israelites would see in the kingdom of the Messiah. Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you ... Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you .... Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons of those who oppressed you shall come bending low to you; and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel .... Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise .... The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it. (Isaiah 60) This is the glory and joy that the Israelites were to share upon the establishment of the Messianic kingdom. Their long suffering and sorrow would be ended. Their blessing would reach throughout the whole world, and earth would be the Garden of Eden. Such glorious prophecy is found also in the Gospels. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:31-33) The angel Gabriel informed Mary that her son would be the Messiah, fulfilling the long cherished hope of Israel; that he would rule a kingdom of eternal peace. The wise men of the East came to pay homage to the newborn Jesus as the prophesied King of the Jews. Shepherds in the fields heard from angels that the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. Simeon and Anna were in the temple at Jerusalem when the baby Jesus was brought there. Through the Holy Spirit they immediately recognized him as the promised King and Messiah. Upon hearing of Jesus' birth, King Herod was afraid of losing his position, and sought to have him killed. At last, John the Baptist was sent to prepare the people by his direct witness to the Messiah. God painstakingly prepared the people of Israel for the Messiah by sending prophets, angels, and witnesses. Thus He sought to assure Israel's recognition and wholehearted acceptance of the Messiah, which the establishment of His kingdom required. How Was He Received? When the Messiah finally came to the people, he was most sadly treated. Even though at one point John had conclusively realized Jesus was the Messiah, he didn't follow through in witnessing to him, but continued on his separate way. Thus he as a forerunner failed in his mission. The populace listened to Jesus and the masses marveled at him, primarily because of his miracles and healing, not the truth he brought. Some fanatics, excited by his demonstrations of power, tried to make him a king in their own way, without knowing the whole implication of Jesus' role. A few came to recognize him by the truth of his words, but the stubborn and arrogant priests, scribes, and Pharisees united with Satan and criticized his teaching as being contrary to the law of Moses. They viewed his miracles as coming from Beelzebub, the devil; they denied his Messiahship by saying that he blasphemed in referring to himself as the Son of God. By constant condemnation of Jesus, they alienated the people from him. Finally, they bribed one of his disciples to betray him. We speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:l1-12) The heavenly things Jesus wished to speak concerned the establishment of the kingdom of heaven. However, he could not convey them to the people, because they did no believe in him. Jesus had done everything possible with the desire that the Jewish people recognize and believe in him. He had preached about the kingdom of heaven he had come to establish. He had performed mighty works in the hope that they might see who he was. Nevertheless, the stubborn and faithless people refused to accept him as the Messiah, and repudiated his words and works. Finally, brokenhearted, he rebuked them for their unbelief. Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Matt. 11:21) You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. (John 8:44) Jerusalem, the city of the temple, had rejected Jesus, the true temple. He wept: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. (Matt. 23:37-38 Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes . . . because you did not know the time of your visitation. (Luke 19: 42-44) Jesus endeavored to make the Jews recognize him by his words, his works, and his prayers, but it was all in vain. When he saw that it was impossible to establish the kingdom of God during his lifetime, he began to speak about the return of the "Son of man." Jesus did not mention the Second Advent from the beginning of his ministry, but only after he realized the impossibility of fulfilling his mission. The Original Course Changed To receive guidance concerning his destiny, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray. Peter, John and James accompanied him. During his prayer Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus, and his inevitable suffering was revealed to him. "And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:30-31) However, Peter and the other disciples were heavy with sleep and did not know what had transpired. Peter said, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." (Luke 9:33) At the spiritual manifestation of two great figures of history, Moses and Elijah, Peter was overwhelmed and excited. However, he had missed the whole point. Also about this time Jesus began to intimate to his disciples that he would have to go to Jerusalem, there to suffer much from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and finally to be killed. Peter took him by the arm and began to remonstrate with him over this, saying, "God bless you, Master. Nothing like this must happen to you." Peter, the chief disciple, was surprised and even shocked to hear that Jesus would suffer. Why should Peter be so surprised at this if Jesus had been teaching his mission as the suffering Lord? Jesus' remarks concerning his suffering were shocking and upsetting to Peter because such suffering was in complete contrast to everything Jesus had taught up to then. By this time Jesus saw no way of fulfilling his original intention, and therefore resolved to endure suffering to salvage what he could. Although to the outer circle of followers Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God only in parables, to his intimate disciples he revealed more. (Luke 8:10) Therefore, his close followers knew that Jesus was working to establish the kingdom of heaven during his lifetime. With this knowledge, James and John once asked Jesus: "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." (Mark 10:37) They were not wrong in expecting him to reign in glory upon the throne of David. What the disciples did not know, however, was that on the mountain with Moses and Elijah, Jesus had resolved to confront the imminent crisis. Rejected by the Jews, he was forced to take an alternate course. Thus he was tragically diverted from the victorious way of the Lord of glory prophesied by Isaiah. Prediction of Suffering If Jesus did not come to be crucified, why then did Isaiah predict his suffering? Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? . . . He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; . . . Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (53:1-4) We must understand that the purpose of God is fully accomplished only when men cooperate with Him. Therefore, if man does not wholeheartedly obey Him, God's will cannot be fulfilled. God's will is not automatically fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah. His purpose can be accomplished or delayed, depending upon the attitude of the people to whom the Messiah is sent. If the Jews unequivocally received the Messiah, God's will could be fulfilled and His kingdom established on earth. On the other hand, if the people rejected the Messiah in disbelief, Jesus could only suffer at their hands. God foresaw these two possible responses to the Messiah. The prophecy of the Lord of glory recorded in Isaiah 9 and 60 would have been fulfilled if the Jews had responded to the Messiah wholeheartedly. God desired the fulfillment of this prophecy. The prediction of the suffering servant recorded in Isaiah 53 was one which God never wanted to see fulfilled. He gave this prediction only to warn the Jews not to despise him, in which case he would have to suffer. Jesus' parable clearly shows that he did not come to die: There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, "They will respect my son." But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance." And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their season." . . . Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it. (Matt. 21: 33-43) In this parable the householder is God. The son He sent is Jesus. God expected the Jews - - the tenants in the parable -- to receive His son with respect and love. Killing him was an outrageous transgression. Jesus' death certainly was not predetermined! If Jesus had not been crucified, he would have fulfilled his mission and restored man in both spirit and body. Despite God's preparation and warning, the Jews frustrated His primary intent. The Cross: A Secondary Choice Since Jesus could not establish the physical kingdom, the realization of God's will was delayed. Since the fall of man, the heart of God has been filled with grief. Jesus came to relieve the divine sorrow, thus comforting the Father. Unable to succeed completely in this mission, Jesus must have been sorrowful. The patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament Age had laid the foundation for the Messiah. These forefathers in the spirit world were eager to see the completion of the works they had started and the glorious fulfillment of God's will. Israel had undergone repeated trials and had suffered long in preparation for the Messiah. By rejecting him, she lost God's blessing and her long suffering became meaningless. Jesus, who deeply loved his people, felt heartbroken at their bleak destiny. He foresaw that his followers would suffer as he had suffered. Their suffering must continue until the Lord comes again. Furthermore, since the establishment of God's kingdom was postponed, humanity's suffering in this Satanic world must also continue. Filled with thoughts of these things, Jesus must have felt desperate anguish. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt. 26:37-39) If the crucifixion were God's predetermined course of saving mankind, why was Jesus so sorrowful in accepting it? Why did he pray that the cup of suffering pass from him? Numerous martyrs courageously persevered through severe suffering, praising God. Could Jesus, the Savior of mankind, have less faith than others when he prayed to have the cup taken from him? Certainly not. He desperately prayed, even three times, because he knew his death on the cross was not God's will. In his agony he sought some possible way to fulfill His original divine mandate. If Jesus' crucifixion had been God's predetermined plan, the role of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, should have been vital in God's sight. If Judas' action had helped to accomplish God's will, why did he hang himself afterwards? The action of Judas was rebellious, and Jesus clearly displayed his anger at Judas' treachery: But woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. It would have been better for that man if he had not been born. (Matt. 26:24) It is now clear that the crucifixion was imposed by man; that it was intended neither by God nor by Jesus. Even St. Paul didn't recognize the Messiah and vowed to persecute this new religious sect, but he was dramatically arrested in his path. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." (Acts 9:3-5) How shocked and grieved Paul must have been when he discovered the truth! The Messiah, for whose coming Paul had prayed daily, had been crucified. Although Paul had lived at the same time and in the same region as Jesus, he had missed the precious opportunity of serving him directly. Having discovered the truth and realizing what he had done against the Messiah, Paul cried out in self-denunciation and declared himself the chief sinner. Paul expressed his deep regret at the blindness of the people, which he had shared: None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (I Cor. 2:8)
  2. Chapter 1, The Principle of Creation The Principle of Creation
  3. The link below is to a lecture by one of my favorite teachers, and someone I've had the pleasure of working with in the past at our summer camps. He has also shared this content also to thousands of Christian Ministers over the years. The First Christmas, By Kevin McCarthy
  4. ~=Ron=~

    Why Are You Here?

    When I lived in New York City back in the early 90s, I occasionally taught at our church summer camp in upstate New York, ( we fondly called it Camp Sunrise) . In our more advanced seminars, towards the end the course, we would arrange an early morning outing to a local hilltop to meet and pray with our guests at sunrise. That meant getting everyone up early out of their sleeping bags @ 3:30am and making the trip to the top of the hill via a trail and with flashlights. Andy took the lead, and I would be the last in line to attend to any stragglers. When we got to the top of the hill someone offered a representative prayer and then we broke up and found our own private places to pray, by a rock, beside a tree, each soul moved across the hillside to their own spot as the sun began to rise. It was very beautiful. And we all began to pray. I've had meaningful prayers before, and I sometimes had, and always hoped for what in the Seminary, Reverend Sudo called, "A Skin Touch Encounter" with God. But on this occasion, while I was thinking and hoping along those lines, it somehow felt during my prayer, that I was just spouting empty words into the air. And at one point I began to feel frustrated. As I mentioned, I've had meaningful encounters in prayer before, in my mission work, in the trenches, I often had to find an empty field or under a bridge to find privacy and solitude for serious prayer and repentance to find the heart of God, and solace. I often needed and relied on those experiences to continue some difficult mission work, through difficult times. But for some reason this time it just wasn't happening. I felt like a turtle on it's back, going nowhere.. Then, unmistakably, a powerful question just came into my heart and mind, through my gut. I still feel to this day that it was the voice of God. "Why are you here?" "For them", I answered, as I looked out and saw all our new friends and guests scattered across the hillside. It was for them that we were even here, in camp and on a beautiful hillside, and away from the dirty Manhattan streets. It was then that I knew what I had to do. I repented for my selfishness, and began to ask God to intercede and visit *THEM* instead of me, "Please God, visit them," those who may be uttering their first words of prayer ever in their lives. "Please God, visit them". Calling out each person to God by name, "Please God, visit Carol, make this time special for her." For each one by name. It was then, through this process, that the bottom of my heart gave way, and I felt God move in. I felt the embrace and love of God. I was no longer that turtle stuck on it's back, I looked out over the hillside, the sunrise, and my friends,, and felt a visitation of Heaven's love, for them, for me, and for all in this vast beautiful creation. ~=Ron=~
  5. The Nature Of God Masculine & Feminine Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them Genesis 1:28 Be Fruitful & Multiply
  6. Israel, Prophesy and the Law Covenant ~~~~~~~ Many view prophesy as simply - God foretelling the future. However, the course of human history as we have known it thus far constitutes a long and painful detour of our own making. We can't ignore the realities inherent in man's portion of responsibility, and how that effects any future envisioned by God or Man. Salvation and Restoration only became necessary as a result of the Fall of Man, which was not intended nor predestined by God. From God's point of view, Man's actions in faith or unfaith will play a crucial part in the course of human history. So when we see God begin to work with and through Abraham, Moses and the Israelites, the dynamics of our relationship to God and His principles don't change. Exodus 19:3-6 3. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Through this and other scripture it's clear that God intended to bless Israel, and that they would be a special nation existing within God's grace and attention relative to the rest of the world. Isaiah 61:5-6 & 9 5. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. 6. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. 9. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. 11. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. These words are so aglow with hope and expectation that many have come to believe them as prophecy, and that certainly God's intended blessing must be realized is Israel. However a "Covenant" is a binding agreement that is to be upheld by both sides. God says that He will bless Israel, "if you will indeed obey my voice". The "if" in "if you" is by far the weightiest two letter word in the whole of the Bible, because it points to the reality of Israel's position who, like Adam, is standing on the precipice of life and death. They have an unavoidable portion of responsibility in the providential picture and a key element in the equation which is the Law Covenant. 2 Chronicles 7:14 14. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. The most fearful side of the Covenant was the "Curse in the Law", and it was a warning to what might happen if Israel were to turn away from God and into disobedience. 2 Chronicles 7:19 19. But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20. Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. This state of the Law Covenant and conditional blessing is repeated throughout the Old Testament. Deut 30:19 19. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Other examples, Jer 11:1-14, Jer 18:8, Jer 22:1-5, Ezek 33:11, Deut 28:1:19, Lev 26:14-38. This was so much the case, that God emphasized the point by having his prophets distinguish between blessings and curses by proclaiming their message from two different mountains, one for blessings, Mt. Gerizim and one for curses, Mt Ebal. Deut 27:12-13 The Prophets It's also important to note and highlight the significant role of the Prophets as God's messengers and central figures in this process. They were sent to proclaim the promise, and issue the warning, to sound the alarm when Israel was in danger of falling away. So then by heeding the words of God through the Prophets, the chosen people might avert disaster because the life and status of the Covenant ( broken or unbroken ) was often decided by how the people received the Prophet and his message as their portion of responsibility. Jeremiah 26 1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord, saying, 2. Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3. If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4. And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5. To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6. Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. It's also important to understand that the role of the Prophet was also that of a forerunner, a herald to announce the coming of, and to prepare the way for the Messiah. John the Baptist simply being the last before the appearance of Jesus. Ultimately the Covenant was established as a vital tradition of faith to prepare the people to receive the coming Messiah, and that upon his arrival they would then understand and fulfill God's hope for universal salvation. Isaiah 49:6 6. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
  7. ~=Ron=~

    The Fall Of Man

    The Fall Of Man "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it." Matt 12:43 I think it's very difficult for most people to appreciate the devastation brought about by the Fall of Man. Even with our awareness of history and the world as it is today, until we can experience life as it should have been, as beings living in a direct relationship with God's love, we will always live in a muted state of awareness, and never be truly shocked or grieved over the reality of the Fall, the loss of man's true divine nature. The account of the Fall of Man in Genesis, for many, has faded into the category of myth, and doesn't attract the attention of serious thought and inquiry. And as it's written, it leaves many questions unanswered that might cross the rational mind. For instance; Was there, literally, a poisonous fruit that God left in the garden as a test for Adam & Eve? Why would a loving God punish them with death for failing such a test? Was there an actual talking snake who tempted Eve and therefore caused the fall of man? And who or what is Satan? How has sin been able to effect the succeeding generations of man since the Fall? Was the Fall of Man a part of God's predestination? Why does God allow evil and suffering to exist? I'm sure that many more of such questions can be asked in relation to the Fall of Man. In the following pages we'll try to provide new insights and clear, meaningful answers. Literal or Symbolic? The Fall of Man is perhaps one of the best illustrations of the use of symbolic language that can be found in the Bible. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, the Tree of Life, the Serpent and the Fruit, are objects in the Genesis story that have meaning beyond what is expressed literally. When we can decipher their inner meaning, we will begin to see the makings of a quite different story. The Trees of the Garden The Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil was only mentioned once in the Bible, however the Tree of Life, which stood next to it in the midst of the Garden is mentioned numerous times, and in a context that can only have symbolic meaning. Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Rev. 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. After the fall, Adam & Eve were driven from the Garden, and the Tree of Life was guarded to prevent them from reaching it. (Gen 3:24) Since then, attaining the Tree of Life has been the hope and desire of fallen man. So it clearly cannot be referring to a literal tree. There are other verses in the Bible that liken a tree to a man of righteousness. Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season. Psalms 52:8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. Isaiah 61:5 They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. And Jesus said; "I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 In the ultimate sense, a man of righteousness is a sinless man, a sinless Adam, like Jesus. The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden was symbolic of sinless perfected Adam. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, which stood next to the Tree of Life, we can then conclude was symbolic of Eve. Therefore, the two trees in the midst of the Garden were none other than Adam & Eve who stood at the center of God's ideal of creation. The Fruit Jesus said, "Hear and understand: "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." Matt 15:10-11 Fruit is meant for food to sustain life, and in a literal sense what we eat is passed on through the body and doesn't directly effect our succeeding generations. And as mentioned earlier it is inconsistent for a loving God to place a dangerous and tempting fruit in the presence of His children, not to mention a fruit that can cause death. Since literal fruit can't grow on a symbolic tree we can likewise conclude that the fruit that was eaten by Adam & Eve was not a literal fruit, but has a symbolic meaning. The meaning of the fruit can become more clear as we understand the identity and crime of the serpent. The Serpent It states in Gen 3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Indeed the serpent was able to converse with Eve, had know- ledge of God's commandment and deceived her. These are not the traits and capabilities of a literal snake. There are other verses that identify the fallen angel Lucifer as the serpent who tempted Eve and was then cast out of heaven. Rev 12:9 The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels with him. Isaiah 14:12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into the heaven, I will exalt my throne above the Stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit. So the serpent who tempted Eve was actually the Angel, Lucifer, who through his sin and disobedience became Satan. The Crime of the Angel and the Fall of Man So then what was the meaning of the fruit, and the crime of the angel Lucifer? Jude 6-7 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. It was sexual immorality and fornication that doomed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and likewise it was the sin of fornication that corrupted the Angels and Adam & Eve. They could not maintain their purity and proper place in the garden, and were cast out. The fruit is the part of the tree through which it multiplies itself. Within the fruit are the seeds of it's next generation. So the fruit of the garden was symbolic of the sexual act. Song of Songs 4:12-16 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard or pomegranates with choice fruits. Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that it's fragrance my spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. The commandment not to eat the fruit was not a test, but it was a warning given by God to Adam & Eve not to engage in the sexual act before it was their time to do so. Just as a fruit needs to ripen before it is eaten, it was also God's plan for Adam & Eve to mature and perfect themselves through the growing period before they could consummate their love as husband & wife. The fact that they sewed fig leaves as aprons to cover their lower parts shows that it was more than their nakedness that they were ashamed of,, but it was because their sin and shame involved their sexual parts. The Results of the Fall St. Paul wrote: Romans 7:21-24 "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am!" Since the Fall of Man, like St. Paul, all of humanity, regardless of social stature, has had to confront and struggle with their sinful and fallen nature. St. Paul's honest lament of "sin living in me" (vs 17) is not only a profound truth of the Bible, but a sad and sobering fact of life. The Fall not only derailed Adam & Eve in their growth process to perfection, but also saddled their succeeding generations with nearly irreversible original sin and fallen nature. Romans 5:19 " through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners," Because the Fall was sexual in nature, it's more understandable that original sin could be passed down from one generation to the next, through the blood lineage. Hence, Jesus said, "you are of your Father the devil" Jn 8:44 Adam & Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden signifies that human history began outside the realm of God's purity, divinity, love and Blessing. Even the first murder took place in the next generation as Cain killed Abel. And as history repeatedly shows us, when we lose our morals, we lose our moorings and are set adrift. Rome was not destroyed from without,, but from within. The Results for God Gen 6:5-6 And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. For many, God is somehow transcendent of, and aloof to man's sinfulness and in the end will bring about His grand judgment in the Last Days. Condemning sinners to burn in Hell for eternity. Few have considered the thought of comforting a God who suffers. God created to bring about an object of His heart. The end of the creation process was determined from the beginning. That being a perfect couple in union with God's heart, the original True Parents of mankind. Adam & Eve could not fulfill that expectation and brought about a sorrowful history instead. Rather than being a source of joy, love and happiness for God, they and their offspring instead became the objects of His grief and sorrow.
  8. The Nature of God ~~~~~~~~~~ From Emile,, "The book of nature lies open to every eye. It is from this sublime and wonderful volume that I learn to serve and adore it's Divine Author. No person is excusable for neglecting to read this book, at it is written in a universal language, intelligible to all mankind." Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) The existence and nature of God has been questioned and debated endlessly. Yet the Bible gives us validation for using logic, reason and the observation of the creation itself in our approach to an answer. Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature-- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." So if we observe the universal and unchanging qualities within the creation, we should begin to understand the fingerprints, the underlying nature of God. Just as the qualities and nature of an artist can be seen in the artwork itself. First, when we look at ourselves as a creation of God, we see that we exist as either a male or female. No matter where we live, or in which era in history, we have always existed and reproduced in a pair system. Man and Woman. Likewise, animals exist in a pair system, male and female. Plants propagate by way of a stamen and pistil. Even subatomic particles, the basic building blocks of all matter, possess either a positive charge, a negative charge, or a neutral charge formed by the neutralization of the positive and negative elements. And finally, in Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Man and woman exist as a visible expression of God's invisible nature. Therefore, we can say that within God there exists original masculinity, and original femininity, in perfect and divine harmony. Mankind is therefore born from God, and we are His children. God is our original true parent. Then throughout the Bible we see examples of God's heart expressed in the firmness, discipline and justice of a Father, or the unconditional, forgiving and embracing love of a Mother, because every attribute of parental love originates within God. Another pair system that has existed throughout time and creation are the elements of internal character and external form, or mind and body. The mind being invisible and subjective while the body or form is visible and objective. This pair system is likewise seen in all levels of creation, within man, animals, plants, and down to the inherent directive nature within particles of energy. So within God there is the power and energy of his being, which allows Him to create and sustain the universe. And there is His inner being, heart & mind. The eternal thought, love and awareness that exist at the core and heart of God, likewise permeates the universe. Therefore God is omnipotent, and omnipresent. Whatever God creates contains an element of himself, a symbol or expression of his mind & heart. For example, the idea of flight exists and originates within the mind of God, and finds it's expression in the birds of the air. God's absoluteness and unchangeability is seen in the majesty of a mountain range. The whole process of creation is one of manifesting his whole thought, heart and will into visible form. Therefore the mind of God can be seen in the design, beauty and purpose inherent in all of creation. Man and woman, however, are not mere symbols or a minor consumer in the food chain of life. To bring about an object of His heart, the finale of creation was the emergence of another eternal divine being, or couple. Man and Woman were to be His temples, freely breathing the air of God's own heart & spirit. Therefore, God's investment in the creation of His first children, Adam & Eve, was total and complete. Therefore it says that man is made in God's image, male and female, and then He rested. The Purpose of Life ~ The Three Great Blessings The First Blessing ~ Be Fruitful In my creative writing course in High School, we were asked to come up with a title for our annual journal. In it would be all the best, funniest, and most creative excerpts of our class time for that year. I think I did have one or two things submitted within it's back pages, but I've forgotten them after all this time. However, I am proud to say that my idea for it's title carried the day. Paper Mirrors. Paper Mirrors won because I think everyone recognized the clear but subtle truth it conveyed. That the investment within it's pages was a simple reflection of ourselves, hopefully at our best. In other words, we see a reflection of ourselves in our creative efforts. And if our works exhibit the original spark of our ideas then we're of course pleased. We feel joy and happiness. The same is true for God. His fundamental motive for creating was to experience love, joy and happiness. The nature and impulse of love itself is to seek another. God, being eternal, sought an eternal partner. Man & Woman didn't merely begin as an idea within God. More precisely, God was reproducing himself in the couple of Adam & Eve. More than any other creation God sought to become one with this first couple, living within and through them, his very own children. 1 Corinthians 3:16 - 17 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you? for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. So God Blessed them saying,, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Gen 1:28 So then God is seeking love and joy through man, you and I. Then our purpose, our life is fulfilled in returning joy and love to God. Our life is inextricably linked to God. How then is our purpose fulfilled? How do we return joy to God? This we call the Three Great Blessings, which were conveyed in Gen 1:28. Be fruitful, multiply and have dominion. But here I would like to share their more precise inner meaning. Be Fruitful To be Fruitful, means to grow and mature. Just as a tree must mature before it bears fruit. Adam & Eve were to grow and mature into perfection before advancing to the next blessing. Jesus said "You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). Jesus himself had to grow to reach perfection. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. This period of growth within man is the most critical stage in the creation process, because this is the stage wherein lies the danger of man's fall and disobedience. And for reasons we'll discuss later, God does not interfere with man's free will and responsibility, but seeks to influence man indirectly in the growing process by giving his words and commandments. Be ye perfect, Being one with God, we would think and feel precisely as He does. In that state of divine love there would be no possibility of a fall or corruption of man. Every thought or act would be motivated by love from God for our fellow man. The Purpose of Life ~ The Three Great Blessings The Second Blessing ~ Multiply Gen 1:28 Be fruitful and multiply, Jesus said, "Haven't you read, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matt 19:4-6 There is no greater change of life that one can experience than in the birth of your own children, and to share this with the man or woman you love. This experience has moved my wife and I so far beyond single life that I scarcely remember what it was like. And I must admit that the transformation was even more remarkable and beautiful to observe in her. So much of her mind, efforts and time are taken up in caring for the home, myself and our son. Yes, there are people in the world,, but then there are Parents. In Paul's letter to the church in Corinth he states; "It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband." 1 Cor 7:1-2 "Now to the unmarried and widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." 1Cor 7:8-9 Paul of course is speaking to the state of fallen man, and his disposition to sin. In our discussion of The Three Blessings we're speaking of the world as God designed and intended. Man & Woman would approach marriage with God's blessing and as a Holy Sacrament and in the state of spiritual maturity and perfection. Man & Woman would then embrace the Heart of God as True Parents and give birth to their own sinless children. Children would be raised literally in the lap of God, experiencing His love through perfected parents. Brothers & Sisters would grow in an atmosphere of unselfishness and love as the primary motive and ethic in life. Then that love and goodness would be multiplied through the family to the society, nation and world. This was God's hope and plan before the fall. The Purpose of Life ~ The Three Great Blessings The Third Blessing Have Dominion The Bible offers a sad indictment on our record as stewards of God's handiwork. Romans 8:19 "The creation waits in eager expectations for the Sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by it's own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope, that the creation itself will be liberated to it's bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." What God intended was that through the fulfillment of the First Blessing, individual perfection, and that of the Second Blessing, family perfection, that man would then stand qualified as Holy Temples and Lords of Creation. And as such we would exist in harmony and love within it. "Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Gen 1:28 Therefore, life in the spirit world was not the only place God meant for us to find heaven. The whole process and experience of life in this world, and in the next, was intended for us to experience God's love to it's fullest. Jesus understood this and in his prayer expressed God's intention. "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Matt 6:9-10 Time and Creation Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said; "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me if you understand." Job 38:1-4 While it is still true that none of us were around to witness the birth of creation, it is also true that man has made great strides in his knowledge of the universe since the days of Job, and many of the questions posed to him can now be explained. And in the minds of many, that knowledge has come to challenge the literal account of creation in Genesis. So much so that it is no longer taken seriously as a viable theory in public schools. As a result, the thought of God being the author of life has faced a serious challenge. Instead, the "Theory of Evolution" and "Origin of the Species" by Charles Darwin, is being touted as the rational explanation to how man and creation came to be. While I intend to provide space on this site for a Creationist counter proposal, at this point I'll be relating our views in general terms and how they relate with the Bible itself. It is our view that science and religion need not be at odds with each other and that differences between the two can be reconciled. Time 2 Peter 3:8 With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. This verse was written in the context of God keeping his promises, yet it also shows that, time to us, and, time to God, aren't necessarily the same. One "day" in Genesis doesn't have to mean the rotation of the earth on it's axis in a 24 hour period. It can also mean an epoch of time. An age, much as the "ages" described in modern science. Paleozoic, Mesozoic,, etc.. Understood in this light, what was recorded in the Bible thousands of years ago coincides with modern science. Therefore the account of Moses was indeed a revelation from God, given to men at the level of their understanding. As a 'for instance', the Bible describes the process of the third day (age) of creation where the water is separated from dry land, and there becomes the "seas" and the "land". We can imagine now that such a process would involve much time and seismic activity, even volcanic eruptions that would fill the atmosphere with smoke and toxic gasses. What came next is vegetation, plants and trees,, which we now know produce oxygen from carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and they become instrumental in filtering, cleaning and creating an atmosphere through which the sun, moon and stars become visible on the fourth day (age). ( actually created on the first) Then the seas begin teaming with life and the birds take to the skies on the fifth day (age) of creation. The account of creation in Genesis remains a beautifully stated and accurate account of the overall process by which God brought the world and life into being. While it doesn't provide the technical and minute details, I don't believe it was ever meant to. Where we agree with the observations of science is that the creation involved immense amounts of time. In between cause and effect there is time. Time for processes, cycles and seasons. Time for growth. "A time for every purpose under heaven." Eccl 3:1 The evidence in archaeology is such that I've heard some suggest that perhaps God created the world in 6 days *with* a history. Like a woman giving birth to a 5 year old child. But I just don't see the point in such an idea except to deflect unsupportive evidence. Creationists don't need to try and hold such slippery ground if they can only accept that some words in the Bible have an inner meaning beyond the obvious one. It's God's prerogative not to have to explain details to a finite mind when it's certain that a more suitable time for such revelations will come. "I still have many things to say to you, but you can not bear them now." John 16:12 The truth of the creation process is much more spellbinding and wondrous when the whole picture emerges. We have to include divine guidance to the theory of evolution. God created the world by plan, not blind chance. God created each organism specially. He created the first amoeba, the first fish, the first deer, the first ape, the first man. Every organism has an original parent. In future contributions to this site we'll provide more in depth exploration of creation science. But before we go to such lengths we need to understand the position of man in all of this, and how time and growth play an important part in God's overall plan for us. Growth & Human Responsibility "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praise- worthy -- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9 Over the years that I've studied the Bible, this topic, in my opinion, lies at the heart of many important issues, and in fact there are virtually none that are untouched by it in one way or another. Issues of Predestination, Prophecy, The Fall Man, Salvation, the life of Jesus and the Second Coming of Christ, all can be better understood starting here, with Growth & Human Responsibility. So I approach this topic profoundly challenged by it's myriad threads of implication. It's clear from Genesis that God regards all other creatures, the birds, fish, animals and all the various other forms of life as minor creations compared to man and woman. Since it is they who must rule and exercise dominion over them all, as well as the whole of the earth. Man and woman appear on the scene as God's finale, and masterpiece. Gen 1:26 "Let's make man after our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." It is truly a blessing and a responsibility. All the plants, insects, fish, birds and all other life however, have in their favor an important consolation and blessing of their own. They grow automatically to reach their own perfection and maturity. Their growth doesn't require of them anything they can't find inherently within themselves and their environment. They grow autonomously through the power of God's energy and the nutrients available from their surroundings. They are ruled by and depend upon their own instincts for survival. Man also will grow physically through childhood, adolescence and then reach maturity as long as he receives necessary life elements from the environment. Then what is *perfection* for man? According to the Bible man has two bodies, the physical and the spiritual. I Corinthians 15:44 "If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body" As our physical body needs to grow, so does our spiritual body need to grow, and it does so through time and in accordance with life experience and certain 'life elements'. There is a strict cause and effect relationship between our earthly life, how it's lived, and the result it reaps for our spirit in the next life. As Jesus said, "I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever is bound on earth, is bound in Heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth, is loosed in Heaven." Matt 16:19 The 'life elements' that our spirit needs for its earthly growth is first of all, God's love and truth. God's love and truth to the spirit body are like air and sunlight to the physical body. And as we receive, inherit and embody these life elements from God, our spirit grows closer to Him. Though these elements are given by God, they are elements which we must actively and faithfully embrace and apply to our daily life. Our actions and deeds motivated by truth and love, therefore, play a role in shaping our habits, character and heart. It's not through instinct that man responds to God, but through conscious thought and acts of our own free will. Therefore God has always asked us to treat His words with honor,, and place them deep in our hearts and in the center of our lives. Deut 6:6 These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Keeping faith in God's word therefore is man's portion of responsibility, which only man can fulfill. Not even God will violate this principle. There are several reasons for this which we'll discuss later,, but one of these relates to man's position and responsibility as ruler over creation. Since God is the creator of life and the universe, it is only right that God should be the only ruler, and exercise dominion over His creation. For man to be qualified to rule over creation then he must have qualifications to do so, and be superior to it. By giving man free will and his own portion of responsibility, God is then placing man in the position of co-creator with God. And by fulfilling his responsibility in faith, and by growing into oneness with God, man can then be truly qualified to stand as the Lord of Creation. In that way fulfilling a responsibility given to no other being or creature in the creation. Therefore, preserving man's ultimate position as Lord of Creation, for God, it means not acting or entering into an area that is man's responsibility alone to fulfill. We can then understand that this is one of the reasons why God does not act to prevent evil, nor did he stop the fall of man, because it was man's responsibility to have faith in God's words and reject all temptations to the contrary. God's portion of responsibility extended through the creation of the universe, the world and man. To place a number on it we can say that God shouldered 95% of the responsibility in the creation process. The final act of God in fulfilling His portion of responsibility was in giving Adam & Eve the commandment. Giving his word or warning. Man's 5% responsibility, though smaller, is no less important to the overall fulfillment of God's will, which is the union of God and man into one heart and in one love. This of course leaves the question of, 'how is God then going to deal with evil in man and the world? This will become very clear as we approach our discussion of the life and mission of Jesus. But for now I wish to emphasize the point that man's faithful response to God, and his fulfilling his own portion of responsibility is absolute and crucial to God. It is an immovable pillar and an unchanging principle of creation. However great are God’s intentions to bless and save fallen man through the Messiah, this fundamental truth is still unaltered. It states in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, and in verse 18, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned,,” Growth and God’s Direct Dominion After Jesus was presented at the Temple for circumcision, and upon his return to Nazareth it says in,, Luke 2:40 And the child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the Grace of God was upon Him. Also at the age of twelve after his discussions with the Elders in the Temple it states in, Luke 2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. From the time of his birth, until the baptism of John, there are few details about the first 30 years of Jesus life. Except that at the end of those 30 years God would declare, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." From this we can see that Jesus also had to pass through a growth period. The Old Testament also refers to his growing period. Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken." The period of growth where man is still immature in heart and not yet living in oneness with God is a period we call the Indirect Dominion of God. It’s period where God seeks to influence the growth and direction of man indirectly, or through his word. It is also the period of man’s portion of responsibility, where he must respond to God’s word in faith. Had there been no Fall of Man in the beginning, the Indirect Dominion would have only been a temporary stage in man’s growth towards God. It was God’s intent that adult life, married life, our life as parents and grandparents would have been lived in a state of oneness with God, or a state that we call God’s Direct Dominion, and in such a state of divine and perfect love, no fall would then be possible. If Adam & Eve had achieved such a standard in the beginning then God's ideal of creation would have been secured for all time. Adam & Eve would then directly raise and guide their succeeding generations in God's Direct Dominion. Living in Heaven is simply to be living in God’s Direct Dominion of Love, where the Heart of God and the Heart of Man is one and inseparable. That’s why Jesus advised us not to go looking here and there for God’s Kingdom, as if it were some outward place or location, he said,, "The Kingdom of God is within you."
  9. ~=Ron=~


    Jesus said, "I came to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled". Luke 12:49 Understanding the Bible would be simpler if we could interpret every statement and every word literally. No conflicts in thought or doctrine would exist to divide the church as a whole. Our focus could be spent in simply living, loving and growing in the Word of God. From the words of Jesus in Luke 12:49 it's obvious that not everything he stated can be taken literally, since there is no record of Jesus starting fires as his main mission and focus. His words obviously had a deeper meaning. This is just one of the many verses that challenge us to look for deeper and more profound meaning in the Bible. It is well known that Jesus spoke in symbol and parable and would even say, near the end of his life, "I still have many things to say to you, but you can not bear them now." John 16:12 Exploring the hidden treasures and essential meaning of the Bible has been the quest of scholars and everyday students of scripture throughout history. Emmanuel Swedenborg, an 18th Century scientist and Bible scholar, referred to this as "understanding the arcana (inner meaning) of the Word." It's our hope that those who can study these pages with sincerity and an honest appreciation for the truth can likewise be moved and challenged to touch the heart of God. The contents here are being expressed in a Unificationist's perspective. This site is certainly a work in progress, and a labor of love. But like anything that grows, it's part of the wonder of life to watch its processes and surprises unfold. We hope you become a frequent visitor and friend. And through it all, may God Bless you and those you love.
  10. ~=Ron=~

    Welcome to Pages

    Welcome to Pages! Pages extends your site with custom content management designed especially for communities. Create brand new sections of your community using features like blocks, databases and articles, pulling in data from other areas of your community. Create custom pages in your community using our drag'n'drop, WYSIWYG editor. Build blocks that pull in all kinds of data from throughout your community to create dynamic pages, or use one of the ready-made widgets we include with the Invision Community. View our Pages documentation
  11. ~=Ron=~


    Welcome! This site is under construction and it will be taking the place of the old website at: www.originsbiblegroup.com Thank you for visiting and please visit often as this site will be developing and will be put into use for the long term. Ron