Reality lies in what we can’t see

THE veil between heaven and earth seems to be sometimes lifted, but usually only for a moment.

Paul the apostle talked of humans seeing life mainly “through the glass dimly’’. He said there would be a day, not in this world, when we would see ourselves, each other and God very clearly.

But he said the full clarity was dangerous to unprepared hearts and minds, so, on this side of heaven, we could only sense the reality of God.

“Humankind can not bear too much reality,’’ T.S. Eliot observed. Or, as John Lennon said: “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.’’

The creed of modernity is that man can understand anything and everything through rational inquiry and therefore master the world.

But the wise know that our constructs of reality can only point to the truth.

An Oxford study a couple of years ago concluded that belief in God is part of human nature. We are naturally predisposed to believe in a divine power and that some vital part of us survives death, according to the wide-ranging three-year international study.

The theory is that human thought processes are “rooted” in religious concepts rather than ideas simply learned from experience because they provide some social benefit.

The co-director of the project, Professor Roger Trigg, said the research showed that religion was “not just something for a peculiar few to do on Sundays instead of playing golf”.

“We have gathered a body of evidence that suggests that religion is a common fact of human nature across different societies,” he said.

“This suggests that attempts to suppress religion are likely to be short-lived as human thought seems to be rooted to religious concepts, such as the existence of supernatural agents or gods, and the possibility of an afterlife or pre-life.”

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62 thoughts on “Reality lies in what we can’t see

  1. Bryan,
    You quoted there that the Oxford study ‘concluded that belief in GOD is part of human nature’. I don’t think that is quite accurate. You do correct it in later statements.

    As I recall the write-ups about the research, and after reading your own original comments on it, it made plain rather that as you went on to state –‘we are naturally predisposed to believe in a DIVINE POWER, etc.’ Now what that is saying is that the propensity within us is NOT specifically to believe in ‘Theism’ in general, and much less in Christianity or Islam in particular. These latter, along with Judaism usually need to be taught, or revelations concerning them need to be experienced. So most likely the automatic kinds of beliefs that most of us are ‘born with’ will be something more akin to Animism or Pantheism. Many Atheists appear to have some degree of the latter tendency, I guess. They just reject the dogmatic teaching as well as the concept of revelation.

    The final quote you give there sets it out plainly. ‘human thought seems to be rooted to religious concepts, such as the existence of supernatural agents or gods….’. I am not saying, it must be noted, that literal Theism as an instinctive feeling or direction from birth, is impossible. Merely that it is just one of the many alternative forms that may be conceived of.

    Cheers, Rian.

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    • The researchers point out that the project was not setting out to prove the existence of god or otherwise, but sought to find out whether concepts such as gods and an afterlife appear to be entirely taught or basic expressions of human nature.
      Trigg says The more you look at the role of religion in human life, the more you see how deeply rooted it is, the more you may actually find that you may be able to explain why it is that people react as they do in particular situations and certainly we have to take religion very seriously as one of the springs of all human action.
      Trigg’s second main argument is that religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is the intellectual and moral foundation on which other values rest.

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  2. The following seems relevant, by Richard Coles – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Coles

    .Philip is travelling through the wilderness between Jerusalem and Gaza when he comes across a chariot carrying home a high ranking court official, an Ethiopian eunuch, a servant of queen Candace, who is reading the Book of Isaiah and can make neither head nor tail of it. Eunuchs were not kosher, and in Jerusalem he would not have been permitted to join in fully with the Temple rites. Philip offers to help him and gets in and as they go along argues that the prophecies therein are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The eunuch is bowled over this and when they come to a stream expresses an urgent desire to be baptised. Philip replies, in the King James version of the tale, “‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest’. And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God'”. And Philip baptises him.

    But that sentence is an editorial addition, found in the relatively late Byzantine manuscripts the King James’ translators had to make do with. Why would they do this? Because somewhere along the way it was felt necessary to show that baptism follows a confession of orthodox faith: you can only join our club once you’ve passed this test. The sentence, however, was not in the earliest versions of this story, which some argue means that all you need to be baptised is to want to be baptised. I often think of this story when I baptise my parishioners, who come in different states of preparedness for the rite, and with wildly different degrees of understanding about what’s happening. I do my best, but cannot say that the confession of faith we say together at the font is fully grasped in every detail.

    What do you think? Should baptism be administered only to those who have an adequate understanding of what it means? Or should it be administered to those who recognise something they want, or maybe need, but do not yet know precisely what it is? The important thing, it seems to me, comes at the end of the tale when the eunuch, newly baptised, “went on his way rejoicing”.

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    • “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. Matthew 28:19

      Notice that teaching them comes before baptism.

      And… you are not correct about the Eunuch. He, being an eunuch was not barred from worshipping God. He was barred from joining the priesthood (which representing Christ, had to be physically perfect). Having said that, the eunuch had the basic instruction in the foundations of Christianity from the Old Testament. However without Jesus, this understanding was incomplete. Notice that his baptism came after he was taught the truth about Jesus and how He fitted into the Old Testament teachings the eunuch was familiar with.

      Too many people make the mistake of baptising converts without fully teaching them what Christianity really means. It is hoped that these converts will be taught somewhere along the way. This almost always never comes.

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      • The article I quoted was all by Richard Cole, an Anglican priest, who also is much heard on BBC radio .He was awarded an MA by research from the University of Leeds for work on the Greek text of the Epistle to the Ephesians.

        So you think he is mistaken. “Eunuchs were not kosher, and in Jerusalem he would not have been permitted to join in fully with the Temple rites.” Such as priestly rites. Of course he was allowed to worship.

        As far as not teaching converts the full literality of the Bible, what the Bible says to each individual can differ quite a lot. I was taught to read, understand firstly what it meant in that era. Secondly, what it means in this era. Thirdly, what it means to the individual reader.

        Not what it means to Davinci, who should of course follow his own interpretations.

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      • “As far as not teaching converts the full literality of the Bible, what the Bible says to each individual can differ quite a lot. I was taught to read, understand firstly what it meant in that era. Secondly, what it means in this era. Thirdly, what it means to the individual reader.”

        The above statement is a good paraphrase of ‘doing what seems good in our eyes’.

        The problem with the above statement is that Jesus Christ is the same “yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). We are to look at God’s dealing with mankind in the past as a guide to how He will deal with us in the present and the future. Not do whatever seems good in our eyes.

        And Paul also states that the things written in the Old Testament were written for our examples (1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4).

        Doing what seems good in our eyes is not a reliable spiritual guide. The following cases studies show how unreliable the above statement is.

        Case Study 1 – Israel’s war with Benjamin (Judges 19-21)
        Because Israel had no judge:
        – A Levite was protected from sexual molestation at the expense of having his wife raped, despite the fact that God had not permitted this to occur.
        – The wife of the Levite is raped to death.
        – The tribe of Benjamin refuses to hand over the criminals for justice and goes to war against Israel.
        – Israel eventually decimates the Tribe of Benjamin to the point of extinction, in order to bring the rapist/murderers to justice.
        – To save the tribe of Benjamin from complete extinction, a plan is proposed whereby the Benjamites are encouraged to forcibly capture women and wed them against their wishes. There is no divine mandate to do this.

        Case Study 2 – Dan’s Wars of Conquest (Judges 17-18)
        – Dan exchanges the God of Israel for idols.
        – Bands of marauders from the tribe of Dan conquers territories outside their borders, and murders people who are described by the Bible as minding their own business, and not having anything to do with others. No command from God is given that would justify such a conquest.

        Case Study 3 – Jesus’ Stance on Divorce and Remarriage (Mat. 19:9)
        – Henry VIII separates from Rome and creates a new church with him as its head despite the fact that the Bible says that Jesus is the Head of the Church not the king.
        – The basis of the Church of England’s coming into existence is legalised adultery.
        – To legalise adultery, it is not called what Jesus calls it in Mat. 19:9 but calls it an annulment, as if somehow the change of definition makes it Ok.
        – Because Henry and his supporters had ignored the Bible, murder is now added to Henry’s divorce after divorce after divorce after divorce after divorce after divorce after divorce, etc.
        To quote any Anglican on Biblical practices is therefore unreliable. This religion started on wrong footing to begin with.

        Of course, under the concept of religious liberty, Strewth is permitted to believe whatever she wishes. But this liberty is fraught with the danger of making a bad situation worse.

        The alternative is to look to the Bible for guidance:

        This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls ”
        Jeremiah 6:16

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      • davinci on May 6, 2015 at 12:48 said: “The alternative is to look to the Bible for guidance:”

        Or you could look to God for guidance.

        Davinci, I may be wrong (which is often likely) but I sense a lot of fear behind your beliefs. You make a scriptural quote, but neglect to say how often such a statement is repeated. One quote that you can find regularly in scripture (I’m told 365 times, one we can take heart from every day of the year,) is “Be not afraid.”

        Also, you remark – “To quote any Anglican on Biblical practices is therefore unreliable. This religion started on wrong footing to begin with.”

        So how many varieties of Christian belief can you go along with?

        Remember that although Jesus purportedly said “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” there is also the quote-
        “John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against us is for us.”

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      • davinci on May 6, 2015 at 12:48 said: “The above statement is a good paraphrase of ‘doing what seems good in our eyes’ “.

        I take it you mean ‘taking the easy path?’ Oh davinci, the easy path is to do exactly as instructed, unquestioningly. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s to be commended. We need to have that experience, sometimes for the whole of our lives.

        But please don’t doubt God’s ability to guide each of us personally. Do not limit the Lord thy God.

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      • davinci on May 6, 2015 at 12:48 said: “The alternative is to look to the Bible for guidance:”

        Or you could look to God for guidance.

        Strewth, God does not provide guidance that is separate from His Word. I also made the point a number of times that when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He did not make up His own way in resisting the devil but used Scripture to do so. I also mentioned the fact that after His resurrection, He explained His death using Scriptures. Jesus mentioned that “a servant is not greater than His Master”. And St John said that “we should walk even as He walked” (1 John 2:6). If Jesus got His guidance from God via the Scriptures, who are we to differ?

        In fact, you still haven’t addressed the issue of how do we know whether what seems God’s guidance is genuine?

        As for you sensing fear, you might be true. The Bible says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. I’ll let you find out by yourself what that means.

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      • Ah my fearful legalistic friend,

        God does not provide guidance that is separate from His Word

        So are you saying if you met face to face with Jesus you wouldn’t listen to him unless he was carrying a Bible ( one authorised by your church at that).

        The Bible is just a book mate. An inspired one but just a book nevertheless.

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      • “But please don’t doubt God’s ability to guide each of us personally. Do not limit the Lord thy God.”

        The Bible says that “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day” Prov. 4:18. There is no suggestion that this limits the “Lord thy God” as you put it. In fact this verse indicates constant improvement, constant enlightenment.

        The problem is when one deviates from what God says, that one gets in trouble.

        “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” Isa 59:1.

        But look at what comes next:

        “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

        It is not I that is limiting God, it is everyone that rejects the light that God’s Word has given us, in exchange for everything else under the sun.

        “So how many varieties of Christian belief can you go along with?” The issue is not how many varieties of Christian Belief that I can go along with. The question is how many Christian beliefs can be supported by the Bible. Clearly Anglicans cannot, at least on the issues surrounding sexuality, divorce and marriage.

        I go with John Knox’ response to Queen Mary of Scotland when she made the statement that Catholics believe one thing, Protestants another, and asked “Whom should I believe?”

        I also go with Martin Luther who constantly made the comment that there is no spiritual safety outside the Word of God.

        I also go with Jan Hus who constantly asked his parishioners “What does the Scripture tell you?”.

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      • Hot off the press (4/5/2015):

        “As the Lord said through Isaiah the prophet, if we do not speak according to His Word then we do not have the light. Each of us must choose whether we believe His Word or not. Then we must choose if we will obey it or not.

        Accepting that The Bible is God’s Word to us is a major issue for all who claim to be Christians. Many have accepted the constant attacks on the validity of the writen Word by the enemies of the faith. The very first lie of Satan was get Eve to doubt what God had clearly said, and this has been his basic tactic since causing the fall of multitudes. Make no mistake about it—this is the point at which swe will fall or stand.

        Let us consider that if Jesus, who was the Word, would take His stand on “It is written!” how much more must we? Now is the time for all Christians to decide this issue. If we are going to follow Christ, we must believe His Word, fortify ourselves in is Word, and obey it.”……Rick Joyner

        Bryan, the Jesus that davinci, Rick Joyner and I believe in would not contradict His (written) word.

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      • that’s where the Kaballahistic Jews and myself take exception. The bible in it’s autographs is the perfect artifact of the very forces that created Heavens and Earth. They, and I, believe if one word had been omitted the world wouldn’t exist. Jesus said not a Yod or title would pass away/ could be altered by mere man. This isn’t mysticism. If the weak or strong nuclear forces were a millionth of a part out the universe wouldn’t work. [it’s the anthropic principle]. Likewise the bible is a miracle of the HolySpirit’s touching mankind. It’s not really ‘just a book’. It’s a seal on a patent for the existence of simply everything.
        I can’t touch a wine glass without leaving a fingerprint.
        God, because of Who He Is, has created this Creation with two very remarkable fingerprints in time-space. The bible is the artifact of the very existence of Jesus…
        The DNA in every cell in our bodies is no less linked to the original creation than the testament contained in ‘that book’ – the Holy Bible is miraculous in narrative and content.

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      • I think you miss the point Phil.
        If we are mere legalists, we fail to see the real purpose for law. The apostle Paul warns us of legalism in Colossians 2:20-23: “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Legalists may appear to be righteous and spiritual, but legalism ultimately fails to accomplish God’s purposes because it is an outward performance instead of an inward change.

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      • Ah Bryan! You missed the point completely. If you look at Jesus’ life and acts as shown in the gospels, you will find that He did absolutely nothing that contradicted the Old Testament (which was the Bible of His day). Therefore I find it extremely surprising that the insinuation that Jesus and the Bible might contradict each other comes from you.

        The issue of whether I would check Jesus against the Bible is a non issue. Because it would not be Jesus that was in contradiction with the Bible, but probably me who was interpreting the Bible using man’s theories (such as the one you insinuate).

        If you really think that there is contradiction between Jesus and the Old Testament look again. There isn’t any. If you look at the apostles’ writings in the rest of the New Testament and Jesus and the Old Testament you find no contradiction. This is why the church rejected other writings that never made it in the New Testament. The apostolic age writings did not contradict the Old Testament.

        In fact the Bible praises a group of people called the Bereans for checking out whether what St Paul was preaching was correct or not. How did they do it? It could only have been the Bible.

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      • Get a grip davinci/Hassan,

        I find it extremely surprising that the insinuation that Jesus and the Bible might contradict each other comes from you.

        Where did I say that? I didn’t.

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      • Bryan, PG, davinci, Monica

        My goodness, but it’s fascinating to see the differences that can exist in the Christian understanding between various believers. Dissenters like myself can just look on and marvel. As I’ve said before, I feel just like Julian the Apostate who used to enjoy listening to various branches of the Christianity of his day engaged in violent dispute.

        As we well know, those debates and disagreements hadnt just ceased automatically with the ‘decisions’ of the Council of Nicaea, some 20 years previously. Orthodoxy and Arian heresy simply alternated among the faithful for the next few decades until ended with the orthodox Emperor Theodosius.

        Apparently Julian was a huge disappointment to some Christian leaders of his time. They had hopefully expected that with the enthronement of a publically self proclaimed Pagan, a new vicious cycle of persecutions would take place. Sadly this terrible person proved to be unthreatening after all, and enthusiastic Christians were denied the privilege of Martyrdom under him.

        I was intrigued to see your comments Bryan, (and being shot down in flames by opposing believers). As I see it, a relevant verse would have to be that one from Corinthians 2, which states that the ‘letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’

        As I’ve stated before, I cannot for the life of me imagine any circumstance in which I could be ‘converted’ to Christianity, especially as long as opinions can differ so widely among the faithful. (and then of course, there would also have to be an awful lot of things proven and demonstrated to me in the process.)

        cheers, Rian.

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      • Bryan,
        You did insinuate that there is a separation between Jesus and the Bible when you wrote:

        “So are you saying if you met face to face with Jesus you wouldn’t listen to him unless he was carrying a Bible ( one authorised by your church at that).

        The Bible is just a book mate. An inspired one but just a book nevertheless.”

        And when Monica corrected you on the fact that there is no disharmony between Jesus and the Bible you wrote:

        “No I’m not contradicting the word either. But when it comes to the person of Jesus or a book I know which I’d choose. Yes Jesus is The Word”

        Which basically states that you believe that there is some sort of disharmony between Jesus and the Bible. Otherwise you would not make such comments.

        And what exactly are you trying to insinuate about a Bible authorised by my church? My church authorises the same Bible as everyone else.

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      • Rian,
        I take your point. There is a lot of contradictions between believers of different faiths. That is because different people cherry pick the Bible by only accepting the portions that suit them.

        In the time of Julian the Apostate the situation was similar. Always was always will be until the second coming of Jesus.

        Having said that, there are people from different Christian denominations that are willing to look at all the Scriptural evidence for an issue, without being guided by the opinions of clergymen, and in many cases without even being in contact with one another. And eventually God will bring them together to form one church.

        An example of this union of people who came to the same conclusion without communication with one another, were Ulrich Zwingli (Switzerland) and Martin Luther (Saxony), who both came to the same conclusion about righteousness by faith, despite the fact that they had never met. The full story of this incident is found in Merle D’Aubigne’s “History of the Protestant Reformation”

        It is not the Bible that is at fault, but whether those claiming to be Christians look at all the Scriptural evidence or not, which causes the issues which cause you to sit on the sidelines and ridicule everyone.

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    • I was taught that Jesus is the Word of God, not the bible. Words are how we express ourselves. God expressed himself in Jesus. The expression of God was in the beginning, is now, and always will be.

      The bible to me is like a sign post, pointing the way. You only have to read it to find there are various ways. If you start from Perth or Melbourne, following sign posts to Sydney, you will not travel the same road.

      We could all follow davinci’s path, but only if we go to his particular stance. I cannot crticise davinci’s stance, it is as valid as any. God loves him and guides him, but it is useless for him to try to guide anyone else coming from a different direction.

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      • BTW, the bible was not ‘in the beginning’, though it is now. Evermore shall be?
        It is unlike the Word, the way God chooses to express himself (herself/itself), which will never fail.

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      • “The bible to me is like a sign post, pointing the way. You only have to read it to find there are various ways. If you start from Perth or Melbourne, following sign posts to Sydney, you will not travel the same road.”

        “There is a path that seems right unto man but it ends in death” Prov. 14:12

        “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” John 14:6. In today’s terms, it is “my way or the highway”, except the highway is the highway to hell.

        No room for a “herself/itself” image of either Jesus or the Father. No two roads to God either. There is either the narrow way or the broad way.

        You speak about the way God chooses to express himself (herself/itself). But when pressed closely, you can’t give me a definite litmus test that will determine whether the expression you talk about is genuine (ie comes from God or from the devil). That is blind faith.

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      • davinci on May 8, 2015 at 12:58 said:
        “You speak about the way God chooses to express himself (herself/itself). But when pressed closely, you can’t give me a definite litmus test that will determine whether the expression you talk about is genuine (ie comes from God or from the devil). That is blind faith.” I don’t remember being pressed, closely or other-wise, for this.

        God speaks to each individual according to their condition. Your message from him is yours. Do you trust Jesus? “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

        Let Jesus speak to you out of a truly gathered silence. You will very quickly know if the message comes only from your own subconscious. But if you are still convinced, for added safeguard share the message with your companions, still in the tangible presence of Jesus, and take heed of the message he relays through them.

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    • What you said was a red herring, Bryan.

      You said that davinci would probably choose a mouldy book (the Bible) over Jesus the person, where in fact davinci was saying all along what I said, that if Jesus showed up in person He would never contradict the Bible.

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      • Monica,

        I think I know what Bryan is referring to. There is the Schoefield Bible that many fundamentalist Churches use. The Schoefield Bible is riddled with footnotes and commentaries that many church members use and regard as more authoritative than the Bible.

        Then there is a politically correct Bible, which replaces man (as in Adam and Eve) as “human creature” allowing for the possibility that man evolved from apes. This Bible is so politically correct that it can be used to defend anything and everything under the sun, in spite of what God says. I was introduced to it by a “Christian” who also believes that tobacco is food, and nothing wrong with smoking marijuana.

        And then there is the “Clear Word Bible” which is something the Seventh Day Adventist Church has published. My namesake in that Church (yes there are actually two of me) informs me that it is not a widely accepted Version of the Bible and that it is more like that version of the Bible that has the shepherd of hermas attached to it.

        I prefer to use the KJV for the sole reason that it is not subject to copyright, whereas the NIV and other versions are, and one could very well be sued for infringement of copyright if s/he uses it constantly.

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      • Okay davinci,

        I stand corrected. This is all news to me. And thanks for the education.

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      • Someone here suggested that Jesus never contradicted the Old Testament. It’s true he said he had come not to destroy the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill. The Old Testament contains genocide, including babies, supposedly commanded by God. That is not under the ‘Law and the prophets.’ Jesus spot read the O.T for what he was promoting.

        Below is a cut and paste, referring to Joshua 6:20-21

        “I find that profoundly disturbing. And even more disturbing is how so many of my fellow Christians can calmly justify that kind of holocaust. For example the Interpreter’s Bible section on Joshua attempts to justify this genocide (known as the “herem”) by saying that it shows how seriously God takes sin. Clark Pinnock – a theologian who I have deep respect for -in his book “The Scripture Principle” makes virtually the same argument. Reading this made my stomach turn. I couldn’t help but think of the terrified mother screaming helplessly as she sees the Israelite soldiers dashing her 6-month-old baby’s head against a rock, or the little boy who stares as he sees his mother and father beheaded before his eyes. How can anyone possibly justify that? By what sort of sick motivation would one even want to?

        “Let’s face it, it’s a no-brainer that killing a babies is evil. In fact the only people who would even question it are us Christians. Why? Because its in the Bible. What that means is that the Bible has the potential of making people’s morality profoundly evil. That is something I find deeply troubling. The logic goes like this: if I am against killing babies it is because I have a “worldly” morality, and it is only through God’s Word that we can know what it truly moral. Nevermind that I’ve been a Christian for quite some time now and hopefully have the mind of Christ. Nevermind that Jesus says that “if anyone harms one of these little ones it would be better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and be cast into the sea” (Mk 9:42).

        What we have are people who want to justify the Bible more than they care about the least. And I can tell you flat out that this is not what God’s heart cares about. God when he was here on earth was not concerned about upholding his reputation, his concerns was in caring for the condemned, the rejected, the unclean. When we toss the most basic morality out the door and justify atrocities we are not being faithful to God. We are sinning, because we are becoming advocates of death.”

        http://www.therebelgod.com/2009/05/reading-old-testament-through-eyes-of.html

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      • And from the same source-

        “Frankly, there is a lot in the OT that advocates this type of us-versus-them, ‘hate your enemies and destroy them utterly for the Lord’ mentality. This is likely what Jesus was confronting when he said “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies” (Mt 5:43-44). He is here directly contradicting the message of hate which runs though the minor prophets (Samuel, Joshua, etc) and the early history of the Hebrew people. Yet in that same sermon he says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Mt 5:17). This brings us into a dilemma: on the one hand Jesus here and elsewhere directly contradicts the Old Testament and proposes a way that is it polar opposite. Yet he at the same time says that in doing this he is fulfilling the law, and that the God he sees in the OT is his loving Father!

        “In a way we could say that the way Jesus reads the Old Testament is like how we can look at the world: we can look at our world, seeing all sorts of pain and injustice in it, and we could conclude that there is no God. Or we could look at that same messed up hurting world and see that there is nothing more vital and needed than love, nothing we need more deeply than for that God of love to be real ,and for that love to somehow be stronger than all the hate around us. Jesus looks at the messed up Old Testament, a book that shows a very unvarnished picture of sinful humanity, including how horrific violence is often justified in the name of God, and nevertheless sees the God of love in there whom we so desperately need to find too.

        “What I also see in Jesus is a way for us to read the Bible. Jesus did not simply take everything his Bible said at face value. The Bible Jesus read said to not touch the unclean, but Jesus did. It said to kill and adulteress, but he forgave her. It said not to associate with sinners, but he welcomed them. It taught hatred of enemies, but he loved his. What if we could get a hold of how Jesus is reading his Bible, and read it like that too? What are the principles that Jesus is applying to his own exegesis here, and how can we apply them? How can we learn to read the Bible like Jesus and not like the Pharisees? Because if we read like the Pharisees did then the Bible will lead us into a depraved morality devoid of compassion that justifies genocide, and cause to not see Jesus when he is right there in front of us. One rule that Jesus teaches here is this: “by their fruits you shall know them” (Mt 7:16). In other words, we can know whether our interpretation of Scripture is right by looking at the fruits it bears. Does it lead us to being more loving, more compassionate, more like Jesus? Or does it lead us to justifying a horrific morality? Too often biblical exegesis does not ask this question, and it must.”

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      • Conclusion

        “After carefully examining the chief Old Testament examples that atheists use to label God as unjust, it has been demonstrated that their criticisms and characterizations are unfounded, and their understanding of the various situations flawed. Further, rather than living up to Dawkin’s caricature of being a vindictive, impatient, quick-tempered, and bloodthirsty deity, the image of God that instead emerges from the Old Testament after a thorough study is just the opposite; God is portrayed as forgiving, patient, and slow to bring forth judgment. However, He is also revealed to be a holy, just, and righteous God who will bring justice about in His time. In short, the God of the Old Testament matches the God of the New Testament”……….

        https://carm.org/god-of-old-testament-a-monster

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      • And that God is portrayed in the OT Monica, in the writings Jesus supports. He seems to say this is the true God, not the cruel, perhaps psychopathic, who often appears in OT writings. It is true that in the bible this cruel God is supposed to be worshipped, but are we supposed to do that, just because it’s in the bible? Jesus brought us ‘the Good News’, that sets us free from the OT.

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      • God as portrayed in former religions often seemed to be the psyche of that particular people, influenced by their environment. The religion of Bacchus, with fertility rites and imbibing, reflects the fertility of that region, the easiness of life there. In less fertile regions, like Scandinavia where the environment was harsher, their gods were harsher, encouraging raiding and fighting. So we look to the environment of the Middle East, and the behaviour of its people. There are fertile areas and desert areas, Jehovah is both harsh and loving. The Hebrew people’s psyche was torn into two ways, and their characteristics as a group still reflects these opposites.

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    • And isn’t it grand Rian,

      that we can all disagree with each other and are not afraid of saying so, and still love and accept each other……well that’s what we’re supposed to do, anyway. 😉

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      • It is good. For some of you now, just need to extend that courtesy to the wider audience. 🙂

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      • love, yes,
        accept – careful what you accept.
        Israel accepting Baal was a very very big mistake……… 2000 years of diaspora etc.
        Australia accepting multiculturalism ends in tears.
        Dozens of prophetic voices are positing the end around Sept. Well “end”, as in everything shaken to pieces.
        A young black woman, pbuh, at trunews.com Rick Wiles. I think it may well be this Shmitah, Jubilee, Feast of Trumpets. That gives us just how many months?
        cheers.

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      • Really Phil?
        The same Rick Wiles who wrongly predicted a nuclear devastation in 2010.
        The same Rick Wiles who wrongly prophesised that American Dollar would be replaced by a new currency by July 2011.

        “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

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      • Ultra right wing Rick Wiles ! Obama flooding the US with Muslims. Starting to see where some of his rubbish comes from.

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      • So you didn’t listen to Sister Mena,
        Is it because she’s coloured.
        You aren’t racist are you?

        Prophetess Anna and knew Jesus was in Jerusalem when nearly no-one else did.
        Two humans in all Jerusalem had discernment.
        Praise God for sister Mena, pbuh.
        http://www.trunews.com/thursday-may-7-2015-mena-lee-grebin-pt-1

        The bible, the Holy One, says don’t despise prophesy.
        Glory to Him who gives it.

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      • Seriously Phil? Don’t be ridiculous

        Sister Mena’s predictions for 2014

        silver price will be equal to gold price
        economic collapse
        war against Israel
        Russia invades usa
        parts of florida evacuated

        Correct prophecy? NIL.

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      • “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal? Jer. 23 26-27 NASB

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      • 2Timothy 4:3:

        3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.

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      • “love, yes,
        accept – careful what you accept.”

        Yes, “careful what you accept”, but that’s not what I meant.

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  3. yeah I’m serious Bryan.

    If it didn’t roughly fit what Efrain Rodriguez has been saying, Rick Joyner, and if it didn’t fit in with Joe Brandt’s vision I’d be a smidgen skeptical – then there’s that sealed letter held by the Armenian refugees descendents that says people will flee a persecution in California.
    Other people trust Snopes.com
    The funny bit is for middle class Melbournians global warming is considered a threat. I find that bizarre.

    Funny in a wild way while an 18 is in custody with a purported plan to run over a policeman, cut off his head, steal his gun and shoot up random others, while… raids in Northern suburbs tonight….this very night

    And his relative’s scream persecution and say he’s done nothing….. right on

    are yeah, and conservative traditionalist Christians are “haters”. It is bizarre.

    Test prophesy, but never, never, despise it……..cheers …… at 30 seconds to midnight and the northern summer waning. and back away slowly smiling without sudden conspicuous motion.

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    • thanks, Mon,
      I think I should add David Wilkerson, “cross and the switchblade” as one of the soberest most serious and most ‘awesome’ prophetic warnings
      William Branham certainly said the West Coast is going down. And this is May.

      mostly unheeded, mainly ridiculed, mainly ignored.

      praise be unto her…….

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    • Yeah right Phil,

      We should always test prophecy.

      And yet you have nothing to say about the proven false predictions of those you claim as prophets – Rick Wiles and Sister Mena.
      Why would anyone trust them – or you?

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      • Jesus said the end of the world would surely come but cautioned: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he’ and, ‘The time is near’. Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.

        “On the Earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

        We live on the edge of eternity. This world will surely end, but we don’t know when.

        As Jesus preached in his Sermon on the Mount, be aware, but don’t dwell on the unknowable – don’t dwell on the uncontrollable – don’t dwell on the unfathomable!

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      • afraid?
        busy days Bryan.
        the last OT type office of a Prophet was John the Baptist A fairly ordinary study shows that he was confused about the fulfillment of his own prophesy. Thus he wanted to question Jesus while he languished in prison.

        People with some gift of prophesy shouldn’t be thought of as OT prophets. Likewise if they inject their own speculations into their pronouncements they don’t have to be dragged outside the city gates and executed by stoning.

        If you had taken the time to listen to Mena it is obvious there are times and things she speculates about and there are very specific messages/ visions from angels and, I believe, God.

        Point I wish to make in saying this is that, most of what I heard her saying was really nothing other than anyone reading Revelation would expect. Holy
        Spirit can only affirm scripture.

        I find it very interesting she counts Obama the very last President,
        Catholic Priest prophetic visionary St malachi of Ireland seems to number this Pope the very last.
        to me these things are very sobering. And they are a convergence with Rabbi Cahn and others.
        I think wise men should be in awe.

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      • You contradict yourself Phillip. And you falsely proclaim people as prophets because it fits your agenda rather than God’s

        Of course prophets exist still. But how do we tell the authentic ones from the charlatans ?
        If what they speak is truly from God, it will come true 100% to the letter.
        “So a prophet who predicts peace must carry the burden of proof. Only when his predictions come true can it be known that he is really from the LORD.” Jeremiah 28:9

        2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. “

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      • “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

        ………..tell, me now, if these one hundred percent right people in the Office of Prophet obey Paul’s dictum to have “lied” to someone about something.

        or

        all have sinned, all have fallen short of the Glory of God.

        and

        two cannot walk as one unless they be agreed.

        name your one hundred percent accurate “prophet” – I better start quoting them, assiduously. l’ll buy all their books and devote my remaining six months? to their ministry/ revelations.

        Ps. Your comment got me thinking about James Baker. Ex convict for ? embezzlement, theft, what ever. This sinner has done his best work in prison and after getting out.

        Finally a “prophet” only has to be accurate once about the immanent threat that would otherwise kill you to be worth listening to……

        there is “wisdom in the council of many” is reason enough to keep track of what any
        school of prophets is saying.

        and, a million dead Armenians apparently ignored a warning, because, he thought it would be soon.

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      • The acid test for identifying a prophet of God is recorded by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:21-22.

        “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

        According to this Bible passage (and others), God’s prophets, as distinct from Satan’s spokesmen, are 100 percent accurate in their predictions. There is no room for error.

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    • I sat and heard Billye Brim talk about Sept 11, 2001 a year before it happened. It was the date she said represented man’s “lease” on Earth coming to an end. She didn’t say specifically what would happen, but that it would be very significant
      It was big.
      She is one more voice I’d pay attention to, because of what Paul said “people see in part”.

      for the currently unfolding right now crash of the US treasury bond markets one can learn from Jim Willie/ but he wouldn’t call himself a prophet even if God has given him, imho, a gift in knowledge.

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      • Today’s ‘prophets’ are not of the same caliber as Biblical prophets. They only see in part and everything they say (in the name of the Lord) should be weighed up, using the Bible, prayer and a personal witness in our spirits. If what they say does not witness to your spirit, you should just ‘put it on the shelf’ as my husband is fond of saying and wait and see if what they say comes to pass.

        As much as I believe in the five-fold ministry to the Church and the gifts of the Spirit and am thoroughly blessed by the Prophets and Apostles of our times, many DO make mistakes; it’s a normal growth process in the giftings. They are sign posts only.

        I love Rick Joyner’s ministry to the Church, but I still see ‘flesh’ mixed with his prophecies. Nita Johnson I hold in high esteem but she says many Catholics are going to Hell because of idolatry of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saints. But I see it differently now and question her spiritual insight; God’s heart for His beloved children. Billye Brim is invited over to speak on a regular basis at one of the largest churches over here and is obviously held in high esteem……and the list goes on, but they are just some of the multitudes of ‘voices’ pointing the way (hopefully) to Jesus Christ, who should be at the centre of our lives with Whom we should be in fellowship, first and foremost and Who should be held in the highest esteem, followed by the Bible.

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      • “Prophets should be humble and sincere but in themselves, they are NOT infallible ; but they serve an infallible God who allows His servants to sometimes stumble to teach us that “Without Him we can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Secondly: In spite of their weaknesses and failures, God still asks us to ‘respect’ His prophets. “…do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:15).”

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      • Prophets are not infallible but God corrects their mistakes so the message they give is infallible.

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      • The coming of Jesus, I’m told, brought an end to public prophecy. Jesus became the final prophet to the public, and from then on enlightens each person individually
        according to their need and his discretion.

        Today there are indeed people who foresee and may foretell the future, not from any special revelation, but from their own common sense. These are ordinary people around us, not the ‘psychics’.

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      • Oh my goodness, we’re all so different in our beliefs and knowledge. It’s truly amazing……and wonderful, if not frustrating at times. After being here all these years I’ve come to the conclusion that only the Holy Spirit can penetrate mindsets and reveal His truth. No mere flesh can!

        Come Holy Spirit. We need You.

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      • “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
        Matt 7:22

        Some will come to judgement day all puffed up because they were prophesying and performing miracles. God allows them to perform miracles as a test. Are we taking full notice of all that was written or going with the emotional flow.

        Like

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