Saturday, March 25, 2017

Does Truth Really Matter in Doctrines and the Peripherals?

Does truth matter? I have attended a number of different denominational churches over the years as the Lord has led me. Some of them brought tremendous questions to my mind when I felt God's leading, as I knew the denominations were not necessarily known for their adherence to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, nor did they always take it as literally as I did. I always found God's purpose in my attending these churches (usually to point them to truth and warn them of apostasy), but was disturbed by how truth seemed to be of minor importance to them. The same could be said of some of the fundamental evangelical churches I attended, for their theologies were radically opposed to each other in some cases.

I have been exposed to Calvinism vs. Arminianism; election vs. free will; eternal security vs. conditional security; amillennianism vs. premillennianism vs. post millennianism; pre-trib, mid-trib, and post-trib rapture, although never the one I espouse, a last trump rapture; grace alone salvation vs. works alone salvation vs. grace plus works salvation; infant baptism vs. believer's immersion baptism; the Lord's Supper as transubstantiation, consubstantiation, and symbolic. I have heard it taught that the Old Testament God and New Testament God are two different Gods vs. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I have been exposed to teachings that say that Jesus died for our sins as in “paid the penalty”, but that we need to keep repenting as we sin against God, because we still live in a sinful body vs. Jesus did not pay the penalty, He merely wiped all sins out and now when we accept Him we are sinless in a sinless body. The list of discrepancies in beliefs can go on and on.

The one common factor in all of these organizational churches and theologies is this, they all think they have the truth. The problem is, they cannot all have the truth, as they are in disagreement. So what is the truth? Does it matter? I was once told by a friend, who had started her Christian walk in a church I was attending and then when she got married and moved had started attending a church with diametrically opposed teachings, that she felt as long as she was faithful to the teachings of the denomination whose “umbrella” she was under, that God was fine with that. When she made that statement to me I think for the first time in my life I was literally, quite literally, speechless. She had so shocked me that I was unable to react. Where in the Bible is it ever taught that it is acceptable to believe anything, provided you stay under the “umbrella” of the church's teachings and remain faithful to them? Nowhere, that's where. I could not believe, coming from the background that she had, that she had made this turn in her thought processes. I wish I could say that this was the only time in my life that I saw this happen, but it wasn't. I have seen more friends than I care to acknowledge suddenly make a 180 degree turn in their beliefs. Now this would not bother me at all, if they were turning from lies to truths, but here is what bothered me, they didn't care whether it was the truth or not, they only cared that it was convenient for their life or comfortable. There was a complete lack of concern with truth. In fact when confronted with Scripture that contradicted things they were now espousing, they dismissed the Scripture as irrelevant. I was told that they trusted the messenger.

Years ago the division of beliefs between denominations meant that there was no communing between them. This past century has seen a move to ecumenicalism where they have come to say that as long as the core doctrine (and I don't know that they all can even agree on this) is in agreement, the peripherals are not important. We can agree to disagree. While I agree that we can disagree with someone and still be friends, I do not agree that peripherals are unimportant. I do not feel that truth is unimportant, nor do I think God does, and the peripherals are as much truth as the core doctrine is. And now the core doctrine is under attack. The fact is, there is only one truth, so obviously somebody or all of them are wrong about something.

C.S. Lewis made a comment about truth. “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” I believe this is the problem. We are told in Scripture that in the end times people will have itching ears. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” The world has become a frightening and violent place in which to live. Life is uncomfortable for most everyone in one way or another. If not physically, then emotionally and definitely spiritually. Truth, unfortunately, is a commodity that is generally not pleasant. Truth is convicting. It is usually a source of great discomfort. So consequently most people do not want to hear it. They ask questions as if they do want the truth, but the fact is, they want comfort. Let us take for example this question. “Does this make me look fat?” That is a loaded question any husband or boyfriend wants no part of. The truthful answer probably is, “Yes, it makes you look fat and you know that or you wouldn't have asked me in the first place.” God help the poor man that says that, as he will be in dire need of God's help. What is desired is to be comforted with a nice lie, so that you can wear this piece of clothing which does not flatter you, but which you have convinced yourself will make you look like your fantasy of what you want to look like. With a comforting lie, you can shove aside the the truth and convince yourself to enjoy wearing the attire, but do you really enjoy it? Is the truth not in the back of your mind just sitting there and nagging at you? The truth is, to everyone else, you may very well look fat in that outfit, so nobody has been comforted by the lie. So you have neither the truth nor real comfort. Just imagined comfort. It was soft soap and wishful thinking. The truth may not have brought comfort immediately, but maybe have caused you to diet, and so bring comfort in the end, as then the outfit will not make you look fat, because you aren't fat and you can wear it feeling great and looking great.

I have never made a practice of telling lies, because have never been able to tell a lie with any degree of success due to my comfort level (conviction of the Holy Spirit) getting so stressed that it is obvious I am lying. The only time I have been able to convincingly lie is when it is just for the purpose of keeping a secret party from the honoree or some such thing as that. When it is for an innocent reason, to give someone pleasure such as a present or party, my comfort level is not taxed, because I know it is not that they will not learn the truth, just that the truth is being delayed as a pleasant surprise, and I don't want to spoil that surprise. I have never had to lie to save someone's life, but I think I might do my best to lie convincingly under those circumstances, as the midwives in Egypt did for the women of Israel. I hope I never have to learn whether or not I could. What I have found is that my truthfulness has made me disliked in many places. I try not to deliberately look to offend, but it is very hard to cushion blunt truth when you know it is not the answer that is desired. I am straightforward in speech as it is, so this is almost an impossible feat for me to give truth and not make someone get mad at me. When applied to for my opinion (which I often try to beg off from giving for this very reason) and it is insisted that I say what I think, people are not happy about with my response, because I cannot bring myself to lie. It sticks in my throat and I gag on it, and it is obvious that I am gagging on it. And try as I might, there is no nice way to cushion an answer that will be despised, no matter how you say it. It is going to offend no matter what. They were looking for affirmation, and I gave them the truth. Most people are not looking for the truth, but for affirmation of their choices. They do not want to hear negative comments about their choice, as that is a condemnation of their thinking and/or values. As a result of this mind set, the world has learned to pander to people's feelings with lies instead of trying to direct people to good choices by giving them the truth. We have become a society of pathological liars.

As an example of what I have dealt with in people's reactions to truth, I will tell a story of something that happened to me in a church I attended. As background information, I have both a Bachelor's and Masters degree in music. In the church I was attending I was the only trained musician. The organist was an elderly lady who had learned to play years before and was still playing, but nobody had any formal training except me. The church wanted to have a children's Christmas program. They had about two months to pull it together with one rehearsal a week and they intended to sing about eight songs. I was not asked to help with the music in the program, so therefore stayed out of it. Now having taught music in school, I was aware of how long it can take to teach children one song well enough to perform, let alone eight. The songs that the people in charge wanted to do were some contemporary songs that Christian pop stars were singing, not familiar Christmas hymns. When given a chance to listen to the songs, I was asked if in my professional opinion I thought they would work. They were so sure I would give my approval and affirmation of what they dreamed of doing, but given my background and experience, I knew the answer was an emphatic “no” and that is exactly what I told them. That the songs were far too hard for these children to learn in so few rehearsals, as the songs would have to be memorized as well as sung. The response was immediate and it wasn't pleasant. They got very angry and started making comments about how could I be so certain, why was I being negative, what was wrong with the songs, and a list of other complaints. I hadn't volunteered the information on my own accord, in fact when asked for my opinion, before giving it, I said that I would rather not, as I knew what the response would be, but they insisted. At that point I spoke up and said, “You asked me what my opinion as a professional was. I gave you my professional opinion. If you don't want to take it, you don't have to.” And of course they didn't. And what they ended up having to do was play the tracks from the CD's of these artists and have the children try to sing along with it. Nor did that even work, as the children didn't know the songs at all. So basically what happened was we watched some children stand up in front and try to occasionally mouth the words to sing along with some songs being sung by the artists on the CD. I felt embarrassed for the children and the people in charge, who had put them to this embarrassment simply because they did not want to hear the truth. They wanted what they desired. They did not get it. Neither soft soap or wishful thinking worked to accomplish their desire.

The Church has fallen into the same trap with God's Word, as society has in all other areas. The Church should be above that, for we worship the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.” We should be preaching the truth, for the truth is the only way. Yet the Church continues to set aside truths for the temporary comfort of its people. The Church should be in unity over what the truth is, yet there are more differences than there are things in common. Why is that? Because we have forgotten how to understand Scripture. We should first take it at face value except where grammatically it is otherwise indicated, and where visions are given and explained by God. The first lie and the most useful lie Satan ever spoke was “Yea, hath God said..?” By making us question what God has said is truly meant, God's Word can be made to mean anything, and that is precisely why we have so many variations on theology. Truth has become irrelevant in the light of respecting some “scholarly” or “great” man's opinion of what he thinks God's Word says. People do not even bother to take this man's words and go to the Bible to check to see if he is reading it correctly. He is a scholar, so that means he knows more than the average person (not true), so he is accepted without question. Satan cleverly used this mentality, and then led astray those who were the “scholars” (usually by puffed up pride) to get them to either have “revelations” about God's Word which were not accurate or true, or to spiritually interpret the Word in a way which did not coincide with a face value interpretation. Another way was to have people pick and choose what they liked o build a theology around those verses, ignoring the verses which might disagree, as Thomas Jefferson did when he took a pair of scissors to the Bible and created his Jeffersonian Bible, removing those things which he did not like. And from there things progressed until we have wandered so far from God's Word in some cases that even God Himself would have trouble recognizing from where it came..

God's Word is filled with verses about truth.

Joshua 24:14a, “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth.”

1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”

Psalms 25:5 “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalms 26:3 “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.”

Psalms 40:11 “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.”

Psalms 86:11 “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”

Psalms 91:4 “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

Psalms 96:13 “Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”

Psalms 119:151 “Thou are near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.”

Proverbs 3:3 “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.”

Mark 12:14a “ And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth:”

John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”

John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

These are just the tip of the iceberg in what God has to say about truth. So why is it so important to have the peripherals correct if you have the core tenets in truth? Why does it matter whether we have truth on the details that seem less important? If one envisions doctrine in concentric circles, the “core” doctrine of Jesus as the Son of God, who died for our sins, rose from the grave, ascended to intercede for us, the Trinity, and those things which are essential for salvation will be in the center circle. Going out to the next circle would be those things which are essential for our walk with God, obedience to the ordinances and commandments and those things. Then the next circle out might be things such as end times beliefs, etc. and so on. If one thinks of each circle as a wall protecting the beliefs within it, the assault starts on the outer circle and works its way in. As one wall falls and lets the enemy in, he can attack the next wall. And so on. Eventually he stands at the wall surrounding the core doctrines and starts assaulting that wall. We have so let down our guards, that the enemy has actually broken down the inner most wall and has made inroads into corrupting the core doctrines. How is it possible to have come so far?

The problem has come from the fact that we have not sought truth all along. We have settled for the traditions and even lies of men, instead of being Bereans and weeding out those things which are not upheld by Scripture. We do this because we have itching ears looking for easy salvation and comfortable living. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” We have allowed wolves into the sheepfold. Acts 20:29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 2 Timothy 3:6-8 “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Romans 1:18, 25 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;.. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 2:2 “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

When you have believed the lies Satan has implanted, when the time comes that he needs you to let go of them for his purposes, he will not have trouble convincing you to let go of them. You will be deceived, because you have already been deceived. Only those who know that they are firmly planted on the truth of God's Word will be able to withstand the assault on their beliefs. Truth stands. Truth endures. Division was necessary to conquer God's people at the beginning, as the rule is divide and conquer. Now that we are sufficiently divided with the lies he has sown, and we are far enough from the truth, he is creating a false unity of the church through compromise, for the sake of the new world order, over which he intends to reign.

God will have us worship Him in truth, and if we will not seek it on our own, He will put us in a place where we are forced to accept it in a harsh reality. If you love the Lord, you must desire truth above all else, for He is the truth. Any lie that we accept only puts an obstacle between Him and us. The question is, are you willing to sacrifice all for the truth? How important is it to you? Have you prayed and asked God to show you the truth at all costs? Most who call themselves Christian know the truth of the death and resurrection of the Son of God, but are you willing to take your long held traditions of men and ask God to help you examine each and every one in the light of Scripture - all of Scripture, not the pick and choose type – to see if what you believe is actually what is taught by Him? Are you willing to let go if it is not? From painful experience I can tell you that it will be one of the most excruciating things you will ever undergo. I am reminded of a story in the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis when a boy named Eustace was turned into a dragon because of his greed, and the only way he could become a boy again was to have Aslan the lion (the prototype of Christ) literally and with excruciating pain rip the dragon skin off of his body to get back to the human boy. Christ has to painfully peel away all the lies in your life to get to the truth. I was forced to change so many peripherals as I examined Scripture that I ended up with a very different theology, except for my belief in being born again through Christ. It was a shattering time in my life. And yet it was the most freeing time also. When He said “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:32, He was not kidding. Knowing that you have found the truth, a truth that Scripture will uphold at every verse that deals with the subject, is a deeply spiritually grounding experience. It removes any room for deception. It removes any room for compromise. It removes any room for doubt. And this is why we have to have the truth, all of the truth, even in the peripherals. They do not have to keep you from loving others, but they do matter in your personal walk with Christ.


Friday, March 17, 2017

What Is the Explanation for Canaan's Curse and Being In the Line of Christ?

There are a couple of incidents in the Bible that have confused people, as there is no immediate explanation for them. They both concern the same person. The first is found in the story of Noah when he got drunk.

Genesis 9:18-27 “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

When Noah awoke and found out what had occurred, he cursed Canaan and not Ham. This has always been a puzzlement, for why curse the son for the sin of the father? Maybe we need to take a closer look at exactly what is said. First notice that when it speaks of when they went forth from the ark, that it mentions not only the three sons, but also that Ham was the father of Canaan. Was Canaan born aboard the ark? Or is Canaan mentioned because he is about to become important in some way? Noah was drunk, and he was uncovered within his tent. It has always been assumed that Noah stripped down. I have not been around drunk people as a rule, but how many drunk people go around stripping when they are that drunk? It seems to me that they are beyond being able to take their clothes off. They can generally not even sit up straight, much less stand up to disrobe. What if what is meant was that someone else uncovered him within his tent, while he was drunk. What if he were not the person committing the action, but the victim receiving the action while he was unconscious?

It is pointed out again, immediately after telling that Noah was uncovered in this passage, that Ham is the father of Canaan. Why point that out a second time within the space of five verses of the story, and immediately after this event, if Canaan is not a party to the event? Why bring it up at all? It is almost as if it is pointed out that Ham is the father of the offender. Perhaps Canaan, who is the only grandchild mentioned up to this point (and whom we know was the father of the pagan ungodly Canaanites, which consisted of a number of pagan tribes of the family) was an ungodly young person already, (we are not sure of how many years had passed by this time) and was aware that his grandfather had been drinking. He could have crept in and uncovered his grandfather either as a joke, or for spite, and then bragged to his father what he had done. Ham then went to see for himself and then, thinking it was amusing, mocked Noah by telling the others of his shame. (Or possibly they did it together.) Noah blamed Ham, but then he cursed Canaan. He held the father responsible for his son's actions, but he cursed the offender rather than the father, so that the other children would not be cursed. So it would seem that Canaan had a hand in this somehow, for there is no reason to mention Canaan to start with, or curse Canaan for his father's actions otherwise. We know that Canaan's descendants were pagan, so it seems that rebellion started with Ham and ran through Canaan down the line. This should be kept in mind as we go to the next puzzle.

Now we come to the second problem. In the genealogy of Christ we find the following lineage in Luke Chapter 3 within verses 35-36. “which was the son of Sala, which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe” This has caused a problem for scholars as Cainan (or Canaan as it is spelled in the O.T.) was not a son of Arphaxad. Sala (or Salah) was his son, according to Genesis. Genesis 10:22-24 “The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. And Arphaxad begat Salah;” Genesis 11:10-12 “These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:”

According to both of these Scriptures, Arphaxad was the father of Salah. In fact the age at which he begat Salah was thirty-five years of age. This was thirty-seven years after the Flood. It does not seem that there was a generation between them. There is a possibility that can be surmised though. We are told that Arphaxad was born two years after the Flood. He was of the first generation after the Flood. We are told the names of the other males who were born of Noah's sons. Genesis 10:2 “The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.” Genesis 10:6 “And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” Genesis 10:22 “The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram.” Within this first generation, we can see the the only Canaan is Ham's son. And he is also the only Canaan within the next generation as well. So when Canaan is spoken of in Luke, we must assume that the Canaan mentioned is Ham's son. We can also see that the three couples got busy repopulating the earth. Needless to say, they had daughters also, for we are told that they did, and the sons had to marry someone. Cousin marriage is an approved marriage in Scripture, (even to today) and at this time sister marriage was also allowed. So the first generation had to marry either their sisters, their first cousins, or their cousin's children.

Next we must look at another matter. It is assumed by many that the names of the offspring are always in line with their birth order, but that can be shown to not be true. For instance Shem is assumed to be the oldest as he is always mentioned first, when the three sons of Noah are listed.

Genesis 5:32 “And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Genesis 6:10 “And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Genesis 7:13 “In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah” Gensis 9:18 “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.” Genesis 10:1 “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth:”

In each of these cases, Shem is mentioned first, therefore many teach that he is the eldest, however Scripture contradicts that. Genesis 10:21 “Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.” Japheth is clearly said to be the elder brother. Then some say that Shem is the youngest, but in Genesis 10:24 we find that neither is he the youngest. “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” This verse is speaking of Ham and it designates him as the younger son. Had he been the middle son, it would seem that he would have been addressed as his middle son, so it would seem that Shem is the middle son. Shem appears to be mentioned first, as he is the most important of the brothers, for he is the one in whom the line of the Messiah will begin. These two verses are the only ones that actually mention birth order, so we need to pay attention to them even though when the sons are spoken of, they are listed with Shem first. In the line of Shem, we know that Arphaxad was born two years after the Flood, yet he is the third son mentioned in the line of Shem. It is probably unlikely that Shem's wife had three children in two years unless the first two were twins. The godly patriarchal line did not have to come through the eldest son. It had to come through the godly son. So birth order does not seem relevant in the list of names.

The reason for bringing all this up is that the children of Ham are listed in the following order. Genesis 10:6 “And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” If sons were listed from the oldest to the youngest, this would put Canaan as the youngest, but I do not think that is the case, based on the above reasoning. I think the sons are listed with Cush first for a reason, which will be made clear in a moment. The implication when mentioning the three sons of Noah coming off the ark, and mentioning Canaan along with them is that he might have been born on board the ark, or if not coming off the ark as a baby, then Ham's wife was pregnant with him. This would make him the eldest of Ham's sons. The only grandson mentioned at all before these genealogy lists is in fact, Canaan. In the case of the above order, Cush is mentioned first, but then there is a reason for this, just as there was for mentioning Shem first. Shem was the first of the Messianic line. Cush was the father of Nimrod, who is first mentioned at this time as the mighty hunter, and the king of Babel, who became a very important person at an important event later on and from whom ultimately the antichrist will come. This could explain his being first in the list of Ham's sons. If Canaan were guilty of the sin with Noah, his name would have been mud, as they say, which may be why he was relegated to the last name mentioned. But that was earlier on in his life, and he seemed to be of no importance later on, as much as who his descendants were became important to Israel, so he is just listed last. As other than being one of the partriarchs, Arphaxad didn't do anything in particular to merit mention, nor did his brothers, there seems no particular order to their names.

Given now that we know that Canaan was most likely born immediately after if not before the end of the Flood, and most likely the perpetrator of the sin against Noah, and that his descendants would become depraved pagans, there is every reason to believe that he was not a young man who observed restrained behavior. It is then quite likely that by the time he was a teenager or in his early twenties at best, which would have been only that many years after the Flood as well, that he was sexually active and took a wife (either sister or cousin) and started a family. The objective was to repopulate the earth, after all, and he was probably eager to cooperate with that mandate. By thirty-seven years after the Flood, he could very well have had a daughter of the age of fifteen to seventeen years of age. By this time Arphaxad was thirty-five and was wanting a wife of his own. The number of females to go around for the males was probably not equal in number, so some had to wait to get a wife this early on. As the first generation might not have produced enough females for the males of that generation, someone would have to take a wife from the next generation. A girl of sixteen or so would have been considered old enough to start a family. It is quite possible that Arphaxad took as wife the daughter of Canaan. That would make Canaan the grandfather of Salah on his mother's side.

When one looks at the genealogies of Jesus, it can be seen that Matthew included several very important women in the list - Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Moabitess, and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (although her name is not mentioned, we know it was her). On the other hand, Luke did not list any women. He could have, but he didn't. So when he listed that Salah which was the son of Canaan, which was the son of Arphaxad, and there was only one Canaan at that time, we can surmise that what was most likely being said was that Salah was the son of the daughter of Canaan and her husband, Arphaxad. This is the only reasonable way to reconcile this account, as Canaan, the son of Ham, was the only Canaan at that time. The only other way to deal with this is to say that Canaan and Arphaxad shared a wife so Salah considered both men his father. While it was common for a man to have multiple wives, nothing indicates that a woman ever had multiple husbands or that this was the situation. There are some who would like to make this work by saying it was a levirate marriage, but there are two problems with this interpretation. First, the laws of levirate marriage did not exist then, and secondly, Arphaxad and Canaan were cousins, not brothers.

The importance in even bringing Canaan up in Christ's lineage seems to be the fact that Abraham was promised the land of Canaan as an inheritance for his offspring forever. The reason that Abraham could make claim to this land is that it is rightfully his by lineage. Salah was the descendant of Canaan, but also the descendant of Shem. He was the only descendant of Canaan who was in the godly Messianic patriarchal line of Shem. So he brought both lines together, so that the descendants of Shem down through to Abraham were the legal heirs to the land of Canaan, as the pagan tribes were not heirs in God's eyes, due to their rejection of Him. And thus Israel is the rightful heir to the land of Canaan.

While it is true that this information is surmised, we have to look at exactly what we are told and try to make logical sense of it. This interpretation seems to do that.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Should Christians keep the Entire Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, or Are We Stricly Under Grace? Pt.2


In the first part of this study, I focused on the various aspects of the Law and why they do not apply to us, due to the lifting of them in the New Testament. I also spent some time on why the Ten Commandments are still in effect and should still be observed. As the Hebrew Roots movement continues to move further and further into demanding that people observe the laws of the Torah for not just a righteous walk with God, but some say it is required for salvation, I felt the need to add even more to my article and so have created a part 2.

When God told Moses that He wanted to speak to the children of Israel, He said that He was going to give them a covenant. Ex. 19:5-6 “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: 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.” After God had spoken the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, there was thunder and lightning, the noise of trumpets, the mountain was smoking, and they wanted Moses alone to be the one to have to hear anything else God had to say and then relay that information to them. Exodus 20:18-19 “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” God then told Moses to speak to them all that He was about to say. Ex. 20:22a “And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel....” What followed were the covenant rules. It is not that the Ten Commandments were not a part of it, they were the central core of it, as they are the divine laws of God that tell us what our moral sins against God are, so are a part of any covenant with God, (Gen.26:5Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”) including the new covenant (God said He would write His law on our hearts (through the Holy Spirit)– Jer. 31:33 “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”), but they were apart from the specific law of Moses, for the simple reason that they are much bigger than that covenant. The Ten Commandments are universal for all people for all time. They are the moral laws which condemn us before God and show us why we need salvation. They show us our sins. The rest of the laws that Moses wrote down were specifically for Israel as a covenant with them alone. We will see that the covenant with Israel alone was written by Moses, and the part of the covenant that is eternal between God and man were written in stone here on earth, and also written down in heaven.
Getting back to the order of events, after he had spoken all these laws to the people, Moses wrote down these laws which he had spoken to them. Ex. 24:4 “And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.” Ex. 24:7 “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” To seal the covenant, Moses made a sacrifice. Ex. 24:5-8 “And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.”

Now to show that these were two different sets of laws, we see that Moses wrote down all that followed the Ten Commandments, and it was called the Book of the Covenant, but as we will see, God Himself wrote down the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone, which were to be in the ark of the covenant or as it is actually referred to in Scripture, the ark of the testimony. The commandments were on tablets of stone. The rest of the laws were in a handwritten book which Moses wrote. After Moses had related all this from the Book of the Covenant to Israel, God called him up to the mountain top to give him the specifications for the temple and priests, and to give him the tablets upon which God Himself had written the testimony or Ten Commandments. Ex. 24:12 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Ex:31:18 “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” After that Moses returned to the people. Ex. 32:15-16 “And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” When Moses came down and found the people sinning, he broke the tablets. Ex. 32:19 “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” God called him back up to the mount again so that He could give Moses His law again. Ex. 34:1 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” Ex. 34:28 “And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (The part of the covenant that was God's Law, God wrote, and He specifies here that the only thing on these tablets was the Ten Commandments.) Deut. 10:1-4 “At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.”

If there is any question that the Ten Commandments are the only thing on these tablets, these verses clearly answers that question, as it says that he wrote, “according to the first writing, the ten commandments.” And it is clear that they were to be put in the ark. Ex. 40:20 “And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark:” Deut. 10:5 “And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.” The testimony on the tablets was sealed within the ark and then the mercy seat was placed upon it. When it came to the Book of the Law, or the Book of the Covenant that Moses wrote, it had a different place to be placed, for the Book of Moses or Covenant is not eternal in the same way as the Ten Commandments are. Deut. 31:24-26 “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” The word “side” is “tsad” in Hebrew and the phrase “in the side” would indicate “against the side of.” In other words, beside the ark, but not in the ark. In fact, the word “tsad” has another interesting meaning. It can figuratively mean “adversary.” This is a good description of the law for it was put there to be a witness against the people.

How is it that the Law of the Covenant is to be a witness against the people. We know how the Ten Commandments are, for they were given to show the entire world their sin against God. The Book of the Covenant was a witness against them for if they kept the Law, they would be blessed, but if they did not keep the Law of the Covenant (sometimes also called the handwriting of ordinances in Scripture) they would suffer the curses issued by Moses. Note that this has to do with blessings and curses upon the people and land. Nothing is said about this providing them with salvation. Unfortunately, they did not keep the law. The people had heard the law at the beginning of the forty year wilderness experience, but all the adults of that generation died before they could enter the land (as punishment). The younger generation now had to have the law read to them also before they entered the land, and they had to covenant with God themselves. And this covenant was not just for those who had come out of Egypt, and those standing there hearing it, but those who would be a part of Israel in the future.

Deut. 29:1, 9-29 “These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do. Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; But with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day: (For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by; And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:) Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon it; And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book: And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” The Book of the Law (the covenant) had blessings and curses written in it. It was for the nation of Israel as Israel will always be a peculiar nation before God.

Now that the Law of Moses or the Book of the Covenant has been explained we need to examine the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are the testimony against all mankind. Once engraved in stone, they resided in the ark, which in Scripture is not the ark of the covenant. That name is a misdirection, as people think that means the covenant with Israel. Scripture never calls it the ark of the covenant, for it is not the ark of the Book of the Covenant. It is the ark of the testimony of the Ten Commandments for that is what it holds. It is always referred to as the ark of the testimony. Ex. 25:22 “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” Ex. 26:33, 34 “And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.” Ex. 30:6 “And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.” Ex. 30:26 “And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,” Ex. 31:7 “The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle,” Ex. 39:35 “The ark of the testimony, and the staves thereof, and the mercy seat,” Ex. 40:3, 5, 21 “And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the vail....And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle......And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses.” Joshua 4:16 “Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.”

When Christ came, he established a new covenant. (testament means covenant). We would no longer be under the laws of the Book of the Covenant of Moses. 2 Cor. 3:14 “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.” Heb. 9:15-20 “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” The first covenant was the Book of the Law which Moses wrote and read to the people. It was his handwriting of the ordinances mentioned in Colossians that was blotted out. Remember Moses didn't write the Ten Commandments. God engraved those on stone. They are not blotted out. It was a covenant between God and Israel that Moses wrote out by hand that was annulled. The new covenant would be with all men who believe, including those of Israel.

Matt. 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Mark 14:24 “And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” Luke 22:20 “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” 1 Cor. 11:25 “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” 2 Cor. 3:6 “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The old covenant brought condemnation. The new covenant brought life.

How do we know that Christ did not mean the Ten Commandments when He said He was creating a new testament or covenant? Because He told us that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments. John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 15:10a “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;” Some like to say that there were only two commandments that Jesus gave, love God and love your neighbor. That is not exactly what Jesus said. Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Mark 12:28-31 “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Jesus did not say that there were no other commandments, He said that these two were the greatest, and that all the laws and prophets hung on them. The interesting thing is that these are not Jesus condensing the ten into two out of the blue. He was quoting the Old Testament which had already presented these two concepts. Deut. 6:5 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Leviticus 19:18 “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”

Jesus was not doing away with the Ten Commandments or condensing them. He was quoting these verses to show that all of the law hung on the fact that the commandments did either one or the other. The first four commandments tell us what we need to do to show our love for God. We are to have no other Gods before Him. We are not to make any graven images or worship them. We are not to take His name in vain. We are to keep His Sabbath day holy. Those are what we have to do in order to love God with all our heart, our soul, and our mind or might. To break them is sin, for the definition of sin is lawlessness, or not doing the law of God. The last six commandments have to do with showing love to our neighbor. Our first “neighbor” is our parents. We are to honor them. We are not to kill anyone, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet their possessions. This is how we show love to our neighbor. It is not in words that we love, but in deed. In the New Testament verses can be found that tell us not to do these things, which in most people's eyes means that they should observe them, even if they will not admit that they are keeping the Ten Commandments. The one they object to and say was not reiterated is the one about the Sabbath. I had a link to my article on the Sabbath in part 1, but if it wasn't read, here it is again. http://bibleconundrumsandcontroversy.blogspot.com/2011/02/sabbath-or-sunday.html.

Jesus Himself said that when the abomination of desolation occurred, people should worry that they would not have to run on the Sabbath. Since Jesus was speaking to believers in Him (Christians) at the end of time, and He expected them to be observing the Sabbath, I believe that is reason enough to consider that we should still be observing the Sabbath for in Christ there is no Jew or Gentile so it does not apply only to the Jews. The Sabbath has been holy to God since creation. It is one of the Ten Commandments and is still in effect.

We also know that the Ten Commandments are eternal because they are in heaven in the ark of the testimony that resides in the heavenly tabernacle. Rev.11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Rev. 15:5 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

Lastly, Jesus gave us a couple parables that indicate that the laws in the Book of the Covenant had to pass away so that the new covenant could come to pass.

Matthew 9:10-17 “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”

The Pharisees were upset that Jesus and His disciples were not observing the law the way they thought they should. Jesus was eating with the publicans and sinners. His disciples were not fasting. Jesus told them that He didn't come to help those who were righteous, that He came to call sinners to repentance. To do that, He had to break with tradition and go to where the sinners were. This was a radical idea. And as far as His disciples were concerned, there was no need for them to fast and afflict themselves with mourning, for He (the bridegroom) was with them now, so they should celebrate what He was teaching and giving to them. When He left (when He was crucified and ascended) there would be plenty about which they would mourn and fast. Then He went on to give two parables that showed that He did not come to fix up the old covenant to include what He was teaching. For His teachings to be put into practice, the old covenant had to go by the wayside, for what He taught was mercy, not law. It was love, not judgment. It was forgiveness, not vengeance. The law was full of legalities that gave justice, but it did not have room for mercy. Jesus was going to radically change the way people interacted with God and each other. To do that, the old law had to give way. It was nailed to the cross as it says in Colossians. The new cloth (new covenant) could not be put on the old garment (old covenant), for the tear would be worse than ever when it was washed. The old wineskin would burst if new wine was put in it, for it could not hold all that the new wine was. That is what these parables were about. So for those who insist upon having to go back to the Torah, that is not what Jesus taught. Choosing to keep some of the old laws, such as kosher, as just a personal choice is fine as long as it does not get in the way of the new covenant ways. Love should always come before the old law. To insist that the old law is a better way is wrong, for the new covenant cannot be contained in the old one.

So in the end, we are to keep the commandments if we love Jesus, but we are not obliged to keep the law, with the exception of things that were reiterated in the New Testament. Most of these were moral laws which were actually just more detailed behaviors of the Ten Commandments. There are some things that do fall under that category. Homosexuality is still a sin. Remarriage is now wrong after divorce except for one condition. We are not to eat blood or things strangled. There are many more. One needs to read the New Testament to see what God still does or does not require. It is up to the individual to be in their Bible learning what those things are.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Does the Bible Tell Us What Actually Happened to Enoch?

One of the great mysteries of the Bible is what happened to Enoch when God took him. Some time ago I wrote on Elijah, showing how, unlike the traditional teaching that he went to heaven, he could not have gone to heaven for he was still on earth ten years after he was taken away in the whirlwind. What seems to have been misunderstood was to which heaven he was taken away. It was the first, as nobody could go to the third heaven where God is, before Christ did, according to Scripture. The only place people went when they left this life was to Paradise. Christ explained that both in the parable of Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man, and when He told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him that day in Paradise. When Christ ascended, He led captivity captive, or emptied Paradise of the righteous dead and took them to heaven. We are told that nobody ascended to heaven (God's abode) before Christ. Proverbs 30:4a “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?” John 3:13 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” As it is doubtful that God left Enoch stranded on another planet, (the second heavens) it seems the only answer is that he was either transported somewhere on earth as Elijah, Ezekiel, and Philip were, or he was taken to Paradise. More information on Paradise and the three heavens can be found in my article on Elijah here. http://bibleconundrumsandcontroversy.blogspot.com/2016/02/did-elijah-go-to-heaven-die-or-just.html.

We are told everything there is to know about Enoch in a few passages. Genesis 5:18-24 “And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

Luke 3:37 “Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,”

Jude 14-15 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

The entire content of Enoch's life is that he was born of Jared, had a son named Methuselah, that all the days of his life were three hundred and sixty-five years, (that was his age when he disappeared, so that is as old as anyone knew he was) that he walked with God, that he was a prophet who warned of God's wrath to come, specifically the Second Coming of Christ, not the Flood (as far as we are told) and that God “took” him so that he should not see death, so God “translated” him.

The mystery in all this comes in that it says that he did not see death, that God took or translated him. The Hebrew word for “took” means “to carry away”. The Greek word for “translated” means “transport.” So Enoch was removed to another place, so that nobody knew where he went. The questions seem to be to where was he removed, and did he receive a glorified body, stay in this body, or die and go to paradise (the place of the dead before Christ ascended – to know more on this read the above article on Elijah).

Most people say he went to heaven, but it does not say that, and clearly that is not possible for we are told in Scripture, as already quoted above, that nobody could ascend to heaven before Christ ascended after His death. So we know that he didn't go to heaven, as in God's abode. That is a clear fact from Scripture. But it didn't say that he went to heaven, it merely says that he was transported somewhere, so that he would not see death. So there are two choices, he either stayed on the planet where he lived out his natural life, (it is doubtful God removed him to another one somewhere in the universe), or God sent his spirit to Paradise. We are told that all the days of his life were 365 years, but that is because nobody knows what happened to him. He was that age when he disappeared, so that is the age he achieved as far as anybody but God knows. But God does inspire Scriptures, so unless God doesn't want us to know differently, there is a distinct possibility that he died at that time.

In Hebrews 11 a few verses later, in the list of people who died in faith, he is among those who are clearly stated to have died in faith. Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” So that would seem to clinch the deal that he died at some point, whether or not it was immediately upon being taken or later after disappearing. And further, not only in John are we told he could not ascend to heaven, but here we are told that he (and all the rest) could not receive the promise of eternal life that they were looking forward to (in resurrected bodies in God's kingdom - Titus 1:2 “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”) until we receive it too. Hebrews 11:39-40 “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Everybody gets eternal life (and the resurrected body) and the rest of the promises at the same time, at the first resurrection. So we can rule out Enoch getting a glorified body. He was not “translated” in the sense of getting a new body like at the rapture.

But, the objection is made, he walked with God so was exempt from death. No, Scripture will not back that up. Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” All have sinned, and all must die, so that they can receive eternal life in a new body. Now the objection is made that some will not have to see death, but will be raptured, so why shouldn't he. The difference is, before they are raptured, the resurrection has occurred, so as Hebrews 39-40 points out, everybody gets the promise at the same time. Nobody gets to jump the gun, as it were. It was be the equivalent of making Enoch the firstfruits of the resurrection, and he is not. Christ is. So again, he could not have been translated in the sense of getting a glorified body or going to heaven. Scripture rules out both of those options.

So given that Scripture shows us that he had to have died, we then ask, where did God take him, and how is it that he didn't see death, if he had to die? Isn't that a contradiction. Now we have to interpret these things in the light of what we know to be true from Scripture. The death referred to cannot mean that he did not die. He had to have not seen some other sort of death. There are several possibilities as to what “death” is in this verse. The word “see” in Greek means “behold, perceive, be aware of, and have knowledge of.” The Bible does not tell us when the sons of God came down and married the daughters of men, but the apocryphal book of Enoch (which is quoted in Jude) tells us that this happened in the days of Jared, Enoch's father. For the moment we will go along with that, as the timing seems right. As Jared lived almost 600 years after Enoch went missing, it is quite possible that this incursion happened after Enoch was taken. Had they come down when Enoch was alive, it would seem that his name would have been the one used to pinpoint the time, as he is a far more important person in Bible terms than his father, and it would also pinpoint the time of the incursion far more closely than saying it was during Jarod's life.

Enoch prophesied about the Second Coming of God's wrath, not the wrath of God through the Flood. That always seemed strange to me, given that God's wrath was about to fall on the world and wipe it out back then. It would seem that he should have been prophesying about that instead. However if the incursion had not yet happened when God removed him, he would not be prophesying about the Flood, because he wouldn't know about it. Instead he was prophesying about the wrath of God on the world when the Messiah would come. That was all part of the plan of salvation which Enoch obviously knew about, so that is what he preached. Up until that point, most people lived very long lives, and death was probably not known for the most part, as it was very rare for a person to die. They were used to animal death for sacrifices, but hardly anyone had died. We only are told of three people up to that time, although there could have been more. In fact the only patriarch in the list from Adam through Seth down to Enoch to have died by the time Enoch left this earth was Adam. He died when Enoch was 57 years old. Seth was still alive, as were his descendants. Abel would have been killed before well before Enoch came along as Seth was not born until after Abel died. There was a rule against murder after Cain killed Abel, but that didn't stop Lamech (Cain's descendent). He killed someone also. It is likely that since Cain left the area when God punished him and having founded a city elsewhere, his descendants and Seth's descendants did not interact a lot so Enoch probably was not aware of this death either.

So the only death that we can be sure that Enoch had probably seen was Adam's. There is the possibility of other unrecorded natural deaths or even murders, but the Bible does not indicate any. Death for people was virtually unknown to man at this point. Very few probably died, given the length of life at that time. So to take Enoch so that he would not see (behold, be aware of, or have knowledge of) death could simply mean that he was taken before death really started occurring or became the normal state of things, as it is for us today. To take Enoch at that time, would be to take him before all the death and destruction of the incursion of the fallen angels had occurred as well, as they did bring death and destruction with them, with all the violence they perpetrated over the centuries until the Flood. So if it is meant that Enoch did not see death in the world, it could be he was transported to a remote location to live out his life in solitude and peace away from the violence and sin, and die from natural causes before the Flood, or the alternative is that God took his spirit from his body at that time and just sent him to paradise.

Another interpretation might be that “death” is meant to mean being put to death by someone else, or killed, not death from natural causes. The Bible tells us that the violence and evil was so great that by the time Noah came along God had to destroy the world to save it. If Enoch was around for the incursion, and even before that, his prophesying God's wrath upon a wicked world (the world was not all righteous even before the incursion) would not have been accepted with much tolerance. Given that prophets were usually martyred, it is not far-fetched to assume that Enoch would have been hunted down to be killed as was Elijah. In that case we can hypothesize that God didn't want him to be tortured or murdered, and again either removed him to a remote part of the planet where they could not reach him until he did die, or God took his spirit and buried the body, so that it could not be found and mutilated by those who hated him. It could mean that God wanted to remove his life force so quickly that he wasn't even aware he was dying. He just took him straight to Paradise. In this case he was translated from life to Paradise without going through the painful process of death.

It says Enoch was “translated.” Some like to equate this with the rapture, as in a moment we are “changed”, so they say that he received a glorified body and went to heaven, but that was already dismissed as a possibility above. No man ascended to heaven before Christ, and nobody receives the promise until we can all receive the promise. The word “translated” means to be transported. It is the same word that is used elsewhere when talking about moving from one location to another here on this earth, such as when they moved Jacob's body in Acts 7:16. (“carried” is the same Greek word “metatithemi” that is translated as “translated” in Hebrews). Enoch was moved or transported somewhere else. There are only the two possibilities. He was moved to a remote location away from the rest of the world and what was going on, so that he would not see the carnage and destruction of death or be murdered, and he died of natural causes before the Flood, or God took his spirit and transported it to Paradise at that time, in which case he did not die a natural death, he was just transported out of his body to Paradise and did not see death in the sense that a normal person would. Either one of these theories can work, as either way he died, as it says in Hebrews that “all these died.” If one believes that the 365 years is accurate, and we should believe that God's Word is accurate, then the choice we should probably make is that God transported his spirit to Paradise without him going through the process of a natural death.




Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Prophecy From 1965 That Is Very Relevant Today

I do not usually put much stock in people's prophecies for several reasons. 1) They generally do not line up with Scripture and 2) they do not sound like the Lord. When you study God's Word you find that He does have a way of speaking that is peculiar to Him.  When I came across this lengthy prophecy I started reading it with a lot of skepticism. As I reached the end for the first time I felt that I have read something with I can attribute to the Holy Spirit speaking through someone, as it hits the mark straight on. This was given in 1965 by a man named Stanley Frodsham.

Great Judgements

"With great judgements will I plead with the population of this country. Great darkness is coming upon the countries that have heard My gospel but no longer walk in it. My wrath shall come
upon them. The darkness shall be so great and the anguish so sore that men shall cry out for death and shall not find it. There shall be a lingering death, famine and great catastrophes.

My wrath shall be manifested against all ungodliness. It shall come with great intensity. You have known my love but have not experienced My wrath or My severity. My judgements are literal
and not a thing to be passed over lightly. Realize the severity of My judgements and My intense anger against the sin in My Household. My judgements shall begin in My House, for I will cleanse My House that it be not a partaker of My wrath against the iniquities of the cities. Before I visit the nations in judgement I will begin at My House. When I do cause My wrath to come upon the cities of the world My people shall be separate. I desire a people without spot or wrinkle and such will be preserved by Me in the time of My wrath, which will be coming upon all iniquity and  unrighteousness.

I am going to prepare you for the coming days by a hard path that will cause many to cry out continually unto Me. For when the going is easy men do not seek Me, but rejoice in a temporary
blessing. And when that blessing is removed they so often turn this way and that way but do not come to Me. I am showing you these things in order that you may seek Me continually and with
great diligence. As you seek Me I will open up truths to you that you have not seen before, and these very truths will be such that will enable you to stand in these last days. As you are persecuted,
reviled and rejected by your brethren then you will turn unto Me with all your heart and seek Me for that spiritual life that you need. So that when the tribulation comes you will have that which will
enable you to stand. For many will be tossed to and fro, men's hearts shall fail them because of trouble on every hand. These days shall be very terrible the likes of which have never been seen before.

Coming Glory - and - Deceiving Spirits

When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead. With the Glory shall come great darkness, for the Glory is to prepare My people for the darkness. I will enable My people to go through the darkness because of the visitation of My Spirit. Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in
the olden days, for then, many received My message but they did not continue in it. Did I anoint Jehu? Yet the things that I desired were not accomplished in his life. Listen to the messengers, but
do not hold men's persons in admiration or adulation. For many whom I shall anoint mightily with signs and miracles shall become lifted up and shall fall by the wayside. I do not this willingly for I
have made provision that they might stand. I call many into this ministry and equip them, but remember that many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights and the people shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving spirits and shall lead many of My people astray. Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall come seducing spirits. They shall turn
many of My anointed ones away, many shall fall through diverse lusts and because of 'sin abounding'.

But if you will seek Me diligently I will put My Spirit within you so that when one shall turn to the right hand or to the left hand you shall not turn with them, but instead you will keep your eyes fixed
wholly on your Lord. The coming days are going to be most dangerous, difficult and dark for there shall be a mighty outpouring of My Spirit in judgement upon many cities and many sh all be
destroyed. My people must be diligently warned concerning the days ahead. Many shall turn after seducing spirits and already many are seducing My people. It is those who 'Do Righteousness'
that are righteous. Many cover their sins by great theological words. But I warn you of seducing spirits who instruct my people in an evil way. Many of these I will anoint that they in turn may
purify and sift My people, for I will have a holy people. When I come I shall not find faith upon the earth but in a few, for when the time of testing comes many will depart from their Lord.

Many shall come with seducing spirits and hold out lustful enticements. You will find that after I have visited My people again the way will become more and more narrow, and fewer shall walk
therein. Be not deceived, the ways of righteousness are My ways. For though Satan come as an angel of light hearken not to him; for those who perform miracles and speak not righteousness are
not of Me. I warn you with great intensity that I am going to judge My House and have a church without spot or wrinkle when I come. I desire to open your eyes and give you spiritual understanding,

Look unto Me and I will make you to perceive with the eyes of the Spirit the things that lurk in darkness, that are not visible to the human eye. Let Me lead you in this way, that you may perceive
the powers of darkness and battle against them. It is not a battle against flesh and blood, for if you battle in that way you accomplish nothing. But if you let Me take over and battle against the powers
of darkness then they are defeated, and then liberation is brought to My people.

The Ways of Deceivers

I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last days. For the things that are written shall indeed be made manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in
increasing numbers, who shall speak forth the truth and shall gain the favour of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say, 'What these men say is true'. Then when they have gained the hearts of the people, then and then only shall they bring out their wrong doctrines. Therefore I say that you should not give your hearts to men, nor hold people's persons in
admiration or adulation. For by these very persons Satan shall gain entry into My people. Watch for seducers! Do you think a seducer will brandish a heresy and flaunt it before the people? He
will speak words of righteousness and truth and will appear as a minister of light, declaring the Word. The people's hearts shall be won. Then when the hearts are won, they will bring out their
doctrines and the people shall be deceived. The people shall say 'Did he not speak thus and thus'? 'And did we not examine it from the Word'? 'Therefore he is a minister of righteousness. This that
he has now spoken we do not see in the Word but it must be right, for the other things he spoke were true'.

Be not deceived. For the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then shall bring forth his insidious doctrines. You can not discern those who are of Me and those who are not of Me
when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly, and when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness in your heart that these are not of Me. Fear not, for I have warned you. It is possible that the very elect may be deceived. But it is not possible if you walk in holiness and uprightness before the Lord, for then your eyes shall be open and the Lord will protect you. If you will constantly look unto the Lord you will know when the doctrine changes, and will not be brought into it. If your heart is right I will keep you, if you will look constantly to Me, I will uphold you.

The minister of righteousness shall be on this wise --- his life shall agree with the word, and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true, there will be no mixture. When the mixture appears
then you will know he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers speak first the truth and then error, to cover their own sins which they love. Therefore I exhort and command you to study the Scriptures relative to seducing spirits, for this is one of the great dangers of these last days.

I desire you to be firmly established in My word and not in the personalities of men, that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved. I would keep you in the paths of righteousness. Take heed to yourselves and follow not the seducing spirits that are already manifesting themselves. Diligently inquire of Me when you hear something that you have not seen in the word, and do not hold people's persons in admiration, for it is by this very method that Satan will hold many of My people.

The Way of Triumph

I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly, that you may triumph where I triumphed. On the cross I triumphed over all the powers of Satan and I have called you to walk in the
same path. It is when your life is on the cross that you shall know the victory that I have experienced. As you are on the cross, seated in Me, then you shall know the power of the resurrection. When I come in My Glory the principalities and powers in the heavenly places shall be utterly broken. Fear not, for I have given you the power whereby you may tread down the powers of darkness, and come forth victorious through every trial. As you areon the cross then you are victorious. It was on the cross that I triumphed over all the powers of the enemy. My life shall flow through as you enter into these precious truths. Look unto Me and appropriate My life. As your eyes and desires are toward Me
and you know what it is to be crucified with Me, then you shall live and your anointing shall increase. It was not in My life as I walked upon the earth but rather it was in My life as I hung upon the cross that I openly spoiled principalities and powers.

I am showing you truth that shall cause you to overcome, to have power over the wicked one, this is the truth that will liberate you and those around you. You shall know also the fellowship of My
sufferings. There is no other way whereby you may partake of this heavenly glory and to reign with Me. My word says that If we suffer with Him we shall reign with Him. I desire to make these truths real within you. As you keep them before you, you will in turn liberate many who are in bondage. You will have revelation of those who are in darkness and will have the keys to liberate the
captives. Many seek to liberate but do not have the keys. Upon the cross continually you will know the power of My resurrection.

If you will indeed judge yourself you shall not be judged. As you seek My face and desire to be cleansed by Me in all truth and sincerity of heart, I will judge you in the secret place, and the
things that are in the secret place of your heart shall not be made manifest to others. I will do it in the secret place and no man will know it. The shame that will be seen on many faces shall not be
seen on your face. Therefore in mercy and love I am instructing you in order that you may partake of My Glory. As you are willing to walk with Me and rejoice in your sufferings, you shall in turn
partake of My Glory. Look unto Me for you have need of power to overcome the wicked one and the bondages in other's lives.

I said that if a man will judge himself he shall not be judged. It is not My good pleasure that the shame of My people be seen by all. How can I judge the world if I judge not first My own house?
Hearken unto these things that I am telling you, for if you will not hearken unto Me thy shame shall be evident to all.

God's Part and Our Part

I would have you consider My life on earth --- the anointing upon Me was great and yet the temptations were great on every side; they came in one form and then in another, offering Me first the
glory of the kingdoms of the earth and then in the  form of reviling and persecution. There will be great glory given to My people but also the temptations will be intensified on every side. Think not
that with the glory there shall be no temptations or persecutions. The glory to My church shall be great and so also the temptations from the enemy to turn My people from My paths. I warn you
again that when the glory shall be manifested the temptations shall be great until very few that started shall finish the course. First of all they shall be offered great worldly possessions and then will come great revilings and unbelief.

Consider your Lord, that as He walked so it shall be for you. There shall be need of great intensity of purpose. At times it will seem that everyone is rising up against you, trying to turn you from the
course that I have set for you. It is written of Me that I set my face as flint to go in the direction that My Father had prescribed for Me. If you will finish the course the Lord has laid down for you, you too will have to set your face as a flint. With great determination you must walk in the course laid down for you. Many of your loved ones and those who follow with you will seek to persuade you and
try to turn you from the course. With many words that seem right in the natural they will speak to you. Did not Christ rebuke Peter who would turn Him from the course God had prescribed?

Understand these two things and meditate upon them solemnly --- the persecution and the darkness shall be as great as the glory in order to try to turn the elect and the anointed ones from the path
the Lord has laid down for them. Many shall start but few shall be able to finish because of the greatness of grace that shall be needed to be able to endure unto the end. The temptation and the
persecution of your Lord was continuous. He was tempted by Satan in many forms throughout His entire life and even to the cross where the ungodly cried out 'if thou be the Christ come down from the cross'. Think not that there will be a time of no persecution, for it shall be from the time of your anointing until the end. Difficulties and great persecution will go on to the end. The Lord must prepare you to be an overcomer in all things, that you may be able to finish the course. The persecution shall increase even as the anointing shall increase.

In paths of judgement and righteousness shall the Lord God lead His people and bring them into that place which He has chosen for them. The Lord has chosen a place for His people, a place of
righteousness and holiness where He shall encamp around them. All who will be led of the Lord will be brought into this holy place. For the Lord delights to dwell in His people and to manifest
Himself through His people. The holiness of the Lord will be manifested through His people. Let the Lord lead you and He will lead you in the difficult places. He led His people of old through a
place where no man dwelt, where no man passed through, in a place of great danger and in the shadow of death. The Lord will indeed lead His people again through such places, and at the same time will bring them out into a place of great glory. Understand that the way toward the glory is fraught with great danger and many shall fall to the right or the left, many shall camp on lesser ground. But the Lord has a place of holiness and nounclean thing shall dwell among His people.

Put your trust in Him and He will bring you into a place of holiness. He desires to bring His people into a great glory --- the likes of which has never been seen, for this is what the Lord will do for
those who put their trust in Him. It is a place of darkness and great danger and it will separate His people into the place where He would have them walk. He will protect them from the voices that would turn them from His path. He will bring them through the dark places and treacherous paths and lead them out into the light of His glory. He will rejoice greatly over His beloved and cause them to be filled with joy unspeakable. He seeks to lead His people into a new place of grace and glory where He will indeed encamp among them. Put your trust in Him and He will surely bring you into this new place.

Fear not the days to come, but fear this only --- that you shall walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord. In this time I am ordering and setting up My church and it shall indeed be pure, without spot or wrinkle. I will do a work in My beloved that has not been seen since the foundation of the world. I have shown you these things that you may seek the Lord diligently with all your heart, and that
you may be a preserver of His people.

Run not to this one or that one for the Lord has so ordained that salvation is in Him and in Him alone. You shall not turn to this shepherd or to that one, for there shall be a great scattering upon the earth. Therefore look unto Him for He will indeed make these things clear to you. You shall not look here or there, for His Wells shall increase your strength and your faith as He prepares you for the times that are coming.

The truths that I have revealed to you must become a part of you --- not just an experience, but a part of your very nature. Is it not written that I demand truth in the inward parts? It is the truth of the
Lord expressed in your very being that shall hold you. Many shall experience the truth but the truth must become a part of you, your very life. As men and women look upon you they will hear not only
the voice but see the expression of the truth. Many shall be overcome because they are not constant in My ways and because they have not permitted the truths to become a part of them. I am showing you these things that you may be prepared, and having done all, to stand. "