Mother Past and Present, What Faith

Mother standing alone

“Happy Mother’s Day” was the greeting from a special friend. Her next line was the one that inspired me… “If there were no mothers in the world, Christ would never have been born. “

So, this post is ‘a tale of two mothers’ – in vastly different circumstances and time settings, then us.

Christ’s mother did not have it easy.

Most mothers would say they do not have it ‘easy’ especially in this age where there are so many thing to worry a mother.

I remember when I used to be a leader in a girls’ club run by the church I attended, we discussed what it would have been like to be pregnant and unmarried in that time period.

pottery cup, betrothal cupMary and Joseph were betrothed. The word has lost much of its meaning over the centuries. At that time at the betrothal the woman was legally married even though she still remained in her father’s house. She could not have what we now call ‘a relationship’ with another man unless she was divorced from the man she was betrothed to. Yes, a betrothal was that binding. When Mary accepted what the angel told her, she would have known what her punishment could be… stoning. 

Joseph could have claimed she had been adulterous and she would have been stoned.

How much faith did she need to carry her child, knowing she was still a virgin, but would  her story of an angel visiting her be believed?

The Bible records how that turned out. God sent an angel to Joseph… he must have needed faith too.

  • How much faith did Christ’s mother need when He left the family business and started wandering the countryside preaching about the Kingdom of God?
  • What mother would not understand the agony she would have felt watching Him crucified?

It takes faith to be a mother, and as a common saying goes… it takes a community to raise a child.

It takes a community to raise a child

What if you were the first mother?

By the time Eve became a mother, she and Adam had been cast out of the garden. This is how I understand the scripture…

 

Eve, first mother, eden

"Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

Genesis 3: 20 -24

Did Eve wonder what was happening to her body, or do we assume that because Adam knew she would become the mother of all the living that God had taught them previously?

Some things are instinctive to a mother; other things are learned. Who did Eve have to ask? Who was her role model?

Her firstborn, Cain, was the first murderer. But, he was her firstborn. Did she grieve over him? Did she feel a failure as a mother?

Perhaps you have never thought of any of these matters, but I do. A friend said it is because I have a writer’s mind. Perhaps this is true.

Everyone reading this had a mother.

She may be alive, she might not be, or she might be in that ‘twilight world’ of Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia, leaving you mourning the living.

Nevertheless, she carried you in her body for nine months, felt your first movements, laboured to deliver you into the world.

That was only the start. She fed you, changed your soiled nappies/diapers, and encouraged you to walk.

How many times did your mother listen to your stumbling attempts to remember words… or letters on a page as you learned to read?

If you are reading this, your mother was your first teacher… and she was proud of every challenge you overcame, and cried over your disappointments.

It is not easy being a mother nowadays

There are wars, kidnappings, murders, drugs, and so many other things to concern you. Will your child be safe at school must be one of the questions. Some research at the link below.

Dangers that teens and kids face.

I am grateful that I did not have to worry about any of those. Yes, there were things to worry about, to pray about, and sometimes to tear my hair out about, but they survived and so did I.

Yes, it takes faith to be a mother in today’s world although sometimes mothers worry unnecessarily.

All mothers can do is to give their sons and daughters the tools, and hope, pray and if appropriate… guide their children as they step into adulthood.

No, it is not easy… but whether, Eve, Mary or you… it is the most important role you will ever have in your life, whether appreciated or not.

Special thoughts and prayers for all the people whose mother has died.

This week’s musing.

Susan

“Bible BOMBSHELL” so says a newspaper

What a bombshell. No, truth

The full title of the article was …

Bible BOMBSHELL: Ancient stone tablet ‘PROVES’ Old Testament king WAS real.

It is not a bombshell to me, but this UK online newspaper thinks it is. The article goes on to say…

“NEW analysis of a mysterious stone slab proves a key Old Testament king really did exist, an eminent archeologist (sic) has announced.

The article goes on to say, “The historicity of the Bible, or the Christian book’s acceptability as a history, is a controversial and contested field study. Few archaeological discoveries have so far supported many of the Old Testament’s narratives as history. But a ground breaking study of an ancient stone tablet may have overturned a thousand years of Old Testament understanding.”
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1121956/bible-ancient-stone-tablet-mesha-stele-old-testament-king-balak-real

Other ‘proofs’ have turned up. 

One, a mosaic discovered at a fifth century synagogue depicts the two spies sent by Moses, carrying a pole with the cluster of grapes.
https://www.foxnews.com/science/stunning-biblical-spies-mosaic-discovered-in-israel

An article in the Jerusalem Post reports the discovering of a seal belonging to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.
“Nathan-Melech appears once in the Hebrew Bible, in II Kings 23:11, where he is described as an official in the court of King Josiah.”
https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/2600-year-old-seal-discovered-in-City-of-David-585321

If you do an Internet search you will discover just how many ‘proofs’ have been found.

A Bombshell to me

Well, not really a bombshell, but it never ceases to amaze me that the ‘big bang theory’ is so widely accepted. I do not mean to be rude to anyone who believes it, although I am not sure those folks would return the favour, but for me, it takes more faith to believe in that theory than it does to believe the God of the Bible.

The Big Bang is the name that scientists use for the most common theory of the universe, from the very early stages to the present day. The Big Bang theory is that the universe has not always existed. It states that the early universe was hot and dense.
https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

I was when watching a tour of a magnificent 10-acre estate in Dorset, England. There are five gardens with different themes. I saw the plants – how could they, and we, evolve from a single cell.
https://www.comptonacres.co.uk/

If you decide to have a look at Compton Acres site, please note… it takes a long time to load, but the images are beautiful.

Before I was on full-time oxygen...

I loved wandering in the bush… West Australian wildflowers are spectacular! My all-time favourite remains the Fringe (or Fringed) Lily.
It has a Latin name too, but I like the term Fringe Lily.

Can you see why?

Australian Fringe Lily, no bombshell

When I first saw it I thought it was like satin with feathers. I still do, although now I only have memories and photos.
(The bush is one place my Portable Oxygen Concentrator would not be able to navigate.)

We have some very colourful birds here in Western Australia also. And, what about the animals, the reptiles, the insects and spiders.

All of them, and humankind came from a big bang, or evolved? That’s a WOW for me!

I prefer the Bible version.

Memories

I might be severely limited now, but I have so many ‘albums’ of photos in my memory.

I can pull up the image of fighting with a possum in Texas, seeing the magnificent City Hall in Chicago, visiting the Museum in Charlotte, finally achieving a bucket-list desire… going to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. 

I will never forget the beautiful hills and parks of my home town of Peebles in the Borders of Scotland.

(c) 2019 Janette Wilson Member of Auld Peebles - incorporating The Peebles Bletherers

I have about 70 years worth of memories (I cannot remember my babyhood ) So I can pull out images that – for me – give the lie to anything other than the events of the Bible being true.

As I said, it was no ‘bombshell’ to me to find out that another proof has been found of something written in the Bible..

Musing again

Susan

Was the Old Testament Done Away With?

Old testament removed?

I have heard many preachers say the Old Testament is done away. I cannot find where it says that in the Bible, and I have many versions I used for researching my book series. It would be logical to look for proof of that in the New Testament.

In the book of Hebrews…

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8: 13

Has it vanished away? Let’s look.

On Passover night, Jesus kept the Passover…

and he said unto them, ‘With desire I did desire to eat this passover with you before my suffering,
Luke 22: 15 Young’s Literal Translation

Following the Passover, He instituted the new symbols – the bread and the wine.

Passover bread

Did this do away with the Old Testament?

After Jesus’ resurrection, He walked to Emmaus with two men.

Then Jesus said to them, “O foolish ones, how slow are your hearts to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then to enter His glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was written in all the Scriptures about Himself.
Luke 24: 25 – 27 Berean Study Bible (Bolding mine)

In the often quoted Beatitudes – Jesus says a number of times “You have heard it said….” Then He goes on to say…” But I tell you…”

For example…
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
Matt 5: 21, 22 NKJV

This comes after He said…

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Matt 5: 17,18 NKJV

Some say that Jesus’ death fulfilled the Old Testament.

However, heaven and earth do not pass away until the end of this age.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.
Revelation 21: 1 Holman Christian Standard Bible

This is when heaven and earth pass away

Scattered through the New Testament

Are direct quotes from Old Testament scriptures, how do we cut those out?

(You can find a comprehensive list at this site

https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/o/old-testament-quotations-in-the-new-testament.html)

One example…

As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not my people, `my people,’ and her who was not beloved, `beloved.’ “
Romans 9: 25 New American Standard Bible

This was written by the Apostle Paul

Also written by the Apostle Paul. this time to Timothy…

and you remember that ever since you were a child, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus
2 Timothy 3: 15 Good News Translation.

The Holy Scriptures that the Apostles preached from was the Old Testament. They had no New Testament. They were writing it by their letters and in the gospels.

I believe we can learn much from the Old Testament.

These things happened to them as a warning to us. All this was written in the Scriptures to teach us who live in these last days.
1 Corinthians 10: 11 Contemporary English Version

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15: 4 NIV

New Testament

More musing

Susan

After Three Days

After three days he will rise

Jesus said, “The Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”

But there are not three days – 24-hour periods – between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. This was something my fellow Bible College students and I asked every year when this study came up.

One lecturer said, “Jesus was speaking metaphorically.”

I dismissed this because that meant I would have to distrust everything that Jesus said.

Another time, a lecturer said, “They counted night and day as full days.”

Okay… Friday night in the tomb. Saturday day in the tomb, Saturday night in the tomb.

How does this square with the Bible?

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day.
Genesis 1:5  CSB – Holman Publishers

(More at this blog post )

There was an evening and a morning – one day, for seven days.
To count it the way the lecturer said would have made creation week fourteen days long.

~~~~~~~

Aside: One helpful instruction we were given as Bible College students was, “If you don’t understand something, put it on the ‘back burner’ – the answer might come up in a future lesson.

That one never did, not at Bible college, so remained on the back burner for a great many years.

Sometimes scripture can seem confusing

I had to do a great deal of study as well as research when writing the Apostle John Series of novels. (Much of that I share with my VIP Readers.)

A little bit of that research can relate to this subject.

  • Why did Jesus have Passover the night before the temple sacrifice?

The original instruction from God was that it was a ‘domestic’ sacrifice.

The killing and cooking of the lamb was as the fourteenth started. (Just after sunset when the Israelite day started – so it was on the evening of the 13th as we would count it.)

  • Why did the Passover change from home to temple and on a different day?

When in exile in Babylon the Jews could not keep the Passover on the correct day. They believed it could only be done at the start of the fourteenth day (evening of the 13th) if they were in their own land. Therefore, they kept it the next evening.

The first record of Passover being a temple sacrifice I found was that of King Hezekiah (Chronicles 30: 1-5) These changes were instigated by King Hezekiah in his zeal to abolish idolatry in the land, and restore the worship of God.

    • In the time of Jesus, some were keeping a domestic sacrifice, as Jesus and the disciples did, and others kept a temple sacrifice, as the Pharisees did.

So Jesus and the disciples kept the Biblical Passover, not a supper before His crucifixion to say ‘goodbye.’
And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering.”
Luke 22: 15 Berean Study Bible

I have many thick books of information on all of this, but that is not for here. I share what is above in order to show the main points about Passover.

After three days

Many years ago, someone pointed out to me that in the week after the crucifixion there were two Sabbaths.

The gospel of John holds the clue.

It was the day of Preparation, and the next day was a High Sabbath. In order that the bodies would not remain on the cross during the Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies removed.
John 19: 31 Berean Study Bible

High holy days

A ‘high’ Sabbath was one of the seven annual holy days. The one following the Passover, which started after sunset on the 14th, making it the start of the 15th was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (A holy day.)
High Sabbaths

According to a list of Passover days going back over the centuries, Passover that year was on a Wednesday.

This fits the three days and three nights, and Jesus would have risen just after sunset as the weekly Sabbath ended.

Jesus said of the religious authorities of His day…

You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.”

He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition.
Mark 7: 8, 9 Berean Study Bible

Are our observances of Easter ‘keeping traditions of men?’

Something to think about.

Susan

Old Covenant, New Covenant?

a covenant is an agreement

Covenant at dictionary.com is defined as ‘an agreement, usually formal between two or more persons to do or not to do something specified.’

 In ancient times, these words meant more than they have come to mean today. Perhaps this is one of many reasons we do not understand the significance of some of the stories in the Bible.

Old Covenant

What is it? Well, there is more than one ‘old covenant’ in the Bible. Examples are…

  • Noahide Covenant,
  • Abrahamic Covenant,
  • Mosaic Covenant,
  • Davidic Covenant

Some sources cite eight covenants (HERE)

However, the one most usually seen as the Old Covenant is the Mosaic Covenant. In this covenant God promises to make the Israelites his treasured possession among all people and “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”  if they follow God’s commandments. As part of the terms of this covenant, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.

The Mosaic Covenant

After bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, God led them to Mount Sinai where they camped before the mountain. Moses went up the mountain where God spoke to him.

(Scriptures in this section are from Exodus 19, NKJV)

God’s proposal

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Note: There was a condition (if) and a promise (then).

Moses took the proposal to the people.

“So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him.”

The Israelites accepted the proposal.

“Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

Moses took the answer back to God who gave instructions to prepare for the giving of the commandments three days later.

covenant made at Mt Sinai

“Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”

The Ten Commandments

Surrounded by the Egyptian culture, the Israelites had been slaves for many generations, so had lost much of the knowledge of their heritage.

The first commandments tell them that God is the One Who brought them out of Egypt, just as he was the One Who created them. They were to put aside foreign gods and to worship Him alone and treat His Name with reverence.

The fourth commandment reminded them of the day of rest, instituted during creation week. As slaves they would have had to work when they were told and may have lost track of time.

These first four are usually counted as ‘obligation to God,’

The next six are ‘obligation to fellow man.’

Since God says in Leviticus 20 verse 9…

“For every one that curses his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be on him.”

… it is clear that God’s instruction in the 5th commandment to honor parents was not a mere suggestion for children.

honor parents

Like the five commands that follow this one, they set the basis of society.

Broken Covenant

As any student of the Bible will know, Israel did not follow God’s commands. Time after time the people went after ‘foreign gods’ – even sacrificing their infants to Molech.

God sent prophets to correct them and to call the people back to Him and the covenant they had made with Him.

New Covenant

At this time of year, Christians consider the cost of the new covenant. For Jesus, it was not a time of bunny rabbits and chocolate eggs, but the fulfillment of a costly plan prophesied at the time of the sin of Adam. (Eve was deceived; Adam sinned. See International Women’s Day post)

Thinking

Susan

The First Passover

A lamb was chosen for the Passover

After the nine plagues, the first Passover protected the Hebrew slaves (Israelites) from the tenth plague and enabled them to leave Egypt.

At this time of year it is good to look back and see what it meant.

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.’” Enduring Word Commentary. (Highlighting mine.)

As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, the ‘day’ began after the sunset on what we would call the day before. (Calendar and Confusion) So, the fourteenth day began after sunset on the thirteenth. Twilight is that period between the end of one day and start of another when the sun has gone down but light continues. (Hebrew term ‘ben ha arbayim’ and this is different from ‘erev’ meaning evening.)

The Israelites were in their homes scattered throughout Goshen and they followed the instructions relayed to them by Moses.

Goshen where the first Passover was kept

Goshen was a pastoral region in Lower Egypt, occupied by the Israelites before the Exodus.

Passover Instructions

‘And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire; its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.’ Enduring Word (Highlighting mine.)

I have seen this word ‘haste’ in Exodus 12: 11 translated as ‘trepidation.’ This made more sense to me, so I looked up a Hebrew concordance. Trepidation is indeed one of the possible words from this Hebrew word.

Transliterated Word

TDNT Entry

Chippazown

TWOT – 708a

Phonetic Spelling

Parts of Speech

khip-paw-zone’ 

Noun Masculine

  1. hurriedly, in haste, trepidation, hurried flight

I favour ‘trepidation’ because God’s command was not to leave their homes until daybreak.

“And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.”
Exodus 12:22 NKJV
(bolding mine.)

If they had gone out, they would have left the protection of the blood on the doors of their homes. As they were eating, or clearing up according to the instructions to burn all that had not been eaten, they would have heard the cries of the Egyptians.
It must have been a frightening time, not knowing what was happening outside their homes.

Dictionary.com defines trepidation as … ‘tremulous fear, alarm, or agitation; perturbation.”

‘Morning’ in Hebrew is ‘boqer’, which is translated     day/early/morning/morrow. The Hebrew day did not start at midnight as came in with the calendar changes. Covered in Calendar and Confusion

Why have I written about the first Passover?

Because we are on the lead-up to the annual commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the true Passover Lamb.

It is good to look back to the root, or beginning, in order to understand the present more fully.

Passover, blood on doorposts and lintel

Sharing my musings,

Susan

But I am a worm…

Tree used by Tola worm to lay eggs

Why choose a worm for a topic? I have to turn back the clock many years to the first time I heard the explanation of – “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people,” (Psalm 22: 6).  I was at a Bible College. The lecturer explained the word used here was for a special worm, one from which crimson dye was made. Crimson was a color so expensive only kings (and high priests) wore it. I remembered it, but never heard anyone else mention this fact… till recently.

Psalm 22 is generally seen as a crucifixion psalm and as we approach this time of year, twice recently I have heard my almost forgotten fact mentioned. A friend, who calls regularly every weekend, told me excitedly of a sermon she had heard in church. It was about the tola worm. I smiled, my memory was not faulty, I had remembered correctly.

Then I logged in to an online Bible Study, and what was the topic? You have probably guessed.

“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.” Psalm 22: 6

Once again, after many years, I was fascinated.

Most of us know what a worm looks like… some of us might squirm. Others might use the earthworm as bait for fishing, However, a closer look at the original language shows that this is not the word that is used here.

Usually in the Bible, the Hebrew word for a worm is “rimmah” which means a maggot – but the Hebrew word used here for worm, is TOLA’ATH, (Tola: latin name coccus ilicis]) which means “Crimson worm” or “Scarlet worm”. It looks more like a grub than a worm.

The Tola (crimson) worm

There is more to this worm than meets the eye

When it is time for the Tola worm to lay eggs (which she does only one time in her life), she finds the trunk of the Quercus coccifera, the kermes oak and attaches her body to it and makes a hard crimson shell.  She is so strongly and permanently stuck to the wood that the shell she has formed can never be removed without tearing her body completely apart.

The Tola worm then lays her eggs under her body in the protective shell. When the larvae hatch, they stay under the shell. The mother’s body gives protection for her babies, and also provides them with food – the babies feed on the LIVING body of the mother!

After a few days, when the young worms grow to the point that they are able to take care of themselves, the mother dies. As the Tola worm dies, she oozes a crimson or scarlet red dye which not only stains the wood she is attached to, but also her young children. They are colored scarlet red for the rest of their lives.

After three days, the dead mother Crimson worm’s body loses its crimson color and turns into a white wax which falls to the ground like snow. This was collected and used as shellac to protect wood.

Jesus as a Tola worm

Just like the Crimson worm, Jesus sacrificed or gave up his life on a tree so that his children might be washed with his crimson blood and their sins cleaned white as snow. He died for us, that we might live through him!

The minister leading the Bible study gave many cross-references to scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments.

This is not my purpose – to repeat a Bible Study, merely to share an interesting fact… one that might give you a different understanding of that scripture. Or, as it did for me, confirm something I was taught a long time ago.

Sharing some thoughts,

Susan

Is Christ Divided?

Divided

Is Christ divided is a question the Apostle Paul asked in a letter to the Corinthians.

Addressing problems among them, he says…

What I mean is this: Individuals among you are saying, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
1 Corinthians 1: 12, 13. Berean Study Bible

This lack of unity flourished throughout the 1st century AD and was addressed by other church leaders.

Anyone who has read my Apostle John series of books, or even the blogs, will know I have a great interest in the Gospel of John and his letters. One of the statements/instructions he made was…

By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13: 35

To many observers this would seem to prove that there are NO disciples.

Why? They were divided.

There are so many ‘varieties’ of beliefs. Sadly, many of these varieties are still at ‘war’ with each other, sometimes even within one group.

There is another scripture… Jude verse 3

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.”

Could it be that already the white horse of Revelation 6 had started its ride?

Mistaken Identity

An article by Chuck Missler says

“What is surprising is how many Bible expositors find themselves misled on one of the most dangerous “mistaken identities” of all. The first world dictator was Nimrod, “a mighty hunter,” whose Hebrew name means “let us rebel,” given by his contemporaries to one who ever had in his mouth such words to stir up his band to rebellion. The final world dictator seeking global domination will also be an “Assyrian” who is here characterized by holding a bow and riding a white horse. It is interesting how many confuse this counterfeit with the rider of the white horse in Revelation 19.

The Apostle John wrote…

White horse of Revelation 6

Here is the first: “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:1-2).

Christ previously had revealed the meaning of the white horse. His disciples once asked Him, “…when shall these things [the destruction of the Temple] be? and what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3).

Christ is the One speaking in both Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. He is addressing the very same questions in both chapters. He answers by listing, in time sequence and order, the events and trends that precede the end of the age—and thus His Coming.

Some have thought that the rider of the white horse is Christ Himself, however, in context consider, that the white horse that John described here in Revelation 6 represents false ‘christs.’

The one on this horse is a counterfeit of the true Christ and a counterfeit of His Second Coming, described in Revelation 19:11-16. There the real Christ wields a sharp two-edged sword, while the false christ is represented as carrying a bow with no mention of any arrows. This is an important difference.

Divided and conquered?

Does this rider explain the differences, the dislike, the accusations between Christians? Perhaps.

So how do we find this ‘faith once delivered’?

Perhaps we will not, not until Christ returns. However, in the meantime should we not be striving to be known for our love for one another?  John 13: 35

Way back in the Apostle Paul’s time, people were choosing who they preferred. “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

 Judging by the continuing divisions down through the centuries, we might as well face it. We will never feel close with some people. There are others we may not even like, but we can love them, from a distance, and pray for them. 

Many different plants grow together.

Growing together

Thank you for reading my musing,

Susan

Trials Have a Purpose?

Trials have a purpose

Do trials have a purpose? Well, that is what I believe. But, being honest,  I wonder how many of us have at times thought of the following scripture and said, “God thinks I can bear more than I think I can.”

There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.
 Corinthians 10:13 (ASV)

How many of us seek, but cannot see, the way of escape promised in that scripture.

Trials fascinate many writers and musicians

I watched a video clip of an interesting song. ‘Before the morning’ – I will link to the clip at the end.

It begins with questions about why ‘you’ are suffering if there is a loving God Who cares. Questions like this are quite common.

Remember the old song “I never promised you a rose garden’? Well God does not promise us a life without pain and trials if we accept the sacrifice His Son made for us.

In book three of the Apostle John series, I wrote about the trials of a background character who moved to the foreground. Then someone who left in book two, Grow in Grace, makes a re-entry. In the third book, The Light of Truth, things are moving toward another arrest of the Apostle John. (There are another two books in the series, making five in all and trials abound in them, because they abound in life.)

So why am I talking about these books? Why mention the song ‘Before the Morning?’ Because, although my book series is fiction, my primary resource book has been the Bible, and in writing this series I learnt a great deal about why things happen. Sometimes we just have to wait and trust.

Take for example Jesus’ words...

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Many people are told that because Jesus said ’,“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, that He has done it all for us. Not so.

Look at the lives of those first disciples… only John survived into old age. The others, according to legend, all martyred. Also, according to legend, John was put in boiling oil. That does not sound like ‘Jesus did it all’ to me.

And what about these encouragements about trials

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
James 1:2

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
1Peter 1:6

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

These writers, who were Apostles, make it clear that we will have trials, and as we plod through them, our faith and trust in Him grows.

Have you read this one?

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1: 3, 4

The trust in His Father that Jesus had to exercise in every stage of his walk on earth must have been enormous, and another scripture says

He learned obedience through the things He suffered. Heb 5: 8

Our trials are horrendous to us.

Sometimes all we can do is ask God for help. Standing still sometimes is trusting God for relief.

You might enjoy this song if you are going through a painful trial…

Thinking

Susan

Did Jesus Break the Sabbath

Hedge around the Sabbath

If Jesus broke the Sabbath then He sinned and there is no Savior. Yet some scriptures are quoted to back up the assumption that He broke the Sabbath.

One of them is a story from the Bible that most people who have been to church, or Sunday School, would have heard…

John 5:5-18 “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. … 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath. … 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. 16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

Verse 18 says that Jesus ‘broke the Sabbath’ – is this true?  The Greek is different.

Does it say Jesus broke the Sabbath?

No. According to an online Greek/English Interlinear translation ‘broke’ is translated as ‘loosed.’

Jesus loosed the Sabbath, Greek

Another Greek Interlinear says that Jesus ‘untied’ the Sabbath.

Jesus untied the Sabbath, Greek

Loosed? Untied? From what. Perhaps the answer is in another place.

Mark 7:9
“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” KJV

There are 613 Sabbath commandments. Whether all of these were in effect in Jesus’ day is not clear but He confronted them on the subject of washing pots, and handwashing before eating.

Mark 7:3
Now in holding to the tradition of the elders, the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat until they wash their hands ceremonially.
Berean Study Bible

You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.”
Mark 7:8

Some examples of the Sabbath commandments can be found here…

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/95907/jewish/The-Shabbat-Laws.htm

There are more in the Code of Jewish Law.

Could it be that Jesus ‘loosed the Sabbath’ from the traditions of Judaism?

What is Judaism?

The history of the Jews and Judaism can be divided into five periods: (1) ancient Israel before Judaism, from the beginnings to 586 BCE; (2) the beginning of Judaism in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.

Later periods are not relevant to the time of Christ.

A common belief is that Judaism is the Law of Moses. (The written law was the Law of God, not Moses.)

Back to Judaism.

American rabbinical scholar Stephen S Wise has said, “The Jews’ return form Babylon marked the end of Hebrew-ism and the beginning of Judaism.”

In their defence I need to add that the beginning of Pharisaism was to prevent the breaking of the law which had led Judah into captivity. However, the rules designed to prevent people breaking the law became a hedge around the law.

In Jesus’ time these traditions are more  than likely what he meant about rejecting the commands of God for the traditions of men.

Some of the rabbis admit that Judaism is not based on Scriptures but on the so-called Oral Law.

It is a huge subject, and one which I had to research thoroughly to accurately portray the background of the Apostle John Series, and the companion novellas.

As far as I can see, Jesus loosed or untied the Sabbath from the traditions of men.

Just thinking,

Susan