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

Nephilim – Angels or Men

Nephilim were as giants

There is a current ‘fascination’ on the subject of the Nephilim. I base this statement on the number of popular books on the subject to be found on Amazon… a couple even with the ‘bestseller’ tag. But does it mean they are telling the truth? I guess it depends on what you see as the truth. In this week’s blog I want to explore the subject of Nephilim from the Bible point of view.

Bible references on Nephilim

Pre-flood
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
Genesis 6: 1, 2 NKJV

Post-flood
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
Numbers 13: 30 – 33 NKJV

Grasshopper in the sight of the Nephilim

The identity of the Nephilim and the sons of God is debated in Christian circles. Many say the Nephilim are fallen angels, some say that they are men. Others suggest that the Nephilim were aliens.

(The latter has quite a large following also.)

 

Nephilim, fallen angel?

 

Currently, the most popular thoughts  seem to be that they are fallen angels who chose ‘daughters of men’ and had children with them.

Interesting, but fantasy, surely.

Why… read on.

On the Nephilim

In the beginning God created everything after its own kind.

God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1: 25

There are twelve other verses about ‘after its own kind’ here …

https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/According-To-Its-Kind

On Angels

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
(Job 38:4-7).

(Morning stars – generally interpreted as angels.)
Since according to that verse angels already existed and God created them before Genesis 1, it is reasonable to assume that they too were created ‘after their kind.’

With the benefit of modern science and technology mankind can crossbreed species. However, in creation I have not read of one species interbreeding with another. Not even mermaids. They are not real; there is no conclusive scientific evidence that proves their existence in real life. Mermaids are mythical creatures that have been a part of folklore and legends for thousands of years. (According to Reference.com)

Is it possible the Nephilim, being fallen, could breed with women?

Human beings were created ‘after their kind’ – angels ‘after their kind’ – which was spirtual. Even ‘fallen’ angels are still spiritual.

Answers in the New Testament

What higher authority is there but Christ? When answering a question on a different subject, He said this…

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
Matthew 22: 30 NKJV

On Sons of God

The Apostle John recorded…

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1 John 3: 1, 2

The phrase “sons of God” is found eleven times in the King James Version: twice in Genesis, three times in Job, and six times in the New Testament. Other than its usage in Job, (where it possibly refers to angels) the term ‘sons of God’ refers to those who follow after God and keep His Word.

Bible. One book, many stories

Although we use our imaginations, and sometimes have ‘fun’ doing it, there are many things we cannot know. For some things we must wait for the truth in the ‘hereafter.’

Thinking again,

Susan

Polycarp or Bucolus?

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

Recently one of the readers of my book series and I had a discussion on Polycarp. (She had recently started re-reading the Apostle John Series) and in book 1 – Hold the Faith, Polycarp was ‘introduced.’

First bishop of Smyrna - Polycarp or Bucolus?

Polycarp was a fascinating person to research, and as it Polycarp of Smyrnaturned out, June. the reader I was talking with, had also studied into Polycarp, Bucolus and some of the other people mentioned in Hold the Faith.

A video clip I saw some years ago said he had been born in 70 AD. 

Other sources put him being born in 80 AD
(I had found 69 AD the most preferred option.) The clip says that legend has it that he was anointed bishop of Smyrna by the Apostle John. I had read that too, but further research led me to the first bishop of Smyrna being a dedicated man by the name of Bucolus.

So, as can be seen, Polycarp is someone about whom there is much contradiction in writings.

Now, as to whether the Apostle John was the one who ordained him as the first bishop of Smyrna – bishop meaning overseer, let’s examine what else is recorded…

Legend has it that the Apostle John was taken captive to Rome, and, because he persisted in his refusal to acknowledge Emperor Domitian as lord and god, was plunged into a vat of boiling oil.

When he survived, he was sent to the Isle of Patmos, where he is generally considered to have written the book of Revelation. (He was released from Patmos, most likely after the murder of Emperor Domitian, in 96 AD)

I needed to check who was overseer at that time. Whilst it is not impossible for Polycarp to have been anointed as bishop by John, I considered it unlikely, given the Bible’s guidelines about not appointing young men to the office of an elder… a bishop is an elder. Then, as mentioned at the start, I discovered another source that stated that the first bishop of Smyrna was a well-loved and respected man named Bucolus. According to some sources, he was the one who passed the fellowship in Smyrna into the care of Polycarp. I will put some links in at the end of this post so you can read it up for yourself if you want.

Polycarp had ‘humble’ beginnings, some of which he ‘discussed’ with Benjamin in Hold the Faith.

Some 'figurings' about Polycarp

Polycarp          born 69 or 70 AD

John                taken to Rome 94 or 95 AD

Polycarp          would have been 24 – 26 years old then

Had Polycarp been born in 80 AD he would have been 14 or 15 years old when John was taken to Rome.

I favor the opinion that Bucolus was the first bishop/overseer of Smyrna.

Nevertheless, both men have interesting ‘histories.’

An overview of Bucolus – https://oca.org/saints/lives/2016/02/06/100441-st-bucolus-the-bishop-of-smyrna

And of Polycarp… 
http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/st-polycarp-hieromartyr-of-smyrna-and.html

Well, that’s the wondering for this week. Hope you enjoyed them.

Susan