The Historical Jesus

The land of the historical Jesus

One of the newsletters I subscribe to is trying to sell me a tour of Israel to search for the historical Jesus. But as the newsletter itself says, the gospels are full of accounts of His life and deeds. That is not historical?

In what way would attempting to retrace His steps, visit the places He travelled, taught, and worked miracles, help me find the historical Jesus?

Just thinking.

About the historical Jesus

He was crucified in 30 or 31 AD, depending on what ‘school’ of reasoning you follow. The temple where He taught… and confronted the Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees, was destroyed by the Roman emperor commonly known as Titus. That was in 70 AD

How much is left of that first century world in which Jesus lived? Not much I would think.

  • The church (followers of Christ) fled before the fall of Jerusalem.
  • The Apostle James, brother of John, was martyred in 44 AD.
  • The other Apostles fulfilled their commission and took the gospel of the Kingdom of God ‘into all the world’.
  • Legend has it that all, except the apostle John, were martyred.

(I have several gigabytes of research about the 1st century AD in folders on my computer.)

So what remains of the country that Jesus grew up in, walked around and taught about the Kingdom of God?

In the two centuries since He walked the land, how many wars have there been?
(Rhetorical ).

All that remains of the temple has gone. All, that is, except the Western – or Wailing – wall. Some believe that it is a remnant of ‘Herod’s Temple’, while others say it was part of the Roman fortress and point out that Jesus said ‘not one stone’. If the ‘wailing wall’ is part of the temple something doesn’t fit.

Destruction of the temple

He prophesied it would be destroyed, recorded in Mark 13…

After his teachings in the previous chapter, all set in the Temple courts, Jesus finishes his teaching in the Temple for the day and leaves. On his way out of the Temple an unnamed disciple remarks how great the Temple (Herod’s Temple) is. The buildings might have reached up to 150 feet (45.72 m) in height and they were adorned with gold, silver and other precious items.

“‘Do you see all these great buildings?’ replied Jesus. ’Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_13

Well, I am sure the tour will be interesting. But all I need to know about Jesus is in the Word of God. I will rely on that.

In the Apostle John Series when Jesus is quoted, it is taken from the Bible.

What would the ‘historical Jesus’ think?

If Jesus was to walk through Jerusalem today would He not be horrified by what people revere? I think so, you might not.

I wonder what He would think of the instrument of His death being revered.

graven image
Cross

In answer to my opening statement… I remain puzzled about how people can ‘find’ the historical Jesus, two centuries and many changes later.

But I do have a question… is it not more important to know the risen Jesus, the Saviour, than ‘fossick’ around in the past.

Just some thoughts,

Susan

Kingdom Thinking

Kingdom thinking, salt and light of the world

It was a tease… an interaction with a good friend. This friend is a fiercely loyal citizen of his city and said that it was the centre of the world. (It is not the city I live in by the way.) But I teased my friend saying that God probably considered Jerusalem as the centre of the world at least at one time, and it would be again. While my friend considered a reply, I said, “You need Kingdom thinking, not personal thinking.”

It set me thinking.

How many of us need to develop Kingdom thinking? Most of us. Remember, even the disciples did not understand much of what Jesus was talking about at first. They believed he was unique, different from anyone they had ever known. When Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” he did not understand how different his own life would become.

It isn’t enough to believe that Jesus is extraordinary, or even to believe that he is the divine Son of God

So, what is Kingdom thinking?

Dietrich_Bonhoeffer - Kingdom thinker

It is a process, well, that is my opinion. It is a process where we learn to live like Christ. For some that has already meant death. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer comments that “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Although Bonhoeffer died in a Nazi concentration camp, not everyone is called to die physically. We have to learn to die to self. This is why I said it is a process.

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

Review comments from some of the people who read the books in the Apostle John Series …

“We are so lucky to be able to worship as we wish or choose not to without being persecuted.”

“It really makes you think deeply about the level of Christian commitment in the tense and troubling times of the first century church and wonder if it would be matched should we ever face similar circumstances.”

“Life in the early years of the Christian Church, when believers lived under Roman rule and faced tests on every side? Really made me think of how I would act in similar circumstances.”

To be honest, when I researched them, I wondered the same thing.

Jesus preached the ‘Kingdom of God.’

Judaism-v-kingdom-thinking.

Matt 5 – When Jesus said ‘You have heard it said – He was talking about the teaching of Judaism.

v 21 “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

v 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

v 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.

v 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

v 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’v

v 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

To successfully develop ‘Kingdom thinking’ we have to be committed to living as if fully  in the Kingdom of God now, not discouraged by our failures, ready to repent when we have done something wrong, and to encourage others.

Remember we are called to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ (Matthew 5: 13, 14) That is why I chose the top image.

Plodding,

Susan

What is God

What is God, image of hand and sky

Please notice I said ‘what’ is God, not who is God. The reason I mentioned it is because some people (perhaps all of us) have an ‘image’ of God and do not like it when someone else’s ‘image’ differs from ours.

Some years ago… possibly a couple of decades ago, there was a ‘God is a blob’ teaching. Some people in my church were upset, very upset. Why? Because they had their image of what God is. One lady was so upset that she left, saying, “My God is an old man with a beard sitting on a throne.” She left the church.

Are we so entrenched in our own beliefs about what God is that we will not consider any contrary opinion, or even listen to one?

What is God

I guess the best answer to that is that we will know when we meet Him. However, there are some clues in the Bible.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1: 27 NKJV

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
Gen 9: 6

About Jesus

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1: 15

Is God more?

This seems to suggest so…

So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
Exodus 33: 18 – 20

Then there is what might seem like a contradiction…

No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him
John 1: 18

It seems there is a difference between ‘seeing His face’ and seeing God in the fullness of all His glory.

There are many who do not believe in the God of the Bible… and I am not talking of those of different faiths.  I refer to atheism.

So, what is your god?

I remember when doing a teacher training course in order to teach scripture in schools, a recommended course book said that everyone has a god.

What is god, a sport?

The book suggested that for some people their god is a football team, (or whatever your national equivalent is.) It could be netball, basketball, motor racing, white water rafting, skiing or skating, or any one of the many sports.

Perhaps your god is a ‘pop idol,’ a film star… or someone you greatly admire. Someone you hero-worship.

“Can we say that humans have a need to worship? Ignoring the theological connections with this idea for a moment, we can see evidence for this in human behavior all around us. In political contexts, there is the eagerness with which people join a cause or a political group to feel part of something important.”
https://diatothaumazein.com/2013/07/23/is-the-need-to-worship-part-of-the-human-condition/

Each of us must answer this for him or herself.

Continuing to muse,

Susan

P.S. One of my favorite reviews of Hold the Faith was written by an atheist.

Hold the Faith by Susan M B Preston, cover image

“If you’re an atheist, you probably would want to avoid reading it. But you’re missing out on something that is a well-written piece of historical fiction. The author has taken great pains with her research into the times. Maybe it’s one-sided. But many works are, and each has a right in our society – whether we like it or not.

It covers a time when Christianity was still a fledgling cult. When compared to known cults of modern times, it reflects how their members struggled against the authorities and public opinion at the time. For that, I found a great reflective insight into how people act and react to each other, how their faith and beliefs are challenged, how family and friends can react to someone for what they think.

If you’re a Christian, you will love this, and I recommend it. If you’re a non-believer, that’s fine too. I completed reading this as a non-believer, a free-thinker, and I am far from converting myself (or others)… so put your fears aside, open the book, and I believe you could enjoy it as I did.”

(I tried to put a link in to the review – instead it put an image and a ‘Buy’ button. That was not my intention.)

This is one of the reviews that have so far remained in the Amazon algorithm purge of reviews, which have most of us puzzled. 

God Still Chooses…

God chooses and sometimes is's a puzzle

God still chooses. (Although to us it is often a puzzle why.)

This is the second part of ‘From Moses to Donald Trump.’

In last week’s post we ‘skipped’ through the Old Testament looking at the way God chose leaders… and not always what we would call ‘good’ ones, at least not by our standards.

In the New Testament, God showed He was still in charge of the affairs of men.

God chooses Elizabeth

Who is she, you might ask. Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist. Like others before her, Elizabeth was barren. (In those days, being unable to bear a child  was a shame to a woman.)

God, intervened.

He had chosen a couple from the priestly line, Elizabeth and Zechariah to be the parents of the one who would announce the birth of the Messiah.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Luke 1: 5 – 7

Before he had been born, God had chosen John the Baptist for this special purpose… to prepare the way for the coming Savior, Jesus Christ.

God chooses Mary

Mary was given the news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth was pregnant when the angel Gabriel came to her to announce that she had been chosen to bear the Savior.

(Mary’s reaction to that is recorded in the Bible. Luke 1: 34 – 38)

Mary visited the couple immediately after receiving this revelation that she, would miraculously conceive a son.

God chooses Mary and Elizabeth

Historical records are mostly silent about Jesus’ young years, with a couple of exceptions – that He grew in grace and stature and wisdom Luke 2: 40 as well as the incident when He was twelve years old and remained at the Temple after Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, causing Mary and Joseph to worry. Luke 2: 46 – 48

The disciples are chosen, and trained.

I do nothing on My own initiative,
John 8: 38 (part)

So, Who was it chose the disciples? Did Jesus choose them on His Father’s guidance?
The Bible does not answer directly, but gives examples of times Jesus said He ‘always did the Father’s will.’

As He walked the country announcing the ‘good news of the Kingdom of God,’ He was also training the disciples.

Even so, they still expected the Messiah to be the conqueror who would drive out the Romans and restore Israel. It took the resurrection of Jesus and His opening the scriptures (Old Testament) for them to understand.

Jesus chooses Saul of Tarsus

A more unlikely person would be hard to find. Saul, who was renamed Paul, was a Pharisee. He persecuted the followers of the Way, as Christians of that time called themselves. But he was the one chosen to take the good news to the Gentiles. Jews did not like Gentiles, and the hierarchy of Jews in Jerusalem hated Paul and tried to kill him.

The people God chooses can be puzzling to us.

In the last century there have been some ‘good’ leaders and some terrible leaders. In our day, we in Western countries believe that we choose the leaders. Do we?

In Britain currently the country is divided in opinion about the leadership.

In Australia – another Prime minister has been replaced while in office.

In the US – I have never seen a US President so disliked, as the current president, Donald Trump.

God chooses Donald Trump

Yet, if we believe that God chooses…
By him times and years are changed: by him kings are taken away and kings are lifted up: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those whose minds are awake:
Daniel 2: 21 (Bible in Basic English)

Then we have to believe that God is still on His throne and as it says in Daniel 4: 17 that ‘the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and give kingship to whoever He wants.’

It’s not only in the Old Testament…

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13: 1 NIV

The Most High Rules

Just a small observation… it does not say they have to be worthy of the position.

Continuing to consider the time and seasons

Susan

Mention Jesus’ birth and people think Christmas

Old Testament scroll,

However, Jesus’ birth  is not what I want to ‘talk’ about in this post. A Biblical newsletter I have subscribed to since first researching the background of the Apostle John Series poses some questions. The following are some…

  1. Was Jesus conceived by Mary and someone other than her husband Joseph or the Holy Spirit?
  2. Could a Roman soldier have been involved?
  3. What were the cultural norms of the time about pregnancies out of wedlock?

Mary was a betrothed wife. That meant she had accepted Joseph as a husband, probably drunk from a betrothal cup (since that was the custom). Then he would have gone home to ‘prepare a place’ while she remained with her family. No sexual contact happened between the betrothed couple before the husband until he returned to claim her – usually a year later, but this could vary depending upon circumstances. Once the betrothal had taken place they were legally married, and it could only be dissolved by divorce. This could have been what Joseph considered when the news of Mary’s pregnancy came to him.

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matt1: 19 ESV

‘Just’ in some versions is translated ‘righteous.’

Perhaps, though, ‘just’ is appropriate too, because he could have publicly broken off the marriage on the ground of the apparent guilt. The consequences were ‘dire.’

“then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”
Deuteronomy 22: 21 ESV

However, Joseph ‘being unwilling to put her to shame’ had the option of a “writ of divorcement,” which did not necessarily specify the ground of repudiation, except in vague language implying disagreement.

This answers questions number 1 and 3, what about number 2?

Jesus' birth was the result of an ‘affair’ with a Roman soldier?

That is what it could seem to imply. However, the Bible has a different answer…

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1: 26 – 30 ESV (Bolding mine.)

Does this sound like a woman who would have an affair with a Roman soldier?

God had chosen the one to give birth to His Son.

Since His Son would be the Messiah, God would not have chosen a ‘vessel’ that was not pure.

If you think that is a ‘fantasy’ and God did not ‘father’ Jesus – consider how many miracles he performed. There are also a long list of prophecies fulfilled – between 300 and 400 according to some sites. A clear list can be found at  
https://www.simplybible.com/f986-prophecies-fulfilled-by-christ.htm

Or, does the reference to a Roman soldier suggest she might have been raped?

In Biblical times women were veiled

 

Again, looking at the culture of the times, young women of good families did not go out unaccompanied. After a woman’s betrothal she was veiled.

Mary was of the house of David, the purity of the ‘line’ was important to God as well as to David’s descendants.

I prefer to believe the Bible on the subject of Jesus’ birth.

Traditional portrayal of Jesus' birth

traditional portrayal of Jesus' birth
Can you see the simple error?

Clue: Related to the custom of the day.

You can leave a comment below.

Have a safe week <smile>

Susan

Where do the books, and novellas come from?

Books

Books and novellas come from the writers’ minds.  I can only tell you about my books and the process of writing them.

If you arrived here via the ‘welcome’ page you would have seen the cover and part of the blurb for the latest novella – ‘No Evil Shall Befall You.’ I change the page for each of the new books and novellas I publish. There is a third novella coming. (Stay tuned.)

My books and writing

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

I have been asked before about how I write, but that was a long time ago, and now there are more. The Apostle John Series is complete, five books in all. Originally, they were inspired by a detailed series of Bible studies that set me wondering… and researching. Then, as I have seen other authors mention, the characters take over, so, I have to ask if I will ‘allow’ that, or if it takes the book in a different direction. Writers are often asked if they are ‘plotters’ or ‘pantsers.’ In other words, is each book plotted out chapter by chapter, or written by the ‘seat of the author’s pants?’

Mine are a mixture. I know what will happen, and key points on the way to the end, but the bits in between are the result of inspiration, research and sometimes a bit of correction. (The characters have to remain consistent over the book series, and in the case of the first novella, to the way they were in the books in the series.)

Please allow me to explain

After the Thirty Days, by Susan M B Preston

After the Thirty Days is the completing of Esther’s story. This novella picks up some threads from the middle of Hell Shall Not Prevail (before we join John on Patmos.) Her cousin, Judah, heir to their grandfather, ‘Old Simon,’ and the workers in ‘Old Simon’s’ shop are also carry-overs from the series to this novella. All of them needed to be consistent with where they appeared in the books in the series.

No Evil Shall Befall You follows After the Thirty Days – loosely. Simon, son of ‘Old Simon’ returns to Egypt where he has lived for many years to an unpleasant situation he must deal with before he can act on his plans.

No Evil Shall Befall you

In the third, and final, novella, Simon returns to Ephesus.

(Any more at this point would be a ‘spoiler’ and although it is written in my head, it is just over halfway in the manuscript.)

I check everything from the start each time I write.

Making the books authentic

book research

It takes a great deal of research to make the books true to the times. Someone once commented that it would have been better if there had been a kiss in one of the books in the Apostle John Series between a couple whose betrothal was being planned. This would have been totally inaccurate to the time and culture… unless the young woman had been a different ‘type’ of person.

 

I knew this type of information because of extensive research, but my readers do not necessarily have these facts.

This is why I have added ‘Marriage in the 1st Century, AD’ to the ‘Starter pack’ of background information for VIP Readers.

For current VIP Readers a link to download this new PDF will be in the next newsletter, together with ‘Death and Mourning in the 1st Century, AD.’ There is another planned – background to the Egyptian aspects in the second novella. ‘No Evil Shall Befall You.’

Biblical Fiction Books

All the books in the Apostle John Series, as well as the novellas are Biblical fiction. (Spoiler alert – the characters in the novellas are not Christian, but the fiction is Biblical.)

My aim with all of them was, and is, to tell the story of the times. I have been told that through the characters I succeeded and I am grateful to my readers for their feedback.

Remember, you can always ‘pay it forward’ and leave a short review where you bought the book and help other readers make up their minds if it is for them.

Hope you enjoyed the ‘peep behind the scenes’

Till next time,

Susan

Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and was and is to come—the Almighty.
Revelation 1: 8 Berean Study Bible

Some translations leave out the definite article before ‘Alpha and Omega.’

What is the Alpha and Omega?

Alpha and Omega, Greek letters

: Alpha (Α) and omega (Ω) are the first and last letters, respectively, of the classical (Ionic) Greek alphabet. Thus, twice when the phrase “I am the alpha and the omega” appears it is further clarified with the additional phrase, “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6, 22:13). The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet were used because the book of Revelation is in the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_and_Omega

What does Christ mean, the Alpha and Omega?

Sometimes when a person hears something over the course of time, it is merely words that have always been known. Alpha and Omega – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, but why did Christ say He was?

Is it possible He meant He was at the beginning of the Book and the end of the Book – the beginning of time and the end of time?

Let’s check.

Sometimes when a person hears something many times over the course of time, it is merely words that have always been known. Alpha and Omega – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, but why did Christ say that?

Is it possible He meant He was at the beginning of the Book and the end of the Book – the beginning of time and the end of time?

Genesis
Revelation, the end

The gospel of John might have a clue there…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1: 1 – 3

I was surprised to find there is some debate about what this means. Years ago when I was in Bible College it was taught that Jesus Christ was the Word of God,

I saw a short YouTube video (not linked) where two Biblical scholars were discussing this ‘controversial’ section. The concluded it was a choice of the translators to use a capital for Word.

That view does not make sense of John 1: 1
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Let’s look at Genesis – the Alpha

“In the beginning God, created the heavens and the earth”
Genesis 1:1

 

The word used for God in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim,” which is a form of the word “El.” In the context of Genesis 1:1, there can certainly be no doubt as to who is doing the creating. In the Hebrew language the “im” ending imputes plurality. Therefore, “Elohim” is the plural from of the word “El.”
Chuck Missler: from his book ‘The Creator Beyond Time and Space.

The plural aspect continues…

“And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”
Genesis 1:26, (Jewish Publication Society version, 1917)

The Alpha – the One who became Jesus Christ

Remember John 1: 1 -3 ?

That nails it for me. The Word of God, before he was born as a human being, was with God.

In fact, when researching for Hold the Faith I spent a great deal of time studying these first verses of the gospel of John.

Does God change His mind?

How could we trust Him if He did? We would never know where we stood.

God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?
Numbers 23: 19

And another

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13: 8

Conclusion

When Christ, at the end of the Book, says He is the Alpha – He was/is at the beginning of the Book.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ…
Revelation 1: 1…

The Omega

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22: 12

At the end of the Book, Christ repeats…

I am the Alpha and Omega

In fact, he is all the way through the Bible.

Found on YouTube…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW1elxCB69A

A praise song.

Sharing,

Susan

P.S. – Don’t forget ‘No Evil Shall Befall You is only .99c US during the pre-release period, Which ends on the 1st of August. 

Read about it here https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/no-evil-shall-befall-you

Or buy it on pre-release here  https://www.amazon.com/No-Evil-Shall-Befall-You-ebook/dp/B07FVL99FJ

Also, on the first of August, the first novella, After the Thirty Days will be free for one day. 

These novellas are ‘the Jewish side.’ Another, the final in the series of novellas is coming later this year.

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

Is Prayer Necessary Or Not

prayer, hands, Bible

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6: 8 NIV

drawing, girl at prayer

So, is prayer necessary or not? Should we pray?

First of all, not all prayer is asking for things, or help. But the context of this verse is during the ‘sermon on the mount’. So the Son of God, (who prayed Himself) thought it important enough to teach His disciples and the others listening.

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Matt 6: 6 – 8 NIV

If we deem prayer as unnecessary because He knows where He wants us to be, and in what circumstances, then we are saying that we do not have free moral agency.

God does not want puppets. Otherwise there would be no sin. Everyone, from Adam and Eve onward would have done what God wanted. No, from the scriptures, God wants US to choose.

God's view...

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
Deuteronomy 10. 12, 13 NKJ

It is true that we are not the people that God spoke to at that time, but He did speak to us through the words of His Son. 

Here is an interesting article…

True Israel of God

What is the essence of being a true Israelite? It is not literal descent from Abraham, but faith in God. It’s in the Bible: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7. “For they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children… but the children of promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6-8.

The children of promise are those who put their faith in Jesus. It’s in the Bible: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” Galatians 3:29.
Read the whole article here…

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/true-israel-god

Seems like the answer is that we SHOULD pray.

  • Praise God in our prayers.
  • Pray for others
  • Pray for help
  • Pray for guidance

So, let’s look at that verse again.

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matt 6: 8 NIV

Remember the ‘rules’ of Bible study – do not read just one verse. Read what was said before, and what is said after in order to see it in context.

Don’t be like who? The verse before gives the answer…

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Matt 6: 7

Just thinking

Susan

The Cost of Faith

After last week’s post on ‘trials being par for the course’ my attention was drawn to the price others have paid for faith. One, William Tyndale, the man who brought us first the English translation of the Bible, and the other a lady I had never heard of until finding a poem she wrote.

First, cost of faith for William Tyndale…

William Tyndale, image

William Tyndale  was an English scholar who became a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English. A number of partial translations had been made from the seventh century onward, but the spread of Wycliffe’s Bible in the late 14th century led to the death penalty for anyone found in unlicensed possession of Scripture in English.

(Featured image is  of John 1, Tyndale Bible.)

From one of his works ‘The Obedience of a Christian Man,’ William Tyndale wrote…

Mark this also, if God send thee to the sea, and promise to go with thee, and to bring thee safe to land, he will raise up a tempest against thee, to prove whether thou wilt abide by his word, and that thou mayest feel thy faith, and perceive his goodness. For if it were always fair weather, and thou never brought into such jeopardy, whence his mercy only delivered thee, thy faith should be but a presumption, and thou shouldest be ever unthankful to God and merciless unto thy neighbor.

Probably better than us, the man clearly understood that Christian faith was not ‘a walk in the park.’

From the same work…

The preaching of God’s word is hateful and contrary unto them. Why? For it is impossible to preach Christ, except thou preach against antichrist; that is to say, them which with their false doctrine and violence of sword enforce to quench the true doctrine of Christ. And as thou canst heal no disease, except thou begin at the root; even so canst thou preach against no mischief, except thou begin at the bishops.

William Tyndale was executed for heresy by the Roman Catholic Church of his day. He was strangled, then burnt at the stake.

Execution of William Tyndale

Legacy of William Tyndale…

In 1611, the 54 scholars who produced the King James Bible drew significantly from Tyndale, as well as from translations that descended from his. One estimate suggests that the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale’s.

Read more about his life – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale

Cost of faith for Jeanne Marie de la Motte-Guyon

Jeane Guyon, image

I want to finish today with a poem written by a lady I had never heard of until I found the poem.

Here’s a little bit of background on her though. Persecuted for her faith, accused of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church of her day, she was in prison when she wrote the poem. Imprisoned in a dungeon below the level of the ground for ten years, no natural light came into her life. They did allow her to burn a candle at breakfast, lunch and dinner. She wasn’t getting a lot of sustenance, but whenever those meager meals came along, she was allowed to have a candle so that she wouldn’t be in pitch black, and she’d actually be able to feed herself. Well, she wrote this poem sometime during that ten years. Somehow it got out and it was preserved. Listen to the acceptance of God’s will, — the resignation that is here.
She says:

“A little bird I am
Shut from the fields of air.
Yet in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there.
Well pleased a prisoner to be
Because my God, it pleases thee.
Nothing have I else to do,
I sing the whole day long.
And He who most I love to please
Says, Listen to my song.
He caught and bound my wandering way,
But still He bends to hear me sing.

My cage confines me ‘round,
But abroad I cannot fly.
But though my wing is closely bound,
My heart’s at liberty.
My prison walls cannot control the flight,
The freedom of my soul.
Ah! It is good to soar
These belts and bars above
To Him whose purpose I adore.
Whose providence I love.
And in Thy mighty will to find
The joy, the freedom of the mind.”
                                                    Jeanne Marie de la Motte-Guyon 1648-1717

Read the rest of her story here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_Guyon

The cost of faith is a cost. No rose gardens here.

Thinking,

Susan