Apr 122016

The Lord Jesus Christ defined the unforgiveable sin when he said: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Matt 12: 31,32

This statement was made in the context of a response to the Pharisees’ blasphemous accusation: “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” in the preceding verse 24 of the same chapter. The Lord Jesus Christ repeated the statement in a different context in Luke 12:10.

Blasphemy is a spoken sin according to the definition given here and can only be a slanderous and maligned misrepresentation of the nature and identity of God, The Holy Spirit in particular in the instance here.

This was not the only occasion when the Pharisees blasphemed the Holy Spirit in order to try to discredit the ministry of The Lord Jesus Christ. In John 8:48 they said to him “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”, compounding their words in verse 52 “Now we know that thou hast a devil.”

What is so heinous about this blasphemy was that it was uttered by those who knew the truth and were attempting to deter others from receiving the truth. When Nicodemus had previously visited The Lord Jesus Christ secretly by night, he spoke for his Pharisee colleagues and declared their understanding to Him with the words: “Rabbi, WE KNOW that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” John 3:2

Their subsequent blasphemy was therefore calculated, strategic and spoken against their foreknowledge of the truth, which are themselves additional qualifiers of blasphemy as opposed to lies which are heard, believed and repeated in ignorance. Nicodemus’ secret admission is witness against them in that respect.

I compiled this brief and to the point study after seeing one of the most misleading and convoluted presentations on the subject I have ever seen or heard, either in the social networks or elsewhere.

We are given the criteria by which to test the integrity of any spirit. These are (1) By their acknowledgement of the true identity of The Lord Jesus Christ and of His finished work in the flesh; His life, death and resurrection. (2) By the kind of fruit evident in and through the lives of those who speak by the spirit.

Speculative opinion or untested deference to the opinions of others are not options which we should ever allow ourselves to be drawn into in respect of such a matter.

Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing!

Dec 262015

The letters to the seven churches in Revelation are addressed to those whom each one applies. As a whole, they are the measure by which any church or group of fellowshipping believers ought to examine themselves.

In the letter to Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7, Jesus commends their appraisal of apostate individuals and groups. To have done this, the Ephesus church would have known these people, observed their activities and measured them according the fruit they had borne, understanding their corruption of the teachings given by Jesus and His apostles. Their perceptions would have been confirmed by the witness of the Holy Spirit before that of any brethren.

How then might they, as an entire church, have left their first love and what bearing does this have on the warning and promise given in the conclusion of the letter?

Jesus warned of such an eventuality during his sermon which is recorded in Matthew chapter 24, verse 12: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” There is a clear connection in this statement. It indicates cause and effect.

When iniquity abounds, both in the world and in the church, it can monopolise people’s attention, their conversation, their studies, their preaching and even their prayers. They may begin to see iniquity in everything and everybody outside of their accepted group. They may begin to judge and reject others according to superficial things which are nothing of themselves, setting standards of equally superficial observances and ignoring the clear teaching given in Romans 14:1-14. They may judge according to whether their their arguments constrain others to their point of view rather than trust the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth. It may become progressively easier for them, by an ever increasing number of manufactured excuses, to abandon that love for others which is the very same means by which they might overcome, having become preoccupied with discernment between good and evil and seeing it as a measure of godliness.

The “candlestick” of Ephesus and every other church addressed in the letters of Revelation is its ministry, the means by which it ought to enlighten the world. This will be removed from them, as it well ought even by natural consequence, unless Jesus’ warning is heeded.

To the overcomer in Ephesus, Jesus promises the liberty to eat freely from the tree of life. This should remind us to take another look into Genesis, where Eve and then Adam forfeited that liberty by choosing to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In 1 Corinthians 15:45 Jesus is described as the last Adam: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” Who then is “the last Eve” and what might she be tempted by subtlety to do?

I leave any readers of this post to conclude the answer to these last questions and further, to examine their own position rather than that of others in light of this and every other letter to the churches in Revelation chapters 2 & 3.

Jul 012015

The words of Jesus Christ are in ultimate authority over both the judged and those doing the judging in any matter.

He said “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” Matt 11:21-24

Did you get that? He told us the very thing that would have caused Sodom to repent. It is the demonstration of the power of the Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus would have demonstrated it. This is the commission of The Body of Christ, those who believe on His name, obey His commandments and receive The Holy Spirit in empowerment to do the “greater things than these” which Jesus also promised.

Feel challenged? I know I do and so we ought! If we’re honest, we all need to be more of Jesus and less of ourselves. But please, don’t see this as a collection of individual needs and commissions. God wants to pour His Spirit out upon the entire Body of Christ in these times.The time for celebrity ministers is over.

When His called and chosen are in one accord in the place where He has commanded them to be, it will happen. What will that “one accord” be? One accord speaks of mutual agreement, whether of support under persecution or any other circumstance. I’ve heard many postulations about what the disciples might have been in one accord about on the day of Pentecost, some of them fancifully spiritual but I reckon they might all just as easily have been quaking in their sandals for fear of the Jews at the same vibrational frequency.

It matters not. What matters is that we as a unified body of people are not experiencing the day to day normality of raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out devils, preaching the living Word of God with signs and wonders following and greater things than these.

Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that He will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment (upon the prince of this world, whose works he came to destroy) see John 16:7-11. What is our expectation of God in these times? To pour out His wrath upon those whose sins differ from our own? I should hope that is not the case but rather that our mutual need for His saving power to be manifested through us be met to the overflowing.

Jun 022015

I spoke to my good friend and wordsmith, Nigel Partis, a couple of weekends ago. We don’t often get the opportunity to talk at length these days for one reason or another but, whenever we do, it is always thought provoking if not inspirational.

Nigel (aka, Nick) is a former soldier and bodyguard cum criminal turned hippie who got powerfully saved in the late 1970s. Among his more positive talents and spiritual gifts he is also a capable builder and author, the former complementing the latter in his use of vocabulary, grammar and improvisation in constructive language which is able to recount his ideas, observations and experiences in a uniquely powerful and straightforward way.

Words are his bricks and grammar, the mortar which he lays on the sure foundation of his testimony of Jesus Christ, in both spoken and written form. As a good builder, he periodically reviews his stock and usage of such raw material.

For example, some time ago, he told me that he had stopped using the words “gay” and “homosexual”, preferring instead the more correct Biblical word, “sodomite”. I could quite see the point to his abandonment of the corruption of a good English word, meaning colourful, happy, exuberant, etc., as well as the more clinical latinesque label of “orientation” which is more descriptive of a level ground option than of the perversion that it actually is. Moreover, his preferred choice of word makes no bones about its history and destructive nature. (On that subject I would add, remembering Leonard Ravenhill’s book “Sodom Had No Bible”, that someone appears to have rewritten it one, of sorts, these days!)

Getting to the point of this post, during my most recent conversation with Nigel he told me that he had recently coined the words “Christophobia”, “Christophobic” and “Christophobe” in view of the increasingly intolerant attitudes and actions being leveled and perpetrated against Christians throughout the world these days. It’s a clever way to hoist nu-speak with its own petard and a great deal more truthfully, all things considered. After all, the correct meaning of phobia is of a completely irrational fear is it not? What’s to fear about being reconciled to your creator or those who advocate it?

I tried it out the other day on a guy who challenged me to prove God to him. I’d describe him more as a skeptic than an out and out antitheist. It was a bit of a clumsy challenge which had short circuited the thread of our conversation, mainly because he knows where I’m coming from, so I replied, “Are you a Christophobe? I’ve got my proof. You get your own. He can be found by those who seek Him wholeheartedly if you’re really interested.” To his credit, the guy put a “like” to it which was encouraging, bless him!

I also saw an example of Nigel’s soldiering skill in his improvisation of these words. It reminded me of seizing an enemy’s own weapons and using them against him better than he could use them himself.

It has been said that all’s fair in love and war. This may be especially true when the one involves the other.

Apr 052015

I have long had my doubts about popularised ideas reflected in SFX presentations of how the dividing of the Red Sea took place. In particular, the idea that the Israelites walked between towering vertical walls of water caused by the strong east wind which blew all night before they crossed.

Having considered the facts presented by a number of scientific explorations of the sub-aquatic land bridge at the Nuweiba crossing point of the Gulf of Aqaba, I became convinced of certain facts.

1) A wind strong enough to carve a trench through the water at Nuweiba would have been impossible to stand against, much less walk through while transporting baggage.

2) Only a considerable tidal recession in the Gulf of Aqaba could feasibly have exposed the land bridge between Nuweiba and Arabia (Midian).

So where did the idea of walls of water come from? The two references in the Bible read:

“And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” Exodus 14:22

“But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.” Exodus 14:29

The descriptive phrase in both verses is identical: “the waters were a wall unto them”, but how and why “unto them“? Doesn’t this imply an obstruction or barrier? Why would any of them want to walk to the left or right when a dry path was straight ahead of them?

The word for wall in both verses is H2346 in Strong’s dictionary:

“chowmah kho-maw’ feminine active participle of an unused root apparently meaning to join; a wall of protection:–wall, walled.”

Therefore an expanded English reading of both verses would read the phenomenal description as “the waters were a wall of protection unto them on their right hand and on their left.” In other words, the waters on their left and right were no threat but were a protection from something.

The threat in this scenario was of being overtaken, outflanked and corralled by the pursuing Egyptian army. On either side of the Nuweiba land bridge are deep chasms, not shallows. It would have been impossible for the Egyptians to have overtaken the Israelites in such a manoevre.

They would have had to wait for the entire Israelite entourage to complete their crossing before pursuing hard to encircle them on the opposite shore. This would need to be done quickly before the Israelites had gone too far or dispersed into Midian. Such an incursion would otherwise be seen by the Midianites as an Egyptian invasion. A Midianite defensive counter attack would have left the entire Egyptian army with their backs to the sea with little hope of supply or evacuation.

The Bible describes this hot pursuit quite precisely along with the disastrous consequences for the Egyptian charioteers:

“And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.” Exodus 14: 23

The popular notion of the Israelites walking through the dry bottom of a trench in the sea could have been supported had a different Hebrew word for wall been used. A perfectly descriptive Hebrew word for a trench wall is H7023 in the Strong’s dictionary:

“qiyr keer or qir (Isa. 22:5) {keer}; or (feminine) qiyrah {kee-raw’}; from 6979; a wall (as built in a trench):–+ mason, side, town, X very, wall.”

I therefore submit that the word wall in text is used figuratively as qualified by the Hebrew word combined with “unto them” to describe a protective barrier against being outflanked and overtaken.

I believe that the parting of the sea occurred in the following manner. A strong east wind over the main body of the Red Sea and distant from Nuweiba caused a tidal recession in the Gulf of Aqaba, exposing the land bridge between Nuweiba and Midian but leaving the flanking deep chasms full of water, thus providing flank protection for the crossing.

Exodus 14:27,28 describe a rapid returning tide. “And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.” The word “returned” used is H7725 in the Strong’s dictionary:

“shuwb shoob a primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbial, again:–((break, build, circumcise, dig, do anything, do evil, feed, lay down, lie down, lodge, make, rejoice, send, take, weep)) X again, (cause to) answer (+ again), X in any case (wise), X at all, averse, bring (again, back, home again), call (to mind), carry again (back), cease, X certainly, come again (back), X consider, + continually, convert, deliver (again), + deny, draw back, fetch home again, X fro, get (oneself) (back) again, X give (again), go again (back, home), (go) out, hinder, let, (see) more, X needs, be past, X pay, pervert, pull in again, put (again, up again), recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, render (again), requite, rescue, restore, retrieve, (cause to, make to) return, reverse, reward, + say nay, send back, set again, slide back, still, X surely, take back (off), (cause to, make to) turn (again, self again, away, back, back again, backward, from, off), withdraw.”

It is in no way descriptive of the collapse of trench walls but is appropriate to describe a returning tidal surge.

The song of Moses in Exodus 15 also gives descriptions of certain details consistent with the causes and effects of a tidal recession and subsequent return which swept the Egyptian army into the deep chasm:

“the waters were gathered together” (by a strong east wind), “the floods stood upright as an heap” (in the main body of the Red Sea, causing a tidal recession in the Gulf of Aqaba) v.8

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.” vs.4,5

“they sank as lead in the mighty waters.” v.10

“the earth swallowed them.” v.12

Drowned Egyptians were seen washed up on the shore afterwards but it is highly probable that the most heavily armoured were swept into the chasm north of Nuweiba.

It is easy to see where the English text in Exodus might be misconstrued, leading to the idea of a trench through the waters of the Red Sea but a little study and knowledge of marine meteorology reveals that no natural laws need have been defied. However, we can always depend on Hollywood SFX to make the truth seem ridiculous.

Nov 232014


Nov 20 at 2:07 AM
Sep 232014

Rabbi Asher Meza says that as long as someone is Torah-observant and follow Halakha, they should not be rejected as Jewish.

Messianics are NOT HERETICS!

My question would be does he consider Karaism heretical? I suspect he does since he repeatedly refers to Halakha, but if Karaites are also not rejected from Judaism, then what of a Torah-observant non-Halakhic Messianic?

Either way, this is a big step for a Rabbi to say that Torah observance is what really matters, not whether someone believes YHVH had a body or is a unity of constituent parts.

Sep 092014

This was a question asked on the Debate A Christian subreddit that I haunt. This was my answer:

Assuming you mean what happened to the mixing of the supposedly freshwater rain and the salt oceans, this is a reminder that the bible doesn’t claim the flood came only from rain. The flood water also came from “the fountains of the deep”. We don’t know what the composition of that water was.

In an article in Nature the lead author, a mantle geochemist says “… the transition zone could hold as much water as all the Earth’s oceans put together. Continue reading »

Sep 072014

Image of painting by Richard Callner named “Lovers: Birth of Lilith” (1964)For 4,000 years Lilith has wandered the earth, figuring in the mythic imaginations of writers, artists and poets. Her dark origins lie in Babylonian demonology, where amulets and incantations were used to counter the sinister powers of this winged spirit who preyed on pregnant women and infants. Lilith next migrated to the world of the ancient Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites and Greeks. She makes a solitary appearance in the Bible, as a wilderness demon shunned by the prophet Isaiah. In the Middle Ages she reappears in Jewish sources as the dreadful first wife of Adam.

Read this article on Biblical Archaeology Magazine’s Bible History Daily

Sep 072014

A question from Facebook went like this: I really want to get an accurate bible. What are your recommendations? I want something that is closest to the original Hebrew.

This is based on the reply I made to that question. I will be expanding it in the future, but this is here so I won’t put it off and eventually forget.

Short of learning Hebrew itself, you have to choose what you value in a translation. There’s no such thing as “most accurate”. Every translation is a tradeoff between major principles such as dynamic vs literal equivalence, whether you want idioms left as they were in the original language vs translated into a modern idiom, whether you want paraphrase or word-for-word, etc., and all these are a gradient, not binary. Even decisions like whether to keep the original weights and measures or convert to modern units can affect our understanding.
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