Creation – The Philosophical Case

However you look at it, whether as an atheist, a Buddhist, a Muslim, an African Traditionalist, or a Christian – creation is a supernatural event. This is the event of all events. Many people want to know how “all this” – how the universe – begun. The question “Where do we come from?” has crossed every mind. Therefore, it behooves every rational creature to search carefully and establish the truth regarding this phenomenon which we all (?) agree happened. In this brief write-up I intend to show (very briefly, but confidently) the weakness of the Big Bang Theory vis-a-vis the Biblical account of creation. This popular theory borrows heavily from chance and accidental occurences as a cornerstone for its case – I hope to show some errors for such a foundation. In the Christian faith, we profess a cornerstone that is both sure and immovable – the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

It is important to understand that the eternal God does not operate as we, mere creatures, do. The mind, which denotes the ability to think, process and reason out things internally, is finite and biased (toward sin). We cannot begin to look at supernatural events or abilities with our natural mind, clearly, nor can we explain them exhaustively. It is not to mean that we cannot comprehend them, but there must be both revelation of the supernatural as well as guidance in such revelation (understanding), since we cannot of our own selves grasp either the context surrounding the supernatural, nor the elements involved in the supernatural. So, case 1 – we, natural creatures, are not the basis of information; only that which is supernatural can be the basis. But then we encounter another problem – the supernatural itself cannot just happen arbitrarily (without causation or order or final purpose) since (a) it is not guided by chance (otherwise, chance itself [a byproduct of the natural] would not exist), nor (b) can the supernatural happen without a chief agent, who has to be supernatural themselves. Chance exists only because a context for chance (matter, time and space) exists (Gen 1:1). What I mean is that there can be no lack of intention for a certain outcome without first presupposing the time, matter and space which are required for such an outcome (Lack of intention for a certain resultant outcome [an accident] requires time, space and matter for such an unintended result to be accomplished). We may need a car to move from point A to point B, and after considering all factors and having set a target outcome, if somewhere along the line of uninfluenced execution the car’s predestined/projected sequence is broken, then we term that an accident. But without points A and B, without the car, without the driver, without a projected desire, without motion, without an intended outcome, without anything really, there can be no accident – there is no pre-existing state to warrant the occurence of an accident. An unintended resultant outcome is called an accident. The primary condition for the occurence of an accident is uncertainty. Meanwhile, as we have seen, uncertainty consequentially demands prior order and also an expected futuristic outcome (both elements of time) disrupted by threatening unintended circumstances (which require space and time) or a prior lack of fulfillment in the same endeavor, creating the atmosphere for doubt (time and matter). Uncertainty, thus put, is the negation of a preconceived (existent) state – certainty. Wikipedia defines uncertainty as a “state of having limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe the existing state, a future outcome, or more than one possible outcome”. Both uncertainty and accidents are elements of chance. Yet, chance does not only depend on intention (or the lack of it) but also on causation. Can some “thing” be caused arbitrarily or without intent? Sure, it can – but only if there was preexistent matter (building blocks of the “thing”), time and space for such occurrence to even be possible. This is because a cause always has to have a result, and if the final result is not the expected and/or desired result, then it is said that chance had its way. Hence, chance cannot be said to happen out of no precreated matter or without preexistent time or in a vacuous state. Chance is a function of creation and creation takes into account the factors of time, space and matter! Hence, the world could not have been created (come into existence) through an event that necessitated or heavily depended on chance for such existence to occur. There MUST needs be order, reason and certainty for creation (ex-nihilo) to take place. So, case 1 (a) – the world was not created by chance, nor did it come about accidentally or arbitrarily. Yet we know that order, reason and certainty are all concepts (abstract ideas) which have no will in and of themselves – they require an executor.

This brings us to the question of a supernatural agent; a capable executor of the ingredients of creation. Since creation cannot possibly come out of nothing (ex nihilo) without intention (that is, deliberate cause) nor by accident (itself an anomaly of the norm of order), and furthermore since order, reason and certainty (all which work with intention/purpose) cannot work by themselves, since they do neither possess a will nor the power/means to act on their own will, for creation to even be a possibility it necessitates a Creator. Since this Creator is also supernatural, it follows that we cannot know Him apart from His revelation of Himself to us. Only revelation via Scripture has given us a reasonable case for a pre-existent (for He has to be already in existence beforehand), self-sufficient (for He must not need nor borrow anything from anyone or anything), supreme (for He must be first in rank and authority), free and autonomous (for He must choose at the pleasure of His will), self-determining and decisive (for He must execute His own will), wise (for He must create order from non-order), sovereign (for He must be accountable to no one), almighty (for He must inherently possess all and ultimate power), holy (for He must be inherently pure and flawless and must communicate purity to everything), eternal (for He must not be limited by time in any way), uncaused and unformed (for He must not be created Himself), immaterial (for His essence cannot be created matter) hence a free unbound Spirit and the sole source of all that is “being”, that is, all creation. All things, including the necessary ingredients for creation MUST flow from Him, at the pleasure of His own free will. He is the rightful owner and possessor of all creation. Such must be His intrinsic nature. Here, we have our first case for God – the mysterious Creator! Hence, case 1 (b) – the world was created through order, with a purpose/reason and with certainty by a living and eternal Creator God Who alone and unaided could and did freely, powerfully and wisely orchestrate every “thing”, visible or otherwise, into permanent existence.

 

Some Scriptural references for creation:

Genesis 1 and 2; John 1:1-3; Romans 1:19-20; 2 Peter 3:5; Hebrews 1:2,10; Acts 4:24; Mark 13:19; Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 38:4-11; Psalm 33:6-9; Psalm 89:11-12; Acts 14:15; Psalm 102:25; Psalm 104:24-30; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 37:16; Isaiah 40:26,28; Jeremiah 10:12; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 12:1; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 21:6.

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To Tithe Or Not!

Do you tithe? Do you really believe that the New Testament Church ought to tithe? Well, kindly allow me to shake your theology, dear friend; to uproot your foundation from under you – for it is most likely a wrong foundation. Again, I do this to provoke you to think about Scriptural matters and at the same time to encourage you to “search the Scriptures” (John 5:39) to determine whether that which you trust as true stands the test of truth or not; that you may “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)! Dear reader, DID YOU KNOW that the Levites were a tribe – like the Benjaminites, or the Simeonites or the Reubenites were? However, Israelite PRIESTS were not a tribe – rather, the priesthood was an office! So, we are to be clear that to be a Levite, one had to be of the bloodline of Levi, and that priesthood was not necessarily a tribe, but more specifically an office (meaning, it was based on a number of qualifications that are not necessarily blood-related but covenant-related). Having distinguished between the two, on to my next point — after establishing that priesthood was primarily official, not tribal, it is important to note that the priesthood was held within a single tribe. The office of “priest” could ONLY be held within and practised by one tribe in all Israel, that is the tribe of Levi; the Levites. Furthermore, it is not just any person or even any Levite who could become an Israelite priest (this was no “I wonna be a Priest when I grow up” kind of slot that could be gained by carnal ambition or human effort [Hebrews 5:4]). Only those born, by God’s Providence, into the family-line of Aaron, the elder brother of Moses, the great Prophet who led Israel out of bondage in Egypt (Numbers 3:10; Numbers 18:7; 1 Chronicles 23:13) could become priests of God in the Old Testament. This means that the Old Testament priests were ALWAYS to be part of the tribe of Levi, but more importantly they were to be from the bloodline of Aaron. I believe I have laid a sufficient, though brief, foundation for my argument.

Now, the entire tribe of Levi was NOT to receive or take up any part of the inheritance given to the Israelites by God (Deuteronomy 18:1; Joshua 13:14; Ezekiel 44:28) – God had earlier on promised an inheritance (that is, the land of Canaan) to the people of Israel. Sequentially, the priests could not have any inheritance as well (seeing that they were constrained by rational law to the same constraints that applied specifically to the Levites; Israelite priests were subsets in the Levite universe). The Lord God Himself was to be the inheritance of the Levite, and sequentially, the Israelite priest. What does this mean? Without going into much detail, it means that they were to receive those things which were appropriated to the Lord God i.e., those things separated as belonging to God; they were to take from the sacred sacrifices which God had appointed for Himself, and those tithes and offerings and first-fruits which were reserved for Him alone (Numbers 18:24). Here I must approach the matter with greater precision and directness, dear reader! You see, many people interpret the tithe to generally mean 10 percent received by priests. Yet, as you shall see, the Scriptures are very clear concerning the tithe. Priests NEVER received 10 percent of what Israelite fields produced nor 10 percent of Israelite monies! O, No sir! First of all, it was the Levites, not the priests, that did receive the basic tithe from the Israelitic tribes! Now, I am just about to show you that what you think to be a “tithe” is not what Scripture actually shows it to be! It was the general tribe of Levi that received a certain tithe – I say a certain tithe because there were at least 2 (two) kinds of tithe. Please, turn to your copy of the Bible, to the portion of Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and read through it slowly and carefully before proceeding. You see clearly that the tithe (the whole tithe or all the tithe) spoken of in verse 22 that happened “year by year” or “every year” was NOT the same as the tithe that is spoken of in verses 28 and 29 of the same chapter that happened “at the end of every three years…the tithe of thine increase the same (3rd) year”. Mind you, I’m still on the Levites as a whole here – I haven’t even touched on the priests themselves! If you have carefully read the portion, you will also notice that the yearly tithe was to be consumed; to be eaten and/or drank; to be enjoyed by the tither and his family! It was not to be stored, whatsoever, either in the storehouse nor in the temple! The second part which was tithed ONCE every three years, at the end of the third year (diligently read Deuteronomy 26:12-15), on the other hand, was to be laid up within the gates/storehouse. This second tithe was meant for a group of people that for one reason or the other did not, or could not hold/own property i.e., priests, orphans, widows, aliens – and we have established that God deliberately forbade the Levitical tribe (which included the priests) from owning lands amongst the Israelites. Thus far, I hope it is clear that Priests could not and did not receive tithes from the peoples of Israel – it was the Levite tribe as a whole that received the tithes from the Israelites. I hope you are still following – may I, by God’s grace and enabling power, correct the error which has plagued many in the Church for a while, creating a bondage to the law that the Apostle warns against in Galatians 5:4. 

Now, I would have you turn your very same Bible to the portion of Numbers 18:20-32 and ask you, once again, to carefully read the portion. This portion is now focussed on the Levitical priesthood itself. This is the part that addresses those portions of the tithes received by the Levite tribe and how they were to present an offering of their “income” to the priesthood. Note, firstly, that the Levites were not just receiving these tithes pro-bono. There is a reason for this, as we are soon to see. The Israelites were not to personally approach the tabernacle of God since it would mean their death – they (other Israelite tribes) had not been set apart to offer any priestly service, nor to serve in the tabernacle as the Levites were. To approach the tabernacle without the direct and mediating intervention of both Levite and priest meant immediate death for the Israelite! And for bearing this burden; for their life-saving, mediating service at the tabernacle, the Levites earned (really, inherited) from God the tithes due to Him. Now, if you read carefully, you will have noticed that in verse 26 the Levites themselves gave a tenth part of the tithes they received from the Israelites – the heave offering. Verse 28 then clearly shows that this part that belonged to the Lord God from the Levites was given specifically to the Aaronic priesthood. What verse 27 is saying is that the tenth part of the tithe which the Levites gave was considered equivalent to the increase of their fields and their wine. It is regarded to be from their “increase” just like the tithes from Israel were to be from the increase of their fields. Such that, after they had given this tenth part, the Levites were then free to do with the remaining nine-tenth parts as they desired – it was considered their own by God. Do you see that the priest only received a select portion of the tithe from the Levite and not the whole tithe directly from the people? We could say that the priest actually received only one percent of the tithes – since he received an offering of the tenth part of the second kind of tithes (those stored in the storehouse at the end of every 3 years for that third year only). 

Thus, I am saying, in summary is: (1) The tithe was distinguished into different kinds [at least two]; (2) there was an yearly tithe that consisted of crops and wine, and it was only in extreme cases that it was converted into money; (3) the yearly tithe was not to be stored, whether it was in form of crops and wine, or it was in monetary form – it was to be eaten and enjoyed by the tither with his family; (4) there was a second kind of tithes that was not given yearly, but once every three years, and not for all three years, but for the third year only; (5) this second kind of tithe was not merely for the Levite, but for others who were unfortunate due to various reasons; (6) it was in this second kind of tithes that God’s blessings were conditioned upon the Israelite nation [Deut 14:29; Deut 26:12-15; Malachi 3:8-11]; (7) the Levite received this second kind of tithe for his service in the tabernacle of the congregation, by bearing the iniquity of the Israelites; (8) the Levite, having received the second kind of tithe from the people of Israel, was to give a tenth part of this tithe, as the heave offering,  to the Aaronic Priesthood; (9) this tenth part would be considered as from the produce from the Levite, thus he could afterward do as he desired with whatever remained after giving the tenth part of his increase; (10) the Israelite priest did not receive the tithe from the people of Israel – he could only receive from the Levite the tenth part of the second kind of tithe. 

In these ten points, I have done a brief job, by God’s Grace, of explaining HOW tithing was to be done, and also WHY the Levites and Israelite Priests received these portions. These are matters of doctrinal importance and as such must be given high priority so that the Christian, who is himself a royal priest, sees that he is not placed in bondage to the Law once again, seeing that Old Testament Israel was unable to bear the burden of the Law and thus attain to righteousness through it (Romans 10:3-4). The ceremonial law, especially, cannot save. We are imperfect and can never satisfy the demands of both the moral and ceremonial laws by our own power! I do not see any command to the New Testament Church regarding tithes. Sure, we are to offer our possessions in worship – in fact, the standard is much higher. In this regard, I hope my short argument will encourage you to investigate this, and many more matters of Scripture, with more care. In finishing, there are many other things to be considered by the Christian as regards giving/the offering: that the Christian should give both freely and cheerfully, and not begrudgingly; that he is to give as he is led by the Holy Ghost; that he is to have compassion on those who have less than enough provision and joyfully provide for them if he is so blessed as to have material possessions, and so forth. Finally, that EVERYTHING that the Christian owns/possesses does not belong to him by right, but only by stewardship – he is to remember that even his very own life has been purchased at a costly price (a divine cost) that he cannot pay back even if he was given the chance to. The Christian belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore, all that he owns belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ (having been given the very breath, power and life to acquire those things, which themselves were placed there by God). Thus, whether it is 100 percent (given prudently, of course), or whether it is his entire his life, or even whether he is required to give less, the Christian’s offering is freely and cheerfully given to the Lord’s glory and honor, not as a basis for appeasing any law, no matter how righteous – for nothing that is done apart from faith pleases our God! To the eternal glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and for the benefit of the Church, His beloved bride. Amen!

ADAM’S MATCH

There is something our generation has dearly loved – that is, sports. It is no sin to love sports. Nevertheless, the recreational industry has many kinds of products to offer a 7-billion-plus population. Popular amongst these products are football (see, we don’t call it soccer where I come from), basketball, track events, golf, rugby, and the list goes on. Now, for the purposes of my post, I shall be using one of the team sports, specifically football. We know that the football industry is almost religious in appeal – both amongst the young and the old. To some, sadly, it is actually what they worship. It is no wonder, seeing that man craves to worship – whether the only true God or any other idol, including himself. Anyway, we know that when people associate or identify themselves with a certain football team, they actually speak as if they are very important shareholders in the club. You hear statements like, “WE almost outscored you guys.” Or even, “OUR best player showed YOUR (addressing a rival team supporter) best player a move or two.” One would almost expect him to pick up the phone and personally congratulate the player, as part of his responsibility as “part-owner” of the club. Even when a loss is incurred, the consistent supporter never deserts his recently shamed team – he feels the need to let everyone know that he still supports “the greatest team in the world”. Astounding loyalty! 

Now, picture two rival teams – and for the sake of OUR post, we shall not limit the number of active players or substitutes, not even the coaches/managers for each team. These two teams are on a faceoff, not for a mere golden cup or shield or plate, but for life itself. Up for grabs are ultimate power and freedom and eternal bragging rights. Now, I would plead with you, dear reader, not to analogize too much, since my job here is to try and paint a(n) (im)perfect picture with a dim pencil and an infant’s mind – hence, forgive my poor skill and very limited resources, but bear with me as we build the plot in your mind, if you shall. Back to our teams. On the one hand we have Team Adam – very skilled, very young, very promising. The coach is actually named Adam – he believes in himself so much. Adam has some famous players on his team: Dominion whom he has never really used, a highly skilled defender called Inherent-Righteousness who Adam boasts in so much, and a certain player he struggles with called Obedience. It is said that Obedience was specifically picked by the team owner but coach Adam has started experiencing some problems with this young turk. And then there is his strongest player, Mr. Will, Free Will – he is said to be very flexible and chooses at what time he gets to play. Coach Adam is sure that these will do the job, even though he has only actually used them in practice and during a number of friendly matches with Team Flora and Fauna before, a small team back at home. The owner of Team Adam has warned him to be careful with these guys, but zealous Adam is fully self-confident. After all, he has the backing of the owner who, as word around goes, has great plans on using Team Adam to completely shame the other guys and get the glory thereof. But the other guys are not to be undone – Team Diabolos. In fact, they have 3 coaches. But the guy in charge during this game is coach Diabolos himself. And their mascot is one Ophis, quite the sly guy. Among their top players are the many proteges of the three coaches. Coach Harmatia is a very deadly strategist, and his best player is actually his eldest son, whose name is Thanatos. He is said to have every answer to Team Adam’s tricks and moves and he ALWAYS scores. Thus, it has been agreed upon by all three coaches of this team that this precious player should be kept until injury time when he can drive the last nail into Team Adam’s coffin. Also in the team is a player who can penetrate Team Adam’s every shield. He is coach Diabolos’ true son, and he is known as Pseudomai. Diabolos has taught him how to use Team Adam’s strengths against themselves. Needless to say, he is very good at drawing the defense away from their positions, and creating such a highway for the other attackers to easily penetrate through and position themselves. Finally, coach Sarkos has two very prominent players, one, a very tall, highly skilled and handsome looking fellow called Kosmos, and word is that Adam has been really looking to get this kid on his side. He would gladly exchange him for the old but exerienced chap, Obedience, to team Diabolos – negotiations are ongoing. That is because he knows that Kosmos’ skill would work well to complement a certain upcoming player he has set his eyes on in his own reserve team, a young attacker called Epithymia. Coach Sarkos also has the midfielder known as Mataion. This player specializes in taking his opponents around in circles, totally frustrating them and killing the team’s morale. He just never seems to get tired, even after playing to the very last minute. These are the main players in the two teams, and the game must be played. 

However, just before this game, it is rumored that Free Will already had his agent make a decisive deal with Diabolos, which could spell disaster for Team Adam. Adam is thus desperate to get Kosmos, even at the expense of Obedience, although Diabolos said that Adam needs, in addition, to acquire his son, Pseudomai, if the deal must happen. As I wrote, negotiations are underway. The question on everyone’s mind is, shall Adam buy the package? The club owner has warned him against buying any new players, especially from Team Diabolos, seeing that even players in Team Flora and Fauna were not fit for him. The match is about to begin, and looking at things, especially knowing how Coach Adam prides himself in his ability (in fact, he is known to have dubbed himself as The Special One), and further seeing how his best player, young Free Will, is about to jump ship, not to mention Coach Adam’s plans to sell Obedience quickly to Team Diabolos, one can only assume that things are about to get as thick as charcoal smoke. It is only a matter of time before the highly talented Thanakos dominates the league with his thunderous goals. Only one player has ever been known to outdo Thanakos at his own game – a player from Team Adam. But we have been told that he is sitting this out until “the appointed time”. His name is Logos; Logos Adam II. Few, including Diabolos, have actually seen him play but it is rumored that he does not prefer to wear the team’s expensive shoes, though he does not mind wearing the team colors. We can only wait for his debut in this tight game. After all, it seems coach Adam has all things well set out and does not prefer to have Logos start, though there is a contract that binds him from keeping Logos on the bench for long. Hence, we shall undoubtedly see Logos Adam II in action. Meanwhile, loyal fans are streaming in, and from the looks of it, all who come from the town of Anthropos are on Team Adam’s side. They are desperately hoping coach Adam knows what he is doing and fully support him in all his decisions. With all the bets they have placed on THEIR team winning this game, they have no other choice – after all, it is a matter of life; life and death! The dye has been cast. The day’s referee is the best in the entire world – he is called Perfection.

Let the game begin!

OF SATAN AND TRUE POWER!

The next strongest power to God is not the President of the United States or North Korea’s Supreme Leader, neither the EU nor the UN – no. It is not even your inner self and the ability to control your mind and saturate it with positive thoughts and images. Alas, it is Satan himself! Surprised? You should not be. Nevertheless, Satan remains unrecognized and unacknowledged by many and MAINLY ignored by those who have come across his name, especially amongst professing Christians. And that is exactly what he wants from us – that we may be ignorant of his schemes, and thus underestimate him. Yet, Scripture EXPLICITLY warns us against performing this subtly destructive error. How many professing Christians have unrighteously suffered simply because they erroneously thought that their paltry human power somehow exceeds that of Satan? Salvation from sin does NOT mean that we suddenly become some kind of supernatural beings with the ability to see through walls and walk on water – sadly, there are some who (mis)interpret Christianity in this way. Consider, again, that Scripture does not leave us without sufficient warning and right direction. The writer of it, Who is God the Spirit, so lays out the vast power and worlwide influence of this “lion”, prowling about ready to devour whoever stands averse to him and his ways. The word of God identifies Satan as one with such great authority that he is rightly called “the god of this world”! He stands as one with great dominion – able to “cast down a third of the host of heaven” and succeeding in his mass deception for he has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God”, even working “all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception” to finally lead them into a state of eternal ruin and endless misery. He is furthermore called “the prince of the power of the air”, and THE evil one”. In fact, Christ Jesus Himself twice identifies Satan as “the ruler of this world”! Yes, we know, for John the beloved apostle testifies thus, that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one”, that is, the whole world of unbelievers. 

Having said that, I do not wish to part with many illustrious words concerning the devil, lest I am mistakenly deemed as praising this creature, for that is still who he is – God’s creature (and moreso, God’s created tool). The triune and thrice holy God is Satan’s God – for he is no atheist, even though he is not an elect believer. Since God created this creature, his creaturely power cannot; yes, shall NEVER attain to God’s level, even though he were to deceive the entirety of this world a million times over. For the Sovereign God has not only demonstrated His infallible wisdom and infinitely greater power over Satan by turning the desperately wicked hearts of godless rebels around that we should give all glory to Him alone, but He has also altogether masterfully vanquished the poisonous effect of sin, which Satan so mercilessly set loose upon us in the Garden after mankind colluded with the deceiver (foolishly, to his own destruction). And how was this powerful salvation accomplished but that Jesus Christ, THE ALMIGHTY ONE, purchased lost; no, even dead men, reviving them once more to life; a life holy and consecrated to His eternal Father and our God. This elevated fiend; this very ancient foe, and would-be destroyer of mankind, Satan, is NO match for God, even though we, in our mere human strength, are no match for him. 

The sum of all I am trying to write is this – that it is therefore in Christ ALONE (when we have faith in Him), and not in our ignorant and Scripturally unwarranted rebukes of Satan, that he is put to flight; that the devil is put in his place as PUBLICLY DEFEATED LORD OF DOOM AND DESPAIR! It is POSITIVELY in Christ alone, Who is our eternal and living hope and never-fading strength, that we are more than conquerors – dear friends, this is our only answer to all fears and despondence and unbelief. CHRIST JESUS! Struggling with doubt, bitterness, inward pain or any other form of sin? Rebuke Satan all the day and he shall be back every time you do so; turn to Christ in faith ONCE and you shall find that “the Lord is faithful” to deliver and “He will establish you and guard you against the evil one”, for His own glory, and in accordance to His holy word. Hence, the Christian should direct his plea of deliverance to the Lord Jesus Christ (rather than to his own power of rebuking) and make his supplication known to our able and willing Lord when tempted, sometimes beyond his ability, by the evil one, all the while giving thanks to our great God and Savior ALWAYS for saving his formerly ruined soul from its natural progression towards eternal destruction and utter despair. Jesus Christ came especially to destroy the work of the devil – and He left no stone unturned, finally triumphing in His eternal victory. Powerful beyond anyone’s imagination, Christ saves to the uttermost where Satan seems to reign undisputedly. The serpent is crushed under Christ’s potent foot – and we, Christians, the Church of God, on account of our mysterious union with Him, get to share in this position of glorious dominance and only so because we are in Christ Jesus, our Head and Husband. Hence, we are commanded to NOT act ignorantly due to the witty wiles of this prince of all that is evil – we ought to put on the whole armor of God, since we believe in Him. For this reason, we must be observant and see our frailty, for we are vulnerable even to Satan, BUT we MUST to a very much higher degree see our Deliverer, Who overcame ALL for our sake and to God’s glory! Christ took on a body of flesh; of weakness and pain and thirst and hunger, one that was prone to death, so that, at the fullness of time, Christ died on a Roman cross that He might challenge death in its own backyard, and He appeared once again alive forevermore, having settled matters with His own all-powerful hands! Christ, the greater David, has cut off Goliath’s head. Sin, death, Satan – none of these have dominion or any true power over the believer any longer! Hallelujah! How can we then not rest fully in Christ’s power – in Him? O, that we might know Christ “and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death”. Let us, with the apostles and with the great choir of the redeemed, join in crying out, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Amen.

MY DAUGHTER: A Godly Woman

I wrote the following piece about one and a half years ago as I mused on how I would desire my daughter (if God were to graciously grant my wife and I such a gift) to be a godly woman. Having come so far, most assuredly by God’s grace alone, and the Lord Jesus having granted me a godly and beautiful woman, who I intend to wed in but a few days, I saw it fit to have this published here for the eyes of the world to behold the prayer of my mind. Melissa, dear, this is for us as we look forward to marriage and parenthood, God willing:

“OBSERVE the good things and those things of value, my dear; how they be hidden from sight and one has to search them out with much labor and resource. My daughter, let your conduct be so in life: combined with godliness, so shall you be the pinnacle of jewels, the crown on a wise king’s head. God holds all wisdom in His hand, yet His wisdom He has hidden from the great minds of intellectual men; to the sincerely humble, even to babes, He gives utmost understanding. Even the deepest spiritual truths, which flow from the wisdom of His inerrant counsel, does He reveal to those of a lowly and pure heart. Humility is a sure means to attain glory and the attention of God, but pride leads to humiliation. Here is a double blessing – the wise are humble; yea, the humble are wise. Even with meekness, the Lord’s inheritance is obtained.

My daughter, let your shapely frame stay hidden under the straight of your clothes (for in your youth, you shall wax as a peacock, but when evening comes [and it comes to all alike] how then shall you display the beauty of your feathers?). Why should you seek to beguile a man with your nakedness? How many a loose woman has led countless foolish souls to hell’s gate! Yes, this is the prime agency of a lack of love; for in seducing him, thy neighbor you have hated. Seek to become a beacon of life rather; and this by hiding yourself in piety – O, what beauty is to be found therein. The virgin’s grace and purity cannot be bought, neither with gold nor silver; nay, not with the rarest and most precious of gemstones. Yet, how many have given these away but for thirty pieces of coins (filthy lucre); their birthright carelessly discarded for a mere pot of lentil stew. A snare for their own souls they have become; prisoners to the dungeons of their own graves – O, the deep depravity of man; who shall tell us about it, that we might be saved? Know you not that amongst all His creatures, even amongst men, to you, O woman, has the Lord apportioned a part of glory that in the looking; at a single glance, an eye is captured in awe? Do you so despise this precious endowment from the Giver of gifts above? In His glory, God is prudent; He hides His treasures from vile men. Therefore, be like the daughter of the Most High who earnestly guards her heritage jealously, even with her own life; for in due time, God will provide its rightful possessor. O, what a great joy it shall be then!

Dear daughter, do not boast of your outward charms, nor with outward beauty seduce men of rank and wealth. The tail of your quest has a deadly sting and it is near impossible to find the right cure. In this shall your boast be, all your days – in the fear of the Lord; this shall you entrap – the wisdom that comes from God. Let your comeliness arise from a heart given to the Lord. Then your life shall extend with glory and praise; your fruit shall be everlasting. Trust in God and do that which is right.

The heart of a submissive wife is like the morning dew in the desert; a glad home she builds and what peace of mind she brings to the thoughts of her husband! With a smile this woman can calm a volcanic Lord; she is his entire pride, the wife of his bosom. The woman that has an untamed tongue is worse than a drunk man. She brings constant sorrow to the door of her house; her presence is like a resting chair that is full of thorns, like porridge that is full of distasteful lumps. Outward beauty may call a man to you, yea, charm may seduce him to your bed but immediately dawn strikes, he shall behold your undesirable shame and to avoid your shackles, you shall never see him again. My daughter, be a woman of discretion: coupled with a gentle spirit and sincere piety, this, even a mad-man considers a precious gift that has come from God Himself.”

A God of Terror!

​What is terror? What places terror in the hearts of men when they are threatened with man-made laws? What causes their minds to be without peace when they are locked in the powerful grasp of the jaws of lawful justice? Have they ever seen this law in the flesh to fear it so much — handled it with their own hands? What objective measure can the judge give to show that his judgment shall terrify the offender — and in this manner prevent offenses from being further committed on account of such edict as might be given by him? A man, naturally considered, cannot fear that which cannot harm him — he cannot fear his child’s love for him, he cannot fear prosperous progress, he cannot fear fame and proclaim, he cannot fear knowledge and intelligence, he cannot fear pleasure and bliss. Fear is a direct result of terror. Thus, logically speaking, because men are unpredictable and have a knack for doing the wrong things; an affinity to being overly mischievous (it excites them), and can unexpectedly snap under intense pressure and commit injurous and heinous deeds to others or to themselves, it is thought that laws are necessary to keep these things in check; really, to keep the men themselves under a watchful eye for the benefit of all. This is the worldly understanding of the need for laws in the land. However, the truth is that even human laws are God ordained — no just law has ever merely originated from man as its primary source. The making of man-made laws only goes further to affirm the doctrine of Imago Dei, which is a Scriptural teaching that observes how that man is made in the image and likeness of the Lord God. Man, however, can only display an outward observance of any righteousness; a form of godliness only — often, even with extreme measures being applied, mankind finds a way to corrupt true observance; a heart-following devotion to laws, even those made by and for himself. Man cannot inflict pain upon himself and is not frightened of what he can twist to his own liking and selfish benefit. Sequentially, it would then be in order to say that terror itself comes from no other quarter than from the Divine Executor of eternal torment! Do you tremble at laws enacted against murdering your enemy, or those that are enforced against armed robbery (otherwise banks would be robbed every so often)? Does a certain sense of guilt and condemnation overshadow a child who has done that which they recognize to be wrong? I submit to you that there is an even greater dread from which such fear as yours should be utterly ashamed — God Himself. The Lord God is a terror to sin and those who dwell in it! Fear God — He deserves it and, furthermore, demands it from you, O mere mortal man!

Were you to be in a scenario where you are lost in a savannah plain and then to see a mature dark-maned lion and know that it had spotted you; if that lion were to start approaching you and start running in your direction, it would be very foolish indeed to run in its direction hoping for a loving embrace from it — rather, at that very moment you would certainly know, even more than you know anything else, that the lion is coming for your throat with its bone-crushing jaws and vicious claws. This beast can only cause even the bravest of men to flee in the opposite direction — for sacred life’s sake. You can look at the approaching lion and know experientially, with all certainty in the world, what terror is without conducting any experiment — yet you want me to prove to you, by your own finite standard, that God’s wrath, the God Who you deny exists (because your carnal sight does not behold His form), is terrifying beyond measure? Why does terror create the same effect in a child as in a growing man — that of fear — yet the cause of the terror is foreign, even in the case of hosted cancer, to the person being terrified? Is it not that the foreign object of terror itself commands such an effect regardless of any inherent factors within the object being terrified? And how would you prevent a foolish child, for instance, from tempting the occurence of such an event — is it not by appealing to their inherent fear through rightly relating the true and horrifying nature of the foreign object if they were to be found in such a circumstance as to encounter it? Is it not by highlighting the intensity of the terror and its destructive nature to such a one? In the same manner, I can only logically prove my terror of God to you, not by something in me only, that is my fear of Him, but also by His own sure word to fulfill such terror upon the rebellious and the disobedient; the children of wrath. My Gospel, if it is to be true, must include the terror of God and His holy wrath against the sinner, if I am to keep Him from viewing God as anything other than the terrifying enemy He is to sin. That God saves is a calming truth of the Gospel, but the symmetrical equivalence applies to His wrath against the unbeliever — it should cause the sinner to despair of all hope in himself or anything else, other than the unmerited mercy of God Himself. The Gospel must come after the law has been unleashed in its full gear of condemnation and death toward the law-breaker. If the sinner cannot see himself hanging by a slippery thread over the very flames of eternal hell, left in his deplorable state by God, then he cannot grasp at how blessed and deep the Salvation of God has gone; how wide the chasm is between him in his state of sin and the Salvation that is only found in faith in Christ Jesus — a plunge deeper than the very depths of hell of which each human being is justly deserving. The terror of God is not thus an impediment to the Gospel, but it’s very foundation, alongside the pure and gracious love of God. 

In this day and age when God is presented as an inexperienced and weak-willed ever-smiling parent who spoils his children with all manner of goodies and has given them freedom to do whatever they themselves deem right and progressive (which is no freedom at all, but only hopeless bondage in sin); in these times when God is said to be all-love and all-inclusive and all-accepting and no terror and no judgment and no wrath whatsoever, we must be at the forefront declaring the whole counsel of the triune God, Jehovah! The thrice-holy God has declared by His own word, recorded in holy writ, that He is an ever consuming fire; a dread to all who do not know Him in righteousness and truth. He calls the elect to eternal salvation by both His fearful terror and His comforting love — to cause them to run from sin and to have them desperately and joyfully run into His shelter of mercy. Like the apostle Paul, we should also not be ashamed of this double-edged Gospel which not only saves the elect but condemns all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Happiness shall dwell with those children of God who obey His Gospel — there shall be no terror forever, for it is taken away from them by that precious blood shed by Christ Jesus on the cross at Calvary. Since, for the elect, salvation ultimately means no pain and no sorrow and no crying and no death, we can confidently assert and preach that the terror of God is what brings wailing and gnashing of teeth; that brings eternal torment; that brings intolerable sorrow and pain that shall never end; that brings the second death upon the unrighteous sinner. The terror of God is fully demonstrated in hell upon all who do not repent and believe the Lord Jesus Christ through the glorious Gospel He brought from above by His own appearing and which He preached in word and deed, dying that we might be saved from God’s terrible wrath. Praise God for Christ Jesus, Who has delivered the Christian from this terror — there is now no condemnation for us! Praise the triune Jehovah! Amen.

A Struggling Man of Faith!

​Can I be candid with you, friend? Allow me, kindly, to relate a small battle I have been (still am) engaged in. I have, very recently, been struggling with prayer. My prayer life has hit a snag and it feels as though I cannot get through; as if I keep repeating the same monotonous cry upward to God. It tempts me to give up completely; to finally cave in to my assailing anxieties. Some particular areas I have been really struggling with are these: how do I reconcile God’s sovereignty with my true desires? How can I truly and sincerely say, “Lord, may Your Sovereign will be done”, and at the same time trust in my heart that my desires, those dearest to my heart, have been well received by that same Lord Who we pray to? What if I never see the expected answer to my prayers? Are my supplications and petitions being offered in vain, then? Should I then just trust God in passivity, seeing that His will must be done, though mine does not actualize, even with my offering of prayer to Him?

These are some of the questions I find myself fighting with and struggling to understand, especially during certain periods of my life. For now, my passion for the things I used to desire has fallen to almost zero level, except for one new great passion introduced to me a few weeks ago. Life is not making it simpler — except for a certain amazing demonstration of grace that God has shown me, recently. I feel like I have reached a dead end; a wall of despair stands in my way, and I wonder whether my shouts of help can be heard on the other side. Do not get me wrong: I have not stopped having faith in God, nor do I question His benevolence. I am fully aware that the status I am in right now is all of grace: I deserve no breathe in my lungs, no extra heartbeat after I pen this, no inherent right to walk and talk and reason and see and hear and taste and touch and feel and say and write — yet, the Lord daily gives me such privileges without malice or stinginess! May the Lord be praised for His goodness and faithfulness. Amen! All these are things that we have been so used to that we, many times, ungratefully expect and implicitly demand them of God — O, may we never grow used to God’s grace and mercy. None deserves these things and more that the Lord freely gives — no one can call these things “rights” in the presence of the thrice-holy God. Hence, dear reader, do not confuse my questions for apathy in theology or a deliberate effort to deny the goodness of God’s grace in our lives. Yes! I am fully aware that God is good and gracious to us, every single passing day! Yet, I find myself asking these questions numerously; becoming anxious for these matters. I do not say this to excuse myself, but because it has to be stated — I am a burdened man because I am simply a man. 

Prayer is a holy privilege where the Almighty One has opened the door of His holy ears to receive our unworthy praise and to graciously consider our cries directed to Him — and He answers our prayers; that fact I cannot, in the least bit, deny. The Lord Himself taught us how to pray, how not to pray, and to patiently expect our heavenly Father to answer our prayers willingly, even joyfully. He commanded us not to be anxious for anything, and showed us by His own example that prayers offered to God are to be done in faith, and that we are to be content with His answer, knowing it is for His glory and our benefit. He assures us that our Heavenly Father is not indifferent towards even our basic needs that are necessary for life, seeing that He provides all things providentially for all creation. Prayer does bring assurance to the life of a believer, and it increases reliance on God’s ability and willingness to bless His creation and to align our desires according to His will. On our part it is a discipline that ought to be done delightfully, considering the One to Whom we pray and His glorious nature. This does not mean we cannot ask some of these questions, yet we should be quite careful about what we ask and how we ask it — always consider that the Lord is holy and gracious; always consider that we are undeserving of His goodness and what we deserve has not been fully meted on us. We should strive to seek God’s will by returning to His revelation, found only in His holy word; the holy Scriptures. Herein we find written solace for our wondering minds and our questioning hearts — and our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is strengthened and our fears quelled. It is from this source of peace that a very dear soul, seeking to alleviate my worries, reminded me of David’s written words, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” The “why” is so appropriately answered by the “hope”; that we are ever to trust in God! My prayer is that this assurance which is found in hope, through prayer to Him Who hears the deep inexpressible groanings of our heart, would be fulfilled in me, leading me to praise Him Who died that His Church might live. I pray, as well, that it might be fulfilled in any other believer who is struggling with anxiety today. May the Lord Jesus Christ, our great Mediator Who ever lives to make intercession for us, be praised for His goodness, and for giving the undeserving, like me, the privilege to state our desires to Him, ask our questions with liberty, and to thank Him for His righteousness and His grace. Soli Deo Gloria!