Friday, August 14, 2009

Week 3: Better Bible Bashing


INTRO

William Blake, the artist poet mystic, conceives of God as marking out the heavens like a designer, using the compass of his own hand.
William Blake BBs through art, adopting ideas, like God creating and pre-existing the world. "Ancient of Days" is a name of God in the bible book of Daniel. Sometimes labelled a madman, consensus calls him enlightened or genius.

William Blake, The Ancient of Days, 1794

See: William Blake at The National Gallery of Art




















We all use the bible- and so does Satan. To do better BB, you gotta know the B. To get the big picture and learn from the best, maybe that "Shepherd" from last week. Being from one Shepherd, the bible has a consistent message from the beginning to the end. But what is that message ? And how is this continuity possible ? The bible explains:
  • For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
  • But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
So the whole bible is one story, written by people, inspired by The One Same Holy Spirit. If people were acting alone, they would probably preach a period version of, "drugs, sex, money and rock n roll," or what was popular, to bolster their pride and lusts. Instead the big picture of the bible speaks about God and our need and failure to love Him and others. With this truth, it is the Spirit who gives understanding of the bible itself, and remembrance of Jesus' words. The Spirit's "weapon" is also God's words:
...The sword of the Spirit is The Word of God (maybe as recorded in the bible) (Ephesians 6:17)
So the bible is not only inspired, reflecting God's mind and heart with one message, its words are also His key tool. The message might be seen in its predictions through prophecy and the fulfillment of these later. But the underlying theme, I think: is God saving us from ourselves giving Him the finger. Sin is just another way of saying, I give God the finger.

Bomb Finger, Tech Guerilla Marketing Gone Wrong


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Being Saved from Giving God the Finger

Of His own task recorded in the bible Jesus bible bashed saying: He came to give life in abundance (John 10:10), His life for our sins (John 1:29, Matthew 20:28), to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10, Matthew 18:11). As God, demonstrating His nature and love (John 14:9). We must understand that like any lover, we really anger our God, when we treat Him poorly. Mars Hill Church describes it comprehensively, see: Christ on the Cross 7. God proved His love for us on the cross:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
According to the bible, we treat our God with arrogance and hate and deserve to die for it. We preach that we should be judged with the same standard we judge others that we reap what we sow, or that we should be treated the same way we treat God, yet for so many of us, including Christians, we treat God as if He is dead, surely we deserve to die:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)
The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. (Ezekiel 18:20)

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves;their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:10-18)

Though week three is verbose. Jesus showed how simple the gospel can be. He even summed up the law from 100s of commands to just two or three as only God can in His infinite wisdom.
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
(John 15: 12-13)
The Glory of God and Jesus as God is revealed in Jesus' prayer, probably overheard by John:
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:1-5)
Through Jesus and The other part of God He sent we have reources to save and protect our soul now and eternally. We also have a Lord that listens through the Spirit, who intercedes for us with Him, who also lives within each believer:
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8:27)

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you ? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
All of this is accessed through Jesus taking what we deserve on the cross and being a disciple of Him. The concept of a "scapegoat" comes from the Bible, Jesus is like our scapegoat by choice and love, when He takes our sin on the cross.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the the Father except through me (John 14:6)
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Once saved, we can still grieve God
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)
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Continuity by Jesus' Genealogy

Continuity of one story between the books of the bible and between the New and Old Testaments, is sometimes seen in past prophecies being fulfilled later on.
A "Jesse Tree" (below) describes the lineage of Abraham to Jesse to Jesus, as expressed in Matthew's gospel, Chapter 1. This is viewed as one fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy:

Jesse Tree from Capuchin's Bible, c. 1180





















A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord—and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. (Isaiah 11:1-5)
Other prophecy in Isaiah regarding Jesus includes:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Means God with Us). (Isaiah 7:14)
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Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 is seen as a direct reference to Jesus, His life and work on the cross, healing us of sin, judge for yourself:
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
The Good Shepherd, an image of Jesus and David





















We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he
poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Marc Chagall, Isaiah's Prayer, 1931-1939



















Luke's gospel traces Jesus' genealogy right back to Adam and Eve. See: Luke 3:21
Can we say then that the bible is all about Jesus ?
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"God is Dead
"
One of the craziest and funniest 3D CGI cartoons is Tripping the Rift . In episode 1, it takes on God like John Safran with crayons. It basically asks what the universe would be like if "God is Dead," like Nietzsche who wrote for his character:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? (Nietzsche: The Madman, 1882)























The words are deeply insightful. The bible says Jesus' death and blood saves us, a sacrifice once and for all. We are so valuable, and worth the life of God's own Son. This is the basic message of the bible. The Madman though values the "death of God" that we must become god's because of the magnitude of the great deed. Sadly this is true, anybody who rejects God is asserting themself as superior, or greater than God. The quote misses that the death of God is a free gift, the bible also says Jesus is alive and can be known personally today:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)

...suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:4-8)

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20)

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)
Nietzsche hints that we have killed God. Yes we can, in our own minds, even as a society. The book of Hebrews says this even for Christians:
...if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace (Hebrews 6:6)
Doesn't mean He's dead ! Nietzsche certainly died though in 1900.

Nietzche 1882


















The challenge though, is God dead or alive for us ? Maybe we are more than bible bashers, part of a world held together by God too. Episode 1 is called: God is my Pilot, illustrating a world without God.



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Who or What Is My Pilot

It's not for children, or the conceptually challenged : )







Episode 1, says that without the devil, evil wouldn't exist. Yet like Chode demonstrates, once you got it, you got it and its catching. The bible says, we are just as responsible for evil as the Devil and there are very real consequences in this life and the next:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 7:13-18)
At the same time, we are battling with powerful spiritual forces, who are at war with us.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
There is always a choice to follow God, Satan and demons, idols or self. Maybe four ways to live.
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Satan vs Jesus- A Face Off

If you want to learn from the best, maybe the sneakiest bible basher is Satan himself, (aka: The Devil, The Slanderer, Accuser, The Author of Lies or The Serpent). The Devil is someone who knows God, the bible even speaks of demons knowing God:
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good ! Even the demons believe and they shudder (James 2: 18-19).
Ary Scheffer's The Temptation of Christ, 1884
















After Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit, Satan tempts a physically weakened Jesus using a bible text, See: The Temptation of Christ. In this face off, Jesus models better bible bashing. Jesus outbashes Satan's bible knowledge, also quoting His bible knowledge in its bigger true context. Jesus also shows how to read and use the bible here. The face off in the gospels of Matthew, and Luke goes like this:
The Spirit led Jesus to the desert to be tempted by the devil, fasting for 40 days and nights
Satan says: If you are the Son of God, turn this stone into bread
Jesus replies: Man does not live on bread alone (This comes from Deuteronomy 8:3 in the
context of the Hebrews in the wilderness)

Devil led Jesus up, showing Him all the kingdoms of the world
Satan says: I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.
Jesus Replies: It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only(This comes from Deuteronomy 6:13 in the context of loving God)

Devil led Jesus to Jerusalem to highest point of the temple
Satan says: If you are the Son of God, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' (Psalm 91:11-12)
Jesus Replies: It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'
(This comes from Deuteronomy 6:16 where Israel is reminded of How they asked if the Lord was there or not, in Exodus 17:7)

Satan leaves











Notice how with every temptation, Jesus counters with a passage which glorifies God. While it seems like Satan is just tempting Jesus with desire for power and pride for Jesus, Satan is tempting Jesus to be obedient and glorify Satan himself, Jesus points out that Satan is lying, countering His challenge with the bible, making a point of it "Do not put the Lord your God to the test." In another place, the bible explains Jesus' aims in the world:
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”... I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life...For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through
him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:5-18)
God (The Spirit) has led Jesus to the desert to fast as well. To do some "breakfast alchemy" on the stones, Jesus would bend to Satan's will, placing Jesus (God) under Satan, making Satan a false God. Jesus would also have become an idol worshipper, as an idol is any false God, basically anything we put first or prioritise in life above God is worshipped and is an idol- our gods. Check out: Rosner 2006.

This face off reminds me of the face off, between Bob Dylan and John Lennon. After Bob Dylan wrote the song, "You Gotta Serve Somebody," John Lennon wrote a song, "You Gotta Serve Yourself." Dylan risked his music career, when he announced his new found faith in Jesus Christ, exemplified in songs like "Saved," my favourite gospel song. Check it out:Lyrics, Itunes.

Bob Dylan, Toronto April, 1980














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Why Bible Bash ?

The bible is written by inspiration, its what God wants to tell us and learn with. The Spirit's purpose is reflected in the "usefulness" of the "Bible," inspired by the Spirit or Counselor Himself. Jesus says of the Spirit:
“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will

convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the

Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”(John 16:5-16)

Paul advises Timothy on the roles of the bible:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(
2 Timothy 3-14-17)
Righteousness in Greek means "tendency." In the bible it is so tied to justice that it like the tendency to be just, or being just. Its not good enough to know, but to be, be real.

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God Hates Idols

The Bible says a lot about what God hates and what He likes.
God especially hates Idol worship- idolatory:

Giovanni Tiepolo, Rachel Hiding Idols from Laban, 1726-29













  • Images of things: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. (Deuteronomy 5:8-9; Exodus 20:5)
  • Greed is idolatory: Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
  • Arrogance as idolatory: For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. (1 Samuel 15:23)
  • To Demons: Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. (1 Corinthians: 10:19-20)
Paul Preaching in Athens on Mars Hill at the Areopagus















  • What Idols are not: ...Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?" The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else

    From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not th
    ink that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”(Acts 17 excerpts)
God is jealous a key reason why he hates idols, see the first bible passage. Like a wife or husband who gets jealous over their partner checking someone out, their "idol." God gets jealous of us, giving glory to things that take away from His relationship with us. Idols are also stupid in the bible as they are dead and made things, despite the value we give them, they are false gods.
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God also Hates...

So God hates idols. But what else ? God hates:
  • Divorce & Violent Disposition: I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. (Malachi 2:16)
  • Six Things: There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
  • "Worldliness": Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
God's hatred for these things, comes from His burning love for love us, he is jealous for our love. Jesus shows that a key to understanding scripture, is to teach us that only glory should be given to God and primarily to Jesus Christ. Even the scripture itself, if worshipped can be an idol, see: Bibliolatory. Many call the bible the Word of God, or God's words, see: The Bible isn't the Word of God, but contains God's words. Still people call the bible "God's Word" as we accept that its words are from God. We just need to remember it points to actions and a real love for God outside itself. Keep in mind though, God's word/s are eternal. I like the King James Version on these:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23)

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The Big Picture

The Bible's consistency is seen in many areas. These are listed below with key scriptures.

God's nature is love, and desiring our love, even demonstrated in His anger and jealousy. Love is defined in scripture too:
  • Whoever does not love does not know God...And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. (1 John 4: 8-17)
  • If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:3-13)




















God has always been a saviour, even Jesus means saviour.

  • ...to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore ! Amen. (Jude 1:25)
  • But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phillipians 3:20)
  • "But I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me (Hosea 13:4)
  • I even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour (Isaiah 43:11)
Since the insightful yet ludicrous bible bashing film Dogma, "Buddy Jesus" has been portrayed everywhere. While the film also portrayed an almost sickly version of Jesus too, with much power, Buddy Jesus gives the illusion of a happy cool with it American dude. The bible actually says Jesus was a man of great love, compasssion, sorrow, who possessed great peace power and passion for His father YHWH, God, and obedience to His Father's will.



















  • Love does no harm to its neighbour (Including God maybe). Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10)
  • I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me (Proverbs 8:17)
  • If you love those who love you, what reward will you get ? Are not even the tax collectors doing that ? (Matthew 5:46)
  • Greater man has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13)
  • But God demonstrated His love for us in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
  • You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5)
  • My son do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
  • He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
  • At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew11:25-30)
  • A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4)
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12 The Beatitudes)

Geerten tot Sint Jans, Christ the Man of Sorrows, after 1486















The story of our hearts, forgiveness and hypocrisy:
  • For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive you (Matthew 6:14-15)
  • For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:2)
  • ...never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures as I have done. (Genesis 8:21)
  • The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it ? (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery (Mark 7:21)
  • The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with Israel and with the house of Judah...it will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers..."I will put my law in their minds and and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people...they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
  • I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatory and witchcraft, hatred, dicord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambion, dissentions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self control, against such there is no law (Galatians 5:19-23)
Jesus has always been there and part of a Triune God
  • The name and nation Israel comes from a person after fighting physically with Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32)
  • God as a person walked with Enoch- possibly literal, but maybe figurative too (Genesis 5:18-24)
  • God spoke face to face with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3)
  • God as Jesus spoke to Saul, after which he was converted to become God's Apostle to the Gentiles, changing his name to Paul (Acts 9)
  • God spoke face to face with Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:12)
  • Jesus spoke face to face throughout the Gospels
  • A resurrected Christ spoke to many (See: WikiAnswers)
  • In Visions like that to St John of Patmos (Revelation 1:12-20)
  • It still happens today
Blood and Sacrifice is viewed as the way for sin to be forgiven and released from, so that we can have peace with God and grow in Him too through the Spirit. It follows that the blood of Christ was shed, His life for ours, our sin being passed onto Him on the cross, through faith once and for all, the new covenant (agreement/mutual promise) of a relationship with God through the forgiveness of our sins. What Jesus did for us is embodied in Leviticus 16.
  • In fact the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22)
  • The Passover Lamb in the Exodus (Exodus 12)
  • Blood is life (Leviticus 17:11)
  • Christ's sacrifice to end sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews 10:1-18)
  • The time is coming declares the Lord, "when I will make a covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah31:31)
  • Jesus Blood Covenant replaces Leviticus Blood Covenant (Hebrews 8:13)
  • In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 Corinthians 11:25)
Yet it is sincerity and truth that is most important, even sincere faith in the truth of Jesus and His sacrifice.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me...Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness...You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it, you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart, O God you will nor despise. (Psalm 51:10-17)

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Bible Philosophy Homework:

1. Can you think of 10 other quotes from scripture that are used in our every day lives.
2. Nietzsche says the absence of God's morality, given He is dead, is Nihilism, and suggests humans have to find themselves without God. But wouldn't humans then naturally fall into their human nature and destroy each other and their world even more ? Ask yourself, what is the source of true morality ?
3. The following scripture describes the last days:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Do you think this is what a Godless world would look like ? Why or why not ?
How is it that if God keeps the world, such things can happen ?


Next Week: Bash God or Bash Sin ? Spiritual Empathy to take and give love. Obey BahBah or BlaBla ? How to read the bible better.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 2: Types of Bible Bashing

INTRO

Well birthday bashes (as in punches: See: Birthday Punches at Wikipedia) were always a fun and loving part of birthdays as a kid. It is in the attempts to avoid them and also the expectation. This with going to Maccas for a Happy Meal and friends. I sort of understand why you don't do it, if you have lots of friends (especially big ones, or sisters- trust me) and you get older, you might end up with lots of bruises or a concussion. While the bible claims to generally be from God, speaking through people. You might want to avoid His bashes, as the whole power behind the universe is behind His punch. Yet when we look at His perfect likeness, as seen in Jesus, His idea of a bible bash is quite different to ours.

Birthday Punches Not for the faint hearted.













The Bible does say a wise person thinks about death, yet Ecclesiastes says even wisdom might be meaningless as we cannot understand everything.


While the God in the bible holds the whole power of the universe in His punch, He seems to love and serve us (we're still here). Our thinking seems so different from God's, which might be abnormal, alien or weird. But then, if we really lived by our own standards, we'd also probably be dead, we're pretty hard on ourselves and each other. And there it is, we fail to live to any standard including God's. The bible might tell us what God's standard is, if we look and how to meet it, what might otherwise seem impossible.
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On Kid's Bible Bash Music

To understand this different and amazing God of the bible, we need to start with the basics of bible bashing, we can go back to the beginning, like bible kindergarten.

Yes ! I was a Sunday School kid, very sad I know, learning about the bible before church. Kids bible songs are cool though, like: "Father Abraham had many sons" and "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." I love Colin Buchanan stuff, "we like sheep have gone astray bah bah doobahbah...and the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all sin." Check out: Isaiah 53:6 . I love this Aussie jingle bells song . Ok, for those who wagged Sunday school (you may or may not regret it after these) links and music videos:

Sunday School Songs at e-bible teacher

Kitties sing JoyJoyJoy





































But what about Bible bashing ? The Americans never fail to disappoint. For kids, and others, Bible Bash is the latest word for church. David Cook writes Beach Boyesque lyrics (sort of):

Splish, splash, it’s a Bible bash.
Gonna have fun in the Son—God’s Son!
The words of our Father
Are flowing like water,
So we oughta ride the wave of God’s love!

It even has sheet music and other verses.

Check out the Splish Splash Video
I think I get "Spirit Fingers" now from the film Bring it On



















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Immersed in Bible Bashing

The number of types of bible bashing, shows the many ways the bible can be used. There are so many ways it is re-contextualised. Many of our sayings, come from it, here are some examples of how average people bible bash without knowing it:
  • ...Who can straighten what he (God) has made crooked ?... (Ecclesiastes 7:13)- (Gattaca)
  • ...there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
  • ...there is a time for everything... (Ecclesiastes 3)
  • ...all come from dust and to dust they return... (Ecclesiastes 3:20)
  • The end of a matter is better than its beginning...(Ecclesiastes 7:8)
  • ...eat drink and be glad (merry)... (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
  • ...time and chance happen to them all (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
  • What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again (Ecclesiastes 1:9)- (Same as "history repeats" or "history works in cycles")
  • ....Wisdom is better than strength (Ecclesiastes 9:16)
  • ...but money is the answer for everything. (Ecclesiastes 10:19)
  • ...with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge the more grief. (Inverted this is ignorance is bliss). (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
  • Better one hand with tranquility than two hands with toil (Ecclesiastes 4:6)
This is from just one of the 66 sub-books in the (Protestant Bible); Ecclesiastes.
See: Bible Gateway Ecclesiastes
Biblos.com Ecclesiastes


Biblos.com is such a great bible bash !















In Australia, we are drowned in a culture that uses bible verses continually. Unfortunately because these excerpts (bits) are taken out of context, they generally don't point to God, or even their original context, in day to day living.

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The Bible Has Bash

The bible basher in Ecclesiastes is Qohelet (the assembler), identified in Ecclesiastes as most likely Solomon by clear hints like "The Son of David" (Ecclesiastes 1:1). He repeats: "everything is meaningless a chasing after the wind (not fart- but why not ?)." While all is meaningless, this seems to refer to people's schemes, and their fruit, which gets them nowhere but death, injustice, suffering and more meaninglessness. Quohelet says:
This only have I found:
God made man upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:29)
Was Solomon just being honest and real ? If we are honest, his observations might be very real in our own lives. With all our wisdom, knowledge and insight, what really happens ? According to Solomon, what drives our schemes, ambitions:
And I saw that all labour and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbour. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon by Sir Edward John Poynter (1890)
Solomon is considered the wisest person who may ever have lived (1 Kings 10:23) One of few people God spoke to face to face. Renowned for wealth, power, building the first temple in Jerusalem and having 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomon was no inexperienced nobody.

















When we take an honest look at ourselves and our world, we may become skeptical, cynical or negative, bitter and twisted. Otherwise we live with this tortured smile of denial, where we have to have happy happy joy joy, despite the pressure of a mortgage, the suffering of our decaying body, management of sin and conflict, the norm of our daily lives. The book has a conclusion which explains the negativity. This epilogue may give the whole book its context and meaning, at least from the author's perspective:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and Keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whet
her it be good or evil (note: judgment refers to judging whether something is good as well) (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Solomon's Dream by Luca Giordano (1693)
Solomon's Dream in 1 Kings 3:5-15 repeated in 2 Chronicles 1:7-13 is the point where God blesses him with wisdom, riches, honor and all Solomon requests. All this because instead of asking for riches, long life or the death of his enemies, Solomon asked God for the wisdom to rule God's people with justice and discernment to know right from wrong.

















Check out Solomon at Wikipedia
Check Out Solomon at Quartz Hill
World Mystery Archeology and Solomon
Set of Solomon Links

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Solomon's Conclusion ?

So Solomon's bible bash might be summed up (for me): "Our schemes under this sun, are meaningless, eternally fruitless and negative, according to one wise guy (not wiseguy). So fear, revere and serve God, and don't let meaningless schemes and thinking, detract away from this purpose for which we were created."

You might come up with another summary. This is the point, to read personally with an open and critical mind. So take it or leave it, the bible is there and permeates our culture. We bash with it, in so many ways, some known, some unknown, even if we are not Christians.

Just before His epilogue. Solomon says:
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings, like firmly embedded nails- given by one Shepherd. Be warned my son of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12)
These "words of the wise" or "collected sayings" might be a good description of the bible. At some point we have to decide what we will believe and whether we will follow it. This from a soup of books, ideas, teachers, family and wisdom, to which there is no end. And we need to ask, like Solomon, whether what we do has true meaning. We might ask, who is the "one Shepherd" in the passage ? Is it wisdom, is it God ? Is it God, because He is the only source of true wisdom ? And what is a shepherd ? Who is the character that protects the sheep, and keeps them in His protection, in the fold ? Psalm 23 might answer this, written by Solomon's father David, known as a shepherd. But the shepherd has a shepherd:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
Maybe we should just honor God, The Great Shepherd, accepting what He gives us on our plate (our life) His provision, correction, truth and love, and enjoy this grace to us.


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A Definition of Bible Bashing

Bible Bashing is any use of the bible or what it contains and represents. "Any use" entails various motives, functions and actions in the adoption of bible content. There are three types of bible bashing so far:
  • A bible bash is where two or more meet around the bible to discuss, present, seek or rejoice in its truth, in Jesus name (recommendation). Might be like the scripture, where two or more are gathered in my name, I'll (Jesus) be there. See: Matthew 18:20
  • The second form is bible bashing, where people use the bible to bash sin in their own lives or God uses it to bash sin generally. Might be like, trampling the serpent. See: 2 Timothy 3:16
  • The third form is "bashing the bible," where people misuse the bible to bash God or Jesus more than they already do, or just ignore the context of its words in irreverence to God.
Bible Bashing at The Punch "Australia's Best Conversation."
The Source Article: News.com.au















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Sunday School Homework : )

Given the theme of going back to kindergarten earlier. Ask yourself:
1. Is the "Brick Testament," (see last week) a good representation of the Bible's content ?
2. In what ways (if any) does the "Brick Testament" fail to represent the scriptures faithfully (if at all) ?

Next week: Effective Bible bashing ! How to do Bible bashing Better.