One Thing – Yes or no

The “one thing” interest of the New Testament times seeker was not entirely illogical; it was also reasonable.  Neither is Paul’s one thing one of the hyperbolic sayings: all thing, one thing, etc.  There really is a one thing, but there never was one thing that a man could do to get life.  In the light of the burdens imposed by the Mosaic tradition one naturally, I think, yearns to be be free.  Of course, and there is the jubilee.  Adam, by contrast, had one prohibition.The “one thing” interest of the New Testament times seeker was not entirely illogical; it was also reasonable.  Neither is Paul’s one thing one of the hyperbolic sayings: all thing, one thing, etc.  There really is a one thing, but there never was one thing that a man could do to get life.  In the light of the burdens imposed by the Mosaic tradition one naturally, I think, yearns to be be free.  Of course, and there is the jubilee.  Adam, by contrast, had one prohibition.  At the core of our chaos is the proposition that Christ is Lord.  Just him.

The people who sat in darkness are expected to rise up when the light enters their space.  They are expected to renounce – like garbage or dung – the previous darkness and every appearance of its badness.  To do so, the contemporaries of John the Baptist and Yeshua were squeezed between the scant knowledge they had of God’s Law and the prophetic teaching (and the scribes were not the best facilitators of knowledge dissemination) and the relief that the Saviour offered in word and deed.  They faced accusations of abandoning Moses and the patriarchal traditions.  A tiny remnant was graced to see the light and rise up.  The rest were blinded.  We know little of the pressures the first disciples faced and we dare to cling to what they had to discard.  None of the wise men, kings or prophets, are equipped to speak as Yeshua is.  Ask Moses!  Ask John!

All eyes on Yeshua

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deut 18:18,

And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. John 1:21,

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. John 6:14,

 

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. Acts 3:22, And it shall come to pass, [that] every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Acts 3:23,

 

So in what way can we say we have accepted our separation from the prison of the Law when we claim that it is our moral guide?  Here is another case of God approving something for which we have created a mantra “God hates divorce”.

 

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? Rom 7:1, For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to [her] husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of [her] husband. Rom 7:2, So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Rom 7:3, Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [even] to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Rom 7:4,

We come to Christ with no claim to circumcision or uncircumcision (Jewish or not).  We are all dead people who need life.  Did we start with Chrust from dead?   Yes or no.

 

CONNECTING WITH THE CROSS

Yes or no.

As far as looking forward is concerned we have no narrative or clear teaching that allows us to say that the ancients actively looked forward to the person we know as Messiah Yeshua. In fact we have evidence that people in antiquity who wrote, spoke, and lived the truth did not even know what they were writing about, and some were even unaware of divine mercy to all people. They had several covenants to pay attention to, they had the exhortation of prophets, the leadership of kings and priests, all comprising a very full plate without the conflicting hope of the One who would cut down the crowding weed, and plant trees that sing out at the presence of Yahweh (1 Chro. 16:33) The Lord gets his glory by planting his own trees, trees of righteousness, individuals, not any group (Isaiah 61:3). We can say that a future event fires our thoughts and actions but it is only our cross-connected now that assures us of lamp, light, and fuel.
Looking back calls for some reality checks: the start, the process, the destination. These position the reader, for example:

  1. to relate to Genesis as the database for where the roots of humanity’ are socially, spiritually, internationally, and election (enter Abram).
  2. to relate to Exodus as a record of salvation and covenant (enter Bne Yisrael)
  3. to relate to Numbers as the picture of the journey of the chosen people
  4. to relate to Leviticus as the instructions about how to approach God (enter priesthood and invitation), ark means come boldly
  5. to relate to Deuteronomy as the picture of the page-turning instructions about journey and rest

The kings and historical books have their unique place as examples of global governance in defiance of past and present graces.  The prophets are the witness to the grace and insistence of God in pursuing people to pay attention to agrewed upon business
So in looking back there is good reason to connect with relevant matters. People have chosen various ancient practices as foundations for our times. The ratiional that first must be first is hollow, because we know that change follows discovery, and discovery stirs growth.
There are pictures of Christ all over the Old Testament, and my interest goes beyond his teaching, because much of that has to do with Jews and Jewish religion.  My interest looks past the commandments to the promises, because they give life.  I look past all the messengers to hear the Risen Lord himself speak.  I thank God to have rescued me from several devilish snares.  These snares include:

DIET: vegetarian (Genesis 1 ignoring Genesis 9), the proposition that the priests are probably supposed to reckoned as handicapped because they consumed a great deal of animal flesh, roasted and boiled is not sustainable.
FORBIDDEN MARRIAGES: (Genesis 24, 25, 28, and 34, ignoring Ruth and Rahab Jacob’s and Isaac’s marriages), marriages within one’s clan (Isaac and Jacob), Moses is the child of an aunt Exo. 6:20, [later prohibited Lev. 18:14, with dire consequence Lev. 20:20], Since marriages between saved and unsaved are unavoidable prohibitions against marriage are inappropriate. The sanctified spouse is a loving bridge for the unsaved partner.
QUASI-HEALTHFUL LIVING in Exodus. 15:26 and Leviticus 11, (ignoring Lev. 11:24, Lev. 11:25, Lev. 11:27, Lev. 11:28, Lev. 11:31, Lev. 11:32, Lev. 11:39, Lev. 11:40 which show that this kind of uncleanness is not guilt requiring remission. Attaching a perfect medical exam to perfect compliance with the law is more bondage than anyone can reasonably undertake,, and unreasonable, since Christ heals without strings and often with a word, in addition to the intrinsic mechanism of repar and restoration in the human body.
TEMPLE and TABERNACLE THEOLOGY: Christ is the reality of atonement: he is priest, sacrifice, mercy-seat, lamp, incense-prayer facilitator. It all points to the cruciform Christ, not to the tabernacle items and process.

Skipping lightly over the Book of Hebrews’ proposition and elevating the temple and ritual are irresponsible choices. Christ eclipses all the messengers. The writer of Hebrews is quite kind and dispassionate. He simply contrasts the ancient messengers and the ancient means with the contemporary Son of God. Our Lord himself is more transparent. He says that all who ever came before him were thieves and robbers. John’s vision is about heavenly realities (not types) and the city that is to come. There is no temple that is not Christ himself.  Even the temple’s veil meets its end in Christ’s flesh and exposed as defunct at his death.

Bullying the disciples did not work in the first century. Another Pharisee revolt from Christ in the 21st century is in full swing. It is coming with a new ugliness, that does not shy away from putting Christ off to the side to pursue demonic doctrines. They desperately try to prove that everything in the Bible is all good, convert you to their outdated practices and discredited heroes, then they pronounce you saved.  Once you have committed yourself to the Bib el they can terrorize you with whatever kindergarten and human convention – eat, drink, clothing – they have chosen.  So we  ask “Good for what?”

We should not even be talking about physical exercise, much less diet.  One can hardly pick up the diet torch without drilling down into other xenophobic follies.   If the righteousness is a Pharisee version – Moses, don’t touch, taste or handle – then Christ ahs brought something that exceeds that, and  one should run for one’s life.   There is an invention, a  substititute, for every ancient commandment of human scope.  One should not be surprised to hear them have an antitype to circumcision.  Ultimately we are intensely interested in the Bible.  Do we need to depend on it? Yes or no.  Is it all good for salvation? Yes or no.
What would be the point of Chrisians devoting themselves to study without a goal, namely to find the footprints and promises of our Lord Yeshua?   It is not through commandments that we work out our kingdom connections, but through promises.

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2Pet 1:4,

 

Next – The One Thing in the New Testament

 

 

Money answers everything

Yes or no.  Prosperity preachers can say “Money answers to everything” until the islands flee away; money will not register in the real world of Truth and Life. In fact, we have seen how the church idolizes the rich instead of warning them about the difficulty of finding the way to the kingdom. This money message is an example of how a standard of the secular world, which is the domain attached to Solomon’s wisdom, gets a seat at the Messianic table. The poor still gets despised when what really works is the embrace of Father-love. We harass the lost with our particular doctrines instead of engaging in a sincere show and tell of the Saviour’s excellence (1 Peter 2:9). Mammon or man do not deserve that honour.
Confused about life and death?

Entities are either dead or alive. Only God is eternal. Immortality must be a gift if man possesses it. God’s ability to create and annihilate is not in question. We recognize that both the unseen and the seen facets of a person can be destroyed in fire. The wind, the desires of the human heart, the pain of loss and bereavement are all unseen, but are not eternal. There is is no eternal human. We all die. We are all dead. Adam needed exactly what we need: someone to care for him. Immortality then, coming to light through the Gospel, is that most precious gift that represents what we “look like” when grace is done with us.   God does not take back his gifts.

Fire will consume both men and angels.  In particular we have not seen where immortality is not God’s gift with which he complements his creation’s new mind with a body like Christ’s. The renewed person has the mind of Christ, which is practically access to a fruity lifestyle (Gal. 5:22) and humble service (1 Cor. 12:18-13:13). No-one would dare to debate the fact of a new person: new thinking and standing, new desires and work. The new person is a work in progress, growing in grace, and awaiting the crown of life, immortality.   Hence a converted person is a new process, not a product, a new creation, not a new creature.

As Christ’s sheep we have become familiar with truth. We hear his voice and will not follow another (John 10:5). This is an important part of our safety. Hearing that voice must certainly mean seeing him in the story. Sadly, in our stories, we are discovering versions of the Gospel.  Both the learned person and the unlearned are increasingly in a position to muddy the waters and trample the grass the sheep need.  There is only one gospel.
It is becoming more and more of a torture routine to find out what straight lines believers have that connect them with saving realities.  Many people find themselves unable to say the obvious without embellishing.  The simple truth, Christ died, Christ rose, is sufficient.  There is no duty to polish up the perfect. But the witness who thinks that he or she needs to update the gospel with a biblical hook other than cross-glory is merely putting up a fig-leag to cover his orientation and knowledge.  This is like putting up our money after the sales clerk says “Your bill is paid in full”.
After having four witness in the gospels, (not two or three!), tell us that Christ preached, taught, and kept his head down until his time came to die, we recognize that a gospel that puts money at the centre, or Law and prophets on the lampstand, is not even good storytelling.

So our looking back connects us with happening things, things tethered to God’s eternal mind.  Christian looking back to the Cross is looking at now in its most dynamic face.

Yes or no; old or new?

More often than not an issue can be resolved with a yea or nay, and in that regard the Lord’s instruction about good communication comes is a fine place to settle our minds. There are two pressures that drive biblical interpretation and application as we seek for answers. The pressures seem to come from a backward look, which is the essential orientation of Christian theology. We look back to the cross and our looking forward is for the happy hope of the swallowing up of death. Looking back also comes in the form of viewing the first things, the things in antiquity, with a view to retrieving past glory. This includes pressures to reconstruct all the types and symbols. Reconnecting with the original is a necessary occupation since, after all, restoration is the rational for divine intervention in every age. However, since no-one has seen the destination, we cannot find an adequate declaration of its character in Scripture either. The goal of global salvation is not to restore Eden. It is the beginning of the new creation. Our response to his offer is a simple yes or no.

Long answers are questionable where a simple yes/no is indicated. Buts, ifs, and maybes often overshoot the question. As Christians we have been oriented to truth. While people pose reasonable questions about Christ’s message and teaching, his salvation needs no question. What question should we be asking the man in the lifeboat before accepting his rescue? Is Yeshua Salvation? Is Torah Instruction?

What about gold, silver, and precious things?

The factors that made the temple in Jerusalem a den of thieves (as far back as Isaiah’s days) instead of a house of prayer have poisoned the proceedings in most churches. At the point – the jubilee -where people should have been about the means to a sustainable livelihood, the priests could be found plotting to acquire property of widows and orphans. The gold and silver, even in the temple, are mere things, though put on a pedestal by the temple authorities, are not to be compared with the life/death of Christ.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; 1Pet 1:18, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1Pet 1:19,

The Christian’s  backward look connects with an eternal platform:

salvation by Lamb’s Blood

Faith opens the door to realities that are beyond human ability, understanding and knowledge.

Next———————— Money answers everything

FATHER, Missing in the HOOD

One of the strangest titles of the Saviour is everlasting father. Strange, because he is Son. He can be whatever he wants, including dead on our behalf. Father is a Christian power-word. It is how we think of God. It is how we address him. The fatherhood or motherhood of God is however not in question. His names do not reflect fatherhood except as source, but parent is missing from the divine revelation until we come to Christ’s message.

God is not averse to being father to those who have none. In fact, his interest shows that he will take the place of both parents. He pictures himself as mother-(hen).

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Ps 27:10

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not! Matt 23:37

The God of the Hebrews did not present his relationship to the individuals of the Sons of Israel at Sinai. The seventy elders represented the families. The promises to Abraham included no provision of individual sonship, but the seed promise (Gen. 12:3 , Gen. 22:18 ) holds out adoption possibilities.

As father to the nation he appears in a creative role Isa. 64:8 – father, potter, maker (<- work).

But now, O LORD, thou [art] our father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand. Isa 64:8

As part of the adoption and family arrangements in the New Covenant we do not usually look to the Old Testament for guidance on fatherhood. We certainly want to conform to the image of God in Christ, and that ought to include the Father’s own excellencies, or at least certain ones. But then there are pictures of parental majesty that we can hardly deny.

  1. Of David’s great descendant’s dependence on God: He shall cry unto me, Thou [art] my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Ps 89:26

  2. Of God’s pity to those who revere him: Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. Ps 103:13

A father of the fatherless,

and a judge of the widows, [is]

God in his holy habitation. Ps 68:5

It is significant that this verse has no verb. There is no intention by the songwriter to bring God’s activity to our attention. This verse is stating what is, not an occurrence. It is a statement of being, not doing.

Light of the world, Son of God, are names. Some modern translations have begun to impose phrases like “he cares for…” on verses like this. Even the following verse, which seems like a narrative, is split. The first half, has two verbs, both of which are participles (shub, turn or return, and yatza, go out or send out) serving as nouns. Hence more names. The one-causing-the-return and the one-causing-the-going-forth.

The second half is also split but between state of affairs and action, telling us who the other side is, and it too uses the same form as the first half. The ones-rebelling live in a dry place.

The weight of abi yetomim and [we]dayyan almanot is that the typical father connotation is missing. This father is connected with the homeless, not wife-child-tribe-nation.

“and” connects fatherhood with judgment and discernment; wedayyan. These need be considered together: father and judge. Moreover, judgment has to be “in favour” since this father aids orphans. “Father and vindicator seems best”.

Is it not like God to leave the usual home joys to pursue his boundless grace with the orphan and the widowed? This is a godly thread that is red with the Passion theme. Perhaps the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to bring the one lost sheep to safety comes to mind! It is a godly facet we can embrace in line with the superb kingdom tenet: put others first.

[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;

in honour preferring one another; Rom 12:10

I charge [thee] before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels,

that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. 1Tim 5:21

The alternative is to face the stiff judgment that Moses recorded for people messing with the welfare of widows and orphans.

And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. Exod 22:24

Our orphans’-Father and widows’-Vindicator, let your kingdom come!

Happy Father’s Day

Right way this way to death

There is a way that seems right…

Solomon says it twice, leaving the impression that a person ( )îsh, vya!) needs to tread mindfully when choosing a way.  Whether it is the many choices or the high stakes, we can relate to both especially since we have been told that we need to be familiar with all that God has said.  Noticing that bread does not bring back people from the dead, we are on the trail of the life-giving word, knowing full well that it does.  Not everything is what it seems. Gospel alone – blood and Holy Spirit – suffices.

Death is where we start. Right where Adam saw a right way is where we need our life-giving shot. No-one is able to undo Adam’s devastating choice by doing one or a million good things.

Now I know how easy it is to find financial, real estate, interpersonal, and leadership guidance in the sayings of Solomon, but not so easy to find the matters of life for the dead.  No matter what we find in the prophets we have to admit the prophets are not the answer.

If I were a Jew, with the knowledge that the first generation (600, 000) of my people ( bne yisrael the kingdom-to-be ) perished in a desert because they were an unbelieving bunch, I would be ashamed to open my mouth about law and righteousness.  They nor I have a chance of coming back from the dead with the provisions of the Sinai Covenant, nor with anything that does not come from the Prophet of prophets (POP).  I do not mean a prophet among or above others.  This is the prophet that eclipses all thereby creating a new definition, summed up in Son king-priest.  Moses was not sucking when he said “A prophet is coming whom you must heed in all things”.

Now, we do not want to speculate about Adam’s choice, but we do have to reckon with matters of mutual spousal and other interpersonal trust.  Neither do we want to pontificate about absolutes.  Maybe we still looking for the words to keep us alive without finding the words that bring us back from the dead?  We can either be satisfied with bread or we can acknowledge that only the Lord Yeshua has words that cause life.  The grave of condemnation is due to unbelief not misdeeds.  What seems right can only be right or wrong.  We connect with either the old or the new.  In Christ’s direction: faith and life.  Step in the other and you will find Sinai and death.

Let’s talk so we can walk

Golden chats are available!
We have listened to and read a lot of nonsense and blatantly unsubstantiated claims. This can lead to carelessness, attitudes of self-defense, and faceless, factless exchanges. Simple stories get buried in emotional and quizzical fluff. The life of a conversation takes on messianic functions when we laugh together. Conversation are supposed to open doors that let in the wind of life.

Some of the zigs of chatting

Questions are asked about the fluff instead of the facts. How, when, what, who, and where have become troublesome questions in recent times.

What do I know?
We are loathe to say “I do not know” when our ignorance is obvious. A few messy things we can do in a conversation are

  1. reserve the right to the final word (“My opinion is the truth”),
  2. think that questions disturb one’s narrative, and
  3. take the microphone and talk until one (or the other) forgets what one was saying or runs out of ‘story’.

Not my business? Then do not tell me

(What) Do you want me to know? When one asks if one can ask bells go off. Is that necessary. Aren’t opinions of every type waiting to be the fragrance in the room? Ashamed of our opinions, and wanting to put ourselves in the best possible light we opt to tell never-ending stories. We have every right, and our interests lead us to tell the same story over and over again, and it becomes obvious that variations of the story do not change the reason for telling. We are merely repeating how good or bad something is. We do not gravitate towards telling what a jerk we were, all day. Nooo. We end up believing the things we repeat. Let’s just credit God for the highways and the alleys. It’s much better than putting anyone in a bad light (without mentioning a solution).

A Two-way Street

If the story is an answer to a spoken question all the more should the narrator welcome exchange. It takes two. Every two must make space for the third. A popular maxim states that Christ is the silent listener to every conversation. That intersection – the third person – is essential unless we think our contributions are above critique. Information is not merely stuff we flip back and forth: there is purpose for opening our mouths except where the conversation is purely a time-filler, monologue, or performance. How well we listen is an essential component of good conversations. Listening delivers details, which, if not grasped, makes the time spent more like shooting the breeze, because facts are for focusing interests and, dare I say, love.

Facts not Faces

The sun never rises in the west. We do not hear well when we are talking. Neither is there much to a conversation without query. Something always needs clarification. The facts in the narrative may be all that stands between our motives and the health of the conversation. Who cares if we think our experiences are perfect and edifying when we know that failure is the common lot of every individual? Sugar coating our lifestory works for the immature and sinks the user into deeper delusions. Euphemisms are fine for creative writing and diplomatic relations, but keeping our narrative simple does wonders for building understanding, rapport and friendships.

No one has to look very far to tell that our faces eventually become masks when we avoid the facts of life. Our faces turn to bricks because no one sees our eyes in the phone calls and text messages. How we feel is not immaterial. There is a critical space for emotional envelopes in all our exchanges. Got passion? Be genuine.

Turn Taking

Monologues may be informative, empty and shallow, and funny and even shocking and disgusting but they have one thing in common: the speaker gets to listen to himself. When the subject is considered to be all about the speaker there is no need for a listener. Not even God does that.
Droning on, babbling on, rattling on and venting are apt descriptions of the kind of conversations that descend quickly to every thing that comes to mind.
Who is keeping track of the priority?

A confession about why one is a good judge of character turns to an incident where one lady who has little ability in a certain area of social participation exposes her shortcoming and it just happens that her husband is a military man who made millions selling fake meat to the vegetarian community and has a massive tumor in his nose that the doctors say is benign, but bigger tumors exist, like the one seen on vacation in Europe, where the hospitality was way below standards…blah blah blah.

Just try telling the narrator of an account like that the topic was judging character. One is likely to be chided for interrupting or for being impatient.
The best speech is dialogue so we do not need to figure out that religion has divebombed into silly slogans, or why teaching what Jesus taught has become shallow ads for miracles, lectures packed with meaningless tradition, self-aggrandizing stories instead of intelligent conversation.

Elbert E Joseph, PhD
Salt that refuses to be trampled
www.yeshuaspeaks.WordPress.com