The ninth hour of Pesach 2022

Scripture records that the Lord Christ breathed his last at around the ninth hour of Passover.  This year, in the Eastern Time zone, the moon hits full at 1455, 2:55pm.  Amazing coincidence?  Not if one believes that there are sacred seasons throughout the year.  The whole day is sacred.  The full moon of Nisan, falling on the fourteenth day, has always been a significant season.  The moon is full then it isn’t.  Some time during this day, millions will remember that the price for human redemption was paid in full.

There was no other way to conceive of the Lamb of God laying down his life and taking up again without an eternal “mark this date”.  Before he  created the world God had marked the calendar of His Son’s amazing act of saving love.

“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;” [season <- moed, and for seasons ולמועדים ulĕmoedim]

Genesis 1:14, NASB 

Seasons are appointed times, marked by both the sun and the moon, and Moses announces a set of them which we have come to know as festivals in Leviticus 23.  Again this year, Good Friday is over when Passover actually begins.  It is another example of how tradition poses as biblical fact. Please take a moment to recall and give a loud hosannah with reference to the Son of David, whether or not the bread and wine of the covenant are present.

Healing university

Sons of Sceva are practically everywhere and there ought to be a law to protect people against abominable merchandising such as is popular on North American television.  If you want to be healed you go to a doctor.  Then again you can just use your words in respectful and urgent prayer. You might even be one of the few people to whom God has given the power to speak basic and daily needs into existence, even when there are means within human reach.  The options for medical cures are quite clear.  God has been saying no to prayers for miraculous “healings” since Israel was a nation and there are no lessons necessary for access to the heavenly Father’s power to make people whole. It is worth finding out what on earth could a healing university be under the auspices of the Lord Christ and his apostles.

Treatment vs examination

A magical masquerade mime was present in the leprosy “treatment” in the levitical system.  Compared to what the Lord Christ did for lepers (Mark 1:40-45) we have to think of the distance separating the priest from the leper during his examination (Leviticus 13:3,5,6,8,25,30,32,34, and 14:3). You can see he had to do a lot of looking. The human body has always been the beneficiary of divine healing on request.

“O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” [crying to God is the way things are, and he repeatedly heals…]

Psalms 30:2, NASB

The wounding of the sons of Sceva

11)  God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12) so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. 13) But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14) Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15) And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16) And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:11-16, NASB)

“And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27, NASB)

There may be oral traditions of even thousands of cleansed lepers, but these are absent from our sources of authority.  Leprosy is a picture of sin we probably do not want to make too much of, since their cleansing by the Lord Christ and his disciples was evidence for the last and greatest prophet that God’s kingdom had arrived (Luke 7:22)

God is not obligated to make anyone’s body like a baby’s and he definitely is not handing out glorious bodies before the time (Hebrews 11:39, Acts 7:5).  On the other hand God never ignores or fails to answer genuine cries for mercy and pardon.

“But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that He would give it to him as a possession, and to his descendants after him.”

Acts 7:5, NASB

It was no accident that I heard a merchantelevangelist offer access to God’s healing power by means of his forty-eight lesson drug deal. I naturally had to say something to warn people about this kind of masquerade.  One has to be in the grip of a reality other than God’s kingdom, as we have seen it unveiled in the documented work of the Lord Christ, to believe in and waste time on a forty-eight lesson masquerade from a merchantelevangelist. What next will they try to sell believers?

Impartial justice, like Mitch McConnell’s in the senate

The lovers of truth know that everything that is called “God” may give people comfort or at least a place to hide, but God cannot be reduced to a shifting panorama of political expediency and religious superiority. When the morality of Islam, Judaism and Christianity combined create the new society we will know that justice has no more masks. Presently, there is no evidence that the warring parties in anyone’s politics will form such a coalition. However, when the goals of decency and simple justice allow people to create good government we may all be dead, but the ever-living disciples of the man called The Way know that McConnell’s commitment to do the will of the accused 45th president ranks with the lowest and most acrid and deadly examples of smoke without fire.

Said McConnell, “Everything I do during this, I will be coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position…” (from the Atlantic, citing McConnell on Fox network). I suppose a great Christian leader can coordinate his journey along the way of the kingdom of God with the fallen angels. That kind of justice simply does not cut it.

Freedom, sons, and slaves

“Free for real” is a proposition that people complicate with common sense, traditions, and the rules and regulations they think are necessary under all circumstances.  The Son makes people free on the basis of his decree, confirming that freedom is not related to any constitution or body of laws.  Christ liberates people without reference to the law of God/Moses. The certainty of real freedom as proposed by the Lord Christ puts pretend and ritual freedom, the stuff of which levitical ministry was made of, in clear contrast.  This means that the recognition that “… through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” (Acts 13:39, NASB) may have emboldened early believers like James (our Lord’s brother) to try to bring circumcision and dietary restrictions.   The truly free person does not have to keep proving his liberty to anyone.  He is free because of Christ’s exclusive intervention.  The liberated simply decides to abide (meinete) in Christ’s words, and his freedom is assured.  Most people who have recognized their need for salvation will tell us that their satisfaction wasvinconsistent with chains of pride, playacting “family”,  and a meager awareness of service.

Tribal tensions

It is a sad state of affairs when the people who believe that Yeshua is God’s Son and Saviour of the world think that their badges and books, prophets and patriarchs, seers and scribes are some kind of super currency in God’s ledger.  The son and slave, and house reference in John 8 was Yeshua’s way of alerting his audience to the fatal disease of playing the tribe card.

God allowed both Sarah and Abraham to play their cards in the dust up over Ishmael and Isaac. She recommended that Abraham sleep with Hagar.  Then Abraham cooperated with Sarah’s expulsion of Hagar from the household.

“So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”

Genesis 16:2, NASB

5) And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6)  But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.”

Genesis 16:5-6, NASB

Yahweh’s view of the family

18) And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” 19) But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20) “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:18-20, NASB)

Paul’s insight on the issue of son and slave is riveting. He flips the son/slave rhetoric between Sinai and Calvary, assigning Hagar’s slave experience to the Israelites and the Sinai covenant and he assigns the promise and the global agenda to Abraham’s descendants who follow Abraham’s example of believing God’s offer.

22) For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23) But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 24) This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar.” (Galatians 4:22-24, NASB)

So now there are two great nations coming from Abraham’s immediate family.  Whence then the tension and the animosity between ishmaelites and Israelites? Should not there be a measure of respect and love?  I guess not before hearts can confess that all men are equal before God’s saving grace.  So what do we think and what do we do with this son-freedom?

Thinking and doing

Treating the action option first, we get ahead of the crowd with our appreciation of God as exclusive and inimitable Father.  Most people are comfortable saying that they have a God, a prophet,  a master, or some kind of caretaker, but not many are willing to say that God is their father or that they are God’s child.  There is  not much to think about when one considers how important sons are to their fathers, in the Bible and outside it.  Given the historic and documented fatherhood of good men and scoundrels we accept the proposition that God sees humans as potential children of his.

Skip past Abraham if you dare
Significant patriarchal example
Even people facing execution are called “son”
A soundrel calls the hated “son”
Jealousy should not prevent recognition of the family idea between God and Israel
No angel or official has the privilege of a son

The test to which we might want to subject those who call themselves sons of God should prioritize engagement in God’s business. Reading what precedes Luke 2:48 to see what being in the house and free can look like.

48) When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” 49) And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:48-49, NASB)

Context matters not

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NASB)

In the interest of accurate information, let us tag the two concrete elements in this saying: heart (inner, invisible and partial) and soul (outer, visible and total).  Recall that man is a living soul, so “soul” does represent all me me/you.   “With all your might” however,  comes from single Hebrew word, meod, מאד, meaning exceedingly, or with adjectives, simply “very”.  The writer most certainly means that our love can increase to abundant levels, knowing that no matter how much we love there is room to advance with whatever has been revealed and imparted to us.  We cannot claim to have loved precisely as God does.  So we keep increasing.

The very famous saying of Moses that precedes this command and forms the central pillar of the Mosaic legacy – The Shema – should not be separated from the context.  The context includes the love instruction and the following.

  • The time: today
  • The destination of the words: on your heart
  • The duty to teach and talk about constantly  “You shall teach them diligently to your sons…”
  • The duty to devise means to remind oneself of the message package
  • The purpose of remembering why the land of Canaan was a gift
  • The purpose of remembering (not forgetting!) that it was God alone who delivers from bondage (Deuteronomy 6:6-12, NASB)

The narrative of the heart’s function as a container of God’s or Moses’ words is an example of willing ignorance of the facts. Why would God give voice to a letdown antecedent to the Shema (Deuteronomy 5:29, NASB) with “‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”?   The heart being the place where human appreciation of God takes root needs a innovative operation if it going to be home to increasing love.  Until then, fearing God and keeping his commandments can best be portrayed by stone tablets and books.  Some things can be taught and recited but other things, such as exceeding love are the exclusive gifts of the God who acts within the relevant context. Ignoring context is akin to ignition without fuel, preaching apart from eyes on the handwriting of the apostolic witness, access to God without covenant, and dare I say, Christians who prefer the crutches of their favourite translation and commentary to the sturdy legs of unchangeable Scripture.

Who is cheering the sudden burst of nationalism?

Barbados and Australia have recently severed ties with the British crown but they have the same system of government as the colonial power that stole, sold, and oppressed Black and Aboriginal peoples for over four hundred years. Now Belize and Jamaica are pressing demands about the role of the British crown in the slave trade and colonization of the Caribbean islands. Who will apologize to all the generations of freed slaves for idolizing the broken and corrupt model of the people’s house? There is hardly a visionary dimension to be found in the governments of the greater and lesser antilles. Who beside the usual armchair freedom fighters and quasi-revolutionary Pan-African intellectuals are cheering?

Embarrassment’s epitome

It was not the British crown that made 99% of the nations in the Caribbean pull out all the stops to maintain a system of useless votes, dubious debates, bogus budget statements, apathetic amendments to law, and the facade of national unity. We did that ourselves because we have had too few leaders willing to think outside of the box. You guessed it if you are beginning to think that we have been robbed of outbox action. The people who were silent over the centuries and in the more recent decades when governments were imitating the United States and Great Britain with the oppression of poor people, the suppression of the legitimate Rastafarian religion, the idolization of law, and the frittering away of homeborn culture. Who should be embarrassed is quite clear.

Useless votes

Since the ballot box serves to establish the public sentiment it is an abject shame that the result of a plebiscite can be a tool in the construction of a national suicide. We should not allow our votes to be used to facilitate opposition and division. We know what happens to divided domains. Making our votes count is not rocket science but it takes a vision and courage.

Dubious debates

Parliaments that thrive on facts and reason are rare. All that matters is mathematics: how many votes in the house can be mustered in defence of the leading party’s initiatives. Speakers have a hard enough time keeping simple speaking order – speak then listen – so it is a Herculean task to hold members of parliament to logic and common sense. Let us not be deceived by what we hear on the hustings. People running for political office are unwilling champions of truth and civic society. What we hear at political rallies and in the pre-election advertisements is a mix of pollyanna rhetoric and juvenile wishes. Real debates are hard to find.

Bogus budget statements

In my experience a family goes shopping with cash or credit and both can run out when the spending is completely transparent. The millions and billions mentioned budgets statements need to be seen in their relevance to improving the lives of ordinary citizens. When the average citizen cannot see how the numbers add up in a Finance Minister’s statement to the nation, greed, discrimination and corruption are in the works.

Apathetic amendments to law

Following what is assumed to be a Biblical basis for legislation most nations in the Caribbean have allowed punishment and the violation of human rights to appear as the solution to the problems of civic society. When laws, amendments or originals, do not pass the smell test – justice, mercy and reliability – those innovations should be abandoned. We all know people who are so loyal to law that they no longer recognize human need. Remember the “too holy to help” kinds of people, like the people in the Good Samaritan story.

The facade of national unity

It must be obvious by why we have examined thus far that the substantive notions of independence and good government have been left on the dusty shelves of our high school textbooks, treated as utopian fantasy, in full defiance of the combined weight of our sacred books, so no-one is raising his or her right hand as experienced offspring and root of what is precious and invaluable. Maybe it is best we say nothing about national unity, even when we have incontrovertible rocks to stand on, such as the men and women who took the first steps in shepherding our people, through the early years of our emancipation. Let it suffice to say that we can always trash our national heroes for moral failings, political missteps, and even for losing their way entirely, but we have no rationale for denying that figures of national importance are immovable rocks. How we build on what they have started will be the measure of our strength as a people and nation. The people of Australia, Belize, Barbados and Jamaica are being duped again by people who choose to forget our recent history and are willing to deny that our choice to imitate the oppressor and not the liberator is suicidal. There are no great dead peoples.

Federated and United People

UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015) languishes, plagued by malicious division, after a vote with no absences, no abstentions and none opposed.  Here is another example of how votes mean nothing.  People are willing, in national parliaments, regional forums and at the United Nations, to sign on to resolutions with absolutely no intention of doing anything to achieve what the resolutions say.  Syria, seven years after the resolution, is being propped up by the threat of  unspeakable Russian violence, is vulnerable to Israeli missiles, and fatally divided eleven years after Syrian people saw an opportunity to end the Assad regime’s brutal dictatorship.  The Arab Spring was not allowed to take hold in Syria.  The Security Council passed fifty-six resolutions in 2021 which generated a lot of paperwork but no relief to the war-ravaged, occupied and terrorized populations. All the federated, united, and people’s entities are a lot of hot air.

All those populous people’s republics

What exactly the people in “People’s Republic” means is clear from the stripping away of personal dignity and the vicious assaults on life that thinks and dreams of something other than government babysitting.

All those united divisions of humanity

What “united” stands for in the names of republics and kingdoms is out there for all to see when separatism and self-determination gets an honourable place in the houses where people gather in  the interest of the whole

All those mighty federations

Federations can be anything from a people or state typically crushed, intimated and bribed into community by a rising power to a people seeking self-determination within what they thought was a safe and honourable family.

Seven years later the ghouls walk the hallway

International unity is not dead, but on life support, quite literally.   Politicians who have thought that “taking out” the voices that protest or disenfranchising people who simply different face are still talking about assassination of foreign heads of state. 

International unity is not dead, but on life support, quite literally.   Politicians who have thought that “taking out” the voices that protest or have made a statute of disenfranchising people who simply different face are still talking about assassination of foreign heads of state. 

From United Nations

Short of being scientists, lawyers, or sages people are at risk of believing every vacuous headline, prone to deny the facts of life, and quick to say family is first.

Meanwhile it is no problem that

  • few people are the testers of every Spirit
  • a wonder-workers keep seeking solutions for things that are not broken
  • the majority of humanity finds a shield behind the armour of culture, behind discrimination and xenophobia