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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Monday, May 19, 2014

After the Flood

Sexta/Viernes/Friday-POSER-Deus - Dios - God
Sexta/Viernes/Friday-POSER-Deus - Dios - God (Photo credit: Caio Basilio)
After the flood, God gave some laws.  They weren’t recorded like the Ten Commandments, but they had the same authority.
Man was to dominate the earth.  Spread out and fill the earth. 
Animals would fear man.  Why?  Partly because now man was given license to eat them.
 I don’t know if man was a vegetarian before the flood, but it sounds like it.  Now they could eat meat, and there were no restrictions except the consumption of blood.  This seems to be a picky little point, but there is more theology here than it appears.  The life of the flesh is in the blood.
Leviticus 17:11
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Meat prepared by kosher butchers is the best you will find.  It is more expensive, but the blood is drained and cleanliness is paramount.  He did not say that murder was unlawful until the Ten Commandments, and  He promised that such an act would result in more of the same.

God makes covenants.  I think of a covenant as something like a contract.  But that is not exactly true.  In a contract, when one party does not conform to the agreement, the contract is broken.  With God’s covenants, there seems to be a different protocol.  Even when we do not fulfill our part of the covenant, God is not released from His own obligation.  He will do His part anyway.  While there are consequences to violating His requirements on us, our unfaithfulness does not release God from His promise. 

Another truth about covenants:  God initiates them.  He lays the rules.  We don’t have to agree, but this is what will happen. 

The rainbow is the sign of God’s covenant.  We haven’t had rain in a while.  I love to see the rainbow after a good rain.  There may come a time when the earth will be destroyed.  But when it does happen, it will be in accordance with God’s covenant.  It won’t be by flood.

Part of the covenant demands our responsibility for the creation.  God made us dominant and required us to be responsible.  Now we are threatened with global warming.  I’m sure we are seeing the possibility of a change in weather patterns.  But there were such changes before man was a factor.  The ice age is over because of global warming.  Scientists have proved that average temperatures were much colder 700 to 1000 years ago.  Even as recently as 1816 we have a year with out a summer in the United States.  Crops failed and people starved because of volcanic activity. 

If we continue to cause conditions that will not sustain our life-friendly environment, we have reaped the consequences of our behavior.  God has still fulfilled His part of the covenant.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Acts 4--Results of Belief

The Disciples shared the testimony of what they had seen when they traveled with Jesus. They spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit when they went to the Temple to pray. The man who was healed by the prayer of Peter and John was in the courtyard of the Temple, giving silent witness of their power. The officials could not ignore their earnest testimony, but threatening them did not do any good. They had spent the night in jail, but still they were proclaiming Jesus.

Given any opportunity, Peter preached. They were common men without education, but still testified quoting David, and saying Jesus, the stone which the builders rejected, had become the cornerstone.

The chief Priests and the rulers of the Temple were in a quandary. If they could not stop this, it would claim all the people because the man who had been healed was showing himself. They could not take strong action against them because people would know. There was no way to stop the spread of the message. They settled for threatening and commanding them to desist. 

Peter and John went back to the company of disciples and they prayed. The house was shaken and they were all filled with the Spirit and spoke the word boldly. The efforts to stop the spread of the Gospel backfired. They drew together in a tighter community and supported each other and gave generously to the Disciples for the good of all.   
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Rest of the Story

English: Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Is...
English: Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot as apostle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Acts 1 takes up the story of Jesus and what happened after the Resurrection. The Book of Acts was written by Luke so it is a natural transition. Both books were addressed to Theophilus. There is disagreement about whether this was a title or the name of a person.

In this chapter there is the sense of anticipation. This is a new venture, and they are ready to take the world for Jesus. They felt the need to replace Judas Iscariot but there were at least two men with equal qualifications, Joseph Barsabbas also called Justus, and Matthias.  I always wonder what the one who was not chosen did? Did he continue to minister as the others. He had been with them and heard the teaching and seen the miracles. He could not have been unaffected. There were 120 people in the Upper Room. Surely he was among them and witnessed the Ascencion.

There had been five hundred or more who witnessed the Ascension but only 120 were present in the Upper Room to witness the coming of the Holy Spirit. What happened to the rest. Did they lose interest? Were they gone on a trip? Did they think this was all a show? Maybe they heard about it later and realized, "I could have been there."

After the Crucifixion there were several appearances and many people saw Jesus and talked to him. Then they assembled to see him take his leave of them, and the officials may have been glad when he was finally gone so that things could return to normal. But Jesus gave them instructions for the future. There was more to come. Acts 2 records the coming of the Holy Spirit who gave all who were in attendance power to believe and to witness. Read it for yourself.