How and What fruits to bear?

Fruits of the Spirit vs fruits of the Flesh?

This 2020 spring and summer will be different in many ways because of COVID-19. But, what will not change are the flowers that bloom and the fruits that will be harvested. Degree and extent of their distribution maybe affected, but their continued presence will be felt and welcome.

Preference as to what fruits to have and eat is a craving that comes to each one of us. Some salivate just by thinking of lychee, pineapple, grapes, banana, avocado, apple, honeydew, strawberry, honeydew, watermelon, Asian fruits like rambutan, sugar apple, pulasan, etc. Being diverse, they can have different tastes and same fruit can taste differently depending upon ripeness.

But no one can eat it, unless it is in season and has the ability and resource to have it. Nor can it exist, unless there is a seed that develops into a vine or tree, then branches from where the fruit comes out of.

The preceding statements are sending a pattern in nature with spiritual import, as in Romans 1:20 “…being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Similarly, this being true for fruits in nature, so it is for fruits of the flesh and fruits of the spirit.

Fruits or actions taken by the flesh can be good like exercising, working in your job, building, manufacturing, helping on manual chores, etc. But, what is evil coming from “flesh” is heretofore described:

Galatians 5:19-21The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, 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”.

And so are actions or fruits of the “spirit-of-man” are good like what Job and Jesus Christ did on their own without the Holy Spirit’s in-dwelling. But, what God requires are good works that come with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therefore fruits thereof. They are thereforeworks as guided by the Holy Spirit” and not “by anyone’s works so no one can boast”.

And the the fruits of spirit are, as in Galatians 5:22-23.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

.”Now, how do we bear fruits of the Spirit?

Growth and development

For anyone to “bear fruits of the flesh and fruits of the Holy Spirit” there has to be a person from where the fruits will emanate. No one gets to have a “flesh-body” for it to show “fruits of the flesh” unless it first formed and developed to maturity from a starting point.

Physical human embryology teaches material growth and development. Every human being undergoes this process, one way or another. There are stages in this process that has a timeline, otherwise fetal malformation develops that may result in spontaneous abortion. Among many sperms, only one is able to fertilize one egg among many at a particular point in time to become a zygote(monofetal gestation). Occasionally, many eggs can be fertilized by one sperm resulting in multifetal gestation. This then undergoes a period of maturation until it becomes viable for delivery out of the mother’s womb. While intra-uterine, it is functionally alive being nourished through maternal/fetal circulation-respiration via the placenta that provides conduit for exchange of nutritional needs and gases. It is also learning from its “amniotic surroundings” how to respond to stimuli, though primordial that action maybe. To be independent of this attachment, at delivery, the fetus has to breath-in atmospheric air spontaneously; otherwise it is “dead on arrival” (no pun intended).

Similarly, no one gets to have a spirit-body” for it to show “fruits of the spirit” unless it first formed and developed to maturity from a starting point. Spiritual human embryology also teaches spiritual growth and development. But, before any man can go through this process, there has to be a “seed” that started it all, as in:

Genesis 22:18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice”, (NKJV)

This was further identified by Paul in Galatians 3:16 as ; “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.”. He is the only person destined to have started this process.

YHVH Elohim (Lord God), the Creator God, incarnated into man-Jesus (the seed) at “appointed-time” as planned and agreed to, in an “unwritten covenant” between the “Father/Ancient of Days” and YHVH Elohim, even before the foundation of the world. He is the one prophesied as the “seed of Abraham” (the person” by which “all nations will be blessed” and by whom the “promises to Abraham” will be fulfilled. And, for that to happen, man-Jesus like any child had to grow develop and mature. But, he was the first, aka., the author-finisher/trailblazer, to be the first recipient of the gift of Holy Spirit given by the Father at river Jordan. Embryologically speaking, Jesus was the first “ovum”, aka , “spirit-of-man that the Holy Spirit “fertilized” to become a “spiritual zygote”, a monozygotic monofetal gestation. He then developed spiritually into a vine or tree and bore “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, at his season, while on earth. With his death that reconciled mankind to the Father, he resurrected with “spirit-body” then called “Son of God” to receive the Holy Spirit of power from him to be subsequently given to those predestined at time appointed. He first breathe this power (Holy Spirit) into his disciples, to in-dwell in them as “polyzygotic multifetal gestation”, then to others at Pentecost. This Holy Spirit specifically resides in the “spirit-of-man”, the “real you”. And, this is how the person “develops, grows and mature spiritually” in the “spiritual womb”(of the church) bearing the “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, which takes time and experiential learning. While in the “womb of the church”, in a pregnant woman, the children are developing as “begotten children” until maturity when it is “born as sons/daughters of God.”,

Lifelong wrestle, struggle and overcoming

The in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit takes place in the “temple not made by hands “, i.e. in the “spirit-of-man”, aka “breath of life”. As a “Comforter/Advocate”, it guides and empowers the man to choose good, rather than evil. As Jesus was guided and empowered to follow, not his own will, but that of the Father, so must we. There will be “pull of the flesh” by tempting us towards evil and the Holy Spirit will pull us away by guiding us towards good.

This struggle between the “spirit-of-man with in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit” and the flesh is not the same as the intrinsic and inextricable relationships between the pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala” that develop wisdom. A choice will be given to us, and with consequences either way, as in

Deuteronomy 30:15
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil” (KJV)

And, it is only ourselves that have freewill, to decide which way to go with consequences, as in:

Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (NKJV).

Galatians 5:17-18 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (meaning under the law to suffer eternal death).

And, aside from intrinsic temptations to satisfy the desires of the flesh, evil forces in the dark world will tempt us to follow the sinful desires of the flesh.

Ephesians 6:12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, (i.e. people) 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

Summary

Like any natural fruit that comes through natural processes, so are “fruits of the flesh and fruits of the Holy Spirit”, at season.

Human embryology shows how physical humans start with a “sperm fertilizing an egg” into a zygote and to develop through growth and developmental process before they can act and materialize to do good or evil.

Similarly, YHVH ELOHIM(Lord God) had to incarnate into man-Jesus as the “promised seed “, revealed at “appointed time”. And, as “the seed”, he was the first human to receive (as an ovum) the Holy Spirit. He then developed spiritually with this in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in his “spirit-of-man”. He was the “monozygotic unifetal gestation”. He did not follow his “own will” but denied his own reasoning and desire to live, followed the guidance of his Father through the Holy Spirit, as he advised us to do likewise, as in

Luke 9:23-24 New International Version (NIV) “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it”

As Jesus wanted us to follow him as he followed the Father, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so is this the same principle apostle Paul taught us, as in I Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Notice, that altogether, it goes back towards the direction of the Father so all of us will be “one” with him.

After his death and resurrection, he then received as a gift from the Father the promised power, aka advocate, (Holy Spirit)to be given subsequently to others, to “spiritually fertilize many ova, as “multifetal gestation” in his church’s womb. Jesus is the “seed”, i.e., the person that made it possible to receive this “empowering spirit of power”,aka, the”spiritual sperm” that will fertilize many ova”, aka “spirit-of-man”. He never had that power to give for others before, until that resurrection as promised by the Father as a gift to all of us.

Those to whom the “Seed/Jesus, through spiritual power (aka, Holy Spirit), in-dwells in each “spirit-of-man”, they will be guided to be “one with the Father”, as Jesus is, to be altogether “sons of God” and “kingdom of God” , “priests of the Most High..”. This is a process that occurs among “spiritual zygotes in multifetal gestation” that mature, grow and develop “in the womb”, an experiential struggle against inherent “pull of their flesh” but also against “evil forces of the dark world”.

God is very patient to each one as in 2 Peter 3:9.The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

However, if after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit that will empower them to overcome evil, instead they go back to their evil ways, God’s patience will be reached and then as it is written,

2 Peter 2:22Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” This is “spiritual self-induced abortion”.

Only those who are overcomers will be transformed “in a twinkling of an eye from temporary mortal bodies to immortal eternal bodies to rule with Jesus at his second coming and beyond.

God bless 🙏😇

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Original post: May 23, 2020

Dedicated to all those who chose to “stay-at-home” and those who chose to “open up their business, go back to work”, as both choices have pros/cons and consequences. This is a time for reflection about our future and destiny.

Critiques are welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com

Projection for the Economy 2020/Covid-19 year.

My humble take on the future of the economy:

Bottom line: it will recover sooner than later because there is no “structural weakness in the economy “ that moves money away from pockets of consumers and business.

The strength of the economic structure and foundation was enhanced by Trumponomics with laws enacted the last 3 years . It is based on instituting reforms on regulatory impediments that stifle business growth, lower tax on federal personal income, business and investment, USA FIRST policy providing incentives to manufacture in USA, repatriation, border control to prevent illegal immigration and illegal drugs, trade policies based towards “fair and reciprocal trade”, reciprocal tariff, foreign expenses to “allies” right-sized relative to fairness, strengthening USA military and NATO, prison reforms, outreach program to minorities, “Right to Try”, foreign affairs policies, etc.

Congress and Federal Reserves are ready to support “whatever it takes”.

It may not be V-recovery but can be W-recovery.

Self-interest towards risk-rewards will dominate people’s actions. Tiptoeing into #OUAA (OpenUpAmericaAgain)and #TTG (TransitionToGreatneas) is starting and will continue. Every old/new case is bad but Covid-19 cases will increase because of increased testing and transmission leading to “herd immunity. But, mortality rate will still be 5-6% and per USA population will still be <1%. Preventive, protective and treatment modalities against SARS-CoV-2 will accelerate. All these factors will bend-down, level-off Fear/Panic; that “initiated lockdown”; thus will “power up the markets, business, consumers and all engines of US and global economy”.

Ultimate endpoints will be determined by “who wants USA” to succeed or fail? Who will be proud to wear the monicker “home of the brave” and evaluate rightly or wrongly “risk-vs-rewards” within the context of 1 A.

God bless🙏😇

Original post:May 17, 2020

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Holy Eucharist, What is the Message?

From an official Catholic teaching “The Holy Eucharist (aka, giving thanks to God) is a sacrament and a sacrifice… under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received.

It is common for Christians to observe this tradition on a daytime every Sunday as others have come to do. Some celebrate this occasion on the night of Nisan 14, while most Jews do this on the night of Nisan 15 of the Jewish calendar on the first day of Unleavened Bread. We were advised by Christ himself to continue as in “do this in remembrance of me”. Notice that the event is to be remembered and that the bread and wine, respectively, represent his body and blood shed for all of us.

 It is an occasion to proclaim Jesus’ death, resurrection and his 2nd coming as the apostle Paul recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:23–26:

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

As vital as they are, still, all of these remained symbolic proclamation and nothing else. Any extension beyond that can be controversial .

The tangential question posed, refers to whether there is really “transubstantiation” of the bread and wine into actual blood and body of Christ? Is there “communion” between Christ and bread/wine or, by this teaching, are we missing out on the “real communion? Did “All Christians, with but few minor exceptions, hold the true doctrine of the Real Presence from the time of Christ until the Protestant Revolution in the sixteenth century? To get to the bottom of that question requires going back in history. And, this is not an exercise to “shame, berate, discredit, minimize” those who believe in transubstantiation or anything similar; instead this is an honest and respectful quest for what really is the message of this tradition.

History of “Breaking of a Bread

In the Jewish calendar, the day includes the darkness-part when it starts and daylight-part when it ends from “evening to evening or sunset to sunset”. Biblically, the “passover meal” every year occurs on the night of Nisan 15, the first day of Unleavened Bread, which is in itself commemorated for 7 days. In contrast, the timing of Jesus’ “last supper” was nighttime of Nisan 14, the night of his betrayal by Judas. This was also the night before Jesus was crucified which was on the daytime of Nisan 14, the preparation day of Passover. And, this was done obviously because he could not eat the “passover meal” on the night of Nisan 15, even when he “eagerly desired” as he would be crucified the day before. Jesus said in Luke 15:22 to express his intention:

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

Instead of eating the traditional passover lamb on the night or start of Nisan 15, Jesus commanded his disciples to prepare the meal on the night or beginning of Nisan 14.

Since then, his disciples have continued this commemoration of Passover meal on the night of Nisan 15, every year and not on the night of Nisan 14. And, it goes without saying that they commemorated Nisan 14, the “preparation day” as the day of Jesus’ crucifixion when the “true Lamb of God was sacrificed”, as in:

At that time no small controversy arose because all the dioceses of Asia thought it right, as though by more ancient tradition, to observe for the feast of the Saviour’s passover the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews had been commanded to kill the lamb.” (Eusebius, Church History, Ch. XXIII.)

Early church fathers like Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, Tertulian, Origen and Augustine were thought by other historians to have embraced transubstantiation. In actuality, according to Nathan Busenitz, they may have misinterpreted the meaning of their writings at that time when there were people who rejected the incarnation and humanity of Jesus; they may have believed that the bread and wine as symbols.

Other historians noted absence of transubstantiation teaching since Jesus “broke bread”. When did it start, then?

Berengar of Tours, French theologian rejected the then-current view of transubstantiation credited to the 9th-century abbot of Corbie, St. Paschasius Radbertus, who professed that the bread and wine, after consecration in the mass, became the real body and blood of Christ. 

Most well-known and influential work of St. Paschasius, De Corpore et Sanguine Domini (written between 831 and 833), is an exposition on the nature of the Eucharist. In it, Paschasius agrees with 4th century anti-Arianism Bishop of Milan Ambrose (Aurelius Ambrosius) in affirming that the Eucharist contains the true, historical body of Jesus Christ. He thus believed that the transubstantiation of the bread and wine offered in the Eucharist really occurred. “Only if the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ can a Christian know it is salvific.”

So, it appears that it may have been a teaching of the 4th century, like the teaching of “trinity” at the Council of Nicea. The affirmation of this doctrine was expressed, using the word “transubstantiate”, by the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215 and extended through the 9th century to this day.

Altogether, transubstantiation does not appear to be based on original or actual teaching. Rather, it has evolved from perception and interpretation.

What is the truth and message?

It was about the in-dwelling of Holy Spirit in humans. The “breaking of bread” on that night of Nisan 14, expressed what was planned from the foundation of the world. This is a plan for the future in-dwelling of Christ in us but only after his death and resurrection and receiving that power from the Father. This in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in humans first occurred to our “trailblazer and origin of our faith/salvation“, Jesus Christ, then to his disciples and subsequently to others in a general way, from Pentecost on. It was not about “transubstantiation” which detracts and distracts from his actual plan for mankind.

Summary

The Eucharist is a major teaching of Christianity that must be commemorated. As to the day and time, there was no specific mandate, except the Passover meal on the night of Nisan 15. But the message can not be ignored nor sidelined. Transubstantiation of bread and wine is an interpretation that detracts and distracts from the actual message and process of “in-dwelling” of Christ in humans ( in the real you) through the Holy Spirit of power. And, this is an ongoing process from the time of Jesus’ receiving the Holy Spirit of power from the Father and subsequently to be given to us. Remember what John said, “He will baptize you in Spirit”. Instead of transubstantiation, the message of Eucharist is “oneness” and “ongoing creation”, the “real communion with God“.

God bless 🙏😇

Original post: May 14, 2020

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Critique is welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com

The Message of Christmas.

Throughout the world, most of those in the Christian world celebrate December 25 as the birth of Jesus. However, some have it acknowledged as dating that momentous event sometime in September or thereabouts. While my personal leaning is this September date as the historic and biblical events are compelling and harmonized, the emphasis by some on date pales, in significance, to the “good news” (gospel) of what this date was about.

Whatever the true date was, the message should not be lost as one celebrates Christ’s birthday. What really is the message?

Incarnation

A major teaching that can not be relegated to the dustbin of history, is that the YHVH-Creator gave up his spirit-composition and spiritual powers to come as a human on this earth, in Bethlehem. This he did to fulfill the eternal plan of the Father for Jesus to start, by being human, the process of salvation of humanity from eternal death. His advent as a human was prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. More than 300 prophecies were recorded to tell of His coming and repeated in:

Matthew 1:21New International Version
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Devoid of “spirit-in-dwelling” and therefore lack of spirit-powers, this “anthropos/man/human Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5) nevertheless followed all the commandments on his own human/mortal powers , much like man/anthropos-Job who was “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil”

The difference is, that while Job “came from the dust of the ground like Adam and therefore earthy“, Jesus originated from above and therefore heavenly“. Being both “blameless, upright and perfect in his ways“, still, both of them died; Job died because of imputed/counted sin of one man Adam whereas Jesus died because of sins of all humans from Adam on. And, the most crucial and defining difference between them, while being both humans, was that Job did not receive the “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit”, before he died, whereas Jesus did. Therefore, all the goodness of Job was not what the Father required; not the “fruits that come from flesh, though righteous they may be. Only the Father God decides what is a “savor and favorable to him” that pleased him as explained in the narrative of “offering by Abel and Cain“. On the other hand, Jesus was gifted directly and fully with the Holy Spirit of power by the Father at River Jordan and subsequently all his works were “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, which are “offering” that pleased and accepted by the Father. And, he was the first human who received this gift as a trailblazer, author and beginner of our salvation.

Summary

This is the message of Christmas that YHVH-Creator, in Genesis, incarnated to be the first human, the author/trailblazer towards salvation from eternal death. As “anthropos/man-Jesus”, he was mortal, yet still classified as “god”, like any human (like Job) without spirit-powers until he was given at River Jordan, tempted and overcame Satan with that power, overcame the temptation at garden of Gethsemane, crucified and died (being mortal), resurrected and subsequently attained immortality. And after resurrection,(not before) he received the promised “Advocate/Comforter” to subsequently be given to us to empower us towards salvation, so shall other humans, being “in the body of a Christ”. We will not develop, overcome and mature to be born as “sons/daughters of God” without this “empowering Holy Spirit in/dwelling in us”.

All “overcomers” will be immortal spirit-composed beings like our “elder brother” Jesus ( in a twinkling of an eye) in the “kingdom of God”, not a kingdom of man/human mortal flesh. By being human himself as a “builder/pioneer“, El SHADDAI/YHVH-Creator Lord God, showed us the “way, truth and the life” about the process that humans can attain salvation, i.e., be “born of the flesh“, be empowered by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, sanctified, die as mortals, be resurrected, “born of the spirit with spirit-composed bodies” towards eternal life.

Indeed, Jesus is a “trailblazer”, the author and finisher” for all of us to follow his lead towards salvation through faith and grace of God.

God bless 😇🙏

Original post:December 25, 2019

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Temple is the Church: What, Why, Where and How to build it?

The world is in a dilemma: going to “church or not”, follow religious leaders to attend church mass/meeting or “stay-at-home” as mandated by “Caesar” to prevent transmission. Similarly this extends to decision-making about “life vs livelihood”

On this Holy Week 2020, church gathering has been advised against, due to “social-distancing” guideline to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. On-line and other technological methods of providing church masses become a norm on this unprecedented time.

What Satan and atheists did not like to have and could not prevent, i.e., church gathering of believers, has been achieved by this “invisible enemy” through no fault of anybody. No more “social-bonding”, unlike before this global pandemic. Indeed, times have change.

Pre-2020 pandemic, many of us “go to church“. Some, 2-3 times a week while others attend once a week, consistently. Yet, for those who don’t go at all, many begin to wonder why others do and have made false assumptions in their thinking process, thus defaulting to “Hanson’s razor”. Why, and is there anything wrong with continuing to meet fellow believers in a church? At least for social bonding, while following guidelines? What about the risk of virus transmission? Or, instead forgoing traditional church attendance and still “attend” mass or service through other technological means like FaceTime or zoom? Responses by church leaders and lay members can be varied and everyone exercises or not 1A right; the ubiquitous consonance and dissonance continue to exist. Similarly, this extends to dilemma in choosing “life vs livelihood”.

Whatever, there should be no fault-finding nor finger-pointing among fellow believers as all actions have consequences, good or bad; still, avoid “confirmation bias”. This gives us a reason to delve into this subject of “temple is the church“. What, why, where is it and how to build it…really?

Church History and what is it?

The earliest form of a “temple/church” is called a “tabernacle” found in Exodus 25:8-9 and commanded by God to be built precisely according to the pattern, also as in Acts 7:44, Exodus 25:1-27:21 and Exodus 40:17-33.

The word tabernacle is an English rendition of the Hebrew word miskan, or “dwelling place”; also comes from the Hebrew word “ohel moed” or Tent of the congregation. More than 50 Chapters in the Bible were solely devoted to the tabernacle.

But even before the tabernacle was constructed, there was “tent of meeting” where God met with Moses as recorded in Exodus 33:7-9. Many assumed that God actually dwelt in it. But, notice this, that as Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Notice that Moses was “into” the tent but the Lord “was not”; the “pillar of cloud was at the entrance.”

This “tent of meeting” could be taken up and moved each time they changed locations while wandering in the wilderness. Other names in the Bible for the tent of meeting are the tabernacle of the congregation, wilderness tabernacle, tabernacle of witness, tent of witness, the tabernacle of Moses.

After the tabernacle was built about one year after leaving Egypt’s slavery, Moses no longer needed his temporary tent, and the term tent of meeting began to be applied to the tabernacle. This was the “tabernacle in the wilderness” before Israelites went to Canaan 400 years later.

In Exodus 25:22, it says “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” Here again, God was not “in” the temple but “from above the mercy seat”.

Numbers 9:15Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning.” Note: God was not “in” but “cloud covered the tabernacle” at daytime but at night it was “fire over the tabernacle”.

Moreover, the tabernacle was a temporary and portable dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant and the other holy items that the Israelites were instructed to use in the worship of and sacrifice to Yahweh. It represents a portable earthly dwelling place of Yahweh (God) used by the children of Israel from the Exodus until the conquest of Canaan. This was then superseded by the Temple in Jerusalem when it was built by Solomon which was destroyed in 586 BCE by the Babylonians; was re-built in “stages” until destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. Currently, there is no 3rd Temple until prior to the 2nd return of Jesus Christ.

Noticeably, the “tent of meeting” and the “tabernacle” were representative of a mobile and temporary dwelling of God’s presence. And, while the original Jerusalem temple was stationary, it was destroyed as well as the 2nd Jerusalem temple, making them also temporary representation of God’s dwelling, although “not actual”. All of them were “types” until the “anti-type” is revealed.

What do they represent and why?

In the New Testament, Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:1–5 also mentioned the “tent of meeting” or the tabernacle, revealed the “anti-type” and compared it to the earthly human body:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee”.

From the preceding verses, one can see that all of them, i.e., tent of meeting, tabernacle and Temple in Jerusalem, represented our mobile and living temporary earthly mortal body that must be replaced. The tent/tabernacle/Temple represents our “home”, our “clothing” and without it, we are “unclothed or naked”. The narrative in Genesis 3:1-13 explains why Adam and Eve found themselves “naked”. This, they found themselves “naked/without clothing” as a consequence, only after they sinned and not before. It dawned on them about death of their mortal body and their “real you would be separated from that mortal body at death.

Again Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:2 referred to as “church”: To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be His holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”.

But, notice that God was never actually in any of these representations. So, where will God in-dwell?

Where does God actually in-dwell?

It is without doubt as to where the “dwelling place” of God is, in heaven as stated in 2 Chronicles 6:21. But, he also promised to “in-dwell” in man.

We know this mortal body is temporary and must be replaced. This “mortal body” is a “tent/tabernacle/Temple”, our “clothing” and without which we are “unclothed” or “naked”. And, that God promised to in-dwell at “time appointed”. Is this “temporary mortal body” where God promised to in-dwell?

Here are the verse-requisites of where actually God will “in-dwell”:

1. Not made by human hands as in Acts 7:48-49However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: “ ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?

Remember, the “tent of meeting,tabernacle/Jerusalem 2 temples” were made by human hands and therefore God will not dwell there. Also, among the 2 components of man, only one directly comes from God himself. Here is where actually He will in-dwell, the “breath-of-life” aka “spirit-of-man; whereas, the other component came “from the ground, earthy”. And, this “in-dwelling” in man first happened at River Jordan to the “human trailblazer”, the “author/finisher”, man-Jesus Christ.

2. God has to “pitch it” himself as in Hebrews 8:2 “…true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” Clearly, He choses where and He pitched it himself.

How does God “pitched” his church?

Now that the “anti-type” (the spirit/of-man) has been revealed, where God will in-dwell through the Holy Spirit and He did into the “first chosen human Jesus”, now comes the process how his church is going to be built.

Remember that Jesus said to Peter that on that identified “rock” , he will build his church. And, this is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus got for us only after his death and resurrection. Indeed, after this, he then breathe the Holy Spirit into his disciples and later generally to others he chose at Pentecost.

We have a stony heart that was why the Ten Commandments were given in “tables of stones”. But, the “stone” will be removed from our heart and back to flesh as the Holy Spirit will open our eyes and ears by in-dwelling in the “spirit-of-man”(mind) to discern spiritual truths. Only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit will anyone “see, hear” spiritual truth. Then will be fulfilled on an individual basis as chosen by God, the prophesy in Ezekiel 36:26 “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.”

And this process is an “ongoing creation” now underway since that time.

Summary

What the tent of meeting/tabernacle/temple represents is a mobile and living temporary mortal body. Why it must be replaced is because it was meant to be originally created perfectly but strictly temporal as a “template” to be changed in the future “time appointed”. Where the in-dwelling of God will be, is not in the “mortal component of man which was made by hands” but in the “spirit-of-man”(the mind) that was “breathed into man’s nostrils”, the “real you”. Here, in this “spirit-component” of man, the “kingdom of God” is and starts. And how this happened occurred first to the trailblazer/author man-Jesus and after his death/resurrection, he got directly from the Father, this Holy Spirit of power to be given thereafter to whoever he chose.

Church is composed of people, believers, who by being human have deficiencies. Indeed frustrating, as we are all flawed people to experience his work on earth, as alluded to in 1 Corinthians and 7 churches in Revelations. No one should dislike any church member so much as to diss church attendance.

Going into a building where fellow believers meet is not wrong, except in specific situations. Remember, Jesus went to the temple, too. To diminish its value is a dismissive line of thinking that leads nowhere constructive. Truly, “you’d have to get rid of the majority of the New Testament to argue that the church was a parenthetical, made-up organization.”

The early believers were essentially in-house churches, where immediate family, extended family and friends were already living in deep, meaningful community together. But with the reality of Covid-19 global pandemic, each one of us has to use the wisdom from God. And, decide the risks involved, modify and innovate as we can, using technological advances that we are all blessed to have. Currently, most of us are “attending” or participating in mass or church service by watching it in TV.

Hopefully and prayerfully, “normalcy” will return sooner than later. The bottom line is written in John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth”. And that means, wherever we are.

No need for second-guessing, finger-pointing, shaming nor blame-gaming. Let us all be one” with the Father.

Hopefully, this post helps the world in a dilemma: going to “church or not” or choose “life vs livelihood”. Either choice taken, pro or con, has consequences that we will all experience. Risk vs rewards?

God bless🙏😇

Original post: May 7, 2020

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Dedicated to everyone with dilemma on church attendance, life vs livelihood during this global pandemic.

Things that Matter, Really?

The 2013 book “Things that Matter” by Dr. Charles Krauthammer is a must-read. It is a “window into the master polemicist’s habits, mind and technique”. It is an eye-opener on so many “things that matter” the way he saw it.

My particular interest was in Democratic Realism (2004) ,A Unipolar World, pp. 334-351. Here, he gave a persuasive argument why USA must embrace “democratic realism”.

Accordingly, he posits that post WW I/II, and Cold War, ended “everything— the end of communism, socialism, of the Cold War and of the European (and Pacific war)”. But, “it was also the beginning of a “unipolar world” where USA has “unipolar power”, a “single superpower unchecked by any rival and with decisive reach in every corner of the world”. What to do with that power becomes a challenge that was “so new, so strange, that we have no idea how to deal with it… our first reaction was utter confusion…the next reaction was awe”.

Paul Kennedy saw what America (at a distance of 8,000 miles) did in the Afghan war; nothing has ever existed like this disparity of power, not Charlemagne empire confined merely to Western Europe in its reach, not even the Roman empire, great empire in Persia and a larger one in China”.

We are “unlike Rome, Britain, France Spain and other empires of modern times in that we do not hunger for territory”; the “use of empire in an American context is ridiculous” since our demand upon arriving in foreign soil was an “exit strategy”.

For “five centuries, the Europeans, as in Lawrence of Arabia, did hunger for deserts, jungles, oceans and new continents. Americans do not; we like it here: McDonald’s, football, rock and roll, GrandCanyon , Graceland, Silicon Valley and South Beach…Las Vegas, Iowa corn , NY hot dogs and if we want Chinese or Indian or Italian food, we went to food court; we don’t send the marines for takeout.” That’s because we are not an “imperial power but a commercial republic in that we don’t just take food ; instead we trade for it”.

By “pure accident of history, (USA) has been designated custodian of the international system. The eyes of every supplicant from East Timor to Afghanistan, from Iraq to Liberia, Arab and Israeli, Irish and British, North and South Korea are upon us.”

What to do?

Dr Krauthammer then enumerated and analyzed each one, what to his mind were options we have as a nation:

1. Isolationism: To “hoard that power and retreat ; the oldest pedigree as we are isolated by 2 vast oceans” . It is an “ideology of fear of the other, withdrawal from our military and strategic commitments around the world”, except for self-defense as in the Afghanistan war. It is “radical retrenchment of American power—pulling up the drawbridge to Fortress America”. But, aside from “brutal intellectual reductionism, it is obviously inappropriate to the world of today with the reality of no barriers brought on by modern technology” (that would have exposed us to another 9/11); this is “not just intellectually obsolete , it is politically bankrupt as well…moribund and marginalized.”

2. Liberal internationalism: This was in the 1990’s, the “foreign policy of the Democrat Party and the religion of foreign policy elite”. It traces its “pedigree to Woodrow Wilson’s Utopianism, Harry Truman’s anti-communism and John F. Kennedy’s militant universalism”. But, after the Vietnam war, it was “transmuted into an ideology of passivity, acquiescence and almost reflexive anti-interventionism”. In the 1980’s, they gave us “nuclear freeze movement, a form of unilateral disarmament in the face of Soviet nuclear advances. This “liberal passivity in the last half of the Cold War was so militant that outlived the Cold War”. When Kuwait was invaded, the question was “Should the US go to war to prevent the Persian Gulf from falling into hostile hands?” The Democrat Party joined the Buchananite isolationists in saying “no”; “Democrats voted 2/1 in the House and more than 4/1 in the Senate.” And yet, quite astonishingly, when “liberal internationalism came to power just 2 years later in the form of Clinton Administration, it turned almost hyperinterventionist, as in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.” The “doves” of Cold War and Gulf War transmutated into Haiti/Balkan “hawks” for “humanitarian interventionism” devoid of “national interests”; morally pristine “to justify the use of force”. The “history of the 1990’s refutes the lazy notion that liberals have an aversion to the use of force —they do not”. Instead, the “aversion is in the use of force for reasons of pure national interest, which is not a “simple self-defense as in Afghanistan, but as defined by a Great Power: shaping international environment by projecting power abroad to secure economic, political and strategic goods”. Thus, “no” to Kuwait which merely is a form of “grand national self-interest and “yes” to Kosovo (as a humanitarian use of force). The “other defining feature of Clinton foreign policy was multilateralism expressed in a mania of treaties, viz., anti-ballistic missile treaty amendments aimed squarely at American advances and strategic defenses, Kyoto Protocol exempted China and India, nuclear test ban seriously degraded American nuclear arsenal”. The “whole point of multilateral enterprises is to reduce American freedom of action by making it subservient to, dependent on, constricted by the will and interests —-of other nations. In other words, “ to tie down Gulliver with a thousand strings”. It manifests itself “ in the slavish pursuit of international legitimacy —that opposes American action without universal foreign blessing”, i.e., of the UN, Security Council or “allies”. Do we lack “moral legitimacy” because our action lacks the blessing of the “butchers of Tiananmen Square or the cynics of the Quai d’Orsay?” This liberal internationalism is misplaced “higher moral standing”. The “liberal aversion to national interest” stems from an idealism, a larger vision of country, a vision of some ambition and nobility—-the ideal of a “true international community”; and not anti-Americanism, or lack of patriotism or a late efflorescence of 1960’s radicalism. In short, it is a transformation from the “very idea of state power and national interest into a democratized international system where all live under self-governing international institutions and self-enforcing international norms”. And, this requires abolishing “American dominance”.

3. Realism; recognizes the fundamental fallacy in the whole idea of the international system being modeled on domestic society. This is so because domestic society is held together by “supreme central authority wielding a monopoly of power and enforcing norms “ that in international arena is nonexistent. It “rests on shared goodwill, civility and common values of its individual members” which is a fiction as all nominal members of “international community” are not really shared. It is an “illusion to think that relations with all nations, regardless of ideology, culture, even of open hostility can be transacted on EU model of suasion, norms , negotiations, and solemn contractual agreements.” The realist believes the definition of peace Ambrose Bierce offered in The Devil’s Dictionary: “Peace in international affairs is a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.” The reality is that the stability we enjoy today is owed to the overwhelming power and deterrent threat of the USA. Those “uneasy with American power have made preemption and unilateralism the focus of unrelenting criticism—attacked for violating international norms. Realism is a valuable antidote to the wooly internationalism of the 1990’s but one cannot live by power alone. Our “foreign policy must be driven by something beyond power and America cannot and will not live by realpolitik alone.”

4. Democratic Globalism: foreign policy that defines national interest not as power but as values and that identifies what JFK called the “success of liberty”. This is the US foreign policy that guided this decade(2004). The credo is “beyond power, beyond interest and beyond interest defined as power.” This is a “value-driven foreign policy” that seeks the “advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.” Its attractiveness is precisely that it shares realism’s insights about centrality of power and has appropriate contempt for the fictional legalisms of liberal internationalism. The spread of democracy is not just an end but a means , an indispensable means for securing American interests. And, the reason is simple as democracies are inherently more friendly to the USA, less belligerent to their neighbors and generally more inclined to peace. Realists are right that to protect your interests you often have to go around bashing bad guys over the head. But even that has limits; at some point, you have to implant something organic and self-developing. And that something is democracy, but where?

5. Democratic Realism

The danger of democratic globalism is its universalism, it’s open-ended commitment to human freedom, it’s temptation to plant the flag of democracy everywhere. It must learn to say “No” or “Yes” depending on this axiom:

“We will support democracy everywhere, but will commit blood and treasure only in places where there is a strategic necessity— meaning, places central to the larger war against the existential enemy, the enemy that poses a global mortal threat to freedom”

Where does it count? “Fifty years ago, Germany and Japan counted” because of the global threat of fascism. Today, the new existential enemy is Arab-Islamic totalitarianism that has threatened us in both its secular and religious forms for the quarter-century since the Khomeni revolution of 1979.

Will Middle East democratic change lead to peace like flipping Germany and Japan, thus changing the strategic balance in the fight against Arab-Islamic radicalism? The “undertaking is enormous, ambitious and arrogant …a bridge too far, and may yet fail.” But, “we cannot afford to try.” It is not about “taking out one man” (or others with him) as it is a belief-system that is a “cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world—transmuted into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism”. This is “war and in war, arresting murderers is nice; but “you win by taking territory—-and leaving something behind”.

He summarized these 5 options with:

Isolationism ignores unipolarity, pulls up the drawbridge, defends Fortress America; but current technology makes moat unrealistic. Liberal internationalism is aware of unipolar power but using it for anything other than humanitarianism or reflexive self-defense is an expression of national selfishness; it yields that power piece-by-piece by subsuming ourselves in a global architecture in which America becomes, not an arbiter of international events, but a good and tame international citizen. Realism understands this new unipolarity and its use—unilateral and preemptive if necessary; but it fails because it offers no vision; has all means but no ends and cannot define our mission. Democratic globalism rallied the American people to struggle over values, vindicates American idea by making the spread of democracy the success of liberty, the ends and means of American foreign policy, though it needs temperance. On the other hand, Democratic realism is targeted, focused and limited; we are friends to all but we come ashore only when it really counts. Arab-Islamic fundamentalism with Iran as head of the Beast, does not draw back and seeks nirvana in dying for their cause; the rationality of the enemy is beyond our control; but use of our power is within our control. And “if that power is used wisely, constrained not by illusions and fictions but only by the limits of our mission—-which is to bring a modicum of freedom as an antidote to nihilism—we can prevail”.

My Take

All the preceding enumerated options have one thing in common: they depend on any human endeavor, ability to discern on their own and wisdom to decide precisely, timely and consistently the correct path to take. Even the Hobbesian and Lockean philosophy depend on human’s intellect and wisdom to decide. In that predicate and fundamental basis, they also suffer as a specific and particular human(Jesus Christ) is needed to start the process. As written in Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

International order that comes with an “ideal government”, will not be achieved until the “kingdom of God” is established. And this was known, planned for from the beginning of time and promised in an “unwritten covenant” to start with a “human trailblazer” embodied in the “gospel” of the true and credible witness

Man is composed of flesh which is “weak” and needs to be changed and “equipped”. It was a “perfect clay” when made but “got marred” by sin so the Potter has to re-make it. And this process will come and is coming through the aegis of God’s empowering Holy Spirit in-dwelling in us, individually making up eventually collectively, and expanding worldwide.

Summary

The world has to be “one” with one another. But with much diversity in interests, needs, wants and expectations that are inherent among humans, this is a “dilemma” that cannot be resolved until the focus veers away from each other and on “change of mind” from within. Undoubtedly, “oneness” is with the Father and through this mechanism will we be “one” with one another. Even God timed it well, viz., Yahweh be incarnated as human Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit of power himself at River Jordan to develop, be guided and empowered, die for our sins to reconcile us with the Father, to be the trailblazer and builder, resurrected to receive the gift of Holy Spirit to be given to us individually at “time appointed” also for our spiritual growth and development, his return and 1st spirit-bodied resurrection to start the Millenium by defeating the proximate existential enemy the Beast, then after the Millenium to defeat Gog and Magog, Satan and evil angels, then the new heaven and earth. All of these events take planning, timing and patience to give rise to a “new world order”—-the kingdom of God.

Dr Charles Krauthammer passed at age 68 on June 21, 2018 as a consequence of small bowel cancer. Our deepest condolences to the bereaved wife, family, friends and readers worldwide. He will be resurrected at the “time appointed” for him. And, at that time his mind will open up to the truth that his ideals will only be achieved consistent with God’s plan. This book is a capitulation of his decades as a columnist, his legacy to all of us.

On the other hand, the man-Jesus died 2,000 years ago and the only human that resurrected into life with an immortal body. His legacy that lasts as a human on earth is embodied in his gospel.

This is our “destiny” that was planned out of God’s love.

“Things that really matter” take us to the “bottomline”, wrapped in code word “salvation” which is a process that takes time. This is the “legacy that lasts” .

🙏😇😊

Original post: April 28, 2020. A very special “stay-at-home” day for me.

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Acknowledgement: Immense gratitude to my wife, Evelyn, for giving me this book to read and learn , thereby providing me an opportunity to post alternative take on the subject.

Predestination, what really was pre-destined?

Predestination is a topic that is controversial among theological circles. To begin with, “Basically, predestination is the belief that God has predetermined who will receive salvation and who will not. Sometimes the term is used to refer not only to salvation, but to express the idea that God is in control of the universe in general, even over mundane things.”

The predicate comes from the principle of God’s sovereignty and omniscience which no one can deny, although the interpretation of these teachings needs context and reflects God’s wisdom. Is it really about “who will receive salvation” or the timetable when the power gifted to Jesus towards the process of salvation that all of us have to go through, starting with the “trailblazer”?

And, intrinsic to this topic are many questions. If someone commits suicide, was that predestined? How about calamities, accidents, cancer, sickness, injuries, were those destiny, too? If a person becomes poor, rich or otherwise, is that destiny. Or, a profession or job of a person? And, for that matter, your spouse, children, divorce etc.? If everything is predetermined, where is the role of freewill and choice?

Remember Newton’s 3rd law of motion? For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Indeed, there are consequences with what we do and some can be predictable as secondary to what we did. Nevertheless, undoubtedly, some have been done by Lord God himself directly or indirectly through angels and some are prophesied by prophets for the future.

This really can be complicated. But, how did this topic become a religious tenet?

Predestination origin

In Romans 8:28–30, Paul writes, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

From the above verses, the “assumption” was that those called are justified and glorified, automatically. What was missed was the emphasis on “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,” which is futuristic and aspirational; it was not automatic. To be “conformed to be the image of his Son” is a process that takes time.

It is all about “timing”. Predestined time to have the first opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit was alluded to in the narrative about the firstfruits and latterfruits“. God has chosen who will “be calledat their own time, like in Israel harvest for the “first(spring), and latter summer and fall harvest”. These harvests are opportunities that God provides to receive the empowering in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus was the “first of the firstfruits, Jesus, being the “wave sheaf offering”(NLT), first order of resurrection.From Pentecost through the first trump“, humans are receiving the Holy Spirit of power to guide, protect and sanctify the elect“, the firstfruits, the first (after Jesus) to resurrect as “spirit-composed living beings“. Then the latterfruitsduring and after the Millenium

Summary

Predestination is a controversial subject that needs to be understood and drawn out clearly and specifically from its complexity. While God historically has power to act anytime, every time and on all people, his wisdom enables him to be deliberative and precise in his judgment and action. True, those he prophesied will undoubtedly happen as an end-point but not necessarily every step-of-the-way. Not everything that happens is because God wills it to be, otherwise, why fault man? His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence does not preclude “time and chance happen to all”,

Predestination is not about who will “actually and finally receive salvation. Instead, predestination is the time at which the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit will occur on a person, individually. On the other hand, salvation is based, not only on the “gift of in-dwelling” at a particular predetermined time, but also on the freewill and choice made by the person to follow its guidance to be “one with the Father”. Moreover, predestination is about the time at which this power was gifted to Jesus in the “ongoing creation” of other humans which requires a process of salvation. This is how Jesus became the Son of God and those after him will be “conformed to the image of his Son”

God bless😊🙏😇

Original post: April 14, 2020

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