Are “tools” needed to build anything?

Can you imagine a world without simple screws or screwdriver? Before mechanized and automatic power tools, it took a lot of effort to do manual work. Farming, watering, transportation, communication, etc. were an arduous task bordering on Herculean. But, with power coming from these material tools to do work, they enhance our abilities to create, perform and achieve our goals with superb efficiency, proficiency and profitability.

An example of tool is the recent gift of “handheld ultrasound devices” given to incoming medical students at University of California, Irvine Medical School by Dean Michael J. Stamos, that will surely help them with their diagnostic skills.

Spiritual power tool

While we can still do any work manually without material tools, they certainly are a booster for all of us, especially with power tools. Similarly, in a spiritual sense, a power tool is a must as our own work towards righteousness “are as filthy rags as in Isaiah 64:6.

The first human to receive for himself this power tool was “man-Jesus” at River Jordan. Without it, he could not have overcome Satan in the wilderness nor done any of the miraculous acts like turning water into wine at Cana., heal the sick, cast demons, walk on water, brought back Lazarus from the dead, etc. Notice that all these powerful acts were done only after Jesus had full-bodied in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of power witnessed by John the Baptist. And for us to have it, Jesus had to die, resurrect and go up to heaven to receive this empowering Holy Spirit directly from the Father, as a gift. Jesus has emphasized how crucial this power tool is for humanity. In John 16:7 , Jesus said “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

And, for him to die, YHVH-Elohim, Lord God in Genesis, the Creator of all “visible and invisible” had to incarnate into “man-Jesus. Thank God for his plan, from the beginning of time, to gift this “spiritual tool” to humans through Jesus Christ.

No wonder, he is our Savior, the Captain of our faith, the trailblazer for us to attain “oneness” with the Father and to change “in a twinkling of an eye” to immortality.

Summary

Manual work can be done using our bare hands, albeit with difficulty, hardship and limited by our individual physique. On the other hand, having tools, especially powered tools, can be more efficient, productive and liberating.

Spiritually speaking, all humans were created flesh-composed, with limits and inadequacy. And this was so, for good reasons. The book of Job and the Gethsemane message of our human deficiency, provided the need for forgiveness, reconciliation, understanding of being “equipped as essential to the process of salvation”. Having understood this process will get us on our way to “ongoing creation”.

A spiritual empowering tool (the Holy Spirit) is our quaesitum given by the Father as a gift to man-Jesus who, as Son of God, will then will give it to us to become “spiritual brothers and sisters”.

God bless🙏👍😇

Original hyperlink version posted December 15, 2020

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Critique is welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com

Dedicated to all “workers” especially on Labor Day

Sin of Job, Deconstructed ?

The origin of the Book of Job is controversial, that Job is not a real person and that the whole book is just an allegory; also, that Job was the contemporary of Jacob or Abraham. No one can resolve this.

Be that as it may, what is the message that comes from the Book of Job?

The prevailing teaching is that Job was self-righteous and pride was his sin. This is shared by others, as well. Really?

Did Job actually sin? As defined, “sin is a transgression of the law”and the consequence is “eternal death” which is irreversible or second death. Humans , created “flesh-composed”, are finite and subject to “natural/reversible deathnot due to sin, a principle that emanates from John 9:3.

It is true that there were sins as later defined by the Law even before the Law was given. But, as the time of Job was around Abraham’s time and therefore before the Law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, there was no consequence of eternal death to him. Remember, “sin is not accounted when there is no law” and therefore irrelevant as there was no consequence. Both sin of omission and sin of commission require knowledge of what Law is being broken. Hence, the aphorism “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”, also does not apply. With these prolegomena, let us now focus on the book of Job and the challenges he faced.

Context of Job’s challenges

1. Satan’s challenge: As in Job 1:1, he was described as “that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.He was blessed with a wife, 7 children and great possessions that qualified to be called “…the greatest man among all the people of the East.” (Job 1:3). Satan’s dare to God from the rest of Job 1 was that Job worshipped God only because of his blessings and the challenge was without his children and possessions, Job will curse God. Then God allowed these to happen to him but still, as in Job 1:20-22, Job did not sin nor blame but instead worshipped God. Same result when God allowed Satan to cause physical sufferings on Job (Job 2:1-10) but spare his life, showing God-in-control, the sovereignty of God.

2. Friends’ challenges: From Job 2:11-13, Job 4:7-9, the interpretation of Job’s friend Eliphaz was that his sufferings were the result of his sins; that “bad/evil things” happened to Job because of his sin against God. Job vehemently denied that he sinned; he could not accept his friends “cause-and-effect” explanation for his sufferings. And, that he still could not understand why he had to suffer. God agreed with him that his sufferings were not because he sinned, as in “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. (Job 1:22).

Other issues discussed with his 2 other friends, Bildad and Zophar, were in a nutshell about the same and blaming Job. See Job Chapters 11,15, 18,20, 22, 25,

3. Elihu’s challenge: youngest among four of them. In Job 32:2 Elihu’s wrath was kindled against Job because he justified himself rather than God; also against Job’s 3 friends because “they found no answer, yet they condemned Job”(Job 3:3)

4. Lord’s challenge: Job 38 shows the supreme and complete sovereignty of the Almighty God putting Job in his place. He is the Creator God who plans and decides on everything he created including their limits and boundaries.

Job’s understanding and venting:

Job 9:4-12, Job understood God’s sovereignty but only to the extent that he is nothing compared to God who he acknowledged “destroys both the blameless and the wicked” Job 9:22. Also in Job 9:13-21, Job was humble enough and did not have pride by disavowing knowledge he was perfect/blameless even when he knew he did “not depart from the commands of his lips” as in Job 23:12, although he maintained the claim of his own righteousness “to his own eyes” as in Job 32:1. In Job 19:26, he also knew he would be resurrected in his flesh. For the depth and breadth of his understanding of God, see also Job Chapters 12-14, 16-17, 19, 21, 24, 26-31. Nevertheless, while asking for answers to his sufferings, Job’s knowledge was incomplete and in a way, questioning to the point of contending, instructing, correcting, striving, fault finding or rebuking God

Job saw, not just heard, the truth

God did not directly answer Job’s question of “Why?”—He instead overwhelmed Job and his friends with the truth of His supreme majesty and overwhelming sovereignty. Job came away with a deeper sense of God’s power and splendor, trusting Him more:“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding (Job 38:4).

After God’s dissertation to educate, Job then saw the light, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”
(Job 42:5–6)

Not Sin but Lack of Understanding

Job did not sin as confirmed by God but his understanding was wrong in that he thought and said in Job 27:6 “I will cling to my (own) righteousness and never let go. As long as I live, my conscience will not accuse me”(BSB). He did not know then, what was revealed through Isaiah 64:6 “Each of us has become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”(BSB). Moreover, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.(Isaiah 55:8). Also, he justified himself according to Elihu, instead of the need for God to justify all humans (Job 32:2).

Imputed vs accounted sin in relation to Job and unique man-Christ Jesus

As explained through Paul, he wrote in Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Meaning literally or functionally by imputation and accounting.

Job’s sin was “imputed sin” of Adam, not actual as he was “perfect/upright/blameless”. But this “imputed sin” was not charged nor accounted until and only after the Law was given to Moses. Similar to Job, being “perfect/upright/blameless, this “man-Christ Jesus” (being human) also had imputed and accounted sin that deserved “eternal death”. The difference between Job and man-Christ Jesus was that the latter’s death (not the former’s and the only one man’s death) was taken or counted by God-the-Father as “eternal death of all mankind” from which Jesus was resurrected, as promised, by God-the-Father, to receive the empowering Holy Spirit for our “ongoing creation”

Teaching principles that emerged from the book of Job are the following facts:

1. Man was created by a perfect Almighty God and can be blameless and upright, fears God and shuns evil”, like Job and man-Christ Jesus were. Man, by nature, did not have to sin, but chose to sin nevertheless. Job in the Bible, professed and believed his “blamelessness” and thought that he didn’t deserve to suffer with loss of wealth and deaths in his family but God educated him otherwise. In the eyes of many, Job was described as “perfect and upright” in his ways, although still needed a Savior, unlike man-Christ Jesus who is the Savior himself.

2. Adam’s sin is imputed to all and therefore the need for a Savior from “eternal death”. All our sin is “imputed/accounted sin” of Adam’s and not our own individual sins, although we have actually and awfully sinned, unlike Job. Remember, “sin is not imputed when there is no Law”.

3. Although perfectly created from the beginning, man is “still weak”,(message in Gethsemane) in the sense of being “incomplete” for lack of the empowering Holy Spirit. Man is still temporal, a “clay marred by sin” and needs “change” or “re-made” from mortal to immortal through a “process of salvationt”.

4. Blinded until God “opens eyes spiritually”. All of us were “blinded” in a way because of “hope” in man-Christ Jesus who was the incarnated YHVH-Elohim Creator/ the Word.

5. Principles: Sovereignty of God. Trust God. Prelude to “perfect Jesus” who suffered and did not need a Savior because he himself is the Savior by taking on the consequence of “one man’s sin”, his/mankind’s death. Also, the predicate that righteousness that God requires is NOT our own righteousness which is “as filthy rags but righteousness that emanates from the Holy Spirit “as fruits”.

Summary

Job is “perfect, blameless, upright” as acknowledged by God (Job 1:1). He followed whatever God’s commandments were at that time. Not only he “did not sin on his own,but also he did not commit any “accounted sin” as defined after the Decalogue was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. His sin was “imputed sin of Adam” and “accounted sin” only after The Law was given to Moses.

However, Job’s deficiency was lack of knowledge, i.e. that he could not justify himself, he carried “imputed and accounted sin” from Adam in Genesis that meant eternal death and therefore needs a Savior still.

Moreover, his experience is a reflection of what was to happen to another man-Jesus who was “sinless, perfect, blameless and upright” Both Job and man-Jesus suffered physically and died naturally, viz., Job from boils all over his body, recovered and died subsequently and Christ suffered physically from crucifixion and died, being mortals. The difference between the two is that Job died a “reversible/first death” being mortal from which he will be resurrected and later saved from “eternal death”, albeit had “imputed sin from Adam” and “accounted sin” which meant “eternal death”. Whereas, Christ took on all “imputed and accounted sins of mankind” worthy of “eternal/second death” which was irreversible, were it not for the promise of grace from the Father that he would be resurrected as “first of the firstfruits”. This all means that salvation from “eternal/irreversible/second death” is by grace as in Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God bless 🙏👍😇

Original/hyperlink version posted 12/15/2020

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Critique is welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com

Can Mary, the Mother of Christ, pray/petition or mediate for us?

Being the “surrogate mother” of “man-Jesus”, Mary has an exalted and uniquely chosen position for this purpose that everyone has to acknowledge. Catholic official position is that Mary is “not worshipped” and only the risen Christ is the “Intercessor as in I Timothy 2:5For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,” Moreover, Catholicism recognizes that “necromancy”is abominable, as in Deut. 18:10–12 and so was what Saul did through the witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28.

But, praying/petitioning to others who died like apostles, saints or even Mary, is explained away and justified. The crux of this teaching can only be explained if the “dead” are “alivein heaven. Are they alive, really? What happens when we die? We know that the “breath-of-life” goes back to God at death; yet, without a body, can it act? The quaesitum maybe found in my previous post “Death, what is?”.

Risen Christ Jesus

Only a risen person who was resurrected to life with an immortal body can intercede and respond to our prayers, supplications and petitions. Here are verses to ponder:

Romans 8:34Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (NKJV)

Hebrews 7:25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”(NIV)

Read also other verses proving Jesus Christ as the only living person that has the capacity to hear our prayers and petitions to act and intercede for us.

Summary

Indeed, Mary is the mother of man-Christ Jesus through a process of surrogacy. She has an exalted, unique and reverent role in the plan of God for our salvation. She has to be acknowledged and respected as such, without question nor reservation.

That said, she is still dead like David and Jacob; her bones still with us and no one has been resurrected to life except Jesus, the “first born” among the dead, the “Son of God”, the pioneer and trailblazer of our salvation achieved for us through an “ongoing creation”.

While her “breath-of-life” went back to the Creator God, she has not been resurrected to life with an immortal body that can be used to act. Mary is not perfect literally and has “imputed sin from Adam”.

Nevertheless, our goal is to seek the truth and not to alienate anyone who has different beliefs. Hopefully, God will open our “eyes to see and not just have ears to hear”.

Dedicated to all those who believe that Mary can hear and act on our prayers.

Original hyperlink version posted:December 22, 2020. Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 800 years.

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Critique welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com

Are you a Catholic or Protestant?

This question is not unique to Christianity. Other religions have their own divisions. Muslims have Shia or Sunni. Judaism has Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed and in 1973 Jews for Jesus.

For whatever reason, believers in Christ preferred and are proud to be called Catholics or Protestants, instead of just Christians. But, why do they have to? It is true that the common bond between them is that Christ is the Savior, the “way, the truth and the life”, although in many ways they differ. And, be that as it may, how will this differentiation advance or negatively impact Christianity? Before tackling this subject, a lesson in history may give some perspective and context.

History of Christianity

It goes without saying that before the advent of “man-Christ Jesus” on earth, there were no Christians. At the time of Moses, the Hebrew congregants or assembly that gathered for YHVH-Elohim/Lord-God were called “church in the wilderness”. After the incarnation of YHVH-ELOHIM into “man-Christ Jesus”, believers in Christ were not called Catholics or Protestants. The early ones in the New Testament were called “Greek hagios, or saints but in this particular context, simply means “consecrated to God. The first mention of those who were followers/disciples of Christ, “probably AD 30”, can be found in Acts 11:26 “…The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch”.

And the “group or congregation of believers in Christ were called “church of Christ”, “body of Christ” or “church of God”. The congregants were further identified as to the place where they were, as in church of God at/of Corinth, Thessalonians, or even at prophetic seven churches in Asia, etc.

As it expands to different parts of the known world, the descriptive word “Catholic” came about from Greek “katholikos” sometime about 110 AD. to mean “whole, in general, universal” and first used by St Ignatius of Antioch. “The term (Catholic) has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church). All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East) had always identified themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. Also, Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists believe that their churches are “Catholic” in the sense that they too are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles.”

As there was schism in the church. so were there earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe and Jan Hus—but only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider, lasting and modern movement.” The grievances against the Catholic Church led to the formation of Protestantism and others. Hence, Catholics or Protestants became a simple description of believers/followers of Christ.

Unintended Consequences

Without imputing negative motivation, what effect does this differentiation of believers in Christ have. For one, it capitalizes on division and rift among Christians instead of unity and bonding. Moreover, it emphasizes differences instead of common ground. Commonality is marginalized and exclusivity becomes the attraction. “Holier-than-thou attitude” and pride supersede humility, kindness and gentleness. A shame/blame culture develops. Worse, it takes away and distracts from the very essence of Christ’s gospel, it’s message of the “kingdom of God”.

Bottom line, the description as Catholic or Protestant for Christians may prevent unity in the common struggle for preaching the world the “great commission”. Worse, it fosters the saying, “…a house divided against itself, will not stand”.

Summary

Religions have sub-divisions. Christianity is no different; it has Catholic vs Protestant. From Jesus’ time on earth and the apostolic era, it was not so. History confirms believers in Christ were called “Christians”, probably in 30 AD. As to how it evolved, is undisputed and may have unintended consequences. Keeping the original description as “Christians”, is unifying, uplifting and focused as “one entity” towards fulfilling the “great commission”.

This is no place for pontification nor virtue signaling, however we call ourselves. As Paul wrote in Romans 3:23all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

And, because of sin of Adam in Genesis that was imputed to all mankind, all of us deserved the consequence of that sin, which is “eternal death”.

But, Jesus took on that death, to be imputed to us all, by being the Passover for all, by the grace/gift and love of God so that he became the Savior, the captain and trailblazer of our salvation through a process of an “ongoing creation”,

Finally, when asked what is your religion, we can just say boldly and with conviction, “I am a Christian”.

God bless 🙏😇👍

Original hyperlink version posted Dec 5, 2020

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Critique is welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com

Day of Advent

There are many advents, past, present and future. But there is this one popular advent that many look back to, every time; the coming birth of Jesus Christ.

Advent, November 29, 2020.

“In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30 (the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle in the Catholic tradition). Consequently, in Western Churches, the First Sunday of Advent can fall as early as November 27 or as late as December 3 in our Calendar. The factual event is narrated by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. As factual and crucial that event’s history is for humanity, are there other advents that are ignored?

“Advents” in the Old Testament.

The Creator God/ YHVH-Elohim, the Creator of all “invisible and visible”, the one who subsequently incarnated to “man-Christ Jesus” had many “appearances/advents”.

Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek who blessed him and Paul identified him as Christ. Lord God/YHVH-Elohim also appeared to Abraham before Sodom & Gomorrah. There were other appearances in Exodus as well as in other books of the Pentateuch.

Jesus’ Post-Resurrection advent

John prophesied that Jesus: “….He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”. And he can baptize with the Holy Spirit ONLY AFTER the Father gave this power to him post-death/post-resurrection when he went to the Father in heaven. Jesus will guide us to the truth via this “holy spirit of power”. And, as an advent, he is currently coming into us through the mechanism and process of “in-dwelling” of the Holy Spirit which is “baptism” in itself.

Right now and starting from the disciples, then Pentecost, Jesus is re-creating the “marred clay” and this is an “ongoing creation”.

Thereafter, at the Millenium/thousand years, he is again coming to earth (another advent) with the firstfruits to gather the latterfruits. Towards the end of times, those who did not change using the “power of the Holy Spirit” given to them as a gift, will be thrown in the “Gehenna fire”, in the same way for those who fought against Jesus on his return to start the Millennium.

Summary

The preceding exegesis provided the many advents of Jesus Christ as YHVH-Elohim/Creator God in the Old Testament, as man-Jesus, Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the New Testament.

What advent to we need to celebrate and memorialize ? All his advents have purpose and meaning for humanity that we have to be mindful of. Nevertheless, we have to know where we are in the context of time in regard to “advents”.

But where are we now in the context of time? We are currently in the “sanctification phase” of our re-creation from “marred clay”. And this process is through the “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit” baptizing us into the “body/church of Jesus Christ.”

This current advent of Jesus Christ in us is like having a “Holy Eucharist”, taking in the “bread and wine”, daily for our sanctification.

God Bless and Happy Advent Day🙏😇👍

Original Post, Hyperlink version on December 2, 2020

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Critique is welcome at foundationacts@yahoo.com