First published as Not Many People Know This… the day after I’d launched this blog in November 2011, this item was repeated on the home page over subsequent years. It alerts followers and visitors to the acceleration in fulfillment of biblical prophecies, as shown in the closing links to some of those events: Continue reading
As blogged last week, in my humble opinion one of the main considerations for this week’s general election is for political candidates to give proper recognition to the religious dogma behind terrorism. In the second post I called for a nationwide, thorough education program to compare the founders and teachings of Islam and Christianity (note, not churchianity).
Over several years blogging I’ve occasionally dawn attention to that necessity and so I’m pleased that Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden, previously one of Her Majesty’s chaplains, has written at length on this very subject in connection with recent events. (You may recall Cranmer’s own request for the development of a ‘Prophetology’ in order to investigate the true nature of the founder of Islam.)
Last year Dr Gavin was deeply concerned that Glasgow Cathedral allowed a Muslim to recite quranic passages during the Easter Service that undermine Christian teaching on Jesus’ death and resurrection – ie, a grossly blasphemous service! (Read Qur’an in the Eucharist? Provost of Glasgow Cathedral subverts Christian revelation.)
Therefore, you may like to read his latest excellent article, We need to talk more about Jesus and Mohammed and less about Christianity and Islam.
With regards to PM May, I’d point out that as Home Secretary she prevented a couple of ‘truth-tellers’ from visiting Britain (Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller) – after much dispute Gert Wilders was allowed in to address parliamentarians. YET she and her predecessors willingly opened up our nation to muslim murder-mongers and permitted hate-filled rallies by jihadists. So all politicians are personally culpable for permitting the fruit of political correctness to ripen in our day. (At least Donald Trump ‘tweets’ some sense on this Political Claptrap issue!)
To follow last week’s visionary invitation to enter the doorway into Daniel 2:22, the first course of this fine ‘meal’ from Nelson Walters is appetising food for thought.:
The Gospels refer to and explain the Book of Daniel numerous times. The title Jesus chose for himself, ‘Son Of Man’, was one of those references. This is the first part of a 3 part series on Jesus and the Book of Daniel. When Jesus interpreted the law, he primarily used Deuteronomy. When he spoke…
I commend my namesake’s latest post for it leads splendidly into my proposed remarks on the timing of the Romans 11:25 ‘mystery’ being fulfilled. (Read about the God-incidences behind our writings in Blog Anniversary: ‘The Fellowship of the Secret’.)
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that HER INIQUITY IS PARDONED: for SHE HATH RECEIVED OF THE LORD’S HAND DOUBLE FOR ALL HER SINS. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God”. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Is40:1-5KJV)
Georg Friedrich Handel was on the whole creditably faithful to the (KJV) scriptural narrative within his much-loved Christmas musical offering; such subtle…
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PS: Jesus spoke mainly in Aramaic during His sojourn here (and maybe Latin or Greek during his trial before the Roman governor). The subsequent accounts of the Good News were written in the common Greek dialect (koine) widespread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean that was also used as an official language.
Just as the Old Testament had a Greek version (Septuagint) for reading by Jews abroad in the Gentile nations, so too was Greek necessary for the New Testament.
Does that invalidate my claim (here) of Jesus knowing and using the distinction between Greek ‘aeon’ and ‘kosmos’? I think not because in the upper room after celebrating the Passover meal He told the Twelve:
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26 NKJV – emphasis added)
Moreover, in the very beginning of Creation, Holy Spirit was there ‘hovering over the face of the waters’ (Gen 1:2). So He too knew the full method and details of the many acts of God in Creation. Therefore, He would have inspired the authors of the Gospels and letters in differentiating between those slightly different words for time, space and arrangement that we’ve overlooked in reading the Bible.
Perhaps His purpose was not only to give an accurate account but also to prepare for the far future when scientists would formulate and test their understanding of how the ‘world’ and universe were created?
And that’s only the start of our meditations upon the conjunction of scripture and science…
[To start reading the whole article click/tap here.]
In the previous post I claimed the ‘4th jigsaw piece’ of applying the ‘revisionist’ prophetic word on scripture harmonises not only with its foundational verses of Genesis 1:3 and John 1 but also with the scientific understanding of time and space!
I suggested readers may like to check that out for themselves in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of New Testament Greek words, and note different meanings, for ‘world’ – especially in Hebrews 1:2. In this post I’ll reveal my surprising discoveries…
What do you understand by ‘World’. Isn’t it usually synonymous with ‘globe’ or ‘the earth’?
My life-long interest in astronomy and science makes me think also of the solar system planetary and hypothetical interstellar worlds. Other valid concepts can be one’s personal ‘world’ of thoughts, emotions and activities; or of social, cultural interests eg. the world of fashion.
Previously, I told what happened after mulling over Jesus Christ’s role in Creation and commenting upon my re-blog of a physicist’s article about dark matter and energy. I was prompted to reach for my spade and start digging into the New King James’ and New International versions of verse 3 in the Book of Hebrews’ opening chapter. What I didn’t tell was the stunning gem shining from the central column of my Study Bible right at the start of that chapter.
That prize find opened up a whole new world!
Courtesy of Thomas Nelson Bibles the NKJV Hebrews 1:1-2 subhead and text reads:
God’s Supreme Revelation
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
My Study Bible has two notes for this: ‘at various times’, ‘or in many portions; ‘worlds’ or ages; Grk aiones, aeons’. The second also applies to ‘worlds’ in Hebrews 11:3, viz:
3 By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made from things which are visible.
The note against ‘framed’ reads: ‘Grk ‘katartizo’ to arrange, set in order, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, prepare’.
Clearly, any reader would easily understand that the Almighty made the planets and starry worlds – but ‘aeon’ isn’t the same. It means ‘Time’. SO just what did it mean to Jesus’ first disciples, those who’d personally witnessed and recorded revelations from and about the One who existed in God before time began? (The creative declaration of His personal power in creating the universe is considered in this post.)
NOW, the Oxford English Dictionary has two definitions for ‘Aeon’ (US. Eon), viz: ‘a very long period of time’ and ‘a major division of time in geology, subdivided into eras’.
Before we dig into that, here’s the Greek Interlinear Bible’s Hebrew 1:2
Copied from the Textus Receptus, it literally reads: ‘On last-ones of-the days these talks (speaks) to-us in son whom He-places (he appoints) tenant (enjoyer of the allotment) of-all through whom and (also) the eons He-makes.’
Strongs’ has the following for ‘worlds’ as it appears throughout the New Testament, as listed numerically according to the Greek alphabet, parts of which I’ve emphasised:
- 165 – ‘aeon’ from same root 104 ‘aei’ [duration, ‘ever’…regularly…always]: property of an age..perpetuity. By impl the world; spec (Jewish) a Messianic period – age, course, eternal, (for) ever (~more), (beginning of the) world (began, without end) cf 5550 ‘kronos’ – a space of time, thus distinguished from ‘kairos’, an occasion, set or proper time, season, time.
- 2889 – ‘kosmos’: orderly arrangement, by implication the world in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants lit or fig.
- 3625 – ‘oikoumene’: land (the terrene part of the globe); spec Roman empire – earth world.
- 1093 – ghay: a region or solid part of the whole terrene globe (incl occupants), country, land, world.
Thus, the original documents of the New Testament display a clear difference of definition between periods of time and areas of the earth – going even beyond ‘time and space’ to an organised ‘system’, which implies inherent intelligence, either of internal or external nature and of divine rather than human design.
We know from history that the ancient Greek philosophers had made definite distinctions between material and immaterial aspects of our existence – space and time! And it is not so surprisingly made by writers of the NT – YET Christendom may have missed much in translating the Word of God!
Now you need to know, in blogging a month ago On Pivotal Prophecies Now Coming Into Play, of which one was my Exploding Bible of 2011, I’d checked the literal NT text of the wheat and tares parable in Matthew 13 and was amazed at one word in verse 38 (Jesus’ explanation “The field is the world…”), which reads:
‘World’ appears twice in English, but the ORIGINAL HAS TWO DIFFERENT WORDS! These are ‘kosmos’ and ‘aionos’ – huh!! The literal rendition of vv 38 and 39 reads:
‘The yet field is the SYSTEM (world) the yet ideal seed these are the sons of-the kingdom the yet bearded-darnels are the sons of the wicked-one the yet enemy the-one sowing them is the thru-caster (adversary) the yet harvest together-finish of the eon is the yet reapers messengers are.’
There’s a clear allusion to the future and processes/action (‘yet’) and a deliberate, strong use by the Lord Jesus Himself of a distinction between time and space. Surely He must have known what He was talking about, especially in view of His role in Creation! (See next post’s PS.)
Also, check the occurrences of ‘time’ (aeon), ‘space’ (oikoumene) and ‘system’ (kosmos) in the NT and you’ll find only a few refer to actual land or space, whereas the majority refer to ‘system’, with ‘time’ as second most frequent. In the OT there are far fewer uses of the variants of Hebrew ‘world’, practically all of which mean the physical land and half a dozen refer to portions or perpetuity of time.
If you’re still with me, enlarge this copy of my Strongs’ in which I had fun colour-coding the scripture references (‘time’ in orange, ‘space’ in green and ‘system’ in yellow).
In our appreciation of holy scripture we should seriously consider the possibility of Jesus having given his disciples deep insights into the nature of the realms of time and matter, especially in view of their acknowledging His Lordship over and role in Creation.
Click for brief PS >>
[Hands Holding World by Twobee, courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net]
Another part of the Lord’s Invisible Jigsaw turned up over the New Year! Readers who are unfamiliar with this blog’s oft-used concept may wish to check that link’s content.
I’m sharing those totally unexpected jigsaw pieces and their insights upon the person of Jesus Christ in the hope of provoking reflection upon the untold depths of scripture.
In contemplating a particular verse I later unintentionally used a different version to the one in mind. But upon checking the original text it then opened up a revelation upon Jesus’ role in Creation that expands our usual understanding – even surprising me in its relevance to my quest for a meeting place between scripture and theories and experiments in quantum mechanics and relativity, especially for space-time!
1st JIGSAW PIECE – HEBREWS 1:2-3
‘And there’s me, before getting up this morning, mulling over God’s use of basic science and maths in creating the universe. That’s not, of course, explicit in Genesis but implicit by nature in the opening verses. Moreover, there’s the original text’s alphabetical coding (maybe hinting at quantum coding?). So I searched the New Testament for Jesus Christ’s part in this ‘mystery’: ‘through whom also He (God) made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and UPHOLDING ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…’ (Hebrews 1:2-3 NKJV) So is today’s excellent overview by Mekhi merely coincidental in hinting at my query’s solution? My own readers know me only too well on that score…’
I never thought of the popular song He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands, for my mind was on a specific scripture – Hebrews 1:3 from the New International Version (NIV):
‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of all his being, SUSTAINING ALL THINGS BY HIS POWERFUL WORD…’
So, what had happened was that after my contemplation I continued catching up online after the Christmas-New Year break. An email alert arrived for a new blog by theoretical physicist Mekhi entitled The Dark Side and her eye-catching image immediately plugged into my earlier musing…
Mekhi recounts astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky’s hypothesis and astronomer Vera Rubi’s observational confirmation of the effects of invisible material and energy throughout the known universe. Her article makes this unusual topic easily intelligible to non-scientists.
In my haste to re-blog I grabbed Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to find that passage’s location and used my New King James Version’s (NKJV) study bible to copy its text (ie. not NIV’s) into my covering note.
ONLY LATER, upon looking at a hardcopy of the re-blog did it dawn upon me that what I’d put was not what I’d intended – DOH!! But why are they different?
The NIV refers to Jesus upholding all the universe, all its seen and unseen contents and energies – and us – ‘by His powerful word’, but the NKJV says it’s ‘by the word of His power’. Seems to mean the same thing – but do they? Are they one and the same thing?
Time to check the original Greek – only to find its literal translation is very different! See how this copy from Scripture 4 All online Greek Interlinear Bible analyses and renders verses 2 and 3:
Here’s the literal reading of verse 3 from the Received Text (phrase in question in bold).: ‘Who being from-radiance (effulgence) of-the esteem (glory) and carving of-the under-standing (assumption) of-him carrying (carrying-on) besides the all to-the declaration of-the ability (power) of-him thru self (through himself) cleansing making of the misses (sins) of-us is seated in right (right-hand) of-the great-togetherness (majesty) in highs (heights).’
Therefore, it seems that in putting into ordinary, dynamic English translators modified the true meaning from: as well as (besides) being a physically carved mirror-image of God (Theos), the Son (huio) is carrying everything (the all) by the spoken statement of HIS ability…ie. by virtue of Jesus’ own personal power as the glorious presence of God.
In other words, it explains who Jesus is and what he can and does do by audible verbal declaration of the holy ability He has, just because of who He is. And so to my covering note for the re-blog I added, ‘NB: NKJV’s correct translation of Greek ‘declaration of the ability of-him’ gives better and different rendition to NIV’s ‘by His powerful word’!!’
2nd JIGSAW PIECE – ‘REVISIONIST’ PROPHETIC WORD
The following weekend, on the first day of this new year, pastor John Kilpatrick revealed what the Lord had told him about 2017 en-route to church:
“This is going to be a year of revision!” What He meant by that was, the story that’s already been written is going to be revised. What’s already determined is going to be revised – everything’s going to be rewritten. You can’t go by the old ‘cue cards’, the Holy Ghost is going to be spontaneous in giving you new cue cards.”
I shared my reflections upon that word in this post and blogging only the previous week I’d had a personal example of that ‘revisionist’ word and hinted at more to tell more another time, as I’m doing now.
3rd JIGSAW PIECE – PROPHETIC DECLARATION
Another thing about the Greek hit me! It is the emphasis upon ‘declaration’ because this relates it to the full meaning and practicable usage of speaking scripture and decisions aloud during prophetic prayers and intercession. The biblical basis for this practice is briefly outlined in An Introduction to Prophecy, but full details from Dr Sharon Stone’s teaching upon decrees and declarations appears in my Mentoring Day Part 2 and is based upon the highly instructive account of Queen Esther’s request of her husband in his court in ancient Persia.
Furthermore, and as world be expected, the Greek connects directly into Jesus’ role in Creation as stated in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John, ‘
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by and through him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it…
‘That was the true light, which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made through him, and the world did not know Him…
‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth…
‘No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.’ (1:18 emphasis added)
That reiterates and gloriously magnifies the opening verses in Genesis of God having actually spoken aloud to perform the act of universal creation,
‘Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness….’
Does that not give us a hint about dark energy being part of Creation? I think it may.
4th JIGSAW PIECE – SCIENTIFIC ASPECT OF ‘WORLDS’ (verse 2)
This ‘revisionist’ approach to holy writ harmonises with those foundational verses AND with our scientific understanding of time and space! Read all about this in the next post.
OR, fulfill that ‘revisionist’ prophecy by rewriting scripture, as normally known! Check it out yourself by dipping into Strong’s Concordance and examine the couple or so Greek words, and their meanings, used for ‘world’ in the New Testament and in Hebrews 1:2 specifically.
5th JIGSAW PIECE – A SCIENTIST’S FAITH
After all the preceding events after Christmas and into the New Year, you may be able to appreciate my delight a week ago today in reading about a scientist’s faith in the centrality of truth of Christianity as he marvels at Creation? (See previous post.)
Click to read more about these fresh insights >>
- Flying puzzles by Nokhoog Buchachon
- Puzzle Globe and Book by Thanunkorn,
- both courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net
Chemistry graduate Joe Ogden draws a fascinating comparison between the apparent contradiction of the Holy Trinity and that of wave-particle duality in quantum physics, plus other interesting insights.
If you ask a 14 year old, an 18 year old and an undergraduate to describe an atom you will get different answers. Ask them to draw an atom, and the discrepancies become even more noticeable. A 14 year old will have no issues producing an image like the one below. The undergraduate is likely to look at you quizzically. “Draw an atom? You must be joking!”
Chemistry, much like the other sciences, relies upon models. As students progress through their chemistry education they are introduced to increasingly complex models of the atom. Each model is used to explain the various chemical observations that students encounter.
From age 11 to 16, students work with an atomic model that can provide an (adequate) explanation of why sodium chloride’s structure is composed of positive sodium ions and negative chlorine ions in a…
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An excellent and apposite addition to our recent posts on science and the scriptures. Thank you…
Cropped from Hairy Dark Matter By NASA/JPL-Caltech [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons In 1800, someone took the temperature of a rainbow. This story isn’t as strange as it sounds because that ‘someone’ was not the sort of person to look for a pot of gold, but a scientist called William Herschel.
Lemuel Francis Abbott [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Herschel was a German musician and astronomer who became famous for discovering the planet Uranus. He built the best telescopes of his day, was funded by King George III, became a fellow of the Royal Society, first president of the Royal Astronomical Society, and was eventually knighted for his work. So why was such a sensible person taking a rainbow’s temperature?
In Herschel’s day, all astronomers used coloured filters to protect their eyes when they were observing the sun. The light coming through the filter was obviously a bit warm, but…
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…examples of time ‘miracles’ and outlines on time travel, time ‘slices’, time ‘bubbles’ and bending of time popped up in Justin Abraham’s teaching upon Time (see introduction). My near transcription/notes of the first quarter hour is below – parentheses and emphases of topics are mine.
Now and then he jokes with his audience about getting their brains ‘fried’, BUT they’re in good company! It happens to experts too! Mathematicians and scientists continue to be puzzled over the profound paradoxes of quantum physics. Phil Mason opens chapter three ‘Time and the Quantum’ of his book Quantum Glory (2010) as follows.:
A number of scientists who are kept awake at night perplexed by the counter-intuitive world of quantum mechanics have devised additional experiments in order to probe more deeply the bizarre attributes of the sub-atomic world…we need to note that these additional discoveries will totally mess with our heads concerning the nature of time itself…a significant key to understanding the quantum enigma hinges upon the issue of time as it relates to quantum space.
Justin relates Biblical prophecies to the science of relativity and quantum physics but first sets the scene to his in-depth lecture with scriptural backing. (Hence my inserting the full text of Ephesians 5:16 after Lion Bites’ Heavenly Time-Management in A prophetic word from God about Time….). So let’s dig in… Continue reading
Here I share more insights gained since Holy Week, citing an example to prove this post’s title and looking at early church history. First, listen to Jesus in prayer:
“Father, I pray for those who will believe in Me..that they may all be one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me.” (John 17:20-21 NKJV – emphasis added)
Is Jesus’ prayer about to be fully answered at long, long last? Especially for the sake of saving lost souls?
Sixty years ago many Christian denominations had scant tolerance for one another, even though a large percentage of Britons attended church regularly or, if not, would at least go for Easter and Christmas. Those who didn’t were religiously well-informed – unlike today’s spiritually unwashed masses who are religious illiterates! As a youngster I was subject to some most unexpected personal animosity between Protestants and Catholics – despite their claiming to believe in the same God!
Thus, disunity was one reason for my rejecting Churchianity and seeking truth beyond science and religion in metaphysics and mysticism (the Eastern and New Age variety).
As well as ignoring Jesus’ expressed desire for unity and command to love one another, believers weren’t doing what Jesus did – and more – as He foretold:
“Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12 NKJV)
History demonstrates churches across the East and West hadn’t complied with Jesus’ desire. Moreover, it seems God didn’t answer His Son’s deep prayer request! Mankind’s free-will and Satan’s steering were determined to prevent its fulfillment at all costs.
Heavenly Father can ensure Jesus’ prayer gets met. No doubt He’s waiting for the right time and conditions for inspiring believers who are responsive to His Spirit; rather than to make them comply. He didn’t create robotic automatons. First, however, we need to want and allow Holy Spirit into our lives rather than deny, quench or grieve His gracious ways.
Re-born Into Christ
Consequently, it was an extremely pleasant surprise to find after being born again in 1989-90 those antagonisms had disappeared. When I was baptised in Holy Spirit in 1992 I saw Jesus healing people and so I wanted to associate with the group who’d organised that day’s event. That Circle of Prayer for Healing in the mid-Thames Valley was a mixture of Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists and independents – and all charismatics!
Thus, spiritual unity of that small group enabled Holy Spirit to flow in power and manifest the presence of the Kingdom of God – praise You Lord. Hopefully we may expect a much larger manifestation now we’re 25 years further down the road…
An increasing emphasis from those with prophetical voices and gifting is indicating Holy Spirit wants to inspire, infuse and direct our hearts and minds with Jesus’ love for fellow Christians, and to express that as a Unity of spirit and action – so the world no longer sees believers as squabbling hypocrites and realise who Jesus is and that we really do have the answers they’re desperately needing and seeking spiritually.
Hence my enthusiasm towards unity in belief and action (with the caveat of obedience to Jesus’ instructions) throughout Christendom – no doubt the intensification of secular and terrorist persecution is drawing us out of our shells and making us stand up!
- Extraordinary vision: “I watched as these fiery, burning and anointed ones moved together in PERFECT UNITY”.
- Revelation from the Lord about angels of Revival being released and that “The body of Christ is coming alive in Jesus, in purity, in life, in love, in UNITY”.
- Obedient response to: “The Rhema Word God has had for me the past few months is UNITY”.
- Writing a new book for which “The major outcome theme…is Unity”.
- Three years’ preparation for church-wide act of unity across the UK.
The details of the last from Malcolm Duncan warrant brief re-iteration:
“I lead Spring Harvest and for three years I have been working on an act of unity across the United Kingdom that will see all…evangelical bible conventions and celebrations declaring that, whatever our theological differences are, we are one in Christ Jesus. It is going to involve 130,000 Christians from March (Spring Harvest) through to October next year with the Festival of Life…perhaps the biggest demonstration of Christian unity that we have seen in the evangelical church in the United Kingdom for almost two hundred years – and they’ve all said “Yes” – there’s the miracle! They’re all on board, and I am sure the Bible says,
“Where the brethren dwell together in unity, the Lord commands a blessing.”
Seventeen months ago Heidi Baker brought a word about ‘A New Move of God in the UK’ which prophesied about Unity as follows (underlining added):
“…There’s going to be a movement of unity in the UK that’s going to shake the world, says the Lord. I hear the prophetic word of the Lord. It’s going to flow through the universities and the colleges of the universities. It’s going to flow through denomination and the non-denominations. There’s going to be a move of unity within the Body of Christ.
“You’re going to fill Wembley Stadium. You’re going to fill stadiums, stadiums, with worshippers of the living God. And there’s going to be this holy affection where people come before the Lord. They’re not going to even know who’s speaking in the stadium, they’re not going to even know the name of the preachers, because they’re coming fixing their eyes on Jesus. It’s going to shake the nation, says the Lord.
“There’s going to be a unity even between Scotland and Ireland and the UK, that’s going to SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE. There’s going to be a shaking that’s going to bring a unity, says the Lord. There’s going to be something that the people of other faiths are going to see in this nation, as believers come together in radical love…”
Amen to all the above.
The Early Church on Jesus and Unity
My meditations have been based upon Apostle John’s understanding and revelations of the glory and nature of His dearly beloved rabbi, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This meant musing upon, seeking the Lord and researching into what the disciples may have learned after the Resurrection; ‘To whom’, the physician and chronicler Dr Luke records that Jesus, ‘also presented Himself alive after His sufferings by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and (His) speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.’ (Acts 1:3 NKJV)
[THUS, after that privileged private teaching they logically concluded the Kingdom was going to be restored to Israel. That’s clearly the Lord’s action plan – they just wanted to know when to expect its execution. Had that not been a legitimate request they’d have been rebuked. But Jesus told them that’s not their – OR His – concern because it’s The Father’s prerogative! Jesus had another plan for them: transmitting the Gospel with all the consequential signs and wonders: ie. fulfillment of John 14:12 – see Acts1:6-8.]
Scriptural meditations encouraged me to re-read The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God – an exceptionally informative book by the Methodist Bible scholar Margaret Barker, whose Doctorate in Divinity was conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘in recognition of her work on the Jerusalem Temple and the origins of Christian Liturgy’. (It is designated, ‘Temple Theology’.)
Dr Barker’s significant new contribution to the understanding of the New Testament opened up important fields for research.
In checking out her website I found the paper ‘Jesus the Nazorean’ most illuminating and confirming my thoughts on Paul’s many references to the ‘mysteries’ of God. On page 9 therein lies a useful insight into our consideration of Unity in the Lord (emphases mine):
“Theodotus, the second century teacher whose work survives only as quotations in Clement of Alexandria, was condemned by later generations as a Gnostic. He taught about Jesus’ role in restoring the unity, just as John’s Jesus did in his final prayer after the last supper. This is what Theodotus said:
They say that our angels were put forth as a unity and are One in that they came out from the One.
Now since we existed in separation, Jesus was baptised that the undivided should be divided until he should unite us with them in the Fullness, that we, the many, having become one, might be mingled with the One which was divided for our sakes.’
“And this is what John’s Jesus said:
”[I pray] that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”. (John 17.21)
Restoring the unity was a sign of divinity. But John’s Jesus also brought judgement: ‘[The Father] has given all judgement to the Son’ (John 5.22).
“Theodotus is not telling us anything different from what Paul said in his message to the
’For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth’ (Eph.1.9-10).
“So too in his letter to the Colossians, Paul said that Christ holds all things together (Col.1.17).
“The secret of the kingdom was the secret of unity, restoring all things to their unity with God, and so Paul saw the future as the Son of God bringing all things into the kingdom – he called it subduing all things, the judgement – ‘that God may be all in all’ (1 Cor.15.28).”
Therefore, in my humble opinion, this information is well-worth mulling over. I’m especially pleased Dr Barker refers to and stresses Ephesians 1:9 (see my covering intro to God’s Eternal Purpose – and reference to Unity therein). This reinforces my interest in what Paul knew by personal revelation from Jesus Himself, as well as gained when he was caught up into heaven.
Thank you Lord that Your Spirit of Wisdom and of Revelation brings knowledge of You (Eph 1:17).
In discussion with a leader at a local church we visited recently I queried his opinion upon the source of Paul’s knowledge of the Last Supper and the Resurrection. He was keenly recommending a new devotional book, 40 Days With Jesus by Dave Smith of New Frontiers church. In considering the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, the leader echoed Smith’s citing ‘compelling evidence from 1 Corinthians 15 (as) important because not only was it…written early [in 55AD] but (also) Paul’s evidence would have come from meetings with the other apostles that took place only a few years after the resurrection itself’.
This book’s a useful adjunct to my meditations, but the above remark may be playing fast and loose with scriptural data!!
Paul’s letter to the Galatians may be dated 6 years earlier, depending upon which of two groups he was addressing, or else contemporary with that sent to the church in Corinth. In stating how he changed from being a severe persecutor of believers to becoming an on-fire believer and preacher, Paul writes (Gal 1:15-16 NKJV):
“When it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went to Arabia and returned again to Damascus.”
In about 62 AD, Dr Luke completed his careful investigations of early church history. He wrote, ‘In his account to King Agrippa Paul states, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision but declared first to those in Damascus…(to) repent, turn to God and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:19-20). Earlier, in recording post-conversion events of Paul in that city, where Paul regained his sight through Ananias, Luke states ‘Then Saul spent some days with the disciples in Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in synagogues…’ (Acts 9:19-20).
Therefore, if Saul didn’t receive full revelation personally about the Last Supper and the Resurrection whilst blind, then wouldn’t he have got the basics from Ananias’ group?
[Credit: ‘Puzzle Globe and Book’ by Thanunkorn, courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net ]
At this time every year Nina creates a tableau for contemplating Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. She’s inspired about what items to collect and arrange, usually including a rock with a central hole eroded by the sea and which we found on a beach. It serves as both the ‘skull’ and garden tomb of Golgotha. For example, the above display has a scarf as a ‘river of life’ flowing out of the empty cave/tomb below the cross. (In 2012 it gave an insight that I’ll share below.)
A slightly different display is set up each Maunday Thursday, the night of which Jesus and the twelve leading disciples ate Passover Seder early (see video explanation). Following the meal, one disciple betrayed Him by leading Temple guards to capture Him at night for trial by a ‘kangaroo’ court of Jewish leaders. It was a foregone conclusion that they would demand authorisation of His death from Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect, or governor, of Judea.
If you’re unfamiliar with this true story and how it led to Jesus’ gruesome torture, death and burial followed by his amazing bodily resurrection and appearance to His disciples, read doctor Luke’s investigative account and the personal account of Jesus’ closest disciple John. (Later, a Jewish leader violently opposed to them but who encountered Jesus en-route to Damascus would write He was seen simultaneously by over 500 – 1 Cor 15:6)
A Bit of Theology
Jesus Christ died so that each of us may be forgiven for our sins. As a result of this new status, we now have direct personal access to God. As the Son of God, He suffered on our behalf as our ‘scapegoat’. That is, Jesus took the place of death that we deserved because of our sinfulness, for the shedding of a sinless one’s blood was the only way our status could be changed for us to gain personal salvation. Apostle Paul put it thus to the Romans:
8But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11, NIV, see whole chapter.)
Now, when I was a new Christian I found that rather hard to understand – but it works! The theological term is ‘atonement’, or ‘substitutionary atonement’. In bringing forgive-ness to the guilty, however, this can cause deep problems for those who’ve been the victim of crimes. After all, why should a killer find forgiveness by God? And what about the victim’s families, or the victim of abuse? They find it very hard if well-nigh impossible to forgive.
In 2012 I heard a Portsmouth prison chaplain address this issue with a concept taken from the criminal justice system: restorative justice. This involves active dialogue between victim and offender, plus reparation. And it has a sound basis in theology. How?
Jesus was a guiltless victim, directly of those who wanted Him killed, and indirectly of everyone’s ‘fallen state’ of sinfulness, which could only be rectified by His death.
And Almighty God, the Father, is a victim too. How? He’s victim of humanity’s rebellion against Him. For example and especially over the way religious leaders murdered His son – how they seethed with rage when Jesus denounced them! (read Luke 20:9-19). So, every victim can find an identity and affinity in both God and Jesus Christ in their situation. Hence, they can receive God’s own ability to forgive because He will help them choose to forgive those who’ve harmed them. [Lack of forgiveness may be the only thing that hampers God – see Matt 6:14-15]
A Tableau in Time
During contemplation upon the tableau illustrated above, an insight dropped into mind that the Resurrection created a distinct point in the flow of, or perhaps even a change in, time itself. That is, the now termed ‘common era’ calendar is the medieval Christian one that counts years from the approximate birth of Christ as ‘anno Domini’. But in fact, a more powerful one would be the point at which things in heaven changed and thus affected our lives on earth and its ultimate role in God’s scheme of creation. This took place at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, His revival to life from death itself.
That such a concept may be valid can be found in the discoveries about the material of the shroud in which Jesus was thought to have been carried and covered during His interment, known as ‘The Shroud of Turin‘. It is of astounding significance when examined from an understanding of quantum physics! It can actually be regarded as a ‘singularity’, which is the term used for the starting point of the creation of the universe, or ‘Big Bang’. Don’t take my untutored word for this but consider particle physicist Isabel Piczek. She is also a monumental artist and award-winning figura-tive draughtsman. Consequently, her very detailed analysis of theories about how the shroud’s image was formed is fascinating and authoritative (see first of several detailed articles here).
This scientist’s conclusions about how the image was formed are astounding – it seems that the image of Jesus can only have been created by its hovering equidistantly above and below his reclining corpse. And furthermore, this necessitated the body’s levitation – perhaps not an impossible feat during the moment of resurrection power-blast? After all, the disciples had witnessed Jesus walking on water!
Dame Isabel succinctly summarises:
We have a piece of cloth and it leads us to a mysterious gate which opens for us, and it lets us see a completely different world, an extraordinary world with extraordinary laws.
You can consider these claims by watching this 19 minute video extract from the DVD The Fabric of Time (please bear with initial advert).