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A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 3)

 

The Book of Genesis states clearly that the land of Eden was located in the area of the Tigris-Euphrates headwaters in what is now a region predominated by eastern Turkey.

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EDEN

It is where YHWH Elohim planted the garden in which He later placed Adam and Eve. The garden is initially characterized as a garden of trees—an orchard—“every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food.” The Greek Septuagint calls this abundant fruitful garden Paradise. The home of Adam and Eve was a place of divine perfection and both natural and spiritual order.    

Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. [Genesis 2:10-14][1]

Eden was located in what is now the Armenian Highlands, an area rich in water resources, the location of several rivers, their tributaries, large natural lakes, and springs. The source of the Tigris River is primarily Lake Hazar and is also fed by many small tributaries in the area. The Euphrates begins not far from the headwaters of the Tigris at the confluence of two smaller rivers, the Karasu and Murat, which flow west from the eastern ranges. This area of confluence is now Lake Keban. (There are many relatively new hydroelectric dams on these rivers.)

The greater region has most probably changed appreciably since very ancient times. It was likely a relatively peaceful place with a different climate before the advent of much volcanic activity and the associated uplift which created mountains, etc. For example, Mount Ararat is presently an inactive volcano which last erupted in 1840.

WHEN WAS ADAM?

Christians have postulated various dates for the creation of Adam based on different criteria, one of which follows an exact rendering of the listed patriarch’s ages in Genesis which gives a date of about 4000BC (Young Earth). Others say such a late date is unreasonable because it fails to consider and/or ignores scientific facts. These place Adam as far back as 50,000 years ago, or at various dates since, including just after the Ice Age, known scientifically as the Last Glacial Maximum of 11,000-8,000BC when the Pleistocene ended and the Holocene began.

As the great glacial ice sheets began melting and retreating to the north, the resulting meltwater caused sea levels to begin rising precipitously. From approximately 20,000-13,000BC, the ocean level rose about 45 feet. Then from about 13,000BC to roughly 4,000BC sea levels rose another 375 feet for an overall total of approximately 420 feet. Since 4000BC the ocean level has remained constant.

It was not until after the Ice Age that evidence of human habitation appears on the historical record. Evolutionary theory claims that homo sapiens sapiens first appeared from out of nowhere 200,000 years ago (the big leap forward) but offers no actual evidence of transition or habitation at such an early date. According to Young Earth theory, the flood of Noah took place around 2300BC. Yet, interestingly enough, we have clear evidence of three roughly distinct cultures emerging circa 6000BC or even earlier in the same Armenian Highlands location where Eden once existed. We also know that Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood in that same region.

So here we have (1) Eden, (2) the garden of Eden, (3) the place where Noah landed the Ark (the mountains of Ararat) and likely began his sailing journey, and (4) the evidence of human habitation and the rise of three distinct cultures all in the same geographic area. It is a great thing that over the last few decades among a few erstwhile researchers, proponents of both science/ancient history/archaeology/etc. and the Biblical record have utilized both to come to a meeting of the minds rather than stay incommunicado over perceived insurmountable differences.

THINGS TO PONDER

There are central differences of opinion among Christians regarding our origins and the Genesis record. Most of what we believe is what we have been taught. It is most often the case that Christians do not challenge their beliefs to any significant degree if at all and therefore rarely change their minds. If we continue to frequent institutions which support our beliefs and ban any and all challenges to them we develop a mindset of enforcement rather than enquiry and thus do not see the need of any research regarding them. When a person in another institution in another part of town has an opposing view which he also refuses to test properly we should see why we do not communicate and why fellowship is not possible.

There are some who believe Creation commenced in 4000BC. There are some who believe it was earlier and likely much earlier. There are some who believe that Noah’s flood was worldwide. There are others who believe it was a local flood. Some believe that the Genesis 1 Creation story is the same as Genesis 2 but that Genesis 2 is more specific. Others believe these two are separate accounts, which means God created human beings in general in Genesis 1 but created two specific human beings (among the others elsewhere) with a distinct purpose in Genesis 2.

I have found that the best way to go about finding the truth is allowing what we think is true to be challenged. Our own individual research can do that. Over many decades of open-minded truth-seeking Biblical study and research, I am absolutely convinced that the Biblical record is true. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But I can guarantee you that I have tested many Christian doctrines against the Word of God and found many to be unsupportable. We can do the same concerning our ancient origins if we have an inquisitive mind to do so. I believe the benefits gained are well worth the effort.

Truth never fears a challenge.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 1)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 2)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 4)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 5)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 6)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 8)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 9)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (5)

For those of you who have stayed with me so far and have read all four parts of this series to date, your time and attention is about to pay off.

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I wrote a segment within Part 3 about Adam and Eve. My longtime reader Amber and I had a good discussion in the comments section afterwards which answered several questions. What follows are more clues from Genesis.

GOOD AND EVIL

Of course, our first parents first lived in Paradise. They existed in a state of innocence. They had absolutely no knowledge of sin. They were pure and holy. God allowed them to eat from any tree in the Garden except one. This meant that every single tree other than that one had good fruit. Only one tree had bad fruit. And there were only two trees mentioned by name in the Garden:

Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. [Genesis 2:9]

By inference, we know that the Tree of Life was located somewhere in the center of the Garden. It was likely more prominent than the other trees. It held this strategic place not only to showcase its importance but to be equally accessible from any place thereof. Wherever one traveled in the Garden one would often pass by the Tree of Life and always be reminded of its significance. The Tree of Life is mentioned three times in the Book of Genesis. The bad Tree is mentioned twice. Three is the Biblical number of Divine Perfection. Two is the number of Division.

By further inference, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil must have been far off in a relatively remote location close to the boundary of the Garden. It was in a relatively hard to reach area which for the most part demanded a determined effort to visit it, possibly also because it was at a higher elevation. The odds upon happening upon it by chance were very low.

Regarding which direction this tree might have been located from the center, we can gain clues by simply reading the text. One notices that Adam and Eve were apparently driven out of the Garden on the east side:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. [Genesis 3:22-24][1]

By inference again, it would seem that the bad tree would be located close by. It would seem that the bad tree was close to the eastern boundary. It would appear that visiting the bad tree was associated with a consideration of leaving the Garden, or in other words, rebelling against God and going off into sin. Was this Eve’s intention?

A FIG TREE

Also, Hebrew tradition states that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a fig tree, precisely because it is mentioned thus in Genesis. It was the Tree from which Adam and Eve gained the large leathery leaves to sew together and wear as loin coverings to hide their newly discovered nakedness.

This is not the fig tree of which most people are familiar. It is not a relatively low and bushy shrub but rather a very large tree that can grow to great heights.

Here is Ficus Sycomorus, the Sycamore Fig Tree of ancient Israel:


© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (1)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (2)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (3)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (4)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (6)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (7)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (8)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (9)



IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (3)

We live in a finite and temporary world. These two facts portend that evil will achieve a point of allowed maximum growth and will then be terminated.

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I wrote in Part 1 of this series that Sin is Progressive. According to the dictionary definition, this means it is “moving forward or onward: advancing,” and “increasing in extent or severity.” [1]

The Word of God states that sin had a clear starting point in this world. There was a time here when there was no sin. The first two human beings on the planet initially existed in a state of pure innocence. They had no experiential concept of sin. Adam was certainly warned of it and Adam warned Eve of it. He taught her what God had taught him. But they only knew sin as a concept. The only thing that continued to protect them from it was their faith in God and obedience toward Him. More than these, though, it was Adam and Eve’s great love for God that compelled them to obey. Their love generated trust. They believed God and believed in Him.

This love was more pronounced in Adam, however. There was a period of time in Adam’s early life when he was blessed with much alone time and fellowship with God. Their Father-son relationship was undoubtedly very close. Eve never experienced this. It appears as though Eve spent little or no time as God’s daughter apart from Adam. She was created to be Adam’s wife. This created a dynamic that demanded even greater attention to their relationship with God. Just as we do not know how long Adam spent alone with God before Eve was created, we also don’t know how long Adam and Eve existed in innocence before they sinned. It would appear, though, that it was a relatively short rather than long period of time regarding the latter.

ADAM’S EZER KANEGDO

God stated: “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew word for good in this verse is defined as “pleasant, agreeable, good.” [2] It was not good that something not good existed in the Garden. It is my belief that this “not good” only lasted a short time. I explain it this way: God created Adam and breathed His own life-giving Spirit into him. Adam became a living being. His first relationship was that of a son to his Father (See Luke 3:38). We do not know at what age Adam was created but it was likely young enough for God to be a good Father to him and teach him all he must know. When the time came for Adam to seek a wife he entered into the “not good” phase. Adam arrived at a time when he needed close human companionship beyond his perfect companionship with God. His need denoted lack. The lack was “not good.” It was initially not good because there was no such helper suitable for him. She had yet to exist in all of Creation. God would have to create her. God knew He must create Adam’s ezer kanegdo. And it appears as though God saved His best for last.

It was up to Adam to teach her. He had to show her the ropes. Adam had the best Father and Teacher possible but now he would have to step into this role for Eve. It appears as though he did a very good job because we later see that Eve was well-versed in spiritual knowledge when she had her fateful conversation with the trickster serpent. She held up very well for a while. The serpent knew her every weakness, however, and took full advantage. There is no doubt that Eve wanted more than she had. She apparently did not understand fully that she already had it all. Her desire for more, wherever it came from, is what caused her to listen attentively to the serpent’s counter attack.

Remember, God had commanded Adam that he must never eat the fruit from one particular tree in the Garden. That was it. Just one thing he must never do. Only one negative command. Adam always obeyed. He taught Eve exactly as he had been taught. She undoubtedly knew the command. But whereas Adam had no longing for the forbidden fruit Eve apparently did. Adam did not think he was missing out but Eve apparently did. There can be no doubt that Adam had been tempted this way, maybe several times, all without giving in to temptation. What happened to Eve?

For starters Adam had somehow allowed her to be alone with the serpent. Even though Scripture seems to report that Adam was with her during the temptation this could not have been true. The words “with her” in Genesis 3:6 do not appear in the Hebrew. The conversation only involved Eve and the serpent. Though she had always obeyed up to that point, she did so because she feared death. She knew death was the penalty for violating the one negative command.

The first thing the serpent did to throw her off was ask her directly if God had ever actually made such a command. Eve said He did. She also told the serpent that whoever ate the forbidden fruit or even touched it would die. Adam had taught her this. But again, it appears as though God taught Adam better than Adam taught Eve. It looks as though Adam respected God more than Eve respected Adam. Adam had full confidence in God but Eve apparently did not have the same confidence in Adam. She must have questioned this command in her heart. This could be because she essentially got the message second hand. Because Adam was the go-between and because Eve never heard this directly from God she possessed a weakness the serpent could take advantage of.

(1) The serpent asked her if God had actually ever made that particular command. This put doubt in her mind. This pretty much proves that she never heard the command from God.

(2) When Eve told the serpent the command and the penalty for breaking it the serpent simply lied to her. She had never heard a lie before. The serpent told her, “You surely will not die!” Then he lied to her again and told her if she ate it she would be like God.

(3) Eve was now disarmed. She was no longer sure that God had ever made the command and then began believing that if God did make it He only did it because He wanted to keep her down. She must have thought God was holding out on her, that He did not want her to be fully blessed and fulfilled. She also probably thought that Adam had gone along with the ruse. How could someone so blessed living in Paradise actually think that the two most important ones in her life who both loved her were actually lying to her and holding out on her?

(4) Then the devil went in for the kill. He had managed to get her completely confused and off-balance. She could no longer properly discern the veracity of God’s command or the penalty thereof. Was it actually true? Is there something much better for me that I didn’t know about before?

She eventually succumbed to temptation.

THE THREE SOURCES OF SIN

In the first epistle of John the apostle, he warns his readers to “not love the world nor the things in the world.” The Greek word is kosmos and there are several definitions. In this context John is referring to the world of sinful man existing apart from God in opposition to Him containing “the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ.” [3] John then tells us that all sin originates from only three main sources:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. [1John 2:15-17]

These three sources of sin are aligned with the three main temptations to sin. We may call them Door #1, Door #2, and Door #3. The three sources are three portals. The portals are presented by the enemy as Portals to Paradise. Whoever may enter through these doors is guaranteed to experience a paradise on earth. One is also promised a place of ruling authority. One can have whatever one’s heart desires. This should sound familiar:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. [Genesis 3:6][4]

Here we have the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and lastly, the boastful pride of life in which “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

The Lord Jesus Himself had to be tempted with these three and pass the test before He could start His ministry. He succeeded where Adam failed. But it must be remembered that Adam and Eve repented of their great sin and got their act together with God 130 years later. They produced a righteous son named Seth, a replacement for righteous Abel who was murdered. Abel was the original beginning of the Messiah’s generational line. Adam started the line anew through Seth (See Genesis 4:25).

This tells us that any and all sin, no matter how heinous or egregious (except the unpardonable sin), even that as far-reaching as the sin of Adam and Eve, can be forgiven and washed away by the Blood of the Lamb. But this only happens if one exits “the world.” Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden and cast into the wild world. Everyone since was physically born into “the world.” In a reversal of fates, the last Adam makes it possible “for whosoever will” to exit the world of sin and enter the Kingdom of God on earth.

Nevertheless, the world of sin, since it was created many millennia ago, has grown worse and worse over time. It is because Sin is Progressive. It will continue progressing until it maxes out. We will look into this process further in Part 4…

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] © 2022 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

[2] Strong’s Concordance

[3] Strong’s Concordance

[4] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (1)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (2)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (4)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (5)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (6)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (7)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (8)

IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHEN THIS EVIL WILL END… (9)

EVIL’S FRENZIED RETORT IN COUNTERING THE GREAT AWAKENING

They spent decades preparing for this day. They have accomplished much and continue with their universal plan. Yet there remains a gritty opposing force, refusing to surrender, and giving them fits.

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It was never part of the original plan. Once they decided to stray from the script and enter the emotional realm, allowing the unreliability of passion to be factored in to a previous hardline discipline, it exposed their vulnerable underbelly. Whether this was due to simple exasperation from heightened warfare, or from weariness of waiting—of shrewdly maintaining a marathon pace—or sensing the finish line so close the need for speed overcame their reason, and being unable to pull back the reins for want of finally achieving the long sought goal, they threw down the gauntlet for a full bore all-systems-go sprint, as if sucked ahead by lateral gravity, which eliminated their former mastery of strict impulse control, which in turn tarnished their former clandestine station behind the veil and revealed them for what they are: These were not high masters whatsoever, other than of guise and guile—but mere Halloween actors dressed to deceive and disappear, and shroud their demonic nature.

ONCE UPON A TIME UNDER A TREE FAR, FAR AWAY

The assumption had been, with every base covered and each of a million different possibilities exhaustively vetted and deduced, that ultimate victory was not only inevitable but thoroughly predictable. An assured smugness had arisen among the perpetrators. The vast intricately detailed planning would surely bring about the desired outcome. How could the powerless possibly overcome it?

In the beginning it was wholly cerebral. They had the means and money. They knew it would take time. They knew it might not work exactly as they envisioned but had hope it would function in some form or semblance to the same effect. In the meantime, they would continue extracting wealth, appropriating political power, and generating the vast propaganda apparatus, which could only increase their chances.

It was a gradualist approach, a multi-generational effort. Nothing could stop them. They existed above all laws and restrictions. As the capstone group atop the pyramid, no one told them what they could or could not do. They were held back only by (1) cultural decorum, (2) an indigenous natural morality shared by all humans to varying degrees, (3) an unwillingness to sully themselves or their perfect plan with unnecessary sleaze and low-level filth which kept the more sordid forms of evil under wraps, and (4) established social barricades beyond the which they preferred not to travel.

The moment arrived when they perceived that such cultural barriers had been imperceptibly holding them back from fuller and faster progress. They had a sudden insight that their plan would never actually work as envisioned as long as such limits were allowed. Due to a better understanding of such mores and why they existed in the first place, and had existed from time immemorial in higher cultures—as hedges against corruption and the very plan they were attempting—they had come to an inevitable fork in the road. Would they recognize themselves as being completely out of line and even against the God of creation and not only moral but natural law and forget the whole thing? Would they care enough about their wives and children and grandchildren and family relations and friends to refrain from subjecting them to association with the evil they were planning? Or would they plow ahead anyway with all caution to the wind, endangering not only their own faint moral compass (essentially trashing what was left of it) but that of humanity as well?

Whether they saw that their plan was actually evil and could never be achieved by a moral people or that ethics were in themselves somehow evil and a mere abstract construct restricting progress—whichever one of these arose first in their minds—it ultimately did not matter because attaining the ultimate prize was of paramount importance and therefore the greater good. In other words, these parasitic creatures disguised somewhat as human beings who had already overcome in large part the dictates of their God-given conscience in attaining their wealth to that point had finally decided they would cross a bridge too far. They had decided that the end justified the means.

Therefore, they would henceforth, from that time forward, do anything whatsoever with no regard for any concepts of good or evil, to gain absolute control and capture the planet. They would own and control everything and no longer cared how they achieved it. This was the new plan, a furtherance of the former, and they were sticking with it. And the people be damned. Each generation of this upper crust clan thus engaged in greater forms of evil by degrees. They no longer called it by such, of course, but merely as the cost of doing business. They were the best. They deserved it. The rest of humanity were essentially nothing more than simple morons—cattle and swine, bovine and porcine—to be herded and processed by their superiors. They would do whatever they wanted with such people, though they numbered in the multimillions and billions. Such human detritus were no different than any other species of animal. It would never matter how many there were since the whole lot were insufferably stupid and could never mount an effective challenge even with the advantage of mass numbers. They knew a miniscule few had historically always ruled the masses which proved the sub-humans comprising the masses may as well be sheep led to the slaughter.

GOD’S PARALLEL PLAN

From the time Adam rebelled and was bounced from the perfect Garden planted by the LORD God, toward the east, in Eden, his future multi-generational progeny, for the most part, remained disassociated from God and resorted to their own devices. Survival was the name of the game my man, and whatever one had to do to survive was fair game, including making other humans fair game. Without the Lord’s overall protection and spiritual order, and the order of everything under His control for the benefit of His creation and humanity, and the sweet fellowship derived thereof, there was nothing but hardship and criminality. Devoid of laws to keep one another civil and to honor the needs, lives, and loves of others, humanity in general had fallen into a brute beast mentality. It is what happens when one rejects a benevolent higher order and closeness to the divine. One is on one’s own and those of his immediate group. Survival portends putting oneself and one’s group above all others.

Though the earth was large and stretched out forever, fear often kept them relatively close. And they always clashed at the borders—those intangible barriers that presented themselves when one group was threatened by another traveling upon it. The wandering group, chancing upon the other’s rude camp and possible spoils, depending on their mood and sizing up of the situation, would turn and travel on or decide to fight. Then the two nomadic groups would engage in yet more bitter battle, happening there as elsewhere, and shed each other’s blood. They would kill each other and add to the ongoing, incessant misery, a far cry from the Creator’s original plan.

And so it went. You could never trust a foreign group. You could only trust your own. But even within one’s own, rebellion would rear its ugly head. There would be power struggles. Beyond fighting for turf against evil interlopers one must also battle the threat from within—that a lesser young buck might throw off his restraints against established authority and take the group off in another direction with no concern for the people in it. That partners in marriage would turn upon the other, and sow yet more hate in the next generation, whose only future hope was more wandering, more searching, more looking for a place to rest, to simply stop and build, and be rid of constant threats from without and despair from within. But there was none to be found and no peace for the weary. Without the Lord it was every man for himself.

But soon, by heaven’s intervention in those dark ancient days, there would be a man of peace, birthed suddenly upon the scene, a compensation given from above. He would restore the way to God.

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]

FAITHWALKERS OF GENESIS: ADAM (1)

Blog Pic 110717        

      Regarding what the Lord Jesus requires of Christians, we have the benefit of ancient Hebrew history. We can discover from their example the spiritual definition of obedience. We can know what honors the Lord and what does not.

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       The origin of what Biblical historians call Yahwism, which many centuries later developed into the rudimentary forms of early Judaism, began with a few solitary men wandering in vast open wilderness regions and barren deserts. The population of the planet was a small fraction of what it became in later ages, and a man could wander for great stretches and never see another. Such boundless open scenery and limitless night skies, ablaze with distant starlight and an ever-phasing meandering moon, set loose the imagination of these nomads and awakened cosmic wonder regarding Creation. Some paid more attention than others.

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND   

         Many centuries earlier, after the fall of Adam and Eve and their banishment from the garden, they wandered in the wilds for 130 years on a subsistence diet doing whatever they must to survive. They had been separated from God by sin and severed from communication with Him, and their own relationship with each other was no doubt often strained to the point of breaking. Every day brought another reminder of their calamitous disobedience and rebellion, and how the new god they had chosen had abandoned them soon after and caused disaster. Adding to their torment, Adam and Eve’s good son Abel, the one from whom the Messiah would have descended, had been murdered in his relative youth over a century before.

         Amid this dismal backdrop, we have a better understanding of the depressing condition of Adam’s protracted life in exile. After long decades of worry and introspection, and vainly seeking an unknown undiscoverable land of comfort and rest, if only a brief oasis, Adam at last surrendered. There in the midst of a stark and unforgiving landscape so unlike the wonderful abundant garden of his early memories, he found a place of repentance: He got right with God. As the fruit of obedience, joy returned, and they were immediately blessed:

         Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. [Genesis 4:25-26] [1]   

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

BIBLICAL WIKILEAKS (2): Exposing the Rip-Off Plan (Listen Up, Real Christian)

         Every Real Christian has a vineyard granted by the Lord Jesus. The vineyard is a Christian’s ministry. It is the specific spiritual work belonging only to each Real Christian.

         No one else is responsible for it. The only way to possess it is by first giving oneself to the Lord 100%. It is His gift. The only way to keep it and make it function is to possess it fully, be responsible for it, guard and protect it, and work it always. This is how it becomes and remains fruitful.

         It is the Lord Jesus who chooses the particular vineyard for each of His children. He puts a longing and desire for it in one’s heart. Once receiving it, the believer wants to do nothing else but answer the call, throw oneself into the work, make the work productive, do his or her part, and thus please the Lord. It is a Real Christian’s entire reason for being and only ultimate purpose for living.

THE GARDEN BEFORE THE FALL

         The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. [Genesis 2:8]

         Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. [Genesis 2:15]

         One will note the following:

         (1) It is the Lord’s garden. He planted it.

         (2) In the Hebrew, the garden is defined as “an enclosure.”

         (3) The Garden of Eden was specifically an enclosed fruit tree orchard.

         (4) The Lord created Adam, chose Adam, and put Adam into His garden.

         (5) Adam had two jobs to do with reference to the garden:

         1. He had to cultivate it. This meant he had to work it and make it productive and fruitful.

         2. He had to keep it. This meant he had to be responsible for it, guard it, and protect it against all enemies.

         We know from the initial text of Genesis 2 that Adam did a great job and that the Lord was pleased with him. The garden was very fruitful. He worked very hard to make it productive. He began expanding it into territory previously occupied by wild nature. He was taking dominion of the earth as the Lord instructed him to do.

         Also, Adam fought off the serpent who wanted to rip him off. There was always a battle, especially on the periphery. Yet Adam slowly expanded the garden and took fruitfulness into the land of wildness where everything grew of its own accord without a gardener, and where “there was no man to cultivate the ground” (Genesis 2:5). In time, he would expand the garden over the entire planet. The devil never deceived Adam. Adam never gave in to the serpent’s temptations.

         In these two things, cultivating the garden and keeping it, Adam excelled. He honored the Lord. To separate faithful Adam from the Lord’s garden of which Adam was in charge, the enemy had to resort to another plan of attack. He eventually found a way around Adam’s dominion. The devil ripped him off.

NABOTH’S VINEYARD

         Naboth was an honorable man who possessed a vineyard. The vineyard had been passed down to him as a family heritage. Naboth’s Vineyard was located next to the palace of King Ahab, a notorious jerk and wicked Hebrew king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The inference in Scripture is that Naboth’s Vineyard predated Ahab’s palace.

         Keep in mind that Hebrew kings were never supposed to exist in the first place and only did exist because the ancient Hebrew people rejected the Lord God as their King and demanded mere sinful men to reign in His place. The sad tale of Naboth’s Vineyard is one more lurid example of what happens when men leave their proper place in God and give themselves over to selfishness and evil. Explosive sin and corruption, as evil fruit, always results.

         Naboth was an Old Testament type of Real Christian with a spiritual ministry granted by the Lord. To separate faithful Naboth from the Lord’s vineyard of which Naboth was in charge, the enemy had to resort to another plan of attack. He eventually found a way around Naboth’s dominion. The devil ripped him off:

         Now it came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden because it is close beside my house, and I will give you a better vineyard than it in its place; if you like, I will give you the price of it in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid me that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”

JEZEBEL STRIKES AGAIN

         So Ahab came into his house sullen and vexed because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and ate no food. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “How is it that your spirit is so sullen that you are not eating food?” So he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you a vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

POLITICAL SKULLDUGGERY

         So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city. Now she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people; and seat two worthless men before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them, just as it was written in the letters which she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people. Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones.

HATE, MURDER, RIP OFF

         Then they sent word to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.” When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

AHAB JUSTICE

         Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth where he has gone down to take possession of it. You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?”’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth the dogs will lick up your blood, even yours.”’” [1Kings 21:1-19] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.] 

         Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Portals of Progress (Part 5)

         For those who have read the full series thus far, you may have noticed the roundabout nature of the subject matter, in that what started out in Part 1 as an urging to step forth through a portal of spiritual growth has gone full circle regarding what happened to our first parents.

         The devil fooled ‘em. No doubt about that. And for those who desire a real walk with God, the enemy will attempt to fool them too.

         As a result, for many, a wholesome healthy fear of getting it wrong has resulted in an unwholesome unhealthy paralysis brought on by fear that one will get it wrong. And rather than possibly mess up one’s life by seeking to climb a spiritual mountain by the Lord’s direction and fail, one will almost always obey the tendency to leave well enough alone and be satisfied with much less or dead religion.

         In that light, we must always remember that the Lord is trying to get us back to the Garden.

         This process, dubbed by the Lord as the narrow road with a small narrow entry, is mandatory for the real Christian, of course, but substitutes are much more comfortable. The majority of that which is called Christianity, which I call Unreal Christianity, has institutionalized the comfortable way, as a third way, of which none actually exists.

         The Lord called this comfortable way the broad way. It is the way of the world, the way so easy anyone can walk it, and the way leading in the direct opposite direction of the Garden. Due to such overpowering religious indoctrination and conditioning, most “Christians” fear the real road and thus see the real gate as the wrong gate.

         Here is the Lord’s instruction:

         “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14]

         Sadly, Christians who drive down Broadway end up at the same place as unrepentant sinners. Imagine all the wasted effort that went into a Christian life that never included full obedience to the Lord, as if some could invent their own more suitable path, and one will understand better what Adam and Eve wasted. They had it all and then they blew it. Believe it or not, they got religious. The forbidden fruit was said to make them wise and be like God and the angels, but it did just the opposite.

         Faux Christians have a very hard time seeing this, but it was the exact problem embraced by the Pharisees. They ate the forbidden fruit. They continued to eat it. They turned eating it into religious practice. As a result they became children of the devil.

         This is why the Lord made the following curious statement to the religious hierarchy—the chief priests and elders:

         “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went.

         “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go.

         “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”

         Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.

         “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” [Matthew 21:28-32] [1]

         These religious people were so bound up in religion they repeatedly rejected the kingdom, exactly the same way so many “Christians” reject the kingdom and the real portal to it.

         And remember, the Lord Jesus called Himself the Door, so He is the Real Portal.

         This rejection of the real road for the sake of honoring one’s religious tradition is the height of spiritual blindness, something the Lord talked about often.

         Adam and Eve saw everything from the opposite perspective of us and still got it wrong. They already had Paradise and went through a portal they thought would lead to greater paradise, which of course did not exist. Most Christians see the kingdom of heaven the Lord Jesus brought to this world as whatever they might currently possess even though the kingdom they claim to be within has none of the evidence the real kingdom possesses.

         Unreal Christianity is a faux spiritual kingdom and its leaders warn their subjects to never venture outside it, just as the Lord teaches we must do the opposite. Hence, such unreal Christians are afraid to enter the Real Portal and travel the straight and narrow road as commanded by the Lord. They routinely violate His commands, and have been taught to refuse the full instruction of the Lord and the original apostles, just as the Pharisees did.

         But the disparaged tax collectors and prostitutes were not burdened with any religious yokes and were thus able to enter the kingdom relatively quickly compared to the religionists, who for all practical purposes in this day and age are predominantly “Christian,” since such people claim to already have the full Gospel when they don’t, and religious pride keeps them bound up in grave clothes even though the Lord continually tries to call them forth from their respective tombs.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.