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Is God Three People? JESUS IS OUR PERFECT EXAMPLE (5)

         Dear Readers: Thank you for all your support this year. I believe the content in this current series is indispensible regarding the coming Great Awakening in America. We must all grow closer to the Lord Jesus. He must be exalted in this nation. His real identity must be known. Christian persecution will continue rising in America in 2016 and we must all be prepared. Please help make this current series reach as many believers as possible. Be blessed!

         “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…” [John 8:28 NAB]


         Everything that happens in this world can be judged by what happened to the Lord Jesus.

         The Scriptures prove with absolutely no doubt that the Lord Jesus is exactly who He said He was. When collected together, the many Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming Messiah were fulfilled to the exact letter by Him. There is no possible way any of it happened by chance. The odds were impossible that He was not the Messiah.

         Therefore, the people who discount the Lord Jesus, His historical reality as vouched for in other historical writings of the time, and the many prophecies which He fulfilled, only proves their lack of knowledge and prejudice against Him.

THE GREATEST WINNER OF ALL TIME

         When one adds up everything He achieved, the fact that He never did anything wrong, that He never committed a single sin, that He kept all the commandments, that He possessed great miraculous power doing things no one ever did, that He defeated death, hell, and the grave, and most of all, that He consistently showed a pure heart of love for all by giving His perfect life as a sacrifice for His friends, one would think He would be treated with the honor He deserves.

         But they killed Him.

         That fact right there tells a person all they need to know about this world. This fallen planet, therefore, must be judged by how God Himself was treated when He came here, because that’s exactly who the Lord Jesus is. He is God Himself.

THE MOST HUMBLE MAN WHO EVER LIVED

         He was the most humble Man who ever lived. Most people with a mere miniscule fraction of His resume would be spouting off about their own personal greatness and would use whatever talent they were given toward full self-promotion.

         Before we go further, it must be noted that the Lord is obviously not against His people doing well, but only that whatever promotion and blessing we receive must come through Him and not be of ourselves:

         “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” [Matthew 12:12]

         GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. [1Peter 5:5-7]

         This is why the Lord Jesus did not appear to be God. He didn’t look the part. It is especially why He was rejected by the religion boys and “spiritual leaders.” They didn’t think He was anywhere near as good as them (and regardless of how highly they thought of themselves, they were actually complete hell-bound idiots like so many Christian Pharisees of today).

         The Lord’s goal and actual destiny was to eventually be first in all things, but the only way He could achieve that was to first be LAST in all things. Remember that when you think about blessing and promotion. He said whoever would be the greatest must first be the greatest servant.

         He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. [Colossians 1:17-18]

         Now, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING A DESIRE TO ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS. Paul said we must run the race well and finish first. Winning and achieving, in fact, is exactly what the Lord has called His people to do:

         “Truly, truly, 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 the Father.” [John 14:12]

         We were made to achieve great things. It is a joy to be productive. But our achieving must be in line with the Lord’s will. We must always remember that, for the real disciple, anything done is done in partnership with the Lord Jesus.

         This is why He set the humble and obedient example He lived out. He said the only things He did were what the Father had for Him to do. His life was a life of service, obedience, and humility.

         But after His resurrection He gained ALL power and authority:

         “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” [Matthew 28:18] [1]

         In other words, YHWH successively added all of His power and authority to within the realm of humanity after it had been removed since the time of Adam’s sin. God Himself reestablished His power and authority within humanity after it had been lost by becoming a human being and living a sinless life.

         The only way to do this was by taking the humble road. Why? To illustrate how unregenerate human nature is focused on self-exaltation and personal pride, He showed us the proper example and taught us that—

         Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. [Proverbs 16:18 NKJ]

         Therefore, rather than simply eliminate the desire to do great things, we must keep the desire but put it under the Lord’s authority and His leading so as not to go off on personal me-first tangents which always result in some form of destruction.

         One may argue that the Lord’s attitude got Him killed. But this is incorrect. His excellent and proper attitude revealed the evil attitudes of His enemies. If a Christian blends in with the world the world will not have a problem with such a Christian. But to be friends with the world is to be the enemy of God. There were many people, however, who loved the Lord and had no evil intent toward Him. Because He was so humble, approachable, gentle, and kind, such people were able to be His friends.

         How else could mere human beings relate to the great and mighty God of the Universe? He had to become one of us.

         It was an extremely humble and loving gesture on His part. It was also the only possible way to defeat sin and set us free.

         © 2015 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.

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Is God Three People? JESUS IS YHWH (4)

         Dear Readers: Thank you for all your support this year. I believe the content in this current series is indispensible regarding the coming Great Awakening in America. We must all grow closer to the Lord Jesus. He must be exalted in this nation. His real identity must be known. Christian persecution will continue rising in America in 2016 and we must all be prepared. Please help make this current series reach as many believers as possible. Be blessed!

         “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…” [John 8:28 NAB]


         Since the vast majority of Christians are Trinitarians, even though the first believers were not, one must address this issue if one wants to arrive at truth.

         As I said in Part 2 of this series, …The “Trinity Doctrine” was formulated THREE CENTURIES after the Lord Jesus began His community. One can check any reputable reference book for this fact.

         There is obviously a lot of confusion regarding this issue but God is not the author of confusion. The confusion has arisen from the enemies of God.

WHO IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE?

         The Roman Catholic Church says that “God the Father,” not the Lord Jesus, is the Creator. So do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. So do most “Christian” cults. So do most major Protestant bodies who should know better but still reject the many verses of scripture which state clearly that the Lord Jesus is the Creator. They do this primarily because it violates the teaching of the “Trinity Doctrine.” This is why most Christians believe that the Lord Jesus is not the Creator.

         They’re all wrong.

         In Part 1 of this series I quoted directly from Paul’s letter to the Colossians that the Lord Jesus is indeed the Creator. So why does almost everyone see it differently? Why do most Christians believe something the New Testament does not teach?

         I want all of you to know, especially my long time loyal readers and the supporters of this site that I have no agenda other than expressing the truth revealed in the Gospels and New Covenant writings. I am not here supporting any particular denomination, institution, church, or man-made belief system. I am only an apologist for the Lord’s original teachings.

         Anyone who is led by the Spirit of God and reads the written Word will soon discover discrepancies between what the Word says and what the majority of Christians have been taught.

         There is a reason for this. There is an enemy. And the enemy often shows up as an angel of light:

         But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.

         For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

         Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. [2Corinthians 11:12-15]

         The apostle Paul was often exasperated in his own time with fake believers. The Lord Jesus was always being accused by fake believers that they were right and He was wrong. In fact, THE MAJORITY was always wrong and was always accusing the Lord and the original apostles of being heretics.

         This is why Paul said such a thing should not be seen as surprising. He knew the Lord had enemies. And he knew such enemies were determined to destroy him and they tried many, many times. They also tried to destroy the Lord Jesus many times. From this all real Christians should know, then, that the enemies of God play for keeps. They don’t mess around. They are intent on destroying the Lord and His people.

THE DEVIL GOES TO CHURCH

         Satan understood early on that the best way to do serious damage to the Lord’s community was to infiltrate it by disguising himself and going under cover as a believer and even as an angel. He obviously sent demons on such missions. He had no problem finding human beings to join him. He has achieved incredible success at this over the centuries and especially at present.

         It is relatively simple for the devil to deceive sinful human beings who are not in fellowship with the Lord. Hence, he began creating confusion from the very beginning of the Lord’s community. It’s what he does. It is what he has always done. He is liar and a master deceiver.

         HE SPECIALIZES PRIMARILY IN THE RELIGIOUS LIE.

         It is why he has always had so many people on his side who have been brainwashed into believing his religious garbage.

         “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.

         “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

         “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.” [John 8:43-45]

         The Lord Jesus did not look like the truth. His teachings did not sound like the truth. This is why—

         He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. [John 1:10-11] [1]

         How can this be explained? Easy: The Lord Jesus is the Light. But the people thought they were already dwelling in light. However, they were actually dwelling in darkness. They had become convinced by the devil that their darkness was light. So when the real Light appeared and He shone His great light all over their darkness, to them it looked like the worst form of darkness.

         It is ALWAYS that way with false religions, cults, and false belief systems, including Unreal Christianity. The people who embrace the lie and live in darkness are so convinced they are right they see the real light as something wrong and even evil. Also, they are extremely uncomfortable with the Light because it exposes their sin and brings them under conviction. They would rather live comfortably in deception and continue in sin.

         This is why so many attempts have been made by false believers to deceive the world with false doctrines IN THE NAME OF CHRISTIANITY. And it is why so many people in the world think Christianity is a joke: Many of them are reacting to Unreal Christianity.

         I did the same thing. Then, several decades ago, I saw the Light.

A REVELATION OF TRUTH

         I discovered that I had been lied to. I was young and didn’t know any better. I had been the victim of a false “Christian” ideology. For that reason I had rejected “official” Christianity as a belief system.

         BUT I NEVER REJECTED THE LORD JESUS. I had been taught that He was not God and had come to believe it, but I knew He was good. Since He was not God I wanted to find out who was. Who was this unknown mysterious “God the Father” they kept talking about?

         In high school I quit attending church. I started searching for truth. I dedicated my life to this goal. I was relentless. I was very hungry for truth. Then the Lord, completely unknown to me, was able to start guiding me out of deception and toward truth by His Holy Spirit. I was not aware that He was doing this. He led me closer and closer toward the truth. While everyone else was getting on with their lives, I kept searching and studying and doing much research. I rejected a lot of stuff I found to be garbage.  

         Several years later the Lord Jesus had been able to lead me right to the Door and into His very presence.

         It was then that I discovered that the Lord Jesus was not just a good guy, kind of a hippie, who taught peace and love. He was not just another wise teacher like so many others who had come before and since. He was not only the Son of God. And He was certainly not some strange second person of a weird Roman religious trinity.

         He showed me that He is the Truth. He revealed to me that He is the One God—the same YHWH of the Old Testament that the patriarchs and prophets knew, and the One embraced and loved by the original New Covenant community.

         He is who I had been searching for all along… [To Be Continued.]

         © 2015 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.

Is God Three People? THE FATHER OF JESUS IS THE HOLY SPIRIT (3)

         Dear Readers: Thank you for all your support this year. I believe the content in this current series is indispensible regarding the coming Great Awakening in America. We must all grow closer to the Lord Jesus. He must be exalted in this nation. His real identity must be known. Christian persecution will continue rising in America in 2016 and we must all be prepared. Please help make this current series reach as many believers as possible. Be blessed!

         “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM…” [John 8:28 NAB]


.  

         Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

         The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” [Luke 1:35]

         As noted in the last post, the Lord Jesus continually excoriated the Pharisees and other religious leaders for their rebellious insistence on fake religious tradition. By the time He began His ministry, the entire religious structure of the Hebrew people was based on a false adaptation of the truth.

         Making it worse, those who comprised the fake leadership insisted that they were strictly following the Law of Moses and meticulously obeying God’s commandments.

         The Lord Jesus said they were not.

THE PRESENT

         As we travel back to the present while considering the false and rebellious religious structure of that time among the Jewish people, we see the exact structure in America. Next to no one wants to admit this, however, but most Christians know it is true.

         What we need is the Lord Jesus to return to our times and expose this false religious structure and the Christian Pharisees running it the same way He did back then. In essence, this is certainly possible, but not in the way most people think.

THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM

         He transferred the keys of the kingdom of heaven long ago, first giving them to Peter as the leader of His immediate group after He left.

         “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” [Matthew 16:18-19]

         Regarding the first use of the keys and the fulfillment of the above, it is found right here:

         Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

         “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” [Acts 2:38-39]

         Peter, of course, transferred ownership of the keys to every other real believer who obeyed what He commanded at Pentecost. That’s where it began. From that point, with a starting kingdom community of a mere 120 people, each filled with the Spirit of the Lord and each holding the keys of the kingdom, the Gospel began flashing across the land.

NAZARETH

         To think that it all started in the humble non-descript little town of Nazareth gives us a great clue regarding the insight and plans of God. Rather than choosing the way most people would choose, including most religious people, the Lord did the opposite.

         He chose a humble maiden, pure in heart, willing to obey God completely, certainly not pretty in appearance, from a modest and possibly poor family, in a place with a bad reputation in the far north, away from the great religious centers, and especially far away from Jerusalem.

         YHWH chose young Mary to be His mother.

         Now, think about that. It appears as though He would destroy His reputation from the very beginning. He took the most humble approach possible.

         Returning to the present again, we see that most Christian religious leaders would never do such a thing. They’re obviously not doing it now. They refuse to act as the Lord acted. They are far too concerned with reputation, with what people think, and with operating in such a way that increases the odds of gaining funding.

         In essence, most are completely fake just like the religious leaders of the Lord’s time that He continually rebuked.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

         I will answer that by asking why it was important for God to do what He did in the first century. He obviously rocked that sorry religious boat then, which means He must rock the even sorrier religious boat existing among most Christians in America at present. He must do this because that which is being presented is fake. It is wrong. It is not Biblical. It stomps on the face of the New Covenant. And people have not only grown to accept it, but like it, and therefore are caught fast in its overpowering deception.

         People are not free and fake Christians have no power to set people free.

         They do not possess the keys of the kingdom.

RELIGIOUS TRADITION RUN AMUCK

         Regarding how strange religious tradition can be, consider the following: We are all taught that “God the Father” is the father of “God the Son.” This is what almost every Christian believes. But it is not true.

         It is true from the perspective of the traditional “Trinity Doctrine.” But it is not true according to the Word of God, which clearly states that the Holy Spirit is the Father of the Son:

         Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

         And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,

         “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

         “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:18-21] [1]

            © 2015 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.

The Day of Pentecost

         When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. [Acts 1:13-14]

         Every Christian must have a personal Upper Room experience. Pentecost is for every believer. The entirety of the Lord’s ministry in its full extension leads directly to it.

         Many voices continue to insist that this experience is no longer available or exists, or that it ended in the first century. This defies a very clear historical record since that time.

         It is only the enemy and all who follow him who claim the experience of Pentecost and the actual infilling of the Holy Spirit as clearly illustrated in the Book of Acts is something Christians must shun and refuse to partake of, which gives him the advantage.

         The enemy does not want anyone filled with the Spirit of the Lord, because he knows such an experience creates a very powerful disciple who can wreak havoc upon his kingdom. He has thus successfully convinced the vast majority of Christians and Christian leaders throughout history to join him in opposition to the Upper Room experience, so that the vast majority of Christians will be denied the possibility, and therefore keep them spiritually weak and non-equipped to engage in spiritual war against him.

         One can only wonder how it is possible that a “Christian” leader can counsel his own flock with the counsel of the enemy. If your spiritual experience has yet to look like the experience of Acts, I strongly suggest you seek the Lord Jesus with all your heart. If you really want this Spirit-infilling, do as our forbears were taught to do. Find your own Upper Room, fast and pray, and ask the Lord Jesus for the exact experience of the early believers. The Lord needs strong, powerful disciples to storm the gates of hell and He has made a way for that to happen.

         Today is Sivan 7, the actual Day of Pentecost. It is exactly 50 days from the anniversay of the Lord’s resurrection. Almost 2000 years ago the following is the account of what happened then. May it happen in these days for us all.

         We are in the early stages of a national Great Awakening.

         When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:1-4] [1]

         © 2015 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.

The Prophetic Word—The Gift of Prophecy

         In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul clearly places special emphasis regarding spiritual gifts on the gift of prophecy.

         It is as if he thinks it is most important. On the face of it, this makes little sense. All of the gifts are obviously important and necessary.

         Perhaps this is one of those teachings of Paul that some so-called Christians like to put in a separate category. You know, the ones they have a problem with because they’re either unwilling to understand or too rebellious to accept.

         Let’s review the verse in question:

         Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. [1 Corinthians 14:1]

         Paul certainly has the priorities right. Love must always come first or the ministry process will not work. This has everything to do with putting the Lord first in all things, but also because the Lord is Love, and love never fails.

         The second thing he tells the Corinthians is to desire earnestly spiritual gifts. These are actually spirituals, or “spiritual things,” since the word “gifts” does not appear in the original Greek. The Greek word is pneumatikos and is defined as that which is spiritual, or pertaining to the spirit. These pneumatikos are referenced in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians:

         Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

         Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

         And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

         There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

(1) For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,

(2) and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;

(3)  to another faith by the same Spirit,

(4) and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

(5) and to another the effecting of miracles,

(6) and to another prophecy,

(7) and to another the distinguishing of spirits,

(8) to another various kinds of tongues,

(9) and to another the interpretation of tongues.

         But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [1Corinthians 12:1-11]

        The nine spirituals listed above are directly connected to the Spirit immersion of Acts Chapter 2. In fact, they are the result, or effect of the Spirit of God working through believers.

         In 1 Corinthians 12:6, the Greek word energema is translated in the NASV as “effects,” and in other versions as “operations, working, or activities,” and is explained as spiritual things energized by God for His purposes.

         Many people have discounted this direct association primarily as a way to discount the Acts 2 experience since they personally oppose it. But this is grossly incorrect. I say this so people will no longer be deceived by false teaching. Pneumatikos are given by the Lord Jesus to His people for service in the kingdom. One of these is prophecy, and without prophesying, the Prophetic Word would be absent.

         The third directive Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 14:1 is to pursue especially the gift of prophesy. I use the term “prophesying” because spiritual energema have to do with function. If they are not being used, they effectively do not exist.

         There is the potential for spiritual pride within individuals who believe they possess gifts and are thus worthy of greater honor, and consequently appropriating titles for themselves based on what they think is a resident gift.

         However, the gift shows itself by our use of it, or its functionality, not because it is added as a title to a man-made spiritual resume. It is much more correct to state that a person functions in the gift of prophesying rather than that he is a prophet. Yet, it does not mean that a believer cannot be characterized as such if it is obvious that he functions on a regular basis in that particular place of service. This point is more important than one might think due to the desire of so many false prophets within Christianity who are more concerned with their standing among men than before God. They like the high places and open doors that come with titles. They also very much like the money than can be derived from their position.

         Real prophets, however, like real apostles, know that serving God according to their calling means that they will be treated the opposite of the false prophets. Paul states several times the perils of true apostolic ministry. It appears oftentimes that the Lord has thrown them into an evil world without much concern for their welfare. The apostles and prophets of the first century suffered greatly in their walk with God though they were very close to Him, leading us to surmise that the “initial” ministries are subject to often greater persecution, just as pioneers have it the hardest compared to later generations. False prophets, particularly those of the present, cannot relate to this and reject the entire idea. The apostles and prophets of the first century often did not know where their next meal was coming from, and that is the way God wanted it.

         For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

         To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. [1Corinthians 4:9-13]

         Does this look like any ministers you know? (They would never allow Paul in most pulpits in America and certainly not on Christian television.)

         We must never forget as real disciples that the Lord has chosen for us a walk of faith and obedience. This is characterized as “Go here, do this.” What about the next step, one may wonder? The Lord almost always reveals the next step after a person has completed the prior step. Therefore, being a “prophet” cannot possibly be a static, entitled position associated with high standing among the Christian elite and with popularity among people in general, but one of obedience to God (not man) and functionality.

         Again, since there are nine energema, or effects of the Spirit, why would Paul single out prophesying as seemingly the most important?

         We must look at the context. He was referring to what was taking place in meetings of believers in first century Corinth. He was simply trying to explain that in open meetings it is better to speak in an understandable way, so that proper communication takes place.

         Speaking in tongues is all fine, good, necessary, and scriptural in individual prayer or prayer meetings, or in an open meeting if an interpreter is present (Paul himself wrote in verse eighteen, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.”) Otherwise, it is largely a waste of time for the group as a whole in community meetings when people need to hear from God.

         Prophesying, on the other hand, is a Word from God spoken in the language of all, or pretty much all, and subsequently edifies the entire group. Thus, the Prophetic Word is that which is spoken by the inspiration of God and by the power of his Spirit to benefit another, and oftentimes many others.

         Moreover, groups of real believers usually contain more than one person who functions in the gift of prophecy, or should, and should thus take turns, though in polite order (see 14:29-32).

         The reason for all of this is to allow the Lord to speak to His people. If it is attempted through a way contrary to this model, or if another method is formulated which is actually in opposition to it, it generally means that the Lord Jesus is no longer in charge and has been subverted by false believers who have circumvented His authority. And if the group allows this, they are also guilty partakers.

         It should not be difficult, then, for an objective observer to note that traditional Christian church practice, regardless of denomination, is usually much different from that of first-century believers.

         This is why, for those who violate Scripture, the Prophetic Word has ceased.

         Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. [1 Corinthians 14:39] [1]

         © 2015 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.

The Reality of God’s Relational Love: Thus Speaks the Heart (1)

         God’s love is relational.

         If one is filled with the Spirit of God one expresses godly love toward others.

         Why? Because as I relayed in the former series, On the Threshold of Heaven, God is love. This means God is loving. All the time. Toward everyone. It is His nature. It is impossible for God to be unloving because God cannot be what He is not.

         This fact should not be so hard to ascertain.

         God is love.

         Some people, however, are impossible to love because they never give love, not to anyone, and certainly not to God. So it’s not the Lord’s fault if people don’t love Him back. It’s like talking to a wall.

         The results of this lack of love among so many is readily apparent. We see the results everywhere. Everyone on the planet, regardless of political affiliation, culture, belief system, religion, or perspective, knows that the human race in general is capable of engaging in some pretty bad stuff, stuff that is not loving and has nothing to do with love.

         There are people who greatly appreciate this planet. They do not like what has happened to the planet. They are against all the pollution and chemical poisoning and destruction of species and habitats, and argue very strongly that we as a race are slowly destroying our only home and better get our act together.

         I agree with them 100%.

         I support them 100%.

         And I believe God is without doubt on their side of the argument. He doesn’t appreciate His planet getting trashed either.

         Imagine if someone were to pollute their own house or backyard—the yard their innocent unknowing children play in. Imagine if a person poisoned their domicile and never cleaned it. Imagine if someone never took a shower…

         Pretty bad, I know. Some people are like this. But the clear fact is that humanity as a race is exactly like this. It’s what we do. All one must do is look around. According to the apostle Paul, the planet is groaning under the weight and pollution of humanity:

         For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. [Romans 8:19-22]

         We know the planet is filled with pollution. We know there are people living on gigantic mountainous trash dumps in places. There are whole societies that either do not have the knowledge or resources to live better, or simply don’t care, and they live in filth. And because of that their bad consequences are off the scale. We must help them.

         I saw a show the other day about the tuberculosis epidemic of a century ago. People who lived in polluted cities all crammed together and getting their lungs full of bad bacteria were dying in droves. Some people thought their health might be better served if they got out of the dirty city and into the open countryside with fresh air. Some got better. Amazing! What a coincidence.

         It used to be said that cleanliness is next to godliness. Many people take great care in their appearance and grooming. It takes work to keep one’s place cleaned up, organized, and in good repair. Life is much, much better when one lives in a healthy environment.

         But regarding the planet, we as a race are creating so much garbage, industrial waste, and extremely dangerous and disease-causing byproducts with no place to put all this junk that it must result in something eventually too evil to imagine.

         Even though we have made great strides in the last fifty years from a time when America was especially extremely polluted by a bunch of unthinking nitwits who only cared about their own greed, the planet itself is presently being polluted by so many other industrial nations with no plans to keep it clean that the earth is quickly becoming the equivalent of a massive trash pile.

         I could go on. People have bought into the lies of the hiders and distorters and refuse to face facts or do anything about it.

         But what about human bodies? Why are diseases and sicknesses going through the roof? Why are so many people ill and dependent on pharmaceutical drugs to stay “healthy” and alive? People do very well to groom themselves outwardly but many inwardly are pretty messed up.

         We must get healthy without AND within, and not merely put forth the outer appearance of health. Some people think it’s better to look good than to feel good. That’s why we have massive landfills that grow like their own hill country and are eventually covered up with a layer of soil and grass to appear somewhat good, but we know what’s underneath.

         Maybe it’s the best we can do.

         But have you ever noticed how nature in and of itself recycles everything? Natural waste is transformed into more pure nature. Take humanity off the planet and it’s a perfect ecosystem lasting for billions of years.

         No major mammal, or fish, or bacteria, or any other organism can mess it up.

         NATURE IS SELF-CLEANING.

         It should be obvious though, that humanity is not. Humanity in general pollutes. Many of us try very hard to keep things clean. Many succeed. But until everyone gets on board pollution will continue.

         Was there pollution during the Lord’s time? Undoubtedly. Yet, the Hebrews had been taught by God in their early history to be clean, and the Lord codified within the Law of Moses exactly what that meant.

         He gave them laws regarding personal cleanliness, hygiene, and sanitation. He was very specific. It’s in your Bible. The majority of Christians have always traditionally rejected these laws to their own peril. His purpose toward cleanliness was designed to keep individuals clean and also so the community as a whole could be clean. Because of this, the ancient Hebrews were perhaps the cleanest people on the planet—as long as they obeyed the laws.

OUR HEARTS

         When the Lord Jesus came, He certainly touched on these things, but the one thing He was most concerned about cleaning up was the human heart.

         In our day, many people are having increasing problems with their physical heart. Because of bad diets and self-pollution (eating chemicals, smoking, ingesting drugs, etc), hearts are being stressed in a major way. Arteries get clogged up. The heart is a blood pump and must work at peak efficiency and all parts must work correctly. People should know to take care of their hearts instead of taking them for granted.

         But much more important are our spiritual hearts. All of the pollution within a human being eventually ends up there. That’s where it is deposited. The spiritual heart is the final location for all the bad stuff. It has nowhere else to go.

         The uncleansed heart is exactly the same as a parcel of land with a little landfill on it packed with garbage. All expressions coming forth from a person come through this polluted place to one degree or another and influence anyone in the vicinity.

         How?

         Through SPEECH.

         Through our VOICES.

         It is through the mechanism of our SPEAKING that brings forth whatever may be resident in our hearts. Our words reveal whatever is hidden there:

         “…For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

         “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.

         “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

         “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” [Matthew 12:34-37] [1]

         Based on this, it is imperative that our speech be cleansed.

         But our speech can never be cleansed until our hearts are cleansed.

         And it is only when our hearts become cleansed that God is able to tame the tongue…

         © 2015 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.

[Please bless others with these messages according to whatever the Lord may place upon your heart. Thanks.]

Mary Did You Know?

         Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. [Matthew 1:18] [1]

 .

         From the very beginning, the Lord demanded that His followers believe in and be a part of miraculous works. His very birth was a miracle!

         But His mother Mary had to carry with her for the next thirty years the powerful and painful fact that pretty much everybody but Joseph believed she was an impure woman trying to present herself as pure.

         It did not matter how much she protested all the disgusting innuendo that followed her constantly. No one other than her husband believed her, and possibly a few others. But these few, if they actually existed, had very little impact on lessening the pain that unbelief caused her. And the only reason Joseph believed was because an angel kept appearing to him giving him spiritual facts he could otherwise not see.

         Imagine your entire town, your relatives, your “friends,” the people you attended synagogue with, and effectively the entire nation of Israel not believing a single word you say in defense of yourself. You know God asked you to do a very difficult thing and you showed zero hesitation in accepting the assignment and the great challenge it represented. You learned quickly that when God said a nation was blind He meant exactly that: ISRAEL WAS BLIND.

         Mary knew in her heart based on her own very hurtful experience that the same thing would happen to her Son—He would be rejected as she was rejected. Most of His own countrymen would never believe Him. His own family would reject Him! None of His brothers and sisters were at the foot of the cross. Only one of His twelve disciples was there, and one wonders if John was at the cross in part because he was given the mantle of taking care of Mary.

         But long before then, while the Lord was growing up, Mary still had to find a way to live with unbelief all around her and everyone whispering and shaming her everywhere she went. It was obvious to all in their spiritually blind and willingly sinful state that the Lord Jesus was certainly illegitimate, and because he did not favor Joseph someone else must be the real father. And everyone probably had their suspects.

         But Mary, the wonderful, pure, and blessed mother of our Lord, soldiered on. She was presented with an extremely difficult lifelong task and was determined to fulfill it. She honored God. She gave her word. She considered herself greatly blessed. And most of all, God needed her!

         In this wonderful time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, our Immanuel—GOD WITH US—let us remember the great accomplishment of Mary—Miryam. Let us remember how she remained faithful to God for the duration no matter the pain and rejection she suffered. She did an excellent job as a wife and mother. Is it possible, though, that anyone ever cried more tears? She was holy and obedient and showed great resolve regardless of all the ubiquitous malicious gossip and unbelief.

         And when at last her loving Son did that first miracle at the Cana wedding she could finally feel some relief. She could proudly say in clearing her name, “I told you so! Now will you believe me?”

         Some did. Most did not. Even miraculous works did not change their dark sinful minds.

         But Mary knew. She always knew.

         © 2014 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.

Crucified With Christ

         The following is my response to an excellent comment made by a reader and follower of this blog, which can be found after my previous article, The Cost of Grace. I have reprinted it here, as my response has become a post:

         “One of my most frequently-used counseling themes is Galatians 2:20, being crucified with Christ, in combination with Galatians 5:16-end of chapter. If we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It’s such a powerful passage, and we are without excuse if we really believe that walking in the Spirit will be a walk in the park.

         “I’m thinking of doing Galatians next, after I finish Matthew, but I’m almost afraid to dig into it. I KNOW I’ll be convicted and humbled!”

         Thanks for the comment! Right you are.

         As a possible microcosm of the entire NT, Galatians is like that. As another way to express being crucified with Christ, it is the idea that we learn the right way to do things—HIS way—and then proceed to do the right thing, no matter the cost.

         The Lord Jesus is unique among all teachers of all time in that He not only taught the truth and proper behavior, but demonstrated it as well regardless of cost.

         One may wonder, “Why must there be such a cost?” The answer to that is complex but boils down to the idea of what may be termed a global multi-perspective mindset in which there exists multiple belief systems and methods of “right” living that are often so engrained most people will never depart from them, even after being presented with the real Gospel.

         Hence, the Lord comes along teaching and demonstrating truth and it instantly reveals all the false renditions of truth for what they are. This makes people who hold traditional false viewpoints uncomfortable, convicted, and edgy, but not necessarily so much to do anything about it until a certain mob mentality forms which they can blend into and then strike back.

         When such things are institutionalized and culturalized, it’s attending groupthink attacks the purveyors of truth, often small groups and mere individuals, and perceives them as malcontents and deviants. No one was and is perceived this way more than the Lord Jesus, who is Truth incarnate and also the greatest Prophet who ever lived.

         Being crucified with Christ means in part that a real Christian will willingly suffer attack and persecution just as the Lord did by adopting, believing in, and standing up for His truth against all the various forms of untruth on the planet, but primarily by standing up for Him, loving Him, and being loyal to Him.

         “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” [Galatians 2:20-21] [1]

         If this can be said about the Law of Moses by a believer and practitioner of the Law of Moses (the apostle Paul), then it can and must certainly be said of all religions and belief systems which oppose the teachings of Jesus, and most especially false forms of Christianity.

         Also, it must be noted that it is impossible to be a real Christian without receiving the actual living presence of the Lord Jesus. This is not some spacey mystical nonsense or religious quackery, as so many unreal Christians prescribe to, but the Lord Himself dwelling within one’s earthly tabernacle in actual spiritual form. Without His presence there will be an impossible row to hoe and it is sad that so many faux believers believe they can live the life commanded by God without God, but instead through religious principles and practices which make one nothing more than a bigger fake than before one’s “conversion.”

         And as always, there is great comfort in numbers. But part of the testing that takes place for real believers will be spending time alone to both defend the truth and stand for it without the benefit of an emboldening surrounding group. Most want no part of such a test and therefore have no way of passing it. The Lord, Paul, and all the early believers were thought to be fools in the eyes of the world. They spent time alone with no apparent defense often betrayed and rejected.

         This does and must go with the territory. If we are to truly stand with the Lord and live according to His Word, He must remove all false props except that which appears as a counter-intuitive prop—the cross.

         © 2014 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.

RELATED CONTENT:

Galatians Relations (Part 1)

Galatians Relations (Part 2)

Why the Lord Used Parables (And Why So Many Christians Still Don’t Get It). Part 3

         And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE.”

         With many such parables He was speaking the word to them, so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples. [Mark 4:30-34]

         Here we have the mysterious but distinct contrast to the real teaching method used by the Lord Jesus and that of imposters.

         As mentioned in Part 2, religious indoctrination must be used when no relationship with God is present.

         There is no doubt this is a “hard saying,” and certainly causes the inevitable stumbling when related to one’s Christian experience. But try to see it this way: Fathers do not put their small children in a school desk or pew in the living room and attempt to ram home all the teaching they must impart through a contrived institutional format.

         Instead, they spend as much time as possible with their small children and allow them to ask questions. They are gentle and open, and allow each child to feel secure while also putting forth a mature stature which the child naturally respects.

         The father spends time with his children, engages in activities with them, attempts to bless them with opportunities, and teaches by example. Love comes first, and as life’s opportunities for learning present themselves, fathers are ready with the same kind of instruction used by the Lord.

         I don’t know why this is so hard to see, but it certainly is. Traditional, institutional Christianity has robbed the children of God from having that particular close learning relationship with the Lord He so wants to share with them. He loves His many children and He must feel very bad at being shut out by those who insist on regimenting and overly structuring Christian teaching, and turning spiritual revelation into classroom indoctrination.

         Why can’t we see that the Lord Jesus never did this? Why do we justify it? Why do so few “Christian” men lack the spiritual backbone, intestinal fortitude, and outright nuticles to do something about it?

         Though God, the Lord Jesus is also the greatest MAN who ever lived. He is manly to the core. When He walked this earth He presented the manliness and strength of God in a way that had never been done before. The real seekers of truth noted this, honored and respected it, and listened to the Man to the point of receiving His truth, His Spirit, and all that entailed.

         Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?”

         The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” [John 7:44-46]

         Rather than respect Him and the gospel, His detractors and enemies took the opposite path. Whether intimidated or angered by Him, they simply could not possibly coexist with Him. They were the ones who insisted on cold, unfeeling, formalized religion that never touched the deep heart of people in great need.

         The Lord, though, never used their false methods. He got down on the level of His disciples and taught with love and sincerity.

         He had no church building.

         He had no pulpit.

         He had no narcissistic clergy distinctions whatsoever.

         He did not need to prop Himself up or surround himself with or within some grand faux religious apparatus to appear genuine.

         He was genuine by His love and manner. His disciples felt His love. They knew they were loved, the same way a little boy or little girl knows he or she is loved when daddy takes them fishing, or to the park, or plays a game with them, or shows them how to do stuff.

         Is not this the very essence of mature servanthood and of the strong taking care of the weak? Instead of the strong becoming more strong and more enchriched and ruling over the weak?

         For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. [2Corinthians 13:9]

         This is the heart of God. At best, some of the overly formalized regimented methods of clergyites might lead to a better understanding of God on possibly an elementary level, but can in no way reveal the Lord for who He really is. This is why all the patriarchs spent so much time alone with God out in the desert. It is why the apostle Paul did the same. They learned from God directly, and they brought home teachings and understandings no one else possessed.

         Please consider the following:

         For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:11-12]

         Paul had no New Testament. He had no formalized church to attend. How did he learn so much? Though he had no New Testament, he ending up writing much of it! How?

         He says he did not receive the gospel from man.

         He says the gospel he taught was not according to man.

         He says He received the gospel he taught through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

         Think about it. No church. No Bible school. No seminary. No New Testament to memorize and learn from. No brothers or sisters around him all the time instructing him.

         Paul received the gospel he preached through a direct revelation from God while he was out in the desert alone with God.

         How do we know he got it right? And how do we know most “Christian” ministers get it wrong? Here’s how:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

         I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom,

         BUT IN DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER,

         so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

         Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom

         IN A MYSTERY, THE HIDDEN WISDOM WHICH GOD PREDESTINED BEFORE THE AGES TO OUR GLORY;

         the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

         “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

         For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

         For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?

         Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

         [1 Corinthians 2:1-11] [1]

         © 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.

Why the Lord Used Parables (And Why So Many Christians Still Don’t Get It). Part Deux

         Real Christians must always guard against religious indoctrination. The human mind in its fallen state is such that it has no reference to truth, no infrastructure toward a standard basis of spiritual knowledge and fact, and no ability to properly comprehend that which can only be spiritually discerned.

         We do have a conscience, of course. A healthy though natural mind does have the ability to differentiate between good and evil to an extent, but because human beings are also willful creatures and, short of a born-again experience, rebellious toward God and the things of God, it also possesses the ability to veto one’s moral conscience.

         In general terms, people always know in advance when they’re about to engage in wrong behavior if they follow a certain course their conscience is warning them against. Once doing the bad thing, one’s conscience confirms its earlier warning with an “I told you so” to further convict one, reinforce the fact that a wrong course was chosen, and warn further against the illicit action in the future.

         And if that’s not enough, there is always the fruit of evil behavior that sprouts up in one’s life to give an individual further proof that the activity was bad.

         Therefore, as the Word of God clearly states, even though unregenerate humanity is blinded by sin, human beings still have no excuses whatsoever for evil behavior and rebellion against God:

         For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

         Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

         For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. [Romans 1:20-25]

         In this passage the apostle adds to the fact that we all possess a conscience with the further fact that the natural world all around us also reveals God and the difference between good and evil. One must remember that Paul wrote this long before what is now presented as fully accepted fact and believed wholeheartedly by most, including most “Christians”—the lie of human evolution—and that even then humanity had descended into a gross depravity regarding morality, truth, and mankind’s origins.

         Because the nature of such depravity goes unregistered in a sinful mind, one fails to see the nature of the advancing disease as one cannot see the forest for the trees. Because of such gross distortion and moral compasses out of whack, and because of the rapid nature of the sin disease metastasizing throughout the human family, the majority are lost within the matrix and deceived about reality.

         A faux reality has thus been constructed to deal with humanity’s distance from God which includes distance from God’s light, truth, and love. This very dark world is then made peace with, so to speak, and accepted as standard reality from which actual morality appears unreachable and impossible. The idea of evil remains, however, but evil is relegated to the realm of the grossly evil. Hence, regular human beings doing regular things according to this low denominational moral understanding are perceived as good and moral, though it is no such thing.

         In other words, God’s righteous standard, if we all obeyed and practiced it, would result in a truly wonderful and loving world, while mankind’s faux moral construct is equivalent to an extremely low moral common denominator in which almost everyone can feel good about themselves regardless of pesky moral consciences that are most often shunned and put aside.

         Picture a scale of ten in which the Lord’s holy life for all is seen as a 10 and mankind’s false moral standard as a 1. A 1 is relatively simple to achieve since it almost always involves no necessary attempt at achievement whatsoever, and one in which 95% are good people exhibiting moral behavior, as in, “Gimme a break. I’ve never killed anyone, dude. Back off,” meaning that murder and such sins cross the line but almost everything else is fine and dandy.

         This all came about for the same reason that all the little five year old soccer players started getting little individual trophies several years ago. First of all, little kids’ soccer is a faux sport in which all the little ones run around trying to kick a fat ball. Real hard. Then they all get a trophy for participating as if they achieved something when they actually achieved nothing.

         In contrast, the early days of Little League Baseball showcased the clear differential between those boys good enough to excel at the sport, often through very hard work, dedication, practice, and much playing time among themselves with no adults ever present, and those geeky ones who were quickly seen as possessing little or no talent and no passion for the game. Teams were formed, leagues were formed, and ONE team from each league received ONE team trophy, if anyone ever received a trophy at all. Most of the time there was no such thing. And there were certainly never any individual trophies.

         The point here is that winning a championship meant something and that only the winners achieved anything. Even those in second place were seen as losers. This resulted in a very high standard and something one must work very hard at to become a winner.

         Do we not see this almost exact dynamic in international Olympic sports? Only one person in each event wins the gold, and often by milliseconds. Imagine missing out on the gold by .001 of a second. You’re still a loser regardless of losing margin. Why even bother with silvers and bronzes? They didn’t win. There is no winning in placing second or third.

         Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

         Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. [1Corinthians 9:24-27]

         To sum up, the world’s standard of morality is actually no standard at all. Almost everyone considers himself or herself righteous. Pretty much everyone believes himself or herself to be a good, basically decent person whom God has no real problem with, if indeed there is a God. Everyone wins a trophy, whether they run around in circles doing nothing, sit on the field as a spectator watching the untoward activity around them, become distracted by butterflies, knowing or unknowingly join the other team, never touch the ball, whine and cry, or refuse to leave the sidelines. Everyone gets a juice box and a snack and a trophy and good wishes from doting parents though the majority never achieve squat.

         The above is this world in a nutshell. Most people are oblivious of the spiritual world all around them. They are spiritually blind and deaf.

         But some, a few, actually have spiritual ears and eyes that work, and they receive little radio signals they know must mean something but can’t quite figure out. They remain intrigued, wondering why they see things a tad differently, and is why the blindfolded majority perceive them as a tad off, or strange.

         These are the ones who can be reached by a parable.

         They do not respond to religious dogma or forced compliance to some hackneyed, subjective, incomplete, false, or fractured moral code. Though they don’t know what they’re looking for, they know what it is not. They reject faux substitutes. They travel on in search of the lost chord—the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—that unseen something they will know when they find it.

         This is why they reject religious indoctrination. They know that within their weakened state of being prior to discovering truth that they possess the potential to be force fed faux drivel and indoctrinated against the very truth they seek, and they intrinsically know they must shun such brainwashing efforts by the great faker controllers.

         Indeed, such religious controllers, especially those of the Unreal Christianity variety, are as much a part of the world’s faux moral low denominational construct as all other members, and are actually the most sinister of all in that they represent the devil’s last chance at stopping the searcher of truth on his or her path toward life.

         It’s like getting detoured a few yards short of the finish line on a winning run. Real Christians, both before and after their born again experience, can never allow themselves to be cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse.

         They must press on toward truth and life. They must listen to their conscience, and respect their hearing ears and seeing eyes though the volume be low and the vision initially blurry.

         These are the ones who can be reached by a parable.

         “For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light.

         “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Mark 4:22-23] [1]

         © 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.

Why the Lord Used Parables (And Why So Many Christians Still Don’t Get It). Part 1

         Most Christians are taught what the Lord’s parables mean without actually receiving their meanings from God. At best, teachers teach what others have received from God. At worst, there are substandard and completely wrong interpretations passed off as genuine.

         This is the difference between religious dogma and divine revelation.

         In that light, it is said that spiritual knowledge is gained in two ways: (1) book knowledge, or head knowledge, or gaining data empirically, or reading our Bibles to gain facts, etc, and (2) divine revelation.

         The former is accessed by a working brain regardless of heart condition or spiritual proclivity. The latter, divine revelation, is gained through the Lord revealing something to our hearts—bypassing our heads (or possibly going through them).

         And speaking of brains, it should be obvious to most people with brains that divine revelation is the best method. One might even say it is actually the only method, and here’s why:

         We have millions of Christians who have been taught and dogmatized by the letter but actually have no understanding of the spirit (and much of the letter they are taught is not Biblical anyway). In fact, the majority of Christians worldwide are walking around in head knowledge, and the probable majority of those have very little head knowledge, (that’s what we pay the preacher/priest/minister for!), which means they have absolutely no spiritual knowledge whatsoever.

         How then are they Christians? One must understand the concept of cultural Christianity to understand that calling oneself a Christian because one identifies with some aspect of denominational Christianity makes one no more a Christian than so many proponents of other religions—those who are such only because of outside circumstances and cultural/family pressure. Many Buddhists, for example, do not actually practice the full teachings of the Buddha but still consider themselves Buddhists.

         It is no different with Christianity in the sense that most Christians do not practice or attempt to practice the full curriculum of the Lord Jesus and reject becoming real disciples.

         Real Christianity is different from all other belief systems and religions (including Unreal Christianity) simply because it is not a belief system or religion. It is based on an actual personal relationship with the God of the Universe who revealed Himself to us as one of us—God became a human being.

         Now, that in itself sounds completely weird to the natural mind and is thus summarily dismissed and denounced by most people right off the bat, which reveals something about the natural mind, of course.

         Further rejection by the natural mind of spiritual knowledge follows, and the idea that we can know God and God wants to know us and we can talk to God etc. is also thus placed in that place where the down to earth put belief in little green men and off-the-wall dark conspiracies and haunted houses and “I see dead people” and Ray’s hearing voices out in his field and in short, weird stuff that only weird people take a liking to.

         For non-believers this is understandable, but for all the so-called Christians who fall into this category it is beyond mind-boggling and completely proves my point: Most Christians want no part of all the “weird stuff” put forth in the Bible, but only the completely surface indoctrination and cultural low-denominational “refinement” that characterizes all dead forms of Christianity, much like the dead forms of Judaism during the Lord’s day which caused its proponents to reject the Lord Jesus outright.      

         Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

         But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. [1Corinthians 2:12-14] [1]

         © 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.

What is Truth?

         No single person in the history of the world has ever been more misunderstood, disrespected, and dishonored than the Lord Jesus.

         And though He has left us with a preponderance of pure and perfect teachings, most people, especially Christians, do not know His teachings, do not want to know, and are much more interested in transforming His teachings to suit themselves.

         The Lord Jesus has been made out to be anything other than what and who He really is, and false interpretations abound, leaving His actual persona as something very few know.

         There are obvious reasons for this, but such reasons are not so obvious to those who believe incorrectly. In fact, those who create and buy into a false creation of the Lord’s persona conclude that they pretty much know all there is to know, that there is really nothing more to know, and go about their Christian lives in a state of willful ignorant bliss.

         Many Christians do this because they trust whatever their chosen authority figure or figures have told them, they allow their minds to be taken over by those who indoctrinate them, and they never accept any truth that is not approved by their church, denomination, pastor, theological seminary, or Christian guru.

         Thus, they have no passion for truth, no love for truth, and do no searching for truth. As a result, truth may be in their immediate vicinity, but their blindness causes rudeness. This does truth a great disservice.

         As Pontius Pilate gazed into the eyes of the Lord attempting to comprehend the nature of the Man before him, he asks, “What is truth?” [John 18:38]

         Based on the fact that Pilate was a relatively young man, was a shallow non-thinker though quite intelligent, acted as though he had the world figured out, would do anything to protect his turf and keep his job, and was bloodthirsty and seemingly heartless to the core, something about the Lord caused him to pause. Something way down deep in his heart caused a slight stir.

         Pilate asked the big question after the following conversation:

         “Are You the King of the Jews?”

         Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”

         Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”

         Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

         Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” [John 18:33-37]

         After this exchange Pilate showed his true colors. He states that he finds no guilt whatsoever in the Lord, knowing He was brought up on false charges. Yet he is willing to turn the Lord over to a rabid band of murderers and does. Then he decides to have the Lord beaten and ripped up through the barbaric practice of scourging.

         So let’s review: Pontius Pilate essentially accepted the fact that the Lord was innocent and came to testify to the truth, yet by his authority he had the Truth tortured and killed. Pilate showed by his actions that he had no love for truth and could not hear the voice of Truth.

         Because the Lord was not a self promoter, He didn’t go around trying to force people to see who He was. Instead He took the opposite tack. He kept as low a profile as possible and wanted people to see Him for who He was with their own eyes, absent any coercion or religious indoctrination. Meeting Him and getting to know Him would be like meeting and getting to know anyone else.

         And rather than volunteering information about Himself that would likely fall on deaf ears, He waited for people to ask questions, as did His disciples Thomas and Philip in the following passage:

         Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

         “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

         Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

         Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” [John 14:5-9]

         Many theologians, in their bright and shining wisdom, generally fail to understand these simple statements and proceed to tell us what the statements actually mean, what the Lord is actually saying, and what He is not saying.

         So without questioning such religious eggheads most people simply accept their explanations, which are designed to make things less mysterious, more formulaic, and much more satisfying to simple reason and to people with relatively low knowledge quotients with lazy attitudes toward searching things out, but who also must be brought into a religious fold.

         For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. [1 Timothy 1:6-7]

         Regarding Philip’s question, rather than introducing several volumes of theological circlespeak, the Lord responds to him very clearly by telling him exactly who He is, the same way He told Pilate exactly who He is, based on the respective questions each put forth:

1.  He is a King and He has a kingdom.

2.  He is one who testifies to the truth.

3.  He is the Truth.

4.  He is the Way.

5.  He is the Life.

6.  He is the Father.

         There are many such New Covenant Scriptures that make it difficult to classify God in the context of Western thought after centuries of extra-biblical dogma, though the majority of Christians believe that the classic three-in-one doctrine covers all the bases. Yet, if one is after truth and not simply a subpar explanation of truth, one will keep searching until he finds it. Those who don’t care so much will accept alternative doctrines that strive to satisfy the mind (but never the heart), meaning they only care to know of God on a head level, but never seek to know or love Him personally with their heart.

         This tactic might be fine if you’re throwing horseshoes or hand grenades. But building a rocket to the moon entails a tad more fine tuning. Those not willing to put in the hard work never get there and remain earthbound.

         Therefore, those who are satisfied the way Pilate was satisfied will never know the Lord though they claim otherwise, and those like Philip will ask the hard questions and keep on asking until they get the big idea. They will not merely believe the words or teachings of others. They must find out for themselves.

         If not, they prove by their actions that they are not of the truth, because they cannot hear the Lord’s voice. Instead, they have stopped somewhere along the way (if they ever started), and began listening to the voices of others. This is exactly why the Lord said:

         “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” [Matthew 15:14]

         The Lord stated many times in the Gospels, “Follow Me.” He made it very clear that if one is to be His disciple one must follow Him. That means one better not follow someone other than Him. In the early going we will need the help of others to get started, illustrated by Paul’s statement, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 11:1]

         Paul led by example, and by his example he showed others how to follow the Lord. This verse is corrupted in the KJV by a bad translation to read, “Be ye followers of me.” Paul never said in this verse to follow him. Some have said that Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

         This is nonsense. Many pastors et al subscribe to this false idea and it has greatly contributed to their congregants following them as spiritual gurus instead of following the Lord. Many follow the dictates of their denomination for the same reason. Though they think they are doing the right thing, they are without excuse. The Lord will never accept the checking of one’s brain at the door.

         Submitting to a shepherd is good, but at some point a real Christian will and must outgrow the need for a shepherd and begin to exclusively follow the Good Shepherd. This is exactly what Paul and the other apostles did, and what all the Lord’s disciples did, though some ceased from their course and invited rebuke:

         For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. [Hebrew 5:12-14]

         To close, all followers of the Lord must be willing to put any doctrine up for examination not to be decided on by a majority, but whether or not it agrees completely with the Word of God. The triad doctrine stemming from ancient pagan religions does not and never has agreed with the Word, for example. The Word of God riddles it through and through as with a truth-testing machine gun, though such a weapon is rarely used by most. Instead, many Christians would rather attack truth, and in so doing attack the very Lord they claim as Master:

         For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. [2 Timothy 4:3-4] [1]

         © 2013 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.

How To Stir Up Religious Spirits (And Start a Raging Persecution Fire)

The Death of Stephen by Gustave Doré

The Death of Stephen by Gustave Doré (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Way to go, Stephen. Now look what you did!

         If only you would have left well enough alone. Why couldn’t you just find a nice little church somewhere and behave yourself? Why couldn’t you just sit down and shut up? Why couldn’t you just keep your crazy opinions to yourself? Didn’t you know this would happen? Didn’t you know those nice people would go crazy when you confronted them with the truth? Now they’re coming after all of us!

         The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

         And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

         Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.”

         And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

         The high priest said, “Are these things so?”

         And he said, “Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.’ Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.

         “But God spoke to this effect, that his DESCENDANTS WOULD BE ALIENS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND THAT THEY WOULD BE ENSLAVED AND MISTREATED FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS. AND WHATEVER NATION TO WHICH THEY WILL BE IN BONDAGE I MYSELF WILL JUDGE,’ said God, ‘AND AFTER THAT THEY WILL COME OUT AND SERVE ME IN THIS PLACE.’

         “And He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him, and rescued him from all his afflictions, and granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household.

         “Now a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction with it, and our fathers could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. On the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family was disclosed to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent word and invited Jacob his father and all his relatives to come to him, seventy-five persons in all.

         “And Jacob went down to Egypt and there he and our fathers died. From there they were removed to Shechem and laid in the tomb which Abraham had purchased for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, until THERE AROSE ANOTHER KING OVER EGYPT WHO KNEW NOTHING ABOUT JOSEPH. It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive.

         “It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father’s home. And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and nurtured him as her own son. Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.

         “On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND JUDGE OVER US? YOU DO NOT MEAN TO KILL ME AS YOU KILLED THE EGYPTIAN YESTERDAY, DO YOU?’ At this remark, MOSES FLED AND BECAME AN ALIEN IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, where he became the father of two sons.

         “After forty years had passed, AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM IN THE WILDERNESS OF MOUNT Sinai, IN THE FLAME OF A BURNING THORN BUSH. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I AM THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB.’ Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. BUT THE LORD SAID TO HIM, ‘TAKE OFF THE SANDALS FROM YOUR FEET, FOR THE PLACE ON WHICH YOU ARE STANDING IS HOLY GROUND. I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.’

         “This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ‘WHO MADE YOU A RULER AND A JUDGE?’ is the one whom God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’ This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you.

         “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’

         “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’

         “Our fathers had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as He who spoke to Moses directed him to make it according to the pattern which he had seen. And having received it in their turn, our fathers brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations whom God drove out before our fathers, until the time of David. David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for Him.

         “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?’ says the Lord, ‘OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?’

         “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

         Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

         But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

         But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said,

         “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.

         Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison. [Acts 6:7-8:4][1]

         © 2012 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.

10 or 2? The Greatest Commandments and You

        Some American Christians are metaphorically up in arms over a curious issue. Representations of the Ten Commandments have been removed from public places, court houses, etc, and removal of these icons is threatened elsewhere. A great fight has ensued with either side casting the other in a not too pleasant light.

        On one end of the spectrum, secularists claim the Ten Commandments is an ancient outdated list of dos and don’ts that has no place in a country in which church is divided from state. Christians counter that the nation was founded on the Ten Commandments and that our entire system of jurisprudence is based upon them. The latter consider the disagreement as an attack against the Christian moral code by anti-Christian government-first authoritative bigheads, atheists, statists, and secular humanists. Those against the posting of the TC consider its supporters as backwoods half-brained ninnies living in the past.

         Both parties might step back from the fight for a while to consider what the New Testament actually says. While the Ten Commandments have indeed been foundational in Christian circles, it is only because Christians have stopped at a place in their development and did not apply the actual teachings of Jesus:

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-20]

         Well, this statement certainly seems to support the traditional keeping of the Ten Commandments. For the record, though, the Lord is actually referring to the entire Torah, which is composed of 613 commandments. However, as did the Pharisees, so do many Christians. There is a higher mandatory standard that many in both camps fail to keep which keeps them out of the kingdom. That’s why the Lord continued His teaching on the subject by adding caveats:

         “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:27-28]

         “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” [Matthew 5:31-32]

         “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all…” [Matthew 5:33-34]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” [Matthew 5:38-39]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” [Matthew 5:43-45]

         Only two of the preceding six statements refer to one of the Ten Commandments. The point here is that there is much more than the mere celebrated ten that so many people are willing to fight about. To add to the above caveat list wherein the Lord makes the proper amendments, we also have an even more curious teaching on the opposite end. Whereas the Lord got into fine detail regarding what the Torah actually states, He also pares down all of that detail into a prima facie foundation with reference to not only the Law of Moses but His own voluminous teachings:

         But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:34-40]

         Jesus said the remaining 611 commandments of the Torah and the entirety of all prophetic writings are suspended from the strong upper framework of the two greatest commandments of all. And guess what?

         Only one of the two greatest commandments is listed among the Ten Commandments.

         There is obviously then, much misunderstanding and misapplication of the Ten Commandments themselves and the true teaching regarding them. Can anyone find a single quote by the Lord Jesus in reference to the ten? How about among the apostles? The fact of the matter is that the Ten Commandments are not mentioned one time in the entire New Testament. Not even once.

         This means there was a different standard among the early believers than is among most of us. It means their Christianity was a completely different Christianity. They were not hung up on lists and they did not give but partial commitment. They knew that if they properly obeyed the two greatest commandments, they would also be fulfilling all the rest of the applicable commandments that had not already been fulfilled.

         Therefore, what we should be posting are the Two Commandments, not the Ten Commandments.

         In addition, the early believers knew that wearing one’s religion upon one’s proverbial sleeve was anathema to real Christianity, and that obeying the commandments did not mean posting a select few on the walls of buildings and the institutions of man, but on our hearts.

         We are the building. We are the wall. We are the medium the Lord has chosen to advertise Himself to the world.

         You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

         Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

         But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

         Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

         Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. [2Corinthians 3:2-18]

         As stated here, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of our Lord Jesus whose love has been poured out within our hearts if we have indeed been filled with His Spirit. It is He to whom the greatest commandment is applied. And it is to each other that the second is applied. These two living commandments (not suggestions) make the entire curriculum of the Lord work properly and bring it to life. They are based on love for Him and love for one another.

         Obeying the Two supersedes obeying the Ten.

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:15-18] [1]

            © 2012 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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 10)

         The Lord Jesus consistently displayed the heart of a Father. As we studied in the last post, He said He would not leave His disciples as orphans. Yet, many believers, whether they admit it or not, effectively feel like orphans. They do not feel connected to God. Could this be because they are not connected to God? As in the idea of the new birth experience which the Lord said all real believers are required to undergo [John 3:5], many Christians cannot point to any such experience. If they were born again, they do not know when it may have occurred.

         Imagine that. Then imagine a woman giving birth and not knowing it occurred. (“Hey Ralph, where’d this baby come from?”)

         Moreover, imagine a baby leaving the comfortable confines of the womb through a VERY narrow way and a ridiculously tiny gate and tell me the baby has no idea something out of the ordinary is taking place. I imagine the vast majority of babies are thinking something along the lines of the worst amusement park ride that ever existed on Halloween in a haunted house with a scary little guy donning coke-bottle glasses and a big IRS badge waiting at the other end. (“I didn’t sign up for this!!”)

         In fact, if a Christian cannot locate the time and place of his or her new birth, the odds are high that there never was a new birth. Not that the experience is bad or scary, but memorable. Why?

         Because it was the day one met the God of the universe and gave his or her life to Him!

         The Lord’s disciples certainly looked forward to being reunited with the Lord after being divided from Him that day atop the Mount of Olives. And by His own acclamation, He was not only their Rabbi and Master, but their spiritual Father, and would be away for a while on a ten day trip:

         Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

         So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

         He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

         And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. [Acts 1:4-12]

         He left in a cloud and would return in a cloud…

         Ever notice how the events of Acts 2 relate to (as is the common parlance of today’s TV weather forecasters), a strong weather event? It opens with “a noise like a violent rushing wind.” The noise/wind fills the whole house where the 120 are gathered. Then, there is lightning:

         And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. [Acts 2:3]

         And the Spirit of God continued to fall in a holy rain…

         “‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT and they shall prophesy. AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.’” [Acts 2:17-19]

         The old-timers called it a glory cloud—a visible manifestation of the presence of the Lord. Christians who have never experienced such a thing might have the attitude of the mockers and unbelievers, but in some ways cannot be blamed. There is so much counterfeit spiritual nonsense in the Christian world today. Charlatans and lovers of money have faked the blessedness of the Lord’s holy rain and manifested their own seedless fabrications and hokum.

         But the real event is undeniable. As it was on that illustrious Day of Pentecost so long ago, so is it still today, circling the globe. The Lord will go wherever He is welcome and will manifest His presence to the degree desired.

         Want more of the Lord?

         And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; make them remember that His name is exalted.” Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. [Isaiah 12:4-6] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 10 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 9)

         “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 that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

         According to the above passage, the Father… will send the Holy Spirit… in the Name of the Son. In classic Christian jargon, the “First Person” will send the “Third Person” in the name of the “Second Person.” This reminds me of the Olympics, when the three medal winners stand on small joined platforms of three different levels to receive their medals. The winner stands front and center on the tallest platform to receive the gold. He or she is the champion. The silver medal winner (second place) is on the second-tallest platform, and the third-place bronze medal winner is on the lowest platform.

         Don’t we always say, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” (One, two, three?) We never arrange these three in any different order. The arrangement signifies rank, as if “The Father” is most important, “The Son” second most important, etc. But the tri-unity doctrine teaches that each Person is co-equal, which means it contradicts both itself AND Scripture:

         If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28b]

         But Jesus is God! What’s up with that? Can God be greater than God?

         Well, at least we know that the Father is greater than the Son, and is therefore most qualified to send the Holy Spirit.

         Uh… no:

         “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” [John 15:26-27]

         What?

         One chapter after finding out that the Father will send the Spirit, we discover that Jesus will send the Spirit. Which is correct? Will the “First Person” send the “Third Person,” or will the “Second Person” send the “Third Person?” At least we know the “Third Person” wins the bronze. No apparent argument there.

         So, the Holy Spirit will be sent in the Name of Jesus by Jesus. Confused?

         Well, hold on, because we’re just getting started.

         Just who, pray tell, is the Holy Spirit? Is it a heavenly dove? A nameless force? Was the Lord sent to the desert by a Spirit with no name because it felt good to be out of the rain? (In the desert, you can’t remember your name…)

         “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:16-18]

         Uh oh.

         We just found out who the Holy Spirit is. Why, despite theologian’s best efforts, do we keep coming back to Jesus? The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, from the Greek word parakletos. This word is also translated in various Bible versions as Comforter, Helper, and Advocate. The Holy Spirit is assumed to take the place of Jesus in the lives of the disciples, but the truth is more than what it seems:

         “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’” [John 14:28a]

         This is not a reference to the Second Coming. It is a reference to the fact that the Lord Jesus, as a Father, would not irresponsibly leave His children without a teacher, guide, or guardian once He ascended into heaven:

         “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:18]

         We gain more insight through the Lord referring to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Can the Spirit of Truth be appreciably different from “The Truth?”

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         Is the Holy Spirit truly the Spirit of Jesus?

         We get a glimpse of this and greater revelation in the following passage referencing Paul’s travels as he and his companions in ministry were directed by the Spirit of Jesus:

         They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. [Acts 16:6-8]

         (There was, of course, a reason why the Lord refused to permit them to go into Bithynia, which will be studied in a later post.)

         We receive further understanding of our subject through Paul’s claim that the Spirit of Jesus actually lives within real Christians and is spoken of as a providential provision:

         …For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [Philippians 1:19-21] [1]

         He will not leave us as orphans indeed…

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 9 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 8)

         God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

         Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

         And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. [Acts 19:11-17]

         Here we have a case where the password to the Kingdom of God became known to non-believers. They attempted to use it the way Paul did but with much different results.

         Imagine an evil spirit so powerful it could work through one man to beat the hell out of seven religious pretenders. These clowns were not merely defeated. They were abused, humiliated, and literally ripped-off.

         What happened?

         Though the Name of Jesus is the password to the kingdom of God, its proper use is restricted to those who have made a wholesale commitment to the owner of the Name. Unless one’s heart is fully circumcised unto the Lord, the password will not work, though it may appear otherwise in some circumstances. If one’s faith is weak, the password will not work. If one’s motive is wrong, the password will not work. If one has unrepentant sin, the password will not work. If there’s any flesh involved, the password will not work.

         The seven sons of Sceva had apparently had some success in exorcising demons. There are certain Christian sects that have historically practiced exorcism and continue practicing it today.

         But the Lord Jesus never practiced exorcism. He quite simply but most powerfully used His authority and commanded evil spirits to obey Him. No need for silly formulas and little wooden crosses. The Lord merely said, “Get out!” and they scrammed. His disciples had been given the use of His powerful Name and also ran off any number of demons through the same authority. Demons were often scared enough to stay away from those filled with the Spirit of God. They knew they’d get their backsides kicked. They certainly knew who the Lord Jesus was, that He was a Warrior on the warpath shining a great Light into their dark little hovels.

         You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19]

         The proponents of Unreal Christianity have not been granted the authority of the Name since they have never fully committed to the Lord Jesus. This is obvious by the way they dishonor and disrespect Him. (“Oh, those things don’t happen anymore!” “We don’t believe in that stuff!” You’re a fruitcake and those things are of the devil!” “It makes me feel so uncomfortable…”) Dead churches are dead because they lack the power of God. They have no access to it. They claim to have authority to use the Name but one never sees much demonstration of the Lord’s Spirit in such places.

         Other people counterfeit it. The devil is using them and they don’t even know it.

         But one thing is sure: There is great power and authority in the Name of Jesus but one must be qualified to use it or nothing good will happen.

         Ask the sons of Sceva. They never, ever made that mistake again. The evil spirit punted their rears halfway across Ephesus.

         Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. [Acts 19:18-20]

         This is the real gospel in action.

         But why did the Lord direct Paul to go to Ephesus in the first place? Once again, it had to do with the power of His Name. It seems there were certain followers of John the Immerser there who had never heard of Pentecost. Note what happens after Paul discovers the way they were baptized:

         It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

         And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

         And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?”

         And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

         Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

         When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. [Acts 19:1-7] [1]

         Why did Paul connect the infilling of the Holy Spirit with water baptism? Was it for the simple reason that the password to the kingdom of God is directly associated with water baptism? Was it because water baptism in the Name of Jesus is a major part of the heart-circumcision process toward total submission to the Messiah and gaining proper authority to use His Name?

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 8 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 7)

         Pessimism is a sin. If a person claims to be a real Christian and is not optimistic regarding areas under God’s control, then one is sinning against Him.

         It’s called a lack of faith.

         …And whatever is not from faith is sin. [Romans 14:23]  

         The Lord was often exasperated with faithlessness, especially among His own disciples. Remembering the simple fact that those guys were His students learning His craft excuses them since they were in the process of moving from darkness to light. If they continued in pessimistic faithlessness after the Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost, then they failed His curriculum and were in sin.

         And not a real part of His community.

         Which brings us to the crux of the matter: The majority who claim to be Christians are not real Christians. They are Christian in name only, regardless of their denomination or doctrinal beliefs.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. [John 10:1-6]

         From this definitive statement the Lord is clearly teaching that it is possible for “strangers” to get into His sheepfold. Think about that. We gain greater understanding of this fact when discovering that the Greek word for stranger in this verse means “one belonging to another.” In other words, these strangers are not simply unknown persons crashing the party but those who belong to someone else. And in the clear context of the verse we see that He is referring to people who are shepherds other than the Lord Jesus.

         Who are these shepherds?

         I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:6-12]

         There is no doubt that Paul spoke often of false apostles and false gospels. This obviously presupposes false shepherds. False shepherds are “strangers” who enter the Lord’s sheepfold through means other than the door. They assume authority over people not granted from God. It was the Pharisees who Jesus was referring to as such strangers, as clearly indicated in chapter nine of John’s gospel. (There should have been no chapter break, since the narrative from chapter nine continues into chapter ten.)

         The Lord Jesus tells them He is the Door of the sheepfold. He is also the Good Shepherd. Whoever does an end run into His sheepfold without going through the Door (the only means of proper access) is not a real believer.

         “…No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         No one can possibly get to the Father without going through the Son. Whoever rejects the Son automatically rejects the Father also. The Father and Son are a package deal. One cannot have one without also having the other.

         If one has a shepherd other than the Son, one does not have the Father.

         Yet, such people think they still have the Father. Some Christians insistently refer to “God” as someone other than the Lord Jesus, but have no real idea who this “God” is. The term often refers to an unknowable, intangible, and conceptual God that people end up making to suit themselves. In their minds, this God is not Jesus.

         They must, therefore, have a shepherd other than Jesus, because if Jesus were their shepherd, He would be their God also.

         Who qualifies then as replacement shepherds of unreal Christians? Who are the Christian leaders who teach their sheep to enter the Lord’s sheepfold through a means other than the Door? Who are these replacement shepherds who take the place of the Door?

         So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13] [1]

         One should see very clearly that any shepherd who advises his sheep to disregard the Door and enter His sheepfold through another means or method is not honest or upright, but a thief and a mere hired hand working for pay. What’s more, you can bet that the sheep of the false shepherds look and act like them, and not at all like the Door.

         The password to the kingdom of God is the Name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 7 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 6)

         Unreal Christianity is infused with sacred cows. After two thousand years of extra-Biblical heretical teachings and “Christian” denominational offshoots, Unreal Christianity contains a veritable zoo of protected cattle wandering down city streets masquerading as truth. As possible reincarnated ancestors, none dare touch such cows without stirring up a hornet’s nest of retribution and murder.

         And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

         And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:24-29]

         Goodness gracious. Talk about your sacred cows. The Lord saw things a tad differently than these rabid detractors. They had built up a very false idea of their own religious culture over time and were willing to do any harm to anyone who dared challenge them and their bogus posing.

         Even if that someone was God Himself.

         What an amazing thing it is to see a Man telling the truth but being perceived by evil idiots as using pejorative language and depreciatory story-telling that obfuscates their fanciful fakery. The next thing you know, Unreal Christianity will be enlisting the courts to classify as hate speech any truth-telling that supports the Word of God and reveals their false doctrines for what they are:

         “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…” [1 Timothy 4:1-2]

         Without doubt, there is often a bubbling cauldron of red-hot anger just under the surface of pretty, smiling, Christian countenances under the influence of untruth due to years of false teaching and prejudice against the Lord they claim to know. Real Christians, however, are in love with the Lord Jesus first, and though unclear on one Biblical fact or another will go anywhere He leads them, even if it be into unfamiliar Biblical territory. But nowhere, it seems, after the Lord’s ascension, is more religious trouble stirred up than when the Name above every name is boldly spoken or put forth:

         It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days.

         But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!”

         And it came out at that very moment. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

         The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. [Acts 16:16-24]

         Whoa, dude. Seems pretty harsh—until one realizes that Paul was attacking their pocketbook. These jerks were pimping out a demon-possessed slave girl for their own profit through fortune-telling without any hint of a bothered conscious, and had been doing it for quite some time. They had built up a considerable religious business and saw it all going south after Paul lowered the boom. Does this sound familiar? The concept of religious profit-taking? A shining light on a master attraction instead of the Lord? The slander of those who reveal the truth of the matter?

         Whether it be unbelieving Jews or pagan Romans, the Lord Jesus and His powerful Name so shake up the pinhead in pinstripes that he will go to any length to protect his turf. Thank goodness none of this stuff happens within Christian ministries…

         “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” [Matthew 7:21-23] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 6 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 5)

         But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:15-20]

         Two thousand years ago, it was unbelieving Jews in places of high religious authority who were in opposition to the use of the Lord’s Name by believing Jews, such as Peter, John, and the entire Jerusalem community of faithful ones.

         Today, it is unbelieving Christians in places of high religious authority who restrict the Lord and His believing children from using the Name above every name in ministry. And there is no area of Christian practice in which this is more blatant than water baptism, the first and foremost use of the Lord’s powerful Name in the infant community of saints. In every single instance or inference of water baptism throughout the entire Book of Acts and post-gospel epistles, the Name of Jesus was administered. This continued for three hundred years until Roman laws were put in place to eliminate its use.

         What do Roman laws have to do with Christian practice, you may ask? Everything, since the Roman Empire co-opted Christianity and created their own hybrid for the sake of religious control by A.D. 325. Seventeen centuries later, almost every single Christian denomination and autonomous body continue to obey the Roman law that eliminated the Name of Jesus from baptism.

         Christians now openly joke about it, wondering what the big deal is and why such even matters. They do not care that they routinely disobey the Lord’s commands and the very clear historical record. Some simply do not know any better because they have been deceived. Any halfway decent theologian knows, however. Biblical encyclopedias and dictionaries clearly state the truth for any who may be inclined to search for truth in the matter.

         Therefore, the question is not if such is really true, but why do the majority of Christians continue to thumb their collective nose at God and refuse to use His Name in baptism? Without His Name there is no power, no authority, no witness, no representation of His death and burial, and no washing away of sin.

         Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17]

         Does anyone think the Lord Jesus cares about this issue? He is God, of course, and it is His Name. In the preceding verse, the apostle Paul taught that we were to do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John understood this directive, originally issued by the Lord, and were certainly aware of the power in His Name when they used it in the healing of the famous lame man at the temple gate:

         Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]

         This miracle, likely witnessed by hundreds, would not have been possible without the Lord’s name. Generations had known of this man. Tens of thousands and perhaps more had seen him at the Beautiful Gate over several decades. Word spread rapidly, so rapidly that the authorities were greatly alarmed.

         Later, Peter stated to those assembled in the aftermath,

         “On the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” [Acts 3:16]

         Once the religious authorities had heard about the great miracle, they showed up post haste:

         As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:1-4]

         Put them in jail? For a miracle? No. The offense was using the Lord’s Name. This one instance is enough to reveal to all real believers that a real profession of faith and determination to use the Lord’s Name will cost. And it will cost everything. It is the sword that sows division as intimated by the Lord.

         “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” [Matthew 10:32-36]   

         There is never any middle ground here. One will either be 100% on the Lord’s side or one will be against Him. A real disciple cannot help but apply the Name of Jesus and would never shrink from using it, regardless of any cost to one’s person or reputation.

         On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

         Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.

         And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:5-12] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 5 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 4)

         Christians have been unknowingly conditioned to perceive God and the Lord Jesus as two completely different people. How did this happen? Why is it that despite a veritable plethora of pure scriptural references to the absolute deity of Jesus He remains relegated to second-class status? Why do the majority of Christians refuse to give the Lord Jesus His due and honor Him as God?

         It is not enough to say Jesus is God if one continues to see God as someone other than Jesus. Christians often use the terminology, “God and Jesus.” I once saw a Christian t-shirt with the message, “You and me and God make five.” If there was anything at all that the ancient Hebrews learned from YHWH, despite all their backsliding, sin, and later misinterpretation of Scripture, it was one of the greatest facts of all time: God is ONE.

         “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” [Deuteronomy 6:4]

         Yet, from this very clear and strong statement, Christians have redefined what the word “one” means much as someone else in our recent national past attempted to redefine what the word “is” is.

         In Christianese, “one” no longer necessarily means one. One Person now means three persons. “One” now means that the three persons of the “Godhead” [1] are merely united.   

         But that is not at all what YHWH was stating through Moses in the above verse. Moses knew God. He knew Him well, much better than the vast majority of us. There was a relational closeness between the two that was one of the closest anyone prior to New Covenant times had achieved.

         Moses actually SAW God:

         Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

         And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” [Exodus 33:18-23]

         Since God is Spirit, what is meant in this passage by God’s “face,” God’s “hand,” and God’s “back?” Just Who was “walking” in the garden in the cool of the day looking for Adam and Eve? This phraseology can be explained as a Hebrew manner of speaking or idiom, but there is no doubt with reference to God’s oneness. There was no divine committee in the garden, and no trinity on Mount Sinai with Moses.

         Theologians have utilized a word, “theophany,” which denotes a visible manifestation of God, often in the form of a human being. Of course, God only became a human being once, so any reference to God as a human being prior to the incarnation of Jesus must be studied. Angels often took the form of humanity. God can certainly do anything He wants anytime He wants. In perhaps the clearest and most forthright Old Testament manifestation of God into humanity, we have this:

         Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth… [Genesis 18:1-2] [2]

         As one reads the rest of the narrative, he discovers that these three men were YHWH and two angels. The two angels later went to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family before YHWH destroyed the entire region due to the gross wickedness of its inhabitants.

         Therefore, YHWH appeared as a human being to Abraham. Though theologians might refer to this as a mere theophanic manifestation, the facts are clear that this Person stood, walked, sat down, ate, drank, and spoke openly to Abraham and the two angels. He prophesied that Isaac would be conceived and birthed through miraculous means. Also, this divine visit took place right after Abraham partook in the covenant of circumcision, in which he, Ishmael, and every single male of his household were circumcised.

         Isn’t it interesting that whenever real repentance and commitment take place, and when the covenant of full heart circumcision in the Lord’s blood and His Name is ratified, one receives a full revelation of Jesus?

         And isn’t it also quite interesting that prior to such, “God” remains a mystery?

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 4 of 10]


[1] Bad translation as derived from the KJV from the Greek words theios, theiotes, and theotes. See Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9 respectively. A good translation uses the terms Divine Nature and Deity.

[2] 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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 3)

         Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:1-4]

         It appears that the god of this world has also somehow managed to blind the minds of the believing regarding the true identity of Jesus. How many different ways can the Word state that our Lord Jesus is God Himself in an effort to convince whomever that He is God Himself?

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [Colossians 1:15]

         Due to rampant sin and rebellion among humanity and especially among the Lord’s own people, knowledge of God was largely lost in ancient times prior to the first century. How was He supposed to get our attention? How could He ever relate to humanity?

         What if God became one of us?

         Joseph the carpenter was a pretty cool guy, but even he was about to mess up big time. It seems that his new wife-to-be was already pregnant.

         What?!

         Also, the Torah clearly stated that a woman in such a predicament must be stoned.

         What?!

         Not only that, but Mary kept insisting she was a virgin.

         What?!

         (“You’re pregnant AND a virgin? What?!”)

         What was he to do? Obey his denominational teachings? Run for his life? His religion had no satisfactory answer whatsoever, except to dictate that he simply could not do the will of God, that he could not do the one thing he must do. It was an impossible circumstance that required a miraculous out of the box response:

         And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

         “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

         Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” [Matthew 1:19-23]

         So, in other words, an angel of YHWH informed Joseph that his betrothed was pregnant with a Child who was God, the long awaited Messiah prophesied by Isaiah, and that the Father of this Son was the Holy Spirit.

         Right.

         These facts do not seem to fit standardized Christian theology…

         Have a great many Christians become misinformed and unknowing Samaritans?

         “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

         Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.

         “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

         “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

         The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”

         Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” [John 4:20-26]

         Uh Oh.

         Like He did with other people on numerous other occasions, the Lord just told the Samaritan woman at the well that He is I AM.

         Did He also tell her He was the Father?

         “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” [John 10:30-33] [1]

         Uh Oh.

         We must remember that we are dealing with the world’s only pure monotheists at that time in the early first century. The Jews were the only people on the planet who believed in one God, and were condemned and ridiculed for such “nonsense” ad nauseam by a pantheistic heretical world of idol worshippers. Yet, Isaiah and others had made ancient claims that the Messiah would come, and that He would be God Himself. Therefore, those guys in the passage above did not necessarily disbelieve the accurate scriptural prophecies; they simply refused to believe that Jesus could be the guy. Why?

         Maybe it was because the Lord wasn’t attituded and duded up like General George S. Patton, four stars, ivory handled sidearms, polished helmet and all, though He greatly outranked Patton or anyone else who ever walked the earth in pure manhood and warrior ability (something Patton would instantly agree with).

         Maybe it was because it was also prophesied that the Messiah would first arrive as a humble suffering servant. Or maybe it was because religious people are generally blind as bats.

         But even His own disciples didn’t get it most of the time:

         “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” [John 14:7-9]

         Uh Oh. 

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3 of 10]


[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.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 2)

         Who is the Father? Who is the Holy Spirit? Why don’t they have names? Prior to its translation into English, the Greek New Testament renders the words Theos (God), Kurios (Lord), Pater (Father), Huios (Son), and Hagios Pneuma (Holy Spirit) as descriptive terms and titles of God. Though the argument has been explained exhaustively, it must be stated yet again for purposes of this study that the same individual may be a grandfather, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle, a cousin, and a nephew. These are not names. They are relational titles. Why do we not see the same applied to God? Why cannot God possess a multiplicity of titles but remain a single individual? Why has religion and theological reasoning transformed Him into three people?

         Consider the following: The title “Holy Spirit” (Ruach haQodesh) only appears three times in the entire Old Testament. It appears first in Psalm 51, when David says:

         Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. [Psalm 51:11]

         David used the term as indicative of the Spirit of God, but he also addressed God in the same Psalm using the terms “God” (Elohim) and “Lord” (Adonai). Of course, the Hebrew word Adonai was used by the scribes as a substitute written word for YHWH, so David actually used two different titles (Elohim and Ruach haQodesh) and also one of God’s primary Old Testament names (YHWH). One should be able to clearly see that David was not denoting a plurality of persons, but one God.

         The only other occurrences in the Old Testament of the term “Holy Spirit” take place in consecutive verses in the Book of Isaiah. What follows is the entire sixty-third chapter sandwiched around those two verses, to give proper perspective that Isaiah the prophet was speaking of one God by using several titles and many personal pronouns invoking a single Person:

         Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?

         “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

         Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

         “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me, and My wrath upheld Me. I trod down the peoples in My anger and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

         I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion and according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, “Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

         But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,

         Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; as the cattle which go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. So You led Your people, to make for Yourself a glorious name. Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me. For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name. Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways and harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage. Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down. We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name. [Isaiah 63:1-19] [1]

         In this passage, Isaiah uses the following descriptive terms and titles of God:

(1) “My own arm”

(2) “Savior”

(3) “The angel of His presence”

(4) “His Holy Spirit”

(5) “His glorious arm”

(6) “The Spirit of the LORD (YHWH)”

(7) “Our Father”

(8) “Our Redeemer”

(9) “LORD (YHWH)”

         The prophet also makes four references to God’s Name:

(1) An everlasting name (Verse 12)

(2) A glorious name (Verse 14)

(3) You, O LORD (YHWH), are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name (Verse 16)

(4) Your name (verse 19)

         Though he used many descriptive terms and titles, the only name that Isaiah used exclusively was YHWH, the Old Testament covenant name of God.

         The Name above every name [2], however, is “YHWH is Salvation” (“YHWH Saves”), or Yehoshua in Hebrew (shortened to Yeshua).

         This highest of all names was then translated into the original Greek New Testament writings as Iesous, and then into the Late Latin (transliterated into English) as the great name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 10]


[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.

[2] Philippians 2:9

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 1)

         I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. [Ephesians 1:18-23]

         There are truths embedded in the New Testament that defy easy theological answers. Theology wants to make everything black and white and linear in order to satisfy human reasoning. When it fails in this endeavor it resorts to a cold heavy-handedness and falls into the pit of indoctrination at the expense of revelation.

         The Lord Jesus was never concerned about indoctrinating people, in the sense of force-feeding facts and figures, and pushing the accepted standards and religious traditions of men. In addition to this seemingly counterintuitive method, he often taught in parables, as if He intended to hide truth from the unworthy. In other words, if one did not possess “ears to hear” and “eyes to see,” the Lord did not go out of His way to get the message to him, but allowed such a one to remain unenlightened.

         If one didn’t get it, well, one just didn’t get it. It was his or her problem, not the Lord’s.

         Therefore, the Lord put things out there and waited for a response from those who were able to dial the proper frequency. In perhaps the most well-known and celebrated example of this teaching method, we have the following:

         Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 16:13-17] [1]

         This is what the Lord is after. He wants us to receive truth by revelation from God. Why is it that only Peter received the truth of the Lord’s identity and immediately spoke up? The answer is evident. He heard it. He saw it. And it was so very clear to him that he spoke it. He understood perfectly that his Rabbi was the long-awaited Anointed One—the Messiah. He did not learn it in Bible school or church. It was not revealed to him by flesh and blood.

         Peter received it directly from the Father.

         But what about all those who thought the Lord was (1) John the Baptist? (2) Elijah? (3) Jeremiah? or (4) One of the prophets? What were they thinking? John the Baptist was already dead. Jeremiah and the prophets were long dead. Elijah was long gone. Why could they not see what Peter so clearly did see?

         Again, it was a revelation. Most Christians probably think they know who Jesus really is. However, the vast majority have obviously been indoctrinated concerning His accepted identity because most Christians think far less of Him than they should. Thus, this reveals clear evidence that human thinking is involved. Instead of the Lord being some kind of weird reincarnation of John or other famous prophets, Unreal Christianity has assigned Him the identity of second-class citizen and a lower-tiered individual far below “God” and “the Father.” On top of this, most have no real idea of just who “God” or “the Father” happens to be. There are no personal New Testament names involved with these terms. Thus, they are mere titles, and they therefore represent that which cannot be related to on a personal basis.

         It is impossible to be close to someone and not know His name.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 10]


[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.