Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Meat consumption and the Bible

I am a vegan most of the times. However, lately I have been considering a Biblical justification for my diet. This is my draft written paper on meat consumption that I will flesh out with scriptures to support my perspective and other scientific sources. So this is a work in progress. Nevertheless, I do not mind getting critiques and comments that can help me to improve on these ideas.

Many persons try to find a justification in the Bible for being Vegetarian.

Genesis is the book which one generally turns to find the first justification for being a vegetarian. God’s original plan made human beings vegetarians. Man’s Edenic diet was fruits, nuts and seeds.

Even after Eden, man’s second diet was expanded to carbohydrates. G-d gave Adam and Eve the task of tilling the earth to satisfy their hunger and food needs. Being removed from G-d’s orchard where human beings had access to G-d trees, we were to survive on our own techniques and interaction with the soil.

A meat eating diet, was first sanctioned after the flood. Though Abel raised sheep and killed sheep to sacrifice before G-d, which showed that G-d did not outlaw the killing of animals, G-d did not permit the eating of meat until after Noah’s flood.

After destroying all crops, trees and vegetation on the earth, G-d now gave humanity the option of a non-vegetarian diet in order to survive. G-d planned that man would continue to survive on meat until they were able to resume cultivation of crops and give the earth some time to produce trees and shrubs.

Even after G-d permitted man to eat meat, he still restricted the meats that humanity were to consume. Before Noah went into the ark, G-d instructed him about clean and unclean meats. G-d designated what animals were to be a part of humanity’s livestock rearing for food. Even with clean meats, G-d instructed Noah that not all meats were to be eaten if they were not prepared properly. Meats were only to be eaten if the blood was adequately drained from them.

Hence, in the establishment of the nation of Israel, G-d codified those laws and made them explicit for the second time. Leviticus 11 enumerates those animals that G-d permits for the citizens of Israel’s diet. G-d also indicated the conditions under which meats were to be considered for consumption. Israelites were told again not to eat food with blood in it, neither were they to kill nursing animals, or eat animals that were strangled or for which they knew not of the cause of death.

Another mentioned case of the vegetarian diet was the case of G-d’s provision of meals for the Israelites as they journeyed through the wilderness unto Canaan. Here G-d fed them with Manna, which was a vegetarian delicacy. However, the people complained for meat, and G-d gave them what they demanded with disastrous consequences. This meat that they craved, lead them to illness and sickness. This is a warning that G-d’s diet is always better than what humanity craves for.

The next case where the Bible speaks of vegetarian diet, was at the time when Daniel and the other 3 Hebrew boys were in Babylon. They recognized that the meats that were given for consumption went against G-d’s code for the nation of Israel. As such, they refrained from eating such meats, in order to observe the rules of G-d’s nation. As such, G-d rewarded them for their effort to live in accordance with his constitution with wisdom, intelligence and health.

Based on this example in the Bible, the only justification for being a vegetarian is to avoid consuming meats and food that were not prepared properly according to G-d’s constitution.

So what then is the Biblical justification for eating vegetarian, especially in light of the fact that Jesus ate fish and the Passover lamb? His disciples also did not forbid eating flesh, though they advised that flesh should not contain blood, thereby restating the permission that G-d gave to Noah regarding meat consumption. Finally apostle Paul declares that in the last days, that many will depart from the faith teaching doctrines of devils, abstaining from meat consumption and marriage. Can a believer in the Bible, and especially a Christian justify being a vegetarian Biblically?


In Bible days, there were no refrigerators. People grew what they ate, and killed them and prepared them the same day for consumption. Today, our meats prepared and placed on our plates could possible have been killed 20 years ago (especially if they are coming from the supermarkets or exports). Men have fed hormones to animals to make them grow and get fat fast.

Even in the Bible days, meats that were killed were taken to the priests to be killed, where certain parts were removed, and others roasted and eaten. In meat consumption today, meats can be fried in oil or fat. Clearly the Bible contains instructions about meat consumption in oil.

G-d’s preferred method for our meat preparation is roasted. Jesus by his example roasted the fish. The Passover lamb is roasted.

I believe that humanity can live without meat for months. G-d did not ordain that we should eat meats everyday. So I believe that by virtue of Biblical evidence, meat consumption does not need to be a daily occurrence. In fact, if it is ceremonial, done in social gathering and celebrations, where there is a little wine or alcohol to help in its digestion, then that is the truly Biblical way of meat consumption.

I therefore suggest that Christians and all Bible believers practice vegetarian diets most of the year, and partake in meat consumption selectively and periodically or cyclically throughout the year. In addition, when consuming meat, I recommend that it be done in some social gathering that also is followed by moderate doses of alcohol to aid in the consumption and digestion of the meat. Therefore, for 60 to 80% of the year, people who are seeking to be apart of G-d’s kingdom can be vegetarians. The other times, meat consumption can undertaken. The fact is though, that you were made to eat more vegetation than animals, and that your health depends on herbs, fruits and seeds that you consume and your energy on cultivated vegetation.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Valuing Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge

I needed inspiration and encouragement from God in light of the impending economic woes that are to hit Jamaicans in 2010. So I opened my Bible and came to Proverbs 24. I will now share the verses that spoke to me in a special way.

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: (Proverbs 24:3, KJV)


I believe the term "house" here refers to family or household. These times call for me to get wisdom and understanding especially as it relates to raising my family. Wisdom and understanding are the only things that can help someone starting a family survive and be prosperous despite today's difficulties.

It is important that those intending to start and raise families are willing to conduct research and desire to learn. To adopt a learning frame of mind, where one is always seeking information and reflecting on experience and the experience of others are important in helping to ensure that one builds a good, strong and united family unit. Yet, research and desire to learn how to raise a family should not be based on man's theories, but rather based on a search in the Word of G-d for insights into raising a family. Insights about how to relate to people are best studied and extracted from God's word which in turn can inform our experiences and practice.

People principles are most import today in management studies. God's revelation of people principles are far better than man's so called science of people principles and people development principles. After all, God is the manufacturer, while man is the the imitator. In fact, man's science is only the attempt to understand God's laws and principles. We study the causes and effects, while God is the one who created the very laws of cause and effect, and can change them if he wills.


One of the most important trait in order to be successful today (I believe), is the trait of nurturing and developing other people. This quality is demanded for today's leaders of any human organization. It is the trait required to build and manage teams and improve any organisation's performance. It is also a trait required for the expanded service industry, which has currently overtaken manufacturing and agricultural industries.


In checking the Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary, I discovered house too can also mean a geographic territory or a nation (Vine et al. 118). Thus, those who need to build a nation or to ensure that the nation is on a path of development, will also need to place a high value on wisdom and understanding.

And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:4)


The word of God confirms the value of being a knowledge worker. It shows that a knowledge worker will cash in and prosper from their knowledge. This is true not only for the individual, but also for nationhood. The economic development of nations requires the application of knowledge and the work of knowledge workers.

A wise man is strong, yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. (Proverbs 24:5)



Strength in these times comes from being wise. Wisdom in the Biblical chapter of Proverbs can be understood from the parables of insects such as the parable of the ant found in Proverbs 6:6-9. Essentially, the ants in the parable work to store food for winter, making use of opportunities all year long to preserve their survival in times of hardship.

Patricia Nordman puts it this way:
"Sometimes we have to forego, or sacrifice, a pleasure today so we can realize a goal tomorrow." (par. 3)


The knowledge worker will also increase his strength by working steadily throughout the year and seizing various opportunities to prepare himself for future possibilities or eventualities. Through research, continuous learning, and other personal and professional development initiatives, the knowledge worker will build upon his competencies, abilities and skills, so that he can be of greater value in society and economy, thereby attracting more value and economic rewards.

In fact, I just read this week a great article by Peter Drucker in the Harvard Business Review that declares:
"Success in knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves - their strengths, their values, and how they best perform"(32).


Finally, I examined a verse that really admonished me:
"If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." (Proverbs 24:10, KJV)


Through wisdom, knowledge and understanding, we take actions today and prepare for future possibilities and problems. Then when the situations do arise, we are prepared to face these challenges, because we have been preparing for them and have been developing the character and mindset to face them.

Those who faint during adversity are the unprepared. Hence their character and strength to face the situation is weak. Survival though depends on the desire not to learn from what is taking place and use it to make you better for the future.

I thank God that he is helping me to build character so that in times of adversity, I will be strong and prepared. May you too be encouraged that God is doing the same in you.


Works Cited:

Drucker, Peter. "Managing Oneself." Harvard Business Review OnPoint 2009, p.32-42.

Nordman, Patricia "Go to the Ant." 6 May. 2006 EzineArticles.com. 19 Dec. 2009 .

Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger and William White. “House.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index. Nashville: Thompson Nelson Publishers, 1996.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Jamaican musical icon reaps what he sows

Something happen this week that has troubled my soul and stirred me to post tonight.

Sunday morning, I went to the supermarket to see the headline of both the Jamaica Gleaner and Observer discussing the arrest of Mark Myrie, popularly known as Buju Banton. I had not time to investigate the paper.

However, for the entire week, Buju's arrest dominated the news and discussion all around Jamaica.

At first, I was appalled and felt that it was a set-up. That the gay American community plotted and schemed something to cause Buju's downfall, especially since he was being considered for a Grammy Award.

As more data however came out, I reconsidered my position. The problem is that even though I know the CIA is capable of setting up people for fraud as they did with Marcus Garvey (that what I was lead to believe while I was studying Marcus Garvey in my undergraduate year), this time I think Buju lived out his self-fulfilling prophecy of "Driva".

I believe that drug cartels who start out selling ganja may diversify their product offerings and move to the more lucrative crop. After all their goal is profit. So if Buju sang about ganja, who is to say he was not singing about a real life experience? And if he sang from experience, who is to say he did not go further and diversify into cocaine after tasting success in his ganja trade?

However, I am against all drugs including alcohol and cigarette and know nothing about that underworld. And I never want to know. Why should you make money through the destruction of other people and their health and reasoning abilities?

Driva was an awful song promoting the lawlessness and the selling of a herb that has destroyed the lives of many Jamaican young men. In fact, it was very disappointing for me a former Buju fan, to know that he moved from conscious and clean lyrics to join the Jamaican artistes that glorify drugs.

Secondly, I considered the US Feds. They are nothing like Jamaican police. When you talk about criminal intelligence, plus surveillance abilities, the only police better are those in Israel. Look at the US Embassy in Kingston and you know how dead serious these people are when it comes to security. If they collect evidence that a man is guilty of an act, then that evidence would really be convincing.

Buju, you reap what you sow. Your words are bearing their fruit. May you be an example to all drug men and lyrical composers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Praying for my Students

As I was leaving my office to attend an examination that I set for my students, in my instant message I told my wife about what I would be doing to let her know that I would be offline. Her reply was that I should pray for my students.

I carried that thought with me to the examination centre, committed to doing it. However, when I got there, I mentally pushed it aside to execute my other secular duties.

First, I checked to see if all my students were present, except those I expected to be absent. I also checked to see if the question paper had any errors. After doing this I checked the questions to determine how many possible interpretations could be had of my examination questions.

Finally, I remembered the prayer. I stood and closed my eyes and petitioned G-d in whispers, I heard snickering or laughing from 2 of the invigilators in front of me.

In the petition, I asked G-d to be gracious and merciful to the students and to cause them recall what they studied, learnt and read. I also petitioned that they would interpret the questions properly and read them carefully, that their answers would be relevant and match my expectations.

I also asked that God have pity on the students. I referred him to his heart of compassion that he had, wherein he was not willing that any perish but that all would have eternal life. I mentioned to G-d that this is similar to my situation as a lecturer, as I too had no desire that my students fail but that all should pass.

After petitioning G-d on the behalf of the students, I left the examination centre and returned 2 hrs after, when the students were leaving. One female student who was just leaving her seat walked over to me and said:


"Sir, I thank you for the prayer. I could not think until I saw you do what you did."


I knew then that G-d had used me and answered the prayer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Purpose of Torah

As I walked yesterday evening, a man with a bicycle was riding up the walkway. I was unsure which path he would take, whether he would swerve to the left or to the right. So I stood still in the middle until the cyclist swerved to my left and passed me. Then I reflected on this situation that had now passed.

In Jamaica, the first rule of the road is to keep left unless overtaking (Hylton 2003, p. 58). From this rule, all motorists can expect that when driving on the road, that their fellow motorists that use the road will keep left under most conditions. What this does is to create expectations and predictability about the other driver's behaviour. It eliminates the uncertainty that I felt when walking on the walk way and seeing the cyclist coming straight at me. (Usually, a cyclist would ride on the road and not on the walk way).

A very profound spiritual lesson emerged as I pondered this experience and even the rules of the road. God revealed to me through this situation that laws are necessary to ensure that human beings know what to expect and that there is some level of predictability in social and spiritual life.

For those of us familiar with Torah, many of the laws given outlined people's obligations to other people as well as their obligation to G-d. The scriptures are full of instruction about human obligation to society.

G-d wants human beings to know that they are obligated to others and must conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure that society or social relations do not disintegrate.

Marital laws for instance speak to a man and woman's obligation to each other and the offspring that result from their sexual relations. Marital laws make a man obligated to a woman that he has sexual relations with, so that he does not just use her like soap to fill his need and leave her. Rather it obligates him to treat the woman that he desires to have sex with in a special way, obligating that he stays with her until death, helping her through life in good times and bad. Marital laws mandate that the man also helps the woman to raise the offspring of their sexual relations.

Rules and laws were made to ensure that people know that they cannot just live to please themselves, but in order to live in society or community, they must live in consideration of the rights of others and their responsibility and obligations to maintain as much as possible peaceful relations in society, through ensuring that they consider other persons as they consider themselves.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Getting the message in my condition

With the miracle of Thursday night, I was expecting full recovery by weekend. So I went to work on Friday. However, my flu-like condition plagued me all Sabbath, despite the absence of the fever and headache. I was left with coughing and sneezing. I felt extremely cold and put socks on my feet, and warm clothing. I even covered my head. Each time I felt that I was getting better, some symptom or the other reminded me that I was not yet "out of the woods".


I missed church (did not want to carry my germs into a public gathering, especially where there are infants and newborn babies.) To keep up with my spiritual food, I decided to visit Chabad.org just to read from their website anything that would impact my Torah understanding.


In one article, I read about a Chassidic practice, "set forth by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, that "From everything that a person sees or hears, he should derive a lesson in his service of G-d"" (Bolton "Tightrope"). In another article "The Chase" with a consistent belief similar to the aforementioned statement also reminded me that I need to look into my everyday life situation and reflect on them for spiritual lessons. I have not done that all day. Both articles however reinforced that I needed to extract spiritual meaning from my temporal life, so that I can reconnect[or connect] with God. (On this viewpoint, I will need to write an blog entry by itself).


I also viewed Taub's vlog, where a stick man in the video walked up to a ladder with a sign that read "Free Awesome stuff at the top of this ladder". The stick man did not want to climb the ladder, but stepped back, ran up and tried to jump to get to the top of the ladder.


These articles and the video clip that I watched, however, did not become alive with meaning for me until later in the night whilst my wife and daughter were asleep and I was up alone.


It is in this quiet time of solitude that God revealed to me that this illness was a way of getting my attention. He wanted me to reflect on my illness and get the spiritual lessons that he placed in it for me. The illness was indeed my opportunity to pause and do spiritual accounting. God did not just want to heal me immediately, so that I could go back to my extremely busy routine, where i kind of sidelined personal time with God in order to achieve "more urgent and pressing" career goals and objectives.


He wanted me to stop me and get my attention, so that he could get me to refocus. Thus, the first step to doing this was for God to reveal to me the need to focus on the spiritual issues in my condition, and extract from it. It is God's desire that we all look for spiritual meaning from the mundane and temporal. After we do this, we open ourselves to realms of revelation about God that we were previously closed to.


So when I began to look for the lessons in my condition, God was able to reveal to me that I just wanted instant healing to get MY work done and meet temporal deadlines. However, God wanted me to stop and refocus my priorities for him and HIS work. God wants me to take each day at a time, build character day by day and to go through my life by drawing on my relationship with him.


Heavenly Father,
I hope I got the lesson or message right.
And I share this now that someone else will get the message.


References:

Bolton, Tuvia. "The Tightrope." Chabad.org Stories. Shabbat, Kislev 11, 5770. November 28, 2009. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3146/jewish/The-Tightrope.htm

Taub, Dovid. "The Ladder." Stick Figure Vignettes Chabard.org Shabbat, Kislev 11, 5770. November 28, 2009. http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/stick_figures/default_cdo/aid/773649/jewish/The-Ladder.htm

"The Chase." Chabad.org Stories. Shabbat, Kislev 11, 5770. November 28, 2009. http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/1043183/jewish/The-Chase.htm

Another healing testimony

On November 26, 2009, I was sick with flu-like symptoms. I was very weak that I left work half day, as I was just sleeping away and could not get any work done.

When I arrived home, I had a fever, eye ache and a head ache. I was bed ridden for the rest of the day into the night.

By the night fall I was fed up of my condition, and prayed, calling on the name of the LORD (as revealed in Exodus to Moses in Exodus 34:6 as commpasionate, merciful, long suffering,). I knew that God would have mercy and extend mercy to me, as I have personally been extending mercies to others (for Jesus teaches us so in Matthew 5:7). In addition I just came out of studying Matthew 8 and 9, where God's character being revealed through Jesus was merciful unto all that called on him for help.

After prayer, I received instant revelation that my headache and eyeache had nothing to do with my flu-like condition, but were caused by anxiety and worry. Subconsciously, I was worrying about the deadlines and the entire gamut of tasks that I needed to accomplish for December. These things weighed unconsciously on my subconscious mind.

Immediately after that revelation, I began to sweat. Then my fever came down.

With that revelation I began to try to relax and think about how I could take it easy. This helped as later, my headache and eyeache was gone, and I felt strong again. With this new found strength and joy of receiving an answer to my petition, I got up and went into the kitchen to cook bean stew to eat with the food that my wife cooked earlier in the day. It was delicious. I left some for my wife and continued to sweat while pondering about how I could relax and worry less.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Enjoy the goodness of God in Matthew 8 and 9

I have been reading Matthew with a group on Facebook, and in the process have been feeding my intellect and hopefully my spirit with a greater awareness of who God is, what he is like and how he operates.

Last week, I just completed and really enjoyed Matthew 8. Quintessentially, this chapter focuses on God's goodness. Nobody's prayer or request in Chapter 8 was denied. All who asked, even when they doubted God's favour got what they wished, including those who asked Jesus to leave their coast.


I loved that entire passage, as through it, we see a God who answers prayers through the intercession of his son and the will of his son. Here, Jesus not only granted people what they desired, but he also granted demons their desires as shown by him giving them permission to enter into swine.

As such it was a lovely passage of revealing the royalty, kingship and authority of Jesus, whose mission was and is to be entreated of and petitioned by people for favours.

The revelation and representation that Jesus gave of his Heavenly Father, God the Father, reflects one of God being a God of goodness, wanting to be entreated of and petitioned by people for favours. It also reflected that God wants to help and satisfy the needs and wishes of all his human subjects for improvement of their condition.

I also want to pull out some puzzling ideas based on Jesus' interaction with demons. Jesus was seen by the demons as being their tormentor/punisher. They asked him if he came to torment them before their time (Matthew 8 : 29).

Then they requested that Jesus send them into swines and used the bodies of the swines to go into the sea.

This act made an entire village forbid Jesus to enter into their city, as these people were perhaps afraid of losing their livelihood. The whole event made it seem as the demons used this prevent the people from being willing to listen to Jesus.

Jesus being the gentleman that he is, gave them their request and left their coast.

Chapter 9 exhibits the contrasting levels of faith by people in God. Some persons believed that they could just touch Jesus without asking him to get their miracle. Others believed that Jesus need to come into their house and touch them in order to get their miracle.

What this tells me is that God is so good to us no matter what our level of faith is. Some of us do not have to ask/petition God before our wish is granted. We just believe in our hearts, and God acts on that belief without us asking.

Others want to audibly ask God.

While others want God to work in a certain way before they are satisfied that he answers their prayers.

May you be like one who has a high level of faith, recognising that God is inherently good and wants to grant you favour today and every other day. May you know that he awaits for your petition and faith to do something spectacular for you to improve your condition. If he granted the wishes of rebellious demons and people who had little faith, what would make him not want to grant your wishes for a betterment of your condition.

God's blessings.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cross or Candlestick Part 1

For years now, a seed sowed by the Jehovah Witnesses has been germinating in my spirit, until for the past months it has borne fruit.

I have received the revelation that the cross, the symbol that the church always uses to represent Christianity is not a Biblical accurate symbol.

I faintly remember where I read in a Watch Tower an argument that Jesus died on a tree or a crucifix and not a cross. I do not even know which Watch Tower I read it in or which Awake Magazine.


However, while I will not entertain arguments on whether or not Jesus died on a cross or crucifix, the message is clear to me that the symbol that God would have his church be represented with is not a cross. The correct symbol of the churches is the candles stick or menorah which is a Jewish symbol, especially for Hanukkah.



For instance in Matthew 5, Jesus uses the symbol of a candle stick. Matthew 5:15 (King James Version) says:

Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.



Even in the book of Revelations, the churches are represented by candlesticks and not crosses. Revelation 1:20 (King James Version)states:

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.


With this evidence, why is it that we Christians today do not use the candlestick, but use instead the cross to symbolise Christianity? Is it because the Jews use the menorah or candle stick as symbol of their religion, that we feel the need to differentiate ourselves by taking up a symbol that is also associated with the pagan God - Tammuz? (Ezekiel 8:14)

The crucifix and cross is tradition of men, and not based on Biblical symbolism. It comes from Roman Christianity, which is tainted with corruption and paganism. It comes from Constantine, who was told in a dream/vision, "in this sign, conquer" ("In hoc signo vinces").

Today, evidence of the paganism of the sign of the cross is coming to fore. I see people wearing black crosses, or upside down crosses or the death rune (which is a broken cross), or the ankh, the crosses with the pointed edges. Some even wear crosses with images of a man on it suffering. Some people think that these crosses are even Christian, but they are all cursed, and symbols of idolatry. (Which is why Satanists wear them and witches use them in magical rituals.)

The Bible in contrast, uses the candlesticks to represent the church and the people of God. The cross is not a symbol of the Church. It is a symbol of suffering or burden. So I am not saying that the Bible does not use the cross as a symbol. The Bible does use the cross, but it is as a symbol of humility, suffering and self-denial.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.(Matthew 16:24)


Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)


But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)



So if we want to observe tradition of men and use a symbol that the Bible does not use to represent God's people, the cross is fine. However, we should use it appropriately and truthfully to represent what it really means - suffering, shame, humility, and self-denial.

However, our God wants his people to see themselves as light in a dark world, reflecting his glory and the candlestick is his symbol of choice as a symbol of his people, his nation or community of priests.

References:

"In hoc signo vinces." (2009, October 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:14, November 1, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=In_hoc_signo_vinces&oldid=322615205

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Discussion on the Christian Passover and the Exodus

I got one of those rare opportunities to lead the discussion during Sabbath School on the "Passover" and the Exodus at Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church. Knowing what I believe and not sure of the readiness of my class to receive what I had to share, I had to tread a very thin line of not making my presentation too radical or controversial.

The discussion I lead was with a small group of mostly mothers, many of whom seem to have not been prepared for a discussion. As usual, I wanted interactivity and not just for me to talk, and decided to begin with question asking. So I began with a discussion the scripture text of the week's lesson:

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).


I asked the question about the symbolism of the leaven. One mother from the group established the symbolism as being sin and its power to pervasively infect and contaminate. Then I asked about why is it that if leaven is sin, that the next line from the scripture links leaven to Christ being our passover and his sacrifice for us. The answer - that Jesus came to die for our sins and to remove it.

I then asked the question, that if Jesus is responsible for removing our sins, then why is it that the Apostle Paul starts out by stating that it is "we" or "us" that must purge ourselves of the old leaven.

The response - that Jesus removes sins, but we too have a part to play in putting away sin from our lives.


I then went on to discuss the Passover and how the Jews in keeping this Passover, observes it in remembrance of their ancestors and the deliverance that God gave them over their oppressors. I also mentioned that Jews try to imagine during this ceremony what it was like to be an Israelite on that night. I mentioned that the Jew personally puts himself in the shoe of his ancestors during the Passover to get the meaning of this tradition and ritual. Then after laying this background, I went on to the question of the Christian Passover, where I asked the question:

How are the followers of Jesus to commemorate the Passover today? What is this service to remind us of?


The response - The Lord's Supper. Communion Service. I probed for a deeper answer, and got the response that we must use the Christian's Passover to commemorate the Sacrifice of Christ to remove our sins.

I then went on to suggest that while we will focus on Christ's sacrifice, that the Passover should not neglect the past, and should not forget the story of the Exodus, in which God birth the nation that was to give the world its Saviour and the Scriptures (the Word of God). I encouraged the class that this festival or religious observance is to commemorate the purpose of God in his intervention in humanity, and it began at the first Passover celebrated by Israel. So while we reflect on Jesus suffering on the Cross for our sins, we must not lose sight of our spiritual ancestry and heritage. For the story of the Exodus is the story of Jesus.

I then told the group - that I am going to shock them, knowing that my statements would raise eyebrows and generate interest in what I would say next. Then I declared that the Lord Supper or Passover will be observed in the future, and the meaning of the Passover may transcend the current meaning of Christ's sacrifice for our sins. I thus reminded them that Jesus himself declared in Matthew 26:29 (King James Version):

"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."


The same is also recorded in Luke 22:18 (King James Version):

"For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."



I then went on to discuss the following points raised by Ellen G. White:

The quickest way to Canaan from Egypt lay through the coastal area along "the way of the land of the Philistines." But God knew Israel was not ready for war (Exod. 13:17). Consequently, when the pillar of cloud signaled the tribal march, it led the nation east and north into the wilderness of Paran (Num. 10:11, 12), a journey of three days (vs. 33). "As they advanced, the way became more difficult. Their route lay through stony ravine and barren waste. All around them was the great wilderness. . . . The rocky gorges, far and near, were thronged with men, women, and children, with beasts and wagons, and long lines of flocks and herds. Their progress was necessarily slow and toilsome; and the multitudes, after their long encampment, were not prepared to endure the perils and discomforts of the way."(—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 377.)


I declared that God did not let the Israelites go through shortcuts, because he knew they were not prepared to deal with the challenges that the shortcuts provided. Nevertheless, he took them through a rough, rocky and rugged terrain, so that he could test them. He did not give them more than they could bear, but selected trials and tests for which he knew they could pass.

Someone in the group also raised the point that because they (the Israelites) kept failing the tests and trials, they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years, longer than God had intended. This is familiar to most of us, who have to be faced with the same tests and trials until we are able to overcome them, before God move these test and trials from our lives.

As usual with programmed church services such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the limitation of time cut such a fruitful discussion.

References:

White, Ellen and Gould Harmon. The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets : As Illustrated in the Lives of Holy Men of Old Mt. View, Calif.: Wiretap, 1994.

The Christian Passover

This week in the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, the question is asked by Frank Holbrook:
"How are the followers of Jesus to commemorate the Passover today? Luke 22:15, 19, 20. What is this service to remind us of?"


To this question, I would like to voice my own views. I must begin by stating that I believe that the current Christian Passover service is woefully inadequate because we divorce it from its Jewish context.

We keep it when we feel like and justify the time that we keep it by saying that Jesus said - "whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me." Or " For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor. 11:26).

I believe that we should keep the LORD's supper on the LORD's chosen time period. Not 4 times a year. Or any amount of times that we choose. God has already set up his calendar in Leviticus 23, of his appointed times and seasons. The Christian Passover should be observed in keeping with that calendar.

Also, I want to raise another controversial point. The Christian's Passover utilises real red wine and not grape juice. Otherwise Apostle Paul would not state that "For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken." (1 Cor 11: 21). People do not get drunk on grape juice.

Finally, I believe that Christians must also observe the Passover by focusing on its dual meeting. The historical deliverance of Israel from Egypt and the present day meaning of the new covenant.

How beautiful this service would be if it was once a year, and the format of church services were different.

  1. We watch a video clip of Moses and Pharaoh, then we pause to reflect and discuss in small groups the spiritual truths that have come home to each of us individually.


  2. Then we proceed to watch a video clip of the Passion of Christ or the Lord's supper and his death.


  3. Then we gather in small groups to discuss the spiritual truths that have come home to us.


  4. Then we partake in Matzah - unleavened bread and red wine with the normal liturgy.


This I believe would be a more spiritually meaningful and truthful observance of the Christian Passover.

May I also shock you by suggesting that there will be a future observance of the LORD's Passover in the New Jerusalem (or new earth).

See: Matthew 26:29 (King James Version):
"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."


In fact, Jesus made a promise that he will no longer partake in the Passover supper "until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:16), implying therefore that there is a future meaning to the Passover that we have not yet come into.

God's love and blessings.

Reference:

Holbrook, Frank B. "In Remembrance of Me."Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide October - December 2009, p. 31.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finding Meaning in Sabbath: Part 2

Last week Sabbath, in the general spirit of meditating on what spiritual benefit I could attain from Sabbath observance, I reflected on Exodus 35:3 (New International Version)
"Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day."


From this I drew the conclusion that fire represents destruction. However, on the Sabbath day, God wants us to reflect on creation. Destruction is obviously creation's opposite.

I also pondered a secondary meaning. Fire represents anger, wrath or rage. I believe God also wants us to observe a spiritual principle of avoiding anger on that day or avoid making others angry especially through our words.

I also see a third principle in this text of scripture. Wrath or anger came after sin was introduced into the earth. Thus by not lighting fires on the Sabbath, we get to really focus on the state of the earth before sin.

Another thought



My daughter and wife has 24 hours access to me on the Sabbath, except when I am sleeping or they are sleeping. The Sabbath is a time that I make myself fully available to them.

I concluded that because of my position as male and head of the house, this must reflect something about God and his relationship with humanity. I concluded that the Sabbath at creation allowed humanity to have 24hour access to God. After sin, we lost physical access to God. However, the Sabbath in picturing future reality (see Hebrews 4:9 and 11) represents a time when all humanity will have restored 24 hours of access to God, as he will be our God and dwell in our midst.

As Isaiah 66:23 states:
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one SABBATH to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

Finding meaning in Sabbath: Part 1

I did not get to attend Sabbath convocation last week. Nevertheless, I sought to be observant in spirit and meditate on the meaning of Sabbath.

God has made the Sabbath to give us a reminder of his creative works. This is seen in Genesis 2:3 where it says:
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it
he had rested from all his work which God created and made

In other words, God made the Seventh day more special and set apart more than any other day. In Exodus 20:11, God tells us what is special in the day:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.


As such, on each Sabbath day period, I seek to be Torah compliant, if not Torah observant in meditating on the spiritual meaning in this holy convocation.

Just last week, I was telling a friend of mind that in Jamaica, about the meaning that I pondered of in a previous Sabbath. I told him that I find that the Sabbaths are not as necessary in Jamaica to remind you about God as they are in prosperous Canada. In Canada, you need a reminder about God. In Jamaica, God consciousness occurs everyday. In explaining I mentioned that because of the problems in Jamaica, plus the fact that there are so many professing Christians who mention God in their conversations, one will not forget about God in Jamaica.


In Canada by contrast, people do not talk about God as much. Yet they are so discipline and problem-free.


My friend then asked
"So, what's the benefit of the Sabbath for people in Jamaica (or in one of the "good" periods of ancient Israel for that matter)?"


I responded by suggesting that the observance of the Sabbath in Jamaica makes us realise that our problems will not last for ever, as it points to the rest to come in the promised land.

In the contrast, for someone in prosperous Canada, experiencing peace and rest...Sabbath becomes an identity issue - it preserves your knowledge about God and your spiritual identity and connection with that God.

My friend replied that
"i dunno.... i never been to Canada, but... prosperity doesn't always = peace"


I replied:
Yes..but I am saying - the whole time being there, I saw no police...the people were orderly, obeyed rules and regulations. There were no mad people, street people or drug addicts on the streets. [Violent] crimes hardly reported on the local newspapers. [In fact the only crime reported during my stay was committed by a priest and it was a sexual crime - dealing with the possession of child pornography on his computer.]

[Otherwise, Canada] seemed to be a place without problems. That is what I meant by peace!

My friend replied:
"Ah!...So; how then, would you get a people in that situation to see the need for God?"


I replied:"Exactly...when you understand this, you know why churches decline in prosperous countries, and why churches abound in countries like Jamaica and Africa and Latin America."

I further went on to suggest that the "Sabbath was originally intended to help us focus on purpose. The purpose for which we were created. Thus, it is good to focus on purpose every week. This will help you to realise that there is more to life than just living comfortably."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I asked My Prime Minister

I asked my Prime Minister,
You are always seeking foreign investment,
Why is it?


Our hotels are owned by foreigners,
Who feed our visitors foreign food,
And give them foreign music,

That there are two or more agencies,
Created by Jamaican Government,
To seek foreign investment,

Yet there is no small business Ministry.
Only a Ministry for large industry,

Though small businesses
Create the most employment
They are not the priority of Government,

Perhaps its is because, Prime Minister,
Small business owners do not fund your party,
And during election bids, they busy earning money,

Too busy to fund your campaigns and ads
Their money don't get you power,
For if Jamaicans were all entrepreneurs,
You would perhaps have no sponsor,

All your talk
Is job creation,
But through investment only,

You talk not of empowering
Jamaicans to create their own
Business opportunity.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Preserving Spiritual Identity

As I stay with my hosts in Canada, I realise how easy it is to lose one's spirituality. Prince Edward Island is a very beautiful island, and prosperous too. There is no crime, and I have been here for two days, and have not seen any police or security. I feel safe leaving my things and coming back to find them.

The people are courteous, and disciplined. Cars stop for pedestrians and people wait their turn. People seem to willingly follow rules here.

They have clean water, fresh air, they recycle, have good health care, grow organic food, depend upon agricultural produce and have zero traffic.

Yet, most of the people I have met do not practice traditional Christian practices. No prayers are said at meal times. No sessions are opened with prayer. People do not even mention God...although I heard someone mention "We trust the demo gods". They mention "Halleluah", but no reverence is held for Jesus or any deity by the persons I have met so far. (This could partly be due to the fact that I have only been interacting with university employees and academics so far though.)

The houses are also nice and the view lovely. There are trees in the town. There is a coastal view and beautiful well kept recreational areas for people to sit and enjoy. The civic spaces are lovely, and further, there are no drug addicts or beggars seen on the streets.

If poverty is in Charlottetown, you do not see it.

This place is a paradise in comparison to Jamaica.

Canadians seem to be very anti-war, and pride themselves as not being war mongering as the U.S. Further Canada has been reaching out to other developing states with research and funding. Their academics seem to have a real concern for the state of other developing states.


As I ponder what I observed, I started to wonder if religion really is the cause of the existing ills. Could Richard Dawkins be right?


Now I reflect on the words of First Fruits of Zion's Weekly eDrash for 24 September 2009:
"Prosperity often places a greater obstacle between us and God than poverty does. The poor man looks to God for help continually. The prosperous man can find it easy to forget about God."


Right away, I saw how easy it was for me to forget God in that environment, especially if I did not go out of my way to attend church.

Once again, God has reaffirmed to me the importance of his sabbaths. They are necessary to preserve spirituality and spiritual identity. To preserve an awareness of our calling, destiny and purpose. That man should not live by bread alone, but eagerly seeking his words in the seasons that he has appointed. It is these very words at his appointed times that sustain us.


Work Cited:

First Fruits of Zion"Spiritually Flabby." Weekly eDrash. 24 September 2009.

Being called for the Cabinet

The following is a mixture of the sermon delivered from the keynote speaker from a DVD video - Mr. Roderick Meredith and my own understanding or translation and rewording of what he said and what I heard. I just wanted to share this with you.

Mr. Roderick Meredith has been observing the feast for 61 years. Despite a few disagreements that I had which I omitted, I share his perspective on the meaning of Feast of Tabernacles to Christians.

Speaker: Robert Meredith
Denomination: The Living Church of God
Location: Holiday Inn Express, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Occasion: Opening night of the Feast of Tabernacles
Date: Friday, October 2, 2009
Theme: Bridge Between Worlds
URL: http://www.lcgcanada.org/
URL for Canada: http://www.lcgcanada.org/


The speaker began with Revelation 11:15 - saying that people in choirs sing this song but do not take it seriously, as they always celebrate Jesus as a baby. When Jesus is a Warrior king seated at the right hand of God.

People are still thinking of Mary as being a virgin, when she should no longer be represented as a virgin. She went on to have other physical children with Joseph, hence providing Jesus with physical brothers. Satan wants us to perceive of Jesus and Mary this way so that he can distract us from Jesus kingship and authority.

In Zechariah 14, this Warrior king will fight and put a stop to wars, and use force to subjugate dictators and warmongers. Then all the nations of the earth, or at least their representatives will be coming up to physical Jerusalem to observe or keep the Feast of Tabernacles. They will not just come to observe the Jews celebrate it, but will come to celebrate it of themselves. Those who fail to do so will be severely punished.

It is through this festival that God and Jesus would have us rather remember. This is how Christ would have us represent him and remember him.

Early Christians kept the feast of Tabernacles, until the Dark Ages. During the Dark Ages, Satan crushed this truth out of Christianity.

All of God's festivals are important to picture the plan of God and his truth. All were given to the Jews in advance to portray Jesus centuries ahead of time. Passover was given to portray his death and sacrifice.

Feast of Tabernacles was also given to portray Christ as King. In fact, when the Jews kept it centuries ago, they reminded themselves that they were strangers and pilgrims, looking for the kingdom of God. Christians today, should have the same mindset, and Feast of Tabernacles helps to remind us of this reality.

It also reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt, where not all made it to the promised land. However it took overcomers to make it.

Jesus also promises us in Revelations 2:26, that those who keep Christ's work until the end, and overcomes, will receive power over the nations.

Contrary to popular Christian view, Christ wants to take us as a class of rulers in the earth and not heaven. We are not going to be called to sit down and do nothing. It is not just about music and singing in heaven, but rather we shall operate as a ruling class in governing the nations of the earth. In Revelations 5:10, the Bible declares that God has selected us to be priests and kings unto himself. Jesus is a king of Kings, ad has a cabinet. We in overcoming, will be a part of that cabinet of leaders, that assist God in ruling and bringing justice unto nations and to peoples, also teaching them, representing them and maintaining the order in the theocracy.

In Psalms 72 - the King's son shall judge the people and those who are poor, changing the economic relations in the earth and bringing world peace. Kings and other leaders will visit the king's son and bring him gifts.

We are called to be his, Jesus, the king's son, the heir to the Davidic throne. His representatives. He has called us now, out of the world, to learn, grow and develop the mind of Christ, so that we can serve as his officials and represent him. In order for us to achieve this, we need to study, pray, meditate and fast, until we are able to overcome, and have his character in us. Only when we are like him in thought, values and heart, can we be his representatives and earn a place in his cabinet.


So the message for this season: You are being called out to grow, learn and develop the mind of Messiah, in order to be in his Cabinet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An eye for an eye: Commentaries on today's application

On my trip to Canada, a Jew was seated beside me on the airplane to Montreal. I was delighted to see him take out a book with Hebrew writings on the cover. Later he took out his skull cap. It felt good to have a man of the book beside me.

I later asked him if what he was reading was the Torah. He told me that it was part of the Talmud. This lead to us having a conversation about the Talmud and how it differs from the Torah.

My Jewish friend then told me that the Torah is the Bible, at least the Old Testament part thereof. He stated that the Talmud came after and was the explanation of the words of Torah.

The Torah according to the Jew was very general. The Talmud on the other hand, is very specific and speaks to the application of Torah to life.

In explaining or illustrating this point, the Jew referred to the command eye for eye (Exodus 21:24) saying that that is not to be taken literally.
I said "really? I thought it was literally."

Then he explained that the principles there spoke to determining or evaluating the damage that a person causes to another, and attempting to attach a price to or on that damage that someone did to another. Thus he argues that what the Bible advocates here is principles for the valuation of justice. Based on this view, the Jew made it seem s if this law applied to Judges in a court of law.

Regarding my discussion with the Jew, what came home to me from his talk was that we who are imitators of Christ, must always take responsibility where we have wronged someone and seek to make a judgement about how much we must compensate the person for the wrongs that we have done them.

Also, Jesus in his commentary on the passage, declares that we must not go to court to get justice, nor look to man or judges to give us justice. Even if the person has wronged us and has an obligation to compensate us, we must not look to them for that compensation, but rather be willing to forgive the person and be as God the Father, who is ever willing to have mercy on those who have wronged him, even when they have not given him what he is due.

(See: Matthew 5:38-48)

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Spiritual value of Work

Recently, a friend of mine posted a comment on her Facebook status:


This is madness, I just realised that my job takes up all of my life and the only time I have for myself is on Sabbath. This is not a good sign. I'm losing out on my life- enjoyment, love and sleep.
Coupled with this is the current controversy in Jamaica where the Government wants to expand the gambling industry by permitting horse racing and betting on Sundays (Clarke).

All these issues have motivated me to reflect on work and its G-d given purpose.



God commanded us to work and labour. In Exodus 20:9, God declares "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work" (See also Deuteronomy 5:13).


Work is a God's approved way for human beings to acquire money, services, and goods. God has so designed it that there are benefits to be derived from work. God intends that we be rewarded for our work. His law sanctions that work (productive endeavour) must bear fruit.

Proverbs 10:16 - The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 - Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. - Work done by more than one person will produce greater results than work done by one person.


Proverbs 14:23 - In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. - What ever labour is undertaken, humanity can stand to benefit.

Those who do not work, will suffer severe consequences.

Proverbs 21:25 - The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

Proverbs 12:24 - The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. - Those who are lazy will be indebted to others.

Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. - Those who are hardworking will own valuable things. The lazy however, will have to live on handouts or borrowed goods and not on things that they own.

Proverbs 15:19 - The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

Those who are not productive, will lose everything that they do own or have (Matthew 25:26-28).



Work produces products or results
Psalm 105:44 - And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people; -

The products of labour can be inherited. They are tangible and can be passed on to others.


I concur with this part of the statement issued by the Jamaica Council of Churches (Encourage honest work):

"We cannot build our society on gambling. We must affirm the dignity of our people and encourage them to use their God-given gifts and abilities to work for an honest "bread" and for the development of our society."




Work Cited:

Clarke, Orville. "Sunday racing begins November." Jamaica Gleaner 17 Sep 2009, Web.


"Encourage honest work, church bodies tell Gov't." Jamaica Gleaner 22 Sep, 2009, Web.

http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080217/focus/focus6.html

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Bible and Meditation

I began reading this book: "Meditation and the Bible" written by a Jewish physicists and rabbi, Aryeh Kaplan.


Aryeh Kaplan advocates that the prophets in the Bible did meditation to enable themselves to be used by God to bring forth prophetic revelations. Kaplan argues that while there are two ways to get oneself in mystical states, through drugs and through meditation, the Bible only gives evidence that the prophets got to their states through meditation.

When the person who lent me the book told me about it, I said that that was New Age stuff. The person, who is one of my Jewish students, pointed out to me that David in the Psalms declares that he meditates on God's word.

As I pondered her words, it later occurred to me that since the Devil cannot come up with any original idea, then it must mean that New Age meditation must be a counterfeit of something authentic. Based on this line of reasoning, there is a meditation that is good and not all meditation is "new age". Through this interaction with I realised that New Age is just counterfeiting G-d's Bible recommended meditation.


In the book, the Rabbi - Kaplan, gives us authentic techniques used by the prophets, including getting up in the night or in the early morning separating yourself from people (isolation). Another technique mentioned is just studying nature and marveling at God's works through nature (G-d's creation). Also, the use of music is mentioned. Kaplan suggests that there are hints of these techniques through out the Psalms.

All this got me thinking about what Jesus did to make himself so available to be used by God. What made Jesus so connected to his Father was a mixture of obedience and the practice of meditation, that lead to complete surrender.

I believe Biblical Meditation frees us from the world's distractions and opens hearts and minds to God. That is the difference between Biblical Meditation and New Age Meditation, which depends on drugs, vain repetitions of words, while using several of the authentic techniques used by God's prophets. The Hippies for instance definitely sought to spend time in nature, clear their mind of all distractions and used music.


I want to see how God's meditation differ from the hippies or Satan's counterfeit. Let us read the Bible and see, wherever the term meditates occurs. If you can, browse Kaplan's book. I will let you know more as I go along, and whatever new insights comes up from my discoveries.


Reference:

Kaplan, A. (1988). Meditation and the Bible. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Antichrist agenda of UNESCO

Before you label me now as a maniac, let me just state that I am very sorry to have to expose this truth to the world. I have good friends who work in UNESCO, and the organisation is a very good one, sponsoring very good programmes.

However, as it is with this age, where events are rapidly culminating towards the coming of the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:9), any organisation or world event will be used to create and establish the New World Order.

UNESCO is just one of those organisations.

In my early twenties I was taught by my teachers that the Catholic church would be the vehicle in establishing the New world order. However, today the L-RD has given me the wisdom to see that there are so many organisations that are behind the scenes working to establish the Satanic kingdom or order on earth. I will post further comments on this issue. But for now please view the truth about how UNESCO fits into the anti-christ agenda.

To all Christian mothers, it is time to home school your children and not to follow the world and conform to their beliefs that the woman should be working outside of the home. Remember Romans 12:2:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Real Truth About Lying: A comment to Jessica Bennett from Newsweek

In the article "The Truth About Lying" by Jessica Bennett from the Newsweek Web Exclusive, Bennett summarises how even though Americans want honesty in their leaders, deception and lying is deeply entrenched in the society. Most American young people lie constantly and cheat, as they see that liars in society are highly rewarded.

Having read the article, I was sickened to think that lying has become culturally acceptable in a nation that has impacted the world Christian and Jewish religious faiths tremendously.

To make matters even more sickening, I saw a companion article by Raina Kelley who argues that some type of lying can be good for marriages. She argues that little white lies are the things that keep marriages together.

These columnists are exalting deception, lies and lying in society. Be not deceived, for God's judgement is heavy on liars. Revelation 21:27 states that
"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."



Revelation 22:15 says that people who will be excluded from God's beautiful city will include liars:
"For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."


Though the corrupt agents of Satan in the media wants us to think that lying is no big deal and that you can be successful if you practice lying, the Scriptures say otherwise.:

"Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40:4, KJV)


In fact God wants us to exalt truth and not to respect liars. We must not honour liars, as this is to bring a curse upon us. That is why when Obama broke his first campaign promise about restricting campaign funding to what the Federal state provided, I rejected him as a liar. McCain too is a convenient liar, and I saw that the race for the White House in 2008 was a race between two men who could not be true to their words.





Proverbs 19:22 states that "a poor man is better than a liar."

Finally, Jesus argued that persons who accept lies, tell lies and despise truth are the children of Satan. In John 8:44, Jesus declares:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."



Finally, God classifies lies and deceptive lips in the same way he does homosexuality. He states in Proverbs 12:22:
Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.


Among the things that God hates, on his list, lies is one of them. In Proverbs 6:16-17 (King James Version), God says:

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,


Without even going to the ten commandments, God is explicit in declaring that he hates lies and deceptions, and whosoever loveth lies and deception will experience his wrath and judgement.



Reference:

Bennett, Jessica. "The Truth About Lying" Newsweek Web Exclusive Aug 26, 2009, Retrieved August 27, 2009 from http://www.newsweek.com/id/213575


Kelley, Raina. "Married, With Lies: Why a little deception can be good for a relationship." Newsweek Aug 26, 2009 Retrieved August 27, 2009 from http://www.newsweek.com/id/213574

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who is the Antichrist? A Revisionist perspective?

On August 22, 2009, I was in discussion with a Jamaican who did her Masters and spent some years living in Israel about the subject of Anti-Christ. She was of the opinion that Christian eschatology was erroneous, because of its development before the existence of Israel as a modern state and before the rise of modern Islam as a worldwide religion. Consequently, at the time Christians developed their perspectives on the end times, there was only one religion that seemed to fit the description of the beast or Antichrist, and this was Roman Catholicism.

My friend argued that Christianity today need to revise their view of the end times and eschatology to include these new developments and realities. For my friend, the Antichrist could very well be Islam. I await for her to send me a book that will provide further evidence.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Religious Liberty denied: Girl's life in danger for converting to Christian

The following video is about a teenage girl who is fleeing her Muslim parents, because their religion demands her death for conversion to Christianity.

Though Islam's Holy recognises Jesus as Messiah, they want to kill those who follow him. According to THE HOLY QURAN, translated by Dr. Rashad Khalifa:

O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him.[Sura 4:171]





References:

"Sura 4". English Translation of the Quran Translated by Dr. Rashad Khalifa. Retrieved from http://www.quran-islam.org/97.html. August 21, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Following Requirements: What I learnt from the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica

Today, going to the Canadian High Commission of Jamaica, I learned a valuable spiritual lesson that I want to share.

In applying for the visa, I had to submit a number of documents. From the week before, I spent my time gathering all documents except one, the bank statement of my personal funds. Instead, I thought I would bring the Canadian cash that I purchased as evidence that I had Canadian dollars for the journey. Instead of getting the exact documents that the High Commission required, I thought that I could discern the intent behind their asking for a bank statement of personal funds. In my head, the High Commission just wanted to ensure that I have sufficient money to enter the country and exit the country.

However, while awaiting at the High Commission in a line, it began to trouble me that I did not have the bank statement. In my head, the question lingered, "would they still issue me a Canadian Visa without a bank statement?"

With this question, I searched diligently in my bag for something else to substitute. The substitution documents included my three bank books, including a foreign currency bank book. (These however were not recently updated and would not meet the requirements in terms of dates).

The security checked my documents, and I stated that I did not have the bank statement, but had the literal cash to show. She said "No bank statement?" However, she said nothing else but directed me to where I was to go.

When I reached the Cashier/Receptionist, I restated my position. The lady looked through my documents and said:

You work at the university, Mr. Scale? When you ask for a transcript, would a school report do?


I stammered over that one, with a explanation "No.., but..."

"Just answer my question!" she remarked.

So I gave her the "No!"

She asked me if I read the information requirements accompanying the application. I said yes. She then gave me a copy, highlighting the personal funds portion. She even further stated that I could have borrowed the money, so having it in hand, was not sufficient for meeting the High commission's requirements.

That day, I felt like a fool!

Yet this story is a spiritual lesson. Just like how G-d has certain requirements, we cannot get away with substitutes.

This can be applied to salvation. If G-d says that in order for us to be saved, we need to believe in Jesus, there is no substitute. If G-d's requirement is for us to confess and put our faith in Jesus, you could be a good man, but you would not have met his requirements.

Just like how I have to meet all the requirements for the Canadian High Commission to give me entry into their land, if I want to gain entry to the land in the everlasting kingdom, then I too must ensure that I meet all the stated requirements.


The same goes for worship. If G-d commanded us to worship him a particular way, then we do not have the authority to decide that we know what G-d's intent was and substitute what he commanded for what we feel can be a suitable substitute. This may include the days or seasons of corporate worship (Sabbath-Sunday debate or the Feast Days versus Christmas and Easter debate). Do not get me wrong, I do not feel that Christians must worship G-d on only one day of the week or on special days, but rather, I understand that G-d has given a time for each purpose under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Thus I believe that we worship G-d when we do what he requires of us, in the time that he requires us to do it. So we work when we are commanded to, and rest when we are commanded to. We remember our Passover Lamb in the season that he commanded, and eat the bread and wine at that time and season, rather than whenever we feel like.

It is a matter of recognising who is in authority and who is subject to whom.

G-d likens his relationship with his people to marriage - husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33), where he stresses that the wife ought to submit to her husband (Ephesians 5:22). The woman should not do what she feels like in her marriage, disregarding her husband requests. Imagine if the wife decided to cook and prepare her husband a meal when she feels like, make love when she feels like and do her own thing whenever she feels like without regarding the husband's desires. That marriage would be in danger!

To note how serious this matter of following requirements are, consider that Jesus even told the parable of the King's Wedding Guests in Matthew 22. In Matthew 22:10-13 (King James Version), the story goes like this:

10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Let us be cogniscant of the fact that we should not offer substitutes for G-d's requirements, but rather, submit unto G-d and do your best to meet his requirements according to your understanding. We may not understand what G-d requires, but do it all the same. Do not assume that you can discern the rationale behind his requirements. As the Scriptures say:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD (Isaiah 55:8).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Antichrist's open war against Christianity

Over this weekend, I have watched several videos that I want to share.

There is an all-out war directed against Christianity by Satan and the war is on many fronts.

The following video is an interview with the Daughter of the founder of the Church of Satan with a tele-evangelist, Bob Larson. Also interviewed is a werewolf. These servants of the Devil speak frankly about the demise of Christianity and that they will take over.



The next video speaks to the denial of the rights of Christians to free speech and to freedom of expression.



The next video shows how Satan is using the movie industry to con humanity into accepting his Antichrist doctrines.



And the final video is about Satan's assault through the music industry to indoctrinate our youth into accepting Antichrist values and doctrine.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Religion and Globalization

Peter Berger, a sociologist, has written what is a really insightful article on the challenge and change that globalization brings to religion.

In the article, Berger begins to show how he and other scholars have had to modify their theoretical paradigm, which argued that as society becomes more modern, then religion will decrease and decline. Berger has argued that the evidence is not so. He declares that if that particular theory was to be held true, then one could not consider the United States of America modern.

Religion in modernity has lead to, a new conflict in society - the conflict between the cultural elite and the religious populace. In Berger's words,
"in many countries including the United States, this intelligentsia or cultural elite is very much in conflict with the religious populace."



Berger also goes on to suggest that globalization has had an impact on religious identity. He argues that what globalization has done is to make societies more plural in religious identity, especially where the legal framework permits the peaceful coexistence of religions.

Peaceful coexistence and interfaith dialogue has had the following impact:
  • People have more religious choices

  • Religion and churches are now seen as voluntary organisations or associations competing for volunteers or members in the market for religion.

  • people are blending religious elements and beliefs to form their own identity


I found this quote very interesting, as it reflects too my own journey and struggle. Berger states that:

"increasingly you find individuals who put together their own particular religious profile. You find this very much in North America and in Western Europe. You find it elsewhere as well. Robert Wuthnow, who I think is one of the best sociologists of religion in the United States, has used the term ‘patchwork religion’: People put together different elements of their own tradition and other traditions and say, ‘Well, I’m Catholic, but...’ The ‘but’ is very important and there are many things included there.

For example, the belief in reincarnation. An enormous number of people in Europe and America believe in reincarnation, which is not exactly Christian doctrine. So that’s part of ‘I’m Catholic, but I believe I’ve been here many times before’ or something like that. Danielle Hervieu-L├ęger, a French sociologist of religion uses the term ‘bricolage’, which means tinkering. It’s like a Lego, you create your own little version of whatever it is you want to call yourself."




In addition, Berger also suggests that because of the variety of religous choices, people are no longer taking their religoius truth for granted, but are leaving themselves open to discover alternative truth or other truth. Berger states:

"actually our language says this very well. For example, one might say, ‘I happen to be Catholic’ – an extremely interesting phrase. Or a more sort of Californian: ‘I’m into Buddhism.’ Which, of course, suggests that tomorrow I might be out of Buddhism, and in fact chances are that I will; I’ll discover something else."


However, Berger also maintains that globalization has made it difficult for the State or any other religoius institution to control religion or the religious choices of the populace. He argues that even totalitarian states are having difficulties.

Harvard Reference Citation:

Berger, Peter L. (2006). "Religion in a globalizing world." World Association for Christian Communication. available at: http://www.waccglobal.org/fr/20073-media-and-terror/461-Religion-in-a-globalizing-world.html (Accessed 1 August 2009).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Radical Islam threatening Religious Liberties

I am not pleased today. In fact I am so upset that I have decided to break the trend of thought in my blog to discuss and give outlet to an issue that has been troubling me for months.

Whereas I have no problem with a growing Islam, I am very concerned at how Islam has been destroying freedoms and rights everywhere. In every nation where this religion grows and extends its tentacles, the rights and freedoms of people are being restricted. In Europe, Dutch freedom of press has been threatened and criticisms of Islam are labelled as hate speech.

In Israel, Muslims can live in any community, but yet when Jews seek to live in Muslim territory there is global out cry. Consider Jacoby's excellent observation:

LATE LAST WEEK, the Obama administration demanded that the Israeli government pull the plug on a planned housing development near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. The project, a 20-unit apartment complex, is indisputably legal. The property to be developed - a defunct hotel - was purchased in 1985, and the developer has obtained all the necessary municipal permits.


Why, then, does the administration want the development killed? Because Sheikh Jarrah is in a largely Arab section of Jerusalem, and the developers of the planned apartments are Jews. Think about that for a moment. Six months after Barack Obama became the first black man to move into the previously all-white residential facility at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, he is fighting to prevent integration in Jerusalem.

It is impossible to imagine the opposite scenario: The administration would never demand that Israel prevent Arabs from moving into a Jewish neighborhood. And the Obama Justice Department would unleash seven kinds of hell on anyone who tried to impose racial, ethnic, or religious redlining in an American city. In the 21st century, segregation is unthinkable - except, it seems, when it comes to housing Jews in Jerusalem.


I am a man that believes in religious freedom and liberty. No one should be discriminated against because of their religion. Even though I disagree with Islamic views, if they were to move into my neighbourhood, I would not protest and want them to be removed.

However, what is even more hurtful to me is that the bastion of intellectual freedom and the fighters of censorship, the American Library Association, has bowed to Islamic censorship. Just look at the press release of the Council of American Islamic Relations:

"Good News: Islam-Basher Will Not Speak At Library Association Conference
CAIR to work with the ALA to schedule a future event on the same topic as the canceled panel discussion" CAIR Press Office July 12, 2009. http://www.officialwire.com/main.php?action=posted_news&rid=8140&catid=144

See this link also: http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-11-2009/0005058188&EDATE=

In the name of religious freedom, this is a threat to all our other rights. Once free speech is endangered because of religion, then soon all other rights will come under attack. Muzzling free speech because of religion is just the beginning of woes.

I really do not understand why a religious sect is so given to rage and intolerance that they will not allow their faith to be questioned intellectually. Especially since my Muslim friends have told me that Islam is the most intellectual of the religions. Muslims need to prove that their religion is intellectual by allowing free speech and countering contending views with elaborate arguments.

Why is Modern Islam is behaving like the Catholic Church of the Dark Ages?

I have read other blog articles that reveal the great disappointment and shock that Islam has been able to bring down the ALA. See also:

http://waltjr.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/library-association-abandons-principle-allows-censorship/

Due to this hurt that I feel, I have decided to share a video link that shows how much Islam and Catholicism has in common. I do not fully agree with the video's views, however, I agree that both Islam and Catholic share a common origin with common religious symbols.

I must however mention that I respect good Catholics. However, like every religious body, there are good Catholics and there are bad Catholics. I have nothing against the Catholic church, but against the bad and evil Catholics that want to rule the Church and lead it back to age where it oppressed men's liberties in the name of religion. Currently, the good Catholics are upholding the Church in a place where I can esteem the religion as being not a current threat to my religious liberty and ability to disagree with its views.

With that said, if you have an hour to spare, see The Islamic Connection by Walter Veith: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7282213372966227768


Works Cited:

Jacoby, Jeff. "Jerusalem - one city, undivided" Boston Globe 22 July 2009. 23 July 2009. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/07/22/jerusalem___one_city_undivided/

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The things that make G-d hear prayer Part 1

This morning, I awoke and went to study from the book of Amos.
After reading through the punishments being issued to Israel, I went across Exodus 22. Eventually I turned on the computer and read from Shabbat Shalom weekly.

From all these readings, G-d spoke to my heaart and soul, emotions that I want to share, especially with my Jewish friends, who I love very much.

I was made to understand that "July 29th, Wednesday evening through Thursday night, is Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av" (Packouz par. 4). This is a fast day and a day for Jews to mourn all that have befell them as people throughout history.

While moruning on this day, Packouz indicate that this is the time for the people of Jewish identity not only to lament the things that has befallen their people, but also to repent of wrong. Pacouz states:

Like all fast days, the object is introspection, making a spiritual accounting and correcting our ways - what in Hebrew is called, Teshuva, returning, to the path of good and righteousness - to the ways of the Torah.


I therefore propose that for this mourning season that my Jewish friends consider the accusations against them. Specifically, the accusation of the unlawful and unjust death of Jesus at the hands of some of their leaders.


The specific sect of Jews that delivered Jesus unto to the Romans for death violated several commandments of G-d. For this, I believe that the Jews have suffered as a people, and will continue to suffer until they recognise and acknowledge that Jesus is whom he said he is as well as acknowledge the wrongs that their fathers (or some of their fathers) have done unto him. Until these sins are confessed, how then can G-d hear their prayers. As Isaiah 1:15 states:

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.


Denial of the unjust death of Jesus is almost like the denial of the Holocaust. Jesus' unlawful death has been prophesied in the scriptures long before Jesus died. The scriptures say in Psalm 22:16:

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.


The dogs here referred to could be seen to symbolised the uncircumcised or persons outside of the Jewish or Israelite identity - the Romans. I infer this from Jesus statement to a woman of Canaan in Matthew 15:26

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.


This statement came after an exchange between the woman and Jesus, when Jesus told her that he was sent to help the lost people of Israel.

In Zechariah 12:10, it states:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.


Thus the Jews, or more specifically the inhabitants of Jerusalem, will one day morun for someone whom they recognise to have been pierced. One of their own.


References

Packouz, Kalman (2009, July 21 / 29 Tammuz 5769)"Devarim 5769." Shabbat Shalom Weekly Retrieved July 21, 2009 from http://www.aish.com/tp/ss/ssw/51207842.html.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Children Bible Story Books Part 2

I have always felt called into a publishing ministry. My spiritual vocation is to be a literature evangelist.

I am so glad that G-d has intersected this spiritual calling with my temporal calling. I am a Librarian and Information Specialist by training, and through this profession, I have learnt so much about publishing and the reading interests of people.

When I became a parent in 2008, a new world was open to me. Now I had to be responsible for my child's spiritual and cognitive development. Reading materials were crucial, but these materials would have to be accurate. I found all the available material both Christian and non-Christian inadequate. For non-Christian mateirals, references are made to fairies or witches. For Christian materials, pagan festivals or unscriptural practices or beliefs were present.

However, what has impressed me more than anything else is my experiences in a variety of Fellowships. None cater for my daughter's age range. The closest Fellowship that meet the needs of infants and toddlers is the Andrews Memorial Seventh-Day Adventist Church. So as much as I am more doctrinally diverse and liberal than the denomination, it is the one that has the best structured children programme for infants and toddlers. The details of its programme I will not go into.

However, the important issue here is their quarterly and the GraceLink Curriculum. The Beginner's quarterly for me is riddled with cultural issues of irrelevance to my child. Things that she does not see in her daily life experiences, as well as images that are not culturally relevant. Further, there are some issues of human viewpoints coming out. For instance, in the Beginner's 3rd Quarter for 2009, the celebration of birthdays is raised. Clearly the Bible has only one two indication of the celebration of birthdays - Herod and Jesus. With the Jewish calendar, I am not even sure that it was flexible to celebrate birthdays (See my blog post: Reasoning on JESUS's birthday).



This experience is now inspiring me to contemplate the writing of Christian reading material for toddlers and infants that will communicate the stories of the Bible in a form that is culturally relevant, that when chidlren interact with animals on a daily basis, they can remember G-d's word.

Pray for this ministry and initiative.

Works Cited:
Beginner Bible Study Guide: Third Quarter Vol. 33 No. 3 ,2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Children Bible Story Books Part 1

Being a parent has made me even more appreciative of the reading needs of toddlers. However, I am most concerned about Christian toddlers (I am not sure about the Jewish situation). Many of the Bible story books that exist for toddlers contain the errors of modern day Christianity.

To make matters worse, the children Bible story books contain images that do not culturally represent my West Indian culture. In the West Indies, acceptance of Christianity has been made difficult by the historical legacy of slavery, colonisation and exploitation. This has lead to the development of Rastafarianism which repaints the Messiah as a black man. Also it has lead to the development Revival or Poco Church, where African retention and spiritualism is retained and intermixed with Christian elements. (In a future post, I will discuss the Rastafarianism and Revival Cults with the relevant citations. Today, I just want to focus on the Children Bible Story concept.)

I hate to see Bible story books that paint cultural images - like a white Jesus or the incorporation of Easter and Christmas concepts. We know that Jesus was a Semite and would look like a modern day Palestinian. Further, Easter and Christmas are originally pagan concepts not even spoken about in the Bible. They were not festivals given to Jews and were not commanded by Scripture. They came after, based on theological interpretation and acculturation.

Based on these issues, I feel spiritually desirous of creating my own Bible story books that will avoid these errors. Instead, I want children to see images of animals that are a part of the stories in the Bible. This is culturally neutral as all children from all cultures can relate to animals.

It is hoped that children through reading these stories can learn about the animals and the sounds they make, as well as learn Biblical facts for future analysis and interpretation.

Thus when a child is of age, they may ask questions for further information about the story behind the animal, and the adult can explain or lead them to the Bible passage.

Also, I believe that G-d used the same strategy. He first cause Adam to name the animals, before he introduced Eve to him. That way Adam had to relate to animals first, before he could relate to Eve.

That way Adam by seeing the animals in pairs learnt about his own social needs and need for companionship, and that animals could not fill the void. He learnt so much from watching the animals, that when Eve came, he was so excited and said "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh" -Translation - Alas, someone that I can relate to.