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The Brutal Bible.
God of the Old Testament.
Vengeful, jealous, powerful, blood thirsty... And for good reason. Right?
What if God didn't take his own commandments and laws seriously? Would anyone respect a God who doesn't follow through with punishment for breaking the law? What would happen if a government just stopped enforcing its own laws? Would it then be a legitimate government?
But then if God does follow through and punish people for their sins, that isn't acceptable! So God is damned by people no matter what happens, and can never seem to do right, for those who hate God.
So, would heaven really be heaven, if everyone was just let into it? Why call it "heaven" if we have to spend an eternity with people who hate and curse us? Heaven is as ethical as hell, because reward is to a good deed, as punishment is to an evil one. The only way to enforce this standard, is by force with violence if necessary.
But not by us. We are not worthy to enforce a Law that we have broken.
When I first read the bible...
The first book of the bible that I ever read, was the book of Job. (And when I say it was the first book of the bible I ever read, I mean it was the first book I ever read and payed close attention to). I was amazed that such a righteous and good man was persecuted by "The Accuser" (Satan) in the story, and that God allowed it. This didn't make any sense to me, and I started to wonder, "What is really going on here?"
"For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." - 1st Corinthians ch4 v9.
We're a "spectacle"? Like fish in a tank?
What is God trying to prove to the angels in all of this, and why does it seem like time itself is being manipulated in order to deceive us? As the passage of time goes on, we get further and further away from what the bible describes as being original creation in sinless form.
Then a talking snake shows up and ruins everything? I don't believe in talking snakes, and the bible clearly talks about the serpent as being the devil, Lucifer the Satan, the great dragon who deceived one-third the angels of heaven into taking his side. Some people just don't believe this can be possible, and yet a quick review of anything Jesus says or does, points to powers beyond our understanding for the reason we see corruption and sin in the world. Jesus cast out demons, and so spiritual evil must be real, right?
If the world was once sinless, what brought evil into this world? Does that mean evil exited before the fall of humankind in the Garden of Eden, in heavenly places?
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." - Ephesians ch6 v12.
Though we are not guiltless, the problem never started here on earth. There was trouble before things were even set in stone. A great deception is going on!
The origin of violence.
In this brief bible study, I hope to show that there are two powers at work in the world. First, there is the temporal or physical power which works through humankind. But secondly and more importantly, there is the spiritual power, the real power behind the scenes in a realm that is unseen.
Going to Ezekiel chapter 28, when first reading it we see that in the first part from verse 1 to 10, God is telling Ezekiel to tell the prince of Tyre something important. This temporal authority, a mere human, is just what is on the surface. Though he is actually the king of Tyre on the surface, God reveals in a mocking manner that this is just the lowly prince of Tyre.
Then watch what happens...
11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
God is no longer talking to the prince, but the king, the spiritual authority that is behind the temporal authority. Sitting in the shadows and ruling by proxy, Satan does his best work when everyone thinks that he doesn't exist.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
The king of Tyre must be pretty old if he was in the Garden of Eden. Certainly this is not talking about a human.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
When was the last time God ever referred to a human as an anointed cherub? (Hint: Never.)
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
It doesn't say the king of Tyre was completely perfect, just perfect "in all thy ways", meaning created for a specific purpose.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
We'll get back to what this "merchandise" is, but notice that it filled him with violence. When people start to value things over life itself, bad stuff starts to happen. Slavery is one great example of this, but the love of money is the root of all evil. What constitutes money in heaven? This is what that "merchandise" is, but keep that in mind.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
Behold, I saw Satan fall as lightning from heaven! That's the casting to the ground which is yet to happen, but will happen. Satan makes a personal appearance in the end-times, and only has the space of about half an hour, or so we shall see. It isn't out of the question at least, since it seems many supernatural things will happen nearer the end.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
Right before the return of Jesus, Satan will be consumed by a fire that seems to come from within his body. Kind of like spontaneous human combustion, only fiery-er.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
I'm guessing you have to make God really, really angry to have him make you spontaneously burst into flames and cease to exist, and make everyone watch. God could have done it 6,000 years ago, but I'm guessing God waited so long to prove his merciful nature. He's God and can do what He wants to do, and very well could have destroyed Satan as soon as he became corrupt... But that's the point. God waited, because God is not an evil tyrant.
Violence, however, did not originate with God. Satan imagined violence as a way of furthering his evil agenda, by getting others to be violent in thought as a means of deceiving others into being violent further still. It's a vicious cycle for a very good reason, because violence begets violence, and forgiveness begets forgiveness. God, being the righteous judge that he is rewards the violent with the product of their violence, hence why you shall reap what you sow.
A cosmic war spills into our physical world...
When God asked Adam and Eve why they sinned, they each blamed something else for the reason of their disobedience to God. Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve, and both blamed God for creating the object which caused them to sin. This strategy of divide and conquer is, literally, the oldest trick in the book.
But as previously mentioned, sin did not originate with Adam and Eve. God created the world, and it was good, but became evil and corrupt by the sin of that which was created. Therefore, sin did not originate in this world. It first existed in the heavenly realm, and the King of Tyre "bought" us with a lie, making sin a sort of fiat currency based on debt... A debt we could never repay, but a debt that we could foist upon the next generation.
Hence, sin became the object of "merchandise" (as mentioned in the Ezekiel passage), which is used to fill people with violence. How is this done? How does the debtor's currency of sin, fill the midst of someone with violence?
First of all, Satan is described as the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning; there is no truth in him, and when he speaks, he speaks of his own on his own behalf (John ch8 v44). There is no goal except to steal, kill and destroy (John ch10 v10). Satan's intent isn't to win this "war" against God that he is waging, because he knows he can't win. If Satan is a liar, then he lies even to himself, and when confounded with the truth becomes violent.
Let us consider and contrast, in light of these truths spoken by Jesus (John chapters 8 and 10, above), the nature of Satan as described in Isaiah chapter 14:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Lucifer is only the son of the morning, a light-bearer, not the originator of light. When compared to the description in Ezekiel, it becomes clear that this creation of God was at one point a good thing, but became corrupt and evil. What caused this?
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
A lie caused this. The father of lies, first lied to himself. There is no way he could dethrone God, or wage a war against God and win. Ridiculous! So why do it?
16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
Of course he knew God would win. Everything God said he would do, has been done, and will be done. There is no going back, and the realization of his failure is the reason for his violence! When confronted with knowing that he was wrong, and the truth of his failure, the lie became a strong delusion to himself... And he believed his own lie.
So why continue? Why keep going, even knowing that defeat will happen? Quite simply because Satan hates God. No other reason! So the only reason to continue the lie, is to deceive others and bring them down with him, into the pit and eventually into the lake of fire with him.
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matthew chapter 10, verse 28.
The goal of Satan is to get God to destroy your soul, because Satan can't. It gives Satan great pleasure to see God in pain at having to destroy his own creation, which was originally created for good. Satan steals the truth from your heart and mind with lies, kills whoever gets in the way and destroys what he can't have. Because if Satan can't have it, then no one can.
So to get us to sin, to fill us with the merchandise of violence, Satan uses the debtor's fiat currency of sin. How? Simply by lying. All he has to do, is lie, and our imaginations (which is, for you Freemasons out there, our "generative principal"; it is not our sexual organs) take over from there. That is why the bible says that nothing good comes from the hearts and minds of humankind (Genesis ch6 v5; Genesis ch8 v21; Matthew ch15 v19 -- Etc.). That is why the bible says to lean upon the Lord with our understanding (Proverbs ch3 v5), and to love God with all our heart, mind and soul (Deuteronomy ch6 v5 and more).
The violence in our hearts becomes a very real, physical and outward violence towards each other.
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" - 1st John ch4 v20.
Indeed, it is odd that people who say they love God are so ready and willing to use violence, against others who are literally their brothers and sisters. And I have used the "literally" adverb when describing things in relation to the bible, for a very good reason that I will in another hub, describe the reasons for using.
But the point is that Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24 verse 37, that the days of his return will be like the days of Noah. There are other indicators of what the "days of Noah" were like, but one clear thing that is spoken of is that it was a violent era.
"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." - Genesis ch6 v11.
AND the earth was filled with violence! Not just one thing or another, but also that violence was prevalent in Noah's day. Because as we approach the impending judgment of God upon this earth, and specifically the inhabitants of this earth, things are going to be very violent. The great tribulation is not going to be some simple thing, but very cruel and unusual, and many because of the absolute depravity and violence that will come... Will turn away from God.
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
With the explanation that...
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Because, the whole point of tribulation and persecution, is the use of violence to get people to turn away from the truth. Those that do not have the truth, become violent when faced with the ultimate truth of their sins, because the fiat currency of sin is a debt they can never repay. Thus, the multitude of trading sin for sin, fills the earth with violence.
That is why Jesus said, upon being crucified by those he was trying to save, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." (Luke ch23 v34). They were being deceived into killing Jesus, by Satan, because their sins were more than they could bear. They hated knowing that they were sinners, in need of a God who could save them from their sins, and in their hatred became violent.
Because in the Old Testament, God gave us the ability to carry out punishment for trespasses against his Law. But because of the failure by humankind, and especially God's people Israel, that right to punish sin was taken away with the blood of an innocent man. The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was a payment for the collective sin of humankind, to take away the sins of the world for all who will accept it. In fact the whole point was to show us that we as imperfect and created beings, could never carry the burden of a Perfect Law!
The new covenant, signed by God with the blood of Jesus, negates the use of violence. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone! Only God is sinless and righteous enough, to cast that first stone, to judge, to punish, to reward. That is why Jesus didn't fight back against those that could kill the body, but not the soul!
That is also why none of the martyred disciples fought back, but also in the likeness of their Lord and Savior, forgave those who killed them. Because we can not truly forgive sins, only God can do that. But symbolically we forgive those who have wronged us, in faith that the burden of our sins are truly forgiven, by placing all of our trust and understanding in Jesus' sacrifice!
Truly, it is a great and wonderful feeling to know that our burden of debt, the weight of our sins upon us, are forgiven!
There is no validation for violence in the new covenant.
Though not a single jot or tittle of the Law passes from remembrance or enforcement, it is not we who enforce it. Yes, it is still a sin to shave, eat pork or shellfish, and to have a garment made of two types of fabric. No one has the power or authority to say what a sin is not, because we are all sinners.
But, we can say that God will more than likely forgive us for shaving, having bacon-wrapped scallops while wearing cotton underwear that has an elastic band woven into it. After all, if God can forgive a sinner like me, what's your excuse for refusing to be forgiven? Are your sins blinding you to the fact that you have sins? Would you rather believe that you don't have sins?
And though God could on a technicality condemn us, does it seem reasonable at all? No, but the fact is that God could still condemn us to spiritual death for disobedience of even the smallest part of the Law. Therefore, fear and respect the perfectly righteous and awesome God, who died for your sins. Refrain from sin, and continually ask for forgiveness of sins you commit on a daily basis, because we as flesh and blood can't entirely stop sinning. We're not perfect or innocent.
Just know that God does loves and forgives us. Though our thoughts are evil continually, and even thinking sinful thoughts is sinning (Matthew ch5 v28), God is continually forgiving!
But there is, as I always try to remind people, a GREAT DECEPTION going on. Part of that deception is the use of violence, and a lot of people are saying that the bible says it is okay to use violence in certain situations. But, if we truly trust God with our care and safety, do we have any reason to fight back? Is there any reason to be violent, if the bible is true?
When is the bible talking about something literally, and when is it talking about something metaphorically, or spiritually? How do we, or how can we, know the difference?
Truth is stranger than fiction.
[This will in the future be a link to my next hub, about the literalness of the bible]