Who let the cat out of the bag?
Have you heard it from the horses mouth?
Does your elevator go all the way to the top?
We probably don't go through a day without using a figure of speech. The Bible is full of them. "Let us go down and confound their language" said God in Genesis 11:7. Do you recognize a Biblical precedent for these ordinary and everyday figures of speech?
|1. Made your bed? Ps139:8||2. By the skin of your teeth. Job19:20|
|3. A drop in the bucket. Isa40:15||4. Feet of clay.. Dan 2|
|5. Etched in stone. Ex31:18||6. Life begins at 40. (Matthew is book #40)|
|7. Suffer fools gladly.. 2Cor 11:19||8. Sour grapes... Ezek 18:2|
|9. Caught "red-handed" Mt24:27||10. Still water runs deep.. Ps23:2|
|11. Without a leg to stand on.. John 19:33||12. If the shoe fits... Eph 6:15|
|13. Fox in the henhouse.. Lk 13:32||14. Money where your mouth is... Mt 17:27|
|15. Get your feet wet.. Josh 3:5||16. Train of thought.. Isa 6:1|
|17. Raising the roof.. Mk 2:4||18. Beating about the bush.. Ex 3:3|
|19. Logic that "holds water".. Ps 22:14||20. Seeing "eye to eye" Isa 52:8|
|21. Bone of contention.. Ex 12:46||22. Horse of different color. Zech6/Rev6|
|23. Fat's in the fire! Ex 29:13||24. Burning your bridges.. 1K19:21|
|25. Plowing w my heifer.. Judg14:18||26. Tough row to hoe.. Acts 9:5|
|27. Fly in the ointment.. Ecc 10:1||28. Made a "scapegoat" Lev 16:10|
|29. Mountains from molehills.. Mat 21:21||30. Stewing in own juices.. Deut 14:21|
|31. Handwriting on the wall.. Dan 5:5||32. Swallow camel, gag at gnat! Mt23:24||33. The "Spitting" Image of His Father .. John 9:6||34. Made your own bed.. John 5:8|
|35."Raising Cain".. Gen4(before Abel)||36. A 'marked man'.. Gen4:15|
FIGURES OF SPEECH: Metaphors, Symbols, Parables, Allegories.... CATEGORIES
THE SYMBOLIC TRUTH. From trees that clap hands, to mountains that are thrown into the sea, and water that divides to provide a path to the other side; the Scripture abounds in a crazy way of speaking that isn't easy to believe, or even follow. Would a God who cannot lie have expressed Himself to us this way? Do the translators know what they're talking about? Have they twisted the ancient writings into a mixed up mishmash of Chaucer's English that defies all logic or rational explanation? I can't confirm that Chaucer was personally acquainted with John Wycliffe, circa 1360, but they must have both spoken the same old-English, and the latter's version of the Lord's Prayer goes as follows:"..Let US go down and confound their language...", Gen11:7. Most take this to mean the beginning of different languages and geographic colloquialisms, but figures of speech (including metaphors and platitudes) may play an important part too. Read about more than 200 "Figures of Speech used in the Bible" by E.W.Bullinger (Baker Book House). Who is "US"? God came down on the mountain, Ex19:11, and Jesus came as a baby, and the Holy Ghost as a wind: they came in succession. Bible students may appreciate how the word "succeed" is found uniquely in Deuteronomy 25:6.
"Our Fadir that art in Heuenes, Halewid by thi name. Thi Kingdom comme to. Be thi wille done as in heuen so in erthe. Gyve to us this dai oure breed ouer other substance; and forgive to us oure dettis as we forgyven to oure dettouris. And leede us not in to temptacioun, but delyvere us fro yvel."
[Quote from "The Ancestry of Our English Bible", I.M.Price, p.239]Semantics and reciprocals and our confounded language also comes into play here. One side says that since God created everything including evil, that He must be evil too. Ptooey! Gag! Our side takes the position that there is no such thing as darkness (that it's only the absence of light), and that there's no such thing as cold (only the absence of heat), and therefore God can be Light and Heat and Good, but not the opposite.
When Adam & Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, the Bible says their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked! ..You mean to say they'd been walking around with their eyes closed, like newborn puppy dogs?
The Bible actually dares us to believe it! Walls that fall down, iron that floats, donkeys that talk, and people who live to be nearly a thousand years old are all part of God's "Word of Truth". It certainly is a strange and unbelievable kind of truth, isn't it? "A man-swallowing whale", you say? Really? You expect me to swallow that? [sarcastic/satire] - Job 12:2 speaks of wisdom dying with his 'friends', but was that really what Job meant?
The Confounding of the Language was one of the first things that God involved Himself in, after that earlier generation died in the Deluge. According to the KJV Bible the people had all settled in the Plains of Shinar and began to build a city there (afterwards known as Babylon), and "a tower whose top may reach unto heaven", Gen11:4, called "The Tower of Babel". All the people in the world spoke the same language, and were united in purpose; so nothing that they imagined to do would be impossible for them, the scripture said. That's when the Lord said: "The people are one (but there were many of them..), so let us go down and confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." Who was He talking to?...Did they both (or all), come down?)
There are different schools of thought concerning the Tower of Babel, because hardly anyone wants to take it literally at face-value; viz., that they were actually trying to build it high enough to reach heaven and the stars.
1. It was a ziggurat: an astronomical observatory for studying the stars, based on the zodiac (Hebrew 'mazzaroth', Job 38:32) of 12 constellations. A domain for astronomy or astrology.
2. That the people were concerned about another Flood, and wanted to build it high enough to exceed the high-water mark. But if that were so, why didn't they build it on high ground?
3. That it was purely symbolic to show that the people weren't following after God, and were only interested in making a name for themselves, with their 'common' conversation.
4. He didn't want them to be one, but wanted them to be divided, so He could separate out some to be peculiar people for himself.
So the Lord did confound their language, and that's when they left off building the tower and scattered into all the world; presumably to speak Chinese, Sanskrit, Swahili, etc. The narrative is curtly brief at this point, and doesn't furnish any details, so we can only surmise that they woke up one morning and couldn't make out what their neighbors were saying. Great shades of Pentecost! All those folks together, speaking the first polyglot, and not able to understand each other--it must have been hilarious! I haven't found many funny episodes in Scripture (apart from Pharaoh asking to spend another night with the frogs..) but this scene indicates to me that God must have a strange and marvelous sense of humor.
Sociology teaches that wherever people join themselves together, they develop their own unique mantras and vernacular (language of the masses; the people). It's the way we tell a Northerner from a Southerner, and it may change from one generation to another, and it applies to society everywhere. Doctors speak medical language, and soldiers speak military language, and technicians speak computer language. Christians have a language all their own, too. And everybody uses figures-of-speech!..We all say things that aren't literally true; that may be 'damp squid' or pure nonsense to a stranger even when he knows the meaning of the individual words.The 'figure' is used frequently as an auxiliary or complement to the plain language. "Dick & Betty are getting married", she says to her husband, and when he answers: "Oh, so they're tying the knot, are they?", the subject has been dealt with figuratively as well as in the plain and simple. Like 'the picture that's worth a thousand words', the figure paints a word-sketch and verifies the plain language in a manner somewhat like proving an arithmetic problem.
To "bury the hatchet", or "chew the rag", or "hit the road",or "push the envelope", or "kick the bucket", or "go on the wagon", or "burn your bridges", or "bite the dust", or "carry your cross", or "drag your feet", or "dig in your heels and 'let the chips fall where they may', are figures-of-speech not meant to be taken literally; but semantically. The Apostle Paul was really shipwrecked, 2Cor11:25, but he also used the term figuratively to describe those folks who "concerning faith have made shipwreck", 1Tim1:19.
If you "got out on the wrong side of the bed" this morning, and found "a monkey on your back", or "a skeleton in your closet"; you'd be thinking seriously about turning over a new leaf, or getting your head on straight; even if it took until the cows come home, or hell froze over, wouldn't you?
If you persist in "marching to a different drummer", or being a Lone Ranger or loose cannon, and don't get in step and become a team player, you'll be labeled a black sheep, or bad-apple, or wet-blanket; and instead of receiving the right-hand of acceptance, they'll give you the boot with the left-foot of rejection. They'll hand you your walking-papers if you don't "bow the knee" and bend the back and put some elbow grease into it, and "play ball" according to their established rules.The right-hand gives the greater blessing! Thus the Christian tradition of shaking hands and taking the oath with the right hand.. Gen48:17 "And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head".
It's a snap to 'kick the can down the road', or follow the path of least resistance and join the big parade where there's strength in numbers and you can blend in anonymously. It kind of "goes against the grain" sometimes, to be your own person of integrity, when the odds are stacked against you and you aren't able to keep to the middle of the road. It takes a strong character, or a peculiar person, or a Rock of Gibraltar, to oppose the majority rule and "stick to your guns" and walk the wrong way through the midst of a picket line or vigilante committee or lynch mob; to the jeers of traitor, or scab, or bigot--but Jesus was cursed as a blasphemer and of the devil, Mk3:22, and "born of fornication", Jn8:4l, and "he walked through the midst of them", Lk4:30, because God was with him! It may seem foolish to be swimming upstream against the current and the tide, but to the one who knows Niagara is downstream, it's the only way to travel!
Figures of Speech and word-play are a primary source of humor. When a simile from the Bible tells us "A merry heart does good like a medicine", Pr17:22, we don't have to be language experts or rocket scientists to realize it's saying that medicine is good; and only a warped mind would try to say otherwise. Luke the physician was one of our "fourmost" writers, and where would we be today if it weren't for the dedicated and compassionate members of the medical profession?
After the people had heard and understood the Word of the Lord at the Feast of Tabernacles, Neh8:18, we're told that they were filled with mirth! Laughing!...and no doubt with the joy of the Lord, once they knew the truth. No gloom and doom for them, because truth is the Good News that dispels fear and ignorance. Christians should be the happiest people on Planet Earth!
It's words that cause the blood to pound in our ears when someone says something that makes us "see red", and it's words that bring spontaneous laughter or a smile to our lips; and even our very own words may find us blushing uncontrollably if we've said something off-color. When our very own words are capable of altering our body chemistry, is it so audacious to believe that God's Word is really able to effect an internal change?
There are so many kinds of figures of speech that it shouldn't surprise us to find them used regularly in scripture, and they become especially significant when we learn about THE WORD that was "In the Beginning", and THE WORD that was God! Jn1:1.
Is God a "Word-God"? Should we call Him "The Lexicon God"? The etymology of "word" is dichotomous, because the Greek word 'logos' (for logic or reasoning), as well as the word 'rhema'(for rhetoric or oratory), are both translated in the Bible simply as w-o-r-d, and the English reader doesn't even realize there's a difference. It's like a hidden truth, unless the person reads Greek, or has access to a concordance or other Bible study aid.
Uniquely man, of all the animals, uses the written and spoken word to reason and persuade, and to chronicle wisdom, knowledge, and history; so why should it be thought abnormal for God to communicate with us via this same medium? When we want to remember something important, don't we write it down? Isn't it reassuring, and perhaps nostalgic, to review old letters and contracts, and confirm our memory of things we once agreed to? Our nation has a heritage in the God of the Bible, and our many Christian denominations take pride in being people of their word; whether it's signed and sealed on a contract, or spoken and agreed with a handshake. They don't like doing business with people who don't keep their word, and they say 'Amen' to the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Lk6:31.
Figures of Speech are of endless variety and come in all sizes and shapes. They can be recognized wherever words or phrases are used differently from their usual and ordinary sense. They aren't only for flowery or picturesque oratory, as one might imagine, but are also used in everyday normal conversation by blue collars and the big brass alike; and good writers and speakers are continually bringing us new ones to apply to current situations.
The Prophet Isaiah wrote in 40:15 that "The nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance"; the latter referring to the insignificance of the dust on the scales; considered negligible when weighing out a purchase. Can you believe that some people would actually be so petty as to complain of the dust on the scales? Believe it! But making mountains out of molehills is what we shouldn't do, and it's these mountains (not Everest or Fuji) that should be thrown into the sea! (These days they'll more likely say "thrown under the bus").
Think not to say "deja vu", or that this is an "old hat" that you've tried on for size in the past. This isn't your usual cookie-cutter website and I solemnly swear to you that there's more to the Scripture than meets the eye, and in the pages ahead you'll see how a lot of it fits together (even if you're an Ivy League or DIY intellectual..); but you'll have to personally meditate and contemplate and "put on your thinking cap", and check it out for yourself, or it will never be yours to share with others, and will just abide there in the coat-room. You don't have to dive off the deep end, or buy it cold-turkey, but you'll have to apply some horse-sense and get to plowing up new ground, and burn some bridges. Also, don't become a loose-cannon or begin to push the envelope too far. Don't expect it to be a piece of cake, but the Bible says you'll prosper in due time if you're diligent, and aren't lazy, and don't faint. Gal 6:9.
Joseph accused his brothers of "being spies" when they came to Egypt looking for bread; and figuratively you aren't really 'spying out the land' until you open up the Bible (God's bread) for yourself.
SOME FIGURES OF SPEECH BY CATEGORY .............
Allegory - Symbolic story Malapropism - foolish Ambiguity - multiple meaning Metaphor - analogy Anachronism - wrong time Metonymy - name change Anamorphosis - new form/paraphrase Obscenity - profane Anthropo-morphism - man's form Parable - hidden (moral) story Condescension - talk-down Paradox - opposed to reason Ellipsis - omission/unsaid Satire - sarcasm/innuendo Euphemism - polite/kind Symbol - representative Hyperbole - exaggeration Synecdoche - part vs. whole Hysteresis - withheld data Vulgarism - vernacular
It would be litotic (an understatement) to point out that these twenty examples aren't the only figures of speech; but they're sufficient for the purpose of illustrating a relationship between verbiage and the God of the Bible. Figures of speech aren't literally true, but neither are they untrue in the sense of being false or without foundation, unless that's the intent of the speaker. In other words, the one who uses the figure is able to use it either honestly or not.
The literal truth may actually be a lie or a deception. I think of the scene from the "I Love Lucy" show, where she had her friend 'throw her' the fish from the market so she could 'honestly' tell Desi she'd caught them. It was the literal truth (semantic truth), but certainly not the honest truth.
Just because it's the literal truth doesn't mean it's the honest truth, and neither is it false simply because it's a figure of speech -- it depends on the Author!
Who knows differently? Americans sometimes speak of something which is "petering out" and the etymology of this expression may go to the scripture story of Simon Peter taking a few steps on water before he "begins to sink" because he took his eyes off Jesus. His faith was "running low" as he observed the dangerous waves so we "walk by faith and not by sight".
The Apostle Paul used a figure-of-speech when he quoted from Prov25:21 and told the Romans (12:20) to feed their enemies and give them to drink "for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on their heads!" It sounds harsh and hurtful in the natural and literal, but the figure only means that your kindness will make them ashamed of themselves for the way they've treated you. This figure reportedly dates back to the days before matches, when villages kept a central fire burning continuously. The household that needed to start a fire would send someone to fetch live coals; perhaps carrying the burden on their head, as was often the custom.
When the figure says something that hides the real meaning, it's like a cross between an ambiguity and an allegory. Like speaking in code, or wearing a disguise. It probably isn't heavily vailed, as it must have been when Jacob wound up married to the wrong girl; but we call the conversation "thinly veiled" when the boys get together to talk about girls, and say: "Hasn't she got a great swing in her backyard?", or "That one looks ripe for the picking", or "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk free?", or "You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, would you?" They're proving they know how to use symbology and figures-of-speech, and they aren't talking innocently and humorously like when they were children; but now they're talking fornication: talking ugly. It's the wolf in sheep's clothing--ugly all dolled up to look funny, so it'll go down easier; but those who laugh are aiding and abetting, and stirring up the minds of those present towards getting their pound of flesh. The conversation is now serving the devil!It seems fitting to examine how our plain and simple vocabulary has ripened into abstract and symbolic tropes (figures of speech). I'll try to "put my best foot forward" and keep to the subject of The Word, and to avoid those controversial subjects that cause strife among denominational Christians.
ALLEGORY. This is a word found only once in the King James Bible. Galatians 4:24 says "Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants..."
The two sons of Abraham (also the two sons of Isaac and the twin sons of Tamar and the two sons of Joseph) were teaching the two covenants by analogy and allegory, long before the New Covenant ever commenced. That first son, Ishmael, represented the Old Covenant for the "children", and it was the second son, Isaac (son of the promise, Rom9:8), who represented the New Covenant.
In the Old Testament the story of David and Bathsheba's affair exemplifies the allegory. The prophet Nathan was sent by God, 2Sam12, and told David a story of how a rich man took the poor man's lamb for himself. After David exclaimed that the rich man should surely die, Nathan told him "Thou art the man!" Instantly, David recognized the allegory -- that it told the truth in symbolic terms, concerning his affair with Bathsheba.
So an allegory is essentially two stories: the one which says the truth plainly, and the one which presents the same truth in disguised fashion. It doesn't really matter which story comes first-- but if you only know about one (1) of them, you'll never be aware of the allegory. In the disguised form it may be difficult to distinguish from a parable, which usually mixes a strong element of hyperbole (exaggeration) to tell a moral story. Teachers use analogy to introduce new subjects, comparing one thing to the other, and allegory is used extensively in scripture by the greatest teacher ever known.
SYMBOLS. A white cane, or yellow ribbon, or black arm-band, or golden wedding band; are like clues in the adventure of life--visible objects that tell at a glance concerning situations and circumstances. A symbol is something that represents something else; a quick identifier for a more substantial or complex entity, and a shortcut in meaning to those who know the symbol and what it stands for. The symbol is a tangible emblem or indicator, that is obvious to anyone with the five senses; but the meaning of it is something that must be learned in order to know what it represents. In other words, to see that the two are one in relation, and mean the same.
The symbols on the restroom doors tell us which is for males and which for females, and the different colored lights tell us whether to stop or go, and the flag or banner represents a certain country or organization. Symbols don't always mean the same to everyone--the outstretched palm that says 'peace' to an American Indian will most likely be seen as a provocative insult to someone from Greece, and the raising of the thumb that says "I'm hitchhiking" to us Yanks, will be seen as the putting forth of the middle finger by those from middle east countries. One man's meat is another man's poison; and 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", is it not so? Nez pah?
The statue of Christ on the Cross reminds many of their Saviour, but others dislike it on theological principle, whatever that means, and some would prefer the Cross without Him on it, to emphasize his Resurrection instead of his death. There are some who consider all such objects as graven images (icons to be banned), and point out that had Jesus been hanged or electrocuted, it's unlikely we'd have had miniature gallows or electric-chairs dangling around our necks.
"My CUP runneth over", Ps23:5. If you've ever reflected on the cruel way life has treated you, or remonstrated over the ordeals in your path; consider the scriptural symbol and example of The Cup. Jesus mentioned his own personal cup on several occasions, and finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he spoke of it as being 'the will of the Father'. Nowadays we say it like Doris Day sang it: "Que serah, serah; Whatever will be, will be..", or else "That's the way the ball bounces", or "the cookie crumbles", or "That's the breaks", or "the cross I have to bear", or "the cards that were dealt me", or "the tune that I dance to", or "That is (or isn't) my Cup of tea." When it's something we like to do, we say "Now they're playing my song!"
The symbolism of water in the Bible. The Prophet Joel in the Old Testament had written "...it shall come to pass afterword, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh", Joel 2:28. God was "a fountain of Living Waters", Jer2:13, and Jesus offered different WATER to the Woman at the Well in John 4:14. A crowning touch, so to speak, comes in Rev21:6 -- -- "I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely". This pattern of water-analogies say to us that the words written in the Bible are the same as water to someone lost in the desert. Jesus was "poured out like water", Ps22:14, and said "My words are spirit, and they are Life" in Jn6:63, further supporting the figurative Godly logic of the Holy Scripture.
THE ALPHABET is the English 'Rosetta Stone' consisting of 26 symbols that must be learned in order to read or write. The three symbols d-o-g must be in the proper order to interpret them as man's best friend, and if they're reversed they become the symbol for the authority that is higher than man's; whether he knows it or not. Alphabet symbols have a growing quality that seems to know no bounds, but continuously feeds our insatiable appetites for new words and literature. Sooner or later, you'd think, people who are literate would get around to having a closer look at the Bible; if only to confirm the truth of the many stories they've heard about it.
We once thought of c-a-t as three separate symbols, but time and study evolve them into a single symbol for the furry feline with 9 lives that died of curiosity. That is to say, the three have become one, and now mean much more to us than before.
The word "ambidextrous" is the 12-letter symbol with 5 vowels, that stands for left & right, which are reciprocal directions of a different sort than "wrong & right". To say it differently, the figurative reciprocal of right, is wrong; but the physical reciprocal is left. Similarly, Up & Down in a visual sense, find their counterparts in Positive & Negative in a mental (attitude) sense. Teachers must use contrasts as well as comparison to explain and illustrate their subjects.
"A vegetable dinner with love is better than grain-fed beef with hate", Pr15:17. The proverb confirms my insistence that steak is good, and leads to the rhetorical question: "Why not get the best of two worlds by eating the steak where's there's good company?"Jesus told Nathanael that he "saw him under the fig tree", Jn1:48, and it helps to know that "under the fig tree" is a Hebrew figure-of-speech (a "Hebraism") which means roughly "content to dwell,or wait: ostensibly for the Messiah.". Witness its use in a positive way in IK4:25 - "And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba.
In 2K18:31 - "Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, "Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:" Nathanael may be a bit dubious at first (although there can be no unbelief in him, or Jesus would not have commented on his guilelessness), but he comes, nevertheless, to see! And what does he find? SOMEONE who sees into his own heart and knows he has been ready & waiting for his Messiah!
"Sequoia" is a Cherokee Indian word for the giant redwood of California, and in addition to the five vowels it also houses the "QU" couple that queue together in English. More than 30 kinds of trees are named in the Bible (this isn't one of them), and just as the average high school student may not be familiar with Sequoia, or that a cue means "You're up next" ("U" is next..), neither will the average church goer be aware that scripture calls people "trees". "Trees of righteousness", Isa61:3, "the planting of the Lord", and as branches on the Vine Tree, Nu6:4/Jn15:1, and as seeds born of women. Gen4:25.Tickled me when I connected the Bible Tree with the fig. of speech "barking up wrong tree", meaning wrong-way; thought to be about coon hunting with dogs, and coon jumps across to other tree. Based on an 1832 book, they say.
This commandment was reportedly taken so seriously by the O.T. orthodox Jews that they wouldn't even say 'Jehovah' out loud. I'm told that nobody is sure to this very day of the correct pronunciation, though it's thought to be something like "Yah-weh". Not saying the name is usually thought to be an admonition against cursing, but The Author was perfectly capable of saying that plainly if He'd wanted, so I choose to regard it as preliminary and introductory to the doctrine of legal proxy. "All power is given unto me", Jesus said in Mt28, "therefore YOU go!" It's a commission that can't be hung on the wall, nor bought with money, and it isn't awarded by any institution of man. Now we must use the name, but we still shouldn't use it in vain. I'm not naming any guilty parties, but some who use that name above every name, Jesus, are just parroting it, and using it in vain!
SYMBOLS & SYMBOLISMS are found all through the Bible; from Satan as the "snake in the grass" (garden/sin), all the way to Revelation where Jesus is the "star" who leads us to God's Truth, just as the Star of Bethlehem guided those wise men of long ago. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit--not only because it was the bird that lighted on Jesus after his water baptism (illustrating the anointing from above); but because it was the bird that brought the olive leaf to Noah (instead of the raven). The characters of Scripture really said and did all the things the Bible says; but at the same time they were prophetically illustrating the New Testament truth's that were still in the future. 1Pet1:10.
Moses floated down the Nile as a baby, and grew up in that 'alien' land, to show us how Jesus would come from heaven to be born in Bethlehem (means 'House of Bread'), because he's the True-Bread; and born in a manger because it's the appropriate place for the "Lamb of God". Any way you slice it, he's not just the Lamb and the Bread; but the Door, the Vine, the Star, and the Alpha & Omega! Later, Moses disappeared into the wilderness for forty days, but he returned to lead them out of their bondage; and Christians today can have assurance that Jesus will also be returning to lead us to the place that He's prepared. The Jews were a school teacher to bring us to Christ, Gal 3:24, and we can learn from their example!
REPETITION: We read about the voice of God calling "Moses, Moses", Ex3:4, and "Samuel, Samuel", 1Sam3:10, and Jesus saying "Martha, Martha", Lk10:41, and "Saul, Saul" in Acts9:4.
Repeating the name (Fig. of speech: repetition/redundancy for emphasis) found uniquely in these verses, plus "Jerusalem, Jerusalem", Lk13:33, and the familiar "Eli, Eli" from Jesus on the cross. Mt27:46. The "Amen and amen" and the "Verily, verily", are in a similar pattern, as is the "Daniel, O Daniel", Dan6:20. These are among the reasons why the King James Version of the Bible is often called the greatest literature ever penned.
MALAPROPISM. From the combination of 'malady', meaning 'sick', and 'apropos', 'to the right purpose'; this figure-of-speech means wrong thinking; like in ludicrous foolishness that transposes or confuses one word or expression for another or the outrageous bluff of Solomon to 'cut the baby in half'! We speak of the "tail wagging the dog" when a tiny something affects a larger something, or when the solution comes from an unexpected quarter.
"Are you serious?" "No, Sirius is the dog star".
Surely you jest! "I'm not Shirley; I'm jest Ernest as I can be."
Comedians make their living with this figure; using wacky and idiotic plays-on-words, so it's a figure that's heavily into humor, despite its inherent falseness. Jesus said "Of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks", Mt12:34, and "By their fruits you shall know them", Mt7:20, so it's the motivation of the speaker which determines whether the malapropism is refudiate sick-yuk, or is healthy humor. You may have a general feeling for the meaning of "fruit", but when you arrive at Galatians 5:22 in the Epistles, you'll learn about nine specific fruit that come from the same spirit.
A king is a ruler because that's a foot long, and a foot goes into a shoe, which is why you shoo a fly, and when you fly you're up in the air, and an heir is one who has a fortune, and with one of those you can charge all you like, and a since a king is the one who's in charge; that's why a king is a ruler! This is foolish and cockeyed logic for sure, like putting lipstick on a pig, or enough blarney to choke a horse..
This figure of malapropism, with its aspect of sick-thinking, reminds me of the story that's told about a church that split up over the question of whether or not Adam and Eve had navels! Sure it's an intriguing thought (like "which came first; the chicken or the egg?"), but maybe we shouldn't open that 'can of worms', and "that dog won't hunt", and grownups ought to know better than to make mountains out of molehills, or grand-canyons from belly-buttons.
"The foolishness of God is wiser than men", and "God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise", 1Cor1:25. Is He allowed to round off numbers, or to change from days to years, like in a Day for 1,000 yrs.? It may be funny-malapropos to confuse one word with another; but it's a downright shame for The Word of God to be confused with the doctrines and ideas of long robed or long haired men.
HYPERBOLE. Appearances are sometimes deceiving, like optical illusions, and this word doesn't rhyme with bowl; but more like "canopy" or "epitome". It's the figure-of-speech meaning "exaggeration for effect", and not to be taken literally. From the Greek 'hyper', above or beyond, and 'ballein', to throw; it implies throwing a ball too high or too far--so figuratively this is what gets thrown or kicked around in the game of scriptural truth or consequences. As rhetoric we call it "garnishing the truth", or the artistic license of an orator to embellish his story with extras--a sprinkling of truth with some fiction, as it were. A parable often has some feature which exceeds the bounds of reality, and don't all fishermen "stretch the truth" some, concerning the number they caught, or the big one that got away?
Hyperbole is next door neighbor to lying, and sometime's the fence between them gets completely broken down; as when the movie screen portrays Christ stumbling under the weight of the wooden cross (not found in scripture), or when they toy with our emotions by describing how the cat o' nine tails used to whip Him was an unusually torturous type. They're either using tradition, or fanciful hyperbole, to stress the suffering of Christ, and it sets a style and precedent for a very loose and generalized interpretation of God's Word (putting words in His mouth, so to speak), and many people accept it as gospel truth without ever bothering to check it for accuracy. It's a rare book or script indeed that doesn't wander from the explicit Word, but only those who know their Bible are aware of the deviations. Because of the movies and Charleton Heston we're apt to think of Moses as a dynamic and forceful speaker, but scripture says 'No', that the speaking was done by his brother Aaron. Ex4:10. .
To say that someone is 'strong as an ox', or 'faster than greased lightning', or 'slower than molasses in January', isn't meant to be taken literally; nor is it said with the intent to deceive. If I've told you something 'a million times', and you only remember hearing it Heinz fifty-seven, consider it hyperbole and try not to get bent out of shape. If I say "You always make a mess of things", and you recollect the time you did it neatly and smoothly; just say 'hyperbole' to yourself ten times. This is the figure that uses those all-inclusive generalities to greatly increase the odds and the degree of affliction. "They're all monsters!" (speaking of 3rd graders), or "Nobody gives me a chance"...speaking of the crew at the office or on the job. Haven't we all been guilty of using these exaggerated expressions? Can we say to God that He's not allowed?
One of our daughters, Billie Colleen, married an Anapolis graduate, Sam Graham, so now we explain with tongue-in-cheek how we're "the parents of Billy Graham"! Also, my niece Susan married a man with the last name 'Branch'. She's a noted hostess and cook-book author, and so I think it's only fitting to remind her how Jesus said he was the Vine and "we are the branches". She's a pretty one, too! "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation", 2Pet1:20, helps me to accept that family facts and personal things like these are simply accidental coincidences, and not necessarily orchestrated by the Almighty.
When I first read about the 700 wives and 300 concubines of Solomon, 1K11:3, it seemed to be an artificial and hyperbolic work of fiction. Especially since the numbers add up to an even 'thousand', and because the numbers "3" and "7" are used symbolically in other passages. God is not a man that he should lie, but is He allowed to round off numbers? There isn't another place in the Bible that demands such fantastic coincidence, to my way of thinking; unless perhaps it's the 144,000 of Rev 7 & 14. In retrospect, after much study and deliberation, I've come to believe it must have really happened that way, and is truth that is stranger than fiction, despite the stupendous (incredible?) specifics of numbers. It insinuates the figure of hyperbole (daring us to believe it!) because it's part of "The Word that is God", and who wrote the book, and who's a GOD OF LANGUAGE that is all-knowing, and who knows it ahead of time as well!
Poor Solomon! Did he ever have a moment to call his own, do you think? How did he ever find time to do all that mining and building, and still serve as king? Could he call all those women by name, I wonder? If I'm wrong about this being literally accurate, and discover in heaven that it was only 70 wives and 30 concubines (or some other numbers), will the Lord be angry with me? If we're on a point system for rewards, will I lose points for speculating, instead of simply (some would say 'blindly') accepting it?
"Mizpeh" (or 'Galeed', Gen31:47) means: "The Lord judge between me and thee", and I'd rather be found guilty of trying and missing, than of not trying at all.
Solomon had another name (a 2nd name: Jedidiah, 2Sam12:25), which means "Beloved of God" (the same as 'Theophilus' in Greek) and his role in scripture is to be a Son-of-David (as Jesus is, and as we're supposed to be), who builds a dwelling for the Lord. Solomon represents the N.T. believer who receives the needed materials in the form of Biblical wisdom, and uses them to build the New & Living Temple! Build your house on the Rock that is Christ! 1Cor10:4.
Solomon built that great physical-Temple (which eventually came down), but the 20th Century Church is a spiritual-Temple, individually and corporately, that's comprised of Living Stones (individuals); that will never be destroyed! God doesn't really dwell in a chest, or in man-made buildings, as we may have been inclined to believe from the Old Testament; but Acts7:48 says those things were an example for us to learn by! "For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning!" Rom15:4. Solomon built that magnificent physical structure using cedars of Lebanon, but it was the Temple of Cyrus that Jesus cleansed, and now it's the CHURCH who are "temples" and "trees of righteousness" and "lively stones"! Think about it!
The Jews back then had turned that old Temple into a place of merchandise, pretty much like some churches today, and Solomon's apostasy at the end of his reign is the Author's way of illustrating how the "temples" of today's Gentiles (the individual temples) have become a kaleidoscope of denominationalism, scientology, mind over matter, New Age, astrology, transcendental meditation, Bingo, Yoga, fetishes, crystals, reincarnation, psychic telepaths, extra-sensory-perception, the power of positive thinking, recreation, entertainment, the arts, sports, cults, etc., and "a thousand" other preoccupations. Which isn't necessarily to categorize all of these as evil or wrong; but it's indisputable when they reign supreme in those "temples"; nullifying and expunging the Word of God.
Those who buy the lie about reincarnation, but sell short the real truth, are the ones who have "strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel", Mt23:24--the kind of person who ridicules and makes tasteless jokes about the virgin birth (because the church hasn't taught the logic of it, so they don't know what it means), but desires to 'intelligently' discuss some amazing thing they've garnered from another source. Proving what Jesus said: "I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: it another shall come in his own name, him you will receive." Jn5:43.
A little learning is a dangerous thing, and individuals who use their own reasoning to debate the alcoholic content of the wine that Jesus changed from water (in his first miracle, Jn2:11), have a minuscule amount. They're barely one step ahead of those armchair generals who babble of His supposed boyhood miracles, and neither of these sidewalk superintendents has the spiritual insight to realize that Living Water is only changed into New Wine through the fermenting action of the Holy Spirit. Acts2:15/Lk5:38.
[In his poem "Essay on Criticism", published in 1711, Alexander Pope included the lines: "A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring". This was about a hundred years after the KJV Bible equated knowledge with drinking.]
HYSTERESIS. In physics this is called the lag that results from the change in forces applied; but in English it's the withheld or retarded (delayed) information 'figure' that holds back certain data; as in a mystery story where the writer wants to maintain the suspense until that final chapter. "A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterward". Pr29:11. This isn't the same as the parallax that results from a change in the viewer's position, although both of these conditions will figuratively alter a person's perspective and cause them to consider how it might look from another angle.
We don't give all the facts of life to our children right off the bat, and likewise the Bible withholds important information concerning Enoch, Esau, Melchisedek, etc. until the latter part of the Epistles. The name of Jesus was kept secret in the Old Testament (though he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev13:8), and even the first three gospels didn't let on that He'd been with the Father from the Beginning--it was the Apostle John who finally let that cat out of the bag, in Jn1:1.
Two Commandments! A study of the O.T. books is likely to convince most readers of the "first and foremost" posture of The Ten Commandments, but Jesus came and explained that the first two commandments in order of importance were from Deut6:5 and Lev19:18. Neither of these were highlighted in the O.T., although they both used the word "love" (not part of the Ten). Even the scribe that spoke to Jesus in Mk12:32 seemed to acknowledge this truth that had been swept under the carpet, so to speak; and which we can now recognize as the figure of hysteresis. The Great Author delayed this information (but it was there all the time), so that Jesus could refer to it and explain that it meant much more than they had supposed. Similarly, the information concerning the replacement of the Old Covenant by the New Covenant was revealed only gradually (Jer31:31), as though God had just then thought of it, and it wasn't until Paul explained the allegory of The Two Covenants, Gal 4:24, that it became evident that God had known about them all along!
Hysteresis what compels us to re-evaluate truth as we acquire new information, rather than rigidly adhering to the old school of our predecessors or ancestors that we'd previously held to. Scientists use this procedure routinely to discard old theories that the new facts show to be false. It's kind of like the blind man investigating an elephant: He felt of the trunk and said it was "like a snake", and then he felt of the leg and said it was "like a tree", and when he felt of the body he said it was "like a wall", and finally when he reached the tail he said it was "like a rope". All of them were truthful descriptions, but the totality took time to arrive at.
Circular Logic. Not always a "catch 22" (Durned if I do and durned if I don't'), but a cleverly written mystery will introduce the puzzle in the opening chapters, and add sufficient information to allow you to come to certain conclusions in the middle of the text, and then it will cause you to change your mind concerning your previous position; and to re-think the clues that were given. It may even plant a 'red herring' or two, to throw you off. In the final chapter is where it all comes together, and the author supplies the final information and identifies the real culprit. In Scripture, Satan isn't unmasked as the Serpent until Rev12:9, and Jesus isn't identified as the Lion until Rev5:5, and although the O.T. spoke about bitter water, still water, deep water (Ezek47), and wells of water; the Author left it for the Book of Revelation to speak plainly of "The River of Water of Life", Rev22:1.
We read in Dt4:24 that God is a CONSUMING FIRE, and in Isa54:5 that He is a HUSBAND, and in Jer2:13 that He is A FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS, and in Jn4:24 that He is a SPIRIT, and in 1Jn4:16 that He is LOVE. Surely our God is a ROCK, Ps18:31, with many faces; like a diamond with many facets.
Jesus told his disciples that he had more to tell them, but that they couldn't bear it just then. The Holy Spirit, he said, would come and reveal it to them. That's exactly the agenda that unfolds in the Book of Acts, and precisely why the words of Paul to the Gentiles must carry the same weight as the words of Moses to the Jews. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God", 2Tim3:16, and without Christ there are no Christians. If you don't believe Jesus is the Son of God, and consciously endeavor to act accordingly, you aren't "In Christ" and you are NOT a Christian! Rom10:9, Acts11:26.
CONDESCENSION. This is the figure that tells what Jesus did for mankind. Webster defines it: "To descend voluntarily to the level, regarded as lower, of the person one is dealing with." We act out this figure when we play hide & seek with our kids, or talk baby-talk to them, or when we pretend to nibble on the baby's toes. It's a very legitimate figure that may be used by policemen who speak to an elementary class, or a Senator who addresses a graduation, or by a member of one ethnic group to another; and it's apt to be used by anyone who considers himself superior to the ones he's addressing. Beware of using this figure on another adult--he won't like it even a little bit if he thinks you're condescending to him. "Who do you think you are, Buster?" What right have you to speak to me like that? "I'll be the judge of that: Nobody, but nobody, tells me what to do!" Because authority is involved, condescension is a very powerful figure of speech.
A reading of the first three gospels makes it seem as though Jesus was simply born as a baby like everyone else, but from then on the story makes it increasingly clear that he'd had a previous life with the Father before being born on earth. From John's Gospel through Revelation we learn about how he condescended to come to Earth to be an example for us, and a Saviour & Deliverer, and to be a Son of God in the flesh!
Rom8:3: "God sending his own son in the likeness of human flesh.."
Heb10:5 "..a body hast thou prepared me.."
Phil 2:7 "Took upon him the form of a servant; made in the likeness of men.."
Jesus came to earth disguised as a human being--looking like mankind--just as Jacob put on the goatskins and clothing to look like hairy Esau. Jesus won back for us the blessings that had originally been lost by Adam; just as Jacob obtained the blessing that was initially intended for Esau.
"We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery; even the HIDDEN WISDOM,
which God ordained before the world, unto our glory:
Which none of the rulers of this world knew: for had they known,
they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." 1Cor2:7.
Jesus tricked Satan into crucifying him, just as Jacob tricked Esau out of the blessing. Now God could justifiably raise Christ from the dead, as well as all who identify with him and become Christians. The Body-of-Christ, the Church, will share in the life of the flesh (as he did), and will do the works of God (as he did), and will rise on "the 3rd Day" (as he did). Jesus was limited to one place at a time, as we are, but now there are hundreds throughout the world who have followed his example and been born-again and anointed by that same Holy Spirit, and received the spiritual Power of Attorney to do the works of God.
The coat of many colors that was made especially for Joseph by his father Jacob, is analogous to the garment or vesture given to Jesus by his heavenly Father--it was a body that represents eternal salvation to all colors and races of mankind! Once you see this symbolism of God's hidden truth, it won't be possible to be a racist, or to imagine that God prefers one color of flesh over another. Jesus took on a physical body when he came to earth, but he's coming back to claim a spiritual body of believers who have followed him in baptism, and abided in his Word. First the physical body--then the spiritual body--it's a logical lesson of Scripture!
"All flesh is not the same...there is one kind of flesh of men, another of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds." 1Cor15:39 "There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies, but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another." 1Cor15:40. "Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.. 1Cor15:51   Looking forward to your new body? Hoping it will be nice looking, and not that of a warthog or cockroach?
The first miracle of Moses was to turn the water to blood; but the first miracle of Jesus was to turn the water to wine, because "by the Law came the knowledge of sin unto death", but it's the spirit of Life in Christ that has set us free from that (mental) bondage. Joseph's coat-of-many-colors that his brothers dipped in blood and showed to Jacob, was only circumstantial evidence of his death; but the garment that Jesus left behind was a "body" of corpus delicti evidence!
ANTHROPO-MORPHISM. From 'anthropo', a human, and 'morphus', a form or figure; this literally translates as "figure or form of man". Webster calls this "the attributing of human shape or characteristics to a god, animal, or inanimate thing". It's not always easy to distinguish this from Personification; the figure in which an object or quality or idea, is represented as a person.Does the eye of God have a cornea and pupil as ours does? Is He simply a larger hunk of flesh than we are? Does his arm have sinews and muscle? Is he ribbing us (joking/teasing) or 'pulling our leg' about His Word? Does he have feathers, as Ps91 indicates? Remember, Jesus used the bird-analogy too:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets (Did the City do it?) ..How often would I have gathered thy children, even as a hen gathers her chickens.." Mt23:37.
Some days we're so busy wrestling alligators that we forget that we started out planning to drain the swamp. No alligators in the Bible, but our modern vernacular understands alligators are more like 'a problem'.
Spiritual things must be understood as having certain parallels and comparisons to our physical world, without insisting on 100% conformity. In analogy, the two things being compared are never quite the same--the example cannot be exactly like the subject, so the differences must be discounted and set aside.
To borrow from Shakespeare: "Friends, Christians, and Infidels; Lend me your ears"...since you don't seem to be using them. The Day of the Lord will come "as a thief in the night", 1Thes5:2/2Pet3:10, doesn't mean that He's coming with evil intentions, but that it will probably be without fanfare, or advance notice, or engraved invitations.
Jewel Thief! He won't be stepping on the earth during his first return (when he comes after his jewels (Malachi 3:17). It will be on his second return that lightning will announce Him to all the world!
From Adam to the present time, the Scripture analysis shows three (3) approximately equal periods of time: 2,000 years each (20 centuries) for the Genesis Period, the Old Covenant Period, and the New Covenant Period; amounting to a comparative trichotomy. Earlier editions of Webster's Dictionary compares trichotomy to the Spirit, Soul, and Body of man (q.v. 1Thes5:23); but later editions delete it; revealing the modern trend away from references to the Bible.
Moses was told to "stand on a rock", Ex33:21, and the Lord said he would cover him with his hand, and he would see his back parts; but that his face wouldn't be seen. Now the N.T. tells us to stand on the Rock that is Christ, 1Cor10:4, and that no man has seen God at any time. So Moses saw something of God, or got a glimpse; but didn't see Him in the fullest sense of the Word; just as we can see the sun with our peripheral vision, but can't look closely with the naked eye--nor see him spiritually without donning the garments he sent us to wear to the wedding--the Robe of Righteousness, the Garment of Praise, and the Armor of God!
Everybody see's the hand of Mom or Grandma when they see the table spread with a delicious meal, or the house tidied up spic & span, Maybe they see the hand of Junior if the car is washed or the grass is cut. We can't see the wind, but we learn to use its power in windmills and sailing ships--we can't see electricity, but we learn how to use it, and teach it to others by using examples of how water flows through pipes, and how lines of magnetic force may be seen in the pattern of iron filings.
Chairs have arms, tables have legs, the bed has a foot, and the needle has an eye--all of these are anthropomorphisms that allow us to relate to them in familiar terms. The child sees the object and identifies it by name. He sits on the chair, and places things on the table; perhaps threads the needle. Some years later he discovers that 'chair' is also a verb that goes with a committee, and that 'table' is something you can do with a report you don't like. The analogy between the physical and mental (or figurative) may be obscure, but you can usually find it if you persevere; and aren't living in some backwoods or remote area of the world. The thread that goes into the eye of a needle is like the light that goes into the human eye, and to pick up the thread of the conversation is to grasp what's being said.
All learning follows this same pattern! We have to understand at a lower level before progressing to a higher level. We have to understand what we see, before we can graduate to things we don't see, and the persistent and diligent person will still have to learn about things that are plainly said, before he'll be ready to learn of the hidden meaning behind them.
A good way to hide something is to put it in plain sight, where everyone can see it; but then disguise it so nobody recognizes it for what it is. The best way to encrypt a message is to convince the examiner that it doesn't contain a hidden message, or that it isn't true (the Cassandra effect). Jesus said in Mt11:25, "I thank thee...because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." Not real babies, mind you, but newborns in Christ, who has assumed His Word is true, and simply want to know how and why. "Why, Daddy?" "Manna, Abba?" Rom8:15, 1Cor3:1.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good", 1Thes5:21, matches the Old Testament scripture: "The simple believes every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going." Prov14:15.
SYNECDOCHE. Webster calls this: "a figure of speech in which a part is used for a whole, an individual for a class, a material for a thing, or the reverse of any of these." He says it's "a receiving together", or as we might say today: Everything lumped into one. We might ask for her hand in marriage, or they might announce "All Hands on deck", when it's the entire person they desire to be activated.
This is the figure of the corporation concept that begins as a single unit and grows into a family, a clan, a dynasty, a nation, etc. When one of a thing represents more than one or many (like in the Trinity), or when the many are all lumped together; it's synecdoche, and it's the one man Adam who represents all of fleshly mankind who dies; and it's the one saviour Jesus who represents spiritual mankind who receives eternal life.
Ezekiel chapter 16 is a notable example of synecdoche, where God first see's the City of Jerusalem as a newborn baby girl who hadn't yet been swaddled or salted, or even had the umbilical cord tied off. Nobody pitied her, God said, but He had caused her to grow through puberty into a beautiful nubile young woman who was ready for love and to be a wife; but she was unfaithful and didn't raise her children properly, and wound up being a harlot. In reality the subject of this chapter is the Hebrews themselves, who by now have been carried off 'captive' to Babylon, where Ezekiel writes from. The baby girl is a non-person, fictitious; but symbolically the segment of society who aren't faithful to the One True God.
In the New Testament the synecdoche figure is used for the church that is the Body of Christ with many members--one body, but a large "membership". 1Cor12:13. In the Old Testament it was Jacob who had his name changed to "Israel", and who sired the dozen sons that became the 12 tribes, and subsequently grew into the Nation of Israel. When God said "Israel is my Son, even my firstborn", Ex4:22, he wasn't speaking of just a single individual, but of that entire collective nation of "The Children of Israel". He looked upon all of them as "One Son"--a corporate contrast to the earlier firstborn 'Adam'. Luke 3:38.Scripture substitutes one thing for another: days are put for years, horses are put for actions, wisdom is termed "she", words are called fruit, deliverance is called bread, and cities are spoken of as ideological dwellings. People are called trees, stones, clay, bread, etc. Jeremiah 3:1 asks the question: "If a man leaves his wife, and she remarries; shall he return to her again?. .won't that land be greatly polluted? The analogy compares the fruit of the harvest to the fruit of the womb; and both are meant to be fruitful! When someone else intrudes into the conversation it's often said: "Aha! Another country heard from!"
"God called his Son out of Egypt". Mt2:15/Hos11:1. Moses delivered the Children out of there, and Jesus was called out of there as a boy -- from that geographical location and country of the pyramids -- but the covert meaning is that God calls each and everyone of us to come out from our worldly thinking, and separate ourselves to Him. 2Cor6:17. The first great Passover was the ceremony that preceded their departure from Egypt, and thereafter they observed it annually; but under the New Covenant today we fulfill it individually whenever we accept Him as the True Lamb of God, and begin to "eat The Word". It's when we forsake the ways of the world that we "come out of Egypt". When we don't do it, we have only ourselves to blame for the consequences.
If a child isn't brought up in the way he should be, it isn't his fault. In computer terminology the "default" refers to the way the item was initially configured, and the baby had no choice in the matter, but he's the one who suffers for it, and learns to cope with it, and it's probably a primary reason Jesus was sent: to enable people to get their lives turned around and straightened out. Once we see how we've wronged others and put false data into their systems, it's easier to forgive those who've done us wrong; as we realize when we read the hyperbolic parable of Mt18:23, concerning the heartless servant who was himself forgiven an enormous debt, but then wouldn't forgive someone who owed him a paltry amount.
It doesn't seem fair sometimes, when the criminals get away with murder and aren't punished for it, and we're often outraged that it takes so long to catch them and convict them. The Law of Scripture is a precedent for the Law of the Land, and we all have a right to expect our courts to administer justice speedily and to the full extent. Everybody, Christian & Heathen alike, should be law abiding, or suffer the dire consequences. "The way of the transgressor is hard!" Pr13:15.
On the other hand, the Grace period of the N.T. is what compares to the mercy of God in giving us time to repent; and now that Jesus has reconciled us to the Father, it's like he "lets the chips fall where they may" during this lifetime (before the Tree of Flesh gets chopped down), and only permits prayer and The Word to intervene in the meantime. Without God's protective covenant covering, you're simply at the mercy and whim of the devil! Lots of luck, chum!
Noah's youngest son Ham "uncovered his father's nakedness", but it was the next-in-line Canaan who received the curse; and centuries and generations later it was the Canaanites who wound up homeless because of the invading Israeli's. Ham's crime was a mystery; delayed by hysteresis until the Law of Leviticus 20:11 showed it to be a sexual sin involving Noah's wife, and that her husbands presence wasn't even required! Significantly, I believe, neither she nor Ham are ever mentioned again, and yes, the people of that early generation were actually into incest and bestiality and perversions of every sort! Lev20:23. (Egypt is called 'the land of Ham' in Ps105:23, as a further reminder for us to separate ourselves from that symbol of the cursed.)
This episode helps teach how the Bible is an unfolding revelation that presents certain peculiar situations that aren't explained until further along. Genesis doesn't give you a clue about how Noah knew to tell the difference between the clean and the unclean animals; and it wasn't until the Law was given that we learned the difference; and it wasn't until Peter's vision of the sheet from heaven that we finally learned how the clean animals represented the Jew, and the unclean were the Gentiles.
An orderly and scientific mind may be skeptical of the Biblical account that describes how we're all descended from the 3 sons of Noah, but any good encyclopedia documents the 3 races of mankind: the Negroid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid are categories established by anthropologists who weren't necessarily pro-Christian. The stereotypes of these races today are undoubtedly the product of evolution and inbreeding, but the contention is actually moot, because all of us are descended from Adam, through Noah; and so even the 3 branches are derived from that one seed.
"The letter kills, but the spirit gives life", 2Cor3:6. It's the "Letter of the Law" that says you must dot the i's and cross the t's, and teaches good grammar; but it's the spirit of love that reads the epistles without condemnation or prejudice, even when errors seem evident. The O.T. Law said "If you sin, you die", and called for specific procedures, but the N.T. spirit says "Come and be forgiven", and gives you incentive and an example to follow. The threat of the Law didn't stop the sin, for that requires a change of heart. Lowering the speed limit isn't likely to effect driving habits of rebellious individuals -- they have to acknowledge to themselves that the LAW is good, and resolve to change their ways.
EUPHEMISM. When we use a polite or inoffensive word or expression in place of one that might be considered rude, crude, or vulgar; it's a euphemism. That's the reason girls 'powder their noses', and boys go to 'see about a dog'. It's why we agree "You're probably right", when we're thinking "No way, Jose", and profess to things that we don't really believe, just to avoid trouble. Most excuses aren't used for deception, but are euphemisms to protect the relationship from confrontation.
In Judges 3:24 we read about the fat man of whom it was said: "He covereth his feet in his summer chamber". Just a 'nice' way of saying he was on the throne, in the bathroom!
Football fans understood. After scoring a touchdown, the receiver ran quickly to the goal posts. Turning his back to the end-zone crowd, he assumed a crouching position and made a sweeping motion with both arms. Everyone interpreted the motion: he was "mooning the oppositon" -- a euphemistic charade!
When scripture reads "Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age", Gen15:15, it's like saying tactfully that he's going to die--a diplomatic way of sugar-coating a bitter pill, as it were, unless you believe with the Apostle Paul that it's "far better" to depart this life and to be with the Lord. Phil 1:23.
Instead of describing someone as "a plain Jane", or lapsing into an embarassing or poignant silence, we speak euphemistically to say she has a great personality; looking for her good points. Peacemakers are those who use kind words to smooth ugly situations, and Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers". But they aren't the only ones to use euphemisms: boot-lickers and snake-oil salesmen inflate this figure into lying fabrications, in order to sell their deceitful wares to the unwary. God see's the heart and knows the motive, but the unwary still have to suffer the consequences.
Years ago I heard the story of an obese man who went to a gypsy woman who had a magic recipe for losing weight. She sold him the recipe, but warned him about taking too much: that he shouldn't take more than 2 oz. per day, and in no event to exceed a total of 10 oz. before returning for further consultation.
So the fat man went home and mixed up the full recipe of 10 oz. and obediently took a 2 oz. dose; and the following morning when he stood on the scale, he was pleased to see that he'd lost 5 pounds. He hurried to take another dose of the potion, which was followed by another 5 lb. reduction of his weight, and this continued until he'd finally drank the entire 10 oz. and had lost 25 lbs. But his clothes still fit him as before, and he was impatient with what he thought was slow progress, and he decided the gypsy had erred in her instructions; so he mixed up another 10 oz. batch and drank it all down at once!
The following morning he woke to find himself floating on the ceiling of his bedroom! He'd lost all his weight!...but none of his fatness. The euphemism that he'd learned and accepted (substituting overweight in place of too fat) had tricked him into self-deception. A delusion isn't just a momentary oversight or forgetfulness, or mistake that can be quickly remedied, but is an erroneous belief maintained despite reliable evidence to the contrary. The Deluge of Noah's day was 40 days and nights of rainfall, but people today are drowning figuratively in a flood of ungodly counsel about the truth of Scripture. Symbolically they're drowning in this Sea of Humanity. Zealous Christians are sometime's called 'brain-washed' by their worldly or apathetic cousins, and it has a strong element of truth; but the real brain-formatting has been done by the subtle tactics of Satan's ministers who cause many to feel confident and secure because of their denominational affiliation, and imagine that going to church now and then is all that's required.
I heard of a tent-evangelist who kept getting unwanted and unappetizing food brought to him during services. He didn't want to hurt their feelings, but he couldn't stand the taste of their food. He solved the problem by digging a hole out back of the tent, and naming it "the Spot". Then when anyone asked how the food was, he could say that "it really hit the spot". Euphemistically speaking, that is.
PARADOX. "The opposite of what one might think", a paradox is an incredible or unbelievable statement that may somehow be true; a kind of verbal miracle or two-headed monster that pits one rational thought against another in a mental tug of war. Like when the irresistible force meets the immovable object, or like pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. A combatant ship is technically a Man-of-war, but not to her crew. Oxymorons such as "cruel Christian", or kosher-ham, or "compassionate barbarian", also qualify as paradoxical; as do irony's that contain a strong element of reversed meaning.
The paradox of water, H20, is in its composition of two volatile gases. Hydrogen, the lightest element, is what the dirigible Hindenberg was filled with; while oxygen is essential for combustion as well as respiration. The paradox is not only that a heavy liquid is formed by combining two light gases, but that the combination of two inflammables is what produces our chief fire fighting agent. And we have oceans of the stuff!
To add to the paradox of water is the well known fact that water is an excellent conductor of electricity--many sources warn us never to touch electrical appliances while standing in a bathtub. Not so well known, however, is the reason for it--even so-called fresh water contains tiny particles of salt--but when extreme measures are taken to remove every trace of salt, the water becomes an insulator that is able to be used for cooling magnetrons in high powered radars!
Salt is a 60/40 meal deal from God!Sodium chloride, 'salt', has the formula NaCl and is composed of sodium (Na)(39.3%) and chlorine (Cl)(60.7%). It's a compound having properties which differ greatly from the elements of which it is composed; namely, Sodium being a metal so dangerously unstable that it can burst into flame when exposed to water, and Chlorine is a lethal gas.
Because Jesus himself was "poured out like water", Ps22:14, and spoke of the difference between the water in the well, and the Living Water, Jn4:14, it certainly behooves us to consider this analogy very carefully. The salt of the earth will be removed one day, when Jesus returns for his church, and that may be the time when the fire & brimstone comes down; as it did in the days of Lot. Why else would Jesus have said "Remember Lot's wife", Lk17:32, in connection with the last days?
P is for Poem Lot's Wife
The Bible is chock-full of puzzling paradox, but a principal one is that we are Spirits who live in a body, somewhat like wearing an "earth-suit", and that new flesh and sinew and muscle will someday be formed upon our "dry bones", Ezek37, in the Resurrection. Even Adam noted the distinction between flesh & bone, Gen2:23, and it's the bone that represents the eternal part of man; without necessarily concluding that the identical molecules of bone are the ones to be used in the construction of the new body to come.
The lying prophet of 1Kings-13 is an oxymoron in the flesh; the epitome or personification of paradox. The story is about two prophets of God, and how one of them lied to the other, which resulted in the death of the one who bought the lie. The first prophet had been sent "by the Word of the Lord" to (1) deliver a prophecy to the City of Bethel, and (2) to return from there by a different route, and (3) to eat no bread nor drink no water there. Queer stipulations indeed!
He delivered a very remarkable prophecy to King Jeroboam, together with a miraculous healing demonstration, and was headed back to Jerusalem by a different way as ordered, when the other prophet intercepted him and invited him to eat with him. When he declined, saying that he wasn't allowed, the second prophet lied to him and said that an angel had told him it was all right; whereupon the first prophet accepted the invitation and they sat down and shared food and drink together. It was at this point that the lying prophet pointed the finger at the other one and declared: "Because you didn't obey The Word of the Lord, your dead body won't occupy the tomb of your father."
Sure enough, the first prophet was killed by a lion as he was leaving ("Satan goes about as a roaring lion", 1Pet5:8), and the lying prophet mourned over him and saw to it that he was buried in the same grave that he himself would oneday occupy. There's no denying that both of them were really "Men of God", but it's clearly a PARADOX in capitals when a lie is attributed to a Godly source. It was teaching a hard lesson, and no doubt for OUR benefit!
"But though we, or AN ANGEL from heaven, preach any other
gospel...let him be accursed!" Gal 1:8.
We don't have to be taken in anymore by people who have "a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge", Rom10:2, and we definitely don't want the curse of the gospel of Mormon that they claim was brought by the Angel Moroni, nor the curse of the Koran that allegedly came by the Angel Gabriel.
Beth-El means "House of God", and when you come from there, it should be different (a changed person) from the way you went in; and the food from another prophets table may be suitable for him, but there's no substitute for the personal and genuine Word of Scripture. "To him that knows to do good, and does it not; to him it is sin". Jas4:17. Under the New Covenant "If we drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt us", Mk16:18, but that only applies to the believers of Truth, and others continue to be poisoned by the deadly doctrines of men and of angels.
Folks today regard "Jews for Jesus" nearly as an oxymoron, forgetting how those first "Christians" were Jews who knew the Scripture and recognized how Christ fulfilled the O.T. by going to the cross. Ironically, the Orthodox Jews of today are looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, as are the Christians. Each in their own way, behaving and conducting themselves according to what they believe.
"But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshiper shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him." Jn4:23.
Worship means 'to bow down to', or 'kiss the hand' -- symbolically demonstrating the subservience of the worshiper and the supremacy of the one being worshiped. The Apostle John was forbidden to worship his own kind, and told to worship God only. Rev19:10. We love and respect one another, but to worship them (to worship men) is called idolatry! As for me and my house, we will worship the Father only, in the name of Jesus, and thank Him for sending his wisdom in Christ; and we won't join in with the vain worship of angels or saints or men in long robes. It might cause us to lose our place in line for that great feast in heaven!
METONYMY. From the Greek prefix 'meta', for change, and 'onama', for name; this figure translates literally as "new name", or "changed name". It's one of the principal themes of Scripture, beginning in Genesis where Abram has his name changed to Abraham, and Jacob is changed to Israel; and continuing into the N.T. where Saul becomes Paul after his conversion. Those who haven't been taught the scripture are ignorant of this illustrative method that introduces the new name of Jesus. Metonymy applies to Jehovah also: "I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob by the name of GOD ALMIGHTY (Hebrew 'El Shaddai'), but by my name "Jehovah" was I NOT known to them". Ex6:3. [The sobriquet "JAH" is read in Ps68:4.] Another new-name for God was "I AM THAT I AM", and Jesus identified with that statement by saying: I AM the Life, I AM the Light, I AM the Vine, etc. The KJV reads that he said: "Before Abraham was, I AM". Jn8:58.
"And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness...and you shall be called by a new name.." Isa62:2.
The Prophet Isaiah deluged us with a cataract of metonymies: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isa9:6.
The O.T. name for Immanuel is spelled with an "I", and in the N.T. it's spelled with an "E"; and many other name differences may be credited to the change from Hebrew to Greek. Discerning students may question the odd way the gospels spell the names of Elisha, Elijah, and Isaiah; and it isn't easy to detect that Ezekiah and Osee in the N.T. are the same as Hezekiah and Hosea of the O.T., but these facts are assurance to me that those who were making copies of the sacred scripture were too devoted to make unauthorized changes or corrections.
The new-name theme applies also to the use of surnames. They weren't used at all in the O.T., although Isaiah spoke of them: "For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me." Isa44:5, 45:4.
Surnames began to be used in the N.T. and it was Jesus who personally surnamed Simon with the last name of Peter. His given name was Simon, but after that he was called Peter, and Jesus also told him he would be called Cephas, meaning 'a stone'. Other N.T. persons with surnames included John Mark, Judas Iscariot, and Lebbaeus Thaddaeus.
Nowadays its an accepted and usual practice for the children to take the surname of the father, and for the wife to acquire a new-name when she marries, and it's hard to imagine the time when that wasn't the case. It's a well known particular that the brothers James & John, of Zebedee their father, were known as "the Sons of Thunder", but it's meaningful to realize that Jesus gave them the family name of "Boanerges", Mk3:17, when he surnamed BOTH of them. Scripture never says so, but the evidence indicates that their father's full name would be Zebedee Boanerges in the custom of today, and that Simon Peter's brother Andrew would also be surnamed Peter.
When you receive Salvation by taking Jesus as Lord (to raise up that new-name); it's like a marriage where you're the bride who says "I do" in front of witnesses, and who puts away your old name to begin your new life as John Q. or Mary K. CHRISTIAN!
ELLIPSIS. This is the figure of omission, that leaves out a portion of a word or expression for effect, or 'to make a long story short', or like when we say "You'd better do it, or else..." The unsaid portion may use innuendo or insinuation to say more by its silence than if it were graphical. The word ellipsis is cousin to the geometrical figure of the ellipse that 'falls short' of a full circle; thus leaving out a portion. In grammar it's the apostrophe that fills in for omitted letters like the o in can't; and ellipsis points are those dots . . . which indicate something has been left out of the quotation or text. The three stars in Orion's belt are a heavenly ellipsis to remind us that the constellations represent living creatures or objects that can't literally be seen, but must be visualized according to ancient lore. It isn't a "connect the dots" problem, but is more like the job of anthropologists who try to reconstruct a creature's appearance by examining the bones.
Scripture doesn't reveal everything!
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples,which are NOT written in this book; but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name".Jn20:30.
If you're the kind of person who reads a contract before signing it, then it may be as important to read through the Bible for the purpose of learning what it doesn't say; as for what it says. Many subjects aren't spoken of at all: tobacco, pianos, bathing suits, cremation, dinosaurs, pyramids, etc., and even though the O.T. Law covered a great many situations, it left many questions unanswered, and required judges to hear and reconcile the difficult cases. Now, under the N.T. Covenant, it's the Law of Love, and "Doing unto others..." that governs Christian conduct; without forgetting that punishment under the Law is a Biblical precept that has NOT passed away! Unless good judges and police enforce the Civil & Criminal Codes mandated by a God fearing people, corruption and atrocities will flourish like weeds in an untended garden.
My wife was whistling happily one morning in Jamaica when a woman approached and inquired if she didn't know the scripture that said 'Crowing hens and whistling women are a reproach unto God'. Maroline assured her there is no such verse in the Bible, but even though the person didn't know where it might be located, it was clear that she didn't believe my wife's denial. People get fixed ideas of what they think is in the Bible, and it takes more than dynamite to uproot them.
Our Planet Earth seems to be the only one that's been furnished with running water; and if it's been singled out as some kind of Divine rookery to raise up Sons-of-God, 1Jn3:1, would that be so audacious? If invisible atoms are the building blocks of visible matter, is it so incredible that faith could be the building block for the invisible that really matters? If each star represents a believer [lights in the midst of perverse darkness], why are there so many?
AMBIGUITY. From a root meaning 'to wander or waver', an ambiguous word or expression is one that has two or more interpretations, as in "the blind man picked up his hammer and saw", or as the minister says to the newlyweds: "May all your troubles be little ones". These are 'plays-on-words', or epigrams; but ambiguities also include those serious passages where the author uses obscure or equivocal phrases, or doesn't provide enough amplifying information in the immediate context to enable the reader to tell which way it should be understood. This figure is double-trouble because people aren't always aware of the alternate meaning(s), and some see it one way, and some the other, according to their experience and background. It's the figure that may well be the taproot of OUR CONFOUNDED LANGUAGE, as well as of our divisive denominationalism.
James tells us that "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways", Jas1:8. You may want to believe the Bible, but the ambiguities and seeming absurdities compels you to question how it's to be believed, and asks: "Can you believe something you don't understand?" (In the Parable of the Sower, it was the one who didn't understand who was like the seed that fell by the wayside.) Luke12:7 tells us "even the hairs of your head are all numbered". I used to complain to the Lord about the number getting smaller every day, and not until after the advent of DNA numbering did it ever occur to me how God knows the end from the beginning and also how each of us can be identified by the DNA count in only a single hair! It took the passage of time to learn this, and it's why I consider the understanding to be a kind of "hindsight" (2Sam22:34) when we compare the New with the Old.
This is a logic which parallels what they're saying about the ELS Bible Code -- that it wasn't until the computer had been invented that it was possible to probe the Hebrew text (Torah) for "secret" messages derived from Equidistant Letter Spacing.
It takes a humble and teachable spirit to see both sides of an ambiguity, and to interpret it according to all-Scripture instead of to a first impression. Three scriptures help to illustrate the problem:
Psalm 37:4. "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give you the desires of your heart". Does this mean that He'll give you the white pony you've been wanting; or does it mean he'll give you a change of heart that wants a red wagon..? Phil 2:3 reads "It is God which works in you..to do of His good pleasure". It's probably more important that we recognize both possibilities, than that we judge one to be 'right', and the other 'wrong'.
John 6:44. "No man can come to me, except the Father...draw him". Does this mean that a person must sit tight and wait for God to make the first move, or did Jesus mean that man's search for his roots or Creator would lead him to the Son? "God has dealt to every man the measure of faith", Rom12:3, and "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you", Jas4:8, inclines me to the latter understanding.
John 9. This entire chapter is devoted to the man who was born blind, and the disciples wanted to know who had sinned: Was it the man; or was it his parents? They knew the scriptures teach that the curse of sickness is a consequence of sin and they wanted to know who was the individual at fault--who to put the blame on.
Jesus replied that NEITHER was the case; that neither the man, nor his parents, had sinned. (Think about it..) He went on to say: "..But that the works of God should be made manifest in him (his eyesight restored)..I must work the works of Him that sent me." If you believe God caused this man to be blind all his life just so Jesus could come along and do a miracle of healing for everyone to see--you missed it! Sickness is the leaven of sin that has infused all corporate mankind, and like the rain that falls on the just and unjust; it doesn't only happen to sinners, "but time & chance happens to everyone", Ecc9:11. You can load the dice in your favor, or play with those that Satan furnishes--take your pick.
There's a difference between the physical health that is of utmost importance to us in this life, and the spiritual health (a sound mind) which carries the potential of eternal remorse in the life to come. Our God isn't the one who brings sickness, but it's clear that he has permitted sin to exist for a specific period, and that we have only ourselves to blame if we don't take advantage of the truth He's given us. You don't blame the manufacturer of an automobile when it slams into a tree and you weren't wearing your seat-belts.
Ambiguous sayings are at the heart of the many various interpretations of scripture. Amazingly, some of the meanings are the opposite of the other, so that if you misunderstand, you'll be thinking the reverse of the other! I've selected these seven (7) examples of ambiguity because of the unusual and significant way the Bible uses them.
1. WAIT 2. ROD 3. DIVIDE 4. SUBMIT 5. KNOW 6. BEFORE 7. SUCCEED
1. WAIT. "Those that WAIT upon the Lord shall renew their strength", Isa40:31. The verse goes on to say that they'll walk and they'll run. Is this like the wait we do in the doctor's office, where we sit and do nothing; or is it like what the waiter does in the restaurant; to get busy and serve? When decision time rolls around, do we just sit there until something develops, or do we get up and get going? Do both apply at the appropriate time? If I've been waiting to hear from the Lord for umpteen months with no results, should I go ahead and make the plunge and do what I think is right? (Personally, I favor this latter view, and it's the reason I'm spending all this time at the keyboard).
2. ROD. Webster lists five different meanings for this word, and all of them may be metaphorically applied to Jesus! A rod is (1) a symbol of authority, like a scepter, or conductor's baton, and (2) a unit of measurement; a standard, as in a yardstick or meter-stick, and (3) a switch; as in 'from one to the other', or like what should be used on naughty children, and (4) a fishing pole, and (5) a stick.
The ROD held by Moses was his symbol of authority over the Children of Israel, and when it was thrown down by Aaron, Ex7:10, it became a serpent that could be picked up again; just as Jesus came down from heaven to be our sin, 2Cor5:21. As THE WORD manifest in the flesh, he's our authority and standard for the Truth of God; who was raised from the dead and ascended on high to be our High Priest in heaven!
The switch is never used on children who have only made a mistake, or forgotten, or haven't done precisely as you told them; but is reserved for when they challenge rightful authority--when they knowingly rebel and say "No". They may not pay much attention to reason, or to your lectures, but they'll respect the authority of the switch when it's properly applied (in love) to their 'seat of learning'.
Jacob's cattle conceived when they came to drink! Gen30:37. The story reminds me of the woman who asked her doctor for advice to prevent pregnancy, and he told her to drink three large glasses of water. "Before?...or afterwards?", she wanted to know; and he replied "Instead of!"
Jacob had peeled strips of bark (cortex) from trees, so that the cattle would look on those visual 'rods', and then they produced offspring that were blotched! Any good veterinarian will assure you it really doesn't work this way; but symbolically when you thirst for righteousness, you can be born-again and "conformed to the image" of the Son, Rom8:29, by keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus. Ps2:9.
The Rod and Standard for Christianity is the Bible, and all other writings are false by comparison. Now that it has been established by the Two Covenants, it's concluded and finalized; just as the word of Isaac was 'forever settled' when he gave the blessing to Jacob instead of to Esau. Now that I know the meaning of the original WORD you can't fool me with any counterfeits, and anyone who gives priority to a book other than the Bible has definitely got "the cart before the horse"!
I used to wonder how the nations in the Old Testament could be so stupid (or naive?) as to worship gods and idols that they'd built with their own hands. Could people actually be that ignorant? Was it simply a form of cultural superstition like knocking on wood, or avoiding black cats or standing ladders? Were those ancient heathen worshipers just a forerunner of the present day homo sapiens who follow after rabbits foots and crystal balls and astrology? Of course, people don't just do those things from wicked hearts of maliciousness, but it's hard to forget that they're essentially thumbing their nose at God's Truth, and preferring to put their trust in the Word of Darwin, Einstein, Farrakan, O'hare, McLaine, Mohammed, or someone who seems to speak their own language. They create and construct their own god from the figment of their imagination, instead of believing the Genesis to Revelation authentic Truth.
3. DIVIDE. Two contrary thoughts are contained in this ambiguous word--to distribute (give away, or hand out), and to separate (fraction or schism). The O.T. covenant was a 'cutting' illustrated by dividing the animals with a knife, and draining off the blood, and roasting and eating the flesh. The N.T. covenant requires the Sword of the Spirit to rightly-divide (correctly understand) the Scripture. Dividing the food of God (serving it up correctly) is what separates the wheat from the chaff, and the sheep from the goats, so the N.T. covenant is a 'cutting covenant' of a different sort.
Year after year the priests in the O.T. carried animal blood into the Holy Place, but the veil between the two Holy Places wasn't torn until Jesus was on the Cross; signifying that his blood was permanent! If todays Jews succeed in re-starting the animal sacrifices, it will be a wasteful exercise in futility. "Old things are passed away; all things are become new!" 2Cor5:17. There'll be no returning to that Old Covenant dispensation.
4. SUBMIT. To submit a term paper is a physical action, but to submit to proper authority is a mental attitude. The first is active; the other is passive. It's similar to "Let", as in 'let out the seams' (active), or 'let come what may' (passive), or to "commit", meaning to do or perpetrate; and it's ambiguous brother which means to mentally purpose, or to be dedicated. The same scripture that says "Submit yourself to God", goes on to say "Resist the devil and he will flee from you", Jas4:7. But how can you resist a devil that you can't see, and don't acknowledge his existence? ..Only by submitting to God and learning his Word.
5. KNOW. "Adam knew Eve, his wife, and she conceived.." Gen4:1. This word is a euphemism for 'had intercourse with', that nearly always resulted in pregnancy. God isn't opposed to sex--he saw that it was good, after he created them male & female, and He's smart enough to realize that sex without marriage is like a horse without a carriage, and leads to babies without parents, and broken homes, and immorality, etc., etc. The desire to know a woman is what draws a man to covenant with her--to strike a bargain or make a deal. Marriage to one wife is the arrangement God prefers, Titus 1:6. The Covenant of Marriage between a man and woman is like God's Covenant, and neither of them begins until the day a person stands up in front of others and says "I do", in a public proclamation and vow to forsake the old ways and cleave to the new Covenant Partner.
If you want to know God, you'll have to covenant with Him, and it isn't something you can cheat on, or cross your fingers about, because it's a spiritual covenant and he already knows whether you'll keep your word or not. That doesn't mean you're predestinated one way or the other--only that you aren't fooling Him, and with whatever measure you serve him, he'll serve you, Mt7:2, for the remainder of your life!
Maybe you were a committed sinner that didn't abide by any of the Christian rules, and perhaps even lived like the sleazy devil himself; but Jesus accepts you the way you are, and gives you a fresh start. Doesn't the sun come up every morning? To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in Phil 3:13, "Forget those things in the past, and resolve to do better in the future". That's water over the dam, or under the bridge; so don't cry over spilt milk; and straighten up, if you want to fly right!
6. BEFORE. There's a priority 'before', and a positional 'before'. If I say "I was here before you" (priority) it means that at an earlier time I was here, and that we weren't necessarily here together. There's a time difference. If I say "I'll have to stand before the Judge" (positional), it means that He and I will both be present, and I'll be standing in front of him. No time difference.
The Ten, the Two, and the New. The beginning of the Ten Commandments reads "Thou shall have no other gods before me". It's a technical error to call this the First Commandment, because Jesus said "The first and great commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, & mind", Mt22:38. He didn't disavow the Ten, but he said there were two that were greater. You may call this nit-picking or straining at gnats, but I call it paying close attention to the literal words of my Lord. The Ten were over-shadowed by the Two, and just before he went to the Cross he gave his disciples a New commandment: "That you love one another; as I have loved you". Jn13:34, 15:13.
Should this commandment have read "Thou shalt have no other gods EXCEPT me" ?? Were the translators just struggling with the language, and came up with a weak sister or lame duck? Did it mean that if you'd previously served a different god, that you couldn't now switch and serve the Living God? Did Amalek say 'I'd rather fight than switch' -- did it keep any followers of Baal or Dagon or Chemosh from repenting and getting circumcised??
Honoring Father & Mother?Genesis tells of the purpose wherein a man will leave his father and mother, and "cleave" to his wife. (Be joined, adhere like glue). In the New Testament we learn of the spiritual marriage between Christ and the church; and so we LEAVE the customs of our parents to follow after the Bridegroom, the Word of God, the Living Truth. Eph5:31 refers.
The Gospels throw a different light on this O.T. command, with the parable of the virgins in Mt25. A virgin according to the flesh is someone who hasn't had a previous sexual encounter, but a spiritual virgin is one who has repented of past relationships and is now a faithful betrothed who keeps watching for the Bridegroom, and paradoxically, already bears fruit! The spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, etc. Gal 5:22. We have no other gods that come 'before' Him--it's Jesus who has the priority!
7. SUCCEED. The emphasis of this word shouldn't be on the winning, but rather on the overcoming; the win that follows a previous attempt. "To come next after another", or "to follow", is the initial meaning assigned by Webster. Other definitions are "to achieve or accomplish what was planned", and "to have success in a certain endeavor".
This word is used in a singular and puzzling way in The Widow's Law of Dt25:6. It only applied if the widow had no children, and then it stipulated that she MUST marry her brother-in-law, and "the firstborn which she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel." The brother-in-law could exercise an option to get out of the marriage (Boaz might not have married Ruth, if her nearest kinsman hadn't exercised this option), but the widow apparently had no alternative; even if the guy was an egg-head, or already married. It isn't clear which brother had priority if there were more than one; in fact, it was a law that raised many questions, and didn't provide the answers.
What's the purpose of this Law? ..To carry on the name, apparently. They didn't have surnames in the O.T. and it wasn't until the gospels came along that we began to read of their use, although Isaiah had prophesied of them--of those who would be given the family name of Israel. Isa44:5/45:4.
It wasn't the practice in those olden times, but now the custom of the wife taking the name of the husband is universally accepted. Christians who confess Jesus as their Lord should recognize they're entering into a spiritual marriage contract, and putting their old life behind them, and beginning to use the new name that's above all others. We often hear people giving lip service to his name, but it's only those wives that really have his power-of-attorney that are able to use it effectually; and the others are just taking his name in vain!
When a woman marries she begins a new life with a new name; and when a person takes Jesus for his Lord he should also begin living differently, and learning how to please Him. To get technical about whether we're only engaged or espoused, or fully married, is to miss the point; and many spiritual marriages are hastily entered into because of misplaced emotion, and wind up being annulled soon after, or end finally in separation or divorce because the wife is barren.
The widow's dead husband wouldn't actually be a brother of the newborn (he'd be 'Uncle'), but scripture uses "brother" ambiguously to contrast the brothers of flesh with brothers in the spirit. The 12 sons of Jacob were all brothers despite having four different mothers. In the Biblical sense, I can call my mother "brother", because we're both brothers to Christ. Rom8:17.
Because Jesus said: "Call no man Father", Mt23:9, it takes a lot of gall to address someone by that title (unless you already have the habit before you learn the truth). It would amount to malpractice (or at least malfeasance) for a Christian to disregard this; and I'd rather address him as 'Mother', because Jesus said that his mother and brother and sister were those who do the will of God. Not just hear it and say it's true; but actually doing what it says to do!
1Cor9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses (Deut 25:4) Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? (hypothetical: supposition, conjectural) 1Tim5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire...
The Sadducee's must have been familiar with The Widow's Law when they asked Jesus the hypothetical question concerning the woman who'd been married consecutively to the seven brothers. "Whose wife would she be in the Resurrection?", they wanted to know. Since a hypothesis is a kind of figure-of-speech that "supposes or imagines or assumes" a situation based upon known data; the Sadducee's had taken the story of Judah's sons and their marriage to the woman 'Tamar', and built upon it with their imagination to pose the question to Jesus. They didn't really believe in the Resurrection, we're told, so it was a fallacious question; but since the word 'resurrection' isn't used in the O.T. scriptures, perhaps they had technical and legal grounds for their unbelief.
To me it seemed to be a reasonable question that was scripturally motivated, but Jesus told them "You do err, not knowing the scriptures.." He went on to say that angels don't marry in heaven, but that information isn't contained in the O.T. Law, so it couldn't be what he meant about their ignorance. They didn't know the meaning! ..And the Jews of today don't understand it either; or if they do, they aren't saying.
The meaning is symbolic (call it figurative or allegorical or abstract if you prefer), and the first marriage that was fruitless (no children), is followed by (succeeded) by the second marriage which will be fruitful. The marriage between God and the Jews was unfruitful, but the marriage between God and the Gentiles has already born fruit! The "fruit of the spirit", Gal 5:22, is love, joy, peace, etc.
The first marriage, to the Jews, did not succeed (it was first, and had nothing to follow after), and it ended when Jesus said "It is finished" on the Cross, and dedicated the New Covenant (the succeeding new-marriage) in his own blood; once and for all. Permanently, so that we may now have a more abundant life, and be able to resist the devil, while we wait for Him to return to take us to the wedding supper. Isn't that a beautiful picture? Doesn't it make you want to succeed?...to repent of your old ways, and begin a truth-seeking life with Christ?
There's an individual and personal interpretation of this Widow's Law also: The two brothers are both YOU, and your old-brother of the flesh dies when you take Jesus as Lord. Like the way David succeeded Saul. Now you're raising up the new-brother ("the hidden man of the heart", 1Pet3:4), since you've been born-again. We're still in the flesh (and have to deal with it), but we live according to the spirit of Christ as his dual-nature demonstrated!
VULGARISM. From the Latin 'vulgaris' for multitude; this is the vernacular of the common people, the masses, rather than the intellectual hoy polloi, or upper-crust society; so it includes slang as well as crude and coarse words and phrases. A vulgarism often indicates the person lacks the vocabulary to express himself properly, or was oblivious to the timing or impropriety of the remark; unless he was using it for instance, or contrast, or to make a certain point.
Adults express their disapproval of vulgarisms to their children by admonishing them against certain subjects at the dinner table; because that's when the little ones will tell you about the bugger in their nose, or how the dog licked up the puke, or that they have to visit the poop deck. Is anyone so inured to words that they haven't wrinkled their nose at the TV commercials that advertise hemorrhoid cures or feminine douches? These probably aren't subjects for general discussion under any condition, but simply facts-of-life that everyone soon learns, even without formal education.
Some of the explicit outhouse vernacular in the KJV Bible has been refined out of other versions, but scripture is very blunt about some adult subjects, so teachers must be alert when they're dealing with children or mixed groups. Reading out loud from the Bible is excellent practice in sounding out unfamiliar words, and the vulgarisms are good training ground to teach that bad language is to be avoided, and that Christians have an obligation to be careful of what they say and do. "Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth". Pr6:2.
Children discuss these things themselves of course, and I couldn't help but smile when a new student at school extemporaneously substituted "donkey" for "ass", from Joshua 15:18.
ANACHRONISM. This figure refers to a wrong-time narrative. 'Ana', again, coupled with 'chrono', time; produces a definition of "the representation of a happening at other than it's correct time". Writers use it to bring us time-travel or flash-backs; and parenthetical statements frequently take the reader to other places and time frames.
The Bible is basically a chronological record but it includes some anachronisms, and one of the challenges facing the serious student is to sort out occurrences in their proper order. The Book of Job is an anachronism that probably took place during the Genesis period, and he may be the same Job who was the son of Issachar, Gen46:13, but that's only a conjecture because scripture doesn't confirm it anywhere.
Because of the way the four gospels (also the O.T. books of Kings and Chronicles) are interwoven and overlapping, the reader who pays close attention will note some apparent discrepancies or anomalies, which must be studied out to see how they fit. Suffice it to say that many scholars have thrown in the towel over some of these, and are unable to agree on the order of occurrence. That being said, the example I want to use is from 1st Samuel, concerning David and King Saul:
In chapter 16 Saul is troubled by an evil spirit and sends for David,son of Jesse, v.19, who came and played music that caused the evil spirit to depart. So David was known by Saul in this chapter. Chapter 17 is the renowned story of the battle between David & Goliath. It really should have been Saul's fight, considering he was a head taller than the others, and if they were actually going to abide by the giant's rules and conditions. David was still a boy; yet after he had killed Goliath and was brought before Saul, the king asked him "Whose son are you?" 1S17:58.
You mean he didn't know? Had he forgotten, or was it simply a matter of vision--hadn't he ever actually laid eyes on David? Did David play his harp from behind a screen and out of sight?
A fastidious Bible critic will use this account to demean the scripture and claim the human-author made a mistake and wasn't playing with a full deck, or had lost some of his marbles; not considering that the spiritual water (Ezek47) became deeper at this point and went over his head.
[The music part isn't really so strange; considering we all know of its ability to affect our spirit: whether from a lullaby, or a love song, or solemn anthem. Music is likewise an integral part of Scripture, and praising Him with the trumpet, harp, stringed instruments, organs, timbrel, and loud cymbals, are only a prelude to the verse "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord". Ps150:6 ]
When I asked myself the essential question: "When did Saul first recognize David?", and found no satisfactory answer, it led me to ask "How could you know someone, and yet not know them?" I believe the answer is in the New Testament where it speaks of "the hidden man of the heart", 1Pet3:4. It's the new-nature inside of us that wants to be born! (It was there inside Saul all along, the scripture is indicating.) Saul represents the Old-Man, but David represents the New-Man!
Because Saul was disobedient and didn't wait for Samuel (a figure of the Holy Ghost), he never realized his full potential and went to an early grave, taking his sons with him. This is the "waiting on the Lord", Isa40:31, that was also required of the Apostles in Acts1:4; but now that the Holy Spirit has come (and hasn't left), our wait can be a short one. Saul was enacting the part of those 'anointed of the Lord' who never wait to receive the Holy Spirit!
It's the same pattern as found in the story of Jacob & Esau. The two natures co-exist in us (the two are one) until one of them succeeds in throwing out the other. Psychiatrists know about schizophrenia, and most everyone is familiar with the Jekyl & Hyde story; but the religious mind-set has thrown a veil over the way it applies to the Bible, and how the self-same man is capable of both good and evil. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is another slant on ambivalent schizo that shows how the flesh remained young and handsome, in contrast to the portrait that aged grotesquely in proportion to his wickedness.
ANAMORPHOSIS. This word is tantamount to "Paraphrase" because it means "a new form", and a paraphrase is simply a new or different way of saying the same thing. Webster defines anamorphosis as "a gradual change of form by evolution". It's similar to metamorphosis which describes the drastic body change that takes place when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, or a tadpole into a frog. It's especially fascinating to Christians who look forward to becoming new creatures with new bodies! 1Cor15:38,52.
Evolution isn't a dirty word to me because I'm of the opinion that it's been relatively constant ever since Noah's Flood (when the four seasons began), and because every day it seems that more people are turning into monkeys, or vice versus. (For a technical discussion of evolution, read "The Genesis Flood" by two scientists: Whitcomb & Morris.)
Just as the Model-T evolved into the Thunderbird over decades of time; so a rough draft evolves into a polished speech after minutes and hours--it's a process of improvement or development that all of us appreciate, because it's part of our nature to be achievers. By definition "evolution" is an "unfolding development"; in contrast to 'involution' that curves inwardly in a complicated spiral, and may figuratively be described as "wrapping up a very involved package". Odds bodikins! That's what God has done with the Creation! Is anything more complicated than the human body?
A new form concerning language is simply another way of saying the same thing, and so it can apply to the same message in different languages, or figuratively like when I say "Put the pedal to the metal", instead of 'Go faster'. If your sweetie is lamenting the youthful years just say "the older the violin, the prettier the music". Once you've paraphrased something accurately, you have two messages that say the same thing, only differently. The two are one!
The Living Bible describes itself as a paraphrase, and other Bibles are termed 'versions', but all of them tell the same familiar stories of Noah, David, Daniel, etc., and if yours doesn't, you've gotten hold of a fly in the ointment. Ecc10:1. Maybe there's a squirrel in the woodpile. If the verses quoted herein don't say pretty much the same thing in your own Bible, there's something rotten in Denmark and you ought to look into it, because Victor Borge, with his rapier wit, isn't the only one who delights in WORD-games. That's Whiskey, Oscar, Romeo, Delta, in military phonetics (formerly William, Oboe, Roger, Dog), and the many lovers of Scrabble, Crosswords, Acronyms, Acrostics, etc., attest to the popularity of alphabet and language-wrestling. With tongue-in-cheek, I say that BIBLE means Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth!
Ask, Seek, Knock, (Lk 11:13) is an acronym in a 3,4,5 arrangement with each word ending in the letter 'k'. A remarkable thing about 3, 4, 5 is that any multiple of those numbers produces a right triangle; useful in many types of construction and different from the double triangles making up the Star of David.
Those who speak Greek are pleased to read the Septuagint (LXX), and those who read Latin are pleased to read the Vulgate, and those who read Aramaic are pleased to read the Peshitta, and those who know Hebrew are able to read the Massoretic text...it's been translated into dozens of other languages as well--but I'm confident that the same stories are found in all of them!
Just as the dictionary is our basic authority for spelling and definition of words, and the encyclopedia our history of secular events; so the Bible is the unequaled authority for God's truth. All the available evidence supports the assumption that it has come down to us through the ages virtually unchanged semantically, despite spelling and punctuation revisions to keep abreast of the vernacular. I don't hold to the teaching that each and every letter was written with fire on stone by GOD to Moses, but am confident that GOD watches over his Word to perform it, Jer 1:12, and that these things have been written for our study and learning. It's HIS Instruction Manual for an overcoming lifestyle!
All the versions confirm that Jacob saw Rachel first, and loved her; but was tricked into marrying Leah instead, and ultimately served 14 years for the two wives, and another 6 years for the cattle. Whatever words are used, in whatever language, it's still a case of telling the same story; and none of them try to change it by saying that Jacob peeked behind Leah's veil and discovered the treachery in the nick of time. Even though none of the original manuscripts have survived, the copies we have were carefully made by God fearing individuals who didn't permit any departures from the literal, but kept to the exact and precise letter of every jot and tittle.
No other book in the world rivals the Bible, or even comes close, when it comes to the words of Moses and Jesus, and the sacredness of the Canon of Scripture, in many languages. No angel, nor flesh & blood mortal, has the right to add to it or take away from it; though everyone has a right to interpret it according to his own culture, and apply its truth to their own lives. "Heaven & Earth shall pass away", Jesus said, "but my words shall not pass away"!
When Rex Harrison taught Audrey Hepburn to change her way of speaking, in that delightful musical "My Fair Lady" (from Geo. B. Shaw's play "Pygmalion", 1912), she became a new and different person; an anamorphosis, just by virtue of her speech. "To him that orders his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God", Ps50:23. Your conversation marks you and your way of life! Not a physical mark as it probably was in the case of Cain, but a spiritual mark for those who are sent into all the world to take the good news. "Of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks", said Jesus, in Mt12:34, and if you want to know what's in a persons heart, just wait till they hit their thumb with a hammer, or someone crosses them; and hear what comes out of their mouth!
SATIRE. The etymology of this word is from one used of a dish of mixed fruit; and another meaning 'a poetic medley'. Webster describes it as (1) a literary work in which vices and stupidity are held up to ridicule or contempt, and (2) the use of trenchant wit, irony, sarcasm, etc., to mock or discredit human follies & foibles.
Job uses satire in 12:2 when he tells his 3 'friends': "No doubt but you are the people, and wisdom shall die with you". The synecdoche figure is seen also, as he lumps the three as representing everybody, and in the vernacular of the 20th Century we'd say: "You think you know it all, do you? or "Who died and left you in charge?"
It's the uncommon word "trenchant" that corresponds to the "cutting covenant" that must rightly-divide the Word of God. Abraham divided the animals, Gen15:10, to illustrate how the New Covenant would figuratively be a dividing covenant to separate the sheep from the goats, the clean from the unclean, and probably the doves from the hawks; according to the way they deal with God's Word. If they've dealt off the bottom, or stacked the deck, or haven't cut the cards; they're in a peck of trouble.
The Apostle Paul used satire when he said "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant", 1Cor14:38. No one really wants to be ignorant (do they?), but how will they learn without a teacher? Rom10:14,Jn16:13. I can easily understand how people today don't know what Jesus said, but they surely know the gist of five of the Ten Commandments are essentially contained in the tenets of most cults and religions, and the laws of all countries. "The Gentiles which have not the Law, are a law unto themselves." Rom2:14.
How ironic that those who have trusted in the Almighty Dollar to carry them through this life, will arrive penniless in the world to come.
How ironic that those engaged in anti-semitism will themselves be judged "under the Law", like the Jew; instead of obtaining grace through the Counselor Jesus.
How ironic that the very ones who sit in judgement and administer justice by "their standards" will be judged accordingly, Mt7:2, and what delicious satire; when those who have scoffed at God's Word and treated it/Him contemptibly will themselves be objects of humiliation and ridicule, befitting the fools they are.
A Satyr is the lecherous male nymph of mythology with the short horns, pointed ears, and hairy legs of a goat; the embodiment or personification of Satan's sardonic satire. He's the devil, or Bacchus, the god of riotous revolting revelry, in the flesh!
Sarcasm is the lie in sheep's clothing, because the person using it doesn't really mean or believe what he says. When the policeman says: "Of course you don't know how all those stolen articles came to be in the trunk of your car", ten will get you twenty that he doesn't believe a word of it. When Satan says to you "Yes, surely you'll go to heaven", he's lying to you and is afraid you'll learn the truth. When he tells you "God wouldn't punish a nice person like you, who's so much better than others I know", you'll need to be alert to detect his subtle sarcasm. The reason it works so well, and goes right over the head of the naive, is that it says what the person wants to hear.
Not to deny the legitimate use of sarcasm as a figure-of-speech, but it's the trademark of Sir Lucifer, the prideful false-rock ('Tyrus', from the same root as tyrant, means 'rock' in Hebrew) of Ezek28, who uses it against the gullible and unsuspecting prey who don't realize they're fair game when they're outside the refuge of God's protection. Ps91. It's the LAW OF THE JUNGLE!..."and Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour", 1Pet5:8. By calling him "Sir", I'm giving him a dose of his own medicine; like saying 'Nyah, nyah, you can't touch me; 'cause I'm inside the refuge!'
Satan wants you, desires to have his way with you, Gen4:7, and has his evil heart set on making you his; and he doesn't mind lying to you, or pulling every dirty trick in the book to get what he's after. As the saying goes: "Candy's dandy, but liquor's quicker", as many girls learn to their shame and remorse. He isn't after your flesh (he doesn't care about your body), but he wants your mind; that it may serve him, and when it does it will surely lead to the debauchery of your flesh. 1Cor5:5. Satan doesn't actually hate you in the sense of wanting you dead (he'd rather you were alive to serve him), but after he's through with you, you'll hate yourself for listening to him, and probably wind up wishing you were dead.
If you've been "enjoying the pleasures of sin" and getting away with it, Heb11:25, then be advised that next time may be the last, and the consequences will surely follow, because now you know. It's best to stay in the game-refuge, and don't allow any gaps in your hedge, and keep on the Armor of God. Job didn't know any better when he said "The thing I greatly feared came upon me", 3:25, so after that "The Word" was born in Bethlehem to set us free from ignorance!
Satan was right there with Adam & Eve in the Garden, but his days are numbered and now time is running out. His many names: The Serpent, Beelzebub, Lucifer, the Devil, Prince of Tyrus, etc., were symbolized by Amalek in the O.T., but he had his beginning in infancy! Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created; till iniquity was found in thee". Ezek28:15.
Most babies are even delivered 'perfect', unless the mother has been on drugs, or hasn't taken care of herself during her pregnancy, but in time even the best behaved and most angelic child will exercise their own will in opposition or defiance of parental authority. Babies don't know enough to sin as an adult, and for the most part they can still be lovable even when they're disobedient, but eventually the day comes when we expect them to grow up and not be children any longer.
Like Satan, we have been given a limited amount of power for a limited amount of time, to do it our way--whatever we put our minds and backs to do. Now that Jesus has reconciled us to the Father, he's allowing The Word to work in the world (like leaven in a lump of dough), without his active interference. The figure of ellipsis seems to say "'Go ahead and do your worst" (letting us have the first lick)...but then it's His turn, and the Day of Visitation is surely coming!There's an innuendo in Nehemiah 8:12 implying that we don't understand it all just now, but when we do it will cause us to break out in laughter. The story about Josiah's "Lost Book", 2K22:13, has a similar ring to it, since he was a follower of the Lord even before the book was found.
God won't stop dedicated Christians from going off the deep-end (not even preachers or high rolling TV evangelists), and those who are smart will keep their wits about them, and not allow Satan to drag them down with him into the fiery lake that's been prepared for him and his angels. Mt25:41.
METAPHORS. In the O.T. even the octogenarians were called "Children", and when Jesus called his listeners 'salt' and 'light', he was using symbolic metaphors. Webster says a metaphor is "a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another, by way of suggesting a likeness or analogy between them". The metaphor isn't literal. In playing hide 'n seek, when you're hot, you're close; but when you're headed the wrong way, you're cold. To be "dead as a doornail" or "cool as a cucumber" describes something in a way that goes beyond literal and in a remote way might be compared to the tent stake that Jael drove into Sisera's temples, Judg4:21, and to the gourd that shaded Jonah from the fierce heat of the sun, Jonah 4:6. To reverse these two would be illogical, like putting a square peg in a round hole; but even when they're properly matched the analogy is hazy and abstract, and what most people would call "reaching", if not actually going overboard.
If you've ever had a thought that "just flew out the window and left you", then you know how a thought is like a bird; and if you know how a talented person is able to wear 3-hats of authority, it follows logically that you know what's meant by "two heads are better than one", and that 3-heads may be even better, and don't necessarily speak of a monstrosity.
The idea that a person could be 'salt' is first suggested in scripture when Lot's wife turned into a block of it. She "looked back at the wickedness she'd been delivered out of"...and when we do that, we become salt! Figurative salt; and pillars in our community. Sodium chloride, NaCl, is used for curing, cleaning, scouring, healing, making ice cream, melting ice, etc., and salt water is more buoyant than fresh, but it's the fact that God wants us to flavor our neighborhood and make them thirsty for the knowledge of Him, that appeals to me most. Shouldn't Earth's Creator know the properties of salt? (But go easy on it--too much salt will spoil the finest cuisine.)
Dare I propose that He knew salt is a crystal that takes definite shape, and that good crystal "rings true" when it's resonated? Surely this wouldn't lead anyone to have faith in crystal fetishes, would it?
The 'light' that he spoke of isn't physical light--it's not fluorescent or incandescent light--but is the light of understanding and awareness that needs to dawn on our consciousness. The light from the sun is the same light that we see reflected from the moon, and Jesus is the Light-of-the-World who said "He that has seen me, has seen the Father". NOT LITERALLY! Because 1Jn4:12 says "No man has seen God at any time". It isn't a contradiction when you realize the difference between the physical and the figurative or mental.
The light from the moon represents Jesus-the-Word which we can gaze at and study to our hearts content, and which has the same 'light' as the Father. It's the sunlight, paradoxically, which we can't look at directly, that represents the consuming fire of God. (You'll stumble over this if you don't acknowledge the triune Godhead.) On the road to Damascus, Paul was blinded by that Great Light--it was the Lord!
A distinction is sometimes made that a simile only compares one thing to another by saying it's "as the other", or "like the other" ("We are counted as sheep for the slaughter", Ps44:22, or "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water", Ps1:3), whereas a metaphor states plainly that one thing is the other; viz., Jesus is the Vine, God is Light, the Church is one bread, Christ is the Rock, etc. 1Cor10:4,17.
Anciently it was the Riddle of the Sphynx that asked: What goes in the morning on 4 legs, and at noon on 2 legs, and in the evening on 3 legs? If you didn't get it right, so the story goes, she would eat you! The analogous and anachronous answer was: MAN, who begins life crawling on all fours, and then stands on two feet, and at the end (when the age of infirmity arrives) he goes with a cane.
Samson's Riddle has similarities: "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness", Judg14:14. He paid off with garments when they identified the Lion and the Honey; just as we receive spiritual garments by recognizing Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and by tasting the spiritual honey from The Book. The scriptures are stories about people who are long dead, but whose history and actions are a testimony to God and His methods and policies; a kind of honey from a dead carcase that furnishes spiritual strength.
A kind of perverse pseudo-religious spirit causes people to reject the symbolic interpretation of scripture, and to stoutly defend and cling to the pure literal meaning, even when they go about swiftly doing neither. To be fair about it, our contemporary figures-of-speech have been evolving down to the present time, so it wasn't always possible to see how our confounded language matches up with the timeless Word of God. A great many Bible words like 'anoint', born-again, miracle-cure, etc., are now in vogue in secular literature, and the seeds of ideas from scripture have found application in popular practices such as the christening of ships (vessels) to begin their new life on the sea.
"In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed
to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in
hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding
to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God has created
to be received with thanksgiving OF THEM WHICH BELIEVE AND
KNOW THE TRUTH." 1Tim4:1-3.
Most everyone would concur that to have your conscience seared with a hot iron would not be in the literal sense; but if the plain language here means the opposite of what it says, wouldn't it render the scripture useless? Wouldn't we have been better off under the old Levitical priesthood?...or better yet, if we'd never left Egypt where they had no diet restrictions?
We use metaphors when we say a person has a screw loose (brain rattles), or doesn't have both oars in the water (going in circles), or has a tiger by the tail (can't quit a tough situation), or is "spinning his wheels" (going nowhere), or raising the roof (creating a ruckus), or has a tough nut to crack (a problem). We speak metaphorically when we "cry wolf" or "holler Uncle", or "have an ax to grind", or "a cross to carry" (burden for a cause), or "fly off the handle", or "eat crow, or humble pie, or our own words"; and it isn't easy to "get out of the frying pan into the fire", or to "give up the ghost", Lk23:46, so we need to "make hay while the sun shines".
In Ezekiel 47:4 the water got deeper and deeper. It's the Living Spiritual Water we're thinking of now, and it's like "raising the bar" if you're talking about a high-jump, but just the opposite if the context is Limbo dancing. Americans know about how "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink", and though we'd like to compel them to listen, we understand how our urging often 'goes in one ear and out the other'.
Instead of "muddying the water" (confusing the issue), or "throwing in the towel (quitting), we should "spill the beans" and "put our foot to it" or "Run it up the flagpole and see if it flies", or "Drop it in the tub and see if it floats". If the canary dies, you'd better lite a shuck for the fresh air right now, but if it's the rabbit that died, you can take your sweet time..If you've ever "bitten off more than you could chew", you know exactly what I'm talking about, and that it isn't just covered wagons that have "the squeaky wheel that gets the grease". You're only seeing "the tip of the iceberg", and I haven't yet begun to sweeten the pot, or scrape the bottom of the barrel of metaphors. I'm not blowing smoke, or pussyfooting around, or whistling in the dark, or lollygagging; but am "biting the bullet", and girding my loins, and "whetting my appetite", and "fine-tuning the script", and making all preparations for getting this show on the road and off the ground, and into high gear, and moving on down the pike.
The Old Testament spoke of the "Children", and the "clay", and the "trees of righteousness". Jesus followed up that discourse with the new designations of 'salt', 'light', and 'branches'. Then Peter & Paul chimed in with the "vessels", 2Tim2:20, and "lively stones", 1Pet2:2, and "one bread", 1Cor10:17, and "living epistles", 2Cor3:2. All together we are members of The Body of Christ, 1Cor12:27, who are building and forming the new spiritual Temple. A spiritual body! 1Cor6:19.
We don't mix apples with oranges. The three (3) spiritual periods correspond to the administrations of the Father (Genesis to Malachi), and the Son (the Gospels), and the Holy Spirit (Acts to Revelation); but the three (3) chronological periods are the two thousand years from Adam to Joseph (GENESIS), and the two thousand years from Abraham to Christ (OLD COVENANT), and the two thousand years from The Cross until now (NEW COVENANT). These are a deliberate truth of the Great Author-a progressive trichotomous revelation of three 'branches' like A,B,C, and 1,2,3, to teach us about our spiritual roots and our heavenly destiny. Not just plain vanilla or matter-of-factly; but metaphorically and in riddles and mysteries, 1Cor13:12, which we can corroborate by seeing that "the three are one", and are established!
The disembodied hand that wrote on the wall: "You've been weighed in the balances and found wanting" (You had your chance but you blew it..) is from the 5th chapter of Daniel. Could anyone doubt that this is the figure of "seeing the handwriting on the wall"? When we see the leaves coming on the trees in the springtime, we know that summer will soon be along; and to see the handwriting on the wall is to recognize from specific occurrences that other events will surely follow.
Scripture uses metaphors when it calls Jesus a LAMB, a ROCK, a BRANCH, a VINE, a DOOR, a SEED, etc. The Holy Spirit is likened to anointing oil in the O.T., and to the water being poured out, Acts2:17, and in the guise of a dove in Mt3:16. The symbolism of the oil is based upon the use of it as a fuel for a lamp, Ex35:8, and showing the distinction between the physical light that we need to see where we're going, and the spiritual light for our walk with the Lord. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Ps119:105.
The walk that Scripture uses figuratively is illustrated first by Enoch, Gen5:24, and then by Jacob, Gen32:25, and David, Ps23:4, and Isaiah 20:2, and is eventually hammered home by Paul: "Walk in love", Eph5:2, and John: "Walk in the light", 1Jn5:7. It's more like a meander-walk than an ordinary-walk, and you only learn this kind of walk by reading and heeding and doing what the Word says. If you can't walk, how will you ever run?
Jesus used a double-metaphor when he said "Don't cast your pearls before swine", Mt7:6, meaning: Don't divulge your pearls-of-wisdom to those people who will ridicule them. I believe it's these same pearls which guard the gates of New Jerusalem, Rev21:21, and it's this scripture which causes me to wonder whether I should be writing this study in the first place. No doubt there'll be some who will berate my interpretation; not considering that the end is a closer walk with Jesus.
When Job (19:21) tells about 'escaping by the skin of his teeth", it isn't hard to translate that as a narrow escape, and to see that hyperbole and malapropism are both components of the figure. More difficult is his 'continuing parable' in 29:6, "When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil". It would be a slippery and smelly mistake to think real butter for washing the steps of the front porch; but when we learn of the "steps of a righteous man", who takes steps to remedy a situation; and the contrast between mother's milk and father's milk, then the true light begins to shine. As we churn the spiritual milk by mulling it over in our mind, it turns to butter, and brings our steps into harmony with God. Not everyone's, naturally; some people just get sour milk..
The second clause may be blind to us until we learn about "the spiritual Rock that is Christ", 1Cor10:4, and about the spiritual-oil that calms the troubled waters on the Sea of Life.
You're waffling, or "on the fence", when you won't make a decision, and you're "in over your head" when you don't know the subject (even if it's dicey), because a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. If you try to lay it on too thick, somebody will make shoveling motions and declare "it's getting deep in here", or threaten to "make your day". Keep it up, knucklehead (you foolish Galatians and carnal Corinthians and viperous Pharisees), and somebody will "burst your bubble" or "let the wind out of your sails", and you'll crash on the rocks, or be shot down in flames.
They'll call you a pain in the neck or a "thorn in the flesh", 2Cor12:7, if you cramp their style, and if you've been discussing religion you may be "skating on thin ice", or standing on shaky ground, or using an argument that's full of holes. Don't build your spiritual house on sinking sand, but rather on the firm foundation of the Rock & Cornerstone of Jesus. A "half-baked" idea, or an "off the wall notion" isn't talking about ovens or generic ready-made's, but rather about faulty reasoning; so you'll want to use good logic that calls for thinking it through to the end, in order to come up with a safe plan that is sound and workable, and that will "hold water".
Do you know where you live? That's right...in a country, in a state, in a city, on a street or road, and in a house or trailer or cave maybe--but also in the caverns of your mind. Everyone lives within the figurative walls of belief and desire and knowledge and memory that frames the soul and enables us to have daydreams and nightdreams and imaginations. These are the walls that cause us to say "I could never do that", or "I'll try anything once", or "Not me--I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole", or "Why sure, that would be fun!", or "Do you really think we should?...What if we get caught?" We build these walls ourselves from the mental materials given us by our parents, teachers, and associates while we're children; and they grow and develop into the ambitions and inhibitions that shape our character. I hope you aren't living in Dullsville or Liarton.
Your address may show you to be in The Big Apple, or The Windy City, or Gay Paree; but your way of life could have you hunkered down in a House of Straw that the wolf is fixing to blow to kingdom-come. It may be a fun-house for a season, but it won't stand the test of time, or the winds of adversity, and when the tide changes it will be a sand castle that washes out to sea. You may be living high on the hog, with everything coming up roses; but look out for when the tables get turned, or the chickens come home to roost, or for the time when "the shoe is on the other foot" and you have "to eat your own words", because "you made your bed and you'll have to lie in it", and maybe sooner than you figured unless you listen to Jesus saying "take up your bed and walk", Jn5:8.Everyone will probably notice how the cities of Tallahassee, Timbuctu, Tucumcari, Tupelo, and Tuskaloosa, all begin with the letter 'T', but unless they zero in, or focus on these five names, they won't be aware of how the names end in the five vowels: a,e,i,o,u.
Figuratively speaking we're all climbing either the Mountain of Blessing or the Mountain of Cursing (Gerizim or Ebal, Dt11:29), and we're either living In Him, and bound for Mt.Zion, or we're huffing up the wrong mountain!
The three principal locations assigned to us by Scripture are: Egypt, Babylon, and Jerusalem. We live figuratively in each of these places at one time or another, and maybe even all three simultaneously. When we're "In the world (Egypt) but not of the world", and when we're surrounded by ignoramuses with other gods (Babylon), and yet "possess the peace" (Jerusalem) that Jesus gives, Jn14:27, we're living in all three!
Rahab lived within the walls of Jericho, and when those walls came down, she was set free; the scripture illustrating with those physical and literal walls, the mental freedom that comes from knowing the truth. "Joshua saved Rahab alive" (6:25), and afterwards, according to Mt1:5, she married into the House-of-David and the genealogy of Christ; and became the mother of Boaz, and the new mother-in-law to Ruth.
I can't be certain that the O.T. Jews were ever aware that Rahab was related by marriage to Ruth, and thus to David, because it's a detail that isn't recorded in the O.T. There isn't a single supporting fact to substantiate that she was really a harlot, and because she's connected by the "red thread" to Tamar, who only 'played the harlot', I'd caution anyone against rashly accusing her. Certainly she represents "Salvation" for both herself and her 'house', as well as a 'covenant relationship' to the House of David. The two spies that she hid on the roof were never named, but "Thy Word have I hid in my heart", Ps119:11, could well be speaking of the two-fold nature of Jesus (God & man), or the Two Tablets, or Two Covenants. The plain language of her story says that she lied to the king about the whereabouts of the 2 spies, but by the N.T. logic that says "The Word" can be in two places at the same time, she could be telling a spiritual truth.
[Who says you can't be in two places at the same time? Physically you're sitting here reading a book, but mentally you could be fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia--we don't live only in the flesh, but also in the imaginations of our dreams and thoughts.]
Animated movies and cartoons have given us delightful and happy notions of how trees might be imagined to "clap their hands", but it isn't real trees that scripture mostly speaks of...it's people! "Trees of Righteousness", Isa6l:3, 2Cor5:21, are the Saints who are "rooted & grounded" in love, and clothed in leaves (fig or olive), with fruit-bearing branches. They're "the planting of the Lord" because they've swallowed the incorruptible seed (Jesus) hook, line, and sinker; and been watered by The Word, and warmed by the Son. 1Cor3:6, Mal 4:2.
"The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge", Ezek-18:2. It's hard to tell what this figure of speech might have meant to Ezekiel, but the 20th Century "sour grapes" speaks of the person who wasn't able to make the grade himself (steep climb), and now he claims he wasn't really trying. Personally, in light of the entirety of the Bible message, this says to me that the father sowed wild oats in his day, and now he's telling the kids they'd better not do the same. If it means something like that to you, then we're on the same wave-length.
In our family we use the expression "pickled-beets", that wouldn't mean anything to outsiders. We once took a long trip to visit relatives and my wife explained that she'd forgotten to bring the pickled beets she knew they loved. Nobody would have known about it if she hadn't told, and naturally I teased her about it, and from that day to this we've said "pickled beets" about someone who didn't carry through with their good intentions.
Consciously or unconsciously, a figure-of-speech begins as a communication device for getting someone's attention: to intrude into their mind and relay a message; and then goes on to become an accepted and habitual part of the vernacular.
"IF THE SHOE FITS; WEAR IT". Closely akin to the Indian proverb about not judging a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins, this popular figure doesn't really concern footwear, but to life's situation. Have you noticed how some people take everything personally, and react antagonistically to any kind of criticism that's preached? Well, don't do it if the shoe doesn't fit!
The Bible first introduces this concept as Moses approached the burning bush and heard the voice say: "Take off your shoes, for you're standing on Holy Ground".
It isn't coffee-grounds, or even the literal ground that we walk on--it's the mental grounds; as in grounds-for-divorce (but in this case for marriage). It isn't the literal shoes with the sole that gets stepped on--No, it's the Gospel-shoes that save the soul: "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace", Eph6:15. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good news". Isa52:7, Rom10:15. They aren't beautiful until they've been washed by Jesus--washed by "the water of the Word", Eph5:26. This is spiritual living-water, like an artesian spring!
"I'M GOING TO TAKE YOU UP ON THAT". Meaning I hear what you say, and am taking you at your word. This is the figure of the assumption--that by assuming Jesus spoke the truth, you'll be heaven-bound. "As truly as I live", said God in Numb 14:28, "as you have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you!" Be careful what you say!
[ "Word" is singular, and with an s it's plural, but if I want to have a word with you, it's obvious I'm using it in a multiple sense. The Hebrew Alphabet Psalm, Ps119, uses several synonyms for "Word" in its octostrophic design: Testimonies, Judgments, Commandments, Precepts, Law, Statutes, and two variations of 'word' are used repeatedly as enticement to remember them, and admonishment not to stray from them.]
"PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS" Back up what you say with your finances, if you really believe it. Abraham and Jacob paid the tithe before the Law ever went into effect, and it's the one area where God asks us to prove Him, Mal 3:10, and see if He won't make our 90% worth more than the 100% of despisers. He'll do it! But this is the nitty-gritty that offends so many; in the modern vernacular "it separates the men from the boys", but in the language of scripture it separates the sheep from the goats (goats will eat most anything, and are great at butting--using the contrary conjunction that takes exception with the two (2) horns of double-mindedness).
When I'm tempted to avoid church, I think of the attitude of Moses: "He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season". Heb11:25.
Scripture never says so directly, but it takes time to visit the sick, and those in prison, so I'm convinced that the tithe means 10% of your time as well as your income. Those who claim they don't have the time to go to church, or to show their support of a Godly endeavor, might consider that they'll never have the time until they learn to tithe a portion.
Incredibly, Jesus told Peter to go get the tax money from the mouth of a fish! Mt17:27. Can you imagine a more effective way to illustrate this figure of speech? The Christian fish who "puts his money where his mouth is" demonstrates that he's put his trust in God ahead of his savings account, or insurance policy, or retirement plan. Have all three; but keep God first!
Without figures of speech we might be 'bored out of our gourd', because they furnish humor and excitement and variety to our conversation; i.e., our way-of-life. A critical or haughty listener may regard them as crude, or trite, or ignorant, or superfluous; when it may really be a deliberate and legitimate form of getting attention. The Bible veritably hollers (yells!) at us to hear what God is saying! Forty (or thereabouts) different authors are ascribed: probably because we'd wrongly conclude it was the mythical masterpiece of some inspired genius like Aesop or Aristotle or Plato, if it were all written in the same style.
When worldly people learn that you've become a Christian for real (honest injun?), and aren't just attending church for appearances, or giving lip service to the Sunday Gospel; but are "sold-out", "locked-in", "crucified with Christ", "purchased with blood", and "past the point of no-return"; they'll be telling you "You've gone bonkers", or "flipped out", or "lost your marbles", or are "off your trolley", or "aren't playing with a full deck".
Keep your cool and don't try to snow them or throw them any curves, and don't give them tit for tat, but stick to your guns and play 'em close to the vest, and having done all, tell them to "Watch my dust", or if they're afraid, to go "hide and watch" until they get a little older or braver. Remember that Satan isn't only the biggest liar, but he's also the smoothest; and he'll use the voices of beautiful and talented people to feed you his lies and make you doubt the truth of the Bible, or question whether it really means what it says. "Hang in there"...Jesus did.
We had a saying in the Navy "There's always that 2% who don't get the word.." Everyone else would know, but not them, and they'd mess it up for the rest of us. A word to the wise should be sufficient. When you think it's only my own personal opinion that foul and profane language is wrong, then I don't blame you for countering with your own; but if I can show you the authority comes from Almighty God, you'd be seven kinds of a fool to persist in your own way.
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him." 1Cor2:9.
OBSCENITY. Colossians 3:8 - "Put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.." I recently reviewed the movie "Midway" and was reminded of the way we used to constantly use profanity and obscenity aboard ship, so that 4-letter words because an accepted way of speaking, and nobody gave it much thought. At least I didn't, and I don't recall anyone making a fuss about it, although everyone would automatically clean up his language if a Chaplain came along. At the time I suppose it seemed macho to talk tough, or maybe to live up to the image of sailors using language to make longshoreman blush. We called it 'salty'. We didn't take that kind of talking ashore for the most part, and the crews I served with didn't use profanities or obscenities in the presence of women, though we weren't unaware of "tail-hook" procedures with strippers and prostitutes.
..Now that I've given my life to Christ, the movie was ruined for me. To hear those great screen idols Heston, Fonda, Mitchum, Wagner, etc. using the name of Jesus for a curse, and 'God-damning' thoughtlessly. What a travesty! What irony; that the name of God is so thoughtlessly kicked around by those who don't even believe in him. Aargh!
The actors were just following the script, which was written that way for authenticity no doubt, without anyone giving a thought (where was the Hayes Office?) to how it set a precedent and an example, and planted seeds in fertile young minds, so that filthy and corrupt speaking isn't done just behind closed doors or in men's societies anymore, but now has permeated the world over: center-staged, spot-lighted, and with the amplifiers maxed out.
So, for me, the R-rated goes into the trash along with other products that promote or advertise swine-ish or ungodly behavior. The makers may say they only used one obscenity, or showed only one erotic scene, but that tears it with me and for sure the kids don't get to watch. Tender plants need protection. It's a shame that many otherwise fine or acceptable products are contaminated like this, but "a little yeast leavens the whole lump", 1Cor5:6, and you have to draw the line before you can toe the line. Doesn't a tiny amount of poison spoil the finest beefsteak?
Just as a wedding ring is the symbol of Holy matrimony, so the Star of David is the symbol of Judaism that still leads one to the House of True Bread in Bethlehem, and the Cross is the symbol of Christianity. All three of these symbols should be a deterrent to smutty and ungodly behavior, and it's the reason I wear a lapel button with a Christian motif; either one that indicates Jesus, or begs a question to elicit my testimony. I don't always have to get on a soap box to prove my speech is seasoned with salt, because the symbol is a silent witness that I'm on the Lord's side, and opposed to promiscuity and cursing and dirty jokes.
Not for a moment do I believe that bad language in itself sends a person to hell, but it shows a lack of education and training, and perhaps a certain loss of control, and must be considered in the light of the scripture "Death and life are in the power of the tongue", Pr18:21. What's the difference, after all, between calling it feces, or excrement, or offal; or of using more common words (which I won't write) that have greater shock power? ..Because that kind of salt is only fit for the dunghill, and the Christian difference is a small way that we can separate ourselves unto the Lord", and be holy as He is holy. I don't want to be "penny-wise, and pound-foolish"; but it's the little foxes that spoil the vines, (devil's in the details..) and if we can't honor the Lord in the small things, it isn't likely we'll be able to stand up for the bigger issues either. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Josh24:15.
I'd rather be in hot water where the elite meet to eat, than to be spued out of His mouth for being lukewarm. Don't claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but neither the last one out the door. I'd rather stand out like a sore thumb on the Body of Christ, than to take sides with the oxymoronic professors who stupidly believe they're smarter than God, and haven't even understood what He said! Amen, and Amen.
GOSPEL, from godspell (gud/good) and (spell out a tale), meaning "to tell the good news of Jesus of Nazareth", as told by the four witnesses: Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John; who wrote their testimony of the things they saw and heard; being led by the Holy Spirit to do so; and whose writings have been handed down from generation to generation over a period of about 2,000 years.
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