|↑a||This article was created using ChatGPT.|
|↑a||This article was created using ChatGPT.|
I was disappointed to read a post on the social media page of a popular Christian author. He wrote on January 9.
For logos to be effective in your life, you must intentionally mix it with faith (Heb 4:2). Rhema, in contrast, comes with such vibrancy that it often releases faith with its delivery.
He makes a reference to Hebrews 4:2. This verse contains a word that is translated from the Greek text. The Greek word is logos (λόγος). It can be translated either “message” or “word.” However, Hebrews 4:2 does not say that a logos lacks vibrancy, nor does it say that a rhema (ῥῆμα) has vibrancy. Hebrews 4:2 doesn’t mention any vibrancy.
(ESV) For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
(NASB) For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united with those who listened with faith.
If such a thing as vibrancy exists, it would seem that the listeners of Hebrews 4:2 lacked that mysterious element. The word wasn’t inferior in any way, which is what the author is saying that the Scripture says.
The Scripture doesn’t agree with the author’s assessment of logos. The author is not in alignment with the Word of God.
The writer is pointing at two Bible words that are translated into English as “word.”
The writer contrasts LOGOS with RHEMA, indicating that a LOGOS word is ineffective at first, but a RHEMA word is immediately effective to “release” faith. He cites Hebrews 4:2 as a source of this explanation.
…and receive the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (RHEMA) of God
The Spirit is the one who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words (RHEMATA) that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. [a]RHEMATA is plural of RHEMA.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another fervently from the heart, because you have been born again, not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and enduring word (LOGOS) of God. For “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word (RHEMA) of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word (RHEMA) that has been proclaimed to you.
So Pilate said to them, “You take him and judge him according to your law!” The Jews said to him, “It is not permitted for us to kill anyone,” in order that the word (LOGOS) of Jesus would be fulfilled that he had spoken, indicating by what sort of death he was going to die.
Kenneth E. Hagin said,
“Faith is always expressed in words. Faith must be released in words through your mouth. We can see that in all of these Scriptures we have read. When you speak something, that is action.”
The truth is that faith is expressed in obedient works and not by confession. The Book of James contradicts the idea that speaking words is action.
Word of Faith authors appear to agree with the author, saying that LOGOS is the written word and that RHEMA words are faith-filled spoken word that release the creative power of God when spoken.
When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, He quickens a Scripture verse or specific direction to you—a specific word for a specific time and purpose. [b]https://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2679:what-is-rhema
The truth is that the New Testament does not demonstrate this distinction. Jesus is called the LOGOS, and he is not the written word. The creative power of RHEMA is a concept that comes from outside the Scriptures and has been substituted for the direct teaching of Scripture.
Consider this official position stated by the Assemblies of God:
There are two major problems with this distinction. First, the distinction is not justified by usage either in the Greek New Testament or in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament). The words are used synonymously in both. [c]The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Assemblies of God: Position Papers (Springfield, MO: The General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1972–2017).
Proponents of the LOGOS/RHEMA distinction depend upon a partial quotation from W. E. Vine.
rhḗma (ῥῆμα in Greek); that which is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing;1 an utterance (individually, collectively, or specifically);2 the word by which something is commanded, directed, or enjoined;3 something that is spoken clearly and vividly, in unmistakable terms and in an undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.[d]https://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2679:what-is-rhema
Vine includes more information that may be intentionally left out since it does not reinforce the strong distinction need by RHEMA teachers. Vine tells us that RHEMA is not a completely different concept from LOGOS.
The significance of rhema (as distinct from logos) is exemplified in the injunction to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Eph. 6:17; here the reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture. [e]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.
On the same page, Vine also gives a definition of LOGOS that includes spoken words.
logos (λόγος) denotes (I) “the expression of thought”… (a) as embodying a conception or idea… (b) a saying or statement… (c) discourse, speech, of instruction. [f]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.
If you care about the authentic Word of God, don’t fall for tricksters that use the RHEMA/LOGOS false distinction that is contrary to the teachings of Scripture. They will want you to believe that this doctrine is original from the Bible, and it is not.
|↑a||RHEMATA is plural of RHEMA.|
|↑c||The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Assemblies of God: Position Papers (Springfield, MO: The General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1972–2017).|
|↑e||W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.|
|↑f||W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.|
The oldest song that Christians still sing today is believed to be the “Phos Hilaron” or “Hail Gladdening Light,” a hymn of evening light that is traditionally sung at sunset. This song dates back to at least the 3rd century AD and is still sung by many Christians, especially in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Other early Christian hymns and songs include the “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” and the “Te Deum Laudamus,” both of which date back to the 4th century AD.
This ancient hymn actually uses “hymn” in verb form. The noun is ὕμνος (humnos), and the verb is ὑμνέω (humneo). In Φῶς ἱλαρὸν (Phos Hilaron). the verb takes the form ὑμνεῖσθαι (humneisthai). The ending indicates the infinitive verb is middle voice aorist whatever that means.
Φῶς ἱλαρὸν ἁγίας δόξης, ἀθανάτου Πατρός, οὐρανίου, ἁγίου, μάκαρος, Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, ἐλθόντες ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλίου δύσιν, ἰδόντες φῶς ἑσπερινόν, ὑμνοῦμεν Πατέρα, Υἱόν, καὶ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα Θεόν. Ἄξιόν σε ἐν πᾶσι καιροῖς, ὑμνεῖσθαι φωναῖς αἰσίαις, Υἱὲ Θεοῦ, ζωὴν ὁ διδούς, Διὸ ὁ κόσμος σὲ δοξάζει.
Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured
Who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest,
Holiest of holies, Jesus Christ our Lord!
Now we are come to the sun’s hour of rest;
The lights of evening round us shine;
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit divine!
Worthiest art thou at all times to be sung
With undefiled tongue, Son of our God, giver of life, alone;
Therefore in all the world thy glories, Lord, they own.
Phos Hilaron (Φῶς ἱλαρὸν) is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in Koine Greek. The hymn is known in English as ‘Hail Gladdening Light,’ or ‘O Gladsome Light.’ It is the earliest known Christian hymn, recorded outside of the Bible, that is still being used today. The hymn is featured in the Vespers of the Orthodox Church.
The song is first recorded by an unknown author in the Constitutiones Apostolicae which was written in the late 3rd or early 4th century A.D. It is found in a collection of songs to be sung in the morning, in the evening, before meals, and at candle lighting. Phos Hilaron is to be sung at the lighting of candles in the evening and so is sometimes known as the ‘Candle-light Hymn’. Despite some of the words to the other three songs being from Scripture or in one case dated to around 150 AD, Phos Hilaron is the first to be considered an actual hymn in the modern sense. It is certainly the first complete example. It is far more rhythmic than the others and is divided into twelve verses varying between five, six, eight, nine, ten and eleven syllables a verse. Basil the Great (ca. 330 – January 1, 379) spoke of the singing of the Phos Hilaron as a cherished tradition of the church, the hymn being already considered old in his day (though some attribute the composition of the song to St Basil himself).
At that time in Jerusalem a candle was kept perpetually burning in the empty tomb of Christ, its glow a symbol of the living light of Jesus. As Christians gathered to worship the hymn was sung and, in a tradition known as the lighting of the lamps, the candle was brought forth from the tomb, its bright, solitary flame calling the church to celebrate the risen Lord.
Athenogenes, a saint of unknown date but is commemorated 16th July, is believed by some to have composed this hymn on the way to being martyred. He is often depicted as an elderly bishop with the executioner’s arm paralyzed until the saint has completed his song. The Roman Martyrology states: “In Pontus, the birthday of Saint Athenogenes, [is celebrated, he was] an aged theologian, who, when about to consummate his martyrdom by fire, sang a hymn of joy, which he left in writing to his disciples.” He is probably identical to the bishop who suffered at Sebaste, Armenia, with ten disciples under Diocletian on July 16; therefore estimating his death as around 305 A.D. However, Basil the Great notes the “ancient form” of this hymn, states it comes from antiquity, and states that it is of unknown origin immediately prior to mentioning the story of “the Hymn of Athenogenes, which, as he was hurrying on to his perfecting by fire, he left as a kind of farewell gift to his friends.” Basil the Great is clearly stating that Athenogenes wrote a different hymn, which scholars believe to be “Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις” (Glory to God in the highest), a.k.a. the Great Doxology. [a]https://orthodoxwiki.org/Phos_Hilaron
I will now adduce another piece of evidence which might perhaps seem insignificant, but because of its antiquity must in nowise be omitted by a defendant who is indicted on a charge of innovation. It seemed fitting to our fathers not to receive the gift of the light at eventide in silence, but, on its appearing, immediately to give thanks. Who was the author of these words of thanksgiving at the lighting of the lamps, we are not able to say. The people, however, utter the ancient form, and no one has ever reckoned guilty of impiety those who say “We praise Father, Son, and God’s Holy Spirit.”
(Ps. 141. was called ὁ ἐπιλύχνιος ψαλμός (Ap. Const. viii. 35). In the Vespers of the Eastern Church an evening hymn is sung, translated in D.C.A. i. 634, “Joyful Light of the holy glory of the immortal Father, the heavenly, the holy, the blessed Jesus Christ, we having come to the setting of the sun and beholding the evening light, praise God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is meet at all times that thou shouldest be hymned with auspicious voices, Son of God, Giver of Life: wherefore the world glorifieth thee.”)
And if any one knows the Hymn of Athenogenes, (identified by some with two early hymns, Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις, and φῶς ἱλαρόν) which, as he was hurrying on to his perfecting by fire, he left as a kind of farewell gift (The MSS. vary between ἐξιτήριον and ἀλεξιτήριον, farewell gift and amulet or charm. In Ep. cciii. 229 Basil says that our Lord gave His disciples peace as an ἐξιτήριον δῶρον, using the word, but in conjunction with δῶρον. Greg. Naz., Orat. xiv. 223 speaks of our Lord leaving peace “ὥσπερ ἄλλο τι ἐξιτήριον.”) to his friends, he knows the mind of the martyrs as to the Spirit. On this head I shall say no more. [b]Basil of Caesarea, “The Book of Saint Basil on the Spirit,” in St. Basil: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Blomfield Jackson, vol. 8, A Select Library of the … Continue reading
[c]This article includes some content created using OpenAI’s ChatGPT
|↑b||Basil of Caesarea, “The Book of Saint Basil on the Spirit,” in St. Basil: Letters and Select Works, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Blomfield Jackson, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1895), 46.|
|↑c||This article includes some content created using OpenAI’s ChatGPT|
If you have been falsely accused of something that you did not do, forgive the accuser. Drop the offense. Refuse to be personally offended by personal remarks. If you are emotionally hurting or angry, you may not be listening, you may not be able to identify the hypocrisy that has been exposed (because exposing hypocrisy is a good thing), you may be tempted to respond in kind (to attack the person that attacked you)
Proverbs 19:11. Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
It is not necessary to say aloud to your accuser that you forgive them unless you hope to prolong a meaningless argument.
Tell the accuser that they are right. The behavior was sinful and “unChristlike.”
If the accusation of hypocrisy is true about you, apologize for disobeying Jesus and for
misrepresenting the true message of Christ. Then go, and sin no more.
If the accusation of hypocrisy is about someone else, apologize on behalf of the other person. Tell the accuser that Jesus has been misrepresented. You will not be apologizing for Jesus or for behavior approved by Jesus. You will be apologizing on behalf of a person that claimed to be a Christian while they behaved in a way that was contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Do not make excuses for disobedience to Jesus. Just admit that it was wrong and should never have been done by a follower of Jesus.
Thank the accuser for their help to identify bad behavior by Christians. The greater picture will show that this will help reduce hypocrisy and Jesus will be glorified in better ways.
It makes no difference if your accuser was trying to harm you or help you, if the accusation is true, sin was called out, and Christlike behavior was encouraged. The goal of life is to live like Jesus.
Hypocrisy is pretending to possess specific virtues that are contradicted by your behavior. For example, if I preach that extramarital relationships are sinful while I am unfaithful to my wife, I am a hypocrite. If I expect people to listen to my preaching but to ignore my bad behavior, I am a hypocrite.
This week, I listened to a program featuring a celebrity transgender person named Trystan Reese. The turning point of the story is when six-month-pregnant Reese reads a message from a woman that says, “As a Christian, I hope that you give birth to a dead baby because that baby would be better off than a baby that has to born to someone like you.” In the narrative, after reading the message, Reese loses hope and has a horrible nightmare about the baby. Reese says that before the death-wish message “I didn’t know that people hate us.”
The “Christian” death-wish woman in the story is a hypocrite.
A hypocrite is a fake. A hypocrite is a person that behaves in a manner that is incongruous with their professed values or principles. For example, a woman who professes to value love and kindness and grace (Christian core values) while she writes a death wish to another person is a hypocrite, a fake.
Hypocrisy is not a Christian trait. Accusations of hypocrisy should not be limited to Christians. A secular person practices hypocrisy when she states that her core beliefs are social justice, tolerance and inclusivity while she condemns and excludes all Christians.
I have heard, more than once, that all Christians are hypocrites so going to church is a bad idea. This ignores glaring truth that hypocrites thrive in “non-Christian” environments of bars, theaters, clubs, gambling establishments, social groups, and other organizations, but we don’t cry so loudly for everyone to abandon those groups of hypocrites. We target Christians.
We target Christians because their stated purpose is to be faithful and truthful and loving and gracious and forgiving and holy and peaceful and kind and self-controlled. Christians claim to follow Jesus. Christians claim that they want to be like Jesus and to be transformed into the character of Jesus just like the Bible says. Therefore, when someone who takes the name of Christian behaves in a way that contradicts the behavior prescribed in Scripture, they should be called out for that hypocrisy. On the other hand, there is no apparent contradiction when sinners behave like sinners or when pagans behave like pagans. But when Christians behave like heathens, someone ought to say something.
Christian core values like faith, truth, love, grace, forgiveness, salvation, righteousness, holiness, spiritual fruit, and Spirit-empowerment make it so easy to identify someone who is in violation of those values that even a heathen can accurately call out a hypocrite. Calling someone a hypocrite validates Christian values.
If Christian values have no merit, then the accusation of hypocrisy is pointless. On the other hand, accusations of hypocrisy rise from the foundation of Christian values. Truth and righteousness are actually excellent qualities for establishing social relationships. Love and forgiveness, also Christian values, are vital to human relationships. Therefore, accusations of hypocrisy do not call for the abandonment of love and faithfulness, and grace, but rather, accusations of hypocrisy ask us to return to Christian core values because those values are important. Christian values are good for society.
Christians should behave like followers of Jesus Christ. When our behavior contradicts Jesus, we need a call to repentance. When a heathen points out your un-Christlike behavior, you should feel called to repentance. If you have ever sent hate mail to another person, you need to repent and send an apology to ask for forgiveness. If you are not living like Jesus, you are a hypocrite and a fake, and you need to change.
1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?1 John 2:9 ESV / 464 helpful votes Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
2 Timothy 3:5
Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
1 John 2:4
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. …
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
…if you have no interest in bringing others to Christ, no interest in being a peacemaker, but only want to prove your own arrogance.
Here is advice from 2 Timothy 2:
Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, a worker having no need to be ashamed, guiding the word of truth along a straight path. But avoid pointless chatter, for it will progress to greater ungodliness…
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. [b]2 Timothy 2:15,16,23-26
We have many extra-biblical traditions every day of the year, not just at Christmas. We have birthday traditions, graduation traditions, sports traditions, family traditions, wedding traditions, and so on. Perhaps a person can consider human traditions as decorations or adornments that are useful for celebration without elevating those traditions as if they were the central truth.
|↑a||However, if the house belonged to Joseph, and the guest chamber/κατάλυμα was already full, then Joseph clearly had a host who managed the house and residents while he was away in Nazareth. This host person is the equivalent of an innkeeper/πανδοχεύς, one who receives all. So, deduced from Scripture, there was an “innkeeper/host” necessary.|
|↑b||2 Timothy 2:15,16,23-26|
Prayer is talking to God. Someone told me that they did not pray because they did not know how. If you can talk to me, you can talk to God.
Jesus taught how to pray and started by telling his disciples how NOT to pray.
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. [a] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:5,6.
Prayer is not a talent show. Prayer is not a competition for best prayer. You have an audience of one, God. It is senseless to try to impress Him. He knows who you really are. He is far more intelligent than you will ever be.
Save your fancy words with ornaments and decorations for someone else. Prayer works best with plain and simple words.
Don’t criticize the simple prayer.
Don’t think that God will hear your prayer because of how many words that you use.
Not too many words:
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. [b]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:7,8.
The demonstration of God’s spiritual power does not require lofty speech at any time.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. [c]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 2:1–5.
Look at the example of prayer that Jesus provided to his disciples.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [d]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:9–15.
If the Model Prayer were a list:
Only one item is a personal request, asking God to give us something: daily bread.
The first item on the list is reviewing the truth about God’s nature prior to asking for anything else. The prayer in Acts 1 reads, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” Peter and company begin by describing the attribute of God that applies to their request for guidance while choosing a replacement for Judas. In their prayer, the attributes are related to God’s omniscience and ability to see into the human heart. It reminds me of the Lord’s instruction to the prophet Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” It makes me think that the church leaders were also remembering the attributes of God that are recorded in Holy Scripture and including them in this prayer.
The remaining items on the Model Prayer list could be categorized as asking God to work through us. May your heavenly kingdom come to earth through me. Accomplish Your will on earth through me. May I forgive others. May I be forgiven. May I resist temptation and be spared from sin.
I would propose that we accept this pattern in our own prayers. 1. Begin by reviewing who God is, ascribing glory to His Name, looking into the Scriptures to reveal His nature as relates to our prayer. 2. Simply ask God to provide what you need. 3. Spend more time asking God to work through you than asking Him to work for you. Focus upon God accomplishing His will and bringing Kingdom practices into your earthly life and relationships with others.
|↑a||The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:5,6.|
|↑b||The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:7,8.|
|↑c||The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 2:1–5.|
|↑d||The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:9–15.|
Recently, a medical colleague asked me if I thought that vaccination cards were the Mark of the Beast.
I knew that this was a reference to Revelation 13:11-18.
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. [a]All Scripture on this post is from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.
I responded that I believed that there must be some connection between the Mark of the Beast and allegiance to the Beast. I said this because of the worship of the Beast and judgment from God described in Revelation 14:9-11.
And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
My colleague countered that vaccination cards will be required to buy and sell, therefore creating a control by an ungodly government regime which, in essence, is a forced allegiance.
So, I switched my tactic.
If this is the Mark of the Beast and these are the last days and Jesus is returning soon, “How should we live then?” because my mind pulled up 2 Peter 3:11-13.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
My colleague launched into an attack on the church. “Churches are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” Churches act hypocritically superior and self-righteous against any ordinary person who enjoys getting drunk and sleeping around. Jesus died to forgive all sins, so since I am a Christian, “I can live however the f*** I want to live.” This statement appeared to be the conclusion of the discussion as my colleague started for the door.
I knew that the expletive was intended to shock me. I knew that I could say 1,000 things in rebuttal. I also hoped that I would be able to provide a future testimony, so I ended with, “This was an interesting conversation.”
True faith is inseparable from faithfulness. True followers of Jesus Christ will be faithful to Jesus Christ. You cannot declare allegiance to Jesus while rejecting loyalty to Jesus.
A vaccine card is not worship of a false god. However, whether or not you believe vaccine cards are signs that we are closer to the return of Jesus Christ, what should we do? We should live more faithfully to Jesus Christ. We should live in holiness and godliness.
See the next verse, 2 Peter 3:14.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine contains luciferase (Lucifer Race) DNA and receiving an injection will damn your soul.
Truth: The Covid-19 vaccine does not contain luciferase, but it can be used in research related to viruses. Luciferace is an enzyme that causes luciferin to give off visible light. Luciferin is an organic substance, present in luminescent organisms such as fireflies, that produces light when oxidized by the action of the enzyme luciferase. So if you let your children play with fireflies, they have already been exposed. There is no spiritual component to either luciferin or luciferase. [b]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferin
Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine has the patent number 666 or 06 06 06 which is the Mark of the Beast. Taking the vaccine will damn your soul.
Truth: The Covid-19 vaccine does not have this patent number. There was a patent number WO2020060606 which was filed in June 2019 with the World Intellectual Property Organization by Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC. This patent deals with a system of cryptocurrency mining through tasks assigned to human activity and does not mention injections or vaccines or Covid-19 in any way. [c]https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2020060606
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
The love of God is fundamental to the atonement, John 3:16.
James Montgomery Boice differentiates between value and intention in regards to the atonement.
The value of Jesus’ death is infinite. The question rather is what is the purpose of Christ’s death, and what He accomplished in it. Did Christ intend to make salvation no more than possible? Or did He actually save those for whom He died? Reformed theology stresses that Jesus actually atoned for the sins of those the Father had chosen. He actually propitiated the wrath of God toward His people by taking their judgment upon Himself, actually redeemed them, and actually reconciled those specific persons to God. A better name for “limited” atonement would be “particular” or “specific” redemption.[a]Whitlock, Luder G. et al. The Reformation Study Bible: Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995. Print.
The love of God must be similar to the atonement. His love is infinite but intended only for those the He will save.
God loves people of His own free will. To the Reformed person, God’s will is irresistible. Therefore, God’s love is irresistible as well. And therefore, Reformed theology limits the scope of the enduring love of God to the elect.
The Reformation Study Bible affirms that God loves the whole world, so long as we accept a doublespeak definition of world.
As always in the New Testament, “we” or “us” as the objects and beneficiaries of redeeming love means “us who believe.” “We” or “us” does not refer to every individual belonging to the human race. When “the world” is said to be loved and redeemed (John 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 John 2:2), that “world” is the great number of God’s elect scattered worldwide, in every nation (cf. John 10:16; 11:52). The redeemed “world” is not each and every person who ever did or will exist. [b]Luder G. Whitlock et al., The Reformation Study Bible: Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995).
If we accept the position toward irresistible grace and particular atonement, then we must conclude that God’s enduring love is only for some of us. However, we will need to wrangle our vocabulary to make sense out of it.
a) If God’s grace cannot be resisted and
b) if God gives grace to those that He loves and
c) if God unconditionally loves each and every one who has ever existed,
then one would conclude that Jesus has saved everyone without regard to their own will or their own beliefs. Everyone goes to heaven whether they want to or not.
a) If the atonement for sin is limited or particular or specified and
b) if God saves those that He loves,
then God limits His love to those for whom He provides atonement. God loves some of us. Otherwise, He would save all of us.
However, there is no contradiction when we believe that God loves everyone and sent His only Son, but that some people will still choose not to acknowledge the free gift of love and grace and salvation.
If God’s sovereignty includes a full knowledge of this free will, then the sovereignty of God is not threatened when His human creations reject His grace. The great sovereignty of God considers the will and the results of the free will of those made in His own image. Man is morally responsible for his choices. His choices were not predetermined or decreed by God. Rather, before he created humans, God decreed in His sovereignty that man would be responsible to will, to choose, to respond to God.
When we isolate the Scriptures about predestination and election from the rest of the Bible, we can reduce those verses into a theological form of determinism. If we look at the entire scope of Scripture, we will need to accept verses that describe God’s foreknowledge as well as those that describe the truth about human will and moral responsibility to God.
…and we can believe that God loves everyone.
|↑a||Whitlock, Luder G. et al. The Reformation Study Bible: Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995. Print.|
|↑b||Luder G. Whitlock et al., The Reformation Study Bible: Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995).|