Thursday, December 08, 2016

ISAIAH 11- Matt. 3 [verses from Mass]
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
https://youtu.be/Ju-Rtsahjwc
https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/12-4-16-isaiah-11-matt-3.zip
ON VIDEO-
.Dogs see Santa
.The store experience ‘You need Christ!’
.Bethany reads
.The root of Jesse
.Law was our ‘schoolmaster’
.Law cannot justify man
.Justification by faith- key them in Paul’s letters
.Apologetics
.Alexander the great
.C.S. Lewis
.Christopher Hitchens
NEW- [past links below]
THESE STONES
I found it interesting that the morning I posted the video ‘2 witnesses’ - https://ccoutreach87.com/2016/12/04/2-witnesses/  - I went to the Catholic cathedral- and the Bishop who spoke that day- talked from the same passages of scripture that I quoted on the video [made a few days earlier].
On today’s video we see how the prophet Isaiah spoke in detail about the future coming of Christ-
He will come from the line of Jesse-
Isaiah 11:1 and there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
Who was the father of King David- who I have been teaching about in our current study on the book of Samuel .
Jesus will be a ‘banner’ of peace- for all people groups- not just for the Jewish nation-
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Which is one of the key themes in the New Testament- that the ‘mystery’ which was hidden- is now revealed in Christ.
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Ephesians 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Ephesians 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Ephesians 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
That the gentiles [non-Jews] will partake of all the covenant blessings too!
The Bishop also spoke about the ministry of John the Baptist- and how John told the religious leaders of his day not t trust in their natural heritage of coming from ‘Father Abraham’.
Because God is able to raise up children to Abraham- even from ‘these stones’.
Matthew 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Peter tells us that all who believe in Jesus- the chief cornerstone- are also ‘living stones’ in the spiritual temple- who make up the Church.
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

In a way- John was saying ‘you don’t get to be a child of God- thru natural birth- but only thru repentance and faith in Jesus’.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1
Which is a key theme in the letters of the apostle Paul- which make up the majority of the New testament.
Paul lays out the gospel of grace- telling his fellow countrymen that the law cannot save us- but we are saved [justified] thru faith in Christ
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The prophets of old spoke of the coming of the ‘just one’.
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Acts 7:
Yet they did not see all the implications to the things they were saying at the time.
Isaiah says ‘his rest shall be glorious’-
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
And in the New testament we read about ‘this rest’ in the letter to the Hebrews- Hebrews 4:3
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
 [here’s my complete study-  https://ccoutreach87.com/hebrews-updated-2015/ ]
Which shows us how Jesus himself- the ‘banner’ that the gentiles will seek after- is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets-
And all those who believe in Jesus- his death and resurrection- now have ceased from their own works [the law covenant] and have entered into grace-
Where freedom from sin is a gift- that Jesus purchased for us thru the atonement.
Paul teaches us that there was no law that could justify us in the sight of God-
Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
But that thru the death of Christ- God has made salvation possible for all who believe-
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
He even teaches us that ‘father Abraham’ was justified before he was circumcised- showing his Jewish brothers that their trust in the outward sign of circumcision was no good- unless they had a true change of heart.
Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Yea- Like John the Baptist said ‘God will raise up new kids to Abraham- even from these stones’.
Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
PAST TEACHINGS-
I quote from these bible books and studies on today’s video [Is. 11- Matt 3]
Below are links to the studies I did in the past on them
I mentioned Herod- here’s some past teaching I did on him-
So- I figured I would cover a little Jewish history- which would help in this study of Hebrews-
And also hit on a few of these subjects.
As we read Hebrews- it helps to also understand some of the history that we don’t have in our bibles [though the Catholic bibles do have some of it in the Apocrypha].
Ok- the ruling empire at the time of Christ was Rome- just prior to the appearance of Jesus- the Roman Emperor- Caesar Augustus- consolidated the Roman Empire under his rule-
Rome was ruled by a senate- some famous names from history were in it- Cicero being one.
Caesar Augustus was the nephew of Julius Caesar- his real name was Octavian [Octavius].
After the death of Julius Caesar- there were some power struggles that took place- between some other famous people.
Marc Antony being one of them [Cleopatra too- he was in love with the girl for sure].
Now- we read about Augustus in the New Testament- and we read in the book of Revelation about the Mark of the Beast- and that those who don't worship- give homage to the Beast- they will be killed.
So- Many Christians would be killed because they would refuse to give homage to Caesar Augustus [meaning son of the Divine].
‘Wow- how did he get a name like that’ [there was more than one Caesar by the way- as well as more than one Herod- who did play a part in these power struggles- it can get confusing- even to me].
When Octavian defeated Marc Antony at Actium [32 BC].
Herod [The Great] had a problem- he had previously sided with Antony and found himself on the losing side.
Yet he was smart- did some ‘brown nosing’ as we say-and patched things up.
Herod had 3 sons- who would eventually take positions of authority in the Roman government at the time of Christ.
Herod Antipas was over the region that we read about in the New Testament where Jesus did most of his ministry- Galilee.
Ok- Octavian claimed deity because of a heavenly sign associated with his rise to power- and this is how he became called ‘Caesar Augustus’.
He sort of saw himself as a   ‘re-incarnate’- of his great uncle Julius Caesar.
‘John- what in the heck does this have to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls’.
Ok- good question.
The Jews had various responses to the empires that ruled over them during various times.
Alexander the Great instituted Hellenization- a sort of cultural compromise over the people he conquered.
They could keep their religious/cultural roots- but would be subservient to Alexander and Greek rule.
Some Jewish people rejected any compromise- we call them the Essenes- they moved out of town- so to speak, and lived in what we refer to as the Qumran community.
This was a few centuries before the time of Christ- and this was where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found in the 20th century.
A Bedouin boy was looking for his goats- threw a rock in a cave right off the Dead Sea- and that’s how we found the scrolls.
The scrolls might have been hidden there by the Essenes-
Now- when my friends asked me about them- I told them that it’s been a while since I read up on any of this- but to the best of my memory the thing that made them significant was the fact that they were very old manuscripts- from the bible- and they backed up what we had had all along.
I did read up this week- and basically had it right.
The earliest Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament we had previously dated back to around 900- 1000 A.D.
These manuscripts went back about 1000 years earlier- and they contained portions from almost every book of the Old testament- and some complete books.
The only book missing was Esther.
So- this was indeed a very significant find for scholars.
But the Scrolls also contain some of the writings from the Essenes themselves- things we never had before- so this too was significant.
There were Jews at the time of the first century who tried to ‘get along’ with Rome- and with the person in charge of their region [one of the sons of Herod the Great at the time of Christ].
These are referred to as Herodian’s in the bible.
Some wanted a revolution to rid Rome from Jerusalem- these were the Zealots [one of Jesus disciples was in this group].
Some thought if they returned to a legalistic obeisance of the law- that this would bring in a deliverer- like the stories we read about in the Old testament- these were the Pharisees.
And some took more of a political compromise- these were the Sadducees.
Eventually a war with Rome would be fought [By the way- Josephus- the famous 1st century historian- fought on the side of the Jews in the war- and after Jerusalem was sacked in A.D. 70- he went to Rome and wrote his great works- thinking he would make a case for the Jewish people with the Romans. This is why we have his works today- which are very valuable to scholars].
NOTE- In time I’ll try and cover how we ‘got our bibles’ [called the Canon- meaning Rule/ Measurement].
Frankly- there is a lot of confusion in the general public about conspiracies [like the Catholic Church had some type of plot to keep certain books out].
Or stories about how the Church taught Mary Magdalene was a prostitute so they could discredit her.
Actually- we read in the gospels that Jesus cast out ‘spirits’ from a woman who was probably living this type of life-
And Jesus had a ministry to the down and out- it is indeed possible that Mary was one of these women-
And if true- it would not demean her in any way-
That’s how this tradition more than likely developed- But- we don’t know for sure.
So a few years back the Church officially said ‘we don’t know’.
Ok- Plot?
No- just being careful.
So there are other misguided beliefs like this- that sincere people have- and over time I hope to get to them.
I’ll do one more in keeping with this post.
I mentioned above that Caesar Augustus did indeed take the title of ‘son of God’.
And some critics of the Church say ‘see- there were all types of religions that had Sons of God’.
I watched one show a few years back- and it stated that these religions had ’12 disciples- a leader named Lord and Savior- and he healed and claimed to be God’s Son- and rose from the dead’.
Ok- that show was ‘fibbing’ to put it lightly- they went too far [historically speaking] in trying to diminish the Christians claim of Christ by doing this.
Now- is there some truth to this at all?
Yes- like I just mentioned above- Octavian did indeed claim deity- a ‘son of god’.
So- how do we explain this?
In the book of Galatians the bible says ‘in the FULLNESS of times God sent forth his Son’.
Jesus came at a set time in history- in fulfilment of the Jewish Prophets- to be who he was- and to do what he did.
Now- this is not special pleading here- but I find it a masterpiece that God’s Son came at a time when the Roman Empire had one sitting on the throne- who too claimed deity.
Yet Jesus was in a region of the lower class- his men were not highly educated- and his followers were people under oppression.
Augustus lived in the wealthy and influential capital of ‘the world’- he had all you could ever ask for- he was worshiped as a god.
Yet in 3 short centuries- one of the heirs of the empire- Constantine- would have an experience – not with a former Caesar- but with a vison of a Cross-
He would convert to Christianity- and declare Christianity to be the religion of the realm.
[parts]
JOHN 19 (radio # 602) The reality of redemption! I want to stress the fact that Jesus actually
[parts]
Now- we will read how John gets himself into some hot water. Not only is he preaching about The Lamb of God- he starts saying ‘Herod [the Roman ‘king’ figure that was over the Jewish people] you have take your brother Phillips wife- you can’t have her!’

Herod was the son of Herod the great- we read about ‘the great’ as being the king at the time of Jesus birth- he was the one who had all the babies killed because he heard that Christ was born and he wanted to wipe out the competition- this Messiah who would be ‘The King of the Jews’.

The funny thing was- Herod wasn’t a Jew. Yet he saw himself as the actual Messiah to the Jews- Rome gave Herod [the great] this figure head authority- and it literally went to his head. Now- Herod died soon after the slaughter of the kids- and his son would ‘reign in his place’.

This Herod would be the king at the time of Jesus earthly ministry. This is the king who John the Baptist was preaching against.

One time they came to Jesus- to kind of intimidate him- they said ‘you know- Herod knows about you- he will get you’.  Jesus- you know- we are supposed to respect authority- right? He says ‘go tell that fox- that today and tomorrow I do healings and great works- and on the 3rd day I will be perfected’.

Perfected means ‘come to maturity’. This was a reference to his death and resurrection on the ‘3rd day’.

So Johns out there preaching against what he sees as corruption in govt. and one day they finally had enough- Herod puts John in prison.

Now John’s sitting there in prison- right at the time of this great ministry of Jesus. I mean Jesus is healing people left and right- raising the dead. I mean John must have felt vindicated- right?

John’s sitting in jail- and day after day- in this prison- he starts to think ‘geez- I have been stuck here for a while now- I mean I was the forerunner- Jesus said that about me- I’m the voice of one- the guy who proclaimed the truth when no one else was willing to take the risk- what the hell am I doing here- sitting in prison!’

John must have thought he was getting a bad deal. He sends 2 of his disciples to ask Jesus ‘are you the one- or should we look for another?’

Was he having doubts? Come on- Jesus is raising the dead for heaven’s sake- John was basically saying to Jesus ‘are you the one? If so- why am I still in the damn jail!’

John was being sifted. Peter will be- Job was too. For some strange reason- this is how things work. The bread has to be broken before it can feed people.

Of course we know the rest of the story- Herod's daughter in law will do a dance for the king- and the wife will get the head of John the Baptist on a platter- she got tired of hearing him.

Soren Kierkegaard- the 19th century Christian/Philosopher is considered to be the Father of Existentialism. Existentialism is the philosophy that says you start with ‘existence’ that is you begin the journey with real life passion- real interaction in life. Your failures and your high points- all these real things we experience in life- these are the things that shape us- that make us real.

Soren lived in a day where the Danish state church was dead and formal- and he spoke out against the dead lukewarm orthodoxy of his day.

One time he would say when he got tired of all the religious formalism- the fake plastic face we all put on so other people can’t really see our struggles- he said he would go read the Old Testament- the stories of murder and adultery and covering up crimes- he said these were real stories- of failure and success- of sitting in jail and thinking you might get out- but instead you get your head taken off.

These are the real stories of some of the most hallowed saints of history- yes- human frailty runs right through it all- like some scarlet thread.

One time Jesus said to Peter ‘I have prayed for you’ that sounds great when it stands alone- but when you see it in the context of the whole verse- then you realize that you just might be in for something that you never expected would happen- you might be getting ready to go through a real existential moment- face to face with your own failures and humanity.

Peter will later write ‘beloved- when you go thru trials- don’t think it strange. Realize your brothers are also going through them’ and ‘it is not only our privilege to believe on the name of Jesus- but it is also our privilege to suffer with him’.

Yes Peter went on to get past the sifting- the memory of being the disciple who denied Jesus. I mean Peter was the only one who walked on water [ besides Jesus]- he raised the dead in the book of Acts-
[parts]
Here’s some on C.S. Lewis I taught-
HISTORY OF EVERYTHING- IN 1 HOUR
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ...  2nd Thes. 2:10-13

https://youtu.be/uwDi82SICXo  History of everything in 1 hour [part 1]
ON VIDEO-
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.Everything is proof of God
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1895- BUYER BEWARE!

We bought the Rocu thing the other day.

That’s the device that lets you watch movies on line.

You get a lot of real good stuff- I was surprised.

I was also surprised to see all the documentaries about religion and Christianity.

The ones from Netflix looked interesting- so I watched a couple.


Yikes!!

All of the ones I saw were done from a skeptic’s point of view.

Now- as someone who writes on apologetics [the defense of the faith] I am familiar with these arguments against the faith.

But- if you are not familiar- these doc’s will shake your faith- for sure.

Why?


They are done from the perspective that Christianity basically copied the Greek myths of God and religion- they focus on the ‘similarities’ between Christianity and Greek [and other cultures] religions.


Okay- what was wrong- or deceptive? 

First- this entire school of thought was popularized in the 19th century- from the Christian universities in Germany.

Yes- some good men- well meaning men [others not so good! Freud- etc] believed that in order for the faith to survive in this ‘brave new world’ [modernity- and the whole humanistic advance of man since the enlightenment].

That they had to re-fashion the faith and sort of bring it up to date with the times.

Men like Rudolph Bultman introduced the idea of ‘de mythologizing’ the bible.

So- these guys rejected all the supernatural elements of the bible- no more miracles- angels- demons- or resurrection!

Many people embraced this ‘new’ bold approach to the faith- and basically became theological liberals.

One of the reasons some of these men went down this road were covered in the above documentaries.

Okay- as I watched a couple of them- they had similar themes- and were also wrong in the same way.

They compared about 25 other religious myths- from other cultures- and they said these other religious myths all had a savior- a son of god- who had 12 disciples.

They said this Lamb of God died- was buried- and on the 3rd day rose again.

They said he did miracles- was born of a virgin- was called Lord and savior.


And they made it sound like this ‘story’- in complete form- was repeated many times before the Christians ‘picked it up’.

Wow- double wow.

Why are these documentaries dangerous?

First- I actually have read/studied in this field.


The similarities that they described in the doc’s were way overdone- they simply are not true.

That’s the first problem.

But- they did mix in some truth- with the false stuff.


Both of the documentaries I saw [it seems like there is one person- producer- behind the 2 I saw] did give an actual quote from a 2nd century Christian leader- Justin Martyr.

The quote is indeed real- Justin is known as one of the first Apologists of the church.

He defended the faith during a time when many enemies of the faith slandered the religion.


In one defense [out of many] he said that those who reject Christianity because we believe that a Divine son rose from the dead- that others also held the same type of belief in the pagan world.


He was referring to the god Jupiter and the stories that surround those who believed in him.

You also do find this same type of thing in the myth of Hercules.

Okay- so the skeptic was right then?

No.

In the documentary- the skeptic actually gives the quote from Justin- and Justin says that just because these similarities did exist in other religions- before Christ- that this in no way means the Christian faith is false.

How so?


Justin said it was possible for satan to have ‘imitated’ what was really going to happen.

The skeptic mocked this argument from Justin- and went on to challenge the faith.

A few things.

First- it is possible that Justin was right.

2nd.

This whole line of attack is not new [unless you never heard of it before- which is why I’m kinda surprised that Netflix has them in their lineup].

It goes all the way back to the writings of Gilgamesh.

These are writings that also have similarities to the things we find in the bible- yet they are not coming from the Christian perspective.

They contain a story about a flood [like the one in Genesis].

So- over time- skeptics have said ‘see- the bible must have copied these flood stories- because we find them in other cultures’.

I actually covered this before.

Let me give you the short version.

We- as Christians- do indeed believe the story of Noah [the flood].

Some debate whether it was a global event or local- I don’t want to get into that now.


But- if there was a huge event- say like a 911 plane attack on the world trade center.


Would you not expect to find that event- recorded in more than one culture?

Of course you would.

So the fact that other cultures have a flood event recorded too- this does not mean the Christians plagiarized the flood- no- it would be evidence that the flood really did happen.

See?

Now- the similarities between a divine son who rose from the dead.

First- there ARE NOT 25 or so stories like this- with 12 disciples- raised on the 3rd day- and so on.

The producer of the doc was simply mislead- or outright lying.

2nd.

We must remember that anything we find in Greek culture- which predated Christian ‘culture’ was also predated by Jewish culture.

That is to say that the story of Judaism comes before the Greek philosophers.

Are there any themes in the Jewish religion that speak about a Messiah who would come- die- and be the Messiah of all mankind?

Yes!

So- you could argue that any similarities between Greek myth- and Christianity- are actually ‘copies’ taken from the Old Testament story.

That is- God himself gave us clues about the story of redemption- and these clues might have very well ‘seeped’ into the Greek culture- before Christ- and that’s why you might find similarities between the 2.

See?



Okay- I could go on- but I think I made the point.

I was not mad that these documentaries were on net flix.

But I saw the danger in presenting one side like this- without giving the other view [which I just gave].

All in all- the Christian faith has more historical backing [like the many thousands of bible manuscripts that survived the early days] than any other religion or writings of any kind.

The documentaries made a couple of good points- things that were indeed true- but they had way too much mis information in them to be playing on such a huge venue.

Buyer [or watcher] beware!
Some past stuff on Christopher Hitchens
[1582]  HITCHENS-PIRATES AND M THEORY- Let’s talk a little more about Christopher Hitchens book- God is not great. As I’m reading thru the book- and also doing some studying on Modernity- it’s obvious for me to see the errors in the arguments Hitchens is making in trying to refute the existence of God. Instead of attempting to refute each argument he makes [and to be honest- he does make many classic mistakes- things that are not really hard to show as false]. Let me give you just a few points- Hitchens comes at you from all angles- history, science, historical criticism [a view of the bible that tries to undermine the historical accuracy of the faith] politics- he basically covers all the angles that I too like to engage in. He is smart- no doubt about it- and he mocks Christians, Jews, Muslims- and he does it in a way that says ‘you are all idiots’. So that’s why when attempting to refute him- when I see him doing
[parts]
Now- we will read how John gets himself into some hot water. Not only is he preaching about The Lamb of God- he starts saying ‘Herod [the Roman ‘king’ figure that was over the Jewish people] you have take your brother Phillips wife- you can’t have her!’

Herod was the son of Herod the great- we read about ‘the great’ as being the king at the time of Jesus birth- he was the one who had all the babies killed because he heard that Christ was born and he wanted to wipe out the competition- this Messiah who would be ‘The King of the Jews’.

The funny thing was- Herod wasn’t a Jew. Yet he saw himself as the actual Messiah to the Jews- Rome gave Herod [the great] this figure head authority- and it literally went to his head. Now- Herod died soon after the slaughter of the kids- and his son would ‘reign in his place’.

This Herod would be the king at the time of Jesus earthly ministry. This is the king who John the Baptist was preaching against.

One time they came to Jesus- to kind of intimidate him- they said ‘you know- Herod knows about you- he will get you’.  Jesus- you know- we are supposed to respect authority- right? He says ‘go tell that fox- that today and tomorrow I do healings and great works- and on the 3rd day I will be perfected’.

Perfected means ‘come to maturity’. This was a reference to his death and resurrection on the ‘3rd day’.

So Johns out there preaching against what he sees as corruption in govt. and one day they finally had enough- Herod puts John in prison.

Now John’s sitting there in prison- right at the time of this great ministry of Jesus. I mean Jesus is healing people left and right- raising the dead. I mean John must have felt vindicated- right?

John’s sitting in jail- and day after day- in this prison- he starts to think ‘geez- I have been stuck here for a while now- I mean I was the forerunner- Jesus said that about me- I’m the voice of one- the guy who proclaimed the truth when no one else was willing to take the risk- what the hell am I doing here- sitting in prison!’

John must have thought he was getting a bad deal. He sends 2 of his disciples to ask Jesus ‘are you the one- or should we look for another?’

Was he having doubts? Come on- Jesus is raising the dead for heaven’s sake- John was basically saying to Jesus ‘are you the one? If so- why am I still in the damn jail!’

John was being sifted. Peter will be- Job was too. For some strange reason- this is how things work. The bread has to be broken before it can feed people.

Of course we know the rest of the story- Herod's daughter in law will do a dance for the king- and the wife will get the head of John the Baptist on a platter- she got tired of hearing him.

Soren Kierkegaard- the 19th century Christian/Philosopher is considered to be the Father of Existentialism. Existentialism is the philosophy that says you start with ‘existence’ that is you begin the journey with real life passion- real interaction in life. Your failures and your high points- all these real things we experience in life- these are the things that shape us- that make us real.

Soren lived in a day where the Danish state church was dead and formal- and he spoke out against the dead lukewarm orthodoxy of his day.

One time he would say when he got tired of all the religious formalism- the fake plastic face we all put on so other people can’t really see our struggles- he said he would go read the Old Testament- the stories of murder and adultery and covering up crimes- he said these were real stories- of failure and success- of sitting in jail and thinking you might get out- but instead you get your head taken off.

These are the real stories of some of the most hallowed saints of history- yes- human frailty runs right through it all- like some scarlet thread.

One time Jesus said to Peter ‘I have prayed for you’ that sounds great when it stands alone- but when you see it in the context of the whole verse- then you realize that you just might be in for something that you never expected would happen- you might be getting ready to go through a real existential moment- face to face with your own failures and humanity.

Peter will later write ‘beloved- when you go thru trials- don’t think it strange. Realize your brothers are also going through them’ and ‘it is not only our privilege to believe on the name of Jesus- but it is also our privilege to suffer with him’.

Yes Peter went on to get past the sifting- the memory of being the disciple who denied Jesus. I mean Peter was the only one who walked on water [ besides Jesus]- he raised the dead in the book of Acts-
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And some stuff I taught on the Renaissance
The writings of Aristotle would be discovered again during the time of Thomas Aquinas [13th century Catholic genius/scholar] and this would lead to Scholasticism [a peculiar school of thought developed/revived under Aquinas] and give rise to the Renaissance.

Okay- before the birth of Christ- the Jewish people resisted the imposing of Greek culture upon them- you had the very famous resistance under the Jewish Maccabean revolt- where the Jews rose up and fought the wicked ruler Antiochus Epiphanies- and till this day the Jewish people celebrate this victory at Hanukah.

Eventually Rome would conquer the Greek kingdom and the Jewish people were allowed to keep their culture and temple- yet they were still a people oppressed. Hassidism [getting back to the beginning] developed during this attempt to not lose their Jewish roots- the Pharisees of Jesus day came from this movement.

Alexander was pretty successful in his attempt to unify language- even though the bible [New Testament] was written by Jewish writers- living under Roman rule- yet the original bible is written in the Greek language.

Bible scholars till this day study the Greek language to find the truest meaning of the actual words in the bible [I have a Greek Lexicon sitting right in front of me].

It would take a few centuries before a Latin version appeared on the scene [the great church father- Jerome- would produce the Latin Vulgate].

Yet it would be the re- discovery and learning of the Greek texts [under men like Erasmus- and the Protestant Reformers] that would lead to the Reformation [16th century] and other movements in church history.


 The Jews had various responses to the empires that ruled over them during various times.
Alexander the Great instituted Hellenization- a sort of cultural compromise over the people he conquered.
They could keep their religious/cultural roots- but would be subservient to Alexander and Greek rule.
Some Jewish people rejected any compromise- we call them the Essenes- they moved out of town- so to speak, and lived in what we refer to as the Qumran community.
This was a few centuries before the time of Christ- and this was where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found in the 20th century.
A Bedouin boy was looking for his goats- threw a rock in a cave right off the Dead Sea- and that’s how we found the scrolls.
The scrolls might have been hidden there by the Essenes-
Now- when my friends asked me about them- I told them that it’s been a while since I read up on any of this- but to the best of my memory the thing that made them significant was the fact that they were very old manuscripts- from the bible- and they backed up what we had had all along.
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In the last Philosophy post I hit on the 10th-14th century development of modern thought- today I want to jump into the 16th-18th centuries. Like I said in a previous post- after the Renaissance and the Reformation and the great scientific revolution- you had the world in somewhat of a tailspin.

 What I mean is for hundreds of years people trusted in the old institutions [like the Catholic Church] to tell them what was true or false- then with the development of all these modern movements people began questioning stuff.

Was it good to question things? Sure. But some challenged the very foundations of thought and knowing [called Epistemology] and went a bit too far.

Some thinkers went  back to the thought of Plato [400 years BC] and said that the mind is the main source of all knowledge- these were the 17th century Rationalists.

Rationalism- as a philosophy- was an outgrowth of all the great strides that man was making in all these other areas of life. The Scientific Revolution totally challenged the age old beliefs of many in the church.

Math became a sort of new ‘god’. How so? As science invented the Microscope and Telescope- man was able for the first time to peer deeply into the heavens- and to see deeply into the microscopic world.

As the great minds [Copernicus] showed us that the Universe was different than what we thought [Heliocentric versus Geocentric] man was able to do mathematical calculations and to say that a specific planet or star [or Comet] would show up at an exact date- or spot- and Walla- it would happen [you could look thru the Telescope and sure enough the math was right- the object that was calculated to be there- was.]

These calculations were mathematical formulas- so math began to be seen as the new religion in many ways.

There are even some thinkers in the modern day that still say the only ‘real truth’ that exists is mathematical formulas. Yeah- one guy wrote an entire book on the subject- the problem? Well- his book was not written in math- but words.

Yes- even the extreme deniers of Objective truth do make mistakes.

Now- what’s wrong with rationalism? Of course being rational is okay- but the philosophy itself denied real Objective truth. Truth that corresponds to some other ‘outside’ reality.

This form of thinking [rejecting outside reality] is called Relativism/Subjectivism. While there is some truth to all the various fields of thought- yet extreme Relativism denies ‘reality’ as most of us understand the term.  There was a strong resistance to the 17th century rationalists- we call this Philosophy Empiricism.

The main thinker in this field was John Locke. Locke lived most of his life in the 17th century- but his thought laid the foundation for the 18th century Empiricist.

This philosophy says that the mind does indeed play a major role in the knowledge of things- but this knowledge does not originate in the mind [Plato] but in the ‘thing’ itself [Aristotle- remember when we covered these men? Plato was an idealist- Ideas were more real than matter. Aristotle was a Realist- closer to the thought of Locke].

Locke developed a theory called the Correspondence theory- that truth that the Mind discovers corresponds to real things that actually exist apart from the mind.

Locke was a practicing doctor- and most of the other thinkers of the day had room to speculate about reality in a way that Locke could not.

He lived in a real world with real patients who had real symptoms- in a nutshell Locke had to diagnose his patients based on his findings- he could not deny that there was a real problem- he had to have his ‘feet on the ground’ [based in reality] while engaging with his head up high.

Okay- I think we’ll end with this. Maybe you can go back and read some of my previous posts on this subject- just to become a little more familiar with it.

As Christians- we are not ‘required’ to know Philosophy- or current events- or science- but it helps us engage the culture when we do educate ourselves in these areas.

Go slow in learning [not too slow!] and try and see how the Christian Worldview agrees with- or rejects certain aspects of these different felids of thought.

Most Christians would reject Rationalism as a Philosophy- because it denies real objective truth- it says truth is relative- whatever the mind can conceive- or think- can be defined as truth [Unicorns?]

Biblical truth is based on real historic events- 1st Corinthians chapter 15 says that if we deny the physical  resurrection of Christ- a real event- then our faith is in vain.

Christians base their faith on a real historic event- not simply on a belief system.

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The renaissance was the 13-14th century revival of culture and learning that was lost for centuries- It began in Florence Italy.
The catch phrase for it was ‘Ad Fontes’  meaning ‘back to the sources’- both in philosophy- as well as in Christian learning.
This began a revival of studying the Greek New testament again from its original language.
The Catholic Humanist- Desiderius Erasmus [15-16th century] - re introduced the New Testament in the Greek version [He was referred to as a Dutch renaissance Humanist- as well as a Catholic Priest and scholar]
Now- Erasmus was a critic of the Church- like Luther- but chose a ‘middle road’- he did not join the breakaway Protestant Reformers- but chose to stay within the fold of Rome- while speaking out against the abuses he saw.
But his first Greek translation of the New Testament did indeed set a spark- because it allowed the Priests to see the bible in its original language.
And Luther was actually teaching this book of Romans to his students in Germany when the Reformation began.
Today the Catholic Church [as you can see in the official Catechism that I have been posting] does indeed teach the bible as God’s Word.
The divisions between Protestants and Catholics are many- but they did agree that the bible was the Word of God.
Some Protestants do not know this- they think the church holds Tradition higher than the bible.
No- the church does believe that God speaks both thru tradition- and scripture.
They see the tradition of the church as simply another means by which God uses the church [Magisterium] to explain scripture- but the Catholic Church does not elevate tradition over the bible.
And indeed- it was a catholic scholar- Erasmus- who introduced the first Geek version of the New Testament.
NOTE- Erasmus disagreed with Luther on the doctrine of Predestination- which I covered in the last video. Luther was for it- Erasmus was what we would call ‘Free Will’.
In his writings- which were very influential- he wrote in Greek and Latin- the language of the elites.
He did this on purpose- for his target was the influential leaders of the Church.
He rejected offers of money- because he did not want to align himself with any particular movement- so he could be an independent writer with no strings attached.
He had many criticisms of the Catholic Church- and was very influential for the later reforms- those we see at the Council of Trent [Though the church criticized him- they said he ‘Laid the egg that hatched the Reformation’].
He taught that the church/priests/popes should be the servants of the people-
He rejected the idea that the Priests/leaders made up the ‘whole of the church’- but he believed all believers made up the true church.
Erasmus was a firebrand in his own way- rejecting the language that Luther and some of the reformers used [they were vulgar at times]-
Luther respected the works of Erasmus- he thanked Erasmus for debating with him on the nature of Justification by Faith-
He disagreed in the end- but said this debate was at the heart of the gospel- and was glad that Erasmus was willing to engage.

RENAISSANCE ARTISTS-
The famous renaissance artists- DaVinci- Michelangelo- Raphael- used their artwork as a form of knowledge- the images taught things- they were not just paintings.
DaVinci’s most famous work was his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in the Vatican.
It took him 4 years to complete.
The renaissance period- from about the 13/14th century to the 17th- [though there was a sort of Renaissance that took place- yes- in the Islamic world before the European Renaissance] was marked by what we term Humanism.
Today we associate this term with ‘secular Humanism’ which often has a bad connotation- especially among Christians.
But it meant something different back then.
It was a new focus on breaking the limits off of man- and for man to excel in knowledge and skill- and to see man as having value.
There was somewhat of a break away from the church in a sense- in that the church and its teachings were not the only source of wisdom for man.
But- Jesus himself taught that ‘the Sabbath was made for man- not man for the Sabbath’- so- the Humanist spirit- elevating the value of man- does have a Christian basis in my view.
Leonardo daVinci [15/16th century] was what we refer to as a true Renaissance man- meaning his knowledge was in many fields- not just art.
He actually considered himself a sculptor first- then an artist- though he is most famous for his Fresco mentioned above.
Here’s my study on The Reformation-
And my past teaching on the Western intellectual tradition-

VERSES-
Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blindas the Lord's servant?
Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Gal. 3
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.


Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


Note- Please do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. I deal with issues at times that it would be beneficial for some of you to download and save the file from the Word Press link. This creates a permanent record. The on-line videos are only good if sites are not hacked- which has happened in the past. Thanks- John.#